Review: Jamie Biesemans

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 26, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingNow benefitting from the latest updates to Auralic's Lightning streaming platform, the 'starter' Altair DAC also features a raft of mechanical and detailed design improvements

Although Auralic (promoted as AURALiC) only launched the Altair G1 in 2020, the Chinese brand already has its G1.1 update available. It appears together with the Aries G1.1 as the new and more affordable options within their respective tiers, with the Altair and Aries G2.1 [HFN Oct '21 & Feb '21] being the more expensive models. However, as all Auralic products share a very similar chassis design and carry names that aren't very descriptive, it's sometimes difficult to discern which box does what.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 24, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingAVM's flagship all-in-one network/CD music system combines cool-running power with huge flexibility while the top 'Black Edition' features a custom finish and selected tubes

Nowadays there's a wealth of all-in-one units available but AVM was one of the brands to spot the trend early on. That partly explains why, even in an industry that loves extensive model ranges, the company has an impressively large product offering – including five streaming receiver solutions. And there's little concession to price in this range, so the top-of-the-line £14,950 Ovation CS 8.3 model boasts ample power reserves, a full range of streaming capabilities and a slot-loading CD player.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 19, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe longest serving, and arguably most diverse of Pro-Ject's turntable ranges is the Debut, launched in 2000. Now there's a new model, with an equally new S-shaped arm

Launching new turntable models as regular as clockwork is part-and-parcel of Pro-Ject's business model, but say what you will: its approach of incrementally improving and tweaking proven designs has certainly not done the Austria-based manufacturer any harm. Lacking accurate market numbers, it's hard to say conclusively, but there seems little doubt the company founded by Heinz Lichtenegger in 1991 is surely the largest turntable manufacturer on the planet, both for the in-house Pro-Ject brand and as an OEM supplier for third parties.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 05, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThis Slovakian-built DAC retains the brand's signature triode-tube analogue stage from the companion CD 2.10 disc player, but its digital engine beats to a very different tune

Many manufacturers building tube-based products seem to prefer retro-nostalgic designs but Slovakia's Canor is one of the few that favours a more modern, progressive aesthetic. It not only produces tube amplifiers but also integrates line-level tube stages into source products, such as the CD 2.10 CD player [HFN Apr '21]. The partnering DAC 2.10 also marries an output stage containing four Electro-Harmonix 6922EH triode tubes with a digital mainboard, the latter equipped with a pair of ESS9038Q2M DACs. Otherwise this is a dyed-in-the wool 'legacy' DAC with no network or wireless functions and a fixed rather than variable output. So that large rotary is not a volume control…

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 14, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingA Serbian brand based in Chicago packs a streamer, DAC and headphone amplifier into three bijou cases, topped off with a bespoke outboard PSU. We lend an ear, man

Although UK readers might not recognise the EarMen moniker, it's certainly not a newcomer to the world of hi-fi. Its back story is quite convoluted, for although EarMen is based in Chicago, it's funded by the owner of Serbia's Auris Audio, Milomir Trosic, and most products are produced in the same Serbian factory. Auris is aimed at the premium market, with products including the Euterpe and the Nirvana – both headphone amplifiers lavishly adorned in wood and even leather – plus a neat line of luxurious-looking tube amps and even some turntables on offer.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 10, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedFeaturing a concentric mid/treble driver with a difference, ELAC's Concentro range goes 'compact' with the S 503

For those who felt that ELAC wasn't one for adventurous industrial design, the Concentro series has proved them wrong. You'll find some very curvy and organic-looking models in this range, which rises even above the finely crafted and attractive Vela series [HFN Apr '19]. However, the Concentro range still feels more like a disparate collection rather than a real product family. Virtually every model has its own design, from the menhir-like Concentro and Concentro M to the high-heeled S 507 and S 509 floorstanders.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 17, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedJust as Marantz's 40n integrated takes its design cues from models of yesteryear, the partnering CD 60 player confirms the brand's commitment to the 'legacy' silver disc

Is there really a CD revival on the horizon? Rolling Stone magazine kicked off the year bristling with optimism about the return of the Compact Disc but, behind the hype, there's little dispute that this physical format offers great lossless fidelity and costs next to nothing secondhand. Until audio hipsters cotton on to the trend, of course... Sound United, owner of the Marantz and Denon brands among others, concurs, which is why it's launching not one but two CD spinners in 2022. We're not going to talk about the entry-level Denon DCD-900NE here, but about the still very affordable £749 Marantz CD 60.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 06, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingBoasting wireless connectivity with high-res digital sources, the LS60 W combines style with substance and great sound

In the decade since the launch of the LS50, in celebration of KEF's 50th birthday [HFN Jul '12], there have been rumours about a floorstander to complement the popular bookshelf model. But whatever these wishful thinkers had in mind, I'm pretty sure it wasn't as outlandish as the LS60 Wireless. As the name indicates, it's both a nod to the 60th anniversary of the brand and its technical evolution by incorporating active electronics – DSP, DAC and amplification – and streaming.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 29, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedReplacing both the xCAN and xDSD, iFi Audio describes the xDSD Gryphon as its most ambitious portable headphone amplifier yet. Is this another boost to the success story?

Since launching in 2012, iFi Audio has established a reputation for delivering affordable, compact, often portable audio products. And at some pace too – looking back over the past decade, it's hard not to feel overwhelmed by the number of devices the company has released. Not all are entirely 'new', because iFi Audio likes to 'tweak' its products, which is why the xDSD Gryphon tested here follows the EISA Award-winning xDSD DAC [HFN Jul '18], and also serves as a successor to the xCAN [HFN Feb '19].

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 08, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingRotel remains a family-owned hi-fi marque that boasts a three-generation, 60-year history. Now it celebrates its Diamond Anniversary with a very fine disc player and amp

The trend for 'anniversary' products – witness the plethora of celebratory hardware on display at this year's High End show – continues with Rotel's new Diamond Series. Released to mark 60 years since the brand launched, it comprises the £3999 RA-6000 integrated amplifier and £1999 DT-6000 CD player. Not the hefty additions to the Michi lineup you might have expected, these are instead very much classic Rotel designs (fitting, as the traditionalist brand is not one to hop on every new fad that comes along) albeit with trickle-down technology from its flagship stablemates.

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