Enrich life through Technology. Very pretentious for a Japanese brand! But Accuphase is an obvious exception that puts the prejudices aside for a moment: What is this brand beautifully built and what do the amplifiers sound wonderfully mild, powerful and beautifully drawn. Accupahse has been making beautiful things for years that are more than worth listening to.
Accuphase can be recognized by the VU meters. The timbre is slightly warm, mild and round.
No, no Adam of Eve. But the original studio brand. German company Adam makes active loudspeakers for ordinary consumers as well as high-end and studio users. Adam often uses tape tweeters and also uses bi-amping in his active speakers. Robust stuff that sounds particularly good for the money. But it’s not very cheap. Anyway, you’ll get something. Deutsche grundlichkeit anyway!
AdvanceAcoustic is a French manufacturer of amplifiers, dacs, CD players, streamers and even speakers and cables. The brand has a bit of a headstrong appearance and a special approach to, for example, amplifiers. Many amplifiers have a switch on the back to set the bias to quite a distance to class A. That has many sonic advantages.
Advance Acoustic sounds powerful, round and dynamic.
British hi-fi brand that offers a very wide range of home cinema and stereo equipment. Especially the DVD and CD players offer a lot of quality for a reasonable price. Arcam’s timbre is becoming increasingly neutral. The older equipment was significantly ‘browner’ in colour, so they were often labelled romantic.
The brand has roughly three lines: the AV-line (home cinema), the Diva-line and the FMJ-series, where FMJ stands for Full metal Jacket which means a thicker front plate and a muffled cabinet.
The rendering of Arcam is ‘white’, rich in detail and occasionally a bit sharp and thin. You have to combine well.
Also called just Block Block is a German hi-fi brand that focuses on affordable hi-fi. Block makes almost everything: amplifiers, CD players, tuners, dacs and even speakers and turntables.
The website of (Audio)Block
A brand with a very broad portfolio. The team of Audioengine comes from the studio world and that is noticeable. They also have a few active speakers in their range. However, the focus is now on PC audio. There are desktop amplifiers, USB drives, WiFi transmitters and desktop speakers. Audio engine is very affordable.
The website of Audioengine
Audiolab resurrected from its ashes in 2005. Partly due to an investment by IAG (also has Quad, Mission, Wharfdale and Apogee). Tag McLaren had the brand, but apparently could not get it profitable. IAG has succeeded, because Audiolab now has very nice products in the segment. The 8000 series is particularly successful.
Audiolab is a no-nonsense brand. It’s not expensive and just delivers solid products that do what they’re supposed to do. The character is usually convivial.
Audio Note is a Japanese hi-fi brand founded in 1975 by Hiroyasu Kondo. The man has passed away, but there’s an amplifier named after him. Audio Note has three core values: ‘Truth’, ‘Goodness’ and ‘Beauty’. In other words: truth, goodness and beauty. The equipment is mainly built around Tubes and record players.
The sound of Audio Note is very open, airy and a touch fresh. At least, that’s our experience. We’ve heard Audio Note at a fair a couple of times. It’s not quite our taste.
The website of Audio Note
Audio Physic is a German speaker manufacturer that provides very solid products. The line starts with the Yara monitor; a small, somewhat bright speaker. The series continues via the Yara to the Spark, which already offers significantly more control. Furthermore, the brand offers: the Tempo, the Padua, the Virgo, the Avanti and the Kronos. As an extra the manufacturer also made an amplifier; the mono.
The brand distinguishes itself by producing very temperamental, rhythmic speakers.
AudioQuest is an American cable manufacturer. The brand offers a very wide range that stretches from a simple ?80, – interlink to an exotic ?10,000 speaker cable. The brand stands out because of the neutral sound colour and the use of the so-called DBS system in the interlinks and speaker cables.
Audio Research is an American Manufacturer of tube (pre)amplifiers, CD players, converters and phono preamplifiers. The company was founded in 1970 and is one of the oldest companies in America. It has quite a factory and can now also rely on technology from Wadia, McIntosh and Sonus Faber, among others, because it belongs to the same group (Fine Sounds).
Audio Research sounds smooth, clean and great.
A beautiful North American loudspeaker brand that focuses exclusively on quality stuff. Since 2003, the brand has also launched a special 5.1 set to meet the needs of the home cinema enthusiast. Avalon’s speakers stand out because of their sharp focus, deep stereo image and soft, round tone. Avalon starts with the Symbol and theoretically ends with the Sentinel, but this one is almost impossible to buy or place with its 1.75m and 520! kilograms.
The site of Avalon
Avi is a British brand that is actually not very well known in the hifi world.Yet it says on the site that they win one Award after another. In addition, Avi prides itself on making everything in their own country, and in a way this is also allowed, as the majority of the producers are handing out a lot and have started production in China. Whether it’s the conservative Quad or the progressive Arcam. Look on the back or on the printout and it says China. Avi doesn’t participate and there’s a lot to be said for that.
Avi has a complete line from speakers to CD players and pre- and power amplifiers. The products are solidly built and look sober, but stylish.
Ayon Audio is an Austrian hi-fi brand that focuses mainly on analog audio and tubes. Of course they also have a cd-player and a d/a-converter, but they also have tubes in there to polish off the digital ‘edge’.
They have a decent line-up of amplifiers (integrated, pre- and power amplifiers), but also a serious collection of CD players. Add a dac and a streamer and you’d think it was done. Wrong. There’s also a loudspeaker line. Big brand that stayed small in the Netherlands!
The site of Ayon Audio
Ayre (pronounced air?) is praised worldwide for its musical qualities. Loose, musical, swinging, captivating: all statements that make you very curious! Ayre only makes products in the top of the hi-fi / high-end market. In terms of price, it stands between Arcam and TagMclaren…a market that is just accessible to enthusiasts who have something left over for quality.
Ayre makes, as befits a real hi-fi percentage, another real CD player. In addition, some omnivores, stereo and multi-channel amplifiers, a phono amplifier and power amplifiers are available from this American company. And if you want a cable: that’s also possible…I tend to think of the Linn silver interconnect…a lot of money for little quality.