The £2800 Simaudio Moon Neo ACE is a versatile, all-in-one solution that you need only add speakers to…there’s even an on-board moving magnet phonostage. John Scott finds out just how ACE it really is. More »
Class D is gaining a good deal of momentum in the audio world. Lionel Payne listens to the the Nord One UP NC500 DMST stereo power amplifier costing £1409. More »
Westminster Lab makes no claims as to how good it is, rather just invite you to enter into their ‘new dimension’ of music experience. According to them words are totally futile. But that would make for a short review, so, not known for keeping quiet, Janine Elliot wanted to tell readers about this unique amp costing £32 000. More »
Chord Electronics is showing its new TToby power amp for the first time in the UK at The Indulgence Show (14-16th October). The new TToby is a 100-watt stereo power amplifier and has been designed to complement the Hugo TT DAC/headphone amplifier.
Hand-built by ATC in the UK, the P2 class A/B stereo power amplifier is designed to complement the brand’s range of hifi preamplifiers aesthetically and operationally. Rated at 300W continuous power per channel and developed in tandem with the P2-Pro studio amplifier, the ATC P2 is a Dual Mono design, keeping the power supplies, signal and return paths discreet. This approach ensures that the amplifier will achieve the maximum signal separation with minimal crosstalk, and that inter-modulation between channels via the power supplies is reduced to an absolute minimum across a frequency range of 400kHz. It also means that the power delivery from one channel cannot affect the specified power available from the other.
Stefan Ruuth, Sales Manager at ETAL, said, “In terms of size-performance, the Anaview ALA is unmatched, delivering amazingly clean and room-filling sound from a very small module. We’ve already seen a lot of interest from designers of networked audio devices, portable audio devices, docking stations, audio receivers, powered speakers and residential audio systems. It’s perfect for applications that need great sound but where space and/or power are limited.”
With overall dimensions of just 68mm x 33mm x 18mm, the ETAL Anaview ALA Series delivers 2 x 45Wrms into 6 Ω. It is designed for board to board mounting and can be powered by a single voltage of 12-25V DC making it easy to integrate. The Anaview ALA has an 80kHz load independent frequency range (-3dB) and a 115dB dynamic range with low Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) throughout. Features include an entirely differential patented Adaptive Pole Control (APC) amplifier technology.
The Anaview ALA can be supplied from a simple single voltage AC/DC power supply, commonly available at low-cost, alleviates end-product UL-certification. Alternatively, the low power draw and single-sided supply means that the module is also compatible with Power–over-Ethernet (PoE) for commercial network audio applications where audio and power are provided on a single Cat-5 cable. Equally, it can be easily integrated into battery–powered and rechargeable products.
Creek Audio Systems have recently introduced their Evolution 100 range and here we have two of the line-up for review – namely the Evolution 100CD (£1350) and the 100P (£1350) which Lionel Payne will review for Hifi Pig. More »
At £900 for the amplifier and £995 for the CD player these two units from Audiolab are relatively inexpensive but well specified. Ian Ringstead plumbs them into his system and rather likes what he hears. More »
Now in its 81st year, Quad has been making valve amplifiers for home use since the late 1940s. The company’s latest model, the VA-One, brings the concept bang up to date; a compact integrated amplifier that fuses Quad’s traditional valve-based audio expertise with modern digital audio streaming.
With a footprint measuring just 18x33cm, the VA-One is very compact for a stereo valve amp – sufficiently small to sit comfortably on a desk.
Three digital audio inputs – optical, coaxial and asynchronous USB – support data up to 24-bit/192kHz, and an RCA-phono input gives the option to connect an analogue source like a CD player or a turntable (when used with a suitable phono stage). In addition, those who enjoy the freedom of wireless connectivity can pair smartphones, tablets and computers via Bluetooth, with support for the sonically superior aptX codec.
The preamp section incorporates an ECC83 high-impedance triode, feeding an ECC82 twin triode driver and phase splitter stage. The output stage uses two EL84 pentodes per channel in push-pull configuration, delivering 2x15W.
External styling is classically Quad, finished in traditional ‘Lancaster Grey’. The amp’s front panel sports a smooth-acting volume control incorporating a motorised potentiometer, allowing adjustment via the supplied remote control, together with a headphone output and controls for input selection and Bluetooth pairing.
The Quad VA-One integrated valve amplifier is available from mid-August, priced at £1299.95 (RRP). It joins the similarly styled PA-One headphone amp in Quad’s expanding ‘One’ range of valve-based amplifiers with integrated DAC circuitry.
“The SI-300.2d integrated amplifier is yet another milestone as Cary Audio forges deeper into the new era of sought after premium audio systems” the North Carolina company says in its latest press release.
The SI-300.2d mates a 300 watts per channel stereo Class A/B power amplifier with analogue RCA and XLR inputs to a Class A analogue preamplifier gain stage. The amplifier itself is biased to run Class A for an extended portion of the power output. The digital section is a chip off Cary’s reference products thereby including technologies like their proprietary TruBit™ Upsampling and OSO™ reclocking features.
Digital inputs include; XMOS USB capable of True native DSD up to 256 and PCM/DXD up to 32 Bit / 384kHz, as well as Coaxial (2), Optical, AES/EBU, and aptX® Bluetooth inputs. All SPDIF and Bluetooth digital sources offer 10 TruBit™ selectable upsampling or PCM to DSD conversion options. On the analogue side, the SI-300.2d includes 4 analogue inputs (2-balanced XLR, 2-RCA), with one each of the XLR and RCA inputs offering true Cinema Bypass features.
Additional features include: a pre/subwoofer output, coaxial and optical digital outputs, IR hand held remote, trigger out, IR sensor input, and Ethernet and Wi-Fi for controlling the SI-300.2d with free iOS and Android apps.
Weight: 52 lbs.
Dimensions: 6″ H x 17.25″ W x 18 ” D
Retail Price: $5,995
The SI-300.2d is now shipping
Audio Research has announced the introduction of their Foundation Series. From the same engineering and design team responsible for the Reference Series, “the Foundation family of vacuum tube components has been created to provide incredible musical experiences”.
The first three components include the LS28 line stage preamplifier, the PH9 phono stage, and the DAC9 digital- to-analog converter. A new amplifier will follow, with other products to complete the series. All models will be available in both black and natural anodized aluminium finishes. Each unit comes with its own custom metal remote control.
All products at Audio Research follow the exact same path from concept to production, regardless of the series or model. The Foundation Series shares the same lineage, build quality, and many design characteristics found in the more costly Reference Series.
Many of the parts in an Audio Research product are proprietary, while some are designed for a singular model. This attention to detail is inherent to all processes at Audio Research – from the hand-soldering of every circuit board, to the final listening test which is conducted by the same person who helped guide the design. Our commitment at Audio Research is to deliver the most musically satisfying experience at every level.
The LS28 line stage is a flexible preamplifier. Four balanced and four single-ended inputs, and two sets of both balanced and single-ended outputs, allow maximum connectivity. The straightforward menu allows control of numerous parameters, including input naming, tube hours, auto shutdown, and home theater passthrough. Phase invert and mono are also standard functions. At the heart of the LS28 are four 6H30 vacuum tubes in the analogue circuit.
The PH9 phono preamplifier is a great pairing with most cartridge and turntable combinations. A trio of 6H30 vacuum tubes are at the core of a simple and clear signal path to provide the most transparent preamplification possible. Five different impedance settings allow for cartridge loading, which can be changed on the fly with the included metal remote. Cartridge impedance, tube hours, auto shutdown, and other features are included in the menu system. Shipping to begin in July.
The DAC9 digital-to-analog converter decodes most current formats with state-of-the-art vacuum tube technology. Five digital connections – USB, RCA, BNC, AES/EBU, and Toslink – provide connectivity to all of your digital sources. Quad DAC architecture provides a balanced digital signal, wide dynamic range, and decoding resolutions from red book CD up to 384 kHz and native DSD sampling rates.
A pair of 6H30v vacuum tubes are the heart of the analog circuit. Both balanced and single-ended connectors are provided for output connectivity. Native-rate upsampling and selectable digital filters allow customisation of the digital signal. Shipping to begin in August.
The MQ-300 is a new generation of vacuum tube stereo amplifiers from LUXMAN that “uses the most thoroughly selected parts and circuits to maximise the performance and tonal quality of the latest direct heated triode – the TA-300B”. Following in the design footsteps of the MB-300 released 31 years ago, the MQ-300 combines traditional design with cutting edge technology.
Since the foundation of the company 90 years ago, and the subsequent release of the MB-300, LUXMAN has pursued certain core principles for sound generation. These principles are embodied in the MQ-300 as ‘honest and natural sound quality, feeling the sound field without exaggeration’, ‘feeling the unity of sound with sufficient data for the whole audio band’ and to achieve ‘fatigue free listening enjoyment’. Expressing the original sound whilst bringing the spirit of each disk to life are qualities intrinsic to the MQ-300 and those principles.
The MQ-300 is based on the cosmetic design and circuit configuration of the MB-300, the renowned vacuum tube monaural power amplifier released by LUXMAN in 1984. The elements of traditional design and elegant tonal quality that is unique to the performance of the TA-300B, a direct heated triode, have been maximised in the MQ-300.
- Rated Power Output: 8W + 8W (4Ω, 8Ω, 16Ω)
- Input Sensitivity: 490mV (8W) 240kΩ
- THD: 1% (1kHz / 8Ω / 1W)
- S/N Ratio (IHF-A): 105dB
- Input: 1 x Direct, 1 x Variable
- Output: Large speaker terminal x 1 set (4,8,16Ω independent)
- Power Consumption: 160W
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 460 × 273 × 340 (mm)
- Net Weight: 29.0kg
The MQ-300 is arriving in the UK later this month, with an RRP of ￡15,000.
Roksan Audio is adding the blak series of components to its portfolio. The blak series is being introduced as an entirely new design for Roksan – both in terms of sound performance and visual appeal. Featuring a robust, industrial design the blak series is the audiophile solution for those seeking “superlative performance and features within a ‘statement product’ aesthetic, but without the esoteric high-end audio price tag” say the London company’s recent press release.
Handmade in the UK and at a specialised facility in Germany, the range is initially launching with an integrated amplifier and a CD player. These will be followed over time a comprehensive range of products that will offer the same performance-for-cost ratio.
Like the K3 range before it, all blak products will be available in three finishes – Anthracite, Charcoal and Opium – and all will be supplied with a stylish and intuitive system remote.
blak Integrated Amplifier
The amplifier section of the blak Integrated Amplifier uses hand- selected audiophile components throughout its circuitry, including high- quality relays. The chosen transformers are also tuned to ensure the best sound quality and current power available. This sophisticated internal design allows the amplifier to deliver > 150W (8Ω) output.
The blak Integrated Amplifier boasts sufficient inputs to cater for almost any high-end audio system. Alongside three RCA pairs, there’s also a balanced XLR pair input for superior source devices. There’s also a Moving Magnet-compatible phono stage inside.
For ease of use, the blak Integrated Amplifier supports wireless music playback via its built-in aptX® Bluetooth module. This allows for up-to CD-quality wireless streaming from compatible laptops and smart devices. For more advanced digital media, the amplifier also boasts a USB (Type-B) digital input for playback from a computer or laptop. The DAC allows for playback of audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz (PCM) or DSD128, offering an exceptional high-resolution performance.
Finally, whereas many other products include headphone inputs as an “extra”, Roksan have gone one step further with blak. Here the headphone amplifier sits within its own dedicated section, with an independent power supply and toggle switch.
Operation of the blak Integrated Amplifier is effortlessly simple either via the supplied system remote or through the front panel. The large, clear to read (yet dimmable) LED display shows the selected input and the over-sized volume knob has a visual indicator around its circumference to indicate the volume level.
blak CD Player
Internally the blak CD Player uses a totally isolated disc mechanism to eliminate vibration. Once extracted from the disc, the digital signal is managed by a DAC chip-set for bit-perfect conversion and an advanced digital clock for optimal performance.
For connecting to an external DAC there are three digital outputs available (S/PDIF, Optical or AES/EBU), or for connecting straight to an amplifier – like the blak Integrated Amplifier – there’s the choice of either unbalanced RCA or balanced XLR outputs. Once connected, the whole player is controlled with the supplied system remote or via the front panel; additional handy information is displayed on the dimmable LED display during playback.
The blak CD Player is available now in Anthracite, Charcoal or Opium finish.
blak Integrated Amplifier
Inputs: 3 x RCA (pair)
1 x XLR (pair)
1 x MM Phono RCA (pair)
1 x aptX® Bluetooth (wireless) 1 x USB Type-B
Phono Stage: MM Input
Gain: 76.75dB @ 1kHz
Impedance: 47kΩ Capacitance: 150pF
Line-Level Input Impedance: 24kΩ (XLR) 40kΩ (RCA)
Gain (at 1kHz, 8Ω): 37dB
THD: (at 1W, 8Ω, 5kHz): <0.02%
THD: (at 12W, 8Ω, 5kHz): <0.035%
Power Output (at 1kHz): 150W (8Ω) 230W (4Ω)
Frequency Response (at -3dB, 8Ω, 12W): <20Hz – >80kHz Channel Balance (at 1kHz, 8Ω): Better than 0.3dB
Cross-Talk (at 1kHz, 8Ω): <-104dB
Signal-Noise Ratio (at 1kHz, 8Ω): >76dB
blak CD Player
Outputs: 3 x Digital (Coaxial, Optical, XLR) 2 x Analogue Pairs (RCA or XLR)
Peak Output: 2.5V
THD (at 1kHz, 0dB): <0.001%
Linearity at 1kHz: >89dB
Signal-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted): >108dB
Stop-band rejection: >100dB
Dominic Marsh and Ian Ringstead take the very well specced £699 Pro-Ject MaiA DS integrated amplifier for a ride and rather enjoy it. More »
Dan Worth gets to grip with a little 50watts a side integrated amp from Serbia that costs just £600 in the UK. More »
Swiss manufacturer Soulutions have been in touch to tell Hifi Pig about their new 511 amplifier that will start production in October 2016 and will cost 24500CHF (around £17000). The 511 has the same switched-mode power supply found on the company’s 7 series products and is optimised for audio use.
The 511 can be used in three distinct modes:
Stereo-mode (150W @8Ohms, 300W @4Ohms and 600W at 2Ohms)
The amplification circuit is similar to the 711 and 701 amps from Soulutions having at its core a proprietary voltage amplification stage that consists of linearized amplifiers operating up to a cutoff frequency of 80MHz. The Class A operation is supplemented by 500 000 µF of capacitance storage in the power supply
There are a total of 10 power supplies in the 511with those supplying audio and digital circuits being isolated from each other with optocouplers.
Dominic Marsh takes this €840 package of amp, speakers and speaker cables from TAGA Harmony for a spin. More »
Janine Elliot takes a listen to the Krell Digital Vanguard, an integrated amplifier costing £5998 and boasting a whole host of features relevant to today’s modern home. More »
Bringing “Haute Horology” watchmaking techniques and Formula One materials to Hi End Audio, Kostas Metaxas 40 years artistry in the state-of-the-art is embodied in his latest audio sculpture – “a perfect marriage of the arts of engineering [electrical and mechanical] and the fine arts of sculptural form”.
The IKARUS 2015 is machined from a solid block of either aircraft aluminium, copper or titanium. It’s totally bespoke and the modular electronics make it future-proof, says the company’s press release. The circuit boards can be CNC machined from 1mm solid silver coated clear polystyrene.
The new range is inspired by the breathtaking work of Ercole Spada and Pininfarina on racing cars of the 50’s and 60’s.
“It has taken little time for Australian firm MAS to receive worldwide attention. In France, the range of MAS Electronics has seduced us… Metaxas products belong to this rare category of electronics which achieve the essential and vital qualities of a good Hi Fi system which drive you to irresistibly listen and enjoy records one after the other”.
100% designed and engineered by Kostas Metaxas, each IKARUS is assembled by his sons – either Andreas or Alessandros Metaxas.
The familial passion in the fine and applied arts is inspired by the BUGATTI family.
ITOK Media Limited’s “Trends Audio” has released the Trends BA-10 Lite Bi-amp Audio System. Combining one pair of the Trends TA-10.2P SE Power Amplifier and the special design of AC/DC Dual Power Adaptor, Trends BA-10 Lite Bi-amp Audio System provides “the perfect way of integrating your existing preamp and loudspeakers”.
“The sonic rewards are outstanding in a bi-amp system. There will be many obvious improvements in the sound; everything will be clearer and tighter. Trends BA-10 Lite Bi-amp Audio System can allow users to take advantage of the strengths of each amplifier in its interaction with the speakers; i.e., one amplifier for the low frequencies, and a second one for middle and high frequencies”, says David Ho, the marketing director of Trends Audio.”
The system is US$399.
Trends BA-10 Lite Bi-amp Audio System includes:
- Trends TA-10.2P SE Class-T Power Amplifier(Body) x 2 pcs
- Trends 7A AC/DC Power Adaptor x 1 pcs
Named in homage to Galileo, the G Series consists of three amplifiers: the GSPre preamplifier, GS150 power amplifier and, arriving a little further down the line, the GSi75 integrated amplifier. The styling is “gorgeously retro, harking back to classic Audio Research components” says the company’s press release and adds that the amps represent “state-of-the-art valve-based audio”.
Interestingly the new G Series introduces the KT150 output tube to the Audio Research range for the very first time.
Hifi Pig got a good look at the latest Audio Research kit at Munich High-End when Fine Sounds Group invited us to their launch and the finish on these amps is really superb, screams high-end and with perceived build quality being absolutely gorgeous. The covers for transformers are all individually finished, look seamless and visually the whole package manages to juxtapose the look of purposeful laboratory equipment with a luxury finish…Mrs Hifi Pig was certainly somewhat taken with the range’s looks as was I.
Brandon Lauer, Director of Marketing at Audio Research Corporation, will be on hand to answer any questions you might have at the launch event, alongside the teams from KJ West One and Absolute Sounds – Audio Research’s exclusive UK distributor.
The event takes place on Friday, 5th December 2014 from 6pm until 10pm and Saturday, 6th December 2014 from 10am until 5pm
Entry is strictly ticket only but you are able to register for free tickets here!
Quad celebrates 78 years in business this year and with the launch of Vena: a compact integrated amplifier sporting a wide range of digital and analogue inputs, plus wireless streaming over Bluetooth with aptX support.
Just 313mm wide, the diminutive Vena updates the familiar Quad aesthetic, yet remains distinctly ‘Quad’. A row of source-selection buttons and a large volume control adorn its fascia.
Vena’s built-in DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter) incorporates the same 24-bit/192kHz chipset used in the company’s flagship Platinum CD plus a Class AB power amplifier section and a headphone source too.
Simplicity is key to Vena’s design say Quad and their engineers selected Bluetooth wireless transmission to ensure compatibility with the widest possible range of devices, and pairing the amp with smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs is easy.
Inputs for digital source components comprise two optical and one coaxial, plus two asynchronous USB sockets: one Type A, the other Type B. The latter is the type most commonly used for connecting PCs/Macs to audio devices like Vena; the former allows Apple iDevices to be docked, charged and played via a cable connection. Digital outputs are also provided, in optical and coaxial flavours. Analogue signals are catered for by two stereo RCA inputs, while pre-out sockets permit the addition of an external power amp. In terms of Bluetooth, support for the aptX codec ensures the best possible audio quality when streaming from suitably equipped devices.
Vena’s small footprint (compared to many amps in its class) allows flexible positioning and ensures the amp slips neatly into a range of environments. Vena is finished in Quad’s classic ‘Lancaster Grey’ as standard, and for those with more exotic tastes, three premium finishes are now also available – Piano Black, Piano White and Rosewood – ensuring Vena complements any domestic setting.
The standard Lancaster Grey finish has an RRP of £599.95, while the three premium finish options add £100 to the price tag.
Audio4Soul, whose digital amplifier we reviewed some time ago, has announced global distribution of its new Reference 50 True Digital Amplifier. The new amplifier is said to be “A new breed of Reference amplifiers that has been designed on the basis of ultimate performance”.
They also have a new paying scheme called “Pay What You Need” so that end users can build the amplifier, without paying for features you will never use. You can now add or remove inputs or features (like the optional battery PSU) at will, keeping your amplifier up to date with the latest technology available!
The amplifier is available in many colors, allowing you to match its aesthetics to your personal décor.
The world debut of the Audio4Soul Reference 50 will be at T.A.V.E.S. held in Toronto, Canada, room no 363 and in HiFiExpo in Helsinki, Finland, room no 305, both held from Oct.31st -Nov.2.
Reference 50 Specifications:
Power: 125w@8 Ohm & 66w@4 Ohm.
Distortion: <0,01%, 20hz-20Khz @ 90% of full power
Consumption: <380w at full power, both channels driven.
Shipping weight: 22kg (approx. 44lbs).
In a World exclusive Roksan has offered us a review of their new Kandy K2 B2 amplifier which is an upgraded version of their previous K2 amplifier but with a higher output and the inclusion of Bluetooth technology. Dan Worth takes a listen to the new integrated amplifier from Roksan.
“There’s no denying that the K2 BT can do large dynamics, speed and attack, convey heavily weighted bass passages with ease and once suitable synergy has been obtained, the top end can sound refined and expressive leading down into the mids with great coherence.”
Read the full review of the Roksan Kandy KT BT integrated amplifier.
There’s a huge problem with HD music today say Benchmark and recent advances in high-resolution digital formats have well outpaced most existing amplifier technologies they say. Whilst recordings are possible that have dynamic ranges that exceed 120 to 125 dB Benchmark claim it’s hard to find a power amplifier that can deliver more than 100 to 105 dB of dynamic range. Benchmark’s AHB2 power amplifier approaches 130 dB, making it “10 to 30 dB quieter than the typical audiophile power amplifier”.
The frequency response of the AHB2 extends beyond 200 kHz, to “deliver the ultrasonic detail and fast transients captured by high-resolution recordings”. At the other end of the audio spectrum, the low-frequency response extends below 0.1 Hz. The AHB2 has a high damping factor that augments its extended low-end to deliver “solid, well-controlled bass”.
THX recently patented two new technologies that address crossover distortion, and Benchmark incorporated these innovations into the AHB2 design. These new innovations claim to virtually eliminate crossover distortion while offering opportunities to improve efficiency, damping, and dynamic range.
The amplifiers are rated at a power of 400 watts into 4ohms. The sleek looking Monoblocks, priced at $4,000 a pair, come in Piano Black Gloss in a billet Aluminium Chassis. Using components from Cardas, Furutech and Triode Wire Labs, the THOR Monoblocks are “excellent for the discerning Audiophile” who wants a stereo amp or people who need to bi-amp and tri-amp their audio system and to use it for home Theatre.
We’d read a good deal about the little Tisbury Mini Preamplifier and it was getting some good comments made about it so we thought it about time that we got hold of one for review.
“Tisbury are a small, UK based outfit that at the moment manufacture just the one product and sell direct. The Mini Passive Preamplifier is available in three flavours: Single Out – 3 inputs and 1 variable output. Parallel Out – 2 inputs and 2 variable outputs (for bi-amping). Tape Out – 2 inputs, 1 variable out and 1 fixed output. I went for the Tape Out option so that I could wire up the headphone amp into the system.
It’s a tiny little thing but it looks very nice indeed and immediately got the thumbs up from Mrs Hifi Pig. It has an American black walnut front panel on which the input selector and the volume control are mounted and round the back are the four RCAs. It looks great and also very well built in its simple anodised aluminium box.”
“The Iridium by Tellurium Q is a single ended class A amplifier that gives out a not massive 18 Watts per channel into 8ohms (the same as my 300B PSE amp actually). It’s a heavy beast weighing in at around 21Kg but it also looks quite elegant on the top of the rack. Now, I say the top of the rack because being class A the top of this amp gets very hot indeed (the heatsinks are on the inside of the casing) and I’d be unsure about putting it in a situation with anything directly on top of it.
The Iridium is a dual mono design where each channel is effectively isolated from the other and uses a mixture of power MOS FETs and large power semiconductors. Each channel has its own dedicated torroidal transformer and rectifier bulk capacitors for smoothing.”
In 1958 GEC introduced the KT88, designed specifically as a hi-fi valve and intended to be the best. For 52 years it reigned until Tung Sol released the bigger and better KT120: developed from the same design but with more power to drive the more demanding modern loudspeakers.
Now Tung Sol is announcing the arrival of the KT150: even bigger, with more power and “more refined”.
With immediate effect the Icon Audio Stereo 60 MkIIIm integrated amplifier, Stereo 60P MkIIIm power amplifier, and the MB30SE, MB90 MkIIm and MB150 monoblocks are available with the KT150 valve as an upgrade. The KT150 is also an upgrade for selected previous Icon Audio KT120/KT88 designs.
Many of you will know the Onix name from the 80s and 90s, but the brand has been given fresh life in the last few years and here Jerry looks at the Onix RA125 Integrated amplifier which retails in the UK for £1975.
“Founded way back in 1979 in Brighton, England by Tony Brady, Onix was a well-known and well respected “small English brand” in the 1980s. The OA21 ‘shoe-box’ style integrated amp was something of a cult item and was highly regarded largely due to the excellence of its power supply implementation.
Onix dropped out of sight in the 1990s until finally being acquired by the Chinese Shanling company in 2002 where the marketing focus was the Far East and the USA. But Italian Francesco Pace then took up the reins of European distribution with his Pacetech company and a complete new line of Onix products started in 2008, encompassing amplifiers, pre-amplifiers and phono stages as well as CD players and DACs. The Onix brand is distributed in the UK by UKD.”
We have lots more reviews in our main review section of the site.
Burson have announced a June launch for their Timekeeper amplifier. It is an 80W per channel Class-AB stereo power amp which can be bridged into a 240W mono block and is the same size as the company’s Conductor preamplifier.
There is a growing community of desktop audiophiles and the Timekeeper is very much aimed at this group of users. Burson say that these audiophiles want “high-end equipment that are desktop friendly and given the compact size of the Timekeeper amplifier they will not be disappointed”.
The Timekeeper looks to be a versatile bit of kit and you can have it running in stereo, then upgrade to 2 Timekeepers as you move from a desktop system to large room listening and from RCA systems to XLR systems.
Every bit of the Timekeeper is custom designed and built to achieve Burson’s “definition of perfection”.
Similar to NuForce’s other amplifiers, the STA-100 utilizes a Class-D design topology that delivers 160-Watts per channel. Proprietary feedback circuitry operates as the cornerstone of the STA-100’s sound quality. A self-resonant design, the 400 kHz PWM switching frequency constantly adjusts to the input signal, output current demands, and loudspeaker impedance variations.
There’s not a lot going on on the front panel and so here’s a photo of the rear of the amplifier.
Four models have been updated: three stereo power amps and one monobloc. The revisions have been implemented to the following stereo models: SPM 1200MkII (350 watts); SPM 4000MkII (480 watts); SPM 5000MkII (500 watts), plus the SPM 1400MkII monoblock (480 watts).
On the outside, the new MkII models sport a new front-panel design and rear connector plate, featuring new British-designed, heavy-duty, gold-plated insulated speaker terminals. The new rear connector plate also enables third-party power connectors to be used.
On the inside include: a new power-control and sequencing board for simpler operation and better visual indication; refinements to the filter components to ensure greater high-speed performance and overall stability; plus a plethora of circuit board and earthing changes to improve high-current power flow. Driver circuitry improvements have also been implemented, “giving a faster overall response and improved high-frequency response”.
The Standard Series MkII power amps are available now
SPM 1200MkII: 350-watt stereo power amp £8,220
SPM 4000MkII: 480-watt stereo power amp £12,540
SPM 5000MkII: 500-watt stereo power amp £15,000
SPM 1400MkII: 480-watt mono power amp £9,090
The Krell S-550i builds on the success of the S-300i integrated amplifier and delivers 275 watts of stereo output. The S-550i is outfitted with balanced and single-ended inputs, iPod dock, and Theater Throughput™ mode. For custom integration applications, 12 volt triggers, RS-232 connectivity and rack mount ears are included. Operational parameters can be customized via the menu system that is accessible from the front panel or the included brushed Aluminum remote control.
The preamplifier section features circuit concepts from Krell’s flagship Phantom preamplifier. Direct coupled circuitry eliminates capacitors from the signal path and a custom-machined level control adjusts volume. Discrete circuitry, in a balanced topology, is afforded its own power supply regulation. All signal gain is realized using surface mount technology featuring proprietary current mirrors. Negative feedback is not used anywhere in the preamplifier. Open-loop distortion is typically less than 0.003%. The volume control is realized with a balanced resistor ladder – bandwidth and transient response of the preamp circuitry are virtually unaffected by the volume setting.
The S-550i packs 1,750 watt transformer and 68,000μF of capacitance into a 5″ high chassis. This power supply feeds classic Krell circuitry throughout the topology using only discrete circuitry. That is, the S-550i doubles its power output when a speaker’s impedance is halved. For the S-550i, the results are 275 watts into 8 Ohms and 550 watts into 4 ohms.
Bryston, LTD has announced that award-winning studio designer Carl Tatz has selected the Bryston 4BSST² stereo amplifier to power the control room monitors in a studio designed for multi-Grammy®-winning engineer Bob Bullock. “I brought the first Bryston 4B to the Nashville studio scene in the ’80s. It has since become the world standard for pro studio amplification. When budget permits, I always spec Bryston for its effortless performance, high resolution sweet top and unmatched low-end muscle,” reported Carl Tatz.
The 4B is the most popular of the Squared Series amplifier and delivers 300 watts into 8 Ohms or 500 watts into 4 Ohms (900W into 8 Ohms (Bridged Mono). The 4BSST² features balanced and unbalanced inputs, selectable gain (23 or 29dB) all in a convection-cooled fully aluminum chassis requiring no noisy cooling fans. All Squared Series amplifiers from Bryston are available with silver or black faceplate (3U + .55”) and in 17-inch width (without handles) or 19-inch (with handles). A rack-mountable Pro Edition is available in black. “Bryston first unveiled the 4B amplifier back in 1976. The 4B, (and all its successors up to the 4BSST²), have been adopted as the among the most popular studio reference amplifiers of all time. We are excited that both a respected designer and an esteemed engineer chose Bryston for this pioneering project.” Chris Russell, CEO of Bryston, LTD.
NuForce, Inc have announced a single-chassis integrated stereo amplifier, the IA-18. The unit incorporates components used in NuForce’s c Reference Series products including much of the same circuitry as the P-20, the company’s most recent flagship preamplifier, a Cross Matrix Array (CMA) capacitor module, and two V3 output amplifier modules.
The IA-18 features five analogue RCA inputs and the same touch-strip control panel as that of its reference sibling. The IA-18’s volume control, which, like the P-20’s, consists of a switched-resistor ladder network consisting of the latest advances in thin-film technology is said to be a key feature of the amplifier and operates by way of a single thin-film, ultra-low-noise resistor in the signal path for each of its 0.5dB gain settings, allowing for precise volume adjustment for each channel in discrete, 0.5dB steps.
The amp is offered in a black or silver sand-blasted anodized aluminum case and includes a custom-designed remote that permits operation of all of the unit’s functions from listening position.
- Full microprocessor control with memory retention
- Five stereo inputs for complete system flexibility
- Ultra low noise JFETs employed in input stage
- Volume adjustment in 99 precise, 0.5dB increments
- Thin-film switched-resistor ladder network for controlling volume – only a single resistor in the signal path at any volume setting
- Individually adjustable volume on each input for precise level matching of all sources
- A pair of V3 amplifier modules
- Cross-Matrix Array (CMA) capacitor module
The NuForce IA-18 is available worldwide for a suggested retail price of US$3500 and shipping immediately.