The headphone market is growing as we all know but there’s been a constant in the market since I was a teenager many moons ago and that’s the STAX headphones…or ear-speakers as they called them.
Unless you are happy with the headphone amplifier from STAX the options are pretty thin on the ground should you wish to have a change and this is where AudioValve have seen a gap in the marketplace and announced the new VERTO.
The passive VERTO box can be used together with AudioValve RKV II and RKV III tube based headphone amplifiers as well as other brands’ offerings.
The VERTO supports the current STAX PRO plug with 580 V DC bias as well as the former bias of 300 V used by older STAX headphones. The higher PRO bias uses a 5 Pin connector whilst the 300 V DC bias can be identified by a 6 Pin headphone plug at the end of the headphone cable.
To increase the versatility the VERETO has a switch for 8 ohm as well as 32 ohm so you can connect high efficiency loudspeakers as well as headphones with low impedance.
- Compatible with all STAX electrostatic headphones (580 V DC PRO bias 5 Pin connector as well as 6 Pin 300 V DC bias)
- Suitable for low and middle impedance dynamic or planar headphones as well as ultra high efficient loudspeakers
- 3 switchable modes for STAX electrostatic mode, 8 ohm and 32 ohm
- One Teflon female jacket for STAX PRO bias 5 Pin and 6 Pin headphones
- Two Combi jackets phone plug and XLR for dynamic and planar headphones
- Loudspeaker terminals to connect spades or bananas
- 60 cm cable with phone plug fixed to the case for connection to the headphone amp
- No separate supply voltage needed, static high voltage is generated by the signal
- One Pikatron output galvanic coupled transformer for each channel
- Internal bias voltage for STAX 300 + 580 VDC (LED controlled)
- Internal HB cable design with a cross section of 0.72 sq. mm, embedded in a PTFE Teflon insulation air. The conclusion is a 5 mm diameter strong silicon of insulation, the high-voltage signal line outwards reliable and well insulated
- The device provides both the required for the operation of the headphone-static voltage of 300 / 580 VDC, and up to 550 Vrms signal voltage
- Bandwidth up to nearly 100 KHz – ( 470 pf load )
- Dimensions: w * h * d ( cm ) – 110 * 105 * 165
- weight: 2 kg
Price: 690,- EUR including VAT
US manufacturer Exogal (out of this galaxy) launched their Comet DAC at the Munich High end show but we somehow missed out on it so here is the latest news from them.
The base configuration includes balanced and unbalanced analogue outputs, digital volume control, and asynchronous USB input with audio signals being processed using Exogal up-sampling and filtering technology. The USB input can accept up to 32-bit/192kHz PCM data rates and the Comet provides true balanced and single ended analogue outputs.
The Comet can be controlled by the Exogal wireless remote console, the SR-71, an Android phone or tablet (running 4.3 or higher with Bluetooth 4.0 support) or an iPad (coming soon), iPhone 4s or newer, or iPod Touch.
• Asynchronous USB, AES/EBU, SPDIF, Toslink, and line level Analogue inputs
• Direct connection analogue outputs with 32-bit Digital Volume Control
• Analogue Outputs: one pair balanced (XLR), one pair unbalanced (RCA), one stereo Headphone
• Single ended and balanced analogue outputs can be used simultaneously. Single ended outputs can be programmed as stereo, or centre/subwoofer operation. Single ended outputs have a programmable offset level from balanced outputs
• Works with the EXOGAL Console wireless aluminium remote system console or EXOGAL SmartRemote (SR-71) an Android phone or tablet (running 4.2 or higher with BLE support) or an iPad, iPhone 4s or newer, or iPod Touch.
- High Speed upgrade includes 384k and DSD capabilities
Marantz have joined forces with The Chord Company whereby people who buy their NA-11S1 network audio player and DAC will receive a free set of Chord Company cables worth over £1000. The offer is only available from participating Marantz “Premium” dealers and the offer will end on 31st August 2014.
Participating dealers include:
Musical Images – Beckenham
Sevenoaks Sound & Vision – Southampton
Adams & Jarrett – St Leonards on Sea
Sevenoaks Sound & Vision – Epsom
Phase 3 – Worthing
Canterbury Hi Fi – Canterbury
Peter Tysons – Carlise & Newcastle
Audible Fidelity – Daventry
Music Matters – Hatch End
Vickers Hi Fi – York
Here’s an interesting and practical concept that we’ve just come across and I’m sure will be a bit of a boon for vinyl collectors wanting to keep track of their valuable records. Basically these simple but clever dividers are a collection of typographic laser cut wood panels for alphabetizing and organizing vinyl records as well as books and other media.
Each set of durable laser-engraved wood dividers is handcrafted in San Francisco by Kate Koeppel Design and a team of craftswomen (and men). The collection includes styles for 12″ and 7″ records, stored vertically or horizontally with the 7″ sets being suitable for organizing books and other media on bookshelves. The collection starts at $150 rising to $410.
Speaking to Kate about the dividers she said “Initially we set out to find a beautiful solution to organize our growing vinyl record collection. After a lengthy search, we discovered only a few products existed – nearly all of them plastic, ugly, poorly made, or a combination of all three. In the summer of 2013, I set out to build a better organizational solution that would be both useful and aesthetically pleasing”.
As Hifi Pig readers will surely be aware, the last 3 years a resurgence in Vinyl playback has been very evident, and to that end Belles has produced its first phono stage in some years.
The Belles Soloist S1 phonostage has been designed taking into account the problems that arise from playing a record, namely radio frequency interference and electromagnetic interference.
The Soloist S1 phono stage features fully discrete components, separated MM and MC circuitry and high quality linear power supply with several layers of regulation.
Belles say that “The Belles Soloist S1 phonostage produces a high involving and enjoyable sound, coupled with lovely tonal qualities, great bass texture and control. It all adds up to a serious good musical phono that will enhance your system”.
•Frequency response 20 Hz to 20KHz + or – 0.05 db
•Gain MM 34 dB MC 26dB MM + MC 60dB
•Hum and noise MM greater than 80 dB, MC greater than 66
•Distortion 0.05 % IM and THD
•Overload MM 0.52 volts, MC 0.025 volts @ 1000 Hz
•Input Impedance MM 47,000 ohms, MC 1000 ohms
•Size 192mm W x 78mm x H 52mm D280
The good people at NuNu Distribution got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us that as a part of a series of events marking the 21st year of Sonneteer the Sonneteer Orton integrated amplifier has been elevated to MK IV status. The Sonneteer Orton name will be familiar to many Hifi Pig readers I’m sure as it’s firmly established as a bit of a hi-fi classic.
The Orton has had some changes for 2014 which incorporates both an aesthetic upgrade and some circuit design upgrades which they say result in improved sound quality and looks.
Orton observers will note that the MK IV now sports a fully machined aluminium and stainless steel remote control handset which looks rather smart and features polished stainless steel ball-buttons which are also mirrored on the amp’s fascia. The handset, as well as aesthetic beauty, boasts an internal rechargeable battery and an LED torch light for that little extra help when trying to wire up the rear of the amplifier. The battery charges from any powered USB port be it on a phone charger or PC and should last at least a year from one charge under normal use.
Internally the control system power supply (the Orton has three power supplies) has been improved with careful revisions and in conjunction with design changes to the circuit board mountings, all culminating to deliver what Sonneteer are calling “pleasing improvements to an already highly regarded amplifier”.
Hifi Pig is pleased to announce that we have added a FREE CLASSIFIED SECTION to our website as an extra small service to our readers.
Listings are FREE to both trade and public to sell used equipment with no fees whatsoever.
The pages are brand new and will populate as users add their listings to the pages. We have tried to include all areas of secondhand hifi as well as music for sale.
As well as secondhand items for sale, each category of kit has a Wanted section so that you can also post if you are looking to find a specific item.
Music For Sale
Make your FREE listing now…it’s really simple!
Quad celebrates 78 years In business with the launch of Vena: a compact integrated amplifier sporting a wide range of digital and analogue inputs, plus wireless streaming over Bluetooth with aptX support.
Just 313mm wide, the diminutive Vena updates the familiar Quad aesthetic, yet remains distinctly ‘Quad’. A neat row of source-selection buttons and a large, smooth-acting volume control adorn its fascia.
Vena’s built-in DAC incorporates the same 24-bit/192kHz chipset used in the company’s flagship Platinum CD player and the Class AB power amp section sports “exemplary design and implementation”. A headphone source is also built in, accessed via a front-mounted socket, which we at Hifi Pig think is a great addition.
Quad selected Bluetooth wireless transmission to ensure compatibility with the widest possible range of devices, and pairing the amp with smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs is easy say the company.
Inputs for digital source components comprise two optical and one coaxial, plus two asynchronous USB sockets: one Type A, the other Type B. The latter is the type most commonly used for connecting PCs/Macs to audio devices like Vena; the former allows Apple iDevices to be docked, charged and played via a cable connection. Digital outputs are also provided, in optical and coaxial flavours. Analogue signals are catered for by two stereo RCA inputs, while pre-out sockets permit the addition of an external power amp. In terms of Bluetooth, support for the aptX codec ensures the best possible audio quality when streaming from suitably equipped devices.
Vena is finished in Quad’s classic ‘Lancaster Grey’ as standard, augmenting the metalwork’s smoothly curved edges to create an elegantly understated appearance. For those with more exotic tastes, three premium finish options will launch later this year – piano black, piano white and real rosewood – ensuring Vena complements any domestic setting.
It’s available from mid-August in the standard Lancaster Grey finish, at an RRP of £599.95. The three premium finish options will launch towards the end of 2014 and add £100 to the price tag.
Now this is interesting we thought.
Lampizator’s new DAC, the DSD DAC , is the first true DSD converter that works purely in the analogue domain… ie. There is no DAC converter chip or any digital processing going on in the thing at all.
The company comment says “The combination of tubes, DSD and Duelund caps produces a musical spectacle unheard before. It beats every DAC you ever heard…” which is a bold claim from the Polish manufacturer.
Audeze, maker of award-winning planar magnetic headphones (we have some in for review to be published in August), components and accessories is going to be a part of Stereo Exchange’s inaugural Headphone Event on Thursday, July 31st from 1 to 9pm at 627 Broadway just above Houston Street in New York City.
You’ll have the opportunity to chat with the experts and win door prizes!
“We applaud Stereo Exchange for creating their Headphone Lounge”, Audeze say, continuing “If you’re attending come visit us there, the Audeze team is always happy to talk with enthusiastic audiophiles who share our passion for great sound”.
French Hi-fi manufacturer Soledge has announced their latest product from the Canto line the Alto, a DAC/Network music player.
The company says the Alto has been developed to satisfy customers who are lovers of music but who also demand the latest audio quality and design.
Alto has the ability to connect to any type of audio source such as blueray players or CD players and to read entire music libraries in the home – music on wireless devices, tablets, smartphones etc and also the ability to connect to music apps such as Deezer and Qobuz.
It is designed to be connected to a PLC network , Wifi or ethernet and has a preamplifier onboard as well as the DAC.
Pure Sound has announced the UK arrival of the Japanese made Aurorasound HEADA Balanced Drive Headphone Amplifier.
As conventionally configured, the Left & Right channels of a headphone amplifier drive the voice coils of the Left & Right driver. However the return path for each channel is joined as one before returning to the amplifier’s common ground. This shared connection has some electrical resistance from the wire and various joints which can produce a common signal at the negative terminal of both driver coils. This will generate low level crosstalk and increase the distortion heard through the headphones. A balanced configuration does away with this common earth return.
Taking advantage of the potential benefits that accrue from operating headphones through balanced drive, the HEADA “sets new standards of performance for amplifiers of this type” says the company’s press release. “The improved signal to noise ratio, dynamic range, slew rate and power delivery alongside the reduction in THD are tangible and all help headphones of the highest quality to deliver their best possible results” it continues.
2 Inputs. 1 switchable Balanced XLR or Unbalanced RCA, 1 via unbalanced RCA.
3 Outputs. 2 Balanced; 1 via XLR L&R, 1 via 4 Pin XLR, 1 unbalanced via ¼” stereo jack.
Utilising in house designed Class A amplifier modules using discrete FETs and transistors.
Large format conductive plastic potentiometer for precise channel balance
Low/High gain selector allows matching to headphones with any impedance or sensitivity
High power toroidal transformer and high speed regulated power supply
Substantial aluminium casework with real wood sleeve & isolation feet
Recommended Headphone impedance 16 Ohm – 600 Ohm
UK RRP £1999.95
Swiss audio manufacturer ReVox have announced a new CD player they are calling the Joy which they are claiming to be their highest performing to date.
The new CD player matches other products in the Joy range and is available in black or white with a black or white glass front panel. The Joy CD player is 8.8cm in height, 20cm wide and 32.2 cm deep with the usual controls mounted on the front of the unit or on the Joy S208 remote control (which will work with other brands’ DVD players and TVs too).
Onboard there’s a 192kHz/24 bit BurrBrown PCM1796 digital to analogue converter, a precision pulse generator and an “oscillation-free, bearing mounted drive.
The Joy CD has internal constant-current power supplies and an “amazingly quiet loading mechanism”.
We at Hifi Pig HQ make no secret that we’ve been long time fans of the Technics 1200 turntables, but as you will know it’s out of production now! Fear not, for Pioneer now have an alternative in the form of the PLX-100.
Whether or not this quartz locked, high torque, direct drive turntable that weighs in at 13.1Kg and bears more than a passing resemblance to the 1200 will have the same impact as the legendary Technics remains to be seen.
Clearly aimed at the club and DJ market, Hifi Pig will be interested to see if any entrepreneurial types out there come up with any mods for this turntable, as they have with the Technics, and getting it accepted as a legitimate audiophile alternative.
THIEL Audio has announced that as part of a complete brand revitalization plan, the company’s headquarters has been relocated to the Nashville, TN area and new ownership has appointed John Wittman as CEO. Wittman joins THIEL Audio with a successful track record in consumer products, manufacturing, distribution and most recently the publishing industry.
“Being a part of the Nashville community is paramount for THIEL, a city founded on making legendary music,” Wittman stated. In addition to the city’s high visibility and growing population, the community provides access to an experienced and creative pool of talented individuals to help move THIEL Audio forward.
He continued “Our future is dependent on balancing THIEL’s 37 year history without constraining innovation in order to dynamically meet the changing needs of our consumers,” said Wittman. In the new Nashville headquarters, the THIEL Audio team is growing with the appointment of Paul Fisher, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing along with new hires in engineering, marketing, purchasing and operations, with more staffing to follow. While THIEL Audio is adding some new faces, they are retaining longtime THIEL veterans Lana Ruth and Rob Gillum with a combined 40+ years of audio industry experience to run the customer service and repair departments from a new facility in Lexington, KY.
“Our objective at THIEL first and foremost is to be a fresh and imaginative company, engineering and manufacturing premium products that represent outstanding craftsmanship as well as the highest levels of performance,” Wittman stated. THIEL is placing an emphasis on designing new products to address a broad range of market segments including but not limited to high performance audio, home theatre and the custom installation channel. Part of the new go-forward strategy will be to broaden the audience for THIEL Audio products by establishing key relationships for the brand; making the line visible to luxury buyers as well as the traditional audiophile. Based on those initiatives, THIEL’s VP of Engineering Mark Mason is designing an entire new series of speakers to be unveiled in 2015. “Everyone at THIEL is energized to be a part of such a vital and legendary brand, with an opportunity to execute our vision for truly innovative premium products and services,” said Wittman.
KR Audio based in Czech Republic and manufacturers of the world renowned Kronzilla amplifiers, have announced a new service to repair or duplicate rare and antique valves.
The company says that if it is possible to repair or restore a tube then they will do this but they can also duplicate non-working tubes.
As the scarcity and price of antique and rare audio valves increases this service is sure to be of interest to a good number of dedicated valve-heads.
Robson Acoustics have announced the new flagship model from their Voltaire range of loudspeakers.
“Voltaire IV Reference is capable of producing a holographic soundstage, pin sharp imaging and bass control like no other loudspeaker” says the company’s press release.
The new flagship model is designed around twin 10” bass/mid drivers from legendary British manufacturer Volt Loudspeakers and a massive precision Ribbon tweeter which allows for a very low cross-over point and a high sensitivity of around 93dB.
There are rumours that there will be an optional subwoofer using twin 15” Volt radial bass drivers and a 18” passive radiator to compliment the IV’s and maintain the bass control and dynamics that are synonymous with the Voltaire range.
The Voltaire IV Reference is available now at £12000
Japan-based Miyajima has been making phono cartridges for more than three decades. Although they were only discovered by American and European audiophiles in recent years, they have since received rave reviews all over the world.
With several patents under his belt, Noriyuki Miyajima is a passionate music-lover, a true artisan manufacturer and his cartridges are individually designed to produce stunning results not only from modern stereo LPs but equally from vintage mono and 78 rpm records. The company’s very first cartridges were true mono designs, making Miyajima almost unique.
Every Miyajima cartridge is handcrafted in-house by a dedicated full-time team of six based in Fukuoka, Japan. The cartridge bodies are individually precision-milled from rare and exotic tonewoods including ebony, rosewood and African blackwood (mpingo) which the company says a vibrant and natural tonality to the sound.
The generator system in the stereo cartridges features a patented Miyajima cross-ring design in which the cantilever fulcrum and coils are exactly positioned in the centre of the magnetic field. Similarly, the mono cartridges feature an equally unique design: Miyajima vertical axis concentration, which ensures that the cartridge responds accurately to the horizontal modulation of a mono signal.
“It was a real joy to discover Miyajima cartridges and I’m absolutely delighted to be now bringing the range to the UK market,” says Dave Cawley of Timestep, Miyajima’s new UK distributor. “I have the greatest respect for Noriyuki Miyajima, whose passion drives him to seek the very best musical performance from the older disc formats. Using a properly designed mono cartridge to replay mono records results in a sound that simply can’t be matched by using a stereo cartridge. There’s something really special about that marriage of vintage classics with cutting-edge technology. You can’t beat it.”
The cartridges are available now from £1295 to £2395