Australian HiFi May - June 2021

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

3 min
good noise vs bad noise

You don’t have to know much about hi-fi in order to be aware that having unwanted noise in your hi-fi system is a bad thing. If there’s too much noise, you can’t hear the finer detail in the music. And even if you have only a little noise in your system, it can be intensely annoying. Recordings made using magnetic tape were renowned for having excessive noise, so much so that a term was coined specifically for the type of noise produced — tape hiss. It was present even on high-priced professional open-reel machines, but reached its peak nuisance value with the invention of the compact cassette. It was so intrusive that systems were developed to eliminate it, the most popular of which was developed by Ray Dolby and named…

20 min

FOCAL TURNS TO BLUE French loudspeaker and headphone manufacturer Focal has for the first time built a pair of navy blue headphones, the Focal Celestee, using a shade selected by designer and product colourist Doris Bölck. “Navy blue is the new black,” says George Poutakidis, of BusiSoft AV, which distributes Focal in Australia. “By combining and contrasting Navy blue against Focal’s traditional copper and bronze accents, Bölck has created a sophisticated, sumptuous feel to these headphones, offering an interesting, unusual and elegant alternative to more traditional chrome, and silver against black contrasts.” The Focal Celestee is a closed-back circumaural design using 40mm aluminium/magnesium drivers with an ‘M’-shaped inverted dome diaphragm. Focal says that shaping the dome in this way results in it having a larger surface area than a typical 40mm driver and…

11 min
sonus faber electa amator iii

Che sorpresa! There I was expecting delivery of a pair of small, bookshelf loud-speakers and the courier made me sign for two outrageously large cartons, both of which were so heavy that I had to get a trolley to move them off the stoop. How on earth could either of these cartons contain a pair of small bookshelf loudspeakers? Once inside, I opened the smaller of the two cartons first, which revealed the Sonus faber Electa Amator III loudspeakers I had been expecting. So what could possibly be in the larger box? Had the distributor also sent me a second, larger pair of loudspeakers to evaluate? A few moments with a box-cutter revealed that the larger carton contained a pair of stands — stands that I later discovered were designed specifically…

5 min
laboratory test report

Newport Test Labs reported that as a result of its extensive objective testing, it would put the frequency response of the Sonus faber Electa Amator III loudspeakers as 59Hz to 32kHz ±3dB, which is an excellent result both in terms of overall linearity and extension at both ends of the audio spectrum. The frequency response depicted in Graph 1 is a composite, where the low-frequency in-room response (from Graph 5) has been spliced (at 600Hz) to the gated (anechoic) high-frequency response (Graph 2) and you can see that it essentially shows that estimation of 49Hz to 32kHz ±3dB. It also shows that although the response is within ±3dB of reference, it’s not particularly flat across this entire frequency range. You can see, for example, that after a slight boost in response…

9 min
audio solutions

The challenges of the last year have been enough to take the wind out of many sails, both personal and business. But when we spoke with Tony Stantzos, who, with Nick Papas, co-owns the Audio Solutions hi-fi store in Mascot near Sydney Airport, he was as ebullient as ever. “For us, to be honest, look, we can’t really complain. We had a very reasonable year,” he said. “We were pretty much open all the way through — never really told that we had to close, so we obviously followed all the protocols, had the warning signs up to sanitise your hands, and only allowed a few people in the shop in any given room at any time.” A reasonable if very different year, then, and one in which Audio Solutions celebrated its…

10 min
yamaha yh-e700a

Why don’t Yamaha’s headphones get more attention? They have the cachet of an established Japanese audio brand. They have the track record — including a number of industry awards in recent years. Yet they don’t often seem to make the recommendations lists that are stocked with the more usual candidates. Perhaps that will change with this move into the mainstream category of wireless noise-cancelling headphones. The newly-introduced YH-E700A wireless NRC headphones launch at what can now (thanks to Apple’s eye-wateringly expensive AirPods Max) be called a ‘midrange’ price. There’s also a pair of on-ear noise-cancellers, YH-E500A, at just $229. BUILD AND FEATURES The YH-E700As are substantial headphones, their earcups 90mm in diameter, fully circumaural and spaciously so, with leatherette-covered foam earpads that are 25mm thick, sealing firmly yet lightly around the ears. While…