All-In-One Systems

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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  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Arcam Solo Mini - £750 Solo was one of the first one-box systems on the market and still holds its own against the newcomers Arcam didn’t invent the all-in-one system, but it gave the breed a lot of street cred with the original Solo (still available) and this, the half-width version. Despite its diminutive size, it does a lot of stuff, so excuse a slightly telegraphic rundown of its features. . .
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Full stream ahead The Arcam Solo neo is the first ‘hi-fi’ one-box system to provide network music facilities Malcolm Steward swops five boxes for just one The Arcam Solo first saw the light of day around six years ago when most audiophiles had CD as their primary source. That is probably still the case for many but there is increasing demand now for machinery that can handle streamed music, whether it’s sourced from the user’s home network or from the internet. And streaming ability is what the Solo neo brings to the party. Naturally, being a member of the Solo family, it also offers CD and radio capabilities – the latter now including internet broadcasting – along with its integral preamplifier and power amplifier stages.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 12, 2012  |  0 comments
Arcam Solo Neo £1,400 Highly specified, with full streaming capabilities, the Neo is the latest in Arcam’s popular Solo range Bringing the Solo up to date with recent trends, Arcam’s Neo is well-equipped with digital connectivity, including wired Ethernet, Wi-Fi and USB (for portable players, etc. ). It doesn’t digitally interface to iPods and other Apple products, but it can control them via Arcam’s own optional irDock. It doesn’t have S/PDIF inputs either, but does sport four handy line-level analogue inputs.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Audio Analogue Enigma - £1,295 Beautiful Italian design and one Russian valve makes this one-box system something of a wonder Audio Analogue’s smartly designed products are familiar features in the pages of this magazine – we’ve reviewed quite a few of them over the years. This recent addition to the company’s range brings together radio, CD and an amplifier, though it lacks frills such as digital input, USB socket and iPod dock. The use of a valve is an obvious talking point, though the usual question arises: when the circuit is otherwise resolutely solid-state, what is one valve going to do other than add some character? Still, it’s a nice visual feature, glowing gently behind its own little window. The hard work of providing current for the speakers is handled by a pair of integrated-circuit amplifiers, mounted on an internal heatsink at the rear, next to the large toroidal mains transformer.
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  |  Feb 12, 2012  |  0 comments
Aura Note Premier £1,495 With computer audio via USB, plus recording radio to MP3, this is a beautiful yet flexible package This group includes a number of units that steer clear of the stereotypical black or silver box, but we found the Aura Note Premier the most smart and upmarket-looking. The one drawback of all that chrome is that the black labelling for the buttons can be hard to read, and you’ll be more than usually glad of the remote control. By far, the nicest operational feature here is the top-loading CD transport. You slide the glass cover across, remove the puck, pop a CD on the spindle, replace the puck and slide the cover back.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Mar 18, 2024  |  0 comments
All-in-one systems might be an old idea, but the Evo 150 is breathing new life into the concept
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Oct 04, 2018  |  0 comments
A new kind of music system for a new generation”, it says here. Well, in truth the AiOS isn’t that different to other all-in-ones I have reviewed over the years, but it’s still an interesting proposition at its price. Billy Wright, the President of Cary Audio, says that he hopes both audiophiles and young people will look at the AiOS with interest.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 07, 2010  |  0 comments
A supercharged mini Malcolm Steward enjoys some high-end hi-fi time, with a cool-looking stack and combo system that can also digitise your vinyl The bijou Chord Electronics Chordette package surely must be the ultimate, high-class micro system. The set-up can be as simple or as comprehensive as anyone wishes just as with regular separate components, albeit, perhaps, slightly more flexible. Yet it has one distinct advantage: the entire Chordette set-up we tested occupies less space than a single 430mm-wide regular component, and there is a purpose built, modular rack available to accommodate the system and make it look swish. The system under test here comprises the Dual (not pictured), Prime, Mogul and Scamp.
 |  Jan 19, 2015  |  0 comments
Music centres combining record deck, cassette recorder and tuner were big business back in the late seventies through to the early eighties, with fans keen to enjoy music at home on all the main analogue formats of the day. Today in the mostly digital era the idea of the ‘one box does it all’ approach goes against serious audiophile thinking, with the general consensus being that dedicated components being assigned to specific tasks is the best way to guarantee pure, interference-free playback of your music collection. With the world of audio moving towards streaming and downloads, we’re told that the desire for physical digital media (CDs) is falling rapidly. So, what to do with that sizeable CD collection and how best to migrate to streaming are regular questions being asked by music fans looking to move with the times to a less tangible music playback system.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 29, 2011  |  0 comments
Potent Cocktail Newcomer Cocktail Audio has a high-value music server that’s also high on features. Jason Kennedy remains shaken, however. The Cocktail X10 is positioned to take on the Brennan JB7, but adds a raft of extra features and considerably greater hard-drive sizes from 500GB to 2TB. It’s a compact unit that can rip CDs in a variety of formats including WAV and FLAC.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Consonance Forbidden City Ping - £1,495 It looks like a chunky amplifier with a CD and radio added on, but the Ping has plenty of bang for your buck Out of all the systems in this group, this is the one that most resembles an amplifier with added bits. Mostly that’s because it’s quite powerful and, therefore, has the real estate that’s associated with powerful amps (big transformer, reservoir capacitors and heatsinks), but it’s even bigger than it strictly needed to be and is really quite imposing. The front panel layout can be annoying, though – all those little squares prevent one taking in the button labels in a hurry! Features are minimal, but there is a USB input. Although it’s an A-type socket, which would normally be for a USB stick or similar, it’s actually intended for use as a DAC fed from a computer – you’ll need an A-to-A USB cable, but one is provided with the Ping.
 |  Jan 21, 2015  |  0 comments
It’s official, and you heard it here first – we don’t live in the seventies anymore. Like David Bowie, times have changed. He’s no longer the Thin White Duke and the world isn’t buying huge amounts of separates. Life moves on, and so does the way people play music.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 12, 2012  |  0 comments
Cyrus Streamline £1,600 Well equipped for the brave new world of streamed music and other digital sources We reviewed Cyrus’s Stream X a few issues ago (HFC 351) in our first-ever Blind-listening Group Test of streaming music players. The Streamline effectively adds an integrated amplifier to the Stream X, and does so for just £200 extra. To some, the amplifier may look like a cheapskate add-on; a single high-performance integrated circuit which includes a full 30W per channel power amplifier in a single package. Time was, when that kind of thing was death to real sound quality, but things have moved on and the data sheet on this device suggests a performance that most designers of ‘serious’ amplifiers wouldn’t consider too shabby.