Author - Desert Sound

KEF LS50 WIRELESS REVIEW

When someone says the words ‘hi-fi system’, what do you think of? If you’re anything like us, you’ve just pictured a combination of separates comprising source – maybe a streamer, CD player or record player – an amplifier and a pair of speakers. If we could go back 40 years and ask the same question, we suspect any enthusiast would have given a very similar answer – minus the digital sources, of course. While hi-fi has certainly improved and been developed over the decades, on a [...]

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KEF Q350 review

If there’s one overriding theme across the new KEF Q350s, it’s: refinement. Nearly every aspect of the speakers has been redesigned to achieve a cleaner, more sophisticated presentation – both sonic and physical. The original KEF Q300s, which we tested back in 2011, went from a five-star First Test to winning a What Hi-Fi? Award. But newer, better speakers came along and demoted those £450 speakers down to four stars. A new generation of the Q series was due. And so we have [...]

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Select Denon and Marantz AV receivers first to support DTS Virtual:X technology

DTS’ collaboration with Sound United (owner of Denon and Marantz) sees its virtual surround sound technology integrated into home cinema amplifiers for the first time. As elaborated upon in our ‘DTS:X – what is it? How can you get it?’ explainer, DTS Virtual:X is a way of getting three-dimensional surround sound without extra speakers. Instead of being encoded into the Blu-ray disc (like DTS:X), Virtual:X is a post-processing technology that aims to create the effect of a 7.1.4 surround set up [...]

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QED’s latest entry-level speaker cable: XT25

Designed as a ‘first upgrade’ cable, XT25 will be in stock with retailers around the world next month. QED has announced details of its latest entry-level speaker cable. XT25 is intended as a ‘first upgrade’ cable for systems of all types: stereo, home cinema, custom install, you name it. Its 2.5mm² cross-sectional area makes it ideal for longer runs. Like all QED speaker cables, XT25 adheres to the principles outlined in the (recently updated) Sound of Science Report. And like all QED speaker cables, [...]

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Focal and Ubisoft team up for bank-breaking gold headphones

As part of a tie in to Assassin’s Creed Origins, Focal’s Utopia headphones get an 18-carat gold make-over from French jeweller Tournaire. Focal is known, in part, for making some mind-bogglingly expensive headphones. Its Utopia, with the addition of some diamonds and a lot of gold from French jeweller Tournaire, are the most expensive headphones ever made. And now you can get a version that makes you feel like an assassin. Specifically, an assassin from Ubisoft’s new Assassin’s Creed Origins game. They cost €50,000 (approximately £44,000) per pair [...]

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KEF LS50 Wireless review

When someone says the words ‘hi-fi system’, what do you think of? If you’re anything like us, you’ve just pictured a combination of separates comprising source – maybe a streamer, CD player or record player – an amplifier and a pair of speakers. If we could go back 40 years and ask the same question, we suspect any enthusiast would have given a very similar answer – minus the digital sources, of course. While hi-fi has certainly improved and been developed over the decades, on a [...]

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Denon AVR-X6400H review

Good thing, this Denon AVR-X6400H – one of Denon’s top AVRs for 2017 – takes its job seriously, then. Not only is it decked out with all the features and technology you’d expect from a modern home cinema amplifier, it also delivers excellent performance that easily makes it worth spending serious money on. Sound Imagine the refined Denon AVR-X2400H, but with a bigger, bolder and more confident presentation. That’s the gist of this Denon AVR-X6400H – it offers plenty of poise, control and subtlety along [...]

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Focal introduces Kanta No.2 floorstanders and Clear headphones

The Kantas are the first speakers to combine Focal’s Flax cone and Beryllium tweeter, while the Clear over-ears sit between the Elear and Utopia models. Focal’s latest speaker mission: to design compact floorstanders that utilise (and develop) existing technology in its high-end ranges. The upshot: the Kanta No.2s. The 3-way floorstanders, which slot between the French brand’s mid-range Aria and high-end Sopra series, mark the first time the brand has combined its Flax cone driver system (which sandwiches flax fibre between two layers of glass [...]

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Focal launches Sib Evo Dolby Atmos speaker package

The French company’s Sib & Co speaker range is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a new, Atmos-enabled speaker package. Gone are those wretched days when Dolby Atmos was the next big thing in home cinema audio. The immersive surround sound technology now features on multiple Ultra HD Blu-rays, Sky and BT sports broadcasts and even some PC games. As of recently, it’s also on Netflix. Not only is the content getting there but there’s plenty of hardware to play it through too. Most modern AV amps support it, plus some top-priced [...]

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