LATEST ADDITIONS

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 30, 2020
hfnoutstandingKeeping up with progress in Pro-Ject's Mistelbach headquarters is enough to make anyone's head spin. The latest deck to be updated is the Classic, four years after launch

As the undisputed juggernaut of the vinyl world, Pro-Ject's progress has been dizzying, particularly in recent years, and the brand now even has its own record label. So there's clearly a lot to celebrate as the company reaches its 30th anniversary this year. It all started with the Pro-Ject 1 – a cheap, no-nonsense, 'plug 'n play' record player launched when the received wisdom held that vinyl as a format was dying. Since then, the company has produced a huge array of different models – broadening its design strategy to ensure it can offer a turntable for every taste and budget.

Steve Sutherland  |  Apr 29, 2020
From '60s solo artist to Phil Spector's right-hand man, this US-born 'influencer' not only produced superstars such as Neil Young and The Stones, but wrote a string of soundtracks nominated for Academy Awards. Steve Sutherland on Jack Nitzsche

There's a particular species of character that, although essential, has been mighty ill-served by pop historians. It's tough to pin down exactly what role these personalities play in the creation of popular music. What they actually do. And so it's hard to know what we should call them.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 28, 2020
hfnoutstandingThe REF160M monoblocks were a radical change for the venerable Reference Series, and now they have been 'cut 'n pasted' into a single, spectacular stereo chassis

This should have been the simplest, swiftest review for me to undertake: I would simply drop the stereo version of the Audio Research Reference 160M [HFN Aug '18] into my system in place of the Reference 75SE. Double the number of KT150s and double the power, a price tag of two quid shy of twenty grand, fond memories of the monoblocks still tugging at me after 18 months: the Audio Research Reference 160S should have been a doddle, easy to anticipate. But it wasn't.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 27, 2020
hfnvintageMarketed by Philips yet made by Marantz, is this purposeful-looking integrated packed with premium components an unsung hero of hi-fi's past? It's time to find out...

Philips should have been a dominant player in the hi-fi arena, yet many of its products somehow missed the mark. Despite these repeated failures, every now and again the sleeping giant would wake from its slumbers and produce something miraculous – Compact Disc, Motional Feedback speakers – only to disappear until inspiration struck again.

Ken Kessler  |  Apr 24, 2020  |  First Published: Apr 24, 1986
hfnvintageKen Kessler takes delivery of the Audio Research SP-11 preamplifier

The time is early June, and let us imagine that this issue has been on the stands for two weeks. Editorial secretary Jennifer Scotland walks to where I am sitting and dumps a pile of letters on my desk. The angry correspondence has arrived.

Review: Jonathan Gorse, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 23, 2020
hfnoutstandingForty-five years after the launch of its inaugural phono preamp, PS Audio launches another, this time in Stellar guise, and with the emphasis on flexibility with convenience

Large by phono preamp standards, PS Audio's Stellar Phono is built into the same full-width silver grey or black chassis as its partners in the new Stellar range [HFN Jan '20]. Nevertheless, it's also considerably heavier at a full 10kg because the casework here is steel, not alloy, perhaps in an effort to improve screening. Having asked PS Audio, it seems likely that all Stellars will move from alloy to steel enclosures in time.

Steve Sutherland  |  Apr 22, 2020
Pinball wizard Steve Sutherland looks back on meeting Her Madge in the early '80s and her career-altering controversial third album, now released on 180g vinyl

She looks a bit lost, standing alone backstage leaning against the wall, watching all the celebrities mingle, clink glasses, air kiss and gossip. Lost and a little bored. Same as me, to be honest. So I cross the room and say 'hi'. She says 'hi' back. To break the ice, I point to the pinball machine, unoccupied, just over there, and ask if she fancies a game. She smiles again. 'Sure.' And away we go at it. As I remember, I won, although I'm sure – if she recalled it at all – she'd disagree.

Review: Christopher Breunig, Review and Lab: Keith Howard  |  Apr 21, 2020
hfncommendedWhile their eye-catching aesthetics have been unkindly compared with 'Eastern Bloc, Cold War era' industrial design, these flagship cans still aim to please both head and ears

Is conventional headphone design an example of what biologists call convergent evolution – adoption of a common design solution because it's optimal – or something more akin to herd behaviour: doing it a particular way because we always have?

Christopher Breunig  |  Apr 17, 2020
Training complete, he followed in his father's footsteps working with the Leningrad Philharmonic but his final years were in Munich. Christopher Breunig tells the story

When Herbert von Karajan took the Berlin Philharmonic to Moscow and Leningrad in 1969 he also gave a conducting masterclass for 12 students, where he was impressed most by the young Latvian Mariss Jansons, then 26. Jansons sat in on rehearsals where he said the orchestra 'played at two-hundred per cent capacity. It was unbelievable'. (Melodiya briefly issued on CD the Shostakovich Tenth from the Karajan concert.)

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Apr 16, 2020
hfncommendedTwo-dimensional wonder-material, Graphene, is making its way into driver cones, including Falcon's flagship

Oxfordshire-based Falcon Acoustics is perhaps best-known for two aspects of its business: first, it's a major supplier of drive units, both its own designs and those of partner companies; and second, it's the manufacturer of its own version of the classic LS3/5a speaker design [HFN Jan '19]. The Falcon Acoustics Classic 15ohm LS3/5a is fully BBC-licensed, hand-assembled in Oxford and 'the only LS3/5a in production that faithfully replicates the original BBC design published in Oct 1976'.

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