Tame teen Harry Smith and somewhat more elderly Stuart take a listen to the Lehmann Audio Traveller Headphone Amplifier as part of Hifi PIg’s « Headphone Month » More »

Teen correspondent Harry Smith continues Hifi PIg’s « Headphone Month » with his thoughts on the HifiMan RE-400 In Ear Headphones More »

Dan Worth continues « Headphone Month » at Hifi Pig with the a review of the Epiphany Acoustics EHP-02Di  Headphone Amplifier & USB DAC More »

Continuing « Headphone Month » at Hifi Pig here’s Linette and Stuart’s thoughts on the well thought of Oppo PM1 headphones. More »

French manufacturer Focal aren’t the fist name that comes to mind when you think about headphones but perhaps they should be given Harry and Linette’s opinion on their Spirit One S headphones costing just 179 EUR. More »

As you will be aware August has been Headphone Month at Hifi PIg, but given the sheer volume of headphone monthproducts we have been sent, and the fact that stuff is still arriving today, we have decided to extend into September.

During September you can expect to see lots of conventional hifi reviews but mixed up amongst them will be a good number of headphone and headphone related product reviews too.

See this as Headphone Month the 12″ extended disco version.

Take a look at the headfi reviews we’ve done already.


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« Headphone Month » at Hifi Pig  continues with Janine Elliot’s review of the German AudioValve Verto and RKV Mk 3 headphone amplifiers costing £690 and £3262 respectively. More »

Hifi Pig’s « Headphone Month »  continues with Stuart and Harry Smith’s thoughts on the little Tisbury CA-1 Headphone Amplifier that is made in the UK and costs £349 More »

German hi-fi furniture brand Tabula Rasa is now available for direct purchase in the UK as well asTabula Rasa Deepspace across the EU.

Every item in the brand’s range is constructed from solid hardwoods – oak and maple – which Tabula Rasa say have been carefully selected for their acoustic properties as well as their natural beauty, and sourced from sustainable forests.

In the company’s press release they say “The structure and density of the pure oak and maple designs provide excellent damping properties, reducing unwanted resonances within both the furniture and your hi-fi system. The heavy mass of the hardwoods also provides strong grounding for a solid bass sound.”

The Tabula Rasa range includes four core designs: the Notrebo, Lowboard, Basis
600 and Deepspace. Each comes with a range of customisable options such as a choice of wood colours and finishes, varying dimensions (width, overall height and/or individual shelf heights) and the addition of bespoke storage units (Lowboard only).

Optional extras such as Tabula Rasa spikes and the company’s built-in quartz sand damping system (known as ‘the silencer’) are also available.


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This album arrived a good while ago and I was really excited when it did as I was a bit of a fan of the Hippy Slags back in the festival days and as readers will know a huge fan of Hawkwind with who Bridget Wishart performed on Space Bandits, Palace Springs, California Brainstorm and Take Me To Your Future.

Look at the line up on Make Believe It Real and it reads like a who’s who in space rock: Daevid Allen of Gong (wishing you a speedy recovery!!!), Harvey Bainbridge, Richard Chadwick, Alan Davey, Simon House, Keith The Bass, Nick May, Twink…the list goes on and on and on. More »

Ok, so the sleeve note’s are telling me that Matchbox were one of the most successful singles bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but I must confess that their popularity hit its peak just as my interest in the charts was waning and as a result they’re a new one on me. But that’s not to say I didn’t recognise a few of the tunes on here, most of all Rockabilly Rebel…which had me singing along and knowing all the words (I have no idea where that came from!). More »

Bob James is regarded as one of the founding fathers of the smooth Jazz sound and has been heavily sampled in more recent years ( NWA, Run DMC, Soul II Soul, Missy Elliot and many more). He began his professional music career at age 8 playing piano for a tap dance class but also plays trumpet, timpani and percussion.

His association with smooth jazz began in 1972 whilst working with Stanley Turpentine and Milt Jackson on the album Cherry and is closely associated with Grover Washington Jr and arranged several of Washington’s albums. If you’ve not heard of James then you may well have heard his music as his tune Angela, from his breakthrough album Touchdown, was used as the theme (he also supplied incidental music) to the US sitcom Taxi which starred Danny Devito More »

él (via Cherry Red) are an interesting label that are putting out some pretty out there and unusual recordings.

One flick through the titles of the tracks on Les Baxter’s Original Quiet Village album will give you a good indication that this is exotica as colourful as it comes; Shanghai Rickshaw, Deep Night and Gardens of the Moon are just random selection. More »

As part of Hifi Pig’s « Headphone Month »  Linette and Stuart Smith review the £650 HifiMan HE-560 headphones supplied  by Mark at Electromod.  More »

Gasoline, on the excellent Comeme is the labels very first compilation and by crikey it’s a good one…very much my kind of music. For those that don’t know Comeme it’s a label that has been making all the right noises for me for a year or so now with its pared down, acidic-tribal-techno grooves. More »

Regular readers will be well aware of my love of the Kompakt label and it’s pretty rare that I don’t absolutely love everything that gets released on rhe Berlin imprint. Here we have number 14 in the popular compilation series Total. More »

Hifi Pig were lucky enough to be invited to visit Roksan, the sponsors of our hifi news section of the site and whose promotional video you can see at the top right of website, at their London based offices and workshops last week. k3front

We will of course be writing at length about our visit to the company’s factory, but whilst we there we were given an exclusive opportunity to take a listen to Roksan’s new K3 amplifier and CD player.

Of course it’s difficult to get a real idea of a product’s performance in unfamiliar surroundings, but powering the Darius S1 loudspeakers there was certainly bags of punch and dynamics from the new electronics when playing a wide selection of music from Bjork to Scott Walker.

Each of the boxesK36back-shot will be priced at around £1250 and it seems that you will be getting a lot of “bang for your buck”.

Looking around the production area for the K3 (all are hand built in London) we were particularly impressed by the quality of the front panels which are made in Berlin, Germany to exacting standards and available in “silver”, “opium” and “charcoal”.

The K3 amplifier will come with the very latest APTX Bluetooth technology which has extended range and much higher quality than standard Bluetooth and all units will come with Roksan’s five year warranty…. as do all their products.




I’m sure Hifi Pig will be able to offer our readers a full and in depth review in due course but we also thought you’d enjoy a few snaps of the new electronics.


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headphonemonth facebook bannerAugust is Headphone Month here at Hifi Pig and we’ve dedicated all our hifi reviews to reviewing nothing but headphones and headphone related products.

We’ve reviewed headphones from Final, Stax, Sennheiser, GOJI and Audeze with more to come from HifiMan and others.

As well as headphones we’ve published a headphone amplifier review of a Graham Slee  product with more to come from Lehmann Audio, AudioValve, Schiit and Tisbury.

We’ve got a fabulous prize package to give away too so please make sure you keep an eye on our Hifi news and Hifi reviews section of Hifi Pig as well as the next edition of the FREE Hifi Pig Magazine which will be published on 3rd September.

You can see all our headpohone reviews here.


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At £3495 the Stax SR-009 headphones are intended for the committed headphone listener. For Hifi Pig’s ongoing « Headphone Month » Janine Elliot takes a listen… More »

Hifi Pig’s « Headphone Month » continues and here Linette and Stuart Smith take a listen to the £999 Sennheiser HD800 headphones.  More »

McIntosh Laboratory has launched an all-in-one system, the new MXA70, which comes complete MXA70+Anglewith speakers and takes full advantage of the latest McIntosh technologies.

The MXA70 is hand-built in McIntosh’s Binghamton (NY) factory. It contains a 50-watt McIntosh amplifier, in-house aluminium loudspeakers and a dedicated headphone amp. Also included is a McIntosh DAC with four digital inputs. First unveiled at CES 2014, the MXA70 is available for the first time in the UK from Jordan Acoustics, McIntosh’s UK distributor.

The speakers, finished in high-gloss piano-black, have been designed in- house to complement the electronics and feature drivers housed in a custom-cast vibration-controlling aluminium cabinet. The wide-bandwidth speakers have a 19mm titanium-dome tweeter with a 100mm treated-paper bass/midrange unit. The speakers are rear-ported.

The MXA70 includes the same dedicated headphone amplifier found in the recently launched MHA100 head amp. The system employs a new adaptation of McIntosh’s autoformer technology, which offers three selectable headphone impedance ranges:
8-40; 40-150 and 150-600 ohms.

The MXA70 also features McIntosh’s new Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) technology, which is said to allow recordings played through headphones to image like conventional speakers.

The internal McIntosh Digital Engine offers four digital inputs (coaxial, optical, balanced digital AES/EBU and USB), allowing decoding at up to 32-bit/ 192kHz resolution for maximum analogue fidelity. The MXA70 upsamples digital signals to 192kHz with 32-bit resolution, before the D/A process begins. Two analogue inputs (including balanced) have also been appointed.

The amplifier is a Class A/B complimentary-symmetry design featuring ThermalTrakTM output transistors. Further features include tone controls, plus McIntosh’s Power Guard® technology: a waveform-comparison circuit that continuously monitors both input and output signals, dynamically adjusting them when necessary, in order to avoid potentially damaging clipping.



Amplifier power output: 50 watts per channel with both channels operating into 8 Ohms
Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.005% maximum from 20Hz to 20kHz

One high-level unbalanced (stereo) One high-level balanced (stereo) Four digital (see Digital Section)

One set of stereo speaker terminals (8 Ohms)
One headphone (1/4”)
One preamplifier (stereo)

Digital section
One dedicated USB One coax
One optical
(McIntosh Digital Engine is 32-bit/192kHz, USB 2.0 asynchronous)

Tone controls
5-step Bass Boost control

Headphone power output: high selection 1W; normal selection 250mW Headphone output impedance: 8-40, 40-150 and 150-600 Ohms


Driver complement (per speaker):
One 100mm (4-inch) treated-paper bass/midrange One 19mm (3/4 inch) titanium-dome tweeter Frequency response: 60Hz – 45kHz
Crossover frequency: 2,000Hz

The MXA70 sells for £5,995 and is available now.


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Computer Audio Design has launched the CAT — an advanced new digital source component with CAD-CAT-HIFI-NEWSCD-ripping, bespoke internal storage and streaming services playback.

The CAT is a CD-ripper, music storage device and streamer (Windows Platform services) in one, with each CAT hand-built to order in CAD’s central London facility. CAD offers bespoke data storage solutions for the device, which can be fitted with any type of music storage: SSD, HDD or NAS. Due to the fluctuating price of memory, CAD’s engineers will install whatever storage is required, at cost price. The CAT can be further tailored to suit the user’s home music set-up — either as a standalone two-channel system, or for integration into home networks.

The CAT offers automatic CD-ripping — transferring CDs to memory before automatically ejecting the disc. Playback from the internal storage drive is over USB: the CAT’s audiophile-grade customised USB output can be directly connected to the CAD 1543 DAC or any high-quality USB DAC. In addition, the CAT also has integrated music-streaming capability: users can stream music services such as Spotify, Qobuz, and BBC Radio.
The CAT can be controlled using a number of remote apps for handheld devices on both iOS and Android. For iOS devices, control is via JRemote and for Android, Gizmo is used. Users can also access the Windows operating system in the CAT via a handheld device, using Windows Remote Desktop application; a screen, keyboard and mouse are not necessary (this is often referred to as running ‘headless’). Alternatively, for purchasers not wishing to employ a Wi-Fi network in the listening room, users can control the CAT using a conventional monitor and mouse, or using a TV/monitor panel via HDMI.

Speaking about the creation of the CAT, Scott Berry, designer of both the 1543 DAC and the CAT said: “Our customers love the 1543 DAC, but I quickly realised that the biggest problem in computer audio is the computer. Having worked hard to improve sound quality using software, I wanted also to implement the discoveries made during the development of the DAC in the CAD Audio Transport itself. The CAT combines exceptional sound quality with true ease of use. It is also a device that can adapt as the digital music world evolves with the renewed focus on sound quality.”

The CAT has been meticulously built as a no-compromise source component and particular attention has been paid to the device’s power supplies. CAD has implemented a separate external dual-linear power supply along with low-noise internal linear regulators and fan-less cooling.

Particular attention has also been paid to the CAT’s USB interface, which is a highly modified design optimised. The CAT also boasts extensive EMI/RFI management. High-quality audiophile-grade internal cabling is also used throughout.

Every CAT comes with a recommended software package. This is currently a customised Microsoft Windows operating system which includes CAD’s proprietary modifications, aimed at creating the best possible sound quality, without compromising networking and remote access. This provides a robust, easy-to-use and widely supported operating system that can be slotted into home networks easily. CAD’s engineers discuss customer set-up requirements and then install the most appropriate software (and storage), passed on at cost price, there are no ‘hidden’ charges.

The CAT uses a customised version of dBPoweramp, which rips in secure mode, automatically downloading metadata if the CAT is connected to the internet. Files are automatically stored where required.

JRiver is used for the music library management and users can view and search collections, see artwork and sleeve notes, and create playlists. Playback is managed by JPlay.


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IsoTek has launched an upgraded ‘EVO3’ Special Edition of the Syncro.Isotek6syncro

Originally launched in 2010, the Syncro is IsoTek’s most advanced mains cable which incorporates “unique performance-enhancing” electronics housed in an anti-resonant aluminium cylinder positioned part way down the cable’s length. This is essentially a ‘pre-filter’ designed to “synchronise the mains supply in order to promote a perfectly symmetrical sine wave, delivering significant sonic improvements when used with any hi-fi system”.

DC on the mains is what the Syncro aims to cure by rebalancing the AC sinewave.

IsoTek’s research has led them to the conclusion that mains electricity should be a pure sine wave of either 50Hz or 60Hz of correct voltage and good symmetry about the zero volts line, in order to power audio equipment with maximum effectiveness. “The Syncro was therefore designed to centre (or synchronise, hence the name) the mains sine wave on the zero volts line, thus removing any audible transformer hum or buzz from an amplifier”.

“Syncro is not a mains conditioner or filter in the accepted sense,” says Keith Martin, IsoTek’s founder and managing director. “It can be used on its own to power a single hi-fi component and will bring significant improvements if used in this way. However, it’s primarily designed as a ‘pre-filter’ device: for best results, plug the Syncro into a wall socket and use it to power an IsoTek mains conditioning unit. The Syncro takes the mains electricity supply and realigns its waveform prior to filtration of contaminants – RFI, EMI and so on – by the conditioning unit, which then feeds each hi-fi component and improves the performance of every link in the audio chain.”

The cable in the new EVO3 edition of the Syncro is now IsoTek’s EVO3 Optimum. It features three 3.0sqmm silver-plated ultra-pure OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) copper conductors arranged in a  square-shaped configuration of 40 strands, each strand also being of square cross-section.

A Teflon FEP dielectric (insulation) is extruded over each conductor, providing a very low dielectric constant over a wide frequency range. The three conductors are given a slight rotational twist to aid RFI and EMI rejection, and are then surrounded by IsoTek’s cotton filler. The whole construction is then double shielded by first enclosing it in a Mylar wrap before applying an active OFC copper shield. A durable, heat-resistant PVC outer jacket finished the cable off.

The cable is terminated by hand using IsoTek’s audiophile grade 24-carat gold plated connectors.

Total cable length including central cylinder 2.2m and priced at £1,195 (including VAT).


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