System Audio Legend 40 review by Hi-Fi News

The Legend 40s are an impressive landing into the audio market for System Audio. From slender, non-descript cabinets comes a performance that’s always descriptive of the music, whether it calls for delicate, detailed highs, a midband capable of softness and steel, or nuanced, unflustered bass. If you seek rhythm, control and slick imaging from cabinets that won’t dominate a room, this is a fine place to start.


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ProAc DT-8 Review by What Hi-Fi Awards 2021 Winner

The Response DT8 are some of the best floorstanders we’ve heard at this price. They’re highly recommended

We really like these speakers, slightly odd appearance aside. They deliver such an entertaining sound we can’t help but recommend them. Take a bit of care with system-matching and they will impress.


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JVC DLA-N5 Review by What Hi-Fi Awards 2021 Winner

The JVC DLA-N5 certainly costs a fair amount, but it still sits short of where the law of diminishing returns kicks in. Even at this price, it feels like there’s value to be had with a large-scale picture that’s so strong in HDR and colour care.

Its bigger, pricier siblings in the JVC D-ILA family are better and blacker, but there’s enough shading skill and depth of darkness even here to produce an incredibly involving and three-dimensional feel whether at 4K or Full HD. This is one of those products that we wish we had the space and the funds to own.


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JBL L52 Review by Stereonet

The JBL L52 Classic is so much more than the retro clothes it wears. Is it perfect? Perhaps not if you’re seeking the last word in forensic detail, but I dare say that you’d also be looking at a larger budget for that. However, if you asked me to recommend a set of sub-£1k compact yet capable bookshelf loudspeakers that manage to combine fun with an impressive level of information retrieval, then these would undoubtedly be in the mix. Of course, you cannot ignore the retro charm, but I understand that this is not to everyone’s taste.


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JBL 4309 review by What Hi-Fi

Want a high-octane musical experience? Give these JBLs a go

We’re inclined to forgive any shortcomings simply because these JBLs are just so much fun to listen to. With appropriate music, they offer an intense emotional hit that most rivals just don’t get close to. You’ll have to accept that less than perfect recordings will be exposed, as will less capable partnering equipment, but do that and you have one of the most entertaining speakers it’s possible to buy at this price.

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Denon launches AVR-X1700H, an entry-level 8K AVR with Dolby Atmos

Denon has announced a new addition to its premium X-range of home cinema amplifiers offering some of the company’s most advanced features at an accessible price point. Launching next month, the AVR-X1700H will offer seven channels of amplification at 80W per channel (8 ohms, 2ch driven) with three 8K HDMI inputs and support for a host of immersive surround formats including Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X and DTS Virtual:X.

With six inputs and one output, the HDMI board on the AVR-X1700H includes three 8K inputs supporting 8K@60Hz and 4K@120Hz video pass-through up to 40Gbps. All of the HDMI inputs boast 4:4:4 chroma sub-sampling and compatibility with a variety of HDR codecs including HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma. A handy new feature displaying HDMI signal information will mean users can easily confirm the resolution of the signal they’re viewing and which HDR formats are passing through the AVR.

Gamers will be pleased to know that 4K@120Hz pass-through, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Quick Frame Transport (QFT), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) are on-board for a smoother playing experience. Elsewhere there’s also 8K upscaling on all inputs as well as eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) to deliver uncompressed audio via a single HDMI cable.

If you own height or in-ceiling speakers, the 7.2 channel AVR-X1700H can be configured to drive a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos or DTS:X system. But those without vertical channels can take advantage of DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization technologies which aim to recreate 3D audio for 7.1, 5.1 or 2.1 speaker arrangements.

For streaming music, the AVR-X1700H is compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and supports high-resolution formats, including FLAC, ALAC and WAV files, as well as DSD 2.8/5.6MHz. Users can stream music from services such as Spotify and Tidal using Bluetooth or Denon’s built-in HEOS technology. HEOS also allows the AVR-X1700H to stream music wirelessly across compatible products from anywhere in the home. And a built-in Bluetooth Audio Transmitter gives listeners the opportunity to listen via Bluetooth headphones either on their own or simultaneously with speaker playback. Meanwhile, those more interested in physical music formats will welcome the inclusion of a phono input for vinyl playback.

Voice control of the AVR-X1700H is possible using compatible services including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri and, while initial set-up can be performed using Denon’s AudysseyMultEQ XT calibration software. This technology detects the speakers’ size, type, and configuration and measures their response in the room to optimise performance. Listeners can then further customise settings using the AudysseyMultEQ Editor app (available for purchase on iOS and Android), while a “Dual Speaker Presets” feature lets users store and switch between two different speaker configurations and Audyssey settings.

The AVR-X1700H will be coming soon and available for audition in 4-8 weeks time.


Copland Introduces CSA70 Integrated Amplifier

Copland Introduces CSA70 Integrated Amplifier

Danish audio specialist Copland Audio has announced its more affordable and entry-point CSA70 Integrated Amplifier.

Said to be created for the “dedicated music lover”, the CSA70 is the first integrated amp in the brand’s lineup not employing valves in the line stage, unlike its bigger CSA100/CSA150 siblings. The CSA70 preamplifier section uses a solid-state architecture that the company boasts “with vanishingly low distortion.”

Copland Audio’s new CSA70 offers four digital inputs (1 x coaxial SP/DIF, 2 x Optical SP/DIF, 1 x USB 24/192), three analogue RCA inputs, line out function, as well as pre-out terminal, and a front-facing 6.3mm headphone output. For the vinyl enthusiast, they’ve also thoughtfully included a Moving Magnet phono preamplifier.

The amplifier stage offers 70 Watts (8 Ohms) per channel, and Copland says that the “amplifier will surprise users who thought their speakers were power-hungry.” The CSA70 boasts the same power amplifier technology as the CSA100/CSA150, “with a feedback structure inherently faster than conventional amplifiers and a wide large-signal frequency response.”

With rugged construction, measuring 435mm (w) x 135mm (H) x 370mm (D), and weighing in at 13kg, the CSA70 is said to be “designed to deal with the most awkward of dynamic loads that may be presented by the loudspeakers”. The company also says this contributes to the amplifiers excellent transient handling capability.

RF interference and other extraneous noise pickup have been minimised by design thanks to the entire electronics on a single PCB board. A precision audio-grade motorised volume control has been employed, that Copland adds “contrary to most digital volume attenuators, it needs no additional electronics in the signal road.”

Finally, fault protection is built-in, protecting against DC offset, overcurrent conditions and thermal overload.

The Copland Audio CSA70 Integrated Amplifier is available for demo in 1-2 months time.


Copland CSA-150 Review by The Ear’s editior choice 2021

This is an amplifier that does everything that is asked of it. It has a wonderful blend of musicality, pace and timing. It is even handed across its frequency range, at least that part of its frequency range that my system could resolve. It is not fatiguing to listen to for hours on end and if coupled with suitably capable sources and loudspeakers it should be the final stop in many an audio lover’s quest for the ideal amplifier.


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Cocktail Audio N25 review by The Ear’s Best Buy

Given that the N25 is clearly a highly accomplished streaming device, the last piece of my review was to try it with the Networks Acoustic ENO replacing the well-regarded ethernet cable. Suddenly the N25 went from being a highly enjoyable listen to a compelling one. What I will say was that using it with the N25 simply confirmed for me what an extraordinary bit of kit it is and well worth considering as a way to lift the performance of any streaming device to another level. It is clearly good enough to deserve the best connections that the user can afford.

Let me finish by returning to the front page of the N25 user manual, home to that alphabet soup of acronyms. It transpires that it is simply tech-speak for ‘this thing will sound excellent with whatever you throw at it’. At the very top of that same front page is a bright red banner, which proclaims proudly “The most advanced Network Audio Player in the world”. Clearly I have only a heard a handful of the players available so I can neither confirm or deny the claim. What I will say is that if there is a better player out there, it must be very special indeed.


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Cocktail Audio launches an entry level Network Receiver N25AMP

The South Korean manufacturer CocktailAudio serves its N25 AMP fresh and well mixed: an eight-kilogram, 2 x 75 watt into 8 ohm streaming integrated amplifier with a 4.6-inch TFT LCD screen on the aluminum front panel. A variant without integrated power amplification is also available with the streamer / network player CocktailAudio N25.

CocktailAudio N25 AMP – technology & features

The CocktailAudio N25 AMP in black

Various streaming providers such as Amazon Music, Tidal or Deezer can be tapped using Ethernet. DAB + and an FM tuner are also on board the CocktailAudio N25 AMP. An integrated Bluetooth transmitter and receiver (including aptX, aptX LL and aptX HD) offers the listener additional flexibility in playback. If music data is to be supplied locally, this is possible via NAS as well as USB storage media (USB 3.0).

The processing and conversion of the digital signal is done by a “Dual Core ARM Cortex A9” processor and the Saber DAC “ESS ES9018K2M” – DSD, MQA, FLAC and WAV up to 192 kHz / 24 bit are accepted on the lining side. If you want to work with an external D / A converter, this can be done via the integrated USB 2.0 output. The CocktailAudio N25 AMP also has Toslink, S / PDIF (Cinch) and HDMI (ARC) ready as further digital inputs and outputs. In addition to the loudspeaker terminals, the streaming amp also provides analog signals on the output side.