Erzetich make a habit of telling you their products are evil animals, and that they need to be tamed after the company cage them in the cardboard boxes ready for their new home. Even the company logo looks like a bull ready to charge at you, being a circle with two horns. Janine Elliot runs with the bulls with the Perfidus Class A headphone amp costing £999.  More »

Lehmann are a German manufacturer headed up by Norbert Lehmann and make a range of widely respected electronics. Here Janine Elliot pops on her cans and takes a listen to the Linear D Headphone amplifier and DAC costing £1050.  More »

Lehmann are a German manufacturer headed up by Norbert Lehmann and make a range of widely respected electronics. Here Janine Elliot pops on her cans and takes a listen to the Linear D Headphone amplifier and DAC costing £1050.  More »

roksponsmallNo one could ever accuse Kostas Metaxas of creating something “boring”. Yet again, this eccentric artist has presented us with his unique take on a very utilitarian subject, the headphone amplifier. Combining a historic art oeuvre – “memento mori”, contemporary sculpture and technology, his latest Marquis “Memento mori” is a minimalist Preamplifier-Headphone amplifier designed, says Kostas, “for music-loving audiophiles who require few functions but insist on the purest sound”. More »

roksponsmallRuss Andrews has entered into a distribution agreement with world famous pro-audio designer, Rupert Neve, to bring the company’s RHNP Precision Headphone Amplifier to UK audiophiles.  More »

Fostex is a name many will associate with home and pro studios. Here Janine Elliot takes a listen to their TE05 (£89) and TE07 (£189) In ear Monitors.  More »

OPPO Digital today introduces an updated version of the a HA-2 portable headphone amplifier and DAC, HA-2SE. ha-2se-top-view

Aesthetically, the HA-2SE continues the HA-2’s design – genuine leather casing with contrast stitching and bevelled aluminium edges. Inside, the digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) chip is upgraded to the ES9028Q2M, the top-of-the-line from ESS Technology’s SABRE32 Reference series for portable designs. The headphone amplifier is further optimized for very sensitive In-Ear Monitors, with a lower noise floor and higher signal-to-noise ratio over the HA-2.

Featuring hybrid class AB amplification and a USB DAC, the HA-2SE offers high performance digital-to-analogue conversion for Apple’s iPhone/iPod products, a wide range of Android devices, PC and Mac computers. Equipped with a 3000mAh internal battery and OPPO’s patented safe rapid charging technology, the HA-2SE may be conveniently used to charge mobile devices on-the-go and can itself be efficiently charged in 30 minutes.

Being a “Made for iPhone” certified device and coming with a Lightning cable included, the HA-2SE can charge the iPhone and play music at the same time. When used with the right apps, the HA-2SE supports bit-perfect playback of high resolution music, exceeding the 48 kHz sample rate limitation of using the phone’s built-in headphone output or headphone adapter.

In addition to the USB DAC inputs, the HA-2SE provides a 3.5 mm line-in jack for portable music players that do not have a USB-compatible digital output. The same jack doubles as line-out when the HA-2SE is used as a DAC. The headphone amplifier has two gain level settings. The High Gain mode is capable of driving large power-hungry headphones, delivering up to 300 mW into 16-Ohm headphones. The Low Gain mode is intended for sensitive In-Ear Monitor type earphones. For users who like a bit more punch and impact with their music, the HA-2SE offers a Bass Boost function that is implemented purely with analog audio circuits.

Priced at $299, the HA-2SE can be ordered from OPPO Digital’s web site or resellers. The HA-2SE will be available for audition and demo at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver during the weekend of October 7 – 9.

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Three of Erzetich’s headphone amplifiers (Bacillus, Bacillus Tilia and Perfidus) have gone under the knife. While their entrails are mostly untouched, the most obvious difference is now their appearance. Acrylic front panels have been replaced by 7 mm thick aluminum that demanded a different graphic approach, along with some other tweaks and upgrades on their exterior. erzetichheadphoneamplifiers

During the first few years we gathered feedback from our users and resellers and took note of their remarks and wishes,« says Blaž Erzetič, the owner. »We had to update our units for the purpose of manufacturing optimisation and this led to a slight redesign of them. While Bacillus has only a new dress, the other two models have also some technical upgrades, especially Perfidus.”

The main story stays the same: exclusivity of a boutique low volume production and attention to the sound and appearance. All units are handcrafted and tested several times during the production by ear and by measuring instruments.

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Chord Electronics has launched a comprehensive Cable Accessory Pack for the Mojo DAC/headphone amp, to include cables, adaptors and a USB adaptor block.mojo-cable-pack-all

Chord Electronics’ new Cable Accessory Pack for its Mojo DAC/headphone amplifier contains a great selection of cables and adaptors to get your Mojo workin’ straight from the box. Designed to offer compatibility with a wide range of partnering devices, the Mojo Accessory Pack also features Chord’s first-ever add-on Mojo module.

The new USB adaptor block module makes connecting Mojo with an OTG (On-The-Go) Micro USB cable or Lightning-to-USB Camera Adaptor cable much simpler. The module attaches directly to the Mojo’s inputs as an extension of the device and a hollow recess houses the bulky end of Apple’s Lightning-to-USB cable and Android-type OTG cables.

The additional length the USB adaptor module brings to Mojo allows plus-size smartphones to align more suitably with the device when strapped together, giving full access to large smartphone screens; Chord-branded rubber band straps are provided in the pack. The module also contains an internal circuit board which extends the Micro USB charging port when the adaptor block is in use and retains visibility of the battery indicator light.

The Cable Accessory Pack includes the following:

1x USB Adapter Module

1x Standard Optical Cable

1x 3.5mm to Standard Optical Cable

1x 3.5mm to ¼” Headphone Adapter Cable

1x 1m Type A USB to Micro Cable

1x USB Micro to USB Micro OTG Cable

1x USB Micro to Female USB OTG Cable

1x Dual Play and Charge USB Cable

2x Chord Branded 180mm Rubber Band Straps

2x Chord Branded 160mm Rubber Band Straps

1x Ferrite RFI Suppression Choke

Note: Apple’s Lightning-to-USB Camera Adapter cable is sold separately

The Cable Accessory Pack case sells for £59.99 and is available from dealers now.

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McIntosh has announced the launch of the new MHA150 Headphone Amplifier made in their Binghamton, NY factory, they say ‘the MHA150 Headphone Amplifier is a worthy successor to the critically-acclaimed MHA100. The MHA150 contains the same feature set and performance standards but adds our new 2nd generation digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) that provides support for DSD and DXD files to give access to the latest in digital music.’ McIntosh’s Autoformer technology found in their large mono and stereo amplifiers has been adapted to produce three headphone impedance ranges of 8-40, 40-150 and 150-600 Ohms so that ‘every headphone will receive the legendary McIntosh sound quality and performance’.

mcintosh_mha150_hifinews_sept

.For enjoying DSD and DXD files, the USB input accepts PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz and supports DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 along with DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz.. Their proprietary MCT input has also been added to the MHA150; when paired with the MCT450 SACD/CD Transport, it offers a secure DSD connection for playback of the high definition audio on SACDs. For connecting digital devices, an optical and coaxial input are included along with the USB and MCT inputs; two analogue inputs are also available. They have also included Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®) The MHA150 is smaller than McIntosh’s other amplifiers, it’s the same width as the MB50 Streaming Audio Player and the two can be combined to start building a complete system as the MHA150 can drive a pair of quality desktop or small bookshelf speakers via its 50 watt stereo speaker outputs.

The MHA150 is available to order now from authorised McIntosh dealers with shipping anticipated later this month. Suggested retail price (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded): $4,500 USD.

 

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Designed by Arcam’s founder and Class-G design Guru John Dawson, the new Arcam rHead is a discrete true-linear Class-A analogue headphone amplifier, built for the highest possible performance and to outperform competition at anywhere near the affordable price, says the company’s latest press release.

Arcam of Cambridge: The rHead is a discrete true-linear Class-A analogue headphone amplifier, designed for the highest possible performance, outperforming all competition at anywhere near the affordable price. www.arcam.co.uk - www.robfollis.com

This compact, solid analogue product is designed to complement the audio system of any headphone lover. It delivers enough power to drive small speakers, let alone the least-efficient headphones.

Arcam say the the rHead is “ultra-low-distortion, ultra-low-noise and totally musical. Timing is fast and precise, with well-controlled bass and although the output is very wide-band, the extended treble is smooth and flat with no artificial exaggerations. Dynamic headroom is massive and all headphones we know of are handled with ease”.

Key Features 

– Class A design delivers zero crossover distortion for the purest sound.

– Extensively optimised 2 layer fibreglass PCB for cleanest sound and lowest crosstalk

– Multiple low noise power supplies eliminate cross-interference between sections

– Fully direct coupled signal path from the volume control for cleanest bass

– Ultra-linear resistive-ladder analogue volume control, eliminates L/R volume tracking errors

(taken from Arcam’s $6000+ flagship A49 amplifier)

– Precision metal film resistors in the signal path for lowest distortion

– Phono socket and balanced XLR inputs

– 3.5mm and 6.25mm headphone outputs

– Output impedance <0.5Ω eliminates frequency response errors

– Enough power to drive the least-efficient headphones

Other Bullet Points 

– Very high build-quality

– Die cast metal case for mechanically stable structure

– World-class analogue circuitry

– Vibration damped non-slip rubber base

Tech Specs

Frequency response – 10Hz – 20kHz / +/- 0.1dB 20Hz–20 kHz

Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise – 0.001% at 2V output, 32Ω load
Signal-to-noise ratio (A-weighted) – 109dB at 2V output, 32Ω load
Headphone output power
– 2.0W, 16Ω load
– 1.1W, 32Ω load
– 0.13W, 300Ω load
Headphone recommended impedance – 16Ω – 600Ω, 3.5 or 6.35mm plug
Output impedance <0.5Ω
Input levels – 0-4V (RCA) – 0-8V (XLR)
Dimensions – W194 x H44 x D135mm
Weight – 0.71kg
 £399.00 UK inc VAT / US $600 + sales tax
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Australian brand Burson have announced a Noir Edition of the Conductor V2+ headphone amplifier/DAC/preamplifier. Hifi Pig had one of the older versions of this in house for a few months driving Audeze cans and it offers very good value and great sonics for money at USD 1499.Burson_conductor_dac_headphoneamp_preamplifier

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

8.2W per channel @ 16ohm,

Class A

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

Remote Controlled Preamp

5 years of warranty

The Noir version will be Available later in August.

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Burson got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us they are introducing the pocket sized, USB powered “Conductor Air”.  Details are pretty scant at the moment but they say that just like its full sized sibling, its a USB  DAC, Head amp, Preamp 3 in 1 unit.  Conductor-Air-S4

Key Features:

  • 185g uni-body aluminium enclosure
  • Xmos USB receiver capable of native streaming DSD256, DXD, 32bit/384khz audio files
  • SABRE32/ESS9018 DAC chip, just like the desktop Conductor V2+
  • Raising a 5V USB power to 18V resulting in 4 times the dynamic range and 500mW into 32ohm of power
  • Remote controlled preamp.

The conductor Air will come in both silver and black and will cost $499 when it is available in late August.

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Dan Worth has a listen to the £3000 Chord Hugo TT for Hifi Pig. More »

The Nēo ACE from Moon is “A Complete Experience of musical ecstasy” says the company’s press release. The all-in-one ACE is an integrated amplifier and streaming DAC music player so all you need do is simply hook up a pair of speakers, connect to the internet and play. The ACE features Moon’s MiND* control system which provides a full graphic interface allowing access to a digital music library or streaming service.MOON ACE low res 2

The ACE features all-new advanced setup software and will decode DSD up to DSD256 and 32- bit/384kHz PCM. The ACE also features a moving magnet phono preamplifier and has RS-232 and IR ports for use in custom-install environments.

RRP £2,800, though on offer at £2500 until July 1stMOON ACE low res 1

MOON NEO ACE FEATURES 

  • Three line-level inputs including a front-mounted 1/8” mini-jack for personal media
  • Headphone output on 1/4” TRS jack located on the front
  • Seamless integration with MOON’s MiND
  • Eight (8) digital inputs include USB (hi-res audio), SPDIF (2), Optical (2), aptX® Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi and Ethernet
  • The first MOON product using an OLED type screen – provides more detailed information.
  • Simple MiND setup via on-board software
  • Moving magnet phono preamplifier
  • Analogue inputs are configurable to “pass-through” mode, which bypasses the gain stage to accommodate components like a home-theatre processor

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS 

  • Output Power at 8Ω: 50 Watts per channel
  • Input Sensitivity: 370mV – 3.0V RMS
  • Input Impedance : 11,000Ω
  • Gain: 37dB
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 100dB @ full power
  • Frequency response (full range): 10Hz – 60kHz +0/-3dB
  • Crosstalk: 90dB

   THD (20Hz – 20kHz @ 1 watt/50 watts): 0.015% / 0.02%

  • Intermodulation distortion: 05%
  • PCM Bit-depth range/sampling rates: 16-32bits / 1-384kHz
  • DSD sample rates: DSD64, DSD128 & DSD256
  • Shipping weight: 24 lbs / 11 Kgs
  • Dimensions (width x height x depth): 42.9 x 8.9 x 36.6

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The long-awaited DAC/valve headphone amp and preamp from the Danish brand Copland has arrived in the UK courtesy of Absolute Sounds.

DAC 215 is a Universal Hi-res DAC, Preamplifier and Headphone amp.4478_Copland_DAC_215

The heart of the DA215 is a D/A converter with multiple S/PDIF inputs, PCM, and DSD capabilities using the ES9018 Reference 32-bit DAC in quad-mono configuration, 8 mono to 2 stereo configuration.  The company’s press release has the following to say “Combining four in-phase and four opposite-phase converters per channel, the statistical properties of the signals are taken to advantage; the signal power of the phases correlate and add-up in constructive addition, whereas the noise power of the phases are de-correlated, improving the signal to noise ratio of the resulting analogue waveform”.

The class-A buffering technology of the analogue filtering sections is borrowed from the Copland CD-players and composed by discrete transistors.

The DA215 incorporates an asynchronous USB input, three S/PDIF digital inputs, an analogue input, two analogue outputs (fixed and variable) and a complete pre-amplifier with analogue volume control and front panel headphone output featuring vacuum tube gain stages.

You can use the DAC215 for headphones playback. However, you can also use it as a high-end pre-amplifier with volume control, using the amplifier RCA outputs. The volume control and pre-amplifier functionality can be bypassed for pure DAC mode.4485_Copland_DAC_215_(rear)

The DA215 USB features USB 2.0 PCM 24/32 bit data transfer to 384 kHz, including native DSD64 and high resolution DSD128. The input is converted to i2s and it is connected directly to the DAC chip. Once connected, the computer recognizes the DAC and routes the digital audio data to it, bypassing the source device’s internal audio circuitry. The asynchronous USB-B port connects to the computer’s USB-A port. No power is taken from the computer. The regulated power supply for the USB input section has its own winding of the power transformer and the noisy computer line is completely interrupted by the use of digital Isolators.

UK RRP: £1998; available with black or silver fascia

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The Wadia Dl122 Digital Audio Decoder will decode files at 24-bit/192kHz has a USB input that accepts up to 32-bit signals and support for DSD64, DSD128, DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz. It has an onboard headphone amp, a host of outputs and costs a pound under £1500. Dan Worth takes a listen for Hifi PigMore »

Mytek Digital has announced the release of the MQA™ firmware update which enables the new Brooklyn DAC/ Headphone/Phono Preamplifier to decode all MQA files — in addition to all other formats, including PCM 384k/32bit and DSD256. After Meridian, Mytek is the second MQA licensee to release the firmware update with the MQA technology.Mytek_dac_MQA

MQA is an end-to-end technology that captures and delivers master quality audio in a file that’s small enough to stream or download. And because it’s fully authenticated, the listener can be sure they are hearing exactly what the artist recorded and approved in the studio.

Later this year, availability of high-resolution music streaming services using MQA format is expected.

In a move that is rather unusual in a $2,000 DAC, Mytek has engineered the very Brooklyn DAC to also include a Phono Preamplifier and Headphone Amplifier.

 

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KR Audio, famous for manufacturing their very own tubes will be at this year’s Munich High End where they will have their VA 200 amp rated at 200 Watts and utilising the KR 842 vhd tube application.11-kronzilla-sx

Also on show at High end 2016 there will be their P-130 pre-amplifier with KR 05 tube application and the VA300i with KR 300B tube application.

As well as more traditional amplifiers, KR Audio will also have a headphone system showing a VA355i with Abyss with KR 100 tube application. The KR T-00 is, say KR Audio a superior 845 and the amplifier is also known as the ‘baby Kronzilla’.

Read more news about Munich High End 2016 Here and Hifi Pig’s coverage of last years High End Munich here

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DACportable is a powerful, palm-sized device that turns the average audio of your smartphone, tablet or computer into a concert-hall listening experience” says the recent press release from CEntrance. CEntrance DACportable (1)

Encased in anodized aluminium, DACportable comes packed with audiophile-grade components the company continue.

DACportable is said to be plug and play via a USB connection. DACportable has  features like EQ filters, digital volume control, a quick charge battery. DACportable’s high-res sound (backed with 32-bit/384kHz digital audio) is self-powered, so it won’t drain your phone’s battery.

The DACportable will also work with future iPhones with or without headphone jacks.

CEntrance recently launched DACportable on Indiegogo and received an amazing response, already surpassing their funding goal with $53,000.

 

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Unison Research are expanding on their valve-based hifi electronics to produce their first ever dedicated headphone amplifier. The SH is a single-ended, two-stage full-valve headphone amplifier designed to accommodate both traditional analogue sources and modern computer-based audio.

ASTA AUTUNNO 2015

Unison Research have created SH in order to cater for the growing world of headphone audiophiles. As most readers will be well aware, headphones have become increasingly important in the high-end home listening environment and the SH was developed to offer a high-end valve alternative to the many solid-state headphone amplifiers that are currently available.

The SH began with the same basic aim as the company’s Simply Italy integrated amplifier; to produce a world-class sound from a specialised device, using the best technology available. However, to suit the particular factors associated with headphone listening, the development team also had to ensure that the amplifier was designed with low noise characteristics and low internal impedance.

The result was a fairly simple linear circuit with low negative feedback that produces an output voltage which is capable of driving a wide range of headphones, while keeping distortion low throughout the frequency range. To compensate for the low negative feedback required in the design, attention was paid to ensure optimal linearity and increased attention on managing noise to a minimal level throughout the electrical path. “It’s thanks to this design that the SH is able to deliver a consistent, coherent, rich and identifiably “valve” sound character when in use” says the recent press release from Henley Designs, the UK Distributor.

The input stage uses an ECC83 valve, while the output stage uses one EL84 (both valves operating in triode mode). The benefits to using this specific combination of valves are said to be two-fold. First, the application requires reduced power compared to how the valves are usually employed, resulting in extended life. Second, the EL84 is capable of producing enough power to also drive the specially-selected output transformer with optimal electrical and sound character.

The SH has two headphone outputs that are connected in parallel (each with their own EL84 valve) for easy switching between headphones, or to accommodate multiple listeners. There is also a “Sensitivity” switch, to ensure the widest possible range of headphones can be comfortably driven  by the amplifier. When set to “High Sensitivity”, the output voltage from the amplifier is reduced, and at “Low Sensitivity” it is at its maximum. The volume stage is entirely passive.

In addition to a standard un-balanced RCA input for connecting any Line-level source, the SH is also equipped with a USB DAC. The asynchronous USB 2.0 technology is the same as found on the recent Triode 25 amplifier, and supports audio formats up to 384kHz PCM and DSD 128. There’s a patented jitter-elimination circuit and galvanic isolation employed between the power areas of the USB interface and the conversion IC.SH_RETRO

SRP £1,250.00

 

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