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Review - IsoTek EVO3 Nova One

IsoTek EVO3 Nova One

From the multi award-winning Isotek Mosaic Series evolves the new EVO3 Nova One
I soTek has launched the EVO3 Nova One to join the Multi-awarding winning Mosaic Series. The Nova One is an evolution on from the original GII Nova released over a decade ago but features a dramatically modified and improved clean power network. Nova One also represents a continuation of the Mosaic range of products, which allow owners to pinpoint specific products in their system, to achieve improvements through a clean power source.

Wharfedale DS-2

Wharfedale launch the DS-2 - dinky desktop divas
W harfedale’s new DS-2 stereo Bluetooth speaker system is based on the now-discontinued DS-1, a similarly diminutive pair of Bluetooth speakers widely acknowledged as the best available under £200 – “petite little desktop speakers that sound fantastic for the money,” said What Hi-Fi? whilst presenting them with an Award in 2015. The DS-2 reconstructs the original DS-1 concept with an all-new design, delivering even better sound per pound performance. In contrast to most Bluetooth speakers, the DS-2 is a pair of proper two-way hi-fi speakers shrunk to desktop size, standing just 190mm high, 120mm wide and 140mm deep.

Wharfedale is Britain’s most famous loudspeaker brand, with an audio engineering heritage stretching back to 1932. The company invented the concept of the two-way speaker – utilising separate drive units for high- and low-frequencies – so it’s no surprise that each DS-2 contains two high-performance drivers: a 19mm silk dome tweeter and a 75mm mid/bass driver.

The mid/bass driver’s cone is fashioned from woven polypropylene, chosen for its ideal combination of lightness, strength and low coloration. Both drive units are protected by specially designed metal grilles, while a rear-firing port augments low-frequency performance to provide bass that’s surprisingly deep and punchy for the speakers’ size.

Inside the master speaker nestles new-generation, high-performance digital amplification outputting 2x15W continuous and 2x30W peak. This drives the treble and mid/bass units via a high-quality crossover network containing select audio grade components. These are superior to the cheap, single component crossovers used by many compact speakers.

Bluetooth provides simple wireless pairing with smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs, complete with support for the sonically superior aptX codec. Flexibility is further enhanced by a 3.5mm analogue stereo input and supplied cable – this is positioned on the side of the master speaker, along with the volume and pairing controls.

The DS-2 makes full use of Wharfedale’s award-winning acoustic engineering expertise, exhibiting their sibling’s hi-fi pedigree. Their sound is impressively agile and articulate for their size and price, delivering engaging musicality and a spacious stereo soundstage that their Bluetooth price-rivals cannot muster. Add the speakers’ smart, rigidly constructed cabinets, complete with curved corners and a high-gloss finish offset with tactile leatherette, and these diminutive sonic stars should top the list for anyone seeking a compact, affordable, high-quality stereo Bluetooth speaker system to place on a desk, table or shelf.

“The award-winning DS-1 desktop Bluetooth speakers were a tough act to follow,” said Peter Comeau, Wharfedale’s Director of Acoustic Design, “but we’ve really brought the design forward with the new DS-2. These are low-cost stereo Bluetooth speakers that punch above their weight, robustly built with a musical performance that belies their compact size. We spent a great deal of time voicing these speakers to ensure they’re perfectly balanced for use on a shelf or desktop and can be positioned close to a rear wall for hefty, yet agile, bass output.”

Review - Magico A3

Magico A3

Magico's first "Affordable" Speaker The A3
W hen it comes to ultra-high-end speakers, no manufacturer has made a bigger splash this millennium than California’s Magico. In the 14 years since the launch of its first commercial product, the company has continually harnessed exemplary science and engineering to deliver some of the best-sounding loudspeakers on the planet, right up to the Magico Ultimate – an astounding made-to-order transducer that costs not far shy of three-quarters of a million pounds per pair.

The first quarter of 2018 sees the launch of the A3 – Magico’s most ‘affordable’ loudspeaker design (although ownership will still set you back the best part of £12,000 per pair). Highlights include a fully braced and anodised aircraft-grade aluminium enclosure – built the way only Magico does it – with carbon Nanographene cones, a beryllium tweeter and Magico’s renowned elliptical crossover network. It may look unostentatious compared to more outwardly ‘showy’ high-end designs, but it simply outperforms any other speaker at the price.

Review - McIntosh MC611

McIntosh MC611

McIntosh announces new tech-rich 600-watt monoblock power amp
M cIntosh has launched the new MC611 Quad Balanced Power Amplifier (£19,995 per pair). The new high-power monoblock amp offers a number of key updates and improvements over its predecessor, the MC601. Primary among them is a doubling of filter capacity resulting in a dramatic 55% increase in dynamic headroom (from 1.8dB to 2.8dB) helping to improve the bass frequency performance.

Review - Quad Artera Solus

Quad Artera Solus

Quad expands its Artera line with the Artera Solus
Q uad, the distinguished British audio brand, celebrates the start of its 83rd year by adding a one-box hi-fi system to the Artera Series, Quad’s primary solid-state component range. The Artera Solus combines a CD transport, DAC, pre amp and power amplifier in a single compact chassis, with extensive connectivity options including Bluetooth wireless streaming.

At the core of Artera Solus is an ES9018 Sabre32 Reference, the eminent 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC chipset, expertly implemented by Quad’s renowned electronics engineers. External sources benefit from this DAC’s exceptional quality via a range of digital inputs, handling PCM data up to 32-bit/384 kHz as well as DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256. This ensures the Artera Solus is fully equipped to make the most of today’s hi-res music formats, as well as future advances in ultra-high-definition digital sound.

For CD replay, a slot-loading mechanism buffers data from the disc before feeding it to the asynchronous DAC section. Four digital filter options enable users to tailor the sound from both CDs and external digital sources, to suit personal taste and the nature of the source material.

The Artera Solus’s preamp and power amp sections mix minimalist design with high-quality components to ensure short, direct signal paths that preserve sonic purity. Volume is digitally controlled in the analogue domain, outputting directly to the dual-mono Class AB power amp section. This delivers 2x75W into eight ohms, with a maximum current delivery of 15 Amps into difficult loads. To minimise distortion, the power supplies for the left and right channels are isolated from each other as well as from the rest of the system.

The discrete power amp circuits’ output stage uses a CFB (Complementary Feedback) topology in combination with conventional emitter follower circuitry. The CFB stage offers superior linearity and ensures excellent thermal stability, as the idle current is kept independent of the temperature of the output transistors. Using an emitter follower in combination with the CFB stage is an efficient way of increasing the current ability of the amplifier without compromising the advantages of the CFB circuit.

Having the emitter follower deliver additional current only when needed allows for a simpler current limiting arrangement, which can be voltage independent. Current limiting is under microprocessor control and programmed to allow the amplifier to supply high currents (+- 15A) into complex loads, surpassing amplifiers that are bigger and more powerful on paper. A 300VA toroidal transformer supplies the two mono amplifiers using separate secondary windings, followed by 2x15000uF reservoir capacity per channel (60000uF in total).

Much effort has gone into the physical layout of the Artera Solus’s circuitry, with independent low-noise power supplies feeding all critical stages to keep interference to a minimum. The result is a performance on par with much more expensive multi-component hi-fi systems – detailed, natural, expansive and dynamic – in line with Quad’s continuing quest to deliver “the closest approach to the original sound”.

Cable connectivity options are plentiful. Five digital inputs – two coaxial, two optical and one USB Type B – cater for external digital sources (there’s also a USB Type A socket for software updates) while a pair of RCA phono inputs handle analogue sources. Analogue outputs are supplied in both single ended RCA and balanced XLR varieties, with the four-channel volume control preserving the balanced signal path from the DAC to the XLR output. A pair of high-quality speaker binding posts, optical and coaxial digital outputs, a 12V trigger output and a front-mounted jack coupled to a dedicated headphone amp circuit complete a comprehensive connectivity array.

The Solus joins two existing components in the expanding Artera Series: the Artera Play CD player/preamp and Artera Stereo power amp. It is the first Artera component to offer the convenience of Bluetooth connectivity, including support for the sonically superior aptX codec, thus allowing easy wireless streaming from a wide range of devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops and more.

Review - Leema Hydra II

Leema Hydra II

Leema Acoustics launches an Anniversary Edition of its classic Hydra II power amp
L eema Acoustics, has launched a special Anniversary Edition of its Hydra II power amplifier, celebrating 10 years since its classic powerhouse amplifier made its debut.

Review - Kef LS50

Kef LS50

The legendary KEF LS50 – now in a special black edition
F ive years since the launch of the anniversary model LS50, KEF has just launched a special LS50 Black Edition.

Review - Neat iota Xplorer

Neat iota Xplorer

Neat launch the iota Xplorer speaker
T he Neat iota Xplorer speaker at £3,500 is a larger and more expensive version of the Neat iota Alpha speaker. Like the iota Alpha both drive units fire upwards.

Review - Cambridge Audio Duo

Cambridge Audio Duo

Cambridge Audio Launch Duo
T he Cambridge Audio Duo at £249 combines an MM and MC phono stage with a volume control and headphone amp. The Cambridge Duo phono preamplifier has been carefully designed with a state-of-the-art switch mode power supply and a new surface mounted circuit board layout to reduce unwanted noise.

Review - Cambridge Audio Solo

Cambridge Audio Solo

Cambridge Audio Launch Solo
T he Cambridge Audio Solo gives little away as to what it is and the picture doesn’t have the product name on it, but the Solo (at £149) is a fixed output MM phono stage. Like the Duo the Solo phono stage has been carefully designed with a state-of-the-art switch mode power supply and a new surface mounted circuit board layout to reduce unwanted noise.

Review - NAD D 3020

NAD D 3020

NAD launches the V2 version of the D 3020 - Integrated amp
N AD has launched a version 2 of the D 3020 integrated amp, which will be cheaper than the original and offer better functionality and sound quality. What not to love! …

Review - Chord Qutest

Chord Qutest

Chord launch the Qutest DAC
T he Chord Qutest at £1,195 can be approached in one of two ways – either as a cut down and cheaper alternative to the Hugo 2 (£1,800) or as an upgraded and direct replacement for the 2Qute. As a cut down Hugo 2 gone are the volume control , remote , headphone amp, rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth - the Qutest is also fixed output so requires a preamp or integrated amp. As an upgraded 2Qute the Qutest has the twice as powerful Hugo 2 chip and Hugo 2 controls and the digital filters. There are three new features in the Qutest which are - a user selectable output voltage of 1, 2 or 3 volts, galvanic isolation for better USB performance, and dual BNC digital inputs, capable of high speed data transport. So if you can’t stretch to a DAVE DAC but can stretch to a Chord Blu II transport the two can be paired together to take advantage of high speed digital transfer rates.

Review - Luxman L-509X

Luxman L-509X

The Luxman L-509X integrated amp is their new flagship integrated
L UXMAN will be releasing the Luxman L-509X integrated amplifier, available in the UK from January 2018, at an RRP of £8,500 inc. VAT. The L-509X is their new flagship class AB integrated amplifier. The L-509X offers 120 watts per channel into 8 ohms, 4 line inputs , 1 MM/MC phono input, 2 balanced line inputs, recording outputs and a preamp in input and preamp out output. Additionally the L-509X can drive two pairs of speakers. No digital inputs though.

Review - McIntosh XRT2.1K

McIntosh XRT2.1K

McIntosh announces Nanocarbon-driver tech loudspeaker, the £137,500 XRT2.1K
M cIntosh has announced the XRT2.1K, a speaker 45 years in the making. The new XRT2.1K at £137,500 is a seven-foot-tall full-range design 81-driver, 7-foot which uses brand new Nanocarbon Fibre/Nomex Honeycomb drive units which have been specifically created for this speaker.

Review - Chord Mojo

Chord Mojo

Chord Electronics launches high-quality protective leather case for Mojo and Poly just in time for Christmas
C hord Electronics has introduced a high-quality Japanese-made protective leather case for Mojo and Poly. (£120) which is available now. Designed to complement Chord Electronics’ award-winning Mojo DAC/headphone amp and Poly wireless streamer/player, the Poly/Mojo leather case offers stylish protection for on-the-go usage. The case has been styled by Chord Electronics’ John Franks and Fumi Higashi San of VanNuys Inc. and is exclusively manufactured by VanNuys Inc. in Tokyo.

Review - Chord Shawline

Chord Shawline

New Chord Shawline Streaming Cable Uses Trickle-Down Technology To Preserve Digital Music Streams
T he Chord Company has added to its award-winning Shawline cable range with the introduction of a technology-rich streaming cable offering great value, performance and build quality: Shawline streaming cable. (£220).

Review - Audeze LCD-2C

Audeze LCD-2C

Audeze launch the LCD-2C headphones
T he Audeze LCD2c or LCD2 classic is a new take on their planar magnetic LCD2 design. The new LCD2c headphone has three major changes from the LCD-2 - a lightweight suspension headband, special crystal-infused nylon rings, and remodelled audio jacks. The sound offered up from the LCD2c features the slightly warm sound signature of the original LCD2 driver.

Review - Leema Pulse 4

Leema Pulse 4

Leema Pulse IV unites turntables and digital devices with high-res audio, Bluetooth and more
L eema Acoustics’ new Pulse IV amplifier is the ideal ‘hub’ for contemporary music-listening with its turntable connectivity, Bluetooth playback and seven digital inputs enabling a huge range of devices to connect.

The Pulse IV is a highly versatile and powerful integrated amplifier that enables a world of music to be enjoyed with Leema Acoustics’ sound quality thanks to a huge connectivity suite bringing together music playback in all its forms, whether on vinyl, streamed from smartphones and tablets via aptX Bluetooth, or stored on computers, laptops and more.

Review - KEF R Series

KEF R Series

KEF Launches R700 loudspeaker in stunning new Black Edition
K EF has launched its renowned R700 loudspeaker in a new limited to 500 pairs ‘Black Edition’. The £2,200 ‘Black Edition’ of the R700 has a deep and lustrous new finish that uses meticulously created new black components to adorn the deep gloss black finish of the cabinet.

Review - Audio Research VT80SE

Audio Research VT80SE

Audio Research launch the VT80SE power amp
T he new Audio Research VT80SE will premiere at the Warsaw Audio Video Show in Poland on November 17 - 19, 2017 in Room Studio TV2 at the PGE Narodowy Stadion. Audio Research are pleased to introduce the VT80SE, the Audio Research amplifier with the widest appeal to the greatest number of music lovers worldwide. By combining world-class performance with flexibility and features like auto-bias, the VT80 has been an amp that is easy to take home and just forget as you enjoy your music collection again for the first time.

Review - Klipsch R6 i

Klipsch R6 i

Henley Audio Announce Uk Distribution Of Klipsch And Jamo
H enley audio have announced a new distribution agreement with KGE, which means they’re able to bring the globally iconic Klipsch and Jamo brands back to the UK.

Review - Focal Clear

Focal Clear

Focal launch the Clear headphones
T he Focal Clear headphones at £1,399 sit between Elear and their top of the range model Utopia. Clear are an open backed, over ear headphone. Clear shares the Elear’s tweeter adding a frameless copper voice coil.

Review - McIntosh MC1.25KW

McIntosh MC1.25KW

McIntosh launch the MC1.25KW - their most powerful monobloc power amps
M cIntosh launches its most powerful single-chassis monoblock power amps offering 1,200 watts, weighing in at 71kg, and costing £29,995 per pair. The new MC1.25KW is one of McIntosh’s most advanced amplifiers to date as a Quad Balanced Power Amplifier.

Review - Audeze LCD-MX4

Audeze LCD-MX4

Audeze launch the LCD-MX4 headphones
A udeze have announced the newest addition to their award-winning LCD Collection, the LCD-MX4. Powered by Audeze’s patented Fluxor magnets, the LCD-MX4 focuses 1.5 Tesla of magnetic flux on the lightweight 20 ohm impedance diaphragm. It is perfect for use where one isn’t likely to have a dedicated high-powered headphone amp and can be driven easily by a laptop or studio equipment.

Review - KEF Kube

KEF Kube

KEF Debuts All New Kube Subwoofer Range
K EF has their new Kube range of subwoofers. There are three of these the KEF Kube12b, Kube10b, and Kube8b. KEF’s design and engineering team coordinated closely to develop an advanced Digital Signal Processing algorithm (DSP) known as iBX. This Intelligent Bass Extension algorithm extends depth to maximise the capabilities of the custom designed driver, delivering unparalleled precision and ultimate synchronicity between amplifier, driver and sealed cabinet.

Review - Chord Mojo

Chord Mojo

Chord Officially launch Poly - A Streamer for the Mojo DAC
C hord Electronics, is empowering smartphones as hi-fi-quality music players with the launch of Poly, an advanced streamer that combines with Mojo to wirelessly stream music from a range of devices, with smartphone control. Poly is available now at £499; the Mojo DAC is £399.

Review - dCS Rossini

dCS Rossini

dCS Launches MQA Support Across Product Ranges
M QA, the digital audio technology that makes hi-res streaming a reality, comes to dCS components via a major software update. This unique implementation of MQA is the only way to unlock its full sonic potential, as explained in the attached press release. The update will roll out range by range throughout Q4 2017, beginning with the Rossini component series this month.

Review - KEF LS50 Wireless

KEF LS50 Wireless

KEF introduces LS50 Wireless Nocturne by Marcel Wanders
T oday, in the inspiring setting of the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, KEF has launched an exciting Special Edition of its highly-renowned LS50 Wireless Digital Music System – the LS50 Wireless ‘Nocturne’ by Marcel Wanders.

Review - Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II

Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II

Bose launch the QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II
T he Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II , at £329.95 are Bose’s top of the range headphone and now with the Google Assistant built in. The new QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II are engineered with world class noise cancellation. And now they're even better. With Google Assistant built in, you can control music, send and receive texts and get answers using just your voice. The new Action button gives you seamless access to your Google Assistant. Control the level of noise cancellation, your music, receive texts and get the answer to just about any question.

Review - Chord Hugo 2

Chord Hugo 2

Chord Electronics announces protective leather case for its award-winning Hugo 2 DAC/headphone amp
B ritish high-performance audio specialist, Chord Electronics, has launched a high-quality Japanese-made protective leather case for its new Hugo 2 DAC/head amp which is available now priced at £125.

Review - NAD C 558

NAD C 558

NAD launch the C 558 turntable
A s vinyl goes from strength to strength, NAD has unveiled a brand new belt-drive design featuring chunky anti-resonance MDF plinth, heavyweight glass platter and Ortofon OM10 cartridge as standard. Available November 2016 priced at £449.

Review - McIntosh MA5300

McIntosh MA5300

McIntosh launch the MA5300 Integrated Amp and DAC
T he McIntosh MA5300 integrated amplifier, their smallest and most powerful solid-state integrated amplifier, will retail at £6,750. The MA5300 integrated amp offers 100 Watts per channel, plus a USB DAC, phono stage and a headphone amp.

Review - NAD C 268

NAD C 268

NAD launch the C 268 Power Amp
T he NAD C 268 power amp is conservatively rated at 80Wx2 or 300Wx1 bridged mono with 500W peak capability. The C 268 is NAD’s latest affordable power amplifier. Balanced and RCA inputs, 12v triggers, variable input level control and current sensing auto turn-on highlight the features list. There is also line-outs for daisy chaining for bi-amped and tri-amplified systems.


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