Hi Fi News June 2015

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


making sense of mqa

Does the world really need another high-resolution audio format? Files that are 96kHz/24-bit and 192kHz/24-bit audio sound superb, but the difference between high-resolution releases and 44.1kHz/16-bit CD audio is not always audible because it depends on the quality of the original masters. To my ears, the superiority of high-resolution audio is only audible in about one-third of the ‘highresolution’ albums I’ve obtained. While reducing the file size of high-resolution audio is a worthy idea, Meridian’s MQA system [see Investigation, HFN Apr ’15] is not exactly lossless, and the system has an authorisation key system which will restrict by whom, and under what circumstances, the high resolution audio will be playable. This is yet another music industry scam to reintroduce DRM. And existing music servers and high resolution portable players will not…


KEVIN EUBANKS & STANLEY JORDAN Duets Mack Avenue MAC1092 These two guitar wizards first thought about teaming up in 2011. After touring together briefly, they recorded this album in Eubanks’ own well-equipped studio. Both play piano too, so you hear Eubanks at the keys accompanying Jordan’s guitar on Thad Jones’ ‘A Child Is Born’ while Jordan returns the favour on Miles’s ‘Blue In Green’. More typical, perhaps, is the opening ‘Morning Sun’ where Jordan’s two-handed ‘touch technique’ and Eubanks’ fleetest fingering build up a shimmering web of sound. Yet this isn’t a battle where virtuosi try to outdo each other. It’s a true collaboration of kindred spirits, creating a warm, engaging and relaxing musical experience. SH Sound Quality: 85% GILAD ATZMON & THE ORIENT HOUSE ENSEMBLE The Whistle Blower Fanfare Jazz FJ1501 In the late 1990s Atzmon played…

aëdle vk-1 classic

Aëdle claims 129dB sensitivity for the VK-1 – a ridiculous figure for either of the usual reference inputs, 1 milliwatt (1mW) or 1V. Our measurements recorded an average for the two capsules of 116.8dB for 1V input at 1kHz, equivalent to 101.9dB for 1mW at the nominal impedance of 32ohm. In fact 32ohm is exactly what we recorded as the minimum impedance over the audible range, with a maximum of 53.4ohm at the pronounced bass peak at 73Hz. This large variation is sufficient to cause a 0.9dB frequency response variation with a headphone preamp of 10ohm source impedance, or a 1.9dB variation with a 30ohm source impedance. The uncorrected frequency responses [Graph 1, below] carry three traces rather than the normal two. The reason for this is the large low frequency…

oppo ha-2

HEADPHONE AMP/USB DAC Oppo, the ‘global electronics and technology service provider’, has good form with digital. It entered the AV arena making very respectable Blu-ray players which not only looked but sounded better than most others, then more recently diversified into headphones. Many manufacturers have moved into this category of late, with mixed success, but the PM-1 Planar Magnetic ’phones [HFN Jul ’14] turned out to be superb. The PM-2 followed [HFN Feb ’15], and was equally fine value for money. Oppo’s HA-1 headphone amp [HFN Sep ’14] again showed that the company is serious about sound quality, and now we have the portable HA-2 version you see here. This has been designed to partner the forthcoming PM-3 headphone (to be reviewed next month). FOR THE STYLE CONSCIOUS Portable audio is the current trend:…

in the lap of the quads

I recently came to the end of what I termed a ‘project’, but on reflection it dawned upon me that the process had taken 40 years! It all began in about 1975 when I was working as a lab technician at the BBC Designs Department in London. One lunchtime I spotted a pair of Quad electrostatic loudspeakers for sale in the window of REW in Charing Cross. They were brand new and were on sale at £120 each. That must have been a bargain, even in 1975. I bought them and was delighted, though I couldn’t afford the amplifier I would have liked (probably a Radford). My Rotel integrated amp could not handle the Quad’s capacitive load so I had to pad-out the speaker loads with 4ohm high power resistors –…

paul stephenson

Ask Naim’s CEO how the Statement project is doing, and he says that ‘orders have exceeded our expectations by about 50%, and we’re well on target to meet our forecast of selling 100 complete sets, despite 2014 being a year of tough economic conditions.’ The Statement started shipping rather later than anticipated, not least due to the weight of the product: ‘We had to install custom lifting equipment and new handling processes throughout Naim, while building a Statement production team with the right skill mix.’ Stephenson started with the company in 1981 as Sales Director and opened up much of its distribution in export markets, so he’s well aware that shipping 385kg amplifiers around the world brings its own problems, as ‘it’s not a regular delivery to a hi-fi store! It usually…