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

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.

Upgrading

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.

DAC Box DS

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.”

Pricing

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 www.audioshow.co.uk

 

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The interest in the High End 2014 in Munich has been unprecedented: “Every day we are receiving Munich_high_end_2014_tutrntablenew applications from exhibitors worldwide working in all areas of the industry”, said Managing Director Branko Glisovic. Due to the high demand – 434 exhibitors have already registered – all of hall 2 will now be used as presentation and exhibition space in addition to hall 3 and 4, resulting in a 15% double-digit increase in floor space. However, the High End show is by no means focused on attracting simply “more and more exhibitors”. All applications will continue to be approved to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria and this will ensure that the exhibition continues to attract a high-quality portfolio of exhibitors as well as showcase a wide range of products to  visitors, providing them with a comprehensive overview of the market say the organisers of High End 2014.

In addition to the strong international contingent, German companies have a particularly strong presence. The exhibition industry is booming – in the age of social media and cloud computing, many firms have realised that there is no substitute for personal contact with potential clients at a fair. “With its convincing concept, the High End Munich  has successfully established itself in the international exhibition market for high-quality home entertainment technology. The show is used by many exhibitors as a global platform to showcase their new products for the first time”, explains Kurt Hecker, Chairman of the Executive Board forHigh End society .It is mainly foreign companies from Europe and elsewhere that have been driving growth. They have realised that the High End Munich event has without doubt become the most important exhibitions in the audio industry. With 258 foreign exhibitors currently expected to attend, the proportion of foreign companies has risen 7% to 60%. The High End Munich show provides a wide and international range of products and serves as a showcase for the innovative strength of the entire industry. After Germany, the second largest contingent is the US, with 38 firms currently registered. The US is followed by Italy, the UK, Denmark and France. This signifies the ever increasing international significance of the High End Munich show and is a strong acknowledgement of the quality of the event. “We appreciate the trust that the exhibitors place in us – evident from their participation”, said Branko Glisovic, Managing Director of High End Society.With its top-notch display of domestic and international products, fascinating music performances and exciting presentations, daily live music and tasty cuisine, the High End show in Munich will once again be the largest event in the whole industry in 2014.
Of course Hifi Pig will be there to bring yu all the news and pictures from this years High End in Munich.

The interest in the High End 2014 in Munich has been unprecedented: “Every day we are receiving Munich_high_end_2014_tutrntablenew applications from exhibitors worldwide working in all areas of the industry”, said Managing Director Branko Glisovic. Due to the high demand – 434 exhibitors have already registered – all of hall 2 will now be used as presentation and exhibition space in addition to hall 3 and 4, resulting in a 15% double-digit increase in floor space. However, the High End show is by no means focused on attracting simply “more and more exhibitors”. All applications will continue to be approved to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria and this will ensure that the exhibition continues to attract a high-quality portfolio of exhibitors as well as showcase a wide range of products to  visitors, providing them with a comprehensive overview of the market say the organisers of High End 2014.

In addition to the strong international contingent, German companies have a particularly strong presence. The exhibition industry is booming – in the age of social media and cloud computing, many firms have realised that there is no substitute for personal contact with potential clients at a fair. “With its convincing concept, the High End Munich  has successfully established itself in the international exhibition market for high-quality home entertainment technology. The show is used by many exhibitors as a global platform to showcase their new products for the first time”, explains Kurt Hecker, Chairman of the Executive Board forHigh End society .It is mainly foreign companies from Europe and elsewhere that have been driving growth. They have realised that the High End Munich event has without doubt become the most important exhibitions in the audio industry. With 258 foreign exhibitors currently expected to attend, the proportion of foreign companies has risen 7% to 60%. The High End Munich show provides a wide and international range of products and serves as a showcase for the innovative strength of the entire industry. After Germany, the second largest contingent is the US, with 38 firms currently registered. The US is followed by Italy, the UK, Denmark and France. This signifies the ever increasing international significance of the High End Munich show and is a strong acknowledgement of the quality of the event. “We appreciate the trust that the exhibitors place in us – evident from their participation”, said Branko Glisovic, Managing Director of High End Society.

With its top-notch display of domestic and international products, fascinating music performances and exciting presentations, daily live music and tasty cuisine, the High End show in Munich will once again be the largest event in the whole industry in 2014.

Of course Hifi Pig will be there to bring yu all the news and pictures from this years High End in Munich.
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Arcam’s new SongBook App offers full UPnP support to the new Arcam airDAC and arcam-songbook-ipadscreen3updates the UPnP streaming for eight of the company’s components which feature Arcam’s advanced network streaming player.

Basically this will allow you to control streaming music from a Mac, PC or NAS drive directly from your iPhone/Touch or iPad.

The new versions of Arcam Songbook gives you complete control of the media player in any Arcam network-based music system.

Best of all it’s free!

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WyWires, manufacturer of custom audio connection solutions, has announced their new Red Series wywireshccablepremium headphone cables which they say are “designed to liberate audio signals from the adverse characteristics of stock conduit”.

The Red Series extends WyWires design principles into the high-performance headphone market and focuses on “maximum conductivity and low dielectric constant yields significant improvements in transient-rise time while reducing the frequency loss occurred with traditional cable windings”. Each cable is custom-built by hand after a personalized customer consultation.    

The Red Series’ physical design was engineered with regard to optimum weight, flex and texture for unobtrusive use.

“We recognized the opportunity to enhance reference headphones with our acoustical expertise and customized approach,” noted Alex Sventitsky, “Thanks to years of development and exhaustive testing, headphone enthusiasts can experience the immersive, musical quality WyWires customers have been raving about.”

  • Terminates to common source connectors: ¼”, ⅛”, 3-pin XLR, balanced 4-pin XLR

 

  • Standard 5 foot cable with additional lengths & extensions available upon request

 

  • Available with connections for Sennheiser HD580, HD600, HD650, HD700, HD800; Audeze LCD-2, LCD-3, LCD-X, LCD-XC; HiFiMAN HE-4, HE-6, HE-300, HE-400, HE-500; JPS Labs Abyss

Prices starting at $299.99.

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If you watched television during the 60s and 70s (69 -74 to be more precise) in the UK then you will recognise, if not immediately, Peter Wyngarde’s Jason King character from ITC’s Department S program.

For those not familiar then take Austin Powers and inject it directly in the gentleman’s region with a gallon or so of testosterone and you’re beginning to get there. Peter Wyngarde’s character was a TV sleuth masquerading as a crime writing “shag-monster” who would seduce and “liberate” his on-screen conquests from their daily lives of drudgery and transport then to a world they’d only previously read about in seedy pulp fiction novels. More »

Greg at G Point Audio, who distributes Eryk S in the UK, got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell eryksus about the new amp from the company, The Superior.

As can be expected The Superior amp is designed to fit with the Superioro loudspeakers that Eryk S produce. It fits just below the top of their range Red King amplifier, and sports the same EL 84 pentodes, which the designer Eryk believes in so much.

The new Superior boasts only 6 watts but offers a top class component selection and “the best quality” BlueTooth interface.

Like the company’s entry level Red Beauty it only has a single input ( plus virtual Blue tooth one) but you can always add a preamplifier of your choice.

The Superior amplifier will be available in any of the company’s standard colours ( gloss white , black and red) to match the Superioro range and custom finish is also possible here as it is with the speakers.

• Music power: 2 x 6Watts (>5% distortions)

• Bandwidth: 20Hz – 28kHz (-3dB)

• Power consumption: 65Watts

• Dimensions: 11,5cm x 28cm x 30cm (W x H x D incl. speakers’ sockets)

• Weight: approx. 7kg Net

The Superior’s price at launch is £ 1500 , exactly the same as the Superioro speakers.

The Brunoco Diva is a small and inexpensive digital amplifier/DAC from Canada that hifi Pig Brunoco1thought looked very interesting indeed and so when one was offered for review we thought we’d jump at the opportunity.

“There is an equaliser built into the device – not the usual rock, dance, acoustic type, it’s way more subtle than that, the settings have a couple of letters and a number (ie BaMd2) to refer to them, each setting is like a slightly different version of the previous. The goal is to use these settings as more of a digital room equalisation than the typical graphic equaliser found in cheaper products. Playing through these differing settings I found one or two which I preferred, notably for their smoother roll off of the bottom end allowing notes to fade more naturally in my listening space, which even though subtle was a very welcome addition. The EQ really does seem to be very transparent indeed, has been implemented very well and doesn’t seem to get in the way.”

Read the full review of the Brunoco Diva Integrated Digital Amplifier by Danny Worth.

 

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Chester Group will be holding their first Brighton Hifi show on 29th and 30th March at the Holiday Innaudioworld2014 in the city.

All the action will take place in the hotel’s suites and meeting rooms and it promises to be a lively affair whether you’re looking for a high-end system or something a little more modest.

Visitors will be able to listen to a whole host of systems from a large number of manufacturers and distributors with many top brands taking part.

As well as the many rooms with music to enjoy there is also a separate trade stand area too.

Doors open at 10 am and close at 6pm on the Saturday and on the Sunday open at 10am and close at 5pm.

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British loudspeaker manufacturer KEF is to take part in the fourth Childline Rocks/Sons of ChildlineRoyalty annual fundraising Harley Davidson motorcycle and car ride, in support of Childline, part of the NSPCC.

KEF has pledged its support and its intention to raise funds for this event, which aims to help stop cruelty to children. To that end, in April and May 2014, KEF’s UK Managing Director, Steve Halsall, will join forces with other motorcycle enthusiasts, including ex-members of the Special Forces, celebrated authors and Rock musicians, on a ride through the U.S.

Starting off in Nashville, Tennessee – the home of country music and musical legends such as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Patsy Cline – the group will ride accompanied by a constant soundtrack, stopping off each day in a different County or State to explore the musical history and culture of the local area.

The group will finish the ride in Clarksdale, Mississippi – home of The Blues – and celebrate the end of their epic journey by attending the ‘England Rocks- Hands Across The Water Concert’ at the Ground Zero Blues Club, jointly owned by actor Morgan Freeman and the Mayor of Clarksdale.

This charity tour will take in much of the American South – hallowed ground that has been immensely influential in the history of music. Blues, rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass, soul, funk and R&B all originated from the geographical areas covered by the Childline Rocks/Sons Of Royalty ride.

Many members of the rock music community, including Yamaha, Classic Rock Magazine and The Blues Magazine, are already supporting the ride with funds. The event will take place from 27th April in Nashville, Memphis and participants will ride through Columbus, New Orleans, Louisiana, Mississippi, ending up in Clarksdale on 3rd May 2014.

Join members of KEF and others along this musical journey to help raise money for a worthy cause!

If you would like to donate to ChildLine visit:
http://www.justgiving.com/KEF-AudioUK

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New company The Digital Music Box founded by Chris Coakes have announced their first KalliopeUSB cables.

A little about Chris Coakes – Chris has more than 35 years’ experience in the high-end audio industry, having built a career in retail, installation and more recently the design and implementation of networked hi-fi systems. He has developed an in-depth understanding of, and passion for, how to converge computers into high-end audio systems to deliver outstanding sound quality. Through his new company, The Digital Music Box, he will seek to push the boundaries of digital audio reproduction to superb new levels of performance.

Says Coakes, “As a music lover and audiophile, it seems clear to me that using a computer within a hi-fi system is definitely the future for audio reproduction, whether it’s a case of ripping CDs from an existing collection or downloading high resolution files from online music sites.

“With a few astute choices – of equipment, of music playback software and in the set-up of the overall system – quite incredible sound quality is now achievable.”

Those ‘astute choices’ are at the heart of The Digital Music Box’s philosophy. The company’s mission is to develop products that will enhance the quality of computer-based audio to the highest possible degree through extensive research, intelligent design, excellent materials and meticulous listening and evaluation.

Says Coakes, “I’m coming at this from the perspective of someone who’s spent a lifetime in high-end audio. I know what the very best systems sound like and I’m passionate about pushing for that same level of quality in digital audio”.


Two new ultra-high performance USB cables mark the launch of The Digital Music Box brand:

·         Kalliope Power Supply & USB Cable

·         Linus USB Cable.

Each cable is hand-crafted in the UK with the “utmost care and attention to detail, using only the highest quality materials available”. 

Kalliope Power Supply & USB Cable (£995)

Utilising a fully regulated linear power supply, the Kalliope USB cable ensures that your DAC operates without connection to your computer’s power supply.  The resulting performance is said to be “natural, detailed and stable with a freedom from noise that other systems simply cannot match”.

Linus USB Cable (£495)

“An ultra-high performance audiophile grade USB cable” built to the same standards as Kalliope, but without the external power supply. The pres release says that “listening tests

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Audio-Technica have introduced a limited edition of their ATH-A900X headphones with several OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAenhancements over the original.

The ATH-A900XLTD headphones boast a ‘closed back’ design with a Double Air Damping System which “means accurate, deep bass so you can hear the true detail and atmosphere within a live or studio recording from CD, vinyl or the latest high resolution digital formats, from Apple Lossless to FLAC and DSD formats”.

The scarlet coloured surround includes a unique 3D Wing Support headband, which is said to reduce weight. Weighing just 340g, these hi-fi headphones look ideal for indoor and whilst on the go – they offer a 3.5mm gold plated plug and 3 metre cable and a detachable 1/4 6.3mm adaptor is also included.

Price £389

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IsoTek contacted Hifi Pig to let us know that the company has upgraded their Optimum power cable.
ISOTEK_April_2014

The Optimum is the third of IsoTek’s power cables to be upgraded to the new advanced EVO3 (Evolution 3) version, and is positioned at the top of the range.   

The new EVO3 Optimum is said to deliver radical advances over its predecessor, the earlier GII version with “cutting-edge thinking in terms of conductor geometries combined with excellent materials to develop a cable of superlative quality”.

At the Optimum’s core are three silver plated copper conductors made from Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC) copper. Each of the three 3.0sqmm conductors features a new square-shaped configuration of 40 strands, each strand also being of square cross-section.

A Teflon FEP dielectric (insulation) is extruded over each conductor and the three conductors are given a slight rotational twist to “aid RFI and EMI rejection”, and are then surrounded by a cotton filler which, as well is “adding internal strength and reducing microphony, also possesses superb dielectric properties – similar to FEP”.  The whole construction is then double shielded by first enclosing it in a Mylar wrap to provide an additional dielectric buffer, before applying an active OFC copper shield for “maximum rejection of high frequency interference”. A durable, heat-resistant PVC outer jacket gives a high degree of flexibility and mechanical strength.

Finally, the EVO3 Optimum is terminated by hand using IsoTek’s bespoke audiophile grade 24-carat gold plated connectors. Connectors at the component end are available in C7, C15 and C19 IEC varieties.

Our new EVO3 Optimum has been significantly enhanced on almost every levelsays Keith Martin, IsoTek’s founder and managing director. “Compared to its predecessor, it features a larger conductor size, superior conductor material, a new innovative design, and improved dielectric and mechanical properties.”

Adds Martin, “The product has evolved, but our aim has remained the same: to deliver class-leading performance at outstanding value for money.”

The EVO3 Optimum is available from April 2014 and is priced at £595.00 (including VAT) for a 2m terminated cable. 

 

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High-End Munich isn’t just about the hifi and the 2014 show aims to offer a great diversion from the main fair. The accompanying musical programme during the high End trade fair has, over the course of the last few years, become an integral part of the event itself, ensuring that visitors enjoy a melodious and pleasurable visit.

 

This year, a host of exciting and professional high end musical performances will once more make for a thoroughly enjoyable atmosphere. Visitors can expect a colourful and varied selection of music each and every day at the MOC, from traditional Alpine folk compositions to jazz, baroque, Viennese classical and contemporary brass chamber music.

 

HIGH END SOCIETY – supporting young and talented artists

 

The performing bands and ensembles for High End Munich 2014 have been selected solely from the “Hochschule für Musik und Theater” in Munich (academy for music and theatre). The “Hochschule für Musik und Theater” stands for exceptional levels of artistic quality and for the finest education of outstanding young artists. The institution’s music academy has earned its current standing on the basis of its distinguished and globally renowned instructors, thus paving the way for many international careers. By incorporating the academy and its musicians into the trade fair programme, High End Society is supporting young and talented artists in developing their burgeoning careers.

 

Traditional Bavarian music at the High end 2014

 

It is customary for the event organisers to welcome all their international guests with the perfect tones of traditional Bavarian music. They strive to offer their visitors a homely acoustic realm amid the bustle of the globalised world, which is why they have made it a custom to receive and welcome our High End guests with a Bavarian programme of Alpine folk music.

 

Bavarian folk music is vibrant, memorable, multifaceted, thrilling and challenging because, as with jazz and certain other musical styles, improvisation is very much encouraged. Today, there are so many exceptional young groups – all composing new pieces with the greatest musical flair – and this is why the HIGH END trade fair in Munich can now be seen as a forum for highlighting the talent on offer.

Unterbiberger HofmusikMunich_high_end_2014_band_2
Playing on: Thursday 15th May 2014 from 9.30 to 12.30
Entrances in front of Hall 4 and Hall 3

Unterbiberger Hofmusik are a musical ensemble from the Munich region who have been mixing the sounds of folk music and jazz since 1992. The band are members are all classically trained and together stand as one of the giants of the Bavarian folk music scene. In collaboration with a range of high profile guest musicians, the group constantly seeks the thrill from crossing musical boundaries.

Combining musical subtlety with total professionalism and a thorough respect for tradition, the ensemble cultivates an unorthodox combination of traditional brass band music and jazz/world music influences from all corners of the globe. In developing their latest programme for High-End Munich 2014, the group has made a concerted return to their Bavarian roots and only those who listen closely will recognise the global influences in the music.

The Red Socks Brassquintett – one of Germany’s most successful brass ensemblesMunich_high_end_2014_band_1
Playing on: 15th and 17th May 2014 from 12.00 to17.00
Throughout the exhibition area

The Red Socks Brassquintett is a professional brass quintet comprising two trumpets, one
horn, a trombone and a tuba. Formed in November 2010, the members of The Red Socks
Brassquintett have all studied under renowned instrumental professors and cultivate a
top-quality brand of brass chamber music. Their entertaining set ranges from baroque
compositions to film scores. The Bavarian radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk has broadcast
a number of the quintets performances, most recently as part of its BR 4 classical
programmes. The five musicians also have also been hired to perform for the Bavarian
state government, for State Minister Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch and for Bavarian Minister-
President Horst Seehofer.

Trio Triplo – professional, authentic performances of traditional folk music from the entire Munich_high_end_2014_band_3Alpine region for accordion, guitar and double bass
Playing on: 16th and 18th May 2014 from 12.00 to17.00
Throughout the exhibition area

Benedikt Landenhammer (guitar), Andreas Weiß (accordion) and Dominik Billinger (double
bass) met while collaborating on a range of performances as part of several different
line-ups. The music of the ensemble resonates with a sense of joy, featuring compositions
based on international and religious themes. Their music is notable for its unique, unmistakable
sound. In terms of successes, they have been awarded the highest distinction at
the biennial Alpine Folk Music Competition. Furthermore, the trio have appeared on a host
of Bayerischer Rundfunk’s (Bavarian radio) live radio programmes.

High-End Munich isn’t just about the hifi and the 2014 show aims to offer a great diversion from the main fair. The accompanying musical programme during the high End trade fair has, over the course of the last few years, become an integral part of the event itself, ensuring that visitors enjoy a melodious and pleasurable visit.

This year, a host of exciting and professional high end musical performances will once more make for a thoroughly enjoyable atmosphere. Visitors can expect a colourful and varied selection of music each and every day at the MOC, from traditional Alpine folk compositions to jazz, baroque, Viennese classical and contemporary brass chamber music.

HIGH END SOCIETY – supporting young and talented artists

The performing bands and ensembles for High End Munich 2014 have been selected solely from the “Hochschule für Musik und Theater” in Munich (academy for music and theatre). The “Hochschule für Musik und Theater” stands for exceptional levels of artistic quality and for the finest education of outstanding young artists. The institution’s music academy has earned its current standing on the basis of its distinguished and globally renowned instructors, thus paving the way for many international careers. By incorporating the academy and its musicians into the trade fair programme, High End Society is supporting young and talented artists in developing their burgeoning careers.

Traditional Bavarian music at the High end 2014

It is customary for the event organisers to welcome all their international guests with the perfect tones of traditional Bavarian music. They strive to offer their visitors a homely acoustic realm amid the bustle of the globalised world, which is why they have made it a custom to receive and welcome our High End guests with a Bavarian programme of Alpine folk music.

Bavarian folk music is vibrant, memorable, multifaceted, thrilling and challenging because, as with jazz and certain other musical styles, improvisation is very much encouraged. Today, there are so many exceptional young groups – all composing new pieces with the greatest musical flair – and this is why the HIGH END trade fair in Munich can now be seen as a forum for highlighting the talent on offer.

Unterbiberger HofmusikMunich_high_end_2014_band_2
Playing on: Thursday 15th May 2014 from 9.30 to 12.30
Entrances in front of Hall 4 and Hall 3

Unterbiberger Hofmusik are a musical ensemble from the Munich region who have been mixing the sounds of folk music and jazz since 1992. The band are members are all classically trained and together stand as one of the giants of the Bavarian folk music scene. In collaboration with a range of high profile guest musicians, the group constantly seeks the thrill from crossing musical boundaries.

Combining musical subtlety with total professionalism and a thorough respect for tradition, the ensemble cultivates an unorthodox combination of traditional brass band music and jazz/world music influences from all corners of the globe. In developing their latest programme for High-End Munich 2014, the group has made a concerted return to their Bavarian roots and only those who listen closely will recognise the global influences in the music.

The Red Socks Brassquintett – one of Germany’s most successful brass ensemblesMunich_high_end_2014_band_1
Playing on: 15th and 17th May 2014 from 12.00 to17.00
Throughout the exhibition area

The Red Socks Brassquintett is a professional brass quintet comprising two trumpets, one
horn, a trombone and a tuba. Formed in November 2010, the members of The Red Socks
Brassquintett have all studied under renowned instrumental professors and cultivate a
top-quality brand of brass chamber music. Their entertaining set ranges from baroque
compositions to film scores. The Bavarian radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk has broadcast
a number of the quintets performances, most recently as part of its BR 4 classical
programmes. The five musicians also have also been hired to perform for the Bavarian
state government, for State Minister Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch and for Bavarian Minister-
President Horst Seehofer.

Trio Triplo – professional, authentic performances of traditional folk music from the entire Munich_high_end_2014_band_3Alpine region for accordion, guitar and double bass
Playing on: 16th and 18th May 2014 from 12.00 to17.00
Throughout the exhibition area

Benedikt Landenhammer (guitar), Andreas Weiß (accordion) and Dominik Billinger (double
bass) met while collaborating on a range of performances as part of several different
line-ups. The music of the ensemble resonates with a sense of joy, featuring compositions
based on international and religious themes. Their music is notable for its unique, unmistakable
sound. In terms of successes, they have been awarded the highest distinction at
the biennial Alpine Folk Music Competition. Furthermore, the trio have appeared on a host
of Bayerischer Rundfunk’s (Bavarian radio) live radio programmes.

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Hifi Pig has been keen on keeping readers abreast of the news regarding Neil Young’s Pono and it ponoseems like we are about to see some action on this long overdue project. To be honest we at Hifi Pig thought that Pono was never likely to see the light of day but it seems like our fears were unfounded.

If latest sources are to be believed, PonoPlayer will cost $399 and will come complete with 128GB of on-board memory and discounted pre-orders can be made from March 15th via Kickstarter.

Early news suggest that the PonoPlayer will store 100-500 high-rez albums but this will of course depend on the length of the record and its resolution.

PonoPlayer is accompanied by the media management software PonoMusic which will sync music to the player very much in the same vein as iTunes.

We’re pleased to see that Pono is finally seeing the light of day and we’ll obviously keep you up to date with any further news on the product.

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Slowly Rolling Camera is a British four piece band made up of Dionne Bennett (lyrics and vocals), Deri Roberts (sound design, electronics, trombone, additional saxophone and production), Elliot Bennett (drums and drum programming) and Dave Stapleton who is the composer as well as playing keys. There’s a whole host of other contributing musicians on the eponymous album (out now through Gearbox Records) and the guy that recorded and mixed this record (Andy Allan) may be familiar to some as he’s worked with Massive Attack and Portishead in the past …and this is where the heart of the Slowly Rolling Camera sound lies. More »

KEF has announced that its new Ci200RR-THX Custom Installation loudspeaker isCi200RR_Grill_half_CMYK available to order from consumers and installers.

Ci200RR-THX is an in-ceiling speaker certified to THX ULTRA2 standard.  A thorough understanding of the film-making process and surround sound is at the very heart of every THX certified 2.1, 5.1 and 7.1 speaker system and the Ci200RR-THX is engineered with design characteristics of professional studio speakers.  THX re-creates the tonal balance of the filmmaker’s final mix in your living room, resulting in action sequences which are “impactful, natural and engaging”.

Featuring Uni-Q driver array from KEF’s floor-standing speakers, comprising a 38 mm (1.5 in) vented aluminium tweeter and ‘tangerine waveguide’, mounted concentrically in a 200 mm (8 in) aluminium bass/mid driver, the Ci200RR-THX projects acoustically as if the sound originates from the screen. Performance is said to be to professional home cinema standards and dispersion is wide. Along with the KEF’s unique Ultra-Thin Bezel (UTB) design offering the slimmest possible rim around the speaker, Ci200RR-THX can be integrated into any setting to achieve the minimum of visual intrusion on the interior space.

Ci200RR-THX: SRP £475.00 (per piece)

 

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Krell has announced what it is saying is the most revolutionary design change in its 33-year history: 3290_Krell_Solo_375_power_amps_(plus_preamp_and_power_supply)iBias™, a patent-pending new technology that uses the Class A circuitry yet consumes far less energy than a traditional Class A amplifier does.

“Because iBias technology eliminates crossover distortion, it allows the low-level details, subtleties and spatiality of music to come through exactly as they do in a traditional Class A amplifier. Yet iBias also allows these new amplifiers to produce the almost limitless dynamics that is the hallmark of Krell’s sound”.

“Class A amplifiers have always been the preferred choice of audiophiles, and they’ve been a hallmark of Krell engineering for decades,” Bill McKiegan, president of Krell Industries, said. “But concerns about energy consumption have reduced some of the enthusiasm for Class A. We are now building in our Connecticut factory a new type of amplifier with musicality that surpasses that of Class A and the energy-efficiency of newer Class G and H designs. Our iBias designs deliver all of this in a surprisingly compact package – and also incorporate internet-based technology that will delight both audiophiles and systems integrators.”

The new line includes seven models, each one built into a 3U-high (5.25 in/134mm) chassis with removable rack-mount ears. The model numbers of the amplifiers indicate their power in watts RMS per channel into an 8-ohm load. The line includes two monoblocks, the Solo 550 and Solo 375; two stereo amps, the Duo 175 and Duo 275; the three-channel Trio 275; the five-channel Chorus 5 and the seven-channel Chorus 7.

Krell Duo 175 stereo power amp (175W RMS per channel) – £7,500

Krell Duo 300 stereo power amp (300W RMS per channel) – £9,500

Krell Trio 300 three-channel power amp (300W RMS per channel) – £11,500

Krell Chorus 5 five-channel power amp (200W RMS per channel) – £7,500

Krell Chorus 7 seven-channel power amp (200W RMS per channel) – £9,500

Krell Solo 375 monoblock (375W RMS) – £8,750

Krell Solo 575 monoblock (575W RMS) – £11,250

 

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Cyrus Audio announces a new music streaming component to join its premium Signature Series StreamXSignaturerange for 2014. 

Cyrus announces the Stream X Signature; a music streamer which Technical Director Peter Bartlett claims provides “unparalleled sonic performance”. “Combining compatibility with high resolution audio formats and the most advanced audio engineering, Stream X Signature is intended to be the finest music source available today”.  

Capable of streaming high resolution audio files at up to 24 bit/192 kHz and offering compatibility with the high quality file formats, the Stream X Signature allows wired or wireless connection to UPnP and DLNA devices, as well as USB host and coaxial SPDIF connections.

The Stream X Signature offers control and navigation through either Cyrus’s bespoke iOS app Cadence or its specialist n-remote, a logical and intuitive control system.

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McIntosh Laboratory has launched the MA8000, a new 300-watt integrated amplifier complete with MA8000 Low Anglea five-input DAC for digitally connected devices, a headphone output, and for vinyl lovers, a fully adjustable dedicated MM and MC phono stage.

Intended as an audiophile system ‘hub’, the new MA8000 offers D/A decoding at up to 32-bit/192kHz for up to five digitally connected devices, plus a complement of analogue inputs.

The MA8000 has 15 inputs in total: six line-level; two balanced; five digital; plus a MM and MC phono input. The five-strong digital input suite in the McIntosh Digital Engine includes two assignable coaxial and two assignable optical inputs, plus a dedicated asynchronous USB 2.0 input (operating at up to 32-bit).

The MA8000’s Moving Magnet and Moving Coil phono sections feature adjustable cartridge loading and impedance matching and can be optimised to suit most phono cartridge configurations.

Also included, is McIntosh’s new internal High Drive headphone amplifier which offers increased gain and output power, optimising it for virtually every headphone type, from in-ear to over-ear, 20 to 600 ohms. The MA8000 also benefits from a Home Theatre Pass Through feature, for integration into existing multichannel home cinema systems.

Offering a (conservatively rated) 300-watt output, the 45kg solid-state MA8000 also includes a discrete eight-band analogue tone control.

The MA8000 sells for £9.995 and is available now.

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Spring is in the air! – well, at least it seems to be thinking about it after a mild but horribly wet winter here in the UK.  So it’s time for the annual enthusiast’s show at Scalford Hall in the depths of the Leicestershire countryside in the UK, this being the Show’s 6th successive year. More »

Nytech Audio, world renowned in the 70s and 80s for producing quality British hi-fi at affordable cp132-control-centreprices is back in business thanks to the tenacity of a former senior BBC engineer.

The new range of Nytech Audio hi-fi equipment was launched at the recent Sound & Vision the Bristol Show and proved to be popular with visitors. There are four separate components, a control centre/pre-amp, a separate power supply and monoblock power amplifiers.

Nytech Audio is based in Ystrad Mynach in South Wales and the new range will be ready for full production in a few weeks time.

The original Bristol-based Nytech Audio went out of business in the late 80s.  Former Nytech test engineer Phil Balaam, who subsequently worked for BBC Wales for 25 years as a broadcast engineer and HD camera expert, decided after leaving the BBC last year that he needed a new challenge.

For Phil a key element in bringing back Nytech was the company’s loyalty to its customer base. “We want to continue to support as much as we can the original product range,” says Phil. “And when people buy the new products we want to assure them that we will continue to look after the products long into the future. My 35 year-old Nytech amp is still running beautifully and I don’t’ see why the new kit shouldn’t have the same longevity.”

Also involved in bringing back the classic Nytech sound are Ingo and Klaus of Nero Audio from Germany who are re-launching the British ARC loudspeaker brand which debuted at the Bristol show alongside the new Nytech range.

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Everyone knows that the Munich High End show is a Mecca for all things audio and hifi and Hifi PigMunich_high_end_2014_paganini is sure that the 2014 show will be equally as entertaining and informative on this level as other years.

However, never one to stand on its laurels, Munich High End 2014 will also allow visitors to experience some seriously high end cars in addition to all the turntables, amplifiers, loudspeakers etc.

Italian sports car manufacturer Pagini will show their car complete with its Sonus Faber system and high end manufacturer Burmester will be presenting a total of five vehicles with exclusive music systems.

Needless to say Hifi Pig will be at the Munich High End 2014 show to bring you all the news, photographs and more.

Everyone knows that the Munich High End show is a Mecca for all things audio and hifi and Hifi PigMunich_high_end_2014_paganini is sure that the 2014 show will be equally as entertaining and informative on this level as other years.

However, never one to stand on its laurels, Munich High End 2014 will also allow visitors to experience some seriously high end cars in addition to all the turntables, amplifiers, loudspeakers etc.

Italian sports car manufacturer Pagini will show their car complete with its Sonus Faber system and high end manufacturer Burmester will be presenting a total of five vehicles with exclusive music systems.

Needless to say Hifi Pig will be at the Munich High End 2014 show to bring you all the news, photographs and more.

Read all the news from Munich High End 2014.

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