Review and Lab: Paul Miller

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 12, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnedchoiceTucked away in the ranges of most large cable brands is a selection of USB interconnects, including Chord who topped our USB shootout in 2013.

We last ran a comprehensive USB cable group test over six years ago [HFN Jul '13 and '14] with Chord's entry-level SilverPlus coming top-of-the-heap and remaining in residence ever since as our cable of choice. The intervening period has seen the SilverPlus morph into the current entry-level C-series while the costlier Signature 'Tuned Aray' USB cable became the template for Chord's more recent, intermediate Epic USB model. And, at £400 for a terminated 1m set (£160 per additional metre), the new Epic USB is no costlier than its Signature forefather in 2014.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller, Review: Andrew Everard  |  Sep 02, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnedchoiceThere certainly aren't many speakers that look like them, but these baby models – yes, really – in the Swiss brand's wireless active range combine style with all-alloy substance

When the entry-level model in a speaker range costs £70,000 a pair, and weighs no less than 80kg – that's each speaker – you'd rightly assume you're in very serious high-end territory. And yes, imposing though the Prana speaker looks, its two aluminium enclosures mounted on a hefty 'Z-frame' and the whole enterprise standing some 99cm tall, this is the baby of this particular range. Above it sit the Satya speakers, 1.23m tall, 140kg apiece and £110,000 a pair, while the flagship is the 1.47m tall, 180kg-a-pop Samadhi, yours for a nice neat £200k a pair...

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 21, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnedchoiceRecognising that mainstream gear is being equipped with both RCA and XLR sockets, Atlas has developed a 'balanced' version of its Equator cable.

Judging by the increased number of XLR sockets seen on hi-fi separates in recent years, 'balanced' is rapidly becoming the new black. Balanced signal transmission has its benefits over long runs in suppressing common-mode interference and maintaining the topology between a balanced pre and power amp, for example, although many would debate that the extra circuit complexity outweighs the benefits.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 04, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingA new big beast stalks the integrated amplifier jungle, courtesy of the refreshed Musical Fidelity brand. Armed with ears and test gear, we track the M8xi to its lair...

If you are into fancy-looking hi-fi with machined fascias and decorative meters then the £5649 M8xi integrated amplifier is not for you. 'Sorry, that's the way it is', says Musical Fidelity, though I suspect this declaration of intent for the entire M8 series owes more to Musical Fidelity's founder than the new owners, Audio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH, of which vinyl evangelist Pro-Ject Audio Systems is another division.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 02, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe Chord Ultima range has grown from a single pre and power amp, as the tech becomes more affordable. The Ultima 2 models might just give the flagships a scare

Never let it be said that the Chord Electronics range isn't distinctive in its styling: all the way up from the tiny Mojo DAC [HFN Jan '16] to the flagship Ultima reference preamplifier [HFN Feb '19], the company's products look like nothing else on the market, as if to emphasise that what's going on inside them involves no shortage of proprietary technology, too.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 13, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnedchoiceA prime example of why audiophiles should never dismiss the unassuming, TCI is the epitome of a no-nonsense cable company.

As the sovereign serpent in TCI's (True Colours Industries) longstanding range of loudspeaker cables, King Cobra is not new but it has 'evolved' since we last tested the Stereo version [HFN Jan '13]. Seen here is the 'Bi-Wire' version of King Cobra, ostensibly comprising a pair of the same conductor cores used in the Stereo iteration but with the two signal and two return paths combined at the source (amplifier) end. So this version of TCI's flagship cable supports bi-wiring but not bi-amping.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 16, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnedchoiceOne of Chord Cable's longest-running products, the Signature, receives just its second upgrade in materials and performance in fifteen years.

There's a lot to be said for the philosophical approach to hi-fi manufacturing: 'if it isn't broken, don't fix it'. Chord Cables is certainly of this persuasion – its ranges are broadly distinguished by geometry, while performance is very gradually 'tickled up' by the transition to steadily superior conductors and dielectrics. For example, the original Signature speaker cable held court for a decade before the Reference version was released [HFN Aug '14].

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 12, 2019  |  0 comments
Designed, manufactured, assembled and tested in Massachusetts USA, Accusound brings no-nonsense pro-cable thinking to the high-end scene.

With one foot firmly planted in the pro audio sector, US brand Accusound is also reaching out to the audiophile community with a limited range of interconnect and speaker cables. All its cables are assembled in America, the company boasting a cohort of industry pros vouching for its various instrument, microphone, tube microphone and patch cables.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnedchoice.pngThe very finest ingredients, including solid silver, are stirred into this flagship cable before serving in a custom leather jacket. A 'gilty' pleasure?

Silver may play second fiddle to gold at the jewellers, but when it comes to thermal and electrical conductivity this metal is king. Its use in high-end audio cables is legion, not least for the clear correlation between the conductor's cross-sectional area, cable length and damage to your bank account! A 1m stereo set of Asimi, terminated in spades, Z-plugs or cold-welded expanding 4mm connectors costs £6600, or £17,800 for 3m. And the 7m set required for our testing and auditioning? I didn't ask...

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngTop of the trio in Transparent's Premium series, and now in fifth generation guise, the (upgradable) Ultra combines a cable and filter network.

There's a very clear philosophy at work in all Transparent's cables: that 'wires' are unavoidable, so their bandwidth should be constrained to an appropriate range, banishing the egress of RF noise, and their lumped parameters – inductance, capacitance and resistance – be 'managed' to maintain a consistent and predictable performance regardless of the cable length. This, in a nutshell, is the rationale behind the in-line filter network that's part-and-parcel of every Transparent cable.

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