Judith Owen describes her latest album, her 10th studio release, as “a love letter to Laurel Canyon”. In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles was home to several members of the Californian rock music community. Joni Mitchell lived there and David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash first met in her living room. The area played host to names such as J.D. Souther, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Carole King. The Canyon, along with LA’s Troubadour club, became a crucible for the Seventies singer-songwriter scene. More »
Dave Pen and Mike Bird formed BirdPen while sharing a flat in their hometown of Southampton. Self-releasing a handful of well-received EPs, the duo went on to release their debut Album On/Off/Safety/Danger in 2009. Evolving and honing their sound, new album In The Company Of Imaginary Friends, their third, harnesses subtle melodies to evoke widescreen emotions. More »
The Essential II DIGITAL aims to be the first hi-fi specified turntable that can be connected – out-of- the-box – to any modern home entertainment system. The brand new internal phono stage gives customers the option between an analogue Line Level output, or a 24-bit/96kHz digital Optical output.
The analogue portion of the output stage uses a phono stage based upon Pro-Ject’s Phono Box design. The Line output allows for easy connection to any Line-Level (Auxiliary) input. The 24-bit/96kHz Optical output uses a high-performance Analogue-Digital Converter (ADC) to send a clean, uninterrupted signal to your digital hub. So whether you currently listen to music through a soundbar, an AV receiver, a DAC, a TV, a digital pre-amplifier or a multi- room system with external input options – the Essential II DIGITAL should fit right in.
The Essential II DIGITAL has a high-gloss paint finishe, and the “Digital” logo emblazoned on the plinth. It also boasts all the pre-existing features that have made the Essential II an international award winner. The 8.6” aluminium tonearm, heavy MDF platter and low-voltage motor with perimeter belt drive system make a winning combination; while the Ortofon OM5E is the perfect cartridge to get instant gratification from your record collection. The turntable is available in black or white finish, and is supplied with a dust-cover in the box.
With the ever-growing success of the vinyl format, Pro-Ject aim to produce a range of products that give any customer the tools they need to integrate a high-quality turntable into their listening system. The Essential II DIGITAL expands the potential for digital audio fans to revisit the fabled black wax, without fundamentally changing their current system.
The Pro-Ject Essential II DIGITAL will be available in the UK from June 2015.
Duo Inga Calstrom and Leck Fischer were discovered by producer Mike Mason in a club in the small Swedish town of Sveg. Unimpressed by the entertainment on offer, Mason was on his way out. “A monstrous bass line rabbit punched me in the back of the head and a voice made me weak at the knees” he said later. He was stopped in his tracks and witnessed “The best performance I’d seen in years”. Returning home to Oxfordshire, Mason lost no time in flying Calstrom and Fischer over to record their first album American Teeth. More »
Rather than bringing out a single pair of Bluetooth in ear monitors, Noble Audio the California based IEM specialists have come up with a clever little gizmo called a Bluetooth Solution (BTS). It’s a tiny clip-on device that turns headphones and IEMs wireless using Bluetooth. Barely bigger than an AA battery and weighing just 10 grams, the BTS system plugs into headphones and pairs with phones, tablets and compatible devices up to 10m away. It charges in 2 hours and plays back music for 7. The BTS system features the latest Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX CODEC technologies, as well as an omnidirectional microphone with push-button controls, giving users complete flexibility with partnering devices.
Following its pre-order launch in April, the Noble Audio BTS is available now direct from Noble Audio.
“That’s why we took another critical look at, and where possible improved, the top range of our power cables: the Aerostar.” Says Marc van Berlo, co-owner of this Dutch company. The quality of the silver plating has been improved, together with the ‘filament’ system to achieve maximum isolation. The biggest and most eye catching improvement is the use of Furutech FI-50 connectors.
The Akiko Audio Powercord Aerostar FI-50 is sold with an international 14 day money back guarantee.
Voxtok, a Frano-American company with their R&D team based in the South of France, announces the launch of AudioCapsule, an audiophile-grade player and a music server, controlled from your smartphone, tablet or Smart TV. Combining a premium quality player, a multi-room music service, and a CD-ripping feature, AudioCapsule also comes with a high-capacity internal storage, and provides access to cloud-based services.
AudioCapsule can be pre-ordered from today at an early bird retail price of 1199€, with a one-year subscription to related services included.
Voxtok has also launched its Accelerator Program. Users are invited to share their opinions and ideas, and to play a vital role in designing upcoming features of AudioCapsule.
AudioCapsule will be available from November 16th 2015, full price will be 1999€.
Their self-assembly speakers now have the option of the new Trio15, three piece, all aluminium frame, which has been engineered for better vibration control, stability and aesthetics and is compatible with their WTW and WWT models.
It is currently being offered at a special pre-order price of US$ 1,499 excl. VAT, shaving 300$ off the catalogue price. This pre-order offer is time and quantity limited and the planned shipping date is the beginning of July.
Designed to accommodate up to 8 channels of amplification, the Dreadnaught D has a built-in power supply using dual power cords, power switches and toroidal transformers plus 4 slots designed to receive proprietary Theta Digital amplifier modules.
There are three modules available for the Dreadnaught D, all based on the Hypex N-Core class D amplifier circuitry.The stereo amplifier module is rated at 225W RMS per channel at 8 ohms and 400W at 4 ohms with no more than 0.05% THD from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. One of the two single-channel modules has identical performance.The other bridges the two modules to deliver over 500W RMS at 8 ohms with over 800 W RMS at 4 ohms.
The Dreadnaught D is available in platinum or black, in standard or rack-mount chassis with either 117V or 230V power supplies.
Pricing depends on the chosen configuration, for example MSRP for 225W x 7 is $9,995.00; 400W x 3 plus 225W x 2 is $10,695.00. Stereo amplifiers are available with 225W x 2 at $6,149.95 and 500W x 2 at $7,445.00.
The NuPrime IDA-8 Integrated Amplifier, a single-chassis, integrated stereo amplifier with a DAC capable of decoding USB PCM 384 and DSD256 in addition to a 100Wx2 power amplifier in a 8.5” wide chassis.
NuPrime tell us that the IDA-8 is packed with innovative features including:
– NuPrime power amplifier design breakthrough technology Ultra Linear Class A Module (ULCAM) to achieve high-end Class A sound signature with Class D efficiency
– State-of-the-art DAC supporting USB PCM 384 and DSD256, that is also capable of decoding DoP formats via coaxial and optical inputs
– NuPrime SRC IC chip provides FPGA processing with ultra-low jitter and distortion
– NuPrime vibration-free isolation feet (patent pending)
– Analogue line-out (Sub Out), with 3X the standard output power, provides impressive lows and a wide sound stage specifically designed for subwoofers
– Four digital inputs and one stereo input for complete system flexibility
– Extension port for Bluetooth dongle and WiFi audio streaming (optional)
The NuPrime IDA-8 is available worldwide for a suggested retail price of US$995 and shipping in mid-June.
Woozy Summer days. The French TV version of Robinson Crusoe. Sky Ray ice lollies. If these things could have a sound, it would be the sound of Sarah Cracknell’s new album. An album that the words “pastoral” and “sun-kissed” were made for.
Sarah Cracknell is, of course, the singer with Saint Etienne; a band that have always embraced the sounds of the sixties and seventies. These influences remain on this, her second solo album. More »
Controlled via App or handset, AeroSphère is a stylish looking and versatile multi-source, multi-room music system comprising wireless active speakers in two sizes, for table top, shelf or floor stand, together with an optional network-connected entertainment module, the AeroSphère Base, which adds CD, DAB/DAB+, FM radio and a further line-in to the setup.
Adding to their Wi-Fi and wireless connectivity, both AeroSphère speakers offer a stereo mini-jack line input for local analogue audio sources.
Available from UK stockists this month.
AeroSphère Small – £349
AeroSphère Large – £649
Dedicated Floor Stands – £149
AeroSphère Base – £449
I first became aware of Tidal in October last year. At that time it was being quietly marketed as a high quality streaming service with the emphasis on its lossless, CD-quality sound. Sound quality has virtually become an irrelevance in the mass market; the received wisdom that it it impossible to hear the difference between a 320 Mbps MP3 file and a 24 bit 192 high resolution file has been happily accepted as truth, mostly by people who have never heard a high resolution file. The result of this was that Tidal found itself targeting a niche market of audiophiles for whom sound quality was still a vital consideration and who had either already discovered the benefits of streaming music from their own computer-based audio set ups or were increasingly curious about doing so.
Ruark Audio is a family-owned British firm that has made well reputed loudspeakers for over thirty years. Today it has applied the same principles to design and engineer a new generation of compact tabletop music systems.
Ruark’s R1 Mk3 and MR1 models are now available in the U.S. Pre-order now from Ruark for delivery in early July.
R1 Mk3 – $299.95
Elegantly styled and simple to use, with Bluetooth technology, the new R1 is a complete compact tabletop music system.
Limited Edition Osborne & Little R1 Mk3 – $349.95
In collaboration with British designers Osborne & Little Ruark have introduced a limited edition of our new R1 wrapped in one of O&L’s latest fabrics called ‘Melo’.
MR1 – $499.95
The new MR1 Bluetooth speaker system was created to partner modern music sources, such as laptops, smartphones, flat panel TVs and iPads.
Both the R1 Mk3 and the MR1 are available in real wood Rich Walnut, Soft Black or Soft White.
NuNu Distribution in UK got in touch to tell us about the new Chromium Style range of speakers from quadral that consists of 4 products: Style 8, Style 6, Style 2 and Style 1 (Base). This new range has:
- The new “genuine” ribbon tweeter with an aluminium membrane which the company say “guarantees exceptionally low distortion ratings and produces fascinating fine reproductions”. Using extremely powerful neodymium magnets and a transducer with a sintered, high current ferrite core
- 6 inch (155mm) woofer
- Available in a high gloss varnish of black or white
- White speakers come with a white front grill
- Premium gold plated stereo connection terminals
- Titanium coated membrane
- Covers are held secure by magnets
STYLE 8 STYLE 6 STYLE 2 STYLE 1
Type 3-way 2-way 2-way 3-way
Principle Bass reflex Bass reflex Base reflex closed
Nom/Music power (W) 140/200 110/170 60/90 100/150
Frequency response (Hz) 32…55.000 35…55.000 48…55.000 55…55.000
Crossover frequency (Hz) 340/3.400 3.400 3.400 300/3.400
Efficiency (dB/1W/1m) 89 88 86 86
Tweeter (ribbon) aluminium aluminium aluminium aluminium
Midrange Titanium-PP 155mm 2x155mm 155mm 155mm
Back in November 2013 I reviewed Bird Radio’s first outing “The Boy and The Audience” and said ” Bird Radio is like a demented Pied Piper cum Cat Weasel character for the Ableton Live generation – fail to listen at your peril!” and he’s just released is his Oh, Happy England album.
Oh, Happy England is a collection of poems by Walter de la Mare, an English poet born 1873, set to music. I must confess to being completely unaware of de la Mare but you live and learn. Bird Radio (Mikey Kirkpatrick) says about de la Mare “When you enter into a poem by Walter de la Mare, you are never certain of the boundaries between reality and dreams. His poetry covers a broad spectrum of textures and emotions from moments of realisation and self recognition as in The Englishman to dark, isolated and nightmarish scenes such as Drugged and reveries such as Time Passes”. More »
Known as the French Elvis, Johnny Hallyday is a bit of an iconic figure here in France and he still manages to draw huge audiences. Eighty or nine years ago he headlined the Vieilles Charrues festival a few minutes up the road from where we live and folk travelled from all over the country to catch a glimpse of this living legend. So beloved is Johnny that in 1997 Jacques Chirac awarded him the Legion Of Honour medal. Personally I’ve always seen him as a bit of a caricature, but then I’d never taken the time to listen to his music, though he’s had 33 number one singles and sold over 110 Million records in his time…perhaps this was a bit remiss of me. More »
I used to hammer “Laughing Gas” by Juno Reactor on the Nova Mute label back in the day (1993 if memory serves)…I can still remember the yellow and blue cover, but the 12″ is long gone sadly and since then I’ve not really taken much notice of his output. This may have been a mistake and a bit of an oversight on my part I must confess…
The “label” here is Psy-Trance, but I reckon Ben Watkins (for it is he) goes far beyond what I would expect of the usual formulaic stuff churned out under this banner. Juno Reactor are apparently huge in Australia, Japan and pretty much everywhere but the UK and I can see why… the Juno Reactor live experience is by all accounts a bit of a spectacle with loads of musicians, singers, percussionists and dancers taking to the stage. This album certainly feels like a bit of an epic that would be really something at a huge festival whilst in an enhanced state! More »
If you are in the Brittany region of France the weekend of the 24th, 25th, and 26th of July then you really do owe it to yourself to pay a visit to the absolutely fabulous Fest Jazz at Chateauneuf-du-Faou.
There’s a whole weekend of gigs and events in the town over the weekend, but the main event takes place on the Sunday.
Artists on the day are:
Electric Swing Circus
Bohém Ragtime Jazz Band
The Hippocampus Jass Gang
Jack Daniels String Band
Good Time Jazz
Tickets for the Sunday are from 21 Euros and a weekend pass is just 50 Euros for a truly international line-up of artists.
From past experience this really is a fabulous festival, with a lovely chilled out atmosphere that is certainly as family friendly as it gets.
There are advertisements dotted around Hifi Pig so if you are going to be finding yourself in the Brittany area around the dates then get yourself booked for what is a really great Jazz Fest.
“Excellence is a lifestyle, an art de vivre, consciously chosen by those who cannot settle for less than the best; those who have the knowledge to determine in all domains of life what is better intrinsically, but above all, what is better for them. It is with these customers in mind that the Logos Anatta was created” announces the latest press release from Goldmund.
The new Logos Anatta cannot hide it is related to the Apologue Anniversary Limited Edition designed twenty five years ago by the contemporary Italian artist Claudio Rotta Loria.
Modern and cubic, Goldmund wanted the Anatta to stand out as being different, special, yet timeless. Its design is adapted to contemporary styles but also creates an interesting contrast in classical decors.
The Logos Anatta is 1.6 meters (5’6”) height and uses the best quality steel, ultra-rigid brass, aluminum, rhodium, and gold. The Anatta is made out of aluminum that is treated to create the traditional Goldmund satin finish.
All Logos Anatta speakers are assembled by hand at the Goldmund factory and consists in sourcing each element of the speaker from the most expert Swiss companies. Some of them are small enterprises that work with only a few selected customers such as Rolex, Patek Philippe and Goldmund. Each of them being highly specialized in one domain only (mechanics, treatment, electronics etc.)..
Logos Anatta is built with the Mechanical Grounding technology developed by Goldmund to evacuate spurious vibrations that affect the sound quality.
The Logos Anatta is a “wireless capable” speaker. It adapts to your needs in terms of system options.
If you wish for extreme simplicity, you can use the Anatta with the USB computer dongle that is provided with it. Plugged in your computer, it will wirelessly transfer the signal to your speakers without any need for additional equipment to listen to your tracks. If you have several sources and want to connect your television, your computer and your disc player, a wireless hub like the Mimesis 11 or the Talisman (this one with the size and shape of a jewelry box) will be enough to transmit from all of them. If you wish to use the Anatta as front speakers in a home cinema, you may also choose an acoustic processor and a wireless transmitter.
The power cord, the only really necessary cable, is completely hidden within the frame and connects at the rear bottom part of it and amplifiers and filters are integrated within the speakers. The Anatta can also be used wired by a coaxial link and the digital link RCA plug is located right next to the AC connector.
When the Logos Anatta operates as front speakers in a multichannel system, it is delivered with a customized configuration created from the mathematical model of the room in which it is installed and taking into account the rest of the equipment used in the system. Configurations are calculated by an engineer of the Goldmund Geneva Acoustic Laboratory.
Roth Audio announces two new finishes for its OLi POWA-5. The Bluetooth aptX-equipped powered stereo speaker system is now available in matte black and matte grey, complimenting the existing black and white high-gloss options. All choices feature elegantly curved cabinets and house an impressive 80-watts of amplification, as well as a host of connectivity possibilities.
In addition to Bluetooth, the POWA-5’s connectivity list includes 1 x pair RCA analogue connecters (e.g. CD player), 1 x 3.5mm stereo jack input (e.g. MP3 player), 2 x optical inputs (e.g. Sky box, and DVD player), as well as a pair of USB outputs to provide power to mobile devices.
Roth AV founder James Roth commented, “Our customers asked if we can provide more colour options and these two are the first we’ll bring to market. We’re hoping that this beautiful new matte finish will win the hearts and minds of many more people who want a pair of active loudspeakers that sound great, have the best connectivity options in the marketplace and provide unbeatable value-for-money and still ooze class. They look, sound and feel incredible.”
The Roth OLi POWA-5 matte black and matte grey finishes both launch on 01 July 2015 at an RRP of £249.00 (per pair).
Tivoli Audio announces significant price changes across its range, meaning even better deals for customers and dealers alike. Enabled by the ongoing success of the restructuring of its UK operation – first embarked upon in 2012 when distribution was taken in- house – the American-based brand is in a position to offer added value across its extensive range of award-winning audio products.
Models subject to significant price reductions include the Model 10+ tabletop radio, which now starts at an inviting £99. The Bluetooth-equipped Music System Three+ dips below the £200 mark at £199, while the ever-popular PAL portable range comes in at £149, £149, and £179 for the PAL BT, PAL+, and PAL+ BT respectively. And the £249 Bluetooth-equipped Music System Two+ and the £49 wood-cupped Radio Silenz noise cancelling headphones will doubtless attract fans of Tivoli’s classic real wood designs. See the below table for all of the new price points.
The Contour LE series consists of the bookshelf Contour S 1.4 LE (SRP £2,950) and the floorstanding Contour S 3.4LE (SRP £5,250), both available in four finishes: Burbinga piano lacquer, oiled walnut, mocca piano lacquer and black piano lacquer. At the heart of the handcrafted, furniture grade cabinets sit die-cast aluminium woofer baskets finished in matt black while the metal front is finished in satin black. The high-gloss black piano lacquer version of the Contour features a metal front made of stainless steel.
One of the most distinctive features of the Contour LE is its construction. The extremely rigid cabinet features a unique baffle. Consisting of three layers, including a layer of damping material and a thick metal plate, this construction effectively reduces cabinet resonance.
Aside from the aesthetic overhaul the Contour LE has also received an acoustic upgrade. The Dynaudio soft dome tweeter has Precision Coating and the internal wiring uses OFC copper cable for minimal resistance. The crossover has been refined by using special ceramic resistors and high quality capacitors. The Contour woofers include the best proprietary Dynaudio technologies such as Magnesium Silicate Polymer cones, extremely light aluminium wire voice coils on Kapton formers and rigid, low resonance die-cast aluminium baskets. The culmination of these technologies has allowed Dynaudio to create a “natural, balanced yet dynamic performance that is unique to the Contour LE series”.
The Contour LE models
Contour S 1.4LE – Passive bookshelf loudspeaker (SRP £2,950)
Contour S 3.4LE – Passive floorstanding loudspeaker (SRP £5,250)
Contour S 1.4 LE Technical Specifications
Sensitivity – 85dB
IEC Power Handling – 160W
Impedance – 4 Ohms
Frequency Response – 41Hz – 25kHz
Crossover Frequency – 1900 Hz
Weight – 12.6kg
Dimensions – 188 x 404 x 360 mm
Contour S 3.4 LE Technical Specifications
Sensitivity – 86dB
IEC Power Handling – 270W
Impedance – 4 Ohms
Frequency Response – 35 Hz – 25kHz
Crossover Frequency – 2000 Hz
Weight – 33.3 kg
Dimensions – 188 x 404 x 360 mm
The North West Audio Show takes place on Sunday 28th June at Cranage Hall in Holmes Chapel in Cheshire (North West England) and Hifi Pig is the exclusive media partner. We have just added the up to date floorplan to the site so that you can plan your day and the exhibitors you most want to see before arriving at the show. To see the floorplan click here.
Tickets for this superb audio event that is fast becoming THE show to visit in the UK are still available and are FREE! Click here to secure your tickets.
See you there.
Magico announces a new addition to the award winning S-Series line – the S7.
Towering over other S-Series models, the acoustic suspension enclosure of the S7 features curved aluminum side panels that are machined in-house from half-inch thick aluminum extrusions which are sixteen-inches in diameter. Internal bracing is carefully positioned throughout the enclosure to minimize resonances and create an ideal operating environment.
The S7 houses three new 10-inch bass drivers that have extremely powerful magnets and ultra- stiff aluminum cones. The excursion rate of the voice coil is measured at 15-mm linear movement and produces clean sound pressure levels up to 120dB @ 50Hz / 1-meter.
The midrange driver (6-inch) in the S7 brings a new benchmark of measured performance to Magico. The cone material is formulated using Arkema Multi-Wall carbon nanotube and XG Sciences C-750 Nanographene which combined is 20% lighter and 300% stiffer than previous cone material designs. The underhung neodymium base motor system uses two extra-large magnets which provide an ultra-stabilized magnetic field for the pure titanium voice coil to operate within. The driver operates in a purpose built sub-enclosure made of a proprietary polymer material that was first introduced in the S3.
The S7 incorporates a new (1-inch) tweeter that features a diamond-coated beryllium diaphragm with optimized geometry, created using Finite Element analysis modeling tools. This purpose built tweeter has extra-long excursion movement and uses a neodymium based motor system that is customized to match the sensitivity and power handling capabilities of the S7 while maintaining ultra-wide dispersion characteristics and ultra-low distortion measurements.
All five drivers in the S7 are acoustically integrated using Magico’s exclusive Elliptical Symmetry Crossover topology that includes state-of-the-art components from Mundorf of Germany.
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 50 KHz
Recommended Power: 50-1000 Watts
Dimensions: 56” (142cm) H x 20” (48cm) D x 25” (63cm) W Weight: 300 lbs.
The FREE Hifi Pig Special focusing on this years High End show in Munich is now available for download. Find out who had Hifi Pig’s favourite room at the show and carried off the Hifi Pig Loves You “trophy”. Click on the image or this link below to start your free download and ENJOY!!!
The Aesthetix Romulus DAC & CD transport, and sister DAC the Pandora, are now available in enhanced ‘Signature’ editions.
Widely known as “masters of analogue” and obsessed with natural sound quality, California-based Aesthetix took their time before venturing into the digital domain. But they are no strangers to digital: Founder and chief designer Jim White spent his formative years with a leading digital audio company. “I could have made a DAC years ago”, says White, “but I want every product under the Aesthetix brand to be something special, so I took a decade to amass ideas for unique innovative technologies that would break new ground in natural sound reproduction from digital audio.” The Romulus and the Pandora are the products of that ambition.
The Pandora is a valve-based DAC with one USB and three SPDIF inputs (plus an optional second USB input). The Romulus includes the same features and construction as the Pandora, but adds a CD transport mechanism.
A key element in achieving that ‘un-digital’ quality in both the Romulus and Pandora is the digital filtering, which has a significant impact on a product’s sound. While many DACs use the same off-the-shelf filter and DAC chip (and hence all sound very similar), Aesthetix use proprietary DSP running on a Motorola DSP56362 chip. This custom approach allows for more sophisticated filtering techniques and, crucially, for tailoring the filter’s sound to the product as a whole.
The filter’s outputs are converted to analogue by a Burr-Brown PCM 1792A running in pure differential mode: a critical implementation feature that only amplifies the audio signal itself, cancelling noise and other digital artefacts.
The clock section of a digital product is critical for audio performance. Any jitter or noise will cause clearly audible consequences. While most DACs use an off-the-shelf crystal oscillator to regulate the timing, Aesthetix use custom-manufactured crystal oscillators to deliver radically lower jitter and noise than any standard issue part.
Aesthetix’ reputation for state-of-the-art analogue stages is continued in the Romulus and Pandora, both of which feature a current-sourced fully differential zero feedback valve amplifier. Differential amplifiers have the unique ability of rejecting common mode noise, while ground noise is reduced by using two separate, discretely regulated positive and negative power supplies for the voltage gain section. Output buffering is also run in pure differential mode with zero feedback – a unique configuration providing much of the benefit of balanced operation for single-ended outputs. The output section also has separate discretely regulated positive and negative supplies which are completely isolated from the voltage gain power supplies.
The use of a single transformer to supply all circuits carries a risk of noise. The Pandora therefore features three separate transformers. First, the digital / DSP section is given its own transformer and regulated power supply, while individual digital sections are further locally regulated to isolate them from each other. A second transformer and dedicated regulator are used for the control system, and a third transformer, custom-manufactured for Aesthetix, is used in the analogue sections, where six separate windings and regulation stages are used. The Romulus also features a further two transformers in its CD transport section.
The Romulus and Pandora USB input uses the asynchronous transfer mode licensed from Gordon Rankin / Wavelength Technologies with an ultra-low jitter fixed-frequency crystal clock immediately adjacent to the DAC. This technology allows for jitter levels over one hundred times lower than previous USB solutions. The same fixed-frequency crystal oscillator is used for the SPDIF inputs.
To combat computer generated noise pollution, optical couplers galvanically isolate the USB input and processing sections from the DSP section, including ground. While expensive and difficult to do, it achieves a huge sound quality improvement over a directly-connected USB section that allows noise to infiltrate the audio circuitry.
The Romulus features a dedicated Red Book CD transport using a special Teac audio-only mechanism. Instead of running from SPDIF or other jitter-prone serial connections, data is retrieved from the IDE bus. This allows the DAC’s master clock to be in total control, yielding the minimum possible level of jitter. Completely enclosed in its own faraday cage, the CD transport is electrically, mechanically and magnetically isolated from the rest of the DAC.
An optional high-resolution volume control can be added to the Romulus and Pandora, allowing them to directly drive a power amplifier. While most digital products control volume in the digital domain, such that every 6dB of volume attenuation causes a loss of 1 bit of resolution, Aesthetix’ volume control prevents all resolution loss by operating partially in the digital domain for small 1dB steps and partially in the analogue domain using relay-based switched resistors for large 6dB steps. Using this method, eighty-eight 1dB steps are created with zero loss of resolution.
The new Romulus & Pandora ‘Signature’ editions
Aesthetix ‘Signature’ editions are known for taking the circuit design of an existing model and bestowing it with ultra-high-quality components hand-picked to deliver the absolute peak of performance from that circuit design. The Romulus and Pandora Signatures are no exception, but also add DSD functionality.
True native DSD
The Romulus and Pandora Signature offer true native DSD playback: DSD 64 and DSD 128 over the USB inputs. The entire DSP processing section is replaced. The new section includes an advanced Xilinx gate-array which routes DSD data directly into the DAC, bypassing the DSP section for pure DSD operation. No alteration of DSD data occurs.
Peter Moncrief’s Dynamicaps
As with all Aesthetix Signature editions, critical coupling capacitors are replaced with Dynamicaps from Peter Moncrief. These provide increased resolution, less grain, greater high frequency extension and improved bass definition, drive and dynamics – all while maintaining the Romulus and Pandora’s beautifully natural tonal balance.
Vishay Z-Foil resistors
In addition to the new DSP section a new analogue board is installed, fitted with extremely low noise, high linearity Vishay Z-Foil audio resistors in the critical current-to-voltage conversion.
HRS Nimbus couplers
The four standard rubber feet are replaced with Harmonic Resolutions Systems’ Nimbus Couplers specially made for Aesthetix. This change lowers the noise floor and adds more air and space.
The new Romulus and Pandora Signature editions take what are already two of the best high-end DACs available and elevate them to skilful new heights. Digital noise, which typically creates an opaque and restricted soundstage, is almost entirely banished. Natural tonality, microscopic resolution, see-through clarity and an unimpeded, walk-around soundstage define the Aesthetix Signature difference.
Romulus & Pandora Signature key features:
One USB and three SPDIF inputs:
Toslink optical capable of up to 24bit – 192kHz.
RCA Coax capable of up to 24bit – 192kHz.
AES/EBU capable of up to 24bit – 192kHz.
USB up to 24bit – 192kHz and DSD 128.
Optional second USB input.
USB asynchronous transfer mode licensed from Gordon Rankin / Wavelength Technologies.
Custom DSP-based digital section based around an advanced Xilinx gate-array.
Four valves in differential configuration (2 x 12AX7, 2 x 6DJ8/6922).
Zero feedback analogue circuitry.
Peter Moncrief’s ‘Dynamicaps’ coupling capacitors.
‘Vishay Z-Foil’ audio resistors in the critical current-to-voltage conversion stage.
Balanced and single-ended outputs.
Optional relay-based switched resistor analogue/digital volume control.
All aluminium chassis construction.
Multiple stainless steel faraday cages isolate each of the digital, analogue and power supply sections, as well as the CD transport (Romulus).
Three transformers (Pandora): one for critical digital circuits, one for analogue circuits and one for control functions; plus two for the Romulus’ CD transport section (Romulus: five in total).
Custom ‘Nimbus Coupler’ isolating feet manufactured by Harmonic Resolutions Systems.
Full-function remote control.
RS232 control and 12v trigger for use with home automation systems.
Having scored so highlyAudeze EL-8 Closed Back Headphones are currently with a second reviewer to ascertain whether they will receive the coveted Hifi Pig Outstanding Product Award. This review will be published shortly. Read Lin’s review now!! More »
The A.C.T. One Evolution is a full range, 4-‐way acoustical, 2.5-‐way electrical, floor standing loudspeaker that incorporates the latest drive unit and cabinet construction technology derived from the company’s Cardinal loudspeaker.
Standing at 1.2m (47”) in height, the A.C.T. One Evolution is a combination of precision-‐machined alloy baffle, alloy side panels and the Advanced Composite Technology ‘A.C.T.’ Monocoque. The A.C.T. Monocoque is a geometrically optimised carbon fibre composite structure that exhibits “industry leading” resonance damping and signal-‐to-‐noise characteristics. The inherent stiffness of the A.C.T. Monocoque allows the removal of complex internal bracing commonly used to control cabinet resonance.
Each A.C.T. One Evolution is fitted with three Wilson Benesch Tactic II drive units and a Wilson Benesch Hybrid Dome Technology Semisphere Tweeter. Every element of the drive technologies and the cabinet in the A.C.T. One Evolution has been designed and developed using Wilson Benesch’s 3D Dassault CAD/CAM systems. The degree of control over the design of every component, allows ground up optimisation of the A.C.T. One Evolution and has led to the development of unique drive unit topology and cabinet construction.
In the midrange, Wilson Benesch introduces technology taken directly from the flagship Cardinal loudspeaker. A two part cabinet construction sees a single 7” upper midrange Tactic II drive unit and Semisphere Tweeter operate in a volume-‐optimised enclosure, allowing acoustical roll off of the drive unit. Directly below the Semisphere Tweeter in the main enclosure, a 7” lower midrange Tactic II drive unit resides -‐ placing the Semisphere at the heart of the midrange design in a formation known as the Troika System. “The reduction in complex crossover elements translates directly into a highly articulate and natural midrange sound and marks a significant advance in the performance of the midrange to Wilson Benesch” says the company’s press release.
At the centre of the Troika System is the Hybrid Dome Technology Semisphere Tweeter -‐ a highly engineered solution for high frequency sound reproduction. Wilson Benesch drew upon more than two-‐decades of knowledge and expertise to create a hybrid diaphragm for the Semisphere consisting of carbon fibre and silk. The hybrid dome is a direct departure from hard dome technologies now used as standard across the industry for wide bandwidth tweeter design. “The natural sound produced by the Semisphere dovetails directly into the open sound of the midrange to create a highly integrated system, with stunning soundstaging and detail” .
The A.C.T. One Evolution bass frequencies are delivered by a 7” Tactic II Bass Drive Unit. Like the midrange drive units, it features a powerful Neodymium rare earth magnet encased in a motor assembly developed with the Sheffield University to optimise flux across its geometry. This exotic magnet design is combined with a streamline basket and a light stiff Isotactic Polypropylene cone to create a powerful bass drive unit. By installing the Tactic II Bass Drive Unit inside the 26-‐litre lower enclosure of the A.C.T. One Evolution, maximum dynamics, deep powerful bass frequency response and precision are achieved.
The A.C.T. One Evolution is a distinctive Wilson Benesch design drawing direct references to the company’s A.C.T. loudspeaker lineage. Its sculptured, curved and sloped top is a direct descendant of the original A.C.T.
Despite references to a classic design before it, when distilled the design philosophy of the A.C.T. One Evolution is a clear descendant of other Geometry Series designs before it. Aesthetic cues can be observed in the foot design, where hand wheels and the partnering kinematic cups sit either side of the distinctive curves that form the A.C.T. One Evolution foot. Like the Cardinal and the Endeavour, the terminal is recessed underside of the foot; whilst upfront the baffle features the subtle machine finishing as seen in the Vertex and Vector loudspeakers. But the Geometric cues are more than skin deep and at the heart of the
A.C.T. One Evolution are technologies that set the loudspeaker apart and create a new Wilson Benesch loudspeaker of stunning pedigree.
Standard Finish £19,950 RRP
Wood / High Gloss Finish £21,350 RRP
Impedance: 6 Ohms Nom. / 4 Ohms. Min Frequency Response: 34Hz – 30kHz Recommended Power: 50
Dimensions: 119cm (47”) H x 22.5cm (9”) W x 40cm (16”) D Air Volume: 46 litres
Weight: 46kg (101lbs)
Shipping August 2015.
Today at their company headquarters in London, England, Roksan announced the immediate availability of their new vinyl electronics products in the Caspian M range – the VSC & VSC S2 Vinyl System Control, the RPM Reference Speed Control and the RPP Reference Phono Stage.
“After rigorous research and development and hours of intense listening we believe we have designed our finest ever vinyl electronics range of products. Any of these new components, when partnered with the renowned Xerxes 20 Plus turntable, offer the finest and most involv- ing vinyl replay system available, regardless of cost” – Tufan Hashemi, Managing Director and Founder of Roksan Audio.
This new phono preamp is the best sounding and most versatile phono stage Roksan has ever produced. The aim of the RPP was to further develop the sonic achievements of the renowned previous Roksan Reference Phono Stage. The highest possible quality components are used throughout the circuit to ensure the ultimate sound quality. The result is a highly detailed and insightful performance, which possesses bass weight and involv- ing rhythmic speed along with upper frequency sweetness and a wide, deep soundstage. Designed to match the current Caspian M series, it fits perfectly, both sonically and aesthetically, into any current Roksan high-end system. HIGHLIGHTS:
Compatible with both Moving Magnet and Moving Coil cartridge designs.
Three switchable gain level settings.
Top-level audiophile grade components used throughout.
Features dedicated DS1.5 power supply module to feed a smooth, high-quality DC signal to the phono amplifier module.
High quality Caspian M Series chassis and front plate design.
Gain settings: MM 40.6dB @ 1kHz MC1 56dB @ 1kHz MC2 65.5dB @ 1kHz
S/N Ratio MM >89dB AWTD (ref. 5.0 mV) MC1 >79dB AWTD (ref. 5.0 mV) MC2 >70dB AWTD (ref. 5.0mV)
Overload Margin 26dB
THD +N <0.01%
Output impedance <50 Ohm
Voltage supply Requires +26, 0, -26 Vdc (internal DS1.5 power supply)
Roksan UK Retail Price £1,900
RPM Reference Speed Control
The RPM is the new high-specification, ultra-accurate statement speed control for use with the Xerxes 20+. Consist- ing of an entirely new and highly advanced digital speed control PCB and audiophile-grade components, The RPM represents a significant upgrade from the previous and long-established reference speed control as featured in the discontinued DX2.
Featuring a very high quality crystal speed control system, it maintains pitch perfect speed stability for both 33/45rpm. One new feature of the RPM is its ability – thanks to the new advanced digital speed control PCB – to either increase or decrease the speed (up to 6.25% either way). This is a very useful addition for customers in areas or countries with unstable or poor currency voltage to attain the exact, correct speed.
All-new, highly advanced digital speed control PCB. Pitch-perfect accurate speed stability.
33 or 45 rpm speed selection.
Adjustable speed control in micro-increments up to 6.25% either way. High quality Caspian M Series chassis and front plate design.
Output voltage (33rpm) 16Vrms
Output voltage (45 rpm) 16Vrms
Phase 0 and 90 deg
DC offset <10mV
THD + N <0.1%
Output impedance <0.1 Ohms
Roksan UK Retail Price £1,450
VSC & VSC S2 VINYL SYSTEM CONTROL
Like the previous DX2, the VSC and VSC S2 units combine both the RPM and RPP into one Caspian M chassis. There are two options available:
The VSC uses one DS1.5 power supply module to power both the RPP and RPM sections, whereas the VSC S2 utilis- es one dedicated power supply for each section.
For further flexibility another power supply can be fitted so that a VSC can be upgraded at any time after purchase to the VSC S2 specification.
Ultimate control and convenience: RPP phono preamplifier and RPM speed control in one unit. Available in two versions: choice of either one or two internal DS1.5 power supply modules.
High quality Caspian M Series chassis and front plate design.
ROKSAN VSC UK RETAIL PRICE £3,000* ROKSAN VSC S2 UK RETAIL PRICE £3,250*
*To upgrade from VSC to VSC S2 at any stage after purchase: £400
The SVS Prime Series is a versatile line of speakers designed to offer excellent sound, build quality and value. It comprises Tower, Bookshelf, Centre and Satellite models, equipped with premium finish and features, together with technology from the SVS Ultra designs.
As the second full-range speaker family from the US brand, SVS Prime applies new engineering and form factor changes to achieve “flagship performance” at mainstream prices – the objective being to deliver a higher-end audio experience to a broader audience. The Prime Series features lifestyle-friendly cabinet design available in black ash or piano gloss.
The Prime Tower speaker adds its own distinctive touches to the Ultra Tower blueprint. It has a completely new 3.5-way crossover for the tweeter to the midrange driver, and through the two individually tuned and isolated 6.5-inch woofers.
Created for two-channel purists and home theatre fans alike, the Prime Bookshelf speaker performs as a standalone reference monitor, surround or front channel speaker. Specified with a stiffened polypropylene cone, a refined motor with aluminium shorting ring for reduced distortion and a vented voice coil former, the 6.25” woofer delivers “articulate bass and outstanding extension”. The 1” aluminium dome tweeter utilises an FEA-optimised diffuser.
The Prime Centre is a true three-way, four-driver design featuring a 1” aluminium dome tweeter, dedicated 3.5” midrange driver and dual 5.25” woofers. SVS’s exclusive SoundMatch three-way crossover “ensures a smooth transition between drivers for articulate expression and on/off-axis accuracy”. To avoid midrange modulation from the woofer, SVS has mounted the midrange driver in its own dedicated and sealed chamber.
SVS’s first satellite speaker, the Prime Satellite is equipped with a 1″ aluminium dome tweeter and 4.5″ polypropylene cone woofer the Satellite is perfect as a compact standalone speaker or matched with SVS subwoofers in multichannel systems where space is limited. It’s supplied with a wall-bracket for discreet installation and joins the SVS SB-1000 sub to complete the affordable Prime 2.1 and 5.1 systems offered by Karma-AV.
SVS Prime Series speakers, typical retail price inc VAT:
Tower £819 pr Black Ash; £969 Piano Gloss
Bookshelf £399 pr Black Ash; £479 Piano Gloss
Centre £289 Black Ash; £369 Piano Gloss
Surround £219 pr Black Ash; £289 Piano Gloss
Prime 2.1 system (with SB-1000 sub) £589 Black Ash; £679 Piano Gloss
Prime 5.1 system (with SB-1000 sub) £849 Black Ash; £999 Piano Gloss
Availability June 2015
- HTML5 Audio Player Software
- Responsive Web Design
- Convenient access to your purchased and own music library
- Compatible with all Web browsers
- No App and no installation necessary
- Compatible with all stationary and mobile operating systems
- Elegant and fast performance
- Compatible with any web browser
- Access your personal music library
- Create and save personal named playlists
- Lossy quality: 2G, 3G
- HiFi quality: 4G, LTE
- HiFi quality: WiFi and WiFi
- iOS, Android, MacOS, WIN
Here’s a couple of things that caught our eye at this year’s High End Show.
First up is a new speaker from Quadral called the Rhodium.
The Rhodium’s sleek, very neat looking cabinets can integrate easily within most residential environments with raising the eye-brows of the good lady for the wrong reasons.
Quadral ‘s Rhodium speakers have a small footprint, sport titanium coated PP membrane bass drivers combined with a front bass reflex and 25 mm aluminium dome tweeter.
The semi-gloss finish is available in black or white whilst the front cover sits like a magnetic fabric over the entire front of the speaker.
From the Floor-standing 500’s to the matching 100 centre channel, Quadral ‘s Rhodium range has something for everyone and at a really good pricepoint to boot.
One of the things that we love about High End Munich is that it is a great meeting place, a hub of the Hifi and audio world…where you run into people you know well or new faces that you have only ever met through social media.
So here a few snaps of some of the lovely people we met this year at the show! More »
The preamp has a polished new look, lower price tag and a few new tricks up its sleeve. It features a laser engraved walnut and aluminium enclosure, stepped attenuator volume control, 3 inputs, 2 configurable outputs, and selectable fixed attenuation.
“A passive preamplifier differs from its ‘active’ counterparts by having no power supply and no active components,” says Wes Young of Tisbury. “Fundamentally, it is a high quality volume control and switches in a box, so it’s about as close to audibly transparent as you can get.”
Handmade in London from primarily British sourced parts, it comes with a 1 year warranty and 14 day trial period. The updated model replaces the original and is available immediately for £129, direct from Tisbury Audio.
Lots more photographs of loudspeakers from this year’s High End show in Munich.
I don’t believe in astrology. And yet, I exhibit all the qualities of a stereotypical Libra: I weigh up all sides of an argument, find it hard to make decisions and always, always see the other person’s point of view.
The Manic Street Preachers are very much a Marmite band: people either hate them with a vengeance or love them with a passion. Me, I can take them or leave them. I like a few of their songs very much and others do nothing for me. Perhaps it this that makes tonight’s show the proverbial game of two halves, but I’m not so sure. More »