LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Dec 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Oppo BDP83SE (NuForce Special Edition. ) - £1,295 With a long tradition in audio excellence, the Oppo is reborn with impressive credentials and new software Oppo is not a name that we’ve had a lot of exposure to, but there’s been a buzz in cyberspace about this particular model. It’s rumoured to be one of the most capable multi-format players around. The story goes that Oppo used to make a standard BD83, then upgraded it to Special Edition status, then discontinued the non-SE due to problems sourcing parts.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Pioneer PD-D9 Mk2 £750 Pioneer's keenly priced CD/SACD player has a lot to offer in terms of electronic wizardry and audio performance his model was one of a handful that marked Pioneer’s return to serious hi-fi separates a few years ago. Now in Mk2 guise, it remains largely as it was then, a simple stereo-only CD/SACD player with little in the way of fancy features. Indeed, so devoid is it of frills that it doesn’t even offer track skip from the front panel; the only controls are tray open/close and play/pause. Beneath the lid it’s filled with components, including a screened switch-mode power supply, with considerably more smoothing capacitance than is usually found.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Yamaha CD-S1000 - £899 An impressive audio performance makes this Yamaha a worthy contender with its more illustrious peers As big, heavy and imposing CD players go, this is one of the biggest, heaviest and most imposing, at least among affordable machines. The front panel’s only slightly bigger than most, but the depth of the unit is remarkable and its use of extensive reinforcement in the base makes it quite something to lift. We particularly like the ultra-slim CD tray (which opens and shuts almost noiselessly) and the oh-so-retro mains switch. The insides are surprisingly well filled, too.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Arcam CD37 - £1,300 SACD playback has a low profile in the case of the CD37, but the presence of a Wolfson DAC is definitely a bonus As SACD players go, this one is remarkably low key. There is an SACD logo on the front, but it’s not immediately obvious and the legend at top right clearly says ‘Compact Disc Player’. But it does handle the hi-res discs, thanks to a DAC which handles DSD (the SACD ‘bitstream’ format) in native mode. That’s an interesting detail, as most DACs these days convert both high-bit PCM (CD, DVD-A etc.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Cambridge Audio Azur 650BD - £400 The budget-priced player of the bunch, the 650BD is remarkably good value and holds its own admirably Is it hi-fi, is it home cinema, or is it a bit of home computer equipment? In the days of Blu-ray, USB and internet with everything, the Azur 650BD is all three – with bells on. The 10 front-panel logos denoting specific technologies suggest at once that this is a pretty well-featured unit, while closer investigation doesn’t disappoint. It handles almost every variation of silver disc – CD, SACD, DVD and Blu-ray. Despite that, the insides are not really any busier than most CD- only players.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Marantz SA8003 - £829 Marantz's reputation for its own 'house sound' is on show here with a player that fares well against the competition Marantz used to append the great man’s initials to models ‘breathed on’ by Ken Ishiwata, but there’s nothing in the nomenclature to give that away here. In fact, this is basically a souped-up SA7003, sharing a basic spec, but adding touches like the copper-plated chassis, toroidal mains transformer and a sprinkling of audiophile passive components. Speaking of components, this player is decidedly old-fashioned-looking inside, with the majority of electronic parts being through-hole types. There are quite a lot of discrete transistors around, made up into Marantz’s trademark HDAM circuit, which performs the same function as the more common op-amp chips, but (we’re assured) to a higher standard.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 07, 2010  |  0 comments
The Sttaf of life Clean and simple are the watchwords for this very pretty and unusually compact two-way floorstander, says Paul Messenger Understatement is perhaps the most appropriate word that describes Totem loudspeakers. Whereas most speaker brands tend to promote themselves by highlighting specific technical or engineering features that distinguish themselves from their rivals – the so-called USP (unique selling point) –Totem’s marketing approach has much more to do with emphasising the reproduction of the emotion and soul of the music. Superficially, at least, there’s nothing particularly unusual about the Sttaf. It’s a simple two-way floorstander, based on a 140mm bass/mid driver with a 95mm diameter flared and doped paper cone.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 07, 2010  |  0 comments
Bang-on sound Alvin Gold is very impressed with the T500 loudspeaker from Teufel, one of the best-known European direct-sell, hi-fi companies Teufel is by far the best known exponent of direct sell loudspeakers and has been steadily raising its profile in the UK over the last couple of years. The big difference between Teufel and other brands is that they’re not available from hi-fi dealers, cutting out the middleman, which means lower selling prices, so to an extent you have to take its qualities on trust. But you do get a generous eight-week trial period, during which the speakers can be returned for a refund if you find you can’t get along with them. An additional confidence builder, is the astonishing twelve-year guarantee period, yes that’s right, twelve years! Conventional design The T500 is one of the latest from Teufel, a classic three-way floor- stander which, thanks to their distribution model, sells for a very attractive price and pitches Teufel into direct competition with some of the more popular mainstream brands, including Monitor Audio and Wharfedale.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 07, 2010  |  0 comments
Touchy, feely The new Apple iPod Touch is incredibly slick and capable of doing some remarkable things, but is it really hi-fi? asks Ed Selley Launched in September, the 4th generation iPod Touch builds on the facilities of the previous models, but is still most easily explained as the screen, processor and basic design of the iPhone, without the ability to make and receive phone calls. The path of the original iPod (which is now referred to as the Classic) from curio to hi-fi accessory has been a long one and the sheer numbers of docks available (some of which are iPod transports able to extract a digital signal directly from the iPod) are turning it into a hand-held music server. But do the extra features of the Touch make any difference in this context and do they affect the audio performance on the move? Mind-boggling The features the Touch offers are impressive. The unit tested here is a 32Gb (eight and 64Gb versions are also available) ‘multimedia platform’, able to replay audio and video.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 07, 2010  |  0 comments
Progressive electronica Electrocompaniet has heavily revised its flagship integrated for the MkII version. Ed Selley rings the changes Electrocompaniet has been rather more active in the pages of Hi-Fi Choice over the last few year or so, but a major revision to a product in its ‘classic’ line is still sufficiently unusual to warrant us giving it some attention. The ECI5 MkII replaces the ECI5, which in turn replaced the ECI4. 7.

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