LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Jul 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Kudos X2 The new X2 is the first model to bring the Kudos sound to the value-led consumer Founded by ex-Neat personnel, Kudos might be a relative newcomer on the UK speaker scene, but its progress with the upmarket Cardea models has been both steady and impressive. Though far from cheap – the only components sourced from outside Europe is the terminal pair – the £1,350 X2 is the first to make the Kudos sound available at a rather more affordable price. This very compact two-way floorstander has recently undergone a few changes. The drive units from Norwegian manufacturer SEAS remain the same as before, but the enclosures now come from respected Danish cabinet-maker Hornslet, while the crossover network now uses Mundorf resistors from Germany, and both these changes are claimed to improve the sound quality.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Neat Motive 1 Neat by both name and nature, this compact floorstander is physically, rather than sonically laid back A well-established operation, Neat’s reputation was founded on a small, but very communicative standmount called the Petite. The product portfolio has expanded considerably since then; the four stereo pairs in the Motive range consisting of three ultra-compact floorstanders and a standmount. Though still quite small by any standards, the two-and-a-half-way Motive 1 is the largest of these, a little taller than the two-way Motive 2, in order to make room for an extra bass-only driver beneath the main bass/mid driver. The twin 135mm drivers have 95mm cones, while the tweeter has an inverted 25mm titanium dome with integral-pleated surround.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 27, 2011  |  0 comments
PMC GB1i Transmission line bass loading distinguishes this compact floorstander from most of the competition Since its beginnings in the late 1980s, PMC has grown into a major player on the UK speaker scene, focusing on ProAudio customers and the more upmarket hi-fi sector with its ATL (advanced transmission line) speaker systems. Although it’s no larger in width and depth, the £1,525 per pair GB1i is a little taller than the other two-way models that use small bass/mid drivers. The reason has all to do with the transmission line bass loading technique, which squeezes a carefully damped 2. 4m line into the enclosure volume behind the main driver, by folding it twice and terminating it with a large port at the front near the floor.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 27, 2011  |  0 comments
ProAc Studio 140 Mk2 Substantial floorstander’s twin 165mm bass/mid drivers ensure a very muscular performance with superb headroom array A long-established British speaker brand with roots back in the 1970s, ProAc has only made the occasional appearance on the Hi-Fi Choice review roster. That’s mainly because the company has long been primarily export-oriented, with representation in more than 50 countries worldwide. The three Studio models – two standmounts and this floorstander – are among ProAc’s less costly models and although this Studio 140 Mk2 pricetag of £1,690 per pair is at the top end of our test group, the speakers themselves are as large as any of the others, as well as the heaviest in the group. The dimensions are partly dictated by the twin 165mm drive units that operate in tandem right through the bass and midrange here.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Rega RS7 Rega’s RS7 combines several new developments, in both its tweeter design and its bass loading The RS7 sits at the top end of Rega’s loudspeaker range. First reviewed in these pages during 2009 (HFC 322), the price per pair has increased since then from £1,469 to £1,685 (partly thanks to VAT changes) for the regular cherry or black wood-veneered versions; high-gloss black or white are also available at extra cost. The front view of the sharp-edged enclosure is exceptionally slim, but the RS7 is also unusually deep and quite tall. Fore’n’aft stability is inherently excellent, while moulded outriggers improve the lateral stability and provide reasonably secure spike fixing, though the thumbwheel lock-nuts unfortunately loosen rather readily.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Spendor A3 Spendor’s new compact floorstander has much in common with the company’s successful SA1 baby Spendor’s baby SA1 sub-miniature has already proved quite a hit, commercially and critically (Group Test Winner HFC 334), so it’s hardly surprising that the company should use some of its elements as the basis for this very compact floorstander. There’s much more to it, of course, than simply transposing drivers and crossover network into a larger box. Although the tweeter is the same for both models – the unusual wide-surround unit that Spendor now favours for most of its models – and the bass/mid driver is built on the same chassis, there are substantial changes elsewhere. The very compact, sharp-edged enclosure is set low, with the drivers comfortably below seated-ear height, but the optimum listening axis is deliberately arranged to fire slightly above the horizontal to compensate.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Tiny Temper Die-hard LP12 fans have found a new haven in Well Tempered. Jason Kennedy looks at the entry-level Simplex, complete with silicone damping There are some radical turntable designs in the glorious world of analogue audio, but very few comparable to a Well Tempered product. The Simplex was first developed in the early eighties and this new entry-level turntable is still the least expensive in the Well Tempered range. The design, unlike all other turntables, doesn’t have mechanical arm bearings; instead the arm pivots on a silicone-damped golf ball that hangs from a nylon filament thread.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Epic performer The new Epic 5 looks more than a little like Epos models of old and as Ed Selley discovers, it’s a return to form for the much-admired brand Back in the early 1990’s Epos did rather well out of its ES range of loudspeakers. Well thought out and well designed, the ES models were distinctively finished with a wood cabinet and black front panel. Nearly twenty years later the Epic 5, tested here, has more than a little of the ES models in its aesthetic. Like other examples of the current trend for revisiting past designs, the Epic 5 is very much of the moment, internally.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Power towers Roth Audio has moved into loudspeakers. Ed Selley gets to grips with the flagship model from the new Oli range, complete with ribbon tweeter Roth is a youngster in audio terms. From its founding in 2007, the company has produced a wide range of iPod ancillaries and lifestyle products, and has now moved into loudspeakers. The five- strong OLi range has two bookshelf speakers and three floorstanders, the largest of which, the £800 OLi 50, is tested here.
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.

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