This is the eighth generation of KEF’s hugely successful Q Series traditional box hi fi loudspeakers and comes with a quantum leap in performance due in no small part to the fact that for this particular range, the design team has worked from a “clean sheet” base and incorporated technologies that were originally developed for the groundbreaking Concept Blade loudspeaker. At the heart of the all-new model KEF Q Series is the very latest Uni-Q driver array, which is derived directly from the Concept Blade product. This embraces a new, larger, high performance vented tweeter mounted at the acoustic centre of a new resonance damped, metal cone LF/ MF Driver and gives the new range the sonic capability of much more expensive speakers. Like the Uni-Q array, the new Q Series advanced bass driver is a tour de force in its own right. A diecast aluminium chassis rigidly locates the high efficiency vented magnet assembly to prevent unwanted resonance, and the large (50mm) voice coil ensures impressive power handling and output levels.

But do these speakers really deliver? The short answer: yes. They have an extraordinary right-there live sound that really cuts through – you can hear that hi-hat, the ping on the ride and there’s a real tone to the bass. With exceptional separation, the Q100s seem to be balanced more towards the treble and mid-range, which makes them great for vocals. Putting on a couple of old Chess vinyl albums, the only thing missing was the dim lights and the thick smoke.

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British high fidelity audio company Naim has recently launched the UnitiSystem, which through wireless connection allows the listener to enjoy high quality multiple music sources including CD, digital audio streams, FM/DAB/Internet radio, MP3/ipod, and USB memory sticks in any room in the house. With the UnitiServe at its heart serving the wireless capable UnitiPlayers (NaimUniti and UnitiQute), the UnitiSystem is in Naim’s own words “perfect for the home owner who desires the highest quality in multi-room audio, but doesn’t want to refit their home with the endless network cabling required to accomodate a custominstalled solution”.

Streaming is central to the UnitiSystem, with the Uniti audio players being able to stream from any UPnP enabled device on the network, such as a PC, laptop or network attached storage drive. In addition, an onboard DAC means that they will seamlessly interface with local, external digital audio sources including DVD players, TV’s, Sky boxes and games consoles, to enhance ‘the total home entertainment experience’. As Naim says: “Every element of the UnitiSystem offers simple, easy to use interfaces”.

We particularly liked the sound of the UnitiQute, a compact and discrete little number that can either be controlled by a remote handset or its touch sensitive front panel logo. Indeed, you can even control the UnitiQute from a dedicated iPhone or iPod. And if you already have a home network and wireless router setup, it’s just a matter of plugging in the UnitiSystem and adding the devices to the network – where they will automatically find one another – and you’re ready to play. For more go to

As the competition hots up, it seems design departments at many of the major headphone manufacturers have almost by necessity gone into creative overdrive. First there were memory foam ear pads that offered the wearer a way of personalising their cans with the added advantage of 80 per cent plus noise reduction. Now with an eye to the ‘compact’ market JVC have introduced two new fully foldable models that incorporate all the very latest design features while at the same time raising the bar in sound quality and clarity.

 The cans of both the NC120 and the S600-B fold back into the headband using a cleverly designed hinge/swivel system which means that they can easily be stashed inside a jacket pocket, and in the case of the NC120, an attractive leatherette pouch. With no loose cabling to worry about either the NC120, is equipped with a nifty retractable cable that locks into a purpose-built port to the side of the left can, with a returning button that is activated by a lug on the reverse of the connector head. The S600-B by contrast unusually carries two cables – one to the left and one to the right can. This we can only presume has something to do with the use of carbon compound diaphragms, clearly an inspired move, as the result is a very impressive “all around” sound.

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If packaging alone won prizes, you would have expected these over-theear headphones to have won a gong or two. Designed and developed in Hollywood, the angular box comes with a faux snakeskin handle and similarly styled press-studded clasp and contains, in padded security, a hardshell shaped zippered case that holds not just the extraordinarily lightweight glitzy metal headphones, but also a universal luxury fabric audio Kevlar-reinforced cable with a quarter-inch adapter and a remote fabric audio cable featuring a three-button remote with inline mike/ volume and control features for the latest iPhone, iPod, iPad and MacBook. Phew! Both neatly strapped in with strips of black elastic.

The brainchild of V-Moda’s chief executive officer Val Kolton, the Crossfade LP is the outcome of four years’ collaboration with various musicians, producers and DJs to find headphones that would deliver the ultimate in sound quality. The core of the system is the 50mm dualdiaphragm high definition drivers which pump out a massive sound without the need for batteries. It all seems to have worked a treat, with crystal clear treble, plenty of body in the mid-range and a deep, rich, vibrant bass that is further enhanced by the memory foam pads that all but eliminate any ambient noise. Make no mistake, these are quality cans.

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Pure-Evoke-3-RadioWe don’t usually include radios and Hi-Fi in this column, but we were so impressed with this unit, that we thought it only right that you should know about it (if you don’t already!). If you’re an avid airwaves listener, then the Evoke 3 has to be the answer to each and every one of your prayers. It is quite simply the most advanced DAB radio in the world, combining the very latest technological innovation with what is widely considered to be one of the leading sound delivery systems in it’s class – and it’s an all British design!

This extraordinary radio not only allows you to view electronic programme guide listings for seven days, all easily accessible via the intuitive menu system and six line graphical display; but also, having chosen the programmes you like, you can then set multiple record times and the unit will record over fifteen hours of radio to an SD memory card. Being interrupted while you’re listening isn’t a problem, the Evoke 3 allows you to pause and rewind live radio with its state of the art ‘ReVu’ feature. As if this wasn’t enough, the unit has up to twenty timer functions to wake up to and comes with an auxiliary input so that you can listen to an iPod, mini-disc player, or CD player through its superb speakers. The Evoke 3 is also part of Pure’s ‘EcoPlus’ range, so you’ll be glad to know that it uses just a fifth of the standby power of other similar units. It is truly remarkable. (DG) For more go to.

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