Hi-Fi Choice

Hi-Fi Choice March 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.

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4 min
the mm vs mc debate

One school of thought when it comes to phono cartridges is that moving-coils are a step up from moving-magnet options. However, as ever in hi-fi, it really isn’t quite as simple as that. In an MM cartridge, the coils of wire are fixed in the body and a tiny magnet is attached to the cantilever. When the stylus plays a record, the cantilever moves the magnet close to the coils and induces voltage in them. This type of cartridge has a number of advantages. It is relatively easy to manufacture and so the cost is lower than a moving-coil. Also, the stylus/magnet assembly is usually removable, which allows for the stylus to be easily replaced when it gets worn out or damaged. A variation of an MM cartridge is the variable reluctance,…

3 min
dali spektor 6 £500

Sounding like something from an Ian Fleming novel, the Spektor 6 is the Danish company’s most affordable floorstander. Despite this, few of the company’s design flourishes seem to have been omitted on what sounds like a speaker that’s more expensive than its sticker price. It has a pair of 165mm mid/bass drivers and a 25mm tweeter, the former using paper cones reinforced with wood fibre, said to minimise resonance. The tweeter is a woven fabric soft-dome design claimed to weigh half the average of its market rivals, at 0.056mg/mm2; this should bring faster transients and higher efficiency. The drivers are carefully matched so the crossover doesn’t need to be as complex as it would otherwise be, the maker explains. A fairly easy-to-drive design with a quoted sensitivity of 88.5dB, DALI puts its…

2 min
group test verdict

IT WASN’T SO along ago that reviewing six budget floorstanders would have been a chore. The hapless hi-fi hack would find himself in a sea of screeching treble and booming bass, made worse by lots of cloudy, compressed midband. Not so here, though. Budget speakers have grown to become a world away from where they were a generation ago. The Cambridge Audio SX-80 ranks sixth. It’s a great speaker for the money and one of the best here. It needs to apologise for nothing considering its £400 price. With a snappy, engaging yet reasonably civilised sound, it’s hard to know what to mark it down on. In pure value terms alone, this is the best of the group. Next comes the Monitor Audio Bronze 200, which is a really decent speaker diminished…

1 min

Do you agree with our reviewers? Decide for yourself and listen to some of this month’s tracks at www.hifichoice.co.uk CD Naxos ALL FOUR OF these Liszt works for piano and orchestra are infrequently recorded. But, to make things even more interesting, the versions of the Rhapsodie and Totentanz differ in detail to those that are usually heard, having been edited/arranged by Ferruccio Busoni. Likewise, the Hungarian Fantasy is a ‘performing edition’ by soloist Goran Filipec, who plays with impressive virtuosity. He’s serious, without being heavy or portentous and is ably supported by Imre Kollár who brings much-needed drama and tension to Liszt’s orchestral writing. The Naxos recording sounds clean, detailed and tonally open, with excellent clarity.…

2 min
black rhodium calypso power cable

UTILISING SOME OF Black Rhodium’s latest ‘supercharged’ design and materials, the Calypso mains cable aims to offer much of the performance of its higher-end brethren but at a lower cost. In addition to being fitted with a standard UK 13A mains plug, it can also be supplied with European Schuko or US plugs. At the other end, it usually comes with C19 IEC sockets for hooking up to the audio equipment, but there is the option for it to be fitted with C19 (high current) or C7 (two-pin) connections. The Calypso is screened to reduce the effects of external interference and has a continuous current rating of 13A. Connecting the cable to my valve preamp power supply in place of a standard mains ‘kettle’ lead, I start off by playing That…

3 min
origin live gravity one record weight

WHEN IS A weight not a weight? When it’s a Gravity One record weight from Origin Live. Although it’s called a record weight, the Gravity One might more aptly be described as a record puck as this add-on – designed to sit on a record over the centre spindle – weighs only 67g. 80mm in diameter and 25mm high, it is designed to fit over spindles that protrude between 8.5mm and 23mm above the record when sitting on the platter. The rationale behind the Gravity One is that it’s intended to remove harmful vibrations from your vinyl while it’s playing and so improve the sound quality. According to Origin Live, the idea came about when they heard the Shun Mook record weight in action at an audio show and found it…