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Australian Hi-Fi Magazine

Australian Hi-Fi Magazine   November / December 2023


Australian Hi-Fi Magazine November / December 2023


    Since 1969, Australian Hi-Fi has kept audiophiles up to date on all the latest advances in audio technology and the hi-fi components available to enjoy music. All equipment reviews and music reviews are written by professionals who are experts in their respective fields, and are checked for accuracy by experienced sub-editors. Every audio component reviewed in Australian Hi-Fi is also independently tested by a NATA-certified test laboratory, whose test results and graphs are published with each review, together with a detailed technical analysis of those results.

Australian Hi-Fi also maintains a complete database of all Australian and New Zealand distributors of hi-fi equipment, along with updated listings of the brands they distribute. Australian Hi-Fi is published six times a year and on sale at thousands of news agencies throughout Australia and New Zealand, as well as being available in selected audio stores across the country plus International mail and online.


Our Front Cover: The subject of this issue’s High-End Review gleans (and gives itself away) on the front cover, accompanied by new benchmark-setters from PMC and OAD.


Editor's Lead In: A Cautionary Tale About Perceived Value
And how corner-cutting aesthetics can be sacrificed for the greater good.
Editorial By Becky Roberts
There's no two ways about it; perceived value counts for a lot. No matter how well something performs, there's every chance it'll be disregarded by some in favour of something that looks better. The PMC Prodigy 1 loudspeakers I recently tested with some colleagues (review on page 14) could well fall victim to such misfortune, but for the sake of PMC's efforts and anyone in the market for ~$2,000 standmounters, I really hope it doesn't. When comparing their build to KEF's class-leading LS50 Meta, I politely used the Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy metaphor for their differences in stature (the PMCs tall and slim, the KEFs shorter and stockier), though I could've also made a Beauty and the Beast one (the PMCs being the 'Beast') to communicate the gulf between their aesthetic attraction.
---> Editor's Lead In: A Cautionary Tale About Perceived Value.


6 Audio News
Pro-Ject T2 W Wireless Turntable; Ruark R410 All-In-One Music System; Denon DRA-900 Stereo Receiver; Bowers & Wilkins 600 S3 Loudspeakers; Cyrus Stream-XR and Classic Stream Music Streamers; Quad Revela Loudspeakers; Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones; Audiolab 9000N Music Streamer; Advance Paris and TAGA Harmony distribution.


Equipment Reviews
14 PMC Prodigy 1 Bookshelf Speakers
The British loudspeaker brand has opened up its expertise to a wider audience with an affordable two-strong range, of which the Prodigy 1 are the standmounters. And without cutting many corners at all. Anyone looking for compact loudspeakers for small-to-medium-sized rooms around the $2,000 mark should get their chequebooks ready.


20 Airpulse A200 Active Monitor Speakers
AirPulse might tout these as 'monitors', and they might indeed have the tonal accuracy and the features of traditional studio monitors, but make no mistake, these aren't any less suited for home use for that. In fact, this reviewer concludes that the SM200 are particularly perfect for smaller rooms.



OAD UP1 MM/MC Phono Stage Review The simplest things are often the truest. Review By Greg Borrowman

28: OAD UP1 MM/MC Phono Stage Review
The simplest things are often the truest.
Review By Greg Borrowman
Jon De Sensi, the founder, owner and lead designer of the all-Australian, Melbourne-based brand OAD UltraFidelity has been exceptionally busy of late, bringing to fruition models that have been in the pipeline for many years, including the Vajra power amplifier and Padma preamplifier, which I have previously reviewed for Australian Hi-Fi magazine. The OAD UP1 reviewed here was apparently designed as a direct result of requests from De Sensi's network of hi-fi retailers, though he told me that most of the pressure came from the owner of a famous salon in Melbourne. I know who it is, but I've been sworn not to name names! The design brief that underpinned the development of the OAD UltraFidelity UP1 stated that it be affordable and have sufficient flexibility to accommodate any moving-coil cartridge on the planet.
---> OAD UP1 MM/MC Phono Stage Review.



Australian Hi-Fi Magazine November / December 2023


33 Hi-Fi Primer
Dolby Atmos Music (and 'spatial audio' generally) has added a whole new dimension to the music-listening experience. Quite literally. But is it any good, does it make music sound better, and what services and devices can you use to try it out for yourself?


67 History Of Portable Audio: Part 2
The second in this new six-part series begins with the secret German invention of polyvinyl chloride magnetic tape and a surprise accidental discovery that led to an entertainment revolution that lasted more than 50 years. A — ahem — reel boon in wartime (and portable audio) history.


71 EISA Winners 
It's that time already: Expert Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) members, of which Australian Hi-Fi magazine is one, have come together to judge the best product of the year in each class and decorate it with a coveted EISA Award. Every 2023-2024 winner is contained within this annually published section.


96 Best-Produced Albums
Does a great-sounding album need unearthly sound effects? Or long, meandering takes captured live? Or should it be squeaky clean and sonically pristine? And do they always have to be so very over budget? Besides long hours of hard work, the best-sounding albums consistently happen when the recording studio is used as another tool to capture and communicate an artist's vision.


98 Top Picks
It's a good month for shoegaze and post-rock as Explosions In The Sky, Slowdive and Public Service Broadcasting occupy our top picks this issue. Plus rock royalty the Pretenders more than justify calling their twelfth studio album 'Relentless' with yet another wonderful, ferocious release — a "winning combination of melancholic regret and determined celebration".


Esoterica Section
79 Sound Travels
"There are 14 million stories in Guangzhou city. One of the best-known in Chinese audio is Kevin You's move from large-scale speaker manufacturer to commercial retailer in Australia." Regular contributor Peter Xeni talks to the man behind Melbourne's Class A Audio....


82 High-End Review
High-end or entry-level? In this prestigious company's catalogue, this network streaming DAC could be considered as both. However you care to think about it, it nevertheless serves up a huge portion of the brand's magic. World-class talent is in no short supply here.




Australian Hi-Fi Magazine

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