LATEST ADDITIONS

Ken Kessler  |  Sep 28, 2021
This month, we review: The Who, The Georgia Satellites, Paul Simon and The Rosenberg With Tim Kliphuis.
Mike Barnes  |  Sep 28, 2021
This month we review: The Go! Team, Stephen Fretwell, Gary Kemp and Snapped Ankles.
Steve Harris  |  Sep 28, 2021
This month we review: Bob Mintzer & Wdr Big Band Cologne, Dave Holland, Vijay Iyer, Linda May Han Oh, Tyshawn Sorey and Nigel Price Organ Trio.
Christopher Breunig  |  Sep 28, 2021
This month we review: Zurich Tonhalle Orch/Paavo Järvi, Viktoria Mullova & Alasdair Beatson, Isabelle Faust, Orchestre De Paris/Pablo Heras-Casado and Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado.
Review: James Parker, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 27, 2021
hfncommendedWell, one thing's for sure: the new SACD/CD player/DAC from McIntosh looks quite unlike any other machine of its kind. So, does the sound live up to the unique style?

Take a quick look at the £4995 McIntosh MCD85, and you'd probably think it was another in the seemingly endless line of amplifier variations emerging from the Binghamton factory in upstate New York. In fact, the first sign that this isn't actually a power amp is the weight. Thanks to their hefty transformers and solidity of build, the company's powerhouses tend to be back-achingly heavy, and arrive on pallets – the new MA1200 integrated amp, for example, weighs in at a shade under 49kg, and the MC901 monoblock is getting on for twice that. By contrast, the MCD85 is a manageable 12.5kg boxed, and a positively featherweight 9.3kg in the buff.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 24, 2021
hfnvintageAn outlier in its day, this preamp was marketed as a match for products from rival brands yet its real purpose was to drive the company's MFB speakers. We fire it up...

The Philips Motional Feedback loudspeaker was one of the great advances in audio technology. Launched in 1975, the series would eventually encompass four distinct generations and remain in production for over a decade, its key technologies jealously guarded by Philips patents [HFN Jul '13]. However, the partnering equipment designed to help these speakers perform at their best is less well known, arguably due to Philips endorsing the use of third-party sources and amplifiers.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 23, 2021
hfncommendedMost compact SA floorstander is not only offered in fully active 'Silverback' guise, but now supports 'RAM Tweaks'

System building and component matching is the backbone of hi-fi. Sure, it might seem a never-ending process, each change yielding new results and then more experimentation, but it's an enjoyable one. The Legend 40.2 Silverback tested here, an active three-way floorstander with digital crossover, Analog Devices DSP and integrated DAC, bypasses a lot of that journey – and if combined with the optional wireless Stereo Hub (£400 when purchased with the speakers, £700 separately), removes the need for any cabling except a mains lead. Yet Danish manufacturer System Audio (SA) then uses the Silverback's digital architecture to offer its own take on audiophile fine-tuning, via a newly-launched range of DSP upgrades it calls 'RAM Tweaks'.

Steve Sutherland  |  Sep 21, 2021
Founded by two brothers in the 1960s, this German studio was where David Bowie, Depeche Mode and U2 made much of their best music. Steve Sutherland has the story

There were pieces of me laying all over the floor.' That's how David Bowie remembered 1976. Living – though that's hardly the word – on a diet of milk, red peppers and cocaine, every successive alias he ditched – Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, The Man Who Fell To Earth – had been like shedding a layer of skin. And now, what's left of him is a skeletal ghost, a fading shadow of his former selves.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 20, 2021
hfnoutstandingHot on the heels of VAC's flagship separates stack on our March '21 cover comes the more affordable derivative, the integrated VAC Sigma 170i – is it a true Mini-Me?

If I wasn't averse to tattoos, I'd have one that says, 'Always Read The Owner's Manual First'. I spent so much time trying to illuminate the VAC Sigma 170i's iQ warning lights that I was wondering if the review sample was a dud. Doh: in this application, the £10,000 single-chassis alternative to the Signature stack [HFN Mar '21], they don't light up at switch-on. Here they only work when something is amiss. Blast it! I never did see them in action.

Martin Colloms  |  Sep 17, 2021
hfnvintageMartin Colloms hears KEF's no-holds-barred flagship speaker, the R109

In late 1995 an idea began to take shape at KEF Audio. The company had already produced some fair-sized 'reference' models, culminating in the well-regarded Reference Four. But even this powerful and accomplished design lacked the necessary weight and presence to make a major impact at the highest quality level of world loudspeaker sales. So research began to define the key elements of what was intended to be a much larger speaker system, a definitive engineering expression of the company's knowledge.

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