These days all loudspeakers have a port, even if it's hidden somewhere, like in the base of the cabinet. This hole in the cabinet' is a peculiar little thing. I suspect few loudspeaker designers really know how it works even now, and in the early days of ports they certainly did not. As a result they have never worked too well and many still do not, bouncing like the acoustic equivalent of a rubber ball. As a result there's complaint about 'reflex bass' many listeners object to it. There are very sound reasons for this, if you'll pardon the pun, so Peter Comeau who has written many learned articles about loudspeaker design for Hi-Fi World has made an alternative loudspeaker cone loading system available in the new Castle Avon 5 I review on p10 of this issue. I know just where he was coming from with this design and it works a treat in real life rooms. The Avon 5 hasn't got bouncy bass. This not only improves bass quality from the loudspeaker but also reduces room boom you gain twice.
We were all wowed by the McIntosh MC152 power amplifier. How a product can step ahead in its sound so blatantly is almost a mystery. I am used to different sounds but I am not used to being perplexed by the enormity of difference. You might think that the MC152, with transistors driving output transformers, may sound "valve like". Not a bit of it. It is hard and fast but has enormous bass grip and drive, plus fabulous midrange insight. I'd call treble "obvious"! But at the same time this amplifier transformed every loudspeaker attached to it. Read Jon Myles review on p16.
Turntables and digital are surely separated by a deep and uncrossable chasm. Or perhaps not. Pro-Ject have erected a bridge across it with impressive skill - see our review on p82. A turntable with a digital output? No, surely not!
And finally Martin Pipe spent time quizzing the BBC about recording The Proms and they were only too happy to tell him all. Martin is a techie but I think you'll be happy to read the facts. And how many mics did they use? Phew!
I do hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it all together.
PS: For many months now we have been trying to weedle out of Tannoy a pair of Westminster Royal GR horn loudspeakers, a three-man-plus-Arnie lift that no magazine has ever managed. They have agreed and a delivery date has been arranged. I just have to phone Arnie. Keep reading!