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After the success of its stylish Caspian separates, Roksan recently launched its new entry-level Kandy range. With modern yet accessible design based on the eclectic house style of the Caspians, they come in seven colours including the striking purple we had, as well as lacquered black and even pink! And, if you get bored or move into a pink house and want your hi-fi to match, they're all interchangeable! Such quirkiness shows that Roksan, always one for modish and well built gear, now also recognises the growing market for those whose choice of consumer electronics is dictated by their domestic surroundings.

All three Kandys offer fine build for the money. Fascia buttons, for example, are metal as opposed to silver painted plastic. Then there are the heavyweight proportions - few integrated amps or CD players at this price weigh in at the Kandys' tonnage. Usefully, the remotes supplied with each component control the whole system, although the Cameo's synchronised standby facility isn't available here as there's no system linking provision.

The Kandy integrated amp offers six line inputs, one of which is switchable to an MM phono input as well as a tape loop. It's a powerful beast, offering a whopping 110W per channel into 8ohm thanks to a chunky toroidal transformer and beefy power supply. There's one set of 'speaker outputs and a headphone output socket located at the rear, plus a preamp input and output.

The CD player's styling is very similar to its bigger Caspian brother, apart from the lack of a flip-down front panel. It's fairly sparse round the back too, with just phono outputs, a mains power switch and two (coaxial and optical) digital outputs. This is more user-friendly than the one BNC-type found on the Caspian. Inside the casework you'll find a Burr-Brown 24bit delta sigma DAC and a Sony-sourced transport.

The Kandy tuner receives FM, MW and LW broadcasts, and comes supplied with a pink bootlace type FM indoor aerial for those within safe distance of a transmitter, plus the usual AM 'loop' aerial. Aerial connections are by way of the 75ohm socket, and the twin-screw type for AM. You can store up to 50 pre-set stations in the memory. Fascia functions are minimal - a total of six buttons control tuning up and down, band selection (FM stereo, FM mono, MW and LW). These functions can also be operated via the system remote.

Although Kandy resembles the Caspian in looks, that's where the similarity stops. That's not to say it doesn't perform well, because it boasts a sweet yet powerful sound with less refinement than the Caspian range but more clout. Few amps at the price deliver the amount of power and dynamics available here. 

The climaxes of 'Fanfare for the Common Man' could blow your wig off, yet we still felt the Kandy had more to give. It certainly delivers in the power stakes, not in the sense of sheer brute force but in its control and grip on the music, which gave the Copland disc bags of vitality and sheen. The downside was that high register instruments and percussion could `shout' a little or become shrill. Still, there's nothing wrong with its bass response, which is as deep and controlled as anything at twice the price. With Supergrass's eponymous album the Kandy system delivered an up-front, rhythmic sound that was fast and exciting, the CD player matching the amplifier for speed and attack.

Riding the airwaves via the Kandy tuner was a hassle-free affair. Thanks to its minimalist nature this radio is easy to operate - pressing either tuner 'up' or 'down' for two seconds will kick start the automatic search mode and stop at the next station. 'Tuned' then appears in the display window, along with 'Stereo' if in FM mode and correctly tuned. For fine tuning, pressing the tune down button will change the frequency in 0.05 MHz steps. Sound quality is again nice and robust, with good clean reception in the less processed stations such as BBC Radios 3 &4. 

The Kandy system follows Roksan's tradition of well-built, value for money hi-fi. Its sound isn't as refined or insightful as the Caspians, but it is exciting, with speed and vitality. You don't have the operational whistles and bells that come with the Cameo system, for example, but you do have more of a traditional hi-fi sound - and the amp's power makes it very easy to match to most loudspeakers

Good sound and excellent build from Roksan. Exciting and up-front sound which could become tiring after a while.

This review was published in the November 2000 issue of Hi-Fi World. No material may be reproduced from this review without the written permission of the publisher. Copyright Audio Publishing Limited