Ok, so we ran a news item today about the €895 Atmo Sfera turntable which has no platter so to speak and we came across another unusual turntable design, this time in the form of the $399 Gramovox that plays records vertically…and has built in speakers.

The Gramavox plays 33s and 45s and has RCA outs so you can play it through a conventional hifi set up.
It is a belt drive design that has an acrylic platter and comes complete with tonearm and a AT95E so it plays out the box with no set up.330A5823

Tech Spec’

  • MDF construction
  • Fully-adjustable Carbon-Fiber Tone-Arm w/ dynamically set tracking force
  • AT95E Audio-Technica Dual Magnet Cartridge with Elliptical Diamond Stylus
  • 2″ Neodymium Full-Range Stereo Speakers
  • Built in phono stage with RIAA equalization curve
  • Onboard 2x15W Stereo Audio Amplifier, Tripath TA2024 Class-D / Class-T architecture
  • Manual Belt-Drive System (33 ⅓ or 45 RPM)
  • A/C Synchronous motor
  • Low resonance, high mass, acrylic Plinth and Platter
  • RCA Line Out
  • Headphone Jack
  • Universal AC to DC power supply compatible with US standard 60 Hz, 110/120 VAC or European standard 50 Hz, 220/240 VAC (Snap-in power plugs are included for operation in countries around the world)
  • 17″ Wide x 10″ Deep x 16″ Tall
  • 14 lbs.
  • Vibration Damping Feet

 

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3 Square is a small new company based in the UK, their first product is a floorstanding loudspeaker constructed out of Baltic pine ply wood and costing £2500. Ian Ringstead takes a listen.

“In my many years of listening to hifi I have learnt to be wary of initial impressions and make quick assumptions. Sometimes a product or system can instantly grab you and retain that magical quality, but on the flipside an initial impressive sound can soon become wearing on the ears and make me want to switch the system off. The Translator’s never made me want to switch them off; it just took a bit of time to acclimatise.”

Read the full review of the  3 Square Audio Translator Loudspeakers

 

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Audio Deva have a Kickstarter campaign for their €895 Atmo Sfera turntable (complete with arm and cartridge)… but the Atmo Sfera is no ordinary turntable because it doesn’t have the platter that would seem like a pretty essential part of any vinyl spinner.

Audio Deva claim that the classic turntable has drawbacks inherent in its design citing “heavy weight, size, playing mechanism and vulnerability to vibration” as issues and claim their design eliminates the problems associated with conventional turntables.

With 36 days to go the Italian company has raised around €15 500 of their €40 000 funding target.LMC_0739

Tech Spec’

Turntable 

  • Platterless design, a unique design where the record spins in air
  • Belt-Driven, Two speed (33/45 RPM) turntable
  • Small, low torque bipolar motor, driven by a synthesized, sinusoidal wave
  • Microprocessor controlled operation
  • Bluetooth® stereo connectivity with embedded RIAA phono preamplifier

Tonearm

  • Carbon fiber, static balanced Tonearm
  • Effective arm length: 228 mm – Arm overhang: 15 mm

Cartridge 

  • Pre fitted Audio Technica AT 95 E MM Cartridge

Other Features

  • Low resonance, CNC machined, Anticorodal Aluminium plinth
  • CNC machined Ergal Shaft
  • Vibration damping feet
  • No setup required with the fitted cartridge
  • Dimension (base only): 12″ x 11″ x 4″ or 31 cm x 28 cm x 10 cm
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs. or 2.8 Kg
  • Universal Power supply: 110-240 V / 50Hz / 60Hz

LMC_0742_pure

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SOtM have announced the worldwide release of their dCBL-CAT7 and the iSO-CAT6 Special Edition which are designed to be used together.

The dCBL-CAT7 cable is said to provide “stable, ultra-high speed transmission with excellent sound characteristics”.sotmcable1

The Filter Block on the dCBL-CAT7 is a new addition and is designed to “eliminate the wide band digital noise inflowing from the router or NAS interfering with audio signals”.

The iSO-CAT6 Special Edition is configured with 3 kinds of network cables which the company say “offer respectively different sound characteristics with high quality, which allows the user organize own unique customized audio system selecting bright & pompous tone, neutral, mild & comfortable tone”.sotm2

The length starts from 1.5M as standard and longer than 5.5m of dCBL-CAT7 is also available.

dCBL-CAT7 1.5M(Standard) : US$500 dCBL-CAT7 2.5M : US$600

dCBL-CAT7 3.5M : US$700 dCBL-CAT7 4.5M : US$800

dCBL-CAT7 5.5M : US$900

The iSO-CAT6 Special Edition comes with 3 different network cables, they are distinguished by black, dark grey and grey colour, the standard length is 50cm and can’t be changed.

dCBL-CAT7 1.5M with iSO-CAT6 Special Edition : US$1,100

dCBL-CAT7 2.5M with iSO-CAT6 Special Edition : US$1,200

dCBL-CAT7 3.5M with iSO-CAT6 Special Edition : US$1,300

dCBL-CAT7 4.5M with iSO-CAT6 Special Edition : US$1,400

dCBL-CAT7 5.5M with iSO-CAT6 Special Edition : US$1,500

 

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3 Square is a small new company based in the UK, their first product is a floorstanding loudspeaker constructed out of Baltic pine ply wood and costing £2500. Ian Ringstead takes a listen.  More »

Q Acoustics, the British loudspeaker company, has announced that it has reduced the price of ‘Q-BT3’, its ‘Bluetooth(TM)’ wireless loudspeakers.

With immediate effect, the recommended retail price of the BT3 is reduced from £349.95 to £279.95 inc VAT.BT3_gloss_red

Why? Brand Director Alex Munro explained:

“This is very much a commercial decision, based upon our positive experience with ‘economies of scale’. Last year, sales of our award-winning M4 soundbar exceeded expectations, which resulted in cost benefits due to economies of scale. We reduced the price and sales more than doubled.”

“We’re excited to replicate this success with the highly acclaimed BT3 – the brilliant audio solution for nearly every requirement.”

He continued: “Appearance wise the BT3 looks like a very neat, stylish pair of small hi-fi loudspeakers; available in three fashionable gloss colours. Bring your smartphone into the mix and wirelessly stream Bluetooth signals to the BT3 and it’s transformed into the equivalent of a super quality modern mini-system”

Alex Munro went on to say:

“Let me be absolutely clear; the BT3 isn’t a jazzed up iPod dock or modified table radio in disguise. They look and sound like a pair of genuine, superior quality hi-fi loudspeakers, for the very obvious and simple reason; that’s precisely what they are!”

Technical Specifications:

Within the BT3 speakers is a 2 x 50 Watts per channel power amplifier, a Bluetooth V4.0 wireless receiver, with advanced ‘aptX’ capability and a Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC), accessed via an optical input.

BT3 boasts two analogue stereo line level inputs (1 x 3.5mm mini jack, 1 x pair phono sockets), and a toslink optical digital input. There’s also a separate subwoofer output provided.

Each BT3 speaker utilises a 25mm silk dome tweeter and 100mm coated paper cone midrange/bass unit. As in all Q Acoustics hifi loudspeakers the crossover is a fourth order ‘Linkwitz-Riley’ configuration; in this instance, with the advantage of fine tuning of its frequency response curve, achieved by using digital filters in a DSP (Digital Signal Processor).

In addition to the small infrared remote control included with the BT3, it can also be operated by the remote controls which come with many satellite and cable TV boxes, (including UK ‘Sky’ and ‘Virgin’ models). The unit will also ‘auto switch’ between inputs when it detects a new signal. For example, if you are enjoying TV sound, but then decide to start streaming music from your smartphone or tablet, the BT3 will detect this new signal and switch to its Bluetooth input.

Available in three gloss finishes: Red, White and Black, the BT3 is available now.

Dimensions: (H x W x D) each speaker is 240mm x 148mm x 226mm.

In the UK, the suggested retail price is now £279.95 per pair, and everything required is included in the carton:

1 x Active (right) speaker 1 x Passive (left) speaker
1 x remote control 1 x 3.5mm jack lead (2 metre)
1 x RCA phono lead (2 metre) 1 x Speaker cable (4 metre)
1 x UK power cable 1 x EU power cable

 

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PMC, the UK based loudspeaker manufacturer, has signed CSR as exclusive distributor for hi-fi products in Japan.

This will boost PMC’s presence in the Asia Pacific region and CSR will manage all sales and support for the company’s domestic products and ensure high levels of service to retailers across the country.CSR Japan Signing with Miles

CSR Inc., based in Sagamihara, Kanagawa, approximately 30 miles west of Tokyo, was founded in 1991 and is run by Mr Norinaga Nakazawa, president and managing director, who oversees the 50 strong team. The company’s overriding objective is to build trusting relationships with its customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders; facets that fit perfectly with PMC’s own philosophy.

The company manufactures its own brand of ‘Soul Note’ audio equipment, developed by its R&D team, which has extensive experience in digital electronics, having previously worked for one of the very well respected Japanese hifi brands. CSR also manufacturers radio communications equipment (for the Japanese fire and rescue service), karaoke equipment, including wireless microphones and amplifiers, plus education electronics. Its Soul Note range is to be further developed to complement PMC loudspeakers.

Products from across PMC’s domestic portfolio, including the twenty series, the fact series and the smallest model in the range, the DB1 Gold, will be stocked alongside the company’s flagship SE range.

Miles Roberts, PMC’s export director comments, “Japan is a rapidly developing market, there is a resurgence in interest around high-end audio and CSR is a wonderful addition to the PMC distribution network to tap into that growth.” He adds, “And with both companies celebrating their 25th anniversary this year it is a fantastic time to join forces.”

Mr Norinaga Nakazawa, president, owner and founder of CSR says, “It is an honour for CSR to be working with such a world recognised brand  as PMC, our team here is very excited about the future possibilities for success and we are already seeing an increase in interest to both brands since the announcement of the partnership”.

Mr Naoyuki Sensui, director general manager of the sales department adds, “CSR feels very strongly that the synergy between our two brands will result in a wonderful collaboration with success for both companies in the Japanese audiophile market.”

Dominic Marsh has a bit of a revelation regarding system hierarchy and later pokes the hornets nest a bit and discusses system hierarchy and gets entangled with folk over cable wars. More »

Ray Lamontagne first came to my attention with his 2004 Trouble album which was rooted in the Americana movement and was influenced by Tupelo Honey-era Van Morrison.  It was a very enjoyable album as was its follow up Till The Sun Turns Black.  After that though, Lamontagne disappeared from my radar and I failed to keep up with his music. More »

Way back in 1984 – was it really 31 years ago? – Los Lobos’  album How Will The Wolf Survive? quickly became one of my favourites and has remained so over the years.  Despite that, although I have a smattering of other records by the band in my collection, I’m guilty of not having paid close attention to all of the band’s output over the years. More »

It is not unusual for a band to start off as one thing and end up being an entirely different beast.  The Beatles went from lovable mop tops to hairy psychedelicists , and don’t we love them for it.  When Steve Hackett left Genesis, it seemed unlikely that massive queues of people would line up to urinate in their direction should they spontaneously combust.  They went on, however, to become world-straddling pop chart toppers.  I’m pretty sure that happened although maybe it was just a bad dream I had after eating too much stilton. More »

Russ Andrews is introducing a dedicated turntable RCA phono cable.

With the huge resurgence in turntables witnessed over the past couple of years and the monumental rise in sales of vinyl, “Russ Andrews has developed the TT-1 cable to help this new wave of vinyl enthusiasts get the best out of their turntables” says the company’s recent press release.Turntable_cable_vinyl

TT-1 is a fully shielded design, derived from the Kimber Kable flagship Select range and uses high-purity copper coax geometry and a multi-stranded core.

Fitted with Kimber’s UltraPlate™ Phono plugs, the TT-1 is also available with optional burn in, DCT (deep cryogenic treatment), Super Burn In and with the company’s MiniZap technology incorporated into the cable.

Many modern turntables no longer require a dedicated ground connection, but for those that do, Russ Andrews is including a separate 2.5mm2 grounding wire fitted with 4mm spade terminals with the TT-1, making it suitable for use with a vast range of turntables.

Peter Bevir, head of product development, says, “No one can have missed the vinyl revival, it’s the story on the lips of so many and is blazoned across social media on a daily basis. The figures for vinyl album sales from the bpi and turntable sales from GfK show just how popular this, arguably purest, form of music reproduction is. So we thought, ‘with so many people enjoying what vinyl has to offer why not help them get the most out of their collections and new turntables?’ ” He continues, “The TT-1 is a cost effective means of connecting a turntable to a phono-stage – or direct to an amplifier if either unit has a built in phono-stage – that really allows the music to shine and highlight just why vinyl is such a good medium for musical enjoyment.”

TT-1 is available direct from Russ Andrews at £104 for a 0.5m pair.

The HIGH END 2016 is fully booked. More than 500 exhibitors and every renowned industry manufacturer will descend upon Munich from May 5th to 8th. Over the years, the HIGH END has established itself as a global meeting point for audio enthusiasts, becoming an industry institution in the process, and of course Hifi Pig will be there to keep you up to date with the latest news. high_end_munich_2016_crowds

Munich High-End audio show now stands as the most important showcase event for audio anywhere in the world. Branko Glisovic, CEO of the HIGH END trade fair, is thrilled by the tremendous response from leading companies, but is at the same time aware of the demands that this interest brings with it: “Of course you try to get as many  companies as possible involved. But when you reach the limits of a 28,361 square metre exhibition space, it is then a question of capacity.”

Numbers of foreign exhibitors continue to grow

The biggest growth driver here is, of course, foreign companies. Based both in Europe and further afield, these firms recognise that the HIGH END has become the industry’s foremost trade fair. With 316 exhibitors expected from abroad, this year’s foreign involvement will likely represent a 2% increase on last year’s, with an overall share of 63% of attendees. At the same time, German-based companies are still the most strongly represented at the HIGH END. Great Britain is in second place with 40 companies, followed by the USA, Italy, France, China, Japan and Switzerland. munich_high_end_hifi_show_crowds

“This means that the HIGH END offers not only a broad spectrum, but also an international selection, thereby serving as a shop window for the innovative drive of the whole industry. This is the basis for the ever growing international significance of the HIGH END and the recognition it receives on the basis of its quality. We are delighted with the faith that exhibitors put in our event through their participation”, stresses Kurt Hecker, Chief Executive of HIGH END SOCIETY.

More High-End Munich 2016 News 

Munich High-End 2015 Coverage

 

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The HIGH END 2016 is fully booked. More than 500 exhibitors and every renowned industry manufacturer will descend upon Munich from May 5th to 8th. Over the years, the HIGH END has established itself as a global meeting point for audio enthusiasts, becoming an industry institution in the process, and of course Hifi Pig will be there to keep you up to date with the latest news. high_end_munich_2016_crowds

Munich High-End audio show now stands as the most important showcase event for audio anywhere in the world. Branko Glisovic, CEO of the HIGH END trade fair, is thrilled by the tremendous response from leading companies, but is at the same time aware of the demands that this interest brings with it: “Of course you try to get as many  companies as possible involved. But when you reach the limits of a 28,361 square metre exhibition space, it is then a question of capacity.”

Numbers of foreign exhibitors continue to grow

The biggest growth driver here is, of course, foreign companies. Based both in Europe and further afield, these firms recognise that the HIGH END has become the industry’s foremost trade fair. With 316 exhibitors expected from abroad, this year’s foreign involvement will likely represent a 2% increase on last year’s, with an overall share of 63% of attendees. At the same time, German-based companies are still the most strongly represented at the HIGH END. Great Britain is in second place with 40 companies, followed by the USA, Italy, France, China, Japan and Switzerland. munich_high_end_hifi_show_crowds

“This means that the HIGH END offers not only a broad spectrum, but also an international selection, thereby serving as a shop window for the innovative drive of the whole industry. This is the basis for the ever growing international significance of the HIGH END and the recognition it receives on the basis of its quality. We are delighted with the faith that exhibitors put in our event through their participation”, stresses Kurt Hecker, Chief Executive of HIGH END SOCIETY.

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For the first time in its history, KEF will be joining the internationally renowned SuperDesign Show in Milan.

This year the SuperDesign Show looks to the future with an emphasis on how traditional boundaries between old and new, traditional and futuristic and others have become obsolete, opening the door to unlimited creativity. Fitting this theme KEF will showcase its “KEF OBSESSIONS” design philosophy, which allows its designers to create speakers that straddle the line between sculpture and sound, at a dedicated booth designed by Michael Young.KEF_muo_loudspeaker

The KEF OBSESSIONS design philosophy reflects KEF’s dedication to all aspects of speaker creation. “Every minute detail required to create a KEF speaker is painstakingly considered and evaluated, including sound quality, innovative design, new materials, premium finishes and more, all combined with total attention to detail” says the loudspeaker manufacturer’s press release.

At this exhibition KEF will be highlighting the emphasis it places on speaker design and the work of its partner designers. This will include:

MUON and MUO

Design by Ross Lovegrove

BLADE

Design by Eric Chan (ECCO Design) and KEF Design team

REFERENCE

Design by KEF Design team

LS50

Design by KEF Design team

EGG

Design by Milk Design and KEF Design team

M Series

Design by Studio F. A. Porsche

KEF OBSESSIONS Exhibition

Design by Michael Young

The KEF OBSESSION booth can be found at:
Address: Superstudio Più, Via Tortona 27, Milan

 

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DACportable is a powerful, palm-sized device that turns the average audio of your smartphone, tablet or computer into a concert-hall listening experience” says the recent press release from CEntrance. CEntrance DACportable (1)

Encased in anodized aluminium, DACportable comes packed with audiophile-grade components the company continue.

DACportable is said to be plug and play via a USB connection. DACportable has  features like EQ filters, digital volume control, a quick charge battery. DACportable’s high-res sound (backed with 32-bit/384kHz digital audio) is self-powered, so it won’t drain your phone’s battery.

The DACportable will also work with future iPhones with or without headphone jacks.

CEntrance recently launched DACportable on Indiegogo and received an amazing response, already surpassing their funding goal with $53,000.

 

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First launched in 2006, Furutech’s Demag initially raised one or two eyebrows. Not so much for its UFO-like appearance as for its raison d’être. How can an LP be magnetized? cried skeptics. It’s plastic! The proof, as it turned out, was very much in the pudding and the Demag achieved some very positive reviews in the press with Michael Fremer saying “repeatedly demonstrated record demagnetization to sceptics” and concluded that “everyone hears it.”DeMag-a - 3

Like its predecessor, the new DeMagα (Demag ‘Alpha’) is a massive, luxuriously finished machine with a singular purpose: to discharge the magnetism that resides or builds up in LPs and optical disc media (CD, DVD, SACD etc), with the goal being improving their sonic performance. Furutech say it is “equally an indispensable accessory for keeping interconnect cables, connectors and power cords demagnetized to prevent magnetic signal distortion”.

Returning to the earlier question of how a vinyl (i.e. plastic) LP can be magnetized, Furutech explain that the culprit is actually the pigment added to the plastic during the manufacturing process. This pigment contains small amounts of ferrous material which become magnetized as a record spins. The resulting magnetic field has in fact been measured by Tokyo’s Nanotechnology Center, as has the effect of subjecting it to the Furutech DeMag – revealing a clear drop.

Specifications

Dimensions (without spikes) Approx. 487mm (w) × 68mm (h) × 470mm (d)

or 19” (w) x 2.7” (h) × 18.5” (d)

 

Net weight

 

Approx. 11 kg / 24lbs

 

Rating

 

230VAC ±10V (Europe)

110VAC ±15V (USA)

 

The Furutech DeMagα is available now, priced at £2,200 (incl VAT).

 

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Linette discusses why we need specialist shops for both music and Hifi purchases.
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Kralk Audio are based in West Yorkshire in the UK and owned by Alan Clark. With the DTLPS-1 loudspeaker, costing £1750, Alan has taken the specially built crossover out of the loudspeaker and into separate boxes. Ian Ringstead finds out if all this effort has been worthwhile.

“The crossovers come in separate beautifully made boxes with nice metal feet. They house resin cast air-cored inductors in their lead lined cases and audiophile grade MKP capacitors. Wiring is Van Damme. The crossover has a quality silk screened printed acrylic cover so you can see and admire the components and build quality.”Kralk_audio_lifestyle_1

Read the full review of the Kralk Audio DTLPS-1 Elite Loudspeakers

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The Avantgarde Duos were ordered at last year’s Munich High-End and after a few months of feverish anticipation they finally arrived on a huge pallet. The packaging of these loudspeakers is exceptionally clever and very well thought out, making what could potentially be a very tricky exercise in unpacking, really rather simple…though there were a few worried faces at Hifi Pig Towers when the lorry driver had them on the edge of his wagon…Avantgarde_duo_xd_unboxing_7

Click through for more photographs.

 

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The Avantgarde Duos were ordered at last year’s Munich High-End and after a few months of feverish anticipation they finally arrived on a huge pallet. The packaging of these loudspeakers is exceptionally clever and very well thought out, making what could potentially be a very tricky exercise in unpacking, really rather simple…though there were a few worried faces at Hifi Pig Towers when the lorry driver had them on the edge of his wagon…

These have been in the main system a good while now and a review will follow in a month or two.  More »