Roksan are another great British hi-fi brand who have earned themselves a good reputation by creating products that combine quality and value. Monitor Audio recently acquired Roksan and so brought together two hi-fi brands that, on paper, look to have a good synergy. Henley Designs distribute Roksan products in the UK.
Having previously owned a Roksan Caspian amplifier (which I loved), I looked forward to the Roksan room. Read on for the Dynamic Headroom report from the Sound & Vision Show 2017 in Bristol.
Roksan Blak amplifier & CD player
The Blak series sits at the top of the pile from Roksan. Shown above, you have the Blak integrated amplifier and Blak CD player. Both are fairly large and chunky units – one look and you know it is a serious bit of hi-fi kit. My money would be on the Blak if it ever got into a fight.
The Blak integrated amplifier delivers 150W into 8 ohms and features apt-X Bluetooth and a USB input. A moving magnet phono input and 4 other analogue inputs are provided, one of which is balanced XLR. Finally there is a high quality headphone output.
The matching Blak CD player represents the very best in technology for the CD format. An isolated drive mechanism suppresses vibration internally while a high quality DAC takes care of the conversion process. Analogue outputs come as both balanced RCA and unbalanced XLR. Finally there are three digital outputs should you want to hook up a better DAC.
The Blak amplifier and player both feature a large LED display which looks really good in use – you will have no problem reading it from the other size of the room! Sound quality is typical Roksan but more so – think plenty of power, great bass performance and a super soundstage. The Roksan Blak range is well paired with revealing speakers such as ProAc Response, Spendor D7 or Monitor Audio Gold.
The Blak integrated amplifier is yours for £2800 while the Blak CD player costs £2550.
Roksan Radius with Nima tonearm
Sitting alongside the Blak components was the Roksan Radius turntable complete with Roksan Nima tonearm. The Radius is a fantastic looking turntable, a real head-turner. Combined with the Nima tonearm, a good cartridge and a decent phono stage you would have an awesome vinyl replay system.
The Radius is now in it’s 7th interation and builds upon Roksan’s impressive history of designing turntables. The plinth has a transparent glass effect while the platter is made of precision-machined acrylic. Some audiophile turntables are tricky to setup and work with but the Roksan Radius keeps things simple: speed change is achieved electronically. The plinth lights up blue when playing a record at 33.3rpm while a 45 turns it red. This is very cool!
The Roksan Radius is yours for £2000 including the Nima tonearm.
The Nima tonearm (pictured above) is designed to partner the Radius. The arm tube is made of an aluminium alloy, the head-shell is acrylic and the bearing is a stainless steel uni-pivot design.
Roksan Kandy Range – Style, Performance & Function
At the front of the room on demonstration was the Roksan Kandy K3 range. This comprised the K3 integrated amplifier, K3 power amplifier, K3 cd player and K3 DAC. Sitting atop the rack was a Pro-Ject 2 Xperience DC turntable (worth £1050) which is also from the Henley Designs family.
The Kandy range is very popular among Roksan’s customers and it is easy to see why. You get great sound, good build quality and plenty of features. The available components also allow you to tailor your system to fit your needs exactly.
The K3 integrated amplifier has plenty of power so can drive the majority of speakers (140W into 8 ohms). There are five analogue inputs, 1 moving magnet phono stage and apt-X Bluetooth. The K3 power amplifier has the same power output as the integrated and can be used to bi-amplify your speakers.
Meanwhile, the K3 CD player has the choice of balanced and unbalanced outputs plus a toslink digital audio out. There are actually two flavours of the Kandy K3 CD player – the K3 CD and K3 CD DI. Both are identical apart from the “DI” version carrying two digital inputs (toslink-optical and coax-RCA).
Finally there is the highly rated Kandy K3 DAC. Round the back, the K3 DAC provides the following inputs: 1x coax RCA, 1x Toslink optical, 1x XLR AES3/SPDIF and 1 USB type “B”. The front facia also has a USB type “B” input too. Internally the DAC uses a Texas Instruments DSD1794A DAC chip which provides PCM conversion up to 24/192 and DSD 128.
The whole range come in a choice of three colours: Anthracite, Charcoal and Opium.
Roksan TR5 S2 speakers
Hooked up to the Kandy electronics was the TR5-S2 stand mount speaker. This is the second iteration of the under-rated TR5 speaker and features a ribbon tweeter. The TR5-S2 is very handsome in the flesh and (like all other Roksan products) feels & looks like good quality.
The Roksan system in the room sounded really good (albeit driven by the Pro-Ject turntable at the time). The sound was deep, powerful and organic. This is a system that you will find it easy to live with and grow to love. Not only that but it is great value for money.
Roksan & Monitor Audio
I do wonder what will become of Roksan’s speakers now they are part of Monitor Audio. I imagine the powers-that-be will decide to focus Roksan on turntables and electronics while the Monitor Audio side of the business focuses on speakers. Product research & development at both companies will likely now use each other’s products: Roksan amplifiers designed while using Monitor Audio speakers and vice versa.
I know a few people who have the Kandy range of electronics paired up with MA Silver speakers and like the combination. So this could be a match made in heaven. Dynamic Headroom will be watching closely to see how this relationship develops.