Sound + Image June - July 2019

SOUND + IMAGE magazine offers a comprehensive package focused on lifestyle home electronic entertainment. It provides easy-to-read information about audio and video equipment and how ordinary consumers can assemble extraordinary systems that look and sound fantastic.

Future Publishing Ltd
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8 Issues

in this issue

4 min
but what does it do, exactly?

We had our neighbours round recently, and one of them came up to the music room to admire the glowing VU needles of the power amp from Yamaha’s impressive 5000 Series which was warming through for an upcoming review. He was suitably impressed, and he asked me, of course, how much it costs, and then after a pause — “And what does it do, exactly?” This is a problem with amplifiers these days. While the Yamaha pre-power pair look, to my eyes and I’d guess to anyone who has hung around hi-fi for a good few years, decidedly sexy, amplification as a breed is not only unsexy, it’s no longer even clear to most people why they even need it. In his home my neighbour plays his music through his television, or…

2 min
bowers & wilkins moves into formation

This has been a long-awaited new range. Ever since B&W was taken over in 2016 by a Silicon Valley start-up, EVA Automation, the smart money has been on the great loudspeaker company introducing a platform of smart audio products fusing the speaker skills of B&W with the new tech coming out of California. And now here it is — the B&W Formation Suite, which is launching with five new products that all communicate via a proprietary mesh wireless network able to stream up to high-resolution 24-bit/96kHz audio. There’s also a wide range of other connectivity options, including traditional home networking via Ethernet and Wi-Fi, plus Apple’s AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Roon readiness, and Bluetooth streaming which including the aptX HD codec and AAC in addition to the base-level SBC codec. Leading the…

3 min
$100k 8k as samsung lands its 98-incher

8K TV resolution is all about larger screen sizes, so we’ve been unusually unexcited over Samsung’s release of 55-inch, even 65-inch 8K TVs, given you’d need to be sitting with your nose on the screen to get much of the benefit of the increased resolution over 4K. But now really monster-sized TVs are arriving, in sizes that can not only leverage 8K’s resolution but rival projection systems with resolution and brightness beyond anything the canvas screen can yet deliver. Samsung officially launched its 98-inch QLED 8K TV on June 7 in Australia. The Series 9 Q900R has hitherto been available in 65-inch, 75-inch and 82-inch models at $9999, $12,999 and $17,499. We expected the 98-inch (actually 97.5 inches of screen on the diagonal) to be pricey, and it is —$99,999! The huge…

2 min
‘custom professional’ gz2000 oled from panasonic

Panasonic has announced its 2019-2020 AV line-up, including three new OLED TV models and a handy entry-level UHD Blu-ray player, among much more. The three OLED TVs are the GZ2000, to be available in 65-inch only from September priced $8299, the GZ1500, available in July again in 65-inch only for $6199, plus two sizes of the GZ1000, also in July, at $5799 for the 65-inch and $3599 for the 55-inch. The flagship TH-65GZ2000U includes a new “custom Professional Edition 4K OLED panel”, along with a Technics-tuned soundbar that is augmented with what are claimed as world’s first built-in upward-firing speakers to support Dolby Atmos. While Sound+Image readers may be more likely to attach a larger sound system to a TV of this level, be aware that in contrast to last season’s TVs, the…

1 min
sony does vinyl via aptx

Sony has released a second turntable to follow the 2017 Sound+Image award-winning HX500, and this new one adds an aptX-capable Bluetooth transmitter. That means those who lack a traditional hi-fi system can listen to their vinyl on any wireless speaker, Bluetooth-equipped soundbar, or indeed direct to wireless headphones. But it does, we should add, also offer both phono-level and line-level output, in addition to a USB-B computer connection which allows you to digitally record your black discs. It’s a good-looking deck, with straight aluminium arm and what appears to be a basic audio-technica cartridge, though the headshell is unremovable, so upgrade options will be limited. But then despite all the connectivity, Sony has managed to price the PS-LX310BT at a remarkable $299. We’ll have a review of this turntable next issue;…

2 min
ken bids farewell

“I never thought this day would come…” says Marantz’s longstanding audio guru Ken Ishiwata, as he steps down from his role with Marantz, which appears to be part and parcel of the newly announced acquisition of Onkyo, Integra, Pioneer and Pioneer ELITE by Sound United, the parent company of Marantz (and Denon, Polk Audio and others). The ultimate owner Viper Holdings Corporation is rumoured to be seeking a turnover of US$1bn globally from the enlarged raft of products. But the raft has no space for Mr Ishiwata, who has been the face and ears of Marantz for more than 40 years, as celebrated by the recent KI-Ruby series, the latest ‘Special Edition’ from Marantz to bear the Ishiwata ‘signature’. Those ‘Special Editions’ and KI-Signature models have been great successes for Marantz ever…