Within This Issue...
It's been said many times there's no innovation in loudspeakers any more: we get the "same old same old", endlessly regurgitated. You know – cone bass/midrange unit in a box, plus tweeter. The reason being it works and it is cheap. Conventional drive units are mass produced: just look at China's Swan loudspeaker drive unit range.
But not everyone wants to follow this path and the dear old US of A likes to make its own way, seemingly oblivious to what's across the Atlantic or Pacific. And thank heavens for that. They produce electrostatics, magnetic planars and hybrids not seen elsewhere.
Hi-Fi World relies on MartinLogan's (USA) X-Stat electrostatic panel for a definitive view of the products we test, and Magneplanar step up to the table with similar insight from their magnetic planar panel in the new LRS – reviewed on p12. It isn't easy to build unique drive units – but that's what Magnepan do and that's what the LRS boasts. I hope you enjoy our in-depth view, based on measurement, listening and long experience with such ‘speakers.
Dare I mention the word (no!), but that virus is going to have us all staying at home a bit more. Time to dust off the old LPs, crank up the turntable and relax to the glorious sound of vinyl LP – not usable on public transport or in an aeroplane, but fine at home. The Luxman PD-151 turntable on p83 and Ortofon Quintet Bronze moving-coil cartridge on p89 both make a strong case for staying home and chilling out.
Or equally, don that mask and power out with the latest from FiiO, their BTR5 Bluetooth headphone amplifier that Martin Pipe covers in deep detail on p20. It's a high quality ESS DAC at extraordinarily low price.
Sad final note. Our ace contributor Jon Myles, who worked with us closely for many years – part of the team – passed away suddenly in February 2020. You will be well missed, rest in peace Jon.