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John Atkinson  |  Feb 23, 2021
hfnvintageJohn Atkinson lives with the KEF R107, its new range-topping contender

An understated revolution in loudspeaker design has been taking place in Kent. KEF's Technical Director Laurie Fincham has put together a team of engineers who have been quietly but thoroughly examining the fundamentals of moving-coil, box loudspeaker behaviour, spinning off a regular series of products, starting with the original R105 nearly a decade ago.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 22, 2021
hfncommendedThe flagship of B&W's Anniversary Edition takes the range to a new price level, and promises performance to match

The special editions have been coming thick and fast this year, and this is the second recent 'tuned' range from Worthing-based Bowers & Wilkins, following hot on the heels of the 700 Series Signature models. We've reviewed the 702 Signature floorstander [HFN Sep '20], and the formula for the 600 Series Anniversary lineup is a familiar one: new finishes, and some mild performance tuning.

Steve Sutherland  |  Feb 19, 2021
Steve Sutherland listens again to the debut LP that catapulted a teenage singer to stardom as over half a century later the album is re-released on 180g vinyl

Dylan digs Donovan!' This was the headline on the front cover of British weekly Melody Maker, on the 8th of May 1965. It wasn't true of course – not remotely so.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 18, 2021
hfnoutstandingThe REF 6 replaced Audio Research's long-serving REF 5 tube preamp back in 2015 but five years of running production updates have now culminated in this 'SE' refresh

The Audio Research Corporation is a company with provenance, a truth that's instantly apparent when first setting eyes upon its new £16,998 REF 6SE line-stage preamplifier. Indeed, its history shouts out at you, from the iconic styling with shades of its 1970s SP-series preamps, to the industrial-quality construction which underlines that it's built to last. Rather like its manufacturer, in fact.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 17, 2021
hfnvintageBass-heavy behemoth or technical tour de force? We hear a range-topping speaker first launched in 1975 that promised 'true waveform fidelity'. How will it shape up?

Although the Japanese dominated much of the hi-fi scene during the 1970s, there was one important area where their reach was more limited. That was the loudspeaker market. Yes, the companies' catalogues may have been full of glittering arrays of tempting models, but dealers outside of Japan seldom had that many in stock for interested buyers either to see or hear.

Steve Sutherland  |  Feb 16, 2021
Steve Sutherland kicks off a new series with the story of a farmhouse that became the world's first residential recording studio, and a home to hitmakers for over 50 years

The TV was out the window, still plugged in… The double-bed was broken in half... It was just like a hand-grenade had gone off in the room... The whole studio got smashed to pieces, the living room, everything got blitzed… There were smashed windows… just devastation…'

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 15, 2021
hfnoutstandingBucking the trend – Scansonic goes for the slender, multi-driver approach for its flagship design, to impressive effect

The MB series is the high-end range from Scansonic, and the MB6 B the flagship of the latest iteration of this lineup. Yet in an arena where bulky, room-dominating speakers prevail, this design takes a different approach. Yes, it's tall, at just over 1.4m, but the company has kept it slender – at under 18cm, the front baffle is narrower than that of many a much smaller design. For example, even the little B&W 606 standmount speaker is a centimetre wider than this floorstanding tower.

Christopher Breunig  |  Feb 12, 2021
Coming from Sydney to London with an ambition to conduct, his scholarship to study in Prague led to a passion for Czech music. Christopher Breunig has the story

Recently, I have been entertaining myself by watching the online reviews by the American critic David Hurwitz (he's executive editor of the subscription site Classics Today – where all the most interesting reviews are for 'insiders only'…).

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 11, 2021
hfnoutstandingThis unit may be compact, but it's a highly comprehensive DAC/headphone amp/preamp, with full network audio capability encompassing a huge range of formats

Based in Xi'an, the ancient city in northwest China that's home to the famous Terracotta Warriors, Matrix Audio has a classic hi-fi backstory: it was founded by three audio/music enthusiast schoolmates who regrouped some years later to launch a company to develop and produce hi-fi separates. The DA-100plus DAC was its inaugural product in 2006 since which time the company has evolved its lineup to encompass a range of digital and streaming products that covers just about all the bases, from the X-Sabre Pro DAC [HFN Nov '17] to the new £2795 Element X.

Tim Jarman  |  Feb 09, 2021
Tim Jarman on the tools and techniques you'll need to restore classic kit

In the early days of hi-fi it was common to make one's own equipment, either as an economy measure or as a matter of pride. Today's equivalent may be repairing and restoring vintage hi-fi units at home, a potentially rewarding endeavour which can make the subsequent listening even more satisfying.

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