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HIFICRITIC     April / May / June 2022


HIFICRITIC Volume 16 Number 2 April / May / June 2022


Reviews & Articles Within This Issue
2 Editorial: We Welcome Back Hi-Fi Shows
Plus amplification, speakers, turntables, and more within this issue.
Editorial By Martin Colloms


4 Munich HIGH END Show 
Back after a three-year suspension, the world's
leading high end audio event looked, and sounded,
very familiar. But was that a good thing.


6 Mike Valentine 
From underwater film-maker to purist recorder of music,
direct to disc or tape. Chris Frankland takes a deep
dive into his ideas and techniques.


10 Stan's Safari 
Our tame designer looks at the advantages and pitfalls
of Class D amplifiers, and sees scope for their
wider acceptance.


12 Magico A3 
Four years on from his first listen, Martin Colloms
finally gets to grips with Magico's 'affordable' floorstander
and finds it's still built to the same exacting standards,
and delivers superb performance.


16 Marantz Model 40N 
Having launched a purist amplifier and network/SACD
player combination, Marantz rings the changes with this
appealing network-connected amplifier. But is it an amp
with benefits, or an 'all-in-one' system?


20 Icon 4Pro 
Handmade in the UK to order, this flexible passive
line controller caught Kevin Fiske's attention. And now
he's spent time listening to its, he's even more impressed.


24 Measuring Speakers It's All About The Bass 
Keith Howard takes an in-depth look at the problems
of measuring speakers especially if you don't have
a field to hand and a 20m-tall tower lying around!


32 Q Acoustics Concept 50 
Drawing on the technology of the company's hugely
impressive Concept 500 flagship, this slender and
beautifully-finished floorstander is capable of an entirely
convincing sound - and is excellent value.


36 PrimaLuna Evo 400 
Chris Kelly has long been a fan of the Dutch company's
valve-powered amplifiers, and in this range-topping
model he thinks he's found himself a keeper.


HIFICRITIC Volume 16 Number 2 April / May / June 2022


40 Aretai Contra 100S 
They caught Chris Frankland's attention at a show
now these unusual-looking horn-tweetered speakers
from Latvia have him sitting up and listening at home.


42 Audiolab Omnia 
With a strong background in amplifiers and all things
digital, now Audiolab has launched its first 'just add
speakers' system, complete with onboard CD player
and more. Is it 'one box to rule them all'?


45 Dynaudio Emit 20 
With no less than 45 years of speaker-making experience
behind it, this compact design from the Danish company
sounds much bigger than its compact dimensions
would suggest. Martin Colloms loves it!


47 Russell K Red 120 SE 
This 'special edition' version of the British company's
floorstander finds a fan in Chris Frankland, who's
impressed with its mix of power, weight and detail.


50 Shaknspin Wow & Flutter Analyser II 
Not sure whether your turntable's behaving as it should?
Steve Harris tries a simple tool from Portugal designed
to lay bare your record player's fluctuations.


Mark Levinson No.5909 Noise-Cancelling Stereo Headphones Review

Mark Levinson No.5909 Noise-Cancelling Stereo Headphones Review
The No.5909 is versatile, solidly built, and demonstrates the virtues of a neutral tonal balance.
Review By Keith Howard
If we set aside its in-car systems, Mark Levinson has never before had its imprint on a transducer. But a step into the headphone market with the No. 5909 a 999 design intended for use boat at home and peripatetically is clearly a watershed moment. You could argue that its involvement in automotive systems and turntables had already widened the Mark Levinson brief from the electronics-only product line-up of yore, but this is a move you might argue has arrived a little late given that the heat is going out of the audiophile headphone market. And had I known in advance an ML headphone was due, I'd have supposed it to be an uncompromisingly purist, open-back design for the hi-fi cognoscenti. But perhaps precisely because that market is approaching saturation Harman Audio took the decision to make the No.5909 a headphone for all seasons.
---> Mark Levinson No.5909 Noise-Cancelling Stereo Headphones Review.


55 Ophidian Mambo 2 
Developed and built in a new Northern speaker-making
powerhouse, from Sheffield woodwork to assembly in
The Wirral, these British floorstanders waste no time
in winning over Chris Kelly.


58 Music
Our writers survey their latest acquisitions, from
classical to hi-res releases, and the best secondhand
vinyl buys.


64 Soundstage
Andrew Everard's glad to see that shows are back, but
he suggests a bit more effort in demonstrations
and the music played if new buyers are to be won over.




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