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22 reviews written by Manta

Tannoy Revolution DC4T

By: Manta
"Damage way, way too easily"
2 out of 5 5th August 2014
Tannoy's DC4-T are probably aimed at the home cinema market. As mentioned before the blend seamlessly with the rest of the DC4 range but as a stand alone product I can't see any point to them. The fact that they are floorstanding has very little impact on bass enhancement due to their compact size which means that music can sound a little thin at times. They do a good job with spoken word CDs or talk radio but then again so do the DC4's (and many other "bookshelf" speakers).

One major concern is the build material. If it is solid wood then it behaves like laminated chipboard. The slightest knock will result in a dent or bashed corner. I don't think I've ever seen a used pair without some damage to the cabinets. The crazy thing is that the original pairs didn't even come with a plinth so, with a footprint of only 15cm x 16cm, placing them was like stacking dominoes on gelatin -very difficult to do and sooner or later they will fall over! Granted, the addition of the plinth made a huge difference to stability but even with this (and spikes) trying to get them to stand true vertical on carpet was a major achievement.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Roksan Caspian M2 Balanced CD Player

By: Manta
"Yes, it is as good as everyone says"
5 out of 5 24th May 2014
Well, where to start? This is the best CD player I have ever owned without doubt.

It is just so incredibly musical. I know that sounds a bit of an odd thing to say but you do actually forget that you are listening to a CD. It is so capable, detailed and smooth that you become immersed and captivated by the sound produced. Granted, my set-up isn't exactly budget (Pre/Power Amp combo and Tannoy Precision 6.4 speakers) but I have had numerous CD players before, even some pretty high end stuff, but this tops the poll by far.

My main concern before purchasing it was of course the hefty price tag of 1800. It took a lot consideration on my part to muster up the courage to lay out that sort of money, on a CD player of all things, but if you're reading this you'll probably know why we're driven to pursue our passion. OK, so I could have bought one second hand and saved a few pounds but the used price was still around 1000 and even then do you know what you're actually getting? Best to go that extra mile I think and purchase brand new with a manufacturers 5 year warranty and no uncertainties of any previous unknown history on a used one.

I don't use the balanced outputs, just the regular RCA interconnects. The CD/Tannoy combination works incredibly well together producing a pure yet extremely natural sound that often catches you unaware, sometimes creating a 3D like sound-scape that plays tricks with your senses. I have paused the playback on a number of occasions only to find that whatever I thought was coming from outside or another room was actually in the recording. The dynamics are also stunning. Even at low volume levels sub bass notes rumble and the high frequencies and mid-range complete the spectrum with a warm room filling sound that is still full of detail and clarity. I read somewhere that it even does a decent job of replaying poorly produced CDs and I can confirm this. Get the thinnest sounding CD in your collection and you'll think that it's been remastered. OK, so it's not exactly going to be drum 'n' bass but it won't sound like a transistor radio either. Another bonus that I've discovered is that it copes really well with scratched or scuffed CDs. I have CDs that simply won't play on other machines but the Roksan has no problem with them so I'm happy as I no longer have to buy replacements.

I know that people are saying that the CD is dead and that might be the case for the majority but vinyl was dead a few years ago too. I don't think that the cassette will be making a comeback any time soon but if you are looking for one last blast at CD then you have to do it with style and make this the player to do it with.

I used to 'like' CD but now thanks to this player I 'love' CD and am looking forward to many more years with the digital disc.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Tannoy Precision 6.4

By: Manta
"Truly, truly magical"
5 out of 5 13th March 2013
Beautifully detailed, dynamic and accurate with power, pace and poise. The specialness of the sound produced is huge, resulting in an almost live performance feel with sound appearing to come form all directions. At the right volume vocalist and acoustic guitars sound like they are actually in the room it's so realistic. The title Precision is definitely apt for these speakers as they just handle absolutely anything with shear class. Throw any recording at them and they untangle it and deliver it back to you in sonic layers.

An upgrade of my speakers was well overdue but I was a little apprehensive about buying these due to the price tag so a couple of trips to my nearest stockist (70 miles away - they're not easy to find) to do some demos was a definite must. Normally, when you demo equipment in store it seems to sound much better than it does when you get it home but these were completely the opposite. They were mind blowing in the store but they sounded even better at home. As soon as I heard them I knew that they were something special and all of those doubts simply disappeared.

I would not hesitate to recommend these, no matter what your musical taste is. I feel extremely lucky to be in a position to be able to own a pair of these Precision 6.4's and the months of hard work saving for them has been truly rewarded.
30 people found this review helpful.
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Bowers & Wilkins Solid Team

Bowers & Wilkins Solid Team

By: Manta
"Easy to listen too, natural midrange"
5 out of 5 15th November 2012
These are fairly small speakers so don't expect any substantial bass response but what they do excel at is their midrange.

The sound is extremely natural, open and airy with no hint of restraint or compression at all. Dialogue is warm, music has a wide sound stage and the balance is perfect. You could listen to background music or the radio on these all day and never find them tiring or annoying, they blend in very well.

Add a subwoofer and they will bring to life any home cinema experience and their relatively small size makes them very easy to site anywhere in a room. They originally came packaged with wall brackets so if you're buying a use pair ask the seller if the brackets are included.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Shanling CD-T100

Shanling CD-T100

By: Manta
"Fantastic!"
5 out of 5 29th February 2012
The tube (valve) output stage is silky smooth but still full of energy and life. The player also benefits from a digital output as well as the tube output (and coax out). There is also a separate tube fed headphone socket and built-in volume control which allows you do connect the player directly to a power amp for minimal signal interference (if that's your thing) plus an upsampling mode to 24bit/96KHz and HDCD capability.

It does take some time to warm up, about 30 minutes or so before it really starts to settle down but the end result is well worth the wait. It has one of the most natural sounds that I have heard in a CD player, the closest sound to vinyl that I have found. The sound is full and weighty, the midrange breathes easily and the top end is crisp and clear but never annoying. You could quite easily listen to this player for hours on end and it's never get tired of listen to.

The player is top loading (manual) and the arm is weighted down with a thick glass disc for stability. Considering that the CD is visible the unit is surprisingly quiet when the disc is spinning. The brushed aluminium and gold finish plus the blue glow from the CD arm and the warm orange glow of the tubes is something special. You just know that every inch of this player is top quality and highly engineered.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Shanling CD-T80

Shanling CD-T80

By: Manta
"Smooth tube CD player"
5 out of 5 25th January 2012
The CD-T80 is built like an ATM. Weighing in at 10Kg with flush metal buttons and reinforced power and play buttons this is one seriously tough machine. Even the remote is metal and weighs 250g and it's battery panel is screwed on at the bottom.

The output stage runs through two vacuum tubes inside which makes a huge difference compared regular digital player. It makes the playback much smoother and not as tiring to listen to over long periods. The idea is to take the dryness or harshness out of the music and lean more towards the vinyl sound that so many people strive to accomplish in a CD player. The bass weight is strong, the midrange is fuller and vocals are naturally warm but also crystal clear. It also has the added advantage of an up-sampling mode to 24bit/96KHz. Engaging this tightens the bass and adds a little more sparkle to the top end.

The display is dot matrix blue but is fairly basic. I would have liked to see an eject button on the remote and maybe the ability to toggle the track/album length and times on the display but then again I guess the price you pay is for the engineering and technology not for gadgets and gizmo's.

That said, this is a great player and well worth the money.
16 people found this review helpful.
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Yamaha RX-V667

Yamaha RX-V667

By: Manta
"Enhances your home cinema experience"
5 out of 5 25th March 2011
I had a Sony 5.1 amp but was struggling with balancing the sound then someone recommended that I try the RX-V667. This is a 7.2 amp (7 speaker and 2 subwoofer connections) which is more than I needed but that wasn't a problem.

Setting up was easy. Just plug in the microphone and start the auto calibration. It detects how many speakers you have and automatically down mixes the unused channels into the active ones. After this was done I hardly made any changes to the settings manually as the sound was very well balanced. If you use a HDMI 1.4 cable you can dispense with any additional optical cables for audio as the signal is carried by the HDMI cable. The only thing you have to do is enable HDMI on standby otherwise you lose the picture and sound from your source if you tune the amp off.

The sound is crystal clear, very easy to listen to and it never gets tiring or annoying. The soundstage is wide open and detailed and the positioning is precise. It is very controlled without being lack lustre. Some amps just throw the sound at you from all the speakers but the RX-V667 pinpoints the audio and immerses you in the film, leaving you wanting more.

Considering it is classed as a mid range amplifier it doesn't fall short on options. As well as the basics there are also adjustments for delay times, speaker impedance, lip sync, even room size and that's only the start.

A true 5 star performer.
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REL Q150E

REL Q150E

By: Manta
"Compact sub the packs a punch"
5 out of 5 26th February 2011
Only slightly larger than the REL Quake, the Q150E is a much better performer. I've used it for home cinema and it does an exceptional job. I am now using it alongside my Hi-Fi speakers and it really opens up the music.

Drums have more kick, bass lines are enhanced but the midrange and treble are not influenced by the sub's presence resulting in seamless integration and natural sound. The trick is not to crank the cut-off too high and adjust the volume so the warmth of the bass just appears. This way everything is kept under control and avoids boomy bass and muddy mid-ranges. A perfect partner for bookshelf speakers.

My ratings: Home Cinema - 5, Hi-Fi - 5. A great all-rounder.
18 people found this review helpful.
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REL Strata III

By: Manta
"Stunning!"
5 out of 5 22nd February 2011
I've just upgraded from the REL Q150E and I know that these are two completely different subs but the difference is unbelievable.

The Strata III is paired up with 5 Bowers & Wilkins M-1s. With the Q150E, to get a decent bass response (e.g. warmth in the sound and high impact bass for action scenes) it did have a tendency to make the main speakers sound cloudy and a little muffled at times. To avoid this you have to back off the levels but then you lost the impact. The Strata, on the other hand, is unbelievably controlled and adds zero colouration to the overall sound dynamics. Infact, at times you actually forget that it's on at all.

The Strata blends seamlessly with the main speakers, adding depth and weight to music and dialogue without compromising the overall quality. With action scenes it really come in to it's own. One minute all is calm and the next the room is shaking but all of this is incredibly controlled. The Strata is very quick and precise. There is no boominess to the sound that it produces. You can feel the lower frequencies but they do not linger, they're instant and direct unlike other subs that seem to try and overcompensate their weaknesses.

I do have one disagreement though and that is in the way that the manual suggests that yo set it up. It states "Phase Orientation: Keep in mind; the right phase is whichever position is the loudest or fullest." To achieve this the phase was set to '2 - LFE' but I found that setting it to 2 actually flooded the sound and by the time you turn the levels down to stop this it completely lost it's impact. Leaving the phase set to '1 - Line' didn't give the fullest sound on set-up but is much better for home cinema. You can adjust the levels back up again and not lose any impact or detail but maintain the balance of the sound.

Final thoughts - Fantastic sub that makes a huge difference to your viewing experience. If you've got room for one or a corner that you can hide it in you definitely won't regret it.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Bowers & Wilkins 685

Bowers & Wilkins 685

By: Manta
"Outstanding!"
5 out of 5 23rd December 2010
I have a problem. I purchased these speakers and moved my Hi-Fi in to the office so I could have some music on while I was working - Bad Move! I soon discovered that this wasn't the best thing to do. Why? Because once you start to listen to these speakers, no, correction, the sound reproduced by these speakers, you won't get anything done.

There are absolutely captivating. They force you to stop whatever you're doing and just listen. In fact it's as if they aren't even there. The sound just hangs in the air and drags you in to the recording.

The treble is like nothing I've ever listened to before. Controlled, smooth, yet packed with every tiny detail and clarity. Vocals are clear and precise. On quieter tracks you can even hear the vocalist breathing in for the next line. And the bass, where does that come from? I've had floorstanders that didn't produce the range that these 685s do. It's not overbearing but it certainly isn't thin. The balance is perfect.

I'm now rediscovering my CD collection. I just wished I'd have found these earlier. 5 stars? More like 10!
8 people found this review helpful.
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Marantz CD-63

Marantz CD-63

By: Manta
"Too bright"
2 out of 5 3rd April 2010
I bought this CD player on the strength of some 5 star reviews that it received but after listening to it and giving it a fair chance I did end up returning it to the shop.

I found the sound very harsh and over bright. It was uncomfortable to listen to for long periods of time and poorly produced CDs were a definite no no. I tried partnering the player with different combinations of amps and speakers but to no avail. The sound just did not improve and it went back in its box. Obviously this type of sound reproduction will suit someone but to me it wasn't a natural warm or balanced sound, just a sharp overbearing piercing sound that I could not listen to.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Marantz PM4000 pop

Marantz PM4000

By: Manta
"Turn it up and it will cut out"
3 out of 5 22nd March 2010
Nice little amplifier with a great sound but is notorious for its cut-out problem. If you crank up the volume the mute light flashes and the sound cuts out.

If you have this problem there is an easy DIY fix (link at the bottom). If you don't feel competent enough to remove the lid than you'll have to take it to a Hi-Fi repairer to get it fixed. Take a look at the attachment in the following link which explains what you need to do. It will also give you some idea if what the repairer is charging you for if you take that option.

Thanks to admin for hosting this file. Marantz PM4000 PDF File
51 people found this review helpful.
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Sony TC-K570

Sony TC-K570

By: Manta
"Mid price deck with plenty of features"
5 out of 5 25th January 2010
This is an excellent cassette deck. I paid 180.00 back in 1992 and it's still going strong.

It has some great features which include a motorized open/close cassette door, a back light which makes it very easy to see the tape (much better than the vivid orange sticker on some cheaper players) and the level meters are of the bright dot matrix type not the usual string of green, amber and red LEDs.

Other features include Dolby B and C noise reduction, HX-Pro, Bias adjustment, MPX filter and an infra-red port which gives you the ability to operate it with a Sony Hi-Fi remote. Recording and playback quality is exceptional and it delivers a full, warm, clear sound from most decent recordings. If you're looking for a used cassette deck this one will be well worth tracking down.
18 people found this review helpful.
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Rotel RT-955

Rotel RT-955

By: Manta
"Top class tuner"
5 out of 5 21st October 2009
This is an excellent tuner. It's very rare that you find one of these for sale which isn't surprising. Once you own one of these there's absolutely no reason to change it (unless you want DAB of course).

This was one of the last 95 series tuners from Rotel and is probably the best model that they ever produced in that range. It has full RDS EON (and RDBS for USA) functions and features a dot matrix LED display with scrolling text. The Display button cycles through frequency, channel name, current time, program type and RDS data (if the station is broadcasting it) such as the song title, artist, next song coming up, etc.

There are 2 FM antenna inputs on the back allowing you to switch between antennas A and B. There are also the usual PTY, TA, TP, Antenna Attenuator, Mono and Memory buttons plus a manual tuning dial rather than the ugly Up/Down buttons on most tuners. The tuner also comes with a remote control and on the back there is a serial port which allows you to operate the unit from a PC (software no included) but I doubt that this will ever be used.

If you're in the market for a new tuner and aren't too bothered about DAB I would seriously consider trying to get hold of one of these. It's probably the last tuner you'll ever buy. ;-)
10 people found this review helpful.
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Tannoy 637 Profile pop

Tannoy 637 Profile

By: Manta
"An absoulte joy to own"
5 out of 5 20th July 2009
Powerful, controlled, energetic, enthralling, engaging, I just know at some point I will have to turn the Hi-Fi off and either go to work or sleep but it's very difficult to tear yourself away from these speakers.

The unusual design of the tweeter being mounted in the middle of the drive unit makes the music blend perfectly and the bass is powerful but never out of control. The top end is crisp and revealing, never harsh or compressed and although they don't produced the warmest sound they certainly aren't over bright or weak in the bass section as the bass can be felt as well as heard. The sound stage is truly immense and everything is beautifully controlled without lacking any impact. Replay your music collection and no matter how well you know the tracks I can guarantee that you will hear things in the recording that you haven't heard before. Once you sit and listen to the sound and detail that these speakers reproduce it's very hard to stop.

I heard a lot of good things about these speakers before buying them but it's not until you actually get them home and plug them in to your kit that you realize just what an amazing sound, no, experience they can deliver. An absolute joy to own.
99 people found this review helpful.
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Mission 753 Freedom

Mission 753 Freedom

By: Manta
"Smoother sounding 753's"
5 out of 5 15th July 2009
The "Freedom" version of the classic Mission 753. Between the two this is my preference. I have owned both sets and the freedoms have a much smoother sounding top end which produces a more natural and relaxing listen. Don't let this put you off though, these speakers are made to envelope you in the music and can provide a stunning performance when partnered with the right equipment.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Rotel RC-970BX

Rotel RC-970BX

By: Manta
"Ideal partner for the RB-970BX Power Amp"
5 out of 5 7th July 2009
Well matched with the RB-970BX Power Amp. It has plenty of inputs for CD, tuner, etc. but it does lack a phono input for a turntable.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Rotel RB-970BX MKII

By: Manta
"One sounds great. Two sounds even better."
5 out of 5 7th July 2009
If you're looking for something with a bit of muscle that can stay totally in control of the music then this is it. The RB-970BX will easily drive the most power hungry speakers with effortless ease. I would recommend buying two if you can and running them in Bridged Mono mode (1 amp for the left channel and 1 amp for the right channel). Doing this brings everything to life. The detail and sound stage opens right out and immerses you in the recording.

It's not about volume (although 180 Watts in Bridged Mono will make your ears bleed), it's about quality, clarity and control. One on its own sounds great but two sounds even better so go that extra mile and bridge for the best results.
19 people found this review helpful.
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Teac VRDS-7

Teac VRDS-7

By: Manta
"Huge player, huge sound"
5 out of 5 6th July 2009
I have owned one of these since 1994 and still use it today as my main player. I have auditioned other players in the past and nothing in its price range compares. Admittedly it is getting old now and I am having a few problems with the pickup but replacing the laser recently has helped significantly and letting it warm up also benefits playback.

The sound stage is wide and dynamic but never out of control and it captures all aspects of the recording and delivers it with ease.

The best 650 (1994) that I've ever spent on Hi-Fi gear. Will be a sad day when it stops working.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Bowers & Wilkins M-1

Bowers & Wilkins M-1

By: Manta
"High qulity build, looks and sound"
5 out of 5 6th July 2009
If you think that home cinema needs large speakers and a lot of space then think again. These speakers from B&W are total quality. The build is solid, no plastic here, and the design is well thought out with all fixing and mounting issues addressed in a complete package.

The wiring for the speakers connects in the base so the are no ugly terminals on the back. The box also contains a wall mounting bracket so all you do is remove the chrome foot and slot it in to the wall bracket which also contains the wiring terminals. The chrome stand rotates through 360 degrees which allows you to tilt one speaker through 90 degrees to act as a centre in home cinema set up. This way you have the same matched sound throughout the system.

These can be bought separately or as a package with a B&W subwoofer. I use these with a REL Q150E and the crossover and integration is seamless.

The sound from the speakers is warm and clear, never harsh or overbearing. From the loudest action movie to the more subtle ambient soundtracks these speakers hold their own and take full control over whatever is being played. They never loose direction and can pick up on the slightest noise in the background in the quieter scenes. Voices are warm and clear and never get swamped by whatever else is happening.

I replayed some movies recently and these speakers make you realize what you've been missing. They make movie watching a total pleasure and a completely new experience.

Taking in to account build quality, sound quality, appearance, flexibility and value for money these B&W M-1s are hard to beat and deserve a much higher review rating than is possible.

Highly Recommended!
5 people found this review helpful.
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Mission 753

Mission 753

By: Manta
"Don't judge a book by its cover"
4 out of 5 6th July 2009
These speakers look amazing and the build quality is excellent. The top 2 drivers do all the work, the bottom 2 are passive bass units.

In my experience I found these speakers to sound a little "boxy". They don't breathe natural tones and sound a little restrained in the mid range. Also, because the drive units are only fairly small (only 130mm diameter) they can't really produce the gut thumping bass that you might expect.

These speakers need some real muscle to drive them correctly. Don't go sticking a 40W integrated amp behind them for example because they are very power hungry and you won't hear them at their best. With an impedance of 6 Ohms and sensitivity of 90dB you'll need something a little stronger to make these speakers sing.

One final note. If you are looking to buy some of these I would strongly recommend the 753f (Freedom) version. This upgrade replaces the metal tweeter with a nylon one which produces a much smoother, less harsh sound and makes for a more relaxed and enjoyable listen.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Sony STR-DG520

By: Manta
"Good value"
5 out of 5 6th July 2009
5 x 100 Watts Dolby Digital, DTS, etc.

Hard to believe that this great sounding amp can be picked up new for under 200. Would definitely recommend it if you are on a budget.
1 person found this review helpful.
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