Shiny new things to play with and listen to

By: Gary Steel

DOW brings the latest in music and technology for this month

Sony VPL-VW260ED Home Cinema 4K Projector

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Imagine never having to go out to a grot pub in the middle of the night to watch the rugger on the big screen ever again. Oh, did you give that up years ago? Well, then imagine how great it would be to watch sport, movies, or anything at home on a screen so ginormous, it makes the 65-inch look positively underwhelming.

The new Sony 4K projector puts panels in their place. Apart from the sheer impressiveness of projecting on a large screen, this projector brings depth and detail to the pictures that a rectangular goggle box, no matter how big, could never achieve.

Blacks are blacker and detail is more detailed. And if the party is still going when the dawn inflicts itself on humanity, with its 1500-lumen brightness, this projector can save the day, as it can still be seen in bright light. All for a mere $8000.

Sennheiser HE1060 headphones


Let’s get this over with right at the start: you’re looking at the most expensive headphones in the world. Sennheiser’s HE1060 headphones—recently the star attraction at a Melbourne hi-fi show—cost an eye-watering $75K, which is about $73K more than the next most expensive pair of headphones available!

It’s perhaps not surprising that they won’t be found at the local Warehouse electronics section or at any other retailer in Winstonville, Aotearoa. Sennheiser makes just a couple of hundred of these a year and claims that they’re the best headphones in the world, as they rightly should be at that price.

They sit on a housing crafted from glass and a solid block of Carrara marble—the same type Michelangelo used for his naughty sculptures.

"Each dial is milled from a single piece of brass before being plated with chrome," goes the blurb. And, of course, the headphones come with their very own valve amp. Goodness gracious.

Robert Plant—Carry Fire

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Robert Plant might not quite have the wail factor of Led Zep days, but on his new solo album, there’s a depth of expression that he’s only discovered since Raising Sand—that wonderful duet project with country singer Alison Krauss.

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Much like his last couple of albums, Carry Fire is full of juju blues grooves, together with the Celtic and Moroccan influences that peppered his later work with the band that made him. It’s an intoxicating and sometimes rather cinematic blend that’s light years from Stairway To Heaven. And thank goodness for that!

Focal Kanta No.2 Floorstanding Loudspeaker

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Want sexy? We got sexy! French loudspeaker brand Focal is back with the Kanta No.2, and boy, it’s a looker. Curved in all the right places and, I’m reliably informed, possessed of the elusive WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor), word is that the latest Focal ups the ante in audio beauty as well. Available in New Zealand any minute now, Kanta No.2 features Beryllium tweeters and flax midrange and bass drivers, which is said to result in a warm sound with optimal musicality.

Many well-known brands churn their stuff out of Chinese factories these days, but Focal does it all in Saint-Etienne with the olfactory sensation of premium blue cheese in the air and the popping of celebratory bubbles never far away (that last bit is just my imagination. Can you tell?).

Available in a range of dashing colours and textures, these beauts will retail for $14,250 from specialist audio outlets.

Kelela—Take Me Apart

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She grew up singing sophisticated jazz and hard-core heavy metal, but the debut album by American chanteuse Kelela Mizanekristos is an audacious mixture of electronic dance styles and sensual soul that explores the complexities of romance and you know… adult play.

It’s a compelling and tantalising hybrid sound that completely avoids the clichés of most so-called urban music while taking its best parts and revitalising them in a new context.

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Fans of 1980’s Prince and Michael Jackson will enjoy the way Kelela boldly experiments but without sacrificing the essentials of melody, rhythm, and a great vocal performance. Oh, and if you’ve got a subwoofer, prepare to rock the house!


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