From the Vault

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Ken Kessler  |  Dec 01, 2018  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1985
Ken Kessler investigates control units from Musical Fidelity and Deltec

By 1985 standards, preamps selling for between £500 and £1000 are thought of as 'upper mid-fi' and not really expected to match the standards of the Krell PAM-3/Audio Research SP-10 variety. But they should bring you close enough to the state-of-the-art that you have to think long and hard about justifying an expenditure of double their prices – or even more. Aah, diminishing returns...

Martin Colloms  |  Aug 30, 2019  |  First Published: Mar 01, 1984
A year after the launch of CD, Martin Colloms looks at the progress made by player manufacturers before reviewing the new generation of machines

This issue marks the first anniversary of CD's UK launch, the Philips CD100 appearing on these shores in March 1983. There has been some comment in the press concerning a 'second generation' of CD players and this appears to be the case for some manufacturers.

Ken Kessler  |  Jan 31, 2020  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1990
An acoustic ribbon hybrid loudspeaker at a realistic price without the need for a huge amplifier. Too good to be true? Ken Kessler finds out...

Hybrids are supposed to be the best of two or more technologies, and we've seen the approach used for all manner of products. The most feverish of hi-fi's Dr Frankensteins though, have always been devoted to loudspeakers.

Trevor Attewell  |  Sep 27, 2019  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1982
Trevor Attewell examines a trend-setting loudspeaker from Ipswich

It is no exaggeration to state that the SL6 is one of the most interesting moving-coil speakers to come my way for a long time, and that it embodies significant advances in driver design. Many readers may find this surprising. After all, Celestion has traditionally been associated with the mass end of the market, its reputation justifiably built on product consistency and value-for-money rather than on innovation.

John Atkinson  |  Jun 21, 2019  |  First Published: Sep 01, 1980
John Atkinson reports on the 1980 summer Consumer Electronics Show

Thought highly of by many, the Canadian 'Oracle' turntable is winning a reputation as perhaps the first design to supersede the performance of Linn's respected Sondek. Beautifully engineered, the rigid laminated subchassis arm mount is hung from three springs, which can be adjusted from above.

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.

Martin Colloms  |  Dec 30, 2019  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1983
Martin Colloms takes a listen to four new designs costing £250 plus

Following last month's batch of integrated amplifiers costing under the £200 mark, more advanced models have been chosen for this project. The new Mission 778 (Mission Cambridge) represents the UK contribution (£240). The Harman Kardon PM650 combines Japanese and American design (£250), while the European contender is the Revox B251 (£900 plus £45 for the remote controller). All three models are integrated amps with MC and MM input facilities. I also look at another new UK model, the powerhouse P128 from Sugden, which is a dual 'monoblock' power amp (£395).

Basil Lane  |  Nov 15, 2019  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1980
Basil Lane looks at stylus progress and the van den Hul tip

Carbon is one of the most common and versatile elements found on Earth. In its purest form it has the odd characteristic of being what chemists call allotropic. That is to say, it can appear in more than one distinct form of the same state.

Martin Colloms  |  Jul 30, 2019  |  First Published: Mar 01, 1990
Martin Colloms hears the ultimate amplifier system from one of audio's elite names: the No26/No20.5 pre/power duo and No25 phono stage

Since acquiring the Mark Levinson Audio Systems company five years ago, Madrigal Labs has pursued an evolving research programme, generating improved circuits and product designs. The result is that current MLAS products now have an importance comparable with the original brand's landmark designs.

Christopher Breunig  |  May 26, 2020  |  First Published: Sep 01, 1989
hfnvintageAfter Mozart, Debussy. But what of the pianists' long term plans? A psychology of recording by Christopher Breunig

Afavourable acoustic, and music Mitsuko Uchida has been playing since she was 13 years old – but even at The Maltings, Snape, there were unforeseen snags when it came to recording Debussy's 12 Études.

Christopher Breunig  |  Oct 10, 2019  |  First Published: Nov 01, 1985
Christopher Breunig auditions the Well-Tempered Arm

What could be more apt than the UK launch of the Well-Tempered Arm at the end of Bach's tercentenary year? Ken Kessler brought you the first picture of this iconoclastic tonearm as part of his April '85 CES report and even before then, he had inveigled California-based designer William Firebaugh into letting us have a review sample.

Ken Kessler  |  Mar 31, 2020  |  First Published: Mar 01, 1996
The loudspeaker firm, famed for its late-1950s amps, makes a late-1990s return to tube electronics with two new integrateds. Ken Kessler listens

When the grapevine alerted the world's tube crazies to the return of Rogers amplification, visions of two-tone faceplates danced before our eyes. A nice Cadet III [HFN May '13], or maybe an HG88 visually unchanged but suitably modernised. The collector in me rejoiced. But the Rogers beancounters felt that an all-new product was a more sensible proposition, which is why the E-20a and E-40a all-valve integrated amps have nothing whatsoever to do with the preceding models. Indeed, they have little to do with Rogers.

Martin Colloms  |  Jun 22, 2020  |  First Published: Sep 01, 1994
hfnvintageThe world's greatest single-box CD player? The Wadia 16 may be even better, since it's also a digital preamplifier. Martin Colloms listens...

The US home market has such strength in depth that it can easily support a burgeoning digital audio sector. Any competently run company is capable of sustained expansion founded on a solid infrastructure in which both advanced research, and the development of high technology products, play a crucial role.

John Atkinson  |  May 21, 2019  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1983
hfnvintageThe Acoustic Research turntable is back! John Atkinson looks and listens

It is June 1982 and Compact Disc is still more science fiction than fact (although both sides have carried out their groundwork and preliminary skirmishing). The scene is the restaurant of Boston's classy Copley Plaza Hotel and a handful of British hi-fi journalists, fresh from the Chicago CES, are dining with Ron Fone, the (English) President of Teledyne Acoustic Research. Over dessert arises the subject of turntables and the question, 'Why doesn't anyone – apart from Rega, or Thorens – produce a good mid-price mass-market deck?'.

Martin Colloms  |  Feb 28, 2020  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1986
Martin Colloms gets to grips with the new SME Series V

The Series V tonearm is on sale at last, albeit in limited quantities. The fruit of many years of creative research, a handmade prototype 'V' was shown to prospective distributors at the American and German shows two years ago, but it has taken a long time to get the arm into production. Components were continually tried from prospective suppliers until the quality was right and when first shown in 1984, the price was targeted at what was then a very high level, at £750 or so. Some expressed doubts concerning its credibility at that price, indeed of any similarly-priced tonearm.

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