With quite a large girth (about 10 millimetres in diameter), the Merlin Chopin clearly offers quite a lot of materials for the money.
It even includes what appears to be a ferrite noise-absorber (Merlin is cagey about this), which ought to improve rejection of interference.
Ferrites are sniffed at in some quarters and while they certainly don’t fix every kind of interference problem I’ve never been able to persuade myself, theoretically or subjectively, that they have any bad effects on audio.
Beneath that, the cable is apparently made up of six conductors twisted together to give [...]
The big idea that has kept Ixos cables, such as the XHA716, distinctive for some years is Gamma Geometry.
This is a way of interlacing two conductors with an insulating thread which is claimed to combine the good qualities of parallel and twisted pairs, without the drawbacks of either. It’s a perfectly decent way of doing things, though I’ve never managed to work out just what the drawbacks are of twisted pairs.
Still, Gamma Geometry does give a slightly lower capacitance than normal twisted pair, a feature helped by the use of foamed polythene insulation.
There’s a screen too [...]
Kimber has one of the widest cable ranges around and the Tonik is the starter model.
It features a classic Kimber construction, with three conductors, two of which are assigned to the ‘hot’ side and one to ‘earth’, connected up the same at each end.
The conductors are plaited along the cable’s length and the close proximity that results goes a long way to make up for the lack of screening: in fact in typical line-level applications (between CD player and amplifier) it’s near-impossible to persuade the cable to pick up audible hum even if it is wound around a [...]
While a £1,500 integrated is pretty upmarket for Arcam and Cyrus, it’s the very start of the range for Simaudio, whose Moon products extend to distinctly high-end territory with such products as the vast and powerful Titan power amp. But then the Moon i.1 is not exactly a shrinking violet,
Its 50-watt rating is fairly modest by current standards and the unit is not at all daunting to behold. It’s certainly neat and practical, though, as we shall see. In fact, it’s every inch a classic no-frills integrated.
By far the dominant part inside the case is the mains transformer, which [...]
This ice-cold, sharp-edged, black-on-white two-way standmount loudspeaker sounds smooth, evenhanded and essentially neutral. The baby brother of the larger Amphion Helium 520 floorstanding loudspeaker, the 510 also includes the best bits of its elder sibling, the key component being the ‘waveguide’ surrounding the tweeter.
A variation on the horn theme, with a truncated throat and a very wide flare, it loads the tweeter and has several benefits. One is that it allows the crossover point to be an octave lower than usual (at around 1.6kHz), which moves it below the most critical part [...]
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