The Audiophile Man

Hana EH & EL

Reviewed by for The Audiophile Man, February 2016

My first impressions of the EH was that it was a very smooth, easy going, performer. Gorme had an attractively husky edge to her delivery which was beautifully portrayed here, along with subtleties such as intakes of breath and upper midrange vocal straining during crescendos. Similarly, her vocal harmonic backing was not just smoothly portrayed but mellifluous in tone.  

Moving to the Spanish guitars, both the lead and rhythmic versions were accurately reported. In fact, the latter, normally rather shy instrument, was illuminated and found to be amusing himself in the corner of the soundstage while the entire bank of percussion, shoved onto one channel by the mastering engineer, offered admirable instrumental separation. Hearing each instrument as it entered and left the arrangement was never a problem. 

Turning to more dynamic fare, I played a recently re-issued Joy Division album, Substance and played the aggressive song, Leaders of Men, which was introduced by a rather insistent bass guitar. Lead vocals were articulated well via the EH. There was a lot of passion and energy infused into this area which could have invited slurring and blurring at times but the EH successfully resisted any such urge. More than that, the texture of the vocal delivery added to the emotive presentation which helped the ear to engage with the motive power of the music.

Moving to the EL, I lowered the gain back to its previous levels and began the sound test for this particular cartridge with Gorme’s Spanish venture. As our tests showed, treble on this track was not quite as impressive and the midrange, while still showing an impressive degree of detail, added a touch of extra warmth. This could be heard via the plucked strings of the Spanish guitar which sat back in the master a tad and, although could still be easily heard, did not present quite the same sort of impact as the EH in terms of focus and clarity. The slight midrange glow being a result of that extra warmth. 

This element didn’t effect the percussive effects tremendously but it did add extra romance and a slight softness to the vocals. In some respects, this touch of new warmth provided a new level of engagement when the ear focused on the vocal delivery. The slight warming tone beckoned the ear and the instrumentation almost floated over the soundstage.  

Moving to Joy Division, I was impressed, faced with high energy music, how integrated the presentation appeared.

Conclusion:

HANA EH  Price: £276

Good: detail, focus, clarity, value for money

Bad: nothing at the price

RATING: 9/10 - Deeply Groovy

HANA EL  Price: £276

Good: musical engagement, romantic mids, bass, value for money 

Bad: nothing at the price

RATING: 9/10 - Deeply Groovy

 

The Audiophile Man's 'Deeply Groovy' award

9/10 for both

Read the full review here.

View products on Air Audio Distribution: EH, EL.