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Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 24, 2022
hfnvintageBuy one of these late-'70s beauties secondhand today and you'll own an amp from a pedigree name with radio thrown in for 'free'. So, is this a receiver worth considering?

The receiver (tuner/amplifier) has always divided opinion, in the UK at least. While popular in Europe and the US, the British market never embraced these units to the degree it did separate tuners and amplifiers. And this wasn't because they could not rival a two-box counterpart on performance due to any technical reason. The real issue was that two top-quality units built into one housing could result in an indivisibly expensive product, one many consumers may not have been able to afford.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 23, 2022
hfnoutstandingComputer giant Buffalo's high-end audio brand, Melco, has an updated two-box flagship with enhancements debuted in the limited-edition N10 anniversary edition

There are two distinct Melco families: the conventionally-sized N1 models, 430mm wide, and the half-width, 215mm, N10 series, of which the new N10/2 models, starting from £6999 for the N10/2-H50 and rising to £8999 for the N10/2-S38 flagship we have here, are the latest iteration. Why the two prices? In a word, storage: the N10/2-H50 packs 5TB of conventional HDD, while the -S38 includes 3.84TB of (solid-state) SSD.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 20, 2022
hfnoutstandingTiny, solidly made, UK-built and now even more capable, is this compact USB DAC/headphone amp from Chord Electronics still the one to beat below £500?

Inundated as we are with pocket-money portable headphone amp/DACs, Chord's Mojo 2 asks the question: why drop £449 on a portable headphone DAC? Once you hear it, you'll understand, especially if top-quality sound on the move matters to you. The Mojo 2 is an upgrade on the top-drawer Mojo [HFN Jan '16], the battery-powered, smaller-than-a-deck-of-cards DAC/headphone amp. It arrives with only a £50 price increase that doesn't even correspond to real-world inflation. Even without the Mojo 2 improvements, the original Mojo should retail for £470 in 2022 just for the inflation, so Chord has somehow managed to squeeze in a host of upgrades with but a nominal price hike.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 19, 2022
hfnoutstandingFans of the brand know that when Audio Research adds an 'SE' suffix, the changes go beyond the cosmetic. The latest to earn this upgrade is the Reference Phono 3

Let's talk about names. Audio Research's abiding Reference range has long been subject to shorthand – even the factory calls the models 'REF' for brevity – while updated (mk2) components are now defined by 'SE'. And that now applies to the £17,500 Reference Phono 3SE. In this case the revisions are retrofittable and, at £3500 and given my delight with every SE model I've tried, especially with the REF 6 and REF 75, I suspect most existing owners will want the upgrade. My optimism was fuelled by Audio Research's CEO Dave Gordon who told us, 'The SE changes incorporated in both the REF 6 and the REF Phono 3 are almost identical, involving many of the same passive component upgrades'.

Steve Sutherland  |  May 17, 2022
The band leader was an unusual but inspired choice for the soundtrack of Otto Preminger's courtroom drama, says Steve Sutherland, as he considers the 180g reissue

Whether life was imitating art or vice versa is a moot point, but whichever way you look at it Joseph Nye Welch was one extraordinary geezer. A partner in a Boston law firm called Hale and Dorr, on the 9th of June 1954 he found himself in court challenging Senator McCarthy to provide 'before sundown' the list of 130 Communists posing a so-called subversive threat in defence plants across the US.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 16, 2022
hfnoutstandingWhile Marantz's new 40 series shares its industrial design with the Class D Model 30, its core networking and Class A/B amp technology borrows from an earlier generation

By all accounts stylish, network-attached amps, including Cambridge Audio's Evo 150 [HFN Nov '21] or the compact NAD M10 and C 700 [HFN Jun '19 & Feb '22], are carving themselves a successful niche. So it's not surprising that Sound United, parent of Marantz, is making its own pitch. Marantz traditionalists needn't fret, however, for while the new £2199 Model 40n includes high-res wired/wireless streaming, USB and HDMI ARC inputs, the chassis is properly hi-fi-sized and the aesthetics are pure 'Marantz'.

Mike Barnes  |  May 13, 2022
Although planned as the American proto punk's first solo record under new management, Raw Power wound up being a third album for a reconfigured lineup of The Stooges – with David Bowie roped in to try to channel the band's unique energy into a listenable mix

Ever since the early days of rock 'n' roll, fans have vicariously got their kicks from its stars – the larger than life characters who did things us normal folk would never dream of, or would be too scared to try. But while many artists merely flirted with the idea of danger, James Osterburg, aka Iggy Pop, lead singer with The Stooges, located the self-destruct button and kept pressing it over and over again.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 12, 2022
hfnoutstandingLaunched to mark Sumiko's 40th, this latest version of the 'Celebration' moving-coil takes its cues from the mkII Pearwood, albeit with Plumwood to invoke a unique hue...

This celebratory model, marking 40 years, recalls a bygone time, its perfectly apt wooden box and body inadvertently honouring a specific Japanese MC cartridge with the greatest claim to establishing the genre in the West: the original Koetsu [HFN Nov '80]. What doesn't evoke the 1980s is the £3199 price tag, although this is perhaps not so forbidding when we can list a dozen £10,000-plus cartridges, aimed at those who quaff Petrus at every meal…

Peter Quantrill  |  May 10, 2022
Sacred or secular? Ritual or drama? Peter Quantrill tackles some of the big questions while exploring a sublime but ever-controversial opera on record and film

Iwas not thinking of the Saviour when I was composing Parsifal', wrote Richard Wagner to his wife Cosima – dismantling one of many misconceptions held about his last music drama. One practical motivation, having contemplated the subject matter for over 30 years, was an inheritance to Cosima and their children which would secure both their financial future and that of the theatre at Bayreuth which he had built to stage the Ring.

Review: Mark Craven  |  May 09, 2022
hfnoutstandingInspired by the flagship Concept 500, Q Acoustics' '50 packs a host of trickledown thinking into its slender frame

When Q Acoustics launched its Concept loudspeaker range in 2013, it began with a sub-£500 standmount – the Concept 20 [HFN Feb '14]. While this was in keeping with the value-for-money reputation the UK brand had developed since its arrival in 2006, within a few years it was reaching higher with the (then) £3000 Concept 300 and £4200 flagship Concept 500 [HFN Jul '17].

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