Almost one year after the debut with its ZeroUno DAC on the international scene of high end audio CanEVER Audio from Venice, Italy presents the ZeroUno PLUS. More »

Voxativ, the high end hifi manufacturer from, Berlin dropped us a message to tell us what they will be showing at Axpona and Shanghai. More »

Amare Musica of Poland, who have manufactured audio products since 2012, have announced that all of their products will now be supplied with Franc Audio Accessories feet. More »

Based in Serbia, Trafomatic are well known in audio circles, not least for their £100 000 Elysium amplifiers, but they also produce more moderately priced products. However, £2350 is a serious commitment for a headphone amplifier, Janine Elliot takes a listen to the Audio Head 2 and tells us if it is worth the outlay.  More »

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 »

Trafomatic Audio of Serbia sent us over pictures of their new Evolution amplifier series. 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 »

Find out what KR Audio are exhibiting at High End Munich 2017…

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Eunice Kron of KR Audio dropped us a line to tell us what she would be bringing to this year’s High End Munich show.

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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 »

The iTube2 is a tubed output stage; tube preamp; tube buffer and an impedance-matching device. Put the iTube2 before a solid-state preamp with another iTube2 after it to create the effect of tubing the whole audio chain. Or simply use the iTube2 as a preamp by itself. The iTube2 with trickle-down technology from the flagship ‘Pro’ series has been redesigned with new parts and new circuitry. Only the GE5670 tube remains. More »

Janine Elliot charts the rise and fall and rise again of the Thermionic Tube/valve in this fascinating and informative article.  More »

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 »

 

Now in its 81st year, Quad has been making valve amplifiers for home use since the late 1940s. The company’s latest model, the VA-One, brings the concept bang up to date; a compact integrated amplifier that fuses Quad’s traditional valve-based audio expertise with modern digital audio streaming.4558_Quad_VA-One_ONLINE

With a footprint measuring just 18x33cm, the VA-One is very compact for a stereo valve amp – sufficiently small to sit comfortably on a desk.

Three digital audio inputs – optical, coaxial and asynchronous USB – support data up to 24-bit/192kHz, and an RCA-phono input gives the option to connect an analogue source like a CD player or a turntable (when used with a suitable phono stage). In addition, those who enjoy the freedom of wireless connectivity can pair smartphones, tablets and computers via Bluetooth, with support for the sonically superior aptX codec.

The preamp section incorporates an ECC83 high-impedance triode, feeding an ECC82 twin triode driver and phase splitter stage. The output stage uses two EL84 pentodes per channel in push-pull configuration, delivering 2x15W.4559_Quad_VA-One_(rear)_ONLINE

External styling is classically Quad, finished in traditional ‘Lancaster Grey’. The amp’s front panel sports a smooth-acting volume control incorporating a motorised potentiometer, allowing adjustment via the supplied remote control, together with a headphone output and controls for input selection and Bluetooth pairing.

The Quad VA-One integrated valve amplifier is available from mid-August, priced at £1299.95 (RRP). It joins the similarly styled PA-One headphone amp in Quad’s expanding ‘One’ range of valve-based amplifiers with integrated DAC circuitry.

 

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At £885 the Minute EL-34 valve certainly looks to offer good value for money with its separate power supply. Add another £150 and you get a full compliment of cryo’d valves. Ian Ringstead takes a listen.  More »

The MQ-300 is a new generation of vacuum tube stereo amplifiers from LUXMAN that “uses the most thoroughly selected parts and circuits to maximise the performance and tonal quality of the latest direct heated triode – the TA-300B”. Following in the design footsteps of the MB-300 released 31 years ago, the MQ-300 combines traditional design with cutting edge technology.   MQ-300_skew_coverlesss

Since the foundation of the company 90 years ago, and the subsequent release of the MB-300, LUXMAN has pursued certain core principles for sound generation. These principles are embodied in the MQ-300 as ‘honest and natural sound quality, feeling the sound field without exaggeration’, ‘feeling the unity of sound with sufficient data for the whole audio band’ and to achieve ‘fatigue free listening enjoyment’. Expressing the original sound whilst bringing the spirit of each disk to life are qualities intrinsic to the MQ-300 and those principles.MQ-300_rears

Design History

The MQ-300 is based on the cosmetic design and circuit configuration of the MB-300, the renowned vacuum tube monaural power amplifier released by LUXMAN in 1984. The elements of traditional design and elegant tonal quality that is unique to the performance of the TA-300B, a direct heated triode, have been maximised in the MQ-300.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Rated Power Output: 8W + 8W (4Ω, 8Ω, 16Ω)
  • Input Sensitivity: 490mV (8W) 240kΩ
  • THD: 1% (1kHz / 8Ω / 1W)
  • S/N Ratio (IHF-A): 105dB
  • Input: 1 x Direct, 1 x  Variable
  • Output: Large speaker terminal x 1  set (4,8,16Ω independent)
  • Power Consumption: 160W
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 460 × 273 × 340 (mm)
  • Net Weight: 29.0kgMQ300_trans_tops

The MQ-300 is arriving in the UK later this month, with an RRP of £15,000.

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Introducing Billie, the stereo amplifier that combines  the precision of digital with the warmth of analogue sound in a Nordic minimalist aesthetic. An objet d’art designed with attention to detail inside and out, Billie brings back the transcendent ritual of listening, say the company launching it on Kickstarter.heaven_11_kickstarter

“Our goal is to go beyond soundbars and bluetooth speakers, back to how music was meant to be experienced.” says Itai Azerad, Heaven 11 cofounder and designer. “We believe that the stereo system is still the best way to experience that ‘live in the room’ feeling. We’re not about ‘multi-room’, we’re about ‘in the room’.”

Named after Jazz Icon Billie Holliday, this amp plays ALL your music beautifully whether it’s from your phone, TV, Spotify or vinyl.heaven_11_kickstarter82

“We designed something for the pragmatic audiophile because we couldn’t find it out there. We built an affordable high-caliber amp that plays all of your music collection –  be it vinyl, Hi-Res digital, line or wireless.”

Combining the detailed soundstaging of digital to the round, analogue smoothness of tubes, Billie features ICEpower amplification by Bang & Olufsen (120W/4Ω), 32bit/384Kh DAC, AptX Bluetooth, RCA, vinyl and Toslink inputs. It comes with a custom-built tube preamp and a powerful headphone amp. The amp is to be manufactured in Montreal, Canada.

Moving away from the current trend of generic design and disposable materials, Billie’s shell is made of thick, machined aluminium. The cool minimalist casing details are balanced by warm, crafted hardwood knobs.

“Design is not just aesthetics, it’s how we use an object, what the object communicates to us and about us.  I believe a stereo’s design ought to be closer to an electric guitar than a cable box -what most stereos look like these days. An electric guitar is quite a functional tool, -not too many useless knobs on there- but it’s also such an intimate object, there’s a mystery about it, you gotta feel a connection, you gotta want to touch it.”

Billie is to be launched on Kickstarter mid-July at the special price of $595 US. After the campaign, the price will be $895/$995 US.

Heaven 11 Audio is a Montreal-based audio company  founded in 2015 by Itai Azerad and Andre Keilani, two award-winning product designers with a lifelong passion for music.
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Audio Hungary are a relatively new name to Hifi Pig and we first met them at this year’s High End show in Munich where they had their wares on display. This, the Qualiton A20i, is their entry level integrated amplifier. It is very compact, runs 2 x 20 Watts of Class A power and is based on classic push-pull topology.

It arrived, with little help from DPD, in a sturdy double (and surprisingly heavy) boxing, with the amp inside being very well packed indeed. The first thing out the box was the remote…wow, that’s heavy and really rather beautiful! Off with the valve cover to expose the tubes and the gleaming chrome body-work and that’s it all unboxed. More »

Eunice Kron heads up KR Audio Electronics located in Prauge, Czech Republic, a manufacturer of hand-crafted, high quality tubes (all glass is hand blown) and audio equipment. Hifi Pig goes Behind The Brands with her.  More »