Monthly Archives: August 2013

Focal Aria cone

REVIEW: Focal Aria 926 loudspeakers

A new speaker range; a new drive-unit material. Focal’s Aria 900 line-up makes its début this weekend, and judging from the Aria 926 floorstanders (above) I’ve been using for the past couple of weeks, the French speaker company could be on to something rather special. New materials are the lifeblood of the loudspeaker industry. There’s […]

REVIEW: Creek Evolution 50A – or ‘how I started testing an amplifier and ended up loving the radio all over again’

The lead-time between first seeing a product and receiving a review sample can be anything from instantaneous to ages. Sometimes it’s a matter of ‘here it is, d’you want to take one away with you?’; on other occasions one gets to a point, about a year after the launch, where the manufacturer or distributor is […]

UPDATE: Bluesman Doug MacLeod – UK dates cancelled

UPDATE: Due to circumstances beyond his control, Doug MacLeod has been forced to cancel his UK dates. His performances will be rearranged, and I’ll update when I have more news. One of the best-sounding releases of the year so far is There’s A Time, the latest set by blues singer/songwriter Doug MacLeod (above) – and […]

Studio Master downloads for less than the price of a CD

You’ve just lost another excuse for not downloading your music in better-than-CD quality. French online music retailer Qobuz is offering more than 2000 albums in 24-bit resolution – not just at the same price as buying an MP3 version, but actually cheaper than the CD-quality downloads. And it’s not the usual ‘audiophile’ stuff – so […]

It’s the soundstage, stupid…

Two questions I’m often asked: ‘What got you into hi-fi?’ and ‘What got you into music?’. First one’s easy: over-indulgent grandparents who bought my sister and me an early transistor radio apiece, then Philips cassette recorders – so handy for recording off the radio – and finally briefcase-sized folding record players, so we always had […]

REVIEW: Naim SUPERNAIT 2 – proving that less is more

There’s setting trends, there’s following trends – and then there’s apparently flying in the face of fashion, which is usually either very brave or very dumb. I mean, look at the consumer electronics market: it’s simply stuffed with ‘me too’ products, showing a woeful lack of inspiration and an entirely risk-averse strategy. A company launches […]

Why are fanatics so fanatical?

Interested to discover from this New York Times piece just how rabid camera enthusiasts can be when they feel they have been scorned – or just ill-served – by something they’ve read online. And I thought hi-fi fanatics – and indeed anti-hi-fi fanatics were bad… I’ve always found it completely bonkers that people can get […]

REVIEW: Fiio’s X3 portable music player puts hi-res audio in your pocket

The highly affordable Fiio X3 digital music player is just about the perfect way to take high-resolution music – at up to 24-bit/192kHz – out and about There’s a problem with locking yourself into what the computer commentators call ‘the Apple eco-system’: for all the advantages of the company’s ‘it just works’ interoperability between computers […]

Review: Hands-on with Just Audio’s AHA-120 headphone amp

After my wife reviewed some of the Final Audio Design headphones recently for Hi-Fi Widow, UK distributor HiFiHeadphones  was keen for me to review one of the headphone amplifiers it sells. It’s an interesting reverse, for while the Final Audio Design headphones come from Japan, and are just being introduced into the UK, HiFiHeadphones’ Robin […]