The Coffman Labs G1-A is a limited production amplifier that has taken three years to come to fruition, indeed it is the only product in the company’s arsenal. Featuring rare and custom parts the G1-A been designed in Portland, Oregon as something that will last for decades with proper care. It is a line stage, phono preamplifier and a headphone amplifier.

In part the G1-A  has been inspired by an RCA amplifier around a century old. As with the RCA amplifier the G1-A is said to contain  “nothing that could degrade easily over time”.  All internal wiring is point-to-point and is hand done, though apart from the input and output wire runs are non-existent due to the 3D topology of the layout.  All of the components are claimed to be “over-sized for voltage” and all switches are “military aircraft quality and rated for millions of operations.”

The Coffman Labs preamplifier is available in 120 or 24 volt versions, has a separate power supply and has a tube compliment of 2 x 12AX7 for RIAA, 2 x 12AU7 for phono boost, 2 x 5687 in the line output and a single 5ARE.

The Coffman Labs G1-A is being sold in the US exclusively through Echo Audio from June 2012 at a cost of 5500$

British Cable manufacturer Black Rhodium, which exports to 22 countries, has announced the launch of their new OPUS cable which can be used as both an interconnect and loudspeaker cable. Opus has been developed from the highly successful Harmony stereo interconnect cable and has the basic design of Harmony, but manufacturing costs have been cut by simplifying its design.

OPUS cable is made from 2 cores of tinned copper wire insulated in low loss silicone rubber, twisted to reject radio frequency interference, and sheathed in white silicone rubber.

Specifications of the OPUS cable are: Conductors: 16 x 0.2mm diameter (20 gauge) tinned copper, Insulation: Silicone rubber type GPC, Outside diameter: 6mm

The interconnects will retail at £49 for a stereo metre and the loudspeaker cable will retail at £7/metre unterminated, although terminated pairs are available.

The Dublin Hi End hifi show this weekend (26th and 27th May) at the Bewleys Hotel in Leaopardstown (10am – 5pm) is the culmination of over a years work in bringing a host of quality hi-fi and home cinema systems and manufacturers to Ireland. Products will range from turntables to the very latest computer audio products and so there promises to be something for everyone.

It is credit to the organisers of the Dublin Hi End show that many of the exhibited items will not have been seen in the UK and Ireland previously and to top the whole event off music lovers will be able to indulge in their passion and buy CDs and vinyl.



Making its world premier at T.H.E Show Newport Beach is the Leto preamplifier from Zesto Audio. Zesto is a US based company headed up by George Counnas who worked for DECCA Navigator in the UK.

Zesto introduced their first product, the Andros PS1 phonostage, back in 2011 and it received a good deal of attention and glowing reviews.

The Leto claims the same “bloodline” as the Andros and promises to be “warm, musical and very quiet”. The basic philosophy of George has been to focus on only the important components of the Leto and to add nothing that could compromise the signal path. To this end the only active components in the Leto preamplifier are the valves themselves (Valves used are 2 gold pin 12AX7 and 2 gold pin 12AU7).

Using true floating transformer balanced inputs and outputs the Leto promises a lower overall noise and isolation from other equipment in the set up. The Leto has 3 sets of single ended inputs and 2 sets of true balanced transformer inputs, 2 sets of balanced outputs and 2 single ended outputs.

The Leto is hand-built in the US and has a retail price of $7500.

Yesterday saw the European Launch of Wilson Audio’s Alexandria XLF loudspeakers at the KJ West One outlet in London, which incidentally officially opens its doors to the public today and is where you’ll need to go to purchase these loudspeakers.

This is the first time the loudspeakers have been seen outside the US and if you want a pair you’ll need to find around £200 000.

Opinion is sure to be divided on the appearance of these made to order behemoths which are designed “not as a replacement to the Alexandria Series 2, but as its measurably more ambitious sibling!”

The Alexandria XLF uses a new tweeter (the Convergent Synergy Tweeter) which has been designed from the ground up after Dave Wilson’s “frustration with off the shelf units” and the innovative Cross Load Firing Port system which effectively allows the user to have either a front firing port or a rear firing port for the bass enclosure. Bass duties are served by a 13 inch woofer and a 15inch woofer, whilst the midrange enclosure is rear vented and is served by a 7 inch driver.

The whole caboodle as a sensitivity of 93.5dB, weighs in at 297kg per speaker and stands 178cm tall.

NAD Electronics have combined their Direct Digital Amplifier and Modular Design Construction (MDC) concepts, to introduce the C 390DD Direct Digital DAC/Amplifier, which is now available in UK.

Direct Digital Amplification promises a pure digital path, while MDC endows the C 390DD with the same future ready flexibility that has recently distinguished NAD’s leading audio/video components.

The C 390DD boasts a healthy 150 watts per channel and “can power demanding high-end loudspeakers”. The C 390DD has no analogue stages in the signal path, keeping the music in the digital domain right up to the speaker outputs. This is a true digital amplifier or perhaps “a DAC that amplifies” boasting 35-bit architecture and a precision 108 MHz master clock. More »

Symbol Audio make modern audio hifi consoles and LP storage cabinets “in the tradition of fine furniture”.

Their flagship product is the ‘Modern Record Console’ (pictured) designed by Blake Tovin and Matt Richmond, which “pays homage” to the all in one console hifis of the 1950s.

The console is hand crafted in American Walnut and the metal base is fabricated from ¼ inch steel plate which has been hand patinated to give a warm and natural finish.

It looks very nice indeed, but what about the Hifi? The 15W per channel valve amplifier (12At7 x 1, 12AU7x2, 6BQ5 x 4) is made specially for Symbol Audio and is said to deliver a “warm pure signal” to the 6.5 inch fullrange speakers located either side of the unit. A second amplifier is tucked out of view and is dedicated to powering the built-in sub. The turntable ( a Project RPM 5.1) has a carbon fibre tonearm and comes fully equipped with a Sumiko Point 2 cartridge.

At the flick of a switch you can go from vinyl replay to Wifi playback and stream music from any digital source through the MRC’s wireless router and control it all from your ipod/phone or computer.

On Saturday 26th May Cool Gales will sponsor the Bath AudioFest 2012 which will take place at the Bath & County Club, just off Queen Square. In Addition there will be a couple more large rooms in the Royal Literary and Scientific Institution just a short walk away. Bath AudioFest 2012

The Bath AudioFest is fast becoming the high-end hifi show in the UK according to its organisers, featuring turntables, CD players, amplifiers, speakers, cabling, and other hi-fi components.

Systems will range from the budget to the stratospheric, but interestingly all will feature a vinyl front end as well as digital sources.

The press release from the organisers has the following to say about the Bath AudioFest “No stuffy hotel rooms, no shoulder-to-shoulder masses, no home cinema – just wonderful music played through high quality two-channel audio, served up with tea and coffee in a very spacious, family-friendly atmosphere.”

Doors open at 10 AM, and close at 5:00 PM. The £3 admission includes tea and coffee, with all admission proceeds going to The Musicians Benevolent Fund charity. A huge selection of new vinyl will be for sale on the day too.

McIntosh Laboratories have recently announced the MX151 home theatre preamplifier. The McIntosh MX151 features the latest in HDMI technology and full support for 3D video pass-through.

The Preamplifier has built-in Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding with Lyngdorf’s RoomPerfect room correction technology, which adjusts the audio signal to the specific acoustics of your room.

The useful dual zone feature allows different media to be played simultaneously in two separate rooms with independent program selection and control. The MX151 boasts an impressive array of digital and analogue inputs which can be custom labelled for simplified operation and matched in volume level for a smooth transition between sources.

The new McIntosh unit has assignable balanced input and outputs, a moving magnet phono section, bass and treble controls and optional processing up to 7.1 multi-channel using Dolby Pro Logic® IIx or DTS Neo.

The MX151’s control options include IR-remote, web based GUI, and interfacing with all third party control systems. Audio options for up to 12 channels, multiple subwoofers, or bi-amping of speakers are built in.

Price for the McIntosh MX151 is $12 500.

McIntosh have also announced the MX121 A/V Control Center at $6,000, the MC8207 Power Amplifier at $6,000 and the MVP891 Audio Video Player at $5,500.

The Nighthawk headphone amplifier by Audio Electronics (Designed and manufactured by Cary Audio) – is an all-new design, featuring “top quality parts mounted on a thick gauge fiberglass circuit board”.

Operating in Class A throughout, the Nighthawk’s front end is a high-speed FET, which then goes to a fully complementary high-speed buffered output stage for high linearity and low distortion.

No global feedback is used in the design of the amplifier, and it is designed to drive headphones with an impedance between 20 and 600 ohms. A five second muting circuit prevents any annoying pops and clicks when turning on the Nighthawk headphone amplifier.

The Nighthawk Headphone Amplifier will begin shipping on May 21, 2012.

Retail price: $1,195

NuForce have announced a new digital signal converter – “The NuForce U192S is a digital signal converter designed for transforming digital audio signals presented to the USB port of a computer into a coaxial or optical S/PDIF”: That’ll be a USB to S/PDIF converter then.

The U192S accepts data word lengths of 16 and 24-bits at a maximum sample-rate of 192kHz, permitting playback of high-resolution digital audio recordings via the more common USB ports found on computers.

The Nuforce digital signal converter is USB-powered, no external power supply required and 44.1, 48, 96, 176.4, and 192kHz sampling rates supported. More »

Naim have announced the completion of a two-year development project to design an improved voltage regulator to be used in its power supplies.

The Naim Discrete Regulator (DR) will be fitted to the HiCap, XPS, SuperCap, 552 PS and 555 PS power supplies as of May 14th 2012. The power supplies fitted with the new Discrete Regulator are claimed to  deliver a significant and repeatedly demonstrable performance increase.

Thanks to Thomas at Scherer Audio Engineering, whose loudspeakers we highlighted in our news section a few weeks ago, for taking time out of his busy schedule at Munich and taking a few photographs of the Munich High End show for Hifi Pig. More »

Harmonic Audio Labs is a Greek manufacturer headed up by Kostantinos Kourkounis with just one product in their range for the moment – the SE-100 Integrated Class A amplifier.

Harmonic Audio Labs SE-100 is a no compromise, single ended amplifier delivering 50 Watts per channel using parallel mosfets.

The pre amplifier section of the SE-100 uses Jfets and the coupling is achieved using interstage trafos.

There are 4 inputs (3 RCA and 1 XLR) and the amp can also run as a power amplifier where the preamplifier section is completely isolated.

Separate PSUs are used in every single stage of the amplifier giving a total of 16 PSUs in the chassis with twelve of them being regulated. The unregulated power supplies are left with only capacitors and chokes as the designers feel this gave the best sonic results.

Hifi Pig will review the SE-100 in the very near future.

Meridian Audio have announced the opening of its first boutique in Kuwait. Opened in partnership with Meridian’s distributor for Kuwait, Electronic Technologies Co., the latest Meridian boutique is situated in the exclusive interior design centre, The Creative Design Mall, in the Shuwaikh district of Kuwait City.

The new boutique is the company’s first dedicated showroom in the Middle East and offers a “unique retail experience in Kuwait City” and has a number of interactive zones for customers to enjoy:

John Buchanan, Meridian’s Director of Sales and Marketing, commented: “This new boutique in Kuwait City marks an important business development for Meridian in the Middle East region. We look forward to building Meridian’s brand presence in Kuwait where demand for our luxury technology offerings has been increasing steadily since 2008.”

The company now has standalone boutiques in England (Oxford), India (New Delhi and Bangalore), Mexico (Mexico City), Chile (Santiago), Taiwan (Taipei), South Korea (Seoul), Singapore plus two in Russia (Moscow). Meridian’s first concept store opened in Thailand (Bangkok) in 2009.

UK distributor Fidelity Art has launched a new range of unique Anti-Vibration Accessories from Pro Audio Bono, a specialist manufacturer of dedicated audiophile-grade products based in Poland.

PAB’s complete range includes PAB Anti-Vibration Platforms, PAB Stand-Mount Speaker Stands, PAB Anti-Vibration Feet and PAB Anti-Vibration Racks.

PAB Anti-Vibration Platforms are designed to support audio/video equipment and isolate it from external vibrations,  minimising unwanted resonance. This is mainly achieved by suspending hi-fi components on specially designed shelves that minimise physical contact with adjacent units.Each shelf is suspended on strings which can be adjusted by using tension screws (the design is patent pending with the Polish Patent Office). More »

To mark its 35th anniversary year, UK loudspeaker manufacturer Harbeth has unveiled an exciting new model at this years Munich High End show. The Harbeth Monitor 30.1 features a new, RADIAL2™ mid/bass drive unit a new SEAS tweeter and a redesigned crossover. Harbeth claim a “more open sound, a smoother response with greater, more even dispersion which means less critical stand height and a more involving listener experience.”

World-wide shipping will commence in June as the new model is rolled out around the globe.”

Etalon Acoustics is a Hungarian manufacturer headed up by Laszlo Sallay, who make beautifully finished loudspeakers, DACs and amplifiers.

New for 2012 the company has released the Integral. As the name suggest the Etalon Integral is an integrated amplifier which claims a unique design with only 2 stages of amplification in the signal path, which Etalon claim offers reproduction with little or no variation from the original recording.

The Integral is designed for use with high-end sources and all types of loudspeakers.

The amplifier consists of two completely independent mono-blocs, both with their own low noise, dual wound toroidal power supplies.

Interesting the Integral sports no knobs or buttons on its fascia and is completely controlled by the remote. More »

Pioneer Europe has unveiled eight new stereo components and new components complete Pioneer’s new stereo line-up, after the December ’11 introduction of its N-50 and N-30 network audio players. The new stereo components include the A-70, A-50, A-30 (pictured), A-20 and A-10 amplifiers, and the PD-50, PD-30, PD-10 SACD players.

Philippe Coppens, Technology and Product Information Manager at Pioneer Europe said “The top-of-the-line A-70 amplifier will be tuned according to exacting professional standards by the internationally respected AIR Studios in London. The AIR Studios quality seal is proof not only of the extraordinary engineering that has gone into these audio units, but also of the exceptionally high quality of their craftsmanship and carefully selected electronic components.”

The A-70 and A-50 amplifiers come equipped with high efficiency power MOS FET (Class D) amplification optimised for “pure sound reproduction.”

In addition, the AIR Studios tuned A-70 amplifier features ESS 192 Khz / 32 bit SABRE32DACs, and offers an integrated asynchronous USB DAC solution capable of handling 192 kHz / 32 bit sources More »

Sunshine, surf, and music are on tap when T.H.E. Home Entertainment Show returns to Newport Beach, CA on June 1-3, 2012 for the second year in a row!  This year, the event will take place in two locations: the Newport Hilton and the adjacent Atrium Hotel—both located across the street from the Orange County Airport.

Open to the public, the three-day Show offers a matchless experience for everyone from music lovers, gearheads, and home-theater and audio enthusiasts of all levels.  Show attendees will enjoy live musical performances from popular Jazz musicians Mike Garson, Tierney Sutton, Audra Lee, Paul Gormley, Dean Peer, and William Artope Jr. And show attendees can attend a variety of educational seminars on timely audio/video topics moderated by manufacturers and editors.  Additional attractions include wine tastings, a cigar bar, gourmet food trucks, and even a high-end car show.

Richard Beers, Show organizer and former reporter/anchor for NBC TV said, “We are delighted to bring T.H.E. Home Entertainment Show back to Southern CA and we expect it to be even more spectacular than last year.  Our expansion into the adjacent hotel enables us to host even more exhibitors for consumers to touch, look, listen, and feel the latest in home entertainment today.”

T.H.E. Home Entertainment Show is the West Coast’s largest and most spectacular Audio and Home Theater Event.  The event is produced in conjunction with the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society.  Now celebrating its nineteenth year, it is the largest audio society in the world with over 1000 members.

See our photos here

10. May 2012 · Write a comment · Categories: Album Reviews · Tags:

This arrived only a couple of hours ago and was immediately placed in the cd player. I’m a bit of a Hawkwind fan!

It’s a double CD and comes in a gatefold type case…very nice.

Track one kicks off proceedings and is Hawkwind at their riffing best and with the usual electronic twitters that Hawkwind are famous for over the top of the mix. It’s classic Hawkwind in style – what more can you say – and will appeal to those who have know the band for years. Track two is more of the same to be fair but with Richard Chadwick on vocals and a welcome return to Huw Lloyd-Langton on guitar.

For me track three is the stand out. Entitled Mind Cut, this is a Dave Brock penned tune and he plays all the instruments to be fair It’s much more chilled and modern feeling, but still unmistakably Hawkwind.

Track five is the well worn Death Trap and at first it’s a little odd not to hear it sung by Bob Calvert. It’s pretty true to the original version really and if you like that you’ll like this. More »