Steve Halsall heads up KEF in the UK. Hifi Pig gets Behind the Brands with him, find out about his past and current systems and what he makes of the state of the Hifi industry.  More »

Hifi Pig reader Michael Howell was born in England but now resides the good old USA. In this Readers’ Lives article he tells us how he personally goes about evaluating a system.  More »

Australian brand Burson have announced a Noir Edition of the Conductor V2+ headphone amplifier/DAC/preamplifier. Hifi Pig had one of the older versions of this in house for a few months driving Audeze cans and it offers very good value and great sonics for money at USD 1499.Burson_conductor_dac_headphoneamp_preamplifier

The Noir Edition will have the same spec as the classic silver one. ie.

8.2W per channel @ 16ohm,

Class A

SABRE32 ESS9018 DAC + Xmos USB receiver making it DSD256 / DXD / 32bit384khz able

Remote Controlled Preamp

5 years of warranty

The Noir version will be Available later in August.

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The truth behind the name and origins of Hifi Pig. View_MFA_Spons More »

28. July 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

MQA, the music technology company founded by Bob Stuart, announced today that it has hired music executive Mike Jbara as CEO. In addition to day-to-day leadership responsibility, Jbara will sit on the Board of MQA Ltd.4555_Mike_Jbara_CEO

Bob Stuart, Chairman of MQA said: “We are delighted to have Mike join us to take the helm as MQA moves into this next phase. Our mission is to improve the quality of distributed music and to help connect artists to fans. I have known Mike professionally for many years and have immense respect for his technical and industry insight and knowledge, as well as interpersonal and organisational skills. Mike is a good friend and we are looking forward to developing the MQA business together.”

Jbara joins MQA from Warner Music Group, where he has held roles as Head of ADA Worldwide, President of WEA Corp. and most recently, EVP of Technology and Business Process.

Jbara commented: “I am inspired by the principles that have led to the creation of MQA – a commitment to sound quality, intuitive and natural consumer experiences, and the tireless advocacy for the artists’ music. I have had the great fortune to work closely with Bob Stuart and develop a partnership and friendship rarely found. The MQA team is exceptional. I could not imagine anything more exciting than to join this team and pursue that vision.”

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28. July 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags: ,

Schiit Audio have introduced Modi Multibit, the most affordable DAC in the Schiit Multibit lineup. Modi Multibit, which retails for £249, joins Bifrost Multibit, Gungnir Multibit, and Yggdrasil in the Schiit Multibit DAC line.Modi-Multibit-front

“Modi Multibit smashes the price barrier in advanced multibit DACs,” said Mike Moffat, Schiit’s Co-Founder and head of digital development. “It is the most affordable multibit DAC built on a modern architecture—from any manufacturer, in any country in the world.”

Modi Multibit is built on Schiit’s proprietary multibit DAC architecture, featuring Schiit’s unique closed-form digital filter on an Analog Devices SHARC DSP processor. For D/A conversion, it uses a medical/military grade, true multibit converter specified down to 1/2LSB linearity, the Analog Devices AD5547CRUZ. Modi-Multibit-rr

“It may seem incredible that, just a little over a year after we introduced our first multibit DAC, Yggdrasil, we’re introducing a multibit DAC that includes a version of the same digital filter and a real multibit D/A converter for 89% lower cost,” said Mike. “But we don’t believe that you should have to spend a boatload for great sound, so it makes complete sense.”modi_multi_pcb_top(1)

Modi Multibit is Schiit Audio’s fourth multibit DAC, and is built on Schiit’s second major multibit platform that was developed from the ground up. It fits into the line as follows:

Yggdrasil: Schiit Multibit 1 Platform, Modular/Upgradable, 8X Closed-Form Filter, AD5791BRUZ x 4, Choke-Input, Shunt Supplies, Discrete JFET Buffer Output, Gen 3 USB, £2045

Gungnir Multibit: Schiit Multibit 1 Platform, Modular/Upgradable, 8X Closed-Form Filter, AD5781BRUZ x 4, Discrete JFET Buffer Output, £1125

Bifrost Multibit: Schiit Multibit 2 Platform, Modular/Upgradable, 4X Closed-Form Filter, AD5547CRUZ, £540

Modi Multibit: Schiit Multibit 2 Platform, 4X Closed-Form Filter, AD5547CRUZ, £249

Multibit DACs differ from the vast majority of DACs in that they use true 16-20 bit D/A converters that can reproduce the exact level of every digital audio sample. Most DACs use inexpensive delta-sigma technology with a bit depth of only 1-5 bits to approximate the level of every digital audio sample, based on the values of the samples that precede and follow it.

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Things are afoot in the world of reel 2 reels. Not only are there now at least 4 major companies producing reel to reel copies of famous master tapes, but very importantly after a long gap the Swiss tape recorder manufacturer Revox are bringing back the medium with a player based on the A700.FLAREBIRDSSPONSOR More »

Following the successful launch of their Reference loudspeakers at the Munich Highend show, where they won the Hifi Pig Loves You award, Avid Hifi have expanded their range further to include their new entry level Reference. Reference 4 Speaker HiRes

Reference Four employs the same unique cabinet construction and vibration damping techniques, sandwiching the drivers between metal plates and guiding unwanted resonances away from critical points to their internal tuned mass damping element as other loudspeakers in the range.

“Matched to an appropriate room size it is more than capable of performing to the same high levels as our other Reference models” says the company’s press release.

Vibration normally felt in the loudspeaker cabinet are channelled to its mass damping element to ensure the cabinet, loudspeaker chassis and especially the speaker cone “remains free of colouration and the sound remains pure and smooth”. Reference 4 HiRes

Manufactured from up to 15mm aero-grade aluminium plate at their Huntingdon factory in the UK, each visually fixture free hand crafted cabinet contains one 6” Bass/Mid driver and a 28mm soft dome tweeter, each retaining the titanium voice coil former for lightness and rigidity, identical to other Reference models.

The Reference Four cabinet is also reflex loaded, the bass performance being optimised and the tuned port exits below onto the defusing plate minimising room positioning issues.

Dedicated optional stands are specifically designed to optimise the loudspeakers performance.

Price is expected to be less than £10 000

Specifications: 

HF: 1 x 28mm (Titanium voice coil former)

MF/LF: 1 x 160mm (75mm Titanium voice coil former) Frequency Response: 40Hz – 22kHz +/-3dB Sensitivity: 88dB 1W@1m

Recommended Power: 40 – 300W Impedance: 6.5 Ohm

Crossover Topology: 2.5-way, 2nd Order

Cabinet Construction: Aluminium Plate. All internal volumes sealed with O-Ring gaskets

Dimensions: (cabinet)            367 x 210 x 440 (HxWxD)

: (overall)        995 x 210 x 440 (HxWxD) Finishes: Black, Bronze or Charcoal Silver with copper trim. Net weight: (loudspeaker)    26 KG

: (inc.stand)     48 KG

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“Artnovion combines art and innovation to create the most beautiful and effective acoustic panels” says the company’s recent press release.Artnovion lifestyle 2

The range of panels include absorbers, bass traps and diffusers which are engineered to work sonically and be “striking” to look at.

Artnovion has also created an acoustics app called Impulso, which is designed to help users tune their rooms without requiring specialist training. With a user-friendly layout, room measurement is carried out in a few steps via the software’s interface. Configure the sound levels, and click ‘Go!’ for immediate results. As well as measuring the room, the app allows you to pick your desired Artnovion products, and then it automatically simulates how the room’s acoustics will alter, showing a reverberation time graph.

‘Sound is an audacious and powerful living element. An element that shapes the perception of our universe and embraces our senses. Curious about this elegant interaction I have nurtured a passion for sound ever since I can remember. Driven by the challenges of unravelling the mysteries of sound, I have been traveling through an extraordinary life journey of studying, imagining and creating acoustic innovation. Artnovion has become my life’s mission, the canvas I created to share this journey with you.’ Jorge Castro, CEO, Artnovion.

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The Swiss company Goldmund has been present in Asia for more than three decades. Issued in 1982, at a time when most audio brands were trying to conquer the USA, this one had the clear objective of serving Asian customers first. Since then, Asia has continuously been Goldmund’s preferred market, and the first one in terms of sales.Gold;und1

It is thus not surprising to discover that Goldmund is opening this summer a new sales and technical support center in Taiwan. Located in Taipei, the new center will provide quicker technical services to its distributors and customers. It is also a demonstration centre where the latest products of the brand can be experienced in a private home environment that includes a dedicated room with a Logos home cinema. The showroom will be at the disposal of Goldmund’s professional partners and will welcome end users for private listening sessions (by appointment).

The grand opening of the Goldmund Asia Centre will take place on August 9 with a first event reserved to the media. The company will let journalists report their impression to the public and does not wish to spoil the surprise by disclosing more on the new facility.

This new development is a very clear message from Goldmund on a major shift it is taking in Asia. The company aims at reinforcing its presence and service thanks to geographically close and Chinese speaking staff members who will collaborate attentively with current distributors and dealers to promote a coherent presentation of the brand, products, and prices throughout the continent.

Dr. T.I. Lin, Goldmund Asia General Manager, will also take advantage of the opening of the Taipei Support Center to announce how the company will restructure its distribution in China. In an effort to fight the grey market that is widely spread in this country, it is foreseen that Goldmund Asia will be the sole distributor of Goldmund lifestyle and home theater products for China and will directly take care of all retailers who wish to continue or start working seriously with the brand.

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Now before all you cat lovers and anti-vivisectionists try to lynch me, let me explain. Loudspeaker design has fascinated me for almost as long as I have been on this planet (60 years if you really want to know!!) and from my earliest days in retail I spent a lot of time not only listening to many designs but repairing them too. More »

With Stuart writing extensively about taste recently, and, having touched on the subject of hifi looks and beauty myself in previous articles, I got to thinking about how a hifi’s looks have a bearing on how it sounds, or how we perceive it sounds. For me, hifi systems fall into three main categories looks wise. TQBIRDSSPONSOR More »

The Iota QT Ultra-SP turntable & Satori tonearm is the flagship model in a range of four turntables all of which are designed, manufactured, and hand built here in the UK by Iota Audio Design.iota- audio-design-QT Ultra-SP- turntable

The Ultra SP turntable is built to order, and the final finish options are to each individual customers preferences, from the thickness and profile of the diamond polished granite base board, to the options for fine paint, lacquer or even gold, silver, or other plated metal finish to key components used in the manufacture of this product.

The company’s Ultra SP turntable in “XL specification” offers a larger chassis and baseboard designed to accommodate multiple tonearms of any size or type, but all other aspects of its specification are the same.

The design of The Ultra SP consists of a chassis constructed from anodised extruded aluminium beams with the whole structure being internally damped and then mounted on suspension isolation towers from the high mass granite baseboard below. This ensures the ideal environment for both the iota-audio-design Satori tonearm as well as the the rotating Spindle Platter supporting the vinyl record.

The Spindle Platter on which the vinyl record is placed is made up from 26 individual components, these include a combination of 316 stainless steel high mass peripheral weights, as well as aircraft grade aluminium alloy components, plus natural cork, Acetyl turned components and advanced polymer resin bonding agents.

The aim has been to create a structure that offers high rotational mass, but to position the majority of the mass at its extreme outer edge, therefore to gain the maximum benefit of centrifugal force. In addition whilst the structure is designed so that it supports the vinyl record where it is most required at its outer edge, but also at the centre around the turntable bearing spindle. The addition of a clamp then holds the vinyl flat to this damped area at the centre of the Spindle Platter. However the area of the vinyl that contains the groove will be devoid of any platter reflections or interactions. The interface cork mat is left to do its job, and nothing else, and again as it’s not fixed and the company have alternatives available.

The supplied Satori tonearm is a suspended control point design. This employs a combination of bearing and support techniques as well as materials not previously applied or used in other tonearm designs. The combination of an exceptionally strong Pultruded carbon fibre tube of square/round section for the main arm tube, this is suspended on PVDF ( Polyvinylidene flouride) mono filaments, with the excursion of the tonearm constrained by an upward facing stainless steel control point.iota-audio-design-QT Ultra-SP turntable with satori tonearm

As a standard option the tonearm is supplied with XLR balanced connections and so very long cable runs from the turntable can be used. However, The Iota tonearm can be supplied with standard type connector plugs at no additional charge for use in conventional systems.

The turntable is supplied with the Ultra SP power supply which acts as a mains regenerator. Frequency stability is crystal locked to +/- 30 parts per million. In fact in order to provide both 33 and 45 RPM for the two-speed model specific crystals, ground to exact specification were used. Speed change is achieved by the flick of a switch. The unit is also available for all other international mains supplies & None UK/ EU voltages.

Prices from: £5,695.00

The Iota QT Ultra-SP turntable as above in XL specification: £ P.O.A.

Other models start from £795.00

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David Robson takes a look at Indonesian company Vermouth Audio’s Rhapsody loudspeaker and mains cables costing £200 for a six foot pair for the former and £150 for a four foot cable for the latter.  More »

When Rickie Lee Jones toured her Pirates album in 1981, she comfortably filled Edinburgh’s 3,000 seat Playhouse Theatre.  Tonight, The Queen’s Hall, at less than one third of the size, is somewhat less than half full.  The lack of seat sales is undeniably disappointing but is perhaps unsurprising. Jones is an uncompromising musician who has followed her muse through a variety of musical journeys but has never gone out of her way to court the mainstream – her sole chart single hit, 1979’s Chuck E’s In Love, struck a chord with the record buying public without bending its LA boho jazz style to the fashions of the day.
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MUTEC, German manufacturer of professional and audiophile consumer audio equipment, say they are excited to introduce the firmware V1.10 for their MC-3+ Smart Clock USB. The new firmware V1.10 will not only introduce several functional improvements, it also presents a significant step-up for the already exceptional sound performance of the MC-3+USB say the company. Furthermore, the update will be free to all users and is ready to be installed on their own at home or at the studio.mutec_MC-3+ Smart Clock USB_mutec_firmware_update_news

KEY FEATURES:

  • Free, user-executable update
  • Painstakingly optimized re-clocking algorithm
    Improving the already exceptional sound quality to achieve even more clarity, resolution, and presence
  • PCM/DSD auto-detection
    Enjoy music via USB up to 192 kHz PCM and DSD/DoP streams (up to DSD256 and DoP128 respectively) without the need for manual switching
  • Bugfixes and functional improvements

Windows only at the moment, but Mac update coming soon 

One of the most significant functional improvements and most requested feature of the firmware V1.10 is the automatic detection of DSD and PCM streams when using the MC-3+USB for audiophile computer audio playback via USB. MUTEC CEO Christian Peters comments: “Convenience is key for our high-end consumer audio customers and having to switch modes depending on the source file when playing back a mixed format playlist for example was a major nuisance.” From now on, the user simply has to select the USB input from the reference menu (all top three LEDs now illuminate) and the MC-3+USB will automatically adapt to PCM streams with up to 192 kHz sampling rate and DSD/DoP (DSD256 and DoP128 respectively).

Christian continues: “Our development engineers have painstakingly tweaked the DDS algorithms under the hood yielding a new level of sound quality. This is an achievement we’re particularly proud of and that all users will benefit from.”.

The firmware release package will contain several update files and a comprehensive guide taking the user through the process step by step. The update will be made available via MUTEC’s website as a zip-archive download. At the moment, the update is limited to Windows users only, but a Mac version of the update is expected to follow soon.

Expect a review of this the MC-3+USB on Hifi Pig soon.

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Romanian company Meze Headphones has announced that the new line of earbuds, the Meze 11 Neo, is now available for pre-order. Coming in two colour variations, Gun Metal and Iridium, Meze say that the 11 Neo earbuds are ‘designed for the user to elegantly stand out from the crowd.’ They have an ergonomic shape aiming to make them comfortable and ‘non intruding’ to the ear. The aluminium housings hold the titanium coated dynamic neodymium drivers and the earbuds are compatible with all audio playing devices, including iOS, Android, and Windows.

Meze_11_NEO_release_hifi_news_july

The complete package of the Meze 11 Neo will include the following:

One pair of Meze 11 Neo

Hard EVA carrying pouch

Spare silicone eartips, in four sizes

Set of Comply™ foam tips

Price 49€

 

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The sleeve notes for Eye’s Of Blue’s Crossroads Of Time opens with a bit of an odd one “Sometimes a band can anticipate history to their own detriment. There is such a thing of being too far ahead of the game and finding everyone else is still playing by the old school rules…The story of Welsh band Eyes of Blue is such a case in point”. More »

26. July 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: GadgetyNews · Tags:

BenQ certainly have a monitor for everyone. Here at GadgetyNews we’ve reviewed a few high to mid spec screens but it is now time to check out something more entry level so we give you the GW2270H.

It is easy to get excited about the latest gaming panel or 4K display but not everyone needs, or wants that kind of monitor.

For instance, my needs are going to be different to someone who just nips online to update FaceSpace and Twitagram inbetween filing tax returns or making pie charts.

What we have here in the BenQ GW2270H, hopefully, is a no fuss but decent monitor.

Get the full review at GadgetyNews.

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Home studios have always been popular but it’s only really over the past 10-15 years that they have actually been in the reach of most people. I remember getting my first tape 4 track recorder but, since the cost of a digital set-up such as the Tascam TrackPack US-2×2, has become affordable and the knowledge required to record something has also been simplified, now is a great time to get tooled up.

First I must apologise for the delay in posting this review. This has not been the fault of the tools sent to me to review but rather my insistence of having something half decent recorded through the set up. Unfortunately, the more pressure I put on myself to record something better than half-baked the more unhappy with what I was producing I became. Then, after a sit down with my friends Jim Beam and Jack Daniels, something hit me. That thing was the epiphany that I was supposed to be reviewing the hardware – not my musical ability and not even the supplied DAW software.

Throwing those shackles aside – it’s time to move on.

Read the review over on GadgetyNews.

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26. July 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: GadgetyNews · Tags:

The Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 is set up to be the Chinese company’s challenger to Apple and Samsung. Huawei have made no secret that they aim to actually overtake those two over the next couple of years. Has the MediaPad M2 got the chops though?

Months without a new Huawei device to review and then there’s two in a matter of weeks – not that I am complaining, of course!

Following on from my P9 review, I have just spent the last 10 days living with the premium version of the MediaPad M2 10.0. This is a landscape-focused, 10-inch Android tablet that’s both thin and light and has a classy aluminium build.

This, on paper at least, makes it a direct challenger to Apple’s iPad Air 2. It certainly looks and feels more polished than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.

Could this be the iPad and Samsung Tab S2 alternative you’ve been looking for?

Find out at GadgetyNews.

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