Sound + Image February - March 2016

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
the hi–fi headlines

The heart of any audio system is the amplifier. While the function of any amp is basically the same, the way they achieve their end goal can vary considerably, and their sonic impact on the system is undeniable. One amplifier we have been playing with for a while (and a HUGE brand for us in days gone by) is the Perreaux Audiant 80i integrated amplifier. It is amazing how gems sometimes slip under the radar. Firstly, and most importantly, this is a very good sounding amplifier, its performance belying its $4,200 price tag. There is no shortage of fine-sounding amps out there, but most then fall down in the practical side of the offering. Worse, there are amplifiers that offer all the bells and whistles, but disappoint sonically. The Audient 80i is…

3 min
music and mindfulness...

In audio circles, hi-fi folk often bemoan the decline of critical listening, by which they mean the choice to sit and focus on music, to stop reading, if possible to stop thinking entirely and enter the three-dimensional time portal of music and performance that a good recording can cause to appear before you. Kids these days, they moan, they have a whole world of music streaming to their phone, they illegally download more albums than we’ll ever own, but it’s all for background — they don’t listen, they don’t focus. How else could it be, when half the time they’re listening using only half a pair of white earbuds? But I don’t think this is true. Stop a random teenager today and sure, they may already be slightly deaf in one ear…

1 min
mqa for auralic & bluesound

AURALiC’s streamers and the Bluesound family of wireless multiroom audio products will be among the first able to stream music using MQA encoding and playback technology which promises “authenticated” high-res audio quality. MQA, developed by Bob Stuart and his team at Meridian and now operating under a separate company MQA Ltd., aims to make possible streaming of authentic high-resolution Studio Master recordings in real time, by employing improved compression rates (designated lossless by MQA) and illuminating a specific MQA LED light on decoding which will guarantee to the listeners that they are enjoying true high-res audio from a file signed off by the original studio. At CES in Las Vegas, Bluesound demonstrated “proof of concept”, equipping one of its players with MQA technology. Of particular delight for current Bluesound customers will be the…

2 min
how high-res is high-res audio?

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has produced a useful new Hi-Res Audio (HRA) guide for consumers and retailers, which reverses the recent trend to define anything from CD-quality upwards as “high-res” Here at Sound+Image we’ve always preferred the definition of “high-res audio” to be files above CD quality — 24-bit/96kHz, sometimes 88.2kHz, or higher... including DSD formats. Last year the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and The Recording Academy, in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, released a confusing definition. It included the reassuring definition of “lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources.” But then it offered four possible levels of ‘Master Quality Recording…

1 min
australian 16 hifi av show

TICKETS ON SALE NOW! The Australian HiFi & AV Show is back for 2016, in the tried-and-tested upmarket venue of the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto hotel, and with its established time-slot of 21-23 October. Tickets are already on sale, and out-of-state visitors are advised to book accommodation early. Here at NextMedia we are again media partners for the Show, which is organised by The Chester Group — for full details visit VIDEO ON SPOTIFY With Spotify recently announcing 20 million paid users among its 75 million subscribers, it is in a strong position to expand into video, and has been testing a service of short programming in recent months. Launching initially in Britain, Germany, Sweden and the US, the video service is offering themed packages of short-form curated content rather than a…

1 min
4k blu-ray off & running

“From the manufacturer side, I’ve never seen this type of caution with a new platform”, says ProSource’s Dave Workman of 4K UltraHD Blu-ray, but Samsung is due to ship in March, as is a surprise early entrant to the field, Philips (which in this context refers to the Philips branding of TV products licensed to Europe-based TP Vision, part of TPV in China). Panasonic has put its DMP-UB900 player back to the second half of 2016. Samsung’s player looks just as you’d expect (top image above), while the Philips BDP7501 looks more like a media player; it will feature built-in support for HDMI 1.4 and 2.0a, and the HEVC and VP9 codecs (so allowing streaming 4K from Netflix, YouTube and others). In the US it will be US$400, with Samsung’s UBD-K8500…