The £4100 Lector 707 CD Player, here with the top level power supply, the PSU-7T, is made in Italy, has a valve output stage and a top loading transport. Dominic Marsh and Lionel Payne. put it through its paces.  

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McIntosh has launched their new MCT80 SACD/CD Transport. They want you to “Enjoy your CDs all over again!” More »

The AudioWorks will be exhibiting at the North West Audio Show, showcasing a system never before seen in the UK. More »

It’s that time again, when we announce the winner of our High End Munich “Hifi Pig Loves You” Award. There has been a real mix of winners over the years and different hifi shows that we attend. From high end manufacturers to local hifi dealers and even a music enthusiast for his talks at the Cranage show. Last year’s High End Munich prize went to British brand Avid Hifi. It is not just for the best sound at the show, though of course that is a part of it. We also take into account how the people running the room treat their audience, the effort that they have taken putting the system and the room together and the kind of music that they play. Hifi Pig loves rooms with a sense of fun, that look like are enjoying themselves and are not scared to play something a little out of the ordinary for a hifi show. Generally it’s a tricky one to judge, especially at the High End where the standard is incredibly high and we often feel torn between several rooms.

Read the full report here!

Many of us of a certain age will remember the radiogram, now Ruark bring it bang up to date with their R7 Radiogram costing £2000. John Scott gets a bit nostalgic in what is a bit of a departure for Hifi Pig. More »

A recording by Astor Piazzolla “the single most important figure in the history of tango” will be the first MQA recording to be released on compact disc in Japan. The album is “A. Piazzolla by Strings and Oboe”, recorded by the UNAMAS Piazzolla Septet and mastered by respected producer and mastering engineer Mick Sawaguchi. More »

Chord Electronics’ flagship Reference range and its full-size Chord range is to benefit from a new solid black machine-polished acrylic side panel option. More »

Chord Electronics has added a high-resolution USB Type-B input to its CES-unveiled Blu MkII upscaling CD transport. The USB input takes the place of the optical output seen on the prototype at CES and has been implemented following dealer demand for Blu MkII’s upscaling technology to be available to a wider range of digital devices. More »

Bryston distributor PMC, is introducing the Bryston BCD-3 CD player to the UK audiophile market, to bring the benefits of its “class-leading” CD transport and digital to analogue converter technology to consumers who are still loyal to the CD format. More »

roksponsmallBryston has announced the introduction of the BCD-3 CD player. The BCD-3 joins the family of digital products in the Bryston lineup, including the BDA-3 DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter). More »

Japanese brand CEC’s belt driven CD transports are legendary in audiophile circles but have had traditionally been out of the reach of most people. The £2600 CEC TL5 CD Transport, sold by Definitive Audio in the UK, puts this exotica much more within the grasp of more people and Janine Elliot couldn’t wait to get her hands on it to review for Hifi Pig. More »

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 »

Mitchell and Johnson’s trio of CD Player, Amplifier and Streamer cost a total of £947 which puts them very much in the budget category but can they satisfy sonically? Dominic Marsh finds out for Hifi Pig.  More »

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 blak Integrated Amplifier combines a high-end amplifier with a highly-specified USB DAC, a Bluetooth receiver and a dedicated headphone amplifier; all in one sleek chassis.charcoalblakamp1

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.blakampback

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.

SRP £2,750.00

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.Roksan-blak-CD-Char-Left

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.Roksan-blak-CD-Rear

SRP £2,500.00

The blak CD Player is available now in Anthracite, Charcoal or Opium finish.

Technical Information

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

Jitter:   <135ps

Signal-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted):    >108dB

Stop-band rejection:   >100dB

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TEAC has launched a compact disc player with a built-in DAB/RDS FM* tuner.

TEAC PD-301DAB – KEY FEATURES

  •     Precision slot-in CD drive mechanism with quick-loading and automatic playback
    ·      Supports CD-DA, MP3 and WMA files on CD-ROM/R/RW discs
    ·      Front USB Port for WAV, AAC, MP3 and WMA playback
    ·      Built-in tuner supports DAB/RDS FM broadcasts
    ·     215mm wide and 61mm high, easy to accommodateteac_cd_dab

One of the most compact CD players available (it measures just 215 x 61 x 232mm), the PD-301 is the latest addition to the Reference 301 series of hi-fi components. A perfect partner for the AI-301DA amplifier, the player features a quick-loading slot-in drive that will also decode home-made discs encoded with MP3 and WMA content.
For those who also want to play back WAV or AAC files there’s a USB slot on the front panel for thumb drives. If your stored songs are accompanied by ID3 tags the song and artists names are shown on the player’s own display (MP3, WMA and AAC files only).
The PD-301DAB features a built-in digital-to-audio decoder (the Burr-Brown PCM5142, to be exact) but it also sports coaxial and digital outputs if, at a later stage, you decide you want to use the player as a digital transport partnered by an external DAC (the Reference UD-301 has built-in 192kHz up-conversion).
As mentioned, one of this player’s headline features is that it boasts a DAB/RDS FM tuner*, complete with 20 presets, ideal if you need to add radio listening to your hi-fi system but don’t want to invest in a separate tuner.
The PD-301DAB’s tuner section also offers upgrading potential. DAB/RDS FM signals received by the unit can be sent as digital signals (using the optical/coaxial outputs) from the player to an external DAC (44.1kHz/16-bit resolution) if you want to enjoy higher performance in the future.
*Both DAB/RDS FM and RDS FM-only versions of the PD-301 are available for purchase in the UK.
Price (both models available in either black or silver, available now)

PD-301DAB with DAB/RDS FM tuner – £349

PD-301 with RDS FM tuner – £299

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With their latest release, Italian valve specialists Unison Research have produced a source device  that brings digital technologies together into one enclosure, offering a complete solution for audiophiles who “want to  get the best from their digital media”. The Unico CD Due supports Bluetooth streaming and acts as a comprehensive DAC capable of accommodating any high-end music player, while also acting as a stand-alone CD player. You will be able to see and hear the new unit at this weekend’s Bristol show with Henley Designs in Room 422.

ASTA AUTUNNO 2015

The hybrid Unico range from Unison Research combines valves with other solid state devices. The Unico CD Due joins the range as the new flagship source, and shares the same “three-panel” aesthetic of the range-topping Unico 150 amplifier.

The DAC portion of the CD Due is equipped with USB, S/PDIF, AES/EBU and Toslink inputs, which all route through the built-in ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC chip. The USB input uses XMOS technology to handle PCM signals up to 384kHz and DSD signals up to 11,2896MHz (DSD256), effectively encompassing almost every audio format and sample-rate currently available. The more  “traditional” digital inputs handle 24-bit/192kHz (24/96 via Optical) PCM signals, allowing myriad  of high-quality sources to be connected with ease.

The CD Due’s Bluetooth functionality allows for wireless streaming from any Bluetooth-enabled smart device. Set-up is said to be simple. Finally, the CD player section uses a premium mechanism and sleek drawer-loading system. Internally, the CD mechanism is shielded by a thick metal cover, to avoid interference.

“What helps the CD Due stand apart from its competitors is not just its feature set, but its rich, enveloping sound; which owes much of its expression to the valve output stage” says the company’s press release. The four ECC83 valves are configured in an innovative totem-pole arrangement with balanced input. This particular layout allows for a high immunity to power supply noise and brings together a “triode” sound with “the drive capability of a cathode follower stage”. The rest of the board also utilises premium components and shorter signal paths. For even more durability you can also use the CD Due as a transport only, utilising the three digital outputs on the back panel to run with another external DAC.

ASTA AUTUNNO 2015

The CD Due is purpose-designed to separate the digital and the analogue portions of the circuitry and the DAC portion has carefully-managed filtered power distribution. The DAC chip boasts a “jitter eliminator” design with a signal-to-noise ratio of 128dB and distortion of 0.0003%. The clock system uses a quartz oscillator with high precision and low phase-noise.

The Unico CD Due makes controlling all its features easy, via the supplied RC2 system remote and its 128×64 OLED screen. With three switchable filters and even the option to bypass the valves with a “solid-state” output buffer – the CD Due can suit any high-end system or sound preference.

SRP £3,200.00

The Unison Research Unico CD Due is available in the UK now in Silver finish.

The Unico CD Due can be special ordered in Black for an additional £100.00 (SRP).

Technical Information

Device:                                    CD Player, Bluetooth Receiver, External DAC

Digital Inputs:                           1 x USB Type B (supports up to 32-bit/384kHz or DSD256 (DoP))

1 x S/PDIF (supports up to 24-bit/192kHz or DSD64 (DoP))

1 x AES/EBU (supports up to 24-bit/192kHz or DSD64 (DoP)) 1 x Toslink™ (supports up to 24-bit / 96kHz)

Bluetooth Receiver:                  BT 3.0

Digital Outputs:                       1 x S/PDIF

1 x AES/EBU

1 x Toslink™

CD Transport:                         8829CD-KHM DVD-Loader (only for audio CDs)

Digital Filters:                         F1 = high slope and linear phase

F2 = high slope and minimum phase F3 = low slope and linear phase

Digital Stage:                          ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC with jitter eliminator Ultra-low distortion and ultra-low noise IV converter

Analogue Stage:                      Double-triode, pure Class A differential totem-pole Valve Complement:                           4 x 12AX7 / ECC83

Analogue Outputs:                  1 x RCA pair (stereo) 1 x XLR pair (stereo)

Output Buffer:                        Optional “solid-state” buffer Dimensions (W x D x H):                                    45 x 38 x 13cm

Net Weight:                            10kg

 

 

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TAGA Harmony, a European manufacturer of speakers and audio electronics, today announced the launch of HTR-1000CD, midi sized stereo hybrid DAB+ / FM receiver with a built-in CD player.htr-1000cd_front_23568979451_o

Key features:

  • Compact size and sleek aluminium design suitable for any interior style.
  • Hybrid design utilizing two 12AX7B tubes in the preamp section which TAGA say ensures a very warm, linear and lifelike sound with high dynamic presentation at the same time.
  • High power 75W per channel to drive different types of speakers.
  • DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting) tuner – listen to your favorite radio stations in the best digital quality.
  • USB input – quickly and easily play your music from USB flash drivers (MP3 and WMA audio files).
  • Bluetooth® wireless audio streaming with aptX® audio codec – stream your music in CD-like quality from any smartphone, tablet, computer or other digital device.
  • Equalizer and treble-bass control to perfectly adjust the music to your preferences.
  • Sleep timer.
  • RCA and 3.5mm (front) stereo inputs to quickly connect external audio devices (smartphones, MP3 players etc.).
  • High-end banana speaker terminals accept raw speaker cables up to 10AWG and the most popular types of connectors.
  • Fully functional remote controller.
    htr-1000cd_rear_23651388045_o

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A full size integrated amplifier with phonostage, plus a CD player that is also a streamer for just shy of £1200 seems like a good deal. Stuart Smith investigates.  More »

Meridian has introduced the latest generation of the 808, specifically developed to render the very best sound from Compact Disc and network audio. In addition, the 808v6 now decodes Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) sources.2857-Meridian 808 Head On

Part of the Reference 800 Series, the 808v6 is the highest performance CD Player ever manufactured by Meridian. The latest edition offers several significant improvements including the decoding and rendering of MQA sources to deliver studio quality reproduction via both digital and analogue outputs.

Meridian strongly believes that CD remains a significant music source, with an impressive depth of recorded catalogue. All the more reason, then, for the company to continue its quest to make Compact Disc replay sound the very best it possibly can.2857-Meridian 808 Rear

Meridian 808v6 Signature Reference Compact Disc Player – New Features

Built-in MQA decoder – fully supports Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) encoded music playback, guaranteeing a studio master quality experience

Upgraded S/PDIF and USB receivers – enables USB and RCA inputs to receive up to 192 kHz digital audio

Enhanced DSP chip – offers lip-sync control, DSD playback (DoP) and MQA rendering capability for analogue outputs. The analogue outputs also feature Bass, Treble and Balance Controls

Improved analogue output card – features an upgraded circuit with filtering that broadens the bandwidth, and maximises the potential of high-resolution music2857-Meridian 808-3-4

Product Highlights

Audiophile CD Player incorporating full controller/preamp functionality with Meridian technology including ROM drive, triple FIFO buffering and DSP apodising upsampling filter to deliver the best possible “high definition” sound from the popular CD medium

Advanced S/PDIF receiver enables Meridian SpeakerLink interconnection for superb quality: twin outputs for simple, robust “home run” installation

Unique proprietary ‘apodising’ upsampling filter provides audibly enhanced performance

Direct connection to a Meridian Sooloos System for the highest possible sound quality digital media playback, with direct Play Queue control

Advanced linear power supply

Available in Black and the complete range of 270 Meridian Select colours

RRP £11,000

 

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Quad continues to mark its 79th year with the arrival of Artera, their new range of high-performance audio electronics. First to arrive are the Artera Play and Artera Stereo; the Play is a CD player, DAC and preamplifier combined in a single chassis, while the Stereo is a power amplifier sporting Quad’s famous Current Dumping technology.4158_Artera_Play_and_Stereo_(black)

Quad gave its team of designers and engineers a specific brief for Artera: “combine the qualities that have made Quad one of Britain’s most revered hifi marques for many decades with fresh industrial design and the very latest high-performance audio technologies”. To this end, Quad enlisted the help of Rodney Mead, the man responsible for the styling of many classic Quad products in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, to brainstorm design concepts that would lead to Artera.

Artera have a textured aluminium front panel, thick glass top and CNC-routed heat sinks on either side. The housing provides a rugged structure that resists interference from external vibrations, and the Artera Play’s fascia incorporates a touch-sensitive control.

Quad Artera Play 

At the heart of the Artera Play nestles the ESS Sabre32 9018; a 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC. This is Quad’s first component to utilise the ESS Sabre DAC, and external digital sources can benefit from it via a range of digital inputs. These include USB, with support for PCM data up to 32-bit/384kHz and also DSD64/128/256.4162_Artera_Play_(black)

For CD replay, a new slot-loading mechanism buffers data from the disc before feeding it asynchronously (in order to minimise ‘jitter’) to the DAC section. Four digital filter options enable users to tailor the Artera Play’s sound, with both CDs and external digital sources, to suit personal taste and the nature of the source material.4161_Artera_Play_(rear)

The Artera Play’s preamp section boasts a balanced Class A output stage. Two coaxial and two optical inputs cater for external digital sources alongside the USB input, with a pair of RCA phono inputs handling analogue sources. Analogue outputs are supplied in both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR varieties; a pair of digital outputs (optical and coaxial) and a 12V trigger output complete a comprehensive array of connectivity options.

Quad Artera Stereo 

This compact yet potent power amp sports the latest iteration of Quad’s famous Current Dumping topology, first introduced in the Quad 405 – one of the most lauded British audio components of all time and still the only amp design to have earned a Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement.

Current Dumping is essentially a method of marrying Class A amplification with the greater efficiency of Class AB. A high-quality, low-power Class A amplifier provides the signal quality, while a high-power current dumping section delivers the muscle to keep the speakers under control. These two amp circuits are combined via a network to impose the finesse of the Class A output onto the power of the current dumper.4171_Artera_Stereo_(black)

The Artera Stereo’s power output is conservatively rated at 140W per channel into eight ohms and 250W into four ohms, ensuring any speakers – including Quad’s classic ESL electrostatic designs – can be driven with ease. Connectivity options comprise single-ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs, a 12V trigger input and high-quality speaker binding posts.4168_Artera_Stereo_(rear)

Speaking about the inspiration behind Quad’s new Artera range, Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Quad’s parent company IAG, commented:

“The traditional spirit of Quad has always been to cater for the latest developments in music storage and playback, whilst continually striving to meet the standards inherent in the company’s motto, ‘the closest approach to the original sound’. Thus, the Artera series of components includes full digital and analogue playback capabilities with the resolution and accuracy to replay all current and future high-resolution audio sources with the most musical presentation.

“However, today’s consumers are often bewildered and confused by the multiplicity of inputs and controls on modern hi-fi equipment. At Quad, we have never believed that you have to be a ‘hi-fi geek’ to be able to play music at the highest performance level. Artera therefore simplifies the user interface, leaving an uncluttered appearance that is welcoming to all users as well as looking beautiful in the home.”

The Artera Play and Artera Stereo are available now, with a choice of black or silver front panels and RRPs of £1,399.95 and £1,499.95 respectively.

 

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