Aurorasounds’ is a high-end audio company from Yokohama, Japan. Designer and director Shinobu Karaki has 28 years experience working for Texas Instruments Japan Inc and is also a passionate musician, music teacher and an audiophile.
Aurorasounds’ latest development is a phono-stage called VIDA (Vinyl Disk Amplifier). The two box VIDA uses an LCR network for RIAA equalisation via Lundahl transformers combined with old-world craftsmanship offering “outstanding performance” and fully adjustable loading for both moving coil and moving magnet phono cartridges. The phonostage has no capacitors in its signal path and comes as standard with RCA inputs/outputs which can be upgraded to XLR connectors.
The VIDA also features a stereo/mono switch, a built in cartridge demagnetizer and a rumble filter.
Price is £3199.95
Timestep are not your average hi-fi manufacturer, they are also internationally renowned designers and manufacturers of state-of-the-art weather satellite systems of all things and now Timestep have announced the launch of the new T-01MC moving coil phono stage.
The T-01MC is a minimalist design, avoiding any unnecessary switching that would “introduce extra contacts and therefore noise and distortion” and should offer great performance with 95% of moving coil cartridges. It has been developed and tested with a wide spectrum of cartridges ranging from the Denon DL-103 to the Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement and overall design has been by the renowned Dave Cawley. The phono stage can be ordered in custom configuration to suit specific cartridges, and subsequently reconfigured to perfectly match any moving coil cartridge.
The design of the T-01MC avoids the use of integrated circuits and instead FETs (field effect transistors) are used in a fully discrete dual-mono zero negative feedback design.
The gain and input loading are fixed as in most situations this feature is a set-once process. The settings chosen should be great for the vast majority of moving coil cartridges on the market however, custom input loading can be specified and can be altered by Timestep at any time. The company say that this method saves “considerable cost over switchable units, as well as providing the shortest, cleanest signal path ensuring the highest performance”.
The unit comes in at £995 and has a whopping 6 year guarantee.
Hagerman Audio Labs is a small manufacturer based in Honolulu and has recently announced the introduction of the valve phonostage, The Violin.
Offering both Moving Magnet and Moving Coil stages The Violin allows for fine tuning of gain, eq, polarity and operates in Class A with no feedback.
The front-end MC gain uses low-noise matched JFETs to boost up to MM levels, where the vacuum tubes take over providing all gain, equalization and output buffering.
- Gain: 44dB (MM) / 54dB, 60dB, 63dB, 65dB (MC)
- Input Impedance: 50k (MM) / 955, 305, 170, 122, 84, 70, 59, 52 (MC)
- Output Impedance: 600 ohms
- RIAA Response: +/-0.5dB from 20Hz to 20kHz
- Bandwidth: 6Hz to 500kHz
- Distortion: <0.5% @1kHz
- Noise: 82dBA (MM) / 74dBA (MC)
- Size: 17″ x 8″ x 6.5″
- Weight: 12 lbs.
- Power: 120Vac/240Vac 35W
- Tube Compliment: 12AX7 x 2, 12AU7 x 2, 5AR4 x 1
The name Avid will be familiar to many of our readers and now the company have launched an additional two phonostages to their range. The first is the Pellere which bridges the gap between the Pulsare and Pulsus and is said to offer a new level of performance at this market price point.
The Pellere closely follows the design of the Pulsare, using the same internal high specification components, being fully balanced and offering both RCA and XLR connections. The same loading options as the Pulsare are offered but using external DIP switches similar to the Pulsus, conveniently located on the underside of the casework. Similar to the Pulsare an external purpose-designed regulated power supply is used.
Pellere is finished in the same distinctive casework as other Avid products and in keeping with all their products, all manufacturing and testing is done within the company’s new factory based near Huntingdon, UK. The Pellere is available now with a UK retail price of £2,500
In addition to the Pellere Avid have also launched the Pellar phono stage which becomes their entry-level phonostage. Designed from the knowledge gained with the Pulsus and sharing many components the Pellar incorporates an internal power supply and boasts rear mounted connections allowing for RCA input with RCA output.
The default resistance value is set to 47k, making it ideal for MM cartridge types. An additional set of RCA connectors allows the resistance values to be tailored to any desired value; so all MC cartridge types are accommodated too.
On the underside of the unit, unusual in this price region, gain settings are available for all MM, low output and high output MC types. Price is £600
The Ming Da MC-Phono 2006 Phonostage was reviewed along with other Ming Da equipment and can be found here
New UK dealership BD-Audio, based in the lovely UK Midlands town of Malvern and headed up by Jack Durant, has taken on the Chinese designed & manufactured Ming Da brand of valve-based electronics.
Looking at the pricing of the equipment, many folk might quite understandably do a double-take – perceived value is extremely competitive, especially at the lower end of the price range. When the kit is seen ‘in the flesh’ the feeling of great value for money is further enhanced – these are lovely items to behold. Production quality seems very high and the aesthetic design is distinctive and attractive. Warranty is 2 years on the equipment and an unusually generous 1 year on the valves.
Jack paid a visit to my humble abode a few days ago and brought with him a selection of Ming Da kit for me to audition and review.
I listened to all of the equipment with the stock Chinese valves, and although I have no reason to think they are poor, you will certainly be able to obtain different sonic flavours with a bit of ‘valve rolling’.
Remarkably ugly valve cages are provided to meet CE regulations; these are easily removed for when they are not required to keep inquiring small hands or paws at bay!
Ming Da MC-7SE pre-amp
With a current UK retail price of £1520 this remote controlled (volume level and mute) stereo valve pre-amp is a lovely thing for an audiophile to behold.
4 pairs of stereo RCA inputs and 2 pairs of RCA outputs but no fixed level output (“tape”) is available. The circuit includes five valves (tubes), four of these valves are the 6SN7 type, the other, a rectifier, is a 5U4G. More »
The Antelope Audio Rubicon Atomic is the world’s first 384 kHz converter, phonostage preamp and headphone amplifier with an integrated atomic clock, which is said to be 100,000 times more stable than traditional crystal oscillators.
“I find the idea of an audio enthusiast being able to hear his/her favorite recordings clocked by the world’s most stable clock very exciting. I believe this will bring the music appreciation in the home environment to a completely new level compared only to the precision and sonic detail representation available at the finest professional listening rooms,” shared Igor Levin, CEO and founder of Antelope Audio.
The Dac also boasts Antelope’s “64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking” technology and the Rubidium is said to achieve never before seen performance with regards jitter. The technology used in the Rubicon is the same as used in the company’s master clocks used in film scores and mastering studios.
The Preamp has an on-board transformer based discrete JFET phonostage and ultra-high sample rate A/D conversion. – these features, along with USB recording will allow users to digitize their analogue music.
DLNA streaming gives users the opportunity to wirelessly push audio files from their smart phone, PC or NAS (Network-attached storage) server and play the content through the DAC.
Rubicon will be presented for the first time to the public during the Munich High End Show, in hall 3, booth A 04, at 2 pm, on May 3rd.
Electrocompaniet was created forty years ago and they are the largest manufacturer of high quality audio equipment in Norway, they export to over fifty countries and their range of amplifiers, compact disc players, preamplifiers, digital to analogue converters and loudspeakers can be found in every corner of the world.
The Electrocompaniet ECP 1 is an aesthetically pleasing bit of kit which measures nine and a half inches wide, three inches high and seven inches deep. The front panel has the distinctive Electrocompaniet Perspex panel and gold details, along with the company’s logo and a blue LED to indicate it’s receiving power from the mains via its dedicated wall-wart transformer and to tell you if it’s in MM or MC mode. The mention of gold detail and blue LEDs gives the impression that this is an over the top design, but I find it quite understated and, as I say, pleasing on the eye. My only one concern over the appearance of this phonostage is that the LED is a little bright. It was popular with my wife whose usual comment when asked about the look of an item of hifi is “It’s another black box!” She loves the LED and the starlight effect it gives through the Perspex. More »
Blue Horizon has unveiled its new phono preamplifier, the Profono. The Profono has been in development for the past two years and is the result of “painstaking design and engineering to deliver a high-quality yet affordable solution for anyone wanting to make the most of their record collection”.
The Profono is said to be a “great step-up option to replace budget phono preamps that “simply don’t cut the sonic mustard.”
Blue Horizon say that the Profono is “designed and built to be a genuinely high-end phono preamplifier delivered at a highly competitive price point, able to compete with – and even outperform – models at twice the cost”.
An interesting feature of the Profono is that, Instead of the the cheap ‘dip switches’ found in many phono stages, they are replaced by a series of shunt resistors to set cartridge impedance.
The Profono is compact in size and looks sturdily built. Casework looks of good quality for this price point and claims to serve to reject sonically deleterious RFI and keep the unit solidly in position when heavy cables are connected – something that cannot be said of all phonostages! More »
Simaudio have announced the release of three new bits of kit which should be ready for shipping with immediate effect.
The MOON 810LP Phono Preamplifier, a dual-mono fully balanced design and said by Simaudio to be an “all out assault” on phono preamplification. It has selectable gain, impedance loading, capacitance loading and equalization curves (accomplished using DIP switches.) The 810Lp is said to work with virtually any cartridge.