Australian HiFi March - April 2020

Australian HiFi is the definitive magazine for discerning listeners and Hi-Fi enthusiasts. Every issue is packed with equipment and music reviews, new product information and ‘how-to’ articles. Australian Hi-Fi magazine is dedicated to helping you find the best quality sound for your home.

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in this issue

2 min
the curious incident of the video in the night

Shortly before midnight on the last day of 2019, 75 rare and unpublished recordings by the Rolling Stones were uploaded to YouTube for public viewing. But you needn’t bother looking for them now—they were all made private just a few hours into the New Year. ‘That’s very curious!’ you should be thinking to yourself. ‘Why ever would anyone do that?’ My first thought was that it was a mistake, and the videos were never intended to be uploaded. But it transpires that it was not a mistake: the videos were intentionally posted in order to extend the copyright protection afforded them in Europe. All the videos posted were covered by a 50-year copyright that was due to expire in 2020… or at least it was due to expire unless the…

2 min
ifi hip-dac

iFi has introduced a portable DCA that looks like a hip flask. Unsurprisingly, it’s called a ‘hip-dac’ and its PR company has had a field day inventing descriptions such as ‘hip-dac warms the soul with intoxicating sound’ and ‘sound as flavoursome and richly detailed as a delicious single malt Scotch.’ The new iFi hip-dac uses the same Burr-Brown ‘True Native’ DAC iFi uses in most of its products that supports PCM and DXD audio data up to 384kHz, alongside DSD from 2.8MHz to 12.4MHz (DSD64, 128 and 256). Burr-Brown’s ‘True Native’ DAC architecture means that PCM and DSD take separate pathways and DSD is not converted to PCM but remains as DSD right through to analogue conversion, benefitting from iFi’s GMT femto-precision clocking system along the way. MQA is also supported.…

1 min
sol republic

Sol Republic has finally released the circumaural active noise-cancelling wireless headphones it first showed more than a year ago at CES 2019 and then showed again at CES2020. The Sol Republic SOL-HP1410s (aka the ‘Soundtrack’ Pro ANC) claim 32-hours of battery life when using both wireless and ANC. The circuitry uses hybrid active noise cancellation technology with four microphones used for noise-cancelling and an additional microphone for use with your phone. There’s a monitor mode feature taht allows for a quick pause of both music and ANC to permit convenient conversation without having to remove the headphones. Underneath the foldable leather-wrapped memory foam ear cushions are 40m diameter drivers that can be driven wirelessly or via a corded connection. The headphones are available in three colours: black, champagne and grey. Sol Republic…

1 min
a first for pantheone audio

Australia’s newest design firm, Pantheone Audio, has released its first product, a wireless powered loudspeaker system with Alexa functionality called the Pantheone I. ‘The Pantheone team have a passion for handcrafted quality, design and engineering,’ said Anne-Claire Bottos, Creative Director of Pantheone Audio. ‘We spent over four years perfecting the Pantheone I, born from the desire to create something totally different—a speaker that can fill a space with the perfect sound whilst simultaneously co-existing with its surroundings.’ The Pantheone I is fitted with two 165mm bass drivers, two 100mm midrange drivers and four 19mm silk-dome tweeters, all driven by Class-D amplifiers—two 130-watt modules for the l.f. section, and two 70-watt modules for the h.f. section. The Amazon Alexa functionality, in combination with a Pantheone app, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth (4.2), allows users…

1 min
final b series in-ears

Japanese manufacturer S’Next has released its Final B1, B2, and B3 in-ear monitors, all of which have stainless steel bodies that are available in rose-gold (B1), gunmetal (B2) and silver frost (B3) mirror-finishes. The Final B1 ($999) features a single dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver in each in-ear, with a claimed sensitivity of 94dBSPL and an impedance of 13Ω. ‘The Final B1 showcases high clarity over the entire frequency range and its beautiful high-range sound enables users to hear the delicate touch of a piano and guitar picking perfectly,’ said George Poutakidis of BusiSoft AV, which distributes Final in Australia. The Final B2 ($439) uses a single balanced armature driver with a rated sensitivity of 109dBSPL and an impedance of 41Ω. The Final B3 ($729) uses two balanced armature drivers…

1 min
chord electronics huei phono stage

The Chord Electronics Huei phono stage is now available in Australia. It’s the first Chord phono preamplifier where impedance and gain selection are microprocessor-controlled. This enables 12-step impedance-matching (from 30Ω to 47kΩ) and seven-stage switchable gain—25–35dB (MM) and 48–70dB (MC). The circuitry also includes a switchable rumble filter with a –24dB/octave slope below 50Hz. Designed by John Franks, the new preamp shares design features and a form factor with the company’s Qutest DAC. ‘The Huei was entirely conceived and engineered in Great Britain, and is also manufactured there,’ said Chris Strom, of Radiance Audio Visual, which distributes Chord Electronics in Australia. ‘It’s precision-machined from aircraft-grade aluminium, and its design shares the same polychromatic control spheres the company has become known for in its digital products. It’s a highly versatile, high-performance…