This December sees one of the largest ever issues of Hi-Fi Plus magazine, which is devoted to the magazine’s annual Awards. Our wider world may be in turbulent times, but “the level of innovation and intuitive design that has gone into recent audio products is hugely uplifting,” says editor Alan Sircom. So, while we may not all have access to ‘cost-no-object’ budgets, we can still rest assured that these categories of award-winning models are contributing to the advancement of hi-fi and hence the musical enjoyment of us all.
Now in it’s seventh year, the unique high-end audio extravaganza that is Hi-Fi Show Live went from strength to strength this year, with its move to a spectacular new venue: the vast but elegant Ascot Grandstand. Exclusive product launches, packed workshops and a raft of superb sonic demonstrations were the name of the game this October.
Colorado-based Ayre Acoustics’ QB-9 DAC has been one of the company’s most successful ever products. Ayre are now releasing a brand new update bringing the QB-9 right back to the cutting edge of audio technology.
German brand Dual was once the biggest turntable manufacturer in Europe and its name was on most music-lovers’ lips throughout the vinyl heydays of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. If you wanted a really good record player that was easy to use and highly affordable, then Dual was on your list. What Hi-Fi? has just reviewed the fourth generation of one of the brand’s classic 1980s decks. Continue reading What Hi-Fi? magazine comes over all nostalgic for Dual’s CS 505-4 deck
“Record cleaning only scratches the surface (pun intended),” writes Hi-Fi Plus’ Andrew Harrison. “Every aspect of vinyl replay can come in for scrutiny.” A good part of this comes down to the nature of the technology itself: “dragging a rock through a groove and translating these movements into electrical signals” is naturally prone to errors from rotation, geometry, mechanical movements, the ingress of dust and dirt, etc etc. Thankfully there’s “a vibrant world of vinyl beyond the turntable and the record itself” to help keep everything running smoothly, and Harrison has chosen a selection of some of the best.
In 2016, Italian hi-fi brand Audio Analogue celebrated its twentieth birthday by launching a line of bang-up-to-date ‘Anniversary’ editions of the company’s earlier classic amplifiers. Now, the Puccini and Maestro integrated models are joined by the new Bellini preamplifier and Donizetti power amplifier.
If you’re investing in building up a vinyl collection, you’re no doubt keen to keep your records in tip-top condition so that you can hear them at their best. Still, a record cleaning machine may feel like a bit of stretch. Fear not, Dutch brand Okki Nokki has the solution.
The Hi-Fi Choice Yearbook is a bumper 164-page issue that celebrates the hi-fi high points of the past 12 months. The ultimate audio kit guide, it features a hand-picked selection of products that are “applauded by our team of expert reviewers for a winning combination of outstanding sound quality and value for money”. Raidho, Scansonic and Eclipse are among the applause-worthy loudspeakers, while Audio Analogue & Exposure impress in the amplifier department.
In the 2018 selection of Hi-Fi Plus’ outstanding products of the year, the shortlist for the category of ‘cost-no-object loudspeaker’ ultimately came down to just two models – both of them made by Danish brand Raidho. While there could only be one final winner, the company as a whole “is clearly doing something very right,” says the magazine’s team of expert reviewers.
A year ago, Danish audio brand Gamut joined Raidho and Scansonic as part of the Dantax group of companies. Now, the high-performance product ranges of all three brands are benefitting from the resulting influx of collaborative design and engineering expertise.