New music and technology releases in April 2020

By: Gary Steel, Photography by: Supplied

Deals on Wheels brings the latest in music and technology for April 2020

Rega Aura Phono Stage/Preamplifier


Rega’s Aura phono stage costs more than many turntables

Whoever heard of a phono stage costing more than a turntable? Well, you have now. Perhaps that’s why it’s =blessed with a name signifying the mystical—and possibly mythical—energy field around a human body.

Rega is rightly celebrated for its reliably great turntables, but the Aura is a piece of gear created for the true vinyl connoisseur. Designed specifically to extract the best performance a moving coil cartridge, it has one purpose in life: to add inconceivable lustre to vinyl playback.

Technics SL-1500


Can’t afford the Technics SL-1200? Try their SL-1500, then. 

The revival in vinyl records has seen a number of turntable brands vie for the attention of those who enjoy spinning a disc or two, and there’s a wealth of choice out there, from budget beauts like Sony’s PS-LX310BT ($399) to premium audiophile works of art where the sky’s the limit in terms of both audacious design and price.

And then there’s Technics. Famous for its legendary SL-1200, which remains the bedrock of any serious DJ’s set, the Japanese company has come up with a more affordable turntable in the SL-1500. While lacking the bells and whistles of its celebrity sibling, the durability, practicality, and simplicity of set-up and operation remain in place.

Already an award-winner, the SL-1500 boasts a high-precision coreless direct drive motor, and included in the price is a high-quality Ortofon 2M RED cartridge and a built-in phono equalizer.
Whether rocking the party or lounging back for a meaningful musical massage, the SL-1500 gets the job done.

Fyne Audio F1-5


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder with the F1-5 bookshelf speakers

We’ve featured the very fine Fyne Audio speakers before but couldn’t resist showcasing the brand-new model the Scottish company has just added to its flagship F1 range, given its utterly distinctive look.

Featuring mindboggling proprietary technology such as its Isoflare point source drivers and BassTrax Tractrix profile LP diffuser system, the F1-5 is a handcrafted bookshelf (or standmount) speaker featuring a "125mm IsoFlare low frequency driver mated to a 19mm magnesium dome compression tweeter to create a point source, time aligned transducer delivering pure isotropic radiation across the entire audio spectrum."

And once you’ve caught your breath from reading all of that, you’ll simply want to gawp at the thing. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I’ll leave it there.

Grimes—Miss Anthropocene

Grimes is the goddess of climate change on her dark new album

The breathy, honeyed voice of Grimes (known to her Mum as Claire Elise Boucher) disguises the fact that her music comes from a disturbing place. Not just a pretty face, she’s a producer/conceptualist who does everything from creating the soundscapes to directing the videos.

Miss Anthropocene sees Grimes remade as the goddess of climate change and the mood is relentlessly restless and just a bit disturbingly dark. Guest raps and vocal manipulations might be a turn-off to old farts (like me) but repeated listening reveals barely concealed depths.



The debut Humanist album is moody and cacophonous

Dramatic, dark, and just a wee bit ‘goth’, the debut album by Humanist (aka guitarist/producer/multi-instrumentalist Rob Marshall, formerly of the band Exit Calm) is one heck of a thing.

Collaborating with a bunch of different vocalists—including Mark Lanegan (Queens Of The Stone Age), Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), and Mark Gardener (Ride)—it’s an album that will appeal to those who enjoyed the no-bull grind and groove of Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’.

Without doing anything particularly new, Marshall manages to cherry-pick all the most enjoyable elements of the bands that inspired him. Moody and cacophonous by turn, it’s an album that inspires you to crank up the volume.

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