Newsletter #33, October 2023

Newsletter #33, October 2023

Welcome to the October Newsletter, where we reflect on the past month in both reviews and music and we look forward to coming reviews and Awards Season.  The awards will come out daily from the second week of November and will be summarised in next month’s Newsletter. What are your nominations for best HiFi of 2023?

There’s been a lot of news this month, notably from KEF with their Black Carbon LS60s, and also Naim who are ditching their iconic Green logo.  Interesting is the battle between these two companies, one of whom is dominating the streaming loudspeaker market whilst the other, Naim, is leading and committing to the traditional separates market.  Hopefully, HF&MS will get a look at the new 200

Bye bye green logo

Series in the next few weeks, just in time for awards season, without prejudging the outcome and in-house Naim owning bias.


New Reviews

McIntosh MA352

McIntosh MA 352 Smooth Operator

This month HF&MS had its first experience with McIntosh, with the magnificent MA352 integrated amplifier.  McIntosh is American, big and bold, and the MA352 did not let anyone down state-side. The review is linked here. We likened the MA352 to;

…a HiFi heavyweight boxer wearing kitten gloves…

And we said;

There is no compromise here in terms of sound and aesthetics but if you are looking to make a statement on both, this is the integrated amplifier for you.

Cambridge Audio AXN10 Network Streamer

By contrast, HF&MS was on more familiar ground with Cambridge Audio, particularly as this AXN10 Network Streamer came hot on the heels of the ALVA TT V2 turntable that reviewed so well last month. The AXN10 followed recent reviews of the Eversolo DMP-A6 streaming DAC and the Anniversary Bluesound Node X.  We have the WiiM Pro Plus in for review at this time too.  HF&MS concluded;

These three DACs have very similar streaming and/or DAC performance. The differences in analogue performance are fairly marginal. …you are choosing the £699 Bluesound Node X for the BluOS operating system, just ahead of the StreamMagic App. You are choosing the £759 Eversolo DMP-A6 for its funky and fun display, and the networked server option it offers (as I did). You would certainly choose this £549 AXN10 for the full-width look, and the StreamMaguc platform and then have an extra £150/200 in your pocket.

We said in conclusion;

The AXN10 is a fine streamer and it offers an exceptional DAC performance at this price

Qobuz Playlist

The Qobuz Musical Interlude Playlist is here, it is a nice one too.


There have been a couple of new videos on YouTube this month.  We are still trying to figure out the best way of doing the videos and the hope of a separate income stream is fading in this difficult climate.  Nonetheless, we have a very successful video up on the Daventry UK Audio Show and we have our reflections on Ascot here, too. Look out for our new streaming video this week where we look at many streamers, including those above, and their unique selling points.

Coming Up

In the coming weeks, there will be a review of the MOON 250i v2 integrated amplifier, a superb update on the 250i that is MOON’s entry into the world of HiFi.  It is a beautiful piece of equipment and it now has an MM phono stage in there which makes this unit a very interesting proposition indeed.

We are looking forward to listening to the Sonus faber Duetto streaming loudspeaker in the coming months whilst being mindful of the fabulous Kii Seven streaming loudspeakers that were a bit of a showstopper at Ascot.  Hopefully, the KEF LS60 may turn up soon, they too are rather special in this streaming loudspeaker world.

Speaking of Naim’s classic green lights disappearing and on the news of Chord Company’s new Burndy upgrade, HF&MS will be reviewing this Chord upgrade soon on a Naim NAC-N 272 and an XPS power supply.

Also on review is a premium streaming transport solution, the new Auralic Aries G2.2. And this review sample has a 4TB SSD in it and it is so superfast it is pretty scary but brilliant.

New Music

Hackney Diamonds

It has been another interesting month for new music with contributions from the fantastic Jorja Smith, the Rolling Stones, with their new ‘Back to the Blues’ album Hackney Diamonds.  We have also just seen Taylor Swift drop her album 1989, which certainly feels better produced than the first one.

That was October, have a great and musical November.


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