Sound + Image September - October 2020

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
8 Issues

in this issue

4 min

Writing this as Melbourne enters six weeks of lockdown, I send my best wishes to readers there, although of course by the time you read this anything could have happened and us lot in Sydney may be on our way to joining you under maximum restrictions. Second time around it’s harder to find the silver linings of such an enforced staycation, especially for those who have little or no work to do and the permanent gut-thup of financial worry. When the pandemic first began, all those long months ago, I merrily reported on the value of bonus time to spend in critical music listening, or in catching up on all those movies you’ve wanted to watch. Second time around it’s going to be harder to enjoy a repeat surfeit of leisure…

2 min
denon x series goes 8k

While we’re not recommending that everyone rushes to upgrade to 8K TVs just yet, it makes sense for any AV receiver purchase to be future-proofed, and Denon has now made the leap with its first 8K-ready models in its X-Series AVRs. The Denon AVC-X6700H (pictured), the EISA-winning AVC-X4700H (see p25), AVC-X3700H, and AVR-X2700H will each carry 8K HDMI silicon on one dedicated 8K HDMI input, enabling 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video pass-through. The two top models support all key immersive audio formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, IMAX Enhanced and Auro-3D out-of-box. The top AVC-X6700H will also support DTS:X Pro for up to 13 channels of DTS:X decoding with speaker configurations such as 7.2.6 or 9.2.4. Listeners can also enjoy the latest in IMAX Enhanced films in 7.2.6 or 9.2.4 speaker configurations thanks to…

2 min
richter launches harlequin s6

Australia’s Richter has had to overcome COVID-19 delays and disruption to complete its Series 6 family, the new Harlequin S6 finally cleared for travel and ready for its Australian launch. The Harlequin S6 is Richter’s affordable floorstander, plugging the gap between the Merlin S6 bookshelf models and the larger Wizard S6 floorstanders (reviewed last issue). And Richter promises a level of build and sound quality well above what the price of $1899 suggest. The rear-ported 2-way bass reflex cabinet houses the company’s new low-distortion soft-dome tweeter partnered with an also newly-developed lightweight but extremely stiff paper-coated 6½-inch (165mm) mid/bass driver. “The tweeter has its resonance well below 900Hz and the desired phase characteristics of a gently-inclined sound-pressure-level frequency response to over 30kHz,” says Richter’s Brian Rodgers. The quoted frequency response for the Series…

1 min
the return of leak!

Forty years ago; Leak was one of the most famous names in hi-fi. It even had a full manufacturing facility here in Australia. Founded in 1934 by Harold Leak it was sold to the Rank Organisation in 1969, which subsequently ceased using the brand name. Leak is now back, as a brand of IAG (which also owns Quad, Wharfedale, Mission, Audiolab and Castle Acoustics), and its first ‘new’ product under IAG ownership is the Leak Stereo 130, which looks uncannily similar to the Leak Stereo 30 released in 1963, which claimed to be the world’s first commercially available all-transistor amplifier. Of course the internals are all cutting-edge 21st century technology, with both analogue and digital inputs extending to one optical, one coaxial, USB -B plus Bluetooth with aptX, all backed with an…

1 min
a&k doubles down on dacs

It’s one thing to have dual DACs running on separate channels. And it’s not uncommon to be offered a choice of DAC filters with which you can experiment to find your perfect response. But with its SE200, the second model in the premium ‘A&futura’ line of portable audio players, Astell&Kern has actually installed two separate DACs, and with two separate amp stages to optimise their different characteristics. In fact it’s really three DACs, since the SE200 is fitted with the latest audiophile ES9068AS from ESS running in a dual-DAC configuration. But Astell&Kern then added a single AK4499EQ, AKM’s flagship DAC, which is used in its flagship SP2000. This is, A&K proudly, “ the world’s first multi-DAC DAP”. And you can further customise your sound by choosing from the DAC filters provided…

2 min
smokin’ new headphones from grado

We don’t know what they’re smoking up at Grado HQ, but the Brooklyn NY company is releasing a new headphone which is made, at least partially, out of hemp. The ‘hemphone’, as it’s been labelled internally, uses hemp fibre “fine rolled” and then highly compressed to form a shell material. “What?”, asks Jonathan Grado. “Oh right, the Hemp Headphones. This is some of the most fun we’ve ever had with a limited edition. We had no clue how they’d turn out, but they ended up sounding pretty amazing. It also reminded us to stock up on more snacks at the office.” In context, it’s not such a whacked-out idea; Grado is always experimenting with different woods and materials, and when the opportunity to build with hemp came about, they took what they…