LATEST ADDITIONS

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 21, 2021
hfnoutstandingSingular driving force behind the revival of the strain gauge generator system first seen in phono pick-ups from the '60-70s, Soundsmith's latest offering is nothing if not flexible

Hardly scientific, I know, but I am predisposed toward components that cause binge-listening. Not knowing what to expect of the Soundsmith Strain Gauge cartridge and the accompanying SG-230 preamp/energiser at a pound shy of £16,000, I will declare my surprise upon discovering that it was so engaging, I listened to 14 LPs in a row in their entirety. I repeat: fourteen.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jun 18, 2021
Clutching his personally signed sleeve of this 1970 album, Steve Sutherland nonetheless welcomes the 180g vinyl reissue – it's a work of real genius, he says

'I don't wanna talk about that. I just don't know what to say. I respect the fact he's a guy who did what he did and, y'know, he did what he had to do and I don't wanna get any… I prefer to not be involved at all. I certainly don't wanna take advantage of talking about something like that for the interest of somebody else I've never met, and selling myself in a paper in the process. I'd rather you just left it out – it's just distasteful to me.'

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 17, 2021
hfnoutstandingSeven years after Yamaha moved into high-end price points with a flagship, all-analogue integrated we look at its latest offering and discover 'retro' with 21st century sound

Big, bold and unashamedly old-school with its silver finish – black is available as an option – polished piano black side panels and large illuminated meters, the £4999 Yamaha A-S3200 is the flagship of the brand's integrated amplifier range, which kicks off with the modest £200 A-S201.

Peter Quantrill  |  Jun 16, 2021
A Passiontide masterpiece every generation of performers and audiences reinvents for itself... Peter Quantrill casts an ear back over more than half a century of recordings

In telling the life of Christ, the four Gospels of the New Testament all build towards his betrayal, his trial, his death on the cross and resurrection. The first three events are known together as Christ's Passion, from the Latin passio: I suffer. Church composers had treated the text with varying degrees of freedom and complexity – the season of Lent being a time for quietude and restraint in every respect of life including liturgical worship – for centuries before Bach made his first setting of the Passion, during the early months of 1724.

Johnny Black  |  Jun 15, 2021
Johnny Black on the creation of the iconic artwork for Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon

Apiece of art that can today be found in 45m homes around the world was kick-started by a simple, none-too-detailed instruction to 'do something clean, elegant and graphic'. The instruction came from Pink Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright, and was given to Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell, the founders of Hipgnosis, a London-based art and design group whose first sleeve design had been for the Floyd's 1968 album A Saucerful Of Secrets.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 14, 2021
hfncommendedDanish brand's flagship floorstander really comes on song in fully active 'Silverback' guise, with room bass-tuning to boot

There's more to System Audio's flagship floorstander than meets the eye. Outwardly, the £7000 Legend 60.2 Silverback, available in satin black and satin white, appears to be an archetypal slender, tower loudspeaker. Peer around the back, however, and you'll find a metal plate – the Silverback of its title – with IEC mains inlet, XLR and USB connections, plus a bank of status LEDs below legends including 'Wireless', 'Centre' and 'Subwoofer'. So not only is this an active model, it's one with wireless and multichannel ambitions.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 11, 2021
hfnvintageAs Lexus is to Toyota, so was Aurex to general CE brand Toshiba. We reappraise the SB-A10 – compact but full-featured, was this miniature hi-fi at its very best?

In previous vintage reviews we have featured the Technics SL-10 turntable [HFN Apr '19] with its footprint the size of an LP sleeve, Sony's D-88 CD player [HFN Jul '16] that was so small the disc stuck out of its side, and Technics' SB-F1 speakers [HFN May '17], which individually could be held easily in the palm of one's hand. So how about a complete integrated amp about the same size as the concise edition of the Oxford English Dictionary? Meet the Aurex SB-A10 from 1981.

Review: James Parker, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 10, 2021
hfncommendedTop dog in a range of just two outboard DACs from Swiss brand Merason, the DAC1 is a modern-day example of 'less is more' audiophile thinking. We lift the lid and investigate

In common with a lot of HFN readers, I have a bit of a 'thing' about overly complex digital devices. I'm not referring to input flexibility – many of us will have systems in which different flavours of digital connection are accommodated, from USB links from a computer to good old S/PDIF from a CD player or the like. No, what I really find obstructive is devices bristling with digital-domain options, from filters to dither to PLL bandwidth and the like, all of which often look like an exercise in 'because we can' – a facilities arms-race – rather than being of any real-world assistance to the user.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jun 09, 2021
Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis... Steve Sutherland tells the tale of a studio housed in an old auto glass repair shop that is now called the birthplace of rock 'n' roll

Surely the most charming argument in the whole of cinema history is the one between the two impossibly stylish Japanese teenagers in the opening segment of Jim Jarmusch's 1989 indie triptych Mystery Train. The lovers are on a pilgrimage from their home town Yokohama to Memphis. Youki Kudoh's Mitsuko is obsessed with Elvis Presley and insists they visit Graceland as soon as their train arrives.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 08, 2021
hfnoutstandingOne time staple of BBC monitoring, and with feet in both professional and consumer camps, this large standmount has been resurrected and refreshed by a master of the art

One cannot but think of the notion that 'Once is chance, twice is coincidence, third time is a pattern'. Following the revived 1970s JBLs and Rogers' return to LS3/5A manufacture [HFN Jul '19], the arrival of a dead-accurate, reborn BBC LS5/9 as part of Rogers' 'Classic' range is further proof that a trend is under way. All those Instagram images of systems made up of 50-year-old components tell us the past is back with a vengeance.

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