Theil Audio has announced the introduction of the CS1.7 Coherent Source® floorstanding loudspeaker. The CS1.7 picture 044employs THIEL’s phase and time coherent design using first order crossover networks.

“The CS1.7 seeks to establish new standards for resolution of detail, imaging and staging, dynamic capability, and tonal purity for those consumers seeking ultra high fidelity from an attractive, compact form factor.”

The technology employed in the CS1.7 design is all new, leveraging much of the R&D from the company’s flagship model CS3.7. The CS1.7 tweeter, based on the platform used in their CS1.6 has been optimized for the CS1.7 featuring a new voice coil, new magnetic circuit and reworked aluminum diaphragm which Thiel claim results in increased linearity and lower distortion. The aluminum woofer’s “star” diaphragm was conceived using the latest laser measurement technology and also utilizes a new voice coil and magnetic structure that enables the driver to operate as a piston through a much greater range of frequencies. The crossover network is a classic THIEL first order acoustic design. The cabinet is 1-inch thick and the massive baffle, with a low turbulence vertical port, is 2-inches thick, increasing rigidity and inertness. The CS1.7 comes equipped with leveling feet, however an optional brushed aluminum Outrigger base (pictured here) is available to maximize stability on virtually any surface.

“The CS1.7 delivers superb musicality from a sleek floorstanding loudspeaker that is décor friendly thanks to its moderate size and elegant array of real wood veneers,” said THIEL National Sales Manager Stephen DeFuria. The CS1.7 represents the performance and value that our dealers and worldwide distribution have been asking for.” The THIEL CS1.7 is now shipping to authorized THIEL dealers with an MSRP of $3999 per pair.

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Benchmark have announced their new Digital to Analogue Converter the DAC2 D. The DAC2 D has the same performance of the company’s DAC2 HGC but without the analogue inputs and the 12V trigger. dac2-d-frontKeeping the specs inline with DAC2 D, it has” lower noise, lower distortion, improved accuracy, outstanding musical detail, precise stereo imaging, an advanced digital filter design, and a new high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface”. All inputs are isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark’s new UltraLock2™ jitter attenuation system. Internal digital processing and conversion is 32-bits, and includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. Four balanced 32-bit D/A converter are summed together for each balanced output. Benchmark claim that the new DAC2 D has an analogue sound.


  • Sample Rate Display
  • Word Length Display
  • More Digital Inputs (5 total)
  • More Analog Outputs (3 total)
  • Digital Pass Through
  • Native DSD Conversion
  • Polarity Switch
  • Asynchronous USB 2.0
  • Driverless Asynchronous USB 1.1
  • Home Theater Bypass
  • Power Switch
  • Low Power Consumption

Price is $1795


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KEF, the UK loudspeaker manufacturer, has announced its first ever range of headphones, the M500 (pictured) 2855_M500_straightover-ear headphones, and the M200 in-ear buds.


The over-ear M500s use a full-range 40mm neodymium driver with a super light, copper clad aluminium voice-coil that’s been tuned by KEF’s engineers to deliver a “powerfully musical sound with a tight, clean bass”.

The M500s feature an aluminium frame, with breathable and sweat resistant memory foam earpads and headband.

The frame design also features a ‘Smart Hinge’; unlike most headphones that require two hinges to fold and rotate the ear pads, the M500s’ Smart Hinge can rotate on two axes, making them adaptable to different sized (and shaped). It also allows you to fold them up into a highly compact form for carrying around.


The in-ear M200 earphones utilise a user adjustable Secure Arm that helps to keep them snug in the ear, and a rigid aluminium driver housing that” eliminates unwanted vibrations and raises sound performance to new levels”.

The M200s also use ‘DDD’ (Dual Dynamic Driver) tech, a two-way system with a 10mm driver for the bass and a 5.5mm dynamic neodymium driver for midrange and high frequencies.

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Monster, the headphone brand, has announced it is collaborating with luxury watchmaker Hublot  to create Hublot HublotInspiration – a luxury noise cancelling headphone that offers an “unprecedented music listening and lifestyle experience”.  The lightweight, rock-solid black and carbon fibre Hublot Inspiration over-ear headphones will be available this summer at Hublot retailers for EUR 1.750.00.  UK price to be announced.

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Reference Fidelity Components, under the leadership of our own Paul, has announced the launch of it’s all new, full IMG_6705range loudspeaker which they are calling the Reference Fidelio – a loudspeaker that has been created to be a “final destination”.


This floor standing loudspeaker utilises the legendary Tannoy 12 inch DC driver to deliver “breath-taking dynamics, scale and imaging”.

Each loudspeaker is hand crafted in 24mm Birch Ply and finished in a choice of real wood veneers.  Front baffle edges are made from solid American Black Walnut.

Internal crossovers are hand built using “very high quality components throughout” including Claritycap ESA capacitors and Janxten air-cored inductors. Furthermore each components is hand picked to be within 1% tolerance.

It’s a front ported design and the cabinets are said to be exceptionally stiff, with interior bracing and panel surface damping designed to reduce panel resonance amplitudes in the critical mid-range frequency area. Not surprisingly each cabinet takes 80 -90 hours to complete.

Technical Specifications

  • Frequency Response:  28Hz-20KHz (-6dB);
  • Sensitivity:  92dB/1w/1m
  • Nominal Impedance:  6 ohms (easy load)
  • 25mm Solid Birch ply braced cabinet, choice of real wood veneers and finishes;
  • 35mm ply/mdf laminated front baffle for low resonance
  • Hand built and tuned custom crossovers.
  • Net volume:  160 litres
  • Dimensions: 1280x525x425mm;  70Kg approx per loudspeaker.
  • Recommended amplifier power:  From 25 Watts, valve or solid state

Completed Loudspeakers:  £6, 495.00, Cabinets Only:  £4,950, Cabinets plus Crossovers:  £5,250 all depending on the veneers you choose.


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U.K. Hi-Fi distributor Sound Fowndations has announced the addition of the CanorTP306VR+ valve phonostage to its TP306VR+ silverportfolio of audio components.

The CANOR TP306VR+ is an all-valve phonostage featuring valve rectification.

The circuit boards feature patented CMT ™ (CANOR Milling Technology). Areas of the circuit board are precisely removed to give the circuit similar electrical characteristics to one direct wired with air dielectric cables.

Compliant rubber mountings are used for the circuit boards and valve bases to protect against microphonic distortion.

The mains transformer features grounded double copper foil internal shielding together with a screened housing to protect against electromagnetic noise. It also features a vacuum impregnated core and is potted in an anti-vibration compound to combat mechanical noise.

All signal path capacitors are audiophile Mundorf polypropylene type.

The MC input uses a high quality Lundahl step-up transformer.

A wide range of input gain, resistance and capacitance settings are easily optimised using rear panel switches.

The substantial resonance-damped chassis includes separate internal chambers for the power supply and each stereo channel to protect against noise and maximise stereo separation.

Technical Spec’

Valve compliment:1 x EZ81, 2 x 6922 4 x 6SL7

MM gain:42 dB

MM input impedance:47kΩ

MM input capacitance:100 / 220 / 470pF

MM signal to noise ratio:78dB

MC gain:56 / 62 / 68dB

MC input impedance:80, 160, 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 2000Ω @ 56dB

20, 40, 100, 200, 300, 400, 600Ω @ 62dB

5, 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150Ω @ 68dB

MC signal to noise ratio:74dB

RIAA equalisation:20Hz – 20kHz +/-0.3dB

Harmonic distortion:< 0.05% @ 1kHz

Dimensions (w x d x h):435 x 350 x 122mm


Price is £2750.00

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At this year’s High End show in Munich, visitors can experience high end audio not just limited to the home but also inPag_1 three high end motor cars.

Pagani and Sonus Faber

The exhibitor Audio Reference  from Hamburg is presenting one of the most exciting sports cars on Earth, equipped  with the exclusive Sonus Faber system.  In future, Pagani, the Italian producer of luxury sports cars, will be fitting its vehicles with these exclusive sound systems. One of the ultimate dream cars with a price tag of around  €1.4m will be at the show. (All pics are of this system)


Porche and Burmester

The Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer Porsche and the high-end audio company Burmester from Berlin have been working closely together for years now.

All in all the new Porsche  Cayenne boasts 16 speakers with a total diaphragm area of 1,400 cm2. Providing in excess  of 1,000 watts of output. This is enough to produce over 120 decibels  of sound pressure in the vehicle, meaning that a large orchestra or hard rock band can be listened to at the original volume. Each of the 16 loudspeakers is controlled by its own preamp and power amp. Technologies and materials used from Burmester’s home audio range are used in the car’s system.

Volkswagon Touareg with Dynaudio

This year Dynaudio is presenting the Volkswagen Touareg with the Dynaudio Confidence premium sound system. 620 watts, 12 speakers and the latest DSP technology are boasted. All the chassis fitted in this Volkswagen are  hand-finished components from Dynaudio’s main plant in the Danish town of Skanderborg.

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Over nearly two decades the Acutus turntable from UK manufacturer Avid, has progressed to become renowned avid_tt_blackthroughout the audio industry. Visually the turntable is a striking piece of engineering, its distinctive polished chrome finish having done much to set the fashion for open skeletal styling.
Whilst we at Hifi Pig always thought the turntable looked stunning in chrome, Avid had many requests for a black version, but  due to the complexity in perfecting the standard of finish required this never happened. Now technological improvements and bespoke tooling have allowed the possibility of Avid offering a lustrous black finish on both the Acutus SP and Acutus Reference SP.

The Acutus SP Black and Acutus Reference SP Black are available now with a UK retail price of £12,000 and £17,000.


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Not strictly Hifi but we thought this was worth sharing as it’s a festival close to our hearts here at Hifi Pig Towers.

The Vieilles Charrues festival is a huge music festival that happens yearly in the Breton town of Carhaix.

The program for this year has been announced today and includes:

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Phoenix, Rammstein, Elton John, M, Santana, The Hives, Paul Kalkbrenner, Alt-J, The Vaccines and Vitalic amongst many more.

The Vieilles Charrues festival takes place on July 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st.

Lots more acts take part in the festival from all over the world. Read more about Vieilles Charrues


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Atlas Cables has announced the launch of a new range of USB cables for computer audio applications.  Available now,Atlas USB 1 the Atlas Element USB comes in either A/B or A/B Mini form in multiple lengths from 0.5 meters to 5 meters.

Made up of parallel lay twisted-pair silver-plated high-purity OFC copper conductors encased in a high quality foamed Polyethylene dielectric, Atlas has paid particular attention to ensure that every conductor is identical in length.  Using precision equipment to measure and micro-cut each conductor “ensures there is minimal time difference between each pair”.

To combat crosstalk between the twisted pair, the ground and the power conductors, Atlas uses a triple shielding technique that isolates the differential data, power and ground conductors from each other as well as providing an integral shield around the entire cable to help reject noise.  In addition, the 95% outer screen prevents unwanted noise getting into the signal conductors, with its low inductance providing excellent transfer impedance at high frequencies.

The metal plug and head-shell connector has been designed to keep the characteristic impedance of the cable as stable as possible “to reduce jitter even further”.  

Commenting on the new Atlas Element USB, Kevin Kelly, Managing Director of Atlas Cables said, “Every aspect of our new USB cables have been designed to enhance sound quality by reducing the jitter issues normally associated with USB cables. By stripping away the problems inherent with USB and overcoming those issues with applied engineering, we feel we have developed a product that will re-set the bar to which premium USB cables will need to be judged.”  

0.5 metre  £35.00
1.0 metre  £37.50
1.5 metre  £42.50
2.0 metre £47.50
3.0 metre  £57.50
5.0 metre  £77.50


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Combining valve rectification with only two audio valves the Icon Audio MB30SE has been designed with purist MB30SEsimplicity in mind.  With an output of up to 27 watts the MB30SE is versatile and capable of high volume levels with medium to high sensitivity loudspeakers.

Using the new KT 120 output valve the MB30SE delivers a good deal more power than triodes such as the 300B and with Icon Audio’s Low Distortion Tertiary transformer on-board the KT120 can deliver a wide bandwidth.

Using high sensitivity loudspeakers the 16 watts produced in triode mode will produce realistic volume levels. However many modern speakers sacrifice efficiency for size and in such cases the MB30SE can be switched to ultralinear mode to deliver 27 watts.  Adjustable input sensitivity adds to the flexibility enabling use with either passive or active preamplifiers.

The front panel mounted bias meter allows easy checking and adjustment of the amplifier to give its best performance and also gives an indication of output power.

Every amplifier is finished and tested by Icon Audio’s team of engineers in Leicester, UK.

Features: Icon Audio MB30SE

  • 100% pure class A operation throughout
  • Valve rectification
  • Custom wound choke regulated power supply
  • Choice of low or no feedback
  • Can be used with a passive preamplifier
  • “Point to Point” hand wired for the best sound quality and reliability
  • PTFE insulated silver plated pure copper wiring
  • Fitted with Jensen™ copper foil in paper and oil audio capacitors
  • Gold plated input and loudspeaker terminals
  • Custom hand wound tertiary output transformer
  • 4 & 8 ohm loudspeaker outputs

UK Price is £1999.95 for a pair of the amplifiers.

Right!  What have you got for us after ten years then Dave…?

Critiquing a new album from someone of Bowie’s legendary status (the first in ten years no less) might well fill many a reviewer with a sense of trepidation, however this little reviewer has made critical hamburgers out of some musical sacred cows recently and he’s in no mood for mediocrity….now or ever…

All Bowie’s albums since the mid ’70s have sold very well…at times belying their less than spectacular content, and The Next Day is no different in the sales stakes; shooting to number 1 on album charts in at least 20 countries.  Well then it’s selling, but is the content deserving of such success, or is the man merely surviving on the neon glow of his name alone? More »

McIntosh Laboratory has launched the new C2500 – a valve preamp with 15 inputs. Designed to offer flexibility with mcintosh-c2500-fronttopboth digital and analogue source components, the new C2500’s input complement includes two dedicated phono inputs (MM and MC) and five digital inputs, with D/A decoding at up to 32-bit/192kHz resolution.

The five-strong digital input suite in the McIntosh Digital Engine includes two coaxial and two assignable optical inputs at 24-bit/192kHz resolution, plus a dedicated asynchronous USB 2.0 input operating at up to 32-bit. The preamp’s analogue inputs include six line-level, two balanced, plus the aforementioned Moving Magnet and (adjustable) Moving Coil inputs. The C2500 also includes McIntosh’s new internal High Drive headphone amplifier, which offers increased gain and output power.

Internally, the C2500’s power supply, digital and control circuitry has been isolated from the analogue section and the C2500 boasts the best measured performance of any single-chassis McIntosh tube preamplifier.

The C2500 contains six dual-triode tubes (12AX7A) and further features include assignable tone controls (as needed), and the ability to connect up to three power amplifiers, two of which can be switched on and off for simple multiroom configurations. A Home Theatre Pass Through feature also allows for integration into existing multichannel home theatre systems.

The C2500 sells for £7,495 and is available now.


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Jerry puts the King Rex HQ-1 headphone amplifier into his system and gives his opinions on this £600 unit. King_rex_hq-1

Read the full review here.




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Stewart Wennen takes a listen to the little Clones Audio 25i integrated amplifier and likes it a lot. clones 4

Read the full review of the Clones Audio 25i Integrated Amplifier.




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No, it‘s not Captain Kirk‘s oversized ion hairdryer on the Starship Enterprise, nor is Dr. Opera OnlyEmmet Brown‘s latest model of the flux capacitor from the time machine!

This beast is the brainchild of Andrea Pivetta and Italian electronics designer and will be on show at the Munich High End Show.

What visitors to High End 2013 show will experience, is an amplifier, which can quite literally be “walked  in”. We jokingly spoke of “walk-in” amplifiers back in the seventies with large American amplifiers, but this really is a walk in amplifier. There‘s a fine line between genius and madness, but where else would an exhibit like this be displayed, if not at the High End?

The 6-channel  amplifier is a twelve-sided cylinder, but its structure completely changes once the power is switched on. It divides itself into six separate sections to reveal all the electronics. As you can‘t always find a power supply which provides 160 kW, a bi-power system was installed so that the amplifier can also be operated with an output of 3 kW.

A sum of over €1,500,000 has been invested in the construction of this beast …the product is currently not for sale, by the way.

Technical data:
Power output:       6 x 20,000  watts RMS Class A
(max. total power output:  160,000  watts)


1250 x 1900 x 1250 mm (width x height x depth,  closed)
1850 x 2500 x 1850 mm (width x height x depth,  open)

Weight: 1,500 kg


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Meridian Audio has announced the availability of its new DSP520 Digital Active In-wall Loudspeaker.image004

The Meridian DSP520 in-wall offers the ability to create a discreet installation or mix and match them with Meridian’s freestanding loudspeakers such as the newly updated DSP7200 to create a superior Digital Theatre system.

The DSP520 can be mounted horizontally or vertically, in a wall or ceiling. It includes a paintable magnetic grille (mounting frame, installation back box, etc.) and offers scope for adjustment enabling the entire assembly to be fitted into almost any type of wall, blending seamlessly with any décor.


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Cary Audio is partnering with KEF showing three complete systems at the New York Audio Show on the 12th -14th April. image001They will also be debuting their brand new Cary Audio DAC-100 24/192 hi-resolution USB DAC and a complete Audio Electronics setup including the new Lighting 24/192 USB DAC.

Their main system will consist of Cary Audio’s reference products, such as the SLP-05 tube preamplifier, SA-500.1 500 watt solid-state mono blocks, DAC-100 USB DAC and KEF Reference 207/2 floorstanding loudspeakers.

The second system will include the CAD-120S MkII tube amplifier, SLP-03 tube preamplifier, and CD-303t CD player/DAC.

The final system system will be made up of the new Audio Electronics by Cary Audio direct product line. The Constellation tube preamplifier, Hercules tube power amplifier, Lighting solid-state hi-resolution DAC and KEF LS50 monitors.


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Clones Audio, the Hong Kong based manufacturer of gainclone amplifiers have announced the latest addition to its clones_mpsuproduct range – a power supply for the latest generation of Mac Mini called mPSU.

The ultra low-noise power supply replaces the original switching power supply in the Mac Mini and the manufacturer claims it dramatically improves performance. The simple installation takes just take 10mins and can be easily reversed for warranty issues.

Package includes:
– Custom cable for the power input of Mac Mini
– Special DC power cable for the mPSU to Mini
– The mPSU ultra low noise power supply unit

Price is $499


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The HIGH END, hifi show in Munich will offer visitors a variety of interesting talks, presentations, demonstrations and Munich_High_endworkshops with high-profile speakers on the topic of consumer electronics.

Here is a small selection of what’s on offer:

How exact  is the human  ear?
Elac electroacustic GmbH, atrium 3, first floor,  room F102
11th May – 15.00
Matthias Böde – Stereo  editor

Our hearing is far more sensitive  than you would think. Just a few millimetres difference  in the position of the sound source can significantly affect your audio impression. If you want to discover  this for yourself, drop by Elac to find out how exact the human ear is in a short workshop  with STEREO editor Matthias Böde.

Music as pure lifestyle.
Elac electroacustik GmbH, atrium 3, first floor,  room F102
Marco Kolks – Hörerlebnis  editor
Meik Wippermann – Hörerlebnis  editor

What is good music? The simplest  answer  to this question is given by Marco Kolks: “It‘s the music that you personally  like.” The genre is not very important. It doesn‘t  matter whether it‘s classical, jazz, folk, pop or whatever kind of music is preferred. The most important thing is that listening to music arouses your emotions  and moves you.
The musicologist  Marco Kolks is a professed jazz lover. He cites a selection  of tracks  which he explains at length. At the same time he gives us some insight into the everyday  life of an editor and talks about his own personal audiophile understanding influenced by almost four decades of intensive  work with High End.
Meik Wippermann is as equally skilled in technology as he is in music. His interests are in the professional scene  as well as in high fidelity. He has close contacts with recording studios  and their technical  designers. Meik Wippermann  is also personal friends with a lot of musicians. He presents the world of classical music in an entertaining and knowledgeable way. The program  of presentations will remain a secret until the exhibition.  A notice at screening room F103 (Atrium 4, first floor) will inform visitors in good time.

“State of the Art” in home  cinema.
Sony Deutschland  GmbH
Atrium 4, first floor, room F 130 and room F 128
4k – four times the resolution  compared to Full HD. Everything revolves around this topic at Sony this year. Alongside professional equipment, such as cinema projectors and studio cameras, Sony also offers high-end home cinema systems, televisions  and blu-ray players with 4k technology. Sony is probably  the only manufacturer in the world that can boast  a complete 4k range for the living room all the way to the Hollywood studios.

“Digital Concert Hall” – technology partnership with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sony Deutschland  GmbH
Atrium 4, first floor, room F 130 and room F 128
Best picture and sound quality – this is the focus of the technology partnership with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Sony are working together in this framework of technologies to continue to enhance the sound of audio products, as well as to provide live concert recordings and their digital streaming with better picture and sound quality.
The online streaming  service  “Digital Concert  Hall” makes it possible for classical fans all over the world to enjoy concerts performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the comfort  of their own living room.

Sound demonstrations
Sony Deutschland  GmbH
Atrium 4, first floor, room F 130 and room F 128
Talking about music is like dancing to architecture. This is why Sony is inviting visitors to this year‘s HIGH END to enjoy the sound of the AR1 loudspeaker themselves in a small sound demonstration.

High-end audio and multimedia systems based on the Microsoft Windows platform.
Technology stage,  Hall 3, D10
Daniel Mayerthaler AG  – Mr Daniel Mayerthaler

In future, computer-based solutions  will be increasingly used for high-quality audio and image playback. The Swiss company, Mayerthaler, is taking a new and innovative path, which the user can greatly benefit from. The DMA (Daniel Mayerthaler Assembly) concept is based on the completely open, and extremely  powerful Windows platform from the global software leader,  Microsoft.  The latest versions  also feature a generously dimensioned audio and multimedia subsystem. However, using high-quality electronics for the digital/ analogue conversion and analogue signal processing continues to be the key to providing the ultimate in musical pleasure. The modular DMA solutions enable individual customised high-quality audio and multimedia systems.

High Quality Stereo Reproduction with a Center  Channel.
Talk by Christof Faller, Illusonic GmbH, Uster, Schweiz

Christof Faller, AES Fellow and co-inventor of MP3 Surround,  will give a presentation at the HIGH END 2013 show about optimal reproduction of stereo music with three loudspeakers. This topic has been the subject  of heated debate for decades. The soundstage is only perceived faithfully in the so-called sweet spot with conventional stereo playback. The presented technique, based  on latest scientific results in acoustics and signal processing, allows reproduction of stereo signals with a high quality center channel, such that a stable soundstage is perceived from anywhere in the room.
An accompanying demonstration will be given in Room E221. Illusonic will present its
Immersive Audio Processor.


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NuForce Inc, introduces today STA-100 stereo power amplifier. IMG_7966

Similar to NuForce’s other amplifiers, the STA-100 utilizes a Class-D design topology that delivers 160-Watts per channel. Proprietary feedback circuitry operates as the cornerstone of the STA-100’s sound quality. A self-resonant design, the 400 kHz PWM switching frequency constantly adjusts to the input signal, output current demands, and loudspeaker impedance variations.

There’s not a lot going on on the front panel and so here’s a photo of the rear of the amplifier.


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