LATEST ADDITIONS

Christopher Breunig  |  May 18, 2020
This month we review: Royal Fireworks, Beethoven, Ravel and Karl Münchinger
Review: David Price, Lab: Keith Howard  |  May 15, 2020
As Focal replaces its Chorus range of high-value speakers with a new Chora lineup, we test the flagship floorstander

Time waits for no one – especially if you're a speaker manufacturer. Focal knows this, and will regularly refresh its ranges to maintain its competitiveness. That said, the popular entry-level Chorus lineup [HFN Jun '08] has held sway for longer and only now is it superseded by the high-value Chora range.

Johnny Black  |  May 15, 2020
Peppered with provocative lyrics and a cast of often nightmarish characters, this debut offered a snapshot of late-'70s Britain in all its gritty glory. Yet the catchy tunes delivered with a helping of music hall mischief means it still stands as one of rock's most original LPs

Towards the end of 1977 punk rock had taken hold in the UK in a big way and, for older and established musicians, this was a party to which they had not been invited. For David Bowie the best solution was to relish his individuality, which prompted the advertisement strapline for his LP Heroes: 'There's Old Wave. There's New Wave. And Then There Is David Bowie'. The same could have been said about the 35-year-old Ian Dury, whose music had always stood outside prevailing musical trends and whose first solo album New Boots And Panties!!, was one of that year's most original statements.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 14, 2020
hfnoutstandingContinuing its modern take on traditional Japanese purist amplification, Luxman finally offers a MM/MC phono/line preamp partner for its ultra-retro MQ-300 valve amplifier

Just over three years ago I had my first taste of cost-no-object Luxman [HFN Nov '16] in an achingly long time. The company has had its ups-and-downs, but fortunately its new owners – IAG, home to Quad, Wharfedale, Audiolab and Castle Acoustics – realise what a plum brand Luxman is, so it was expected that the flagship MQ-300 power amplifier which so charmed me would be followed by a worthy preamp. Enter the alluring CL-1000, at £16,000 a grand more than the power amp and looking every penny of its price.

Steve Sutherland  |  May 14, 2020
A song with a kick, but for all the wrong reasons, as Steve Sutherland reassesses a ska album from 1970, which has recently been re-released on 180g vinyl

We could begin with Plato, or even Aristotle, but Oscar Wilde it is. In his 1889 essay, The Decay Of Lying, the great man took umbrage with the Greeks' philosophy of mimesis which said that all true art mimics nature. On the contrary, quoth Oscar, 'Life imitates art' and that is roughly how it felt – very roughly as it happens – one sunny Saturday lunchtime in April, 1972, when I got my head kicked in.

Martin Colloms, Ken Kessler  |  May 13, 2020  |  First Published: May 01, 1987
hfnvintageWith the latest Apogee, ribbon technology comes in a more affordable package. Ken Kessler's assessment follows Martin Colloms' review

The US company Apogee has expanded its range of open-panel loudspeakers, which began with the Apogee model itself. This was a large-scale design using three separate diaphragms, with pure aluminium ribbons for frequencies above a few hundred Hertz. Three other models are now in production, comprising, in descending order of size and price, the Scintilla [HFN Sep '85], Duetta, and now the so-called 'baby' of the group, the £2500 Caliper.

Christopher Breunig  |  May 13, 2020
The Hungarian boy who wanted to play football became a good pianist and acclaimed opera and orchestral conductor. Christopher Breunig on a musical dynamo

Certainly one of the most extraordinary film clips of a conductor in action that you will ever see is Georg Solti recording Wagner in the Vienna Sofiensaal [YouTube]. Fuzzy black and white the excerpts may be, but the physical energy is almost shocking – you could have driven a ten ton truck into this man but it wouldn't have stopped him!

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Keith Howard  |  May 13, 2020
hfncommendedSix years after the birth of the first lute-shaped Olympica speakers, Sonus faber announces the second generation

Several factors set the 2013 launch of the Sonus faber Olympica range apart: not only was this one of the first complete lineups from a company previously better known for individual models, but it also marked the brand's debut as a manufacturer of drive units, built in-house [HFN May '14 and Mar '15]. The new Olympica Nova range represents a next logical step, comprising no fewer than seven models. The series kicks off with the compact Nova I standmount but is headed by the £14,900 Nova V floorstander featured here, available in a choice or walnut or wenge finishes, standing some 117.5cm tall and weighing a not insubstantial 44kg each.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 12, 2020
hfnoutstandingWith input from the designer behind MoFi's cutting lathes, the UltraPhono (and StudioPhono) were conceived as high value partners for its affordable turntables

Are we in the midst of a Golden Age of Analogue? If you're returning to, or just discovering the vinyl LP, then yes, we are. Mobile Fidelity's UltraPhono is an example of what the industry can deliver when inspired, and clearly this is a response to the need for affordable phono stages to render suitable 30 years' worth of post-CD integrated amplifiers without phono stages. At £499, it's not for the impoverished analogue neophyte, but neither is it horrendously expensive by any measure.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 12, 2020
hfnvintageIt was a deck designed to keep vinyl replay relevant in a market attracted to the convenience of CD. Did it succeed and, more importantly, how does it sound today?

One challenge faced by those designing hi-fi in the high-tech 1980s was how to re-package the LP in a way that would ensure it remained of interest to consumers in a future that was clearly going digital. Released in late 1979, the Technics SL-10 turntable [HFN Apr '19], with its parallel tracking, optical position sensing and slick packaging was one of the first components to address this issue seriously.

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