When I listen to loudspeakers we loved in yesteryear, I cringe. Goodmans Magum Ks impressed me at the time and Leak 2060s were even better, with their superb white plastic mid-range cone perforated with wave breaks and rear coated with a damping layer.
How do I know this? As a young man I attended a press conference explaining these new technologies held, in Leak's case, by an impressive young engineer called Alex Garner who subsequently rescued then ran Tannoy. I was so impressed!
Wharfedale, Leak and KEF went on to use technology and measurement to produce increasingly refined loudspeakers and today we benefit from their knowledge and example. But there's a problem: today's loudspeakers are less boxy, boomy and sloppy as a result but also less characterful.
Klipsch are a major US manufacturer and have probably never heard of Wharfedale, Leak or KEF, instead making what the US is unswervingly good at – big. Yes, their disarmingly named R-28F loudspeakers we review in this issue on p10 were anything but mild and unassuming, so much as affordable powerhouses that reminded me of those glorious 1970s loudspeakers – brought up to date.
We made a boo-boo last month in saying the Novafidelity X35 uses a linear power supply when our internal shot shows it has a switch-mode. See our Letters that start on p32 for more on this one. Fascinating all the same though that switch-modes with Class D now measure well but still are treated with suspicion. Japan has an illustrious recent past in audio and companies like Yamaha now emphasise they don't use switch-mode power supplies or Class D output stages in their top products. Yesteryear still has a pull and it isn't all just nostalgia.
You could say the same about LP of course, which now seems the de-facto alternative to streaming – leaving CD dead and downloads unpopular. We seem to be increasingly using original analogue technologies or the very latest digital conveniences with little in-between. In this issue you'll see that very clearly. I hope you enjoy the mix.