Sound + Image September - October 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
8 Issues

in this issue

4 min
words and pictures and music

EDLINES So I now know for sure that this issue of Sound+Image will hit the streets during Sydney’s extended lockdown. As I write, South Australia has just opened up, while other States are trying to keep a lid on things with varying levels of success. We’re all heartily sick of it, and there’s absolutely no end in sight. Back when the lockdowns first locked down in 2020, I wrote that, given no choice but to hang at home, we might as well make the best use of our hi-fis, and a great many people seemed to have done just that. During 2020 home entertainment resurged in some style, with the highest sales the industry has seen in years for hi-fi, home cinema and electronics, not just in Australia but around the world. This…

15 min

Denon & Marantz deliver a new ‘A’ team Sound United has released new ‘A’-tagged range-topping AV components for both Denon and Marantz, raising their predecessor models to HDMI 2.1 status along with support for the latest immersive audio formats. Neither of them is strictly quite an AV receiver, with Denon upgrading its tunerless AVC-X8500H to the “industry’s first 13.2 channel 8K AV amplifier” in the AVC-X8500HA, while the new Marantz component is the 13-channel AV8805A processor/preamplifier, upgrading the previous AV8805 that has been partner to the company’s MM range of separate power amplifiers since its introduction in 2018. On both models the addition of that extra ‘A’ brings a dedicated 8K input that supports 40Gbps transmission of 8K/60Hz and passthrough of 4K/120Hz, while all rear HDMI ports are HDCP 2.3-rated and can handle…

4 min
is your soundbar faking it?

All hail the modern soundbar, which has saved a million homes from the perils of trailing wires and speakers all round the room, as epitomised by the home theatre surround systems of the 1980s and 1990s. The all-conquering soundbar arrived, offering one neat long speaker enclosure beneath your TV to replace a whole room of equipment. It was neat. With the additional of a wireless subwoofer it could sound huge. What was not to like? But could the soundbar really do surround sound? In the early days, when replacing those multiple speakers, some daft claims were made, invariably involving the word ‘virtual’. As soundbars have developed further over the years, fierce competition among brands has led to more spurious claims for soundbars than perhaps any other line of product. ‘Virtual surround’…

11 min
natural born winners

The very first loudspeakers designed and built by Yamaha back in the 1950s were for use in the company’s range of electronic organs, which it named ‘Electone’ and promoted as having a sound the same as that of the conventional organs they replaced — in other words, a ‘natural sound.’ And this ‘natural sound’ slogan has continued to this day in the model numbers of all Yamaha loudspeakers — NS. The most famous of Yamaha’s speaker designs over the years was undoubtedly the NS-1000, introduced in 1974. It was the first loudspeaker in the world to use beryllium diaphragms, and was available both as a professional studio monitor (NS-1000M) and a home speaker, where it was also the first loudspeaker to have a gloss black cabinet finish. Yamaha’s current flagship domestic…

11 min
cambridge dacmagic 200m digital-to-analogue converter magic numbers

There’s a long history to Cambridge Audio’s DacMagic. The first of its line arrived back in the mid-1990s when ‘off-board’ DACs, as they were called, were still a new notion, the idea being to upgrade the CD players that were becoming increasingly popular. This was forward thinking by James Johnson-Flint and Julian Richer, who had only recently revived Cambridge Audio by harnessing some of the UK’s top hi-fi designers — Mike Creek was behind their first new product, the outstanding A1 budget amplifier in 1995, followed in 1996 by that original DacMagic. This was a design by John Westlake, who had started his days with legendary turntable company Pink Triangle, designing its surprising DaCapo DAC in 1991. Westlake was involved with the first three DacMagic designs, as well as being hands-on…

12 min
needles & fins

Classé is back, and we are very happy to celebrate its return. We’ve long used a Classé stereo AV amplifier amongst our reference products, a model from the period when Classé was the stablemate to and go-to amplifier brand for Bowers & Wilkins. By then production had already moved from Classé’s home in Montreal, Canada, over to China, but worse was to come when B&W was in turn purchased by EVA Automation in 2016. Classé was put into hibernation, and the brand seemed destined to disappear amid much mourning and wringing of hands. But in 2020 Bowers & Wilkins changed hands again, joining the increasingly extensive Sound United stable, and Classé was revived, with its former President reinstalled and tasked with finalising the previously terminated development of a new Delta Series.…