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Hi-Fi World
August 2012
Progress Is All Around Us
Editorial By Noel Keywood

 

Progress Is All Around Us Editorial By Noel Keywood Hi-Fi World Volume 22 Number 6 August 2012  It took us effort and time to persuade Linn to let us have an Akurate DSM preamplifier for review, but it was worth it – see p12 for our report. This is a preamp like no other: who else makes one that has an HDMI input for Blu-ray alongside a Moving Coil cartridge input? You can switch from LP to Blu-ray and back again using a Kinsky App on your iPhone or iPad. Granted, you’ll need an auto-changer for LP to stop playing automatically at the same time, and these are a little rare at present.

As Adam Smith notes on p92 however, an auto-changer is the only turntable type Pro-ject have yet to make, so perhaps the Akurate DSM preamp will get such a partner in due course. Or perhaps Linn will decide to automate the LP12 so it can be controlled from an iPad. This might be a step too far even for their ingenuity I suspect. Never mind, the Akurate system was quite a blast, showing just how far Linn’s expertise extends.

Linn are not alone in having a Wi-Fi controlled preamp that also acts as a network player. Cambridge Audio recently released the Stream Magic 6 and this gives even the DSM something to think about. OK, the Stream Magic 6 lacks an MC cartridge input and HDMI inputs for Blu-ray, but it also costs less and still manages to have a few tricks up its sleeve, such as playing music from iPhone or iPad via a Bluetooth radio link.

Both these network players / preamps use balanced connections. And so does the new Avid Pulsare II phono stage. Balanced working has been used by the recording business for a long time, to avoid hum problems in long cables. Now it is slowly being adopted by hi-fi manufacturers. Even though this means extra silicon chips are necessary, a sender and a receiver, sound quality usually benefits. A clearer, more focused sound is the result. But as the head of Avid, Conrad Mas, notes, pickup cartridges suit balanced working and gain most from it. With the Pulsare II phono preamp he exploits this to great effect, Paul Rigby finds - see p96.

High fidelity moves ahead on many fronts we find in this issue; progress is all around us. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

--- Noel Keywood, editor.

 

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