Category Archives: Sound Fowndations

Furutech NCF Booster bags another audiophile award

Launched in 2017, Furutech’s new NCF Booster is a performance-enhancing cable and connector holder. Initially it seemed a tad slow coming to worldwide distribution – because rave reviews in the Japanese press meant that initial production runs sold out to industry insiders before even making it into shops! Fortunately, the company soon increased production and now the NCF Booster is available worldwide and gathering awards.

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“A masterpiece of design”: Hi-Fi Choice picks the Larsen 8 as one of the best loudspeakers reviewed in 2017

On news-stands now, the Hi-Fi Choice Yearbook 2017 singles out the greatest-sounding audio products reviewed by the magazine’s expert team throughout the year. Every product listed is a coveted Hi-Fi Choice badge winner – hardly an easy accomplishment given the “staggering number of high-performance components emerging to feed our passions in increasingly innovative ways,” writes editor Lee Dunkley. Among the chosen few is the multi award-winning Larsen 8 floorstanding loudspeaker by Swedish brand Larsen.

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“The perfect superhero”: Hi-Fi Plus is star-struck by Gamut’s flagship Zodiac loudspeaker

“For good or ill, when it comes to audio, we live in a time of flagships and statements,” writes Hi-Fi Plus editor Alan Sircom in the magazine’s December issue. For the most part Sircom remains relatively unimpressed, having found that many such bigger-is-better products, while certainly big on size and price, don’t necessarily deliver a commensurate peak in terms of performance. Gamut’s flagship Zodiac loudspeaker, however, “is one of the rare exceptions. A true statement piece….”
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“Phenomenal”: Hi-Fi News’ Ken Kessler is positively shocked by the DS Audio Master 1 optical phono cartridge

DS Audio’s Master 1 optical phono cartridge is among the more expensive models that Hi-Fi News has tested. But it wasn’t the price that shocked reviewer Ken Kessler, who found himself “staying up until 3am for six nights in a row, playing in excess of 50 LPs, rediscovering old favourites as well as undergoing revelations with discs I had taken for granted.”
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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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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.

New Furutech NCF Booster performance-enhancing cable and connector holder

PRESS RELEASE

Following rave reviews in the Japanese press, initial production runs of Furutech’s new NCF Booster sold out to industry insiders before even making it as far as audio retailers’ shelves. Fortunately, the company has since increased production and now the NCF Booster is ready for international release.

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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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