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April to June 2018

In this issue…ASTELL & KERN ACRO L1000, Pro-Ject Essential III Acrylic turntable, the Phono Box 2, Musical Fidelity MX-VYNL; the iSINE10 + Cipher; Dynaudio Special Forty stand mount, the ADL Stratos, the Chord Electronics Qutest, the Prism Sound Callia, the Rega DAC-R, ROON Nucleus, Auralic Aries G2, Marantz ND8006, the NEAT IOTA Explorer floor standing loudspeaker system; CAD, D 3020 D2; Sveda Audio BLIPO, Jern w8000.

Monophonic sound replay, Munich Audio Show, the importance of the violin in Jazz; wired home networking optimised for audio, the KFH research facility in Germany; jazz, classical and rock and pop music reviews; and much more.

Download cover, contents and excerpts from this issue below.


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About this issue...

Following Paul Messenger’s editorial, Stan Curtis has a timely thought piece on single channel, monophonic sound replay, increasingly relevant with the revival of  older mono LPs, these often replayed by enthusiasts with custom,  pure monophonic cartridges.

Jason Kennedy races round the enormous Munich Audio Show, impossible to cover in 10 pages, never mind the three we allocated him. He searched out highlights and interesting developments and offers apologies to those he had to miss out.

We were more than a little sceptical about the miniature one-piece digital audio/amplifier unit, the ASTELL & KERN ACRO L1000, but it stormed through the Everard assessment, winning an award.

Musgrave reports on the importance of the violin in Jazz, and also finds a new way to de- click some LPs, while building some mains cables.

Martin Colloms brushes up on vinyl with three product reviews, two from Pro-Ject and one from Musical Fidelity, which latter company coincidentally joined the Pro-Ject manufacturing group during the progress of the review. Thus, he covered the Pro-Ject Essential III Acrylic turntable review, complete with Ortofon cartridge, and also the Phono Box 2, MC MM cartridge equaliser and finally the versatile Musical Fidelity MX-VYNL high end equaliser.

Violinist Rafael Todes assesses two designs from headphone specialist Audeze, the iSINE10 + Cipher, a remarkable form of in-ear planar magnetic together with an optional active DAC/Amplifier ‘cable’ which improves the drive quality for streaming audio on the move.
Kevin Fiske tackles the new Dynaudio Special Forty stand mount compact with much enthusiasm, with a performance resulting in our highest, performance/value award.

On the technical front Keith Howard explores the less well know graphic representation for resonances associated which may be associated with audiblecolouration called the cepstrum, and helps demystify the arcane set of terms which accompany it.

Of several DACS reviewed Andrew Harrison applied himself to a diverse set of four,namely the ADL Stratos, the Chord Electronics Qutest, the Prism Sound Callia, and the Rega DAC-R.

Concerning connection which is better, balanced or unbalanced, for design and for signal coupling?  Harvey Lovegrove reaches for an answer.

Streaming aficionado Andrew Everard delves deeply into the ROON Nucleus, here with a practical working hardware position to exploit the established software.

Andrew Harrison goes digital once more analysing the Auralic Aries G2, and noting a few oddities underlying a genuinely award-winning performance.
Newcomer Antony Hamza is an electrical engineer who is competent to improve hismains power connections and has directed his focus at the cleanliness of the series of contacts involved with the power cables, and the audible results.

‘The Complete Digital Music Source Player’ is said to describe the Marantz ND8006and we gave Andrew Everard three pages to discover whether it is true or not.

Chris Frankland takes on the NEAT IOTA Explorer floor standing loudspeaker system and finds it much to his liking.

Colloms experiments with wired home networking optimised for audio and is rather surprised by the behaviour of an older mains powered router, but only after an unexpected level of microphony had been addressed.

Fink Consulting has been responsible for the design of numerous hit loudspeakers and Andrew Everard took advantage of his Munich trip to report on the KFH researchfacility in Germany.

CAD are in this issue with two engaging and original USB cables of distinctive performance.

Several decades ago the all-analogue NAD 3020 integrated amplifier stormed through the popularity ratings and now we have a second generation of their compact switch mode replacement the D 3020 D2. Andrew Everard finds that it is rather clever.

Paul Messenger went to the HIFI Show in Poland, very successful by all accounts,resulting in a commission to review the active crossover loudspeaker design, the Sveda Audio BLIPO, with fine results. Paul also covers another of those cast iron enclosure models from Jern, his time the w8000 for on wall mounting.

Kevin Fiske took his time to get a grip on some new cables from the renamed Vertex- AQ cable company. These were the ‘Peaks’ and ‘Park’ from the newly namedQuiescent Technologies, and they seemed to convince him of their excellence.

Paul Messenger also took a look at an unusual hybrid, multi-driver loudspeaker design from Hart.

Greg Drygla keeps us up to date on Jazz, Colin Anderson on Classical, and the redoubtable Nigel Finn on Rock and Pop.

Finally Paul tries a quarter wave horn kit with a full range driver.

Download cover and contents for a closer look...







Download excerpts...

Excerpt-201806-1-Comment-Stans Safari-pdfimg
Stan recalls the virtues of monophony, which preceded the current stereo era
Jason Kennedy reports back from the MOC in Munich
Excerpt-201806-3-Review-DAC quartet intro-pdfimg
Andrew Harrison reviews the ADL Stratos, Chord Qutest, Prism Sound Callia and Rega DAC-R
Excerpt-201806-4-Feature-Audio Networking Cisco 2960-pdfimg
Martin Colloms assesses the sound quality of different network switches
Excerpt-201806-5-Review-Sveda Audio Blipo Audio Excellence-pdfimg
Despite its name, the active-drive Blipo loudspeaker is made in Poland and is therefore very competitively priced, as Paul Messenger discovers
Excerpt-201806-6-Review-Nigel Finn on Rock and Pop-pdfimg
Nigel Finn picks half-a-dozen special releases – some new; some historic

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

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