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Hi-Fi World
August 2019
Great Reviews And Articles
What's within this issue of Hi-Fi World.
Editorial By Noel Keywood


Hi-Fi World August 2019


  Valve amplifiers are a modern mystery. Things from days gone by, yet still with us today in ever more imposing form. Not cheap either: there's so much in them that is specialized, heavy and costly to make. Robots need not apply. Hi-Fi World attracts valve amplifier manufacturers (!) because we understand the issues, what manufacturers are trying to achieve. Explaining why – serendipitously! – we featured the extraordinary McIntosh MC2175 power amplifier last month (July 2019 issue) and now have another thermionic charger this month: Icon Audio's Stereo 40 MkIV valve amplifier. Not as much power as a big Mac but not the price either. I hope you enjoy reading about this lovely amplifier in its glowing glory on p10 of this issue.

Focal of France have pride in their technological ingenuity and its uniqueness. Their inverted beryllium dome tweeter, for example, is something they have clung to when all others were using either fabric domes or ribbon tweeters. Continual development of this tweeter and its careful alignment with their own design bass/midrange unit with sandwiched flax driver have come together to produce a fine large bookshelf loudspeaker in the new Kanta No1. Clean, accurate and powerful, this loudspeaker impressed us all. Read more about it in our review on p62.


Hi-Fi World August 2019


At times it got warm just like a valve amplifier. But it is not. iBasso's DX220 digital portable audio player may be the heavyweight of its class, like a valve amplifier, but it is also a technological heavyweight, with massive processing power that brings you just about every modern marvel: Bluetooth, music streaming from the 'net – even Google's Chrome web browser. This is a player fit to drive a hi-fi system. Read about it on p21.

Our letters never cease to amaze and inform. Find them on p34. Watch out for sharp snippets like a warning about the up-coming Volumio music server software that appeared at this year's HIGH END show, Munich, Germany. Could this freeware music server rise to the prominence of freeware music editor Audacity, displacing all paid-for rivals?

The world of high quality music reproduction moves on relentlessly. At one end are things that get warm and glow – Icon Audio's Stereo 40 MkIV – and at the other things that get warm but don't quite glow – iBasso's DX220. In between lies software! What contrast – I hope you enjoy it all.


--- Noel Keywood, editor.




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