Karma-AV have announced the availability of the Mark-Levinson № 526 dual- monaural preamplifier.  The № 526 is a 12-input dual-monaural design featuring Pure Path circuit topology, a class-A ‘Pure Phono’ stage, a 32-bit DAC, and a class-A Main Drive Headphone output. 28506315356_d66b00a514_h

Designed and engineered at HARMAN’s Engineering Centre of Excellence in Shelton, CT, USA, the Mark Levinson № 526 offers a signal path that is fully discrete, fully balanced and completely dual-monaural, with a discrete, balanced R-2R ladder volume control to maintain the highest level of sonic purity, resolution, transparency and dynamic range.

There is the choice of two balanced and three single-ended analogue audio inputs, stereo phono inputs and six digital inputs, supported by the Mark Levinson ‘Precision Link’ DAC and HARMAN Clari-Fi® music restoration technology. 28506331336_949b44e010_h

The Mark Levinson № 526 offers digital decoding up to 32-bit, 192kHz from PCM and double-speed DSD.

Its proprietary ‘Precision Link’ DAC incorporates an ESS Sabre32 Reference converter. Six digital audio inputs including asynchronous USB, AES/EBU balanced, TOSLINK optical and coaxial unbalanced, feed the digital signal path. For listeners whose libraries contain older or lower resolution content, the № 526 incorporates HARMAN Clari-Fi® music restoration technology.

In addition the № 526 is equipped with a ‘Pure Phono’ stage, which operates in class-A throughout, offering a fixed-gain MM section with five capacitive cartridge-loading settings, and an MC section with three gain settings and 10 resistive cartridge-loading settings. An infrasonic filter intelligently compensates for rumble and warping. 28506337826_d46f881270_h

The № 526 preamplifier delivers its signal to balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) stereo outputs, as well as a 1/4-inch (6.3mm) Main Drive Headphone output integrated with the front panel metalwork – a first for Mark Levinson. The Main Drive Headphone amplifier circuit drives up to 32-ohm headphones in class-A by employing the main output circuit rather than a secondary signal path.

The № 526 features a 6000- series aluminium housing in black with silver trim. It can be controlled from the front panel, from the remote control supplied and via a comprehensive range of system integration connections. Like all Mark Levinson products, the № 526 is designed and handcrafted in the USA.


  • Pure Path discrete, direct coupled, fully balanced, dual-monaural signal path
  • 32-bit Precision Link DAC with three selectable filters and seven power supplies
  • Supports high-resolution PCM (up to 32-bit, 192kHz) and DSD (up to 5.6MHz)
  • Discrete, balanced R-2R Ladder volume control for precision and performance
  • Class-A Main Drive Headphone output for up to 32-ohm headphones using main circuit
  • Selectable fourth-order, 80 Hz high-pass filter allows seamless integration of subwoofers
  • Class-A Pure Phono stage with physically separated channels for MC and MM
  • 12 analogue, digital, and phono inputs; balanced, single-ended, and headphone outputs
  • Designed and handcrafted in the USA  

Mark Levinson No 526 Dual-Monaural Preamplifier typical retail price inc VAT: £15,000 ea

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25. July 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

PMC is enhancing its operations in the Asia Pacific territory through the appointment of Franco Lock as business development manager to drive the company’s expansion plans throughout this key market.Miles-and-Franco-Holme-Court-June-2016s

Based in Hong Kong, Lock has over 10 years’ experience in the Asia Pacific region audio industry, having worked for other prestigious audio brands in business development and sales director positions. Prior to the audio industry, he has served global FMCG companies, focusing on marketing and business development.

“Lock’s experience with audio companies as well as his extensive knowledge of the region and Asia Pacific cultures, puts him in the ideal position to take PMC’s business in this market to the next level” says the company’s press release. He will be responsible for the support of existing distributors and the development of new business opportunities across the domestic hi-fi and professional audio sectors.

Miles Roberts, PMC managing director, commenting on the appointment says, “I was immensely impressed with Franco’s understanding of the markets and have no doubt he will be a significant asset to all of our businesses.  I hope everyone will give their warmest welcome to Franco and allow him to assist those in his region with their future plans.”

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First Watt’s new F7 power amplifier (MSRP: $3,000) is a very unique power amplifier says the company’s press release that’s just landed at Hifi Pig. It’s a two-stage push-pull JFET (input)/MOSFET (output) topology with fewer parts than any First Watt amplifier to date. The new F7 has been created as an updated version of the earlier F5 amplifier. Conceived in 2007, the F5 was a push-pull Class A amplifier employing eight semiconductors and 23 resistors to achieve 25 watts output with good specifications and good sound. Nelson_pas_F7_power_amp_1

According to Nelson Pass: “The F7 bests the earlier F5, comprising even better sound and even simpler circuitry.”

Like all First Watt designs, it is a relatively low power (25W/channel into 8-ohms) simple Class A circuit, designed with an unusually low parts count. It is the 19th product from First Watt, since its founding in 1998 as Nelson Pass’ “personal laboratory”.

Explaining First Watt, Nelson Pass says: “I spend a lot of time building and evaluating basic amplifier concepts with an eye toward producing the highest quality sound with elegantly simple circuits.

There is no such thing as a perfect amplifier, but there is a best amplifier for each type of speaker, music, and listener. Each First Watt model is a unique design and is ‘best’ in some particular way. They look alike because they all use the same basic chassis and power transformer. On the up side, it makes it easy for me to test ideas and compare different designs with the hardware being a fixed constant.

Looking for tomorrow’s faceplate with yesterday’s circuits? You’re in the wrong place.”

The desire for a simpler circuit is self-explanatory – apart from the aesthetic, Nelson Pass believes that that simpler circuits tend to sound better: “In such a simple circuit, there are opportunities for improving performance by careful choice of transistors, resistor values, voltage and current values and precise matching of parts.Nelson_pas_F7_power_amp_2

The F7 has most of what was on his Wish List:

Very wide bandwidth

Low distortion and noise

Large Class A operating region

Less feedback

No degeneration in the output stage

Very low thermal distortion and drift

No capacitors or transformers (apart from the power supply)

Uniquely, it incorporates a very innovative balance of very low Negative Voltage Feedback and a small amount of Positive Current Feedback to give an “astonishing measure of control over reactive loudspeaker” loads.

Modest amounts of Negative Feedback are balanced in counterpoint to a small amount of Positive Current Feedback, creating an equilibrium where the output impedance approaches zero, improving transient and frequency response. “Of course you can achieve a similar effect with tons of negative feedback, but I think this is more elegant and sounds better. For brevity, I call it ‘PCF’,” explains Pass.

Also, I put more capacitance in the power supply and found a clever way to further reduce the effect of high frequency DAC noise and environmental RF. This is a different amplifier. The diversity of audio taste being what it is, not everyone will prefer it. I presume that a certain segment of audiophiles will like it.

MSRP Price: $3,000

Dimensions: 17W x 15D x 5.5H

Weight: 30 lbs.

Warranty: Parts and labour for 3 years, not covering shipping costs or consequential damages.

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Harmony is a new stereo interconnect cable from Black Rhodium hand built at the Black Rhodium factory in Derby employing advanced design techniques developed by Black Rhodium for use in its most expensive products. Black_rhodium_harmony_interconnect

The wires in Harmony are insulated in silicone rubber “because its low dielectric loss ensures extremely low distortion due to dielectric absorption effects in which sound energy is absorbed in the insulation and released at a later interval of time to create highly audible time-smearing distortion”.

“‘Transient Phase Distortion’ is reduced by using thicker insulation than is usual in speaker cables, increasing the distance between conductors and thereby reducing the magnetic field seen in each conductor wire as a result of the magnetic field created by the current in the other conductor wire. A further increase in the distance between conductors is achieved by use of the attractive cable braid and this further reduces ‘Proximity Effect’ distortion.”

Construction of Harmony includes the use of two separate and complementary materials that damp mechanical vibrations within the cable without the expense of vibration stabilisers says the company’s press release.

Harmony uses RFI suppression technology originally developed for high end cables in its construction. This protects the signal wires from picking up radio frequency interference (RFI) generated from Radio, Wi-Fi, Mobile Phones and even central heating systems. Further Harmony is covered in a tightly braided screen to protect the inner cores from picking up radio frequency interference.

Harmony RCA cables are terminated with ‘Hourglass Silhouette’ RCA connectors, plated in gold for long life reliability. The shape of the connector bodies enables easy insertion and removal at the back of equipment.


  • Capacitance of 1m terminated cable: 50pF

Harmony Stereo interconnects will be available at these Retail Prices:

0.5m pair terminated with GN-3 RCA plugs. £320.00

1.0m pair terminated with GN-3 RCA plugs. £370.00

3m Sub-Woofer cable terminated with GN-3 RCA plugs £300.00

5m Sub-Woofer cable terminated with GN-3 RCA plugs £400.00

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Noble Audio, announces its new flagship model Katana, complete with nine proprietary drive units for each ear and available in both universal- and custom-fit versions Katana White Lean WEB

Noble Audio has launched a new flagship in-ear monitor which, for the first time, features proprietary Noble drive units. The range-topping Katana IEM benefits from nine custom-made drive units for each ear and is principally manufactured in the USA.  Featuring a two-part US-made precision-machined aluminium chassis, Katana is smaller and lighter than the previous Kaiser 10U flagship.

Key Features

  • New US-made flagship model with nine proprietary drive units per side (ear)
  • Most advanced Noble IEM and sound performance to date
  • Updated Noble form factor and geometry featuring refined US-made precision-machined aluminium housings
  • Sensitive enough for use with smartphones and portable audio devices
  • Detachable cable with industry standard 2-pin configuration (0.78 mm diameter)
  • Universal-fit as standard, custom-fit available (using alternative materials)

Noble Audio’s aluminium-chassis IEMs are no ordinary IEMs: they have been designed and manufactured in conjunction with specialists in California whose clients include Louis Vuitton, Dior, Marc Newson and Holly Hunt. The nine-driver Katana configuration is also available as a custom-fit model, using alternative construction materials from the Noble range, including acrylics and exotic solid woods (Prestige range). A 3D-printed option (SLA range) is also available for faster builds.

Supplied accessories include a Pelican 1010 case (crush-proof carrying case); a black velvet soft pouch; 12 pairs of ear tips (four kinds in three sizes); two Noble Audio bands or amp bands; a cleaning tool; a Noble cable and an ownership card.


Universal-fit £1,350/$1,850

Custom-fit £1,350/$1,850

SLA (3D-printed) £1,199/$1,650

Prestige custom-fit from £1,999/ $2,850

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There is something new from Clones Audio and it’s called The Host.clones_server

The Host is the first digital music server of CLones Audio and comes equipped with a high performance USB digital audio output, Ethernet port, solid-state drive for music storage and full linear power supply with the super low noise regulator modules.clones_server_3

Host runs a custom Linux OS with the ROON Server  but the company can also supple the DAPHILE as the difference choice for the user.

  • SHAAR USB gateway for USB audio class 3.0 output.
  • Full linear power supply.
  • Double POWER STATION regulator supply the SSD/SHAAR and the Main processor board separately
  • 256GB/ 500GB/ 1TB/ 2TB internal storage option
  • Machined aluminium case
  • Gigabit Ethernet LAN Port for network connectivityclones_server_2


  • 322mm(W) X 260mm(D) X 90mm(H)
  • Weight: 7kg
  • Mucic Storage: 256GB/ 500GB/ 1TB/ 2TB
  • Digital Output: 2 – USB
  • Other I/O: Gigabit Ethernet, USB Port X 4

Price: Starting from HKD11,799(EUR1,377)*

*Solid-state hard drive and ROON licence are excluded

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Analogue vs Digital Battle.
We came across CODE recently at the North West Audio show where they had their fully active loudspeaker system on demonstration and they’ll be representing the digital corner at the upcoming digital vs analogue shootout at Hifi Hangar on Saturday 23rd July.code_nwas_2016_2s

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MrSpeakers, is a San Diego-based manufacturer of high performance headphones, and is introducing ETHER Flow and ETHER C Flow with patent pending TrueFlow and V-Planar technologies. “TrueFlow technology elevates award-winning ETHER and ETHER C headphones to the next level in performance (and fun) while Italian leather ear pads lend a plusher feel to the headphone” says the company’s recent press release. Cropped_ETHER_Flow_Side

As sound waves pass magnets in the headphone motor they experience diffraction and reflection, adding resolution-cloaking noise to the music. TrueFlow aims to reduce these effects by smoothing the path of the sound wave, resulting in a major increase in clarity and resolution.

“Whilst developing electrostatic headphones Mr Speakers contrasted them to there planar magnetics and concluded that mass alone didn’t adequately explain the differences they heard. They hypothesised diffraction and reflection might be degrading sound more than we’d thought,” says Dan Clark, Headmaster of MrSpeakers. “So they created a motor structure that’s acoustically similar to an electrostatic stator, which really allowed the music to flow out of a deep-black background with exceptional texture and clarity; hence the name TrueFlowTM.”

“With the performance gains MrSpeakers has given its planar magnetic ETHER platform with ETHER Flow (and ETHER C Flow), their upcoming electrostatic ETHER has its work cut out for it,” says Jude Mansilla, Founder of head-fi.org. “The ETHER Flow and ETHER C Flow bring extraordinary clarity while still being impactful and smooth.”

TrueFlow works by filling spaces between magnets with a perforated material to form a perforated flat surface that’s acoustically similar to an electrostatic stator. “By reducing the negative effects of the motor assembly on the audio waveform, TrueFlow significantly increases clarity and detail retrieval”.

“The new headphones is are our most engaging, fun and immersive to date,” says Dan Clark. “They’re quite versatile, and the voicing is closer together than it is for ETHER and ETHER C. ETHER C Flow is the automatic choice if you need isolation. Otherwise, tonally the greatest difference is the upper bass to lower midrange. ETHER’s richer upper bass region delivers a punchier experience with jazz and rock, while for EDM fans the sub-bass of ETHER C Flow is a kick. Surprisingly ETHER C Flow is also great with acoustic and classical music.”

ETHER Flow and ETHER C Flow include MrSpeakers’ hand-made DUM Cables or Premier Cables, and will available purchase for £1750.

Also, ETHER and ETHER C Headphones will have a slight price change at the end of August with a DUM Cable are £1575, and once the standard cables which we have in stock run’s out these will also no longer available (6ft @ £1450)

Upgrades to ETHER Flow and ETHER C Flow will be available for existing owners in the near future; upgrade price and timing is to be determined (these will have to be returned to USA)

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13. July 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags: ,

Absolute Sounds say it is pleased to announce its appointment as sole UK distributor of dCS audio equipment with immediate effect.

Based near Cambridge, dCS is a world leader in digital audio replay systems for domestic and professional use. The company is widely acknowledged to have pushed the digital audio performance envelope as a result of its many proprietary technologies, most famously the dCS Ring DAC™ – a shining example of British technological ingenuity.4536_dCS_Vivaldi_2.0s

Originally called Data Conversion Systems, dCS was founded in 1987 to manufacture high-performance Analogue-to-Digital Converters (ADCs) and Digital-to-Analogue Converters (DACs) for major telecommunications companies and military agencies, whose primary requirement was technology that delivered state-of-the-art precision, linearity and reliability. The company’s first project was to develop the Blue Vixen radar system for the Royal Navy Sea Harrier FA2 fighter aircraft.

In the late 1980s, dCS began making ADCs and DACs for music reproduction – first for the rapidly growing digital recording industry, then for use in the home. While the company’s focus had changed, its commitment to producing digital conversion systems of unrivalled accuracy had not, the company’s R&D-led approach further growing its reputation for leading-edge innovation.

dCS is responsible for many ‘firsts’ throughout its timeline, including the world’s first 24-bit audio DAC and the first-ever 24-bit/96kHz analogue-to-digital and digital-to-analogue conversion systems. No company has played a more pioneering role in the development of today’s hi-res digital music scene than dCS, and its products continue to enjoy an exceptional reputation among industry professionals and discerning music lovers around the world.

Today, dCS has three main product lines – Debussy, Rossini and Vivaldi – each designed from the ground up to represent the pinnacle of digital audio performance. The company’s DAC technologies are truly unique, utilising proprietary hardware and software in place of ubiquitous, off-the-shelf chip solutions. A modular design approach delivers a clear upgrade path, allowing dCS owners to update their state-of-the-art digital playback systems as technology progresses, and all the company’s products are hand-built in the UK.

Commenting on the appointment of Absolute Sounds, David Steven, Managing Director of dCS, said:

“dCS has been developing state-of-the-art digital audio technology for almost 30 years. Since becoming Managing Director in 2009, I have been committed to furthering our pioneering tradition with products that deliver the finest performance available today.

“One of the most crucial elements in helping our customers enjoy an unrivalled listening experience is the support offered by our global distributor and dealer network. We are constantly looking for partners who share our passion and commitment to deliver an unforgettable in-home musical experience.

“Absolute Sounds has been the primary architect of the UK’s high-end audio scene over the past four decades. We share a passion for providing wonderful sound and exceptional customer service to discerning music lovers; by working together we can make that experience even stronger.”

Ricardo Franassovici, founder and Managing Director of Absolute Sounds, added:

“There are very few digital audio products in the world that deliver the level of performance we demand from the brands we represent. The components made by dCS unquestionably do, with the company’s proprietary technologies cementing its status as a true digital audio pioneer.

“When we auditioned the latest dCS Vivaldi 2.0 digital playback system, we were inspired by its magnificent sound quality. And when David Steven and his team of engineers shared their forward-thinking vision with us, we became excited at the prospect of our new partnership. On a personal note, having known David’s father prior to his death in 2009, I am delighted at the prospect of working with the innovative company that he helmed for many years and that his son now steers toward further success.”

Having heard a full dCS digital front end we at Hifi Pig can attest to how good their kit actually is!

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11. July 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

UNAMAS, the Japanese hi-res music label run by award-winning recording engineer, Mick Sawaguchi, has selected ten albums from its catalogue for encoding in MQA. The recordings, ranging from Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” performed by the Unamas String Quintet, to Hiroshi Fukamizu’s “Everything for Drums”, will be available from 15 July 2016 on music download service, e-onkyo music, priced at ¥3.000 ($29 / £19) each.UNAMAS-panel-800

MQA delivers master quality audio in a file small enough to stream or download. In 2015, Sawaguchi first listened to his own UNAMAS masters encoded in MQA, as he felt this was the best way to properly evaluate MQA’s qualities. “I found that MQA has two major advantages: firstly the excellent results in the time domain which are the key factor in reproducing the timbres of musical instruments; and secondly, the beautiful balance between low transfer rate and high quality sound,” he commented. “While we’re blessed with high-speed networks in Japan, this isn’t the case elsewhere in the world, so MQA means music lovers everywhere can enjoy high quality sound with lower bandwidth speeds.”

Bob Stuart, founder of MQA, said, “Mick’s recordings are technically superb and his technique captures the clarity and naturalness of live sound. It is a privilege to bring these superb UNAMAS recordings fully to life in MQA.”

e-onkyo music’s director, Taku Kurosawa, added, “Mick-san is one of Japan’s leading recording engineers, and listening to these UNAMAS albums will surely convince you of the ultra-high quality of his recordings. It was inevitable that Mick-san would have a keen interest in MQA, given his eagerness to try any new technical approach to further refine his recordings. The ongoing quest by Mick-san and his UNAMAS label, enhanced by the epoch-making technology MQA invented by Bob Stuart, has yet again raised the bar for high quality sound.”

MQA music is now available from the following stores: HIGHRESAUDIO, onkyo music, e-onkyo music, 7digital and 2L, and MQA will continue to expand to more streaming platforms and download stores worldwide.

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07. July 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

For a limited time only  Cambridge Audio are offering all new and existing customers of the brand’s Universal Blu–ray player, the CXU,  the option to easily add the functionality and convenience of Netflix, iPlayer and many more streaming services to their players via the offer of  a free google Chromecast.

CXU owners will also get the added benefit of exceptional sound and video quality as the players advanced processors will upsample all of the audio from the Chromecast to 24-bit/192kHz quality and all of the video to 4K. _Users_rebecca_AppData_Local_Temp_{9ee452d5-1c41-49ca-8077-edba68105d34}_Image1

Any CXU customer can claim their free Chromecast by heading to the appropriate Cambridge Audio web page and uploading their proof of purchase to qualify.

Cambridge Audio will then forward the Chromecast to reach the customer within a matter of days. Once the Chromecast has arrived customers simply need to plug it into the front or rear HDMI input of their CXU, connect it to the mains via the USB cable provided and add the Chromecast app to their phone, tablet or laptop to get started.

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Burson got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us they are introducing the pocket sized, USB powered “Conductor Air”.  Details are pretty scant at the moment but they say that just like its full sized sibling, its a USB  DAC, Head amp, Preamp 3 in 1 unit.  Conductor-Air-S4

Key Features:

  • 185g uni-body aluminium enclosure
  • Xmos USB receiver capable of native streaming DSD256, DXD, 32bit/384khz audio files
  • SABRE32/ESS9018 DAC chip, just like the desktop Conductor V2+
  • Raising a 5V USB power to 18V resulting in 4 times the dynamic range and 500mW into 32ohm of power
  • Remote controlled preamp.

The conductor Air will come in both silver and black and will cost $499 when it is available in late August.

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Devon-based Timestep has garnered quite a reputation for its fully sanctioned modifications of various iconic Technics turntables. Now, designer Dave Cawley turns his attention to the recently-launched SL-1200 GAE deck and comes up with yet more cannily-crafted advancements in the form of the new Timestep EVOke, and we very much like the look of this at Hifi Pig Towers, being the huge fans of the Techy we are.Timestep EVOke 1

Like its predecessor the EVO, the new EVOke takes a brand new Technics deck, makes a number of smart revisions then adds a quality tonearm and cartridge.

The original EVO was a heavily modified edition of the Technics SL-1200 deck and over the past decade it enjoyed considerable success among critics and buyers alike.

Earlier this year, Technics launched a brand new edition of the SL-1200: the SL-1200 GAE. In its native Japan the first several hundred models built sold out within minutes. Although the SL-1200 GAE has only just arrived in the UK, Cawley was already hard at work on Timestep’s measurements and modifications, having been approached by Technics some months ago who invited him to do so.

The new Timestep EVOke is the result. A Timestep-Technics tour de force, its technical measurements almost equal those of the Technics SP-10 MK-III deck.

“The standard Technics SL-1200 GAE, while superb, cuts costs in two areas: the tonearm and the power supply,” says Cawley. “The arm is derived from the SL-1200 MK-IV and while it’s better than some, it’s not what I’d call an audiophile arm.”Timestep EVOke power supply 1

In the EVOke, Cawley therefore replaces the tonearm with an SME IV which, he says, “with its tapered magnesium armtube and silver finish is a match made in heaven”. An Audio Technica AT-33PTG/II moving coil cartridge with gold-plated solid boron cantilever provides the perfect complement to top off the system.

As for the power supply, the EVOke replaces the SL-1200 GAE’s internal switch mode with an external linear PSU designed by Timestep. “While the SL-1200 GAE’s power supply is  very quiet,” says Cawley, “a number of reviews have mentioned a ‘haze’, which our modified supply removes.” Constructed with supreme attention to detail, the Timestep power supply’s cable exits the SL-1200 GAE via a custom-made adapter plate; the gold-plated power connector is made by Furutech while the PSU connectors are both gold-plated Neutrik.Timestep EVOke tonearm 1

Pricing & availability

The Timestep EVOke is available now, either as a fully finished turntable package, or as selected components to create your own modified Technics SL-1200 GAE deck.

Technics SL-1200 GAE turntable £2,700
SME IV tonearm £1,860
Tonearm mounting plate (allows fitting of any 9” SME tonearm) £90
Audio Technica AT-33PTG/II MC cartridge £419
Timestep PSU £495
Total cost of fully finished turntable package (as above, plus £200 fitting cost) £5,764
06. July 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Swiss manufacturer Stenheim say they are proud to have been chosen by the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival (which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year) and will be producing a limited edition of their Alumine TWO speakers which will be available for purchase in the Festival shop, situated in the event’s main hall.70147074-06f5-437f-b582-cae6bcf9fc7b

25 pairs will be made and will delivered with a certificate of authenticity as well as a numbered identification plate stating “Montreux Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary Special Edition”.

They will be packaged in STENHEIM flight cases which will also be numbered and which can each be employed to store about sixty vinyl records.

The speaker sets will also include a BB King album on vinyl, a DVD of excerpts from the Montreux Jazz Festival, a pair of STENHEIM microfiber gloves and a Festival T-shirt.

During the Festival period, from the 1st to the 16th of July, our Alumine TWO speakers will be on demonstration at the Laurent Marthaler Contemporary Art gallery.

The Alumine TWO represents a substantial deviation from conventional speaker design. With all-aluminium construction and hand-made, bespoke craftsmanship from Switzerland.

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Liverpool based Do Good Audio is a wholly new retail venture, but has a link to the past. Martin, the founder of Do Good Audio, discovered his great grandfather owned one of the earliest audio shops in the country. Located in Wakefield, West Yorkshire in circa 1920 “Wireless Radio & Gramophone” sold wireless equipment, gramophones, 78s and other audio electronics, although the eventual fate of this business is unknown.Do_Good_old_slamm

Hifi Pig think it’s great to see a new independent Hifi retailer open its doors and it must be the first in Liverpool in ages.DO_Good_interior_small

After working for many years as a building contractor, Martin has taken a leap of faith and started what he describes as “a small online retail outlet”. Together with his partner Kirstie, they ran their business as an online only retailer, but they craved the excitement of a busy shop floor, and the opportunity to share their knowledge and passion for Hifi with like-minded folk. The Liverpool shop has allowed Do Good Audio to diversify the product range and provide a comfortable demo room. Martin’s Mum Mandy helps out in the shop too and the company say they hope to offer a very personal service.do_good_1

Brands stocked include Musical Fidelity, Roksan, Marantz, Pro-Ject, Dali, Q Acoustics, Edwards Audio and many more and Martin says theirs always the offer of a good cuppa when you visit the shop.


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The Chord Company has announced the launch of its new Shawline cable range, a cable we’ve been playing with here at Hifi Pig for a few months now.

The Wiltshire company commented it “can now make cables that do nothing.  That’s nothing as in no colouration: colour comes from the music not the cables; no signal loss”.24644175854_d2304470cc_z (1)

What The Chord Company’s new Shawline cables can do they say is: “carry a musical signal with an extraordinary degree of detail and accuracy; transform the performance of almost every system they are used in and let music lovers even further into their favourite music”.

The Shawline range is a hand-built-in-the-UK cable line-up that comprises digital, analogue and loudspeaker cables, and features the company’s proprietary Tuned ARAY technology at a price of £200.  The same unique conductor geometry as seen in Chord’s Sarum Tuned ARAY cables is now available with Shawline. The line-up sits neatly above the entry-level C-series and the affordable Clearway range.

The new Shawline analogue interconnect – available in DIN, RCA and XLR versions – uses the same Tuned ARAY technology as Sarum Tuned ARAY.  They are fitted with silver-plated Chord VEE 3 RCA plugs with PTFE insulation. Shawline’s conductors are built from silver-plated multi-strand oxygen-free copper, insulated with PTFE.  The conductors are contained within a specifically chosen outer jacket for flexibility and reduce mechanical noise. Shawline XLR LOW
Shawline Digital

The all-new Shawline Digital uses proprietary ARAY conductor geometry developed for digital cables. Also fitted with silver-plated Chord VEE 3 RCA plugs with PTFE insulation (or high-performance silver-plated BNC connectors), the new design features a tri-conductor configuration, optimised for digital signal transmission.

Further features include silver-plated, PTFE-insulated conductors with an internal PVC jacket that reduces mechanical noise and correctly spaces the high-frequency-effective high- density braid and foil combination shield.27783507596_d6d781bbc3_k

Shawline loudspeaker cable

Completing the range is a shielded loudspeaker cable — Chord’s most discreet and flexible shielded speaker cable to date. The Shawline loudspeaker cable is a new design featuring silver-plated conductors and high-frequency-effective shielding. 16 AWG multi-strand silver-plated conductors with PTFE insulation are employed in a twisted-pair configuration, with a PVC internal jacket to minimise mechanical noise.
Shawline loudspeaker cable is available off-the-reel and in factory-terminated lengths, the latter fitted with Chord Company gold-plated banana plugs.

Hand-building is crucial to the complexity of the design of Tuned ARAY cables say the company.

Pricing and availability

Shawline is available now

Analogue RCA 1m: £200; additional metres £80

Digital: RCA 1m: £200; additional metres £80

Speaker: £30p/m unterminated; factory Banana/Spade terminations 8 plugs one pair £100

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The dates, yes that’s right dates, for the 2017 edition of the North West Audio Show have been announced as the 24th and 25th of June 2017. cranage_front_2016_small

Having listened closely to feedback of both exhibitors and members of the public attending the show, organisers have decided to concentrate efforts on just the one venue (Cranage Hall) but to hold the event over two days.

This year’s show was a huge success and we’re sure that 2017 will be bigger, better and even more fun than this.

You can read about this years show here 

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After the North West Audio Show, we were on the ferry back to Hifi Pig Towers when we met a group of people who are cycling their way to Rio in time for the Olympics. This epic journey is being made to raise money for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, which supports children’s and cancer charities, and the ride is led by Jane’s husband Mike. We thought this was a very worthy cause to support so do please have a look at their website and Just Giving page and see if you can help them to smash their target! Details and links below:ride_to_rio_logo

27th June – 4th August
6 weeks, 3000 miles. On average 90 miles a day with only 5 rest days. The team are aiming to reach Rio in time for the Rio Olympics raising money for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. The challenge will mark 10 years since Jane Tomlinson CBEs epic Ride Across America which saw Jane cycle 4200 miles in 2006. The ride is lead by Jane’s husband Mike along with TV presenter Charlie Webster and ex rugby league players Paul Highton and Keith Senior.


Text donate JRTR70 £5 to 70070