Lab: Paul Miller

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 12, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingLaunched to the audiophile world at CES in 1995, Balanced Audio Technologies may have lifted off like a rocket but has only had patchy distribution in Europe. Until now...

Balanced Audio Technologies – BAT for short – has been much discussed over its 25-year life to date, but until now has remained an object of distant interest for UK audio fans. Now, thanks to distribution by Yorkshire-based Karma AV, all that might be set to change, so perhaps now is the time to take a closer look at the brand.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 09, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingPrimare's 'Prisma push' may have focused resources into network-enabling its amplifiers and CD players, but its new flagship phono pre proves its love of vinyl has not waned

Even the most ardent vinyl enthusiasts will admit that they can get bamboozled by the whole process of cartridge loading and gain matching. Some MMs and MCs can be quite particular about the load resistance and capacitance that they 'see', just as most phono stages will have a 'sweet spot' gain setting that varies from pick-up to pick-up. So there's a great deal to be said for a flexible phono stage that offers numerous adjustments. On the other hand I can appreciate the popularity of designs where the complexity extends to nothing more than an MM/MC switch!

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 05, 2020  |  0 comments
hfncommendedAn artisan brand with its own take on Hypex's tried-and-tested Class D amp module offers both tube and transistor variants to taste. Here's the low-down on the latter

Hybrid amps have always amused me. I still dream of Radford's TT100. This hi-fi equivalent of grafting two plant species hopes – ideally – to combine the best of a brace of disparate technologies. Too often, they marry the worst. Extraudio's X250T represents a first for me in that it promises to take efficient, compact Class D amplification and endow it with the sonic virtues of Class A, hence Class AD. Which made me think of playing with Krells way back in 1985.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 03, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingA sleek new look heralds the return of Rotel's premier sub-brand, and its new control amplifier – or preamp – and stereo power amp have the wherewithal to succeed

Michi is back: last marketed in the 1990s, Rotel's elite sub-brand has rejoined the hi-fi fray after a three-year development project, and the establishment of a dedicated facility within the company's factory to hand-build the new products. And I have to admit to a pang of nostalgia for I reviewed the company's RHCD-10 player, slimline RHA-10 preamp and substantial RHB-10 power amp back in the dim and distant, and it was a case of lust at first listen, not to mention sight of the high-quality metalwork with its red-lacquered wooden side-cheeks.

Review: James Parker, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 27, 2020  |  0 comments
hfncommendedDenon's Design Series brings us this attractive-looking two-box system, combining disc playback with streaming. But does style and flexibility mean a compromised sound?

Each of Sound United's two mainstream hi-fi brands – Denon and Marantz – has its own take on compact, room-friendly separates. In the case of Marantz, it's a lineup comprising an integrated amp and a USB DAC/headphone amp, each styled in 'retro' casework designed to evoke memories of Marantz amps of the past.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 27, 2020  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThis entry-level combination from US brand PS Audio combines proprietary technology with some tried-and-tested solutions in a preamp/DAC and brace of mono power amps

Colorado-based PS Audio is known for a number of things: its products are handmade in its own US facilities and, as of last year, it only sells direct to its US customers. Here in the UK, PS Audio's equipment is sold more conventionally, through distributor Signature Audio Systems, which premiered the company's Stellar Phono Amplifier at the Hi-Fi Show Live at Ascot in October last year. That product, along with the Power Plant 3 AC regenerator [HFN Jan '20], is part of the new entry-level range from the company.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 26, 2020  |  0 comments
hfncommendedNestling in the foothills of the Swabian Jura, southern Germany, the tiny municipality of Altdorf is home to some very big turntables from the boutique Acoustic Solid brand

Weighing 22kg, with a good deal of this mass being platter, the Wood Round MPX is the latest turntable from German company Acoustic Solid and fits neatly into its seven-strong 'Classic Line', sitting above the Classic Wood but below the Wood Referenz. The deck's appearance, with its three pillars, echoes the company's top 'Aluminium Line' models and also differentiates it from the rectangular decks that make up the rest of the Classic Line.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 22, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe most novel high-end DACs often employ proprietary converter solutions instead of off-the-shelf chipsets. From Italy comes this unique take on the NOS 'ladder DAC'

As we've seen in the past, notably in our review of its La Voce S2 DAC [HFN Aug '16], Italian company Aqua, aka AQ Technologies, tends to follow its own path in the design and engineering of its products. Based in Milan, and just coming up to the tenth anniversary of its founding by chief engineer and product designer Cristian Anelli, it bases its work on what it describes as 'dedicated research with creative thinking'.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 21, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingWhile we await the Relentless Preamp the 'HD' remains D'Agostino's top model, with its Bluetooth remote and raft of subtle enhancements culled from the MLife integrated

Ordinarily, I prefer to ignore the vexing topic of prices. My attitude is simple: if I can't afford something, I don't take it out on the world. I can't afford a Bugatti T57SC Atlantic, but I don't hate Ralph Lauren for owning one. So let's get two things out of the way, the first being that the D'Agostino Momentum HD Preamplifier costs £47,998, making it one of the most expensive control units on the planet.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 20, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnvintageThis CD player from 1987 re-wrote the rules with its offer of 18-bit/8x oversampling while cutting few corners in the quality of its componentry. How will it sound today?

Back in the '70s, Japanese consumer electronics giants sold hi-fi based on so-called 'tech specs'. What began as a trend became an obsession, each new turntable being offered with lower claimed wow, flutter and rumble as 'proof' that it was superior to the one before. Indeed, some brands took to running ads highlighting the measured performance of components, with straplines to the effect of 'let the facts speak for themselves'. Back in hi-fi's boom years, such was the way of the world...

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