Danish brand Densen need little introduction to audiophiles in the know. Dominic Marsh has a play with their B-130XS amplifier costing £2490.  More »

Exposure Electronics has launched its new ‘XM’ series of hifi components. Responding directly to the resurgence of vinyl amid a digital age, the series offers a solution for those who seek performance across multiple media but don’t want the size or cost of their system to spiral out of control. Kicking off the series, the XM5 integrated amplifier includes both a phonostage and a DAC in a compact half-width size. More »

A new Anaview audio transformer with a wide frequency response for distributed audio systems delivering high quality music as well as voice content, is being unveiled by ETAL Group at NAMM (booth 5894). ETAL is also exhibiting the premium Anaview AMS and popular high end ALC Class D power amplifiers as well as the recently launched ALA credit card sized amplifier. More »

Cary Audio will be partnering with Klipsch at CES 2017. Cary will be showcasing their classic SLI-80 in one exhibit matched with the newest member of the Klipsch Heritage family, the Forte III. More »

Absolute Sounds, the UK importer and distributor of high end audio products, got in touch to let us know about what the brands they represent are showing at CES 2017, starting today and running over the weekend in Las Vegas, USA. Read on for show locations and more details from the likes of Audio Research, Krell, dCS, Dan D’Agostino, Wilson, Magico and more. More »

December was a busy month at Hifi Pig, catch up on the news we brought you here, just in case you missed anything.

We would like to wish all of our readers the very best for 2017, may your year be happy, healthy and full of great music! More »

roksponsmallNord Acoustics got in touch to let us know they have launched a new case for their Hypex amplifiers in stereo and mono block version. More »

roksponsmallLast year Audio Analogue celebrated its twentieth birthday with a new, contemporary edition of the company’s first ever product, the Puccini integrated amplifier. Now, the Italian brand has given the Maestro the ‘Anniversary’ treatment. More »

roksponsmallMeters Music is the creation of Ashdown Engineering, makers of musical instrument amplifiers for many of the world’s biggest music stars. The likes of U2, Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, System of a Down and many other artists use Ashdown amplifiers on stage and in the studio. More »

roksponsmallArcam of Cambridge have introduced several price cuts in time for Christmas. Arcam say that they “want to take a big bite of the Christmas market for quality home audio and the new prices are designed to do just that.” More »

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 »

roksponsmallTAGA Harmony, a European manufacturer of speakers and audio electronics, has unveiled a new flagship hybrid amplifier HTA-2000B v.2. TAGA Harmony HTA-2000B v.2 is a 150W high-end hybrid integrated amplifier utilising a 12AX7 tube preamp section with a cathode type amp circuit and a 12AU7 SRPP stage serving as a buffer amplifier. 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 »

Trafomatic is a relatively recent addition to the high-end hifi fraternity and perhaps best known for the £100,000 Elysium monoblocs. This is a Serbian company that exudes quality, detail and perfection.  The Belus power amplifier up for review here might not be as expensive as the Elysium, but at a more attainable £3250 this is no less a product says Janine Elliot. 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 »

Trafomatic is a relatively recent addition to the high-end hifi fraternity and perhaps best known for the £100,000 Elysium monoblocs. This is a Serbian company that exudes quality, detail and perfection.  The Belus power amplifier up for review here might not be as expensive as the Elysium, but at a more attainable £3250 this is no less a product says Janine Elliot. More »

roksponsmallOctober was a real whirlwind of a month, there were Hifi Shows including Hifi Show Live Windsor and The Indulgence Show plus a huge amount of news and we reviewed gear ranging from £89 IEMs to a £32,000 Power Amplifier.  Just in case you missed anything, here is a round up of what happened last month… More »

roksponsmallIf you’re attending The Hifi Show Live at the Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor this weekend, make sure you drop by the room co-hosted by Luxman, the Japanese high-end audio manufacturer now in its 10th decade, and Danish loudspeaker maker DALI. More »

roksponsmallMola Mola’s Makua pre and Kaluga power amplifiers are personally introduced by their designer Bruno Putzeys at the show’s Lancaster 4 suite Hifi Show Live, Windsor, UK, 3pm Saturday 29th and 3pm Sunday 30th October 2016. More »

roksponsmallThis year at the Hifi Show Live, Windsor G-Point Audio are in the Sandringham 6 Suite. The core of the system is built around a digital source: LampizatOr TranspOrt and optional Mac Mini (Audirvana). Playback will be via the LampizatOr Golden Gate DAC, accompanied by LampizatOr GM 70 monoblock amplifiers and with audio cabling from both Skogrand Cables and Albedo Silver. Loudspeakers will be the hORNS Universum MKIII. More »

roksponsmallBryston will be exhibiting at this weekend’s TAVES Show in Canada. For the show, Bryston will be demonstrating the Model T active system featuring the new BAX-1 active crossover engineered specifically for the Model T loudspeakers. More »

roksponsmallAbsolute Sounds, UK distributor of high-performance audio equipment will be hosting three rooms at The Hifi Show Live which takes place this weekend (29th-30th October) at the Beaumont Estate, Old Windsor. More »

roksponsmallThe Progression mono amplifier is the largest and most powerful amplifier that the company has made, delivering 500 watts into 8 ohms, doubling to 1,000 watts into 4 ohms and doubling again to 2,000 watts into 2 ohms. More »

roksponsmallMidland Audio Xchange got in touch to let us know about the Lavardin ISX Reference integrated amplifier. More »

roksponsmallETAL Group today announced that it has appointed California-based distributor Nexsun to distribute and design-in its Anaview Class D amplifier modules in North America. Nexsun will complement ETAL’s existing North American sales team on the East Coast, providing both demand creation and a logistical hub on the West Coast of the USA. 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 »

roksponsmallChord 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.
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roksponsmallHand-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.
More »

roksponsmallCyrus Audio is throwing a party that will bring out the wild side of the visitors at The Indulgence Show, when it launches its “Party Animal” promotional campaign for the new Cyrus ONE amplifier.
More »

roksponsmallWyred 4 Sound will present their new SX-1000R Monoblock Amplifier and PS-1 Modular Linear Power Supply at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest.The SX-1000R has an all-new input board, which, say Wyred 4 Sound makes ‘the sound of the SX-1000R more natural, refined and engaging than its predecessor, the multi-award-winning SX-1000. Yet the SX-1000R retains the same incredible power to effortlessly produce thunderous bass, exquisite highs and boundless headroom and dynamics, even with demanding loads. All at a price thousands less than you’d expect for this level of performance’.
More »

With the recent Olympic and Paralympic games still fresh in my mind I got to thinking how incredible as a nation the United Kingdom is. The fact we came second in the medal tables for both games, coming just behind the USA in the Olympics and China in the Paralympics was amazing. The Chinese in particular couldn’t believe how a nation of our size could do so well given their population is about 1.4 billion and ours is roughly 60 million.  More »

ETAL Group today unveiled a Class D amplifier in a format smaller than a business card – opening the way to highly compact lifestyle electronics, networked audio and battery powered applications. z0702ana-ala0080-class-d-amplifier-from-anaview

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.

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Taga Harmony of Poland have launched two new amplifiers. The TA-400MIC is a CI A/B speaker stereo amplifier with MIC mixing with 2 x 60W RMS @ 8ohm and 2 x 90W RMS @ 4ohm. Power is delivered by an oversized, audiophile grade toroidal transformer. It has a built-in headphone output plus a built-in microphone input with a mixing and echo control. There is a USB input to quickly and easily play music from USB flash drives (supports MP3 / WMA / WAV / APE files) for almost endless playback and connection of smartphones, tablets and laptops is possible via MP3 (3.5mm stereo jack) input on the front panel. Two RCA stereo inputs at the rear to hook additional equipment like a CD player, radio tuner or other analogue devices and it features an REC output for an external recording device (e.g. Tape or CD recorder). It also comes with two speaker outputs (A and B).

taga_harmony_amplifier_news_september_2016

The TA-25Mini is a 2 x 25W 8ohm, Class D, CI mini stereo amplifier with a frequency response of 30Hz – 18kHz.

 

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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 »

The £5500 Audio Music AM RT-1 active TVC single ended valve preamplifier is made and designed by Mr A M Fang in Guangdong Province in China. It comes with a fine pedigree, but will it cut the mustard with Dan Worth.  More »

TRINNOV Audio is introducing the new Amplitude8 power amplifier at CEDIA 2016.Trinnov-Amplitude8_front-black-half

With two large, linear power supplies, each with its own toroidal transformer and dedicated power cord, each of the eight channels of the Amplitude8 can deliver up to 500 watts rms at 2Ω. Perhaps more importantly, any single channel associated with either power supply can deliver 1200 watts peak power to handle transients.

The amplification stage of the Amplitude8 features the industry’s lowest-distortion and noise specifications say the company, and what little noise there is remains frequency independent with a s/n ratio of -125 dB..

As you might expect, the Amplitude8 integrates seamlessly with the Altitude32 AV preamp which was launched back in June and supports Dolby Atmos®, Auro-3D® , DTS:X® and has just been selected the Best Product 2016-2017 in the High-End Home Theater category by the European Imaging and Sound Association.

A full 32-channel system including the AV preamp and all amplification requires less than 20U of rack space, yet delivers almost 10,000 watts of power at 8Ω.

The Amplitude8 is made in America and available now. MSRP is $13,500.

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Pioneer today announces the release of three new Network CD Receiver Systems with speakers – X-HM76, X-HM76D and X-HM86D. As well as the playback of existing CD libraries, each model supports various music streaming services combined with stylish design and support for high-resolution audio sources.      X-HM86D(B)_mid_online

The X-HM76, X-HM76D and X-HM86D Network CD Receiver Systems support an extensive range of network streaming services including TuneIn, Spotify®, TIDAL and DEEZER. Furthermore, each system supports Google Cast, allowing the user to access the variety of streaming services Google Cast supports. The fascia-mounted 3.5” LCD screen can show album art along with a wide range of information to enable intuitive operation. Each model also includes Wi-Fi functionality including AirPlay. The playback of high-resolution audio files is also supported (FLAC/AIFF/WAV up to 192 kHz/24-bit) along with Apple Lossless and DSD up to 11.2 MHz.

The X-HM76 (SRP – £429.99), X-HM76D (SRP – £469.99) and X-HM86D (£649.99) will all be available during September 2016.

*The X-HM86D is also available without speakers (XC-HM86D) from select retailers for an SRP of £399.99.

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Chord Electronics’ new SPM 1050 MkII power amplifier, first unveiled at High End 2016, Munich, is now available worldwide. The new MkII version directly replaces the original and introduces the latest Chord amplifier technology, plus some key aesthetic improvements.SPM1050M2BLKF3qtrWHT_B_online

The latest-spec MkII model offers reduced output distortion plus improvements to capacitance for cleaner power delivery. The second-generation version also includes enhanced isolation on the mains transformer to reduce interference. In keeping with the original, the SPM 1050 MkII uses Chord’s low-distortion amplifier circuitry and features four proprietary lateral-structure dual-die MOSFETs per channel (eight in total).

The SPM 1050 MkII offers both balanced XLR and RCA phono inputs, plus two pairs of loudspeaker outputs with gold-plated connections. A single power button offers operational simplicity from stand-by mode and the amplifier’s status is indicated on the faceplate by a simple two-LED sequence showing power and relay functions.SPM1050M2BLKFrontWHT_online

Aesthetically, the MkII version includes a new vented aluminium lid, akin to the DSX1000 streamer, plus a new piano-black acrylic side-panel option giving the power amp a fresh, contemporary look. Additional options include a choice of finish for the established Integra leg system supports, these include: nickel, satin-black anodised and aluminium. 

As with all Chord Electronics amplifiers, the new SPM 1050 Mk II features Chord’s proprietary 2KW high-frequency switch-mode power supply, which was originally developed for use in aerospace, telecommunications and data processing, where quality and power is needed in a very space-efficient design. The technology allows instantaneous power to be taken from both power rails simultaneously when the audio track demands.

The technology is complemented by a large bank of energy storage capacitors that are ‘recharged’ by the power supply many thousands of times a second, giving the amplifier huge reserves, plus the ability to react effortlessly to any signal. This configuration gives increased voltage swing, greater dynamic range, plus the ability to cope with even the most demanding loudspeaker loads. Unobtrusive protection circuitry constantly monitors the amplifier status and magnetic current-sensing will shut down the SPM 1050 MkII in the event of a short circuit, or DC overload.

The Ultra High Frequency power supply is a self-contained, self-monitoring module, which is common to all Chord amplifiers and is fundamental to their exceptional performance. A sophisticated mains input filter ensures that the power supply is exceptionally well shielded from disturbed mains input, and more significantly, the mains itself is completely untouched by emissions from the amplifier.SPM1050M2BLKrearWHT_online

Specifications

  • OUTPUT POWER: 200W RMS per channel @ 0.05% distortion into 8Ω; 350W RM per channel @ 0.05% distortion into 4Ω
  • DYNAMIC HEADROOM: 300W RMS per channel into 8Ω; 400W rms per channel into 4Ω; 1 kHz, 20 cycles on, 480 cycles off. Channel peak into 2Ω.
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE (8 ohms): -1dB, 0.2Hz to 46KHz; -3dB, 0.1Hz to 77KHz
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE (4 OHMS): -1dB, 0.2Hz to 39KHz; -3dB, 0.1Hz to 75KHz
  • SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO: Better than -103dB; ‘A’ weighted two-thirds power
  • CHANNEL SEPARATION: Better than 95dB
  • PRE-AMPLIFIER INPUT CONNECTION: 2x gold-plated, fully balanced XLR sockets; 2 x gold-plated custom phono sockets, unbalanced
  • INPUT IMPEDANCE: 100kΩ, unbalanced/balanced
  • INPUT CAPACITANCE: <30pf
  • OUTPUT IMPEDANCE: 0.02Ω
  • OUTPUT INDUCTANCE: 2.6mH
  • OUTPUT CONNECTIONS: 4x touch-proof-gold plated binding posts
  • SLEW RATE: 70V per mS 1KHz 20V square wave
  • GAIN: 30dB
  • STABILITY: unconditional
  • DIMENSIONS (Standard): 420mm (W) x 355mm (D) x 133mm (H)
  • WEIGHT: 15Kg

The SPM 1050 MkII is available now priced at £4,950

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The NS-6170, equipped with Google Cast, AirPlay, Spotify, Wi-Fi, and HDD-ready USB input, is based on a twin-monaural L/R channel layout with separate power supply paths, discrete custom capacitors for each channel, and dual-differential 768 kHz/32-bit AK4490 DACs to decode the positive and negative halves of the signal waveform.  Onkyo-NS-6170-Network-Audio-Player

Developed by Onkyo’s R&D team after years of exploratory research into Hi-Res Audio, a new wideband DIDRC Filter replaces the standard DAC output filter, eliminating ultra-high-frequency distortion inevitably generated as a result of the digital-to-analogue conversion process, says the company’s recent press release.

For music lovers looking to update an existing Hi-Fi system with audio casting and USB-HDD playback, the NS-6130 retains features with flagship AK4490 768 kHz/32-bit DAC, symmetrical L/R-channel circuitry, and VLSC digital pulse-noise filtering.

Both the NS-6170 and NS-incorporate HDD audio via rear USB input. A new control app simplifies selection within a user-friendly interface that displays album art and song information, together with on-demand music from TIDAL, TuneIn, and Deezer. Users can stream directly from the Spotify app or cast audio from any smartphone or PC application that supports Google Cast or AirPlay.

Prices (available in September, in black or silver)

NS-6170 Network Audio Streamer – £699

NS-6130 Network Audio Streamer – £449

In addition to the network streamers, Onkyo has also announced the launch of a compact system and CD player which they say is a “solution for music lovers who seek pristine sound from an elegant and unobtrusive Hifii separates package, the R-N855 receiver forms the centerpiece of Onkyo’s new CS-N1075 Compact Hifi System”.Onkyo CS-N1075 Compact Hi-Fi System

CS-N1075 Compact Hifii System – £1049

 

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Specialist UK Distributor Sound Design Distribution Ltd has signed a UK distribution deal with Mola-Mola. Mola-Mola is the brainchild of Bruno Putzeys, “he wunderkind of Class-D technology” originator of Universal class-D (UcD) in 2001 while at Phillips and as chief tech guru at Hypex, responsible for the development of its game-changing NCore Class-D amplifier technology.  25101915609_b257e6209b_k

Presented in strikingly distinctive rippled all-aluminium enclosures the ‘Makua’ Control Amplifier, complete with modular DAC and phono options, and ‘Kaluga’ Monoblock power amplifiers will be the first Mola-Mola designs to be made available to UK audiophiles through Sound Design Distribution Ltd.

The Makua is a fully balanced gain stage and routing matrix, accommodating optional DAC and phono stage modules and programmable via a dedicated App through USB or Bluetooth to access any combination of channel, processing and routing. Via the phono stage option for instance, vinyl-lovers can connect up to five turntables and program the settings individually for each.  All five inputs are switchable between XLR and floating RCA connections, and all can be assigned as either phono or line.

All stages in the Makua employ discrete amplifier modules using a little known topology called “single-ended driven differential”, which prevents noise from propagating all the way through to the outputs (paralleled for bi-amping). The relay-based volume control directly controls the gain of the output stage.

  • 5 balanced and 5 unbalanced inputs, all routable through optional processor boards like the phono stage and DAC
  • 2 parallel outputs for bi-amping
  • 4 programmable trigger outputs
  • Distortion at maximum signal level (THD, IMD): negligible – estimated around -150dB
  • Bandwidth >200 kHz
  • Dimensions: 420mm(W) x 110mm (H) x 345mm (D). Depth includes volume knob and connectors
  • Weight: 11kg

Based on Bruno Putzeys’ Ncore technology the Kaluga amplifier uses a circuit from Mola-Mola derived from the Hypex NC1200 amplifier, featuring an audiophile layout of short, isolated signal paths and eliminating board-to-board connectors in favour of star-quad cables soldered directly to the circuit board. The input stage on a separate circuit board uses the same discrete buffers as those found in the Makua pre-amplifier. The redesigned output filter uses monolithic capacitors.

  • Output power: 400 W/8 ohm; 700W/4 ohm; 1200W/2 ohm
  • Unweighted Signal/Noise Ratio: 128 dB
  • Distortion (THD, IMD): <0.003 % (all frequencies and power levels)
  • Bandwidth: >50 kHz
  • Balanced and unbalanced input
  • 2 pairs of Furutech binding posts, bi-wired directly to the amplifier PCB using Kubala·Sosna cable
  • Dimensions: 200mm (W) x 110mm (H) x 335mm (D). Depth includes speaker terminals
  • Weight: 7kg

The DAC from Moma-Mola has been designed from the ground up using circuits and digital algorithms developed entirely in house. The converter is a three board stack that fits in one of the option slots in the MAKUA preamp. On the first board, all incoming digital audio is upsampled to 3.125MHz/32 bits and converted to noise shaped PWM. The two remaining boards are mono DACs, in which a discrete 32-stage FIR DAC and a single-stage 4th order filtering I/V converter convert the PWM into analogue with a 140dB SNR. This is near the theoretical limit for 24-bit files and far beyond that of even quad-speed DSD.

  • Inputs: XLR, Optical, USB and Bluetooth (A2DP)
  • Supported formats: PCM up to 384 kHz /32 bits (>192 kHz and >24 bits only via USB); DSD up to quad speed (DDSD and up only via USB)
  • Performance: Signal to Noise Ratio: 140 dB (standalone version), 130dB (preamp option board); THD, IMD: negligible – estimated around -150dB.
  • Bandwidth: Up to 80 kHz. Choice of sharp or slow upsampling filters, minimum or linear phase.
  • Integrated jitter: <1 ps from 10 Hz upwards, <300 fs from 1 kHz upwards.
  • Jitter rejection: >80 dB at 1 Hz after 20 seconds of lock.

A standalone version of the Mola-Mola DAC is in the final stages of development

The RIAA add-on for the MAKUA Preamp has MC/MM input stages are optimised for current noise and voltage noise respectively.

Unlike the more common arrangement of MC head-amp feeding the MM stage, the two stages are fully independent, realising an equally short signal path for both. Input gain is switchable in 5dB steps over a 40dB range. Input resistance and capacitance are individually switchable. Available EQ settings cover practically all known cutting curves ever used, including most 78RPM. 

UK retail price (inc VAT):

Makua – £7,299; Kaluga (each) – £4,999; DAC board for Makua – £3,999; Phono stage for Makua – £1,699

Availability: September 2016

 

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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.4558_Quad_VA-One_ONLINE

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.4559_Quad_VA-One_(rear)_ONLINE

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.

 

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First Watt’s new F7 power amplifier (MSRP: $3,000) is a very unique power amplifier says the company’s press release that’s just landed at Hifi Pig. It’s a two-stage push-pull JFET (input)/MOSFET (output) topology with fewer parts than any First Watt amplifier to date. The new F7 has been created as an updated version of the earlier F5 amplifier. Conceived in 2007, the F5 was a push-pull Class A amplifier employing eight semiconductors and 23 resistors to achieve 25 watts output with good specifications and good sound. Nelson_pas_F7_power_amp_1

According to Nelson Pass: “The F7 bests the earlier F5, comprising even better sound and even simpler circuitry.”

Like all First Watt designs, it is a relatively low power (25W/channel into 8-ohms) simple Class A circuit, designed with an unusually low parts count. It is the 19th product from First Watt, since its founding in 1998 as Nelson Pass’ “personal laboratory”.

Explaining First Watt, Nelson Pass says: “I spend a lot of time building and evaluating basic amplifier concepts with an eye toward producing the highest quality sound with elegantly simple circuits.

There is no such thing as a perfect amplifier, but there is a best amplifier for each type of speaker, music, and listener. Each First Watt model is a unique design and is ‘best’ in some particular way. They look alike because they all use the same basic chassis and power transformer. On the up side, it makes it easy for me to test ideas and compare different designs with the hardware being a fixed constant.

Looking for tomorrow’s faceplate with yesterday’s circuits? You’re in the wrong place.”

The desire for a simpler circuit is self-explanatory – apart from the aesthetic, Nelson Pass believes that that simpler circuits tend to sound better: “In such a simple circuit, there are opportunities for improving performance by careful choice of transistors, resistor values, voltage and current values and precise matching of parts.Nelson_pas_F7_power_amp_2

The F7 has most of what was on his Wish List:

Very wide bandwidth

Low distortion and noise

Large Class A operating region

Less feedback

No degeneration in the output stage

Very low thermal distortion and drift

No capacitors or transformers (apart from the power supply)

Uniquely, it incorporates a very innovative balance of very low Negative Voltage Feedback and a small amount of Positive Current Feedback to give an “astonishing measure of control over reactive loudspeaker” loads.

Modest amounts of Negative Feedback are balanced in counterpoint to a small amount of Positive Current Feedback, creating an equilibrium where the output impedance approaches zero, improving transient and frequency response. “Of course you can achieve a similar effect with tons of negative feedback, but I think this is more elegant and sounds better. For brevity, I call it ‘PCF’,” explains Pass.

Also, I put more capacitance in the power supply and found a clever way to further reduce the effect of high frequency DAC noise and environmental RF. This is a different amplifier. The diversity of audio taste being what it is, not everyone will prefer it. I presume that a certain segment of audiophiles will like it.

MSRP Price: $3,000

Dimensions: 17W x 15D x 5.5H

Weight: 30 lbs.

Warranty: Parts and labour for 3 years, not covering shipping costs or consequential damages.

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The £3785 Naim Superuniti is an all in one box streamer, DAC and amplifier, but is it a Jack of all trades and master of none? John Scott finds out for Hifi Pig.  More »

“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. cary_SI-300.2d

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

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