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January to March 2016

Our 2016 spring issue is packed with reviews and features. It also carries the Index to last year’s reviews and features, music and hi fi gear, and the Annual Awards listing.

Download cover, contents and excerpts from this issue below.


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About this issue...

Our moderately priced hit is the ATC SCM 11 compact loudspeaker which sailed though our most exacting testing to score a Best Buy Award.

Techno guru Keith Howard’s authoritative investigation explains what has gone wrong with headphone design. Martin Colloms digs deep into the technology behind the new amplifier sound from NAIM, and at last scores the sound quality for the Naim 300DR power amplifier. Editor Paul Messenger has a rewarding time hanging clearly effective Vertex Leading Edge sound control panels in his listening room. Music expert Mark Prendergast looks back at the Krautrock phenomenon. Chris Bryant checks out the new Benchmark DAC2HGC preamp and headphone amp all-in-one.

Messenger scores a double review for Rega LP cartridges, assessing the latest version of the Apheta, and also the brand new high end Aphelion moving coil. He also tries out the luxury Estonian Audes Excellence 5 AMT  floor standing speakers. He loved the Heco Direkt loudspeakers enough to award them a Best Buy. It must be Paul’s speaker issue as he also reviewed the latest single driver, full range Eclipse, the TD 712z mk II, which also got a recommendation.

Features include Julian Musgrave philosophising on the relationship between audio gear, cost and aspiration, while audio stalwart Stan Curtis come up refreshed with a study of microphony, this insidious behaviour that robs audio gear of dynamics and excitement. Soundsmith USA get an entry with their high end induced magnet cartridge, designed to tread in moving coil footsteps: the Zephyr MIMC is assessed by Chris Bryant.

​​Martin Colloms and Steve Harris attempt the impossible and try to explain Rhythm and Timing giving musical examples. Peter Qvortrup is interviewed in depth by Chris Frankland while Paul has a look at the Wychwood mains filtering accessories.  Jason Kennedy spins though the 2016 late February Bristol Hi FI show, and Rafael Todes has fun with an Allnic HPA500, the heavyweight valve headphone amplifier. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a comprehensive review of the class leading all-in-one streamer amplifier audio system from Astell and Kern, the AK500, investigated by our correspondent Andrew Everard.

​And that’s not to forget our regular and extensive jazz and classical music reviews.

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Download excerpts...

Martin Colloms and Steve Harris (Comments in Quotes) pick favourite tracks that are good for assessing musical rhythm and timing
Does the Naim Statement Research Programme constitute a revolution in amplifier design and technology? Martin Colloms investigates
Chris Bryant tries out a compact yet unusually versatile DAC/pre-amp/headphone amplifier
Never mind the balance or the bandwidth, this 'dinosaur egg'-shaped speaker is all about timing - 'TD' in Eclipse-speak
This daringly different loudspeaker has exceptional sensitivity and an evenhanded balance, as Paul Messenger discovers
Paul Messenger's Subjective Sounds column

Have a look at Reviews and Features from HIFICRITIC available for download for free

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