THIEL Audio has announced that the company has been acquired by a private equity firm based in Nashville, TN. New THIEL CEO Bill Thomas has indicated that the brand focus will continue to be on premium quality phase and time coherent loudspeakers, with long time THIEL employees Brad Paulsen, Gary Dayton, Lana Ruth and Rob Gillum all remaining onboard.

“We identified THIEL as a brand with an unmatched heritage in performance audio and it is our intent to invest in the company’s infrastructure, strengthening the engineering department first and foremost,” stated Thomas.

In addition to Paulsen, Dayton, Ruth and Gillum remaining with THIEL, the entire factory team has been retained and the existing sales channel—comprised of reps and dealers—will remain in place. The R&D and manufacturing facility in Lexington, KY will continue to operate at full capacity as well and the company says there are no plans to close this operation.



As part of their Atratus range of cables, Epiphany Acoustics have announced the launch of a shielded mains cable.

The Atratus mains cable has “been designed on a ‘no holds barred’ basis, using only the most suitable, highest quality components”. The cable itself is comprised of heavy gauge copper conductors with a 100% coverage shield. It is terminated using gold plated connectors on each end for a “lasting and reliable connection”.

Oliver Freeborn, the companies owner commented on the cables, “The shielding mechanism ensures that any and all interference immediately gets shorted to ground, keeping it out of your hi-fi system”.

Price is £49.99 for a 1m cable.


The new DSX1000 is a digital network streamer that at its heart, boasts Chord Electronics’ proprietary DAC technology. The latest-generation Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) architecture found inside the DSX1000, is the same technology used in the company’s QBD76 HDSD DAC and the Red Reference MkIII CD player.

The FPGA handles all the digital data decoding, clocking, WTA filtering and the 5th generation Pulse Array DAC and

Key features include an inbuilt analogue volume control circuit, as used in Chord Electronics’ CPA8000 Reference preamp and the player also boasts both volume-controlled and line-level analogue outputs which feature both balanced XLR and RCA phono connections.

The network connection is via a fixed-wired ethernet port due to the bandwidth limitations of Wi-Fi for 24/192kHz support (ethernet-over-mains connections can also be used if required).

The DSX1000 is available now priced at £7,500 (standard finish); £7,830 (nickel).



This is the 8th studio album from the Dandys, following on from 2008’s Earth to the Dandy Warhols.  So it’s been a while between drinks for the band and I was eagerly anticipating this release having been an enthusiastic fan of most of their previous works.  Prior to the album’s release, front man Courtney Taylor-Taylor had amusingly blogged that it would be called “Pastor of Muppets”, “Shitty, Shitty Band Band” or “Whirled Piece”!  Of course none of  this came to pass unfortunately.

Featuring a rather more stripped back sound than previous releases, the album is slightly harder edged than, say Come Down or Thirteen Tales… and there is more distortion present on the electric guitars and bass, but there are still doses of their psychedelic swirling pop and moody synth lines…Look… I’m not going to beat around the bush any longer.  This album is poor. It should never have been released. It should be stricken from the record forever.  It sounds for all money like a feeble watered down attempt at  aping The Velvet Underground or The Stooges.  There are an annoying amount of effects on Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s vocals, and the album shifts inconsistently from drab and lethargic rock numbers to unimaginative and vapid slower musings.  Courtney’s vocals, when not effect-ruined, sound terribly akin to a pathetic combination of a lazy, crooning Iggy Pop and a terribly out of tune Jim Morrison. More »

Turbonegro. The worlds greatest cult band? Probably… For anyone unfamiliar with this enigmatic Norwegian 5 piece, imagine the bastard offspring of AC/DC and Motorhead jamming to the Ramones underpinned with a distinctly Scandinavian sense of humour and your getting somewhere around the mark!

Sexual Harassment is the band’s ninth studio release and the first with new vocalist Tony Sylvester replacing Hank von Helvete due to the latter’s substance abuse problems. Also a new addition is drummer Jamie Hand who replaces Tommy Manboy.

Many fans may have been concerned at the personnel changes, assuming the band would change direction or lose intensity. Fear not! This album rocks just as hard as any of their previous works. Sylvester has a slightly more low pitched and guttural vocal style than von Helvete possessed but this suits the dirty low down punk rock perfectly. It’s not quite as frantic as earlier albums like Apocalypse Dudes or Ass Cobra but it’s a terrific rock’n’roll record and the lyrics are truly something to behold! Given that English is their second language, they have a remarkable amount of fun with the clichés of the wider rock lexicon and put an hilariously tongue in cheek slant on them. One gets the impression that the band know exactly what they are doing with the lyrics but that just makes it funnier. It’s not a comedy album but there sure are some laugh out lout moments as well as some frankly chilling monologues! More »

thinksound™, the US headphone brand that “creates headphones with the smallest eco-footprint possible”, have announced the UK release of the ts02+mic in-ear 8mm headphone with integrated microphone and call control, the first of its kind from the company.

Compatible with all iPhones including iPhone 5, iPads, iPods and most BlackBerry models and smart phones, the ts02+mic features an 8mm driver set into a handcrafted wood housing. The combination is said to deliver a “crisp, accurate sound quality and wide soundstage” with the wood housing (sourced from sustainable supplies) adding a natural quality for a more life-like sound.

Available in two finishes – silver/cherry and black/chocolate – the ts02+mic comes with four different-sized silicon earbuds to ensure comfortable fit and passive noise isolation.  Also included is a cotton carry pouch to carry the headphones, which includes room for an iPod, iPhone, and many other popular MP3 players.

Price £99.99



Cyrus Audio is launching an advanced iOS control app for its range of  streaming products. Called Cadence, the new app is completely bespoke and will give users visibility over networked music, extensive streamer feature control, and an intuitive interface. The app will also ‘drive’ many features, such as changing inputs, browsing connected devices as well as offering individual control of multiple Cyrus streamers on a network.

The first version of Cadence will be launched for the iPad and will be compatible with iOS 5.0 and above. Variants for the iPhone 3Gs (and above), iPod touch 3rd generation and Android will follow.


I have to admit that this was one of my most anticipated new releases of this year so far. The debut album from Philm, a supergroup (although I don’t really like the term) of sorts featuring Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Grip Inc., Fantomas) on drums, Francisco “Pancho” Tomaselli (War) on bass and piano and Gerry Nestler (Civil Defiance) on guitar, vocals and piano.

On paper at least, it has a touch of Them Crooked Vultures about it; Bass player in legendary rock band teaming up with highly regarded contemporary drummer and guitarist/singer. Ostensibly setting out to “re-invent the power trio” this album was recorded at a combination of North Hollywood artist Paula Willigar’s home, Krillion Sound studio and NRG studios. It was produced by Lombardo himself and this just adds to the anticipation of what this record might sonically contain. More »

This is the fifth full length album from the eclectic Canadian electro/indie four piece outfit. It’s a more introspective work than previous releases, dealing with what you see when you look in the mirror. In fact, all the lyrics on the cd release are printed backwards! Don’t worry though, included is a reflective piece of foil so you can read them the right way around!

The album has been very successful commercially and peaked at twelve on the US Billboard album charts. It was produced and composed entirely by the band themselves.

Kicking off with “Artificial Nocturne”, the first lyrics you hear from slinky vocalist Emily Haines are “I’m just as fucked up as they say”, a clear indication of the personal introspection to come. This opening track is quite spooky and a general feeling of unease is generated. The very popular single “Youth Without Youth” follows suit, albeit being rather more up-tempo. This is a delicious track and contains everything a great pop song should. Hooks, melody, attitude and style. The main hook is a single chord change that tantalizingly leaves you hanging in greyness before crashing into sparkling colour. It may be a simple E minor to A major change but it is the centrepiece of the song and works marvellously. Throughout the track there is a disquieting synth line that keeps you feeling slightly uneasy. In fact much of the album has a rather bleak feel to it, a bit like a more up-tempo Portishead with a splash of ’80s new wave thrown in for good measure. More »

Hifi Pig is delighted to announce that we have a new member of the team who will be reviewing albums for us. His name is Stewart Hall and he hails from Melbourne, Australia from where he has been publishing his own music blog (Sensitive Stew’s Music Blog) for quite some time now.

Stew has a wide and eclectic taste in music and an engaging and straight-forward writing style that we are sure you’ll enjoy.

The music review section of the site is something that we’d neglected somewhat due to time constraints, but with Stew on board we’re hoping to introduce you all to some exciting new music because, after all what is a hifi if you haven’t anything to play on it.

You can read more about Stew in his biog’ here.



Meridian Audio the UK hifi manufacturer have announced the opening of its first boutique in the United States, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The outlet becomes the 14th boutique across the globe to provide the Meridian retail environment.

Meridian Fort Lauderdale will be marking its official opening with an exclusive invitation-only event on November 29th  and will be be a dedicated showcase for Meridian’s products, offering customers a full Meridian experience, including a home cinema setting. Products on display will include the DSP Digital Active Loudspeakers, Meridian Reference Series and the Digital Media Systems.

The boutique is owned and operated by Nicholas Ehr and Tim Ralph. Childhood friends, the pair has been in business since 2003, operating in both residential custom installation as well as commercial IT industries.

John Buchanan, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing at Meridian, commented, “We are very excited about the first US boutique and the continued growth of our global boutique programme. Nick and Tim are both very passionate about the brand and Meridian Fort Lauderdale will provide a great experience for customers.”


The Aussie electronic duo had no trouble dealing with their “difficult second album” in Apocalypso which went triple platinum in 2008. And rightly so, as it won innumerable awards and contained some of the most interesting and intriguing EDM you’re ever likely to hear. So it’s been four years since that classic and the band have had plenty of time to work on its successor. Creating an album that lived up to the bar set so high by its predecessor was always going to be a challenge. So does Pacifica continue the band’s fine form?

The album kicks off with the excellent single “Youth In Trouble”. A brooding, smouldering track that certainly harkens back to the excellence of Apocalypso. Unusually, the only other single released from this record is the second track “Ghosts”, which is slightly more lightweight but features some nice vocal work. The vocals are what sets The Presets apart from many of their EDM contemporaries. They write actual songs instead of mere repetitive dance party instrumentals (well there are no physical instruments being electronic music, but you know what I mean). More »

There have been some very impressive releases of late from thrash bands who’s glory days were ostensibly in the late ’80s, proving that persistence can really pay off, particularly in the metal sub-culture.  Fans thereof are among the most dedicated and passionate of any musical genre, if not THE most dedicated and passionate.

Metal fans will take one look at the personnel on this record and assume that it will contain unparalleled amounts of awesomeness, with good reason.  Produced by the legendary Andy Sneap, drums by the “atomic clock” Mr Gene Hoglan and Alex Skolnik and Chuck Billy on guitar and vocals respectively.  A formidable lineup to be sure!  But….names on a record sleeve count for zip if the music sucks, so how does the album stack up?

Dark Roots Of Earth is immediately Testament.  Super tight riffing and blurry solos harken back to the halcyon days of thrash metal and Chuck Billy’s voice is immediately recognizable, albeit slightly lower in pitch than in the Practice What You Preach/Souls Of Black era.   The drumming of Gene Hoglan is simply brilliant.  The man is a phenomenon, driving the band with a metronomic pulse yet utilizing the full range of his kit with hair-trigger precision and incredible speed.   He has added a whole other dimension to the band, employing brutal blast beats and insane double kick patterns offset by a powerful and tasteful rock’n’roll approach in slower phrases. More »

This is probably the most anticipated review I’ve written all year. Critics have loved the band’s recent offerings, yet fans have been left slightly bemused, some condemning them as self-indulgent twaddle.   The 2nd Law is the 6th album from the Devon UK three piece (not their second as the title would suggest to the uninitiated). The title comes from the second law of relativity.

For a band of this nature, who have offered us some undoubted brilliance yet also some ho-hum moments, any new release is exciting. Will it be the absolute classic they’ve shown they’re capable of or will it be self-serious and narcolepsy inducing? Well, here’s the verdict. More »

Fanthorpes of Hull are hosting a KEF open weekend on the 23rd, 24th and 26th of November. During the open days KEF will offer a 20% trade in offer on the Q and the T series of loudspeakers as part of KEF’s ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations.

Over the three days Fanthorpes will be demonstrating the new LS50, the Q and R Series, as well as the T Series flat panel Home Cinema speakers, though if you want to hear a particular loudspeaker then Hifi Pig have been told you need only contact them beforehand.



Isotek, the Uk manufacturer of power optimisation products will launch and entry level range of products called the Discovery range.

The Discovery range will consist of three products: EVO 3 Polaris (a six way mains conditioning block), EVO 3 Mira (a mains conditioning device for TVs and Projectors) and the EVO 3 Premier (a high-performance power cable).

The EVO3 Polaris will retail at £249.95, the Mini Mira at £194.95 and the Premier at £79.95.


Now, without a doubt this is a high-end loudspeaker whose visual impact is certainly going to divide opinion and I for one don’t see that being any kind of problem at all. In the world of high-end audio it’s important that products distinguish themselves from each other and the Bowers and Wilkins Nautilus certainly does that in spades.

The Nautilus is the flagship model in the Bowers and Wilkins stable and is quite clearly, whether you love it or hate it, a design classic. It came to fruition at the end of five years of research and development where the only brief was to “do whatever was necessary, however unconventional, to make the best loudspeaker anyone has ever heard”.

High and Mid frequency drivers are housed in the long tapering wave-guide pipes at the top of the unit, with the idea that the tapering effectively stops sound waves being radiated from the rear of the units. Now this is all well and good, but the 300mm drive unit that is used for the Nautilus’ bass section would require a pipe around three metres long – the brief was to “do whatever necessary” but practical considerations of getting the loudspeaker into the house/studio had to come into play at some point in the speaker’s design. This is where the designers turned to nature and a continuous tapered pipe in the form of a curve.

The seamless enclosure of the Nautilus is formed from a 10mm thick, glass reinforced ABS compound that is then stood atop a 50Kg block plinth. Of course the outer for the enclosure is beautifully finished in a pearlescent high-gloss finish. Standard colours for the Nautilus are black, silver and midnight-blue but you can specially order any colour you wish.

If you do a google search for Nautilus you’ll be taken to a wiki page about the cephalopod of the same name and this is clearly where the company get the name from.

Ok, the B&W Nautilus isn’t cheap at £55,000, but they are a beautiful looking loudspeaker and quite unique in their appearance. I feel the organic/mechanical form somewhat reminiscent of the work of HR Geiger and, as a fan, they do appeal to me a great deal purely on aesthetic grounds. They really do look like a piece of art!

Having been a bit of a fan of Lemmy and his cohorts in our early years (and still to this day it has to be said) it’s with a great deal of interest that Hifi Pig read the news that Motorhead had launched their very own brand of headphones on to the market and felt compelled to include them in our hifi news.

There are three over the ear models to choose from and a couple of IEMs with different finishes. All come suitably named with monikers such as Bomber, Iron Fist and Motorizer for the over ear models and Overkill and Trigger for the IEMs.

The over ear models come in any colour you like as long as it’s black and the IEMS come in black silver or brass and all are suitably liveried with Motorhead logos and detailing.

The website has the following to say about the Motorheadphones – “No weak-kneed, lily-livered, tin-pot and skinny sounding little pieces of garbage, no, that ain’t Motörhead’s style. These are headphönes designed to deliver everything louder than everything else BUT with the sort of range, clarity and TRUE rock reproduction you’d expect from a band of road warriors who have been at the top of the tree year after year.”

Prices for the over ear headphones are £79.99 – 129.99 and the IEMs come in at £39.99 or 49.99.



Audio Suspension based in Brighton, UK are the latest company to launch contemporary hi-fi support systems, but they are taking a different approach to others we have recently run news items about. Audio Suspension have launched a wall-mount shelf, the ASU-100. The system has been designed to provide isolation from unwanted resonance, whilst offering a highly attractive platform to support turntables and other sensitive hi-fi products.

The ASU-100 is hand-made in Sussex and is the first product in a new line from Audio Suspension, is built from  20mm acrylic, will support up to 25Kg depending on fixings and is suitable for equipment up to 470mm x 420mm.

The ASU-100 is securely anchored to internal walls using two polished-chrome shelf supports faced with silicone-rubber to help damping at the connection point. Two front-mounted 1.5mm steel-wire cables offer further support and scope for leveling, and are secured by polished-chrome Posi-Lock supports.

Price is £250



Ontario based Bryston LTD who are celebrating 50 years this year, has announced the introduction of the BDA-2  DAC. The Bryston BDA-2 is a stereo DAC using fully discrete Class-A Bryston analog circuits, two independent (analog and digital) linear power supplies and dual 32-bit AKM DAC chips. The BDA-2 also utilizes a new asynchronous USB input capable of 192/24bit resolution.

The BDA-2 has an array of inputs for USB, COAX, OPTICAL, AES-EBU and BNC-equipped digital devices. For audio outputs, the BDA-2 offers both balanced XLR as well as unbalanced RCA stereo connectors .

“With more and more consumers relying on their computers as a source of entertainment in the home, we felt it imperative to offer a DAC with high performance USB inputs,” stated Bryston’s James Tanner. “Additionally, the new 32-bit DAC chips deliver stunning resolution and detail. The BDA-2 was built upon the award-winning BDA-1 architecture, which emphasized isolation, low noise and imperceptibly low levels of distortion and Jitter,” Tanner concluded.

The BDA-2 has an MSRP of $2395 US.


RCJ Audio based in the NW of England, have announced a new range of HiFi support equipment designed to support your kit and have high WAF. RCJ have named the new supports Red Pike, Yewbarrow, Pillar, Great Gable and the Scafell after the guardian mountains of Wasdale.

The support shelves incorporate a built in damping system, employed to remove vibrations that inevitably emanate from equipment – the supports are also designed to fit the company’s range of Hush Isolation Platforms. 

They are available in 2, 3 or 4 shelf options with a variety of finishes including  Oak, Cherry, European Walnut and Birds Eye Maple veneers with solid wood framework and surrounds… Granite, Slate, Engineered Stone and Valchromat inserts available in lieu of veneered finish.

Each of the racks is fully compatible with RJCs Hush Isolation Platforms which may be fitted in lieu of the shelves as well as on them.

Complete with adjustable feet and built in damping, these supports can be used under all of your equipment. Available in a variety of sizes and also compatible with Hush Isolation Platforms.

The example shown is the Great Gable, fitted with 450mm and 650mm depth shelves, finished in both European Walnut and Oak with American Black Walnut surrounds, frames in Oak. Also shown with Hush Isolation Platforms fitted.

Priced from £300.




The new Hercules power amplifier from Audio Electronics by Cary Audio is an ultra linear tube amplifier using EL34 output tubes to produce 30 watts per channel. “Boasting premium components, it features a very simple signal path to provide sonic purity and long-term reliability”. The Hercules uses a specially built power supply combined with custom output transformers to allow the amplifier to be heavily biased into Class-A “while providing excellent bass and transient response”.

An automatic mute/standby circuit ramps up the voltage to the tubes gradually for longer life; it also removes any pops or noise at turn-on.

Retail price: $1,895


Parasound, the San Francisco-based manufacturer of high-end audio components, introduces the Zdac, a 192 kHz Digital to Analog Converter. Zdac is the newest addition to Parasound’s compact ‘half-width’ Z-Series product family and it is available in either a black finish with rack-mounting tabs or the new silver finish without rack-mount tabs.

“The Parasound Zdac brings digital-to-analog converter (DAC) technology to an entirely higher level of performance at a price comparable to many conventional aftermarket DACs,” said Richard Schram, President of Parasound. “The Zdac is an ideal upgrade for many components such as digital media players with less-than-optimal on-board DACs, or computer audio, TV audio, CD or other player with digital outputs. It is rugged, reliable, and easy to hook up. Once it is up and running there is little to do but enjoy the music.”

At the core of the Zdac’s design is Clockflawless(TM), a new method to eliminate jitter invented by Holm Acoustics in Denmark. It preserves the source signal in bit-perfect form, while restoring the timing information in the stream of the original recording. All timing errors introduced and accumulated during the transport phase are removed for SPDIF and Optical as well as USB.

The Parasound Zdac accepts 24 bit word lengths and all sampling rates up to 192kHz on SPIF and Optical and 96kHz on USB.

Both versions of the Parasound Zdac Digital to Analog Converter will be available the second week of November with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $475.



Touchstone Audio Launch, supported by Acoustic Brands Ltd, Air Audio, HiFi Network and ELAC loudspeakers

Rod Alexander wonders if small, regional shows are the future… More »

We recently got an e mail from German designer Rafael Cichy at Kompatibel Design with regards to an interesting and modular hifi rack made from concrete – the Thorax. Failing to find a suitable rack for his own kit Rafael decided to go it alone and build his own system.
There are three modules in the Thorax range:
O: With space for vinyl
E: With three levels for hi-fi equipment.
C: With two levels for larger equipment such as power amplifiers etc.
The measurements are: 52 cm x 52 cm x 8 cm with a thickness of 4 cm
The connectors to join the modules are available in three widths: 5 cm ; 4 cm ; 3 cm and are made of stainless steel or aluminium (brushed / anodized)
The three widths makes it possible to adjust the distances between each element to ensure the feet of the hifi equipment fits properly.
On the back of the Thorax it’s possible to hide the cables in pipeline to clean up the look of the hifi furniture.
and of course it is possible to use thorax as speaker stands.
We love the design of this and sure it will look great with high-end audio atop it!
Price is 357€ per unit.

Electrocompaniet is launching today a new integrated amplifier with a built-in DAC in the Prelude range. The amplifier is based on the PI 2 amplifier and boasts 2 x 100 Watts. Up to 5 Digital sources can be connected to the PI 2D: two Coax, two TOSLink and one USB. Analog sources can be connected by one balanced XLR input and four single ended RCA inputs giving a total of 10 inputs.
The PI 2D will have a RRP of 3150€

Technical specifications:
• Input impedance ( Single Ended ): 60 kOhm
• THD + N: < 0.005%
• Output Impedance: < 0,03  Ohm
• Frequency response:  1 – 225kHz
• Channel separation:  > 120 dB
• Noise floor ( 1Vrms, 20 – 20 kHz, balanced): <-130 dB
• Damping factor: >300
• Rated output power   8 ohms  2 x 100 W, 4 ohms  2 x 165 W,  2 ohms  2 x 220 W
• USB input: 192kHz/24bit Asynchronous
•  Weight: 11Kg

Price €3150