Shiny new things to play with and listen to

By: Gary Steel

DOW brings the latest in music and technology for this month

Mobile Fidelity UltraDeck

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Mobile Fidelity (affectionately known as MoFi, pronounced "Mo-Fye") is world-famous for its record label, which takes classic albums and processes them in such a way that the ultimate high-fidelity reproduction can be achieved.

So it makes perfect sense that they’ve created Mobile Fidelity Electronics, an umbrella under which to create incredible hi-fi gear to play their records on. Although, of course, you can actually play anything you want!

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Arriving in New Zealand this month is MoFi’s stunning premium UltraDeck turntable (around $3500), with its exquisite custom developed 10-inch Ultra Tonearm, isolated AC synchronous motor, and constrained layer dampening.

There will, of course, be some lower-priced items in the MoFi inventory, but don’t expect them to skimp on quality.


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It’s always been hard to peg Beck, but we knew we could always expect some variant on intelligent pop from this eclectic songsmith. In total contrast to his last album, Morning Phase (2014), which was all dreamy and sounded like the beach just when it’s cooling down before sunset, Colours is a really ‘up’ album with rollicking, chunky rhythms, and hooky choruses.

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Perfect for driving or barbecues or even a solid listening session, it took years to craft and the result packs enough detail to warrant a summer’s worth of repeat play.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings—Soul Of A Woman

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Sharon Jones came to prominence in the 1990s as a gutsy singer in a retro category: a performer of old-style, 1960s soul and R&B. Sadly, Soul Of A Woman is her final album, as she died of pancreatic cancer in 2016.

Recorded while in remission after treatment and then while she hurtled back into the void, there’s no sense that her spirit is in any way diminished by illness on this set of songs, which she performs with 100 percent conviction. From Motown-style numbers to soulful gospel, Jones and her band the Dap-Kings don’t put a foot wrong.

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Tannoy Legacy Arden Loudspeaker

British loudspeaker company Tannoy has been around since 1926, so when they produce a retro range, you know they’ve got the history and credentials to do it properly. The legendary Legacy range handpicks and remakes three of their iconic models from the 1970s and ‘80s but, of course, adds the latest tech-smarts to update them in the best possible way.

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Their premiere model, the Arden ($15,999) bears more than a passing name-resemblance to New Zealand’s newly elected prime minister, and she’d be able to afford it on her salary. The Arden is for people who want a speaker to look like a speaker, not just a piece of pretty furniture, and its 15-inch cone leaves no doubt that we’re in serious sonic territory.

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The "breathtaking dynamic range, clarity of sound, and classic look" of Tannoy’s 1970s HDP series has been preserved in these modern classics.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Smartwatch

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This is the time of year that we throw caution to the wind, stuff ourselves with food, and suffer the consequences of both the stress and the over-indulgence of Christmas and New Year.

Smart-watches make great presents because they look so cool, but they’re also patiently waiting to help you get back on track. The Vivoactive 3 ($479) is a great example of this burgeoning category. While it lacks some of the bells and whistles of its more expensive brethren, it’s smart in all the ways that count.

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Unlike certain other fitness watches, the Vivoactive 3 is slim and rather handsome. Happily, it doesn’t double as a music player or a weather forecaster or a matchmaker. Instead, it’s the bee’s knees when it comes to fitness training, featuring, as it does, a GPS to track your moves and monitor your progress. With a Gorilla glass screen and water resistance (read: sweat diverter!), it’s the perfect Christmas present to self or significant other.

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