Adam Cohen’s show at The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh – the first night of his European tour – was opened by local lad Dean Owens, supported on guitar and vocals by Calais Brown. Owens, former frontman of alt-country band The Felsons, showcased some songs from his forthcoming Nashville-recorded album Into The Sea along with others from his extensive back catalogue. Owen’s songs are thoughtful and crafted: “Some of my songs are quite melancholy” he informed us, “The others are just miserable”. Perhaps the most melancholic and certainty the most affecting is Man From Leith, a tribute to his father. More »
The Clarity Alliance, the UK hi-fi industry’s trade association, will be presenting the third annual “Best of Show” Awards at the Bristol Show, to recognise the efforts of exhibitors putting on a high quality show.
Sound & Vision is one of the premier shows of the UK calendar, featuring many of the major hi-fi and home cinema brands. The exhibitors put lot of work in to making their rooms sound and look as good as they can and, through its “Best of Show” awards, Clarity will recognise and reward their efforts.
During the first day of the show, Friday 20th February, a team of anonymous judges will be visiting every room to experience the sounds and sights presented. Each room will be scored on its appearance, sound quality, vision quality (where applicable) and general ambience, in order to come up with a shortlist of potential winning rooms. The winners will be decided by a second round of visits to the potentials and then announced at a press conference, which takes place in the Executive Lounge, Terrace Level at 5.30pm.
And for the second year, Clarity will also be presenting a “Lifetime Achievement Award” to recognise the outstanding contribution of an individual to the UK hi-fi industry. At last year’s inaugural award, John Dawson, founder of Arcam, was honoured. This year’s winner will be kept a closely guarded secret until the awards ceremony on the Friday evening.
Awards will be presented for:
“Best Sounding Hi-fi Room’
“Best Home Cinema Room’
“Best Presented Room”
“Most Innovative Room”
“Best Stand in an Open Area”
The Chord Company, will be revealing two new models from its streaming (Ethernet) range at the forthcoming headroom show. The new streaming cables, which introduce The Chord Company’s Tuned ARAY technology to an even wider range of products, will be shown in pre- production form to the public at The headroom Show ahead of their official release later in the year.
The headroom Show will take place at Metropolis Studios, London, and will be open on Friday 30th January between 1pm and 7:30pm, and Saturday 31st January from 10am to 5pm. Metropolis Studios has recorded numerous artists including Queen, Michael Jackson, U2, Lady GaGa, Amy Winehouse, will.i.am, The Stone Roses, Lauren Hill, The Verve, Adele, Rihanna and more.
“A painstakingly designed delta filter topology filters out common mode and differential mode noise, with a reduction in RFI of 30dB”. Each of the five outlets is independently isolated to prevent cross-contamination. In addition, IsoTekʼs unique sequential and repeatable protection system provides 13,500A of instantaneous protection from electrical spikes and surges, safeguarding valuable equipment.
EVO3 Venus is designed from the ground up by IsoTek.with hand-soldereding, silver-plated PCB, and internal wiring with silver-coated OFC (oxygen-free copper) conductors and a Teflon PTFE dielectric.
The EVO3 Venus is available now in a white finish.
Priced at £325 (including VAT).
In Modern Blues, the 11th studio album by The Waterboys, Mike Scott sums up his career to date in a single phrase: “I’m not bitter and I’m no quitter”. Right from their 1983 eponymous debut album, Scott has used The Waterboys as a vehicle to explore his own particular vision – The Big Music. By 1985’s This Is The Sea, Scott had honed The Big Music to a widescreen, anthemic sound that with a just a little bit of compromise could have morphed into arena rock and taken over the world. Instead, Scott hired a fiddle player, decamped to the west coast of Ireland and left world domination to Simple Minds and U2. More »
The Philips Fidelio NC1s “have been designed to bring the enjoyment back to executive travel” says th’e company’s latest press release.
The initial design of the NC1 started with a modified version of the internal architecture of the Fidelio M1BT headphone. The press release coninues “Extensive research was made into the ideal combination of memory cushion, cavity design, clamping force and manufacturing tolerance so that the NC1s could offer the convenience of a light-weight on-ear model but could still offer truly exceptional noise isolation.
The NC1 headphones are unusual in adopting a hybrid ANC approach with four microphones – two outside and two inside the enclosure. The two ‘FeedForward’ microphones are positioned on the outside of the headphone and provide strong noise cancellation at critical lower frequencies, while the two ‘FeedBackward’ microphones are positioned inside, next to the headphone drivers and extend the bandwidth of noise cancellation into the mid and high frequencies .
Having detected the ambient sounds the NC1 adds a precise inverted copy of the noise signal, effectively canceling it out and converting background noise to silence.
40mm high definition drivers
Best-in-class noise cancellation
Consistent high fidelity sound
Smart power solution
Multi-way compact folding
Mic with pick-up button
Elegant hard travel case
Air flight adaptor
The Philips Fidelio NC1s will be available for £249 in January
When deciding which albums to place in my top ten of last year (2014) there were a number that deserved a place without any doubt nor discussion. Mark Kozelek, under the pseudonym Sun Kil Moon, released one of the most emotionally demanding and yet fulfilling albums of the year. On this album Benji, Mark’s 6th solo release, the loves, lives, fights and deaths of a series of people are faced head on. He does not mince words here and the 11 songs are personal tales of all that makes us human in the true sense of the word. More »
My favourite album of 2012 was ‘The Seer’ by Michael Gira’s band Swans. To say that I was anticipating the release of ‘To Be Kind’ last year would be a profound understatement. For over 30 years Michael Gira has been producing some of the most experimental and interesting rock music that can be had. His solo work and colaborations, alongside his work his other band ‘Angels of Light’ and his albums with ‘Swans’, have all received great critical praise and attention.
To Be Kind is the Swans 3rd album since Gira resurfaced with the band after a break of 14 years. In 2010 they released ‘My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky’, but it was with the release of ‘The Seer’ in 2012 that Gira really started to flex his musical muscles. The Seer was a six sided vinyl release with a running time of over 2 hours. The fact that it was almost exhausting to listen to in one sitting did not prevent it from increasing their fan base incredibly. This dark majestic masterpiece of immense scale was a hard act to follow. More »
Occasionally, when asked to review a reissue of an album, one discovers a band that failed, for one reason on another, to show up on the radar the first time around. Some of these discoveries are similar to opening a treasure chest that has been gathering dust in a dark corner only to reveal a wealth of (musical) gems. This is definitely the case with this The Woodentops, Before During After Reissue on the One Little Indian label from May 2013.
This 52 track 3CD set includes their first album ‘Giant’, the follow up album, ‘Wooden Foot Cops on the Highway’ (both remixed with additional rarities) and a 3rd CD of other Remixes and Rarities. So all in all an abundance of treasures to explore. Treasures whose value was recognised at the time by such fans as David Bowie (who invited them to support him), Morrissey and Noel Gallagher.
In 1984 Morrissey is reported to have said, “Anyone sane living in this world will realise on hearing ‘Plenty’ that The Woodentops bring with them a new age of enlightenment.” In September 2011 Noel Gallagher curated the cover mount CD for Mojo magazine and elected to include the Woodentops single ‘Why Why Why’. More »
There are those who regard the Lowell George era Little Feat as one of the greatest American bands of the 1970s. Their musical chops and deep soulful funkiness meant that they were as much a live phenomenon as they were a 5 star recording unit.
Some would say that it all came together in the studio on the classic Dixie Chicken album that preceded this one. With Lowell’s idiosyncratic and wildly surreal lyrics and some of the finest songs he had ever written, Dixie Chicken was Lowell’s masterpiece. Feats Don’t fail Me Now is more of a band effort and in many ways is more accessible and enjoyable as a result. More »
Few bands bifurcate opinion as vociferously as Belle and Sebastian. Many people simply can’t see past the image of them fostered in their early publicity shots and sleeve notes: Duffel coat donning, butterfly net wielding perma-students gathered in a gang like some Vimto version of Dexys Midnight Runners. Building that band brand was a calculated risk – winsome, lose some – but the detractors who focussed on their Fotherington-Thomas feyness missed out on some great pop music. More »
Janine Elliot recently reviewed the Russ Andrews’ entry level Balanced Mains Unit which you can read all about here. Now Russ Andrews Accessories has introduced the New BMU3000 Balanced Mains Unit to provide 3kVA of power to hi-fi and home cinema systems.
Working on the same principle as balanced audio signals, where the audio signal is split into two halves – negative and positive, the BMU3000 splits the 230v mains signal into two separate 115v supplies. One is carried on the live and the other on the neutral and as each is a different polarity (negative or positive) the noise on one is cancelled out by the noise on the other. The result is said to be a 230v power supply that is free from extraneous noise and hence provides the connected equipment with a substantially cleaner mains supply.
The unit is equipped with twin 1500V SuperSilent transformer technology, which is “quieter in operation than conventional transformers”, to provide the total 3kVA of power. Five Russ Andrews UltraSocket mains outlets on the rear of the unit enable connection of the hi-fi or home cinema equipment directly to the unit – thereby acting as a mains extension as well as the balanced mains supply. Mains input is via a 16A IEC socket and is protected by use of a high quality two-pole (live and neutral) circuit breaker.
Russ Andrews, chairman of the company, says, “Balanced audio signals have long been acknowledged to provide a superior sound quality thanks to the noise cancelling characteristics of the design. It is for this tried and tested reason that such systems are used in professional recording studios and the reason why balanced mains is also often specified for these environments.” He continues, “By adding a balanced mains unit to a home set up, the performance benefits long understood by the professionals can be enjoyed at home. With a massive 3kVA of power even the largest of systems can be connected to the BMU3000 without fear of running out of power and the music or movie soundtrack can really shine through.”
Price is £3599
TIDAL today announced the launch and availability of its service in five new European countries, namely Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
“All these markets, as the rest of the world, are seeing a strong increase in music streaming subscription, as well as a high interest for high quality audio,” said TIDAL CEO Andy Chen. ”With TIDAL on mobile, computers or home audio products from the likes of Sonos, Denon, Bluesound and Linn, it’s now time to finally enjoy a true high fidelity service with lossless sound quality, HD music videos and curated editorial. We have also already seen substantial interest from these markets signing up to our waiting list – with Netherlands as the front runner, and we are very excited to open up to five new markets today.”
The board of Mitchell and Johnson, British audio manufacturing brand, has announced that Haydn Abbott has been appointed to the position of non-executive chairman of the company, with immediate effect.
Abbott is the former managing director of Sony UK, with responsibility for all product sectors within consumer and non-consumer electronics, and vice president of Sony Europe for broadcast and professional AV products in the EMEA region. He is currently a non-executive director of Nomad Digital, director of Fenners Consulting and chairman of the international children’s charity, Railway Children.
CEO Paul Mitchell says, “We are delighted to welcome someone with the qualities and experience of Haydn Abbott as our new non-executive chairman. His time spent as managing director of Sony UK and VP Sony Europe gives him a hugely valuable understanding of and insight into the consumer electronics world and in particular the hi-fi sector. As we expand the business into new markets Haydn’s knowledge of the international CE business will be a great help to us. The board looks forward to working with Haydn to grow and develop the Mitchell and Johnson business.”
Commenting on his appointment, Haydn Abbot says, “When I first met with the board of Mitchell and Johnson I could tell it was a business with a very exciting future. The business owners have grasped the emerging market trends for hi-fi separates, streaming and portable audio and produced a product road map that firmly addresses the needs of the consumer. I look forward to contributing to the growth of this young company to help ensure its success.”
After a brief hiatus at the end of 2014 allowing us to put the Yearbook together, Hifi PIg’s hifi reviews are coming thick and fast.
So far this year we have had Simply Audio Cadenza Interconnect, Speaker Cable and Jumper Links, Diesis Aura Loudspeakers , Russ Andrews Balanced Mains Unit 1000, Vinyl Passion Dustbuster and today saw the publication of the review of the Merrill Audio Veritas Power Amplifiers.
Of course you can read all Hifi PIg’s reviews going right back to our launch here. Enjoy…and please do feel free to make a comment should you wish.
Like its predecessor, the new 3010S2-D comes with six line level inputs. However, one of these is now a direct AV input to enable integration within a surround sound system. There is now also the possibility to fit an optional MM or MC phonostage, or a plug-in DAC board. The latter is capable of up to 192/24 bit PCM and DSD 64, and comes with two inputs: USB and BNC, with auto-switching between them. A preamp output allows for tagging-on of a separate power amplifier, in case you want to bi-amp your system. Speaker terminals are doubled to allow bi-wiring.
Special high-quality capacitors are used in the signal path, and the circuit topology has been mapped with a view to keeping signal and power supply paths short. Cascode circuitry is used for improved power supply immunity.
The preamplifier now sports a brand new circuit board with all discrete components rather than integrated circuits, while the power amp features a fast bipolar transistor output stage for dynamic and vivid performance. A new power supply adds extra stages of regulation for improved performance.
Both the front and back panels are graced with clear ergonomics and simplicity in features, with a well laid-out and comprehensive remote control completing the package.
Power output (stereo) 110 Watts per channel at 1KHz into 8 Ohms
Input impedance 17K Ohms minimum (line input)
Input sensitivity 250mV
Pre-amplifier output 1V for rated input (gain + 18dB full volume)
Frequency response 20Hz – 20KHz ± 0.5dB
Total harmonic distortion <0.03% at rated output, ref. 1KHz
Signal to noise ratio >100dB, ref. rated output
Channel separation >60dB, 20Hz – 20KHz
Mains supply 110/120V or 220/240V, 50/60Hz (factory set)
Power consumption <400VA, 8 Ohms load, both channels driven
Dimensions 115mm (h) x 440mm (w) x 300mm (d)
Net weight (unpacked) 12kg
Gross weight (packed) 14kg
Warranty 3 years
Pricing & availability
The Exposure 3010S2-D integrated amplifier is available now in silver or black, priced at £1,700 (incl. VAT).
On-board MM phonostage £240
On-board MC phonostage £240
Hifi Pig is delighted to once again be named as the exclusive media partners for the 2015 North West Audio Show.
Last years inaugural event was a huge success and enjoyed immensely by exhibitors and attendees alike.
The 2015 North West Audio Show promises to be bigger and better than last years even and already there are some great names confirmed as attending:
Baird- Doug Brady
NuNu and Audioworks
The event is free for the public and there is ample free parking too. It takes place on Sunday 28th June at Cranage Hall in Cheshire and of course Hifi PIg will be there to bring you all the news as it happens.
This year’s event will feature a headfi room as well as all the other rooms full of really fantastic audio.
Visit the website here where you can register for your FREE tickets.
British loudspeaker manufacturer PMC (Professional Monitor Company) is giving customers the chance to experience its twotwo™ reference monitor series in the perfect surroundings thanks to the opening of its dedicated Reference Monitor Centres. Based in key specialist HiFi retailers throughout the UK, the Reference Monitor Centres will offer customers the very highest standards in product knowledge, demonstration facilities and customer support.
The new centres are offering high quality demonstration facilities, allowing customers to listen to PMC’s twotwo product range in an acoustically accurate environment and receive advice from highly trained staff.
The monitors can then be bought online via a dedicated twotwo sales website and either delivered direct to the customer or to the nearest Reference Monitor Centre, all of which are offering the Click and Collect service.
Ian Downs, Pro Audio Sales Manager for PMC, says: “Our twotwo range is ideally suited to young producers and DJs who are working from home and want simple, high performance active monitors with DAC and digital playback sources. These technology-savvy customers are very comfortable with buying online, but they still want access to good demo facilities and well qualified staff who can help them identify the right product for their needs.”
PMC’s Reference Monitor Centres already appointed are strategically located in key cities across the UK and include Fanthorpes (Hull), Lintone (Gateshead), Soundcraft (Ashford, Kent), Adventures in HiFi (Chester) and Unilet Sound & Vision (New Malden, Surrey). By basing its Reference Monitor Centres in Hi-Fi retail outlets, PMC is once again reinforcing its strong links between the studio and the home listening environment.
“It is PMC’s philosophy that there should be no difference between the sound the artist and producer approves in a studio and what the consumer hears at home,” Downs continues. “That is why all of our speaker products, whether they are destined for the studio or the home, are based on the same ATL™ (Advanced Transmission Line) technology that guarantees high quality, distortion-free audio.”
Denon® announces that its HEOS wireless multi-room sound systems will soon be Google Cast Ready. With Google Cast in place, HEOS users will be able to stream Google Cast Ready content directly to their HEOS devices.
“Google and Denon both strive to provide consumers with the best that technology has to offer, leading innovation where consumers want it to go. By working closely with Google we are now giving HEOS users a great option of delivering sound where and when they want it,” said Brendon Stead, Denon’s vice president of product development. “HEOS gives users the opportunity to play music however they choose and being Google Cast Ready means our users have an incredible option at their fingertips.”
With Google Cast built-in HEOS users can cast their favorite music, radio stations and podcasts to their HEOS speakers from Google Cast apps on Android phone or tablet, iPhone®, iPad®, Mac® or Windows laptop or Chromebook.
“Based on the success of Chromecast, we’re excited to expand the Google Cast ecosystem by working with leading manufacturers like Denon to include audio devices,” said Suveer Kothari, Google Cast Director of Business Development.
NuPrime Audio has announced the release of NuPrime DAC-10H, a DAC & Headphone Amplifier (MSRP$1,795) and NuPrime ST-10, a Reference LE class
power amplifier (MSRP$1595). The DAC-10H offers PCM 384K & DSD256 decoding with a high-power balanced headphone amplifier. This DAC with dual headphones outputs has 6 gain settings.
The DAC-10H’s balanced headphone amplifier is capable of driving headphones in balanced and single-ended configuration and can be used with up to two dynamic headphones. With five digital & two analog stereo inputs, the DAC-10H is a full-featured DAC and preamp.
The ST-10 amplifier is NuPrime’s Reference LE class power amplifier for listeners who require a reference-class amplifier at a somewhat lesser power rating of 2 x 150W (8 Ohm).
119 Days To Go !
The first day of the exhibition (the public holiday of Ascension Day) is exclusively reserved for trade visitors from all over the world who have been accredited as a trader and who want to discuss and define future developments of the market in Munich. European retail- ers also come to the event to find out about current developments in the industry because it is only at the HIGH END that all major companies gather together under one roof.
The HIGH END is also an end user exhibition and enjoys huge public enthusiasm from year to year. From Friday to Sunday anyone interested in music and technology can experience the entire range of the audio industry in the MOC.
With its wide variety, the HIGH END has established itself as the most important exhibition for the industry worldwide. The exhibition is held for the 34th time this year. The oldest and largest exhibition for high quality consumer electronics has taken place every year in Munich MOC since 2004. The ultra-modern architecture and infrastructure of the MOC convention centre in the north of Munich offers a unique exhibition space. The modular de- sign concept with spacious exhibition and event halls, 140 ready-to-use conference rooms from 50 to 500 square meters and two light-filled atriums allow for plenty of customised solutions.
Preparations for the world’s biggest exhibition in the audio field are already underway. The HIGH END brings together all market participants and adds important impulses to the industry. More than 400 exhibitors from home and abroad will be presenting their prod- ucts, services and innovations at the HIGH END. There is no other place in Europe where the entire range of audio products is presented as impressively and emotionally with their fascinating brand worlds and no other exhibition offers such a comparable presence for major suppliers. The diversity of services in the industry reflects both the big players as well as the many smaller, more specialised and niche providers.
Of course Hifi PIg will be there to bring you all the news at the show and as it happens, plus a great deal of coverage after the event. For more news on what Hifi Pig will be up to at High-End Munich 2015 watch this space.
Hifi Pig is delighted to announce that it will be an official media partner with the SIAV (Shanghai International High-End, Hifi Show which will take place in Shanghai, China on the 24th to 26th April 2015. The venue for SIAV is the Shanghai International Convention Centre at 2727 Avenue Pudong in Shanghai, China.
This is the 23rd SIAV event and will feature a whole host of audio and av equipment from all over the globe. Hifi Pig will report on the event shortly after SIAV has finished.
We hope our readers will thoroughly enjoy a glimpse into the audiophile world as it works in China.
Monitor Audio’s enduring Gold Series speaker line has been refined with significant design upgrades says the company’s latest press release. The new line is dubbed simply ‘Gold’ to reflect the purity of the latest addition to a decade-long lineage.
While it duplicates the form-factor of the Gold GX range it replaces, the new eight-strong line-up is equipped with a trinity of enhancements including an evolution of the C-CAM® Rigid Surface Technology (RST®) bass cone employed by the Gold GR and Gold GS predecessors; tighter production tolerances for its advanced C-CAM ribbon tweeter, and a smarter more functional grille design.
The Gold series ribbon is derived from the Platinum C-CAM ribbon transducer. The company say tha the new tweeter is “Mechanically identical to the GX ribbon but by improving production tolerances even further we’ve discovered that the new model offers a consistently more open and transparent sound. In part, the sense of greater detail and enhanced imaging may be attributed to the closer matching of tweeter pairs in each stereo system. The ribbon’s fabulously efficient wideband design reproduces the authentic tonal character of frequencies beyond 60kHz, as well as the inherent nature of the mid-band vocal region to which the ear is most sensitive”.
The Gold series bass units utilise an evolved version of the dimpled RST cone surface introduced on the Gold GR and GS ranges. It takes the form of a continuous radiating dish devoid of the central voice-coil aperture. Instead, a longer voice coil and larger motor sit behind the cone in a more efficient drive assembly, which Monitor Audio say offers greater drive force, longer excursions and lower distortion, producing cleaner, more extended and accurate bass definition.
Available in dark walnut and piano ebony wood veneers as well as high gloss white and black finishes, each cabinet is curved and rigid, aided by radial bracing and bolt-through driver fixings, New Gold’s HiVe®II reflex port is shaped to have the same effect on airflow as a gun barrel on a bullet.
The range consists of the Gold 50 standmount (5.5″ RST bass driver and C-CAM ribbon tweeter), Gold 100 standmount (6.5″ RST bass driver and C-CAM ribbon tweeter), Gold 200 floorstander (three way, 5.5″ bass driver, 4″ mid driver and ribbon tweeter), Gold 300 (6.5″ bass driver, 4″ mid driver and ribbon tweeter). There are also the Gold C150 cpmact centre speaker and Gold C350 centre speaker.
In addition to the conventional speakers outlines Monitor Audio have also introduced the Gold FX to provide direct or ambient surround sound and the Gold W15 subwoofer.
The range will be avaialble in February 2015 and priced as follows.:
Standard price for dark walnut, high gloss white, Piano black gloss.
Gold 50 £950, Piano Ebony finish £1,140 pair / Gold 100 £1,250, Piano Ebony £1,500 pair / Gold 200 £2,300, Piano Ebony £2,760 pair / Gold 300 £3,000, Piano Ebony £3,600 pair / Gold C150 £650, Piano Ebony £780 single / Gold C350 £1,000, Piano Ebony £1,200 single / Gold FX £700, Piano Ebony £840 single / Gold W15 £1,750, Piano Ebony £2,100 single / Gold 100 Stand £350 pair / Gold C350 stand £325
Retailer of the Year: Fanthorpes HiFi
“Located within the Georgian Hepworth’s Arcade in Hull, Fanthorpes HiFi regularly impressed throughout 2014 with the highest level of PMC product turnover for an independent business. With a customer-focused attitude and high levels of brand and product knowledge, the team at Fanthorps set the pace with their high quality levels of installation and attention to detail”.
Best Retail Experience: HiFi Lounge
“Especially significant as this award is based purely on customer feedback, the team at HiFi Lounge in Dunton, Bedfordshire has been commended due to its approachable manner and enthusiasm for PMC products and all things audio. By combining the highest level of professional knowledge with a superb showroom and retail environment, HiFi Lounge presents a welcoming and comfortable attitude to specialist audio-visual retail”.
Most Consistent Performance: Unilet Sound & Vision (Pictured)
“Located in charming New Malden, southwest London, Unilet Sound & Vision wins the award for most consistent performance throughout 2014. After a significant store refit, Unilet re-organised its retail space and demonstration facilities, enabling it to expand its range of PMC products to include the range-topping SE Series. As well as its commitment to PMC, Unilet is also recognised as being one of the most comprehensively stocked HiFi stores in the UK”.
Innovative Marketing: Ceritech Audio
“Set within the market town of Monmouth, Ceritech Audio impressed with its high level of local marketing activities. As well as a very active social media output, Ceritch Audio constantly put on in-store events throughout 2014 (including an extremely successful PMC evening), whilst working alongside likeminded local retailers to increase its presence within the area. Ceritech Audio is also commended for its local sponsorship and very worthy charity work, making it an excellent example of how a retailer can support the local community”.
Best Demonstration: Adventures in HiFi
“The better the demonstration, the more likely a store is to make an impression and, ultimately, a sale. Located in Chester, Adventures in HiFi excelled with its PMC demonstrations throughout 2014 and consistently achieved the best performance from the widest range of PMC products. In addition to its broad range of analogue and digital sources, all of which can be auditioned using one of the most comprehensive music collections available, Adventures in HiFi offer the true depth of knowledge essential for a specialist audio retailer”.
Commenting on the 2015 UK Retailer Awards, Keith Tonge, Creative Director of PMC, said, “Our retailer awards always present tough choices but 2014 proved to be a particularly difficult year, as specialist audio retailing in the UK has advanced significantly over the past few years. We were particularly pleased by the levels of customer care and the increase in the sophistication of retail environments, as dealers now compete with other luxury products and brands. I would like to congratulate all of the winners on receiving their deserved awards and look forward to an even harder selection at the end of 2015.”
You may very well not have heard of this band let alone seen or heard their 1971 album Satori. I feel obliged to put that situation to right because hand on heart this is one of those stellar overlooked gems that ought to be in every rock music collection.
The band formed in Japan in 1968 and are part of the Proto Metal genre that included Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Cream etc. These bands used a combination of blues-rock with psychedelic rock which would later evolve into heavy metal.
Whilst the names of bands like Cream, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Steppenwolf are mostly well known to us there are other lesser known and overlooked groups that demand an appraisal. Without a doubt the Flower Travellin’ Band and especially their first original album Satori demand attention.
Recorded over one day and mixed in another this album is now being re discovered and regarded as an influential album by those fortunate enough to have heard it. More »
Released in April 2014 by two seasoned lads from Nottingham, Divide and Exit, as the title alone suggests, is akin to musical Marmite – love it or hate it – this will divide the audio marketplace. It is not something you play when Great aunt Maud or the Vicar call around for tea. On the other hand I cannot remember reacting so strongly or positively to anything else since the day I first heard “Neat, Neat, Neat” by the Damned tearing out of a cheap transistor radio back in 1977.
On that occasion my musical world imploded, like that of so many others, and this exciting new music we called Punk caused an essential musical appraisal – the rest we say is history. More »
The new D150 has been designed to offer flexibility when adding digital source components to an audio system and supports many of the latest digital audio formats. With its five digital inputs (2x coaxial, 2x optical and 1x USB), plus balanced and unbalanced connections for both variable and fixed volume audio outputs, the D150 is suited to exploiting today’s high-resolution studio-master- quality digital music.
Its USB input accepts up to 32-bit/384kHz signals and supports DSD64, DSD128, DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz. Its two coaxial and two optical inputs accept up to 24-bit/192kHz signals, plus its DIN input also connects to select McIntosh SACD/CD transports/ players.
The D150 is a simple and cost-effective solution to adding digital music to an existing system, or with the addition of a power amp, speakers and digital source, the D150 can become the high-performance ‘hub’ of an all-digital set up.
The D150 also boasts a built-in headphone amplifier and uses the same DAC as the D100 (launched at CES 2013) and features an eight-channel 32-bit/192kHz D/A converter (used in stereo Quad Balanced mode.
The D150 is distinctly McIntosh, too: it shares the same classic visuals, controls and hand- crafted black-glass front panels as all the other McIntosh components and yet is easy to position with its compact, 10cm-tall chassis.
Frequency response (+0, -3db) 4Hz to 68kHz Maximum output voltage (balanced/unbalanced) 16/8V rms
Input impedance (balanced/unbalanced) 44kohm, 22kohm
Signal to noise ratio 110db
Headphone output 6.35mm
Variable outputs unbalanced 1x stereo
Variable outputs balanced 1x stereo
Digital USB input 1x 2.0, 32-bit/192k asynchronous; 44.1kHz to 384kHz, 32-bit (PCM) DSD64, DSD128, DXD352.8kHz, DXD384kHz
Digital S/PDIF inputs 2x Opt, 2x Coax, 24/192
Power control output 1x
Rear panel data ports 1x
Rear panel IR sensor input 1x
Dimensions (WxHxD) 44.45 x 9.8cm x 40.64cm
The D150 sells for £3,495 and will be available in the UK in late January
The INT-60 features the same power supply and output stages, along with the iconic glowing meter, as found on Pass Labs’ Point 8 amplifiers. The new model features Direct Access buttons for the four inputs on the faceplate, a digital level display, plus a Volume Control knob and Mute button. On the back are four line-level inputs, a line-level output, and two pairs of Furutech speaker binding posts.
The new INT-250 ups the wattage from the INT-150’s 150 watts to 250 watts per channel. Like the INT-60, the INT-250 features the same power supply and output stages, along with the iconic glowing meter as found on Pass Labs’ Point 8 amplifiers. It too features four line-level inputs, a line-level output, and two pairs of Furutech speaker binding posts. As with the INT-60, there are Direct Access buttons for the four inputs on the faceplate and a digital level display, in addition to a Volume Control knob and a Mute button.
Their dimensions are: INT-60: 19” W x 21” D x 7-1/2” H; INT-250: 19” W x 21” D x 9” H.
The INT-60 ($9,000) and INT-250 ($12,000) can be seen together with Pass Labs’ other products at the Venetian Tower, Suite 34-209, during CES.
The Philips Fidelio NC1L on-ear headphones are the first ever Active Noise Cancelling headphones to go battery-free with a direct digital connection to your iOS device via the Lightning™ connector. 24-bit Digital to Analog Conversion (DAC), amplification and noise cancellation take place in the headphones themselves.
“The Philips Fidelio NC1L headphones combine advanced Active Noise Cancelling technology with all the advantages of a direct digital connection to your iOS device,” said Wiebo Vaartjes, CEO of WOOX Innovations. “Following the launch of our first Lightning-enabled headphones, the Philips Fidelio M2L, we’re proud to announce another world first. Now you can immerse yourself in authentic sound without distraction, no matter how long your journey.”
The Philips Fidelio NC1L headphones use a hybrid Active Noise Cancellation approach, with four microphones detecting ambient noise before inverting the signal, effectively cancelling it out and converting background noise to silence. Two ‘FeedBackward’ microphones positioned next to the headphone drivers provide noise cancellation at low frequencies, whilst the two ‘FeedForward’ microphones positioned on the outside of the headphone extend the bandwidth of noise cancellation into the mid and high frequencies.
This announcement follows the September 2014 launch of the Philips Fidelio M2L headphones, the first Philips headphones to have a direct digital connection to your iOS device via the Lightning™ connector. The M2L headphones are now commercially available across Western Europe and will launch in North America in Spring.
The Philips Fidelio NC1L headphones will first be available in Western Europe this Spring with a suggested retail price of €299.
Main features of the turntable are as follows:
- Horizontally and vertically operating air bearing with accuracy of
concentricity of 0,1µm. Additional axis with adjustable pressure to transfer
resonances produced by play back to sub chassis using an execution which the company say is a world’s first.
- Sub chassis with pneumatic, analogue driven, self-adjustable
- Play back platter manufactured from POM, completely decoupled from
the driven platter, which is manufactured of a mix of metals. The company say that this set up ensures that no disturbances generated by the drive mechanism can reach the pick-up. They also add that the play back platter has the characteristic of not being able to stor energy.
- The tonearm base is constructed in such a way that the tonearm is decoupled
from the sub chassis but also in an exact and stable position. This is accomplished
by suspending the mounting plate on Kevlar strings. Physical Emotions also say that tonearm base along with a completely adjusted tone arm can be exchanged in less than a minute, without losing the set up.
- All components optimized for freedom of resonances and reflections.
- Extremely accurate and disturbance free drive system with a pulley of 16 cm diameter which also acts as a fly wheel.
Ok, so it looks imposing and the features certainly look impressive but what about the cost. Price will be 35.000€ or 43.000$
Aurender got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us that they will be in Venetian Suites 30-133 and 30-134 at this year’s CES.
Given the popularity of audiophiles and music lovers using NAS storage devices for storing their music files, Aurender have introduced the N100 Caching Network Music Server/Player. The company say it optimizes performance of NAS sourced music but also integrates with Tidal.
The N100 is said to provide great quality sound when connected to a USB DAC via its ultra low noise linear regulated USB power output and features SSD cached playback of the NAS contents which the company says eliminates noise and vibrations.
It has a full linear power supply, an iPad app and supports playback of DSD (DSF, DFF), WAV, FLAC, APE, AIFF, M4A and other major formats at native bit and sampling rates.
At the company’s first CES under the Gibson Brands umbrella, WOOX innovations will be introducing a host of new Philips Audio products with a focus on a wider range of Fidelio AV sound solutions including the company’s first ‘high end’ soundstage.
There will also be a wider range of Fidelio headphones, new sports headphones and new Bluetooth speakers – including and the waterproof ShoqBox mini – plus the unique NX5 Pro party tower speaker complete with led party lights.
Soundstages have been one of the largest growth areas in the past 12 months and two new Philips models are being unveiled at CES 2015 as 3.1 products complete with subwoofers.
The Fidelio XS1, is an ultra slim, glass topped soundstage – the first soundstage in the Philips Fidelio range. As a finely tuned 3.1 channel system, with front and side firing drivers coupled with a super slim wireless subwoofer. The glass top can hold a TV up to 65” in size while aptX Bluetooth connectivity ensures you can get the best out of music stored on portable devices too.
Also new at CES is the Philips HTL5130 a 3.1 channel soundstage featuring WaveFlector technology, which employs a new sound reflection architecture to deliver the widest-ever sound experience from any Philips soundstage to-date. In addition to the WaveFlector technology, the HTL5130 also has a dedicated center channel speaker for voice, an inbuilt subwoofer plus Bluetooth connectivity. CES marks the official introduction of the successor to the Fidelio HTL9100 with the Fidelio B5 now on sale and was also announced as winner of a CES 2015 Innovations Award.
Philips is also launching the ultra-sleek, yet powerful HTL7140 sound bar with wireless subwoofer. The HTL7140 is slim yet boasts 5.1 channel audio and thanks to Philips proprietary Ambisound technology it “creates a sound stage that is far beyond its own length”.
The the Philips Zenit cinema speaker systems are also launching at CES 2015. The Zenit system has technologies such as Bluetooth and HDMI 4K/2K pass through. Available in two versions, the Philips CSS5330 includes a center speaker, two additional satellite speakers and a wireless subwoofer while the Philips CSS5530 steps up to a 5.1 system with the addition of two wireless rear speakers. Both systems are available in stone grey and wood, or black and aluminum finishes.
Previewed at IFA, CES 2015 sees the official launch of the Fidelio M2L, the first Philips headphone to have a direct digital connection to your iOS device via a Lightning TM connector. The M2L incorporates high-quality 24-bit Digital to Analog Conversion (DAC) and amplification in the headphones themselves.
Also launching at CES 2015 are the latest additions to the Philips ActionFit Sport headphone range.
To discover all of the WOOX Innovations products, visit the Gibson Brands tent at CES 2015.
Capable of playing all popular formats up to 24-bit/192kHz studio master quality files, the 851N then intelligently upsamples all incoming audio to 24-bit/384kHz.
Connected either wired or wirelessly via UPnP over a home network, the 851N will find and stream music stored on computers, laptops and NAS drives. Additionally three USB inputs allow direct playback from USB HDDs and memory sticks. There are two TOSLINK optical inputs, two S/PDIF coaxials, an AES/EBU input and asynchronous USB audio.
Asynchronous USB audio allows playback of up to 24-bit/192kHz audio files direct from a connected computer or laptop, with the 851N effectively acting as a high-quality external sound card.
The 851N also features Apple Airplay and support for an optional BT100 aptX Bluetooth .
RCA and balanced XLR analogue outputs, as well as a digital AES/EBU, TOSLINK and coaxial outputs, allow connection to a wide range of hi-fi components, and the RS232 port enables integration into custom installations.
Capable of handling all popular codecs including WMA, MP3, AAC HE AAC, AAC+ and Ogg Vorbis and lossless 24-bit/192kHz FLAC, ALAC, WAV and AIFF files, the 851N can play virtually any file from your digital music library. There is also in-built support for leading streaming services.
The 851N runs twin Analog Devices AD1955 DACs in ‘dual differential’ mode where left and right stereo channels are processed separately for “maximum fidelity, accuracy and stereo separation”. The internal digital preamp is driven by a custom coded 32-bit Blackfin DSP which keeps the audio signal in the digital domain for as long as possible and enables it to be used as a pre amp. The 851N does not use bit reduction for volume control and volume is instead controlled by the Blackfin DSP.
There’s a 4.3” TFT colour display onboard or users can use the completely redesigned Cambridge Connect Apps for both Apple and Android devices.
The all new Azur 851N flagship network music player will debut at CES in Las Vegas, at the Venetian hotel, floor 30 – suite 216.
RRP £1,200 / $1,800. The Azur 851N will go on-sale from the end of Q1 of 2015.
Cambridge Audio’s totally new CX series is set to “revolutionise entertainment in the digital age”. The CX series is a range of hi-fi
and home theatre components offering a unique combination of “class-leading sound”, advanced networking capabilities, large colour displays and “exceptional build quality and design”.
The CX series comprises six new products: CXN network music player, the CXA60 and CXA80 integrated amplifiers, the CXC dedicated CD transport and the CXR120 and CXR200 AV receivers.
CXN Upsampling Network Music Player
Thanks to core technology from StreamMagic, the CXN can play virtually any music from your digital library or online streaming services up to 24 bit/192kHz and all controlled via the simple interface on the 4.3” (11cm) colour screen or via new Cambridge Connect smartphone and tablet apps for Apple and Android.
Connected either wired or wirelessly via UPnP over a home network, the CXN will stream music from computers, laptops and NAS drives. Additionally two USB inputs allow direct playback from USB HDDs including memory sticks. The CXN also offers TOSLINK optical, S/PDIF coaxial and asynchronous USB audio inputs. Asynchronous USB audio allows playback of 24-bit/192kHz files direct from a connected computer or laptop, with the CXN effectively acting as an external sound card.
The CXN also features Apple Airplay and support for an optional BT100 aptX Bluetooth receiver for streaming from any smartphone or tablet.
RCA and balanced XLR analogue outputs, as well as optical and coaxial digital outputs, allow connection to a wide range of modern hi-fi components such as the CXA60 or CXA80 amplifiers.
Capable of handling all popular codecs including WMA, MP3, AAC HE AAC, AAC+ and Ogg Vorbis and lossless 24-bit/192kHz FLAC, ALAC, WAV and AIFF files, the CXN can play any file from your digital music library. There is also in-built support for streaming services Spotify Connect, Pandora, Rhapsody, BBC iPlayer Radio and Internet Radio.!
No matter the source, the CXN’s ATF2 (2nd generation Adaptive Time Filtering) audio upsampling system intelligently upsamples all audio inputs to 24-bit/384kHz to reduce digital jitter. Two Wolfson WM8740 DACs ensure the very best digital to analogue conversion.
Not just a digital music streamer, but a digital pre-amp too, the CXN doubles up as a digital pre-amplifier using a 32-bit Blackfin DSP to control volume in the digital domain.
CXA80 Integrated Amplifier
The CXA80 features an oversized low-flux toroidal transformer with completely independent dual mono windings, fully symmetrical dual mono Class A/B amplification circuits delivering 80W RMS into 8 Ohms (rising to 120W RMS into 4 Ohms).
With TOSLINK optical and coaxial digital inputs, and the option to add aptX Bluetooth streaming, the CXA80 is designed for the modern digital age. An asynchronous USB audio input allows streaming of 24-bit/192kHz studio master quality files directly from your PC or MAC.
Finally, Wolfson WM8740 DAC, as used in Cambridge Audio’s DacMagic, handle digital-to-analogue conversion with stunning accuracy.
CXA60 Integrated Amplifier
The CXA60 delivers much as the CXA80, with the same fully symmetrical Class A/B amplifier topology combined with a single winding low-flux toroidal transformer, delivering 60W RMS into 8 Ohms – 90W RMS into 4 Ohms.
Apart from the USB audio input and balanced XLR input, all digital connections and digital to analogue conversion are identical to the CXA80.
CXC CD Transport
Designed specifically for the new CX series, CXC delivers CD playback.
At the heart of the CXC is Cambridge Audio’s ‘S3’ servo which “dynamically adjusts focusing, tracking and output level of the laser in real-time”. With no digital to analogue conversion in the CXC, the CXC passes a purely digital signal to an amplifier or dedicated DAC.
CXR AV Receivers
The CXR120 and CXR200 have been created for audiophiles seeking a home cinema experience. Using a “sound first” class A/B amplifier design carefully crafted by Cambridge engineers, coupled with an oversize toroidal transformer, each CXR model delivers “sensational 7.2 surround sound and a captivating, highly detailed stereo musical performance”.
On board is HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2, 4K and 3D compatibility, upscaling of all 1080p signals to 4K ultra high definition and deep colour.
In addition to HDMI, digital and analogue inputs for music and movies, both CXR models also feature the same Cambridge Audio StreamMagic music streaming module found at the heart of the CXN network music player.
There is also support for DSD, allowing playback of SACDs from a Blu-ray player and an MHL Link for direct HD input from smartphones. Asynchronous USB audio input and optional aptX Bluetooth connectivity further add to the digital capabilities.
The all new Cambridge CX Series will debut at CES in Las Vegas at the Venetian hotel, suite 30 -216.
Audio Capsule, the Hi-Res Audiophile grade player and Home Multi-room server made by Voxtok, is officially launched during the CES 2015 in Las Vegas. This product has been named with a CES Innovation Award Honoree in the High Performance Home Audio/Video category. They will be in Eureka Park Booth 75605.
This piece of technology incorporates Voxtok Music, a unified and consistent bouquet of music services. Voxtok Music provides a catalogue of almost 30 Million tracks, from compressed to lossless formats. This catalogue is available for several countries for both, streaming and files downloading.
Voxtok also adds intelligent Music services such as recommendation (based on advanced metadata bases, algorithms and human experts), automatic upgrading files quality, automatic complete albums and Cloud features for an Audio Capsule on-the-go seamless experience.
Voxtok also announces that Jacques Krischer is joining the board of directors as Chief Musical Officer. Jacques has been involved in the music content industry since 30 years and he’s a well-known ww expert. He joins the board of directors to bring his experience, valuable assets and passion in order to build the best high quality music discovery platform, with ubiquitous access. Moreover, the company invited Eric Lipmann to join the team and add his experience and expertise in the recommendation space, mainly for Classical music. Eric has a long track record in this industry and he’s adding human sense to the algorithms and technologies the company has been developing and acquiring. Voxtok is showcasing during the CES its first recommendation app, focused first on classical music.
Vostok will also be announcing their Audio Capsule at CES 2015. With Audio Capsule, Voxtok “reinvents” the Music Experience by changing the way we access and discover music, providing an end-to-end Home Audio System.
Audio Capsule is a modern Hi-Res, Multi-room and connected Jukebox, controlled by a tablet or a TV. It incorporates an audiophile player, a multi-room music server, a storage unit and a CD ripping function, controlled by a very simple tablet & TV app.
It integrates a set of advanced services (Hi-Res music catalogs, Advanced music recommendation, Audio Capsule backup and streaming) based on powerful Cloud technologies and extensive metadatabases.
The brief was simple say Naim, “Design a range of cables that would complement and allow the maximum performance of Statement as well as Naim 500 Series and Classic products. Starting with a blank page, Naim’s engineers specified each element of the cables based on the results of thousands of hours spent in the listening room testing prototypes”.
Super Lumina pre to power interconnects ship as standard with all Statement systems. The rest of the range is scheduled to enter production in February 2015 and will be available from all Naim specialist retailers.
The Super Lumina interconnects feature an advanced version of Naim’s patented Air-PLUG technology first introduced for the Hi-Line. All DIN and XLR connectors have the Air-PLUG connector, which is designed as a decoupling device to minimise microphonic interference and preserve the integrity of the audio signal.
The new Super Lumina Air-PLUG features multiple individual aluminium rings, which form the rear of the connector. These are screwed together to form an articulating section that they say inhibits the passage of unwanted energy. The connector pins on DIN terminated cables also float within their sockets, extending the decoupling effect right to the point where the signal enters the product.
Super Lumina cables are designed to minimise the effect of external and internal interference sources and preserve maximum signal fidelity. The fundamental cable design consists of several individually-insulated multi-strand silver-plated copper conductors of varying diameters enclosed in a tin-plated copper shield. This is all enclosed in a soft outer jacket to facilitate easy installation whilst minimising microphonic interference.
Each signal, return, ground and shield conductor is individually manufactured for its specific function. The ground conductor references the audio band waveform, mirroring the internal design of Naim electronics.
To optimise performance and ensure consistency the directionality of the cables is controlled at every point of manufacture. Each diameter wire is matched after extrusion so that every conductor within the cable has the same directionality.
Silver is used to plate all conductors, connector pins (excluding the RCAs) as well as the spade and 4mm speaker terminations. “Silver has the highest conductivity rating of any metal and also matches the plating on terminals of our flagship amplification system, Statement” say Naim.
Copper is used as the main conductor material in all Super Lumina cables. “Like silver, copper also has an exceptional conductivity rating. All DIN connector pins use silver-plated tellurium copper, an alloy of copper which is greater than 90% as conductive as the pure metal but which can be practically used in connector manufacture. This is far higher than commonly used alternatives such as brass or phosphor bronze”.
Aluminium. Air-PLUG connectors on XLR and DIN interconnects feature individually machined and anodised aluminium rings. Aluminium is a non-magnetic metal that provides a highly durable connection and is consistent with materials used on the chassis of Naim products.
Gold. Super Lumina interconnects come with an option of RCA terminations for fitting to non-Naim equipment.
FEP is a quality insulating material with low dielectric absorption. It used as the internal material, which insulates and separates each conductor.
Tin. All conductor shielding is woven from non-magnetic tin-plated pure copper.
Each Super Lumina cable is hand-assembled at Naim in Salisbury to the customer’s specification of length and termination.
Every cable also goes through a proprietary de-stressing process to relieve the materials of the inherent stresses which are a result of the manufacturing process. This means the cables reach optimum performance with minimal run in time.
Source to preamplifier interconnect
Available with DIN, RCA and XLR connectors and priced from £1750 for the standard DIN to DIN up to £3000 for XLR to XLR stereo.
Power amplifier to preamplifier interconnect
Available with DIN or XLR connectors and priced at £3000 per stereo pair or £1500 for a single cable for use with the NAP 300 power amplifier.
Available with 4mm and spade connectors at £1,800 per 3m pair, £3,000 per 5m pair, £4,200 per 7m pair and £5,400 per 9m pair.