Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7

Audio-Technica says its latest headphone is designed with comfort in mind. Ed Selley puts the claim to the test and checks it out

On occasions the marketing material for a product can be a statement of the blindingly obvious. Given their interaction with your head you might assume that all headphones make more than a few concessions to user comfort. So Audio-Technica’s claim that its ATH-MSR7 has been designed with comfort in mind seems about as notable as announcing it has drivers inside. In reality, not all headphones are created equal and given that Audio-Technica has a good record for making comfortable designs, the ATH-MSR7 might be the ticket to long-term listening bliss.

NuForce DDA120

NuForce DDA120

Now under new ownership, NuForce has developed its direct digital amp line with the DDA120 James Parker puts it to the test

We’re used to some unusual ownerships in the audio business, from Formula 1 parent companies to guitar makers and furniture manufacturers, but the takeover of amplifier firm NuForce by Optoma, while keeping things within the consumer electronics world, wasn’t the most obvious move. After all, Optoma is known for its projectors – produced for everything from home cinema to business applications – while NuForce was always a slightly leftfield hi-fi company, making everything from exceptionally dinky headphone amplifiers to digital amps.

Raumfeld Connector 2

Raumfeld Connector 2

Want an affordable way to get networked music into your hi-fi? Lee Dunkley thinks this neat little hub holds the answer

Multi-room networked music systems are very much bang on trend right now, but German brand Raumfeld is the new kid on the block when it comes to UK audio fans. Already reasonably well established on its own turf, it looks set to make waves over here with a growing range of well thought-out components available via its online store offering an eight-week trial period.

A touch of Nordic noir

Scansonic MB-1

This compact speaker has impressive engineering and plenty of heritage behind it. Andrew Everard takes a listen

So, Scansonic – does the name seem vaguely familiar? Its MB series of speakers, starting with the MB-1 we have here and going all the way up to the MB-3.5 floorstanders, may be new (and just one of three complete speaker ranges on its books), but the brand name has an illustrious history, being deeply rooted in Danish speaker design and engineering. Scansonic goes back 45 years, when it was introduced as the name on a then-new line of loudspeakers from famous Danish drive-unit manufacturer ScanSpeak. Having survived a factory fire, ScanSpeak was later acquired by current Scansonic owner Dantax after a period of being owned by Ortofon parent company Fonofilm, during which its co-founders pulled out and eventually found Dynaudio. You may be getting the idea by now that the inner workings of the Danish speaker/driver industry are both fascinating and entirely convoluted!

Life begins at thirty

Q Acoustics 3050

The next-generation Q Acoustics budget floorstanding loudspeaker is here – and it’s really rather special, says David Price

It is not easy to be a new speaker brand. First, anyone trying to enter the loudspeaker market will find it crowded. Second, designing a competitive speaker requires a team of talented people, and that is not easy to come by. Q Acoustics solved this problem by collaborating with talented engineer Karl-Heinz Fink, but getting around the first problem was more luck than judgement.