News & Reviews

Lumin Music streamers and network players is the best available today. Lumin offer a world class DAC section with high quality streaming of your favourite high res music provider. If you have a NAS setup they have you covered for that too. The Lumin A1 started the ball rolling as their flagship player but the new S1 has stepped up the ladder leaving the A1 as number two in the billing. Heres one review on the Lumin A1 read then pop over to Lumin to read the many wonderful reviews there and then look over which model will work best for you. The new Lumin D2 is fantastic but I think the T1 would do many music lovers right. But then again the A1 or S1 is kinda tempting too. Any of the players will provide wonderful music their DAC design is world class. The computer is no more for streaming music. Kick it out and relax knowing that the dramas and headaches of getting the computer to sound good is gone. Lumin players are very easy to setup and you will be enjoying music in minutes and not only that, it will leave the computer sound in the dust. This is the way to stream music.

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Trenner & Friedl have released the new ART2 and it looks just as lovely as the ART. The cabinet remains the same size but they have new drivers all round and a new crossover ,they’re sure to be a killer.  The word is these sound very very close to the Art Stone. The Trenner & Friedl Art loudspeaker’s have been enjoying some great praise for their musicality and big sound stage. They maybe small but they sure don’t sound like it. Please read the following reviews as this will give you some insight as to what the ART2 will offer. Enjoy reading this review from HiFi Knights. And this review in Positive Feedback reflects my thoughts. If you’re looking for a small speaker that has a heart of a giant and sounds nothing like their size, then you need to hear the little ART’s from Trenner & Friedl. Stunning, just simply stunning. 

Are you searching for a musically involving tube amplifier in an integrated form? The 50 wpc Class A E.A.R. 834 could be what you need. Does the 834 do great bass ? Yep. Wonderful full midrange? Yep. Tone and texture? Yep. Dynamic? Yep. Tops shimmer with a touch of creaminess? Yep. Got your interest? If so you need to listen to the E.A.R. 834 for yourself. Some reviews here and here.

Kuzma has released a new version of their wonderful 4Point tonearm. The new 9″ arm is lighter and has no VTA tower or damping troughs. It can therefore be used on turntables with sprung suspension..EG Linn LP12.   There is of course a price drop for this version, making it very tempting for those that want the 4Point concept. More info can be found here

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Once again E.A.R.’s MC4 set up transformer has been given another great review. One of the very best at any price. Well worth a listen if you need a high quality S.U.T. 

The Charisma Audio modified 103 Denon is a fantastic cartridge. It starts life as a 103 but gets a ruby cantilever , line contact stylus, birdseye maple body and retuned suspension system. And all that for a bargain price. Have a read of the reviews for some insight. 

Hooray! The long awaited replacement to the E.A.R. Acute 3 has been released. The E.A.R. Acute Classic is a complete new build from the ground up and is sure to be a giant slayer. Poor giants. Click on the link above to see what’s new. The first review is in. Spoiler alert… it was a hit with Hi-Fi Choice. But not so much with Art from Stereophile magazine as you will read in Part One of the review. The follow up Part Two on the other hand, Art does a complete u-turn and was super impressed with it. I do ask myself why the editor couldn’t hold off from publishing the first review until they did the follow up and then published both reviews together, so you know the final out come in one go. Anyhow it all came right in the end. 

Great new review on the E.A.R. DAC 4 and Acute 4 SACD/CD DriveOne of the worlds top players and much more affordable than many others. The DAC 4 is a complete new design capable of decoding DSD over USB natively as well as the other popular formats up to 192KHz/24 bit. Tim has redesigned the output stage from the ground up. There are now four PCC88 valves and circuitry to match. The output transformers are 30% larger then used in the DACute giving an exceptional signal to noise ratio. Two Wolfson WM8741 dac’s each in bridged mono have now been utilized for the new digital section. Each channel is connected to its own analogue output and transformer, therefore there is no need for solid state signal conversion and buffering. The remote controlled volume is transformer based so the DAC 4 can be used as a pre in a minimalist setup. PLUS if you have, say a turntable system with separate phono-stage, you can connect it to the analogue input and do away with a separate preamplifier. The Acute 4 Drive is designed to go only with the DAC 4 as a SACD/CD transport using the E.A.R. AcuteLink that passes the original digital audio to the DAC 4 for processing removing the need for multiple digital conversions. And to top it all of, they look damn sexy.

It’s a wonderful time to be into vinyl. The Miyajima-Lab Madake has to be one of the very best cartridges I have yet heard. My words won’t do it justice, so please read this review by 10Audio, his comments are spot on. The Madake has been given the Gold Fingerprint award by High Fidelity. Another wonderful review for the Miyajima Lab Madake cartridge, this one is from the HIFI Critic. Basically it’s one hell of a cartridge.

Trenner & Friedl Pharoah’s are easy to drive, easy on the eye, an easy to love with their glorious sound. One review here and more coming soon. Outstanding system review with Trenner & Friedl Pharoah loudspeakers, Dr Feickert Blackbird 2 turntable and Robert Koda pre and power amp. Very cool.  The Trenner & Friedl Pharoah’s have impressed another reviewer. This review is in Polish so please use google translate for a fun read. They are super fun to listen to as well. 

The bigger brother to the Trenner & Friedl Pharoah’s is the Isis. These are second from the top at which sits the almighty Duke. If you are looking for an end game speaker but can’t stretch to the Duke’s then the Isis could be one to consider. Please use google translate to read the review from HIFI Statement

Cool review on the London Maroon cartridge by Art Dudley here. One of the best “live sounding” cartridges available at a good price. If you have never heard a London cartridge, this would be the best first step you could take. 

The Dr Feickert Analogue Blackbird 2 turntable is singing sweetly with its new friends the Kuzma Stogi S 12VTA tonearm and Charisma REF1 cartridge. Should you be considering a high performance vinyl rig I strongly suggest that you listen to this combo. Not a great amount of reviews around on the Blackbird 2 at present, but there will be more coming in due course. In the mean time you can read this and this  And one more for good luck. If the Blackbird 2 is too much for you, there is the lovely entry Woodpecker 2 to consider. The Woodpecker 2 is a one arm, one motor version that comes with the inertia platter. Great review from the Absolute Sound.

E.A.R.’s Studio Master 88 PB tube phono stage is making beautiful music here. It’s fast and dynamic with outstanding tone and texture that will blow your mind. Of course you also have the joy of tube rolling, which is a big plus in my book. Sadly, there’s not much in the way of reviews, but I found one that gives you an idea as to why I like this phono stage so much.

The Aesthetix Romulus and Pandora DAC can now accept and process DSD64 and 128 natively over USB. Also, each has the Asynchronous USB transfer mode, which can process at 24bit/192Khz, with zero global feedback, balanced and single ended outputs and analog section featuring four vacuum tubes. A wonderful review from High Fidelity on the Aesthetix Romulus. I think he liked it! And so did Robert Harley in his review for the Absolute Sound mag where he called it a giant killer!

If you’re looking for a tube integrated amplifier I’m pleased to say that the E.A.R. V12 is one to consider. Having heard many fine integrates in my time this is surely one of the best. It can drive low impedance speakers and has 50 watts of class A EL84 tube power behind it. The design is something to behold and the finish is stunning. Plus, it doesn’t run hot, so good for small rooms where excess heat could be an issue. It also comes with a remote so you can control the volume from your seat. Here are some reviews to wet your appetite. One, two and three.

The new Kuzma Stabi M turntable is receiving high accolades for its top notch performance. If you want one of the very best turntables available the Stabi M is it! The two reviews here will give you some idea as to why the accolades are pouring in HiFi+ and Audio Beat. The Kuzma 4 Point, as seen on the Stabi M is one of the finest tonearms in the world. Read the rave review from Stereophile magazine. Follow up comments here

Charisma Audio has released their next new cartridge named the REF 2 that takes you to a higher level then the wonderful REF 1 and it sounds beautiful as well. There is a great review of the REF 2 and REF 1 but its a full pdf download of Tone Audio Mag so it’s a good size download. Another review done on the REF 2 by Mono & Stereo. Once again more reviews of the REF 2 are on the way. The ruby cantilever and Amboyna Burl wood body of the REF 1 must have something to do with the excellent review hereThe wonderful Charisma Audio MC1  and MC2 cartridge have arrived. For the asking money they’re a wee stunner. They could have charged a lot more… they’re that good. I’m well impressed. Everything said about the MC 1 can be transferred to the MC 2 but add extra detail retrieval with refinements right across the board. All thanks to the sapphire cantilever and single crystal high purity copper wire. Great new review on the MC 2 here. To go with their range of cartridges Charisma Audio has released the Musiko Phono Stage loaded with great features. The reviews won’t be too far away.