LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Island in the stream A music file player that doesn’t stream, what’s going on? Jason Kennedy examines the first in a new breed of transports The engineers at Brystson have made the radical decision to build a digital music player that doesn’t stream music from a computer. Their angle is that streaming is bad, but digital music files are not. Is this then a brief diversion from the tidal onslaught of streamed music over solid software, or it could signal a new angle that brings us music files without the complications of streaming. Bryston’s approach is to let you access music files stored on USB drives, be they thumb drives or hard drives which you stock up with music on the computer and then plug into the player.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
CD-free supersonics Linn’s new Akurate system with digital streaming promises superb sound and a slick user interface. Has CD finally met its Waterloo, asks Jimmy Hughes? World-famous conductor Herbert von Karajan’s response, on being introduced to the delights of the compact disc in the early 1980s, was “All else is gaslight”. It’s a great one-liner, but was he right? Wasn’t CD little more than a digital version of the vinyl LP anyway, with a laser replacing a stylus? If so, then Linn’s Akurate DS system is far more radical. It takes the whole process of listening to music in the home to another level, replacing physical sources like CD or SACD with music stored on a hard drive, while offering remote access from the comfort of your armchair.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Life partner Audiovector’s 'upgradable' speakers can be improved when funds allow. Paul Messenger investigates a unique proposition from Denmark The Ki-series is relatively new and also relatively inexpensive by Audiovector’s standards. The Ki 3s are the sole floorstanding models in a range that also includes a standmount and home cinema oriented variations. But each Ki-series model comes in three versions – Standard, Super and Signature – with superior engineering features as one moves up the ladder.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Cube is no square Arcam has distilled its audio expertise into a compact iPod system – the rCube. Richard Black asks if this is the ideal office/kitchen set-up? All sorts of ‘iPod solutions’ have popped up in the last few years, responding to the quite astounding popularity of Apple’s little devices. Arcam has had docks in its catalogue for a while, but this is something altogether more comprehensive, basically making up a full music system when an iPod is plugged in. Inside the compact, but quite heavy housing (and yes, it is indeed a cube, 200mm each way) are stereo speakers, amps to drive them and the full iPod dock shenanigans.
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  |  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.

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