AUDIO NOTE: Zero System test review – by Jimmy Hughes

Audio Note’s Zero system is a great advertisement for the benefits of partnering a good low-powered amp with sensitive loudspeakers. It’s a winning combination of cohesiveness and integration; brilliance and detail; dynamics and attack. With each individual component being very well matched, the overall result is superb and, as we’ve already indicated, as separates they […]

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KRELL: Cipher CD/SACD player – test review

Jimmy Hughes writes as follows: Krell’s new Cipher is an exceptional digital front-end, giving state-of-theart replay of conventional CD and SACD formats. It’s via SACD that it really shows its mettle, delivering results that combine stunning clarity with amazing dynamics, plus impressive naturalness and refinement. It would be equally at home in a purist twin […]

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CONSONANCE: Cyber 10 test review

Jimmy Hughes: How much power is necessary for most kinds of music given an average-sized room? Well, the Consonance Cyber 10 Signature offers just 11 watts RMS at 1kHz, with harmonic distortion rated at about one per cent at seven watts. Frequency response goes from 6Hz to 60kHz (-3dB) at eight watts output and a […]

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A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes

The Keen Collector (RIP). As a species, the ‘collector’ is, I think, a dying breed. This is not only reflected in the reduced sales of classical LPs and CDs, but also things like Cameras, Books, and other collectibles. My wife notices it with vintage Jewellery. People don’t collect the way they once did. The ‘value’ […]

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A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes

Madness – Welcome to the House of Vinyl As a collector myself, I’ve long believed that ‘collecting’ (like any addiction) is a sort of madness. For some unfathomable reason, you become convinced that certain things are worth far more than they really are. It’s not helped by idiot reviewers raving over certain discs as though […]

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OH REALLY? Is today’s Hi-Fi really better than yesterday’s?

Today’s Hi-Fi is Better than Yesterday’s. (Possibly) If I may be permitted a dangerously broad and rather sweeping generalisation, most hi-fi systems today – from the pretty basic, to state of the art – give far more evenly-balanced results than those of (say) twenty or thirty years ago. That’s certainly so in my case. For […]

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The mystic world of hi-fi (circa 1994)

“Oh, you’re going to use one of those,” says Jimmy Hughes, reviewer and columnist for the hi-fi magazine Audiophile, as he eyes my little tape recorder. “Yes,” say I, prepared. “Are you worried it will affect the sound?” “Oh, it will,” says Jimmy, whose living room is a shrine to hi-fi and to music, its […]

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A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes

Falling Sales mean No New Recordings That’s why it’s become more or less impossible for record companies to make new classical recordings. Certainly, the big-budget productions – major operatic projects or big symphonic cycles – are now (almost) a thing of the past. It’s sad. But really you can’t blame the record companies for not […]

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A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes – “Are valves returning from the dead?”

Despite a few dissenting voices, Valves were History. Indeed, the ‘comeback’ of the valve amplifier (which in the UK started with the Michaelson and Austin TVA-1 integrated) was something quite remarkable and virtually without precedent. For while there were a few diehard listeners who preferred 78s to LPs, or Mono to Stereo, there was never […]

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A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes – Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata – Three Decades of Sonic Progress Wiped Out.

A few days ago I compared Itzhak Perlman’s 1975 Decca recording of Beethoven’s Kreutzer violin sonata with the 1961 set on DG played by Wolfgang Schneiderhan – both on CD. As always, the Perlman recording sounded fabulous; big and full, with beautiful depth and spaciousness, yet plenty of body and presence. The piano tone was […]

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A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes – “Is it Live or is it a 78?”

Go back in time, even to the very earliest days of recorded sound, and you frequently encounter stories of people (some of them experienced musicians) who heard music reproduced on what we today would think of as a hopelessly primitive acoustic horn gramophone, only to emphatically declare the result so incredibly lifelike and real-sounding, it […]

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A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes – “Sound Quality Ceases to be an Issue – and (Almost) Nobody Notices… “

Hi-Fi Nerds have long been the butt of jokes. Our obsession with sound quality is seen as something suspect and even perhaps slightly unhealthy. Almost fifty years ago the comedy due Flanders and Swann wrote A Song of Reproduction which affectionately (?) ridiculed the man whose sole interest was high fidelity sound, and ‘…never did […]

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A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes – “No Mono Please, We’re a Hi-fi Shop.”

Back in the ‘70s, when I worked in hi-fi retail, I bought the EMI 3LP reissue of Otto Klemperer’s mono Beethoven recordings from the 1950s. I then made the mistake of playing one of the discs in the shop. Bad move. Customers and staff started pulling faces at the ‘poor’ quality of the sound. And, […]

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A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes – “I was shocked! I mean, as anyone who heard the Perlman / Ashkenazy Decca LP when …..”

I was shocked! I mean, as anyone who heard the Perlman/Ashkenazy Decca LP when it was first released has to agree, this recording set new standards at the time. When I first encountered it, it quite literally blew my socks off. A new era in recorded sound had arrived. At least, that’s how it seemed. […]

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A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes – “Better Sound – Where Did It All Go Wrong, George?”

At some point – and it’s hard to say exactly when – a significant majority began to lose interest in sonic upgrades and technical improvements. It’s my belief the process began sometime in the late 1980s, though the trend would not become obvious until the early ‘90s. CD certainly rejuvenated the hi-fi market in the […]

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