Henley Designs, exclusive UK distributors for Pro-Ject Audio Systems, are releasing a UK exclusive Xpressiopn_UKXversion of this popular Pro-Ject Carbon turntable, in the form of the 1 Xpression Carbon UKX.

The 1 Xpression Carbon UKX advances on the current model with an acrylic platter upgrade that is said to help elevate the performance of the turntable to new heights. The use of an acrylic platter negates the need for any form of mat, though the UKX continues to include felt and cork mat options to suit a wider variety of listening rooms and sound preferences.

The 1 Xpression Carbon UKX keeps all the features from the original turntable, including the one-piece carbon fibre tonearm with an over-sized assembly around the gimble bearing that draws all vibrations away from the arm tube. There’s even a pre-fitted Ortofon 2M Silver cartridge.

All 1 Xpression Carbon UKX tonearm and main bearings are hand-adjusted and tweaked by Pro-Ject’s workforce to offer the best possible performance. The new motor decoupling blobs are also hand-adjusted to tune out any motor noise that could be generated in use.

The 1 Xpression Carbon UKX is available from March 2014 at a suggested retail price £575.

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More news from Munich High-End 2014 and this time from the guys at German Physiks whose Unlimited Mk2 gpeloudspeakers we reviewed in 2013. They’ve contacted Hifi Pig to announce that they will be using a full suite of Esoteric’s new flagship Grandioso electronics in their room at the Munich High End Show in May this year. The main loudspeakers will be German Physik’s PQS-302 which have a starting price of €65 000. Other loudspeaker models being used will include Borderland Mk IV and Unlimited Mk II.

The Esoteric system (with an approximate value of €200 000) at Munich will comprise: Grandioso P-1 SACD/CD-Transport, Grandioso D-1 Mono-D/A-Converters, 2 pairs of Grandioso M-1 monoblock amplifiers, C-02 Pre-Amplifier and a G-01 Master Clock. Audio cables will be Esoteric Mexcel.

You can read all our coverage of Munich High-End 2014 in our dedicated area of the Hifi Pig site.

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More news from Munich High-End 2014 and this time from the guys at German Physiks whose Unlimited Mk2 gpeloudspeakers we reviewed in 2013. They’ve contacted Hifi Pig to announce that they will be using a full suite of Esoteric’s new flagship Grandioso electronics in their room at the Munich High End Show in May this year. The main loudspeakers will be German Physik’s PQS-302 which have a starting price of €65 000. Other loudspeaker models being used will include Borderland Mk IV and Unlimited Mk II.

The Esoteric system (with an approximate value of €200 000) at Munich will comprise: Grandioso P-1 SACD/CD-Transport, Grandioso D-1 Mono-D/A-Converters, 2 pairs of Grandioso M-1 monoblock amplifiers, C-02 Pre-Amplifier and a G-01 Master Clock. Audio cables will be Esoteric Mexcel.

Fire were a late 60’s/70’s three piece band, The Magic Shoemaker (“a fairytale opera”) was released on the Pye label in 1970 and was recorded in January 1970 at the label’s studios in London. This reissue is re-mastered from the original master tapes by Ben Wiseman at the Audio Archiving Company and released on Esoteric Recordings.

Dave Lambert (guitars, percussion, piano and vocals), Bob Voice (drums, percussion and vocals) and Didck Dufall (bass guitar and vocals) made up the band with all tracks being written by Lambert. Dave Lambert later joined The Strawbs. More »

During the Sound & Vision Show held in Bristol on 21-23 February, The Clarity Alliance ran the bristol_hifi_show_2014second of its annual “Best of Show” awards to reward the efforts put in to the show by the exhibiting companies and help raise the profile of the winners and show among the hi-fi buying public. Also announced was the first of its Honorary Fellowship awards, which went to John Dawson of Arcam.

Judges from Clarity visited every room at the show in order to select those companies they felt should be recognised for their outstanding contribution. The winners were presented with their awards on the Friday evening, at a packed awards ceremony, enabling them to then proudly display them to the show visitors over the weekend.

Chosen after very careful consideration and consultation by the judges were the following companies:

“Best Sounding Hi-Fi Room’      – Naim Audio

“Best Home Cinema Room”      – Arcam

“Best Presented Room”            – AudioQuest

“Most Innovative Room”            – Monitor Audio

“Best Stand in Open Areas”     – The Chord Company

 

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Meridian Retail Partner and Hifi Pig friends, Loud & Clear of Edinburgh is delighted to announce a Loudandclearweek of events based around Meridian products. From 4-9th of March visitors to the store will have the chance to hear all that is new from Meridian Audio including the Special Edition versions of the acclaimed DSP loudspeakers. Here are the dates:

Tuesday 4th March 13:00 – 18:00

Wednesday 5th March 10:00 – 18:00

Thursday 6th March 10:00 – 20:00

Friday 7th March 10:00 – 13:00

Saturday 8th March 10:00 – 18:00

Sunday 9th March 12:00 – TBC – (Classic Album Sunday)

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With just 90 days to go the countdown to Munich High-End 2014 has started and needless to say Hifi Pig will be there to bring you all the countdown_to Munich_high_end_2014news and pictures of the show in a series of articles on the site as well as in the Hifi Pig Magazine.

News about the what is perhaps the highlight of the European audio and hifi calender is coming thick and fast and we’ll be reporting it all in the run up to the actual show which will happen on 15th to 18th May.

Munich High-End has been happening since 1982 and 2014 will be the 33rd event. This year Munich High-End will have well over 300 exhibitors that will present more than 900 brands and it will offer a comprehensive overview of the hifi and audio market.

For those that have never visited Munich High-End it’s an absolutely huge exhibition taking place in a space of 20 000 square metres and it is packed with future technologies and more traditional audio technology too. You’ll be able to see everything from record players and valve amplifiers to the latest digital wireless systems, computer audio, audio accessories and headphones.

But Munich High-End isn’t just about the hifi and there’s a great program of live music, food… and it also represents a great opportunity to meet up with friends from all over the world.

If you’re planning on going to Munich High-End 2014 then Hifi Pig suggests that you take more than a day to cover the show as there is just so much to see, but if you can’t make don’t worry as we’ll be there to bring it all straight to your desktop. You can read our coverage of Munich High-End 2013 here.

Atlas Cables launched their new Asimi Ultra reference interconnect cable at Bristol Sound and atlas-asimi-ultra-xlr-5Vision 2014. The new interconnect is hand-built at its factory in Kilmarnock, Scotland and is available now with a UK SRP of £2750.00 for a metre pair with other lengths available upon request.

“The aim of the new Atlas Asimi project was to take a completely fresh look at cable design and to develop new techniques to create a cable that would satisfy the most demanding audiophiles for years to come. The ‘money no object’ brief looked at all areas of the design, from the materials used to create the cable and connectors through to the manufacturing processes. Specifically, we looked at whether an improved neutral high fidelity sound could be achieved using standard metal connectors, whether the capacitance load could be improved for a solid silver OCC analogue interconnect cable and whether RF (Radio Frequency) rejection performance could be improved. Throughout the development process, we conducted iterative design and testing to achieve its aims, with the resultant cable being the Asimi Ultra” said Atlas.

The Asimi Ultra uses solid silver conductors, manufactured using the “highest-quality” technique for drawing pure silver. “Ohno Continuous Cast” or OCC, used in the manufacture of high quality Atlas copper cables is said to minimise the impurity boundaries in the material by ensuring that there is less than one grain or signal-deleting crystal boundary in up to 125m of conductor!

The Dielectric

To achieve the necessary amount of protection without increasing inefficiency, Atlas has developed a new technique, which uses a microporous PTFE (Teflon) tape, which is wound around the OCC solid silver conductors, then covered again and stabilised using a protective FPE (Flexible PolyEthylene) dielectric.

The ‘Ultra’ Connector Plug

Designed in-house at Atlas, this new plug employs a novel approach to the problems of mass reduction, residual conductivity (eddy currents) and dielectric discontinuities. The all new Atlas Ultra has a 57% reduction in mass over its predecessor, employs an internal non-conductive sleeve matched to the dielectric properties of the cable (Teflon) as well as maintaining the Atlas plug attributes of solder free construction, self-cleaning insertion and material consistency.

RFI

To combat RFI, traditionally a metallic barrier (or braid) is encased around the insulated conductors and terminated at one or both ends. For the new Asimi Ultra, Atlas has developed a new system that uses two symmetrical drain wires (each attached to 180 degree segments of the plug) inserted between a 100% copper Mylar foil and SPC screen. This unique system connects the screen effectively to the cable return plug interface and provides total 360° screening, whilst not distorting the integrity of the screen in any way.

Commenting on the launch of the Asimi Ultra, Kevin Kelly, Managing Director at Atlas, said, “We are constantly researching new methods and materials based on scientific fact to increase the performance of our products. At the high end, where the Asimi Ultra sits, we feel that we have made real innovations that in time may well feature in other Atlas products.” Kelly continues, “With the launch of the Asimi Ultra, we truly believe that we have developed a cable that is a real step-up in performance and is absolutely the finest audio interconnect money can buy.”

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As we announced a few days ago when updating Hifi Pig readers about Bristol Sound and Vision, Musical_fidelity_blutoothMusical Fidelity has announced the launch of the V90-BLU – a Bluetooth receiver that can add streamed music from smartphones, tablets, MACs and PCs to any Hi-Fi system. It features an upsampling and reclocking DAC and the high-quality aptX Bluetooth audio codec. The V90-BLU sports a unique digital and analogue pass-through feature for simple connectivity options.

Specifications:

Inputs

•1 x line level RCA (phono)

•1 x RCA coaxial connector SPDIF 32-192 kbps

•1 x TOSLINK optical connector 32-96 kbps

Outputs

•1 x line level RCA (phono)

•1 x RCA coaxial connector SPDIF 32-192 kbps

•1 x TOSLINK optical connector 32-96 kbps

Available now, the V90-BLU has a UK SRP of £199.99.

 

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Audio Pro has been designing and building loudspeakers in Sweden since 1978 but they contacted livinglvsub_02_cmykHifi Pig to tell us about their latest wireless audio products consisting of floorstanding speakers, wall-mountable subwoofer, central processing hub and point-to-point wireless dongles.

Living LVHUB – multi-input wireless audio hub

With its four inputs (1 x USB, 2 x TOSLINK digital and 1 x 3.5mm stereo analogue), users are able to create a multi-source wireless audio system by connecting all sources to this hub. After the simple set up procedure (plug in and switch on), the LVHUB ‘finds’ all compatible Audio Pro Living speakers within the area and automatically connects to them. With Audio Pro’s Living system, a dedicated audio network is created, transmitting CD-quality sound wirelessly. UK SRP £250

Living LV33 – Floor standing speakers

A three-way floor standing speaker system, the LV33 utilises both direct and reflected audio technology to make speaker placement easy and fill a room with sound. Featuring a built-in bass equaliser, which allows the user to tune the speaker to the room that it is in, each LV33 can be set to be a right, left or mono speaker, which is ideal for those wanting multiple pairs in a single room or individual speakers in several rooms and is finished in Audio Pro’s trademark leather (available in black or white. UK SRP £1,300

Living LVSUB Flat – on-wall/on floor subwoofer

As either part of an Audio Pro Living wireless audio system or connected as a standard subwoofer to any audio device with a subwoofer output, the LVSUB Flat is ideal for those that want additional bass reinforcement with universal mounting options. Hung on a wall, placed on the floor or hidden under a couch, with its 200 Watt Class D amplifier, 8” (20.5cm) long-throw bass driver and DSP control, the LVSUB Flat is extremely versatile. In addition, and thanks to its finish being of the same luxurious leather (Black or white) as the other models in the Audio Pro Living range, it is a subwoofer that can be shown off rather than hidden away.UK SRP£450

Living LVSUB Flat – on-wall/on floor subwoofer

The LVSUB Flat is for those that want additional bass reinforcement with universal mounting options. It can be hung on a wall, placed on the floor or hidden under a couch and has a 200 Watt Class D amplifier, 8” (20.5cm) long-throw bass driver and DSP control.. In addition, and thanks to its finish being of the same luxurious leather (Black or white) as the other models in the Audio Pro Living range, it is a subwoofer that can be shown off rather than hidden away. UK SRP £150.

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Lector has contacted Hifi Pig to tell us about their new tube output CD player. The new rounded shape lctorcdp603CD player is said to offer better rigidity and mechanical vibration control and the CD player has a new laser mechanism that is said to be highly accurate. A specially designed rubber suspension is employed to further reduce both internal and external vibration and inside new servo circuits based on a 32 bit microprocessor are used.

The on-board DAC board is a 32 bit 192 KHz low jitter design and output is pure class A to tubes without any solid state device in the signal path.

Only one polyprop capacitor is in the signal path and several power supply circuits are employed with “great capacitor reserve”.

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The all-new Laminar Streamer from LessLoss is undergoing final development and laminar_Streamer_LessLossfinishing and Louis from LessLoss got in touch to tell us about its progress and share a few photographs.

The Laminar Streamer has been designed to “solve the problem of digital audio harshness by using only a single clock source for the formation of the pristine digital audio stream” and although the device plays .wav and .aiff files off of SD cards, LessLoss did not incorporate the use of Windows, MAC OS, or Linux for its operating system. Instead, from the ground up, a dedicated audiophile operating system was built for the task of serving data while avoiding jitter.

The Laminar Streamer’s in house operating system runs synchronously at the audio sampling rate via the same audio clock used for the formation of the audio data stream.

The new Laminar Streamer will play any .wav or .aiff file from FAT32 formatted SD cards, any standard sampling rate files, from 44.1 kHz through 192 kHz files and 16 or 24 bit files at any standard sampling rate.

A small screen will display folder names, file names, sampling rates, absolute phase polarity, playback mode.

The main body for the Laminar Streamer is Panzerholz.

Price: to be announced.

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The Bristol Show Sound and Vision 2014 is one of the major dates in the UK hifi and audiophile calender. Here are a few photographs of some of the hifi taken at this years  Bristol show Sound and Vision 2014.

Thanks to Hifi Pig reader Justin for the photographs. More »

Monitor Audiobristol

Monitor Audio will be showing off their Airstream A100 network-ready amplifier which combines the latest wireless streaming technologies with an audio system design to bridge the divide between a world of digital music and hi-fi speakers.

Karma-AV

At around £6.5k a piece retail, the new Primare 60 Series pre-power marks the marques return to the high-end music system market, “reprising the iconic designs of previous decades with state-of-the-art audio streaming performance and striking two-tone bodywork”. Karma-AV will also have Golden Ears much lauded Triton Seven loudspeakers (£1400 a pair) and the new SB-2000 and PB-2000 subs prced at £650 and £739 respectively.

 

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Quad celebrates 78 years of audio innovation with the world-debut of Vena at Sound & Vision – the Bristol Quad_vena_hifi_newsShow. Available from May with a prospective price tag of around £600, Vena combines a DAC and integrated amp in a single chassis, offering wireless Bluetooth connectivity alongside an extensive range of inputs and outputs. D/A conversion is handled by the same 24-bit/192kHz chipset used in Quad’s Platinum CD players, while support for the aptX codec ensures superior sound quality over Bluetooth.

The Class AB power amp section delivers 45W per channel into 8 ohms. Finishes include premium piano black, piano white and wood, Vena looks to be an exceptionally neat and simple solution and can be used with smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs as well traditional hi-fi separates.

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The £200 rDock-uni from Arcam is an audiophile docking station for iPhone/Pad/Pod, that allows connection to any rdock_uniform of Hi-Fi, Home Cinema or Audio system. The rDock-uni features the new Lightning connector for all current iDevices and USB for older ones, the user just has to “Dock & Play”!

You can choose to use the internal DAC (Burr-Brown/TI PCM1502) on the rDock-uni, or send a digital signal directly to an external DAC.  It has full IR remote control of docked device (handset included) and control integration with Arcam’s Solo neo, Solo mini and Arcam AV Amps

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The Chord Company (very busy at the moment judging by Hifi Pig’s news section) has launched a new range of Japanese-made isolation devices called Silent Mount. The Picture 1517devices, which come in packs of four, can be used with a wide range of spike-equipped audio products, including floorstanding speakers, speaker stands and equipment racks.

Silent Mounts are handmade in Japan from a combination of stainless steel and brass, and have been designed to improve the contact between the spikes widely fitted to ancillary audio equipment and the floor. “Even with hard-surface flooring, the pressure at the tip of each spike is extremely high; Silent Mounts make it far easier to stabilise equipment racks, speakers and speaker stands, whilst bringing noticeable sonic improvements”. Say The Chord Company.

Three types of Silent Mount are available: SM5A, SM7A and SM5A T (titanium variants).  SM5A Silent Mounts have a 50mm diameter, will support up to 50kg each and are designed for use with hi-fi racks. SM7As (70mm) have been designed for use with floorstanding and stand-mount loudspeakers and will also support up to 50kg each. 

SM5A Ts are identical to the SM5A, but are crafted from titanium and stainless steel, a combination of materials that  The Chord Company say “offers numerous sonic benefits over the brass/steel variants, including improvements to timing, dynamics and coherence, with better imaging and definition of instruments, plus a much improved placing of voices within the soundstage”.

All Silent Mounts are supplied with a set of thin self-adhesive felt pads. If the target product is sited on anything other than a carpeted floor, the felt pads should be fitted to the base of each Silent Mount.

Price

SM5A £299

SM7A £339

SM5A T (titanium) £599

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Bristol Sound and Vision hifi show takes place this coming weekend at the Marriott City Centre Hotel. Here’s an bristolupdate of some of the brands that will be attending the show.

Chord Electronics will be hosting the European launch of Hugo, “the world’s most advanced mobile DAC/headphone amp”. Just like its high-end stable-mates, Hugo is based on Chord Electronics’ proprietary FPGA DAC technology, “putting it in a different league to standard DACs with off-the-shelf chips”.

Chord Electronics will also be playing their reference-level streamer, the DSX1000 and the SPM1400 monoblocks. Show visitors can also see the new CodeX streamer and put questions to the Chord team, including Chord’s newest recruit, ex-Naim stalwart, Alan Ainslie.

Computer Audio Design (CAD), winners of Bristol Sound and Vision 2013’s ‘Best-sounding hi-fi room’, will be showing two brand new products – the CAD CABLE (USB cable) and CAD CAT (dedicated computer audio transport). In addition to the CAD CABLE USB cable, a dedicated USB-audio interconnect incorporating patent-pending designs, CAD is also launching the CAD CAT, a bespoke computer audio transport specifically designed to extract the best performance from digitally stored music. Scott Berry, CAD founder will also be on hand to show the new products, answer questions and play CAD’s award-winning DAC, the 1543.

The Chord Company will be showing a huge range of new products. Room 112 will see demonstrations, by Technical Director Nigel Finn, of the new Ethernet and digital interconnect range, plus the world debut of two new products: Signature Reference speaker cable and Silent Mount isolation devices.

In The Chord Company’s main foyer position, the team will be giving headphone and cable demonstrations using the recently launched Chameleon, Chorus, Anthem and Signature interconnect cables.

Atlas Cables 2014 will have the worldwide premier of its new Asimi Ultra reference interconnect cable. Following two years in development, Atlas has made “huge technological breakthroughs and produced what is widely considered to be one of the best reference cables available, even better”. The Atlas Asimi Ultra interconnect cable is hand-built at its factory in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

Musical Fidelity has announced the launch of the V90-BLU – a Bluetooth receiver that is ideal for adding streamed music from smartphones, tablets, MACs and PCs to any hi-fi system. Featuring an upsampling and re-clocking DAC and the high-quality aptX Bluetooth audio codec, the V90-BLU sports a unique digital and analogue pass-through feature for numerous (yet simple) connectivity options. 

More updates to follow…

 

 

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UK audio and video cable manufacturer and creator, The Chord Company has launched a nePicture 1543w version of its Signature speaker cable. Called Signature Reference, the new cable has been completely redesigned and builds on its predecessor’s performance say Chord Company.

“The all-new Signature Reference has been created using the lessons learned developing The Chord Company’s flagship speaker cable, Sarum. This development has enabled the Chord Company’s engineers to transform the original Signature cable, by implementing new shielding, a new conductor-spacing configuration and new materials in the shield”.

The new Signature Reference is hand-crafted in the same way as the original Signature, with each set made to order in The Chord Company’s purpose-built Wiltshire factory. The cable’s two conductors are held in place with a precision-machined aluminium clamp and are twisted along their length (twisted-pair configuration) to improve flexibility; Signature Reference is markedly more flexible than the original Signature.

The aluminium clamp has been designed to hold the cable securely whilst avoiding any compression — The Chord Company say their research and experimentation has shown that compression of the shield and insulation on either speaker or interconnect cable, can alter its performance characteristics.

“It is extremely neutral, musically transparent and capable of producing profound improvements in a wide variety of differently priced systems. It also introduces many of the outstanding and widely documented capabilities of the flagship Sarum speaker cable”. Say Chord Company.

Signature Reference has 10 AWG multi-stranded conductors, like Signature.  However, where the Signature conductors were oxygen-free copper, the Signature Reference has silver-plated oxygen-free copper conductors, which bring it into line with Epic Reference and Sarum models.

The insulation has been changed, too: Signature Reference has PTFE insulation where the original Signature had polyethylene. 

A higher density braided shield has been applied to the Signature Reference, and the spacing between the conductor and shield has been optimised to improve performance. 

Both Signature and Signature Reference have PVC outer jackets.  However, the new Signature Reference has a different density of PVC which is used on several of The Chord Company’s cables to “help minimise mechanical noise”. 

As standard, Signature Reference is fitted with The Chord Company’s own custom-machined gold-plated banana plugs.  These are produced in the UK to Chord’s specification and are plated with 24-carat gold.  Chord can also fit gold-plated spade connectors and BFA Camcon connectors.  Like Signature, Signature Reference is available in either red and black, or all- black. 

Signature Reference (1.5 metre pair) £600

 

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