The Audio Appraisal reference system. This post will be updated to reflect future changes and kept as a historic reference to log the equipment used to create these reviews.
the best combination of hardware and software I’ve seen in the hi-fi streaming sector to date, and represents the kind of value for money that is never given the recognition it deserves by the industry, especially the press. If you want to stream audio to a hi-fi, this is the little box you should buy.
A small desktop headphone amp with line preamplifier, ideal for miniaturised systems with active speakers. What it lacks in modern conveniences it makes up for in linearity, power and low distortion.
Dodgy drivers thwart my attempt to restore these classic Acoustic Research AR48S speakers, for now.
Technics proved that doubling the decks didn’t mean halving the performance and the results speak for themselves. Probably one of the best bargains in cassette decks at the moment.
A well-featured machine even if it wasn’t Sony’s finest in terms of its construction quality. These make decent recordings, and are fine playback decks especially if you want the convenience of autoreverse. I’d probably still go for the more modern TC-WE475 or TC-WE675 for its simpler mechanics and better build quality
As far as I can determine, £600 is enough to buy you the finest moving magnet phono stage currently in production. And that phono stage is the MM Pro by Michael Fidler. I will stand by that statement until someone shows me verifiable scientific data, not just audiophile hyperbole, to prove otherwise.
a quality speaker for media consumption and perfectly suited to on the go use with portable interfaces. If you’re starting out in production, content creation, recording your band or trying to build a bedroom setup on a budget, you could do a lot worse.
Two successive generations of Technics cassette deck, entirely different yet strikingly similar at the same time.
My experience working on the AD-WX727 and AD-wX929 twin decks, the latter returning for a second round left a bitter taste in my mouth. But they did produce some decent hardware in the same era and this, the AD-F500, is one of the more economical examples. It has proven itself to be competitive in its performance and good value on the used market for the right price.
Better than the WX727 in some areas, it does an acceptable job playing back pre-recorded tapes. But the best thing the WX929 has going for it is a few extra metal components which add to its scrap value.
A pleasant if not strictly neutral listening experience. Beautifully built and generously accessorised out of the box. if you seek exquisite build quality, a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience, and maximum value for money, you’ll find all three here.
a run of the mill CD player from the mid-2000s when mainstream hi-fi separates were teetering on the verge of extinction. A no-nonsense ‘Natural Sound’ CD player, Well worth the money.
Ordinary in its appearance and almost empty inside, Sony’s CDP-361 is more than a flimsy metal box filled mostly with air. Easy to service and very little in them to go wrong, If you’re after a high-quality, fully functional CD player, or transport to feed discs to your DAC, the CDP-361 and its ilk should make your shortlist.
reasonable sound despite its shortcomings in build quality. But proceed with caution, free is about £5 too much.
The UK retailer Richer Sounds once licensed some of the big names in hi-fi that had fallen out of fashion. Ariston, Eclipse and Eltax, just to name a few. Eltax were better known for their loudspeakers, and through Richer Sounds produced a lot of budget-conscious models in the days when you could still buy a…… Continue reading Eltax Acura CDP-70 CD Player Reviewed
The VC-S remains ahead of the competition. Most record cleaning machines are, in reality, primitive, dysfunctional, uncomfortable loud, poorly constructed and ugly enough to upset a blind man’s aesthetic senses. It’s a wonder some of them work at all. The VC-s has some way to go in terms of refinement, but it’s still one of the best looking and most efficient record cleaning machines you can buy.
Manufactured in the late 1990s by Mission, sold to partner Denon UD-M5 stereo receiver or the UD-M7 component stereo system. Loads of them around now for bargain prices. Great little speakers for a small room or compact system.
kindly contributed by Nipper Varney covering his Origin Live DC100 motor kit. “When half the price of this Origin Live DC100 Motor Kit will buy you an Audio Technica record player complete with motor, PSU, arm, cartridge and phono stage that is able to provide quartz accuracy for speed control first time and every time (as well as three speed settings and the ability to adjust speed) there is no getting away from £530 being expensive for something which is just tasked to turn a platter at one of two constant speeds, especially when the Speed-Box casework is so cheap that it requires masking tape on the back to label the adjusters. That it is also far noisier and much more temperamental (in needing to settle down over days to work optimally) than my Technics SL1200GR turntable, which is silent even with my ear right beside it, is also undeniable.”
The review below was kindly contributed by Nipper Varney. This review was written some time ago and is reference in Nipper’s recent phono stage comparison contribution. The Spartan 10 has now been discontinued, replaced by the Spartan 15, so I am publishing this as a kind of retrospective as there are certainly plenty of Spartan 10s out there ‘in the wild’.
The review below was kindly contributed by Nipper Varney. Michael Fidler of Classic Audio asked me if I would consider publishing a review of his latest Spartan 15 phonostage contributed by Nipper. I agreed and what follows is a fantastic in-depth comparison of a number of phono stages, including the Spartan 15. Also featured are the Spartan 5, Spartan 10, MM PRO, MC PRO, and units from Pro-Ject and Ifi too.