Category Archives: DDPR news & musings

“What I’d recommend to a friend”: The Audio Beat reviews Scansonic’s MB-1 loudspeaker

Danish Scansonic shares a parent company, Dantax, with the highly covetable loudspeaker brand Raidho and the relationship between the two goes more than skin deep: Scansonic’s flagship HD range is created by Raidho’s design team, promising a raft of ‘Raidho DNA’ but at a considerably more affordable price. The Audio Beat’s Roy Gregory explores how much of that original DNA can be found in the MB-1 standmount model and asks the question, would I recommend it to a friend?
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What Hi-Fi? High-End Special Issue: Clearaudio and Aesthetix among “the very best hi-fi that money can buy”

The December issue of What Hi-Fi? magazine is dedicated to all things high-end, showcasing products that “may be expensive, but will last for years and provide countless hours of enjoyment.” Among the top picks are Clearaudio’s Innovation Wood turntable and Aesthetix’s Janus and Atlas Signature amplifiers. 
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“A tiny trio mighty on sound”: Hi-Fi Choice recommends Exposure’s compact yet commanding XM7/XM9 amplifier combo

“It’s difficult to believe, but the wretched, guilty truth is that not everyone that plays music in high-quality stereo wants large areas of their house to be occupied by hi-fi equipment,” writes David Price in the November issue of Hi-Fi Choice. Fortunately, British audio brand Exposure has come to the rescue with its niche XM series which packs “a serious punch in half-sized boxes”. Price puts the XM7 preamp/DAC and XM9 mono power amps to the test.

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Need shaking out of your ‘MC tunnel vision’? Hi-Fi Plus reviews Clearaudio’s Maestro V2 MM cartridge

“Clearaudio’s Maestro positions itself as an intentional disruption to shake most shoppers from lurching around with ‘MC tunnel vision’ and have them stop for a moment to consider what a carefully crafted moving magnet product can bring to the table,” writes Buzz Hughes in the October issue of Hi-Fi Plus. So does it succeed?

“Clearaudio’s Maestro has no intention of playing second fiddle to the MC crowd,” says Hughes: “from the first look and touch of the cartridge the Maestro is effectively drawing a line in the sand saying ‘I dare you to find a better value at my price point…’”

Clearaudio Maestro V2 MM cartridge

Hughes takes up the dare and dives straight in with some testing tracks. First up, Roy Ayres’ Change up the Groove album, whose vibrant vibraphone will clearly reveal just how much an MM cartridge can “intrude onto a moving coil’s holy ground sound signature, the treble.”

The results are immediate. “The clarity and depth of the notes coming through the Maestro is unmistakably impressive… there is no stretch or reach to produce the sweet highs and breathtakingly long decay… overlapping and rapid vibraphone strikes take flight and hover in the ether with enough space and time to take them all individually, examine them, and let them float away into a spaciously dark background.”

Hughes puts the bass to the test with Mad Season’s track ‘Wake Up’ on the album Above. “The bass extension was one of the lowest I have heard come through my system.” Not only did it dive Hughes lower than he had been prepared to expect, but the Maestro also “opened up the texture on the bass as well as revealing quivers and shimmers of low frequency sound that simply were not there before.”

In his evident enjoyment of the Maestro, Hughes confesses to being very much a fan of a “front row and centre of aisle” style of musical presentation, appreciating the way that the cartridge “pushed me right up into the act and let me feel like I was holding the bands’ microphones and amps.”

Does this mean that the Maestro lacks a certain subtlety? Not at all. “While [it] excels with driving, pumping music like MM cartridges are reputed to do, I found that the real strength of the Maestro cartridge is the ability to control its power and still achieve a neutral canvas for the other aspects of my music regardless of genre.”

“One of those special cartridges that is smart enough to do it all and makes you want to buy more LPs instead of more equipment.”

Read Hughes’ full review in the October 2017 issue of Hi-Fi Plus.

Discover more about Clearaudio’s range of phono cartridges.

Track down your nearest Clearaudio dealer via UK distributor Sound Fowndations.

“Wonderfully eloquent”: Hi-Fi Critic reviews Audio Analogue’s Puccini Anniversary integrated amp

“Inside and out, there is no doubting the quality of construction of the Puccini Anniversary,” writes reviewer Chris Frankland in the latest issue of Hi-Fi Critic. Launched in 2016 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Italian brand Audio Analogue, the Puccini Anniversary is named not after the great composer Giacomo Puccini, but after the product’s designer, Andrea Puccini. But will this zero feedback integrated amplifier be music to Frankland’s ears?

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“A conceptual masterpiece”: Clearaudio’s Concept deck comes out on top yet again in What Hi-Fi?’s latest group test

“If you’re not familiar with the Clearaudio Concept turntable by now, the concept is essentially getting the most exceptional sound you can from your records at this price,” says the November issue of What Hi-Fi?, as the magazine tests four of the best record players in the mid-range budget.
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“Truly excellent”: Hi-Fi Plus reviews Riva’s Arena wireless loudspeaker

Riva’s WAND (Wireless Audio Network Design) series of multi-room wireless speakers gives you best-in-class audio with the freedom and flexibility to easily listen to anything you want, however you want and anywhere you want. Hi-Fi Plus editor Alan Sircom runs the Arena model past a discerning pair of audiophile ears in the magazine’s September issue.
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Record breaker: Clearaudio Concept deck scoops a seventh What Hi-Fi? Award!

The worthy recipients of What Hi-Fi?’s coveted Best Buy Awards have just been revealed for 2017 and one small yet stunningly-formed turntable has won again – for the seventh time!

Hearty congratulations to Clearaudio, whose ever-innovative Concept turntable is once again winner in the category ‘Best Turntables £800-£1,200’.

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“Well-rounded winner”: Nick Tate highly commends Sansonic’s MB-5 loudspeaker in Hi-Fi news

Always coveted the stunning sound of Danish loudspeaker legend Raidho, but lacked the requisite budget? Sister company Scansonic HD shares ‘DNA’ and a designer, Michael Borresen, with the prestigious brand. Nick Tate takes their attractively-priced £5,799 MB-5 for a test drive for Hi-Fi News.

“It’s a hard life being a £6,000 loudspeaker,” says Tate in the introduction to his review. “Competition is tough, both from more budget brands doing their cost-no-object flagships, and high-end marques making entry-level designs. In short, six grand speakers risk being run over from both sides of the road…” So how will the MB-5 hold up?
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