LATEST ADDITIONS

Steve Sutherland  |  Sep 21, 2021
Founded by two brothers in the 1960s, this German studio was where David Bowie, Depeche Mode and U2 made much of their best music. Steve Sutherland has the story

There were pieces of me laying all over the floor.' That's how David Bowie remembered 1976. Living – though that's hardly the word – on a diet of milk, red peppers and cocaine, every successive alias he ditched – Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, The Man Who Fell To Earth – had been like shedding a layer of skin. And now, what's left of him is a skeletal ghost, a fading shadow of his former selves.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 20, 2021
hfnoutstandingHot on the heels of VAC's flagship separates stack on our March '21 cover comes the more affordable derivative, the integrated VAC Sigma 170i – is it a true Mini-Me?

If I wasn't averse to tattoos, I'd have one that says, 'Always Read The Owner's Manual First'. I spent so much time trying to illuminate the VAC Sigma 170i's iQ warning lights that I was wondering if the review sample was a dud. Doh: in this application, the £10,000 single-chassis alternative to the Signature stack [HFN Mar '21], they don't light up at switch-on. Here they only work when something is amiss. Blast it! I never did see them in action.

Martin Colloms  |  Sep 17, 2021
hfnvintageMartin Colloms hears KEF's no-holds-barred flagship speaker, the R109

In late 1995 an idea began to take shape at KEF Audio. The company had already produced some fair-sized 'reference' models, culminating in the well-regarded Reference Four. But even this powerful and accomplished design lacked the necessary weight and presence to make a major impact at the highest quality level of world loudspeaker sales. So research began to define the key elements of what was intended to be a much larger speaker system, a definitive engineering expression of the company's knowledge.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 16, 2021
hfnoutstandingThe evergreen Uniti Atom all-in-one platform, complete with custom streaming solution, is adapted to service the needs of the most demanding headphone users

Never let it be said the product name isn't long enough – in the 12 years since Naim launched its network audio all-in-one, to which the buyer need only add speakers, it's grown from the simple NaimUniti of the initial model, all the way to this, the £2399 Naim Audio Uniti Atom Headphone Edition. And yet here, less is more.

Peter Quantrill  |  Sep 14, 2021
You might want to think of the Bachianas Brasileiras like the mouth of the Amazon, says Peter Quantrill, because a flood of discoveries awaits the intrepid listener

European classical music arrived in the world's fifth largest country with the Jesuits, who brought with them the sacred polyphony of Palestrina and Victoria. Those young men who showed musical aptitude were trained not only as priests but as singers and composers.

Review: Ken Kessler, Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 13, 2021
hfncommendedInfineon Technologies' Class D solutions have been seen before in audiophile amps, but this is the first to feature gallium nitride FETs. The 'tubes', however, are pure decoration!

Unlike its meaning as a show of arrogance, in a design context a 'conceit' is, variously, 'an ingenious or fanciful comparison or metaphor', 'an artistic effect or device', or 'a fanciful notion'. AGD's £18,000-per-pair Gran Vivace is all three. To understand the utterly bizarre use of a valve's glass envelope as a housing for a solid-state amplifier, think of a similar conceit in another field: smart watches which, instead of emulating Apple's genre-defining rectangle, look like analogue timepieces.

Mike Barnes  |  Sep 10, 2021
After recruiting vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover, the second lineup of this one-time pyschedelic band would produce one of the most pivotal albums in the history of hard rock, enabling them finally to break through in Europe after prior US success

Initially named Roundabout, Deep Purple formed in 1968. Jon Lord had played keyboards in The Artwoods, who were an R&B group in the mould of The Animals, while guitarist Ritchie Blackmore had made his name as a hotshot session player with producer Joe Meek [HFN Aug '16], and thus had recorded and played live with 'Screaming' Lord Sutch.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 09, 2021
hfnoutstandingLinn's 'most affordable' route into the world of the iconic Sondek LP12 turntable is all the more convenient now its Majik deck is packaged with Clearaudio-sourced Krane arm

Meet the latest 'entry level' Linn Sondek LP12. As you can see, things have changed since 1973, where the first model came out of the (then) new company's Glasgow factory, complete with a fluted Afrormosia hardwood plinth and tinted Perspex dustcover. Or have they? Rather like the newest Porsche 911 sports car that looks similar to the original '70s icon, this has many of the visual clues of the first Sondek but much has changed under the skin – almost entirely for the better.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 07, 2021
hfnedchoiceThis 'Art Series' is the first silver CrystalConnect offering curated by high-end specialists Crystal Cable. We hear the midrange interconnect.

Spin-off or temporary re-branding, CrystalConnect is part of the same Crystal Cable company, led by Gabi Rynveld, that audiophiles have been familiar with for over 17 years. Synonymous with silver conductors, the brand's latest 'Art Series' employs a development of its monocrystal (or long-crystal) conductors dubbed 'Infinite Crystal Silver' (iCS). Strands of this high conductivity metal are deployed across a range that includes analogue RCA/XLR interconnects, power and speaker cables plus USB, S/PDIF and AES digital interconnects.

Review: Ed Selley, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 06, 2021
hfnoutstandingThere are three two-way standmounts in Spendor's 1970s-inspired Classic range, and the 3/1 is the centre model. Is this entirely UK-built model the sweetspot of the series?

Rather than follow tradition in everything it does, Spendor has wisely divided its loudspeakers into different categories. The company's A-Line and D-Line models aim to reflect changes in consumer tastes by combining fresh in-house design thinking with engineering philosophies it has spent years refining. Alongside these sits the Classic Series which, as the name suggests, sees the brand build upon proven technologies from its earliest days with an eye to keeping the flame of its renowned '70s designs alive.

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