New music and technology releases in March 2018

By: Gary Steel

Deals on Wheels brings the latest in music and technology for this month

Klipsch Heritage HP-3 Headphones

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Some of us are seriously into performance, while for others, convenience is the number one factor in a purchase, and then there are those who always opt for design, style, and engineering excellence. The Klipsch Heritage HP-3 Headphones have all three in spades.

American speaker manufacturer Klipsch is famous mostly for the distinctive sound of its horn-loaded drivers, but these award-winning headphones are creating a serious buzz. Named ‘best headphone’ by CNET, the Heritage HP-3 ($1999) comes in a handsome, stately walnut finish with (get this!) die-cast steel, milled wood, premium leathers, machined aluminium, solid wood triple-vented ear cups, sheepskin ear pads, hand-stitched cowhide headband… and on it goes!

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But what of the sound? Words like these are bouncing around: high efficiency, low distortion, full range, as well as incredible presence and detail. And they even come with their very own stand.

Field Music—Open Here

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Remember back in the ’60s or ’70s when albums were a trip, and the music was so creative that you wanted to listen to it a hundred times, and every time you did so, you heard something new?

Well, Field Music clearly lust after those times, too, because the English group’s seventh album is like that. Essentially a duo, Field Music makes pop music but nothing like you’d hear on the radio. No lovey-dovey teen lyrics here, but instead finely etched and well-thought-out lyrics and, more importantly, the music is jam-packed with exhilarating flourishes.

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Just when you least expect it, there will be a blast of horns or some flutes will burst out into song or a beaut string section will drape a song in emotion. Give it time and watch it bloom!

Melody Gardot—Live In Europe

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Goodness gracious! Does Melody Gardot really need to put her bottom on the cover to sell her art, and does she really perform in her birthday suit? All those probing questions aside, Live In Europe is an artful double album for this cross-genre diva that’s perfect for intimate
late-night listening sessions.

Spanning a surprising range of styles, she moves from love ballads to gently experimental deviations to surprising renditions of classic show tunes such as Over The Rainbow, and there’s not a bum note!

Plinius Reference Amplifiers

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Plinius is a name so highly regarded in audiophile circles internationally that few realise that this iconic amplifier brand is actually from the bottom of the world. Well, not quite, but Christchurch will do. Concentrating as they do on quality, Plinius doesn’t saturate the market with all manner of gear, so it’s an event when a new feat of engineering rolls off the production line.

Its Reference M-10 Dual Mono Preamplifier and Reference A-300 Power Amplifier are flagship products that will appeal to those who want real grunt and loads of clean power. These are beasts for the high-fi freak that simply wants the best and has enough muscle power to lift the 57kg of the power amp onto its designated resting place.

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Musically, the proud owner can expect loads of pure A-class power that results in a natural, perfectly holographic sound. Expect to fork out around $40K for the power amp and a further $20K for the preamp. Not spare change, but you’ll have two new friends for life.

Canton GLE 496.2 Active BT Speakers

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So many venerable (and otherwise) brands are manufactured in China these days that the humble consumer could be forgiven for a little confusion over the brand name of these irrefutably German speakers. ‘Canton’ means ‘to sing’, but let’s move on because here we have a way cool, low-cost (only $2250) solution for those who want a pair of large floor-standing speakers to complement their music listening and television viewing with a bit of bling and a modern approach. These are ‘active’ speakers, but what does that mean?

Simply that they have their own power amp, so all you need to get them singing is either a dedicated preamp connected to traditional components such as a CD player or just connect wirelessly via Bluetooth. One of its many cool features is its Virtual Surround ability that, as you can imagine, works beautifully for those spooky sound effects when you’re watching a chilling thriller.

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