Wharfedale Diamond 121

£230

Our initial feelings on meeting these new Wharfedale Diamonds for the first time were surprise and a little disappointment. Not only had the curved cabinet of the Diamond 10.1 been replaced by a conventionally rectangular box, but it had also been accompanied by an £80 price hike.

While that might at first look like a bad deal for the consumer, it turns out Wharfedale has actually made some bold and fairly expensive changes in the design. There are all new drivers for a start, and the 13cm woven Kevlar mid/bass driver features a new cone and a blended dust

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VINTAGE VVB4 Violin Bass

Nothing evokes the sound of rock’n’roll bouncing off an arched brick ceiling quite like a violin bass – but this well-designed tribute can do more than just twist and shout. Review by Gareth Morgan.

Last month we reviewed Hofner’s thud-tastic President bass; this month the spotlight falls on a hollow-bodied Vintage-brand Violin Bass. Of course, Paul McCartney played a Hofner Violin Bass on all recordings by the Beatles from 1961-’65, but Hofner didn’t come out with the first violin-shaped electric bass guitar: that was Gibson with the Electric Bass of 1953, although that was a solidbody design with an endpin

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Tannoy Definition DC10T

£5250

There are plenty of compact floorstanders adorning the pages of this Ultimate Guide, but surely if you want floorstanders it’s because you want to go big, right? Well big is what the Tannoy DC10Ts are.

The big enclosure and wide face is designed to accommodate doubled-up 25cm drivers that effortlessly produce the kind of mind-bending bass that 16.5cm drivers (the kind most of the competition uses) simply can’t match.

It’s by no means all about the bass

But what’s amazing is that the Tannoy’s manage to combine that with such agility and definition.

Notes start and stop precisely as

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PMC Twenty 23

£2300

The Twenty 23s are diminutive for floorstanders, but the sound they produce belies their size.

Transmission-line technology

PMC uses a transmission-line design to improve bass performance. The rear output of the mid/bass driver forces through a damped path within the cabinet, where most high frequencies are absorbed, leaving the lowest notes to exit the speaker.

Physics are so annoying. Not least because they dictate that a small driver is never going to produce huge volumes or the very deepest bass. And so it goes with the PMC Twenty 23s. These are a speaker of relatively compact dimensions (by floorstander

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PJB

Double Four bass combo

Setting a new mark in the ‘more decibels per kilogram’ arms race, this tiny 70W combo packs some staggeringly grown-up tone. Review by Gareth Morgan

The modern trend for downsizing and weight reduction in bass amps is something that should be applauded by bass players of all generations and all stylistic leanings – and Phil Jones Bass, alongside the likes of markbass, Genz Benz and euphonic audio, has been at the forefront of such developments with its Briefcase and Bass Cub models. PJB’s Double Four combo is the latest addition to this excellent line.

Built at

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PEAVEY Vypyr VIP-2 electric, acoustic & bass combo

Most guitarists cover electric and acoustic, and many play bass too: so how about an amp that can handle all three? Review by Richard Purvis.

About half a century ago the average impoverished band only had one amp between them, and would mess up their quiffs in fights over input sockets. Today, thankfully, guitarists have guitar amps, bassists have bass amps, and even acoustic players sometimes have their own backline. So why on earth would Peavey want to wind these three disparate strands back together again in one all-purpose amplifier?

Well, it could be handy for anyone who plays a

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KEF LS50

£800

The Rose Gold finish of the Uni-Q driver, along with the curved front panel, gives the LS50s an unmistakable look.

We don’t generally get excited about anniversary products. Often more marketing driven than worthwhile product, they tend to be either overly retro to hark back to when the company started, or a technological exercise so advanced that no-one can actually afford them. Not so the KEF LS50s.

The classic Uni-Q driver array

The LS50s, naturally, feature a version KEF’s Uni-Q driver array. Here it consists of a 25mm dome tweeter sitting inside a 13cm magnesium/ aluminium-coned mid/bass unit. The

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Good Deal

HUNTING

Tom Penk loves guitars and also loves a haggle, so he’s managed to gather a wide range of instruments for very little outlay. Lars Mullen joins him on a trip to the park

Ask Tom Penk how he came to acquire so many tasty instruments and the answer is simple: ‘I just like guitars!’ It’s a passion that has thrown a wide and eclectic net, capturing not just electrics but also basses and acoustics, ranging from archaic to modern, and originating from all over the world. Some are one-offs, others are regular production models; some were big purchases, others

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Focal SM9

Designed for studio use, these stereo speakers fit the domestic bill too

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Price £4580 ★★★★★

Highlight the Focals’ ability to play loudly while still sounding clear, refined and composed is a rare quality indeed, especially at this price.

Consider if you want an insightful, dynamic and powerful active speaker and don’t mind the SM9’s functional appearance

TECH SPECS

Type Standmount

Sensitivity n/a

Impedance n/a

Max power handling 600W

Biwirable No

Finishes 1

Dimensions 32 x 49 x 39cm

Sound and Vision we don’t make a habit of covering studio-orientated equipment, but in the case of Focal’s SM9s we’ve made

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Do your tunes a service and do yourself a favour

Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro

£170 ★★★★☆

When a product has ‘Pro’ in its name, it’s a fair bet that it’ll be a no-nonsense looker. And so it has come to pass with these Beyerdynamics.

But only if you want: the company sells interchangeable earcup covers and headbands for pepping up their look. There’s also an optional boom-mic for gamers, Skype users and those who want to look ludicrous on the train.

But for all their businesslike looks, they feel plush on the head. They aren’t the lightest on test, but they don’t feel heavy or insecure.

Analysis and detail top

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