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HIFICRITIC     October / November / December 2022


HIFICRITIC Volume 16 Number 4 October / November / December 2022


Reviews & Articles Within This Issue
4 Rob Lawley 
The boss of Sevenoaks Sound & Vision on the importance of customer service, selling 400k systems and steady expansion.


8 Stan's Safari 
Stan Curtis understands the desire for a bargain, but says clone products from unknown brands aren't the way to get one.


10 Magico A5 
Having been impressed by the A3 speaker from the California manufacturer, Martin Colloms moves on to the larger A5 floorstander: it's demanding of the amp with which it's used, but also a total revelation.


17 iFi Audio Zen Stream 
This slimline network player may look perfect for a desktop system you can even stand it on end to save space but its scintillating performance means it's destined for even greater things.


21 Vertere DG-1S 
There's more to the new version of this entry-level record player from the British brand: a raft of performance enhancements ensure it sound better than ever, too, says reviewer Ed Selley.


24 DSD Realities 
Two decades on from the 'format war' with DVD-Audio, those measuring the DSD format in order to criticize it are still getting things completely wrong. Keith Howard puts the record straight.


28 Mission 770 
The speaker responsible for the early success of its manufacturer has been revived: and Martin says that, while it stays true to the spirit of the original, the new version has moved the game on a long way.


31 FiiO K9 Pro ESS 
Forced into a chip-change by global circumstances, the Chinese manufacturer has managed to further improve its highly-appealing desktop DAC / headphone amplifier, making it even more of a bargain.


34 Neat Petite Classic 
More than 30 years on from the superb original Neat Petite, this latest version sounds big, exciting and totally musical.


37 Cyrus Classic Amp 
Cyrus may be going back to its roots with its latest arrival, but it has more than a hint of the performance of its pricier stablemates.


40 Musical Fidelity MX-Stream 
This compact network transport can show a clean pair of heels to the idea of playing music from your computer.


Focal Utopia Headphones Third Edition Review

Focal Utopia Headphones Third Edition Review
After six years on sale, Focal's flagship headphone receives a comprehensive revision, drawing on the company's speaker expertise to stay competitive.
Review By Ed Shelly
2016 was the point when Focal's commitment to the headphone category stepped up a gear. Up to then, the company had been content to produce relatively affordable models, contesting the newly created 'nomad' category of headphones that could be used both at home and on the move, but the release of three considerably more expensive models marked a shift upmarket and much of the credibility that underpinned this was supplied by the flagship. As well as making use of the Utopia name for the first time on a headphone, Focal also employed beryllium for a driver material.
---> Focal Utopia Headphones Third Edition Review.


45 Grimm Audio M1 
Designed by a Dutch-based company with extensive studio audio experience, this network audio player has hidden abilities: as well as playing music exceptionally well, it can also be configured as a server, too.


48 Acoustic Energy AE500 
It may be the smallest model in its range, but this compact monitor has a sound with depth, detail and sophistication.


51 Melody AN300B Max 
Built by an Australian company with its own factory in China, this beautifully finished valve integrated amplifier proves a major hit with Chris Frankland.


HIFICRITIC Volume 16 Number 4 October / November / December 2022


54 Zorloo Zophia 
Headphones offering both wired and wireless operation aren't new but this one can handle ultra-hi-res music when cabled.


54 Bowers & Wilkins PX8 
The latest headphone design from the British speaker company is wireless, has sophisticated noise-cancelling, and uses carbon drivers. There's even an '007 Edition'!


56 Vini Reilly 
Mark Prendergast presents an overview of the creativity of the Durutti Column artist.


58 Music 
Our pick of the best releases, from classical and jazz on DSD to secondhand buys.


64 Soundstage 
Is Andrew Everard finally going into storage? Yes and it's not proving cheap!




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