Grande Ambitions Review

French loudspeaker specialist Focal has unveiled its most sophisticated loudspeakers yet – the Grande Utopia EM Evo and Stella Utopia EM Evo. However, you’ll need some deep pockets (and a big room) to experience them. The EM Evo, for example, stands over 6 feet tall and weighs in at some 265kg with its five drivers […]

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Open Reel Review

Open reel tape recorders may well be a niche market but if you are a devotee this one may pique your interest. It comes from specialist maker Metaxas & Sins and is named the GQT. It’s been developed in conjunction with Switzerland’s open reel specialist Stellavox. It runs at 15 inches per second, is purely […]

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Yamaha A-R801 Review

Yamaha have a long history in hi-fi, producing distinctively styled and beautifully built amplifiers like the CA1000 from 1973, wth slim, rectangular switch knobs that were a delight to use and looked good: form followed function. In their recent 100 Watt A-S801 I’m reviewing here they’ve returned to the style and the values of their […]

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Titan Audio’s Styx Review

Titan Audio’s Styx high-current mains block proved a potent performer under review earlier this year. It brought improved sound staging with both source components and amplifiers. During the listening period it was partnered with Titan Audio’s recommended Styx mains lead which is at the relatively budget end of the market for specialist power cords. Which […]

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IFI XDSD Review

Ifi caused a stir with its iDSD portable high-resolution DAC/headphone amplifier four years ago. Now it has brought out an improved version – the xDSD. It will accept connections from a mobile ‘phone, tablet, PC, Mac and digital audio player, or any other digital audio device via cable – as well as wireless streaming via […]

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SME Synergy Review

Legendary engineering company SME has revealed its first completely integrated turntable system. The SME Synergy features a magnesium tonearm, moving coil cartridge and built-in phonostage designed by Nagra. The tonearm is the acclaimed SME Series IV model while the cartridge is Ortofon’s MC Windfeld Ti cartridge. The turntable itself is a completely new design with […]

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Chord’s Munich Surprise Review

Chord Electronics took the opportunity of the recent Munich High End show in Germany to launch two new products. Most talked about, and most surprising, was the Etude stereo power amplifier that features a brand new analogue topology – the company’s first for nearly 30 years. Designed by owner and Managing Director John Franks the […]

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Shure Ends Cartridges Review

The vinyl revival doesn’t seem to have convinced Shure. The company has announced it is to end the production of cartridges more than 80 years after it produced its first model. Shure said a lack of consistency in materials as well as rising costs meant it was no longer able to deliver products that matched […]

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Valve Heaven Review

If you are a fan of classic valve amplifiers and retro looks then feast your eyes on the new Audio Research Reference 160M monoblock. It features four KT150 output tubes with two 6H30 driver valves with both Ultralinear and Triode mode operation available. The former is said to give 150 Watts of output while the […]

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John Michael a Jazz Rock Bassist and Solo Instrumental Pianist

John’s love affair with the piano began early on while laying awake at night listening to his older brothers and sisters play the piano downstairs…pretending it was he who was playing. So, at 4 years old, he decided to start “goofing around” with this instrument downstairs he so loved to hear. Self taught, he continued […]

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