New music and technology releases in August 2019

By: Gary Steel, Photography by: Supplied

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

Fyne Audio F702 Speakers


Fyne indeed! Fyne Audio’s beaut-sounding F702 speakers

Endless debate. That’s what you get among audiophiles about which component of an audio system is the most important. In my experience, the loudspeaker makes the most definable difference to the sound, and for anyone looking to upgrade their system, I would always recommend a better pair of speakers first. So this edition of Shiny New Things is all about speakers, from the high-end down to the most affordable choices.

Fyne Audio is a relative newcomer on the high-end scene. While the UK brand has only been around for five years, they’ve quickly accrued a wad of awards and a reputation to match.

They may be new on the scene but the combined experience across their mechanical and acoustical engineering experts together with their uptake of the latest manufacturing techniques makes their sound boxes hard to beat for sheer musicality.

Fyne Audio’s F702 loudspeakers feature trickle-down technology from the much more expensive flagship F1.

Recently imported to New Zealand for the first time, these gorgeous monoliths feature isotropic energy radiating point source drivers, magnesium compression tweeters, neodymium motors, and deep cryogenically treated crossovers. Beat that!

Sony HTX-8500 Soundbar



Sony’s HTX-8500 soundbar sounds crunchy and is as cheap as chips

Okay, so clearly, throwing 500 bucks at a soundbar isn’t going to get you an out-of-body audiophile experience, but we don’t all have a stash of spare cash sitting around to spend on a hobby.

You’re not going to be able to appreciate the finer points or incredible, luminous detail of an expertly engineered recording on a Sony soundbar, but despite expectations, the Japanese mega-giant’s latest is impressive on several levels.


The HTX-8500 has a clear directive, and that’s to enrich the audio experience while watching movies.

With the ability to decode the sonic richness and surprise of Dolby Atmos, this soundbar does wonders for the clarity of dialogue and both the crispness and oomph of sound effects. And surprisingly, it sounds pretty good on music, too.


As you would expect, it’s Bluetooth-enabled, so you’ll be able to pump your Spotify playlist wirelessly from your smartphone as well.

Audio Solutions Figaro M



Audio Solutions’ Figaro M world-beaters put Lithuania on the map

We don’t tend to hear much about Lithuania, one of those old-worldy former Soviet bloc nations with a population smaller than even New Zealand’s.

Amazing then, that loudspeaker company Audio Solutions is doing such great work and inching its way towards global kudos, and engineer Gediminas Gaidelis has a mantelpiece full of global hi-fi awards to show for it.

Like Fyne Audio’s F702 speakers, Audio Solutions’ Figaro M speakers are miraculous soundmakers that—while still worth a bob or two—represent great value in a market where it’s easy to spend much more on lesser products.


Gaidelis figured out how to make tight, non-boomy bass and sweet, not sharp treble by cleverly attending to the internal resonances with a ‘self-locking’ sandwich design where the locking pieces are of varying thickness.

Shying away from the over-analytical sound of some modern speakers, the Figaro M’s go for musicality over mere science to make a sonic picture that pleases the ears as much as the form factor pleases whoever is soaking up the sounds in the sweet spot!


Leisure unleash album of slinky grooves to warm our winter hearths

They’re a Kiwi collective made up of experienced producers, songwriters, and players from a diverse background and musical influence, and amazingly, have amassed some 70 million online streams.

Twister is a slinky dance delight, a smooth and seductive concoction to keep us feeling buoyant and warm in the midst of winter, and unusually for dance-based music, the tunes and song lyrics are as strong as the hip-grinding grooves.


With a lead single that laments the hedonistic lifestyle, ‘Too Much Of A Good Thing’, the album is being released to time in with the group’s first nationwide tour. 

Troy Kingi—Holy Colony Burning Acres

Troy Kingi gives the Far North a boost with righteous reggae record

Northland doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves, so it’s heartwarming to see the success of that group of heavy metal youngsters, Alien Weaponry.

Adding to the Far North’s arsenal is musician/songwriter/actor Troy Kingi, whose excellent third album tunes into the righteous reggae of classic 1970s legends such as The Congos, The Upsetters, and Bob Marley on a set of songs that takes a deep look at the struggles of indigenous peoples around the world.

Kingi’s ambitious intention is to release 10 albums, each in a different musical style. He’s already delivered one album of Hendrix-infused rock and one of space-psychedelia, so it’ll be fascinating to see where he goes next.

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