LATEST ADDITIONS

Mike Barnes  |  Oct 19, 2021
It was a debut LP with a difference as three seasoned musicians set about serving up an edgy yet smooth blend of melodic pop and soft reggae to an audience still hungry for the energy of punk. Would the fans of the emerging new-wave of bands bite?

In the UK in the late '70s, the convulsion that was punk may have been short-lived but the ripples it sent out were far reaching. According to The Jam, this was now The Modern World, so if you considered yourself a new-wave band, or were venturing into the pop field and didn't want to look like some kind of throwback, you needed to look sharp or look 'street'. And it helped if you had a snappy name that included a definitive article. Hence monikers like The Motors, The Yachts, The Rich Kids, and The Police.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 18, 2021
hfnoutstandingIf it isn't broken, don't fix it... but Simaudio's MOON 280D outboard DAC is certainly enhanced by the addition of the updated MiND 2 streaming module and app

There are two ways to make a network music player. One is to take a streaming platform and integrate a DAC to provide analogue outputs, while the other is to start with a DAC and then build in the network playback capability. The two approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Typically, the network player with DAC will be just what it says: a full-featured machine, usually complete with a display, but with limited connectivity for external digital sources. The DAC with streaming, meanwhile, will commonly have more digital ins, but sometimes less network audio capability.

Steve Sutherland  |  Oct 15, 2021
Steve Sutherland tells how the group's name resulted from a chance find in a reference book and highlights hidden subtleties in this 1971 live set, now on 180g vinyl

Ever heard of bibliomancy? No? Read on… Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was this chap. Let's call him Jerome. Jerome is travelling down a country road when he comes upon a crowd of blokes kicking a corpse and creating a hullabaloo. Our hero stops and he's told the deceased had snuffed it without paying a number of debts he owed to some in the assembled crowd, so there's no way they're going to stump up for a grave-digger to bury him.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 14, 2021
hfnoutstandingPromising 'extraordinary power with exquisite tube finesse' BAT's new VK-3500 integrated marries the brand's REX 3 triode preamp with a robust solid-state output

Please indulge me while I discuss the design of BAT's (Balanced Audio Technology) VK-3500 amplifier. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all that, but I'd be surprised to find anyone who didn't admire the styling of this hybrid integrated. Even without the 'BAT' logo conjuring images of Gotham City's caped crusader, it has a purposeful, high-quality look and feel. There's an argument that the appearance of a hi-fi product is unimportant, but at this price you expect some attention to detail and craftsmanship – and that's what you get. Of the silver and black finish options, the latter is the obvious choice if you really want to emphasise the Dark Knight vibe…

Peter Quantrill  |  Oct 12, 2021
A silly farce or a social experiment gone wrong? There are no right answers – though a few wrong ones – to the riddle of this dramma giocoso, says Peter Quantrill

Giochiam', says Don Alfonso, to set in motion Mozart's final collaboration with Lorenzo da Ponte: let's play a game. The nature of the game is a wager over feminine fidelity, laid with two soldiers to prove that, in the moral of the untranslatable title, 'all women are like that'.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 11, 2021
hfncommendedThe middle model in Scansonic's trio of M-series loudspeakers is one of the growing breed of 'compact floorstanders'

Take a look at these Scansonic floorstanders, and you'll notice they look big and impressive, especially for speakers selling for a sensible £1499 in very on-trend black or white silk finishes. But don't let our photographs of the M20 fool you for those mid/bass drivers are just 10cm in diameter – or four inches in old money – and the baffle a few cm wider still. Recalibrate your view based on those figures, and you'll realise these speakers are well short of a metre tall – 93.5cm, in fact – and that, if not quite knee-high to a grasshopper, means these aren't what you'd call 'room-dominating'.

Steve Sutherland  |  Oct 08, 2021
Built by Jimi Hendrix, this studio is not only steeped in rock history but is still used by the top recording artists of today. Steve Sutherland catches the Greenwich Village vibes

The sum was $1,032,425.26. That's how much, in today's money, that his engineer Eddie Kramer reckons Jimi Hendrix was paying every year renting studio time in the late 1960s. And that's why, when Hendrix and his manager Michael Jeffery told Kramer they'd bought a venue at 52 West 8th Street in New York's Greenwich Village and were planning to turn it into a nightclub, he told them they were crazy.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 07, 2021
hfnoutstandingIf there's one man synonymous with the 'custom DAC' it's Ed Meitner, who has crafted his own digital tech for 30 years. His latest outboard DAC is a chip off the digital block

Twenty years or so ago, standalone DACs were fast becoming an endangered species. The breed had a brief moment in the sun in the early '90s, with almost all CD player brands fitting digital outputs, but until the advent of USB audio, the add-on digital box was on the wane. Now, with the rise of digital streaming, network-attached DACs are the gift that keeps on giving, for hi-fi brands and buyers alike.

Johnny Sharp  |  Oct 05, 2021
Johnny Sharp on the creation of the artwork for Fleetwood Mac's pivotal late '70s album Rumours

The '70s had no shortage of puzzling LP sleeve imagery. But if the image that adorned Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album Rumours was among the more perverse and baffling, that might have been because the band that made it had been driven to the edge of sanity while doing so.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 04, 2021
hfnoutstandingFrom California via London comes the shapely form of Zesto's Andros phono preamp – all tubes and transformers and now, courtesy of an uprated PSU, in 'Deluxe II' guise

If you demand full control over your cartridges, an all-singing/all-dancing phono preamp like the Zesto Andros Deluxe II is the only thing that will suffice. At £7500, it occupies the lower reaches of the extreme phono stage market – there are £40k-plus units if you're inspired to go further – but one should still be hyper-critical when the market is awash with exceptional, fully-adjustable phono amps for under £1000.

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