Hi Fi News April 2015

Since its launch in June 1956 - two years before the commercial realisation of stereo - Hi-Fi News & Record Review has been delivering insightful reviews of the key products and technologies that lie behind our shared hobby... the passion of listening to music on the very best equipment available to the enthusiast. Every issue, Hi-Fi News delivers uniquely in-depth reviews of high-end audio equipment, including the best in vinyl replay and iconic vintage gear from the early days of audio. It is essential reading for all music enthusiasts.

United Kingdom
AV Tech Media Ltd
13 号



Is the music business, or at least our consumption of it, turning ever more ‘virtual’? Compact disc sales, the principal indicator of physical media, have been in decline for many years. The vinyl diehards among us have been tempted to suggest the analogue LP revival has been crushing CD underfoot, but the plain truth is that music downloads and streaming services are sounding the silver disc’s death knell. But is this new musical age any less volatile? The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) has reported significant year-on-year growth in subscription services such as Spotify which are gaining ground on the file download market. As audio enthusiasts, we are principally interested in high-res downloads, not compressed formats, but the drive to streaming is still fundamentally changing the way a new…

networked naim

Combining a classic analogue Naim preamplifier with digital network audio player in one chassis has stretched the talents of this Salisbury-based design team. Conceived to bring new customers into the Naim fold, the £3300 NAC-N 272 is also the first of its DACs to recognise DSD files, either via USB or streamed over a home network. The roster of supported music sources includes UPnP hi-res streaming, Bluetooth (aptX), Spotify Connect, internet radio and DAB+/FM (a £295 option). Support for DSD files extends across Ethernet, USB and coaxial S/PDIF inputs – all digital media being buffered and processed via Naim’s 40-bit upsampling/filtering software running on a SHARC DSP. In addition to the wired and wireless Ethernet and frontmounted USB-A ports, other sources are shared across six S/PDIF digital connections (three coaxial, three optical)…

hugo re-homed

Described loosely as a ‘digital’ integrated amplifier, the mkII version of Chord’s 120W (170W/4ohm) CPM 2800 now incorporates an FPGA-based D/A stage inspired by its Hugo and 2Qute DACs. The amp offers support for 384kHz/32-bit audio files over BNC and USB, and 192kHz/24-bit over optical. DSD64 is supported on all inputs and DSD128 via either the BNC or USB inputs, all via DoP. The CPM 2800 MkII also includes wireless connectivity via Chord’s custom-designed aptX/A2DP Bluetooth receiver which offers simple pairing over a 30m range. Price is £6690. Chord Electronics, 01622 721444; www.chordelectronics.co.uk…

hi-fi news’ nuggets

EXTRA EXPOSURE Promising more ‘bang for its buck’ the fourth generation of Exposure’s renowned 3010 integrated amp now comes with a £325 DAC option in addition to £240 MM and MC phono stages. The plug-in DAC card includes USB and BNC digital inputs, supporting 192kHz/24-bit LPCM and DSD64 music files. The basic price of the 110W/8ohm 3010S2-D amplifier is £1700 in silver or black. www.exposurehifi.com VENUS BY ISOTEK New to the Isotek Discovery range and priced at £325, the EVO3 Venus AV power centre is a five-outlet mains conditioner designed to enhance and protect a complete audio or AV system. Each outlet is independently filtered of common and differential mode noise and equipped to offer a claimed 13,500A of ‘instantaneous’ surge protection. The rated maximum continuous loading is 10A/2.3kW. www.isoteksystems.com…

vinyl renaissance

Billed as a one-stop ‘fit and forget’ phono stage, the £750 Renaissance Amplification RP-02 offers a fixed loading and gain solution for MM and MC pick-ups. Gold-plated RCA phonos are fitted for stereo input and output while a series of jumpers (all on the rear panel) configure the RP-02 for use with MM (40dB gain, 47kohm loading) or MC (60dB gain, 50ohm loading). The sleek all-aluminium case is available in either black or red/pink metallic paint finishes. IES Ltd, 023 9266 8282; www.highendaudio.co.uk…

international ces 2015 (pt2)

International CES 2015 was – unsurprisingly – bursting at the seams with new product. As ever, it overwhelms. We saw the mock-up of the still-gestating Wilson WAMM speaker, Audeze launched a headphone at half the price of the LCD-X, Clearaudio showed a cool ultrasonic LP cleaner and one of the world’s costliest MCs was unveiled by Air Tight. Meanwhile, the Aspiro Group’s Tidal has been embraced as streaming’s salvation, the place was awash with tubes and vinyl, I finally met SAE’s Morris Kessler [see p19] and I was more than a little disappointed at the Nakamichi brand’s new direction. And I’m still reeling from the mind-boggling 3D sound demo by Professor Edgar Choueiri [see PM’s report, HFN Mar ’15]. Verity’s Lohengrin IIS features all-proprietary drivers, and the speaker complement is impressive, starting…