LATEST ADDITIONS

Mike Barnes  |  Jun 06, 2019
Released in the UK at the tail end of a decade that was becoming defined by tribalism and industrial strife, this eponymous debut drew on the energies of both punk and ska music, bringing the band's mission to promote racial equality to the mainstream

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s and was first taken up in the UK in the early '60s by the mods. It began to gain mainstream popularity towards the end of that decade, yielding hit singles such as The Pioneers' 'Long Shot (Kick The Bucket)', Desmond Dekker's 'The Israelites', Jimmy Cliff's 'You Can Get It If You Really Want' and 'The Liquidator' by the Harry J Allstars.

Christopher Breunig  |  Jun 05, 2019
A turning point for the composer, this great romantic piece was introduced to a wider audience with the film Brief Encounter. Christopher Breunig offers his library choices

Anyone who has seen the 1945 British film classic Brief Encounter will remember the music that enhanced the performances by the two principal stars, Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard – Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. (The pianist for the soundtrack was Eileen Joyce.)

Andrew Everard  |  Jun 04, 2019
Andrew Everard explains how to integrate online music into your system

Streaming? It's simple: you plug your smartphone's headphone output into your amplifier using a 3.5mm-to-stereo-phono cable, tap the free Spotify app, and you're in business. It's hard to see what all the fuss is about really, isn't it?

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 03, 2019
hfnoutstandingMarking the company's 40th birthday, the turntable mavens of VPI are right on song with an updated, deluxe version of their Classic direct-drive, the HW-40 Anniversary

Way back when, especially during the 1980s, direct-drive turntables were unloved by purists. How things change – just witness the high prices that vintage decks from Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer and especially Technics now change hands for. And with the latter's revived line of direct-drives turning out to be as hot as anything the high-end can offer circa 2019, the arrival of VPI's HW-40 Anniversary Edition direct-drive deck is doubly timely.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 31, 2019
hfnoutstandingThis latest variation on Audiolab's integrated amplifier theme lacks the sheer grunt of its 8300 big brother but seems none the worse for it, and looks better value too

Audiolab's 8000A first appeared on dealers' shelves in October 1983, and was arguably the least fashionable new integrated amplifier for a long time. It was everything that the cool audiophile cognoscenti of the time didn't like. How could anyone possibly produce a supposedly modern product fitted with tone controls, a headphone socket, independent source and tape switching and – perish the thought – a balance control? It was the very antithesis of what the sparse, minimalist, less-is-more 1980s was about. Despite this however, it sold like hot cakes at Christmas…

Steve Sutherland  |  May 31, 2019
This debut LP laid down a beat that courses through the veins of rock 'n' roll to this very day. Steve Sutherland pays tribute as he hears the 180g reissue on Sundazed

What's the baddest record ever made? I don't mean baddest as in worst. I mean baddest as in bad-ass, brimming with threat and braggadocio. A few candidates immediately spring to mind. Honey Boy Martin's 'Dreader Than Dread' threatens to shank you and send you to the graveyard. Johnny Cash's 'The Man In Black' is a pretty broody dude. Dr John The Night Tripper's 'I Walk On Gilded Splinters' boasts destructive powers of magic malignancy.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Keith Howard  |  May 30, 2019
Wireless speakers aren't new, but Dali ups the game with this hefty floorstander and versatile connection hub

Were all the column-inches expended over the years about wireless hi-fi justified, the world's audio cable companies would have long ago gone out of business. Think back a decade or more and we were already being told that our music was about to come from miraculously-powered speakers attached to nothing, yet able to pluck all the music available in the world out of thin air and play it in quality previously unimaginable.

Reviews: Hi-Fi News Team, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 29, 2019
This month we review and test releases from: Paul Simon, Joscho Stephan Trio, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Vladimir Jurowski, Paul McCartney, and Seong-Jin Cho
Steve Sutherland  |  May 28, 2019
From LA scene-maker to success in shaping the early California surf and folk rock sounds, this US-born producer's legacy became overshadowed by the shocking incident that would bring '60s counterculture to its end. Steve Sutherland has the story...

Pop quiz! What was the title of The Golden Penetrators' debut LP? Was it a) 'Posting A Cheque Through A Dead Person's Mail Box?', b) 'All Hail The Thunder!' or c) 'Try Me On For Size?'.

Ha! Gotcha! It was none of the above because The Golden Penetrators weren't a band – though with a name like that they should have been.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 28, 2019
hfncommendedThe most affordable product from one of Japan's renowned phono stage specialists, its quirky retro looks won't be to every Western taste – but its musical potential will

In Japan, long-playing vinyl records have never really gone away – they just went underground, becoming cool artefacts that sat defiantly away from the mainstream music market. As the country churned out millions of shiny new Compact Disc players in the 1980s and '90s, the humble LP stood its ground, cherished by record collectors who thought CD to be the replacement for pre-recorded Compact Cassette, rather than vinyl.

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