Continuing Dan’s foray into the world of headfi he’s been taking a look at the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Headphonesdt770pro_250 which fall at the more budget end of the company’s portfolio.

“They are a closed back and are an all plastic cased headphone, nicely sculpted and attractive none the less. They are tough and extremely durable for DJ-ing, have a tight-ish fit and  the headband extension stays firmly on the selected notch.”

You can read the full review of the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Headphones or why not take a look at all the reviews we’ve published so far on Hifi Pig in our new look and streamlined review section.


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28. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Mark at Origin Live has been in touch to tell us all about the company’s new website. Hifi Pig has had a good look OL_Pageshotthrough it and it’s very comprehensive indeed as well as feeling fresh, clean and easy to navigate.

Not only do they include information regarding their own products but they’ve also added useful information about choosing the right equipment for you, matching system components, room acoustics and much more.

Origin Live advertise on Hifi Pig so click through on one of their ads and take a look at their new look site.


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Photographs from T.H.E Show in Newport Beach 2013. Thanks to Lucette at Nicoll PR for helping source the pictures of the show for Hifi Pig. More »

28. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

British manufacturer Ruark got in touch to give us a heads up about their new R7 which is set to become the ruark_r7company’s flagship product.

It’s a bit of a departure from the usual hifi in that Ruark are branding the R7 as “The Radiogram Redefined”. Now those of you not young enough to remember the radiogram may be scratching your head, so how about music-centre?  Ok, it’s a CD player that plays conventional red book CD as well as MP3 discs but it’s more than that. Bluetooth with lossless aptX replay is built in so you can stream from your phone, as is DLNA Wi-Fi to allow streaming from external computers or server.

But there’s more, including a DAB+/FM/Internet radio and you can also plug in your TV, DVD or even a turntable.

The R7 can be controlled from the front panel or the nifty looking RotoDial remote which used RF so you don’t even have to point the controller at the “radiogram” to control it.

The unit has dual concentric 5.5” drivers and long throw 8” subwoofer built in as well as amplifiers delivering 160 watts, so it really is an all in one box of tricks.

The Ruark R7 can be placed on the supplied spindle legs for a great retro look or can sit on an existing sideboard on its puck feet.

It will be available in a rich walnut finish in Autumn 2013 and will cost £2000.

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27. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Anthony Sallis is the Technical Director at NuNu Distribution, UK Distributors for Audiophile Base support systems, Tony-hifi-pigAstin Trew electronics, Belles audio electronics, Creaktiv system enhancing products, Oracle Audio Technologies turntables and CD replay devices, Renaissance Amplification, SCS audio isolation concepts and TAD Labs.

In Hifi PIg’s ongoing series of Behind the Brands interviews find out what Anthony thinks about the hifi industry, where he started, his influences, his musical taste and much more.


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Anthony Sallis is the Technical Director at NuNu Distribution, UK Distributors for Audiophile Base support systems, Astin Trew electronics, Belles audio electronics, Creaktiv system enhancing products, Oracle Audio Technologies turntables and CD replay devices, Renaissance Amplification, SCS audio isolation concepts and TAD Labs. More »

27. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Ok, it’s a headphone amplifier but it’s also a DAC and a SPDIF to USB converter. Dan has been working overtime the last few weeks reviewing hifi kit for our readers and this is his latest. Miniwatt_N4_1

“Miniwatt is based in HongKong and for the past 5 years have been creating miniature high quality products such as the S1 tube amplifier and n3 headphone amp. Most recently they have created the n4, a high current headphone amplifier, which can also be used as a USB to SPDIF converter and USB Dac featuring an Asynchronous USB input in order to control jitter and error correction. The inbuilt Dac reaches resolution levels of 32bit 192khz.”

Check out in full what Dan makes of the Miniwatt n4 by reading the full review.


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27. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Following feedback from a good number of our readers, Hifi Pig has revamped its review section of the site. We’ve done Page_shot_hifipigaway with the cluncky click through images we previously had and moved towards a simple directory with the title of the item under review and a small photograph. You can now scan for the review that interests you and simply click through to read it in full.
On the main reviews page you’ll see all the reviews chronologically listed over several pages but if you’re looking specifically for DAC, Turntable, headphone reviews etc then you can do so using the drop down from the main menu and they’ll then all be listed for you…again in chronological order.
Other changes and additions to the site are under way including something that we think will be of great interest to everyone out there in hifi land.
Check out the new pages and let us know what you think by posting a comment or dropping us a line.


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From the historic town of Vicenza, Italy, a new top-of-the-range floorstanding speaker joins the Sonus faber Venere line 2975_Sonus_faber_Venere_3–Sonus faber’s at more affordable price point.

The new Venere 3.0 floorstander tops the Venere range and is a 2.5 way front-vented design with all drive units being Sonus faber designs.

Driver compliment is a 29mm pre-coated silk tweeter, a 150mm mid driver and two 180mm bass drivers. The bass and midrange cones are made from a material called Curv  and sport a ‘free compression’ basket design. The midrange driver uses coaxial anti-compressor which has been designed to remove resonances and distortions.

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The latest integrated amplifier from the American self proclaimed “kings of valve-based audio” sports a smart new 2979_Audio_Research_VSi75design and technology trickled down from the company’s Reference 75 power amp.

It’s an integrated amplifier with an open chassis design and is intended to be a step up to the existing VSi60 integrated amplifier which will continue to be manufactured and sold.

The new amplifier has new look case-work, a natural anodised top plate and an LCD display showing input selection, volume, individual valve bias etc.

The VSi75 delivers 75W per channel using four KT120 output valves and two 6H30 driver valves. Wide bandwidth output transformers are used along with proprietary coupling caps matching those used in the Reference 75 amplifier.

The unit comes with a metal cased remote handset

Audio Research said “The resulting sound from these cumulative improvements is striking, with tremendous resolution of detail, silky and extended highs, surprising weight and authority, and the ability to develop an immense sound stage. The VSi75 sounds very much like the amp from which it borrows, the REF75, with an immediacy, delicacy and focus that are captivating.”

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Oriton is a UK company specialising in making products that minimise vibrations within hifi equipment. Here Hifi Pig symp_orange-1checks out the company’s latest interconnects, the Diamond Red (£499) and the Symphony Orange (£799)

“…I made contact with Mike Stone, a former MOD (Ministry of Defence) engineer who told me all about his love of music and especially the female vocal, along with his previous days when he played bass guitar in a band.

During his time with the Military as an engineer discovered ways of controlling vibration and micro-vibrations within electronics on lots of different military vehicles. These techniques have since been adopted in the design of his products to aid the reproduction of music.

The technology and manufacturing techniques Mike uses in his cables is unique to Oriton and not made available to any other manufacturer.”

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Dan gets a pair of Beyerdynamic DT990 Premium Headphones to put through their paces and finds them to be well worth their £250 asking price.

dt990_3c_2These cans look beautiful and stylish to my eyes. They have an open-back, aluminium outer case to the ears and an aluminium hinge bracket which leads into the extension from the headband with clear raised sections for simple size adjustment.”

Read the rest of the Beyerdynamic DT990 Premium Headphones review.


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Our roving reporter Simon was at the 40th  Celebrations of Naim Audio where they launched three new NAIT amplifiers: NAIT 5si, NAIT XS 2 and SUPERNAIT 2. They will be available from mid-July

The NAIT amplifier, first launched in 1983, is one of hifi’s most instantly recognisable products and has achieved something of an iconic status.

In true Naim tradition all three amplifiers feature larger mains transformers and improved power supplies.

The new NAIT 5si

The power output has increased from 50W to 60W due to a larger transformer and improved power supply. NAIT_5siComponents have been upgraded in critical areas such as the power amp stage where small signal capacitors have been changed to film types. The PCB layout and wiring loom have been improved following experience on other new products such as the DAC-V1. 

NAIT 5si Features 

  • 60W (into 8ohms) 90W (into 4 ohms)
  • 4 analogue inputs: 2 x DIN, 2 x RCA
  • ¼” (6.35mm) front panel headphone output
  • Custom-designed toroidal transformer with two separate windings
  • Aluminium chassis and sleeve with zinc die-cast fascia
  • Passive preamplifier with high gain power amp

The new NAIT XS 2

The power output has increased from 60W to 70W due to a larger transformer and improved power supply. The Nait_2headphone output on the front panel is now on a ¼ inch (6.35mm) socket and is driven from a new Class-A headphone amplifier.

Components have been upgraded in critical areas such as the power amp stage where small signal capacitors have been changed to film types. As with the NAIT 5si, the PCB layout and wire looming have also been improved.

NAIT XS 2 Features  

·         70W (into 8ohms) 100W (into 4 ohms)

·         6 analogue inputs: 4 x RCA/DIN, 1 x RCA/3.5mm jack, and 1 x powered input for phono

·         ¼ inch front panel headphone output

·         Class-A Headphone amplifier

·         Custom-designed toroidal transformer with seven separate secondary windings

·         Powered input for use with StageLine or SuperLine phono stages

·         USB-mini B socket for updates

·         Aluminium chassis and sleeve with brushed, black anodised fascia

        ·         Performance upgradable with FlatCap, HiCap or SuperCap power supplies.


The most significant change from SUPERNAIT to SUPERNAIT 2 is the removal of the digital inputs. As the SuperUnitiNait_3 already fulfills the role of integrated amplifier with digital inputs, it was felt that it would be more beneficial to performance to concentrate on an analogue only integrated amplifier.

Power output remains at 80W but with “significantly greater dynamic capability due to a larger transformer”. The power supply for the preamplifier stage uses Naim DR (Discrete Regulator) technology. All inputs are now hand wired so they are individually decoupled for improved microphonic isolation. Components have been upgraded in critical areas such as the power amp stage where small signal capacitors have been changed to film types.

The PCB layout and wiring loom have been improved following experience on other new products recently like the DAC-V1.

The headphone output on the front panel is now on a ¼” (6.35mm) socket and is driven from a new Class-A headphone amplifier.

Full Feature List

  • 80W per channel (into 8 ohms) 135W per channel (into 4ohms)
  • 6 analogue inputs: 4 x RCA/DIN, 1 x RCA/3.5mm jack, and 1 x powered input for phono
  • ¼” (6.35mm) front panel headphone output
  • Class A Headphone amplifier
  • Custom-designed toroidal transformer with seven separate windings
  • Powered input for use with StageLine or SuperLine phono stages
  • Subwoofer output
  • Record output via HDD output
  • USB-mini B socket for updates
  • External remote in
  • Upgradable with FlatCap, HiCap or SuperCap power supplies
  • Aluminium chassis and sleeve with brushed, black anodised fascia 


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25. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Krell has announced the UK release of Foundation, the latest in a long line of A/V processors from the company.  Krell_Foundation

As well as all the AV functions you’d expect the 7.1-channel processor also features balanced audio outputs, automatic setup and room EQ. A slim new form factor allows placement in smaller equipment racks.

In addition to 10 HDMI 1.4a inputs, the Foundation has 2 HDMI outputs, both of which feature Audio Return Channel. With ARC, a display device is able to send audio back down the HDMI cable to the processor. This is beneficial for those with televisions with built-in web streaming capability like Netflix or Pandora, so the streaming audio can use the full home theater system instead of just the TV’s speakers.

The Foundation includes a new Krell development – Intelligent HDMI switching. Intelligent HDMI switching is a combination of circuitry and software that optimizes HDMI operation. Various parameters including the monitor’s electronic ID and source video resolution are stored in non-volatile memory. All 10 source inputs are always active so source, channel, video resolution, and audio format changes are instantaneous.

The Foundation will allow owners to take full advantage of the best audio soundtracks available, with decoding of Dolby Digital, Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-ES Discrete, Matrix, and DTS-HD Master Audio. In addition, a full suite of post-processing modes are included, including Dolby Pro Logic IIx and DTS Neo 6. Krell’s proprietary surround modes, Party, General Admission, Front Row, and On Stage, offering a different way to listen to favorite tracks.

The Foundation also features Krell’s Automatic Room Equalization System (ARES), to ensure the best possible performance from every theatre. ARES analyzes all the speakers in the system, their location, phase, and distance from each other, to determine the best crossover frequency, delay, and more. In addition, ARES incorporates the acoustics of the room to determine unique EQ curves for each of the 7.1 output channels.


·         5 Analog inputs (4 unbalanced, 1 balanced)

·         6 Digital audio inputs (3 Toslink, 3 Coax)

·         10 HDMI 1.4a inputs

·         2 HDMI outputs (both with ARC)

·         Intelligent HDMI switching

·         6 Analog video inputs (3 component, 3 composite, transcoded to HDMI)

·         RS-232, Ethernet, RC-5, 12v Triggers (4)

·         Balanced and Unbalanced outputs

·         Analog Zone 2 output

·         Dual Subwoofer outputs

·         ARES (Automatic Room Equalization System)

Available in the UK from July the Foundation is priced at £6500

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High-end cable manufacturer Cardas Audio has introduced an In-Ear Monitor (IEM) – the EM5813 Ear Speakers. CARDAS_IEM_1

Cardas say that the new IEMs mirror the human cochlea, and tympanic membrane, and the shape of the copper plated brass body has been designed to “work in symphony with the human hearing system”.  All the parts that make up the custom designed drivers are machined from solid bar stock metals in California.  And all drivers are hand matched on each pair of Ear Speakers. 

The Ear Speaker cable is made from Clear Light Headphone Cable, which is a miniature version of the Cardas Audio Clear cable, also made in California, using proprietary Cardas copper.  A custom designed ultra-thin ear tip that ensures a precise and comfortable fit has been created by company founder George Cardas.

Price is USD $425.00

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25. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Cyrus Audio, has launched the new Stream Xa, a standalone uPnP network music player with internet radio. StreamX_Quartz (high res)

The new Stream Xa is a wired/wireless source component offering reproduction of digitally stored music files, a world of internet radio and audiophile-grade sound quality for digitally connected devices. Based upon Cyrus’s established StreamX2 platform, the new Stream Xa adds a DAC module with streaming music capability up to 24-bit/192kHz-quality. The Stream Xa’s  has six digital inputs (3x S/PDIF; 2x optical; 1x USB and its rear-mounted USB-A input also offers direct connection to digital-output-compatible Apple devices.

Cyrus’s UPnP network engine is compatible with a wide range of Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives, computers and many other UPnP-compatible media servers and its TuneIn internet radio functionality offers in excess of 80,000 global radio stations.

The streamer’s functions can be accessed using two Cyrus control systems: the free Cadence iOS* app and the supplied n-remote controller, a two-way control unit that makes browsing a networked music library simple, while also giving full control of the Stream Xa at the touch of a button. The n-remote also has an infra-red learning capability so that it can learn to control other products in the home. The direct RF (radio frequency) link from the n-remote provides a robust connection to the streamer, allowing fast and reliable control. The n-remote makes it possible to browse a music library by artist, album, genre or access internet radio stations.

The Cyrus Cadence app is completely bespoke and gives users visibility over networked music, extensive streamer feature control. Designed to complement (rather than replace) the n-remote, the app will ‘drive’ many features, such Stream_Xa_as changing inputs, browsing connected devices etc. as well as

The Stream Xa in detail

Enclosure: Cyrus pressure die-cast chassis

Material: Lightweight Aluminium non-magnetic alloy

Power Supply: Low noise SMPSU plus torodial transformer

Outputs: SPDIF (RCA) digital x1

Communications: MC-BusTM System Bus

Aux digital inputs: 3 x S/PDIF, 2 x Optical, 1 x USB A

USB A input: Rear, iPod digital compatible. Made for iPod certified.

Format Compatibility: Internet radio (Windows Media-formatted content, MP3 streams, MMS Playlists (M3U, PLS), MP3, AAC (up to 320kbit/s, CBR/VBR) Apple Lossless (digital from iPod) Windows Media-formatted content-9 (up to 320kbit/s) WAV and FLAC (up to 24-bit/192kHz via UPnP or USB)

Digital output: Optical 500mVp-p SPDIF

UPNP   Hi-Res up to 24 bit/192kHz (WAV and FLAC)

Sample rate supported: Up to 192 kHz

Dimensions (HxWxD): 73x215x360mm, 2.8×8.4×14.1 (inches)

Finish: Quartz or Brushed Black 

The Stream Xa is available now priced at £1,250 (includes n-remote)


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25. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Electrocompaniet have announced the launch of their new media streaming device, the ECM-2. ECM_2

The ECM-2 has a straightforward and intuitive interface, can be controlled by a tablet, a smartphone or the attached display and will play music, movies, pictures and television programs from its built in 1Tb hard drive, USB disks… or it can of course stream from a network attached storage device.

It will play all the popular formats including Vorbis, WAV, MP3, AAC+, AC3, DTS, ALAC, FLAC etc at 192kHz/24bit

The new device combines the streamer with the Electrocompaniet’s ECD 2 DAC and will be available from the end of August at a retail price of €4900.

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The original Duette was Wilson Audio’s first Special Applications Engineering™ product. It was designed to offer the Wilson_duette_1timbrel neutrality, dynamic contrast, soundstage depth and transparency of Wilson floorstanding loudspeakers—but do so in environments that are hostile to all of those qualities, such as against walls or in bookshelves. It was given a dual personality so that it could succeed in a conventional audiophile application (placed out into the room away from walls) too.

Unlike its predecessor, the Duette Series-2 is designed exclusively for near-boundary installations with the design remit to simply make the best compact loudspeaker possible.

New for the Duette Series-2 is a dedicated stand with an integrated crossover a system approach which Wilson claim many advantages including mechanical isolation of the crossover, wire management and a more robust and stable platform.

New Tweeter Design

The Duette Series-2’s tweeter has a rear wave chamber, which is sourced from their Alexia Convergent Synergy Tweeter. “The CST chamber effectively attenuates the spurious energy generated at the rear of the driver that would otherwise leak out of the acoustically translucent dome”.

New Enclosure 

The Duette Series-2’s enclosure is the company’s latest product of “extensive laser vibrometer testing”. . Enclosure-wall thickness has been increased in strategic locations, internal bracing is more robust. The entire enclosure, including the internal braces, is constructed from Wilson’s proprietary composite ‘X-material’.
The front baffle, now built from S-material, is raked back 10 degrees to time align the tweeter and the woofer.

24. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Kent (UK) based Crystal Acoustics is launching the Blu-DAC, a Bluetooth receiver/DAC combination that offers a system 6D353D81-FEE2-4C56-8670-CA091FFA9FE3solution allowing you to wirelessly stream music from your tablet or smartphone to any existing music system.

BluDAC is a plug and play solution that lets you connect it into your amplifier or receiver via either analogue stereo or optical digital connections, and it will wirelessly stream music from your mobile device using the AptX Bluetooth codec.

Within its bijou dimensions, BlueDAC contains a Wolfson DAC which given its popularity and reputation can only be a good thing!

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24. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Tony at NuNu Distribution contacted us with news of a new product from the Belles brand. The Belles Power Modules A10b1A10 pre amplifier is an all new solid state design concept for the company and has taken over 12 months to come to fruition.

The A10 is a two box unit comprising a dedicated off board power supply plus the pre amplifier itself. Interestingly as well as line level inputs the A10 also features a phono stage for both MM and MC cartridges plus an onboard DAC using Wolfson Microelectronics WM8740 chipset with USB and SPDIF inputs.

The A10 has five analogue inputs (One pair of fully balanced), two digital inputs (USB and SPDIF both 24/192 Khz), one pair of single ended (RCA) and one pair of fully balanced (XLR) outputs plus both monitor input and RCA outputs.

Tony commented “The Belles A10 does not sound solid state in any way and has a natural musical flow that is grain A10b2free and totally un American sounding. The off board power supply is fully isolated and has ultra linear regulation on all of the rails, giving superb staging and separation characteristics. The included phonostage is seriously good, suitable for both MM & MC and can cater for all but the ultra low output cartridges.”

Price is around £3700

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20. June 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Our very own Paul from Reference Fidelity Components has announced that in addition to his own products, he is Jolidanow a dealer for Jolida valve amplifiers and other valve based products such as the company’s new FX series tube DAC.

Paul said “Jolida are designers and manufacturers of high quality audio products and are based in Maryland, USA where they assemble their products.  Jolida choose not to have their amplifiers and other products assembled in the Far East, although some components such as PCBs are manufactured in their own factory in China. However, the critical power and output transformers are manufactured in Germany”.

Jolida employ some nifty protection circuitry in their designs to protect loudspeakers, internal circuitry and valves – if a short or overload is detected the amps automatically go into “safe mode”… which is reassuring! 

An integrated 50wpc valve amplifier with remote control, multiple inputs and a bypass to enable use as an integrated or power amp comes in at less than £1500.

Given Paul’s new found status as a fully fledged dealer he has informed the Hifi Pig team that he will no longer be available to review items for us. We thanks Paul for his support and efforts with Hifi Pig and wish him every success with his new venture.


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