The DAC Box DS from Box Design by Pro-Ject Audio is a feature-filled DAC Box DSDigital/Analogue converter with multiple filters, an informative screen and three high-quality connection options. Now, thanks to a free upgrade from Pro-Ject, the DAC Box DS is also capable of handling the increasingly popular DSD (Direct Stream Digital) file formats.


DSD is gaining quick recognition as a viable alternative to high-resolution FLAC and WAV files that use the more common Pulse-Code Modulation method of digitising analogue audio. DSD uses Pulse-Density Modulation and sample rates up to 128 times that of CD to achieve an often more analogue sound performance than that realised with ‘traditional’ digital sources or file formats. On the DAC Box DS, DSD is handled over the USB input only; DSD playback software is available for PC, Mac and Linux systems.


DSD compatibility is available as a free upgrade to all existing DAC Box DS customers. Simply visit the support section of Henley Designs in the UK for a step-by-step and video guide to updating your DAC with a Windows PC (the upgrade cannot be made with non-Windows operating systems). After updating the DAC Box DS, it will be capable of handling both 64x DSD and 128x DSD sample rates.

From April 1st 2014, all new DAC Box DS in the UK will be sold with the DSD upgrade already installed.


The DAC Box DS is a Digital/Analogue Converter with optical, coaxial and USB inputs. The USB input utilises an asynchronous streaming technology to dramatically reduce jitter and computer-based distortion.

Conversion in the DAC Box DS is handled by the Burr-Brown PCM1792 DAC chip from Texas Instruments. The two filter settings (‘Steep’ and ‘Optimum Phase’) allow audiophiles to tailor the sound to their own preference.

The FREE DAC Box DS DSD upgrade is available to download now and the DAC Box DS is available for £299 (UK SRP) and will come with DSD compatibility pre-installed from April 2014.

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Meridian Audio has announced the availability of three new Meridian DSP Digital ActiveMeriidan_new_dsp_loudspeakers Loudspeakers – Special Edition DSP8000 SE, DSP7200 SE and DSP5200 SE.

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the launch of Meridian’s first digital loudspeaker – in fact the first digital loudspeaker in the world – the D600, in 1989.

Honouring the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the D600 loudspeaker, 2014 has seen Meridian launch and now make available to order a new Special Edition series of DSP Digital Active Loudspeakers, featuring a beryllium domed tweeter, new electronics and driver clamp rings.

Product Summary:

  • The DSP8000 SE, DSP7200 SE and DSP5200 SE all feature the following new improvements:


  • New Meridian-designed semi-horn-loaded tweeter with new beryllium dome.


  • Wide bandwidth analogue electronics, optimised to take maximum advantage of high-resolution recordings.


  • New DSP including Meridian’s unique EBA (Enhanced Bass Alignment) technology to provide fast, clean bass and an open transparent sound-stage.


  • All drive units clamped with machined rings to provide enhanced mechanical stability.

Confirmed Recommended Retail Pricing for the new Special Edition Loudspeaker models is;

DSP5200 SE   £10,000.00

DSP5200HC/VC SE  £5,250.00

DSP7200 SE   £24,000.00

DSP7200HC/VC SE  £12,500.00

DSP8000 SE  £43,000.00

DSP8000VC SE £22,000.00

Existing owners of DSP5200, DSP7200 and DSP8000 – including the Anniversary Edition – can upgrade with the new Beryllium-dome tweeter and a complete new electronics and DSP package. This upgrade option also includes a full new warranty for the entire loudspeaker system.

Commenting on the new range, Bob Stuart, one of Meridian’s co-founders and now Chairman and Chief Technical Officer, said “The new Special Edition DSP Digital Active Loudspeakers from Meridian provide the most revealing, lifelike and powerful performance of any Meridian loudspeakers to date. Developed from expertise honed over more than 25 years of true research and continual system development, these new Special Edition loudspeakers specifically benefit from Meridian’s scientific research into how humans perceive sound, or ‘how we hear’, in particular focusing on how our brains process live sound.”

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Well, this one came as a bit of a shock.  After several lineup changes, the temporary hijacking of the band’s material by increasingly egotistical frontman Andrew Stockdale and a break-up which lasted about a month, Wolfmother have pulled a Beyonce. No they haven’t been captured un-photogenically at a Superbowl half-time show, they’ve dropped a surprise new album.

When the Aussie lads burst onto the scene with their debut album a decade ago, they were a breath of fresh(ish) air blasting straight out of 1969 and into the charts and festival circuits. A lot has happened since then, critical and commercial failures, acrimonious lineup changes and Andrew Stockdale enjoying the view from up his own arse… so, are they still the kings of retro-rock? More »

Hifi Pig recently introduced a new level of award over and above the Recommended award along 1OUTSTANDINGwith a new points system for reviews. We’ve kept it as simple as possible but we strongly believe that a second independent review of a product that achieves an overall score of 8.5 or above in its first review gives a good deal of credibility to the award. For more information on Outstanding Product Award please read our FAQ section.

When Hifi Pig published Jerry Jacobs review of the RFC Pluto II Interconnects he awarded them an astonishing clean-sweep of 10 out of 10 in all areas – build quality, sound quality and value for money and stated “At £105 for a 1m pair the value for money is completely out of sight.They are the best cables I have heard at any price and I have bought the review pair”. Now that is high praise indeed but they now needed a second opinion.

Off the cables went to Danny Worth for a second independent assessment and he too enjoyed the Pluto IIs very much saying “In their price range, popular mainstream branded cables simply sit in awe of the Pluto’s capabilities and comparing them to the rest in this review should be a joke” whilst offering them an over all score of 8.5 which means that the Pluto IIs from Reference fidelity components become the first product to receive Hifi Pig’s Outstanding Product Award.

Our congratulations go out to Paul at Reference Fidelity Components. You can read the full review here.

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Alan Wilkes (AKA Vinny Peculiar – his real name is “lame”) is a Salford (NW England) based singer songwriter and “The Root Mull Affect” is a collection of outtakes and remixes picked from 15 years of his recordings and represents his 10th album release.

Some will be aware of Vinny Peculiar and he has indeed worked with some well known folk in his time like Bill Drummond, Tom Robinson and Luke Haines whilst his various bands have included members of The Smiths, Oasis, Aztec Camera and the Fall.

The Root Mull Affect is a wonderful collection of tunes and kicks off with “A Vision” which is a great story of psychedelic whimsy of the day John Cooper Clarke joined The Beatles. The new remix of “Jesus Stole My Girlfriend” is superb and tells the story of …well you can guess I’m sure.

“Flatter and Deceive” is a pseudo-country number of Peculiar’s life up to the date of writing the song and is very “northern” with its deadpan and self effacing lyric – I lived this tune much as I really loved the whole of this record.It manages to blend humour, tragedy and pathos in equal measure (Confessions of a Sperm Donor is a perfect example) whilst remaining very much in the pop vein and very much accessible. Lyrically it tells wonderful short stories of every day life that are both funny and moving.

The Root Mull Affect came out on 10th March on Cherry red and comes very much recommended. It’s the perfect introduction to Peculiar’s work (which warrants further investigation for the uninitiated) and is a useful addition to existing fans’ collections. I found it highly addictive and lyrically it could only be the product of a Northern mind and made me feel right at home immediately!

Skogrand are a Norwegian company that manufacture speaker cables and interconnects from their SC_Centaurus_A_300headquarters near the town of Lillehammer. Danny Worth got to grips with the company’s Centaurus A speaker cables and interconnects.

Knut, the owner of the company said this by way of introduction “I am originally – and at the core of my being – a musician. Working as a musician for decades I have performed within many settings live, in studios and at rehearsals, always feeling a kind of urgent lack of silence. Growing up in the peaceful countryside and living in the serene mountain hills of Norway I have grown accustomed to filtering sound through a mesh of tranquility and sonorous peace – having sounds around me standing out as meticulously shaped entities from a perfectly silent background. This is something I have strived to reconstruct in my musical thinking and performance”

Read the full review of the Skogrand SC and SCI Centaurus A Speaker Cables and Interconnects


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The organisers of the 15 Audio Brighton Hifi show got in touch to ask us to remind Hifi Pig readers brighton_hifi_show_Hotelthat this event will be a free event and will take place over 2 days at the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel which is right on the seafront (That will be the one in the pic to your right).

There’s certainly a good selection of kit available for audiophiles and music lovers to take a listen to including: Astin Trew, Triangle,  Brodmann, Scherer,  Trichord,  Burmester,  SSC,  Creaktiv, Renaissance Amplification, Sonneteer,  Audiophile Base,  Boulder,  Oracle,  Belles,  Dali,  AVM and Quadral.

The event takes place: 

Saturday 28 March 9am-7pm

Sunday 29 March 9am – 6pm

Colarado based 3beez contacted Hifi Pig to tell us about their new Wax Box 2 music management 2BEEZ2system for storing , cataloguing and playing music files.

“We have had a great response to the Wax Box 1 in the year since its introduction, but many audiophiles told us they wanted higher storage capacity” said 3beez president, Jeffrey Barish. “Wax Box 2 offers the same features as Wax Box 1, but we increased storage capacity to 3TB”.

Like its predecessor, the Wax Box 2 system ships with the unique Wax software for creating, maintaining and playing a collection of digital music.  “Our software is sophisticated, but so easy to learn that a novice can be cataloguing a collection on day one” said Barish. The system is said to be especially easy when dealing with the nightmare that can be classical music cataloguing.

The new Wax Box is completely silent, with fanless cooling and a cache for sound files in a solid-state drive. The sound drive spins only log enough to transfer the sound files to the cache and no longer. The system performs backups automatically to a second internal HDD.

Available now at $5400

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Russ Andrews is upgrading its range of PowerKord mains cables with the new WattGate EVO PK100_320EVOEvolution range of IEC plugs which they say bring benefits of “enhanced connection to the mains and the resultant improvement in performance”. For a limited time the PowerKords with WattGate EVO plugs will be available at no additional charge.

Three models of EVO plug have been created:

The W320 EVO features brass terminals and is fitted as standard to the PowerKord-100 and PowerKord-300.

The W350 AU EVO is, as its name suggests, an Audio Grade Gold connector and is fitted as an option to the PowerKord-300 and as standard to the PowerKord-500.

The W350 RH EVO, which features pure Rhodium plated connectors and this is available as an option on both the 300 and 500 models (for an up-charge).

Both the 350 AU EVO and 350 RH EVO’s terminals feature a multi-layer plating process, starting with oxygen-free copper; this is then plated with “electroless nickel to prevent the copper leaching through”, and finally a 24K gold plating. For the W350 RH EVO model an additional layer of pure Rhodium is applied on top of the 24K gold.

John Armer, managing director, says, “We have been waiting with bated breath for the arrival of the new plugs, which the development team at WattGate have been telling us would be well worth the wait. When the first samples arrived and were fitted to our cables we knew immediately that they were absolutely right. Each of the three models is an improvement upon the existing plugs and each offers a significant benefit as you climb up through the range.” He concludes, “We’re so pleased with the performance benefits that we want to make them available to our customers without the price rise that usually accompanies new product launches and so are very pleased to be able to hold the prices at the level of our existing PowerKords and, of course, they’re available to try at home on our no quibble 60 day trial with a money back guarantee.”


PowerKord-100                        £150    1m

PowerKord-300                        £230    1m       (£280 with W350 AU EVO and £295 with W350 RH EVO)

PowerKord-500                        £440    1m       (£455 with W350 RH EVO)

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Last year at Munich High End we came across and reported on the unusual looking and definitely image003quirky (to say the least) Vario brand of loudspeakers. They’re all designed to look like faces in a cartoonish kind of way but they will appeal to many and certainly set them selves apart from the usual boxed loudspeaker design.

The company have just got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us about a new loudspeaker that will be launched at Munich High End 2014 and called Angelo. Details are currently sketchy but it looks an interesting four way design and we’ll be there to see it unveiled at the show.

Last year at Munich High End we came across and reported on the unusual looking and definitely image003quirky (to say the least) Vario brand of loudspeakers. They’re all designed to look like faces in a cartoonish kind of way but they will appeal to many and certainly set them selves apart from the usual boxed loudspeaker design.

The company have just got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us about a new loudspeaker that will be launched at Munich High End 2014 and called Angelo. Details are currently sketchy but it looks an interesting four way design and we’ll be there to see it unveiled at the show.


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Mark Levinson’s 40th Anniversary No.52 Reference Dual-Monaural Preamplifier is said to be the ML_March_precompany’s most accomplished preamplifier to date, blending “sublime levels of build quality and performance with exceptional versatility, ease-of-use and appearance” and is now avaialble in the UK through Karma – AV.

The Mark Levinson No.52 is an all-analogue dual-monaural design arranged in a two-chassis system of discrete control and audio sections and within the No.52’s control section, mirror-imaged DC power supplies and AC regeneration circuits. Its audio section employs a mirrored left/right channel configuration, which includes isolated and independent circuit boards for the volume, main and auxiliary signal paths, and extensive shielding for critical components.

Individual left and right DC umbilical cords between the two chassis carry power to each audio channel while control signals are conveyed via a third cable to keep them isolated.

A comprehensive range of inputs includes three balanced XLR, four unbalanced RCA line and a dedicated phono input, equipped with selectable Moving Coil (MC) or Moving Magnet (MM) section. Twin sets of XLR and RCA stereo preamplifier outputs are joined by auxiliary pairs of XLR and RCA outputs with fixed or variable output levels and independent source selection. So resourced they may function either as a third preamp out, a full-range subwoofer output or a record output. In addition, a unity gain SSP (Surround Sound Processor) output provides for the integration of audio sources connected to the No.52 with a home theatre system.

The No.52 offers extensive control and system interface connectivity via Ethernet, Mark Levinson’s proprietary ML Net, 12V trigger and IR control ports. A USB port facilitates possible future software upgrades. The No.52 is supplied with a remote control that can also be used to operate other Mark Levinson components.

Mark Levinson No.52 Reference Preamplifier has a typical retail price: £28,000 in UK with availability from April 2014.

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Mains cables R US contacted to tell Hifi Pig that they will shortly have available what they are SLICdescribing as a “game changing design” of stereo interconnect cable with loudspeaker and mains arriving in good time.

The new cable is a “totally new and unique patented design of cable which will “completely re-define what’s possible from a “wire”” said David Brook of Mains Cables R US.

Prototypes have been sent out for evaluation and full production models will be available very shortly.

MCRU are the exclusive UK sellers for this new cable and prices are to be confirmed.


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Hifi Pig is delighted to announce that they will be supporting the latest high-end hi-fi show to hit the Cranage Hall Side adUK as its exclusive media partner. 

Cranage Hall Audio Show 2014 promises to be a fantastic day out for all audiophiles and those who just love great music reproduced at its very best.

All the exhibitors at Cranage Hall Audio Show have worked very hard to prepare for the show and to offer visitors a truly audiophile experience. They are bringing together carefully selected components to guarantee great sounds and the Hifi Pig team will be working equally hard to ensure that there’s a great buzz around the event before, during and after.

Cranage Hall is located just two miles from the M6 motorway on the A50 between Holmes Chapel and Knutsford in the heart of Cheshire’s countryside and as such offers the perfect location for those in the North of England who wish to attend a high-end hi-fi show, but don’t want the hassle of traveling South.

As well as more established brands there will also be new companies exhibiting at the Cranage Hall Audio Show 2014 – some of them for the first time in UK.

Best of all the show is FREE for people wishing to attend and so make sure to make a date in your diary for Sunday June 15th and join Hifi Pig in what promises to be an exceptional day of music and high-end, hi-fidelity equipment.

Visit Carnage Hall Audio Show 2014 at


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