|  Jan 19, 2015  |  0 comments
Hart Audio may not be a household name but David Hart’s Isle of Wight-based business has a refreshing approach to audio design and high-quality UK manufacturing, as well as a growing number of passionate customers appreciating service and bespoke production. Hart Audio sells its speakers direct in the UK so you won’t find its speakers at your local hi-fi dealer. The new incarnation of the imposing EVO1 commands attention even when it’s silent. Two large, understated enclosures per channel, each boasting a purposeful 12in driver hints that you’re about to hear something different.
 |  Jan 19, 2015  |  0 comments
Look who’s back. And with a new range of dedicated separates aimed at bringing hi-res to the audiophile masses, it clearly means business. Given that Sony is the company that co-created CD’s original Red Book standard and put the ‘S’ in S/PDIF, it’s safe to assume that its new products will be based on a legacy of digital audio development. This new range is also sensibly streamlined, with a handful of carefully considered separates spread across distinct product categories.
 |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
Flashy products come and go, sensations soar up the sales charts and then fizzle away and a procession of award winners fill dealers’ shelves. But amidst all this drama and chaos, there’s one thing about which you can always be sure – Marantz budget separates will always offer quality. Marantz’s entry-level CD playerand amplifier are never going to be stinkers! Nor, to be frank, are they going to be dramatically different from their predecessors, save a tweak here and a feature change there. Residing on the very first rung of the Marantz silver disc-spinning range ladder, the CD6005 doesn’t offer SACD playback functionality.
 |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
When the first Walkman cassette player went on sale in 1979 I lusted after it almost as much as I did Debbie Harry. Then everything went digital and Sony forgot that the reason the Walkman sold so well was because it was the best player of a universal format. The first network Walkmans weren’t compatible with MP3 files, but Sony changed tack and embraced MP3, and the Walkman re-emerged – as did Blondie – so that both enjoyed moderate success albeit, both a shadow of their former selves. Fast forward to today and the tide may look high for MP3, which is good news for audiophiles.
 |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
It can be difficult to predict format trends, and even consumer electronics giants can be caught off guard, but a new range of hi-res music machines sees Sony make a welcome return to the hi-fi arena. Things got difficult back in the late nineties, when MP3 files began to replace Compact Disc. The company’s instinct had always been to maintain control of the entire music recording and replay chain, from record company to format to player. But for once, this great innovating consumer electronics group was caught on the hop.
 |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
Back in the November 2013 issue (377) we reviewed the £350 Cambridge Audio Aero 2 standmount loudspeaker. The Aero 6 is a larger, floorstanding version of the same design, deploying identical drive units with the far larger cabinet volume that comes from having a big box that sits securely on terra firma! Many will expect the Aero 6 to be better, then; after all, it’s nearly twice the price and has far more air inside its capacious cabinet. Trouble is, in doing a floorstanding version of a smaller standmount speaker, you open yourself up to a problem that’s never easily solved, especially in budget designs, which is how to keep the cabinet under control. The thing is, that bigger box might let the bass driver move air easier, but there’s also the worry that it will also move the cabinet.
 |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
Eagle-eyed readers will no doubt have spotted thatan almost identical looking Dynaudio floorstander graced these pages back in the October 2013 issue and earned itself a prestigious Recommended badge. That speaker was the Xeo 5, an active design with a wireless receiver. Its cheaper passive cousin, the X34, comes minus the Xeo’s internal amplifier, freeing it up to be drivenby one of your choosing. The X34 model shares air-moving hardware with the Xeo 5, so you geta pair of Dynaudio’s 5in MSP (magnesium silicate polymer) long-throw woofers with aluminium voice coils and die-cast aluminium frames.
 |  Jan 15, 2015  |  1 comments
If you were one of the few people who bought a style system during the last decade you probably risked derision from your cleaner, never mind your tech-savvy mates unable to fathom why you’d accept all of the compromises of such a purchase. Now style systems appear to be enjoying a revival. This is partly fuelled by an austerity-induced nostalgia for simpler times. Then there is the need for better quality sound when watching TV on a skinny flatscreen, plus the evolution of contemporary audio delivery mechanisms such as internet radio, hi-res audio, home networking and wireless streaming from smartphones and tablets.
 |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
You may think you’ve already seen the D 7050 gracing our review pages in recent months, as it looks strikingly similar to NAD’sD 3020 amp and D 1050 DAC, bothof which we tested back in issue 379. The D 7050 here, however, is an altogether more thorough package, and employs NAD’s Direct Digital circuitry (see Q&A), handed down from the company’s high-end Masters Series. This circuit ensures all preamp functions are performed in the digital domain, which NAD says helps keep unwanted noise low. Being a digital amp means that the D 7050 is bereft of analogue inputs, but digital inputs are well served across four S/PDIF sockets shared over coaxial and optical, alongside USB and Ethernet ports.

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