LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Opera Callas This very compact and exquisitely presented stand-mount has a thoroughly unconventional multi-tweeter Opera and its associated electronics brand Unison Research both share premises near Treviso in north east Italy. And in the best Italian tradition, this standmount looks absolutely gorgeous and is very substantially built too, though it’s not exactly cheap at £2,875 per pair. A solitary and rather small 135mm driver with a 100mm diameter magnesium alloy cone covers the bass and midrange. It has a large (38mm) fixed solid copper ‘bullet’ phase plug and is assisted by reflex loading from twin rear ports.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Spendor SP2/3R2 This speaker might look old-fashioned, but that’s really the whole point of Spendor’s Classic range Spendor arrived on the scene at the beginning of the 1970s, bringing a strong BBC heritage along with a number of interesting innovations that its competitors arguably didn’t fully appreciate. One of the most significant among these was a radical approach to enclosure design. The theory goes as follows: building an exceptionally stiff structure might serve to reduce the amplitude (ie relative loudness) of cabinet vibrations, but it also increases the frequency at which they occur, so that the enclosure coloration tends to occur in the midband where human hearing is most sensitive. The alternative Spendor approach, originally inspired by the BBC’s desire for accurate speech monitoring, is the ‘thin wall’ cabinet approach, backed by heavy damping pads, which pushes the cabinet wall vibrations down into the bass region where they’re considered less intrusive.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Tannoy Definition DC8 A very pretty and compact variation on Tannoy’s timeless Dual Concentric theme One of the oldest names in British hi-fi, Tannoy is currently part of the Danish TC Group and is probably best known for its unique Dual Concentric single-chassis two-way drive unit technology, which first appeared way back in 1948. This £2,500 per pair DC8 is a simple two-way design and the smallest of three Definition models. As the name suggests, an eight-inch (200mm) Dual Concentric ‘double drive unit’ is at its heart, firing a 25mm titanium dome tweeter with ‘tulip waveguide’ horn-loading through the centre of a 145mm flared paper bass/mid cone with a conventional rubber roll surround. A bonus of the construction, of course, is that the tweeter is automatically well protected from prying fingers.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Cabasse Bora This substantial model is a genuine three-way, due to its special proprietary co-axial driver France’s oldest hi-fi speaker brand, Cabasse is now owned by Japanese multi-national Canon, though its Britanny heritage remains strong, with members of the Cabasse family still involved. A major technology plank is its particular proprietary approach to co-axial driver design. Cabasse’s BC13 co-axial drive unit is very much at the heart of this £2,200 per pair Bora, as well as the main reason why it’s the only three-way design amongst our standmounts. This driver uses an annulus or ring-shaped midrange diaphragm, surrounding the tweeter proper and nominally operates from 800Hz to 4.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Dynaudio Contour S 1. 4 Dynaudio is one of very few overseas brands to become properly established in the UK Based in Denmark and owned by a German, Dynaudio’s particular approach to loudspeaker design has been much more successful at achieving a significant presence on the UK market than most overseas brands. That probably owes much to the company’s distinctive proprietary technology and a consistency in approach which has helped it become well accepted by both hi-fi consumers and ProAudio users alike. Contour ranges have occupied Dynaudio’s middle ground for many years.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Monitor Audio Platinum 100 This baby model in Monitor Audio’s gorgeous Platinum ‘flagship’ range features a ribbon tweeter Founded in 1972, Monitor Audio now qualifies as one of Britain’s longest established speaker brands, especially amongst those still in UK ownership. Although it’s best known for successful ‘mainstream’ models like the Bronze and Silver series, the company took a significant step towards the high end in 2007, with the introduction of Platinum models like this £2,500 per pair Platinum 100 two-way standmount. A ribbon tweeter is the hallmark of all the Platinums and here it’s combined with a 165mm bass/mid driver in an exceptionally solid and beautifully finished enclosure with a decidedly complex shape. The back and sides are formed as a continuous curve, with mildly convex sides, a slightly concave back and quite gently curved edges.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Black beauties From Germany's number one speaker brand, this Canton standmount, as Paul Messenger confirms, boasts some high-class credentials Despite a number of serious attempts, the majority of German loudspeaker brands have hitherto had very little impact upon the UK marketplace. Canton, however, certainly has the muscle to change that, via its newly appointed UK distributor Computers Unlimited. The Canton catalogue might be exclusively speaker-oriented, but it’s no less comprehensive. The hi-fi section alone comprises no fewer than eight distinct ranges and more than 60 models and the Ventos are close to the top.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Arcam A38 A favourite among the blind-listening panel in terms of its performance, the Arcam A38 is a solid all-rounder Arcam’s amps haven’t changed much externally since the introduction of the ‘Full Metal Jacket’ range several years ago, but their internal design has seen a fair bit of evolution. In its description of the A38, Arcam draws special attention to the output stage design which, it says, is much less sensitive to thermal conditions than traditional output stages. The issue of ‘warm-up’ of audio electronics is a long-standing bone of contention, some saying it’s of little importance, while others maintain it’s crucial for proper performance. What’s often forgotten, though, is that the temperature of the output transistors can vary by many tens of degrees during the course of a track, as the music goes from soft to loud and back.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Creek Destiny 2 The Destiny 2 is a worthy contender in the upmarket stakes and a sublime performer to boot Creek describes this model as its ‘high-end’ offering: that’s relative, of course, but it’s certainly true that this is the fanciest and most highly specified model ever made by the stalwart of sensible audio that is Creek. It’s a very solid device externally, quite slimline, surprisingly heavy, and very smart, thanks to its use of brushed aluminium for top, front and side panels. Fit and finish are excellent throughout and although it lacks the super-thick front panel that’s the usual fitment for true high-end audio, it otherwise looks the part to an admirable degree. It’s heavy because there’s a lot going on inside.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Cyrus 8xpd With its excellent credentials, the shoebox-sized 8xp d is an amplifier to contend with One of the undeniable advantages of surface-mount electronics assembly is that it allows a manufacturer to get more into a given space. The Cyrus one-size-fits-all case is half-width and of quite modest height, but this amp includes one of the biggest mains transformers we’ve seen in an integrated amp. Behind it are the output and preamplifier stages and a most impressive array of inputs and outputs. There are six ‘normal’ analogue inputs, a ‘Zone 2’ output, two preamp outputs, twin speaker outputs on BFA terminals, a mini-jack headphone output, a socket for connection to Cyrus’s popular PSX-R power supply upgrade and no less than five digital inputs: two each optical and electrical and one USB.

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