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Australian HiFi September - October 2020

Australian HiFi is the definitive magazine for discerning listeners and Hi-Fi enthusiasts. Every issue is packed with equipment and music reviews, new product information and ‘how-to’ articles. Australian Hi-Fi magazine is dedicated to helping you find the best quality sound for your home.

Future Publishing Ltd
7 Issues

in this issue

3 min
getting into the audio business

There was a time when I thought about going into the hi-fi manufacturing business. After all, I’d been in the pro audio business, building amplifiers, foldback speakers, guitar cabs and PA systems before I’d entered the publishing game. But somehow, I just couldn’t seem to extricate myself from hi-fi magazines and newspapers, not least because there was always another deadline looming and I just couldn’t seem to see my way clear to telling a publisher and/or an editor that we would soon be parting ways. Actually, truth be told, I did really nothing not because of deadlines, but because I was born both a procrastinator and with a highly risk-adverse personality. And while being risk-adverse has often worked against me in my life, both personally and professionally, it has at least…

2 min
astell&kern a&futura se200

Astell&Kern has released the second model in its A&futura line of premium portable audio players, the SE200. This newest model is most notable and unusual for using DACs from two different manufacturers. The Astell&Kern SE200 is equipped with DACs from two of the world’s leading DAC manufacturers. It uses two ESS ES9068AS DACs and one AKM AK4499EQ. “This is the first time that two different DACs have been used in the one device,” said George Poutakidis, of BusiSoft, which distributes Astell&Kern in Australia. “It has allowed Astell&Kern to fit the SE200 with two different amplifiers to optimise the different characteristics of the AKM and ESS DACs so users can select one or the other to provide the sound characteristics they want, according to the music genre they’re playing. They can then…

2 min
contrast audio lens

Contrast Audio loudspeakers are now available in Australia for the first time. All Contrast Audio speakers are hand-made in Kiev, Ukraine, by the Sapega family, which along with its small team has developed a range of 2-way and 3-way speakers that do not use standard two and three-way crossover networks, but instead use just a single capacitor to prevent low frequencies from reaching the tweeter. Contrast Audio says that it makes its own drive units “in-house” using both cast and machined chassis and cones and domes made of natural materials such as paper, cotton, balsa, and silk. “Only natural materials can provide the tonal quality the Sapegas demand from their speakers, and when these materials are used for cones, it enables the drivers to exhibit a very gentle natural roll-off at…

2 min
audia flight fls 9

Famous Italian high-end audio manufacturer Audia Flight has released a new, entry-level integrated amplifier, the FLS 9. Despite being entry-level, it’s very high-powered, with Audia Flight rating its power output at 150-watts per channel, both channels driven into 8Ω and 500-watts per channel when driven into 2Ω loads. Audia Flight has trickled-down technology from its more expensive amplifiers for use in the FLS9, one being that it uses the same fully-balanced preamplifier stage boards as the FLS1. The amplifier’s 1000-watt shielded toroidal transformers delivers the voltages for eight separate power supply circuits, with the primary circuit for the 12-device output stage fitted with low-impedance, low-noise 120,000μF capacitors. As with most Audia Flight amplifiers, the new FLS9 can be fitted with up to two optional plug-in boards if required. Available is a phono…

2 min
electrocompaniet eci 80d

Most modern amps don’t even offer one. This new amplifier from Norwegian manufacturer Electrocompaniet has two! We’re talking about headphone outputs, of course. Electrocompaniet released its budget-priced ECI 80D in January this year, but underestimated demand and it sold out right around the world. This small Norwegian manufacturer has been able to ramp up its production quantities so you should now be able to audition an ECI 80D at your nearest retailer, Covid-19 permitting. Despite being an entry-level amplifier, the ECI 80D has both a moving-magnet phono input and two-way Bluetooth, so in addition to streaming music to it from your phone or tablet, you can also steam music from it to a pair of Bluetooth headphones. And although it’s a bit shy on line-level analogue inputs (just two balanced inputs, via…

1 min
sumiko songbird

The Sumiko Songbird is not only the latest addition to Songbird’s Reference Series, it’s also now the company’s lowest-priced reference level cartridge. It seems that Sumiko, which has been building phono cartridges in Japan for more than forty years, and is renowned for its high-priced ‘reference’ models, has decided to build what, for it, is an ‘entry-level’ reference cartridge. What’s more, it’s available in both low output and high-output versions at the same price. Sumiko says the design of the Songbird is largely based on its best-selling model, the Blue Point Special, which is the reason there is no cartridge body. According to Sumiko, this avoids ‘unwanted external resonance storage.’ Also, whereas almost all other moving-coil cartridges use butyl suspensions, the Songbird uses synthetic rubber. “This allows us to more tightly…