London’s headroom show (January 29th-30th 2016 ) will debut the world’s first noise-isolating electrostatic earphone system from SHURE, the new KSE 1500 which combines a Sound-Isolating™ electrostatic earphone with a matched high-res SHURE USB amp/DAC.kse1500_application_10_cols

Electrostatic technology, which until now has never been applied to earphones, provides the fastest, most accurate transient response available the company says. The Sound-Isolating™ electrostatic earphone and matching amp/DAC provide a unique system that operates “holistically, giving unmatched clarity and detail with extremely high fidelity”.

Each earphone features a virtually weightless, massless diaphragm surrounded by an electrostatic field generated by back-plates that manage charge-oscillation. The earphones connect to a rechargeable amplifier using an advanced Kevlar cable, specifically engineered to work with the electrostatic diaphragm and provide the correct operating bias.

The 24/192 USB amp/DAC is compatible with Mac, PC, iOS and Android devices, with all navigation and control performed via a single wheel. A colour screen gives source, EQ, volume information and more, plus each KSE 1500 is supplied with a comprehensive accessory pack.

headroom is a unique two-day experience that brings together the world’s leading portable audio manufacturers and showcases the latest products, technology and trends within an exclusive environment: Europe’s foremost recording, mastering and production studios, Metropolis.


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Constellation Audio, manufacturer of solid-state electronics, announces that at CES 2016 they will be demonstrating their Reference Series Altair II preamplifier and Hercules II monobloc amplifiers.

The recent press release from the company states that “The Constellation Audio dream team has applied their rigorous design and engineering research to create the Altair II and Hercules II as worthy successors to their original namesakes, products which by every parameter significantly raise the performance bar from their previous benchmark standards. The new Reference Series products redefine transparency and resolution on the preamplifier side while combining these virtues with the ultimate in both finesse and control on the amplifier side. The net result is a system that delivers uncompromised performance and musicality.”

The Altair II has separate triple-transformer power supply which is itself shielded by a machined aluminum chassis. Construction of the completely dual-mono control centre is highlighted by the use of a machined solid aluminum enclosure (called a raft) which is constructed with 8.2mm-thick walls. The raft is secured to a platform incorporating an isolating polymer sheet between sheets of stainless steel, and this platform is in turn mounted on an elastomeric suspension. The net result is complete mechanical and electromagnetic isolation. There’s the inclusion of a home-theater bypass mode and the addition of a DB-9 connector for.Constellation1_CES2016

Hercules II monoblocs use two 3,000-Watt transformers housed in their own shielded, suspended enclosure. The shielding and suspension prevents electromagnetic noise or mechanical vibration from entering into the system. Using the 125-Watt fully balanced building block modules that have become a signature of Constellation Audio amplifier designs; the Hercules is configured using multiple modules in a single chassis to deliver 1,000 Watts into each mono chassis. Connection between the Altair II and Hercules II is via the Constellation Direct interface which eliminates an extra gain stage in the signal path. However, for those users of other preamplifiers, Hercules II is also equipped with balanced and single-ended inputs.
Source components at CES 2016 will include the Constellation Audio Cygnus Media Server/DAC and a turntable paired with a Constellation Audio phono stage with Martin-Logan Neoliths.Constellation2_CES2016

The Constellation Audio Reference System will be on display in The Venetian, Suite 34-210.


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In the last of his Fidelity Matters articles for 2015, Ian Ringstead celebrates innovation wherever it comes from and applauds all the people in the hifi industry who make this wonderful kit possible.  More »

John Scott throws a log on the fire, pours himself a wee dram and puts on his copy of Mike Oldfield’s Ommadawn as part of his Classic Albums series of reviews.   More »

Last month Ansuz Acoustics announced their new ultra high-end series, d·tc. Now, Ansuz Acoustics is ready with their new addition to the d·tc series: the d·tc cables.

The Ansuz Acoustics d·tc series will cover a full cable loom containing mains and loudspeaker cables and a complete selection of interconnect cables. Ansuz Acoustics will be introducing the new d·tc series at the 2016 CES in Las Vegas.anzuscables-CES2016

“Ansuz Acoustics has incorporated all their unique technologies in the de- velopment of the d·tc cables: DGC (Direct Ground Connector technology), DIHC (Double Inverted Helix Coil technology) and NSC (Noise Suppressing Coil technology) together with new groundbreaking technologies such as dynamically charged dielectric material and active tesla coil” says the Danish company’s latest press release.


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Last year, Aavik Acoustics released their very first amplifier, the integrated amplifier Aavik U-300 and now the Danish company is to introduce two new amplifiers to the 300 series: the Aavik P-300 power amplifier and the Aavik C-300 preamplifier.

The two new Aavik Acoustics amplifiers will be introduced at the 2016 CES in Las Vegas.

The Aavik P-300 power amplifier devices never stop conducting current. This means that the amplifier circuitry never has to deal with residuals such as switching spikes and device “latchings”.Aavik-P300_front_white_bg

The Aavik P-300 has an ultra short and simple signal circuit design, where all gain and feedback is performed by a single transistor pair. This short signal path gives the Aavik P-300 a gain structure with extremely low distortion and a more than 90-degree phase margin for amplifier stability.Aavik-P300-rearpanel_white_bg

The Aavik P-300 has four 600 W power factor corrected resonant mode power supplies. The in total 2400 W power supply combined with the extremely large electrolytic power banks allow the Aavik P-300 to deliver peak currents in excess of 80 A.

The Aavik C-300 preamplifier

The Aavik C-300 is equipped with two built-in DACs (PCM and DSD) and a phono section. It also comes with three line inputs: two single-ended and one balanced, and an RCA and an XLR output.aavik_front_whitebg

The virtual ground circuits eliminate the possibility of injecting dirty ground noise into the delicate audio circuits.Aavik-C300-rear_white_bg


Aavik Acoustics’ inspiration from Scandinavian design traditions is easily found in the Aavik P-300 and C-300 amplifiers with their simplistic functionality and their beautiful minimalistic design. All chassis in the 300 series are made of anodized aluminium.


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Dave and Daryl Wilson discuss the new Alexx, its new technologies and architecture—and its relationship both to the speakers that precede it, as well as the upcoming WAMM.

Alexx is the fourth all-new loudspeaker from Wilson in as many years so sit back and enjoy.


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Thiel Audio will be showcasing the latest generation SmartSub™ 1.12 at CES 2016 in Venetian suite 30-110

The latest generation SmartSub from Thiel will feature sophisticated app-based control and advanced room correction, paired with a Thiel long excursion 12-inch driver and DSP-controlled 1250 watt amplifier.Thiel_sub_CES_2016


  • Connects to your Wi-Fi network for phone/tablet app-based control
  • Six User-accessible Sound Mode Presets
  • SmartSub XT Processing, a sophisticated acoustic correction algorithm to precisely adjust onboard parametric equalization to help the SmartSub overcome complex acoustic challenges defined by the dimensions of the room
  • A long-excursion 12-inch woofer featuring a rigid cast frame and an aluminium cone
  • An energy efficient DSP-controlled switching amplifier, capable of delivering 1250 watts of continuous power.
  • PC control software, enabling access to control of advanced settings such as low and high-pass filter adjustments, phase adjustments, 5-Band Parametric EQ and SmartSub™ XT Auto EQ parameters in the SmartSub app.
  • The most commonly used features of the subwoofer are available to all users via a basic infrared (IR) remote control (included). The IR remote provides control of system power, volume, muting, input source, and sound mode

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Located in the heart of Nashville’s music scene, Aurora merges the heritage of Thiel Audio with the vibrant legacy of Music City. As an “ultra-high definition” live streaming music venue, Aurora is one of the few places in the country where fans can unite with their favourite musicians and emerging artists live and in ultra-high definition video and lossless audio which all sounds very cool indeed.Thiel-Logo-2014

Aurora houses a live performance stage, designed with musicians and industry tastemakers in mind. “It is the perfect venue for intimate concerts, artist showcases, record release parties, film screenings and industry related events. It is also the perfect setting to experience Thiel Audio’s refined loudspeakers” says Thiel Audio’s press release . The state of the art, acoustically correct listening room, complete with 4k video, enables guests to play music, view converts or movies, go online and even access social media.

“We have created this beautifully appointed space so that our guests might Live inside the Music – the true essence of the Thiel experience,” says Thiel Audio Chief Brand Officer Rebecca Abrahams.

“This immersive, fully interactive space combines 40 years of dedication to acoustic excellence while reaching out to a new generation of luxury brand consumers, looking for next generation high performance audio products,” she adds.

Why Aurora? Thiel says the creation of an entertainment division was a natural progression. In a world of device- driven music on demand, the company wanted to follow luxury brand consumers who are on-the-go, connected to content via phones and tablets across devices while simultaneously showcasing Music City to a worldwide audience – live and in ultra-high definition.  A sophisticated HD streaming venue, it also helps solve another problem for our record label neighbours in Nashville – vanishing CD sales.

Aurora is scheduled to open March 2016.


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Cary Audio will show several new products at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in the Venetian Towers Suite 30-308 on January 6-9, 2016. “This year’s CES will prove to be a game changer for Cary Audio as we expand into new segments of the consumer electronics industry” says the company’s latest press release.CES_Logo_sm

Lifestyle Series

AiOS (All-in-One System) will be the first product in Cary Audio’s Lifestyle series with the company saying that “AiOS is designed for a new age of music listening and enjoyment. One where simplicity, compactness, and aesthetics take precedent. One where enjoying music isn’t an end-all be-all serious critiquing matter, but rather something to sing and dance to, sway your head or tap your foot as you listen or go about other activities”.

AiOS is designed to blend into your lifestyle and décor with five colours of switchable illumination and switchable matching colour side panels plus a small curved aesthetic and affordable price point.

AiOS features include network audio streaming, internet music streaming, direct playback from USB hard drives, thumb drives, SD Cards, aptX® transmit and receive Bluetooth (transmit for listening with wireless BT headphones or speakers), Class AB 50 watts x 2 amplifier, analogue and digital inputs, subwoofer output and more!

SI-300.2d Integrated Amplifier

Cary Audio will introduce a new powerhouse integrated amplifier, the NEW SI-300.2d, a Class AB 300 x2 integrated amplifier with XLR and RCA analogue inputs, cinema bypass, as well as Cary’s own digital section. The digital section includes XMOS USB inputs, Coaxial (x2), optical, AES/EBU, and aptX® Bluetooth combined with their 128 Bit DSP Engine for their TruBit© selectable upsampling technology, AKM 4490EQ DACs and premium digital circuitry top off the digital section. The front panel includes a VFD display, centre mounted volume control and a pair of blue VU meters.

DMS-500 Network Audio Player

The DMS-500 is both a wired or wireless (Wi-Fi) network client and renderer usable with  their custom iOS or Android app or any third-party UPnP/DLNA app, or computer media player. If you prefers “computer-less” direct playback, the DMS-500 includes three USB Type-A inputs for USB hard drives or thumb drives, as well as SD Card inputs. From any network, USB or SD source, the DMS-500 can natively stream PCM 32 bit /384 kHz, and DSD 64, 128, 256, and 512. DAC inputs include coaxial (x2), Optical, AES/EBU, and aptX© Bluetooth.  The DMS-500 can convert any PCM signal to DSD, as well as selectively upsample any PCM or DSD signal up to 768 kHz in PCM or up to DSD 256.  In addition to aptX© Bluetooth, it also includes AirPlay, and phoneshare making Wi-Fi playback from any iOS or Android device simple. Other features include internet music streaming services, a five inch full colour HD display, IR remote, IR triggers and seamless internet updates for new features and firmware, as they become available.


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The gordian from Lab 12 is hand built in Greece and is a multifunction power distributor/conditioner with a host of functions to measure the quality of your power supply. It costs 1398€ and Stuart Smith bought a special Hifi Pig edition for this review. gordian_fr

“One of the main criticisms of units that claim to “condition” the power being supplied to your system is that dynamics are affected, but I can categorically state that this is just not the case with gordian. The system still feels as fast and lithe as it always has and nothing in the frequency spectrum feels constrained or limited.”


Read the full review of the Lab 12 gordian Power Distributor/Conditioner


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Stuart Smith looks at the year that was 2015 and hints at a few things you can expect to see in the coming year from Hifi Pig.  More »

At just under £20 000 the Polish Zeta Zero Venus Picolla are a substantial investment, but they are gorgeously built and something of a work of art Janine Elliot thinks? How do they sound?zetalifes

“The sound was very large, covering the soundstage with mighty detail and with smoothness only ribbons can do. Vocals were precise and inviting and all sounds carried a good depth in front and behind, and a reasonable width. Some people see in colours and for me the colour was a healthy green; not red or yellow brightness or a dull or boring blue or grey. This was exact, just as it should sound.”

Read the full review of the Zeta Zero Venus Picolla Loudspeakers

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Dominic Marsh gets puzzled over the differences people hear with identical products and explains how he goes about evaluating and listening to new kit. More »

Janine Elliot takes another look at retro audio kit, this time focusing on the rare Tefifon. More »

French based Cabasse make the renowned Sphère loudspeaker system, but they also produce more modestly priced items.Here Dominic Marsh takes a listen to the Stream 100 amplifier (£499) and Surf loudspeakers (£379)


“Paired with the Surf speakers they produced a powerful and pleasing sound that I could not really level any criticism at, save a slight rolling off at the extreme top end and I do mean extreme, which shouldn’t perturb the average listener. ”

Read the full review of the Cabasse Stream 100 amplifier and Surf Loudspeakers


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London’s headroom show, which offers music lovers the chance to try the largest range of demonstrable headphones in the UK, will be showing Questyle’s new QP1R high-resolution digital audio player (£699) 23145826179_ee04e4fc1b_z

Questyle Audio’s new high-performance QP1R high-resolution digital audio player will be available to demonstrate at the headroom show (January 29th-30th 2016 ). Headroom is a unique two-day experience that brings together the world’s leading portable audio manufacturers and showcases the latest products, technology and trends within an exclusive environment: Europe’s foremost recording, mastering and production studios, Metropolis.

The new QP1R is a high-performance, high-resolution portable music player (DAP). Designed to provide on-the-go music lovers and audiophiles the same hi-fi listening experience as they’d get at home, the QP1R, with its impressive arc body and twin steering wheel design, supports DSD128 and 24/192kHz PCM playback and uses a pure Class A headphone amplifier with discrete transistors and components.


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McIntosh Laboratory has launched a new feature-packed processor. The new MX160 replaces the existing MX151 and brings the McIntosh sound and build quality to home cinema connoisseurs everywhere.

The new MX160 supports RoomPerfect™ room-correction technology, which adjusts the audio to the specific acoustics of the room. It also supports new object-based 3D audio formats, including Dolby® Atmos and Auro-3D®

There’s support for Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio™ and, of course, other popular legacy formats including DVD and Blu-ray™. All audio is processed according to the McIntosh sound and performance standards, not found in any other home cinema processor.

There’s full support for 4K Ultra HD native sources, plus up-conversion to 4K Ultra HD for the best possible picture quality from 1080P, 720P and 576P/480P inputs. The MX160 offers an incredible eight HDMI inputs and four outputs for current and future TV compatibility, plus offers a 3D video pass-through feature. An HDBaseT output is also included to provide degradation-free, uncompressed digital video and audio, over long cable runs between the MX160 and projectors or televisions.

The MX160 features balanced outputs for 11.1 (also known as 7.1.4) audio channels, plus four auxiliary channels for use in bi-amping speakers or driving additional subwoofers. For digital audio sources, the MX160 features four optical and three coaxial inputs, one USB (up to 24-bit/192kHz data), plus an XLR connector. For analogue audio, there are two sets of stereo balanced inputs, four sets of stereo unbalanced inputs, a dedicated phono input, plus a set of 7.1 multichannel unbalanced inputs.

All analogue and digital connections can be custom-named for simplified system operation and matched in volume level for a smooth transition between sources. Bass and treble controls offer further audio fine-tuning.

The classic black glass front panel, knobs, illuminated logo and custom-machined brushed- aluminium end-caps make the MX160 a rousing addition to any home cinema system. It can be paired with a variety of McIntosh amplifiers and speakers for a complete home cinema system; UK distributor Jordan Acoustics is happy to advise.

Like all its products, the MX160 is handcrafted in the Binghamton factory (NY) and boasts classic 1950s styling with contemporary features and performance.

The MX160 sells for £13,995 and is available to order now from Jordan Acoustics in the UK

Martin Logan make the fabulous (and massive) Neolith electrostatic loudspeaker and it is electrostatics they are best known for, but they also produce a wide range of smaller and more accessible loudspeakers and here Dan Worth takes a listen to the company’s £899 Motion 15 standmounter.



“They won’t ever get caught in a speed trap, but the top-end has great pace and the bottom-end doesn’t lag behind or ever seem slow, balancing nicely for a more natural presentation.”

Read the full review of the Martin Logan Motion 15 Standmount Loudspeakers


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Keeping your records in pristine condition is vital to their longevity and the lifespan of your cartridge. Stuart Smith cleans up his act with the Clearaudio Smart Matrix Record Cleaning Machine at £775.  


” If you have really filthy records spin the platter more times and repeat the whole process including vacuuming – I buy a lot of my records second hand from brocantes and car boot fairs and most are filthier than a very filthy thing…use your imagination.”

Read the full review of the Clearaudio Smart Matrix Record Cleaning Machine

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Spizzenergi are remembered principally for two things: their 1979 single Where’s Captain Kirk?; the first single to top the UK indie chart where it remained at number one for seven weeks, and their tendency to change names at the drop of a hat.  Starting as Spizzoil, lead singer Spizz went on to lead a variety of line-ups as Spizzenergi, Athletico Spizz 80, The Spizzles, SpizzOrwell, and Spizz And The Astronauties amongst others.  More »

Chord Electronics will be showing several of its latest products at CES 2016, including its new reference-level DAC/preamp/headphone amp, DAVE (£7,995). Chord’s main demonstration system will comprise its Reference Series components, plus DAVE (which is the company’s flagship DAC and sits in the Choral range). The system will be complemented by Vienna Acoustics’ flagship loudspeaker, The Magic, all wired with Kubala-Sosna Elation cables.CHORD_DAVE_HI_WHT CROPPED

Chord Electronics will join its US distributor, Bluebird Music, in room 35-207 (Venetian Tower) which will also be home to Audeze and Vienna Acoustics for the event. Attendees can meet Rob Watts, Chord’s digital design guru, Maria Gansterer, CEO of Vienna Acoustics, plus most of the UK Chord Electronics team. Chord will also have a full range of DAC/headphone amps including the award-winning Hugo TT, Hugo and Mojo for show visitors to experience.

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Dynaudio has announced the launch of the new Xeo 2 priced at. The firm’s smallest and most accessible system to date delivers a sound that completely belies its compact cabinets says the Danish company’s press release. dynaudioxeo2

Featuring wireless connectivity and DSP technology the new model works with any source you desire, with simple plug and play functionality.

A typically clean and understated Danish design, the finish and solid build of Dynaudio’s latest model promises to enhance any environment it is placed in, with Xeo 2 being available in satin white or satin black finishes.


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Roksan Audio have been considered a leading force in the analogue audio world since their  first product, the Xerxes record player, was released in 1985.oxygene2_20151123_0687

The Oxygene 30 Turntable boasts an elegant, minimalist aesthetic inspired by the popular Oxygene range of hifi electronics. But beneath its striking gloss-white exterior is an innovative design that draws heavily from the Xerxes 20Plus.

The Oxygene 30 utilises a complex, multi-layered, four-piece plinth design with a new high-mass mounting block for housing the motor. The new motor mount ensures that unwanted resonances from the motor are transferred into the block and significantly attenuated before reaching the top plinth. It also improves motor alignment for optimal belt tension and reliable speed stability.oxygene2_20151123_0688

The central objective behind the multi-section plinth is to isolate the core components of the turntable, allowing not only the motor, but also the tonearm, cartridge and record platter to perform at the highest possible standard. Between the plinth layers, high-quality isolating materials are used for tuned decoupling.

The Oxygene 30’s two-piece platter utilises a solid aluminium alloy, which forms a completely dampened, resonant free surface when the inner and outer platter are combined. Like the Xerxes 20Plus, the Oxygene 30 also uses a removable spindle cap, which reduces bearing noise transmission through the record surface.oxygene2_20151123_0693

The Oxygene 30 is supplied as a package in the UK; just install your preferred cartridge and you’re ready to integrate it into any vinyl-ready hi-fi system. The turntable is supplied as standard with Roksan’s XPS-7 power supply/speed controller, and inside the box is a Pro-Ject 9CC Evolution tonearm. The engineers at Roksan have worked extensively to accommodate this popular 9” carbon fibre tonearm on the Oxygene 30, including the development of a brand new mounting plate.

The Oxygene 30 turntable perfectly represents the ethos behind the Oxygene range, as well as Roksan Audio’s wider brand philosophy. The overall design is compact yet highly resolved, and the sound performance is striking in its clarity, detail and musicality. The Oxygene 30 is a new must-consider product in the world of high-end vinyl playback.

SRP £2,500.00


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The Stratos combines USB DAC with A/D converter, preamplifier, MC/MM phonostage and headphone amp in one surprisingly small, portable box. Built with the audiophile in mind, it supports PCM playback up to an impressive 32bit / 384kHz and DSD up to 11.2M.ADL STRATOS front

If you’re looking to convert your vinyl or other analogue sources to digital, or to record web-streamed audio, the Stratos offers a range of options to help you obtain the best sonic results.

At the same time, if it’s a powerful headphone amplifier you’re after – one that can drive any pair of headphones on the market, again the Stratos delivers. Whether you use the latest generation of earbuds or the most dynamic audiophile headphones available, the Stratos will reveal the true character of your music.

The Stratos may be small, but it contains an amazing amount of technology…

ADL Stratos key features at a glance

  • XMOS high speed USB 2.0 input.
  • Audiophile-grade DAC which supports PCM playback up to 32bit / 384kHz and DSD up to 4x (11.2M).
  • High performance A/D converter for recordings via analogue inputs, enabling conversion of analogue sources into high resolution 24bit / 192kHz digital audio files over a choice of USB, optical and coaxial digital outputs.
  • In the case of vinyl recording, no need to worry about a phonostage: the Stratos includes the requisite input, with simple switching between moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC) or line input.
  • Electronic volume control allows use as a multi-functional digital and analogue preamplifier that can be connected direct to a power amp or active speakers. Volume control has a memory function, so volume can be set at different levels for each input (phono, line, USB).
  • Headphone amplifier with ample drive for good headphones and its own volume control.
  • Three two-channel headphone amplifiers, two of which power the XLR (4-pin) balanced output, while a third powers the 6.3mm stereo phone jack output. All three deliver superb drive capabilities, being able to drive headphones from 12 to 600 ohms at >120dB dynamic range.
  • Convenient gain switch for recording attenuation: Adjust the recording attenuation to avoid overload distortion during recording: -6dB, 0dB or +6dB (Rec/db signal light comes on when input level exceeds circuit gain).
  • External power supply; while a USB-powered device might be convenient, it won’t develop the power required for high resolution playback, so the Stratos features a dual power supply system: the 5V USB bus powers the input circuit only, while all other circuits are powered by an external 15V power adaptor.

The ADL Stratos is available now priced at £995 (including VAT).


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Luxman, one of the world’s oldest and most revered audio manufacturers, enters its tenth decade of with the arrival of the L-590AX Mark II – the best integrated amplifier the company has ever produced. The amp operates in pure Class A and is said to be a culmination of all that Luxman has learned since launching Japan’s first high-quality integrated hi-fi amplifier, the valve-based SQ5A, in 1961.L-590AXII_Email[2]

At the amp’s heart lies Luxman’s fourth-generation ODNF (Only Distortion Negative Feedback) circuit, sporting a three-parallel push-pull structure with three-stage Darlington. This restricts feedback to distortion components only, enabling a fast primary slew rate, ultra-wide bandwidth and enhanced signal-to-noise performance.4266_Luxman_L-590AXII_(rear)

The preamp section borrows much technology from Luxman’s flagship C-900u preamplifier, including the LECUA 1000 attenuator circuit, which provides an extremely fine degree of volume control and left/right balance adjustment. Power is rated at 30W per channel into eight ohms, doubling to 60W per channel into four ohms – a healthy output for a pure Class A design, with sufficient power on tap to drive any loudspeakers of suitable quality.

The L-590AXII’s high-inertia power supply circuit features a substantial transformer. A high-capacity block capacitor contributes to the amp’s ability to deliver abundant power instantaneously yet, while its low-impedance transmission design, fully optimised signal paths deliver “maximum sonic fidelity”.

The L-590AXII includes bass and treble tone adjustment, a ‘loudness’ control for low- level listening, a ‘line straight’ button that bypasses the tone controls, and phase selection for the balanced inputs. Turntable users are well catered for, as befits the current vinyl revival, with an onboard phono stage switchable for MM and MC cartridge types. A headphone output is also included.4265_Luxman_L-590AXII_(internal)

In classic Luxman style, the L-590AXII’s fascia sports two illuminated VU meters, one for each channel, giving a real-time indication of signal level. Around the back are six line-level inputs (four single- ended RCA and two balanced XLR) alongside the phono input for turntables, plus two sets of heavy-duty speaker binding posts. Also present are record-out, monitor-in and pre-out terminals, an external preamp input for integration with an AV system, and two remote output terminals for integrated system control.

The Luxman L-590AXII integrated stereo amplifier is available from selected audio retailers from January 2016, priced at £6,995.


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Sennheiser’s new reference-level HD 800 S headphone will make its UK debut at the headroom show (January 29th30th 2016 ). Headroom is a unique two-day experience that brings together the world’s leading portable audio manufacturers and showcases the latest products, technology and trends within an exclusive environment: Europe’s foremost recording and mastering studios, Metropolissenny

The new £1,200 HD 800 S is precision-built in Germany and features a striking industrial design. Its transducer is encased by stainless steel, while the headband and headphone mounting utilises advanced materials developed for the aerospace industry, giving high strength with minimal weight. Its layered-metal headband construction attenuates vibrations to the ear-cups, while the hand-made Microfiber ear-pads offer exceptional comfort, even over extended listening periods.


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The gordian from Lab 12 is hand built in Greece and is a multifunction power distributor/conditioner with a host of functions to measure the quality of your power supply. It costs 1398€ and Stuart Smith bought a special Hifi Pig edition for this review. 

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THIEL Audio (Venetian suite 30-110) will be showcasing the latest generation SmartSub™ 1.12 at CES 2016.Thiel-Logo-2014

The latest generation SmartSub from THIEL will feature app-based control and advanced room correction, paired with a THIEL long excursion 12-inch driver and DSP-controlled 1250 watt amplifier.

  • Connects to your Wi-Fi network for phone/tablet app-based control
  • Six User-accessible Sound Mode Presets
  • SmartSub XT Processing—the THIEL SmartSub 1.12 employs a sophisticated acoustic correction algorithm to precisely adjust onboard parametric equalization to help the SmartSub overcome acoustic challenges defined by the dimensions of the room
  • The THIEL SmartSub 1.12 employs a proprietary long-excursion 12-inch woofer featuring a rigid cast frame and an aluminium cone
  • THIEL employed an energy efficient DSP-controlled switching amplifier, capable of delivering 1250 watts of continuous power. This amplifier has been engineered for performance and reliability, utilizing an onboard digital signal processor (DSP) to monitor the signal and keep the amplifier and 12-inch driver running optimally during playback while preventing either from being overdriven
  • The THIEL SmartSub offers the flexibility of either wired or wireless connectivity to the audio system
  • THIEL’s SmartSub technology delivers advanced PC control software, enabling access to control of advanced settings such as low and high-pass filter adjustments, phase adjustments, 5-Band Parametric EQ and SmartSub™ XT Auto EQ parameters in the SmartSub app.
  • The most commonly used features of the subwoofer are available to all users via a basic yet elegant infrared (IR) remote control (included). The IR remote provides control of system power, volume, muting, input source, and sound mode

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Linette Smith asks “What’s your drug of choice?”. 



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Fezz Audio are based in Poland and make the Fezz Audio Silver Luna valve amplifier. The basis for the creation of the whole Fezz Audio project is a family business known as who supplies mains transformers to a myriad of audio companies and they have partnered with a host of well known brands including inter alia, Mytek (the “Manhattan DAC”), Lampizator, Amare Musica, Audio Valve, Ancient Audio, WILE, and Baltlab.fezz1

“A few years ago we have decided to create something that would change the “rules of the game”, break the stereotype. It was supposed to be a Toroidal Speaker Output Transformer, but one that is destined to work in “Single Ended” designs. We succeeded. The design work pertaining to such a construct lasted three years. During that time, we developed a unique toroidal core and winding production technology. Thanks to those developments, we are now able to design, and what is most important, to produce speaker output transformers for virtually any type of vacuum tube, irrespective of topology type, be it Single-Ended, or Push-Pull” says Maciej Lachowski from the company.fezz3

First the company built the Laura SE amplifier which came out of the company wanting to build a proof-of-concept as the general thinking in the market was that a single-Ended tube amplifier that uses toroidal transformers would not be workable.

The interest in Laura SE at last year’s Warsaw show exceeded the company’s expectations and so the production of speaker output transformers commenced in full swing. But in the meantime Maciej had other ideas along the lines of creating a wholly new commercial brand, designing a vacuum tube based amplifier for retail and positioned at an affordable price-point.

And that is how the Fezz Audio Silver Luna came to be.


Maximum output power : 2 x 35W / 8Ω

Circuit type : AB1 class

Output impedance : 4Ω / 8Ω

Inputs : 3 x

RCAHarmonic distortions THD : < 1%

Frequency response : 15Hz-77kHz (-3dB)

Power consumption : 150WAC fuse : 3,15A

TNet weight : 15,3kg

Dimensions : 400x320x165mm

Tubes : EL34 x 4 (power output), ECC83 x 2 (pre-amplifier and power drivers)


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CES will arrive in 3 weeks and Jean Marie at Metronome got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us what they would be up to.

Products the company will have on demonstration will include:

The Music Center 1, the first music server from Métronome. The internal CD player/burner allows CD ripping, and you can store all your downloads on the internal memory disks (from 1 terabyte to optional 8 terabytes).

Numeric inputs : ethernet, 2 USB

Numeric outputs : USB, S/PDIF, AES/EBU, Toslink

Handled formats : FLAC, WAV, DSD, MP3.43_music_center_closeup5_bd

The CD8 S, DSD DAC and top-range CD player CD8 S is the latest generation of integrated devices assuring a double function of DAC and CD player.
“The converter part is completely new on this device, which makes a deep change in the electronic design of our machines” says Metronome. The DAC can now also be used with S/P DIF input as well as with asynchronous USB input.
The CD player is based on the Philips CD Pro transport. The new DAC range from Métronome laboratories was unveiled at CES in January 2015, and includes the latest numeric technologies (DSD 64 to 512). DSD is read in their native form.45_cd8_s_top_front2_lr

The  Kalista® CD transport (model Calypso) will also be there.


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At just under £20 000 the Polish Zeta Zero Venus Picolla are a substantial investment, but they are gorgeously built and something of a work of art Janine Elliot thinks? How do they sound? More »

Bryston say they have BIG NEWS for CES 2016 but they are keeping decidedly “cagey” about it, saying only that they will be unveiling a new series of products unlike anything the company has introduced in many years.BDA3-2a

These products will be used in an active demo along with the new BDA-3 DAC. And there are more new products that they are hopeful to showcase in Venetian 29-308.

Pro-Ject Audio Systems have completely  renovated their popular RPM series of turntables throughout the course of 2015. The final adjustment to the range has now been confirmed, in the form of the brand new RPM 5 Carbon.

Designed to replace the award-winning RPM 5, the RPM 5 Carbon takes a technological, audible and aesthetic leap on from the standard set by its predecessor.PJ-Phono-RPM5Carbon-Red

The plinth and  decoupled-motor design has been chosen due to the performance benefits discovered with the range-topping RPM 9 Carbon and RPM 10 Carbon. The low-resonance plinth is finished with a premium quality gloss and topped with carbon fibre. The chassis contains a new inverted platter bearing with ceramic ball for minimal rumble. The whole plinth sits on top of three adjustable spiked feet to further keep resonance away from the record  surface.

The thick acrylic platter is acoustically inert, to ensure the purest playback of any vinyl record. The platter is driven by a fully-detached 15V AC motor, to offer a smooth and consistent rotation thanks to the, DC-driven AC generator built into the motor housing.

The RPM 5 Carbon is supplied with the 9CC Evolution tonearm pre-installed. The 9CC Evolution boasts a 9” one-piece carbon fibre tube and inverted bearing design. The heavyweight assembly and TPE-damped counterweights ensure unwanted resonances are swiftly drawn away from the signal wires. The tonearm is terminated to a junction box, and a quality set of RCA interconnect cables are supplied in the box.

The RPM 5 Carbon is available in three high-gloss paint finishes – black, red and white. UK customers can also have a Quintet Black cartridge pre-installed by their dealer for an additional £400.00, saving

£249.00. The RPM 5 Carbon is supplied with a screw-on record clamp.

SRP £899.00

The RPM 5 Carbon is available in the UK now.

Read the Hifi Pig interview with the President of Pro-Ject Heinz Lichtenegger


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C-screen is a brand new shielded speaker cable aimed at both audio and home cinema systems. It joins the line up of Chord Company shielded speaker cables, including the Clearway and the Signature Reference.

Chord’s design objective was to produce a cable discreet enough for easy installation, with all the performance benefits that shielding can bring. C-screen is just 8mm in diameter and flexible enough to route around corners with ease. It’s finished with a white outer jacket which protects the shielding and makes it virtually invisible against white skirting boards.

C-screen features multi-stranded oxygen-free copper conductors, insulated with low-density polyethylene and arranged in a twisted-pair configuration to reduce interference. The cable is then enclosed in a PVC casing that aims to reduce mechanical noise and spaces the conductors correctly, relative to the twin-foil shielding.

C-screen has the same characteristics as Chord’s other shielded speaker cables the company say: “the ability to carry a musical signal with a genuine sense of musical coherence and involvement; shielded speaker cables bring real performance benefits to both hi-fi and home cinema systems, where interference can seriously affect sound quality”.

At £5 per metre C-screen is said to be an ideal product for home cinema systems, where often complex cable-run requirements are the norm. 

C-screen is priced at £5p/m unterminated (off the reel). Factory and dealer terminations are available for a supplement.


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If second hand hifi and vintage audio is your thing then you could do worse than check out the upcoming AudioJumble that will take place on Sunday 21st February at the Angel Centre, Tobridge in Kent. These are always well attended and well talked about events and a great place to pick up that bargain or rarity that you’ve been hankering after.

Qudioju;blepicYou can also find second hand hifi on our pages here.

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“The Platinum II project has produced the most accurate and beautiful loudspeakers Monitor Audio has ever made” says the company’s recent press release, continuing “ Platinum II is a mix of evolutionary refinement and discovery, offering genuine audiophile performance with simply stunning design and materials specification”.ma-pl-ii-group-rgb_23353925059_o

For the first time in a Monitor Audio speaker, Platinum II deploys a new MPD (Micro Pleated Diaphragm) high frequency transducer, supported by next-generation RDT ®II bass and mid drivers, improved crossover design and bespoke speaker terminal designs.

The new seven-model line-up premieres the luxury flagship PL500 II tower; two further floor standing models, the PL300 II and PL200 II; the PL100 II stand-mount monitor; matching centre-channel speakers in two sizes: the PLC350 II and PLC150 II, and a 1400W, twin 15” subwoofer:  the PLW-215.

PL100 II

Compact 2-way monitor design using a single 6.5” RDTII bass-mid driver, and MPD tweeter. Bespoke floor stand available separately. MSRP: £3,150 pair

PL200 II

Compact 3-way/4 driver floor-standing system using twin 6.5” RDTII long-throw bass drivers, a 4” RDT II mid-range driver in a sealed TLE enclosure and MPD high frequency transducer. MSRP: £6,300 pair

PL300 II

3-way/4 driver tower system using twin 8” RDTII long-throw bass drivers, a 4” RDT II mid-range driver in a sealed TLE enclosure and MPD high frequency transducer. MSRP: £8,000 pair

PL500 II

Flagship 3-way/7 driver tower system using four 8” RDTII long-throw bass drivers, twin 4” RDT II mid-range drivers in a M-T-M array with a MPD high frequency transducer. MSRP: £15,000 pair


A 2.5-way/3 driver centre-channel system matching the PL100 II and PL200 II models, using a single 6.5” RDT II bass driver, single 6.5” RDT II bass-mid driver and MPD high frequency transducer. Bespoke floor stand available separately. MSRP: £2,100 each


A 3-way/4 driver centre-channel system matching the PL300 II and PL500 II models, using twin 8” RDT II bass drivers, single 4” RDT II mid-range driver and MPD high frequency transducer. Bespoke floor stand available separately. MSRP: £3,150 each

PLW-215 sub

A sealed twin 15” active subwoofer system featuring:  opposing individually powered C-CAM drivers / 1400W continuous and 2000W peak / 172MHz DSP Core / 4 fully configurable user presets / auto room EQ per preset from panel or via PC/tablet through proprietary SubConnect App / LED display / night mode. MSRP: £3,500 each 

The Platinum II range will receive its world premiere at the CES show, Las Vegas, 6-9 January 2016, at the Venetian, Suite 29-140 on Wednesday January 6 between 17:00 and 21:00

Availability: February 2016


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Heinz Lichtenegger is the CEO and President of Pro-Ject Audio Systems, is an absolute audio and music fanatic and here talks to Hifi Pig about his history, his system and where he thinks the industry is headed.  More »

Estelon celebrates its 5th anniversary with the launch of a new product “Model YB”

It’s been a successful five years for Estelon the company’s latest press release says. Each year a new model has been introduced to the X Series, leading to numerous awards and recognitions worldwide, the most prominent of which has been the Estelon’s flagship “Extreme” which Hifi Pig was lucky enough to experience at Munich High-End and it is bot extreme and amazing in sound and concept.

Years of research and development have led to a new handmade line of products called “Y Series” which compared to the X Series, represents new design, materials and technologies.estelonyb

The first product from the Y Series – Model YB – has now been revealed. “Its sculpture like elegant design by Alfred Vassilkov once again brings freshness to the loudspeaker market”  The left and right speakers are asymmetric and designed as a matching pair. “The elegant twists heading in opposite directions make these speakers look like jewels in exquisite interiors”.

“The sound they deliver meets Estelon’s highest standards. It is pure, natural and life-like. It re-creates the original soundscape and makes the music sound unbelievably real, making you believe that “You are there”, at the concert” the company say.

Technical Data:

3-way (Drivers: 8” Woofer, 5,25“ Mid-woofer, 1” Beryllium Tweeter; with removable grilles); Frequency Response: 30 – 40 000 Hz

Power Rating: 150 W

Nominal Impedance: 6 Ohms

Sensitivity: 86dB/2,83 V

Dimensions (HxWxD): 1285x365x430mm

Net Weight: 40kg per piece.

Speaker cabinets are cast of composite material.

Manufacturer’s recommended price in Europe for Model YB is €15 900.

Standard finish is Black Matte. Black Gloss and White Gloss available at €16 900.

Preorders start now, estimated shipping from March 31st, 2016.


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French based Cabasse make the renowned Sphère loudspeaker system, but they also produce more modestly priced items.Here Dominic Marsh takes a listen to the Stream 100 amplifier (£499) and Surf loudspeakers (£379) More »

ECLIPSE will be demonstrating its flagship TD series loudspeaker at CES 2016, along with its range-topping subwoofer in a multichannel system that showcases the brand’s ‘accurate sound’ technology.TD712zMK2_img_inter_02

Visitors to the ECLIPSE suite at the Venetian Tower (suite 25 – 219) will also be able experience the TD-M1 desktop-orientated home audio system, which offers wireless music playback from both Android and iOS devices (via AirPlay). ECLIPSE will also have a number of other key models from its TD series at CES 2015, including: TD510ZMK2/TD510MK2; TD508MK3 and TD307MK2A, plus the TD520SW subwoofer.

The multichannel system will comprise the TD712ZMK2 and TD510ZMK3 speakers, plus the flagship TD725SWMK2 subwoofer. Electronics will be supplied by Onkyo and Pioneer with 2L of Norway supplying Blu-ray Audio content.


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Mike Twomey continues his series of articles looking at the wonderful world of audio from the dealers perspective and this month offers up a few useful tips on how to get the best trade in deal when it comes round to the inevitable upgrade time… More »

Craig and Charlie Reid have come along way since they signed off the dole in a bleak benefit office on Edinburgh’s west side and signed onto the government’s Enterprise Allowance Scheme, with which they helped to fund the first six months of their musical career as The Proclaimers .  Ten albums, a musical and a film based on their songs, and a track in the Shrek soundtrack later, they are playing the second of two sold out gigs on their home turf, there’s a pre-Christmas buzz in the Edinburgh air and a palpable sense of excitement in the auditorium.  More »