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HIFICRITIC     January / February / March 2020


HIFICRITIC Volume 14 Number 1 January / February / March 2020


Reviews & Articles Within This Issue
2 Editorial: Welcome To The 2020s With HIFICRITIC
Editorial By Martin Colloms


04 Magico M2
After an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) review procedure, Martin Colloms finds these slimline speakers from the Californian company are capable of superlative performance – but explains that the secret is all in the set-up.


16 The Bristol Show 2020
A fixture on the British hi-fi calendar for more than three decades, this show is packed with new product launches, and provides the chance to hear some superb systems. Ed Selley was our man on the ground to bring you all the news.


19 McIntosh MA9000
Chris Kelly was looking forward to hearing this big integrated amplifier from the celebrated manufacturer, but he wasn't quite ready for its size or weight. But after an all-too-brief review period, he came away more than impressed.


22 Stan's Safari
Stan Curtis casts his mind back over the strengths and foibles of some of the studio recorders he has owned and used, and recalls the days when amplifier designers could turn to a ready stock of 'cost no object' components made to military specification.


24 Making Distortion: Measurements More Relevant
We all though that the less distortions a system has, the less it will add to, or subtract from, the sound. But which distortions should we be targeting, and how do we best measure them? Keith Howard investigates.


29 Vertere Dynamic Groove DG-1
Designed as an entry-level turntable model for the British company's range, the DG-1 opts for some highly innovative solutions in the quest for simplicity, from thread bearings to a flat beam tonearm. Chris Kelly discovers that this leads to excellent performance.


33 Naim ND555 Revisited
After spending more than a year with the Salisbury company's flagship network player, Martin Colloms takes time for a thorough reassessment. He starts by adding a second 555PS DR power supply, to create a £27,000 digital front-end for his reference system.


37 JBL L100 Classic
One of the most distinctive designs from catalogue of the American manufacturer – thanks to its distinctive Quadrex foam grilles – has been reinvented for the 2020s. Chris Frankland explains that this is much more than just an exercise in nostalgia.


HIFICRITIC Volume 14 Number 1 January / February / March 2020


41 Avid Integra
Ed Selley spends time with the Integra integrated, the entry-level model in the British company's ambitious amplifier lineup. It's impressive, not least for the quality of its built-in phono stage.


Focal Chora 806 Stand-Mounted Loudspeakers Review

Focal Chora 806 Stand-Mounted Loudspeakers
'Slatefiber' cones are the talking point for the latest affordable range from the French speaker specialists. Kevin Fiske was looking forward to getting to grips with this bookshelf model.
Review By Kevin Fiske Of HIFICRITIC

At a retail price of £600, or a sub-£400 street price on eBay, Focal's new Chora 806 two-way bookshelf speaker is an intriguing package. Engineered and built by the French manufacturer in the same facility at Saint-Étienne that makes the £130,000 Focal Grande Utopia III Evo, the Chora 806 is intended, says Focal, as an uber-affordable first rung on the audio ladder. The visual cues offered by the 806 speakers say 'stand mounter,' but it is a mistake to ignore the word 'bookshelf' in the product name.
---> Read More


46 Townshend Allegri Reference
Martin Colloms is a big fan of transformer-based passive preamplifiers, and there's more to this remote-control newcomer than just saving the wear on his floor.


Magico SPod Footers Review

Magico SPod Footers Review
After his in-depth exploration of the Mpod footers provided for his review of the company's M2 speaker in this issue, Martin Colloms realizes it's time to reassess the Junior version.
Review By Martin Colloms Of HIFICRITIC

After his in-depth exploration of the Mpod footers provided for his review  of the company's M2 speaker in this issue, Martin Colloms realizes it's time to reassess the Junior version. I reviewed these vibration-controlling feet, accessories designed to be fitted to the Magico S5II speakers and also other S series models, within HIFICRITIC Vol 11 No4 Oct-Dec 2017.
---> Read HIFICRITIC's review of the Magico SPod Footers.


52 Manfred Eicher
In the concluding part of his survey of the life and work of the founder of ECM, Mark Prendergast suggests ten of the label's 'must hear' recordings.


58 Classical Music
The latest releases are considered by Andrew Mellor.


60 Jazz
Greg Drygala takes a listen to some of the more innovative jazz releases.


62 Secondhand Stars
Steve Harris continues his bargain-hunting habit, revealing more of his latest finds.


64 Soundstage
Andrew Everard pays tribute to two of his influences – Ken Ishiwata and Malcolm Steward – both recently passed away.




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