Within This Issue...
Great to be producing another issue of Hi-Fi World, before readers around the world get too perplexed, angry or infuriated about our idleness! Sorry we had to drop two issues. Not nice being idle and very nice to be producing the magazine again.
For no bug related reason, it is a slightly unusual issue. In it you will read about review products that may make you wonder what's going on. To wit, our Martin Logan Motion 40i loudspeakers connected out of phase – see p11. Was it a one-off internal wiring fault? Or something more awkward like a crossover circuit board error? I doubt we will ever know: in a brief conversation I was assured it was a one-off. As regular readers will know we have tested many Martin Logan loudspeakers in the past without problem. And of course I use their ESL-X hybrid electrostatic as a reference.
Then reviewer Chris Frankland phoned me to say "there's a socket missing!" of the Burson Conductor 3 Reference headphone DAC – see our review on p59. He hadn't yet noticed there was no way of selecting the front panel Mic input either! This one had been in for repair, Chris was told, and was I presume used as a sacrificial review sample. Fair enough: it allowed us to validate Burson's claims for massive dynamic range from the ESS 9038 Pro DAC chip they use, exploited by their custom built output amplifiers. The real problem here for us was lack of useful accompanying info explaining what we had – and of course in lockdown it was difficult to get any response (same with Martin Logan).
Moving back a few paces, that was also the problem with Chord Electronics 2go – see our review on p31. Its instructions, such as they were, and lack of simple guidance on how to use it, were more problematic than the apps themselves, or the circuitous Wi-Fi control method. Chord Electronics DACs have their own particular dry, punchy sound that's deeply detailed and revealing, quite different from the "velvet" sound of top AKM and ESS DACs, giving 2go in conjunction with Hugo 2 unique sonic character.
And one small, final unusual issue in an unusual issue: Chris Frankland is now writing for us – the man that started Flat Response then Hi-Fi Review magazines in the 1980s, for whom I wrote and from which Hi-Fi World arose. Chris was and still is steeped in the subject. I hope we'll hear far more from him in future issues. I welcome back my respected previous employer!
I hope you enjoy this "slightly unusual issue" and that a lovely analogue sun is shining in through your window. We're happy to be back.