HIFICRITIC Vol 13 No 2
Cover, Contents and Excerpts for Free Download
April to June 2019
About this issue
The latest issue editorial by Martin Colloms introduces Andrew Everard as Senior Contributing Editor, while Martin continues as publisher and editor-in-chief.
For now, however, I want to introduce the vision we have for magazine and the content we intend bringing to our readers. Andrew has a wealth of experience in both reviewing and journal production, and not least blog and web site skills. He is full of enthusiasm for all aspects of audio from the nitty gritty of the digital sub-structure, to operating systems or the niceties of thermionic amplification for a hybrid preamplifier.
"What is HIFICRITIC? The answer is simple: it’s different. Independent of advertisers, written by – and for – true hi-fi enthusiasts, and backed up by a wealth of technical knowledge and listening experience. We’d like to think it’s as much of a breath of fresh air as it was when the first issue appeared in 2007, and still offers an alternative perspective to that of the other magazines in the market."
Analogue and digital designs will figure as strongly as ever but we will try harder to represent the balance of technologies supporting the global audio market. All at HIFICRITIC value our mission to present independent objective opinion free of advertising bias. Our extensive product review content is balanced by powerful technology features, opinion pieces, and not least the music: record reviews, pop, classical, folk and rock.
Four HIFICRITICs went to the Munich High End Show in May, simply because it’s the biggest event for high-end audio, not just in Europe, but probably the world. Colloms and Everard, plus Jason Kennedy and Ed Selley formed our ‘landing party’, with the last-named penning the report published in this issue. During the show we also exchanged findings on interesting products and related technology developments, as well as demonstrations and exhibits that we felt should not be missed.
For the latest issue, Stan Curtis continues with his column Audio Safari, this time encompassing the path from classic loudspeakers from monitoring to domestication.
Naim again gets in the act, in a fascinating exposition of three readily comparable products by Everard, exhaustively explored. These comprise the all-in-one Uniti Nova which is compared with the combination of the Nait XS2 integrated amplifier and the ND5 XS2 streamer. Take your pick.
Andrew Harrison commits much time and effort to the latest and arguably best of the Bespoke Audio passive controllers, here with balanced inputs and remote operation.
In Passing Notes, Julian Musgrave looks sideways at a vagary of LP replay and shares his experiences of the Bristol Audio Show.
Putting on his thinking hat once more, Keith Howard wrestles with the problem of explaining losses from the air of the listening room. While certainly not the biggest issue it remains a neglected factor in perceived sound quality.
Colloms’ marathon effort for this issue comprises two vacuum tube technology designs from Audio Research Corporation, the Triode/Ultralinear 160M Monoblocks and the Reference Six triode preamplifier, finding reference series quality in each. The lab tests help confirm the performance of these accurate and capable designs.
Andrew Harrison also turns his attention to the latest design from Leema Audio, the Sirius digital player with storage.
CHORD HUGO 2. Not much larger than the entry-level Mojo and now in Mk II form, this little DAC delights John Honeyball. Well, apart from actually using it, that is...
Tube enthusiast Kevin Fiske finally gets his hands on the FYNE AUDIO F303, a very worthy budget floorstander.
HOW WE LISTEN. Talk Electronics founder Kevin Edwards discusses designing hi-fi, playing brass in bands and orchestras, and the music he uses when system-tuning audio designs.
ROON COMES OF AGE. Once the preserve of a small group ofenthusiasts, Roon now seems to be just about everywhere. Andrew Everard takes a closer look at what it does and what you need to get it operating.
THE COMPLICATIONS OF SIMPLICITY. In an exclusive interview, Vertere founder Touraj Moghaddam explains how great design means going back to basics.
The NORDOST VALHALLA 2 is here reviewed as a full loom of cables in Andrew Harrison’s highlight for this issue, with a promising result.
Chris Frankland gets acquainted with the perhaps surprising Definitive Technology D9 compact loudspeaker, making informative comparisons with B&W and KEF similarly priced references.
Martin Colloms reviews this most capable Wilson Audio SASHA DAW, Utah made, covering build and sound quality plus acoustical and electrical measurements.
Examining the NOVAFIDELITY series the X45 gets the once over from Andrew Everard, considering it to be quite a bargain.
Andrew Everard also reports on The Formation Suite, the new hi tech multi-room music system from Bowers and Wilkins, with those pesky synchronisation issues comprehensively addressed.
Julian Musgrave pens a thoughtful assessment of Vangelis, reaching beyond his popular hits.
Martin Colloms assesses an affordable, very compact but powerful audio measurement system, the CLIO POCKET, with microphone.
Pages of Jazz and Classical record reviews follow, by Drygla and Anderson respectively.
In SOUND STAGE (replacing Paul’s Subjective Sounds), we open a platform for hi-fi opinion leaders to consider the state of the art. We begin with former Marantz ‘Brand Ambassador’, Ken Ishiwata.
MARTIN COLLOMS’S FIRST EDITORIAL SINCE TAKING OVER THE ROLE FROM PAUL MESSENGER
AFTER 41 YEARS WITH MARANTZ, KEN ISHIWATA HAS RECENTLY PARTED COMPANY WITH THE BRAND. BUT HE’S STILL THINKING HI-FI – PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.
JULIAN MUSGRAVE’S UPBEAT VIEW OF THE 2019 BRISTOL SHOW...
THE BIGGEST AND BEST HIFI SHOW IN THE WORLD ROLLED INTO BAVARIA AGAIN, AND ED SELLEY WAS THERE TO GET THE SPIRIT OF THE EVENT
THE VERTERE FOUNDER, CEO AND DESIGNER TALKS CARTRIDGES ON CRANES, LISTENING TO MASTER CUTS AND THE SOURCE OF A RECORD PLAYER’S ENERGY
FROM BEING AN ‘INSIDER’ IDEA, ESPOUSED BY A FEW EARLY ADOPTERS, ROON HAS GONE MAINSTREAM, WITH WIDESPREAD HARDWARE SUPPORT. ANDREW EVERARD EXPLAINS WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT