September has been another busy month with lots happening in Hifi, just in case you missed anything here’s the Hifi Pig monthly round up. We announced the winners of our first Wheelchair fundraiser and don’t forget we are running our second fund raiser to get a ‘Wheelchair for Ricky’, you still have time to donate and enter to win a Special Edition VPI Player Turntable.
August has been busy for us Piglets, not only did we launch our Wheelchair For Ricky fund-raising campaign and raffle (which you can still donate to to win great prizes), we went to a prog rock festival and there’s been plenty of hifi news. In case you missed anything, here’s a round up of what happened in August. From the opening of a new Hifi bar/restaurant in London, to new products from many brands including Quad, Chord, Martin Logan, Dali and Clearaudio, to what’s happening at hifi events like Canjam Europe and Indulgence, you get all the latest hifi news first on Hifi Pig!
A very smart cuboid package has just arrived at Hifi Pig Towers, looking forward to having a play with this, especially as it promises everything the Mu-So has and more bass….pass the Hardfloor, I feel a sub bass test coming on!
There has been a lot going on in the hifi universe, just in case you missed anything, here’s a round up of what went on in July:
So then, the basic minimum criteria for a mains cable’s performance is that it must get the old juice from the wall socket to the input of my hi-fi component without spilling any of it on the carpet.
Hifi Pig does not advocate anyone making ANY unauthorized or unsafe changes to their mains supply or equipment in ANY way! Always consult a professional and qualified electrician.
September 2015 sees Andrew Combs returning to the UK, supported by his label-mate Barna Howard.
Following on from an appearance at End Of The Road Festival on Friday 4th September, Andrew and his band will tour the UK promoting their 2015 album All These Dreams. The album marked a huge step forward for the Nashville-based singer-songwriter. Using his gifts for lyricism and wry observation, Combs weaves tales of love, sin and redemption on the new album, in a style that brings together classic country and contemporary pop. Combs continues to carve out his own singular path as an artist, finally reaching the heights of his Texas songwriting heroes. Rough Trade Shops made All These Dreams one of their Albums Of The Month as well as selecting one of the tracks to be included on their Counter Culture 14 album.
06 Sep – OXFORD, Bullingdon
07 Sep – BRIGHTON, Prince Albert
08 Sep – LONDON, Hoxton Bar & Kitchen
09 Sep – NOTTINGHAM, The Maze
10 Sep – EDINBURGH, Voodoo Rooms
11 Sep – NEWCASTLE, Cluny 2
12 Sep – LEEDS, Fox & Newt
13 Sep – WINCHESTER, The Railway (SC4M Festival)
Well today is Fete de la Musique in France and this is the one day of the year where towns and villages across the country put on a great deal of free music in their streets and bars. The whole country comes out in a big celebration of all things musical and a great time is had by all…needless to say it’s banging it down with rain here at the moment. More »
There are those in hifi that like to collect boxes and I’m not ashamed to say that I count myself in this category. I like the fact that my hifi takes up a whole wall in one room of the house and I don’t think I would get the same satisfaction from a one box hi-fi system. I can see the benefits of having all the component parts of a hifi in one convenient unit, but I’m afraid it just doesn’t appeal to me. That said I do quite like my hifi to be functional…ok I quite like ugly hifi…or hi-fi that most would consider to be ugly…I prefer the word “different”. More »
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 »
Epiphany Acoustics is a small British company owned by Olivier Freeborn and are very much of the thought that high-end hifi should not be the preserve of the very wealthy.
The EHP-O2 has been designed from the ground up to offer the very best head-fi performance whilst maintaining its portability. All the components used in this diminutive headphone amplifier have been “exhaustively selected and tested to offer the user true audiophile quality” and result in a THD of just 0.0017% and a noise floor of -105dB.
With the two lightweight rechargeable batteries the unit can be used for up to 8 hours and with the included AC adaptor/charger it becomes a very capable and compact desktop amplifier to boot.
The amplifier can be optimised to almost any headphone you choose using the on board gain switch and connection to your source and headphones is made with the 3.5mm jacks to keep the weight and form factor to an absolute minimum. More »
MartinLogan, well known the world over for their electrostatic speaker technology, announces this month the slender Motion® SLM, a wall-hanging or free standing LCR speaker that is ”powerful enough to stand alone and detailed enough to be used in conjunction with floor standing MartinLogan speakers”. The Motion SLM features dual four-inch, ultra-slim fibre cone woofers and dual four-inch high-velocity passive bass radiators, paired with a Folded Motion™ tweeter – all in an ultra-slim profile designed with super-thin TVs in mind.
The speakers are slim enough to complement even the thinnest of wall-mounted HD displays (even projection screens) and the Motion SLM is designed to step in where underpowered, unnatural sounding TV speakers fall short. The Motion SLM’s is said to have a “larger-than-its-size performance” and this down to the dual ultra-slim fibre cone woofers and high-velocity passive bass radiators, which provide low-end bass extension from an ultra-slim profile combined with the advanced resolution Folded Motion tweeter. The high-gloss black SLM cabinet is only 1.45-inches thin, for a total wall protrusion of 1.83-inches when used with magnetic grille and included wall mount bracket. More »
With immediate effect – and until the 31st May 2012 – customers can obtain a minimum trade-up value from an authorised Meridian retailer on selected CD Players and Controller products against the purchase of a new 800 Reference Series product. More »
For the 4th successive year, the HiFi Wigwam internet hifi & music forum has organised its very own hifi show. This is hosted in the spacious Scalford Hall Hotel in the heart of rural Leicestershire UK, just outside the town of Melton Mowbray, which is otherwise famous for its pork pies! Hifi Pigs beware …
For the first 2 years the Show was held in collaboration with Chester Group, who are experienced with organising hifi shows worldwide. For 2011 and 2012, though, the Hifi Wigwam forum has been solely responsible.
Other than in the main reception area, hifi dealers and manufacturers are not allowed in! Instead the show’s focus is on the real life hifi systems belonging to forum members.
Some 50 systems were presented this year, each in their own room, ranging from the small and low cost end of the spectrum to no holds barred super systems, and with components from well known established manufacturers to vintage hifi, and DIY constructions of amazing appearance! More »
The NDS is an audiophile source, capable of playing and streaming audio over a home network at up to 24bit/192kHz resolution. It offers internet radio yet forgoes a DAB and FM radio tuner to minimise noise. It includes three S/PDIF digital inputs for connection to external digital sources, such as a computer or CD player. A front-panel USB port complets the feature set – either connect an iPhone or iPod digitally to allow the NDS to control and play stored audio or play audio from a USB memory stick, even hi-resolution WAV or FLAC files, with full on-screen control. The NDS will support all the main file formats. WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, AAC, Windows Media-formatted content, Ogg Vorbis and MP3 files are all catered for, as is gapless playback.
In true Naim reference engineering style, the NDS requires the use of an external power supply. The XP5 XS, XPS and 555 PS are all suitable matches. Performance can be further enhanced by the addition of a second Burndy cable (in the case of 555 PS only) splitting out the analogue and digital sections, which a second 555 PS will bring about even greater gains.
Like its fellow network players, the NDS can be controlled by Naim’s n-Stream control app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The app also alows control of a Naim system’s inputs and volume. The supplied remote and front-panel interface provide simple and easily accessed control.
How many times have you listened to a set of ‘speakers in a showroom to be surprised, or even disappointed when after purchasing, dragging them (carefully) home and impatiently setting them up only to be rewarded with something that bore no relationship with the sound that you heard at the dealers? Besides the usual caveats of allowing ‘speakers to break-in for 50 hours or more so that the moving parts can free up slightly, what else is there to be concerned with? More »
Now don’t get me wrong I do like computers. I use a computer daily. I’m even using one now to write this article. Computers have enabled me to work from home, do that away from the UK and even allows me communicate in real time with folks all over the world at the push of a mouse button. I get computers and I use one daily despite my sausage fingers and one fingered typing style!
Onkyo recently announced the release of the first models from its 2012 range. These comprise four receivers all engineered to deliver superior sound quality, better features, and value for money, compared to their outgoing equivalents.
The receivers are:
TX-SR313 5.1-channel home cinema receiver
TX-NR414 networked 5.1-channel home cinema receiver
TX-NR515 networked 7.2-channel home cinema receiver
TX-NR616 THX Select2 Plus-certified home cinema receiver
Beginning with the affordable TX-SR313 (100w per channel) this boasts WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology), a low negative-feedback design philosophy that Onkyo says “reduces signal noise and guarantees superb performance with minimal distortion”. Discrete output-stage components – not cheap ‘all-in-one’ chips – are said to significantly improve audio quality. More »
A new CD compiled by IsoTek, the pioneering brand of power conditioning products for hi-fi and home cinema systems, aims to improve the sound of audio systems by ensuring they are set up correctly and ready to perform at their best.
The Ultimate System Set-Up Disc comprises 20 tracks to test and fine-tune key elements of two-channel system performance, and is designed to be both practical and easy to use. The CD includes a selection of superbly performed, recorded and produced music from the legendary Opus3 audiophile record label, each one chosen to test specific elements of audio performance, together with a unique sequence of specially prepared sounds and test tones to help with things like speaker positioning and system optimisation.
The disc begins by testing stereo and phase, with further tests for basic speaker positioning, then stereo and front-to-back soundstage depth. These tracks (1 to 12) help to fine-tune the way a system is set up, in order to optimise its performance.
Tracks 13 and 14 provide a frequency range test – a useful way to examine the bandwidth that a system is able to deliver. The disc then concludes with six music tracks that have been specially selected from the Opus3 catalogue, each one capturing a certain quality associated with two-channel replay, be it timing, atmosphere, soundstaging, dynamics or bass depth.
The six music tracks from Opus3 include an interpretation of Frank Zappaʼs Dog Breath Variations/Uncle Meat by the Omnibus Wind Ensemble, Everybody Loves My Baby performed by Eva Taylor, Bachʼs Toccata and Fugue in D minor with organ played by Matthias Wager and a track from Eric Bibbʼs new album, Blues, Ballads & Work Songs.
The Ultimate System Set-Up Disc is available now from IsoTek stockists, priced at £19.95.
Hot on the footsteps of the DacMagic Plus, Cambridge Audio announces another arrival to the DacMagic family. The DacMagic 100 is an entry-level digital to analogue converter designed to enhance a whole range of digital audio devices.
Based on the same compact chassis as the iD100 iPad / iPhone dock, DacMagic 100 is said to be the ideal partner for this digital dock and it claims to significantly upgrade the quality of audio stored or streamed from a docked Apple device. In addition, there are three digital connections for connecting a wide range of products including TVs, network music players and Blu-ray players. DacMagic 100 is equipped with Cambridge Audio’s latest USB audio input which allows studio master, uncompressed 24-bit / 192kHz files to be upgraded from any Windows or Apple computer. More »
This is the UKs largest hi-fi, home cinema and audiophile show and all the major industry players, large and small will be in attendance.
The show boasts a great location right in the heart of Bristol with easy access by train, plane or car. Prices are Adults £9, Senior Citizens (over 65)/Student £6 Accompanied Children under 16 free and students can even claim a free pair of Headphones worth £14.95 when producing valid Student ID. Sadly that was a long long time ago for this porker.
At the time of writing there are 192 exhibitors taking part.
BD Audio is an established company providing high-quality products and services to the U.K. hi-fi market. Based in Malvern, Worcestershire, the firm is owned and operated by Jack Durant. Well known to audio enthusiasts, Jack has many years of experience and has been involved in the design and manufacture of a number of interesting projects. Jack is also a fully-qualified and registered electrical installer, and in addition to routine installation is able to offer services such as the fitment of dedicated, high-current mains supplies for audio and audio-visual systems. Installations are issued with certification to building regulations, and is fully insured and guaranteed for five years. BD Audio can also offer servicing, repair and upgrade facilities for older and existing Ming Da products.
BD Audio will be exhibiting at this years Bristol Sound and Vision Show and will have the full range of 2 channel amplifiers available for demonstration throughout the 3 days, along with the cd player and phono stages, just drop in and let Jack know if there is a particular amp or pre/power combo you’d like to hear and he’ll will be happy to arrange this for you. More than happy to play your choices of music too which makes a refreshing change.
I recently received a message through one of the websites i go on about a new audiophile hifi cable manufacturer from the UK. Curious I had a look at the website as i was after a headphone cable for my new Grado 325is ‘phones.
The guy I spoke to at Reference Fidelity Components couldn’t have been more helpful and although he didn’t have a suitable cable on the site he agreed to make one for me. The cable is very well built and does its job perfectly -so much better than the flimsy stuff you can buy through manufacturers themselves. The cable is now on sale through the website priced at a very reasonable £45 for a 5metre cable. The headphone cable uses Klotz low capacitance twin core cable and professional quality Neutrik quarter inch NJ3FC6 sockets with NP3X black gold plated quarter inch jack plugs.
I did suggest that he call the cable the “Hifipig Headphone Cable” but he decided to go with Fidelity Voyager in keeping with the rest of his range of interconnects, mains cable and digital cables.
If you are after a great audiophile hifi cable at a fantastic price you really could do a lot worse than talk to these people.