US manufacturer Exogal (out of this galaxy) launched their Comet DAC at the Munich High end show but we somehow missed out on it so here is the latest news from them.
The base configuration includes balanced and unbalanced analogue outputs, digital volume control, and asynchronous USB input with audio signals being processed using Exogal up-sampling and filtering technology. The USB input can accept up to 32-bit/192kHz PCM data rates and the Comet provides true balanced and single ended analogue outputs.
The Comet can be controlled by the Exogal wireless remote console, the SR-71, an Android phone or tablet (running 4.3 or higher with Bluetooth 4.0 support) or an iPad (coming soon), iPhone 4s or newer, or iPod Touch.
• Asynchronous USB, AES/EBU, SPDIF, Toslink, and line level Analogue inputs
• Direct connection analogue outputs with 32-bit Digital Volume Control
• Analogue Outputs: one pair balanced (XLR), one pair unbalanced (RCA), one stereo Headphone
• Single ended and balanced analogue outputs can be used simultaneously. Single ended outputs can be programmed as stereo, or centre/subwoofer operation. Single ended outputs have a programmable offset level from balanced outputs
• Works with the EXOGAL Console wireless aluminium remote system console or EXOGAL SmartRemote (SR-71) an Android phone or tablet (running 4.2 or higher with BLE support) or an iPad, iPhone 4s or newer, or iPod Touch.
- High Speed upgrade includes 384k and DSD capabilities
Marantz have joined forces with The Chord Company whereby people who buy their NA-11S1 network audio player and DAC will receive a free set of Chord Company cables worth over £1000. The offer is only available from participating Marantz “Premium” dealers and the offer will end on 31st August 2014.
Participating dealers include:
Musical Images – Beckenham
Sevenoaks Sound & Vision – Southampton
Adams & Jarrett – St Leonards on Sea
Sevenoaks Sound & Vision – Epsom
Phase 3 – Worthing
Canterbury Hi Fi – Canterbury
Peter Tysons – Carlise & Newcastle
Audible Fidelity – Daventry
Music Matters – Hatch End
Vickers Hi Fi – York
Here’s an interesting and practical concept that we’ve just come across and I’m sure will be a bit of a boon for vinyl collectors wanting to keep track of their valuable records. Basically these simple but clever dividers are a collection of typographic laser cut wood panels for alphabetizing and organizing vinyl records as well as books and other media.
Each set of durable laser-engraved wood dividers is handcrafted in San Francisco by Kate Koeppel Design and a team of craftswomen (and men). The collection includes styles for 12″ and 7″ records, stored vertically or horizontally with the 7″ sets being suitable for organizing books and other media on bookshelves. The collection starts at $150 rising to $410.
Speaking to Kate about the dividers she said “Initially we set out to find a beautiful solution to organize our growing vinyl record collection. After a lengthy search, we discovered only a few products existed – nearly all of them plastic, ugly, poorly made, or a combination of all three. In the summer of 2013, I set out to build a better organizational solution that would be both useful and aesthetically pleasing”.
The Belles Soloist S1 phonostage has been designed taking into account the problems that arise from playing a record, namely radio frequency interference and electromagnetic interference.
The Soloist S1 phono stage features fully discrete components, separated MM and MC circuitry and high quality linear power supply with several layers of regulation.
Belles say that “The Belles Soloist S1 phonostage produces a high involving and enjoyable sound, coupled with lovely tonal qualities, great bass texture and control. It all adds up to a serious good musical phono that will enhance your system”.
•Frequency response 20 Hz to 20KHz + or – 0.05 db
•Gain MM 34 dB MC 26dB MM + MC 60dB
•Hum and noise MM greater than 80 dB, MC greater than 66
•Distortion 0.05 % IM and THD
•Overload MM 0.52 volts, MC 0.025 volts @ 1000 Hz
•Input Impedance MM 47,000 ohms, MC 1000 ohms
•Size 192mm W x 78mm x H 52mm D280
The good people at NuNu Distribution got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us that as a part of a series of events marking the 21st year of Sonneteer the Sonneteer Orton integrated amplifier has been elevated to MK IV status. The Sonneteer Orton name will be familiar to many Hifi Pig readers I’m sure as it’s firmly established as a bit of a hi-fi classic.
The Orton has had some changes for 2014 which incorporates both an aesthetic upgrade and some circuit design upgrades which they say result in improved sound quality and looks.
Orton observers will note that the MK IV now sports a fully machined aluminium and stainless steel remote control handset which looks rather smart and features polished stainless steel ball-buttons which are also mirrored on the amp’s fascia. The handset, as well as aesthetic beauty, boasts an internal rechargeable battery and an LED torch light for that little extra help when trying to wire up the rear of the amplifier. The battery charges from any powered USB port be it on a phone charger or PC and should last at least a year from one charge under normal use.
Internally the control system power supply (the Orton has three power supplies) has been improved with careful revisions and in conjunction with design changes to the circuit board mountings, all culminating to deliver what Sonneteer are calling “pleasing improvements to an already highly regarded amplifier”.
Hifi Pig is pleased to announce that we have added a FREE CLASSIFIED SECTION to our website as an extra small service to our readers.
Listings are FREE to both trade and public to sell used equipment with no fees whatsoever.
The pages are brand new and will populate as users add their listings to the pages. We have tried to include all areas of secondhand hifi as well as music for sale.
As well as secondhand items for sale, each category of kit has a Wanted section so that you can also post if you are looking to find a specific item.
Music For Sale
Make your FREE listing now…it’s really simple!
Quad celebrates 78 years In business with the launch of Vena: a compact integrated amplifier sporting a wide range of digital and analogue inputs, plus wireless streaming over Bluetooth with aptX support.
Just 313mm wide, the diminutive Vena updates the familiar Quad aesthetic, yet remains distinctly ‘Quad’. A neat row of source-selection buttons and a large, smooth-acting volume control adorn its fascia.
Vena’s built-in DAC incorporates the same 24-bit/192kHz chipset used in the company’s flagship Platinum CD player and the Class AB power amp section sports “exemplary design and implementation”. A headphone source is also built in, accessed via a front-mounted socket, which we at Hifi Pig think is a great addition.
Quad selected Bluetooth wireless transmission to ensure compatibility with the widest possible range of devices, and pairing the amp with smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs is easy say the company.
Inputs for digital source components comprise two optical and one coaxial, plus two asynchronous USB sockets: one Type A, the other Type B. The latter is the type most commonly used for connecting PCs/Macs to audio devices like Vena; the former allows Apple iDevices to be docked, charged and played via a cable connection. Digital outputs are also provided, in optical and coaxial flavours. Analogue signals are catered for by two stereo RCA inputs, while pre-out sockets permit the addition of an external power amp. In terms of Bluetooth, support for the aptX codec ensures the best possible audio quality when streaming from suitably equipped devices.
Vena is finished in Quad’s classic ‘Lancaster Grey’ as standard, augmenting the metalwork’s smoothly curved edges to create an elegantly understated appearance. For those with more exotic tastes, three premium finish options will launch later this year – piano black, piano white and real rosewood – ensuring Vena complements any domestic setting.
It’s available from mid-August in the standard Lancaster Grey finish, at an RRP of £599.95. The three premium finish options will launch towards the end of 2014 and add £100 to the price tag.
Lampizator’s new DAC, the DSD DAC , is the first true DSD converter that works purely in the analogue domain… ie. There is no DAC converter chip or any digital processing going on in the thing at all.
The company comment says “The combination of tubes, DSD and Duelund caps produces a musical spectacle unheard before. It beats every DAC you ever heard…” which is a bold claim from the Polish manufacturer.
Audeze, maker of award-winning planar magnetic headphones (we have some in for review to be published in August), components and accessories is going to be a part of Stereo Exchange’s inaugural Headphone Event on Thursday, July 31st from 1 to 9pm at 627 Broadway just above Houston Street in New York City.
You’ll have the opportunity to chat with the experts and win door prizes!
“We applaud Stereo Exchange for creating their Headphone Lounge”, Audeze say, continuing “If you’re attending come visit us there, the Audeze team is always happy to talk with enthusiastic audiophiles who share our passion for great sound”.
The company says the Alto has been developed to satisfy customers who are lovers of music but who also demand the latest audio quality and design.
Alto has the ability to connect to any type of audio source such as blueray players or CD players and to read entire music libraries in the home – music on wireless devices, tablets, smartphones etc and also the ability to connect to music apps such as Deezer and Qobuz.
It is designed to be connected to a PLC network , Wifi or ethernet and has a preamplifier onboard as well as the DAC.
As conventionally configured, the Left & Right channels of a headphone amplifier drive the voice coils of the Left & Right driver. However the return path for each channel is joined as one before returning to the amplifier’s common ground. This shared connection has some electrical resistance from the wire and various joints which can produce a common signal at the negative terminal of both driver coils. This will generate low level crosstalk and increase the distortion heard through the headphones. A balanced configuration does away with this common earth return.
Taking advantage of the potential benefits that accrue from operating headphones through balanced drive, the HEADA “sets new standards of performance for amplifiers of this type” says the company’s press release. “The improved signal to noise ratio, dynamic range, slew rate and power delivery alongside the reduction in THD are tangible and all help headphones of the highest quality to deliver their best possible results” it continues.
2 Inputs. 1 switchable Balanced XLR or Unbalanced RCA, 1 via unbalanced RCA.
3 Outputs. 2 Balanced; 1 via XLR L&R, 1 via 4 Pin XLR, 1 unbalanced via ¼” stereo jack.
Utilising in house designed Class A amplifier modules using discrete FETs and transistors.
Large format conductive plastic potentiometer for precise channel balance
Low/High gain selector allows matching to headphones with any impedance or sensitivity
High power toroidal transformer and high speed regulated power supply
Substantial aluminium casework with real wood sleeve & isolation feet
Recommended Headphone impedance 16 Ohm – 600 Ohm
UK RRP £1999.95
The new CD player matches other products in the Joy range and is available in black or white with a black or white glass front panel. The Joy CD player is 8.8cm in height, 20cm wide and 32.2 cm deep with the usual controls mounted on the front of the unit or on the Joy S208 remote control (which will work with other brands’ DVD players and TVs too).
Onboard there’s a 192kHz/24 bit BurrBrown PCM1796 digital to analogue converter, a precision pulse generator and an “oscillation-free, bearing mounted drive.
The Joy CD has internal constant-current power supplies and an “amazingly quiet loading mechanism”.
The Brazilian Scene is a collection of tunes from Antonio Carlos Jobim with Herbie Mann (“One Note Samba”), Baden Powell with Herbie Mann (“Consolacao”), Zé Maria with George Ben, Gilberto Gil, Luiz Bonfa (“Murmurio”), Radamés Gnattali and Heitor Villa-Lobos all with a laid-back Brazilian theme which is just perfect for the long awaited summer.
Brazilian Scene opens with the wonderfully infectious “One Note Samba” by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Herbie Mann and is closely followed by “Consolacao”… I’m a bit of a fan of the virtuoso guitar style of Baden Powell anyway and this is as good a starting place as any to become acquainted with his style…though I’d have liked to have had more than just the one tune. More »
Christopher Loque was a poet, edited columns True Stories and Pseuds’ Corner for Private Eye and even wrote a pornographic novel too. He protested with Bertrand Russell against nuclear weapons and is an all-round “true original”.
“Loque Rhythms” (1963) is his poetry set to music arranged by Tony Kinsey, Stanley Myers and sung by British female vocalist Annie Ross. The album was recorded at Peter Cook’s Soho jazz club The Establishment and here comes with the EP Red Bird (1959) on which Loque himself reads his poetry over music by the Kinsey Quintet. Topping off this CD (out now on El in association with Cherry Red) are seven tunes sung by Annie Ross herself and so you get no less than 27 cuts for your money …with this being the first time many have been available on CD. More »
“Fresh as the moment when the pod went pop”. Patsy Kensit first entered the UK’s collective consciousness at the age of 4 when she fronted the well loved and iconic Birds Eye peas television advert…I still remember it and I’m sure many others do too!
Eight Wonder were formed by Kensit’s brother Jamie who put her at the front of the band and by all accounts they caused quite a stir with London’s A&R departments before finally signing a deal with CBS. All this was in the heady days of 1985! The band had success in Italy and Japan but in the UK the record buying audience were slower to respond. There was an album – “Fearless” which was released in ’88 but then the band split in ’89! More »
Born in 1955 in Boston but growing up in Hamburg, Richard Schumacher first began to make a name for himself as a session player in the 70s with the likes of Udo Lindenberg and Carsten Bohn’s Bandstand. In the 80’s he studied jazz composition and arrangement at the Berkley School of Music whilst in the 90’s he formed (in Berlin) Vibe Tribe and released the albums “Cool Shoes” and “Foreign Affairs And Views”. More »
We at Hifi Pig HQ make no secret that we’ve been long time fans of the Technics 1200 turntables, but as you will know it’s out of production now! Fear not, for Pioneer now have an alternative in the form of the PLX-100.
Whether or not this quartz locked, high torque, direct drive turntable that weighs in at 13.1Kg and bears more than a passing resemblance to the 1200 will have the same impact as the legendary Technics remains to be seen.
Clearly aimed at the club and DJ market, Hifi Pig will be interested to see if any entrepreneurial types out there come up with any mods for this turntable, as they have with the Technics, and getting it accepted as a legitimate audiophile alternative.
THIEL Audio has announced that as part of a complete brand revitalization plan, the company’s headquarters has been relocated to the Nashville, TN area and new ownership has appointed John Wittman as CEO. Wittman joins THIEL Audio with a successful track record in consumer products, manufacturing, distribution and most recently the publishing industry.
“Being a part of the Nashville community is paramount for THIEL, a city founded on making legendary music,” Wittman stated. In addition to the city’s high visibility and growing population, the community provides access to an experienced and creative pool of talented individuals to help move THIEL Audio forward.
He continued “Our future is dependent on balancing THIEL’s 37 year history without constraining innovation in order to dynamically meet the changing needs of our consumers,” said Wittman. In the new Nashville headquarters, the THIEL Audio team is growing with the appointment of Paul Fisher, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing along with new hires in engineering, marketing, purchasing and operations, with more staffing to follow. While THIEL Audio is adding some new faces, they are retaining longtime THIEL veterans Lana Ruth and Rob Gillum with a combined 40+ years of audio industry experience to run the customer service and repair departments from a new facility in Lexington, KY.
“Our objective at THIEL first and foremost is to be a fresh and imaginative company, engineering and manufacturing premium products that represent outstanding craftsmanship as well as the highest levels of performance,” Wittman stated. THIEL is placing an emphasis on designing new products to address a broad range of market segments including but not limited to high performance audio, home theatre and the custom installation channel. Part of the new go-forward strategy will be to broaden the audience for THIEL Audio products by establishing key relationships for the brand; making the line visible to luxury buyers as well as the traditional audiophile. Based on those initiatives, THIEL’s VP of Engineering Mark Mason is designing an entire new series of speakers to be unveiled in 2015. “Everyone at THIEL is energized to be a part of such a vital and legendary brand, with an opportunity to execute our vision for truly innovative premium products and services,” said Wittman.
The company says that if it is possible to repair or restore a tube then they will do this but they can also duplicate non-working tubes.
As the scarcity and price of antique and rare audio valves increases this service is sure to be of interest to a good number of dedicated valve-heads.
Robson Acoustics have announced the new flagship model from their Voltaire range of loudspeakers.
“Voltaire IV Reference is capable of producing a holographic soundstage, pin sharp imaging and bass control like no other loudspeaker” says the company’s press release.
The new flagship model is designed around twin 10” bass/mid drivers from legendary British manufacturer Volt Loudspeakers and a massive precision Ribbon tweeter which allows for a very low cross-over point and a high sensitivity of around 93dB.
There are rumours that there will be an optional subwoofer using twin 15” Volt radial bass drivers and a 18” passive radiator to compliment the IV’s and maintain the bass control and dynamics that are synonymous with the Voltaire range.
The Voltaire IV Reference is available now at £12000
Japan-based Miyajima has been making phono cartridges for more than three decades. Although they were only discovered by American and European audiophiles in recent years, they have since received rave reviews all over the world.
With several patents under his belt, Noriyuki Miyajima is a passionate music-lover, a true artisan manufacturer and his cartridges are individually designed to produce stunning results not only from modern stereo LPs but equally from vintage mono and 78 rpm records. The company’s very first cartridges were true mono designs, making Miyajima almost unique.
Every Miyajima cartridge is handcrafted in-house by a dedicated full-time team of six based in Fukuoka, Japan. The cartridge bodies are individually precision-milled from rare and exotic tonewoods including ebony, rosewood and African blackwood (mpingo) which the company says a vibrant and natural tonality to the sound.
The generator system in the stereo cartridges features a patented Miyajima cross-ring design in which the cantilever fulcrum and coils are exactly positioned in the centre of the magnetic field. Similarly, the mono cartridges feature an equally unique design: Miyajima vertical axis concentration, which ensures that the cartridge responds accurately to the horizontal modulation of a mono signal.
“It was a real joy to discover Miyajima cartridges and I’m absolutely delighted to be now bringing the range to the UK market,” says Dave Cawley of Timestep, Miyajima’s new UK distributor. “I have the greatest respect for Noriyuki Miyajima, whose passion drives him to seek the very best musical performance from the older disc formats. Using a properly designed mono cartridge to replay mono records results in a sound that simply can’t be matched by using a stereo cartridge. There’s something really special about that marriage of vintage classics with cutting-edge technology. You can’t beat it.”
The cartridges are available now from £1295 to £2395
Stuart Listening to More Classical Music Shocker… and again quite enjoys it!
Now I don’t know if it’s my impending birthday (I’ll be 47 nurse tells me) or what, but the last two classical music albums I’ve listened to I’ve really enjoyed a great deal indeed.
Alexander Chapman Campbell is a solo pianist who decided that a university life wasn’t for him and so he moved to the North coast of Scotland where he worked as a chef and the rest of the time composed music at his piano. More »
“A crack squad of the finest British early music singers” Early Music Today said about Ensemble Plus Ultra, but as regular readers of my reviews will know I’m no fan of classical music, but only a few weeks ago I was mentioning to Linette that I really quite liked the odd bit of choral music…and then this dropped into my virtual postbox via HIGHRESAUDIO and on the Archiv Produktion label.
Historian, Richard Kagan says that “El Greco and Toledo are one” as this Spanish city was Cretan born Domenikos Theotokopoulos’ home for almost 40 years and it is sacred music intrinsically bound to this city that From Spain to Eternity pays tribute.
All the music is choral and the work of just three composers: Alonso Lobo (1555 – 1617), Cristobel De Morales (1500 -1553) and Francisco Guerrero (1528 – 1599) and it really is quite beautiful.
Ensemble Plus Ultra were formed in 2001 and aim to “promote historically-aware performances of liturgical marvels from the Renaissance” and they do sound glorious on this recording.
I confess to knowing nothing about the music herein but doubt that those more in the know will be in any way disappointed by what they find on “From Spain to Eternity.
The record has certainly whetted my appetite to explore this particular musical niche a little further.
Well, this re-release on Esoteric Recordings is certainly one for the progressive heads. The year is 1969 and Egg emerged from an earlier quartet with Steve Hillage going by the name of Uriel, but Egg founding members were Dave Stewart (No not the one of Eurythmics fame) on the organ, Mont Campbell on bass and vocals, plus Clive Brooks on the drums.
Egg finally got the record deal they were after in June 1969 when they signed to Decca , releasing the single “Seven is a Jolly Good Time” (it was in 7:4 time) which got favourable press but failed to make an impression on the hit parade. More »
PowerKord Mains Cables £150 – £440
PowerKord-100™ is the first in Russ Andrew’s range of new PowerKords and
builds on the PowerKord-100™ with the PowerKord-300™ having twice as many separately-insulated woven conductors.
PowerKord-500™ is the top-of-the-range PowerKord and uses 24 separately-insulated conductors.
Balanced Mains Unit BMU1000 £1,588
New for 2014, all Russ Andrews Balanced Mains Units (pictured) feature SuperSilent precision wound, adjustable transformer which is said to virtually eliminate any transformer noise.
A balanced mains units split the mains supply, resulting in 115V on live and 115V on neutral (rather than 230V on live and 0V on neutral). You don’t need to make any modifications to your existing equipment to enable it to work on a balanced mains supply.
The AbZorber £528
Designed by Ben Duncan, the Russ Andrews AbZorber is a type of mains filter that is said to work to reduce the effects of spike activity and noise in Hi-Fi and home cinema systems.
Computer Audio Design (CAD) contacted the Hifi Pig office to tell us that they will be demonstrating all things computer-audio this Wednesday (23rd July) at Walrus Sytems in London from 12 noon until 8pm.
This “Computer Audio Day” will allow visitors to put questions to key industry figures and CAD’s owner and chief engineer, Scott Berry, will be on hand to answer questions and offer help and free advice.
Scott will also be demonstrating CAD’s award winning CAD 1534 DAC, their new USB cable (which we have in for review) and the yet to be announced CAT transport and ripper.
This is a free event and should be of interest to anyone interested in getting the best out of their current computer-audio system or for those looking to dip their toe in the water for the first time.
Henley Designs, who distribute Pro-Ject in the UK, contacted the Hifi Pig office to tell us all about the new Stereo Box Phono from Pro-Ject.
The Stereo Box Phono from Box Design by Pro-Ject Audio Systems combines an integrated amplifier design with one of the best selling hi-fi phono stages of recent years to create a compact solution for vinyl fans on a budget.
The Stereo Box Phono has three analogue line inputs alongside one MM-only phono stage inspired by Pro-Ject’s well known Phono Box design. The new Stereo Box Phono adheres to Pro-Ject’s ongoing philosophy that “less is more” and certainly looks the part. However, its size and construction is also complementary to their wider Box Design S range, so if you can add digital inputs or add a CD player in the future.
The amplifier section is based on the Stereo Box S making the power output 30W (4Ω) per channel, and so capable of driving a decent pair of bookshelf speakers. The power-stage has the ability to drive 2Ω loads which should be good for system matching. A dual-mono design principle is employed inside, and the “low-noise pure audio circuitry and other premium components used make the Stereo Box Phono punch well above its diminutive price-point” says the company’s press release.
The Stereo Box Phono is obviously designed to be a perfect partner for Pro-Ject’s affordable turntable models. Usability is said to be simple and intuitive, but there’s also an included compact IR remote control.
The Stereo Box Phono is available with Black or Silver faceplates.
Price will be £199.95
Monster has unveiled its latest Bluetooth-enabled mobile speaker, the Monster Superstar. This ultra-compact device is comparable in size to a large-format smartphone, small enough to slip into a pocket.
Monster’s press release says that Superstar “challenges the limits of what can be achieved by a pocket-size speaker, delivering a rich, expressive and detailed sound – not dull and tinny like other speakers of similarly diminutive dimensions.”
Its design incorporates two full-range drivers plus a pair of circular bass radiators in the centre of the unit – one firing forwards, the other backwards. The speaker can be either stood on its side to project bass front and rear, or laid on its back to deliver further bass reinforcement.
Superstar will pair with any Bluetooth-compatible device and includes support for the AAC and aptX codecs. It’s robustly designed and splash so good to go in a wide range of environments, from the bathroom to the beach. There’s also built-in microphone with advanced noise cancellation, enabling wireless hands-free calling and conferencing.
The Monster Superstar Bluetooth speaker is available in a choice of Neon Blue, Neon Green/Black and Neon Grey/Black, with an RRP of £99.95.
When Naim announced at the recent CES exhibition that they would be launching a preamp and power amp combo that would leave purchasers with a $200 000 hole in their bank account it was inevitable that there a certain degree of backlash from some quarters would come…and come it did. More »
2014 has kicked of with what has been a very successful CES by all accounts. HiFi Pig was not there but we are hoping to make it over the pond very soon.
This article was first published in the February 2014 issue of Hifi Pig Magazine which can be downloaded free of charge.
Scott Berry is a US-born audio engineer and the founder and owner of Computer Audio Design (CAD). The company’s debut product, the 1543 DAC, won the ‘best-sounding hi-fi room’ at the UK’s largest hi-fi show – Bristol Sound and Vision 2013 – against hundreds of well-established brands. He takes time out to answer Hifi Pig’s Behind the Brands Questions. More »
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Californian loudspeaker specialist Magico has announced M Project: a very special limited-edition speaker drawing upon all the elements that have earned the company a great reputation in the world of high-end loudspeakers
In 10, Magico has garnered tremendous respect among the high-end audio fraternity, harnessing exemplary science and engineering to deliver what some say are some of the best-sounding loudspeakers on the planet. The company’s latest design, dubbed ‘M Project’, is the culmination of all it has achieved to date, further developing technologies from existing models to create a special anniversary speaker with production limited to 50 pairs.
The speaker is built to order with prices starting at ￡130,000 per pair, depending on the specified finish (multiple automotive paint options are available if desired). Deliveries begin in October.
• Three-way, five-driver floorstanding loudspeaker
• New enclosure comprising aluminium skeleton topology, acoustically optimised front plate and carbon-fibre sides
• Magico¹s signature front baffle contour further optimised to incorporate edge-free top and bottom plates
• Newly designed curved cabinet shape minimises internal resonances and requires minimal damping
• Unique 28mm diamond-coated beryllium dome tweeter
• 15cm midrange driver derived from Magico¹s much-lauded Q7 speaker, with proprietary Nano-Tec cone (made from a combination of Rohacell, carbon fibre and carbon nanotubes)
• Three 25cm bass drivers with Nano-Tec cones, designed especially for M Project
Brought to the UK shores by Absolute Sounds the Ensemble pairs Devialet’s just-launched entry-level amplifier, the Devialet 120, with a pair of GT1 compact loudspeakers from fellow French company Atohm.
Devialet created Ensemble for two reasons. First, to form a complete system purchase option for those seeking a one stop audio solution, with a pair of compact speakers that are fully in tune with Devialet¹s sonic and aesthetic philosophies. Second, to showcase the company’s SAM (Speaker Active Matching) technology, which tailors the amp’s output to precisely match a specific pair of speakers.
Every Devialet 120 amplifier sold as part of an Ensemble system comes preconfigured with SAM data for the GT1s.
The Devialet Ensemble system is priced at £6,290.
Omuni Audio are from New Zealand and their OMUNI loudspeaker is a two-way ‘artisan audio’ design with a downward facing 8 inch bass driver in an aperiodic labyrinth. Topping this off is a 3 inch mid-high frequency driver running up to 25 Khz. This driver radiates a full 360 degrees horizontally and vertically using the “OMUNI LENS” (© 2014, All Rights Reserved) which consists of four rounded quadrants placed under each corner of the top plate. This unique design provides horn loading of the 3 inch driver over a full 360 degrees.
Designer and proprietor of OMUNI Audio, Eric Cross took another look at the mechanics of music re-creation and figured that the speaker should be like the performer’s instrument. “Acoustic instruments don’t fire their sound waves unidirectionally from an elongated box, they radiate in all directions”, points out Eric, who set out to bring what he has learned from years of experimenting with speakers to thinking – not “outside the box” – but deeply on the reasons for boxing speaker drivers. “The function of the box must be for natural musical re-creation”, he concludes.
The end result of 3 years in development, this design is certainly different.
Eric has been building speakers since he was 14 years old, and has completed many design experiments over the years since serving an electrical apprenticeship in the 1960s. He produced and sold speakers under the Southern Acoustics brand through the 1970s and 1980s, having been especially fascinated for years by the possibilities for avoiding the limitations of a ‘stereo image’.
“We carefully considered placement in the listening situation and spent many hours tuning the design”, says Eric. The OMUNIs can be placed 30cm or more from the back wall, and because performance in each room is different, mounting on castors facilitates experimentation for optimisation. Placing them well into the room produces a spectacular soundstage, and they can be wheeled back at the end of a listening session.
The OMUNIs are hand built by a craftsman furniture maker in New Zealand with multiplex Spruce and the top triangulated section of each speaker is a complex laminated sold block that weighs over 7 kilograms. “We do not use acoustic dampening materials or plastics of any kind”, added Eric but natural Hessian is applied to one internal panel.
The crossover has only two components without matching resistors and internal wiring uses Kimber product with the paper cone and the pressed steel frame of the bass driver being treated with Meranti Damar natural resin to enhance tone.
Devialet continues to evolve its range of amplifiers with three enhanced models and two new monoblock configurations with the enhancements being the result of a new firmware release (v7.1). Owners of existing Devialet components can download the new firmware free of charge, in line with the company’s ‘free upgrades for life’ policy.
The name of every amp in the range has changed too, reflecting an increase in power delivery – “one of the many improvements brought about by the new firmware”.
Power output: 120W per channel
UK RRP: £4,490 (same as its predecessor, the Devialet 110)
Power output: 200W per channel
UK RRP: £6,390 (same as its predecessor, the Devialet 170)
Power output: 250W per channel
UK RRP: £11,800 (same as its predecessor, the Devialet 240)
Devialet 400 (Devialet 200 plus 200 slave)
Power output: 400W per channel
UK RRP: £12,090
Devialet 800 (Devialet 250 plus 250 slave)
Power output: 800W per channel
UK RRP: £20,900
Devialet say the new firmware has the following benefits.
• Increased power delivery and enhanced sound quality for every model, owing to an update of the ADH algorithm; upgrade of the power supply control software; optimisation of thermal management
• SAM (Speaker Active Matching)
• Devialet 200 (formerly 170) now bridgeable to a 400W monoblock, creating the new Devialet 400 dual-monoblock configuration
• New user interface and enhanced iOS/Android app support
• Other enhancements include a shorter boot time and slave inputs for the dual monoblock line, with the option to daisy-chain up to eight Devialet amplifiers in multi-room configurations
A major addition to firmware v7.1, SAM (Speaker Active Matching) is “sophisticated digital processing that enables Devialet components to be precisely matched to a particular pair of speakers”, we were present at the Munich Launch and it does look to be a very interesting concept. It is, in effect, a form of bespoke audio tailoring, to ensure the amplifier and speakers fit perfectly together and thereby “unleash the speakers’ full potential”.
“SAM enables Devialet’s power amp circuitry to feed the attached loudspeakers with a specific signal, computed in real time to drive them optimally. This ensures that the acoustic signal produced by the loudspeakers is an exact replica of the audio signal on the recording”. Say Devialet.
To date, 17 speakers from various well-known brands including Bowers & Wilkins, KEF, Focal, Magico, Sonus faber and Wilson Audio are already supported; more are being added every week and Devialet aims to have more 100 models supported by the end of the year. Any passive electrodynamic speaker can be measured in Devialet’s lab in Paris and the data used to create a SAM profile – people can vote online for the speakers they want to see supported. When any speaker receives 100 votes, Devialet will make it ‘SAM Ready’.
Comply is said to conform more faithfully to the users unique ear canal to create a better seal and because of its soft and flexible, open cell foam is more comfortable.
There will be no increase in price and existing users who have registered their product will be provided with the Comply ear-tips at no extra charge.
The good people at The Missing Link & Vinyl Passion got in touch with Hifi Pig to announce that they have been appointed UK retailer/ Importer of the Vincent Brand and that they now have in stock the long awaited flagship valve phono stage the Vincent PH-700.
The Vincent PH-700 is a two box design with a fully regulated off-board power supply and switchable moving magnet power supply.
The phono stage is priced at £549 in the UK with a 3 year warranty and is claimed to offer unparalleled performance at this price point.
The new Vincent PH-700 is said to build on the strengths of the well established Vincent PH-O8 which sells for £349.
Both of these phono stages are available for demonstration in the Vinyl Passion music room based in the heart of Sherwood Forest and come with the option of black or silver finish.
Hifi Pig will have a UK exclusive review of the new unit in the next few weeks.
There’s a new forum on the block aimed at providing hi-fi and music enthusiasts the opportunity to discuss their passion, develop friendships and offer or receive technical help and support.The name of the new forum is The Audio Standard.
In the best traditions of forums, everyone is free to join and enter into the lively debates and whether you prefer valves (tubes) or solid state; speakers or ear-ware; and whether they are objectivists or subjectivists, you will be made to feel welcome and your contributions valued.
“The love of music will always be the focus” says Martin Taylor an administrator on the site and continued “no matter the genre; classical or hardcore are equally welcome!”
All the best with the new forum from the Hifi Pig team.
“A truly great earphone design does more than deliver accurate musical reproduction” says the press release from Alpha Design Labs and continues “It should create an intimate emotional connection with the listener, and accomplish this with superb comfort and style”. With that in mind Alpha Design Labs (ADL) have launched the EH-008 earphones.
The earphones dual dynamic drivers are treated with Furutech’s renowned Alpha process and are said to offer incredibly high resolution throughout the full range of sound reproduction. A powerful 8mm low-to-mid frequency driver is positioned in a bass chamber located directly behind a high-frequency titanium film driver.
The inner and outer housings of the EH-008 are designed for driver stabilisation and damping.
ADL EH-008 key features
• Dual dynamic drivers
• Alpha*-treated 8mm driver for mid-to-low frequencies
• Alpha*-treated 5.8mm driver for high frequencies
• Inner housing constructed from ABS resin for driver stabilisation
• Outer housing constructed from carbon fibre
• Rubber outer seal ring with silicon cover
• Diamond-cut aluminum end plates
• XS / S / M flexible rubber earpieces included
• 1.3m cord with 24k gold-plated stereo Alpha*-treated 1/8” (3.5mm) angled plug.
Available now with a UK retail price £175 (including VAT)
The McIntosh MA 5200 is a multi-faceted amplifier/DAC/headphone amp and more, so when Hifi Pig was offered one for review we jumped at the chance of giving this American brand’s Swiss army knife a thorough review. In this review for Hifi Pig Peter Stanton-Ife puts the McIntosh through its paces.
“I used the MA5200 with both a pair of Sonus Faber Grand Pianos and a pair of Bastani open baffle speakers alternating between runs of Skogrand Ignis Purist cable and my normal Electrofluidics cable. I also borrowed a pair of Spendor BC1s from a friend to try out on the MA5200. Again, consistency of sound proved to be the order of the day, even with speakers as coloured as the SFs. I tried a pair of elderly Sennheisers on the headphone output and can report that late night listening will not be a chore.”
The move stems from Sound Fowndations’ need for additional space to accommodate growth in brands and sales. At 1,500 square feet of office and warehouse space, the new premises give the company the opportunity to hold more stock as well as providing room for its expanded staff.
Joining the Sound Fowndations team in the new office is Alex Denyer, a fellow audiophile with a decade of experience in distribution, retail and customer service. Said Alex, ““I’m hugely excited to be joining Sound Fowndations and feel extraordinarily lucky. It’s a real privilege to make a living doing something you love and feel passionate about. I’ve gained a variety of skills in sales, administration, stock control and customer service and I’m keen to apply them in my budding career in the hi-fi industry. And of course this move into the industry will also no doubt fuel the ongoing expansion of my own extensive hi-fi and record collection!”.
Chris Green, Sound Fowndations’ Managing Director, added, “We’ve seen our growth accelerate over the past couple of years, and we were simply out of room. At the same time, I was becoming over-stretched and was struggling to provide the level of service I wanted to provide. Which is a nice problem to have so soon after a major recession! Our new location and facilities, and the addition of Alex to the team, will allow us to continue to grow while also enhancing our levels of service and support to manufacturers, retailers and customers.”