The new line of Sonance DSP amplifiers have been engineered with time saving presets and, say Sonace, deliver ‘amazing sonic performance with high-resolution audio’. They have received CEDIA’s 2015 Best New Product Award.

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DSP is widely used in home theatres and media rooms to accurately correct for a room’s acoustic characteristics. However, when it comes to distributed audio, DSP is rarely considered. The reason for the lack of room correction in distributed audio is primarily the time, complexity, and equipment required for DSP in every area of the home. Pre-loaded with 40 DSP presets, the DSP amplifiers eliminate the need for manual calibration saving time and effort. Each preset was developed from the acoustic average of 5 rooms of various sizes and furnishings. Presets can be accessed in the DSP amplifiers via the SONARC (Sonance Advanced Room Correction) software pre-installed on every DSP amplifier. The DSP presets cover all Sonance speakers and range from flat to +6dB. Additionally presets account for many variables such as: live rooms, dead rooms, materials, hardscapes, and landscapes. Over 600 engineered presets can be downloaded from the Sonance website and imported into the DSP amplifiers.

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The physical design of the DSP amplifiers has been engineered to the highest of audiophile standards. The powerful, high resolution 24-bit/96Khz DSP and DAC allows the amplifiers to pass through true high resolution content without compression. High resolution audio can pass through to the DSP amplifiers with the optional DIM (Digital Input Module). Additionally, the DSP amplifiers provide high resolution with full safety ratings into 8 ohms and 4 ohms, and are completely stable to 2 ohms. The Sonance DSP amplifiers take up a much smaller footprint that is stackable saving valuable rack space.

 

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After 40 years of creating audio equipment, the last thing that artist-designer Kostas Metaxas wanted to produce was “another box with transistors on a heatsink”. He was apparently inspired by ‘the most spectacular architecture, design and sculpture’ he had experienced and ‘wanted to bring that emotional intensity, daring and seductive beauty to an audio amplifier.’Metaxas_solitaire_1

The Solitaire 2016 is the result. Machined from a solid block of either aircraft aluminium, copper or titanium, it’s totally bespoke and Metawas claims that ‘the modular electronics make it future-proof’. Even the circuit boards are CNC machined from 1mm solid silver coated clear polystyrene.  100% designed and engineered by Kostas Metaxas, each amplifier is assembled by his sons, either Andreas or Alessandros Metaxas.Metaxas_solitaire_2

The Solitaire 2016 along with the Ikarus Integrated Amplifier and Opus preamplifier will be “world premiered” at the Munich High End Hifi Show in May 2016. A Studer A80 will be playing 10″ Analogue Master Tapes from a selection of the over 300 Classical and Jazz concerts recorded by Metaxas on his modified Stellavox Tape equipment. Hifi Pig will be there to report back on how they sound.

 

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After 40 years of creating audio equipment, the last thing that artist-designer Kostas Metaxas wanted to produce was “another box with transistors on a heatsink”. He was apparently inspired by ‘the most spectacular architecture, design and sculpture’ he had experienced and ‘wanted to bring that emotional intensity, daring and seductive beauty to an audio amplifier.’Metaxas_solitaire_1

The Solitaire 2016 is the result. Machined from a solid block of either aircraft aluminium, copper or titanium, it’s totally bespoke and Metawas claims that ‘the modular electronics make it future-proof’. Even the circuit boards are CNC machined from 1mm solid silver coated clear polystyrene.  100% designed and engineered by Kostas Metaxas, each amplifier is assembled by his sons, either Andreas or Alessandros Metaxas.Metaxas_solitaire_2

The Solitaire 2016 along with the Ikarus Integrated Amplifier and Opus preamplifier will be “world premiered” at the Munich High End Hifi Show in May 2016. A Studer A80 will be playing 10″ Analogue Master Tapes from a selection of the over 300 Classical and Jazz concerts recorded by Metaxas on his modified Stellavox Tape equipment. Hifi Pig will be there to report back on how they sound.

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The Collatio OTL Series is a special project, and is Aries Cerat’s statement on how they think a true SOTA OTL amplifier should sound.qc1

The Collatio II istheir showcase, a statement, a cost no object approach on OTL tube amplification, “pushing the envelope on what is possible on OTL technology”.

The Collatio II amplifieruses aproprietary design, and it is in fact a current amplifier which “have their own technical and sonic advantages, and if especially matched with highly efficient horn speakers, are simply unmatched”.qc2

The output stage is a “unique Single ended stage”, a parallel-feed power stage, using 20 power tubes in parallel per channel, loaded by 4 massive chokes, and AC coupled to the output terminals, using an exotic film capacitor.

The capacitor is designed to be able to surge 20.000A peaks, and it’s ESR and ESL specifications, are an “order of magnitude lower than any audio capacitor, film or electrolytic”.

This power tubes used is the 6c19p, a small envelope tube,  a very low internal resistance tube, capable of large current swings and was “much preferred over the usual OTL tube candidates in terms of bass slam and timbre”. Also it is very cheap tube to replace.
The tube bank is biased at 2.6A per channel(20W) and at 5.2A for the 80W version! The output stage is a true single ended power gain stage and thus can only operate in Class A. No global or local feedback is used.Collatio

The power supply provides 2.6A per channel steady state and the double output stage power supplies, come with double choke filtration and 6 high current high speed capacitors.

The driving stage, is a Directly Heated triode, the 814 tube, a big bottle tube that can deliver 10W of driving power to the output stage.

Driving 20 output tubes per channel at high frequency needs a lot of current, and the 814 tube has a lot to spare. The driver tube is chple loaded, and  is DC coupled to the output stage,for supreme slew rate numbers and transparency. The driver stage power supply I s fed by separate transformers and is double filtered using chokes.

All heater and filament supplies have their own power transformer and are douple filtered using chokes and high speed capacitors.

Most OTL have a bad reputation of blowing expensive speakers,after they present DC potential after a malfunction. “The Collatio amplifiers are bullet proof in terms of stability and speaker protection.” Their output stage is AC coupled, so that no DC can be present at any times at the speaker terminal.

The Collatio 20W stereo amplifiers can be used as monoblocks, delivering 80W of OTL SE power with no modification from the user.

Specifications

Full power bandwidth: 6Hz-110KHz

Small signal bandwidth: 4Hz-110KHz

SNR: 110db

Gain: X6 ( 15db)

Full power:  20W @8ohm

80W @8ohm mono configuration

Current idle per channel: 2.6A

Idle power consumption: 1190W(depending on bias level)

Dimenisons:    455mmW  X 590mmD X 480mmH (excluding tubes+cage)

455mmW  X 590mmD X 630mmH including tube cage

Weight: 120kg

Tube compliment: 2 X 814 , 40 X 6c19p-v

 

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Meridian Audio unveils the 818V3 Reference Audio Core, the latest version of its top-end home audio system hub. This third generation machine adds significant upgrades to its forebear’s audio arsenal and  offers an upgrade path to existing 818 owners. Ranged as standard in Black the £8,000.00 model also embraces Meridian’s Select Programme bespoke colour service, opening-up a choice of 270 colours for a £500.00 premium.2857-Meridian 818 Head On

The 818V3 is a reference preamplifier featuring Meridian technologies, such as triple FIFO buffering, DSP unsampling and apodising filters, and this model also incorporates an advanced linear power supply and a new master oscillator with 40% lower jitter. The extensive connectivity counts Meridian SpeakerLink, enabling ultimate quality and convenience when driving Meridian DSP loudspeakers, as well as balanced and single-ended pre-amplifier outputs. 2857-Meridian 818 Rear

A key addition to the 818V3 is its new analogue output card featuring an upgraded circuit with filtering that “broadens the bandwidth and maximises the potential of hig- resolution music”. This latest model fully supports decoding of MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) sources and its new chip also brings lip- sync control and DSD (DoP) playback. 818--02

Added to its Sooloos capabilities – Sooloos, manufactured by Meridian, enables a multi-zone audio system.

Specifications 

Stereo Outputs

  • Analogue:

    1x unbalanced on phono

    1x balanced on XLR-3M

    Rendering of decoded MQA streams

    Digital:

    Coaxial S/PDIF ≤96kHz/24-bit

    Twin SpeakerLink, RJ45 balanced (AES/EBU) digital interface for single-cable connection to other Meridian equipment, ≤96kHz/24-bit with MHR, and MQA signals for rendering by Meridian DSP loudspeakers

Stereo Inputs

  • Analogue:

    6x unbalanced on phono

    Digital:

    2x Coaxial S/PDIF ≤192kHz/24-bit, DoP

    2x Toslink optical ≤96kHz/24-bit

    1x SpeakerLink ≤192kHz/24-bit

    1x Asynchronous USB ≤192kHz/24-bit, DoP

    MQA source decoding

 

818V3: RRP £8,000.00

 

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Oak Audio are a British company making the interesting Hurricane, transmission line loudspeaker that costs £599 and uses latest generation Mark Audio Alpair 7 full-range drive unit. Dominic Marsh puts them through their paces.  More »

LH Labs via Audiobility are launching their new high-end mini Headphone Amp/DAC in to the UK, the Geek Out V2. This initial launch in the UK over the next few months will be offering a 15% discount via indiegogo with delivery before the holidays. Launch offer starts from $254.00gov2plus_diagonal

Geek Out V2 has selectable gain settings of 1000mW & 100mW. “Geek Out V2 pairs perfectly with those monstrous power hungry cans or your uber-sensitive IEM’s” says the company’s recent press release.

You can now play any music on the market today from MP3’s all the way up to 32/384 kHz and DSD 128 ultra-high-resolution files. The V2 + version has a built in battery so this Headphone Amp/DAC can be completely portable.gov2_horizontal

There is also an Infinity version which has the added benefit of a third gain setting of 450mW, plus a third digital mode to optimize the DAC for streaming music through services like Tidal. Its THD performance is further improved by -3 dB.

 

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Grimm Audio announces a major update of the PC & Mac control software for their LS1 playback system. The update focuses on improving the user experience, but also adds new functionality.grimmsoftwarepic

An equalizer with user presets is added, that offers delicate adjustment of the LS1 response to taste. Its low frequency EQ can be set separately for left and right, so both speakers can be tuned individually to their acoustical environments.

With the new user interface and the EQ, an LS1 playback system becomes even more easy to setup in a living room or studio. To complement the new LS1 Remote software, the LS1 manual was completely rewritten.

 

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French ‘Pro Audio’ manufacturer Amadeus announced during the 38th edition of the Paris HI-FI Show on October 17 and 18 that their new ‘Philharmonia’ speakers are shipping. The Philharmonia was displayed as a ‘concept-speaker’ during the last Frankfurt Prolight + Sound and Munich High End Society trade shows._V4A7060_1600px

The new speakers were initially created specifically for the Philharmonie de Paris recording and mastering studios and designed by Michel DeLuc, Amadeus’ Director of Research & Development, along with world-renown architect Jean Nouvel, who designed the new Philharmonie de Paris concert hall.

Bernard BYK, co-founder and CEO of Amadeus, says, “Imagine a reference sound system with exceptional design, ergonomics and acoustics, as a kind of consecration! Jean Nouvel’s imagination, exuberance and creative genius, combined with Michel DeLuc’s engineering, brought a brilliant solution to life. Amadeus especially praises tradition, and the new speakers combine innovation as well as timeless beauty; christened ‘Philharmonia’, they embody the know-how, the creativity, and the values with which Amadeus has been building its history for more than 35 years.”  _V4A7142_1600px

The new Philharmonia 2-way, self-powered speakers feature a 28-mm soft-domed tweeter and a custom 8-inch woofer, and boast analogue and digital inputs with a customized integrated DAC and an amplitude linearity range (±2dB) from 43 Hz to 22 KHz. The high-frequency driver features very low dielectric losses and high thermal conductivity, loaded behind a fast exponential waveguide machined in wood.Philharmonia_Black_Background_72_RVB_002

The cabinets are custom manufactured from layered Birch and stand 1.6 meters tall, the casing contains the electronics inside the lower part of the speaker enclosure. Each speaker is comprised of 547 wood veneers. Each speaker features a unique hybrid laminar port using progressive termination for reproducing low frequencies.

Philharmonia is bi-amplified using two dedicated digital custom-built amplifiers, each amp delivers 700 Watts under 8 ohms. These proprietary PPM-PWM fixed frequency class-D amplifiers are equipped with a high-efficiency switched mode power supply. Each speaker channel is under control by a powerful, 64-bit digital processing unit capable of a 118 dB dynamic range. Each of these on-board DSP units include a module dedicated to managing core system parameters including system EQ, time alignment between sections, limiting, transducer thermal protection. This level of control makes Philharmonia fully protected and able to operate at the full extent of its abilities. Philharmonia_Black_Background_72_RVB_003

With line-level XLR analog input, Philharmonia lets users choose their own DAC, while at the same time, given that digital-to-analogue conversion should happen at the latest possible stage in an electro-acoustical monitoring system, Philharmonia also integrates two digital inputs/outputs conforming to the AES3 digital audio data transfer standard. These are coupled with a 24-bit/96kHz converter placed as close as possible to the electronic amplifiers, thus working together in perfect combination. The speakers also feature an RJ-45 network input allowing remote control of its DSP processor for optimal adjustment via dedicated software to match the speakers to the acoustical properties of each listening space. The software is an app that runs on Apple Macintosh and iPad, and Microsoft Windows computers.

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Pro-Ject RPM 9 Carbon 

The philosophy of the RPM series of turntables from Pro-Ject Audio Systems is to combine great sound with striking designs, and the latest release is as true to this belief as any other model. The RPM 9 Carbon has been introduced in line with the new range-topping RPM 10 Carbon (see below) to satisfy the needs of audio enthusiasts who want a record player that stands apart.

Based on the same “teardrop” chassis as its predecessor, the RPM 9.2 Evolution, but boasts similar improvements to the range’s flagship. PJ-Phono-RPM9Carbon

The plinth design has been chosen due to its improved resonance characteristics. The CNC- machined MDF structure is packed with resin- coated steel pellets to form a high-mass  sandwich construction that provides a firm base for the turntable. The whole plinth is then put through a complex heat treatment process and coated in a carbon fibre surface to reduce resonance levels as low as possible. The main turntable structure is then effectively decoupled from its support thanks to the plinth’s magnetic feet.

The RPM 9 Carbon boasts a new polished aluminium platter, inspired by the Xtension 9 SuperPack record player. The platter is internally lined with TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) damping material and topped with vinyl. The whole platter sits on top of an inverted ceramic main bearing.

As with all models in the RPM series, the RPM 9 Carbon uses a perimeter belt drive mechanism. The motor has an automatic speed change switch built into the top panel for easy changing between 33 and 45rpm. The motor also benefits from a built-in AC power generator PCB, to deliver a clean mains supply to the motor. The motor is completely decoupled from the main chassis and sits on top of a custom-designed steel base for improved stability.

The RPM 9 Carbon is supplied with the 9CC Evolution Tonearm pre-installed. The 9” tonearm boasts a conical carbon fibre tube and inverted bearing design. For improved signal transmission, the tonearm is supplied  with a 5-Pin to RCA Connect-IT CC cable.

The RPM 9 Carbon is supplied with a record puck in the box.

SRP £1,500.00

The RPM 9 Carbon will be available in the UK from November 2015.

UK customers can have an Ortofon Quintet Black cartridge installed for an extra £400.00*

Pro-Ject RPM 10 Carbon

Pro-Ject are now addressing the high-end sector with the introduction of a new range-topper; the RPM 10 Carbon.

Though the minimalist plinth design looks visually impressive, through extensive testing it’s also proved to show optimal resonance characteristics, compared to many traditional chassis designs. To further improve its performance, the plinth also employs “high mass” principles with resin-coated steel pellets packed inside the CNC-machined MDF structure. The whole plinth is then subjected  to a complex heat treatment and carbon fibre surface coating to ensure minimal resonance travels through the turntable. The plinth is finished with magnetic feet.PJ-Phono-RPM10Carbon

The RPM 10 Carbon’s platter is the same as that found on the Xtension 10 record player. The polished aluminium exterior is internally lined with TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) damping material  and topped with vinyl. The whole platter sits on top of a stainless steel spindle with inverted ceramic main bearing.

The RPM 10 Carbon’s perimeter drive belt mechanism is driven by a completely decoupled heavyweight motor. The motor sits on top of a custom-designed steel base for improved stability. Electronic speed- change between 33 and 45rpm is built into the motor, which also employs its own AC power generator PCB, for a clean mains supply and reduced speed variance.

The 10CC Evolution Tonearm is pre-installed on the RPM 10 Carbon which boasts a conical carbon fibre tube and inverted bearing design. The high-quality internal wiring and selection of TPE-damped counterweights also makes the tonearm suitable for use with almost any high-end pick-up cartridge. For improved signal transmission, the tonearm is supplied with a 5-Pin to RCA Connect-IT CC cable.

The RPM 10 Carbon is supplied as standard with the brand new Ground-IT Carbon high-mass platform and a high-quality record puck. An acrylic dustcover is available separately in the Cover-IT range.

SRP £2,300.00

The RPM 10 Carbon will be available in the UK from November 2015.

UK customers can have an Ortofon Cadenza Black cartridge installed for an extra £1,000.00*

 

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Following on from our “not-review” of five free Android apps for audiophiles Hifi Pig has put together another selection of free Android apps that audiophiles may find useful and fun.  More »

I was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of smart-phones and tablets but now I’ve embraced them I really couldn’t be without them. However, your android device is only as smart as the apps that you install on it and so we thought it would be fun to highlight a handful of the free Android apps that we use every once in a while. Of course there are a whole load more free and paid for apps out there, including apps to control specific brands kit, and we’ll be adding more to our list as and when. More »

Noble Audio has introduced the very latest Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing technology to its range of IEMs (in-ear monitors). Its new five-strong SLA range of custom-fit IEMs (CIEMs), uses advanced 3D printing techniques to slash waiting times to under a fortnight, bringing bespoke-fit monitors to enthusiasts’ ears faster than ever before.SLA range low

The new SLA range is made in the USA with typical waiting times of around 10 days from the receipt of ear-impressions. There are five custom-fit models available, covering a range of performance and price points: Noble 4SLA (£399); Noble 5SLA (£499), Noble 6SLA (£599); the new Savant SLA (£699) and flagship 10-driver Kaiser 10SSLA (£820).

Each model features a hypoallergenic, FDA-approved (US Food and Drug Administration) lacquer. The SLA range is available in four colours: black; smoke; red and blue.

As with all custom-fit Noble Audio IEMs, to order, customers are invited to send their existing impressions in to Noble. Personal ear impressions can be taken by a local audiologist.

Impressions of customers’ ears are then scanned, digitized and stored making it convenient to order replacements, additional sets, or other models from the range.

 

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Ian Ringtead loves a Hifi Show and has been going to them for many a long year… More »

HMF Solutions of London got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us all about the new Aquilar reference tonearm from Acoustical-Systems of Germany.

Acoustical-Systems say that  for the past 2 years their R&D department has dedicated a lot of energy, time, money and brain-storming in offering the unique sonic abilities of the AXIOM tonearm in a more affordable version. The brief was “To create an all-new superior 10″ tonearm design – which also should be easy to mount on all turntables”.

This R&D has resulted in the AQUILAR, an all-new 10” reference tonearm.

The Aquilar (origin from ancient latin “aquila” – the eagle) offers many of the expensive materials, as well as most of the unique technical key solutions, of the AXIOM and comes equipped with a host of features including:

10” effective length

Very easy and swift set up

Customised dedicated 3D-alignment  template

Non-resonance HD18 tungsten carbide  counterweight

Unique Acoustical-Systems non-resonance titanium/carbon-hybrid arm wand

Precision leveling of bearing plane – independent of arm board /turntable

Adjustable SRA, VTA, Azimuth, Overhang and Offset angle at headshell

VTA adjustment on-the-fly

Non-touch magnetic Anti skating on-the-fly

Dynamic anti skating following the tangential curve

The critical inner wiring is fine 5N pure silver litz wire

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The tonearm is available with 2 terminal options:

direct-to-phono 1.2 m length phono lead (RCA or XLR) or male DIN 5-pole connector.

The Aquilar is available in 2 finishes: black satin matt or ceramic-alloy silver matt.

 

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Planar magnetic headphone maker Audeze is looking forward to exhibiting at the 139th International AES Convention at the Javits Center from October 29th to November 1st in New York City.Audeze2S

Audeze will focus on the pro side of the business with a series of new planar magnetic microphones. Audeze will also focus on the increasing number of pro audio engineers using the Audeze LCD-X for mastering. As well as the LCD Collection, Audeze will feature the more portable EL-8 headphones (pictured above).

The company will also introduce a range of the world’s first planar magnetic microphones They’ll be available in three versions: Mono for $995, Stereo for $1,995, and a revolutionary Tetrahedral Virtual Reality configuration for $3,995. Hifi Pig got a glimpse of the prototype for these at Munich High-End which was dubbed Squidee for obvious reasons.

AudezemicS

 

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Cabasse has released the latest version of the Stream CONTROL app, used to control its range of streaming products, adding new user features and including Tidal and Qobuz.

The addition of the CD resolution TIDAL and Qobuz services, plus the availability of high resolution files from Qobuz is the perfect complement to the company’s Stream range, says the company’s latest press release.ipad_tidal

Other improvements and additions made to the v. 2.0 version of the app include better display of album artwork, user interface upgrades and the removal of non Cabasse/AwoX renderers from the connected devices list if the user wishes to do so. The DEAP (DSP) settings for the Stream AMP have also been enhanced, with the addition of further Cabasse models to the list of speakers for which DSP optimisation is available (models supported now includes Minorca, Eole, iO2, Surf, Antigua and Caisson Santorin). The DEAP function has also been upgraded to include manual bass and treble controls. Users now also have a more direct access to the multi-room functions of the Stream products from the main menu and the ability to switch inputs from Bluetooth to WiFi/Ethernet via the settings tab on the app.

Using Stream CONTROL for iOS or Android opens up a world of digital streaming to users of the Cabasse Stream 1, Stream 3, Stream Source and Stream AMP products.

 

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Bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, who rose to international prominence in 2011 when she won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, is set to bring her incredible band to London on November 2nd for a hugely anticipated show at Shepherd’s Bush in West London.

Spalding will showcase music from her forthcoming album Emily’s D+Evolution, due for release on Universal/Concord in March. The album is one of Spalding’s most diverse and ambitious projects to date and this exclusive UK appearance represents an unmissable opportunity to catch an incredible artist whose star continues to rise.

 

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Vincent at Total DAC has been in touch to tell Hifi Pig about a new loudspeaker that is now on demo in the company’s high efficiency dem’ room of Totaldac in North Western France.dechalvaux_bass_horn_totaldac

The speakers are made by Dechalvaux, a new high-end speaker manufacturer from France.dechalvaux_zoom
It uses a field coil full range driver mounted in a piece of solid wood. You can contact TotalDAC to arrange a listen at their premises.

Specifications 
Efficiency: 100dB/1W/1m
Power: 50W
Height: 2.15m
Width: 750mm
Weight: 75kg

Price: 80000€ a pair

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Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique was one of my first classical purchases way back in the early 1980s.  I was initially attracted by the album’s sleeve notes, which alluded to febrile opium-induced nightmares.  Also, the instrumentation featured something called an ophicleide, which I hadn’t encountered before and I’m not sure that I have since. More »

The last time I saw Richard Thomson in concert, a member of the audience shouted: “Where’s Linda tonight Richard?”  Thompson replied that she was in hospital giving birth.  Linda gave birth to a daughter, Kami, who as one half of The Rails is opening tonight’s show.  The other half of The Rails is Kami’s husband, James. More »