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Australian Hi-Fi Magazine

March / April 2023

 

Editor's Lead In
New LPs Acquired During Record Store Day
Time to spin some new records.
Editorial By Becky Roberts

 

Australian Hi-Fi Magazine March / April 2023

 

  By the time this issue lands in your letterbox, and hopefully by the time it lands in your lap, Record Store Day will be just days away. The annual celebration of the independent record store and everyone involved in it the staff, the customers, the artists takes place globally on Saturday 22nd April and, keeping with tradition, will see hundreds of special release vinyl (over 400, in fact) become available to purchase in stores on that day (and in some cases, online in the following days). If this comes as news, or indeed an unexpected reminder), to you, and you consider yourself a passionate spinner of the good wax stuff, I'd recommend putting aside half an hour to visit www.recordstoreday.com.au before that fourth Saturday in April to peruse the list and see what is going on in your area (you can easily find out which stores local to you are participating in RSD by putting your postcode into the site's 'Find an RSD Store Near You' tool).

I myself will be hitting up Melbourne's Greville Street Records to hopefully catch some live music and, depending on the state of my bank balance at that time, make that inevitably tough annual decision between a handful of albums.

I've got my eye on, to name just a few, Beach House's 'Become' EP, which comprises five songs from the studio sessions of the band's 2022 album 'Once Twice Melody', arguably the best and most beautiful yet from Baltimore's dream-pop duo; Brian Eno's 'FOREVER VOICELESS', a purely instrumental version of his remarkably transcendent, achingly beautiful, pensive and for that matter, critically acclaimed album from last year; and Midlake's 'Live at the Roundhouse', the recording of undoubtedly the London gig that I most yearned to be at last year (and trust me when I say there were many). There are, of course, some Aussie gems in the list a 12-inch sampler of disco/electro/jazz from genre-spanning Close Counters, and a translucent orange pressing of Ocean Alley's seminal 2018 alt-rock record though I think I'll pass on the Zoetrope picture disc of Bluey Dance Mode!

 

Australian Hi-Fi Magazine March / April 2023

 

There are, coincidentally actually, a few vinyl goodies in this issue too. There's news of JBL's first-ever turntable (page 10); the regular Hi-Fi Primer (page 75) offers tips and tricks on how to get the best sound from your inherently temperamental record player, whether you're new to decks or as comfortable with them as the bed you sleep in; and a fresh interview with turntable virtuosos Rega in light of its 50th anniversary (page 71)... though admittedly it focuses more on the amps it has 'digitised' than any of its renowned record players!

Really, that Marantz felt that its latest reference AV preamplifier (page 28) should include a phono stage among every other connection and technology that such a product is expected to play ball with nowadays is all the evidence you need of vinyl's ongoing relevance.

As one of our regular contributors states in the introduction to his review of one of the most digitally embroiled products Australian Hi-Fi magazine has ever tested (page 20), we remain confirmed analogue audio equipment fans. But it's impossible to ignore, and indeed increasingly easy to enjoy, the digital kit that largely defines the hi-fi industry these days. 

The digital ambition manufacturers are showing is quite incredible, and the streaming industry's embracing of lossless quality and the waves being made to increase quality on the go are further stoking that fire. The question Sonos and Apple are raising with their latest mass-market wireless speakers, the HomePod 2 and Era 300 (page 16), is whether 'spatial' audio will really be The Next Big Thing in music recording/distribution (and consequently music reproduction). I don't know about that personally, but it'll be an interesting one to see play out. While my own listening sessions are firmly in stereo crisp, snappy, clear hi-res digital audio and lovely, tactile, warm vinyl.

 

 

Becky Roberts

 

 

 

 

Australian Hi-Fi Magazine

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