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Hi-Fi World
April 2015
In This Issue... Bigger And Better Speakers Plus Digital Delights
Editorial By Noel Keywood


In This Issue... Bigger And Better Speakers Plus Digital Delights By Noel Keywood Hi-Fi World April 2015  Really big loudspeakers aren't so popular these days. Those massive broom cupboards of the 1970s – think Leak 2075s for example – would find few buyers now. Even back then they didn't sell in large numbers, being flagship models of their time built more as a statement of ability than a viable sales proposition. But they still impress us, old and young. There's nothing quite like walking into a room and being confronted by massive 2075s – I know because I lived with a pair for some time, and their much improved replacements, the lovely 3090s.

Nowadays, big sound has to come from a compact cabinet styled to fit into a modern home. Tannoy's new Definition DC10 Ti loudspeaker has been carefully designed to squeeze into a decent sized living room, leave space for its inhabitants – and rattle the windows. It offers better quality than broom cupboards of yore, enjoying the benefits of computer-aided design and more sophisticated measurement techniques, driven by Tannoy's determination to stay at the forefront of this market. I hope you enjoy our review of the DC10 Ti on page 10.

Digital gets ever more complicated and this month we have two impressive examples of what I'll cheekily describe as digital "music centres". But these music centres are not like those gaudy contrivances of 1980s. The Naim UnitiLite and NovaFidelity (ex Cocktail Audio) X40 offer an almost bewildering array of features in highest quality digital; both aim to do it all – and they get close to achieving it. Heavens, the X40 even has a phono stage with digital RIAA equalisation. This means it does, in effect, have a digital phono stage onboard where the cartridge signal is pre-amplified, passed through an ADC to turn it to digital, and then equalised in the digital domain. You can read about this deeply impressive ESS Sabre32 equipped device on page 18 and Naim's impressive UnitiLite on page 34.

Meanwhile, the Headroom Show – see page 22 – reminded us that a frighteningly large number of people nowadays have no interest in large loudspeakers or music centres of the digital kind, instead listening on headphones to their mobile phones, iPads or portables. But with balanced magnetic planar headphones available, driven by fully balanced Astell&Kern players, this parallel universe is getting ever more sophisticated.

--- Noel Keywood, editor.


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