Sound + Image January - February 2021

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

3 min
nice kit if you can get it

It has been a strange 2020 for the hi-fi industry, as for everyone. While all shows and launch events were necessarily shut down, hi-fi and home entertainment have not had a bad year; indeed many retailers and distributors are telling me that they’ve sold more kit than for many many years gone by. The reason is fairly obvious — everyone is concentrating on their home life, because they’ve been stuck at home. Isn’t money tight? For some, certainly, but for others there’s been the removal of holiday expenditure, not to mention the possibility of irresponsible splash-out spending thanks to various ongoing assistance payments and that highly dubious ability for Australians to yank out thousands of dollars from their Super and let their retirement income go hang. Not that I’ll be calling…

2 min
classé: welcome back to bowers

Bowers & Wilkins Australia has done very well in this year’s Sound+Image Awards — four gongs in all, including two for its wireless Formation series of products. This shows how the quality of product seems to have been unaffected by two changes of ownership in four years (see panel), the latest of which brings it back together under the Sound United umbrella with its former electronics brand partner, Classé Audio. This has enabled the Australian arm of Bowers & Wilkins to bring Classé back to Australia, making available the company’s third-gen Delta range of amplifiers first announced at CES in 2019, and launched at the following Munich High End show. There are three models: a preamplifier plus a choice of stereo or monoblock power amplifiers, all designed by Classé in Montreal…

5 min
back together again

Bowers & Wilkins Australia’s announcement of a ‘new’ range of electronics from Canada’s Classé Audio is what UK magazine Private Eye would call a ‘reverse ferret’ move. If you had been sleeping quietly since 2017, then this release might be no surprise — Bowers & Wilkins had owned and distributed Classé Audio from 2001, and for years the Canadian power amplifiers were the standard recommended products to drive the legendary B&W 800 Series loudspeakers. But in fact both companies have been through a whirlwind of relationship changes in the last three years, travelling very different paths before ending up back together again. We should note that we are great fans of Classé electronics here at Sound+Image; one of our references is the company’s Sigma 2200i, which incorporated HDMI inputs in a…

1 min
new austere measures for screens & signals

HANDS ON with Austere ‘Clean & Protect’ We’re not usually much for recommending cleaning systems, whether fluids which claim to improve cable connections (as opposed to simply cleaning them), or cleaners for TV screens, for which dedicated solutions seem a bit of overkill when a dry microcloth is usually enough to remove dust and bits of dirt, although occasionally we’ll spray on some of the stuff the optician gives us for use on spectacles. But when we did that recently on a shiny Samsung TV screen, the dog-shaken chunks of dirt we were endeavouring to remove simply smeared all over the surface rather unpleasantly (first image). Then we remembered that distributor Audio Active had recently sent a sample of its Austere III Series ‘Clean & Protect’ package, which contains a two-sided microcloth and…

3 min
ust projectors want your whole wall, please

The ultra-short-throw (UST) projector is not a new concept in itself, but over the last couple of years it has undergone a transition from a projection sideline to a genuine consumer alternative to a large-screen smart TV — although there are still some significant things to consider before fully imbibing the UST Kool-Aid. Firstly, while they’re brighter than ever, their images will still wash out in a room subject to significant ambient light, which is most lounges in Australia during day time. And while the pictures you’ll find on company websites tend to show a nice little box tucked against the wall, throwing a simply enormous image onto the wall surface or preferably screen, the boxes are actually significantly bulky, and for the largest possible images they may need to be…

1 min
marantz model 30 breaks the mould

Does the new Model 30 pairing of SACD player/streamer and amplifier herald a new era for Marantz? The exterior design certainly makes a statement, with a complete overhaul of Ishiwata-period aesthetics, and yet incorporating signature design elements from the brand’s products from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. “Our main goal in updating Marantz was to effectively capture the timelessness, musicality and passion the brand has brought to the world for nearly 70 years,” said Joel Sietsema, SVP of Brand at Marantz’s parent company Sound United. “This is why we dove into the brand’s history first to design the Model 30 and SACD 30n.” The Model 30 integrated amplifier ($5990) is rated at 100W per channel into 8 ohms (200W into 4 ohms); it’s an all-analogue design with a fully discrete two-stage build,…