Lentus Audio is a Dutch producer of speakers. The men behind the brand, Theo Kraai and Koert Linde, develop their own cabinets and filters; real purists. The products look good and sound even better (to quote a cliché). The sound colour can be adjusted as desired, but is basically clean and neutral. The character of the speakers is extremely smooth, airy and ‘nice and easy’. Theo achieves this by being one of the few still working with broadband units. For example, the Solo has only one unit that effortlessly covers the entire frequency band (35 Hz to 22 KHz). However, if you prefer a two-way system in your living room: there is also the Duo. For other models: the website of Lentus Audio
Van de Leur Audio
Van de Leur is a Dutch brand that was founded in 2012. Behind the brand is Pim van de Leur. He works together with, among others, Menno van der Veen, who has been working with (tube) amplifiers for quite some time. Van de Leur’s products sound extremely neutral, supple and open. Imaging is stable and great. The 002 preamplifier is tube based. The 402 power amplifier is a Class-D design based on Hypex. At the moment only the 002 and 402 are in the assortment. For more information: the website of Van de Leur.
Scottish and highly developed? Yeah, it is. Linn has been working on hi-fi for years and that’s noticeable. Linn has a very wide range of particularly good products that fit together seamlessly. What’s more, everything can be very well combined and extended.
Unique to the brand is that they are highly developed in the field of switching power supplies. This allows Linn to offer more power with a small, more efficient transformer than with a regular power supply. Many brands use these power supplies, but few know how to do this properly, making the components sound thin and uninspired.
Linn creates both stereo and multi-channel audio. Part of the multi-channel series is the Unidisk: the first universal player that really does everything right. On top of the sources and amplifiers comes an impressive range of speakers and multiroom solutions and of course streaming.
Linn sounds clean, soft and virtually uncolored.
Click here to have a look at the linn-site
Maya Audio Design
A Dutch company that has both a professional and a consumer line (Maloob). The company first presented its stuff in 2003, but had been in business for some time. The Dutchman Ton van Vliet still produces all components by hand. This may take time, but the quality remains well guaranteed in this way and has the advantage that you, as a customer, have the possibility to add a ‘personal touch’ to the component.
What is striking about theMaloob line is the use of class-D amplification. At the same time, the fully analog 2/6-channel preamp is a striking approach to the new multichannel era.
href=”http://www.maloob.nl/”target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>The site of Maya Audio Design
Magnepan is a North American company founded by Jim Winey in 1969. Magnepan loudspeakers are magnetostatic loudspeakers, i.e. they work with a wafer-thin ‘cloth’ or mylar film with a ‘wire track’ stretched in front of a magnetic orbit. The voltage supplied by the amplifier attracts and repels the cloth. Due to the low weight of the mylar foil, a magnetostatic loudspeaker is many times faster than a regular cone loudspeaker. This makes a Magnepan sound particularly light and detailed. Uncolored I won’t say: the smaller Magnepans are quite ‘thin’ in the lowlands, but do tend to pump up the layer a bit. This is probably due to the large surface area of the canvas. This is difficult to mute for an amplifier.
Magnepan has an extensive range. Even a mini.
Magnepans have a beautiful large and deep stereo image that is particularly well focused. The middle and high range is virtually uncoloured and once you get used to it, it’s hard to go back to a ‘normal’ speaker. The layer in the smaller Magnepans is somewhat on the thin side.
The site of Magnepan
Once part of Philips to sell the higher series under a different, more luxurious name and to be financially stronger. Now the brand is part of Denon again and together they form D&M holding to keep their heads above water.
Marantz has always been able to sell nice stuff for a reasonable price. The regular line competes with, among others, Cambridge Audio, Micromega and, yes, Denon. And Marantz isn’t doing too badly at all, although the competition with Denon is a little strange.
In the top line, Marantz is working harder and harder. Models such as the MA-9s1 proving it.
The nice thing about the brand is that it has a character. Marantz stuff may not sound accurate, but it’s musical. Some people call it “creamy jitter. Fine: but it is musical creamy jitter for a very reasonable price.
Check www.marantz.com for the offer.
Mark Levinson is a high-end brand from America founded in 1972 by… Mark Levinson. The brand has launched several legendary products on the market. Think of the ML-3 and the No. 26 amplifiers. The brand now has a wide range of products. Mark Levinson is now part of Madrigal Labs, which in turn is in the hands of Harman Kardon. Levinson itself is no longer part of the company, but has breathed life into other brands, including Red Rose Music and Cello.
The website of Mark Levinson
Martin Logan is a North American manufacturer of electrostatic speakers. However, unlike Final, Martin Logan only uses hybrid technology for its loudspeakers. And that’s a good thing, because a full-range is far from uncoloured.
Martin Logan’s sound wonderfully airy, fast and uncolored in the middle and high. However, the low remains a bit loose from the middle and high, just like the Cadence speakers. This probably has to do with the implementation of woofer technology within the electrical state. Two techniques, two timbres.
Logans, like Finals, are pretty hard to get good sounding. This of course has to do with the transparency, but also with the fact that they radiate backwards. A good space and a ‘clean’ amplifier are requirements for a Martin Logan.
Martin Logan offers eight stereo speaker sets, two centers, the center-1 being the most beautiful center that I’ve ever heard. Finally, the brand has three subwoofers. Recently, the brand also has a complete home bioscoopset. For the particularly extensive range, please visit www.martinlogan.com.
You’re pretty sure of your case when you call a speaker brand Master. Still, Rick Paap does it. It brands put its first speaker in the market in 1996: The Master One. Now the series of speakers consists of a number of models: the Three, Audition, Contemporary C, Persuader, Slam, Perception and SEN. The Three is a bookshelf, the rest are actually all floorstanders, although Perception is a kind of bookshelf with a nice foot underneath.
Master sounds very loose, open, detailed and airy. A brand to be proud of in the Netherlands!
The site of Master
Menno van der Veen
Menno van der Veen is a brand of the eponymous founder. Van der Veen specialises in (tube) amplifiers and power supplies. The company is located in Zwolle. Van der Veen has a wide range of amplifiers and components for designers. Think of power supplies, shunts, bias regulators, coils, etc.
Menno van der Veen also gives masterclasses and organizes meetings for the Tube Society. Click here for more information.
Actually, McIntosh Laboratory. And not the American computer brand, which is also officially called McIntosh. The audio manufacturer started in 1949 in Binghamton, New York. Of course with tube amps. Meanwhile, the company has grown considerably and there are many amplifiers, CD players, record players, cables and even docking stations in the product list. Of course, as befits McIntosh: high-end.
McIntosh is American. And that’s audible. The sound is full, “bold,” big and powerful.
The website of McIntosh
Meridian is a British brand. And that becomes clear when you look at the history of the brand. The look of the brand has remained the same for a very long time, just like Linn’s, by the way.
The first step towards a more modern look was the G-series. But it’s gone now. Now there are the Sooloos multiroom systems, compact systems, personal audio and the Reference line.
It’s all about network-connected audio – via speaker link – and high-res audio. You’re right… that’s where the growth and future lie at the time of writing.
The sound of a Meridian product is light-footed, airy, slightly thin in the layer and particularly rich in detail.
The site of Meridian
Metrum Acoustics is a brand name of All Engineering. Metrum mainly produces (NOS) DA converters. They make their own NOS chips that are also available OEM. In addition to the range there is also a power amplifier, streamer and a loudspeaker. Of course, Metrum continues to develop.
Metrum Acoustics is incredibly neutral. There’s actually no sound. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
The site of Metrum Acoustics
Micromega is a French hi-fi brand that distinguishes itself by presenting a precise, light and detailed image. The components are nicely finished and of very good quality. The minimum series stands out because of the very competitive price and the delivered quality. The brand’s reference series is not very well known.
Micromega has three amplifiers: the A60, A80 and A120, where the number indicates the wattage in 4ohm, so they are not very powerful. Furthermore, the brand has a DVD player, a CD player and a tuner in this series.
The site of Micromega
Mirror Image Audio
Mirror Image Audio is a brand, developed by Rick Paap. The line now consists of two CD players, a preamplifier and both a tube final amplifier and mono transistor power amplifiers. We also see a buffer stage and two more phono preamplifiers. At the time of writing, a dac / streamer is in the making.
The brand stands out for its suppleness, air, neutrality and speed.
The site of Mirror Image Audio
MIT is one of the best-known cable manufacturers in the world. The technique used by MIT is very striking. MIT doesn’t believe in expensive materials, but in phase correction. She does this by means of circuits that are incorporated in the cables.
With four lines of interlinks and speaker cables, they have built up a wide range. There will also be various plugs, video interlinks, instrument cables and accessories. The series starts with the AVT line and ends with the ORACLE series. From the shotgun, I think the circuit really starts to work. The AVT line is a bit bright and rough.
The site of MIT
Monitor Audio is one of the largest manufacturers of speakers. They have numerous models that are clearly categorized. Think bronze, silver, gold, Studio, etc. There are entry-level and high-end models. Both small and large. In short: something for everyone.
Monitor Audio sounds spacious, clean, fast and tight. Older models could be a bit fierce in the high. The new ones don’t have that anymore.
The website of Monitor Audio
A somewhat odd Canadian brand that has little brand awareness has built up. Monsoon makes magnetostatic hybrid speakers. This means that a regular woofer is used and a magnetostatic mid and high.
It is striking that Monsoon uses a cast iron base for the stability and damping of the speaker. Luckily, this one is completely sound dead.
Monster mainly makes baking cabling, but also has some products for the power supply. The U.S. company is divided into: Monster Cable and Monster Power. Is monster really hi-fi? In my opinion, not really. The cabling I’ve heard has a clear color and not the refinement of for example MIT, Audioquest or Van Medevoort. I don’t dare say much about video cabling, I don’t watch enough films for that.
The site of Monster
Moon is from the Canadian Simaudio. Moon’s range is very wide and offers both the multichannel fanatic and the stereo fanatic everything his heart desires. Moon’s components don’t always sound natural, but it’s tasty, especially because of the strength of the Canadian brand. So Moon looks a little like Bow in some ways. Moon is round in sound, presents a precise and deep stereo image, but for some it can look a bit sloppy in the layer.
For moon products, click here
Musical Fidelity is a British brand that is hard at work with ‘class-A’ amplifiers. With the NuVista and TriVista products, the brand also moves in the high-end world that has many established names. Still, the brand comes along well.
The British Antony Michaelson, who founded the company in 1982, has since produced many products. The famous A1 has now acquired classic status. Now the Consumers choose a number of lines: the KW, the famous 1 kilowatt power amplifier! together with the preamplifier, the Tri-Vista line, the A308 line, the A3.2 line, the X series, the V series and a turntable. With the exception of the KW and the turntable series, each line offers a complete range; mitre and a source.
Musical Fidelity has a full, warm sound that is wonderfully complete.
The website of Musical Fidelity
Mytek Digital is an American d/a converter brand that manufactures both studio and consumer apparel. The fact that it has its roots in the studio world can be clearly seen in the designs and the fact that a lot of equipment is equipped with clock-syncs. Mytek only makes dacs and dac-related equipment. Think of sample rate converters and clock generators. The last two are particularly interesting for studios.
Mytek sounds pure, clean and honest. Although the designs are less charming, the equipment is technically very well developed. A brand for the purists!
The website of Mytek Digital