November 2018

If Carbon is Squeezed Hard Enough, a Diamond Emerges

Introducing Carbon Ltd. by REL Once in a great while, we decide to do something purely for the joy of it. That was the case for the past year as our senior engineering team received an assignment to create and build a “what-if” dream product. We’re pleased to let you know that this special model will be arriving in key markets almost instantly. We are thrilled to launch Carbon Ltd., a no holds barred, ultimate exemplar of our medium-sized chassis, [...]

Anthem STR Preamp and Power Amplifier Review

Pros Sublime audiophile performance Awesome feature-set in STR preamp Anthem ARC is a must-have feature Excellent bench test results Cons Pricey Ho-hum remote control (STR preamp) Anthem STR Series Introduction In today’s day and age, with the focus on convenience often overruling quality, it’s rare to find products that emphasize fidelity first above all else.  Anthem is a company whose origins started in two-channel and thus they created the STR series of products to remind audiophiles of that. The STR line of products comes in an STR integrated [...]

Pure Revelling In A Supra Spring Clean

RICHARD VAREY discovers a supra fine feast of fidelity while auditioning audio offerings. If I had a sub-title for this article, it would be “A Supra fine feast of fidelity” (I also thought of, and abandoned “Supra’s Ready!”, thus punningly revealing an early musical interest). This is just what my audio system has been waiting for. It started a few weeks ago when I spotted more than a few Trade Me listings. There was that name again, only this time in [...]

December 2017


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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

October 2017

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 [...]