Dynaudio Confidence 20 Loudspeakers

Back in the late 1980s, an Australian company had the rights to use the Dynaudio moniker across a line of exceptional locally-manufactured speakers sporting full Danish driver arrays – head-to-toe metal jacket. Including the fabulous Esotar tweeter (in those days, Dynaudio supplied its state-of-the-art drivers to the OEM and DIY spaces). I lusted after those beautifully-finished designs. Especially after hearing them several times at a Sydney city store but, alas, at the time I was a student and the price of admission, despite the great value offered, was way beyond my financial capabilities.

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Meridian 857 Reference Two Channel Power Amplifier

Meridian Audio is a name known to most if not all audiophiles. It’s an established audio company that dates back to 1977 – only a handful of high-profile, high-end audio companies can tout a longer history. But longevity in the audio business doesn’t, on its own, keep the doors open. Meridian Audio has continually succeeded by being one of the best audio and acoustic engineering companies in a market known for intense competition.

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Wilson Audio Specialties Sasha DAW Loudspeakers

Given its heritage and historical importance to Wilson Audio, the most appropriate subject for a homage to David Wilson is Sasha (the momentous WAMM Master Chronosonic also has a powerful past significance and, therefore, culminated as Wilson’s magnum opus). David Wilson’s commercial launch into high-end audio came via the Sasha DAW’s blood line descendant, the audio universe singularity that was 1985’s now iconic WATT (Wilson Audio Tiny Tot) and its subsequent augmentation via the twin driver ‘Puppy’ bass module.

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Chord Electronics Hugo M Scaler Digital Upscaler

As the great Robert Plant sang, “…there are two paths you can go by…” and when it comes to upsampling audio, whether from disc or files-based, there are even more. Chord Electronics’ way, via the highly skilled Robert Watts, is by way of proprietary FPGA and filtering methodologies combined with Watts’ drawing-out of as many ‘taps’ as possible from the digital signal. Now, the company offers its Hugo M Scaler standalone upscaling component (a technology previously only available via the disc-based Blu Mk.II) which has been made to reach the one million tap mark. How will this translate to the M Scaler’s sonic abilities when handling your source material? We take a look at the latest digital wizardry from the tech alchemists at Chord Electronics.

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KEF R11 Loudspeakers

When KEF’s all-fibre prototype ‘Blade’ project was introduced to the audio world a few years ago, the press went gaga over the tall and svelte form of this high-tech, state-of-the-art loudspeaker which heralded the direction the company was to take going forward, as far as its high-end offerings. Blade has since spawned a Blade Two sibling and the lessons learned as KEF developed these advanced speakers eventually began to trickle down to the company’s more affordable fare. KEF’s new R series bears the fruit of driver and other technologies employed to take this important middle-ground line to a whole ‘nuther level to the previous-gen products. Here, we take a look at the R series flagship in the elegantly tall and graceful R11 loudspeakers.

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Aqua Acoustic Quality Formula xHD DAC

For the past year and a half, my reference digital-to-analogue converter of choice has been the Aqua Acoustic Quality Formula xHD. It remains spell-binding, a source of constant pleasure and musical satisfaction, in an era when last month’s DAC-of-the-month is tomorrow’s landfill.

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Tellurium Q Silver Diamond Speaker Cables

Wikipedia states that Tellurium is one of the rarest elements on Earth and was discovered in a mine in Romania in the late 1700s. The article goes on to say that, when in crystalline form, it’s a ‘metalloid’ semiconductor that is very efficient at transmitting signal in a specific direction while being resistant to oxidisation. These are all aspects rather well-suited to the makings of a really good audio cable…

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Devialet Gold Phantom Digital Loudspeaker System

Devialet is a brand renowned not only for its highly innovative designs but also for the understated yet beautifully implemented finishes throughout their product range. Its amplifiers boast an impressive number of patented technologies, outstanding musical reproduction, and have been well reviewed since first introduced in 2007. I’d been wanting to try out one of their Phantom wireless speaker systems for some time and when an opportunity arose with the Phantom Gold system I seized it eagerly.

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Bowers & Wilkins 803 D3 Loudspeakers

Vision. That’s the ideology. Bowers & Wilkins’ famous – and indisputably iconic – Nautilus ‘Snail’ design was so ahead of its time that the basic foundation is still relevant now, 25 years after its introduction. As indelible as that speaker has become in the audio industry’s psyche, it is mainly seen by many enthusiasts as a beacon, a vanguard, for the 800 series which, effectively, may be considered the company’s flagship-bearing range. Over its many evolved generations, the entire 800 line-up has garnered a treasure trove of awards for its advanced engineering and exemplary performance. Bowers & Wilkins continues the evolution with the current D3-titled generation. The company’s de facto leader is the acclaimed 800 D3 but here, we take a look at what could be considered the sweet spot of the line, the beautifully-proportioned 803 D3.

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DS Audio DS-W2 Phono Cartridge & Equaliser

It’s Friday night. The working week is (hopefully) over. You sit down with a single malt, a Shiraz, some umeshu or maybe just a mug of chocolate milk. You then seek out one of your favourite albums, undertake your particular pre-play ritual and finally lower the cueing arm. Thus enters the DS Audio DS-W2 cartridge and equaliser combo…

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Sennheiser HD 820 Headphones

Last year, when I wrote about the Sennheiser HDV 820 DAC and headphone amplifier (review here), the headfi world was frothing at the prospect of a new 8xx series headphone. But rather than replace the HD 800 and HD 800 S, both superior open back designs, Sennheiser unexpectedly delivered a closed back alternative in the rarefied High End series, the HD 820.

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in-akustik Referenz LS-4004 AIR Loudspeaker Cable

There are few, if any, cable manufacturing companies that can lay claim to producing cables for over 40 years. In Ballrechten-Dottingen, Germany in-akustik has been doing precisely that. in-akustik’s wide range of cable products are fabricated in-house via advanced manufacturing processes while the company has also been nurturing long-standing partnerships with quality record labels and high-end audio specialists such as Piega and Primare. From in-akustik’s top-flight Referenz range, we take a look at the uniquely-designed flagship LS-4004 AIR loudspeaker cable.

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