LATEST ADDITIONS

Ken Kessler  |  Apr 19, 2021  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1999
hfnvintageKen Kessler hears SME's new and more affordable turntable and arm

Everyone loves surprises. And, hey, who wouldn't be tickled pink at the thought of a new treat from SME? While the antithesis of fertile, SME never fails to issue a new wonder every time Alastair Robertson-Aikman feels the need to stretch his abilities. We are, after all, talking about a company with a design team, a philosophy and machining capabilities second to none in the world of precision engineering for audio purposes; maybe there's a watchmaker or two in Switzerland who could 'worry' SME.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 16, 2021
hfnedchoiceA novel technical exercise looking for a solution or an innovation that's in the vanguard of an entirely new breed of hi-fi accessory? We test the sophisticated Hypsos DC supply

Of all the true 'hi-fi accessories' power filters, conditioners and regenerators are arguably the most popular. (I do not count cables in this category because they are 'necessories' and your system will not function without them.) Cleaning-up your AC mains power has long proven its benefits, but what of the low voltage DC supplies – the so-called 'wall-warts' – that come packaged with so many of today's small form-factor DACs, headphone amps, phono stages and even turntables?

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 15, 2021
hfnvintageIt was the Dutch company's first ever portable CD player and one of the first players from Philips to use a 16-bit chip. But how does this milestone machine sound today?

While Philips' dominance of the market for full-sized CD players in the early days of the format has been well documented in these pages, little mention has been made of its activities in the field of CD portables. Despite an obvious flair for innovation and creativity, the company is not especially known for producing miniatures – that crown belongs to the Japanese, and Sony in particular.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 13, 2021
hfnoutstandingFor a brand that once suggested it was never going to produce a phono stage, the vinyl revival has proved an irresistible force. So is Hegel's V10 firing on all cylinders?

It's always welcome when individuals or companies offer up their future plans. If not, we'd never have known that Sean Connery was to abandon James Bond after 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, that Ferrari would not be launching an SUV and that Norwegian hi-fi manufacturer Hegel had no intention of ever making a phono stage. Of course, Connery did return to his role of suave super-spy in 1983's Never Say Never Again, Ferrari's Purosangue SUV is due later this year, and here I am writing about Hegel's £1350 V10 phono stage.

Steve Sutherland  |  Apr 12, 2021
Steve Sutherland recalls a riotous night at the Tacoma Dome, resolved into a thrilling musical event, as the group's 1984 compilation album makes its vinyl debut

The cop to our left is on his radio, talking to back-up: 'I thought Vietnam was bad – you should see the casualty room. They're piled up in there. Piled up man!'

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 09, 2021
hfncommendedStyled after its classic 1970s studio monitors, but equipped with patented 21st century horn and compression driver technology, the 4349 is a not-so-compact fun factory

American loudspeaker company JBL has a 75-year history – and the work of founder James Bullough Lansing dates back even further. For HFN readers, who are in the know, it might seem odd that the brand is now more popular on the UK high street for its extensive range of affordable Bluetooth speakers and wireless headphones. Luckily for us the company still maintains a 'serious' side, and it's from there that its two-way 4349 monitor hails. A wide-baffle speaker with a compression mid/treble driver and 300mm woofer, it can trace its heritage all the way back to the company's first creations – and couldn't be more different from a pair of budget earbuds.

Steve Sutherland  |  Apr 08, 2021
From the Stones to the Sex Pistols, and early Pink Floyd... Steve Sutherland tells the story of one of the world's pre-eminent studios, beginning with its turbulent past

It's the volcano that finally does for them. Hurricane Hugo, the tropical cyclone which struck in 1989 had been bad enough, of course, wiping out whole villages, cutting off all power supplies, tearing the roof off 90% of the buildings, killing ten and seriously injuring 89 citizens, and making 11,000 of the island's 12,000 population effectively homeless.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 07, 2021
hfnoutstandingA 2021 refresh of VPI's most popular turntable also sees a 'plus' option with bespoke moving-coil from Audio-Technica and RCA tonearm cable sourced from Nordost

By no means a newcomer to the audiophile LP-spinning scene – the brand is some 40 years young – VPI's recent range expansion has doubtless been further fuelled by the worldwide 'vinyl revival'. In addition to its diverse collection of tonearms, and innovative turntables including the direct-drive HW-40 Anniversary [HFN Apr '19], there are now two additions to VPI's 'Prime' series in the form of the Prime 21 and Prime 21+, priced at £4500 and £6500.

Johnny Black  |  Apr 05, 2021
Johnny Black uncovers the unlikely beginnings of celebrated songs

Many moons ago, raking around in a secondhand book emporium, I came across a dog-eared but irresistible tome called Inspirations. Written by Michael Randolfi, Mike Read and David Stark, it offered up the inspirations behind popular songs, including the taxi cab accident which inspired Leo Sayer to write his 1974 hit 'One Man Band' and the phone call behind The Cure's 1997 single 'Wrong Number'. As someone who loves to know what songs are about, I plunged in with delight but, fascinating though it undeniably was, very few of the inspirations really surprised me.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 02, 2021
hfnoutstandingSteeped in valve lore, this iconic tube brand extends the 'voicing' of its products right down to the choice of passive components and hand-wiring. We test a stack of VAC!

With the Valve Amplification Company, aka VAC, now 30 years old, it qualifies as a stalwart of the 'third wave'. The first was, of course, the original golden age generation of Marantz, Quad, McIntosh and others of the 1940s and 1950s, while the second wave hit in the early 1970s with Audio Research, EAR and other tube revivalists. VAC arrived at the point when tubes were demonstrably here to stay, Kevin Hayes founding the company with his father in 1990. He was, and remains, resolutely focused on the high-end, as this pairing's £69,000 cost attests.

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