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With 40 years of transformer design experience, Jonathan Billington has been manufacturing bespoke and award-winning transformer-based passive preamps under the Music First Audio brand since 2003. Hand-built in his Hastings workshop in East Sussex, his latest creation, the Classic Headphone Preamplifier, expands the functionality of the globally-revered Classic with the inclusion of an active headphone […]

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In 1987 Arcam paved the way for the consumer DAC industry with the release of their Black Box, the very first outboard D/A converter to target this market. Somewhat ahead of their time, another 23 years would pass before Arcam returned to what is now a fiercely competitive sector, and a concerted effort has clearly […]

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The Mojo is something of a radical move for Chord Electronics, the brand has long been associated with high end audio separates which tend to carry a high end price. The Hugo portable DAC/headphone amp brought the entry level down quite considerably but still kept it within the realm of dedicated enthusiasts, anyone else would […]


Deckard-Angle

In 2009 two headphone enthusiasts founded Audeze with the lofty ambition to make the best cans on the planet. Manufacturing planar magnetic headphones of the highest quality the firm has, in just six years, established itself as a beacon amongst both monitoring professionals and consumer audiophiles. Their range includes the standard-setting LCD-2 (£799) and more […]

PS Audio Sprout

Like father, like son is certainly true for Paul and Scott McGowan of PS Audio. Scott developed his own amplifier under the name of his father’s company but financed it with crowd sourcing website Kickstarter. It’s a totally different amplifier to anything PS Audio has yet made, both in looks and technology.  The Sprout is […]

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The Geek Out DAC caused quite a kerfuffle in the forums when its maker Light Harmonic started making all sorts of claims for its performance. I even had comments from competitors, and they were not entirely positive, something was clearly afoot. How could a pocket size USB DAC make so much impression in an increasingly […]


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Looks can be deceptive in audio as in life, the Chord Hugo looks a bit big to be a truly portable DAC but way too small be a serious piece of electronics. Yet it is both at the same time, a battery powered headphone amplifier come converter and a 32-bit/3834kHz and DSD-128 audiophile DAC. We […]

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The Modi and Magni are the newest models from the increasingly popular, North American based Schiit Audio. The naughtily named maker of DAC and headphone amplifier separates now have an official UK distributor in Electromod, who sold me this combo. Electromod started selling high end audio products like this in 2011 (Hifiman and Stax were […]

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A&R Cambridge or Arcam as it's known these days is well established in the field of hi-fi proper, but it could be said that the rPAC represents a departure from their usual products. It's true that they've made DACs before, but not combined with headphone amplifiers, not USB powered portables and not this reasonably priced. […]