The Ear Best hi-fi of 2023

The Ear picks the best hi-fi of 2023 2023 has been a tough year for the hi-fi industry but that has done nothing to stem the flow of first class products coming to market. In fact there are even more extraordinary audio components to choose from than there were last year, with advances made in […]

MELCO-N5 review

Melco N5-H50 music server When Melco launched the N5 in May I was excited to see a more affordable variation on the N1 flagship that appeared in March. But then it occurred to me that Melco’s product numbering system is like Canon cameras, the lower the number the better the product. As an N10 owner […]

Melco N50-H60 review

Melco N50-H60 music library The freshly launched N50-H60 replaces the NA1/2EX and joins the N50-H38, an SSD variant in the same chassis. Confusingly, the new model uses the same casing and switchgear as its predecessor, the only apparent external change being the upgraded feet which are said to have improved vibration feedback control. It may […]

The Ear BEST OF 2022 820 547

The best of the best that we have reviewed on the Ear over the last 12 months


My name is Chris and I am a slot-a-holic. There, my anonymity is blown but I feel better for sharing this dark secret. What is a slot-a-holic? Don’t waste energy looking it up because I invented the word. Here is my definition: a person who, when presented with a device containing a CD ripper, feels […]


2021 may not have been the year that many of us had hoped for, there was only one hi-fi show in the UK and not many more elsewhere, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers both large and small who have produced some absolutely outstanding audio components in that time. Our best of the year round up […]


Chord Electronics’ much anticipated 2yu network bridge started shipping proper this summer, more than a year after its big reveal in early 2020 just before Covid put a rather big dampener on things. 2yu is built specifically to partner 2go and allows the bolt-on streamer/server originally designed for Chord’s award-winning Hugo2 portable DAC/headphone amp to […]


How’s this for Japanese logic, the smaller a Melco music library is in purely physical terms, the more expensive it can be, less is clearly is more in Nagoya. The N10 is the most expensive HDD equipped music server that Melco makes, yet it inhabits the same size chassis as the N100 (the entry level […]


The Chord 2go is quite literally a bolt-on box that transforms the company’s Hugo 2 DAC/headphone amp into an app-controlled, portable WiFi- and ethernet-enabled streamer/server. Its two captive micro-USB plugs seat into Hugo’s corresponding sockets for data and power, while two locating screws lock the two devices together. Available in silver or black, weighing 160g […]


Grimm Audio is a Dutch company with studio connections that entered the hi-fi market with the LS1, a DSP active loudspeaker system with bass and mid/treble sections separated by a stand. The MU1 is Grimm’s first entry into the streaming market and it’s equally if not more distinctive than the LS1. In essence it’s a digital […]


Last year I was lucky enough to be sent some Shunyata Venom NR mains cables to review, along with a Venom UK6 power distribution block and as some of you may recall, I thought they were excellent, to the point where they continue to be my primary power cables across all my audio components. Therefore when […]


There are those who consider network music servers as little more than glorified NAS drives in nice boxes, and it’s not hard to see why given that both do a the same job and contain the same basic elements. Which is some kind of disc drive or solid state memory that’s controlled by a computer […]