Cables & Accessories

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Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 30, 2017  |  0 comments
If you are looking to introduce mains conditioning to your hi-fi system, something that can prove immediately off putting is that many devices simply can’t accommodate all the different components in a well-specified setup. If you have a turntable, external phono stage and then music streaming networking hardware plus amplification needs to manage, four or even six-way socket distribution systems just aren’t going to be sufficient. IsoTek has taken this on board and its Evo3 Corvus has nine sockets and the power handling capacity to accommodate some fairly substantial setups. As part of its entry-level range, the Evo3 Corvus is designed to counter Common Mode and Differential Mode mains noise as well as RFI.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 28, 2016  |  0 comments
Beneath the tailor-made fabric exterior lies a sophisticated portable speaker designed and built by Danish manufacturer Vifa. If the brand name sounds familiar that’s because it’s been around since 1933 and is perhaps better-known in hi-fi circles for its well-regarded drive units, which have been found in plenty of big-name hi-fi loudspeaker designs over the years. In more recent times the company has embarked on its own line of speakers, and the Oslo is the fourth model to be added to its Nordic range of portable wireless models. It’s an elegant one-piece design with the logo neatly embedded into the top of the solid aluminium handle, while embroidered up and down volume keys on the custom-made fabric cover produced by Danish textile designers Kvadrat give it a style that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jan 21, 2016  |  0 comments
I own an iPhone but it can’t store half of my digitised music collection or play any of my hi-res DSD, FLAC and ALAC music. I could use a workaround app but I’d need to carry an external DAC and a mains charger to replenish the phone’s battery, which is rapidly drained when playing hi-res music. All this is reason enough to own a separate Digital Audio Player (DAP), never mind the fact that devices like the XDP-100R are built from the ground up. Pioneer’s first hi-res DAP is compatible with just about every hi-res audio format on the planet including DSD 11.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2012  |  0 comments
Concert for one Jimmy Hughes looks at the latest solution for audiophile-quality sound from headphones – Musical Fidelity’s new M1 HPA amplifier. . . There was a time – admittedly forty or so years back – when every self-respecting amplifier came with a socket for headphones.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 29, 2011  |  0 comments
Electric Tech Want clean mains to power your hi-fi ? IsoTek’s range of passive mains conditioners promises you all that and more, says Jimmy Hughes The quality of the mains supply directly influences the sound produced by your hi-fi . If your mains is contaminated with noise (and it is!), the sound will lack transparency and clarity, making the music seem congested and lacking in dynamics. The solution? Invest in a good mains conditioner. IsoTek offers a wide range of products, from the mighty £6k Super Titan, to smaller more affordable solutions like the new EVO3 Solus at £595.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Digital Delight Cambridge Audio delivers pure digital audio from iPods, iPhones and now the iPad through the new iD100 says Malcolm Steward The home office hi-fi looks rather swish right now with an Apple iPad sitting atop the rack proudly displaying some attractive album artwork – the gifted bassist, Tal Winkenfeld’s Transformation. However, this not a review of the iPad, but the rather neat little digital dock upon which it rests: the Cambridge Audio iD100. The iD100 will operate with various iPods, iPhones and the iPad, from which it will extract a pure digital output that it then delivers to a stand-alone DAC or the digital input on your amplifier (if it has one) for maximum performance. Pure digital out from the iPod/ iPhone/iPad is definitely the way to go for the best sound quality.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Black cube is no square Richard Black rattles his skull with the help of this analogue/digital input headphone amp; but are both inputs created equal? Lehmann is a company that specialises in phono and headphone amplifiers. This is an unusual proposition in that it manages to be a headphone amplifier, a preamplifier and a DAC all at once. Admittedly, viewed as a preamp, it’s a bit basic, because it features only one analogue input, and the DAC has only one input which is USB (when this is active, that is when it detects it is connected to a valid source, the analogue input is bypassed). So really this is an analogue/digital input headphone amp with a volume-controlled line output! Heady power Lehmann’s idea of what constitutes a headphone amp is generous, with a full push-pull power amplifier output configuration.
Ed Selley  |  May 17, 2011  |  0 comments
Portable perfection Richard Black discovers an exciting and unique proposition – a high-resolution portable player/recorder with upsampling and a built-in DAC Including, but by no means limited to, the various iPod models, there are currently dozens of portable music players out there – hundreds if you include mobile phones, most of which have some kind of music-playing capability. Many of them give very decent results, but they’re not really Hi-Fi with capital letters: commodity consumer electronics, more like. True audiophile The Colorfly is something a bit different. It’s a portable music player all right, but it’s aimed fair and square at the true audiophile, the individual who owns a carefully selected system of high-quality components and a decent library of recordings.
Ed Selley  |  Apr 28, 2011  |  0 comments
The right balance With Magic Racks your hi-fi literally floats on rubber bands and as Richard Black discovers, it provides a unique way to isolate your system. There have been plenty of new designs for equipment supports over the years, the majority of them taking rigidity seriously along with such anti-vibration measures as spikes. A few, though, seek to decouple equipment more thoroughly using sprung or otherwise ‘floppy’ support systems, with or without damping. Newcomer Magic Racks has come up with an ingenious way of implementing the floppy approach, using what are basically rubber bands – long strips of neoprene rubber, placed between supports in such a way that they keep equipment clear of the floor or the level underneath, while allowing it to bounce freely.
Ed Selley  |  Apr 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Getting the cleaners in A noisy mains supply can ruin the sound of your hi-fi says Jimmy Hughes, as he discovers the latest technology from Isol-8's SubStations Sooner or later, even the most sensible hi-fi enthusiast starts to wonder what sort of difference having a mains conditioner might make to the sound of their equipment. Mains electricity is the ‘fuel’ that powers your system. So it stands to reason; the cleaner the fuel, the better things should sound. But then doesn’t the power supply in each individual hi-fi component deal with whatever impurities that might be present in the electricity supply? Well, to a degree – yes.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Can't knock Okki Nokki Cleanliness is next to fidelity when it comes to vinyl, but where on earth did this device get its name? Jason Kennedy scrubs his grooves Okki Nokki distributor Ken White has been selling second-hand records since the nineties, so he knows a thing or two about filth, enough it would seem to have sought out this strangely named machine and decided to bring it to the UK. It’s certainly priced right at £395 – we don’t know of a cheaper alternative that has built-in vacuuming capabilities and the ability to spin in both directions. Not only that, but it comes complete with concentrated cleaning fluid and a goat’s-hair brush. The name, incidentally, is Dutch for ‘thumbs-up’.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 02, 2011  |  0 comments
PURE brilliance PURE’s ground-breaking £80 digital iPod dock brings hi-fi sound to Apple devices for pin money. Ed Selley plugs in 2011’s super transport The iPod transport, a dock that extracts a digital signal to output to an external DAC, has been with us for a few years now and the price of models has drifted progressively lower. From the £2,000 MSB iLink (which only worked with a specially modified iPod), we now have the PURE i-20 which will function with any iPod connected to it and will produce the all-important digital signal for a princely £80. If this was the only feature the i-20 offered, we would be fairly impressed.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 07, 2010  |  0 comments
Touchy, feely The new Apple iPod Touch is incredibly slick and capable of doing some remarkable things, but is it really hi-fi? asks Ed Selley Launched in September, the 4th generation iPod Touch builds on the facilities of the previous models, but is still most easily explained as the screen, processor and basic design of the iPhone, without the ability to make and receive phone calls. The path of the original iPod (which is now referred to as the Classic) from curio to hi-fi accessory has been a long one and the sheer numbers of docks available (some of which are iPod transports able to extract a digital signal directly from the iPod) are turning it into a hand-held music server. But do the extra features of the Touch make any difference in this context and do they affect the audio performance on the move? Mind-boggling The features the Touch offers are impressive. The unit tested here is a 32Gb (eight and 64Gb versions are also available) ‘multimedia platform’, able to replay audio and video.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Cartridge upgrader Here's a novel way to enhance your cartridge's performance. Richard Black checks out Audio-Technica’s new MC transformer Moving-coil cartridges are wonderful things, but they suffer from a disadvantage in their extremely low output, often less than 1mV peak, or one two-thousandth of what most CD players produce. Clearly, low-noise amplification is a must. Because they have a low impedance, the self-noise of such cartridges is actually very low, but getting an amplifier to match or (ideally) better it is hard work.

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