This month is relay month. They're everywhere – upon us like fleas. I don't know what has brought this about, perhaps just happenstance, perhaps the flow of the river. OK, it's a peculiar thing to obsess about, but it does start to make you go clickety-click after a while – sort of plays on the brain.
Why now? They've been around for ages. Quad's new Artera preamplifier has them aplenty, performing all sorts of tricks in conjunction with a micro-processor. I was taken aback at just how far you can go with this approach – turns out a long way, Quad show us. The Artera is an unusual proposition, purist analogue and very slick – greatly helped by liberal use of relays. You can find out more about this unusual preamplifier on p11 and all the many tricks it has up its metaphorical sleeve.
Relays went clickety-click in PrimaLuna's EVO 300 valve integrated amplifier too that I am reviewing right now but will appear in our next issue. No surprise here, since we used them in World Audio Design valve amplifiers back in the 1990s, because when it comes to high voltages and high fidelity, relays are a go-to. They don't expire like transistors. So yet again there was plenty of clicking to be heard from this product as inputs were selected. It's the best way to do it and good to see this approach now being used by PrimaLuna too. You'll have to see our January 2020 issue for this review.
Whilst I faced the fleas, Jon Myles tackled the robot – Devialet's Phantom Reactor loudspeaker that you can find on p74. It has the appearance of a new world robotic device and uses automation too, in a powered loudspeaker that I suspect will appeal to all those who want high fidelity without the intrusion. Devialet have given this little power house academically correct tonal accuracy, almost certainly through internal electronic trickery such as equalization. Impressive it was too, we all found at Hi-Fi World towers.
I know it is a strange way to see the issue of high fidelity but I am an engineer and relays – horrible old fashioned things – have pushed their way in, in new-fashioned form. So welcome to the fleas that have quietly entered hi-fi to bring us near perfect sound with near-perfect reliability. We identify them in this and future issues!