LATEST ADDITIONS

Peter Quantrill  |  Jun 21, 2022
Young man's music, emulating Classical ideals while coloured with wistfulness for something lost... Peter Quantrill on the recorded legacy of an elusive masterpiece

Ravel was a sharp-suited Parisian-about-town in his late 20s when he wrote the String Quartet during 1902-3. He had a decade of composition behind him, mostly piano pieces, but little to show for it. He didn't even have a graduation certificate from his years of study at the Paris Conservatoire, still less any recognition conferred by the coveted Prix de Rome, despite several unsuccessful attempts to win over the conservative judges while pointedly breaking their rules and fastidiously refining his own voice.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 20, 2022
hfnoutstandingFor 50 years and two generations Germany's Canton has been building 'audiophile' loudspeakers. We catch up...

The Reference lineup from Canton marks the apex of its engineering thinking, combining years of experience with new computer modelling software and a freshly built testing laboratory. Given 'free rein', its designers came up with no fewer than nine separate models for the new Reference K series, including six floorstanders, one standmount, a centre channel speaker and a 750W-rated active subwoofer for home theatre applications.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jun 17, 2022
This 180g reissue of the American folk singer's second – and final album – gives Steve Sutherland a chance to sample a voice that's 'best served with whiskey...'

I'm reading a book at the moment called Seasons They Change: The Story Of Acid And Psychedelic Folk by Jeanette Leech. Pretty much on every page there's reference to an artist or band that I've never heard of, which is some going as I like to think I know a thing or two about music. Anyway, with Spotify or YouTube at the ready, over the past few weeks I've sampled the wares of such artists as The Habibiyya, Jan Dukes De Grey, Malicorne and many more.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 16, 2022
hfnoutstandingNow a full quartet, T+A's compact but beautifully formed Series 200 has expanded to include a media player, DAC/preamp and Purifi Eigentakt Class D stereo power amp

Siegfried Amft, founder and MD of T+A, declares the intent of the brand's Series 200 is to 'combine the appearance of a Midi system with a high-end performance'. Midi, of course, is a word that evokes memories of 1980s/'90s hi-fi, so I'm surprised to see the term attached to a range that's rather more aspirational in its technology. You might think something has been lost in translation, T+A being a German manufacturer, until you lay eyes on the DAC 200 and its button-heavy compact chassis. From the appearance side, at least, the 'Midi' mission has been accomplished.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 14, 2022
hfnvintageThis late-'80s flagship CD player boasted no shortage of metal for your money while offering 4x oversampling to boot. But with few to be found, is it worth tracking down?

The law of diminishing returns was perhaps never more evident than when the CD player arrived in the early '80s. As more machines came to market in the years that followed, all but the crudest would offer a level of perfection unthinkable to the majority of audiophiles in the 1970s.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 13, 2022
hfnoutstandingWith no fewer than eight channels (bridgeable to four), Primare's most powerful amp to date will service the most ambitious bi-, tri- or quad-amp loudspeaker solutions

It goes without saying that an eight-channel power amplifier is unusual. In the hi-fi world, two channels is the default, and even in multichannel home cinemas the trend is to start with five or seven and then, if you must, add more in pairs. Furthermore, the A35.8, priced £4500, arrives not from a specialist custom install brand, or an audio company with pro studio leanings, but from Primare.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jun 10, 2022
The Four Tops, Jackson Five, The Supremes... they all cooked up classics in a studio so small they called it 'the snake pit'. Steve Sutherland has the lowdown on Motown

Even a genius can have an off day, and this was turning out to be one of them. Berry Gordy was in his office in LA and was shaking his head in dismay. 'No', he kept repeating. 'No.' The recipient of his negativity was Marvin Gaye, who had flown in from Motown's Studio A in Detroit to play his boss what he'd planned as his prospective next single.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 09, 2022
hfncommendedThe first SACD player from French audio artisans, Kalista, is also this spin-off brand's most comprehensive digital hub to date, with wired/wireless network streaming

Having emerged from French manufacturer Métronome Technologie with its inaugural model in 2003 – think Citroën spawning DS, or Seat's Cupra line – Kalista now has a growing range of DreamPlay products. This includes the £21,000 Kalista STREAM – described as 'The only streamer on the market that combines perfect functionality with exceptional looks' – and a turntable, the £44,000 Twenty-Twenty.

Johnny Sharp  |  Jun 07, 2022
Johnny Sharp on the creation of the artwork for Wings' album Band On The Run

The naming and framing of an album is an underrated marketing tool. Whichever Paul McCartney/Wings LP of the 1970s is your particular favourite, ask someone to name one of the ex-Beatle's albums from that era and the chances are high they will pick Band On The Run.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 06, 2022
hfnoutstandingKEF's flagship Blade cuts to the heart of the music, and with 'MAT' on board its edge has never been keener

More than a decade after their launch, there's still nothing quite like the KEF Blade One speakers. Well, OK, there's the smaller Blade Two [HFN Jul '15], but the point still stands! The result of one of those 'no constraints' projects that speaker companies seem to love, the original 'Concept Blade' created a stir with its radical styling and carbon-fibre construction. The final retail version employed a more production-friendly high-density polycarbonate, but the speakers were unmistakably the same, and just as unmistakably odd.

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