Review: Andrew Everard

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Mar 09, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingAvailable in both monoblock and stereo chassis, the Centaur II has been a mainstay of the Constellation range for over six years. It's clearly not broken, so why change it?

While some brands maintain a steady rotation – evolution – of their products, others, including Constellation Audio, hit on the jackpot early and feel little inclination to change a winning formula. So while we've already tested the £73,500 Centaur II 500 power amp [HFN Dec '19] we missed out on the £53,998 Constellation Centaur II Stereo. Until now...

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Mar 06, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingFor over 40 years and two generations, this family-run speaker specialist has epitomised the best of Danish design

Everything about the Audiovector R 8 Arreté is impressive, from the size and scale of the speaker – it stands 144cm tall and weighs over 72kg – to the seemingly fiendish complexity of the design, which appears to have drivers firing and venting in all directions. The piano-lacquered Italian Burl Walnut veneer, seen here, is gorgeous too, and offered alongside Italian Grey, black and white finish options.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Feb 09, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingCombining the network streaming capability of the RS150 flagship with the GAN-FET Class D amplification of the RS180, the RS520 aims to be the 'all-in-one' for everyone

Another smart move from the Korean tech specialist? That certainly seems to be the case with the latest arrival from Seoul-based HiFi Rose, which has rapidly established itself as a major player in the network audio/video market with a string of excellent streaming players. Having taken what looked like an abrupt turn with the launch of its bonkers-styled – but great-sounding – RA180 integrated amplifier [HFN Jul '22], it's now delivering on the promises made by the company's Sean Kim, interviewed for that review. We're yet to see the simpler, more affordable RA280 integrated amp, but here's the company's all-in-one streaming amp, the RS520.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Jan 05, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe smallest of the five-strong standmount/floorstanding Peaks series from YG Acoustics promises to move mountains

Depending on your age, there's the potential for confusion in the naming of YG Acoustics' latest loudspeakers. The Peaks series is inspired by the Rocky Mountains looming over YG's base a few miles outside Denver, and most of our readers will be from generations with 'life experience', and upon hearing the title 'peak' will likely associate it with products of aspirational quality. In the argot of London teenagers, however, 'peak' is now taken to indicate unexpected bad luck. In truth, the recent collaboration between Cambridge Acoustic Sciences and YG's mid-US manufacturing base has been nothing but fortuitous.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Jan 02, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingYears in the making, DALI's KORE flagship breaks cover and it's a triumph of engineering, style and superlative sound

There are many ways to express that emotion of delighted surprise when encountering something unexpected: everything from the archaic 'Gosh' or 'Goodness', through the more contemporary low whistle or 'Wow', or even the kind of expletive never found in these pages. Meanwhile, the Blessed Google suggests that the Danes might say 'hold da helt ferie', literally 'take a whole vacation', which I guess is somewhere close to the American 'get outta here'. But for those of us brought up on British films of the latter part of last century, perhaps the best reaction to these new DALI flagship speakers is just to mention their name, perhaps followed by 'blimey' for the full effect.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Dec 22, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe largest standmount in AVID's all-alloy Reference range is bigger and heavier than most floorstanders...

Standmount speakers – it's easy to see why they're popular. They're relatively compact and light enough to position with ease, whether on bookshelves or stands. They aim to offer a compelling sound in smaller spaces, are affordable, often due to mass-production overseas, and can be driven with ease by relatively modest amplification. Trouble is, the AVID Reference Three, while undeniably a standmount speaker, flies in the face of all the above.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Dec 02, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingAimed at very high-end headphone users, dCS's Lina Network DAC, Master Clock and Headphone Amplifier might also be the ideal compact system front-end for audiophiles

Headphone use has changed in recent years, from something to be endured through necessity to its own subset of hi-fi listening, with no shortage of ambitious and upmarket hardware currently available. Now dCS is on that bandwagon, for while it's been busy launching its APEX DAC technology for its 'full-size' offerings [HFN Jun '22] it's also developed the Lina, which is not so much a headphone amp as a complete playback system.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Nov 17, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingMatrix Audio's Element X2 introduces design, control and input upgrades to the X's network DAC/headphone amp and preamp. All this and a colour touchscreen to boot

At first glance, one might wonder why Matrix Audio felt any need to update its Element X network DAC [HFN Jan '21], the latter receiving our 'Outstanding Product' tag at £2795. However, look at this new X2 model and – while it's still conceptually the same, with a broad retention of technology from the ESS ES9038PRO DAC to the Crystek clock – it's clear much has also changed.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Nov 07, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingAuralic's latest streamer/DAC combines with its upsampling processor, and at first glance there seems to be some duplication of effort. So how do they work together?

The trouble with many modern hi-fi ranges is trying to work out what each of the boxes does. I've recounted before the tale of the tower of identical-looking Linn components stacked up in the premium lounge of a well-known airline, and the amusement there was in watching 'elite' passengers trying to work out where to insert their Dire Straits CD. Similarly, Auralic also has a wide range of digital devices, and given that they all look alike, it's sometimes hard to work out what does what.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Oct 10, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingGermany's 'Sound Performance Laboratory' has launched its largest stereo power amp yet. We pair the s1200 with SPL's Elector preamp for a big-hearted, all-analogue system

Based some 40 minutes west of Düsseldorf, SPL sounds like an attractive prospect for those who like their music loud – though in this case the name has nothing to do with Sound Pressure Level, standing instead for 'Sound Performance Laboratory'. Mind you, the promise of room-shaking raises its head again with the new flagship power amplifier in the company's domestic – or 'Professional Fidelity' – range, which promises 'Mastering Grade Listening'. The new Performer s1200 (£6499) may only measure a smidge under 28cm wide and a little over 20cm tall, making it a tiddler in the pantheon of high-end stereo power amps, but it's still capable of a claimed 300W/8ohm, rising to 520W/4ohm. This should be more than enough for even the most demanding speakers and level-hungry listeners.

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