LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Aug 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Densen B-420XS Naim-esque Dane with a sublime design and stunning remote is high on pace and energy In many respects Densen is Denmark’s answer to Naim; it eschews feature counting, but provides upgradeable power supplies on its amplifiers and emphasises that audio components should be all about enjoying the music. We couldn’t agree more with that sentiment, so the question is; does this latest version of the company’s midrange player provide enough entertainment to warrant its asking price? One factor that you have to consider when it comes to price is he remote handset. The Gizmo, as its dubbed, adds £150 to the cost of the player so is not a minor consideration. It is beautiful, but a plastic ‘freebie’ could be just as practical in this day and age.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Hanss Acoustics CD-20 Digital player from the analogue expert is well priced and impressive for its upsampling capacity Hanss Acoustics made its debut in these pages with the T-30 turntable (HFC 331), one of three high-mass, multi-motor designs that it produces. Despite the presence of phono stages and even a record-cleaner in the range, it’s not just an analogue company, as the CD player proves. Like the turntables, the CD-20 is a substantial beast with high build and finish quality for the asking price. In fact, the all-metal remote, which is styled to match the player, is the most attractive in the test.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Primare CD32 Sublime Sweede is understated to behold, but engaging, muscular and tactile with recorded music We looked at Primare’s latest CD player and its partnering amplifier the i32 in HFC 344, so it makes sense to see how it compares with the competition. On paper and in the flesh it’s very strong indeed, thanks to a superb OLED display with a crisp Sans Serif style and a stainless front panel with the bare minimum of buttons. The CD32’s natural tendency is to upsample its output to 96kHz via both analogue and digital sockets, but this can be reined in to 48 or 44. 1kHz with the remote handset.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Stello CDT100/DA100 Well priced two-box solution does things differently, with superb build and a multitude of inputs and outputs Stello is part of Korean company April Music’s roster and we’ve seen a variant of the DA100 DAC before when Russ Andrews modified it and sold it as the DA-1 alongside a matching pre/headphone amp and power amp. The solid, half-size brick construction remains with this pairing, which by virtue of its two-box nature has the most varied array of socketry in this group. The CDT100 must be the most affordable top-loading transport in the game; it’s well built with a shiny magnetic clamp and acrylic cover that doesn’t need to be in place in use. What differentiates it is the provision of an I 2S digital output on a mini DIN socket.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Space saver For hi-fi-like sound in the office, kitchen or bedroom, Richard Black reckons the new, improved Vita R4i is the right tool for the job Back in HFC 310, we had our first experience of the excellent R4 from Vita Audio – now here’s the latest version of the same model, the R4i. The ‘i’ evidently doesn’t stand for ‘iPod’, as that family of devices was supported from the outset. Indeed, you’ll look in vain for features that weren’t present on the original model. Vita Audio has put all the revisions under the bonnet, improving sound quality, the company claims, by a significant margin.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Why Zero is our hero Makers of some of the most exotic hi-fi on the planet, Audio Note's Zero system is, says Jimmy Hughes, refreshingly affordable High-end audio tends to be a tad expensive. When a manufacturer sets out to employ specialised military-grade internal components that are large and massively over-specified, you can’t expect prices to be low. Nevertheless, some high-end manufacturers relish the challenge of designing products that deliver a taste of high-end performance at more wallet-friendly prices. After all, it’s not easy to produce outstanding results within tight budget constraints, but Audio Note’s Zero System aims to do just that.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Sound Ethos With high output power, balanced inputs, a DAC and USB ports, could the striking new hybrid Ethos be all things to all men? asks Jimmy Hughes The increased use of music sources other than CD has led to the need for hi-fi components with a broader range of options. In particular, the ability to accept digital source material stored on computer hard drives has become an added factor. With the Ethos, Pathos has created a powerful hybrid tube/transistor integrated amplifier capable of accepting a wide range of sources – from balanced analogue via XLR, to digital via USB (via an optional DAC). Here’s an amplifier that meets the needs of two-channel purists, while catering for those interested in using digital sources.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Multi-purpose Could Onkyo's TX-NR609 receiver be the best-featured audio tool on the planet? Ed Selley thinks he's found a great way to spend £500 It’s been a good few years since we featured an AV receiver in Hi-Fi Choice. But following Onkyo’s recent return to hi-fi (HFC 345) we were made aware of a truly ground-breaking new product with an astonishing spec-list, one that we felt should be put through its paces. The TX-NR609 is a seven-channel AV receiver with 160 watts (albeit into six ohms) per channel and six-HDMI inputs able to receive 3D video and every audio format you can think of. Additionally more conventional digital and analogue inputs are fitted, as well as an internal tuner.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Magnificent Seven DALI's IKON 7 MKII boasts proprietary drivers and Danish assembly, a combination that as Paul Messenger finds, gives them high-end sparkle DALI (the name is actually an acronym for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) debuted its new IKON range at the May 2010 Munich High End Society show and while the overall sizes and configurations of the various MK2 models do correspond closely to those of the original IKON range (first launched in 2005), they also incorporate plenty of engineering and cosmetic changes. The IKONs are Danish-made loudspeakers, so manufacturing isn’t cheap. Furthermore, the value of the Danish Krone (linked to the Euro) has appreciated significantly compared to sterling in recent years, so a significant price rise for this MK2 range was inevitable. Even so, an increase from £999 to £1,699 over a six-year span is pretty hefty, especially for a speaker finished in vinyl woodprint.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Aural XTZ Ed Selley discovers a high-value standmount that combines a SEAS driver and a ribbon tweeter to sparkle in the sub-£800 price bracket Hailing from Sweden, XTZ has expanded rapidly to produce a bewildering array of electronics and loudspeakers. The company focuses on trying to provide strong value for money and its products seem to be very competitively priced. The 99. 26 is the second most costly standmount in the range, but still only sells for £670.

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