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.

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