Hi Fi News December 2017

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



hi-finews FOR ENTHUSIASTS BY ENTHUSIASTS As ever, it was a huge pleasure to meet so many longstanding Hi-Fi News readers, along with a growing number of new hi-fi aficionados, all attracted by the unique high-end experiences and UK premieres unveiled at our recent Hi-Fi Show Live event in Windsor. Until the next Hi-Fi Show Live, this was the only chance for enthusiasts to see and hear so many exclusive brands under one – OK, several – roofs. Those who missed out can live the experience in pictures (p16-23) and in the hours of video shot by contributors Terry Ellis and David Vann [starting here – www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yurONaCjMY&t=51s]. Fortunately, you’ll not be waiting too long before many of our Show’s exclusive product debuts are also followed up by in-depth reviews in your favourite hi-fi…

focal kanta

COMPACT FLOORSTANDER THAT BLENDS FOCAL SOPRA AND UTOPIA TECH With its softer industrial design and numerous cabinet/baffle finish options, Focal’s new Kanta No2 is presented as a treat for the eyes and also the ears thanks to its innovative blending of proprietary acoustic technologies. The tweeter, for example, is an evolution of the inverted beryllium dome originally developed for Focal’s flagship Utopia range. This IAL 3 tweeter combines core Focal principles including IAL (Infinite Acoustic Loading) and IHL (Infinite Horn Loading), conceived to absorb rear radiation and control the dome’s resonant modes. Mounted on a curved (time-aligned/ low diffraction) and inert front baffle that’s fashioned from a high density polymer, this tweeter is married to a 165mm midrange and two 165mm bass drivers. Both sets of drivers employ a sandwich of glass…

hi-fi show live 2017

Now in its fifth year, the Hi-FI Show Live also expanded into the nearby Kensington building as UK enthusiasts were offered the unique opportunity to experience the cream of 2017’s high-end audio. Exclusive UK product launches were unveiled by iconic brands including Mark Levinson, Wilson, B&W, Ayre, Luxman, Constellation, T+A, MFA, Trilogy and many others. The big White House, Windsor, Lancaster, Buckingham and Kensington suites provided the ideal environment for many unforgettable demos while the various Workshops, hosted by Germany’s Stereo magazine editor Matthias Bode were often left with standing room only. If you missed this unique high-end audio extravaganza, then here’s a taster of the event. The purple lightshow in KEF and Chord Electronics’ suite could not colour the spectacularly clean and vivid sound delivered by these Reference 5 floorstanders,…

isolation on the cheap

Vibration isolation is a topic that the hi-fi industry has, in large part, made a pig’s breakfast of down the years. There are obvious circumstances in which it should be a good idea, most notably to prevent loudspeaker vibrations from being transmitted to the floor, particularly if that floor is a suspended wooden one that’s prone to resonance. Yet in these circumstances we are typically advised to do the opposite: not isolate the speakers from the floor but couple them as rigidly as possible to it via spikes. Spikes also often feature in so-called isolation products intended for other audio equipment such as source components and amplifiers, but nobody in general industry needing to isolate an item of equipment from vibration would ever consider using sharpened metal bars. Isolation in those…

b&w 702 s2

AUDIO FILE Five driver, three-way reflex-loaded floorstanding loudspeaker Made by: B&W Group Ltd, West Sussex Supplied by: B&W Group Ltd Telephone: 0800 232 1513 Web: www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk Price: £3299 Every loudspeaker brand has a house sound, and for many years B&W’s has been influenced by its Kevlar bass and/or midrange cones. It was the best way to get what the designers wanted – a controlled ‘stiff’ driver action that didn’t offer an overly romanticised view of the music. But while Kevlar worked very well in some ways and was copied ad nauseam, like every other cone material it was not perfect. That’s why the company’s engineers worked on something different – a deliberately lossy cone material with less severe breakup modes, first seen on the current 800 Diamond series. This new Continuum midrange cone outperforms B&W’s Kevlar design in a…

now and then

B&W says the new 700 S2 series, ‘offers a huge step forward over the outgoing CM Series 2. That’s the reason why we gave it a new name.’ As a rule of thumb, prices are up by about 20%. For example the new 707 S2 standmount costs £799 where the outgoing CM1 S2 was £707; the 706 S2 costs £1099 (CM5 S2 £949); the 705 S2 is £1799 (CM6 S2 £1499). The 704 S2 floorstander is £1999 (CM8 S2 £1499); the 703 S2 is £2399 (CM9 S2 £1999) and the 702 S2 is £3299 (CM10 S2 £2999). The company says the 700 S2 series ‘represents a totally different design ethos to the CM Series 2, due to the circumstances at their launch’, by which it means that the CM Series…