I’ve just finished reading Neil Young’s “Waging Heavy Peace” book which, despite being a rambling stream of consciousness affair, is an enthralling read and a must for anyone interested in the artist or rock music in general. As well as the expected anecdotes and stories of the “rock and roll lifestyle” it comes across very clearly that Mr Young is a man on a mission to bring hi resolution music to the masses. More »

McIntosh Laboratory has launched a new integrated amplifier, complete with three-input DAC, headphone amp, plus a MA5200+Angle+RightJPGMoving Magnet phono input all in a compact chassis. 

The MA5200 offers D/A decoding at up to 32-bit/192kHz for digitally connected devices, plus a complement of analogue inputs. The three-strong digital input suite in the McIntosh Digital Engine includes an assignable coaxial and optical input, plus a dedicated asynchronous USB 2.0 input (operating at up to 32-bit).

Offering a (conservatively rated) 100-watt output and MA5200 benefitting from a Home Theatre Pass Through feature, it should integrate nicely into existing multichannel home cinema systems.

The MA5200 sells for £4,995 and is available now.  


Headphone output

High drive, high level inputs unbalanced: 4 stereo

High level inputs balanced: 1 stereo

Variable outputs unbalanced: 1 stereo

Digital USB input: 1 (USB 2.0 asynchronous)

Digital coaxial input: 1

Digital optical input: 1

Moving magnet phono

Home theatre pass through

RS232 control input

Power control output

Rear panel data ports

Rear panel IR sensor input

Input level match


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It’s hard not to take a passing interest in the car crash that is the life of Falling in Reverse frontman Ronnie Radke.  He’s been involved in the shooting death of a man in Las Vegas, been on all sorts of drugs, done 2 years jail for breaching his bail conditions, was unceremoniously ousted from his own band Escape The Fate and reportedly has an enthusiastic penchant for spousal abuse….yep, he’s that sorta guy.

However, history is littered with examples of brilliant musicians who’ve done hard time, so let’s judge him by his music shall we. More »

Marantz has unveiled a new flagship AV Receiver SR7008.

Building on the strengths of the company’s SR7007, the new SR7008 extends the number of channels from seven tomz_SR7008_SG-UD7007_med nine, and comes with further extensions like support for Spotify, or DTS Neo:X 9.1.

Marantz also upgraded Audyssey to MultEQ XT32/LFC as well as Audyssey Pro, so owners get an “even more accurate calibration of the speakers with a guarantee that every seat in the room is a ‘sweet spot’ for audio”. A Phono MM amplifier for vinyl fans is also on board, so is a 11.2ch pre-out for lots of system expansion possibilities.

Video signals are treated via advanced video processing, with 6+1 HDMI inputs, and 2+1 outputs (dual output for main zone and multi zone output), all of which support 3D 4k pass- through and 4k video processing. Lower resolution video can be up-scaled to Full-HD or even 4k. InstaPrevue technology makes it possible to preview all HDMI input sources on the screen via picture-in-picture. The front digital connectivity (HDMI & USB) makes the SR7008 friendly for mobile, tablet, iPad/iPhone, camera & camcorder.

The front panel folds up to reveal an additional two-line display. in place.

   9ch discrete power amplifier, 200 W per channel

   Trap door design with hidden 2nd display

   Current Feedback circuitry with Marantz HDAM and customized components

   9.2ch signal processing and Clock Jitter Reducer

   DLNA 1.5 Network audio streaming

   MP3, WAV, AAC, FLAC, WMA, Lossless, FLAC192/24(HD)

   Gapless playback

   Spotify, last.fm, Flickr, Internet Radio

   Apple AirPlay and Windows 8/RT compatible

   Audyssey MultEQ XT32, LFC, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume + PRO ready

   DTS Neo:X (up to 9.1ch) and Audyssey DSX Processing

   6+1 HDMI inputs (3D/ARC/CEC/4k)

   2+1 HDMI outputs (2x simultaneous, 1x for Zone 2)

   Full 4k compatibility – Scaling – Pass-through – GUI overlay

   InstaPrevue to preview HDMI input sources on screen

   Multi-lingual Setup Assistant (9 languages)

   Multi-room/Multi-source (3 Zones), supports Zone Audio from HDMI, coax., opt., network

   11.2ch pre-out (with 2 independent subwoofers), Phono MM amplifier

   Marantz Remote App for iOS and Android

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Jerry is a fan of omnidirectional loudspeakers and owns a pair of MBL 116F speakers so we were interested to what GP_2_4he would make of the German Physiks Unlimited Mk2 Loudspeakers.

“The unusual “clever bit” about German Physiks speakers – their USP, the unique selling point, if you will – is an almost-full-range driver, called the DDD (standing for Dicks’ Dipole Driver, after Peter Dicks the inventor).  It covers from over 20KHz down to about 200Hz, and (usually*) conventional cone drivers take over from there for the bass region.  The DDD driver remains the same throughout the German Physiks range, the size and sophistication of the bass enclosure is the major difference as you increase the price.  With the higher end speakers, multiple DDD drivers are sometimes used, and the crossover necessarily becomes more sophisticated, as well.”

Read the full review of the German Physiks Unlimited Mk2 Loudspeakers and all our other hifi reviews.


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The Mistral DT-307a is a hybrid amplifier and our man Dan puts it through its paces in this interesting review. Mistral_2

“The 307a is a hybrid, it retails at £249, is a 25w per channel tube hybrid and, whilst Mistral were not really fans of MP3, they acknowledge the existence with an ipod / usb input – this input caters for iphones up to an iphone 4 and rather than add yet another cable for iphone 5, the USB input will be replaced with a Bluetooth input which launches in September.”

The full review of the Mistral DT-307a is now live and you can real all our reviews here

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The Iridium power amplifier from Tellurium Q arrived a couple of months ago and has been a permanent feature on theIridium_1_small Hifi Pig rack since then.

The Iridium by Tellurium Q is a single ended class A amplifier that gives out a not massive 18 Watts per channel into 8ohms (the same as my 300B PSE amp actually). It’s a heavy beast weighing in at around 21Kg but it also looks quite elegant on the top of the rack. Now, I say the top of the rack because being class A the top of this amp gets very hot indeed (the heatsinks are on the inside of the casing) and I’d be unsure about putting it in a situation with anything directly on top of it.

The Iridium is a dual mono design where each channel is effectively isolated from the other and uses a mixture of power MOS FETs and large power semiconductors. Each channel has its own dedicated torroidal transformer and rectifier bulk capacitors for smoothing.”

Read more about the Iridium power amplifier from Tellurium Q or read all the Hifi Pig reviews.


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

Musica Bella Audio is a line of affordable vacuum tube audio products produced by Response Audio NY that is sold LEA-EV-716-1direct and available world wide. Response Audio has been producing custom designed tube products since 1998 and released the Musica Bella line in 2007.

The pictured product here is the sub-$1,000 LeAnna EV (Econo Version) vacuum tube linestage. “The LeAnna EV is a class A, vacuum tube preamp designed around a single 12AU7 tube per channel and equipped with a high/low gain switch, high-current toroidal transformer and quality parts throughout”. It comes with four inputs and two outputs. The power supply on the EV is solid state. Other models in the EV line include a MM phono stage and a single tube buffer stage. 

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

Marantz who is celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2013, has announced two new wireless music systems born from its Marantz-M-CR610-MediaMelody series – the £499 Melody Media (M-CR610) and £399 Melody Stream (M-CR510). They will be available across Europe in either black or black/white from September onwards.

Both units can be connected to a home Wi-Fi network with the push of a single button. Wi-Fi Sharing or Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) can be selected with a single button-press.

The bigger Melody Media has a 120W amplifier, it plays CDs, comes with FM and DAB radio, as well as the full variety of network content. The Melody Media plays thousands of Internet radio stations from all over the world via vTuner, and also provides direct access to online music services Spotify and last.fm. You can of course also access your own music library on your computer/NAS (Network Attached Storage).

The Melody Media also supports AirPlay to directly stream music from iTunes and iDevices. To keep control of those playback options, the Marantz Remote App is available for iOS and Android devices. It comes with a digital input to connect a TV set or set-top-box, plus there is a front and a rear USB port for added connectivity convenience.

As standard at Marantz, the USB port is iPod-digital-compatible and is “Made for iPhone” certified. The Melody Media also supports lossless formats such as ALAC, as well as 192kHz/24bit high-resolution WAV, FLAC HD files, and Gapless playback as well.

The Melody Stream is a lot slimmer than the Melody Media. It is dedicated to new digital media and it does not offer FM, DAB or CD playback. It is a pure open doorway to an endless supply of new digital media, either streamed from a computer or directly accessed from the Internet. It has all the qualities and network features of the Melody Media. 

Marantz also offers the M-LS502 Melody Speakers.

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23. July 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Meridian Audio has announced its streaming systems are fully compatible, from 5th August, with selected products from Meridian_image_pad_1QNAP a leading NAS (network attached storage). Now a music collection can grow almost without limit– with the security of automatic backup and RAID protection against hard-disk failure. At the same time, Meridian is offering a plugin for dBpoweramp’s popular Music Converter and CD Ripper to allow you to easily and quickly import your music collection with precise ripping and conversion, helping you to enjoy all there is to know about artists’, tracks and albums, with album cover art too.

Streaming solutions from Meridian are configurable and expandable to serve audio around the whole house. Controlled from iPad, iPhone, the free Core Control App, or a dedicated touch panel, such as Meridian’s Control 15, with its 17-inch touchscreen, listeners can enjoy an entire music collection or favourite internet radio stations anywhere, any time at the touch of a button.

This summer, Meridian is offering the opportunity to upgrade an existing audio player to a streaming solution from Meridian. This upgrade promotion starts on the 22nd July and is available from participating Meridian UK dealers only.

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In 1958 GEC introduced the KT88, designed specifically as a hi-fi valve and intended to be the best.  For 52 years it Icon_Audio_Stereo_60_MkIIm_KT150reigned until Tung Sol released the bigger and better KT120: developed from the same design but with more power to drive the more demanding modern loudspeakers.

Now Tung Sol is announcing the arrival of the KT150: even bigger, with more power and “more refined”.

With immediate effect the Icon Audio Stereo 60 MkIIIm integrated amplifier, Stereo 60P MkIIIm power amplifier, and the MB30SE, MB90 MkIIm and MB150 monoblocks are available with the KT150 valve as an upgrade. The KT150 is also an upgrade for selected previous Icon Audio KT120/KT88 designs.

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19. July 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags: ,

Continuing a trend for smaller hifi, the cabinet of the XETAC DAC is based on the footprint of the Mac Mini and is made from a solid 1” (25mm) thick Aluminium plate by CNC machines in Germany. It uses small SMD components, also used in smartphones, allowing more than 200 precision mounted components to be inside a cabinet of only 1”x 7.7” x 7.7” or 25 mm tall, 197 mm wide and 197 mm deep.

The XETAC DAC will work with all computers, MS, Linux and Apple or with an an old CD or DVD player.

XETAC will increase its range of products in the future with a level controlled amplifier, a phonostage, a headphone amplifier, a preamplifier and several versions of its DACs

XETAC DAC 3 production orders are now being built for delivery and launch in September 2013 at a recommended retail price of €600.

 Technical details:

  • High End Analog Devices AD1853 24-bit/192 kHz Digital to Analog Converter IC
  • Analog Devices AD 1895 Asynchronous sample rate converter is used  for all 3 inputs
  • All 3 inputs feature jitter reduction.
  • All input frequencies are re-clocked and upsampled to 422 kHz
  • USB input acepts 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz and 96 kHz, 16 and 24 bit
  • Accepts variable volume mode in Windows®
  • Texas Instruments TAS1020B USB with Holm Acoustics firmware.
  • The Optical TOSLINK digital input accepts 8 kHz, 11.025 kHz, 16kHz, 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 16 and 24 bit.
  • The RCA S/PDIF digital input accepts 8 kHz, 11.025 kHz, 16 kHz, 32kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz,  16 and 24 bit.
  • National LM49740 amplifiers .
  • 2 Volt RMS output
  • Low 47 Ohm output impedance.
  • Dual power inputs enable +12V -12V DC operation from batteries or  Solar power.

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Pete Grzybowski, President & Owner of Triode Wire Labs, a small boutique company specializing in audiophile power Triode_Wire_Labs-speaker-cablecords & speaker cables in the US contacted us about Triode Wire Labs’ new line of speaker cables and the launch of their updated website.

The speaker cables will be making their global debut July 26-28 at the Washington, DC Capital Audiofest in the Triode Wire Labs room.

The speaker cables feature deep cryogenic treatment, compression die forging attachment of connectors and completely passive “ground plane” noise reduction technology in all the models.

Standard connectors include “top of the line” Cardas pure copper milled spades as well as Cardas CAB banana plugs. All cables are hand crafted in the USA with a 30 day audition trial.

Prices start at $499 USD for a 6 ft. pair. 

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19. July 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

The Merlin Tarantula (Pictured) is a six-way RF and EM filtered mains distribution block wired with very low resistanceTarantula block 1.5mm2 high purity copper wire.  Star-wiring ensures each socket has an identical path providing each connected component a “cleaner and more stable supply”. The IEC input socket allows the mains inlet lead to be easily upgraded.The Tarantula is built into a smart silver-anodized aluminium enclosure designed for either rack or wall mounting.

The Merlin Black Widow is a six-way unfiltered mains distribution block more suited to high quality hi-fi use where excessive filtration can limit dynamics.  1.5mm2 high purity copper star-wiring is said to provide a much higher quality supply than the brass bars found inside most cheap mains blocks. The IEC inlet allows swapping the supplied mains lead for a high quality cable.The Black Widow mains distribution block is built into a black anodized enclosure suitable for shelf or wall mounting.  A numerical display indicates the output voltage and current.
All Merlin Cable products are covered by a 60-day money back guarantee.

Merlin Cables Tarantula mains distribution block is£50

Merlin Cables Black Widow mains distribution block is £80

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Exposure Electronics have announced the release of the 3010s2 phonostage. This all-new phonostage features a  3010s2 phonostage 1dual regulated power supply with regulation optimized for the different sections of the circuit.  The input stage is based around interchangeable circuit boards, each being specifically tailored for either MM or MC cartridges to provide “uncompromised performance with both types of cartridge”.The input is fully configurable to ensure that the cartridge loading and gain is optimally set.

Key features a

  • Fully discrete RIAA gain and equalisation derived from Exposure’s flagship MCX series.


  • Advanced power supply featuring large custom made transformer and high capacity smoothing.


  •  Dual regulation for each power supply rail combines IC regulators on the main board and hybrid regulators on the phono board.


  • MM or MC selected by plug-in board.


  • Adjustable for gain and loading by jumper links.

Exposure 3010s2 Phonostage (MM or MC)                                            £900

Exposure 3010s2 plug-in MM board                                                        £220

Exposure 3010s2 plug-in MC board                                                        £220

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As a classical violinist and physicist Damon Coffman founded Coffman Labs with one goal: creating products that Damon_Coffman_headshotreproduce the natural sound experienced during live performances. Coffman Labs builds all-analogue, vacuum tube-based products including the G1-A phono/line preamplifier and the H1-A headphone amplifier. All Coffman Labs’ products are hand-crafted in Oregon, USA using point-to-point wiring and custom parts. The G1-A is limited edition with only 500 numbered and signed pieces.

In our ongoing series of Behind the Brands interviews Hifi Pig talks to Damon about his history, his preferences in hifi gear and of course about some of the music he loves. Read the full interview with Damon Coffman.

Read all the Behind the Brands interviews and other Industry Insider articles.


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As a classical violinist and physicist Damon Coffman founded Coffman Labs with one goal: creating products that reproduce the natural sound experienced during live performances. Coffman Labs builds all-analogue, vacuum tube-based products including the G1-A phono/line preamplifier and the H1-A headphone amplifier. All Coffman Labs’ products are hand-crafted in Oregon, USA using point-to-point wiring and custom parts. The G1-A is limited edition with only 500 numbered and signed pieces. More »

Henley Designs contacted us to tell us about a new release from Box Design by Pro-Ject Audio Systems – The Head Head_Box_DS_(Silver)Box DS.

Designed with headphone audiophiles in mind, the Head Box DS is essentially a multi-source headphone amplifier. However, where it advances on from its predecessor, the Head Box S/E, is with the inclusion of a DAC chip from Cirrus Logic.

The built-in CS4344 DAC chip allows for 24-bit / 192kHz digital conversion over asynchronous USB, as well as conversion of more traditional digital sources via the Coaxial and Optical inputs. There is also an analogue input, for connecting a turntable or similar analogue source.

As well as working as a headphone amplifier, the Head Box DS can also act as a DAC for a full-sized speaker-based system utilizing the analogue output on the rear of the unit.

The Head Box DS is available now in Black or Silver finish for £299.00

As well as the Head Box DS they also wanted to tell us about the Essential 2 turntable from Pro-Ject. Essential_2_(Red)

The Essential 2 has many of the same aesthetic characteristics as the original model, with a silicone perimeter belt driving a 12” MDF platter. However, the tonearm has been improved from the previous ‘uni-pivot’ design to that of a more traditional 8.6” aluminium design, with sapphire bearings in a gimbal-style assembly, that has previously been found on higher priced Pro-Ject turntables. At the end of the arm is a pre-installed Ortofon OM 5E.

The Essential 2 also has a brand new synchronous motor system,  and stainless steel platter bearing that runs in a bronze bushing with Teflon lining.

The Essential 2 is available in the UK from July 2013 for £199. The turntable is also available in red or white matte finishes for an extra £10.

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12. July 2013 · Write a comment · Categories: Hifi News · Tags:

Hifi Pig is pleased to announce the launch of the new Hifi Social section of the site. Our roving reporter Simon Wilce willExceedingly_good_naits be attending events and launches and then letting you know how he got on.

We hope it will be a light hearted and informative read for you and in the first two reports Simon visits the Ivy as the guest of Little Red Rooster to sample a glass or two of fizz, get a sneaky peak of some new kit and a look at some rare photographs of the Stones and Beatles… then it’s off to Naim to help them celebrate their 40th anniversary and the launch of some new products including the Supernait 2.

If you have an even that you’d like Hifi Pig to cover then just get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.



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When PR agency Little Red Rooster invited Hifi Pig’s roving reporter Simon Wilce to the Ivy with the promise of champagne, canapés and a sneaky peak at a few bits of hifi we jumped at the opportunity. More »

40 years ago, in the dim and distant 1980s, Julian Verker, the founder of NAIM but now sadly not with us, launched the company’s NAIT amplifier with the slightly tongue in cheek advertising strap-line “Mr Verker makes exceedingly good NAITS” along with a somewhat cheesy picture of himself holding out a plate of confections in the style of a certain Mr Kipling who used a similar slogan to sell his wares.  More »

Wanna know something?  Whenever I write an album review I make sure to never read any other reviews beforehand lest my objectivity be irrevocably tainted.  Of course my approach was no different regarding this album.

Well…I may not have read any reviews, but unfortunately it’s been  impossible to avoid noticing the vitriolic public backlash against this album which manifested itself all over social media within minutes of the album’s  release! 

“Fucken shit!”. “The worst album they’ve ever made”.  “Worse Than Lulu!!”….What??  Worse than the most atrocious affront to music in recent memory?  Geez… More »