Hi-Fi World's November 2020 Reviews & Think Pieces Hi-Fi
World's November 2020 issue features your chance to win an EAT E-Glo Petit phonostage worth £1249. Gear reviews include the KEF R7 tower speakers, Melco N10 music server, Yamaha A-S3200 integrated amplifier, Rega Aethos amplifier, Klipsch Heritage HP-3 headphones, Philips Fidelio X3 headphones, Tellurium Q Blue II speaker cables, plus the Murphy A272 radio receiver. Other reviews include the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo turntable, plus audiophile vinyl reviews too.
Within his editorial, Noel Keywood says, "People expect a hi-fi system to sound large and impressive – meaning panoramic sound stage and thunderous bass – that enveloping quality of power able to move physical objects! Not something you get from headphones. And KEF's loomingly large R7 Reference loudspeakers reviewed on p10 do just this. With relaxed ease. Founded in 1961 by the famed Raymond Cooke – who together with senior engineer Laurie Fincham told me a thing or two about loudspeaker engineering! – KEF set the stage for properly engineered loudspeakers through the 1970s. They continue that mission today with products like the R7 that quite obviously stand out in their massive ability. I hope you enjoy our insight into these loudspeakers."
See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World
at this link.
Fifth Annual Audiophile Day Celebration
The fifth annual celebration of Audiophile Day is October 2 (2020), so please join in celebrating audiophiles all around the world. This is a day to appreciate audiophiles and all that they contribute to the world. Audiophiles are music enthusiasts who are very passionate about high-fidelity (hi-fi) sound / music reproduction. Their musical tastes are vast and not necessarily limited to any one genre. The values of audiophiles are to discover and learn about every stage of music reproduction: the initial recording of the performance, the mastering process, the production processes, and, of course, the final playback.
09 / 29 / 20
New Horizon 301 Turntable From Italy New Horizon's
301 turntable is handcrafted in Italy and highlights a new top-line 300 series of products. The New Horizon catalogue now consists of six turntable models divided into three production lines
covering different market ranges including the 100, 200 and 300 series. Their 301 is a belt driven rigid plinth turntable that incorporates the company's best features while also introducing solutions to enhance sonic
performance. New Horizon's 301 plinth of great thickness and weight, which opposes the transmission of vibrations and resonances.
A methacrylate platter weighing over 4.4 pounds is completely CNC machined and perfect cylinder as it rotates on its axis. To further
reduce unwanted resonances, high damping support feet are made of Delrin, a soft and special natural rubber compound called HQR. A spring suspension system isolates the motor from the plinth, while the platter spindle rests on an
inverted bearing composed by four elements. Also included is a fully adjustable 9" straight aluminum tonearm, which includes an entry level
cartridge that is pre-aligned by the factory. A dust cover is also included.
09 / 28 / 20
Xavian Stella Esclusiva Floorstanding Speaker Xavian just announced their Stella Esclusiva floorstanding speaker (€4990 per pair) with the goal of setting a bold standard for the new generation of the Stella. This new generation is said to offer the best of materials, components, aesthetics, and especially sound qualities at this price level. Newly developed in-house drivers, a new internal cabinet solution with carefully placed struts and a sand-filled chamber or a solution with a front passive bass reflex membrane will allow you to place this relatively large column in smaller listening areas. Xavian's Stella Esclusiva is equipped with a sophisticated crossover topology and premium quality components from traditional top manufacturers such as Jantzen or Mundorf, as well as custom Xavian components.
The custom-designed AudioBarletta drivers are made in Italy. The 175mm AudioBarletta driver employs impregnated paper
membrane an aluminum phase plug, cast basket, and low distortion magnetic structure. The AudioBarletta 29mm soft dome tweeter voicecoil uses flat
aluminum wire, a thick copper ring in motor, a ceramic magnet, plus there's a labyrinth inside chamber. Overall frequency response is from 42Hz to 20kHz. The handmade cabinets are constructed from solid oak wood. There are six colors to choose from, including the newly offered white and dark piano lacquer.
09 / 25 / 20
International Parts + Supply Show For The Audio Industry High End
Society's just-announced International Parts + Supply
(IPS) show for the high-end audio industry perfectly complements the HIGH END in Munich, which has developed into the largest international hi-fi show and enjoys tremendous significance and international popularity within the audio industry. IPS is scheduled for May 13th and 14th, with HIGH END being May 13th through
16th (2021), manufacturers of supply parts for the audio industry will be provided with a special exhibition area in the MOC event center alongside the HIGH END 2021. IPS offers an ideal platform for parts suppliers to establish more intensive contact with their customers and optimally showcasing their products tailored to their target group.
In May 2021, you can meet the entire world of hi-fi experts and professionals at Munich's MOC exhibition grounds. Two trade visitor days will give exhibitors the perfect chance to plan their B2B meetings with no stress and without being pressed for time. As a parts manufacturer and supplier you can immensely benefit from these conditions, because your customers are already in Munich for HIGH END.
Qualcomm's The State Of Play Report 2020
The 2020 State of Play Report is Qualcomm's fifth annual study featuring user insights based on research data from
5000 consumers across the USA, UK, China, Germany, and Japan — and shines a light on evolving consumer attitudes and behaviors that drive buying decisions for wireless headphones, earbuds, and speakers. Key findings include the truly wireless age is here as adoption of wireless earbuds has almost doubled compared with their State of Play Report 2019 and has gone from 23% to 42% globally, along with strong growth in every geography. Comfort as important as battery life too. Video media consumption is now the second most popular use case for wireless headphones, and third most popular for earbuds. Almost half of all consumers surveyed reported using wireless audio products while gaming. Noise cancellation gains momentum yet is only the sixth most important factor for headphone purchase and the fourth most wanted for the future. Wireless audio user experience matters as Qualcomm's data highlights that audio glitching and/or dropouts is a barrier for nearly a quarter of wireless headphone shoppers surveyed.
The survey found that the most important factor is 74% of wireless headphone use, and 69% of wireless ear buds, is for enjoying music. Smart speakers are the most sought-after product in the speaker category, with strongest uptake in the USA, China, and the UK. Audiophile companies take note as the all-important sound quality still reigns supreme in the #1 spot of importance. Now a five-year trend, sound quality is the single most important purchase driver in consumer audio as 77% of respondents are interested in high-resolution sound quality. Qualcomm's survey indicates that smart speaker consumers would pay the largest premium for superior sound quality.
09 / 23 / 20
The Funk Firm Houdini Phono Cartridge De-Coupler The Funk Firm
has released a new dynamically stable Cartridge De-Coupler ($400). Named Houdini, Funk claims that much as a tuning fork couples its vibration when placed onto a guitar box, the very act of firmly bolting the cartridge to the arm similarly couples and superimposes its resonances directly onto the cartridge. The Funk Firm claims that to date all arms are responsible for this describing it as "The problem you never knew you had" and all turntables suffer from it. Decoupling the arm is akin to lifting the tuning fork and thereby reduces colorations by an order of magnitude.
The company says a fully isolated cartridge would be free to wobble, negating the benefits. Houdini cartridge de-coupler deals with this by utilizing a newly-patented suspension and torsion tether to create what The Funk Firm describes as "an island of stability to achieve 'The Record Cutter in Reverse'". They claim the differences
aren't subtle and they see Houdini as the "Next step forward for analogue". Two different models are available to fit the two different cartridge fitting arrangements – threaded or through hole. Alternative mounts are also available to permit correct functioning with different arm
SXSW 2021 Goes Online For A Digital Experience
From March 16th through 20st (2021), South By Southwest
(SXSW) will be an online digital experience. SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. They have some new event updates to share with you and more to come as they aim to deliver SXSW 2021 in a way that brings together our community of creatives and provides a platform for them to further their goals. Announcing SXSW Online 2021 and the first wave of participation opportunities. Entries for the 2021 digital experience will open on Tuesday, October 6 with PanelPicker proposals for SXSW and SXSW EDU, as well as Film Festival submissions.
Their digital experience will feature conference keynotes and sessions, screenings, showcases, networking, and exhibitions. The dates for SXSW EDU Online are March 9th
through 11th, 2021 and SXSW Online will take place March 16th through 20th, 2021. "The challenge of building a new future is one that
we're excited to tackle. This has been such a year of change and we, like the entire world, are reshaping our perspective on how we connect.
We're pleased to be working on SXSW Online as part of our program for 2021, and regardless of platform, we will continue to bring together the brightest minds from creative industries
worldwide," said Roland Swenson, CEO and Co-Founder.
09 / 22 / 20
KEF LS50 Wireless II Active
Stereo Hi-Fi Speakers KEF's new LS50 Wireless II speakers ($2500) is the company's ultimate wireless hi-fi active / streaming speaker system to date. KEF's LS50 Wireless II is more than a high-performance loudspeaker; it is an excellent all-in-one speaker system for streaming from any source thanks to wireless compatibility with AirPlay 2, Chromecast and more. It also handles wired connections for your TV, games console, and turntable too! With the KEF Connect app you can stream Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, and Deezer or tune in to internet radio and podcasts. LS50 Wireless II has audiophiles covered with support for streaming music files up to 24-bit/384kHz, as well as MQA, DSD256, and Roon Ready is coming soon.
KEF's LS50 Wireless II is a breeze to set up thanks to the KEF Connect app. It is intuitive to use with any source in your home, and it allows simple over-the-air firmware updates that bring you new and improved features with the minimum of fuss. You can choose to operate LS50 Wireless II completely wirelessly at 24-bit/96kHz resolution for a clutter-free set up, or you can connect the two speakers with the supplied cable for 24-bit/192kHz resolution sound. Aided by
KEF's bespoke Music Integrity Engine, a collection of bespoke Digital Signal Processing (DSP) algorithms are
optimized for the Uni-Q driver, enabling it to deliver a perfectly timed performance, for better imaging and a tighter sound. Each tweeter is driven by a 100 Watt Class A/B amplifier while a dedicated 280 Watt Class D amplifiers power the mid/bass drivers. KEF's 12th Generation Uni-Q with MAT coax driver delivers excellent sound. The LS50 Wireless II is available in three matte finishes, carbon black, titanium grey, and mineral white, as well as a Crimson Red Special Edition.
Sonus faber Special Edition Il Cremonese ex3me Speaker Sonus faber
has just introduced their new special edition Il Cremonese ex3me ($58,000) floorstanding speaker. Introduced in 2015 with the intention of completing the Sonus faber Homage Collection, the speaker was named after a traditional Italian violin, the Il Cremonese. The Il Cremonese violin is the foundation for a unique loudspeaker system characterized by new technical features with a precise performance target: absolute neutrality working around the behavior of both the top and bottom ends of the audio spectrum. Several new design solutions contribute to this limited run of 50 pairs embellished by the return of a traditional Sonus faber finish, the classic
The overall aesthetic design of Il Cremonese ex3me does not stray from the original model, except for the detail of the tweeter- which diverges from the iconic "arch" of the D.A.D. system in favor of the protection grille applied in front of the Beryllium D.L.C. dome. The five-sided cabinet breaks the classic rules of Lute or Lyre shape. Spurious micro-vibration is grounded to the Zero Vibration Transmission system that mechanically decouples the entire loudspeaker from the floor using a combination of metal and elastomer isolation components inside of a multi-part coaxial spike assembly, called
"Silent Spikes". The result is said to be an audible improvement in transparency and dynamics.
Bluesound Pulse Sub+
8" Active Subwoofer Bluesound
hi-res wireless multi-room line of audio players has announced their Pulse Sub+ ($749), an active subwoofer to add deep bass to any wireless or wired Bluesound system. An
8" long-throw woofer and 150 Watt Smart Amplifier with DSP delivers low frequencies to 22Hz. It features the convenience of precision app control for ease of use. With BluOS onboard, the user benefits from simple and intuitive app controls for volume, crossover, and phase adjustment. For ease of placement, it comes supplied with a wall mount bracket and magnetic rubber feet. Offered in a choice of Black or White finish, the Bluesound Pulse Sub+ is configurable to a wide range of applications. Bluesound aimed for maximum output from minimal size, with dimensions being
18" X 11.8" X 5.75" (WxHxD).
Qobuz Live & Rhino John Coltrane
To celebrate John Coltrane's 94th birthday, Qobuz
Live weekly livestream series and Rhino will present a historic panel discussion on John
Coltrane's groundbreaking 1960 album Giant Steps. They're celebrating the
album's 60th anniversary with a panel of four leading saxophonists, representing successive generations of jazz talent shaped by
Coltrane's influence, and moderated by two leading music historians versed in the African American musical
tradition. This virtual roundtable also marks the release by Rhino of Giant Steps: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (on CD and vinyl LP formats) and
Super Deluxe Edition (download and streaming) featuring remastered versions of the classic Coltrane
recording. Qobuz, the
world's only true lossless Hi-Res Music streaming service and download store, will feature the new album on its platform in 24-bit/96kHz quality.
This in-depth conversation will stream live across multiple channels, including Facebook Live,
YouTube, and LinkedIn, plus it will be available afterward for on-demand viewing.
In other Qobuz news, they have announced a €10,000,000 funding raise in new capital to drive its momentum and consolidate its future developments. To support its international expansion ambitions,
Qobuz is now present in 12 countries and is strengthening its managerial organization with the establishment of new management.
This new funding will help their vast recruitment and international expansion
plan for 2020 and 2021.
09 / 21 / 20
HiFi Media Features News, Reviews
And More HiFi Media's
latest issue features AV news, gadget news, plus reviews of the TAD-D1000MK2 CD / SACD / USB player, Audiovector R 3 Signature loudspeaker, Q Acoustics 3030i speaker, Arcam Solo Uno streamer with built-in amplifier, Denon Home 250 wireless speaker and IKEA Symfonisk Wi-Fi bookshelf speaker. Other reviews include the LG OLED55C9PLA 4K OLED TV, Strong SRT 8550
DVB-T2 receiver, Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW & ATH-CKS5TW headphones, Jabees Firefly 2 IEMs, JBL Tune 120 TWS wireless IEM, and Audioquest DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC. MusicStyle features Weyes Blood
"Between nostalgia and futurism," in memoriam Adam Schlesinger "Closing a top pop
workshop," portrait of Fiona Apple "A cry for freedom," plus rock / pop album reviews. There's also a jazz Interview with Steve Swallow
"The essence of my music making lies in bringing people together." Film Portrait gives a look at New Hollywood
"About rebels, film studios and the chaotic streets of the metropolis," a portrait of DUNE
"History is written on the sands of Arakis," TV Series of High Fidelity "What came first? Music or the
misery," and DVD / BD movie reviews.
Within his editorial, Andrija Ćurković says "The echo of 2020's rough start is still resounding in our thoughts and is present in everyday communication. The eruption of the corona virus pandemic marked a new beginning, a new era of life in which our everyday habits went through revision and adapted to a new time, to a new
'normal'. If we add the Zagreb earthquake, which happened at the very beginning of the lockdown, to the equation, the stress was almost too much for many
people. We were planning to hold our 25th Zagreb AV show this Spring. Unfortunately, it had to be cancelled like all other shows across the globe. This was a great blow to the business of consumer industry, and in the moment I'm writing this editorial, things aren't looking any brighter for 2021." See what's within this issue of
HiFi Media at this
Lector Strumenti Audio Grounding Box Lector Strumenti
Audio's new Grounding Box (€4700 including two cables) is based on the company's big
Aamorph low noise capacitor built within their laboratory. The unit features large copper plate and a round disk made by copper fitted over pillar on top plate. The
grounding capacitor is isolated by aluminum box and closed by silicium pills for to reduce humidity.
Grounding Box offers a supply with very low noise ground (GND-Earth) terminal for optimal interface with your audio equipment. The product comes supplied with five terminal ground connectors that have internal passive electrical circuits to
reduce ground loops. Lector Strumenti Audio says that their Ground Box provides a great improvement with ideal grounding terminal connection to produce better resolution, lower residual noise, and an overall cleaning of the audio spectrum. Groundig Box's casing is made with real wood 2cm thick, with an overall dimension of 30cm x 35cm x 16cm (LxDxH). Additional cables are
~€175 and Spike Kit is €50.
09 / 18 / 20
HIFICRITIC's Latest Issue Features
Reviews & More HIFICRITIC's
latest issue features retailer Absolute Sounds founder Ricardo Franassovici looking back on high-end culture wars and the early days of his company, Stan's Safari
where he's not convinced by expensive streaming hardware, getting your record player's cartridge aligned perfectly for accurate tracking of the record groove, and having interviewed PMC founder Peter Thomas
HIFICRITIC reviewer Kevin Fiske found himself intrigued enough to try some of the company's speakers. There's also a review of Bryston's
BP-173 / 3B3, Focal Stellia, Clear, & Archie, Audeze LCD-X headphones, and
Novafidelity / Cocktail Audio HA500H headamp / DAC /
preamplifier. Keith Howard supplements his headphone experience with a kick in the posterior, an assessment of Keith Monks Prodigy record cleaning machine, plus
HIFICRITIC's journalists round up their pick of the classical and jazz releases while Sound Stage has the inside track on the DSD revival from NativeDSD's Floor van der
Within his editorial, Martin Colloms says, "While becoming accustomed to isolating and social distancing from family, friends, fellow authors and
neighbours, and not least from our supportive audio industry, a key part of not losing the plot is to stay in touch by phone email and social
HIFICRITIC team of freelance reviewers and journalists has devised ways to continue its investigations and writings, with new review product successfully sourced and delivered. I thank all our contributors and those involved in the
magazine's production, who are supporting the HIFICRITIC project. Also, the readers who have contacted me with comments and suggestions. As our government might well put it, our audio and music examinations, evaluations and judgments have continued at
pace!" See what's within this issue of HIFICRITIC at this
09 / 17 / 20
McIntosh MC830 Amplifier And C8 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier McIntosh's
new MC830 solid-state monoblock amplifier and C8 vacuum tube stereo preamplifier ($4000 and $3500 respectively) feature styling reminiscent of the company's 1950s and 1960s designs. McIntosh's MC830 is a monoblock amplifier with direct-coupled output that produces 300 Watts @ 8 Ohms (480 Watts @ 4 Ohms). A fast-responding dual scale Watt meter gives an accurate readout of power output for both speaker impedances. McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks add visual appeal and will keep the MC830 running cool for optimum performance. Both XLR balanced and RCA unbalanced input are included for connecting it your music system. To protect your speakers and overall system, the MC830 includes McIntosh's patented Power Guard technology and Sentry Monitor. McIntosh's patented gold-plated Solid Cinch speaker binding posts easily secure your speaker cables.
McIntosh's new C8 preamplifier is powered by four 12AX7a vacuum tubes housed inside stylish protective cages. The C8 comes with one XLR balanced and two RCA unbalanced analog inputs, plus a moving coil (MC) and moving magnet (MM) phono input with adjustable loading. Bass and treble tone controls help fine tune your music to your personal preferences. For outputs, the McIntosh C8 vacuum tube stereo preamplifier has XLR balanced and two RCA unbalanced; one of the unbalanced RCA outputs can be configured for subwoofer use to further enhance low frequencies. McIntosh's optional Hi-Res Audio DA2 Digital Audio Module can be installed and provides two S/PDIF coax, two TosLink optical, USB, MCT, and audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) connection. The DA2 is powered by a Quad Balanced eight-channel, 32-bit DAC. For personal listening, the C8 comes with McIntosh's High Drive headphone amplifier that has an abundance of power and flexibility to drive a wide range of headphones. Furthermore, the Home Theater Pass Through allows the C8 preamplifier to be seamlessly integrated into your home theater system, and Data Ports can send remote control commands to connected source components.
Harmonic Resolution Systems Helix
Footer Harmonic Resolution Systems'
(HRS) new Helix ($450 for a set of three) is designed to significantly reduce the negative impact of air and structure-borne noise on your audio / video component performance. Naturally they can be used in combination with HRS Damping Plates when needed to control both top and bottom chassis noise. The very low profile design is virtually invisible under most components, so it is ideal when you wish to maintain the original look of the component. HRS' Helix is designed to obtain maximum performance from audio components with a stiffer (plate and billet) metal chassis construction. A natural gimbal system ensures intimate contact with chassis at every location to maximize energy transfer.
The HiFi Summit Q4 2020 By Joe N Tell
The journey continues with The
HiFi Summit Q4, from October 22nd through 26th, as 2020 has been a true test for many of us personally and professionally. Companies who have adapted to our new reality are seeing unprecedented growth. While we would love to get together for a physical trade show to talk with colleagues and friends, that's not possible quite yet. So now what? The Hi-Fi Summit, produced by Joe N Tell (Joe Mariano), is a digital trade show and online conference. Excellent seminars and group chat are joined by questions from viewers within their Lobby Discussion and YouTube live stream. You can see parts of their previous
The HiFi Summit Q2 on Enjoy the Music.com at this
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Carbon Edition Wireless Headphones Bowers & Wilkins
PX7 Carbon Edition over-ear wireless stereo headphones ($399.99) includes adaptive noise-cancelling. Since
2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Bowers & Wilkins first-ever headphone design, their new PX7 Carbon Edition highlights the use of carbon-fiber composite reinforcement in its construction. Special diamond-cut detailing on each ear cup creates a premium look, which is inspired by the company's original P5. Bowers & Wilkins says this new
headphone delivers True Sound, offering maximum resolution while maintaining complete neutrality and tonal balance. The aim is to recreate your favorite music exactly as the artist intended – whether with or without noise-cancelling selected.
The PX7 Carbon Edition's immersive soundstage is the result of a specification that includes bespoke 43.6mm drivers, specially designed, developed and tuned by Bowers & Wilkins' engineering team responsible for the 800 Series Diamond loudspeakers. To maintain sound quality, the PX7 Carbon Edition also supports the latest wireless codecs including Bluetooth aptX Adaptive technology, allowing the transfer of 24-bit/48kHz music wirelessly. Memory foam ear pads ensure that the headset has passive noise isolation. Active noise cancellation employs adaptive technology and is capable of intelligently sensing the background environment. Users can use the companion App to select an Ambient-Pass-Through feature, which allows certain external sounds to be heard without removing the headset.
09 / 15 / 20
Sennheiser HD 800 S Anniversary Edition Headphones
To celebrate 75 years of audio history, Sennheiser has announced their Anniversary Edition HD 800 S stereo headphones
($1700) that is limited to 750 units worldwide. The HD 800 S Anniversary Edition comes in an exclusive matte gold colorway, each unit made truly unique by a laser engraving with the individual serial number on the headband. With a frequency range of 4Hz to 51kHz make the HD 800 S an audiophile and studio headphone. The diaphragm of the headphones is made with a 56mm transducer with duofol-transducer material to ensure exact music reproduction and reduction of resonances. Keeping total harmonic distortion to less than 0.02%,
Sennheiser's innovative absorber technology reduces the so called "masking effect", an acoustic phenomenon that arises as the human ear is unable to perceive higher-pitched sounds that have low-volumes, while significantly louder sounds in a lower frequency range occur.
The circum-aural ear cups were developed with meticulous attention to detail as well, as the design directs the sound waves to the ears at a slight angle, thus creating an impressively natural and spatial sound experience. Sennheiser's HD 800 S Anniversary Edition is handcrafted at the audio
specialist's headquarters in Wedemark, Germany. Sennheiser uses glass-fiber strengthened plastic, a material valued in the aerospace industry, for the
headphones' housing, making them particularly durable yet lightweight. The earpads are made from a soft vegan velour material for optimal wearing comfort, while the grid and grills have been crafted from a stainless-steel mesh. The matte gold yoke, decor ring and shell ring give the HD 800 S Anniversary Edition a uniquely elegant look.
Mytek Empire DAC / Streamer / Preamplifier Mytek proudly introduces the Empire DAC / streamer / preamplifier ($19,995) as an 'all out' assault on the state-of-the-art hi-fi. The streamer is Roon-ready and features internal Roon Core that can drive both this ultra-high performance unit and external Roon endpoints. There is a dual mono fully balanced differential analog preamplifier with an ultra quiet phono stage for both MC and MM cartridges. Going one step further, a high current, dual mono, fully balanced headphone amplifier is part of this extraordinary package.
Built around two ultra-high performance ESS 9038PRO Sabre DAC chipsets, this dual mono fully balanced circuit is capable of 32-bit/768kHz PCM, DSD512 and MQA while achieving dynamic range greater than 133dB. Both the DAC and preamplifier functions are controlled by a brand new MytekOS Platform, offering new functionality via easy software upgrades that will gradually be released in the future as the platform progresses. Mytek's Empire includes Wi-Fi and has an internet-ready control platform too. Furthermore, as a result of both its modular hardware design and software based platform, the Empire Streamer can be described as future proof. Mytek's Empire Series will be expanded upon with an addition of monoblock amplifiers planned for 2021.
Enjoy Reading Your Fave Hi-Fi Magazines Online
Everyone here at Enjoy the Music.com sympathizes with those affected by the recent health issue. Our hobby is one that can be enjoyed within the privacy, and security, of your home. We'd like to take a moment to remind our readers that many of our partner magazines offer online subscriptions. As always, in the end what really matters is that
you... enjoy the music!
Print Partner Magazines
09 / 14 / 20
Futuresource Consulting Audio Collaborative Event
This just in: Futuresource Consulting is delighted to announce that their well renowned Audio Collaborative event will be shifting to an all-virtual experience for the first time in six years. With health and safety being of prime importance during the coronavirus outbreak, Futuresource must ensure all co-workers, exhibitors, thought leaders and attendees feel at ease to best experience and deliver the range of fascinating topics lined
up. Taking place over the 4th and 5th November, Audio Collaborative 2020 will continue to be an event to share industry insights, engage with global brands and define the future of the audio industry within the "new normal". Thought-provoking panels and presentations have been designed to ensure audio brands emerge from the crisis as stronger, better positioned, more valuable businesses.
What to expect with your virtual seat:
Keynotes and panel discussions – Wherever you are in the world, engage with a storm of fascinating talks and panels presented by the Futuresource analyst teams and world-class industry-leaders;
they'll be revealing the latest insights and developments set to impact the future of audio.
Product showcase – Explore what the mix of brand
partners' have to offer through a range of personalized pages with product information and video demonstrations throughout the course of the two days.
Live Q&A's and Networking - Engage with other brands, thought leaders and business connections you care about with live interactions, Q&A discussions and networking opportunities throughout the event.
audioXpress' October Issue
Is Now Available audioXpress'
October 2020 issue features testing electroacoustical systems, extracting input referred op-amp noise models, design considerations for a hollow-state mixer, GeerFab Audio D.BOB digital breakout box, and dealing with communication challenges. Other great articles include enabling high-quality voice conferencing, getting started with automotive audio bus (part 1), high end Class D audio board for Arduino MKR family, desktop speaker system using recycled coffee cans, ultra-low distortion microphone
buffer amplifier (part 1), and a market update installation concerning evolving residential installations.
Within his editorial, J. Martins says, "Now more than ever, our activities as magazine publishers only make sense when combined with daily news and article updates on our website — audioxpress.com — plus our email newsletter
The Audio Voice, which continues to gain a growing audience every week. Given the difficult circumstances of a global pandemic that have caused our digital activities to grow exponentially, our website is visited by more than 10,000 unique visitors every day, while our newsletter now reaches nearly 20,000 mailboxes and probably twice as many readers who follow us through our social media channels. In fact, in many regions of the globe,
that's how many readers follow and know about audioXpress (and its sister publication,
See what's within this issue of audioXpress
at this link.
09 / 11 / 20
RIAA Mid-2020 Music Revenue Statistics
This just in: The Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA) today released its mid-year 2020 report showing growth in paid subscription streaming more than offsetting revenue declines in other areas of the U.S. recorded music market, and detailing ways the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the market for
music. Among the key findings, total first-half 2020 revenues from recorded music in the U.S. increased 5.6% to $5.7 billion. Paid streaming subscriptions continued to drive the growth as the number of paid subscriptions increased by 24% to more than 72 million on average, growing subscription streaming revenues for first-half 2020 by 14% versus first-half 2019. At the same time, with advertising markets slowing across the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, growth in ad-supported streaming revenues slowed dramatically. Physical sales, including vinyl albums and compact discs, were also affected by the pandemic and fell 23%. You can see the
RIAA report PDF
Siltech Classic & Royal Signature
Crown Ethernet Cables
Siltech's new Royal Signature Network Crown and Classic Network Ethernet cables (€1349 and €749 respectively)
are a product of the company's engineers taking a unique approach when designing network cables. According to Siltech, "Many manufacturers focus on data rate and making their cables as 'fast' as possible – without appreciating that audio data does not need to be lightning fast. Much more important is the consistency of the transfer rate and the integrity of the data transferred. For all digital cables, transmission accuracy depends on the cable topology, materials, and termination. Poor impedance matching or geometrical inconsistency causes reflections and echoes in the data stream, while crystal boundaries or grain in the conductors causes micro-distortions."
"Any imperfection impacts the accuracy of the critical clocking and amplitude information, " says Siltech. "It's also easy to overlook that higher frequency signals are more vulnerable to outside interference. Siltech's new network cables benefit from our use of superior materials, specialist construction techniques, and top-quality shielding and insulation. Our proprietary G9 silver-gold was chosen for the Classic Network cable's conductors, while our S8 mono X-tal silver was selected for the Royal Signature Network Crown model. Individually shielded pairs and Teflon by Dupont insulation prevent external interference corrupting your delicate digital signals on both cables. For an optimal signal transfer, each cable also features robust, impedance-matched RJ-45 connectors."
Noble Zephyr Hybrid In-Ear Monitor Giant killer!
Review By Gary Alan Barker Of Headphone.Guru It is little secret that
the Noble Katana is my favorite IEM, in fact, it is the best sounding headphone
I have in my possession period, and has only been outperformed by the very best
in electrostatic headphones (which puts them on a par with a minimum $5,000
investment). That being said, the Katana is not the end of the Noble IEM story.
At $1,850 the Katana is no longer even the top of the Noble IEM line (a position
filled by the Noble Sultan, an IEM I have yet to have an opportunity to listen
to, in fact, when I began testing the Noble Zephyr I was under the mistaken
belief that I was reviewing the Sultan). --->
Read the Noble Zephyr Hybrid IEM review.
NAD C 298 Amplifier With Purifi Eigentakt Amplification NAD Electronics
announced a new value-priced high-performance amplifier that uses Purifi Eigentakt amplification technology. Their C 298 ($1999) is a two-channel, 185 Watts per channel @ 8 Ohms (340 Watts @ 4 Ohms), amplifier that can be bridged to 620 Watt monoblock. The new NAD amplifier is a compelling upgrade for modest systems that need flexibility to drive the most demanding loudspeakers on the market. NAD has moved away from linear power supplies and Class AB output stages, and instead developed circuits based on switch mode power supplies and Class D output stages. NAD's advanced work in this area has created what the company feels is some of the best performing amplifiers regardless of basic design principle.
These new designs are very linear over a wide bandwidth and provide consistent performance into all speaker loads, providing a dramatic advance over previous models. Innovative Asymmetrical PowerDrive fully utilizes every last Watt available with its vast reserves of dynamic power available to accurately reproduce musical transients without distortion or compression. Purifi is a Danish technology company that has taken a fresh look at every aspect of amplifier performance and found many seemingly small non-linearities that can make a dramatic difference in the overall sound. The Eigentakt modules are manufactured by NAD under license from Purifi, allowing NAD to
optimize these specifically in combination with the custom designed power supply and input stages of the C 298. Selectable XLR balanced or RCA unbalanced inputs make the C 298 a natural for virtually any hi-fi system.
Maserati's MC20 Features Sonus
Faber Surround System
Bonded by their commitment to excellent craftsmanship, technological advancements and time-honored traditions, the Maserati and Sonus faber collaboration fuses powerful performance with symphonic sounds to blend the unique voices of these authentic Italian brands.
Maserati and Sonus faber
are thrilled to reveal the Maserati MC20 model, powered by Sonus faber audio. According
to the press release, "The Maserati MC20 features 695 Watts of power with specific characteristics true to the Sonus faber philosophy and pursuit of natural sound reproduction. The Sonus faber tuning allows the listener to distinguish the different instruments and elements on the track, offering the experience of a live music performance from the comfort of the vehicle. Sonus faber's audio system for the MC20 vehicle cabin is designed and engineered in Italy just like Maserati, bringing the real Italian excellence to life." The MC20 model will be available for pre-order beginning September 10th and featured at authorized dealer showrooms beginning in 2021. Key features of the Sonus faber audio system include:
• All transducers are crafted without compromise using natural materials as much as possible, and rare earths to maximize efficiency and reduce weight
• Three tweeters, two surround tweeters, three
midranges, two surround midranges, and two woofers are all located for a perfect frequency response and precise sound stage reproduction.
• Pure Sound - Dual DSP State of the art
high power amplifier with 695 Watts. Electronic components used in this amplifier are specifically selected to deliver the best in car sound performance.
• Each speaker is driven by a dedicated power tailored Class-D amplifier stage. 100W for
woofers, 60W for midranges and 45W for the tweeters and surround speakers.
• The high voltage power supply stage is capable to deliver more than twice the current required from the amplifier at maximum volume for
unprecedented dynamic range.
• Lightweight die cast aluminum amplifier chassis.
Inside Facebook Reality Labs Research:
The Future Of Audio
This just in from the Internet social media powerhouse Facebook: "The audio team at Facebook Reality Labs Research is working on novel technologies to enable both audio presence and perceptual superpowers, letting us hear better in noisy environments with our future AR glasses. In the latest entry of our Inside Facebook Reality Labs series, we take you behind the scenes with the team for an in-depth look at their current demos and prototype technology...."
"At Facebook Reality Labs Research, we're building the future of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). FRL Research has brought together a highly interdisciplinary audio team made up of research scientists, engineers, designers, and more, all striving to improve human communication through radical audio innovation. The mission of the team is twofold: to create virtual sounds that are perceptually indistinguishable from reality and to redefine human hearing. To do that, the team focuses on delivering two new capabilities: first, audio presence — the feeling that the source of a virtual sound is physically present in the same space as the listener, with such high fidelity that
it's indistinguishable from a real-world source; and second, perceptual superpowers — technological advancements that let us hear better in noisy environments by turning up the volume on the person sitting across from us while turning down the volume on unwanted background noises." You can read
Facebook's entire article about their Reality Labs Research at this
Sony SA-Z1 Hi-Res Near Field Powered Speaker System
Originally unveiled during Rocky Mountain Audio Festival
2019, Sony's SA-Z1 ($7999.99) lets you enjoy astonishingly faithful sound reproduction that's definitively clear and expressive, and delivers the subtle nuances of every track with an incredibly rich near-field listening experience. Sony's SA-Z1 brings together Sony's legendary audio expertise, with first-of-its-kind custom componentry and benchmark audio technologies. Thanks to a trio of accumulated acoustic, electronic and signal processing technology, SA-Z1 recreates music with exceptional presence and coherence.
Sony's SA-Z1 also features an acoustic structure with its coaxial layout and time-alignment control, the SA-Z1 achieves both broad frequency response and accurate waveform at the same time. The electronic circuitry and signal processing architecture in the SA-Z1 have been developed using the latest expertise from across Sony to reproduce High-Resolution Audio with ultimate fidelity. Take control of your sound. Tune it to your listening environment and your personal preference with lossless adjustment for both active and passive sound characteristics.
09 / 08 / 20
Sonus Faber Launches Lumina Speaker Collection Sonus faber
is proud to announce their Lumina loudspeaker collection, the new line conceived on the notion that now, more than ever, it is important to savor time for ourselves and celebrate
life's precious moments. The new Sonus faber Lumina series consists of the Lumina III floorstander, Lumina I bookshelf / surround, and Lumina Center channel speaker ($2199, $899, and $699 respectively). "Lumina" in Latin means "light", but also a source of energy and life. Lu also means 'luxury', 'mi' means minimal design, and lastly 'na' means 'natural'.
Sonus faber's Lumina series all feature a 29mm high definition DAD tweeter, with the Lumina III floorstander adding a 150mm paper cone midrange driver, and two 150mm paper cone woofers. The Lumina I compact bookshelf speaker has a tweeter and 120mm paper cone midrange / woofer driver. The Lumina Center I
speaker has a tweeter and two 120mm paper cone midrange / woofer drivers. Available cabinet finishes for the Lumina series includes black, wenge, and walnut.
Rotel RSP-1576MKII Pre And RAP-1580MKII Processor Rotel's RSP-1576MKII and RAP-1580MKII ($3499 and $4999 respectively) join the company's family of home theater / immersive Hi-Res Audio components, including license for best-in-class Dirac room correction technology ensuring accurate room calibration. The RSP-1576MKII is designed as a multi-channel immersive preamplifier, leveraging audio performance engineered utilizing
Rotel's proprietary Balanced Design Concept built on an in-house manufactured toroidal transformer, with low distortion – noise rejection circuit layout and acoustic tuning of all critical audio circuits. Control system integration of both the RSP-1576MKII and RAP-1580MKII is made easy with RS232 and IP Ethernet controls including software updates, three assignable independent 12V trigger outputs, wired IR input/ output, and available custom rack mount kit.
Rotel's RSP-1576MKII supports up to 7.1.4 channels of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio formats using the latest Texas Instruments quad-core DSP. The surround processor utilizes an array of six audiophile grade Wolfson DACs and is fully licensed for DIRAC Live Full room correction software and includes a measurement microphone. Other features include seven HDMI 4K HDR video inputs and two HDMI 4K HDR video outputs. Audio inputs including balanced XLR, PC-USB (24-bit/192kHz), TosLink optical, S/PDIF coaxial, unbalanced RCA analog, iPod USB, apt-X Bluetooth, 7.1 multi-channel input, and for a vinyl turntable. Both models are available in silver or black chassis colors.
09 / 04 / 20
Digital Amplifier Company Cherry DAC DAC 3 Digital Amplifier
Company's new Kickstarter campaign for their upcoming Cherry DAC DAC 3
heralds in a new version of their acclaimed digital-to-analog converters. Higher audio performance is
promised with their new DAC DAC 3 as this project is focused on creating high-performance Hi-Res Audio within your home audio systems. Improvements provided by the Cherry DAC DAC 3 further reduces the signal path, improves the output stage circuits, optimizes the power circuitry, plus it adds an input selector. Single-to-noise is an outstanding 130dB!
Digital Amplifier Company believes a great DAC should have short signal paths, pristine power supply design, ultra high audio performance, and true balanced, DC coupled outputs. Shorter analog signal paths have been achieved by eliminating the TL option. Plans are to offer a version with both S/PDIF coax and TosLink optical inputs. Included is an expansion interface to accommodate volume control, and might also incorporate our patent pending "gain past one" algorithm to allow boosting overly quiet
Discogs Mid-Year 2020 Marketplace Report
According to Discogs' mid-year 2020 report, "This year has brought its fair share of challenges. In January, we could not predict the global COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on small businesses. However, the data in the Discogs Mid-Year Marketplace Analysis and Database Highlights 2020 proves that music fans are resilient, active, and enthusiastic. Discogs has become an online haven for sellers and buyers across the consumer music economy."
"Thanks to a thriving vinyl community, the first half of 2020 has been the best six-month period we've ever seen. Across the Marketplace and Database, our Community has rallied during this bizarre time in history. We're excited to share the data we collected from the platform that reveals this year's physical music sales so far. Growth in global physical sales in the Marketplace is up 29.69% compared to the first half of 2019. With a 33.72% increase, vinyl sales have once again crossed a landmark milestone. To put that in perspective, this means that over 5.8 million records were sold between January and June." You can learn more within their
mid-year report PDF at this
09 / 03 / 20
Hi-Fi+ September 2020 High-End
Audio Magazine Hi-Fi+ magazine's
September 2020 issue features Meet Your Maker with Rune Skov from Gryphon Audio Designs. Equipment reviews include the Bowers & Wilkins 705 Signature stand-mount loudspeaker, Hegel H95 integrated amplifier, Moor Amps Angel Pre / Angel 6 preamplifier & power amplifier, Audio Research Reference 160 stereo valve power amplifier, Jern11 stand-mount loudspeakers, and Primare 15 Series CD transport, streaming DAC, phono stage plus integrated amplifier. Other gear reviews include the Xavian Corallo Esclusivo stand-mount loudspeaker, Audiobyte Hydra Vox / Hydra Zap headphone amp/DAC & supercapcitor power supply, Norma HS-IPA1 integrated amplifier, Schiit Audio Aegir stereo power amplifier, B.Audio B.DPR One / B.AMP One preamp/DAC & power amplifier, T+A Solitaire P / HA 200 planar magnetic headphones and headphone amplifier / DAC, and German Physiks Pion N3 ZF power cord.
Within this month's editorial, Alan Sircom says,
"In recent months, the ruinous forces beyond our control have created something of an unexpected boon in some sectors. Zoom, for example, was a computer program that hardly anyone used at the beginning of 2020. And in the audio world, the enforced stay-at-homer who – absent those concerts and festivals they would have attended this year – has decided
there's more to life than a basic wireless mono loudspeaker."
what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+
magazine at this
Hi-Fi World's October 2020 Reviews & Think Pieces Hi-Fi
World's October 2020 issue features your chance to win a pair of Q Acoustics 3030i loudspeakers worth £329.
High-end audio equipment reviews within this issue include the Klipsch The Fives active loudspeakers, Bricasti Design M3 DAC, Astell&Kern SE200 PMP, Leak Stereo 130 / Leak CDT CD Transport, Chord Electronics Ultima 6 power amplifier,
Rega Aphelion 2 phono cartridge, and Meze Rai Penta 3 in-ear monitors.
Within his editorial, Noel Keywood says, "Great to see the brand name of Leak re-launched. In this issue on p10 you can read about the new Leak Stereo 130 amplifier, an update on the original Stereo 30 transistor amplifier launched in 1963 – 57 years ago no less. Reviewer John Pickford is new to Hi-Fi World, but as a long term Leak owner better placed to understand how the new Stereo 130 compares with its
predecessors. A lot has changed over the years between these amplifiers, but a lot has not. We still have transistors and casework of similar dimensions – with knobs on front that humans can twiddle. It's easier and more direct than using an app – and future proof
See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World
at this link.
ELAC Uni-Fi 2.0 Line Of Home
Loudspeakers ELAC announced their Uni-Fi 2.0 line of home speakers
consisting of the UB52-BK three-way bookshelf, UC52-BK three-way concentric center speaker, and UF52-BK three-way concentric floorstander ($599.98
per pair, $399.98 each, and $599.98 each
respectively). This new line builds upon the success of the first-generation Uni-Fi family and incorporates a variety of new features and technologies. Notable new features of the Uni-Fi 2.0 line-up include a newly-developed
4" concentric driver. A new wide-surround tweeter enhances it's low and high frequency extension allowing for improved blending with the midrange driver. An entirely new mid-range design features a larger diameter voice coil, new aluminum cone profile, new low-profile surround, and an all-new neodymium magnet assembly. Elac's single piece aluminum dished cone results in improved stiffness. Combined with an oversized magnet, large diameter voice coil, and extended pole piece, these changes result in improved accuracy and bass
All models feature a sophisticated crossover that improves response linearity, improves driver integration and delivers a nominal impedance for compatibility with virtually all AV receivers. Every Uni-Fi 2.0 enclosure is engineered with thick MDF outer walls and a luxurious black ash vinyl finish. Specially located internal bracing adds stiffness and strength to the cabinet's outer walls, reducing the cabinet vibration that causes unwanted coloration. Relocating the vents to the front on the bookshelf and center speakers allows for greater freedom of placement, even in restricted places like a cabinet or up close to a wall.
Marantz Model 30 Stereo Integrated
And SACD 30n Networked Disc Player With HEOS
For Europe, Marantz has announced their Model 30 stereo integrated amplifier and SACD 30n Networked SACD / CD player with HEOS built-in (£2700 each). These new models continues the renowned heritage of exquisite Marantz amplifiers, which are tuned by the Marantz Sound Master who channeled his passion, experience, and extraordinary ear into the amplifier
design. The Model 30 solid-state stereo integrated amplifier has independent pre-amplifier and power amplifier section, with toroidal transformers feeding power dedicated to pre-amplifier and amplifier section. Marantz HDAM technology ensures low noise and extended frequency range. A linear volume control with new electric volume system
ensures accurate tracking. The unit produces 100 Watts per channel @ 8 Ohms (200W @ 4 Ohm) to drive any speaker.
An MM/MC Phono input provides selectable MC input resistance.
Marantz's SACD 30n is built to meet all the requirements of the modern audiophile who wants to combine a large digital music collection with the leading online music services. The SACD 30n is future-proofed, accepting file formats all the way up to 11.2MHz quad-DSD and 384kHz/32-bit PCM via USB-B/USB-DAC. This new networked SACD / CD player includes HEOS. Marantz proprietary CD / SACD mechanism provides excellent data reading while the HEOS network solution is aided by Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth capability. You have access to a wide array of services including Spotify, Amazon Music HD, and Tidal. High resolution audio streaming up to FLAC HD 192 and DSD5.6 is supported. USB-B DAC Mode supporting PCM up to 384kHz and DSD11.2MHz. Marantz Musical Mastering is for pure analog audio from any digital source. A low noise fixed level and independent variable output means you can use the SACD 30n as the centerpiece of your audio system. A high quality headphone amplifier has low, medium, or high output to mate with virtually any
type of in-ear monitor or headphones. The unit is controllable by remote, iOS / Android app and leading voice control services too. Both Marantz models are available in Black and Silver Gold.
Bowers & Wilkins New 600 Series Speakers
The new Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series Anniversary Edition
shares the same blend of value and sound quality as its six forebears and features new and improved components to ensure it can continue to set the standard for high-performance sound quality at an accessible price point. The 600 Series Anniversary Edition range features four models that combine advanced technology with discreet style, adding a new oak finish to complement the existing matte black or matte white finishes. An additional red cherry finish is available as a special order. All Anniversary Edition speakers also include a new celebratory logo inscribed on the tweeter surround in either light or dark finishes, depending on the color of the rest of the speaker.
The new range includes S2 specification Anniversary Edition versions of the 607, 606, 603 and the dedicated HTM6 center channel speaker. The 603 S2 Anniversary Edition ($1999.98 per
pair) floorstanding speaker features the Decoupled Double Dome aluminum tweeter, a
6" FST Continuum Cone midrange driver plus two 6.5" paper-cone bass drivers. The 606 S2 Anniversary Edition ($899.98 per pair) is suitable for stand-mount or bookshelf use, which combines the new aluminum tweeter with a
6.5" mid/bass driver. Bowers & Wilkins 607 S2 Anniversary Edition ($699.98 per pair) compact stand-mount or bookshelf speaker has an aluminum tweeter and
5" Continuum Cone mid/bass driver. The HTM6 S2 Anniversary Edition ($799.99 each) compact high-performance center-channel speaker mates the aluminum tweeter with dual
5" Continuum Cone mid/bass drivers.
KEF Metamaterial Absorption Technology
Loudspeaker manufacturer KEF has created a new Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), which is a highly complex maze-like structure that eliminates unwanted sound from the rear of driver, resulting in a purer, more natural performance. "Like an acoustic black hole", KEF's Metamaterial Absorption Technology is mathematically optimized to absorb the maximum of sound in a minimum of space.
Metamaterials are specially developed structures that use existing materials in such a way that they exhibit new properties. MAT's tuned channels absorb 99% of the unwanted sound from the rear of driver, compared to around 60% absorption from loudspeakers using different approaches. KEF always pushes the technological boundaries in its mission to create the best possible sound; MAT is the physical manifestation of that drive. The result of a joint development project with the Acoustic Metamaterials Group, MAT breaks completely new ground in loudspeaker design. You can read KEF's
AES convention paper 10341 PDF at this
09 / 01 / 20
September Blue Note Awards Issue! Enjoy the Music.com's annual Blue Note
Awards Review Magazine is now online. This month features think pieces,
reviews, and our annual Blue Note Awards too! Our Best Of 2020 Blue Note Awards celebrates the many great achievements by audiophile manufacturers within the high-end audio and Hi-Res Audio industry.
Enjoy the Music.com's
annual Blue Note Awards September Review Magazine.