LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Flexible friend Audiolab’s superb 8200CD gets new filter options and internal upgrades: Richard Black reckons its value remains unbeaten It’s just a year since we first encountered the Audiolab 8200CD (HFC 340), which we quickly came to consider one of the finest sensibly priced CD players we’ve had the pleasure of testing. Although there’s no hint in the nomenclature that anything has changed, Audiolab has, in fact, recently put a few tweaks and upgrades into the design, so a re-test seemed in order. As the main photograph shows, this is basically a CD player like any other. Take a squint at the back, though, and you’ll see that it’s not quite so normal: it has digital inputs (electrical, optical and USB), as well as the more common outputs.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Twin Engined Audio Note has a range of new arms for its well established TT-2 turntable. Ed Selley finds out if two motors are better than one. Audio Note is best known for its extensive range of valve amplifiers and digital products, but it has been producing turntables and vinyl accessories for many years. The current range consists of three turntables, three new tonearms and a range of moving-magnet and moving-coil cartridges.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Are you Xperienced? Pro-Ject has added a unipivot to its Xperience turntable. Ed Selley cues up Pro-Ject seems intent on creating a turntable to suit absolutely everybody and its range is expanding on a seemingly daily basis. The classic decks, of which the entry-level 2-Xperience Basic+ is now a part, sits somewhere above the Essential and Debut ranges and runs parallel to the RPM series. Beefed up The deck itself looks more like a beefed-up Debut, than a member of the RPM series.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments
The Planar evolution Jason Kennedy finds out what improvements Rega has included to turn its best-selling turntable into a giant-slayer The RP3 is the latest generation of a turntable that goes back to Rega’s roots in the seventies when it launched the Planet; a turntable that evolved into the Planar 3 and has been slowly improving ever since. The last iteration was the P3-24, but something dramatic has happened to this budget classic since then: it has grown an exoskeleton between main bearing and tonearm, in an effort to bring greater rigidity to this crucial link. This is a lot more than cosmetic – it signals a change from attempting to make the entire plinth as stiff as possible to concentrating on the inflexibility where it matters most. That’s not all, the tonearm has gone through its second stage of evolution to come out more sleek and rigid again.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Small is beautiful This latest model from Bowers & Wilkins is, says Paul Messenger, a beautifully styled and finished luxury miniature Although the mainstream marketplace for hi-fi loudspeakers invariably tends to equate price with size and necessarily expects a costly loudspeaker to be a large loudspeaker, more sophisticated hi-fi customers are aware that this relationship is largely false. It’s certainly true that a small loudspeaker is bound to have certain limitations, especially in areas such as bass extension, loudness capability and power handling. However, such designs also have certain strengths that are often all too easily overlooked, over and beyond the obvious fact that for many customers, when it comes to loudspeakers (rather than, say, TV screens), small is, by definition, beautiful. For example, the smaller the loudspeaker, the less the enclosure area available to radiate unwanted cabinet colorations.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Blade Runner KEF’s Blade celebrates 50 years of loudspeaker innovation with the most dramatic leap forward in decades, says Paul Messenger KEF has been virtually synonymous with loudspeaker innovation for five decades. Although in recent years the company’s main preoccupation seems to have been with multichannelhome cinema, through an impressive succession of clever designs, but the Blade looks likely to put KEF back on the stereo hi-fi top table. Conceived by Mark Dodd and executed with considerable assistance from Jack Oclee-Brown, a Project Blade ‘technology demonstrator’ first appeared two years ago. There was talk of it going into production, but nothing had been decided and its elaborate and costly enclosure – a carbon fibre,balsa wood sandwich – meant that the price was likely to be something like twice our review speaker’s £20,000 price.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Music of the spheres Elipson’s Planet L brings the acoustic benefits of a spherical cabinet down to a new price point. Ed Selley goes listening ‘outside the box' French hi-fi has made significant inroads to the UK market in recent years, but Elipson remain one of the lesser-known brands. This is in spite of the fact that it has been in existence since 1938 and amongst other achievements were the default loudspeaker choice of French national television for over forty years. Bowling ball The striking looking Planet L is the latest in a long line of spherical designs dating back for most of the history of the brand.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Far from creeky Simplicity is an admirable virtue, opines Richard Black, as he considers the performance level of Creek’s new Evolution 2 CD player For less than the price of the Evo 2 CD, you can buy a universal disc player that handles all the various flavours of digital discs, reproduces moving and still pictures as well as audio and generally makes this machine look a bit lacklustre. So what’s the point? If you didn’t already know the answer, you probably wouldn’t even be reading this magazine, but there’s more to it than simply knowing that the player has been optimised for one task alone. Just before reviewing this, we had some time with a Blu-ray (etc. ) player and there were times when we could cheerfully have heaved it out of the window.
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.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Perfect PC partner Pro-Ject’s £140 DAC Box is a no-brainer for anyone playing music from a computer, says HFC’s technical consultant Richard Black A long the way, Pro-Ject Audio has managed to get some quite impressive functions into small spaces in its Box Audio series of components. A DAC – even a three-input one – is not quite such a shoehorn feat and, indeed, this is by no means the smallest on the market. It’s stoutly made, with a steel sleeve over a steel tray which houses the electronics assemblies. The component count is low, with a DAC chip, an S/PDIF receiver and a USB receiver, plus a minimum of housekeeping parts and a handful of power supply components.

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