Hi-Fi Choice Feb-19

Hi-Fi Choice is the essential guide to audio excellence in the home. It is a no-nonsense guide to the finest products available, from vinyl and valves, to multi-channel digital audio and high-fidelity video. Hi-Fi Choice sorts the best from the rest with rigorous test processes and a highly experienced team of reviewers.

United Kingdom
AV Tech Media Ltd
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min

Audio products with more than one function used to be derided by serious audiophiles. Think music centres in the seventies combining record player, cassette deck and FM radio tuner that took up most of the sideboard, and were often too easy on the pocket and not so easy on the ear. A dedicated component that's built for a specific audio task has always been the audiophile approach, but the all-in-one music system looks to be making a bit of a comeback in 2019. Take a look at KEF's LSX wireless music system reviewed on p16. It's an entirely different approach to the music centre setups many of us remember from the heyday of hi-fi, and very much the direction of products emerging today with amplification and network streaming built into a…

3 min
precious metal

PRICE: £1,400-£4,000 AVAILABLE: NOW CONTACT: 01268 740580 WEB: MONITORAUDIO.COM FEW LOUDSPEAKER DESIGNS use complete metal mid/bass drivers, and fewer still combine them with ribbon tweeters. Monitor Audio has always gone its own way and like its predecessor, the latest Gold Series iteration balances the company's established C-CAM driver and MPD high-frequency transducer and introduces tech derived from its flagship Platinum II Series. Reduced to six models in this revised lineup, it includes three hi-fi pairs – a standmount and two floorstanders, plus a centre speaker, rear/FX speakers and a subwoofer for multi-channel installations. Priced at £1,400 the two-way Gold 100 standmount is fitted with a 165mm C-CAM mid/bass driver and rated at 86dB sensitivity. The Gold 200 is a three-way floorstander priced at £2,900 with a 64mm C-CAM mid/bass driver and two 165mm…

1 min
definitive tech

PRICE: £529-£1,049 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: DEFINITIVETECHNOLOGY.COM RELEASING A TRIO of standmounts for the first time on UK shores, Definitive Technology is part of the Sound United group that also includes hi-fi specialists Denon and Marantz. Designed in California, the baby Demand 7 measures 140 x 248 x 222mm (WxHxD) and claims 85dB sensitivity. It’s priced at £529 and employs a 114mm mid/bass driver partnered to the same offset 25mm aluminium dome tweeter that’s fitted to each Demand model along with the company’s 20/20 Wave Alignment Lens for improved stereo imaging and dispersion. Priced at £799, the Demand 9 is the mid model measuring 165 x 297 x 300mm (WxHxD) with a 133mm mid/bass driver and 229mm passive bass radiator, and claims 88dB sensitivity. The £1,049 Demand 11 comes in at 184 x…

1 min
quad upgrades vena amp

PRICE: £649 AVAILABLE: NOW CONTACT: 01480 452561 WEB: QUAD-HIFI.CO.UK The Vena II integrated amplifier looks almost identical to its 2014 predecessor finished in Lancaster grey, save for the model number and updated input labelling to the front panel. Priced at £649, Quad’s entry-level integrated comes in the standard grey finish, but for an extra £100 is also available wrapped in a choice of three veneered or lacqueredwood finishes, including sapele mahogany, gloss black or white. Beneath the casework, the Vena II adds a moving-magnet phono stage and the digital audio circuitry uses an ES9018K2M chipset from the Sabre32 Reference family that claims to benefit from ESS Technology’s 32-bit HyperStream architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator to deliver ultra-low noise and high dynamic range. Hi-res capability is boosted to handle 32-bit/384kHz PCM files and…

2 min
in brief

• AYRE ADDS EX-8 INTEGRATED AMP Distributed in the UK by Decent Audio, Colorado-based Ayre has introduced the first product from its entry-level 8 series. The EX-8 integrated ‘hub’ is available in five variants with a different array of input modules priced from £5,750 to £7,750. It’s rated at 2x 100W into 8ohm and is built around fully balanced, zero-feedback circuitry. With the Net module installed (from £7,500), it provides six digital inputs (Ethernet, USB, AES/EBU, S/PDIF and two Toslinks) and has embedded support for Spotify, Qobuz and Tidal streaming services as well as being Roon-ready. Digital file support is up to 24-bit/384kHz and DSD128 (via DoP) over USB, with 24-bit/192kHz and DSD64 support over other digital inputs. It’s available to buy now. DECENTAUDIO.CO.UK LEEMA ADDS MINI STREAMER • Wales-based Leema Acoustics has unveiled…

1 min
copland cta408

PRICE: £6,398 AVAILABLE: NOW CONTACT: 0208 9713909 WEB: ABSOLUTESOUNDS.COM ONE EVENT THAT really caught our eye at last year’s busy Hi-Fi Show Live was the unveiling of Copland’s CTA408 hybrid integrated amplifier that utilises both valve and solid-state circuitry. Unlike many other manufacturers, Copenhagen-based Copland prefers to do things differently and the CTA408 is based around an arrangement using the latest KT150 output valves and its own output transformers, offering a power stage rated a 2x 75W into 4 and 8ohm that’s equipped with a special startup procedure designed to prolong valve life. Measuring 435 x 220 x 460mm (WxHxD) and weighing 26kg, it offers four line-level inputs and a tape loop, plus a fully shielded phono stage that has dedicated movingmagnet and moving-coil inputs and a solid-state circuitry design said to…