Volume 15 Number 2
Good Health And Relaxed Reading
Wishing our readers good health and relaxed reading for this, our Summer edition, our audio scribes have continued their work, ears pinned and pens at hand, to deliver yet more knowledge and opinion on matters audio.
Brexit is having an impact on audio commerce, delaying imports and exports: some electronic components are in short supply meaning the production of designs has been delayed or halted, while export red tape has led to some companies setting up depots in the EU at significant cost, to ensure delay-free sales and delivery into Europe. Unquestionably prices have risen over the last year, up to 10% in some cases, but it's also the case that some items are simply unobtainable.
Recently a pre-production review sample interconnect from Europe arrived on my doorstep courtesy of UPS – or rather it didn't, since I was asked to pay £150-odd to receive it, even thought it was unclear from the paperwork what the charge was for. After the sample had been taken away and redelivered, it transpired that there was no invoice and no charge per se – but Brexit paperwork meant that the carrier had to add a Brexit surcharge, in order to handle the fact that there was no charge or import fee to process for this commercial sample.
I fitted in a high-end record player assessment towards the end of the reviewing period: the Vertere SG1 turntable came with an SG1 tonearm, a massive acrylic decoupler base to fit to my Naim Fraim platforms and the company's Mystic moving coil cartridge, the whole enterprise being powered by the latest Tempo quartz synthesized frequency power supply – or 'motor drive' as the manufacturer calls it. Neatly matched to this was the latest Wilson Audio floor standing loudspeaker, the X version of the tidy looking and surprisingly powerful three-way Sabrina.
KEF's KC62, a relatively inexpensive micro sub, took me by surprise. About the size of a large watermelon, it packed a crisp punch even when used with larger loudspeakers and I think it will be a good candidate for multiple spaced sub arrangements, this technique largely defeating low frequency room modes. Given separate treatment, I didn't want it to be overshadowed by the latest KEF LS50II active - the one with the Meta augmentation to the tweeter's acoustic termination inside.
Our industry personality focus is on the redoubtable Roy Gandy, engineer-founder of REGA Research who has focused on producing high value turntables for half a century. Stan Curtis reminisces further about his audio adventures and adds a book review for good measure. Focal and T&A headphones feature, with Ed Selley scrutinising the Focal Clear MG and the Solitaire P-SE from T&A.
Also on the headphone beat is Andrew Everard, reviewing Naim's Uniti Atom Headphone Edition, while Chris Frankland has a not so brief encounter with the Kerr Acoustic K300 Mk3, coming from a studio monitor background, and also tackles a new imagining of a classic from Rogers Electronics, the E20a integrated valve/tube amplifier.
Talking of revivals, Chris Kelly tackles an enhanced version of a famous Dynaudio compact speaker, the Special 40 anniversary edition, while Kevin Fiske is notably surprised by a wireless active Dali floorstander, the Oberon 7C.
Andrew Everard ploughs the Rotel furrow, assessing the high end Michi X3 'Integrated' amplifier, boasting analogue and digital inputs and includes a massive high quality, 200W per channel power section, while Ed Selley dives headfirst into an evaluation of the latest evolution of thee Kudos C10 loudspeaker.
Meanwhile our inestimable tech guru Keith Howard explores the subject of tape modulation distortion, to some degree inherent in the vast majority of jazz, rock, pop and classical recordings pre 1980 and thus also embedded in the wealth of later digital re-releases of these recordings.
Mark Prendergast commemorates the work of a favourite of his, the US composer and musician Harold Budd, and we round off with Andrew Mellor reviewing interesting classical releases and Andrew Everard surveying the latest hi-res DSD jazz, and more. Finally, our independent pundit and industry stalwart Steve Harris surveys his latest vinyl acquisitions, and then takes to the Sound Stage on the back cover with his views of the reinvention of music player software Audirvāna, now a 'service' rather than a standalone player.
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