Product Reviews

Product reviews written specifically by our designated content team. They are the personal opinions of our chosen members on products supplied by manufacturers.

Roon Version 2.0 build 1169 Digital Software Review by Mr Underhill Introduction A number of months ago our erstwhile editor, George47, asked me to give Roon ‘a go’ and write my impressions. I agreed and parked it in the to-do pile. Without short-circuiting this write-up that was a mistake. In the following review, I will be examining Roon used in a Nearfield System, a Main System and a Portable System. This will include: using the...
Audio Note UK, Meishu Phono Tonmeister Silver Signature integrated amplifier A HiFi WigWam review by Richard Bowles Improving on perfection? I had the pleasure of living with Audio Note’s Meishu Tonmeister for some time. From the very first occasion I switched it on in my system here, I knew it was something special, particularly in its uncanny ability to extract the ‘music’ from any medium. It always emphasised the best of a recording...
Benchmark DAC3 HGC (£2,449) DAC Review by Mr Underhill Introduction Hardly the newest DAC on the block I was enthusiastic to hear the DAC3 as I haven’t heard a Benchmark DAC since the originally released DAC1. At that time, I bought the Benchmark rather than the Chord DAC64, which I felt was equally as good but rather more expensive. The comments that I read on the Naim forum about the DAC1 were less than stellar, so I took mine down...
OSV HT 50 Amplifier Review by George Sallit When Trevor at Guildford Audio asked me whether I would like to review an interesting amplifier from Poland I jumped at the chance. One because I trust Trevor’s judgement and two because I am interested in audio originating from what was called Eastern Europe, now Central Europe. For me, there seem to be three main blocks of audio products. The more established European/USA/Japanese audio...
Hifi Rose RS150B Streamer/Preamp Review by George Sallit This is a second review of the Rose RS150B and supplements Danny’s excellent review of the RS150B here: https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/threads/hifi-rose-rs150-b-review.111709/ Before I get down to brass tacks a quick view of digital audio. I have to say that I love the convenience of digital audio and I also hate it. In theory, you have access to literally millions of tracks of...
The Sumiko Blue Point No. 3 Moving Coil Cartridge (Low Output Version) -Review David Ayers Many years ago I was lucky enough to have the choice between one of the top Transfiguration cartridges and the Clearaudio Accurate. Both were great cartridges but with very different presentations. The Transfiguration was full of detail and delicacy whereas the Clearaudio was much more robust in its presentation. It was a hard choice, but in the...
Eclipse TD307 Mark III (£600) Review by Mr Underhill Introduction Eclipse speakers look like something of a vision of the future in a 1960s film. I love the look. As with all small speakers their form presents a physical constraint, there is going to be little in the way of deep impactful bass here, and so it proved. Were there other balancing attributes? Well, one is the price at £600 for a pair. The speakers themselves are the usual...
Andrew Eastham. Review: Rose RA180 Integrated Amplifier Design and Features From the outset, the Rose RA180 seemed intriguing. The industrial design is beautifully executed: though photographs suggest a highly complex visual appearance, in the room it demonstrates a more subtle and elegant application of form to function. Its visual aesthetic is very satisfying, and the hint of industrial Bauhaus would suit a Vitsoe or String shelving...
Project CD Box RS2T and Pre Box RS2 Digital Kevin Fiske At a price of £2,200 and £1,900 respectively, Vienna-based Project Audio System’s CD Box RS2T transport and Pre Box RS2 Digital DAC are undoubtedly pushing at the upper limits of what many audiophiles are prepared to pay in order to listen to CDs. But while the transport is unapologetically designed – more on that in a moment – just to spin CDs, the DAC is an example of the current...
Have you heard a quarter of a million-pound system? I suspect most of us have, but generally in a space set up in a dealers or a hotel room to accommodate a large-ish number of people; so, hardly an ideal listening environment. My experience is that attention to detail really matters, and that can take time as well as experience. When I think back the closest I have come to hear a top system that was exquisitely set up was a full 500 Naim...
HIFI ROSE RS150(B) There are three words that spring to mind on initial impressions when listening to the Hifi Rose RS150(B). Focus, transparency and finesse. Those initial impressions are still correct over a lengthy review period. After having the baby brother of this unit, the RS250 in my listening room for an extended review my interest was more than piqued concerning the current top of the range and elder sibling the RS150(B)...
Sonus faber Lumina 1 (£799) Speakers Reviewed by Mr Underhill Introduction What wonderfully dinky little speakers. Love the look and the sound, but can they defeat the devil that is physics? These made in Italy speakers come nicely packed with a layer of thin foam between the face and the speaker grill. These attach magnetically, and arrangement that I always like. Apart from the speaker face the box is covered in leather. The face...
Chord Electronics Choral Etude Review Chord Electronics Choral Etude £4,500 150W into 4 ohms 33.3 (W) x 7.1 (H) x 15.4 (D) cm 230VAC 3.45kg Black or Silver Inputs: 2xXLR (balanced); 2xRCA (single ended) Outputs: Pair WBT speaker terminals Chord Electronics: https://chordelectronics.co.uk/ Introduction I have read a number of positive comments about the Chord Electronics Etude over the past year, as a result I was keen to get my hands on...
Pro-ject Tube DS2 (£699) Phono Stage Reviewed by Mr Underhill Introduction The little phono stage arrived well packaged and immediately appealed to me. Its straight-forward design has well labelled controls making the use of a manual almost superfluous. Design follows function. Two ECC83 valves chad from the back of the small neat chassis. The front of the box is dominated by the central rotary control allowing the selection of any...
Thrax Audio Ares Integrated Amplifier Review by George Sallit About a month ago I reviewed the Thrax Enyo valve/tube amplifier. https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/threads/thrax-enyo-integrated-amplifier.109701/ It would be true to say I was impressed with this upbeat amplifier and it certainly deserves to be considered one of the top integrated amplifiers in the £10-£15K group. However, if you are not keen on valve amplifiers and want to...
HiFi Rose RA 180 Integrated Amplifier George Sallit It is fair to say that the looks/aesthetics of this amplifier has caused some controversy. It has a mixture of looks with a dash of Nagra and a soupcon steampunk and a pinch of modernity. The controversy over the volume control certainly got it comments, but all this attention missed some of the other important characteristics of the amplifier, including sound quality. The Hifi Rose RA...
Hifi Rose RS250 The temptation of anything aesthetically appealing is to be swayed to make a judgement based on that .There has been loads of stunningly beautiful hifi over the years where the sound somehow doesn’t live up to the looks. There has also been the proverbial dogs dinner that have sounded sublime. Most hardened veterans of the hobby will of course like both but will settle for sound first. So enter stage left comes Hifi...
icOn PRO 4 Balanced Preamp George Sallit icOn 4 PRO Unbalanced icOn 4 PRO Balanced (Taller Preamp) Earlier this year I wrote a review about the icOn4 control unit https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/threads/icon-4-passive-preamplifier.107490/ and right at the end I mentioned there would be a further development with a new icOn control unit the icOn4PRO and a special balanced version available soon, and here it is. This version is...
Thrax Enyo Integrated Amplifier Mk 1 George Sallit One of the great benefits of the internet has been access to a huge amount of data, a lot that is useful for audiophiles. In addition, the internet is a great gateway for audio products that come from less well-known paths. Of course, there is a lot that is less good but that is not what I have been following over the last month or so. I had heard of Thrax amplifiers with people...
Benchmark HPA4 (£3,499) Pre Amp Reviewed by Mr Underhill Introduction A few months ago I had the pleasure of spending time with the Benchmark AHB2 power amp. This was a superbly transparent amplifier that I found especially impressive in my near field system. The power amp includes the THX-AAA technology that I discuss in the hyper-linked review above. I immediately wondered whether this technology was available in a pre-amp. The...

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