Luxman have announced the CL-38uSE and MQ-88uSE Special-edition valve preamplifier and power amplifier, with production limited to just 100 pieces of each. More »
Audio Hungary got in touch to tell us more about their Qualiton brand, their products, philosophy and their history. “Audio Hungary Ltd., owners of the Qualiton brand, started off in 2012. This essentially came about when they purchased Univox Ltd, a manufacturer of industrial PA equipment. Without wanting to make this a lesson in economic history: the company started back in the 1940’s operating under the names of “Audio” “EAG “and BEAG until the 1990’s. That was when Univox was created from a manufacturing unit of BEAG (Budapest Electro-Acoustics Factory). BEAG used to be one of the largest players in the industry in the Eastern bloc, having also supplied the entire PA system for the Moscow Olympics back in 1980”. More »
In case you are not familiar with the name Unison Research, it is an Italian company in business for some 20 years or so at Treviso, a municipality just to the north of Venice, with a well earned reputation for producing some excellent hifi components. Dominic Marsh has a play with their Triode 25 valve amplifier. More »
The Conrad-Johnson design team say they are particularly excited with the introduction of two new Classic amplifiers, the Classic Sixty-Two (CL62) and Classic One-Twenty (CL120). More »
Danish brand Densen need little introduction to audiophiles in the know. Dominic Marsh has a play with their B-130XS amplifier costing £2490. More »
Westminster Lab, who Hifi Pig visited at last year’s Newcomers stand at High End Munich, will be there again this year displaying their UNUM amplifier and their cable collection to visitors to the show.
“The UNUM is the first handcrafted solid state mono amps without any sort of PCB, components are directly connected and soldered with each other without intermediate disturbance. The chassis is made from an unprecedented combination of aluminium, solid brass, solid copper, carbon fibre, PEEK, titanium & 24k gold.” Says the company’s recent press release.
You can visit Westminster Lab at Hall 2, G06 at this years High end show in Munich.
Leema Acoustics has launched the Libra DAC/preamp, an “astonishingly featured- packed high-resolution digital hub, combining highly advanced digital technologies with an incredible complement of connectivity options.”
The Libra is the latest addition to Leema Acoustics’ flagship Constellation series and has the same precision-machined casework as the award-winning Tucana amp and Antila CD player.
Designed and built by Lee Taylor and Mallory Nicholls (Leema), Libra’s simple-yet- elegant looks conceal a “staggering array of class-leading technologies”. The new Libra crystallises Leema’s decades of experience in digital audio for professional studios worldwide.
The high-resolution Libra DSD DAC has been designed for today’s (and tomorrow’s) HD audio world and is said to be fully future-proofed. The Libra offers extreme high- resolution playback including: DSD 64; DSD 128, DXD and 384kHz PCM via USB (and Libra’s I2S inputs). DSD64 is also supported via all S/PDIF inputs (coaxial and optical) and AES/EBU inputs.
The new high-resolution DAC/preamp contains Leema Acoustics’ new fully balanced Quattro Infinity dual-mono DAC modules which are field-replaceable; should conversion technology improve in the future, the modules can be upgraded. The advanced Quattro Infinity modules also feature user-selectable output filters, for maximum flexibility with higher sample-rate sources.
The Libra boasts loads of connectivity options plus three coaxial and three optical inputs, capable of accepting high-resolution 24-bit/192kHz audio. For high-end partnering equipment, the Libra also offers some more esoteric options, including two I2S inputs via RJ45 connectors. With fully programmable pin-allocation on one of these inputs in software, any high-end source with an I2S interface can easily be accommodated. Source components with professional standard AES/EBU outputs can also be connected: the Libra offers two input connections available via industry standard XLR connectors.
Leema’s M1 USB module provides a connection for computer audio replay from both Windows (driver software included), Macintosh and Linux machines. This interface is fully asynchronous, allowing the Libra to precisely regulate the data rate coming from the computer and deliver “incredibly low jitter levels”.
Libra offers three separate analogue inputs, each of which can be individually configured as unbalanced, via RCA Cinch connectors, or fully balanced via XLR connectors. The entire signal path, both digital and analogue, is fully balanced from the digital data stream, to the balanced analogue outputs.
The Libra is able to operate either as a conventional audio component with fixed output level, or as a high-end pre-amplifier with full analogue volume control on-board. Outputs are provided via unbalanced RCA/Cinch connectors and balanced XLR connectors. Libra is also a full LIPS controller (see below) and can control Leema Acoustics’ range of power amplifiers directly.
For added flexibility in the digital age, the Libra also has an optional Bluetooth interface and a headphone amplifier.
LIPS is an acronym of Leema Intelligent Protocol System. It is a communication bus that enables Leema Acoustics components to communicate with other units in the range. The communication enables simple control of power on/off from one unit, right up to the control of all functions in a Leema Acoustics system, comprising up to 15 individual components.
The Libra DAC/preamp is priced at £5,995 and is available now.
Clones Audio got in touch with us to tell us about their all new 25iR stereo integrated amplifier with remote control function.
The new design features separated power supply for the remote control and improved power supply for the main section.
Remote Control has a learning function which will allow you to teach the URC-R6 commands from other remote controls.
There will be 3 unbalanced RCA stereo inputs and 2 sets of high-quality 5-way binding posts which will host speaker cables with banana plugs or spades, or just bare speaker wire.
Output power: 25W+25W (8ohms)
Input impedance: 10k ( unbalanced only, 3 inputs )
Signal to Noise Ratio: <95dB (min)
* 5 year warranty
The K3 Integrated Amplifier and K3 CD Player from Roksan Audio have been designed and built with style, performance and function in mind. Combining visual elegance with audiophile performance inspired by the M2 range; the K3 series offers the “ultimate in musical involvement, audio engineering and user flexibility. Researched and developed over a number of years, these new models employ vastly improved technologies and aesthetics when compared to anything that has come before”. We certainly enjoyed the new range when we got a bit of an exclusive listen a couple of months ago.
The K3 Integrated Amplifier has five Line Level inputs, a Moving Magnet phono stage and superior aptX® Bluetooth technology and is described as an ideal hub for all manner of audio sources. The aptX technology employed allows for high-quality wireless streaming from compatible devices – including tablets, smartphones and computers. Under the cover new op-amps, audio and power supply circuits, and high-quality signal output relays are used to make an amplifier that is said to be very reliable.
The K3 CD Player is based on the well-known K2 design; “but new circuitry and improved components combine to elevate this latest player to a new level of performance”. Usability is said to be simple and intuitive.
The all-new system remote (supplied in each box), is elegant, compact and a perfect accompaniment to the new K3 design. It boasts complete control over all the commands of both the Integrated Amplifier and the CD Player, and the clear-contrast labelling makes usage effortlessly simple.
All K3 electronics are available in three brand new finishes. Charcoal (shown above, Amplifier), Opium and Anthracite (shown above, CD Player).
SRP £1,250.00 (each)
K3 Integrated Amplifier
Inputs: 5 x RCA Stereo Line Level
1 x Moving Magnet Phono
1 x Wireless (aptX® Bluetooth)
1 x Bypass
Outputs: 4 x Speaker Connectors (+/- L & R)
1 x RCA Pre-amplifier
1 x 3.5mm Headphone
Power Output: > 140W (8Ω) / > 220W (4Ω)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: > -90dB
Frequency Response: < 3Hz – > 100kHz (-3dB)
Gain: 37.5dB (75x)
Harmonic Distortion: < 0.005% 1kHz – 14W @ 8Ω
Power Supply: 550VA Ultra-Low Noise Toroidal Transformer
5 Regulated Power Supply Rails
Dimensions (W x H x D): 432 x 102 x 380mm (incl. feet)
K3 CD Player
Operating System: CD Digital Audio System (CD, CD-R, CD-RW)
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz (± 0.2dB)
Harmonic Distortion: < 0.002% @ 0dB, 1kHz
< 0.006% @ -30dB, 1kHz
< 0.002% @ 0dB, 20kHz
< 0.008% @ -30dB, 20kHz
Intermodulation Distortion: < 0.0015% @ 0dB
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: < 96dB L&R (IHF-A Weighted)
Wow & Flutter: Quartz Precision
Outputs: 1 x RCA Stereo Line Level
1 x 75Ω Coaxial (RCA)
1 x 110Ω Balanced AES/EBU (XLR)
1 x Optical (Toslink)
D/A Conversion: PCM1730E Advance Segment, Audio-Stereo DAC (24-bit / 192kHz)
Crystal: Super-Precision, Custom Made
Jitter: < 150psec
Power Supply: High Performance Low Noise Toroidal Transformer
7 Fully Regulated Power Supply Rails
Dimensions (W x H x D): 432 x 105 x 380mm (incl. feet)
The power rating is increased from 120W to 150W per channel whilst high frequency noise has been radically reduced in both the pre section and the power amplifier section.
The new K2BT comes with a Bluetooth aptX module with CD standard (16-bit/44.1kHz audio bandwidth) allowing connectivity to a host of devices.
Roksan say the improvements made on the K2 BT make for better imaging, soundstaging, transparency and dynamic range.
Inputs – 5 line level inputs, Moving Magnet phono, Bluetooth AptX
Outputs – Loudspeakers, Preamplifier, Headphone
Output Power – 150 W (8 Ohms), 300 W (4 Ohms)
Power Supply – 550VA Ultra LowNoise ToroidalTransformer
Frequencyresponse – (-3dB), <3Hz– >100kHz
Gain37.3dB Overall(Pre& Power)
Dimension432 x 380 x 90(W x D x H) mm
It’s an integrated amplifier with an open chassis design and is intended to be a step up to the existing VSi60 integrated amplifier which will continue to be manufactured and sold.
The new amplifier has new look case-work, a natural anodised top plate and an LCD display showing input selection, volume, individual valve bias etc.
The VSi75 delivers 75W per channel using four KT120 output valves and two 6H30 driver valves. Wide bandwidth output transformers are used along with proprietary coupling caps matching those used in the Reference 75 amplifier.
The unit comes with a metal cased remote handset
Audio Research said “The resulting sound from these cumulative improvements is striking, with tremendous resolution of detail, silky and extended highs, surprising weight and authority, and the ability to develop an immense sound stage. The VSi75 sounds very much like the amp from which it borrows, the REF75, with an immediacy, delicacy and focus that are captivating.”
Combining valve rectification with only two audio valves the Icon Audio MB30SE has been designed with purist simplicity in mind. With an output of up to 27 watts the MB30SE is versatile and capable of high volume levels with medium to high sensitivity loudspeakers.
Using the new KT 120 output valve the MB30SE delivers a good deal more power than triodes such as the 300B and with Icon Audio’s Low Distortion Tertiary transformer on-board the KT120 can deliver a wide bandwidth.
Using high sensitivity loudspeakers the 16 watts produced in triode mode will produce realistic volume levels. However many modern speakers sacrifice efficiency for size and in such cases the MB30SE can be switched to ultralinear mode to deliver 27 watts. Adjustable input sensitivity adds to the flexibility enabling use with either passive or active preamplifiers.
The front panel mounted bias meter allows easy checking and adjustment of the amplifier to give its best performance and also gives an indication of output power.
Every amplifier is finished and tested by Icon Audio’s team of engineers in Leicester, UK.
Features: Icon Audio MB30SE
- 100% pure class A operation throughout
- Valve rectification
- Custom wound choke regulated power supply
- Choice of low or no feedback
- Can be used with a passive preamplifier
- “Point to Point” hand wired for the best sound quality and reliability
- PTFE insulated silver plated pure copper wiring
- Fitted with Jensen™ copper foil in paper and oil audio capacitors
- Gold plated input and loudspeaker terminals
- Custom hand wound tertiary output transformer
- 4 & 8 ohm loudspeaker outputs
UK Price is £1999.95 for a pair of the amplifiers.
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.
Hi-Fi distributor Sound Fowndations has announced the addition of the CANOR TP134 valve amplifier to its portfolio of high quality audio components.
The CANOR TP134 is a high quality stereo integrated amplifier that uses EL34 output valves to generate 35 watts per channel operating in pure class A up to 10 watts per channel. The circuit boards feature patented CMT ™ (Canor Milling Technology) which means that areas of the circuit board are precisely removed to give the circuit similar electrical characteristics to one direct wired with air dielectric cables.
The TP134 features a high quality relay attenuator volume control which the company say provides a “more direct signal path with fewer contacts than typical volume controls leading to precise control and higher sonic performance”.
All control electronics, such as input switching and volume adjustment, are fed from a separate section of the power transformer and the control circuitry is only active when being used which Canor says avoids degradation of the sound quality of the amplifier.
Further the Canor TP134 boasts double copper foil shielding between the mains transformer to prevent mains noise from affecting the performance, a high capacitance anode power supply filtration providing “tight and accurate bass performance”, audiophile quality polypropylene capacitors in audio signal paths, custom designed bifilar wound output transformers “providing maximum power evenly across the entire bandwidth.
For the terminally lazy the TP134 is supplied with a remote control – Hifi Pig REALLY wants a remote control!
Price is £2495
Audion have today announced the release of their latest product Audion Select, a passive pre-amplifier.
“The name “Audion Select” has been given as it’s mainly an input selector and in the double entendre stakes its also quite a select product.” Said Graeme Holland of Audion.
The basic Audion Select is a passive pre-amplifier with 5 line inputs, 2 line outputs and an unattenuated tape loop. Volume control is by an Alps pot fitted and with ground loop lift switch and hard wired.
The chassis is designed to match the rest of the Audion range in looks and sound quality, and having the same size and shape will fit in with other Audion equipment when on your rack.
The retail price for the standard 5 channel model is anticipated at £475 and the Audio Slelect pre-amplifiers are available now and will be with our distributor (Deco Audio in the UK) in approx 1 weeks time.
There will be versions with 48way stepped attenuators, and / or silver wire, and possibly transformer volume control.
In future Audion will be developing a transistorized mm/mc phono stage (aimed at the Revolver market which Audion now owns), a select passive pre with balanced in/outs and even a headphone amp (valve) in the chassis.
Electrocompaniet is launching today a new integrated ampliﬁer with a built-in DAC in the Prelude range. The amplifier is based on the PI 2 amplifier and boasts 2 x 100 Watts. Up to 5 Digital sources can be connected to the PI 2D: two Coax, two TOSLink and one USB. Analog sources can be connected by one balanced XLR input and four single ended RCA inputs giving a total of 10 inputs.
The PI 2D will have a RRP of 3150€
• Input impedance ( Single Ended ): 60 kOhm
• THD + N: < 0.005%
• Output Impedance: < 0,03 Ohm
• Frequency response: 1 – 225kHz
• Channel separation: > 120 dB
• Noise ﬂoor ( 1Vrms, 20 – 20 kHz, balanced): <-130 dB
• Damping factor: >300
• Rated output power 8 ohms 2 x 100 W, 4 ohms 2 x 165 W, 2 ohms 2 x 220 W
• USB input: 192kHz/24bit Asynchronous
• Weight: 11Kg
The high-end VIRTU “Masters Reference” Mono PreAmplifier from Swiss manufacturer DaVinciAudio Labs is an interesting looking piece of hifi with its outsized controls and funky back plate.
The preamplifier is “designed without any cost constraint” and with “fanatic attention to detail and unconventional circuit design” which the company says separates them from the mainstream.
DaVinciAudio Labs claim that the VIRTU is a worldwide unique design, being single ended, transformer coupled and class A. This PreAmplifier is totally transformer coupled and is powered by an external PowerSupply.
The VIRTU sports 3 RCA and 2 XLR inputs and 2 switchable XLR/RCA outputs.
Key Design points (taken from the company’s press release)
1. Carefully selected components
2. Particular components for these amplifiers are single ended solid state design
3. All class A operating point
4. Own creation of transformer coupled circuit design
5. Output transformer potentiometer
6. Each stage has its own special hand made transformer, developed by DaVinciAudio in Bern
7. Chassis are milled from solid aluminum block
After having a long lasting and unhealthy lusting for Decware amplifiers, news that the American company was to produce a flagship pair of KT88 mono amps caused a flutter of excitement at Hifi Pig headquarters.
The Zen Torii monoblocs are designed to be your final amplifier purchase and are made to order by the company, so expect a substantial waiting time, but they do come with a lifetime warranty.
- 60 watt class-A monoblocks.
- 2 Transformer Balanced XLR Inputs – selectable.
- 1 Single-ended RCA input.
- Input level control.
- Ultra cool bias adjustment – no tools required and can be done on-the-fly.
- Large Simpson Meters – let you maintain perfect tube matching without effort.
- Exotic parts – cost no object design.
- KT88 Ultra-linear output stage.
Price is around $5500
Not everyone needs an integrated amplifier and not everyone has the room for monoblocks. The ST60P from Icon Audio is the company’s first stereo power amplifier and has no selector, no volume control and the input socket is directly connected to the grid of the first valve.
It has a big power supply, big output transformers, and uses the new KT120 valve.
The new KT120 has 50% more power than the KT88 tube.
The Ultra Linear/Triode switch on the amp allows switching from 80 watts to 40 watts of triode sound.
A built in bias meter simplifies keeping biasing.
Specifications and Features
Built in “Easy Bias” Meter
Hand wired point to point
Class A, Triode front end
Output circuit Ultralinear or Triode switchable
2x 6SL7 first stage valves
2x 6SN7 output driver valves
Valve Voltage regulator
Valve warm up, protection circuit
80w RMS* per ch Ultralinear 8Ω KT120
65w RMS* per ch Ultralinear 8Ω KT88
35w RMS* per ch Triode mode 8Ω KT120
Typical gain 70 (High) 20 (Low sensitivity)
Signal to noise level better than -97db
One line level inputs
Tape monitor circuit
44W, 40D, 23H, 35kg
Bob Carver have launched the VTA20S and will ship in July at a cost of $2100. The new stereo amplifier is rated at 20 WRMS in 2 channel stereo mode or 40 WRMS when used in single channel mono mode. The amplifier features auto biasing and low idle current greatly increasing EL84M output tube life.
Bob Carver hand-build their amplifiers in the US using point to point wiring and with no circuit board traces, no surface mount components and no depluggable connecters.
“The VTA20S represents Bob’s latest and greatest thinking on vacuum tube amplifier designs. ” says Bob Farinelli. A screen voltage regulator and DC restoration circuit minimizes crossover distortion and output tube power dissipation. “The 1.5 ohm output impedance coupled with current and voltage feedback loops also allows the amplifier to listen to the room via acoustic feedback from the speakers”. “The room to speaker to amplifier interaction delivers a huge acoustic space and allows us to believe the performance could have existed in another time and in another place. It sounds so beautiful!” Says Bob Carver.
- Input Impedance: 20K ohms in stereo, 125K ohms in mono
- Nominal Voltage Gain: 26dB (into 8 ohms)
- Input Tubes: 12AX7B
- Output Tubes: 1 complementary pair of EL84Ms per channel
- Rated Power (Stereo): 20 Watts
- Rated Power (Mono): 40 Watts
- Speaker Impedance: 4 to 16 ohms
- Noise: Better than 96dB A weighted ref. into 20 watts
- Frequency Response: 8 Hz to 40 kHz (-3dB)
- Full Power Bandwidth: 26Hz to 43 kHz without filters
- Distortion: Less than 0.5%
- Hum: -100dB
- Generator Source Impedance: 1.5 Ohms
- Weight: 17 pounds
Hi-fi can mean so many things to different folk, so a quick search on the internet seemed in order and Wikipedia had the following to say: “High fidelity – or hi-fi or hifi – reproduction is a term used by home stereo listeners and home audio enthusiasts (audiophiles) to refer to high-quality reproduction of sound to distinguish it from the poorer quality sound produced by inexpensive audio equipment.” More »
Solaja Audio is a Serbian Hifi manufacturer of valve based amplifiers and preamplifiers and owned by designer Dragan Solaja.
The Sedra One is a single ended headphone amplifier with one input and a passive volume control. A 6N2P feeds a single EL84 per channel and delivers 0.5W per channel in triode mode without negative feedback. It’s available in 115 and 230v versions on request and will cost.
The Sedra Two is an integrated amplifier with three RCA inputs and a 62NP double triode valve feeding a single EL84 per channel and delivering 1.5W per channel. With its tiny output the Sedra Two will be of interest to flea power aficionados.
Finally the Sedra Three (Pictured) is the line preamplifier in the series and offers 3 inputs and 2 outputs. Input is a 6N6P and the rectifier is an EZ81.
Each unit is 300€ plus shipping and we have contacted Soloja with regards review items.
Bryston Ltd, the Ontario based manufacturer of consumer and professional electronics, has announced the launch of its new B135 SST22 integrated amplifier which comes as a direct replacement for the B-100.
The new integrated provides 135 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 180 watts per channel at 4 ohms. There are 7 high level inputs, a pass through feature, one tape loop and a pre-out/main-in feature (the latter allows for easy integration into multi-channel AV systems). There is a headphone jack for those who prefer their listening to be a solitary affair and a fully functioning remote control is an option. There is also the option to add an onboard DAC.
The unit boasts three completely separate and independent custom toroidal power supplies (two for analogue and one for digital) to prevent cross talk and interaction between the digital and analogue sections of the amplifier.
The B135 SST22 comes with an impressive twenty year warranty.
Red Wine Audio, manufacturer of battery-powered purist hi-fi products, has announced their first battery-powered high output amplifier which has been designed to drive even the most demanding speakers with ease.
Red Wine have received past accolades from reviewers and customers alike for their battery powered and somewhat minimalist designs but the praise often comes with a caveat – the moderate output of their amplifiers has not been ideal in driving inefficient loudspeakers or driving conventional loudspeakers to high volumes in large rooms.
Output from the Liliana is rated at 115wpc RMS into 8-ohms (230wpc RMS into 4-ohms)
“My goal in designing Liliana was to take full advantage of our premium LiFePO4 battery technology,” says Vinnie Rossi, President of Red Wine Audio. Adding, “With 8 FETs implemented in the Class AB output stage, Liliana allows for some serious “dc-direct” current delivery.” More »