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 clarityefforts 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”

 

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The Chord Company, will be revealing two new models from its streaming (Ethernet) range at the forthcoming headroom show. The new streaming cables, whichPicture 1535 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.

 

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The EVO3 Venus AV power centre is a five-outlet mains conditioner designed to enhance and protect a complete audio or AV system. IsoTel EVO3 Venus

“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).

 

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Our friends at Audio4soul got in touch to tell us about their latest project and the Worldwide distribution of its OCC iT! Reference speaker cables.OCC iT! Ref
“Employing the finest single crystal pure OCC copper made by the -now- famous Ohno casting method, the OCC cables digs deeper into the music truth of your collection. Clarity, 3D imaging, natural presence,dynamics, musicality, bass definition, everything that OCC cables are known for, is in spades” is what the company’s press release claims for their speaker cables.
The cables are handmade and have a price of 720 with free worldwide delivery included.
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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 offphilipscazner 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.

Key features:
40mm high definition drivers
Best-in-class noise cancellation
Consistent high fidelity sound
Zero hiss
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

 

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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 BMU3000NewBackintroduced 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

 

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TIDAL today announced the launch and availability of its service in five new European countries, namely Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium and tidal.ScreengrabLuxembourg.

“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.”

 

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The board of Mitchell and Johnson, British audio manufacturing brand, has announced that Haydn Abbott has been appointed to the position of non-executiveHaydnAbbott_PR 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.”

 

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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. RECOMMENDED LOGO NEW
So far this year we have had Simply Audio Cadenza Interconnect, Speaker Cable and Jumper LinksDiesis Aura Loudspeakers , Russ Andrews Balanced Mains Unit 1000Vinyl 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.

 

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The new 3010S2-D from Exposure is the fourth incarnation of their top integrated amp.Exposure 3010S2D integrated with CD player - lifestyle - 2

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.

Technical specifications
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).

Optional additions:
On-board MM phonostage £240
On-board MC phonostage £240

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