Henley Designs, exclusive UK distributors for Pro-Ject Audio Systems, are releasing a UK exclusive Xpressiopn_UKXversion of this popular Pro-Ject Carbon turntable, in the form of the 1 Xpression Carbon UKX.

The 1 Xpression Carbon UKX advances on the current model with an acrylic platter upgrade that is said to help elevate the performance of the turntable to new heights. The use of an acrylic platter negates the need for any form of mat, though the UKX continues to include felt and cork mat options to suit a wider variety of listening rooms and sound preferences.

The 1 Xpression Carbon UKX keeps all the features from the original turntable, including the one-piece carbon fibre tonearm with an over-sized assembly around the gimble bearing that draws all vibrations away from the arm tube. There’s even a pre-fitted Ortofon 2M Silver cartridge.

All 1 Xpression Carbon UKX tonearm and main bearings are hand-adjusted and tweaked by Pro-Ject’s workforce to offer the best possible performance. The new motor decoupling blobs are also hand-adjusted to tune out any motor noise that could be generated in use.

The 1 Xpression Carbon UKX is available from March 2014 at a suggested retail price £575.

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More news from Munich High-End 2014 and this time from the guys at German Physiks whose Unlimited Mk2 gpeloudspeakers we reviewed in 2013. They’ve contacted Hifi Pig to announce that they will be using a full suite of Esoteric’s new flagship Grandioso electronics in their room at the Munich High End Show in May this year. The main loudspeakers will be German Physik’s PQS-302 which have a starting price of €65 000. Other loudspeaker models being used will include Borderland Mk IV and Unlimited Mk II.

The Esoteric system (with an approximate value of €200 000) at Munich will comprise: Grandioso P-1 SACD/CD-Transport, Grandioso D-1 Mono-D/A-Converters, 2 pairs of Grandioso M-1 monoblock amplifiers, C-02 Pre-Amplifier and a G-01 Master Clock. Audio cables will be Esoteric Mexcel.

You can read all our coverage of Munich High-End 2014 in our dedicated area of the Hifi Pig site.

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More news from Munich High-End 2014 and this time from the guys at German Physiks whose Unlimited Mk2 gpeloudspeakers we reviewed in 2013. They’ve contacted Hifi Pig to announce that they will be using a full suite of Esoteric’s new flagship Grandioso electronics in their room at the Munich High End Show in May this year. The main loudspeakers will be German Physik’s PQS-302 which have a starting price of €65 000. Other loudspeaker models being used will include Borderland Mk IV and Unlimited Mk II.

The Esoteric system (with an approximate value of €200 000) at Munich will comprise: Grandioso P-1 SACD/CD-Transport, Grandioso D-1 Mono-D/A-Converters, 2 pairs of Grandioso M-1 monoblock amplifiers, C-02 Pre-Amplifier and a G-01 Master Clock. Audio cables will be Esoteric Mexcel.

Fire were a late 60’s/70’s three piece band, The Magic Shoemaker (“a fairytale opera”) was released on the Pye label in 1970 and was recorded in January 1970 at the label’s studios in London. This reissue is re-mastered from the original master tapes by Ben Wiseman at the Audio Archiving Company and released on Esoteric Recordings.

Dave Lambert (guitars, percussion, piano and vocals), Bob Voice (drums, percussion and vocals) and Didck Dufall (bass guitar and vocals) made up the band with all tracks being written by Lambert. Dave Lambert later joined The Strawbs. More »

During the Sound & Vision Show held in Bristol on 21-23 February, The Clarity Alliance ran the bristol_hifi_show_2014second of its annual “Best of Show” awards to reward the efforts put in to the show by the exhibiting companies and help raise the profile of the winners and show among the hi-fi buying public. Also announced was the first of its Honorary Fellowship awards, which went to John Dawson of Arcam.

Judges from Clarity visited every room at the show in order to select those companies they felt should be recognised for their outstanding contribution. The winners were presented with their awards on the Friday evening, at a packed awards ceremony, enabling them to then proudly display them to the show visitors over the weekend.

Chosen after very careful consideration and consultation by the judges were the following companies:

“Best Sounding Hi-Fi Room’      – Naim Audio

“Best Home Cinema Room”      – Arcam

“Best Presented Room”            – AudioQuest

“Most Innovative Room”            – Monitor Audio

“Best Stand in Open Areas”     – The Chord Company

 

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Meridian Retail Partner and Hifi Pig friends, Loud & Clear of Edinburgh is delighted to announce a Loudandclearweek of events based around Meridian products. From 4-9th of March visitors to the store will have the chance to hear all that is new from Meridian Audio including the Special Edition versions of the acclaimed DSP loudspeakers. Here are the dates:

Tuesday 4th March 13:00 – 18:00

Wednesday 5th March 10:00 – 18:00

Thursday 6th March 10:00 – 20:00

Friday 7th March 10:00 – 13:00

Saturday 8th March 10:00 – 18:00

Sunday 9th March 12:00 – TBC – (Classic Album Sunday)

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With just 90 days to go the countdown to Munich High-End 2014 has started and needless to say Hifi Pig will be there to bring you all the countdown_to Munich_high_end_2014news and pictures of the show in a series of articles on the site as well as in the Hifi Pig Magazine.

News about the what is perhaps the highlight of the European audio and hifi calender is coming thick and fast and we’ll be reporting it all in the run up to the actual show which will happen on 15th to 18th May.

Munich High-End has been happening since 1982 and 2014 will be the 33rd event. This year Munich High-End will have well over 300 exhibitors that will present more than 900 brands and it will offer a comprehensive overview of the hifi and audio market.

For those that have never visited Munich High-End it’s an absolutely huge exhibition taking place in a space of 20 000 square metres and it is packed with future technologies and more traditional audio technology too. You’ll be able to see everything from record players and valve amplifiers to the latest digital wireless systems, computer audio, audio accessories and headphones.

But Munich High-End isn’t just about the hifi and there’s a great program of live music, food… and it also represents a great opportunity to meet up with friends from all over the world.

If you’re planning on going to Munich High-End 2014 then Hifi Pig suggests that you take more than a day to cover the show as there is just so much to see, but if you can’t make don’t worry as we’ll be there to bring it all straight to your desktop. You can read our coverage of Munich High-End 2013 here.

Atlas Cables launched their new Asimi Ultra reference interconnect cable at Bristol Sound and atlas-asimi-ultra-xlr-5Vision 2014. The new interconnect is hand-built at its factory in Kilmarnock, Scotland and is available now with a UK SRP of £2750.00 for a metre pair with other lengths available upon request.

“The aim of the new Atlas Asimi project was to take a completely fresh look at cable design and to develop new techniques to create a cable that would satisfy the most demanding audiophiles for years to come. The ‘money no object’ brief looked at all areas of the design, from the materials used to create the cable and connectors through to the manufacturing processes. Specifically, we looked at whether an improved neutral high fidelity sound could be achieved using standard metal connectors, whether the capacitance load could be improved for a solid silver OCC analogue interconnect cable and whether RF (Radio Frequency) rejection performance could be improved. Throughout the development process, we conducted iterative design and testing to achieve its aims, with the resultant cable being the Asimi Ultra” said Atlas.

The Asimi Ultra uses solid silver conductors, manufactured using the “highest-quality” technique for drawing pure silver. “Ohno Continuous Cast” or OCC, used in the manufacture of high quality Atlas copper cables is said to minimise the impurity boundaries in the material by ensuring that there is less than one grain or signal-deleting crystal boundary in up to 125m of conductor!

The Dielectric

To achieve the necessary amount of protection without increasing inefficiency, Atlas has developed a new technique, which uses a microporous PTFE (Teflon) tape, which is wound around the OCC solid silver conductors, then covered again and stabilised using a protective FPE (Flexible PolyEthylene) dielectric.

The ‘Ultra’ Connector Plug

Designed in-house at Atlas, this new plug employs a novel approach to the problems of mass reduction, residual conductivity (eddy currents) and dielectric discontinuities. The all new Atlas Ultra has a 57% reduction in mass over its predecessor, employs an internal non-conductive sleeve matched to the dielectric properties of the cable (Teflon) as well as maintaining the Atlas plug attributes of solder free construction, self-cleaning insertion and material consistency.

RFI

To combat RFI, traditionally a metallic barrier (or braid) is encased around the insulated conductors and terminated at one or both ends. For the new Asimi Ultra, Atlas has developed a new system that uses two symmetrical drain wires (each attached to 180 degree segments of the plug) inserted between a 100% copper Mylar foil and SPC screen. This unique system connects the screen effectively to the cable return plug interface and provides total 360° screening, whilst not distorting the integrity of the screen in any way.

Commenting on the launch of the Asimi Ultra, Kevin Kelly, Managing Director at Atlas, said, “We are constantly researching new methods and materials based on scientific fact to increase the performance of our products. At the high end, where the Asimi Ultra sits, we feel that we have made real innovations that in time may well feature in other Atlas products.” Kelly continues, “With the launch of the Asimi Ultra, we truly believe that we have developed a cable that is a real step-up in performance and is absolutely the finest audio interconnect money can buy.”

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As we announced a few days ago when updating Hifi Pig readers about Bristol Sound and Vision, Musical_fidelity_blutoothMusical Fidelity has announced the launch of the V90-BLU – a Bluetooth receiver that can add streamed music from smartphones, tablets, MACs and PCs to any Hi-Fi system. It features an upsampling and reclocking DAC and the high-quality aptX Bluetooth audio codec. The V90-BLU sports a unique digital and analogue pass-through feature for simple connectivity options.

Specifications:

Inputs

•1 x line level RCA (phono)

•1 x RCA coaxial connector SPDIF 32-192 kbps

•1 x TOSLINK optical connector 32-96 kbps

Outputs

•1 x line level RCA (phono)

•1 x RCA coaxial connector SPDIF 32-192 kbps

•1 x TOSLINK optical connector 32-96 kbps

Available now, the V90-BLU has a UK SRP of £199.99.

 

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Audio Pro has been designing and building loudspeakers in Sweden since 1978 but they contacted livinglvsub_02_cmykHifi Pig to tell us about their latest wireless audio products consisting of floorstanding speakers, wall-mountable subwoofer, central processing hub and point-to-point wireless dongles.

Living LVHUB – multi-input wireless audio hub

With its four inputs (1 x USB, 2 x TOSLINK digital and 1 x 3.5mm stereo analogue), users are able to create a multi-source wireless audio system by connecting all sources to this hub. After the simple set up procedure (plug in and switch on), the LVHUB ‘finds’ all compatible Audio Pro Living speakers within the area and automatically connects to them. With Audio Pro’s Living system, a dedicated audio network is created, transmitting CD-quality sound wirelessly. UK SRP £250

Living LV33 – Floor standing speakers

A three-way floor standing speaker system, the LV33 utilises both direct and reflected audio technology to make speaker placement easy and fill a room with sound. Featuring a built-in bass equaliser, which allows the user to tune the speaker to the room that it is in, each LV33 can be set to be a right, left or mono speaker, which is ideal for those wanting multiple pairs in a single room or individual speakers in several rooms and is finished in Audio Pro’s trademark leather (available in black or white. UK SRP £1,300

Living LVSUB Flat – on-wall/on floor subwoofer

As either part of an Audio Pro Living wireless audio system or connected as a standard subwoofer to any audio device with a subwoofer output, the LVSUB Flat is ideal for those that want additional bass reinforcement with universal mounting options. Hung on a wall, placed on the floor or hidden under a couch, with its 200 Watt Class D amplifier, 8” (20.5cm) long-throw bass driver and DSP control, the LVSUB Flat is extremely versatile. In addition, and thanks to its finish being of the same luxurious leather (Black or white) as the other models in the Audio Pro Living range, it is a subwoofer that can be shown off rather than hidden away.UK SRP£450

Living LVSUB Flat – on-wall/on floor subwoofer

The LVSUB Flat is for those that want additional bass reinforcement with universal mounting options. It can be hung on a wall, placed on the floor or hidden under a couch and has a 200 Watt Class D amplifier, 8” (20.5cm) long-throw bass driver and DSP control.. In addition, and thanks to its finish being of the same luxurious leather (Black or white) as the other models in the Audio Pro Living range, it is a subwoofer that can be shown off rather than hidden away. UK SRP £150.

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Lector has contacted Hifi Pig to tell us about their new tube output CD player. The new rounded shape lctorcdp603CD player is said to offer better rigidity and mechanical vibration control and the CD player has a new laser mechanism that is said to be highly accurate. A specially designed rubber suspension is employed to further reduce both internal and external vibration and inside new servo circuits based on a 32 bit microprocessor are used.

The on-board DAC board is a 32 bit 192 KHz low jitter design and output is pure class A to tubes without any solid state device in the signal path.

Only one polyprop capacitor is in the signal path and several power supply circuits are employed with “great capacitor reserve”.

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The all-new Laminar Streamer from LessLoss is undergoing final development and laminar_Streamer_LessLossfinishing and Louis from LessLoss got in touch to tell us about its progress and share a few photographs.

The Laminar Streamer has been designed to “solve the problem of digital audio harshness by using only a single clock source for the formation of the pristine digital audio stream” and although the device plays .wav and .aiff files off of SD cards, LessLoss did not incorporate the use of Windows, MAC OS, or Linux for its operating system. Instead, from the ground up, a dedicated audiophile operating system was built for the task of serving data while avoiding jitter.

The Laminar Streamer’s in house operating system runs synchronously at the audio sampling rate via the same audio clock used for the formation of the audio data stream.

The new Laminar Streamer will play any .wav or .aiff file from FAT32 formatted SD cards, any standard sampling rate files, from 44.1 kHz through 192 kHz files and 16 or 24 bit files at any standard sampling rate.

A small screen will display folder names, file names, sampling rates, absolute phase polarity, playback mode.

The main body for the Laminar Streamer is Panzerholz.

Price: to be announced.

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The Bristol Show Sound and Vision 2014 is one of the major dates in the UK hifi and audiophile calender. Here are a few photographs of some of the hifi taken at this years  Bristol show Sound and Vision 2014.

Thanks to Hifi Pig reader Justin for the photographs. More »

Monitor Audiobristol

Monitor Audio will be showing off their Airstream A100 network-ready amplifier which combines the latest wireless streaming technologies with an audio system design to bridge the divide between a world of digital music and hi-fi speakers.

Karma-AV

At around £6.5k a piece retail, the new Primare 60 Series pre-power marks the marques return to the high-end music system market, “reprising the iconic designs of previous decades with state-of-the-art audio streaming performance and striking two-tone bodywork”. Karma-AV will also have Golden Ears much lauded Triton Seven loudspeakers (£1400 a pair) and the new SB-2000 and PB-2000 subs prced at £650 and £739 respectively.

 

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Quad celebrates 78 years of audio innovation with the world-debut of Vena at Sound & Vision – the Bristol Quad_vena_hifi_newsShow. Available from May with a prospective price tag of around £600, Vena combines a DAC and integrated amp in a single chassis, offering wireless Bluetooth connectivity alongside an extensive range of inputs and outputs. D/A conversion is handled by the same 24-bit/192kHz chipset used in Quad’s Platinum CD players, while support for the aptX codec ensures superior sound quality over Bluetooth.

The Class AB power amp section delivers 45W per channel into 8 ohms. Finishes include premium piano black, piano white and wood, Vena looks to be an exceptionally neat and simple solution and can be used with smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs as well traditional hi-fi separates.

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The £200 rDock-uni from Arcam is an audiophile docking station for iPhone/Pad/Pod, that allows connection to any rdock_uniform of Hi-Fi, Home Cinema or Audio system. The rDock-uni features the new Lightning connector for all current iDevices and USB for older ones, the user just has to “Dock & Play”!

You can choose to use the internal DAC (Burr-Brown/TI PCM1502) on the rDock-uni, or send a digital signal directly to an external DAC.  It has full IR remote control of docked device (handset included) and control integration with Arcam’s Solo neo, Solo mini and Arcam AV Amps

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The Chord Company (very busy at the moment judging by Hifi Pig’s news section) has launched a new range of Japanese-made isolation devices called Silent Mount. The Picture 1517devices, which come in packs of four, can be used with a wide range of spike-equipped audio products, including floorstanding speakers, speaker stands and equipment racks.

Silent Mounts are handmade in Japan from a combination of stainless steel and brass, and have been designed to improve the contact between the spikes widely fitted to ancillary audio equipment and the floor. “Even with hard-surface flooring, the pressure at the tip of each spike is extremely high; Silent Mounts make it far easier to stabilise equipment racks, speakers and speaker stands, whilst bringing noticeable sonic improvements”. Say The Chord Company.

Three types of Silent Mount are available: SM5A, SM7A and SM5A T (titanium variants).  SM5A Silent Mounts have a 50mm diameter, will support up to 50kg each and are designed for use with hi-fi racks. SM7As (70mm) have been designed for use with floorstanding and stand-mount loudspeakers and will also support up to 50kg each. 

SM5A Ts are identical to the SM5A, but are crafted from titanium and stainless steel, a combination of materials that  The Chord Company say “offers numerous sonic benefits over the brass/steel variants, including improvements to timing, dynamics and coherence, with better imaging and definition of instruments, plus a much improved placing of voices within the soundstage”.

All Silent Mounts are supplied with a set of thin self-adhesive felt pads. If the target product is sited on anything other than a carpeted floor, the felt pads should be fitted to the base of each Silent Mount.

Price

SM5A £299

SM7A £339

SM5A T (titanium) £599

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Bristol Sound and Vision hifi show takes place this coming weekend at the Marriott City Centre Hotel. Here’s an bristolupdate of some of the brands that will be attending the show.

Chord Electronics will be hosting the European launch of Hugo, “the world’s most advanced mobile DAC/headphone amp”. Just like its high-end stable-mates, Hugo is based on Chord Electronics’ proprietary FPGA DAC technology, “putting it in a different league to standard DACs with off-the-shelf chips”.

Chord Electronics will also be playing their reference-level streamer, the DSX1000 and the SPM1400 monoblocks. Show visitors can also see the new CodeX streamer and put questions to the Chord team, including Chord’s newest recruit, ex-Naim stalwart, Alan Ainslie.

Computer Audio Design (CAD), winners of Bristol Sound and Vision 2013’s ‘Best-sounding hi-fi room’, will be showing two brand new products – the CAD CABLE (USB cable) and CAD CAT (dedicated computer audio transport). In addition to the CAD CABLE USB cable, a dedicated USB-audio interconnect incorporating patent-pending designs, CAD is also launching the CAD CAT, a bespoke computer audio transport specifically designed to extract the best performance from digitally stored music. Scott Berry, CAD founder will also be on hand to show the new products, answer questions and play CAD’s award-winning DAC, the 1543.

The Chord Company will be showing a huge range of new products. Room 112 will see demonstrations, by Technical Director Nigel Finn, of the new Ethernet and digital interconnect range, plus the world debut of two new products: Signature Reference speaker cable and Silent Mount isolation devices.

In The Chord Company’s main foyer position, the team will be giving headphone and cable demonstrations using the recently launched Chameleon, Chorus, Anthem and Signature interconnect cables.

Atlas Cables 2014 will have the worldwide premier of its new Asimi Ultra reference interconnect cable. Following two years in development, Atlas has made “huge technological breakthroughs and produced what is widely considered to be one of the best reference cables available, even better”. The Atlas Asimi Ultra interconnect cable is hand-built at its factory in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

Musical Fidelity has announced the launch of the V90-BLU – a Bluetooth receiver that is ideal for adding streamed music from smartphones, tablets, MACs and PCs to any hi-fi system. Featuring an upsampling and re-clocking DAC and the high-quality aptX Bluetooth audio codec, the V90-BLU sports a unique digital and analogue pass-through feature for numerous (yet simple) connectivity options. 

More updates to follow…

 

 

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UK audio and video cable manufacturer and creator, The Chord Company has launched a nePicture 1543w version of its Signature speaker cable. Called Signature Reference, the new cable has been completely redesigned and builds on its predecessor’s performance say Chord Company.

“The all-new Signature Reference has been created using the lessons learned developing The Chord Company’s flagship speaker cable, Sarum. This development has enabled the Chord Company’s engineers to transform the original Signature cable, by implementing new shielding, a new conductor-spacing configuration and new materials in the shield”.

The new Signature Reference is hand-crafted in the same way as the original Signature, with each set made to order in The Chord Company’s purpose-built Wiltshire factory. The cable’s two conductors are held in place with a precision-machined aluminium clamp and are twisted along their length (twisted-pair configuration) to improve flexibility; Signature Reference is markedly more flexible than the original Signature.

The aluminium clamp has been designed to hold the cable securely whilst avoiding any compression — The Chord Company say their research and experimentation has shown that compression of the shield and insulation on either speaker or interconnect cable, can alter its performance characteristics.

“It is extremely neutral, musically transparent and capable of producing profound improvements in a wide variety of differently priced systems. It also introduces many of the outstanding and widely documented capabilities of the flagship Sarum speaker cable”. Say Chord Company.

Signature Reference has 10 AWG multi-stranded conductors, like Signature.  However, where the Signature conductors were oxygen-free copper, the Signature Reference has silver-plated oxygen-free copper conductors, which bring it into line with Epic Reference and Sarum models.

The insulation has been changed, too: Signature Reference has PTFE insulation where the original Signature had polyethylene. 

A higher density braided shield has been applied to the Signature Reference, and the spacing between the conductor and shield has been optimised to improve performance. 

Both Signature and Signature Reference have PVC outer jackets.  However, the new Signature Reference has a different density of PVC which is used on several of The Chord Company’s cables to “help minimise mechanical noise”. 

As standard, Signature Reference is fitted with The Chord Company’s own custom-machined gold-plated banana plugs.  These are produced in the UK to Chord’s specification and are plated with 24-carat gold.  Chord can also fit gold-plated spade connectors and BFA Camcon connectors.  Like Signature, Signature Reference is available in either red and black, or all- black. 

Signature Reference (1.5 metre pair) £600

 

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Tokyo-based manufacturers of analogue and digital audio and video cable Furutech are celebrating their 25th FI-15 Plus-Ganniversary with the introduction of reworked versions of their very first FI-15 IEC and AC power connectors.

The new FI-15 Plus series features a new plating technique which Furutech say “delivers sonic improvements with a more durable finish, as well as a newly designed body for firm cable grip and resonance control”.

Four connectors make up the new series:two IEC connectors FI-15 Plus (R) and FI-15 Plus (G), and two US-style AC connectors FI-15M Plus (R) and FI-15M Plus (G). The R and G denote rhodium or 24k gold plating of the pure copper conductors.

All FI-15 Plusconnectors feature Furutech’s Floating Field Damper System designed to prevent induced magnetic fields, nylon/fiberglass main bodies and inner cover plates, and polycarbonate cable-damping clamps with stainless-steel screws. All can accommodate cable diameters ranging from 6.6mm to 15mm.

FI-15 Plus (R): £44

FI-15 Plus (G):£42

FI-15M Plus (R):£44

FI-15M Plus (G): £42

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The 1-Series is the second range to be launched as part of Acoustic Energy’s completely new loudspeaker AEportfolio, mixing traditional AE values and designs with cutting edge manufacturing and contemporary cosmetics. Designed to work in harmony with smaller rooms, the 1-Series range of entry-level loudspeakers “brings audiophile performance to the budget loudspeaker market” say Acoustic Energy.

Inspired by the 3-Series speaker range, the 1-Series models have been designed to keep the same sound signature as their bigger siblings, but to be available at a lower price. The cabinet architecture, braced heavyweight fibreboard construction, perfect-phase crossover design, new 28mm soft dome tweeter and sub-surface magnetic grille mounts have been carried over from the 3-Series into this new range.

1-Series speakers utilise the latest iteration of AE’s signature aluminium cone mid/bass drivers. These premium drivers are hard-anodised on both sides to create a ceramic layer-aluminium sandwich with exceptional stiffness.

Each speaker in the range is reflex loaded with a slot-port mounted on the front panel. By front porting, it also means that even the 103 floorstanding model can be placed closer to back walls than rear-ported speakers, and positioning the slot at the base of the baffle affords greater room-coupling support for ultra-low frequency reproduction.

The 1-Series continues AE’s philosophy of merging the very best of the company’s own technology and pro-derived acoustic principles with contemporary design and luxurious finishes. The 1-Series are available now in Black Ash and Walnut vinyl-wrap finishes.

AE 101

The AE 101 stand-mount loudspeaker features a 110mm bass driver and AE’s new 28mm soft dome tweeter and has been designed with flexible room placement in mind. SRP: £275.00 (pair)

AE 103

The AE 103 floorstanding loudspeaker is a true 2.5-way configuration and adds to the 101 driver compliment with a second 110mm mid/bass driver in its own reflex loaded enclosure in the lower section of the cabinet. SRP: £550.00 (pair)

AE 107

For Home Cinema and multi-channel music systems, the AE 107 is a two-way horizontal-mount loudspeaker designed for centre channel duties and uses a pair of AE’s 110mm 1-Series drivers.  SRP: £199.00 (each)

AE 108

The 1-Series subwoofer, the AE 108, is a compact active sub-bass system, designed to be at its very best when used in pairs. It mates a 200mm long throw bass driver with a 150 Watt amplifier in a cabinet just 28litre in size and is AE’s most compact subwoofer to date. SRP: £349.00 (each).

The full 1-Series range is available in the UK now and distributed by Henley Design .

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EMMESpeakers contacted Hifi Pig to inform us that it’s started the production of its new flagship loudspeaker: The EmmesGalileo.

Developed from the concept of the companies Da Vinci loudspeaker (and its success in terms of sales) The Galileo is said to represent a “massive evolution” from its predecessor and when looking to design their new loudspeaker EMMESpeakers have looked to have presence, impact and towering soundstage as its design requirements.

The new Galileo loudspeaker is a three way , sealed box loudspeaker that sports four 10″ rear facing aluminium woofers, two 2.5” Accuton CELL ceramic woofers and a half inch Accuton CELL ceramic tweeter.

The loudspeakers are 86db sensitive, will handle 300 watts, have a nominal impedence of 6 Ohms and have a quoted frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz.

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I must confess that I’m a bit of a new comer to Jazz but the more I explore its wide and varied sub genres the more I am enjoying it. Step up to the turntable Gearbox Records and Tubby Hayes “Seven Steps To Heaven: Live at The Hopbine 1972”.

Now, to aficionados of British Jazz I’m sure the name Tubby Hayes is well known, but to me it was a new I hate to confess and so a little history is perhaps in order for those readers in the same boat as me.

Hayes was born in London in 1935, is best known for his playing of tenor sax and has been regarded as one of the very best British jazz instrumentalists. At just 16 (in 1951) he joined Kenny Baker’s sextet and later played for lots of big-band leaders, but in 1955 he toured UK with his own band. He was a co-leader of The Jazz Couriers with Ronnie Scott from 1957 – 1959 and even had his own television series in the early 60s. Thanks Wiki. More »

ExaSound Audio Design has unveiled the latest of its digital to analogue converters  – the e22 DAC. This new DAC is exasound_e22_DACthe third generation DSD256 DAC offering DSD 256+ mode at a sampling rate of 12.288 MHz.

Onboard there’s an in-house asynchronous USB interface with error correction, proprietary computer drivers and “Galvanic” ground isolation.

Over and above its predecessor, the e20, the e22 DAC has 82fs Femto-Master-Clock, an enhanced high-current headphone amplifier, lower noise and distortion levels, a 12V Trigger Output and heavy duty USB-B and RCA connectors.

Available now!

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British company Heretic Audio emailed Hifi Pig to tell us about their new Huron 3 loudspeaker which is available huron_h3_300_1now.

It looks and interesting design being highly efficient (95db) and with an impedence of over 7.5 Ohms which should provide an easy load for most amplifiers out there (7W minimum is suggested).  

Huron 3 has four paper coned 6 ¾ inch drivers working in unison to cover the lower registers and a waveguide loaded soft dome tweeter taking care of the higher frequencies. Frequency range is given as 30Hz to 20kHz and a maximum power handling of 200W is quoted.

The crossover design in the Huron 3 is a simple second order configuration using quality film capacitors and oversized air core inductors. Internal wiring is high purity OFC copper using synthetic insulators, all solder has silver content and point to point wiring is used throughout.

Cabinets for the Huron 3 are made from MDF which is veneered in real wood on both the outside and (surprisingly) the inside. Multiple braces are used in the cabinet and only small amounts of damping material are used. The cabinet is reflex loaded to the front with a slot port and a full length grill is included, but Heretic suggest this should be removed for serious listening.

Heretic say that the Huron 3 has been made easy to position and should be successful in a wide variety of rooms with minimum fuss and it can be placed near rear wall and even corners.

Price is £2500 a pair.

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With just 90 days to go the countdown to Munich High-End 2014 has started and needless to say Hifi Pig will be there to bring you all the countdown_to Munich_high_end_2014news and pictures of the show in a series of articles on the site as well as in the Hifi Pig Magazine.

News about the what is perhaps the highlight of the European audio and hifi calender is coming thick and fast and we’ll be reporting it all in the run up to the actual show which will happen on 15th to 18th May.

Munich High-End has been happening since 1982 and 2014 will be the 33rd event. This year Munich High-End will have well over 300 exhibitors that will present more than 900 brands and it will offer a comprehensive overview of the hifi and audio market.

For those that have never visited Munich High-End it’s an absolutely huge exhibition taking place in a space of 20 000 square metres and it is packed with future technologies and more traditional audio technology too. You’ll be able to see everything from record players and valve amplifiers to the latest digital wireless systems, computer audio, audio accessories and headphones.

But Munich High-End isn’t just about the hifi and there’s a great program of live music, food… and it also represents a great opportunity to meet up with friends from all over the world.

If you’re planning on going to Munich High-End 2014 then Hifi Pig suggests that you take more than a day to cover the show as there is just so much to see, but if you can’t make don’t worry as we’ll be there to bring it all straight to your desktop. You can read our coverage of Munich High-End 2013 here.

 

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Fujitsu Ten Eclipse contacted Hifi Pig to tell us about their TD-M1 Airplay active wireless speaker system which they_wireless_loudspeaker say can be used as a hifi, desktop monitor or for when watching the television.

The system has been built with a philosophy of “Better in, Better out” and is set up to take advantage of 24/192 formats having a suitable USB connected DAC plus NOS DAC and class D amplification.

The TD-M1 is compatible with AirPlay and AirPlay Direct for all apple devices, has full Wi-Fi streaming, USB Direct for iPhone and Pad charging and has a 3.5mm stereo jack input for connecting TVs and other devices.

The speaker is a single driver 8cm design with no crossover positioned in a non-resonant composite egg cabinet and utilising DSP processing.

The TD-M1 will get its UK launch at the Bristol show and will have a price of £999 inc in UK and $1300 plus tax in USA.

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OmenOpus are, it has to be said, a new band to me and they have a handful of albums and EPs on the Monty Maggot label that we’ll take a listen to over the next couple of months, but judging by what I’ve heard so far they certainly know where they’re going and what they’re up to musically.

First in the CD drive is their album “The Archives”, which is incidentally their latest CD, and very good it is too if you like your music unsettling and disturbing and with a story to it. The Archives is a concept album set in the 24th century and is best listened to in one sitting to really appreciate it properly and get a feel for the narrative.

I’d just read Philip K Dick’s short story “The Gun” when I first started listening to this and The Archives has a similar feel – it is actually based on a short story by Sheriden Starr from the band along the lines of:

Machines have seemingly done away with the need for man to fight in wars but the story takes a twist where the Operators of the machines turn on the Creators (through necessity) and hold mankind to ransom with the machines until the Creators put forward a solution (based on Asimov’s three laws of robotics) called the Zeroth Commandment. The album is split into three distinct parts (Containers), which are I presume the “archives” from whence the story evolved, with each telling a different bit of the story.

Style-wise it’s difficult to decide what pigeonhole to pop The Archives into as it swaps and changes throughout the record. It has elements of space rock (Bridget Wishart of Hawkwind (…and Hippy Slags) fame is a player), elements of metal and bits of prog’.

Whatever, it’s certainly musically very accomplished and manages to conjure images of disconcerting future landscapes and a bleak outlook for humanity, but that’s not to suggest that it doesn’t have its moments of beauty too.

Interesting and thought provoking …play it loud!

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Meridian get on the road in 2014 with a series of events to Celebrate 25 years of Digital Loudspeaker Innovation, meridian25yrswith the Introduction of Special Edition Loudspeakers.

Events kick off on February 14th with a two-day dedicated Meridian open-day at the newly opened Meridian West London Boutique in Chelsea. Meridian is connecting with its retail partners to preview the introduction of the new Special Edition DSP Digital Active Loudspeakers in-store and members of the public will be made welcome to visit various stores across the UK – for full details of where and when visit the Meridian website.

The events will continue throughout March and April and will provide an opportunity to experience the new Special Edition DSP Digital Active Loudspeakers, enjoy demonstrations and hear from Meridian engineers.

The Special Edition loudspeakers required many entirely new design implementations to the DSP8000, DSP7200 and DSP5200 models say Meridian.

All Special Edition loudspeakers feature;

–        New Meridian designed short horn loaded tweeter with a Beryllium dome

–        New mid-range and bass driver mechanical clamp rings

–        New wideband, high resolution analogue electronics

–        New DSP implementing the performance improvement of ‘EBA’ technology across the entire frequency range.

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The new Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series is said to dramatically improve on the existing range’s combination of value Shot_3_Black_finand audio performance with every element of its design having being improved in the six new models.

The new 600 Series utilises Bowers & Wilkins engineering solutions from other ranges – Double Dome Tweeters derived from the CM10 speaker, Anti-Resonance Plugs for mid/bass drive units first seen in the PM-1 and Kevlar® too. Added to these technologies are new advances developed specifically for the new 600 Series, including new Dual Layer aluminum bass drivers and new tweeter decoupling technology.

The Decoupled Double Dome tweeter comprises two separate aluminum domes, the second with its center portion cut out and glued to the rear face of the first dome for lightness and rigidity. The entire tweeter assembly is then decoupled, being physically separated from the cabinet by a cushioning gel ring.

The 683 is the largest speaker in the new 600 Series – a floorstander that features the new Decoupled Double Dome tweeter, an FST™ midrange driver and new Dual Layer aluminum bass drivers. This new Dual Layer design sees an aluminum bass cone reinforced around its periphery with a second layer of aluminum, for a more effectively damped cone and higher break-up frequency.

The new 684 floorstander is now slimmer, has improved Kevlar bass/midrange drive units and the Decoupled Double Dome tweeter.  5” mid/bass drivers replace the 6.5” drivers of the current 684 and Anti-Resonance Plugs are used in the drivers. The 684 is  a 2-way design compared to the 2.5 way of the previous model. The smaller drivers have broader off axis response at higher frequencies, allowing the use of a simpler crossover.

The new 685 is at home on a stand or bookshelf and combines new Decoupled Double Dome tweeters, Kevlar cones and Anti-Resonance Plugs. The new 685 is destined to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors, the 601 and the outgoing 685.

The new 686 is just 6.3” wide x 12.4” high x 9” deep and is the most compact speaker in the new 600 Series. It too uses the new Decoupled Double Dome tweeter and improved Kevlar driver with Anti-Resonance Plug. Its main 5-inch driver features a 25mm voice coil for higher sensitivity, and it now has a front rather than rear-firing Flowport™, making it suitable for placement near a wall or in a bookshelf. The 686 features a built-in bracket for easy wall mounting.

The HTM61 centre speaker has probably seen greater change than any other in the range. The outgoing model, in an effort to minimize baffle area while still offering a full 3-way system, had only a single bass driver and an asymmetrical horizontal dispersion pattern around the upper crossover frequency. The new model takes a similar design philosophy to the CM Center 2 and has grown considerably as a result. Placing the tweeter directly above the 4” FST midrange driver to give a symmetrical dispersion and the extra bass driver matches the power output of the 683, with which this center speaker is designed to be used in a home theater installation.

HTM62, the smaller of the two center speakers, carries over the twin 5” bass/midrange with central tweeter concept of the outgoing model. The cabinet height has been reduced in the same way that the 686 width has decreased, but in order to keep the same internal volume without increasing depth, the cabinet width has increased a little. However, both center speakers retain rear-facing ports. The speaker may be considered as a 684 on its side, with the tweeter moved to a position between the bass/midrange drivers to guarantee a symmetrical horizontal dispersion. Typically, it would be included into any 600 Series home theatre system that did not feature the 683 at front left and right.
The new 600 Series is available in a Black Ash finish only from March 2013.

The 683 is priced $1,650 per pair.
The 684 is priced $1,150 per pair.
The 685 is priced $700 per pair.
The 686 is priced $550 per pair.
The HTM61 is priced $750 each.
The HTM62 is priced $450 each.

 

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Released at the end of January 2014 on Blue Castle Records (the label that Crosby founded with Graham Nash in 2011) and downloaded here in FLAC from HighResAudio, “Croz” is David Crosby’s first album of solo material in twenty years and contains eleven new and original tracks recorded at Crosby’s home studio. Croz will be supported by series of concert dates in the US. More »

British audio company, Ferguson Hill, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the development of a new speaker fergusonhillproduct, the Ferguson Hill Clear Speaker System. Created for music and TV sound, the system builds upon Ferguson Hill’s trademark horn-loaded loudspeaker technology.

Elliptical horn satellite speakers combine with spherical bass speakers, all fashioned from crystal-clear acrylic, alongside an integrated amplifier with a range of analogue and digital inputs, plus wireless audio streaming from Bluetooth-compatible devices. The Clear Speaker System comes in three configurations: the Primary System (two horn speakers and one bass sphere); the Deluxe System (two horn speakers and two bass spheres); and the Deluxe Surround Sound System (four horn speakers and two bass spheres).

The Kickstarter project aims to raise £149,500 by Monday 10th March. People who contribute to the fund before the deadline stand to receive a range of benefits, including the various configurations of the Clear Speaker System at significantly discounted prices.

The Clear Speaker System features the latest generation of Ferguson Hill’s ‘front-loaded horn dipole’ loudspeaker design, which the company pioneered in 2003 with its first product, the 160cm high, floorstanding FHOO1. Essentially, this involves a drive unit assembly that radiates sound waves fore and aft, mounted in the centre of an elliptical cone made from clear polycarbonate.

The three available system configurations deliver flexibility according to the user’s requirements and budget, from two-channel stereo to surround sound, with either two or four horn speakers augmented by one or two bass speakers .

The horn speakers measure 42x27x19cm (HxWxD) and can be wall mounted using the supplied brackets, or secured to tall, elegant floor stands, also supplied. The bass speaker features a 20cm drive unit housed within a ported polycarbonate sphere with a diameter of 35cm, supported by three spiked aluminium feet.

The principal reason for Ferguson Hill’s Kickstarter campaign is to help fund the development of a compact, fully integrated amplifier that will be supplied with all three Clear Speaker System configurations. Already in the advanced stages of development, the amp is small enough to be secreted away on a shelf, rack or TV stand and contains six amp modules to enable each drive unit in the Deluxe Surround System to be driven by its own amplifier.

The amp delivers a total of 180W (the split per channel depending on the number of speakers in the system), incorporates a DAC and 5.1/7.1-channel surround sound processing, plus a range of analogue and digital inputs including USB and HDMI. Bluetooth connectivity is also supported, allowing music to be streamed wirelessly from compatible devices like smartphones and tablets.

All three Clear Speaker System configurations are scheduled to launch in September 2014. Prices are expected to be around £895 for the Primary System, £1,125 for the Deluxe System and £1,395 for the Deluxe Surround Sound System.

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Audiophile plugs are a bit of a necessity for those audio enthusiasts looking to use mains cable thicker than the standard cable but what’s available on the market?  New to the UK, MS HD Power large gauge audiophile UK plugs could be the answer to many peoples’ prayers. Here Dan fits and listens to one of the plugs and reports his findings.

“The plugs meet every British Standard and are fully compliant with all the necessary regulations – this hplug 3as been a controversial point amongst some enthusiasts with regards some UK plugs that have been marketed as suitable for audiophile use.

Opening the plug up reveals an amount of layout and routing for individual conductors that is a breath of fresh air. I dread to count the number of times I’ve wired MK and standard sockets and have had to chisel, chop and hack plastic out of the way to get the cables and I’m sure many of our readers have experienced this too.”

Read the full review of the MS HD Power Large Gauge Audiophile UK Plug.

 

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Anne Hytta is a leading player of the Hardanger fiddle in her home country of Norway and here in Draumsyn performs her own music which is very much rooted in the traditions of this distinctive instrument.

Here’s what her website says about the record “The music is both modern and old – new and original – inspired by modal melodies of medieval music and the sound landscapes of composers such as John Cage and Morton Feldman. Some tunings in the Hardanger fiddle repertoire have colour names from colour shades that occur at different times of the day. Throughout the day light and colour change gradually – with frequent, continuous variations it is repeated over and over again…
The concert Draumsyn can be performed either solo with only candle lights as accompaniment, or with video by Ingeborg Staxrud Olerud. More »

Well, given their unusual looks and less than conventional way about producing music the Leedh E2 loudspeakers leed1bwwere always going to divide opinion. However the proof of the pudding is in the…er listening so we got hold of a pair and put them through their paces.

“The Leedh E2 loudspeaker from Laboratoire Etudes et Developpements Holophoniques is a very interesting design indeed and quite unlike any loudspeaker I’ve come across. However, let’s step back a while and explain how we first encountered this speaker. A couple of years ago we were at one of the Paris hi-fi shows and we’d seen them in one of the rooms, thought they were quite interesting but really thought no more about them thereafter. Fast forward to the Paris shows of September and November and several of the manufacturers were using them in their rooms and they were making a really great sound. I introduced myself to Gilles Milot, the guy behind the speakers and a review was arranged”

Read the full review of the LEEDH E2 loudspeakers

 

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Wharfedale have announced their new Vista 100 Soundbar which the company says offers a compact 3245_Vista_02alternative to the traditional 5.1 surround sound loudspeaker array and is ideal for rooms where floor space is at a premium.

Measuring less than one meter in width, and equipped for table or wall mounting, the Vista 100 plugs straight into any TV  and incorporates “Sonic Emotion Absolute 3D” technology which is said to provide a wide sweet spot.

On board the Vista 100 there is a 60W built-in amplifier which drives its six neodymium drivers plus Bluetooth.  The inclusion of a Bluetooth wireless receiver means, in addition to its four wired inputs, users can connect Bluetooth-equipped devices, turning the Vista 100 into any room’s ‘sound hub’.

The Vista 100 package includes a remote control providing remote access to all functions, including a choice of four EQ modes. Listeners can select from Game, Movie, Music, as well as ‘off’. To further tailor sound to match the surroundings, it’s also possible to adjust both bass and treble levels.

The Wharfedale Vista 100 is available from February 2014 at a suggested retail price of £149.95.

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Hot on the heels of the success of the Reference CD9 Audio Research have announced the solid-state CD6SONY DSC CD-DAC. The new CD-DAC combines a compact disc player with a digital-to-analogue converter in one compact chassis.

The CD6 is so much more than the 5-1/2 year old CD5 that it replaces, both sonically and technologically say audio Research. There are four digital inputs, including asynchronous

The CD6 utilises quad 24-bit DACs running in mono mode, with dual master oscillators; one for 44.1/88.2/176.4 sample rates, the other for 48/96/192kHz sample rates. Sample rate conversion is selectable for all inputs, allowing playback in native resolution or via upsampling, including compact disc and USB. Additionally, there is a selectable digital filter offering fast or slow rolloff.

The front panel layout is identical to the REFCD9, with a dimmable display on the left side. On the right side there are three vertical LED displays indicating Sample rates (192-176.4-96-88.2-48-44.1), Input (CD-RCA-USB-TOS1-TOS2), and Fast-Slow- Upsample-Power. Underneath the LED displays are seven metal buttons for Power, Previous, Play, Next, Pause, Stop, and Input.

In addition to the digital inputs, the back panel includes two digital outputs (AES/EBU and BNC), single-ended RCA and balanced XLR outputs, an IR input, and a 15A IEC power connector.

The CD6 comes with the metal remote and costs £8050 inc VAT.

 

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Popcorn? When this CD turned up on the doorstep I was expecting bubblegum pop or some-such but what I actually heard when I pushed the play button was nothing of the sort.

So what is Popcorn music? I’ll refer to the liner notes of “Sweet and Salty Popcorn” to explain. Popcorn is a “genre” (movement would be a better description I think) born in Belgium of all places that is difficult to pinpoint accurately – its roots go back to the late 60s and it could sort of be likened to the Northern Soul movement in the UK.  In fact the name popcorn comes from the first club that was identified with the sound – a café  (called the De Oude Hoos)that held Sunday afternoon dance contests in 1969 and later opened full time as “The Popcorn”. More »

Guildford Audio got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us all about their very own annual hifi show. Guildford Audio in Room4_1association with Absolute Sounds will again be running their yearly Hi-Fi Show in Reading so make a note in your diary for 15 & 16 February.

On the Saturday (15th) the show will open from 9 am to 5.30pm whilst on the Sunday it will open at 9.00 and close at 4.00.

Entry to the show is free, parking is free and will take place at the Best Western Moat House Reading in Wokingham – attendees will also have the chance to win some nice prizes in the free raffle including some Martin Logan headphones, Micromega Mydacs as well as SDFS reference CDs.

Brands at the show will include Wilson Audio, Dan D’Agostino, Metronome (including the Nausicaa Signature DAC with a world first working demo), TechDAS Air Force 2 Turntable, Audio Research, Devialet, Sonus Faber, Harbeth, Constellation, Krell and Wadia over four rooms.

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KEF has announced the addition of a further five new custom installation speakers to further strengthen the kefcispeakerscompany’s Ci Range which will be on show and available for demonstration at this year’s *Integrated Systems Europe (ISE)  show in Amsterdam from February 4th – February 6th.

The all-new tall rectangular range is designed and specifically engineered for music and home cinema system front, left, centre, right and side applications. The Ci4100QL in-wall speaker boasts a 100 mm (4 in) Uni-Q® array with three MF drivers of the same size.  KEF’s ‘sit anywhere’ Uni-Q driver array, which places the tweeter in the acoustic centre of the bass/midrange cone, allows both the tweeter and woofer to act as a single point source, dispersing the sound widely and evenly throughout the room. For larger spaces, the Reference Series Ci3160RL-THX is a high output music and home cinema speaker in which a 165 mm (6.5 in) Uni-Q array is complemented by a pair of 165 mm MF drivers.

The Ci5160RL-THX extreme output speaker is built around the same 165 mm Uni-Q flanked by four 165 mm  MF drivers. Both the Ci3160RL-THX and Ci5160RL-THX are housed within a rigid aluminium front baffle (metal grille supplied – an optional black or white cloth grille is also available).

In addition to the newly announced THX models, the range includes two in-wall subwoofers; one with four compact 100mm (4in) extended response bass drivers (Ci4100QLb), the other with three powerful aluminium 165mm (6.5in) bass drivers (Ci3160RLb). Up to two of these subs can be driven by one of KEF’s 2 x 250WPC DSP controlled subwoofer amplifier, the KASA500.

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