NuPrime CDP-9 CD player and DAC.

“The NuPrime CDP-9 clearly better than any CD Playing system we have sold previously over the last decade with the exception of the top end Meridian products. And even then it does bring something unique to the party. The CDP-9 is also better than our previous recommendations of transport (Oppo and Cambridge) and DAC combinations, both in performance and value for money. The quality and implementation of the new Sabre chipset surpass the digital performance of both NuPrime’s own IDA-8 and DAC-9.

The NuPrime CDP-9 NZ$2800.

There is also a certain irony going on here with the cycling of formats. CD was predicted to spell the end of vinyl and that’s come back. Streaming was supposed to spell the end of CD (and let’s not even start to talk about format changes with the little silver discs). But here we are with a new player from a forward looking company that breathes new life into the compact disc. If you have a CD collection, NuPrime are looking after you.”

Read more.

New Dynavector MC cartridges.

The new Dynavector DV 17DX.

Not one but two new models. We’ve just got the new DV17DX (replaces the D3) and DV10X5MkII moving coil cartridges. I’m doing a full review of the 17DX which you should see next week but even after just two sides it’s sounding seriously good. The 17D3 is completely re-engineered with a new body and magnet assembly – this now comes in at NZ$2700 and takes it past the DVXX-2 in performance – here’s the data sheet.

The classic Dynavector entry level high output model – the 10X5 has been through even more changes over it’s lifespan and is now in MK2 form sporting a new Shibata III stylus for better detail retreival and other modifications for even better sound. At NZ$1100 the MK2 version is the same price as the previous model which makes it easily the best buy at this level. More here.

Monitor Audio Studio review.

We might have been first but now the new Studio loudspeakers are finding some real fans – Alan Sircom at HiFi+ writes “…the Studio is all about detail retrieval. If a guitarist uses a phaser pedal and they meant to use a anger (one of the differences between the sound of Jimi Hendrix’ and David Gilmore’s FX-laden sounds) you will hear the mistake effortlessly. If a singer needs a spot of AutoTune, you’ll quickly learn to recognise its processing engine’s sonic signature, even at subtle levels.

Want to know if that was an alto sax playing low or tenor sax playing high? The Studio will let you into the mix. This is standard fare for more high-end designs, but something of a rarity in the £1,000 price range. Normally, at this point, you either get something effortlessly musical, but not very revealing, or a loudspeaker that equates ‘detail’ with ‘high-frequency energy’ and the Monitor Audio Studio is one of the rare exceptions to both.”

Read the full review here.

The NuPrime Evolution One Mono Power Amplifiers.

NuPrime’s new flagship model – the Evolution One Mono power amplifier – sets new standards in audio fidelity, originality of design and value. In short, we think they sound absolutely amazing and if there were ever a product to stretch yourself for, these new amplifiers are it.

The NuPrime Evolution One mono amplifiers at home.

There is an openness and ease I’ve never heard before. With their Micro-pleat ribbon tweeter, and narrow profile the Monitor Audio Studios are set up to excel at sound-staging. Combined with the Evolution Ones, the soundstage is both cinematic and deep – every instrument and note has it’s place in space – full 3D space, not just a plane and right back to the listening position – it’s immersive in the better recordings. I’ve experienced fleeting moments of this with other systems but the Evolution Ones do this with a precision and consistency that shows how things should be done.

I’ll try to put the Evolution Ones in context for you – The improvement I hear of these over all other amplifiers I have listened to is unequivocal: there are swathes of detail and information transmitted that have not been heard before – this is combined with more than ample power and control, a complete lack of artefact allows you to enjoy all of your music as never before.

Read our full review here.


Dynavector P75MK4 Phono stage NZ$1250

The new Dynavector P75MK4 is the most substantial re-working of the design with by far the greatest advance in performance. Outwardly the P75MK4 has been transformed from a very basic little box to a much more sophisticated construction, with curved aluminium extrusion side panels, a more appealing front and far better finish. Find out more here.

World first review – the Monitor Audio Studio


The Monitor Audio Studio has recalibrated my expectation of how a compact speaker can perform – the resolution levels and clarity are the best I’ve heard and lay bare everything that is happening in the system. The integration between the metal cone bass/mid drivers and ribbon tweeter is seamless. The speed, control and pace are exemplary.

At their best in an almost near field situation fitted to their dedicated stands, with a wide spread and carefully adjusted toe in, the Studio’s project a holographic soundstage with uncanny accuracy and precision.

The performance delivered from the mid bass upwards is at the very least equal to that of Monitor Audio’s flagship PL-500-II from which the Studio is derived but this much more compact and affordable model is by far a better choice for smaller rooms and doesn’t require anything like the same investment in front end electronics to sing. The Studio is an insight into the values of Monitor Audio’s design team – read the full review.

Is there is something missing from your music?

17620325_10155102778446064_7340400652735126241_oIt’s a cool picture that Sonus faber paint – relaxing at home in your favorite chair, you’re able to relax and indulge with music. But your wonderful speakers will remain silent without cables…

This much we all know. You most certainly will have speaker cables within your own system and will have made a conscious choice to select a cable that would likely improve the sound.

Now, if you look closely at the speakers pictured above, you’ll also see there are 4 terminals at the back. Almost all worthwhile loudspeakers are set up like this to allow bi-wiring. Yet most such speakers remain connected with a single run of cable. Is this the same for your system?

This isn’t a bad thing – while you might entertain the idea of bi-wiring, the cost, complication and perhaps the nagging doubt as to how effective it really would be when compared to other options may have all crossed your mind.

What if there were a solution that was better, easier and more affordable?

Sometimes it’s the obvious that eludes us and it takes someone with a talent for doing things differently to recognise the path to better sound.

The new KLEI QFlow7 Bi-wire jumpers are a distillation of everything Keith Eichmann has spent a lifetime working on. His best cable, best plugs and a unique configuration all combine in a pair of short 10 cm jumper cables that you can plug into your system and literally transform the sound you hear.

While loudspeakers which come in at over 20,000 euro are going to be but a dream for most of us, the review linked to below is worth reading, not only to gain an insight into the serious high end, but also to see how some much more affordable products we put in NZ homes rate in this context. You’ll see the PrimaLuna tube amplifier finds honourable mention and the NuPrime ST-10 gets an even more enthusiastic recommendation.

‘the ST-10 really brings the Sabrinas to life! Where all other transistor amps seemed dynamically a little restrained and only the PrimaLuna provided the kind of subjective dynamic swing that I crave, the NuPrime ST-10 has a kind of energetic presence that none of the other amps (transistor and tube) could match. Transient crispness and dynamic impact are really startling, better than with any of the other amps. Bass with the ST-10 is also incredible, not in a big and fat kind of way, but tuneful and articulate with just the right amount of pressure. Meanwhile the NuPrime’s very pure tonality and open and communicative character further increase the Sabrina’s timbral believability.’

Read the full review here.

We’ve also got some really exciting news from NuPrime in the last few days – the are 3 new high end amplifier models on the way. First up will be a mono version of the ST-10 above – the new ST-10Ms will be much more powerful, and even better sounding – the perfect upgrade for anyone who wants more out of their music.

Even better will be the new Reference 20E. Like the ST-10M above these are mono amplifiers, but each around twice the size (although this only makes them normal width and they’re still in a slimline profile.) This is a completely new design from Reference 20. which will be a big improvement on ST-10M and that will surpass Ref 20’s 420 watts per channel in power and resolution.

We hope to have the new ST10Ms here before the end of March and the Reference 20Es shortly afterwards. And offer generous trade in’s on existing NuForce and NuPrime models.

Reacquaint yourself with the NuPrime 10 products here.


Awards for Monitor Audio

We’ve continued to enjoy the new Monitor Audio Silver 6G 300s since we first posted the first full review of this model here. Just to show we’re not too far off the mark in our praise of these speakers, the Monitor Audio Silver 300 has received the prestigious Product of the Year award from The Absolute Sound at their High End Audio Product of the Year Awards.

In their January 2018 issue, Robert Harley described the Silver 300 as having “a compelling array of musical virtues”. This included, “terrific speed on transients, effortless reproduction of dynamics, and overall sense of musical coherence.” The bass was also praised, with Robert saying it is “detailed and resolved, providing a clear sense of pitch”.

The full feature will be in The Absolute Sound: Issue #279.

Add this to the four What Hi-Fi Product of the Year awards which they have just received for 2017 and it’s clear that these are speakers you should seeking out.

We’ve had a number of enquiries lately from our original Image pages – we liked these speakers a lot at the time and really felt there was a case for unconditional support of NZ made.

But the reality is that overseas specialists have upped the rate of development, producing better and better products which now eclipse them. That said – we still work with Gary Morrison and Ross Stevens at Pure Audio so if there is a niche for the local product we’ll be there. And it’s worth knowing that there is NZ input in products from Dynavector and the Well Tempered Turntables but these days it’s all about collaboration and going to where the best resources are.

Working from home has given me much more time to both listen and write. For analogue enthusiasts, you may have missed them the first time around but we’ve got new pages up on both the Well Tempered Simplex 2 turntable and the Dynavector cartridges. What has been most striking for me that with all the components and systems we’ve set up in our new home showroom, the improvements made over the run in period (let’s not tempt fate and call it burn in) have been greater than we’ve ever experienced before – and the time involved is also stretching out. It’s not that they aren’t sounding good from the outset – but that one, two or even three months down the track, were still getting moments where it’s become obvious that the sound quality has stepped up significantly from the previous days.

Our partnership with Keith Eichmann and his KLEI cable range has a lot to do with this. I never would have credited the scale of improvements made by these cables unless I’d heard it first had but every few weeks we get vindication in feedback from clients. (testimonials page). We’re getting much greater transparency in all our systems because of this, and not only do the cables also have a well documented run in period of 300 hours or more, but they make the progress of all the other components in the system much more obvious. So if you combine the individual effects of each components and cable, by the time we look at a system as a whole, the concept of running in has gone from subtle to transformative – even on systems that we might have regarded as quite modest.