The Philips release for the Lightning cable connected, active Fidelio M2L headphones explains that they have a direct digital connection to compatible iOS devices, thus supporting 24bit HD audio formats using inbuilt DACs and amplifiers powered via the cable. Thus the rumours for HD, 24 bit, up to 48kHz audio playback from new generation Lightning equipped Apple devices seem confirmed. Where does this leave other HD music and playback device providers?
By Yasuko Everard
Released yesterday on vinyl were the remasters of The Beatles’ mono albums, and to celebrate the event a listening session using some of the best High End gear was held last week in Abbey Road Studio 2, where many of their famous recording were made.
With a replay system comprising a Vertere turntable with Ortofon 2M Mono cartridge, Naim SuperLine phono preamp, Naim Statement preamp and power amps and Focal Grande Utopia EM speakers, tracks from the newly-released discs were played and discussed by a panel including writer and broadcaster Mark Ellen (who also acted as host for the event), Beatles engineer Ken Scott, and Sean Magee, who worked on the remastering.
Panasonic has resuscitated the famous Technics brand in time for IFA Berlin, 2014
First products due in December
Andrew Everard reports
Technics is back, and it’s aiming high: its new ‘Reference Class’ R1 system is expected to have a price of around £32,000, and comprises the SU-R1 network music player/preamplifier, the 150Wpc SE-R1 stereo power amplifier, and the floorstanding SB-R1 speakers. These have a coaxial mid treble driver.
UK company Flexson have announced a superior one box record player deck clearly based on trusted UK Rega components, for what seems a competitive £330. Flexson currently make some decor accessories for the wireless speaker brand leader SONOS.
This could well be the best sounding and best engineered all in one turntable of its type, currently populated by confections of tinny plastic which frequently cannot even be relied upon to rotate. Flexson note that vinyl sales are set to rise 40% in 2014.
Called the MXA70 and delivered in the classic McIntosh chassis build with the trademark power and volume indicators in deep blue, this 50W plus 50W powerhouse has full digital input flexibility, with four digital inputs (coaxial, optical, balanced digital AES/EBU and USB), and allowing digital replay at up to 32-bit/ 192kHz resolution. Two analogue inputs are also present, but no Wi-Fi or streamer facility.
Money has been spent on the headphone output with selectable output impedance for 8 to 600 ohms in three steps, plus HXD cross-feed technology which is claimed to enhance perceived imaging. Classic tone controls are present and the package is competed by two ‘desk mount’ cast alloy enclosure, two-way compact loudspeakers in black gloss enamel.
These have 4inch paper cone woofers and a 3/4inch titanium foil tweeters.
The all up weight of 23kg gives an idea of its solidity but with a lack of stream and wireless connectivity I wonder what kind of customer they are seeking ?
20-21st September, Whittlebury
The 2014 National Audio Show is back and hificritic.com will be exhibiting with special subscription and back issues offers. Editorial staff will be on hand as usual to answer queries.
The Evening Standard and Critical Reviews
Restaurant critic Grace Dent of the London Evening Standard commented in ES Magazine July 25th that she cannot return to some restaurants, usually due to
“issues surrounding speaking the truth”
The chefs and front of house managers that object to Grace Dent’s criticisms usually know how they are performing but do not wish us to know and that is the problem.
We all want critical reviews as consumers. We want the great differentiated from the indifferent, the second rate. We will pay more for greatness when we can. If not, we can still stand back and admire and enjoy reading about those who can perform to a yet higher standard whether in sport, cuisine or designing for higher audio sound quality.
Constantly chipping away at independent critical journalism are the advertising and magazine managers, the PR executives, who desire, even demand, fawningly positive reviews for the products and services we buy. Often reviews which are truly advertorials are disguised, purporting to be independent opinion, but are commercial paid for copy. Many are available on the web, purporting to be independent of commercial interests.
It does not help that journalism is poorly paid with many journos scraping a living and having to make do with almost any writing commission, sometimes hack advertorial. Where a review should include a significant investigation, with tests of operation and sound quality, if the job is done well it may preclude future commissions for the journalist as loan product options mysteriously dry up for the author.
At HIFICRITIC we expressly encourage our writers to freely describe their critical findings, but remain aware that powerful commercial interests remain looming over us.
As the ink is drying on the Apple deal to buy Beats headphones, Bose is suing in Beats home base of Delaware for alleged infringement by Beats of their numerous noise cancelling patents.
Bose have long researched this subject in particular for military personnel operating in high noise environments and in recent years these developments have surfaced on the consumer market in significantly effective noise cancelling Bose headphones and earphones.
launches a brand new website for mid 2014 with a fresh modern look, easier purchase for magazine issues and a massive expansion for our unique downloadable reviews and features. The valuable equipment sound quality ratings have been fully revised, are free to access and we have added a busy news and comment blog, the page you are reading now. With this comprehensive site rebuild we also offer numerous free archive articles and historic landmark reviews.
To ensure the site is easy to navigate, the menu at the top is always visible. To assist you in always finding what you are looking for, links in the footer of every page take you directly to virtually every nook and cranny of the site. And you'll find that the hificritic.com search in the footer of every page is a fantastic tool for uncovering detailed information in a beautifully presented format from sources across the whole site. You must try it.
Our site will continue to grow over the coming months with music and book reviews and many more equipment features so please keep returning. The HIFICRITIC Forum* remains the place for the enthusiast discussions. But we also invite you to comment here on hificritic.com on our news blogs, share our pages and posts on your social media, follow us on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to this blog's RSS feed.
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Kinsky music control software has been around a few years now and has just been updated and is now called Kazoo, with new features including faster searching, classical music browsing – claimed to make it easier to browse and search by composer, and offering multiple room grouping for particular music selections. In order to get these functions the server software needs updating to Kazoo Server which replaces the existing Songbox system. Linn have a link to inform and support the changes.
Martin Colloms has a passion for audio and music and has written for many of the key hi-fi magazines worldwide.