“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.
Designer Noriyuki Miyajima has earned a worldwide following for his superb artisan phono cartridges. Each new model is the result of passionate research and development, and every single cartridge is crafted in-house by Miyajima’s small dedicated team.
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.
When it comes to investing in your love of music, “sometimes, only the best will do,” says What Hi-Fi? in the magazine’s June issue. If you want (and can afford) the best sound possible, What Hi-Fi?’s reviewers offer their list of recommended high-end kit. And if it’s the full five stars you’re after, look out for Aesthetix’ Saturn series of amplifiers.
“Making adjustments to your system to release previously unheard excellence needn’t break the bank,” says Hi-Fi Choice. DS Audio’s ST-50 stylus cleaner is among the magazine’s top six picks for maximising audio performance.
Built to uncompromising standards, California-based Aesthetix Audio’s hi-fi components fall squarely into the elite separates camp. Only one thing was missing from the company’s stellar line up of ultra high-performance components: an integrated amplifier. Now, Aesthetix has “remedied this in grand style” with its first integrated model, the Mimas. Neil Gader of The Absolute Sound magazine is suitably bowled over.
Could Exposure’s XM series of hi-fi components be the gift that just keeps on giving? “When it comes to upping the versatility and value stakes, [Exposure’s] new XM CD player is really three rather fine products in one,” says Roy Gregory, in the latest issue of Hi-Fi Plus.
Catch up with the latest news and reviews over at The Reel-to-Reel Rambler, where David Denyer and fellow hi-fi journalists Ken Kessler and Neville Roberts delve into the world of open reel tape.
Audiophile and hi-fi journalist Ken Kessler has been a fan of DS Audio’s pioneering optical cartridges since they first appeared on the world hi-fi market four years ago, and has enthusiastically reviewed most of the company’s models. But the new DS-E1 has presented him with something of a dilemma. “It is actually too good… I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.”
Next month’s edition of What Hi-Fi? is a ‘vinyl special’ issue, devoted to the best turntables you can buy. Mull over the magazine’s pick of the spinners, ranging from around £100 all the way up to just shy of £20k. Among them are several award-winning favourites from covetable German analogue experts Clearaudio.