Rois Acoustics, in cooperation with Audio4Soul, whose digital amp/DAC we reviewed a while ago, has launched rois_acoustics_kalypso_loudspeakerstheir new Kalypso loudspeaker.

Kalypso is an active, one-way loudspeaker, which uses a full range drive unit mounted on a rear horn-loaded cabinet and driven by a built-in true digital amplifier. With a full line of digital inputs (asynchronous 24bit/192kHz USB, coaxial, optical), Kalypso’s remote controlled amplifier combines the operation of a DAC, pre- and power amplifier in a single-stage signal processing unit.  The amplifier is equipped with a series of user selectable digital EQ filters which allow the user to adjust Kalypso’s tonal balance according to the acoustics of the listening room.

Rois Acoustics said “The design philosophy behind the development of Kalypso is that of absolute simplicity and minimal signal path as means to achieve the highest level of naturalness and transparency of sonic reproduction. The single-stage true digital amplifier, the absence of crossover and the non-resonant design of the speaker cabinet ensure that the music information is subjected to the minimum possible processing and degradation during its transformation from raw digital data to final sound”.

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Kronos Audio have said that they will be introducing their new turntable, the Sparta at this years CES. Kronos_Sparta

The Sparta maintains the company’s patented dual counter-rotating suspended technology but offers it a lower priced package.

“We are very excited to offer this performance breakthrough to a wider audience. We have included into Sparta all the core technical elements that have made Kronos a resounding success. We have achieved lower manufacturing cost by streamlining production processes, by innovating the use of efficient materials and by introducing novel engineering solutions” stated Kronos’ president Louis Desjardins.

A variety of tonearms will be able to be used on the new turntable ranging from 9” to 10.5” and a version of the company’s Black Beauty tone-arm (10.5” and exclusive to the Sparta) will be available in limited numbers.

Shipping dates is expected to be March of 2014 and the price is $21 000.

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Wilson audio have announced the Sasha Series-2 loudspeaker. Wilson say that with the Sasha Series-2 precise Sasha S2 Seamless-14time alignment, “so critical to harmonic expression, dynamic clarity and musicality, has reached an unprecedented degree of refinement for a two cabinet loudspeaker”r.

The Sasha Series-2 uses a modified version of the company’s Convergent Synergy Tweeter used in the Alexandria XLF the company has developed a new woofer enclosure for the new Sasha which they say means a 30% reduction in (already vanishingly low) cabinet resonances.

The Midrange/Tweeter enclosure of the Sasha Seires-2 is a two plane baffled unit which “optimises the axis response angles of the midrange unit and the CST tweeter” The tweeter portion of the baffle is made from the latest generation of Wilson’s X-Material as used in the Alexia whilst the mid-range portion of the baffle is made from S-material.

The original Sasha facilitated group delay via four different spike lengths but the Series-2 features an Alexia type alignment block with more than 20 settings which Wilson says “radically increases the accurate alignment of the Sasha drivers in the time domain and is said to give greater transient accuracy, tonal beauty, spatial retrieval and musicality”.

Shipment for existing orders is expected to be late February 2014 and the price of the Sasha series-2 is $29 900.

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The Stereo 845 features four matched 845 valves, two 6SL7 first stage valves, two 6SN7 output driver valves icon845stereoand a GZ34 driver stage rectifier. The four 845s can be user-calibrated using Icon Audio’s built-in ‘easy bias’ meter and deliver a rated continuous output of 40 watts per channel.

While Icon’s MB845 monoblocks achieve around a 100-watt output from a push-pull pair of 845s, in the Stereo 845 they have deliberately allowed the valves to operate in a much more relaxed manner, being only pushed to produce 40 watts. “Forty watts is ample power to obtain a high volume in most situations,” says David Shaw, Icon Audio’s founder and designer of the new Stereo 845. “Surprisingly, the difference in maximum volume capability between a 100-watt and a 40-watt amp is only 3.9db”.

“You could say that this amplifier has been twelve years in the making,” says David Shaw, “as we’ve drawn on all our experience and expertise in designing and manufacturing it. The 845 is a superb valve and in this amp, everything possible has been done to allow the 845 to work its magic.”

The Stereo 845 can be ordered as a ‘David Shaw Signature’ version featuring Jensen copper foil oil-in-paper capacitors and premium valves.

 ·         Pure Class A triode front end

·         Pure triode 845 push-pull output stage

·         The four 845s can be user-calibrated using Icon Audio’s built-in ‘Easy Bias’ meter

·         All hand wired point to point to optimise sound and reliability

·         Low distortion tertiary-wound output transformers, potted to reduce noise

·         Solen/SCR audiophile quality capacitors

·         Silver plated pure copper PTFE audio cable

·         Gold plated input and loudspeaker terminals

·         Four line inputs

·         Record loop

·         Remote control volume

·         Attractive Plexiglas® valve cover included

·         May also be used as a power amplifier

Price in the UK is £5999.95

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Following the launch of the Prime Headphone Amplifier, Meridian has announced the introduction of the Prime MeridianPSUPower Supply, a reference-quality, high-current design based on the new linear power supplies developed for Meridian’s 800 Reference Series and specifically built for audio applications. 

The Meridian Prime Power Supply can be used to power a range of Meridian products including the Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier, Audio Core 200, Meridian Director and Media Source 200. The addition of Prime Power Supply to these products provides an enhancement in their performance, much like supercharging a car’s engine.

 £800

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Ted Martin was a VIP guest of honour at Meridian’s Huntingdon HQ on 17th December in an event held to image004celebrate the fact that Martins Hi-fi is Meridian’s longest serving retail partner.  Ted and his brother Mike founded Martins Hi-Fi in January 1968.  Sadly Mike died in 1979 leaving Ted to carry on the business with the same tradition of personal service, integrity and reliability that has positioned the store as Norfolk’s leading independent Hi-Fi and Home Cinema specialist retailer.

To commemorate the event, and the partnership, Meridian produced a one off commemorative plaque to celebrate the 45 year anniversary. 

Ted commented ‘Having heard good things about Lecson back in the seventies led to the first contact with Bob Stuart and Allen Boothroyd and of course later Meridian. Realising that Bob and Allen had the design and technology that was far ahead of anything else it made sense for Martins Hi-fi to retail their products.  Now, 45 years later, Martins are still with Meridian as Premium Partners and Bob and Alan are still leading the field with design and technology!’

Raven Audio’s Nighthawk is an integrated amplifier that is self-biasing so you never have to adjust tubes. The chassis Raven_Nighthawkis manufactured of sturdy 14-gauge carbon steel with an aircraft-grade aluminium faceplate and a small-signal tube plate on top. At $1,595 it would seem Raven Audio doesn’t skimp on quality; the handles are made of schedule-20 carbon steel with knobs machined from aircraft-grade aluminium.

“The 20wpc Nighthawk Integrated delivers a wideband, smooth, detailed and very present, very palpable sound with a polished look and feel. You’ll hear with your ears with the added dimensions of emotion and excitement, a nearness to the music that makes everything breathtakingly real” say Raven Audio.

 

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Resonessence Labs are a Canadian company whose DACs we had reviewed in the past. We’d ben told very good HERUS-LRthings about their little Herus DAC and headphone amp  and so Hifi Pig got Danny Worth to give it a listen.

“The presentation of the sound was crisp and clean, with a great openness to the vocal, a typical sound for these headphones I felt.”

Read the full Herus Review.

 

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Parasound have introduced a new version of their Halo JC 3 phono preamplifier, the Halo JC 3+. The new version Parasound_phonoadds independent load adjustment for MC cartridges and improvements to the dual mono phono module circuit boards which have been designed by John Curl.

“Six years ago we asked John Curl if he would create a reasonably priced Parasound Halo phono preamp with ultra low noise, in the spirit of his masterpiece, the Vendetta,” said Richard Schram, the founder of Parasound. “Three years later we introduced the remarkable Parasound Halo JC 3 which has earned rave reviews from the audiophile press and a legion of vinyl enthusiasts.”

Curl and circuit board designer Carl Thompson eventually consented to including variable load impedance adjustments, but with these caveats for the potentiometers: They must comply with stringent performance requirements and they must be manufactured by Vishay. At that time Vishay did not offer a potentiometer that met these specific requirements. However they recognized an opportunity, and eventually agreed to develop the part and manufacture it in small quantities for Parasound. The outcome of this effort is the Parasound Halo JC 3+.

The Parasound Halo JC 3+ will be available in late December in both silver and black finishes, and will have a suggested retail price of $2,850.

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Quad has unveiled the 9AS – a pair of compact active speakers complete with an inbuilt DAC (from Quad’s 3198_Quad_9AS_(ruby_red)Elite series of CD players) allowing coupling up of desktop and laptop computers, disc players and other digital devices. Preamp functionality allows users to switch between multiple digital and analogue sources, and also adjust volume levels on the speaker or via remote control.

“The 9AS loudspeaker is small enough to sit on a desk or shelf, yet large enough to deliver a powerful and detailed high-resolution sound” say Quad. The loudspeaker can also function as a near-field studio monitor with a “smooth frequency response, supplemented by a three-position bass EQ facility that equalises the low-frequency response for free standing, shelf and close-to-wall mounting”.

Digital connections are provided via asynchronous USB and S/PDIF (optical and coaxial), all capable of receiving audio data up to 24-bit/192kHz, supplemented by line-level RCA inputs for analogue signals. A side-mounted 3.5mm input is also included for connection of portable audio devices.

Each 9AS pair comprises a ‘master’ and a ‘slave’, both containing 100 watts of Class AB power amplification – the amplifier is housed in a cast aluminium chassis bonded to the base of the cabinet. The master speaker accepts all inputs and handles volume and input selection, operated via a touch-sensitive panel on the base of the speaker (a remote control is also supplied), while the slave speaker is fed via a line-level output from the master speaker. An output for an external subwoofer is also included.

Quad 9AS is available from this month with an SRP of £599.95 per pair finished in a choice of
high-gloss black, high-gloss white or ruby red.

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Young consumer electronics brand i-box unveils Max – big brother to its recently launched portable wireless 3192_Max_background_4speaker, Trax. Like its sibling, Max is a Bluetooth, NFC-ready design, clad in i-box’s distinctive orange and black livery and designed to be used with all manner of smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

However, while Trax is small enough to pop into a bag whilst traveling, Max is a larger and more powerful sound system. Its tough exterior measures 292x127x139mm (WxHxD) and packs in a pair of 5cm full-range drivers, supplemented by a rear-ported 7.5cm low-frequency radiator. These are driven by a fully integrated, Class D amplifier delivering 30W RMS.

Bluetooth 4.0, with support for the superior aptX codec, A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) and EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) is included and frequency response can be individually tailored to suit the music and sound quality of the file being played, thanks to bass and treble controls located at the back of the unit.

Max can be powered from the mains or via its built-in rechargeable Lithium battery for portable convenience, with up to 10 hours playback from each charge. A pair of USB outputs is also included, turning Max into a portable power source from which smartphones and tablets may be charged.

Speaking about Max’s design, i-box’s founder and director Karl Thomas said: “If you’re paying over £100 for a Bluetooth speaker, you want it to be loud and you want to have control over your sound – I know I do. That’s why we made Max powerful, incorporated aptX ‘CD-quality’ sound, and added features like independent bass and treble controls, for maximum enjoyment whatever you’re listening to. Truly, this is a wireless speaker that takes your music to the Max!”

Price £149

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Hifi Pig gave you a sneaky peak of the new all in one player from Cyrus Audio way back in September and now the lyric_1company has officially announced the launch of its Lyric Series – its first ever all-in-one music system range.

At launch, two products are available; Lyric 09 and Lyric 05

  • Lyric 09 – UKSRP £3000.00 – 170 watts per channel into 8 Ohms and advanced 32 bit/192 kHz up sampling DAC
  • Lyric 05 – UKSRP £2250.00 – 80 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms and 24bit/192 kHz DAC

Lyric 05 gets a 24bit/192kHz DAC whilst the range-topping Lyric 09 gets the advanced 32bit/192kHz DAC with upsampling, developed for the company’s Signature series.

There’s an onboard streamer and the free Cadence app to control it as well as Bluetooth connectivity plus two USB inputs, a CD player and FM and DAB radio.

Headphone users get a  Class A headphone circuit designed to drive even the most demanding of headphones.

The Lyric range offers:

  • Streaming of 24 bit 192kHz high resolution lossless files, based on Stream X2
  • Bluetooth with A2DP and aptX codec
  • CD player based on CD t
  • 32 bit DAC with 192kHz file compatibility and up-scaling (Lyric 09 only – Lyric 05 has 24 bit/192kHz file compatibility)
  • Hybrid power amplifier (Lyric 09 – 170 Watts per channel into 8Ohms; Lyric 05 – 80 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms)
  • Automated loudspeaker analysis with impedance matching
  • Automatic ambient light adjustment
  • High resolution colour screen
  • Touch sensitive black glass panel
  • Backlit icons
  • Proximity sensing display
  • DSP tone controls
  • DAB+ radio
  • FM radio
  • Internet radio
  • USB Made for iPad with charging (Front and rear)
  • USB aux front, for pen drives / phone / MP3 player etc.
  • 2 x optical SPDIF aux inputs
  • 2 x co-axial SPDIF aux inputs
  • 1 x analogue aux input
  • Non-ferrous, aluminium chassis.
  • Headphone amplifier
  • iPad Cadence app offering full system control
  • IR remote handset
  • Consumer software update option

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iFi have announced the iCAN, a palm sized 167g battery powered, 150mW headphone amplifier. The onboard lithium-icanpolymer 1400mAh battery is said to give over 70 hours of juice and the company’s DirectDrive output with no coupling capacitors is said to offer  “smooth, natural sonics and bass slam”.

Input is via a either a pair of RCAs or a 3.5mm jack whilst output is via a 6.3mm headphone socket.

Retail price in the UK is £149.

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Kimberly Wyatt of Pussycat Dolls fame was recently announced as the face for the Monster iSport FREEDOM OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeadphones so we thought the best person to review them was Linette (with a useful addition by Harry our 16 year old and fairly active son) as clearly the other reviewers for Hifi Pig don’t really fall into the target market for this particular headphone.

Headphone manufacturers seem to have cottoned on to the fact that it’s not just performance focused audiophiles that will be buying their products, the whole Head-Fi market is opening up the world of high-fidelity sound to a broader spectrum of people, people that want the feeling of luxury and quality in every aspect of their purchase.”

Read the full review of the Monster iSport FREEDOM Headphones.

 

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Audioengine has launched two new products clearly aimed at lovers of computer-based music.A2W front

First up is the Audioengine D3, a 24-bit USB DAC and headphone amp. It slots into the USB socket of any Mac or PC and “instantly improve the audio output to headphones, powered speakers or any music system”. No additional power supply, cables or software required.

Key D3 features:

• Stream bit-perfect native 24/96 HD audio

• Headphone amp

• Plug-and-play: no drivers or software to install

• Durable, aluminium case

• 3.5-6.3mm headphone adapter included

The Audioengine D3 is available now for £165.

Next up is an update to Audioengine’s A2 speakers. They’ve added a USB DAC, new power supply and other enhancements. There’s also an optional W3 adapter which allows the A2+ to become wireless stereo speakers – without the audio compression of Bluetooth.

Key A2 + features:

• Built-in USB DAC

• 30W per channel amplification

• Work with all computers, phones & tablets – and anything with an audio output

• All cables included

• Wireless with an Audioengine W3 adapter or by adding an AirPort Express for AirPlay.

The Audioengine A2+ comes in satin black or high-gloss white finishes. The speakers are available priced £215. The optional W3 audio adapter is £125.

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The Chord Company’s Epic loudspeaker cable, has been upgraded with the release of Epic Reference. The new Picture 1305upgraded version is said to bring “even greater accuracy across a wider bandwidth than the original and brings all the performance benefits of separately shielded conductor construction”.

Epic Reference is based on 2×12 AWG 19-strand silver-plated oxygen-free copper conductors (in twisted-pair configuration), with each conductor set enjoying its own shield. The Chord Company strongly believes that to obtain the most neutral tonal characteristic from silver-plated conductors it is vital to use PTFE insulation. A PVC spacer jacket is then applied to correctly space the conductor in relation to the dual-layer shielding, which comprises a high-density braid and overlapped foil. The external jacket is PVC.

“Epic Reference is particularly good at helping systems sound coherent and musical. It has been comprehensively tested during the development phase and has been carefully designed to help reveal the true potential of high-quality systems and loudspeakers.” say the company, adding “Epic Reference’s ability to carry audio signals with a high degree of accuracy makes it particularly ideal for wide-bandwidth floor standing loudspeakers: one of the major benefits of shielded speaker cable is the definition and control brought to bass, which is not only useful in a multitude of musical performances, but really helps produce properly coherent rhythm illustrating just how close the relationship is between a drummer and the a bass-player in an conventional band set-up, for example”.

Specifications

Conductors: 2x 12 AWG 19-strand silver-plated oxygen-free copper

Conductor insulation: PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene)  

Internal conductor surround: PVC spacer jacket

Shielding: dual-layer, high-density braid and overlapped foil

External jacket: PVC

Configuration: twisted-pair 

Diameter: 2x 7.3mm

Colour: Translucent brown

Terminations: Chord 24-karat gold-plated banana plugs; direct gold plated-copper spade connectors, plus BFA Camcon connectors

Price

Single metres: £125

2 metre pair: £500

3 metre pair: £750

5 metre pair: £1,250

Hifi Pig will have a 3m pair of the Chord Epic Reference loudspeaker cable to give away in our next magazine published January 1st. Subscribe now to be reminded of the next issue’s launch date.

 

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Akiko Audio, whose Tuning Sticks Danny reviewed last month, have introduced a new power block called the Powerbase Quattro. It’s built from high quality aluminium and powerbase_quatrostabilised with block connections, whereby the Furutech inlets are firmly anchored to the base.

Akiko’s Aerostar wires made from eight runs of silver plated copper wire and isolated by air and PTFE with a shielding for the ground is used throughout but Akiko also add their own tuning in the form of a black resin that is designed to stabilise and prevent vibrations.

 

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