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Australian HiFi

Australian HiFi January - February 2021

Australian HiFi is the definitive magazine for discerning listeners and Hi-Fi enthusiasts. Every issue is packed with equipment and music reviews, new product information and ‘how-to’ articles. Australian Hi-Fi magazine is dedicated to helping you find the best quality sound for your home.

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Future Publishing Ltd
R 43,73
R 233,76
7 Issues

in this issue

4 min
jazz track

THE END AlIt Är Intel [Frontiers] Allt Är Intet is comprised of Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, Norwegian saxophonist Kjetil MØster, Ethiopian-born vocalist Sofia Jernberg, Norwegian guitarist Anders Hana, and Norwegian drummer BØrge Fjordheim. Their performances are always at the freerer end of the musical spectrum, and incendiary blowing is very much to the fore on this second album (the first being their audacious SvarmodOch Vemod Är Värdesinnen). The unbridled saxes of Gustaffson and MØster create a structured maelstrom that’s visceral, dense and exhilarating. Arguably more rock than jazz, super-tight hypnotic rhythms pummel and entrance in equal measure, deftly providing an anchor point in what is certainly a turbulent and bracing musical experience, but one that’s undeniably rewarding. MAJOR SURGERY Rare Live Performances 1978 [Last Music] This album represents a new chapter in an otherwise forgotten…

21 min
harbeth compact 7es-3 xd loudspeakers

Harbeth tricks me every time. Every time the courier delivers a pair of Harbeth loudspeakers for review, I prepare to lift the first carton by bending my knees and keeping a straight back, then when I lift, I end up virtually launching the carton towards the ceiling, so light-weight is the speaker inside it. If you are familiar with Harbeth, its illustrious history, and its BBC heritage, you’ll already know that the speakers are designed to have as little mass as possible, because it is precisely this lack of mass that contributes to their unique sound. But if you are more used to speakers that weigh as much as the average person, the weight of the Compact 7ES-3 XDs will come as a total surprise. I will discuss the reason for…

4 min
top picks

PILLOW QUEENS In Waiting [Awal] With razor-sharp riffs, belting hooks and vocal runs drenched in emotional fury, this unforgivingly catchy and wickedly poignant debut is sure to make Pillow Queens an alt scene staple. This Irish quartet juggles atmospheric indie numbers and incandescent rock anthems with virtuosic aplomb, dipping and diving around varying notches of intensity so that the bigger jams feel earned and exciting, but the slower cuts never even border on boring. So too does this showcase the dizzying deftness of string-splitter Cathy McGuinness—whether she’s ripping a thick, thunderous onslaught of volcanic distortion or a tight, temperamental emo strum, her work with the fretboard is always effortlessly enchanting. This is definitely one to crank up high. POWDERFINGER Unreleased (1998–2010) [Universal] This album brings 40 minutes of previously unheard gold from Australia’s most charismatically…

22 min
gryphon essence preamplifier & stereo power amplifier

The Gryphon Essence stereo power amplifier is a very, very unusual audio amplifier. Which, if you know anything at all about this proudly Danish high-end audio specialist or its recently-retired founder, Flemming E. Rasmussen, should not come as a surprise. Although Flemming is still associated with Gryphon, the company is now owned by Valdemar Martin BØrsting and Gryphon’s employees, which includes electronics designer Tom Moller, who has been the head of the design team at Gryphon for many years now. The power amplifier is so unusual that it needs an unusual pre-amplifier to drive it, so for this review it is partnered with Gryphon’s Essence Preamplifier. (In point of fact, the Essence power amplifier can be used with any preamplifier at all, but only Gryphon’s preamplifier can take full advantage of the…

20 min
sound bites

B&W 600 SERIES ANNIVERSARY EDITION B&W has released the seventh generation of its venerable 600 Series, which was launched a quarter of a century ago. This means that the new 600 Series Anniversary Edition is the company’s second-longest continuously-available line. Despite many corporate and manufacturing changes over the years, Bowers & Wilkins still develops and manufactures all its key components in-house and gradually ‘trickles down’ technologies originally developed for flagship models to its lower-priced speakers. “This approach has consistently allowed 600 Series models to deliver better quality components and technologies than any comparable competitor, delivering sound quality rivalling that of far more expensive speakers,” says John Martin, of B&W Australia. The new 600 Series Anniversary Edition range not only offers component and technological improvements over the sixth version of the 600 Series,…

5 min
laboratory test report

Graph 1 shows the in-room frequency response of the Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 XD loudspeakers when measured using a pink noise test stimulus. It’s the averaged result of nine individual measurements, taken in a grid pattern with the tweeter at the centre of the grid. You can see that it’s extraordinarily flat-monitor-standard flat in fact-not only across the midrange, but also in the upper bass and the lower and upper treble regions. Across the area between 2kHz and 8kHz, the response is so linear that it essentially tracks the graphing grid, so it’s essentially ±0.1dB. Between 140Hz and 2kHz, the frequency response is better than ±0.6dB! Rarely do I see such a linear response in any loudspeaker that does not have the benefit of an inbuilt amplifier that uses digital signal processing…