Hi-Fi Choice April 2021

Hi-Fi Choice is the essential guide to audio excellence in the home. It is a no-nonsense guide to the finest products available, from vinyl and valves, to multi-channel digital audio and high-fidelity video. Hi-Fi Choice sorts the best from the rest with rigorous test processes and a highly experienced team of reviewers.

United Kingdom
AV Tech Media Ltd
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13 Issues

in this issue

1 min

www.hifichoice.com Issue No. 474 April 2021 Leafing through our brand new issue, it strikes me that there can surely be no match for the hi-fi industry when it comes to looking forward and seeking to predict and deliver the future. As hi-fi nuts we’re endlessly encouraged to take the plunge and experience the new by manufacturers intent on pushing the envelope to supply us with more accurate and exciting listening experiences. Fully borne out by the 10 pages we have devoted this month to new launches, the hi-fi industry’s determination to bring us tomorrow today was brought sharply into focus by, of all things, David Price’s lovely retro appreciation of Wharfedale’s E70 speaker from 1977, which you can find on page 70. David describes how this flashy upstart sought to outmode its stuffy British…

1 min
assembly line

PRICE: £995 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: FALCONACOUSTICS.CO.UK IF YOU’RE BORED during lockdown or simply one of those people who, rather than breaking out in a cold sweat at the very mention of Ikea, actually enjoys assembling things Falcon Acoustics has a treat in store for you. The company is launching the Q7 Mini-Monitor, an upgrade to its inaugural Q7 kit, originally designed by Malcolm Jones and sold by Falcon for many years. The new Q7 self-assembly project comes supplied complete with Italian full “production grade” Baltic birch ply cabinets specially extended beyond the LS3/5a's cabinet size for extra bass (+2dB @ 50Hz). DIY design The company’s new Complete@Home model also features the Falcon B110 and T27 drive units employed by Falcon’s LS3/5a and a Falcon 23.2 factory-assembled pre-wired crossover, mirroring the original Malcom Jones design,…

2 min
the small bang

PRICE: £1,100 (GOLD TONE £1,300) AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: BANG-OLUFSEN.COM BANG & OLUFSEN has launched Beosound Level, a portable wireless home speaker which the company describes as: “the ultimate speaker for people who want the flexibility and convenience of a portable speaker, but don’t want to sacrifice on sound quality and multi-room connectivity”. Designed to work with Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, the Beosound Level was crafted at Factory 5 in Struer, Denmark and, the company claims: “showcases Bang & Olufsen’s unrivalled expertise in aluminium manufacturing with its pearl-blasted aluminium frame”. The speaker’s covers are available in a natural oak veneer, treated to highlight the natural grains and texture of the wood and a knitted dark grey Kvadrat textile, and it can be used outdoors thanks to its IP54 dust and splash…

3 min
creative new yorkers

PRICE: £2,800-£5,000 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: FINESOUNDS.UK LOOKS LIKE THEY’VE been mighty busy over in Binghamton, New York, as McIntosh announces the release of not one but two new products – the £2,800 MHA200 vacuum tube headphone amplifier and £5,000 MCD85 SACD/CD player. Compact enough (15.6cm wide x 23.2cm deep) to be placed close to the listening position with long balanced cables connecting it to audio systems to negate signal loss, the MHA200 boasts advanced Unity Coupled Circuit transformers, which the company claims have been adapted so that it will work well with virtually any headphone. There are three connectivity options: a pair of three-pin balanced XLRs (for dedicated left and right balanced output); a four-pin balanced XLR (for balanced stereo output), plus a 6.35mm stereo headphone jack. For connection to home audio devices,…

1 min
a kind of magic

PRICE: £450 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: CAMBRIDGEAUDIO.COM UK COMPANY CAMBRIDGE Audio has introduced its new, top-of-the-range digital-to-analogue converter and headphone amplifier, the DacMagic 200M. With integrated Bluetooth for wireless connectivity and what the company describes as: “a more powerful headphone output and superior DAC technology”, the DacMagic 200M is driven by dual ESS Sabre chips capable of handling PCM files up to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD512 natively. It’s also the first product from the company to natively support MQA. The dual mono configuration means each DAC processes the left and right channels separately, which, the company says, results: “in a performance that is astonishingly free of distortion, incredibly precise and has superb dynamic range”. Three pre-set filters help reduce noise generated by the digital-to-analogue conversion process, with each offering a different sonic option depending on…

1 min
into the ether

PRICE: £2,170 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: DANCLARKAUDIO.COM Dan Clark Audio’s flagship Ether 2 – the company’s top-of-range open-back planar magnetic headphone – has received a timely update. Launched in 2018 and reviewed in HFC 456, it weighs in at just 290g, thanks to its titanium, aluminium and carbon fibre construction. Up to now, the Ether 2 has been bundled with a choice of three different earpads (original, perforated and microfibre suede), each offering its own sound and comfort experience, allowing customers to tailor their purchase to suit their personal preferences. Now, it comes as a ‘system package’ including all three earpads. The thinking behind it is, according to Dan Clark, that: “earpads offer a subtle but influential transition as sound travels from driver to ear. Now, you can easily peel off the Ether 2’s…