Hi Fi News December 2021

Since its launch in June 1956 - two years before the commercial realisation of stereo - Hi-Fi News & Record Review has been delivering insightful reviews of the key products and technologies that lie behind our shared hobby... the passion of listening to music on the very best equipment available to the enthusiast. Every issue, Hi-Fi News delivers uniquely in-depth reviews of high-end audio equipment, including the best in vinyl replay and iconic vintage gear from the early days of audio. It is essential reading for all music enthusiasts.

United Kingdom
AV Tech Media Ltd
43,27 kr(Inkl. moms)
541,38 kr(Inkl. moms)
13 Nummer

i detta nummer

2 min

How much?! That’s not an uncommon response to the price tag hanging from more than a few of the very high-end audio products that have featured in Hi-Fi News over the years. The £137k Engström ERIC Encore tube amps [HFN Nov ’21] raised a shackle or two [see p119] but I remember even greater outrage greeting the arrival of Naim Audio’s Statement NAC/NAP S1 preamp/monoblocks [HFN Jun ’15] at £155k, now £179k. The debate about the cost of these very limited edition pieces, all typically comprising years of product development, countless staff payroll hours, custom components and requiring unique tooling, will rumble on. Our cover stars this month, the astonishing-looking, fabulous-sounding and back-breakingly heavy NHB-468 from Swiss brand darTZeel will doubtless spray more jet fuel onto the fire [see p40]. At £81k…

1 min
hi-fi news’ expert line up: the finest minds in audio journalism bring their experience to bear on all areas of hi-fi & music

BARRY FOX Investigative journalist supreme, Barry is the first with news of the latest developments in hi-fi and music technologies DAVID PRICE An avid collector of audio treasures, and life-long hi-fi addict, DP lends his ears and experience from analogue to digital KEN KESSLER is a long-serving contributor, luxury goods writer and champion for the renaissance in valves and ‘vintage hi-fi’ MARK CRAVEN Editor of our sister title Home Cinema Choice, Mark’s passion for music extends from stereo to multichannel and Dolby Atmos STEVE HARRIS Former Editor of this very title from 1986 through to 2005. A lifetime in audio and a love of jazz makes Steve a goldmine ANDREW EVERARD has reviewed hi-fi for over 30 years and is still effortlessly enthusiastic about new technology, kit and discovering new music STEVE SUTHERLAND worked on Melody Maker and then edited NME from 1992-2000,…

1 min
full stack

Dan D’Agostino, chief engineer and founder of the company that bears his name, believes the new Relentless Preamplifier is a ‘crowing jewel’ of his career. Priced £165,000 and offered in silver, black or custom paint finishes, this companion for the brand’s Relentless Monoblock [HFN Mar ’20] features an interlocking triple-chassis design, with the preamp proper sandwiching the PSU/control unit. Each mono preamp case features a differential FET input stage, four-layer circuit boards with analogue and digital elements isolated, and a direct-coupled signal path that’s fully balanced from input to output. The Relentless is also D’Agostino’s first preamp to offer an optional digital streaming module (DSM), which can be fitted into the power supply chassis. This employs dual differential DACs (supporting 384kHz/34-bit PCM and DSD256), and has coaxial, optical, USB-A and Wi-Fi/Ethernet…

1 min
verismo mc

Danish cartridge specialist Ortofon has added a new model to its premium Exclusive Series. The £5349 Verismo MC – named after the Post-Romantic opera tradition – combines a diamond cantilever and ‘special polished version’ of the company’s flagship Replicant nude stylus. In addition, a new suspension compound based on carbon nanotubes is said to improve damping. Borrowing from the MC A95 model, the Verismo features a single-piece ‘laser-melted’ titanium body and generator system with Ortofon’s ‘Field Stabilising Element’ technology, including alloy armature, to optimise the magnetic circuit. Claimed output for the Verismo MC is 0.2mV (re. 1kHz/5cm/sec), leading Ortofon to suggest it’s a suitable partner for ‘a wide range of MC phono stages as well as step-up transformers’, the latter including its own £1100 ST-80 SE. Ortofon A/S, Denmark, 01235 511166; www.ortofon.com;…

1 min
hi-fi news' nuggets

RAW KIMBER Cable aficionados will already know that the best insulation is no insulation at all, with air (in lieu of a vacuum) providing the best and very cost-effective dielectric. All that’s required is a method of preventing the signal and return conductors from shorting and the exposed metal from oxidising… Kimber’s new ‘Naked’ interconnect cable attempts to address the conundrum by employing gold-plated, palladium-coated, 24-gauge annealed copper strands that are supported ‘in air’ within a tubular cotton weave. RCA- and XLR-terminated 1m lengths are available at £12,700 per stereo set. www.kimber.com 300 SERIES FLAGSHIP Waving the flag for its 300 series is the new AE320 three-way floorstander from Acoustic Energy. The 130mm mid and pair of 130mm bass drivers use ceramic aluminium sandwich cones, married here to a 28mm alloy tweeter. Price is…

1 min
pocket power

Described as retaining ‘every aspect admired about the original SR25’, Astell&Kern’s second-generation of its entry-level DAP now gains a 4.4mm balanced headphone output, improved EMI shielding for a performance boost, plus design tweaks to its volume control and Mercury Dark Silver aluminium chassis design. Priced £699, this pocket player features a 384kHz/32-bit dual-DAC analogue stage (supporting DSD and MQA), fed by a choice of USB-C, Wi-Fi and wireless BT inputs. Headphone connections also include 3.5mm (unbalanced) and 2.5mm (balanced). Finally, a polyurethane fabric case is offered, in three colourways, for another £59. Astell&Kern, 01279 501111; www.astellnkern.com…