New music and technology releases in March 2019

By: Gary Steel , Photography by: Supplied

Deals on Wheels brings the latest in music and technology for March 2019

Totem Acoustic KIN Play bookshelf speakers


Here’s something novel that will rock the boat of those who might aspire to own a big rig (of speakers, that is!) but have to settle for something smaller and less imposing. The very hot Totem Acoustic brand from Quebec has just released its affordable powered Bluetooth bookshelf speakers, and while they may look pretty similar to others on the market, they’re quite special. Because they’ve got an internal amplifier and they’re geared towards the wireless world, you can plug them in anywhere and instantly get the party going via just about any device with music on it.

Available in black/white satin and retailing for a mere $1800, the KIN Play speakers boast the attributes Totem Acoustic is famed for, namely a huge, room-filling natural soundstage that will have visitors wondering how such small speakers achieve this sonic miracle.

Pro-Ject Streambox S2 Ultra


Pro-Ject is mainly known for its range of excellent, nicely designed, wallet-friendly belt-drive turntables, but with the Streambox S2 Ultra (an EISA award-winner for Best Product), the German firm is seeking to appeal to those with old-fashioned hi-fi systems who wish to connect them to the new world of streaming technology.

For $1399, the Streambox S2 Ultra will function as a hi-res streamer for services such as Tidal, Spotify, Roon, and AirPlay, and it can be controlled via the touchscreen in a smartphone or tablet. Sans the bulky footprint of many good streamers,

Pro-Ject’s iteration will play ball with old hi-fi components with ease.

McIntosh RS200 Wireless Loudspeaker System


Audiophiliacs around the world aspire to own McIntosh gear, and there’s hardly an audio buff in existence that wouldn’t enjoy having McIntosh at the heart of their reference system.

The New York-based company tends to release new product lines infrequently, but suddenly, it’s embarking on a raft of smart options packed with new technology and suitable for the less spacious home environments of the 21st century.

The RS200 is the kind of all-in-one configuration that might baffle a traditional McIntosh fan-boy, while everyone else will just get on and enjoy the incredible sound coming out of its diminutive dimensions.

With a surprising 650 watts of power delivered to eight drivers (a subwoofer output is included for those with a need for low bass), the RS200 is a clever wee beast that comes with a variety of streaming options, including the very convenient Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay but also Qualcomm aptX for high-res playback.

Unlike typical Bluetooth speakers, however, there are physical inputs, including HDMI and USB for maximum flexibility. Packed with features, the RS200 costs $5999, and extra units can be added for surround sound or multiroom use.

DJ Krush—Hip Hop Generation


Hideaki Ishi, otherwise known as DJ Krush, is one of the legendary figures in instrumental hip hop. The producer’s early work from the mid-’90s was loop-based and etched in vinyl and the aesthetic of ‘turntablism’, but his latest concoction is slickly engineered, with earth-moving bass and crisp beats.

What’s so great about it is that we don’t have to put up with egocentric rappers talking up their female conquests or bragging about their drug and gang exploits, and we can concentrate on Krush’s grooves. Rhythmically, this is hardly typical hip hop, but I’m sure some MCs will enjoy adding their karaoke rhymes to it. This is atmospheric stuff and makes for perfect driving music deep into a deep, dark night.

Nightmares On Wax—Back To Mine


Back To Mine compilation albums are always worth checking out. Each time, a respected DJ or producer is asked to curate a collection of cool grooves, just as if they’d invited a bunch of friends back to their place to chill out to some music after the party ends.

The perfect selection for the last days of summer, George Evelyn aka "blunted beats" artist Nightmares On Wax is a connoisseur of the kind of feel-good sounds and rhythms that put you in the right mood, and very sensibly, he’s even chosen a couple of Kiwi artists—Ladi6 and Fat Freddys Drop—to enhance the trip. They’re not just standard tracks, though, as each one is remixed so it’s suitable for a heady but relaxed musical cocktail.

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