Mike Twomey speaks to Marshall Currier of Lenbrook America. Lenbrook America is located just south of Boston in Sharon, Massachusetts and manages the US distribution of the group’s brands from this location. Brands included are NAD, PSB and Bluesound. Each brand has its own sales direction and promotes its own independent identity. Lenbrook America utilises independent sales representatives throughout the US, many of whom represent all the company’s brands due to their complementary nature.  More »

From my musical perspective, i’ve been noticing artists coming back into their music stride after many years of being quiet, or some new artists putting their musical twist on old classics. The internet has got a lot to do with this, as well as the close interaction we have between artist and fan. Twinned with the resurgence of vinyl, some artists seem to be borrowing musical styles or bringing ‘album etiquette’ from the past back into their work. Below i’ve reviewed 4 different artists who either bring something new to the table, or have re-packaged old songs/albums in an interesting way.   More »

It’s been a busy time for the team at Entotem and the continuing development of Plato, the integrated HiFi and Home Entertainment system. At the Sound and Vision Show Bristol we will unveil our new branding as well as a new and exciting web portal. Plato-Logo_Black

Entotem will be launching Plato Lite early in 2016 and this will be available for Bristol and intended for all those people who already have HiFi Equipment, but want to take advantage of Plato’s vinyl recording and music streaming capabilities.

Entotem released an iOS App in February 2016 to support the remote operation and playing of Plato by both iPADs and IPhones.  The iOS app will have a different user interface to the Android version and will be familiar to Apple users. This first release will provide the majority of the functions that can be accessed by Android devices, with a further release due in 2016 to enable full matching of the functionality.

Another introduction to Plato’s functionality is the integration of a high-resolution music download service from High Res Audio. This will be launched in February 2016 and the service will now show as an additional main menu option within the Plato control App.  Once a High Res Audio user account has been opened, the user will be able to search for Hi-Res Albums and tracks and when the download has been purchased store it directly into the media library within Plato, to be then selected for local play or streaming throughout the home.

Complimenting the roll out of these new features, Plato users will be able to copy any music or video stored on Plato to any other device that can be located on the home network that also has a Plato App i.e. tablet or phone.  This will be for Android devices now and for iOS devices later in 2016. This allows greater flexibility for Plato users to enjoy their media and to make it portable with them if they leave the house. Entotem have also made enhancements to the video search and overall video experience after feedback from customers and these new enhancements are now available.

When Entotem launched Plato in 2015 the company committed that the Plato App would develop over time and customers would be able to leverage their investment in Plato by accessing new developments, and these announcements are evidence of that commitment.

The Plato system along with the new Plato app developments can be seen throughout the first half of 2016 at shows and exhibitions in UK and Europe.

Dave Belcher, Entotem’s Development Director says “ The iOS app has been a major project for Entotem that we started in the autumn last year and we expect to complete the full range of what Plato can do to be released for our iOS customers early in 2016 as the major part of the project has now been delivered.”

Plato can now be found at selected Hifi Stores in the UK as well as in Germany, where a distributor has been appointed to sell Plato. Other countries are being investigated and in particular the USA and Canada.

During the Show in February Entotem will be providing a variety of demonstrations featuring the full Plato range and visitors will get the chance to meet the technical team that built such an innovative product. Entotem will also be able to update visitors to the show on our further plans around streaming services and the other exciting new product developments we are working on to be launched later in 2016.

 

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I saw a meme on the internet recently that said “I hope the next big trend in music is talent” and this got me thinking about how we form and develop our tastes in music and how that shapes the music we listen to in later life.View_MFA_Spons More »

Sound & Vision, The Bristol Show, will feature MQA, the new music technology, through a range of its delivery partners and a leading local retailer. Standing for Master Quality Authenticated, MQA “captures the total essence of an original recording and conveys it all the way to the listener, ensuring that what the listener hears is identical to the master recording”.  Now, visitors to the Show will be able to experience this for themselves.bs1

MQA demonstrations will be available from Pioneer, Onkyo and Bluesound. The main show sees Pioneer and Onkyo demonstrating MQA through the Pioneer XDP-100R DAP – you can visit Pioneer on stand Bristol 7A, and in Empire 1 Suite, both of which are on the ground floor of the Marriot City Centre. Onkyo is teaming up with the What Hi-Fi? team, to deliver hi-res demos, including MQA demonstrations, in Room 332.

Bluesound MQA demonstrations will take place at the Sevenoaks Bristol store’s ‘Weekend of High Resolution’ event, which runs from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th February. Sevenoaks Bristol is located at 92b Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol.

 

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The Chord Company has chosen Sound and Vision to preview selected models from its new streamlined 2016 range line-up, ahead of the official range launch later in the year. The Chord Company will be introducing the new analogue and digital cables across two key sites at Sound and Vision: Chord’s now familiar and easily accessible Foyer stand, plus a dedicated listening room on the first floor, Room 112.epic

Chord’s first-floor room will see demonstrations of its new digital cables with tickets available from Chord’s Foyer stand. Demonstration cables will include the new entry-level C-digital, the new Clearway Digital, plus the brand new Shawline Digital and Epic Digital cables. Going up the range, attendees can also experience the new Signature Tuned ARAY Digital, the Sarum Super ARAY Digital and the ChordMusic Digital.

Downstairs in Chord’s Foyer stand will be demonstrations of the new Shawline Analogue and Epic Analogue cables, both of which are new designs using Chord’s proprietary Tuned ARAY technology, previously only available on the Signature and Sarum cables. The new Shawline and Epic cables are being shown and demonstrated at Sound and Vision for the first time and ahead of the official range launch later in the the year.

Shawline and Epic introduce the legendary coherency and detail that Tuned ARAY brings and set a new price/performance benchmark within the cable market.

Pricing and availability

Shawline Analogue RCA 1m: £200; additional stereo metres £80 Shawline Digital 1m £200; additional metres £80

Epic Analogue RCA 1m: £400; additional stereo metres £160 Epic Digital 1m £400; additional metres £160

 

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The Bespoke Audio Company announces the début UK showing of their highly acclaimed, award winning pre-amplifier this weekend at Bristol Sound & Vision 2016, Friday 26th – Sunday 28th February 2016, Marriott City Centre Hotel Bristol, Lower Castle Street, Bristol.

Frame and Logo

In 2015, the pre-amplifier was Hifi Pig Recommended.

The Bespoke audio company will be show parters with Harbeth Audio. They will use the pre-amplifier together with their SuperHL5plus loudspeakers in Room 234.

“The Bespoke Audio Company is founded on two principles: to hold the experience of the customer as paramount and to accept no compromise in anything we do. We want to raise the standards of what can be expected from a high end audio company. Nothing else will do for our customers, nothing else will do for us”.

 

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Roksan Audio’s Radius turntable (review) has been updated and released as the Radius 7.Radius7_20160201_-5

Roksan Audio are acknowledged around the world as pioneers of analogue technology, with over thirty years of experience and success in the market, starting with their iconic Xerxes record player (see the review of the latest Xerxes incarnation).

The Radius 7’s Perspex construction boasts the same innovative, decoupled dual-layer plinth design but in a new precision-machined ‘glass-effect’ finish. The same striking shape of the plinth layers remains, but as with previous Radius designs this is not only to help the look, but also to control resonance and reduce effective mass.Radius7_20160201_-8

The decoupled drive motor employed in the Radius 7 is a completely new design, engineered from scratch using trickle-down technology from Roksan Audio’s flagship speed control for the Xerxes record player, the RPM. It’s an exceptionally precise device, featuring a very high accuracy, temperature-compensated crystal speed control system, which maintains pitch-perfect speed stability for both 33 and 45rpm, irrespective of voltage variations. The added benefit to this new system is manifest in the new aluminium alloy pulley, which utilises a single rung; as the Radius 7 is capable of automatic speed changing. To add further visual appeal, a bright yet un-intrusive LED is built-in underneath the motor assembly and illuminates either blue (33rpm) or red (45rpm) to show the current platter speed.

The Radius 7 has the same acrylic platter as the Radius 5.2. The platter rotates on a precision- machined hardened steel bearing ball that sits within a brass housing that contains Roksan’s LX-7 bearing oil, with ultra-low friction properties for reduced resonance.

In the UK, the Radius 7 is supplied as standard with the Roksan Nima tonearm. The Nima is a low-friction, uni-pivot design. The Nima is carefully assembled by hand and boasts the same internal wiring as Roksan’s previous flagship tonearm, the Artemiz.

SRP £1,900.00

The Radius 7 will be available in the UK from March 2016. 

Technical Information

Radius 7

Main Bearing Spindle:Precision-machined stainless steel

Main Bearing Housing:Precision-machined solid brass

Main Bearing Ball:Precision case hardened steel

Pulley:Precision-machined aluminium alloy

Platter:Precision-machined acrylic

Motor:Custom-made 24 pole synchronous

Speeds:33.3 & 45 rpm

Power: 90-240V / 50-60 Hz

Rumble:  < -75dB

Wow & Flutter: < 0.04%

Dimension (W x D x H):400 x 350 x 150mm

Weight:  7kg

Nima Tonearm

Bearing:Stainless Steel Unipivot

Bearing Yoke: Acrylic

Arm Tube:Aluminium Alloy

Headshell: Acrylic

Effective Length:240mm

Overhang: 17.5mm

Headshell Offset Angle: 22.9°

Effective Mass: 10g

Mounting Hole Diameter: 23mm

Recommended Cartridge Weight: 5 – 12g

Recommended Tracking Weight: 1.5 – 3.5g

 

 

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This month, with the Bristol Show imminent, Linette looks at the folk who make up the gathered throng at a typical Hifi show. Will you spot yourself in there, I certainly did?TQBIRDSSPONSOR More »

Burson have announced that they have completed the R&D of our 3rd generation Conductor., which is their reference class headphone amp, USB DAC and preamp, 3 in 1. They say “is a major update from previous Conductor models”. The Conductor V2 headphone amp and pre-amp section are powered by a dedicated 70W transformer. Tuned to operate in pure Class A, it outputs over 8 Watt per channel into 16ohm, making the Conductor V2, claim Burson “one of the most powerful headphone amplifiers in the world, capable of driving any headphone”. On the digital front the Conductor V2 features the flagship ESS Sabre DAC, has completely new supporting circuitry and an independent power transformer. The new USB module features a digital interface from XMOS with their 8 core U6 chip supporting native DSD256 playback and up to 32bit depth.

Conductor_V2
Burson are yet to set a price for it. Instead, they have put the design on Indiegogo to seek community support. With enough contributions from the community, they are hoping to push the price as low as $999 USD for the analogue version (V2) and $1,499 USD of the fully equipped version (V2+). Burson have told us: “We want it to have a lower price so more audiophiles can own this truly amazing machine.”

 

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McIntosh Laboratory’s new feature-packed MX122 processor, which debuted at CES 2016, will soon be available in the UK via McIntosh’s UK distributor Jordan Acoustics. The new MX122 brings the McIntoh sound and build quality to home cinema connoisseurs for £6,995 and is the latest way to enjoy McIntosh’s exclusive A/V technology, following the recently launched MX160 (£13,995).

MX122 Front Top

The new MX122 is future-proofed says the recent press release and it features Dolby® Atmos and will be upgradable to support DTS:X™ and Auro-3D®. In addition to 3D audio, existing formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ are supported for legacy disc collections.

MX122 is also fully compatible with modern 4K Ultra HD video sources — it can also upscale lower resolutions to 4K Ultra HD for the best possible picture quality.The MX122 offers a huge complement of inputs and outputs including: 7 HDMI; 4 digital; 1 balanced and 8 unbalanced analogue stereo; an unbalanced 7.1 multi-channel audio; 3 component and 4 composite video, along with USB.

For multi-room, users can create two additional ‘zones’ in the home and send select audio and/or video to them from the MX122. Outputs include both balanced and unbalanced connections configured for 11.2 (also referred to as 7.2.4) surround sound, 3 HDMI (1 dedicated for ‘Zone 2’), 2 component and 2 composite video (1 of each for ‘Zone 2’) and 2 unbalanced stereo (1 for ‘Zone 2’ and 1 for ‘Zone 3’). All HDMI inputs and outputs are HDCP 2.2 and support High Dynamic Range (HDR), 4K Ultra HD at 50/60Hz, 4:4:4 colour, Rec. 2020 and 3D video pass-through.

MX122 Back

The MX122’s processor is compatible with a variety of high-resolution digital music formats up to 24-bit/192kHz and can up-convert two-channel audio to multichannel. Users can also connect to cloud-based and online digital music services using both wired and wireless network connections.

Bluetooth and AirPlay® connectivity allows streaming from mobile devices and DSD64 files can be played from flash drives or over networks. Where available, interfaces to popular streaming services including Pandora®, SiriusXM® and Spotify® are included, while vTuner lets users connect to 1,000s of internet radio stations – including McIntosh Music.

Audyssey’s MultEQ® XT32 room-correction technology offers accurate room calibration, enabling the processor to reach its full sonic potential. Each audio channel has its own 32-bit premium DAC and a nine-band equalizer offers additional fine-tuning.

Like all McIntosh’s products, the MX122 is handcrafted in the Binghamton factory (NY) and boasts classic 1950s styling.

The MX122 sells for £6,995 and is available to order now from Jordan Acoustics

 

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Monitor Audio’s flagship Platinum II range will receive its global public premiere at Sound &Vision, The Bristol Show. The show’s audience will be the first to appreciate the craftsmanship and sound quality of Monitor Audio’s “most audiophile speaker line to date”.MA PL500 drama

The new seven model range, which includes the luxury PL500II tower (pictured), is said to be the result of rigorous new analysis and breakthrough innovation by the engineering team. For the first time in a Monitor Audio speaker, Platinum II deploys a new MPD (Micro Pleated Diaphragm) high frequency transducer, supported by next-generation RDT ®II bass and mid drivers, improved crossover design and bespoke speaker terminal designs.

The star of the invitation only demonstrations to be held at room 1008 will be the PL500II. Conceived for ultra-wideband reproduction with vanishing distortion, this majestic 3-way, 7 driver system is the most advanced speaker design in the brand’s forty-five year history. Priced at £15,000 pair, the PL500 II uses four 8” RDTII long-throw bass drivers and twin 4” RDTII mid-range drivers in a M-T-M array with a MPD high frequency transducer.

Hifi Pig will of course be attending Bristol and will report on the new Monitor Audio Platinum II range but you can get your ticket to this invitation only event by visiting Monitor Audio in room 208.

 

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Janine Elliot takes a listen to Roksan’s latest version of the iconic Xerxes, this time in its 20Plus guise and with the Caspian RPM Speed Control and innovative Pug tonearm. Price for this package is £5825 More »

Mobile World Conference saw a range of Lenovo YOGA laptops and TAB3 tablets launched.

Lenovo unleashed a slew of new products at MWC 2016, including smartphones, tablets and notebooks, each one seemingly having a special power.

Lenovo’s new Windows notebooks includes both convertible laptops and a detachable notebook, each offering a unique set of features.

Get the whole story at GadgetyNews.

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With their latest release, Italian valve specialists Unison Research have produced a source device  that brings digital technologies together into one enclosure, offering a complete solution for audiophiles who “want to  get the best from their digital media”. The Unico CD Due supports Bluetooth streaming and acts as a comprehensive DAC capable of accommodating any high-end music player, while also acting as a stand-alone CD player. You will be able to see and hear the new unit at this weekend’s Bristol show with Henley Designs in Room 422.

ASTA AUTUNNO 2015

The hybrid Unico range from Unison Research combines valves with other solid state devices. The Unico CD Due joins the range as the new flagship source, and shares the same “three-panel” aesthetic of the range-topping Unico 150 amplifier.

The DAC portion of the CD Due is equipped with USB, S/PDIF, AES/EBU and Toslink inputs, which all route through the built-in ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC chip. The USB input uses XMOS technology to handle PCM signals up to 384kHz and DSD signals up to 11,2896MHz (DSD256), effectively encompassing almost every audio format and sample-rate currently available. The more  “traditional” digital inputs handle 24-bit/192kHz (24/96 via Optical) PCM signals, allowing myriad  of high-quality sources to be connected with ease.

The CD Due’s Bluetooth functionality allows for wireless streaming from any Bluetooth-enabled smart device. Set-up is said to be simple. Finally, the CD player section uses a premium mechanism and sleek drawer-loading system. Internally, the CD mechanism is shielded by a thick metal cover, to avoid interference.

“What helps the CD Due stand apart from its competitors is not just its feature set, but its rich, enveloping sound; which owes much of its expression to the valve output stage” says the company’s press release. The four ECC83 valves are configured in an innovative totem-pole arrangement with balanced input. This particular layout allows for a high immunity to power supply noise and brings together a “triode” sound with “the drive capability of a cathode follower stage”. The rest of the board also utilises premium components and shorter signal paths. For even more durability you can also use the CD Due as a transport only, utilising the three digital outputs on the back panel to run with another external DAC.

ASTA AUTUNNO 2015

The CD Due is purpose-designed to separate the digital and the analogue portions of the circuitry and the DAC portion has carefully-managed filtered power distribution. The DAC chip boasts a “jitter eliminator” design with a signal-to-noise ratio of 128dB and distortion of 0.0003%. The clock system uses a quartz oscillator with high precision and low phase-noise.

The Unico CD Due makes controlling all its features easy, via the supplied RC2 system remote and its 128×64 OLED screen. With three switchable filters and even the option to bypass the valves with a “solid-state” output buffer – the CD Due can suit any high-end system or sound preference.

SRP £3,200.00

The Unison Research Unico CD Due is available in the UK now in Silver finish.

The Unico CD Due can be special ordered in Black for an additional £100.00 (SRP).

Technical Information

Device:                                    CD Player, Bluetooth Receiver, External DAC

Digital Inputs:                           1 x USB Type B (supports up to 32-bit/384kHz or DSD256 (DoP))

1 x S/PDIF (supports up to 24-bit/192kHz or DSD64 (DoP))

1 x AES/EBU (supports up to 24-bit/192kHz or DSD64 (DoP)) 1 x Toslink™ (supports up to 24-bit / 96kHz)

Bluetooth Receiver:                  BT 3.0

Digital Outputs:                       1 x S/PDIF

1 x AES/EBU

1 x Toslink™

CD Transport:                         8829CD-KHM DVD-Loader (only for audio CDs)

Digital Filters:                         F1 = high slope and linear phase

F2 = high slope and minimum phase F3 = low slope and linear phase

Digital Stage:                          ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC with jitter eliminator Ultra-low distortion and ultra-low noise IV converter

Analogue Stage:                      Double-triode, pure Class A differential totem-pole Valve Complement:                           4 x 12AX7 / ECC83

Analogue Outputs:                  1 x RCA pair (stereo) 1 x XLR pair (stereo)

Output Buffer:                        Optional “solid-state” buffer Dimensions (W x D x H):                                    45 x 38 x 13cm

Net Weight:                            10kg

 

 

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LG G5 has finally gone fully official with the company’s announcement of its modular Android smartphone at Mobile World Congress.

We’ve seen plenty of tasty tidbits of LG’s newest smartphone, including that interesting battery tray, but now it has been revealed that the LG G5 can be upgraded thanks to plug-in components.

Get the whole story at GadgetyNews.

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The Huawei MateBook has just been launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Huawei has just taken the wrappers of their brand new MateBook, a 2-in-1 device designed to meet the evolving demands of today’s modern business users.

Get the whole story at GadgetyNews.

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The Riversimple Rasa is a very special car. Not only is it zero-emission, but it only has 18 moving parts.

Riversimple is the British startup behind the Rasa which has just been unveiled as a working prototype.

The super-simple Riversimple Rasa design only has 18 moving parts, weighs just 90lbs and can run for 300 miles on 85 ounces of hydrogen.

Get the whole story at GadgetyNews.

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Vertere and KJ West One bring you an evening of vinyl delight with special guest, Miles Showell of Abbey Road Studios.

Facts will be illuminated, Myths will be exposed and track upon track of pure music will be laid down for you. Presenting and demonstrating some of the world’s greatest music ever cut on vinyl plus explanation of Miles’s ½ speed mastering and its musical advantages.vertere_vinyl

The main system on the night will consist of:

Vertere Reference Tonearm & RG-1 & Record Player

FM Acoustics FM-122 MkII Phono Linearizer

Naim Audio Statement Pre and Mono Power Amplification

All connected by Vertere Absolute Reference Pulse-HB Cable system

A second system will also be setup featuring the Vertere MG-1/SG-1 Record Player/Tonearm combination.

Touraj Moghaddam of Vertere and Mile Showell of Abbey Road Studios will conduct the presentation and the demonstrations.

Special Test Pressings, Acetates plus new and old production records will be used to explain and reveal the different mastering and cutting techniques used.

A true insight into the world of recorded music and vinyl playback – looking at its past and its future.

At KJ West One, 4th March 2016, 17:00 – 22:00 +

 

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New from PMC, the fact.5c (two-way) and fact.10c (three-way) centre channel speakers.

The fact.5c and fact.10c centre channel speakers complement the two-way fact.3 or fact.8 models and the three-way fact.12 respectively.  Voiced identically to PMC’s professional monitor speakers, the introduction of the fact.5c and fact.10c finally enables serious movie and multi-channel enthusiasts to experience their favourite soundtracks « exactly as the producer intended”. PMC_Fact_5_&_10-rf-pr

Both models feature newly designed ATLs (Advanced Transmission Line), which has been tuned for vocal clarity and projection. Intelligent use of damping materials and extensive cabinet bracing within the ATL eradicates unwanted colouration.

To maintain the same sonic identity to the parent models fact series drive units are utilised in the centre channels. In order to create a more compact form factor, the fact tweeter, which has the identical soft dome as its larger sibling, has been re-engineered to take advantage of smaller, higher power, neodymium magnet technology and is fitted with a smaller faceplate. The drive units are seamlessly integrated with a 24dB per octave crossover PMC_Fact_10_rear_prnetwork.

In keeping with the fact series, precision user control of frequency response is available to resolve the complex issue of how to combine the differing sound signatures of room acoustics, cables and source equipment. Audiophile-grade switching enables the user to subtly tailor the bass and treble response to create the perfect sound balance. Uniquely the fact.10c includes a bass boost facility, which is ideal if partnered with PMC’s larger 3 way designs or when greater bass energy is required.

Hand-selected veneers, from sustainable sources, are available in a variety of  exquisite finishes to match the rest of the fact range.

Commenting on the new models, Peter Thomas, owner and chief designer says, “Since their introduction the fact series has created a new benchmark in terms of resolution, transparency and musicality. And with the increasing number of supreme quality and higher resolution multichannel recordings that are available, we believe that we should bring these benefits to our fact customers with finesse and realism. With the addition of the fact.5c and fact.10c centre channels they can now certainly do that.” He concludes, “We are extremely proud of the results achieved and know they will change the standards for home cinema sound in the same way the fact hi-fi speakers did for stereo reproduction.”

UK Retail Prices (inc. VAT)

fact.5c £2,125

fact.10c £5,500

PMC will be in SS Great Britain 2&3 at Sound And Vision 2016

 

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The ATC SCM7 is a diminutive loudspeaker of just 7 litres and costing from £810. Dan Worth takes a listen. More »