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 »

Headphones are gaining significance and are popular among all age groups. A continual, and remarkable, growth has been recorded in this segment since 2008. Headphones have meanwhile become a million-dollar market and there is no end to the boom in sight.headphones_at_high_end_munich_news2

Around 259 million pairs of headphones were sold in 2010. This figure is currently projected to have reached 290 million in 2015 (source:  GfK).

These are many reasons to listen to music using headphones. Some love the direct sound and want to listen to music loudly without being disturbed, and without annoying their immediate neighbours or partners. Others use headphones as an acoustic shield from the outside world. They are not just used for blaring music, but also for  silence.

Dramatic progress has been made in headphone development in the last few years. High- quality models are used to suppress ambient noise, and allow music to be enjoyed free from disturbances. Active noise cancelling by headphones makes it possible to relax and enjoy music despite surrounding noises.

While they used to be considered an accessory for the HiFi system in the living room, they can now be seen everywhere in the street. The range of different headphones has become so large that the layman quickly loses the overview.headphones_at_high_end_munich_news

Criteria such as audio quality and comfort help to make a decision. However, good headphones should not only have the best technical features, but also feature an appealing visual and ergonomic design.

The range of products has now become more than extensive. The trend to headphones that impress with outstanding audio quality and that make listening to music a pleasure has increased in significance in the last few years. Along with customers’ expectations, the price has also increased. This is why sophisticated products for discerning audio consumption are in increasing demand today. Models selling for far more than €1,000 are no longer a rarity.

Visitors attending the HIGH END have the opportunity to compare different headphone models directly in Hall 2, stand F10. Around 30 pairs of headphones in total, in different price classes, with uniformly high quality headphone amplifiers, will be available at all listening stations. The music selected will be identical, without any data reduction or compressed music files, and be from different genres, to give the listener the opportunity to make a direct comparison. The music will be controlled using iPads that are easy and intuitive to use.

Read some of hifi Pig’s headphone reviews here.

Read last year’s coverage of the show here. 

 

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Headphones are gaining significance and are popular among all age groups. A continual, and remarkable, growth has been recorded in this segment since 2008. Headphones have meanwhile become a million-dollar market and there is no end to the boom in sight.headphones_at_high_end_munich_news2

Around 259 million pairs of headphones were sold in 2010. This figure is currently projected to have reached 290 million in 2015 (source:  GfK).

These are many reasons to listen to music using headphones. Some love the direct sound and want to listen to music loudly without being disturbed, and without annoying their immediate neighbours or partners. Others use headphones as an acoustic shield from the outside world. They are not just used for blaring music, but also for  silence.

Dramatic progress has been made in headphone development in the last few years. High- quality models are used to suppress ambient noise, and allow music to be enjoyed free from disturbances. Active noise cancelling by headphones makes it possible to relax and enjoy music despite surrounding noises.

While they used to be considered an accessory for the HiFi system in the living room, they can now be seen everywhere in the street. The range of different headphones has become so large that the layman quickly loses the overview.headphones_at_high_end_munich_news

Criteria such as audio quality and comfort help to make a decision. However, good headphones should not only have the best technical features, but also feature an appealing visual and ergonomic design.

The range of products has now become more than extensive. The trend to headphones that impress with outstanding audio quality and that make listening to music a pleasure has increased in significance in the last few years. Along with customers’ expectations, the price has also increased. This is why sophisticated products for discerning audio consumption are in increasing demand today. Models selling for far more than €1,000 are no longer a rarity.

Visitors attending the HIGH END have the opportunity to compare different headphone models directly in Hall 2, stand F10. Around 30 pairs of headphones in total, in different price classes, with uniformly high quality headphone amplifiers, will be available at all listening stations. The music selected will be identical, without any data reduction or compressed music files, and be from different genres, to give the listener the opportunity to make a direct comparison. The music will be controlled using iPads that are easy and intuitive to use.

Read some of hifi Pig’s headphone reviews here.

Read last year’s coverage of the show here. 

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The Grandinote Proemio Preamplifier and Silva amplifier have just arrived at Hifi Pig Towers for review, but by way of a bit of a preview we’ve taken lots of lovely photographs of the unboxing of this Italian pairing. Prices in the UK for the Proemio Preamplifier is £6500 and £7995 for the Silva Stereo Amplifier.gn16s

The amplifier is a 37 W Class A dual-mono and the preamplifier is also Class A dual-mono. The pairing weigh in at a not inconsiderable 55Kg.

Click through for photographs. 

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The Grandinote Proemio Preamplifier and Silva amplifier have just arrived at Hifi Pig Towers for review, but by way of a bit of a preview we’ve taken lots of lovely photographs of the unboxing of this Italian pairing. Prices in the UK for the Proemio Preamplifier is £6500 and £7995 for the Silva Stereo Amplifier.

The amplifier is a 37 W Class A dual-mono and the preamplifier is also Class A dual-mono. The pairing weigh in at a not inconsiderable 55Kg More »

Singer, composer and author Andrea Celeste, an artist on audiophile magnetic tape label, Analogy Records, will be performing in Natural Sound’s room at the Milano Hi-Fidelity 2016 show, on Saturday April 2nd.

andrea_celeste_analogy_records_2

Andrea will sing live with a system featuring Ubiq Audio’s Model One loudspeakers, electronics from FM Acoustics and power cables from Faber’s Cables. The source of the music will be a Studer A810 reel to reel tape recorder. Andrea Celeste will present her new album ‘Kaleidoscope’, already available on limited and numbered edition CD and, soon to be released, on magnetic tape by Analogy Records.

 

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Released in 2014 Syro is certainly not a new album and it came 11 years after the previous Aphex Twin record, which is a long time to wait for any die-hard fan or follower. I remember his previous album entitled ‘Druqks’ received mixed reviews, mainly due to the inconsistency of decent full length tracks. As a strange run-through concept album however, I thought the album was strong and that it felt like a glitchy-beat journey interspersed with fragments and recordings of his life. More »

Steven Wilson is an artist I only recently discovered about a year ago, mainly through his 4th album ‘Hand. Cannot. Erase’. This newest release entitled ‘4 1/2’ is named because it’s the mini album between his 4th and 5th, made up of a mixture of new material and tracks that didn’t make it onto his previous albums. More »

Starship Technologies, a company set up by two of the co-founders of Skype, is building up its fleet of robots which can deliver goods within 30 minutes.

If plans continue positively, we could well be seeing six-wheeled robots delivering groceries to shoppers in the UK within the next six months.

Get the while story at GadgetyNews.

GADGETYNEWS

Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 4 last October, it also revealed a new version of its Type Cover keyboard for the device, along with a variant featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor. This has only been available to those stateside – until now.

In the UK, people can pick one up at retailers from March 15th including; Selfridges, Harrods, Amazon, PC World, Currys, Dixons Travel, Argos, John Lewis and Very.co.uk.

Get the whole story at GadgetyNews.

GADGETYNEWS

Sennheiser + Freitag have buddied up to create some special edition headphones which includes some swish carry cases.

The creators of unique bags from recycled material has joined forces with audio manufacturer Sennheiser to create a limited edition range of Urbanite headphones – the F703 Sennheiser + Freitag model.

Get the whole story at GadgetyNews.

GADGETYNEWS

Radio is still hanging on in there and the new Philips AE8000 radio brings together all the web-based stations as well as DAB+ and FM broadcasts.

The new AE8000 is the first internet radio from Philips and it offers an all-in-one solution for access to nearly every radio station out there. With the added flexibility of DAB+ and FM and with an attractive white front and dark wood design, the AE8000 will certainly fit in at home as equally as well as it will in the office.

Get the whole story at GadgetyNews.

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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.   More »

BBC News has reported that Sainsbury’s have now decided to jump on the vinyl bandwagon and are to start flogging the black stuff in their supermarkets. On a recent visit to England I also noticed that Tesco are doing likewise, though given that the paltry number of discs was in a display in a corner and positioned so you could only access one side of the display, I didn’t get the impression that that particular store’s heart was really in it. So, is this good news for vinyl fans or not?Vinyl

Now don’t get me wrong, we at Hifi Pig love the idea that vinyl is making a bit of a resurgence and I really do love to play my music on vinyl. It’s great to see younger people embracing the actual purchasing of music rather than turning to illegal downloads and the like. It’s also great to see that hifi manufacturers are being able to profit from this with the making of new, and often budget orientated turntables.

But what kind of albums are these non-specialist outlets going to be peddling? From my limited experience in the Tesco store I mentioned it’s going to be the classics…David Bowie (I bought a copy of Ziggy Stardust actually), Fleetwood Mac, ACDC… you get the picture. Now this is great for those of us looking to refresh our tired old record stock, but what about the new bands’ material?

I suppose the supermarkets know their markets well enough, but I can’t help thinking that I’d be much happier if they were stocking a wider variety of music. That said, if the big chains are highlighting that the format is out there and available, perhaps it will tempt even more to buy into the format and then finally seek out more exotic records in their independent record shops.

Record Store Day takes place in 16th April 2016.

 

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The Vinyl Collection brings together seven studio albums recorded by Deep Purple between 1972 and 1987, these albums being: Machine Head, Who Do We Think We Are, Burn, Stormbringer, Come Taste The Band, Perfect Strangers and The House Of Blue Light. More »

Dominic Marsh takes this €840 package of amp, speakers and speaker cables from TAGA Harmony for a spin.

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“The word to best describe the sound was “balanced” in that treble and bass were in equilibrium, midband was clean and clear, so it was no effort at all just to sit back and enjoy what I was hearing while the system was warming up.”

Read the full review of the TAGA Harmony HTA – 700B V2 amplifier, Platinum B-40 Speakers and Platinum 18 Speaker Cables Package.

 

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Janine Elliot plumbs in these £1750 interconnects from Polish company KBL into her system to see what she will find. 

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“Carlos Franzetti “The Jazz Kamerata” had a depth of sound I really got hooked on; the full colour from the piano, string warmth, flute and saxophone were all placed where I expected, with excellent decays on piano and a husky saxophone opened up as real as I would hear them live, like seeing the pixels on the screen, every ounce of colour was there for me to hear in all its glory.”

Read the full review of the KBL Sound Red Eye Ultimate Interconnects

 

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For this month’s Classic Album, John Scott engages warp drive and blasts off into space in the company of Hawkwind and their epic Space Ritual album. More »

In this month’s instalment of Retro Bites where we focus on classic and vintage audio, Janine Elliot takes a look at the Nakamichi TX 1000 Turntable. More »

I attended only my second ever Hifi show today at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel, which is just a few hundred yards from Junction 12 off the M53 at Chester. This event, held over two days was hosted and organised by Geoff from Acoustica, a Hifi shop in Chester I visited recently for a speaker demonstration. More »

Dominic Marsh takes this €840 package of amp, speakers and speaker cables from TAGA Harmony for a spin. More »

Earlier this week we were saying goodbye to my Father and over the days that followed it really struck me how much of a force for bringing people together music is. Read on…it’s not as maudlin as you might think! View_MFA_Spons More »

 

Janine Elliot plumbs in these £1750 interconnects from Polish company KBL into her system to see what she will find.  More »

Quad unveils its latest loudspeaker range, the Z Series – the first of many new products planned for 2016 in celebration of the British audio brand’s 80th year.

Like the S Series, which launched in 2015 to widespread acclaim, the new range combines advanced Kevlar-coned bass and midrange drivers with a specially designed ribbon tweeter. The Z Series takes this fundamental design to a whole new level, however, re-engineering the drive units, crossovers and cabinets to provide the bridge between the entry-level S Series and Quad’s classic electrostatic ESL speakers. 4362_Z-2_(rosewood)

The range comprises two standmount models (Z-1 and Z-2) and two floorstanders (Z-3 and Z-4). The Z-1 stands 383mm high and incorporates a 150mm bass/mid cone, while the larger S-2 uses a 175mm bass/mid cone. The two floorstanders sport three-way configurations, coupling a 150mm midrange driver with two 175mm bass drivers in the Z-3, and three 165mm bass drivers in the Z-4. 4363_Z-3_(rosewood)

All Z Series models sport a bespoke ribbon treble unit, delivering high frequencies that many believe to be audibly superior to those supplied by typical dome tweeters. The use of a ribbon-based driver is not new to Quad; in fact, the company’s first loudspeaker was known as the Corner Ribbon, launched in 1949. Back then, ribbon drivers were delicate affairs, easily prone to burning out if overpowered.

Like the ribbon unit developed for the S Series, the composite sandwich construction of the Z Series ribbon ensures it is robust enough to handle high-powered amplifiers, but at 90x12mm it is significantly larger than the S Series ribbon. In fact, it is the largest ribbon treble unit that Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design for Quad’s parent company IAG, has ever worked with, delivering greater sensitivity and bandwidth.

This large ribbon driver is fully immersed in a powerful magnetic field so that it accomplishes its dual role of being both the voice coil and the sound radiator. This is a key difference between ribbon treble units and conventional dome tweeters, in which the voice coil ‘motor’ is attached separately to the diaphragm.  4366_Z-4_(rosewood)

Designed especially for the Z Series, the speakers’ bass and midrange drive units use cones fashioned from woven Kevlar. A key feature of these drive units is their double-roll cone surround, which Is designed to control breakup modes to enhance accuracy and transparency, coupled to a cast aluminum basket providing a stable chassis for the driver motor systems.

All the Z Series models feature acoustic filter bass reflex loading. This incorporates a dual-chamber filter system inside the cabinet, with the reflex port exiting via a specially shaped expansion chamber in the plinth that is filled with resistive foam. The result, say Quad, is “the sensitivity and extension expected from a bass reflex system but with the clarity and transient attack of a closed box design, entirely avoiding the turbulence and ‘chuffing’ often associated with conventionally ported speakers”.

The treble, midrange and bass units are aligned via a phase-compensated Acoustic Butterworth crossover devised using computer-aided design coupled with hundreds of hours of listening tests with all manner of music.

Every Z Series model sports a cabinet constructed from multiple layers of wood fibre composites of varying density, extensively strengthened using multiple circumferential braces. Internal long hair fibre damping helps to absorb unwanted reflections in conjunction with the scattering effect of the curved cabinet sides. 4371_Z-2_rear_(rosewood)

Each speaker has a piano lacquered finish, complementing the boat-tailed sides and smoothly curved top. Multiple layers of piano lacquer are applied over black, white or rosewood veneers, each layer being hand-polished to a high gloss before the next layer is applied.

Commenting on the design of the Quad Z Series, Peter Comeau said: “The Z Series is the pinnacle of Quad’s enclosure speakers and features the largest ribbon treble unit that I’ve ever used, giving the Z Series a clarity and definition throughout the upper midrange and treble that is utterly beguiling. This combines with the acoustic filter bass reflex system and low-coloration enclosure to deliver the perfect embodiment of the natural sonic realism that is the hallmark of Quad, in line with the company’s traditional dictum: ‘The Closest Approach To The Original Sound’.”

Recommended retail prices 

Z-1: £1199.95 per pair

Z-2: £1499.95 per pair

Z-3: £2499.95 per pair

Z-4: £3199.95 per pair

The Quad Z Series is available from March in piano lacquered black, white or rosewood.

 

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Ferguson Hill have just launched an updated version of their fH007 mini loudspeaker system. It has updated Neodymium drive units for an improved frequency response and also comes with a bluetooth receiver to wirelessly stream your music from any smartphone or tablet…and we at Hfi Pig reckon it looks pretty smart.

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They retail at £ 595-00 for the complete system which has 2 horn speakers for the midrange and treble and 2 bass speakers and an integrated Class AB amplifier with an active crossover in the preamp stage and contains 2 stereo amplifiers so that each drive unit is directly driven by its own amplifier.

Shipping is free to 28 European countries.Ferguson_hill_mini_speakers

2 Horn speakers 8 Ohm Horn H 43cm W 27cm D 18cm

2 Bass speakers 8 Ohm Bass Sphere 20 cm diameter

Integrated Amplifier 14 cm cubed, Bi-amped class A/B, 64 Watts with two dedicated stereo amplifiers and an active crossover.

Frequency response 75Hz – 20KHz +/- 5dB

This product conforms with the EMC. Directive and the Low Voltage Directive.

 

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