Following AURALiC’s CES 2014 introduction of its Lightning Streaming technology, the industry’s aurali_ariesfirst whole-house, high-resolution streaming solution that supports both Double-Rate DSD and DXD, the company is now debuting its first product in the Lightning family — ARIES — here at the Munich High-End show..

The ARIES serves as a “bridge” between music files on network storage or high quality online streaming services and the consumers’ DAC — enabling DACs to stream high-resolution music quickly and wirelessly in virtually any sampling rate, including DSD, Double-Rate DSD and DXD.
ARIES is powered by AURALiC’s proprietary Telsa hardware platform that includes a Quad-Core ARM Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 onboard memory and 4GB internal storage. The Telsa platform has a calculation ability of 25,000 MIPS, more than enough to decode a vast spectrum of audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA.
The inputs of ARIES include Dual-Band high-speed WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 port. The outputs are USB audio host buffered by AURALiC’s patented ActiveUSB™ technology; low jitter digital audio outputs: AES/EBU, Coaxial and TOSLINK. The USB audio host can deliver PCM from 44.1 to 384 KHz at 16-, 24- and 32-bit resolutions as well as DSD, Double-Rate DSD for compatible USB DAC. The other digital outputs are limited to 192 KHz at 24-bit in maximum according to S/PDIF standard.

ARIES is bundled with AURALiC’s Lightning DS App. The App has the capability to fully control ARIES to browse your music libraries on your network-attached storage (NAS), to steam high quality music content from service providers like Qobuz and WiMP, to control the playback and to select the hardware settings such as output channel and WiFi network, etc. The App also supports Songcast, a music distribution service that allows users to map computer’s sound to any Lightning-equipped system and to map sound between different Lightning systems in the house and streaming sound though Apple AirPlay.

“ARIES will begin a new era in the Hi-Fi industry,” said Xuanqian Wang, the President and CEO of AURALIC LIMITED. “We intentionally set the retail price starting at $999, an extremely affordable entry point, to offer everyone an opportunity to get onboard and enjoy the convenience and high quality music that modern technology can bring to all. AURALiC has invested and budgeted more than $1,000,000 to develop the Lightning Streaming system. We are committed to providing continuous, free online upgrades to improve the performance and compatibility for our solution, as well as to add new exciting functions support in the near future such as local storage playback, DSD upsampling, room acoustics correction and multi-channel.”

The ARIES Streamer Bridge will be available in two models, with shipments starting in June:

ARIES LE: The standard model with low-phase noise crystal and standard external PSU. [$999/€999]

ARIES: The set-up model with two individual Femto Clocks for both USB audio host and digital outputs, low noise internal design to eliminate jitter and AURALiC Purer-Power™ based 10uV low noise external linear PSU. [$1,599/€1,499]

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IsoTek has unveiled its successor to the multi award-winningGII Titan power conditioner: the “radically updated” EVO3 Titan.

Designed to deliver clean power for power-hungry amplifiers, mono-blocks, active loudspeakers and subwoofers, IsoTek’s original GII Titan was built to provide optimum high current filtering in a compact design.

The new EVO3 version retains the same bijou size, but manages to pack in a raft of “technological enhancements”. Several of these have trickled directly down from the extensive research that went into the Titan’s ‘big brother’, IsoTek’s flagship Super Titan. The new EVO3 Titan takes the circuit from the Super Titan and reconfigures it into a more compact form.

The Titan’s proprietary Direct-Coupled© circuit topology has also been upgraded in two subtle but significant ways. The first is a doubling of the copper component (to a weight of 2oz) before 24-ct gold plating.

Secondly, the circuit design is a fully optimised ‘KERP’ equal resistance path. KERP© (Kirchoff’s Equal Resistance Path) is a technology specifically developed for IsoTek’s EVO3 generation of products. KERP ensures equal resistance and equal power delivery to all outlets.

The EVO3 Titan’s internal wiring has also been upgraded to IsoTek’s newly-developed UP-OCC IsoTek EVO3 Titan(Ultra Pure Ohno Continuous Cast) high purity copper solid core internal wire, which is silver plated before being insulated with Teflon. A fine Teflon strand is wound helically around the wire before a secondary Teflon tube is extruded over the top, creating an air gap between wire and insulating tube and forming a virtual air dielectric (VAD) which has virtually no capacitance.

“When we launched the original GII Titan in 2005, it was designed to be the very best high current power conditioner we could make, and was a huge improvement on our earlier isolation transformer based designs,” says Keith Martin, IsoTek’s founder and managing director. “We then went all out and pushed the boundaries still further with the flagship Super Titan. We’ve now given our original Titan a radical update using technology from the Super Titan to deliver the new EVO3 Titan. For us, it’s a revelation. It delivers cutting edge ultra-low impedance high current power conditioning – but still in a beautifully compact form.”

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Peter Stanton-Ife attended the launch of a new product from Naim at the Vinyl Factory in Soho, naim_musi_1London.  As already covered in HiFi Pig, the Muso  is an all-in-one wireless music system so there is no need to repeat the detail here.

Seeing and hearing it in the flesh, I was impressed at the quality of the beautiful casework. I was told the unit weighs a whopping 13kgs. It is being made in China, which is a first for this Salisbury-based company. But it is apparently the only way to enable Naim to price the Muso so competitively – recommended retail price at £895.

It will have its own app for both Android and Apple, but nStream will still be available for those who prefer it.  The Muso’s touch sensitive volume knob is inspired by the flagship Statement amplifier, and looks the part.  So there is no need to shell out the full £140,000 for that part of the Statement experience!

The launch event in London’s Soho also featured the company’s Statement amplifier that sat glowering menacingly in a corner.

Naim also lost no time in highlighting its contribution to Naim for Bentley, with two cars on-site for a muso_bentlytest listening (but sadly not a test drive).

I was pondering as I walked around the Vinyl Factory how far Naim has come with these clean (dare I say, architectural?) designs from the rather ratty boxes beloved of the diehard stereotypical beards and sandals supporters of the seventies and early eighties. A stunning amp costing as much as a house in many parts of the country and the music for the Rooney chariot, forsooth! The good news is that the music still sounds good.

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“A perfect blend of a legend, a freak, a beast and a wookie.” –  Troy Sanders.

A strange thing happened today: unusually I was stumped at an appropriate way to start this particular review  and was mutely & vacantly staring at a blank document, but the  Mastodon frontman and Killer Be Killed protagonist has provided a fitting rubric for me… thanks Troy.  On paper at least, the prospect of this debut album from KBK is surely one of the most tantalizing of any metal supergroup ever and has metal fans worldwide practically slavering over its imminent release… with very good reason.  Allow me to introduce the participants: More »

The Chord Company has added a new high-speed HDMI cable to its collection.Picture 861

The Active Resolution HDMI V2 has a new high-performance chipset designed to bring improvements to both picture and sound quality when used in good-quality audio/visual systems. Key to the new cable’s design is an improved conductor: the Active Resolution HDMI V2 now features heavier gauge conductors for all critical signal paths, employing high-quality silver-plated oxygen-free copper 26 AWG conductors.

The Active Resolution HDMI V2 is fitted with a die-cast gold-plated HDMI plug with a metal body to improve shielding.

Further features include low-loss gas-foamed polyethylene insulation, with all critical signal conductors protected with high-frequency-effective shielding.

Active Resolution HDMI V2 is now available in lengths of: 0.75m; 1.5m; 2m; 3m; 5m; 8m; 10m; 15m and 20m. Prices start at £150 for the 0.75m version.

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Andrea at Architettura Sonora got in touch with Hifi Pig to let us know that they will be exhibiting their archson2unique and very interesting “architectural sonic modules”  and amplifiers at this years Munich High End show in May.

As well as attending Munich High End the company also mentioned they will be in New York as they’ve won the Architizer award in their category.

They’ll be in Hall 2, stand C13

Pictured is the company’s Shark subwoofer.

 

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JoSound returns to the High End show in Munich with their Ra (currently in for review with Hifi Pig) JOSOUND at Munich 2013 Ra Loudspeakersand Cartouche AC1.5 stereo loudspeakers on 15 to 18 May 2014 at the M.O.C.

Fronting their loudspeakers will be a system comprising:

Tranquil PC Media One (Media PC)
Abbingdon Music Research CD-777 (CD Transport)
Abbingdon Music Research DP-777 (DAC)
Arte Forma Audio – Thalia (Pre-Amp)
Arte Forma Audio – Due Volte (Mono Blocks)
O2A interconnects and power cables

Their room is Atrium 4.2 Room E206 they’ll be happy to play any style of music you wish to hear – we had them playing banging techno in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it. Certainly one of the rooms not to be missed.

 

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Analogue Seduction, UK retailer established in 2005 and dedicated to two-channel hi-fi, is the first DYN_Evidence_Platinum_bordeauxshowroom in the UK to have Dynaudio’s new flagship Evidence Platinum loudspeakers on demonstration.

Dynaudio has developed and manufactured its new flagship loudspeaker: Evidence Platinum. Which they say offers a level of sound quality never before experienced, armed with an array of state-of-the-art proprietary Dynaudio technology, the eye-catching £58,500 Evidence Platinum loudspeakers are the zenith of the company’s audiophile experience.

After almost seven years of continuous development, the Evidence Platinum concept was first shown in 2012 at the world’s preeminent audio exhibition, the Munich High End Show. After receiving tremendous feedback from visitors, distributors, and dealers Dynaudio decided to turn the concept into reality.

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Following on from the success of their original GT2 USB cable, Japanese cable manufacturers Furutech GT2-ProFurutech now introduce their higher specified GT2 Pro.

Featuring 24k gold-plated non-magnetic USB 2.0 connectors and Furutech’s new  Alpha* OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) silver-copper alloy conductor, the GT2 Pro has been designed with the audiophile in mind.

Furutech’s GT2 Pro USB cable is formed around special Alpha* OCC silver copper alloy conductors with high-density polyethylene insulation/dielectric. It features three-layer shielding and specially engineered 24k gold-plated USB 2.0 connectors with a 24k gold-plated copper alloy EMI shield incorporated into the connector. “The cable wrap includes excellent damping and insulating materials, selected to deliver improved frequency extension and tonal balance. A carefully engineered clamp improves grip and keeps both mechanical and electrical distortion at bay” says the Furutech press release.

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1.2m is £180 but other lengths are available.

As we reported recently on Hifi Pig, McIntosh Laboratory has launched a dedicated headphone amplifier for MC_MHA100_1the first time in its history. Here’s a bit more information.

The new MHA100 headphone amplifier has four digital inputs, remote control,  and was first unveiled in January at CES 2014, Las Vegas – it’s now available in the UK from Jordan Acoustics, McIntosh’s UK distributor.

The MHA100 employs a new adaptation of McIntosh’s unique autoformer technology which offers three selectable headphone impedance ranges: 8-40; 40-150 and 150-600 ohms. T.

It also features McIntosh’s new Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) technology, which allows high-quality recordings played through headphones to image like conventional speakers. “HXD improves the sound localisation for headphone listening and restores the directionality component of the spatial sound stage normally experienced with loudspeaker listening” says the company’s pres release.

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

Electronic input switching is also included. The preamplifier uses logic circuits controlling electromagnetic switches on all inputs and operating functions.

The MHA100 is also perfectly suited to computer-based systems and desktop working say McIntosh and compared to McIntosh’s other amplifiers, the MHA100 is considerably more compact and fits neatly on a desk or anywhere else in the home.

The MHA100 is more than just a headphone amplifier, too: 50-watt stereo speaker outputs (with less than 0.005% distortion) are included for use with loudspeakers.

The power amplifier uses ThermalTrak1 output transistors for lower distortion and cool operation and McIntosh’s patented gold-plated output terminals deliver high current output and accept large-diameter wire and spade lugs. Loudspeaker listening is automatically switched off when headphones are connected.

The MHA100 also benefits from four forms of protection. McIntosh Sentry Monitor power output stage protection circuits. The Sentry Monitor also protects headphones in the event of an impedance mismatch. Built-in thermal protection circuits guard against overheating, and direct current detection and protection is provided for both headphones and loudspeakers.MCO_MHA100_2

Further features include tone controls plus McIntosh’s Power Guard® technology: a waveform comparison circuit that continuously monitors both input and output signals, dynamically adjusting them when necessary, in order to avoid potentially damaging clipping.

The MHA100’s multifunction OLED display indicates source selection, volume levels, trim settings and set-up functions and the famous illuminated power output meters are peak-responding, indicating the output level. A remote control is also included.

Specifications

Headphone power output: (high) 1W; (normal) 250mW

Headphone output impedance: 8-40; 40-50; 150-600 Ohms

Power output per channel: 50 watts

Speaker impedance: 8 Ohms

Rated power band: 20Hz to 20kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.005%

Dynamic headroom: 1.5db

Frequency response: +0,-0.5dB 20Hz to 20kHz; +0, -3dB 10Hz to 100kHz

Sensitivity (unbalanced): 300mV

Sensitivity (balanced): 600mV

Input impedance (balanced/unbalanced): 25K/25K

Damping factor: >150

Preamp output: 3V (8V max)

Preamp output impedance: 500 Ohms

Voltage gain: 36.5dB

Power Guard: <2% THD with up to 16dB overdrive at 1kHz

Digital audio specifications

Coax input sample rate: 16-bit, 24-bit  32kHz to 192kHz

Optical sample rate: 16-bit, 24-bit  32kHz to 192kHz

AES/EBU sample rate: 16-bit, 24-bit  32kHz to 192kHz

USB sample rate: 16-bit, 24-bit  32kHz to 192kHz

Connectivity

Headphone output: 1x ¼”

High level inputs unbalanced: 1 stereo

High level inputs balanced: 1 stereo

Digital USB input: 1

Digital coaxial input: 1

Digital optical input: 1

Digital AES/EBU input: 1

Preamp output: 1 stereo

General specifications

Tone control: five-step bass boost control: 0 to +12.5dB (in 2.5dB steps) @ 40Hz

Power control in/out: Yes/Yes

Dual-layer chassis and output meters

Output autoformer (headphones)

Standby power requirement: <0.25 watts

Dimensions (WxHxD): (29.2cm) x (14.1cm) x (45.7cm)

Weight: 12kg

Price and availability

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

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Graham Slee contacted Hifi Pig to tell us about a series of road shows they’ll be putting on. proprius-ff-449“Because few demonstration facilities of Graham Slee products exist in dealers shops, we decided to take our own demo facilities on the road to be nearer to you”. Said Graham Slee.

This first ever Road Show is at “The Academy” Holiday Inn in Weston Turville, Aylesbury on May 29th where there will be two demo rooms: the Olivier Suite and the Christie Suite with the rooms being intentionally small to be in keeping with the room sizes you may have in your own home.

In the Olivier Suite you can hear music played through a pair of Stirling LS3/5A V2’s and the company’s own products and in the Christie Suite there’ll be the company’s range of headphone amps on demo using a number of stereo sources.

They say you can bring along your own headphones, a CD, a vinyl record or USB file-based music but the number of places is limited with admittance by pre-booked pass only… so you need to book your place in advance. There will be four one and a half hour sessions in the Olivier Suite and the event starts at 10am and finishes at 5pm.

 

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Cyrus Audio’s bespoke control app has been released for use on Android with their all-in-one Lyric Now_Playing_UPnP_framedSeries products. Cadence was previously only available for Apple devices, so this launch allows a huge swathe of Cyrus customers to access the app for controlling their Cyrus products.

Initially only for the Cyrus’s Lyric Series, Cadence will be rolled out for the company’s second generation music streamers in June this year.

Cadence allows the user to control all of the inputs of their Cyrus streaming device. Full playback control allows the user to completely replace a remote control with the app.  Cadence also allows users to save music in Favourites lists.

Lyric series products will need a small firmware update in order to work with the new Android app.

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Naim announced yesterday their long expected and awaited home music system, Muso. Muso is a naim_musi_1wireless music system “designed to transform your music into incredible sonic experiences” say the British company who have recently won the Queen’s Award for Export.

“The product brief was simple: the system, then codenamed ‘Project Eagle’, had to offer incredible, class-leading sound quality whilst being beautiful and elegant, using premium quality materials. It was to be simple to install and control whilst creating the intense and emotive musical experiences on which Naim has built its reputation. After an intensive development period drawing on all the expertise and experience of Naim’s award-winning engineering and design team, Muso was born” the company continued.

Muso has six 75 watt digital amplifiers driving six custom-designed Naim speaker drivers. It’s an integrated wireless music system and can deliver music from a variety of sources including USB sticks, mobile phones and MP3 players. It can work as a stand-alone system or be part of a Naim or AirPlay multiroom system.

Muso can be controlled via the supplied remote control, the touch panel volume control or via a Muso control app for iPad, iPhone, iPod and Android.

Muso will be available in September 2014 and will retail at £895 inc VAT.

 

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We reviewed the Audio4Soul Extrem 16 digital amp/DAC a while ago  and the company ref2011have just contacted us to tell us of a new breed of eeference amplifiers, that has been designed on the basis of ultimate performance.
 
Simplicity in design Philosophy, minimal signal path and top quality materials, guarantee ultra hi-end performance, while backed-up by an ultra low-noise power supply, as well as a dead-quiet chassis.
 
With a  paying scheme of “Pay What You Need”, you can now build the amplifier you need/can afford, without having to pay for features you will never use.
You can now, add or remove input or features (like the optional battery PSU)at will, keeping your amplifier up to date with the latest technology available!
The new amplifier is available over 300 colours, while two different front covers -fully configurable- will give more flexibility and more freedom of choice!!
 
The first model in the new line is Reference 20, followed up by Reference 50 (by the end of April) and Reference 120 (by the end of August). The company say the Reference 50/120, are the perfect pairing for speakers that are very demanding, like electrostatics, magnetostatics and some of the most demanding electrodynamic speakers available.
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We reviewed the Tellurium Q Ultra Black speaker cables a good while ago and so when we were TQ_Ultrablac_rca_recasked to take a listen to the company’s matching interconnects we thought it would be a great idea.

The first impression I had of the UB (Ultra Black) was how strong and focused the central focus was, how projected the vocals were and how clean the midrange was as a whole.

Bass notes are very full, a tad dry and with a great amount of weight. Bass extension rolls out separately to the punch, a beat can be heard and before you think “is that it” all of a sudden a rolling wave of extension spreads out across the room.

Read Danny Worth’s full review of the Tellurium Q Ultra Black Interconnects.

 

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The PrimaLuna Prologue Premier is a Valve Integrated Amplifier that is flexible in which valves it can PLPrologueuse and has a modern contemporary look to it. Danny Worth puts the £2300 amplifier through its paces in his review.

“The first thing apparent when switching the PrimaLuna on is its cleanliness in the top end. It has a wonderfully sparkly and airy treble which blends down into a clean upper midrange. Details are prominent and easily depicted even when listening to large crescendos and larger orchestral pieces. Dynamics in this portion of the frequency range are not overly strong, they are however far from subdued or mellow and they are a little more energetic and cleaner than natural”.

Read the full review of the PrimaLuna Prologue Premier Valve Integrated Amplifier

 

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The KEF X300A Loudspeakers are have an on board amplifier and DAC and are designed primarily KEFX300A_FIfor use on a desktop – simply plug them into the mains, attach them to the computer via a USB cable and away you go. We’d heard the speakers briefly at Munich and so were delighted when KEF contacted us with a view to reviewing them.

In this review both Stuart Smith and teen son Harry take a listen to the KEF X300A loudspeakers and comment on how they worked with respect to their own very different needs.

“Essentially what you have here is a nearfield monitor that has been designed specifically for the home market. I had a play with Ableton Live mixing some of my own tunes and they’re really rather good in that role and I suppose a good few people will use them as both desk top monitors for music making and for listening to tunes in a more conventional sense. It’s a long time since I’ve listened to professional monitors if truth be known and so I can’t really compare on this front to what’s available today…and besides I don’t think this is where KEF sees its market for these loudspeakers being.”

Read the full review of the KEF X300A Loudspeakers.

 

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Linn has extended its Exakt platform into its Akurate range and the Akubarik loudspeaker is the LinnAUKUBARIKlatest product to benefit from this new technology.

“Exakt eliminates the sources of loss inherent in the traditional analogue hi-fi chain by transferring the lossless digital signal all the way to the speaker. This means that a Studio Master file, or any other music source, is now transmitted perfectly into the speaker” says the Linn press release.

Using Exakt technology, launched in Linn’s flagship Klimax Exakt System in September last year, the Akurate Exakt System comprises an Akurate Exakt DSM and Exakt Akubarik loudspeakers.

Inside Exakt loudspeakers is a digital platform that enables a range of “performance-enhancing capabilities” and the ability for a Linn Specialist to optimise the system to the customer’s home. “This ensures the best possible sound no matter the unique characteristics of the customer’s room or their preferred speaker positioning.Exakt eliminates magnitude and phase distortion that is inherent in traditional passive crossovers. So what you hear is a more faithful reproduction of the music as it was recorded” the release continued”.

Exakt Link

In order to deliver the digital signal “losslessly” to the speaker, Linn has developed a new protocol — Exakt Link. “Exakt Link achieves what no existing standard could: accuracy of data transmission with the ability to losslessly transmit 8 channels of 24-bit 192 kHz Studio Master; exceptionally low jitter to ensure perfect musical timing; and extreme precision synchronisation between speakers”.

Up to thirteen sources can be connected to the system via the Akurate Exakt DSM with inputs including HDMI, Toslink, S/PDIF, XLR and RCA phono available. Linn commented “Even vinyl sounds better – there’s no better way to preserve the signal from an LP12 than Exakt. New ADC technology converts the delicate analogue signal digitally and sends it losslessly to the speaker”.

The six-channel amp module houses the Exakt capability alongside Akurate quality DACs and Linn’s patented Chakra ‘silent power’ amplification, all mounted within a “special and effective passive cooling chimney” which draws the warm air up and out of the electronics without requiring a fan. Great care has also been taken to isolate the electronics from the cabinet to minimise microphony. 

Finished by hand, Exakt Akubarik is available in a range of stunning finishes, including six high-grade real wood veneers in standard or high gloss options. A stunning range of 200 bespoke, high gloss colour finishes are also available.  Exakt Akubarik can be further personalised through the choice of polished chrome or black finishes for the chassis of the 3K array.

Available to audition from late April at Linn Specialists nationwide, the Akurate Exakt System will be priced at £25,500. Upgrade options are also available for existing Akubarik owners.

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What a great title for a record first of all! Badgers and Other Beings is an album of clever jazz featuring pianist, drums and bass. The Helge Lien Trio has been a bit of a hit on the jazz scene since their breakthrough album Hello Troll and it’s no wonder really. Lien is joined here by Frode Berg on bass and Per Oddvar Johansen on drums with the album having been recorded at Rainbow Studios in Oslo and released on the Ozella label. Here it was downloaded from HIGHRESAUDIO and the quality of the recording is again superb. More »

Recorded and mixed by Stefano Amerio in Italy on July 15th – 16th and November 1st 2013 Flowers of Sendai is released on the Bee Jazz label and here it’s been downloaded from HIGHRESAUDIO. The trio is made up of Jan Lundgren (piano), Mattias Svenson (bass) and Zoltan Csors JR (drums).

Style wise Flowers of Sendai is jazz of the accessible kind and not the kind of “challenging” jazz that you need a degree from the University of Cool to understand never mind enjoy.  More »

D&M Holdings, a global operating company in the consumer and professional audio and video DT_MythosST_2pairbusiness, has announced that it has entered into a partnership with US-based Sound United for the distribution of its Polk and Definitive Technology audio products in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria and the Benelux countries. 

“Polk and Definitive Technology are leading the U.S. loudspeaker market with a combined share of more than 30 percent,” said Terry O’Connell, President Sales and Marketing, D&M Europe. “Both brands will perfectly complement our Denon and Marantz portfolios to deliver the best in music and home theatre for the demanding consumer in Europe.”

“We are excited to work with D+M, as the company is a great fit for distributing our audio products to the European market with proven success,” said Kevin Duffy, President of Sound United. “With its robust portfolio of brands and distribution expertise, we look forward to building a long-term partnership with D+M as we continue to expand our business internationally.”

D&M will start distributing selected Polk and Definitive Technology products in Europe beginning in May.

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Teufel Audio’s recent collaboration with hülsta has given us an interesting concept that we at Hifi teufel_hulstaPig thought was rather cool in its design and concept.  Basically this is nice looking furniture that has the audio already built in to it.  The new designs are called Scopia and Xelo.

“Our cooperation already began in the product design phase,“ explained Teufel CEO Edgar von Velzen. “The Teufel components were custom-designed for the hülsta furniture units and imperceptibly integrated without acoustic compromise.” 

“When developing the furniture, we took the acoustic and technical requirements into consideration and worked them into the design without compromising the overall look,” hülsta’s managing director Heiner Goossens added. “In this way, the inherent qualities of both hülsta furniture and Teufel sound were mutually promoted.” 

The complete sound system in the SCOPIA and XELO media lowboards are concealed behind a fabric front. So while you won’t see the audio technology within, you’ll hear a “true-to-source, natural sound with movies and music”.

All of the high-end micro speakers are positioned in such a way that they create a perfect sound image at the listening position. A compact, high-performance subwoofer brings “amazing precision and dynamics” to the lower range. An integrated control unit for a Blu-ray player, game console, or other playback device has been mounted on tracks so that the user can easily access a total of nine connections. With contemporary features for 3D video and high-resolution audio formats, the control unit makes the system compatible with all standard playback devices and future-proofs it against new developments.

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Swiss high end manufacturer Soulution has announced that they will be launching their new 560 Soulution _560DAC at High-End Munich 2014.

The 560 from Soulution will have five digital inputs including AES/EBU, SPDIF, Optical, USB and LAN which makes it a pretty versatile box of tricks. The USB is of an asynchronous design based around a high performance DSP.

Soulution’s new DAC is clocked by a precision device that is not powered by USB but by what the company are calling “ultra stable power supplies”. The LAN connection has a separate and dedicated DSP which manages the communication to the network but does not buffer or decode the incoming signals.

Soulutions 560 will accept PCM (16bit/32kHz to 24bit/192kHz), DXD (34bit/352.8 kHz) and DSD (1bit/2.82MHz and double DSD (1 bit/5.62Mhz).

The 560 DAC improves on the company’s previous converters with a more powerful DSP (32bit floating point) for upsampling which the company says “allows for much higher precision of the polynomial upsampling calculation process, the integration od a state of the art apodizing digital filter and has still enough computation headroom for Soulution’s innovative Zero-Phase-Technology.

The Zero-Phase-Technology (Zerojtech) essentially allows the phase error of the analogue output to remain below 1 degree, 20Hz-100kHz.

Despite the High-end Munich launch production of the new Soulution 560 will not be until September 2014 when it will have an expected price of 23 000 CHF (around £15, 500).

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Diesis Audio has announced its participation at the HiFi DeLuxe show in Munich May 15th to May 17thnoname as well as the High-End Munich show which takes place 15th to18th of the same month.
They will have their entire range of speakers (Caput Mundi, Aura, Ludos) and their integrated amp, Evento 20-11 on show and for demo and listening sessions.

Diesis Audio was founded in Italy in 1993 and after years of development created their first product, the Caput Mundi which was the first loudspeaker in the world with a dipole load in the low frequencies and a coaxial compression driver horn loaded for the midrange and high frequencies.

They will be in the Linderhof room (Studio 5) at the HiFi Deluxe show and Hall 3 Stand J 14 at Munich.

Diesis Audio has announced its participation at the HiFi DeLuxe show in Munich May 15th to May 17thnoname as well as the High-End Munich show which takes place 15th to18th of the same month.
They will have their entire range of speakers (Caput Mundi, Aura, Ludos) and their integrated amp, Evento 20-11 on show and for demo and listening sessions.

Diesis Audio was founded in Italy in 1993 and after years of development created their first product, the Caput Mundi which was the first loudspeaker in the world with a dipole load in the low frequencies and a coaxial compression driver horn loaded for the midrange and high frequencies.

They will be in the Linderhof room (Studio 5) at the HiFi Deluxe show and Hall 3 Stand J 14 at Munich.

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UK based semiconductor company XMOS today announces that its xCORE high-definition USB xmosaudio solutions are in use in a range of award-winning audio-visual products from OPPO Digital.

“Consumers are becoming more discerning about sound quality; artists and the music business are ready to deliver; and the technology is here to make it happen. We believe that the next few years will be an exciting time for this sector.” said the company.

“OPPO products such as the BDP-105D Universal Audiophile 3D Blu-Ray Disc Player use xCORE technology to deliver the bit-perfect digital audio demanded by today’s discerning consumers. The BDP-105D turns any computer into a high performing multi-media source by converting advanced digital signals, transmitted via USB, to analogue audio”. It supports DSD in standard rate (DSD64) or double rate (DSD128 or DSD 2x) via its dedicated USB DAC input, with asynchronous audio clocking enabled by xCORE technology. “The result is jitter-free operation and outstanding sound quality”.

The BDP-105D supports a wide variety of audio content formats, including lossless FLAC and WAV files: if a computer can play it, the BDP-105D can convert it to analogue.

“The entertainment industry is at one of its periodic tipping points,” said Nigel Toon, XMOS President and CEO. “Consumers are becoming more discerning about sound quality; artists and the music business are ready to deliver; and the technology is here to make it happen. We believe that the next few years will be an exciting time for this sector.”

“The xCORE USB audio solution from XMOS is proven to deliver the highest quality USB audio,” said Jason Liao, VP Product Development of OPPO Digital. “Providing bit-perfect, jitter-free audio allows us to deliver on our promise to deliver products that truly ‘speak for themselves’. We look forward to working with XMOS on future generations of A/V products aimed at discerning consumers and audiophiles around the world.”

 

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Auris Audio, the Serbian manufacturer of tube amplifiers will be at this years High-End Munich show auriswith their interesting looking range of hifi amplifiers, phono stage, DAC and headphone amplifier.

The company’s range looks to be beautifully finished in real wood and leather which certainly stands this brand apart from the usual black or silver box prevalent in most of the home audio kit we get to see.

All Auris Audio kit is built in Serbia and at Munich High-End they will be found in Atrium 4.2 room number F221.

Hifi Pig will certainly be popping in to say hell and bring you lots of pictures of this kit.

LH Labs, a division of Light Harmonic and the people behind the Geek Pulse and Geek Out geekwaveproducts is announcing a new product aimed at improving smartphone audio quality.

Geek Wave is in the final stages of development and the company are want to hear from audiophiles or more casual listeners with regards what additional features they’d like to see on the new product.
Geek Wave is designed to act as an audio enhancer and a battery backup and storage device.

A common complaint from smartphone users using their phones to play music is a lack of bass and volume and that they can’t play at high-resolution and Geek Wave aims to address these issues with Geek Wave being built on a high performance DAC and technology found on their much higher-end products. Light Harmonic’s “Duet Engine” is used to improve the digital signal of MP3 music or streamed music and Geek Wave will have both 256Gb of storage and a high capacity battery that can charge the smartphone’s battery twice in half the time of other chargers on the market. Geek Wave is expected to sell at $399.

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Evolution Acoustics has launched the MMTwo and MMThree loudspeakers which they say will MMTwo-Exact-Tight“transport you into the breathtaking realm of natural music”.

Evolution Acoustics’ MM series loudspeakers are designed and built around a philosophy of Maximum Modularity which essentially means that upgrading is easily accomplished by the addition of another module.

The MMExact, an acronym for External X-over Acoustic Compensation Technology, is designed, engineered, handcrafted, and assembled in the USA.

The midrange and tweeter achieve the same output characteristics as the MMSeven (the company’s flagship loudspeaker) and they say the woofers receive increased smoothness and definition.

The external filter does not degrade the performance of the loudspeaker’s  internal Constant Voltage Crossover Network say the company and looking at the quality of parts and the attention to detail it all looks very impressive.

The MMExact filter network is housed in the same acoustic cabinetry as the loudspeakers, which uses multiple layer construction which “helps reduce unwanted micro-phonic vibrations”.

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New from Nordost is the QKOIL QK1. The new product is a load resonating coil (LRC) which Nordost QKOLIsay generates a passive electronic field that has a “beneficial sonic effect on the AC current”.

The QKOIL QK1 from Nordost uses LFR along with Nordost’s “patented Micro Mono-Filament technology” which they say in a loading application “prevents time delay and distortion of the transmitted signal, making the AC current that much closer to the desired distortionless condition”.

QKOIL QK1 is the entry level product and is housed in a “mechanically tuned carbon-fiber body”. It comes with either a US (NEMA) or Eu (Schuko) connector (though can be used with a AUS or UK adapter) and is said to be compatible with voltages from 110V to 240V.

Operation is a simple case of plugging into a spare socket.

 

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Now we’re not really ones for sharing information about common or garden furniture, ok the odd hifi kallax_regal_birke_380x380rack is fine, but we thought we’d make an exception with regards the new Kallax range from IKEA as we’ve had our own (very) DIY CD rack featured on the Ikea Hackers website and we are keen proponents of the IKEA EXPEDIT for storing vinyl.

As has been widely reported, and lamented by audiophiles the world over, the vinyl friendly EXPEDIT range is to be phased out. There was a minor wave of panic set in in audiophile-land as this range has for a good few years been the “go to” storage solution for vinyl collectors. EXPEDIT was sturdy (ish), cheap, looked OK and more importantly fitted 12” vinyl collections perfectly – we have a couple of the units ourselves.

But fear not fellow audiophiles for IKEA are telling us that they have improved and updated the previous design with a product that has better durability, is more child-friendly and will still keep your vinyl safe and sound.

The new product will be called KALLAX and will be available at the end of May 2014.  

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UK loudspeaker manufacturer Harbeth contacted Hifi Pig to give us news that they will be launchingHArbeth_logo_site something “very exciting” at this years High-End Munich show. Harbeth don’t release new products all that often and so we were quite enthusiastic to find out more but details are pretty scant at the moment so here is what the company have told us so far.

“The wraps come off something very exciting in Munich”, says Trevor Butler of Harbeth’s marketing department. “We will be in Halle 3 on Stand J10 with our colleagues from Harbeth Deutschland.”
Building on its BBC loudspeaker legacy for the past 35 years, Harbeth has added twenty-first century technology to the ageing BBC designs and brought them right up-to-date to ensure they are fit for a digital era.

“When these speakers were created by the broadcaster’s boffins, they worked in a totally analogue environment, and in mono”, adds Trevor. “Such designs are hardly fitting for today’s more discerning user who has the benefit of ultra high-quality digital sources at their fingertips.”

”Wallowing in nostalgia is all very romantic, but what today’s audiophile and professional audio user needs is a modern-day speaker fit for modern-day use. That’s why Harbeth monitors are the first-choice for so many studio engineers when it comes to critical monitoring”.

“Looking back, you can see how poorly some of the old designs measured”, adds Trevor. “The curves resemble Himalayan peaks and troughs! Harbeth has painstakingly ironed out the blemishes to create designs to be proud of.”

Whatever it is that Harbeth are unveiling at Munich High End 2014 Hifi Pig will be there to bring you the news as it happens.

 

UK loudspeaker manufacturer Harbeth contacted Hifi Pig to give us news that they will be launchingHArbeth_logo_site something “very exciting” at this years High-End Munich show. Harbeth don’t release new products all that often and so we were quite enthusiastic to find out more but details are pretty scant at the moment so here is what the company have told us so far.

“The wraps come off something very exciting in Munich”, says Trevor Butler of Harbeth’s marketing department. “We will be in Halle 3 on Stand J10 with our colleagues from Harbeth Deutschland.”
Building on its BBC loudspeaker legacy for the past 35 years, Harbeth has added twenty-first century technology to the ageing BBC designs and brought them right up-to-date to ensure they are fit for a digital era.

“When these speakers were created by the broadcaster’s boffins, they worked in a totally analogue environment, and in mono”, adds Trevor. “Such designs are hardly fitting for today’s more discerning user who has the benefit of ultra high-quality digital sources at their fingertips.”

”Wallowing in nostalgia is all very romantic, but what today’s audiophile and professional audio user needs is a modern-day speaker fit for modern-day use. That’s why Harbeth monitors are the first-choice for so many studio engineers when it comes to critical monitoring”.

“Looking back, you can see how poorly some of the old designs measured”, adds Trevor. “The curves resemble Himalayan peaks and troughs! Harbeth has painstakingly ironed out the blemishes to create designs to be proud of.”

Whatever it is that Harbeth are unveiling at Munich High End 2014 Hifi Pig will be there to bring you the news as it happens.

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I was very excited when the post lady pipped and handed me the envelope that I knew would contain what is being heralded as “A stunning new album in the finest tradition of progressive rock and space rock” because being a bit of an ageing hippie I’m partial to both a smattering of prog and a healthy double dipped dose of space rock. But this hasn’t been the records only accolades and “the space opera that Pink Floyd never wrote” and “a prog rock War of the Worlds” whetted my appetite for this record even more.

This eponymous album is out on Cherry Red on the 28th of April and was recorded both in New York and London and has been co-produced and mixed by Youth of Killing Joke fame (I like a bit of Youth I do). More »

The High End Munich 2014 gives its visitors the broadest selection world-wide of products from thecountdown_10_4 field of high-quality entertainment electronics. No other event offers the public such an international, wide and varied product spectrum. The visitors can expect to see major brand names, exciting designs and new products.

In addition to this, the High End event is not only a trade fair; it is also an experience. Visitors can again expect to discover a whole variety of exclusive and special products and also experience fascinating events.

Music presentations on exquisite equipment in the form of concerts

TACET, hall 3, room E16

The exhibitor “Tacet” is presenting a concert programme with lengthy music passages. Complete works or whole passages in a fixed programme will be played on particularly fine equipment. The visitor can experience a new type of sound recording presentation here. The focus of the presentation is always a complete work. The visitors will be able to discover details of the score that remain hidden during a concert. This is to demonstrate the astounding results that are possible with recordings. Thomas Gluck from Sweden will host the event with the support of Tacet owner and sound engineer Andreas Spreer. Leading artists are also expected to join them on stage.

Backes & Müller present live performances from four renowned jazz artists

Jazz concert with Ro Gebhardt & Burdette Becks

Backes & Müller, atrium 4, 2nd floor, room E 218

16/05/14 – 13:00 and 17:30

17/05/14 – 13:00 and 17:30

Backes & Müller is inviting visitors to a live performance of Ro Gebhardt, Burdette Becks and band. The renowned jazz guitarist Ro Gebhardt is regarded as one of the figureheads of the German guitar world is well-known through Europe and the whole world for his unique style and sound. He will be joined by the virtuoso American vocalist and flautist Burdette Becks to play a set consisting of their own works and some sensitive interpretations of individual contemporary songs. The public will be immediately engaged by their rousing performance. The combo is rounded off by Ralf Cetto, a hugely gifted jazz bass player from Bingen am Rhein and Uli Schiffelholz from the hr-Bigband on drums. 

Are analogue recordings better than digital ones? 

“stereoplay” editorial team, atrium 4, 2nd floor, room F 228

 The “stereoplay” editorial team has again come up with a special workshop. In atrium 4, 2nd floor, room F 228, “stereoplay” sound engineer Jürgen Schröder and SAE lecturer Ulli Schiller will be answering the question: Are analogue recordings better than digital ones?  As an aspiring guitarist, Ulli Schiller will give his guitar strings a good work-out and the results will be recorded by Jürgen Schröder. The audience will get a great insight into the world of modern recording – and also into the high resolution digitalisation of analogue recordings. As always the “stereoplay” editorial team are promising a fascinating presentation.

The High End Munich 2014 gives its visitors the broadest selection world-wide of products from thecountdown_10_4 field of high-quality entertainment electronics. No other event offers the public such an international, wide and varied product spectrum. The visitors can expect to see major brand names, exciting designs and new products.

In addition to this, the High End event is not only a trade fair; it is also an experience. Visitors can again expect to discover a whole variety of exclusive and special products and also experience fascinating events.

Music presentations on exquisite equipment in the form of concerts

TACET, hall 3, room E16

The exhibitor “Tacet” is presenting a concert programme with lengthy music passages. Complete works or whole passages in a fixed programme will be played on particularly fine equipment. The visitor can experience a new type of sound recording presentation here. The focus of the presentation is always a complete work. The visitors will be able to discover details of the score that remain hidden during a concert. This is to demonstrate the astounding results that are possible with recordings. Thomas Gluck from Sweden will host the event with the support of Tacet owner and sound engineer Andreas Spreer. Leading artists are also expected to join them on stage.

Backes & Müller present live performances from four renowned jazz artists

Jazz concert with Ro Gebhardt & Burdette Becks

Backes & Müller, atrium 4, 2nd floor, room E 218

16/05/14 – 13:00 and 17:30

17/05/14 – 13:00 and 17:30

Backes & Müller is inviting visitors to a live performance of Ro Gebhardt, Burdette Becks and band. The renowned jazz guitarist Ro Gebhardt is regarded as one of the figureheads of the German guitar world is well-known through Europe and the whole world for his unique style and sound. He will be joined by the virtuoso American vocalist and flautist Burdette Becks to play a set consisting of their own works and some sensitive interpretations of individual contemporary songs. The public will be immediately engaged by their rousing performance. The combo is rounded off by Ralf Cetto, a hugely gifted jazz bass player from Bingen am Rhein and Uli Schiffelholz from the hr-Bigband on drums. 

Are analogue recordings better than digital ones? 

“stereoplay” editorial team, atrium 4, 2nd floor, room F 228

 The “stereoplay” editorial team has again come up with a special workshop. In atrium 4, 2nd floor, room F 228, “stereoplay” sound engineer Jürgen Schröder and SAE lecturer Ulli Schiller will be answering the question: Are analogue recordings better than digital ones?  As an aspiring guitarist, Ulli Schiller will give his guitar strings a good work-out and the results will be recorded by Jürgen Schröder. The audience will get a great insight into the world of modern recording – and also into the high resolution digitalisation of analogue recordings. As always the “stereoplay” editorial team are promising a fascinating presentation.

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I really enjoyed the last Kaito offering, Until The End Of Time which came out in October on the Kompakt label calling it thoughtful and thought provoking and indeed this record could be summed up similarly – in fact it’s the same tunes bereft of their drum tracks.

Essentially it’s an ambient album that has a real dreamy, ethereal and trippy feel to it. Musically it is  grown up electronica which is both alien and recognisable, organic and yet synthetic. It’s not challenging music in any way and you’ll find yourself happy to close your eyes and drift with the exquisiteness of the delicate music that builds on repetitive themes adding new textures and new themes that have the effect of carrying you in different directions of thought and feeling.

For the Sunday morning come-down brigade this is in many ways the perfect record to sooth the twisted mind and allow bodies to readjust to normality after the weekends excesses.

A record for the psychonauts and inner-space cowboys but also clever enough to have much broader appeal I think  – perhaps folk who enjoy gentler classical music would do well to give this a listen. Out now on Kompakt and limited to 500 copies on vinyl.

More album reviews.

 

 

Melphi are a Dutch four piece and say that they are inspired by contemporary Scandinavian pop music. Through The Looking Glass is their first full length album being preceded by an unnamed EP in 2011.

The band were formed in 2010 by Rogier Telderman who writes most of the music here (and plays piano) but the the real focus of the band on this record is Lotte van Drunen the silky voiced vocalist. That said the musicianship on Through The Looking Glass is really pretty fabulous. Jurriaan Dekker on bass has a beautiful, solid and yet somewhat free-form style that complements Willem van der Krabben’s eminently danceable rhythms on drums and percussion.

Ok, I haven’t he faintest idea of what “Scandinavian pop” sounds like specifically but if this is what inspires Melphi then I’ll be exploring it a bit further after this.

Through The Looking Glass is jazzy, it’s soulful and whilst it’s definitely on the intelligent side of the pop spectrum it doesn’t lose itself in trying to be over clever and …noodly, though there are some very nice instrumental passages to be heard. The record remains solid, coherent and foottappingly infectious throughout. It’s musical and irresistible, soulful and uplifting.

The recording is very nicely done and carried out with a nice light touch that allows the music to shine through. there is a good deal of thought gone into the recording process and you can hear it. the individual musicians manage to keep their own personalities and musical identities throughout but are brought together to produce a wonderfully coherent noise throughout.

Through The Looking Glass is a great record of modern, jazz tinged rhythms with a soulful touch offered by the vocal style of Lotte van Drunen that will appeal to a wide audience. the record works as a whole and it’s recommended to listen as a whole but the standout track for me is Slow Motion…or perhaps Last Night….hell, it’s all very good indeed. Out now on Snip Records and downloaded in this instance from HIGHRESAUDIO. Recommended!

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Dynaudio has contacted Hifi Pig to tell us about their latest development  – the Evidence DYN_Evidence_Platinum_bordeauxPlatinum. The new loudspeaker has been developed and manufactured as the company’s new flagship  and to offer a level of sound quality “never before experienced”.

After almost seven years of continuous development, the Evidence Platinum concept was first shown in 2012 at Munich High End Show. After receiving tremendous feedback from visitors, distributors, and dealers Dynaudio decided to turn the concept into reality.

The Evidence Platinum incorporates a four centimetre thick mid-section milled from the highest-grade aluminium, weigh 115kg each and measure 194cm in height.

“Thanks to the innovative Dynaudio Directivity Control technology, DDC, the Evidence Platinum is much less demanding and performs at its best, even in difficult listening environments” say Dynaudio. DDC consists of a finely-tuned balance of symmetrically arranged, precisely positioned dual woofers, midrange drive units and tweeters, and an advanced crossover design. DDC is designed to reduce sound reflections from the floor and ceiling of any room by at least 75% through the matching of the phase responses of the individual drive units, consequently achieving a sound radiation vertically focused towards the listener.

Drive Units

The diaphragms of the new Evidence Platinum bass and midrange drive units are manufactured from MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer), a composite material developed by Dynaudio that is characterized by low mass, high rigidity and ideal internal damping properties. Ultra-lightweight aluminium voice-coils with powerful magnet structures drive the speaker cones.

The Evidence Platinum’s bass response is enhanced by the bass-reflex ports, located at the back of the speakers’ cabinets, specifically shaped to eliminate harmful resonance.

The Esotar2 tweeter with Precision Coating on the Evidence Platinum uses coated fabric soft domes with magnet assembly of tweeters being aerodynamically shaped, and internally damped.

Features

·    Evidence Platinum Esotar² tweeters with precision coating

·    Evidence Platinum 15cm MSP midrange drivers

·    Evidence Platinum 18cm MSP woofers (18W75)

·    High grade crossover with select components on glassfibre-reinforced PCB

·    WBT NextGenTM Cu connectors made of pure gold-plated copper

·    Internal wiring with select oxygene-free copper cables

·    Metal film resistors in the crossover’s tweeter section

·    Advanced DDC Technology to reduce room reflections and colorations

·    Ultra-solid, resonance-deadening 40mm black aluminium front baffle

·    Reinforced cabinet finished in a new choice of veneers and lacquers

·    Reinforced base plinth with larger footprint for improved stability

·    Two types of base plinth feet included (for hard floor or carpet)

Price is £58 500

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Ruark Audio is unveiling what thy are saying is a breathtaking collaboration for Milan Design ruark_milanWeek 2014 at the Wallpaper* Handmade Exhibition. The companyhas been working with artist, sculptor and designer Alex Mulligan to create a concept piece that captures the imagination and pushes the boundaries of what a music system can be.

“Since launching its first product in November 2006, Ruark Audio has always keenly felt that its models are as much about industrial design as the audio technology housed within. The recently launched flagship product, the R7, is probably the company’s most complete statement of this idea, combining as it does the 60s design cues of the original radiograms with state-of-the-art hi-fi technology and class-leading sound quality. The Wallpaper* Handmade Exhibition was a clear opportunity for Ruark to deliver a statement about what it stands for and whereit sees its brand developing, moving beyond the usual boundaries that define technology brands” said the company’s press release.

Mulligan’s sculptural approach focuses on furniture, object and interior. Much like Ruark, Mulligan is experimental and challenges the ‘normal’ and thus, a piece has been created that embodies both Ruark’s and Mulligan’s influences and approach.

Alan O’Rourke, founder and managing director of Ruark Audio commented, “Being invitedto take part in the Handmade project was a great opportunity for us and felt like a natural progression, pushing our brand even further and challenging us to revisit conventional ideas about sound systems”.

The final design is being exhibited at Leclettico at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition between the 8th and 12th of April.

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