A while ago we ran a news item on the Coffman Labs G1-A preamp and thought you might also be interested in their new, tubed H1-A Headphone Amplifier which will debut at the Newport Audio Show in a couple weeks
Externally, the H1-A has a strong family resemblance to the G1-A. The design includes variable impedance output for both quarter-inch and mini headphone plugs, four inputs and an RCA line out for those wishing to use it as a preamp.
It uses a 6C4 tube for the gain stage which drives a pair of 50L6 or 25L6 tubes in push-pull mode which Coffman Labs say should be enough to drive almost all headphones and even high efficiency loudspeakers. Three separate output impedances are provided and you get four inputs (Three on the rear of the unit and a mini jack on the front). Right and left volume controls are provided on the front panel along with a source switch.
Like the G1-A it’s an all analogue design, completely hand-built in Hillsboro, Oregon USA.
Price is $2,295
The Audio Electronics by Cary Audio Lightning digital to analog converter(DAC) is now shipping and is available for purchase.
The Lightning DAC uses Asynchronous Streamlength™ Class 2.0 USB audio technology for streaming computer USB audio. The Lightning DAC also has coaxial and Toslink inputs up to 24 bit/192 kHz resolution.
The Lightning DAC starts with a custom-built power transformer and a high-current power supply.
A Wolfson WM8805 chipset is used as the input receiver for the two SP/DIF digital audio inputs whilst the XMOS USB chip does asynchronous processing of USB computer based music. It is able to handle multiple 24 bit/192kHz channels with extremely low latency, all at 500 MIPS.
Once the digital bitstream is managed it is sent to the digital to analog conversion section, comprised of two ESS Sabre ES9023 24/192 DAC chipsets.
Dimensions: 13.5″ L X 14″ W X 2.5″ H
Retail price: $1,295
Burson have introduced two new products aimed squarely at the headfi marketplace, the Burson Conductor SL9018 (pictured) and the Conductor SL1793.
The Conductor SL9018 is a streamlined version of the company’s already well established Conductor whilst the Conductor SL1793 is an enhanced version of Burson’s HA-160D.
The SL9018 will retail for $1550 whilst the SL1793 will be available for $1250. Both products will be released in June.
The SL9018 is a headphone amplifier, 32bit 200K DAC and 24bit 192K USB asynchronous DAC with fully discrete circuitry, a fully symmetrical FET input stage and will operate in pure class A mode. The 2 levels output stage will deliver 0.18W to 2W which Burson say will offer perfect control for any headphone. The SL9018 has 1 line level input using RCA inputs and 3 digital inputs.
The SL1793 is also a headphone amplifier and DAC and offers the same output power, uses the same USB receiver but differs in that it uses a Burr Brown 24 bit 192 PCM1793 DAC rather than the ESS9018 Sarb DAC of the SL9018.
True to the motto “After the HIGH END is before the HIGH END”, the course has already been
set for the next HIGH END show and the dates have now been fixed: 15 to 18 May 2014 in the MOC
You can read Hifi Pig’s final show report here and other coverage of Munich High End and other Hifi Shows around the world here
In part 5 of the show report from Munich High End 2013 we have a listen to the new Gryphon Audio Trident II loudspeakers, have a chat with Norbert Lehmann from Lehmann Audio and have a chat with newcomers Van de Leur who are launching a new valve pre and class D power amp. We also have a listen to German Physiks omnidirectional loudspeaker, Estelon loudspeakers, 3D Labs electronics and Jean Marie Reynaud loudspeakers. We warm our toes in the Gato room, get a look at some carbon nano tubes in the van den Hul room and have a look at some new kit from Chord. More »
Linette has finished her “Birds Eye View” of the Munich High End Show and you can read the final part here.
I’ve written part 3 and part 4 of the Show report but there is still much more to add including an interview with Norbert Lehmann of Lehmann Audio and an “in Show” review of some massive Gryphon Audio Loudspeakers that made their debut at the Munich High End Show.
We’re slowly working through all the photographs and notes we’ve made and we hope to have our coverage tied up by the end of this weekend…hopefully.
We received a press release from Sonance about an interesting looking hifi set up for use in the garden. The SonArray garden sound system by Sonance comes packaged in a single box with eight horn-shaped SR1 satellites and an underground subwoofer (should keep the moles at bay too).The simple daisy-chained loudspeakers attach to any standard two channel amplifier and the system will cover an area of 185sqm.
The company say that it produces sound quality and coverage “far beyond the reach of conventional garden rock speakers”. The Sonarray SR1 speakers, just 4 inches in diameter, are discreet enough to be located under plants or foliage, so the system won’t compromise your garden design or hard work.
Facing inwards from the perimeter and directed by the satellites’ horn-shaped enclosures, the SR1 is less likely to spill into adjacent gardens which should keep your neighbours on-side too.
Price is £2500.
You can read the second installment of Linette’s views on the Munich High End show, “A Bird’s Eye View”, where she’ll be talking about what stood out at the show for her.
Brands she discusses include Thoress who make some interesting looking valve amplifiers, German Physiks and their omnidirectional loudspeakers, Vexo amplifiers, Lehmann Audio and Estalon.
You can read it here – hope you enjoy it.
Part 1 is here
Legacy Audio, based in Springfield USA, premiered their Aeris loudspeaker to the European market at the Munich High End show 2013.
It’s a bold yet elegant looking loudspeaker and is packed with tech’. While touting 24-bit DSP and 1kwatts of internal bass power, the upper portion of Aeris is open-air dipole which the company says offers “fast decay of midbass frequencies and airy spacious highs”.
The 6 driver, 4.5 way system is the first to use the Legacy Dual Air Motion neodymium tweeter and a dipolar titanium encrusted 8” midrange with an enormous motor structure imported from Italy. The midbass is delivered by an open air 10” driver, while dual 12” subwoofers provide a linear volume displacement of nearly 200 cubic inches. The bass section is internally powered by dual 500Watt ICEpower® modules.
Chief Designer, Bill Dudleston, describes the development of the new Aeris loudspeaker: “ My initiative of providing a 4” AMT that could transition to the smoothest and most dynamic 8” midrange driver available was met with the challenge of accordion-folding 16 square inches of Kapton into the 4” long, 1” wide chamber. Neodymium was employed to provide the flux density required. The results were more uniform dispersion and tremendous attack. Treble now had natural weight and shimmer without tizz. The 10” dipolar driver completes the transition to the foundation provided by the dual 12” subs.”
Hifi Pig had a good listen to the Aeris at the Munich Highend show and you’ll be able to read what we thought very soon.
Frequency Range: 16-30 kHz, Sensitivity: 95 dB (@2.83 volts/1m) Upper cabinet dimensions (HxWxD): 147 cm x 37 cm x 41 cm
Base dimensions (HxWxD): 8 cm x 48 cm x 46 cm
Part one of Hifi Pig’s report of the Munich High End 2013 show is now up and live. We will be publishing lots more around the show with dozens of reports of what we saw and what we heard so keep popping back tot he site.
We think that giving the reports out in bite size chunks is preferable to one long piece and we hope you enjoy.
Once we finished all the write ups we will publish a slideshow of all the photographs (over 500) that we took at the show itself.
Part one is here
Arcam make some bold claims for their latest AV receiver, the AVR750 7.1 and the specs certainly look impressive. They launched the new receiver at the Munich High End show and we went along to have a bit of a listen in what was definitely one of the most lively rooms there.
• 4K (UHD) video compatible including upscaling
• 7 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputs, ARC compatible
• Auto setup with room correction
• Class G power amplification
• On board PSU for rSeries accessories
• Ethernet, RS232 and IR control
• Free iOS control app
Charlie Brennan the MD of Arcam says the followint about it.
“The AVR750 is, quite simply, the highest performing AV receiver Arcam has ever made. The AVR750 is an audiophile product by any measure. Equally at home with high resolution surround sound or two-channel music, the AVR750 delivers stunning realism with everything from heavy-weight blockbusters to your favourite concert video.
The power amplifiers within the AVR750 are perhaps the finest ever seen within any AV receiver. Power delivery is both clean and tight against a background noise level that is astoundingly low. Listeners can expect to be enthralled from the opening sequence to the final encore!”
We had a listen to the new receiver at Munich High End show on Saturday and, whilst we’re not usually great fans of A|V set ups, were very impressed with its performance through some KEF E series loudspeakers. You can read more in due course when we publish the Munich High End show reports in full.
Burson have announced a June launch for their Timekeeper amplifier. It is an 80W per channel Class-AB stereo power amp which can be bridged into a 240W mono block and is the same size as the company’s Conductor preamplifier.
There is a growing community of desktop audiophiles and the Timekeeper is very much aimed at this group of users. Burson say that these audiophiles want “high-end equipment that are desktop friendly and given the compact size of the Timekeeper amplifier they will not be disappointed”.
The Timekeeper looks to be a versatile bit of kit and you can have it running in stereo, then upgrade to 2 Timekeepers as you move from a desktop system to large room listening and from RCA systems to XLR systems.
Every bit of the Timekeeper is custom designed and built to achieve Burson’s “definition of perfection”.
Benchmark have announced their new Digital to Analogue Converter the DAC2 D. The DAC2 D has the same performance of the company’s DAC2 HGC but without the analogue inputs and the 12V trigger. Keeping the specs inline with DAC2 D, it has” lower noise, lower distortion, improved accuracy, outstanding musical detail, precise stereo imaging, an advanced digital filter design, and a new high-sample-rate Asynchronous USB Audio interface”. All inputs are isolated from interface jitter by Benchmark’s new UltraLock2™ jitter attenuation system. Internal digital processing and conversion is 32-bits, and includes 3.5 dB of headroom above 0 dBFS. Four balanced 32-bit D/A converter are summed together for each balanced output. Benchmark claim that the new DAC2 D has an analogue sound.
- Sample Rate Display
- Word Length Display
- More Digital Inputs (5 total)
- More Analog Outputs (3 total)
- Digital Pass Through
- Native DSD Conversion
- Polarity Switch
- Asynchronous USB 2.0
- Driverless Asynchronous USB 1.1
- Home Theater Bypass
- Power Switch
- Low Power Consumption
Price is $1795
KEF, the UK loudspeaker manufacturer, has announced its first ever range of headphones, the M500 (pictured) over-ear headphones, and the M200 in-ear buds.
The over-ear M500s use a full-range 40mm neodymium driver with a super light, copper clad aluminium voice-coil that’s been tuned by KEF’s engineers to deliver a “powerfully musical sound with a tight, clean bass”.
The M500s feature an aluminium frame, with breathable and sweat resistant memory foam earpads and headband.
The frame design also features a ‘Smart Hinge’; unlike most headphones that require two hinges to fold and rotate the ear pads, the M500s’ Smart Hinge can rotate on two axes, making them adaptable to different sized (and shaped). It also allows you to fold them up into a highly compact form for carrying around.
The in-ear M200 earphones utilise a user adjustable Secure Arm that helps to keep them snug in the ear, and a rigid aluminium driver housing that” eliminates unwanted vibrations and raises sound performance to new levels”.
The M200s also use ‘DDD’ (Dual Dynamic Driver) tech, a two-way system with a 10mm driver for the bass and a 5.5mm dynamic neodymium driver for midrange and high frequencies.
Monster, the headphone brand, has announced it is collaborating with luxury watchmaker Hublot to create Hublot Inspiration – a luxury noise cancelling headphone that offers an “unprecedented music listening and lifestyle experience”. The lightweight, rock-solid black and carbon fibre Hublot Inspiration over-ear headphones will be available this summer at Hublot retailers for EUR 1.750.00. UK price to be announced.
Reference Fidelity Components, under the leadership of our own Paul, has announced the launch of it’s all new, full range loudspeaker which they are calling the Reference Fidelio – a loudspeaker that has been created to be a “final destination”.
This floor standing loudspeaker utilises the legendary Tannoy 12 inch DC driver to deliver “breath-taking dynamics, scale and imaging”.
Each loudspeaker is hand crafted in 24mm Birch Ply and finished in a choice of real wood veneers. Front baffle edges are made from solid American Black Walnut.
Internal crossovers are hand built using “very high quality components throughout” including Claritycap ESA capacitors and Janxten air-cored inductors. Furthermore each components is hand picked to be within 1% tolerance.
It’s a front ported design and the cabinets are said to be exceptionally stiff, with interior bracing and panel surface damping designed to reduce panel resonance amplitudes in the critical mid-range frequency area. Not surprisingly each cabinet takes 80 -90 hours to complete.
The Reference Fidelio is available for audition or review.
- Frequency Response: 28Hz-20KHz (-6dB);
- Sensitivity: 92dB/1w/1m
- Nominal Impedance: 6 ohms (easy load)
- 25mm Solid Birch ply braced cabinet, choice of real wood veneers and finishes;
- 35mm ply/mdf laminated front baffle for low resonance
- Hand built and tuned custom crossovers.
- Net volume: 160 litres
- Dimensions: 1280x525x425mm; 70Kg approx per loudspeaker.
- Recommended amplifier power: From 25 Watts, valve or solid state
Completed Loudspeakers: £6, 495.00, Cabinets Only: £4,950, Cabinets plus Crossovers: £5,250 all depending on the veneers you choose.
At this year’s High End show in Munich, visitors can experience high end audio not just limited to the home but also in three high end motor cars.
Pagani and Sonus Faber
The exhibitor Audio Reference from Hamburg is presenting one of the most exciting sports cars on Earth, equipped with the exclusive Sonus Faber system. In future, Pagani, the Italian producer of luxury sports cars, will be fitting its vehicles with these exclusive sound systems. One of the ultimate dream cars with a price tag of around €1.4m will be at the show. (All pics are of this system)
Porche and Burmester
The Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer Porsche and the high-end audio company Burmester from Berlin have been working closely together for years now.
All in all the new Porsche Cayenne boasts 16 speakers with a total diaphragm area of 1,400 cm2. Providing in excess of 1,000 watts of output. This is enough to produce over 120 decibels of sound pressure in the vehicle, meaning that a large orchestra or hard rock band can be listened to at the original volume. Each of the 16 loudspeakers is controlled by its own preamp and power amp. Technologies and materials used from Burmester’s home audio range are used in the car’s system.
Volkswagon Touareg with Dynaudio
This year Dynaudio is presenting the Volkswagen Touareg with the Dynaudio Confidence premium sound system. 620 watts, 12 speakers and the latest DSP technology are boasted. All the chassis fitted in this Volkswagen are hand-finished components from Dynaudio’s main plant in the Danish town of Skanderborg.
Over nearly two decades the Acutus turntable from UK manufacturer Avid, has progressed to become renowned throughout the audio industry. Visually the turntable is a striking piece of engineering, its distinctive polished chrome finish having done much to set the fashion for open skeletal styling.
Whilst we at Hifi Pig always thought the turntable looked stunning in chrome, Avid had many requests for a black version, but due to the complexity in perfecting the standard of finish required this never happened. Now technological improvements and bespoke tooling have allowed the possibility of Avid offering a lustrous black finish on both the Acutus SP and Acutus Reference SP.
The Acutus SP Black and Acutus Reference SP Black are available now with a UK retail price of £12,000 and £17,000.
Atlas Cables has announced the launch of a new range of USB cables for computer audio applications. Available now, the Atlas Element USB comes in either A/B or A/B Mini form in multiple lengths from 0.5 meters to 5 meters.
Made up of parallel lay twisted-pair silver-plated high-purity OFC copper conductors encased in a high quality foamed Polyethylene dielectric, Atlas has paid particular attention to ensure that every conductor is identical in length. Using precision equipment to measure and micro-cut each conductor “ensures there is minimal time difference between each pair”.
To combat crosstalk between the twisted pair, the ground and the power conductors, Atlas uses a triple shielding technique that isolates the differential data, power and ground conductors from each other as well as providing an integral shield around the entire cable to help reject noise. In addition, the 95% outer screen prevents unwanted noise getting into the signal conductors, with its low inductance providing excellent transfer impedance at high frequencies.
The metal plug and head-shell connector has been designed to keep the characteristic impedance of the cable as stable as possible “to reduce jitter even further”.
Commenting on the new Atlas Element USB, Kevin Kelly, Managing Director of Atlas Cables said, “Every aspect of our new USB cables have been designed to enhance sound quality by reducing the jitter issues normally associated with USB cables. By stripping away the problems inherent with USB and overcoming those issues with applied engineering, we feel we have developed a product that will re-set the bar to which premium USB cables will need to be judged.”
0.5 metre £35.00
1.0 metre £37.50
1.5 metre £42.50
2.0 metre £47.50
3.0 metre £57.50
5.0 metre £77.50
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.
McIntosh Laboratory has launched the new C2500 – a valve preamp with 15 inputs. Designed to offer flexibility with both digital and analogue source components, the new C2500’s input complement includes two dedicated phono inputs (MM and MC) and five digital inputs, with D/A decoding at up to 32-bit/192kHz resolution.
The five-strong digital input suite in the McIntosh Digital Engine includes two coaxial and two assignable optical inputs at 24-bit/192kHz resolution, plus a dedicated asynchronous USB 2.0 input operating at up to 32-bit. The preamp’s analogue inputs include six line-level, two balanced, plus the aforementioned Moving Magnet and (adjustable) Moving Coil inputs. The C2500 also includes McIntosh’s new internal High Drive headphone amplifier, which offers increased gain and output power.
Internally, the C2500’s power supply, digital and control circuitry has been isolated from the analogue section and the C2500 boasts the best measured performance of any single-chassis McIntosh tube preamplifier.
The C2500 contains six dual-triode tubes (12AX7A) and further features include assignable tone controls (as needed), and the ability to connect up to three power amplifiers, two of which can be switched on and off for simple multiroom configurations. A Home Theatre Pass Through feature also allows for integration into existing multichannel home theatre systems.
The C2500 sells for £7,495 and is available now.
Jerry puts the King Rex HQ-1 headphone amplifier into his system and gives his opinions on this £600 unit.
Read the full review here.
Stewart Wennen takes a listen to the little Clones Audio 25i integrated amplifier and likes it a lot.
Read the full review here.
Cary Audio is partnering with KEF showing three complete systems at the New York Audio Show on the 12th -14th April. They will also be debuting their brand new Cary Audio DAC-100 24/192 hi-resolution USB DAC and a complete Audio Electronics setup including the new Lighting 24/192 USB DAC.
Their main system will consist of Cary Audio’s reference products, such as the SLP-05 tube preamplifier, SA-500.1 500 watt solid-state mono blocks, DAC-100 USB DAC and KEF Reference 207/2 floorstanding loudspeakers.
The second system will include the CAD-120S MkII tube amplifier, SLP-03 tube preamplifier, and CD-303t CD player/DAC.
The final system system will be made up of the new Audio Electronics by Cary Audio direct product line. The Constellation tube preamplifier, Hercules tube power amplifier, Lighting solid-state hi-resolution DAC and KEF LS50 monitors.
Clones Audio, the Hong Kong based manufacturer of gainclone amplifiers have announced the latest addition to its
product range – a power supply for the latest generation of Mac Mini called mPSU.
The ultra low-noise power supply replaces the original switching power supply in the Mac Mini and the manufacturer claims it dramatically improves performance. The simple installation takes just take 10mins and can be easily reversed for warranty issues.
- Custom cable for the power input of Mac Mini
- Special DC power cable for the mPSU to Mini
- The mPSU ultra low noise power supply unit
Price is $499