Bang & Olufsen
B&O – Bang & Olufsen – is a well-known Danish design brand of audio. The products look very tight, which will appeal to a large group. We won’t say that B&O sounds bad – it doesn’t – but the focus is undoubtedly more on the design than on the sound quality. Although there are products among them that sound good. Also for the price.
Since 2012 B&O has had a sub-brand: B&O Play of Beoplay. This brand is specifically aimed at a younger target group. A group working on Airplay and streaming.
Belkin is not a typical HiFi brand, but does venture into this market with some products. For example, they have a very nice line of cables – the Pure AV series – and they also build a mains filter that is definitely worth listening to.
The site of Belkin
A Danish hi-fi / high-end brand set up in 1994 by Bo Christensen. (Perhaps known from Primare?) The brand focuses on both design and minimalism. This is reflected in the low use of active components. For example, the ZZ-1 amplifier has only seven active parts in the circuit. This is very little, even for high-end manufacturers.
Bow sounds round, full and complete, but the amps and the new upsampling CD player are a bit slow and not quite natural. Apparently Bow is more about the total picture rather than the pure, unadulterated reproduction of reality.
The Bow site
B&W – Bowers & Wilkins
Bowers and Wilkins… A major British brand that has been building loudspeakers since World War II. The two showpieces are clearly the at least impressive looking Nautilus and the 800D, where the D stands for a diamond tweeter.
B&W has a very wide range that runs from small, affordable book halves to the 50,000 euro Nautilus floorstander. This range is divided into 5 real series (300, 600, 700, 800 and prestige) and single design, subwoofer and custom series. The 600 Series must be one of the best-selling speakers in the world, because you can see them popping up everywhere.
B&W sounds full and powerful. Of course it’s not, but it’s clearly a timbre that people like.
Cheap, fun and complete: Brik is hi-fi on a budget, but interesting. Brik has everything to make a nice set: an amplifier, dac, streamer, bluetooth receiver separate power supply and even an equalizer. Brik costs about 200 euros per component and is therefore very friendly to the wallet.
Canadian brand that specializes in stowaways. They have a wide range that consists of integrated amplifiers, pre-, end, phono and zone amplifiers. Bryston is known for the almost inexhaustible power of his power amplifiers. Also, the separate power supplies and the (convenient) integrated d/a converters of the preamplifiers are characteristic for this Canadian brand.
Bryston has a very favourable price/quality ratio. It brand sounds full, rhythmic and energetic.
Cabasse is a French loudspeaker manufacturer – founded in 1950 by Georges Cabasse – who loves round shapes. The speakers are almost all individually designed and constructed around round speaker enclosures. Whether or not on a pole, stand or on the wall with a bracket. By the way, Cabasse also has quite traditional loudspeakers in its range and even in-wall and in-ceiling models.
Incidentally, it is not justified to assume that the Cabasse design models do not sound good. They do, although they are relatively pricey.
Cadence is a young Indian brand that has focused on the production of hybrid speakers. The distinguished design is immediately noticeable by the strange ‘saucer’ on the speaker cabinet. The combination of a regular woofer with an electrostatic mid/high unit results in a transparent speaker with a nice airy sound image. Still, the low remains a bit loose from the middle and high. Cadence has six loudspeakers, four of which have the hybrid system.
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The site of Cadence
Cambridge Audio has a very clear philosophy: delivering solid products for little money. They manage this very nicely, but it is very important to put the brand in perspective when listening to it; Cambridge is at the bottom of the hi-fi ladder and performs accordingly. But if you look at the price…
After the introduction of the Azur series, the brand is doing very well. Especially the very competitively priced home cinema products compete well, as they look well cared for and perform well.
Canton is a German loudspeaker manufacturer. The trademark operates both in the affordable regions and in the reference regions. Canton therefore has a very wide range that extends from simple and extreme floorstanders to book halves, docking stations, sound bars and active models.
Cec is a Japanese hi-fi / high-end brand. The company makes a complete line of components; from amplifiers to CD players / drives and dac’s. Personally, I think the whole thing looks pretty prodigal, but yeah…that’s still a matter of taste. It’s all good quality, but not really special.
CH Precision is a Swiss High End brand that not only builds amplifiers, but also streamers (modules), dacs and power supplies. The brand operates at the top of the market. And of course the prices show that too. Fact is, it sounds insanely good.
Classé is a Canadian brand that focuses on the mid and high end hi-fi. The well-built pre- and power amplifiers belong in the upper segment of the audio world. In addition to amplifiers, the brand supplies surround processors.
Classé power amplifiers are particularly suitable for difficult loudspeakers because of the gigantic, stabilized power supplies.
The Classé range is extensive: The Delta range is intended for people who are searching in the high-end segment. There are both stereo and multi-channel solutions within the Delta series. In addition, Classé offers another (newer) Sigma series. A mid-range series. The Sigma line focuses on multi-channel.
Classé sounds – anno 2016 – a bit awkward compared to the competition. There’s a lot of control, but it can be looser and more refined.
This German turntable brand – founded in 1979 – has a penchant for aluminium, titanium and perspex. It’s really beautiful stuff leaving the factory in Germany. Both optically and sound-wise… and the great thing is: the choice is huge!
A very distinctive brand that distinguishes itself both by its appearance and by its sound characteristics. For example, the brand uses magnesium instead of metal for its cabinets. And that’s just one of the many differences.
The brand is technologically advanced and progressive. Partly because of this, the amplifiers of the brand sound very clean and detailed. This also applies to the DVD and CD players.
No, it is not the famous artist, although these Danish audiophiles can also be called artists, because they make beautiful speakers. Dali stands for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries. A company that started in Denmark in 1983.
The Danes have built up a wide range of beautiful loudspeakers. From the smallest book halves to very large floor-standing types. There’s something for everyone.
Dali’s slogan is: in admiration of music. Now that sounds very sweet, but with Dali this is not an empty statement. A lot is still made and assembled by hand at Dali. And that’s just good to hear!
dCS is a British studio brand by Origine, but also makes beautiful (SA)CD players for private individuals. At least, for individuals who are engaged in absolute high-end. But if you’ve heard a dCS, you don’t want it any other way. There are simply no better CD / SAC players than dCS. The players are incredibly precise, detailed, mild, airy, you name it. You just don’t feel like you’re listening to a picture anymore. And that’s the essence of high-end.
dCS has two transport models: the Verdi and the Verdi La Scala, two converters: Delius and the Elgar Plus, an upsampler: Purcell, and a master clock: the Verona. Recently the P8i has been introduced…a cd / sacd player with dsd-up-sampler and a preamplifier: again a very innovative product!
A beautiful Danish brand that is characterized by the different amplifier design that provides 0% negative feedback. This technique goes through life as DMCD: Dense Mass Current Distribution. A big advantage of this technique is that the amplifier looks nice and airy and it also provides an enormous bandwidth (up to 400 kHz.) A disadvantage is that the Densens have a lot of trouble with annoying speakers. After all, there is a lower damping factor.
Besides the amplifiers, Densen also supplies some CD players and a tuner. The CD players are equipped with a modified Sony drive, which is equipped with a special glass lens. This ensures better performance. In addition, Densen has been allowed to write the so-called plus-bit technology to his name.
Warmth, airiness, mildness and musicality are characteristics that belong to Densen.
A brand that has thrown itself completely on the multi-channel plane. And you can clearly see that in the rather weak stereo line. Denon is a brand that has built up a lot of credit in the past. And in a way, they still deserve it. There are beautiful AV products. Especially the higher line. And sommigestereo products in the higher segment. But not everything is equally good.
Denon sounds full, powerful and tends to be rich in detail.
Diapason is an Italian loudspeaker manufacturer that still delivers real craftsmanship. The beautiful speakers are very easy to drive, making smaller, more precise amplifiers possible. A Unison S8 with an Adamantes III is known as a divine combination.
Diapason delivers four series: Reference, Classic, Ellisse and video. Thirteen loudspeakers are included in these series. The Adamantes LE is a limited version.
Beautiful focus and a silky smooth midrange are characteristics of Diapason Speakers.
The site of Diapason
Dion Audio is Dutch hi-fi brand, founded by Miquel Blue. Dion Audio has pre-, final and integrated amplifiers in the product range. Also some speakers and cables. Miquel likes to combine pipes with class-d. That gives a round, but fast display. The sound of Dion Audio is therefore friendly, fast with a hint of warmth. The loudspeakers connect to this.
The site of Dion Audio
Van Duppen Design
Nederlands Luidspreker brand that focuses exclusively on the high-end market. Dennis van Duppen has been working on the construction of design speakers since 2000 and knows how to put them together in Venlo. The loudspeakers, prices from about ?5000 per set for the Breeze, are of very high quality. Both in sound and finish. Van Duppen sounds up-front, clear, dynamic and rich in detail. The low is tight and the middle and high are very transparent.
The site of Van Duppen