Constellation Audio has announced the introduction of the new Revelation Series of components, and their new Centaur II 500 Stereo Amplifier, at CES 2017. CEO Dr. Murali Murugasu challenged his team of designers and engineers to develop a new series of Constellation Audio components that “could deliver the essence of the Performance Series”. More »

Zanden Audio has announced the launch of their new model 3000mk2 preamplifier at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. More »

roksponsmallPro-Ject Audio Systems ha been a producer of analogue hifi audio equipment for more than 25 years. Pro-Ject say: ‘We have been producing a range of products with excellent sound and finish with an impeccable price-performance proposition. With the same principles in mind we started to create budget friendly yet high end audiophile electronics”. More »

The Connoisseur Of Sound D1 is Taiwanese in origin and costs £8000 in the UK. Janine Elliot puts it through its paces in a truly international rig.  More »

The Connoisseur Of Sound D1 is Tiawanese in origin and costs £8000 in the UK. Janine Elliot puts it through its paces in a truly international rig.  More »

roksponsmallTrinnov Audio is announcing their support for Roon music software, with availability expected in the first quarter of 2017. All existing Amethyst and Altitude32 preamplifier/processors can become Roon-Ready with a simple, and free, software update that includes a 60-day complimentary Roon license.
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The Lab12 pre 1 just arrived at Hifi Pig Towers and here it is being unboxed. We’ll be reviewing this valve preamplifier and you can WIN this very unit worth £1200 by visiting Hifi Pig’s stand at The Indulgence Show that takes place the 14th to 16th October at the Novotel London West in Hammersmith, London. All you need to do is pick up a postcard from our stand, or ask for one if you see us and follow the instructions to be in with a chance of winning! More »

LAMM Industries, of Brooklyn, New York have announced a new version of their L2 Reference preamp (pictured), the L2.1 Reference, which is going to become commercially available in October 2016. The L2.1 Reference employs a pure class A operation from input to output, with no overall feedback at any stage; all stages, including high current output buffers, are single-ended. Also featured are specially selected high voltage super linear MOS-FETs in the signal path and TKD stepped potentiometers for volume control. The preamplifier’s audibly neutral power supply features a choke contained filter, a full-wave vacuum tube rectifier and vacuum tube voltage regulator which, say LAMM, ‘allow it to virtually eliminate the hum and buzz and, ultimately, to ensure the authenticity of the essence of sound throughout the entire dynamic range without any colouration’. Other features include 3 inputs; one tape/home theatre processor loop; output signal phase switch; balanced and single-ended outputs; protection circuitry designed to enable manual muting of the output signal; and built-in remote on/off for LAMM power amplifiers.

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In a nutshell, the L2.1 Reference includes the following upgrades and modifications as compared to the L2 Reference. Increased immunity to unwanted radio frequency interference propagated via both radiation and conduction over signal lines & AC power systems. Certain modifications in protection and time delay circuitry. Improved signal/noise ratio. Replacement of a number of critical components with newly available types of better quality and utilisation of a technologically new type of pc-board with gold-plated traces and through-holes. The preamplifier parts like military-grade DALE/VISHAY metal-film resistors, RCD wire-wound resistors, TKD 41-step volume control potentiometers, BOURNS multi-turn potentiometers, VISHAY electrolytic capacitors, ELECTROCUBE, EPCOS and RIFA/KEMET film capacitors; HAMMOND chokes, god-plated NEUTRIC connectors, and military-grade low-noise long-life vacuum tubes. The L2.1 Reference also features a custom-designed super-low noise power transformer.

Retail price is likely to be around 22,000 US$

 

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The Baby Reference V2 is the latest incarnation of this British company’s TVC preamplifier and costs £6120 in standard form. Stuart Smith tries it out for Hifi Pig.

For the last few months since the Baby reference arrived I’ve been using it with a pair of Merrill Thor Class D power amplifiers, our Avantgarde Duo XD loudspeakers with the front end being the Lampizator Big 7 DAC being fed by files from the computer. Cables have been a mix of Tellurium Q, Vermouth Audio and Chord Company, with power conditioning via a Lab 12 gordian unit.

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Read the full review. 

 

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The Baby Reference V2 is the latest incarnation of this British company’s TVC preamplifier and costs £6120 in standard form. Stuart Smith tries it out for Hifi Pig.OUTSTANDINGLARGE300DPISTARONLINE More »

The £5500 Audio Music AM RT-1 active TVC single ended valve preamplifier is made and designed by Mr A M Fang in Guangdong Province in China. It comes with a fine pedigree, but will it cut the mustard with Dan Worth.  More »

The £5995 Leema Acoustics Libra is both a DAC and a preamplifier with a plethora of inputs that should be ample for anyone. Dominic Marsh gets to grips with it for Hifi Pig.  More »

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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Karma-AV have announced the availability of the Mark-Levinson № 526 dual- monaural preamplifier.  The № 526 is a 12-input dual-monaural design featuring Pure Path circuit topology, a class-A ‘Pure Phono’ stage, a 32-bit DAC, and a class-A Main Drive Headphone output. 28506315356_d66b00a514_h

Designed and engineered at HARMAN’s Engineering Centre of Excellence in Shelton, CT, USA, the Mark Levinson № 526 offers a signal path that is fully discrete, fully balanced and completely dual-monaural, with a discrete, balanced R-2R ladder volume control to maintain the highest level of sonic purity, resolution, transparency and dynamic range.

There is the choice of two balanced and three single-ended analogue audio inputs, stereo phono inputs and six digital inputs, supported by the Mark Levinson ‘Precision Link’ DAC and HARMAN Clari-Fi® music restoration technology. 28506331336_949b44e010_h

The Mark Levinson № 526 offers digital decoding up to 32-bit, 192kHz from PCM and double-speed DSD.

Its proprietary ‘Precision Link’ DAC incorporates an ESS Sabre32 Reference converter. Six digital audio inputs including asynchronous USB, AES/EBU balanced, TOSLINK optical and coaxial unbalanced, feed the digital signal path. For listeners whose libraries contain older or lower resolution content, the № 526 incorporates HARMAN Clari-Fi® music restoration technology.

In addition the № 526 is equipped with a ‘Pure Phono’ stage, which operates in class-A throughout, offering a fixed-gain MM section with five capacitive cartridge-loading settings, and an MC section with three gain settings and 10 resistive cartridge-loading settings. An infrasonic filter intelligently compensates for rumble and warping. 28506337826_d46f881270_h

The № 526 preamplifier delivers its signal to balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) stereo outputs, as well as a 1/4-inch (6.3mm) Main Drive Headphone output integrated with the front panel metalwork – a first for Mark Levinson. The Main Drive Headphone amplifier circuit drives up to 32-ohm headphones in class-A by employing the main output circuit rather than a secondary signal path.

The № 526 features a 6000- series aluminium housing in black with silver trim. It can be controlled from the front panel, from the remote control supplied and via a comprehensive range of system integration connections. Like all Mark Levinson products, the № 526 is designed and handcrafted in the USA.

Features: 

  • Pure Path discrete, direct coupled, fully balanced, dual-monaural signal path
  • 32-bit Precision Link DAC with three selectable filters and seven power supplies
  • Supports high-resolution PCM (up to 32-bit, 192kHz) and DSD (up to 5.6MHz)
  • Discrete, balanced R-2R Ladder volume control for precision and performance
  • Class-A Main Drive Headphone output for up to 32-ohm headphones using main circuit
  • Selectable fourth-order, 80 Hz high-pass filter allows seamless integration of subwoofers
  • Class-A Pure Phono stage with physically separated channels for MC and MM
  • 12 analogue, digital, and phono inputs; balanced, single-ended, and headphone outputs
  • Designed and handcrafted in the USA  

Mark Levinson No 526 Dual-Monaural Preamplifier typical retail price inc VAT: £15,000 ea

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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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McIntosh has just announced three new products: the C2600 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier, the MP100 Phono Preamplifier and the MVP901 Audio Video Player.

C2600 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier

Building upon the C2300 and C2500, the C2600 incorporates the best of the previous models while adding McIntosh’s advanced digital audio section and upgraded tube circuitry design. The C2600 is a versatile preamplifier with 16 inputs to connect virtually all analogue or digital music sources. Analogue inputs include 3 balanced, 4 unbalanced plus 1 each dedicated Moving Magnet and Moving Coil phono inputs. Digital inputs consist of 3 optical, 2 coax, 1 USB and 1 McIntosh exclusive MCT connection. Three sets of balanced and unbalanced analogue outputs connect the C2600 to the rest of the system. The C2600 features a 32-bit/384kHz, DSD digital-to-analog-converter (DAC) and is capable of decoding and playing DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 plus DXD 352.8kHz and DXD 384kHz. For headphone listening, there is the addition of Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®). Home Theater Pass Thru allows for seamless integration into a multi-channel home theatre system.mcintosh_C2600_news

MP100 Phono Preamplifier

The MP100 is the first dedicated phono preamplifier from McIntosh and is designed to help both new and experienced vinyl lovers get the most fidelity, performance and – most importantly – enjoyment from their albums. Like all McIntosh products, the MP100 is packed with features including: Moving Coil and Moving Magnet inputs; Moving Coil and Moving Magnet adjustable loading (6 settings each); balanced and unbalanced analogue outputs; optical, coax and USB digital outputs; and a Mono switch for when playing mono records to decrease noise and play the signal correctly. There are many ways to integrate the MP100 into an audio system. If someone is just building their system, it can become the main part of the setup. For someone who already has a system with an older but working preamp, the MP100 is a way to add modern phono features. For home theatre systems where a turntable is desired, the MP100 is an easy way to add full phono preamp capabilities without having to get a full-sized stereo preamp that would undoubtedly duplicate many of the home theatre processor’s features. When used with a properly configured conversion program, the MP100 can “rip” the records to a computer via USB to produce high quality digital files. The digital outputs are fixed at 24-bit/96kHz to capture the full dynamic range of a record while optimising digital file size. If an album has a very loud section, the digital output clipping protection prevents harsh sounding and speaker damaging distortion from being recorded to the file. Compact in size at just 3” tall, it shares the same 11.5” narrow chassis design as the MXA70 Integrated Audio System, MHA100 Headphone Amp and MB50 Streaming Audio Player to help build a cohesive system. It can also easily be added to a system comprised of standard, wider width chassis.

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MVP901 Audio Video Player

With its ability to upsample 1080P and lower resolutions to 4K Ultra HD, McIntosh MVP901 can breathe new life into a vast movie library and is a perfect complement to the 4K compatible McIntosh MX122 or MX160 home theatre processor. Built in decoding of Dolby® True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ plus the MVP901 can also pass the latest object-based 3D audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X™ and Auro-3D® to the compatible processor, it fully supports 3D Blu-ray discs while state of the art processing power allows for ultra-fast playback start speeds. A variety of advanced adjustments can be made to colour, image detail and video performance to improve picture quality. Not limited to just movies, the MVP901 can be also used for listening to music. CDs, SACDs and DVD-Audio discs can be enjoyed via an 8-channel, 32-bit/192kHz DAC that’s used in stereo quad balanced mode to produce high fidelity audio. The HDMI output can be used for multi-channel music playback. A triple laser optical pickup uses one objective lens for the different wavelengths and is optimised for various disc types. Three USB ports allow playback of audio and video files from flash drives. Network streaming and BD-Live is available through the ethernet connection.mcintosh_MVP901_news

Pricing* and Availability

Orders will be accepted soon for all three products with shipping anticipated in August. Target retail price for each (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded):

C2600: $7,000 USD

MP100: $2,000 USD

MVP901: $5,500 USD

*Pricing subject to change.

 

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At £14500 for the pair, the Grandinote Proemio preamp and Silva power amplifier are far from bargain basement fodder, but do they warrant such a price-tag? Stuart Smith finds out.  More »

 

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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“Designed and manufactured in New Zealand, the JAVA is sure to win the hearts and minds of audiophiles worldwide and bring music lovers closer to the music they love” say the company launching this new LDR pre-amplifier via Kickstarter.

Activated by light, the JAVA utilises LDR (light dependent resistor) technology in a unique circuit design. It works by varying current to alter the intensity of an internal LED, which in turn varies resistance to adjust the volume level, creating the purest possible path for the delicate audio signal.jqvq

The JAVA comes in three flavours :

JAVA SINGLE SHOT : With three pairs of unbalanced (RCA) inputs and a single pair of unbalanced outputs.

JAVA DOUBLE SHOT : It adds two further pairs of inputs and another pair of outputs, together with a headphone stage and remote volume control.
JAVA TRIPLE SHOT : The JAVA Triple Shot features a mix of two pairs of balanced inputs and three pairs of unbalanced inputs, as well as balanced and unbalanced outputs. Also included is the headphone stage and remote volume control found on the Double Shot.

If successful at the Kickstarter stage the pre-amplifier will be submitted for CE certification and – once approved – will be stamped accordingly, say the company.

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Electrocompaniet have announced the EC1 6DX that incorporates and integrated amplifier along with a streamer and digital to analogue conversion.The built-in streamer is said to be flexible and easy to use. It can play directly from music services such as Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify, can be fed music through AirPlay or DLNA, and it can index and play from your own music collection stored in your network. The powerful hardware ensures that all popular formats are supported (including DSD) and that continuous software upgrades can support the latest and streaming services. ECI6DX_front_med-res

The streamer shares the same DNA as the ECM 2 and the new EC Living product line. This means that you can use the same apps and interface, and play all of the same music on all units. All units will work equally well together.ECI_6DX_rear_med_res

The ECI 6DX can be operated by their iOS & Android application, the universal webinterface, or with the straightforward IR remote control.

The converter will deal with 24bit /192kHz files, has SPDIF; 2 Toslink and a USB input. The streamer section has 802.11 Wifi with MIMO a 1Gigabit Ethernet and a USB for external storage.   Supported formats are: WAV/WAVE, MP3, AAC+, Vorbis, AC3, DTS, ALAC, FLAC, APE, WMA, up to 192kHZ/24bit, DSD, up to DSD 128 (5.6 MHz)

 Specifications

Preamplifier section    
Input impedance ( Balanced input ) 47Kohm  
Maximum input level 10 Volt RMS  
Noise floor ( 1Vrms, 20 – 20 kHz, balanced) -135 dB  
THD + N   (1Vrms, 20 – 20 kHz, balanced) <0.004%  
Gain (Balanced) 0 dB  
     
Amplifier section    
Output Impedance < 0,02 Ohm  
Frequency response 1 – 150 kHz  
Channel separation > 120 dB  
THD ( 20 – 20 kHz) < 0.004%  
Maximum peak current >100A  
Damping factor  8 ohm load >350  
I Input sensitivity  120W output 1.3Vrms  
Input sensitivity HT  120W output 1Vrms  
Gain HT Input x36 (31 dB)  
Rated output power    
8 ohms 2 x 125 W  
4 ohms 2 x 200 W  
2 ohms 2 x 370 W  
 
Dimensions    
Width 465 mm / 18.3 inches  
Depth 405 mm / 16 inches  
Height 128 mm / 5 inches  
Weight 20Kg / 44 lbs.  

 

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Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs, LLC announce the gold series Christine Reference Preamplifier

See it at the World Premiere at T.H.E Show 2016, California, Room 1417.ChristineFrontMA1027

“The Christine Reference Pre-amplifier is built with the finest components and attention to every detail like never before. Hand routed PCB layout of each trace, the placement of the trace, the length of the trace, the multistage power supplies, the selection and matching of the finest components, balanced configuration, isolation of power, all hand soldered connections, Silver plated pure copper wire with Teflon sleeving are only some of the engineering that make the Christine Reference Pre-amplifier so special.  Each unit is hand built and tested from the board level up to the finished unit. An external AC/DC Power supply unit ensures very quiet operations. The multistage power supply is so good, that power cords do not make a difference and the unit is impervious to noise on the AC line. ”

Specifications:

Frequency Response: to 800kHz 0.1db, 1.5MHz -3db

S/N:  110db

THD: 0.003%

Volume control:  -84db to +26db, 0.5dB steps, -84db attenuation, +26dB gain

Pre-set Gain range:  +/- 12db

Maximum volume and Minimum Volume Setting Range: 0 to 115db.

Input voltage Max:    +/- 10 Volts

Output Voltage Max: +/- 12 Volts

Inputs:   4 Balanced inputs

Outputs: 2 Balanced Outputs

Remote Trigger at 12 Volts, 20mA.

External Power Supply that is double fused.

1.25 inch White LED display.

Absolute Polarity selection: 0, 180