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Hi-fi

The DacMagic XS USB headphone amp from Cambridge Audio

It doesn't seem too long ago that a quality headphones amplifier was the size of a chunky paperback novel, and would occupy so much space in a laptop bag that it would probably get left behind more often than not. Now the UK's Cambridge Audio has managed to squeeze a high-end digital-to-analog (DAC) converter and headphone amp into a device that's smaller than a matchbox.  Read More

The Sonos Play:1 compact wireless speaker

I think it's fair to say that not all wireless music systems are created equal. One of the best streaming speakers I've heard is the Play:5 from Sonos (formerly the Zoneplayer S5), but at US$400 a pop, a multi-room setup can get very expensive, very quickly. Sonos is now offering a cheaper way to enter its world of Hi-Fi audio streaming with the introduction of the Play:1 compact wireless speaker.  Read More

Panasonic's SC-MAX650 Extra-Large Audio System

Panasonic has announced a big and colorful music system that can deliver 2,300 watts of crystal clear RMS oomph. The SC-MAX650 Extra-Large Audio System certainly lives up to its name, featuring huge 4-way floor-standing speakers with a prism color light show that moves and swirls in time with the music, and a rather chunky main unit built around full digital amplification in a tri-amp configuration.  Read More

Marshall Headphones and Zound Industries have unveiled the Hanwell, a new Marshall-branded...

For the last half-century, Marshall Amps have helped shape the sound of modern music. They've traveled on the Highway to Hell with AC/DC, been on the receiving end of some Monterey grinding from Jimi Hendrix and have even shared the stage with God himself, but now the iconic brand is heading to our living rooms with the launch of the Hanwell. Developed in partnership with Marshall Headphones and Zound Industries, the new active loudspeaker is the first home audio product to sport the Marshall script logo and continues the late Jim Marshall's legacy of loud.  Read More

ASUS has announced a new Plus Edition version of its Xonar Essence One external digital-an...

ASUS has announced a new Plus Edition version of its Xonar Essence One external digital-analog converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier that offers audio lovers even more control over the sound they hear. The only real change to the setup is the addition of an op-amp swap kit that gives users another five unique tonal customization options.  Read More

PSB Speakers has launched its first headphones – the Music for You (M4U) 2 Active Noise Ca...

Canadian high-end loudspeaker manufacturer PSB Speakers has announced its first dip into the headphone market with the release of its Music for You (M4U) 2 Active Noise Canceling, over-the-ear headphones. Built for comfort as well as true-to-nature, hi-fidelity sound quality, the closed back, circumaural cans feature 40mm dynamic drivers, audio-enhancing amplifier technology, and an ergonomic four-point gyroscopic ear pad mount that's said to automatically adjust to the precise contours of the wearer's head.  Read More

digiZoid has released version two of its Zo personal subwoofer, and Gizmag's Paul Ridden h...

Almost two years ago I reported being very impressed by the sound sculpturing capabilities of the Zo Personal Subwoofer. digiZoid has now released version 2, and brought some significant upgrades to the pocket-friendly headphone amp. With so many quality dedicated digital music players (the Cowon C2 or the Colorfly C4, for instance) and high end smartphones already offering pretty decent audio reproduction, is it worth laying out extra cash for sonic enhancement technology that sits between device and earphones? I've been giving a review unit a good testing over the last week or so in an attempt to answer that very question.  Read More

Griffin Technology has previewed its new Twenty Audio Amplifier for Airport Express at CES...

Griffin Technology has given visitors to CES 2012 a quick preview of a new audio amplifier that uses Apple's Airport Express to offer untethered digital playback from iTunes through existing non-powered speakers. The low profile amp captures streaming audio from any AirPlay-enabled source, decodes it and then sends the lossless, amplified sound through the speakers.  Read More

The Colorfly Pocket Hi-Fi C4 pro is the first portable player capable of handling 24-bit/1...

The modern smartphone has quickly become an essential part of modern living. It's a powerful portable computer, a high resolution camera, and a mobile communications center. However, if you're of the school who thinks that just because such a device can also play music, there's no need to spend good money on a separate audio player - the Colorfly Pocket Hi-Fi C4 pro may well be the dedicated music player to change your mind. Hidden within a gorgeous walnut outer shell with hand-carved motif and controlled by deliciously old-school physical buttons and sliding volume pot, the black circuit board heart of this music player is home to some top notch tech with one purpose - to deliver audiophile-pleasing, Hi-Fi-quality audio.  Read More

Two Woo Audio WA-234 MONO mono-block headphone/speaker amplifiers

Actually it's two US$5,000 amps because these rather spectacular looking beasts are mono-blocks. They are two completely separate, but matched, mono amplifiers. Now it's no secret that the world of audiophile hi-fi sound systems can be a place of strange voodoo and esoterica - where the Law of Diminishing Returns becomes a way of life for deluded males of a certain age (never women it seems) but let's check our cynicism at the door for the moment. There is something interesting going on here and it may just turn out that at $10,000 for the pair, these amps are a (relative) bargain.  Read More

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