The May 2013 issue, 138 pages, looking rather well put together and £4.00. And not only this, but vital! Vital? Yes indeed – as are all the remaining print-based mags. Why? Because on the newsstands they are the only remaining presence, a fading echo if you like of what was once a thriving industry and now in decline. But hey, this isn’t the time or place for nostalgia nor debating ‘what can be done’ about the migration away from sophisticated equipment to the convenience of portability. Others have debated this at length and better that we can.

So anyway, here’s HFN waving the flag for our industry and on the face of it (and indeed beneath the surface) doing a damn good job too. Logic suggest that I should start at the first page. Fortunately we aren’t entirely ruled by logic and so like most (if not all of you) we cherry pick.

Cyrus:

Yes we did read pretty much the entire magazine, but we started with the in-depth review of the Cyrus  anniversary system at a mere £17k. You’ll have to buy the issue to read the report but suffice to say it’s well-written – by which we mean readable, informative and with good quality images. For Cyrus enthusiasts with deep pockets or not, it’s worth the purchase price of the mag on its own.

What’s missing? Well, looking at this feature from a potential buyer’s perspective and possibly unrealistically we admit, given the need to ‘cosy up’ to the makers (not just Cyrus but any maker) it would have been helpful to know how these ‘breathed-on’ units differ sonically from the standard Cyrus counterparts. Given this serious, and possibly entirely reasonable price hike, it’s an inconvenient omission.

Okay – so far, so good.

Nagra VPS:

So, where next? An in-depth review of the Nagra VPS. The comments above re readability and illustrations apply here too. The writing style, inevitably Ken Kessler as he’s the default UK Nagra expert (and deservedly so) is more to my personal taste. Suffice to say that after reading his vibrant words, I wanted one – £4,650 notwithstanding.

What’s missing? Inevitably and because of the faultless pedigree, anything Nagra is going to get a deservedly fine review – notwithstanding their pyramid power amps. From a potential buyer’s perspective (and we are aware that Ken Kessler doesn’t get involved in comparative reviews nor group testing) we’d have very much valued comparison against some of the other truly great contenders such as the Manley Steelhead and the LFD MCT (SE). It’s not going to happen though – mores’ the pity.

Christopher Breunig:

Classical music is once again left to the highly capable hands of Christopher Breunig. His prose is magnificent. With the minimum of words he entirely avoids ambiguity in that you’ll know precisely if you should consider these recordings for purchase. This month he discussed (all 4 on just one page and with images) the following;

  • Mahler / Symphony 5
  • Berlioz / 7 Overtures
  • Bruckner / Symphony 7
  • Valentina Lisitas / Piano works by Beethoven, Liszt, Schuman and Tholberg.

Thank you

Howard Popeck

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