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Australian Hi-Fi Magazine

July / August 2022


Editor's Lead In
Paying Respects To The Retired Apple iPod
Digital audio has come far, and its quality is continuing in the right direction.
Editorial By Becky Roberts


Australian Hi-Fi Magazine July / August 2022


  G'day, 'Aussie Hi-Fi' readers! Following Greg's farewell Editor's Lead-In in the issue previous, you now have my debut one here. I arrive to Australia (Melbourne, to be more geo-precise) and this new editorship role fully aware that I have big boots to fill, but if I'm to spend even half the duration of my predecessor's frightfully long stint in this particular chair, I figure I've most of the time until my own retirement to try to do it in. So no rush, eh?

Greg — still a committed contributor to this publication and editorial servant to you all, mind — is sharing his retirement year with the Apple iPod, which has now been put to bed after 21 years, having frankly redefined mass listening habits in its formative years and paved the way for how a lot of music is still consumed today. Heck, it almost single-handedly got people listening to music away from their CDs and cassettes and sharing digital audio files. As a different Greg (Greg Joswiak, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing) quite rightly said when the news broke in May: "Today, the spirit of iPod lives on." Not a bad legacy for one product line to leave behind really!

Indeed, it feels as though digital audio and hi-fi are grabbing ahold of greatness now, doesn't it? And there is more than one excellent example of this inside this issue. dCS — one of the most esteemed brands in the digital audio business — has advanced its Ring DAC technology to 'apex' level for its all-new Rossini Apex CD player/streamer, which sets a new sonic and measured benchmark (from page 53). Cyrus has embraced digital experimentation for its latest XR component series ("Let's try lots of different things!" was the company's approach, one of its leading engineers told me not long ago), which has resulted in an extremely decent performing second generation of its QXR DAC and — a first for Cyrus — user-selectable DAC filters in its i7-XR integrated amplifier (from page 24). 


Australian Hi-Fi Magazine July / August 2022


Aussie headphones outfit Nura, meanwhile, is audaciously, albeit perhaps prematurely, flying the flag for the first-ever Bluetooth codec that can supposedly wirelessly transmit 'lossless' (i.e. CD-quality) audio uncompressed. Whether or not this new codec will turn out to be the improvement in Bluetooth quality that the more discerning portable listener is gagging for remains to be seen, but that the intent is there is a good start.

And then, in my recent interview with KEF in the backdrop of its 60th anniversary (from page 48), the company's Vice President of Technology, Jack Oclee-Brown, reveals how its new and innovative $10K LS60 Wireless all-in-one stereo speaker system is actually the "transition point" for him in the passive versus active speaker debate, due, in short, to the possibilities digital signal processing provides and how amps can be optimized for the drivers.

It's even beginning to feel like we've welcomed streaming into our systems, now that CD- and hi-res quality is readily available on music streaming services and the performance of dedicated streaming components are now matching their accessibility. If you're ready to embrace the convenience, whether by sidling a streamer up next to your CD and/or record player, or centering your system solely around one, this issue's Hi-Fi Primer from page 60 should help you on your path to streaming saviness.

Of course (and thank goodness), there's plenty of life still in physical media (CD sales have been on the rise lately, would you believe!) and, for that matter, analogue — though perhaps not enough for T Bone Burnett's new CD/vinyl 'hybrid' format (see page 6) to take flight...


Becky Roberts





Australian Hi-Fi Magazine

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