Hi Fi News

Hi Fi News July 2021

Since its launch in June 1956 - two years before the commercial realisation of stereo - Hi-Fi News & Record Review has been delivering insightful reviews of the key products and technologies that lie behind our shared hobby... the passion of listening to music on the very best equipment available to the enthusiast. Every issue, Hi-Fi News delivers uniquely in-depth reviews of high-end audio equipment, including the best in vinyl replay and iconic vintage gear from the early days of audio. It is essential reading for all music enthusiasts.

United Kingdom
AV Tech Media Ltd
13 号


full-fibre diet

Barry Fox explains the pros and cons of super broadband tariffs, but says you should ask yourself ‘what do I really need’ before signing up for high data speeds if music is your major passion Technology journalist Barry Fox trained in electronics with the RAF and worked as a patent agent, but he gave that up to enter journalism. He is one of the world’s top technology writers There’s little point in beggaring yourself to buy a new top-end streamer if your broadband is iffy. So rejoice that you will very likely soon – if not already – be suffering the misery of new road works. It’s all part of the government’s promise to give us FFTP, Full Fibre to Premises, with new, looser rules from Ofcom, the quango that controls telecoms. The…


THE CHILLS Scatterbrain Fire FIRECD581: LP: FIRELP581 The Chills’ career has been fraught with such difficulty since they formed in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1980 – including geographical isolation, endless personnel upheavals and mainstay Martin Phillipps’ struggle with ill health and addiction – that it feels nigh-on heroic that he is still making music of such freshness and quality. Scatterbrain is up with his best work and carries on the familiar Chills traits of buoyant melodies, lean ensemble playing of a subtle complexity together with an atmosphere of haunted strangeness. Phillipps is an imaginative lyricist and writes on topics as diverse as the allure of ancient stones, alien travellers, the pleasures of domesticity, and his own mortality on the chilling ‘Destiny’. MB Sound Quality: 90% GOJIRA Fortitude Roadrunner 0075678645372; LP: 0075678644511 On the single ‘Born For One Thing’…

essential recordings

Schubert Ensemble of London Hyperion CDH55427 Making the Hummel connection explicit in warm, closely balanced accounts of both piano quintets. Adès, Arditti Quartet, Long EMI/Warner 5576642 (download only) The left-field choice: a springy, leaping ‘Trout’ coupled with Adès’s own Quintet, a labyrinth of retro-Classical games. Demus, Irnberger, Ortner, Litschauer, Bürgschwendtner Gramola GRAM98919 The late, great Viennese pianist Jörg Demus on an authentic Hammerflügel from 1835, in joyful company with native musicians. Gently distant engineering captures the essence of music-making among friends. Brendel, Zehetmair, Zimmermann, Duven, Riegelbauer Philips 4460012 A library choice for piano versions on CD: lovingly detailed, equably balanced but conceived on a Romantically grand scale. Perlman, Zukerman, du Pré, Mehta, Barenboim Christopher Nupen Films A13CND (DVD) Unforgettably free-spirited, the ‘celebrity’ recording to outshine them all, for body language as much as music-making.…

lab report

BRYSTON BR-20 ‘Precision’ is the watchword for this preamplifier, defining both its engineering and technical performance. The digitally-governed volume control, for example, precisely indicates the gain of the BR-20. So, ‘+12.0dB’ represents a gain of 12dB, ‘0.0dB’ is unity gain and ‘–30.0dB’ is a gain of–29.5dB (an error of just ±0.5dB over the top 42dB of its range and ±1dB over a 72dB range). Maximum (balanced) output is 13.5V from a 70ohm source impedance and distortion is lowest at 2-6V through the midrange at ~0.00004%, and only slightly ‘higher’ at 0.00009-0.0002% for 0dBV (20Hz-20kHz). The S/N is a wide 100dB (A-wtd, re. 0dBV) while the analogue in/out frequency response is flat to within ±0.01dB from 20Hz-20kHz and extends from 3Hz-100kHz at–0.3dB. Importantly, and in contrast with many amps/preamps, the volume circuit…

grappling with graphene

Graphene is a one atom-thick lattice of carbon, a two-dimensional structure that not only demonstrates remarkable thermal and electrical properties but also lays claim to be the toughest material on the planet. It was first isolated in 2004 by two researchers at The University of Manchester – the Nobel prize-winning Professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov – by stripping a one-atom thick layer from a graphite block. The material takes the form of a carbon ‘sheet’ with groups of atoms arranged in a hexagonal ‘chicken wire’ pattern [see inset picture]. This lattice offers a combination of lightness and stiffness that’s necessarily brought it to the attention of loudspeaker designers, including Magico, looking to reinforce the substrate of their driver cones (a pure Graphene cone is impractical). Weighing just 0.77mg/m2, a single…

the magic of imaging

Journalist for top American audio-video publications While his main interest is high-end audio, Barry Willis also writes about the culinary industry, visual art and theatre for a huge variety of US newspapers and magazines When do ordinary music lovers transition to become audiophiles? For many, the epiphany probably involves imaging, the rendering of apparently three-dimensional effects from a single pair of loudspeakers. From childhood, I was fascinated by sound and sound-producing equipment, but was well into so-called adulthood before my audiophile baptism. The breakthrough was a recording of a jazz combo, and the moment when I clearly heard a sax player stand up from his chair and step forward to take his solo. He came into the room, distinct from the band mates arrayed behind him. I don’t remember much about the playback system,…