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Innuos debuts STATEMENT Next-Gen Power Supply Upgrade

Innuos debuted at AXPONA in the US a Next-Gen Power Supply Upgrade for their flagship STATEMENT Music Server and Streamer.

The STATEMENT Next-Gen Power Supply Upgrade is the result of Innuos ongoing Research and Development efforts in close collaboration with the long-term partner Dr. Sean Jacobs. The impressive improvement in sound quality is achieved by an innovative Powers Supply design and significant component upgrades:

The Power section uses two custom-designed ARC6 AC/DC modules – each containing a new high-precision Active Rectifier board, a massive 10mH DC Choke and almost 4 times more capacitance provided by six Mundorf caps. The ARC6 modules are mounted on the new Adaptive Vibration Control (AVC) platform, a combination of Panzerholz wood with a specific density gel layer, which is highly effective at dampening high-frequency vibration coming from the chassis.

In the Server section, the Regulator modules include a dedicated CPU Booster module, providing up to 15A of current to the CPU for faster transients. All rails are further smoothed by new Audio Note KAISEI capacitors benefitting all the main components: Motherboard, USB Reclocker, Ethernet Clock module and SSD.

The results are crystal clear: Increased realism with even more detailed textures, expansive soundstage and improved dynamics.

Following Innuous’ philosophy of supporting existing customers in taking their systems to the next level through upgrades, when possible, the STATEMENT PSU Upgrade will be available as an option for both new or existing units. The recommended price for a new unit with the Next-Gen Power Supply Upgrade will be the following:

RRP/MSRP

Innuous will start shipping new units and receiving existing units from customers for upgrade in June.

More details on the Next-Gen Power Supply Upgrade can be found on the Innuous STATEMENT product page here.

 

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Goldring’s new Eroica HX

From the Goldring press release

World renowned analogue audio specialists Goldring, introduces the latest member of its moving coil (MC) cartridge family, the Eroica HX. Joining the award-winning LX model in the Eroica range (‘Eroica’ translates as ‘Heroic’ in Italian), this high output, high-performance cartridge makes upgrading from a moving magnet cartridge to a moving-coil model straightforward.

The demanding nature of moving coil designs often prevents a clear upgrade path for vinyl enthusiasts. With the Eroica HX, turntable owners can enjoy the greatest gains in performance of an MC cartridge without the hassle of a system-wide upheaval – this cartridge delivers a stunning moving coil performance from a moving magnet input.

Arriving at a price comparable to that of a good moving magnet cartridge, Eroica HX is designed to work straight from the box, and to slot into your existing system with no fuss whatsoever. Simply install it in place of your old moving magnet cartridge, and enjoy improved dynamics, enhanced stereo imaging and controlled, distortion-free high frequencies immediately, with no additional equipment or any system adjustments required.

Key features at a glance:

  • New, pure-iron cross-armature design for low crosstalk and reduced effective mass
  • Ultra-fine, enamelled-copper windings for higher output and correct impedance matching
  • Equipped with Gyger II diamond stylus that traces frequencies as high as 50kHz without distortion
  • Housing made from lightweight Pocan® composite material, chosen for its anti-colouration properties

Eroica HX manages to combine thrillingly accomplished performance with unheard-of ease of use thanks to Goldring’s engineering know-how. By using numerous ultra-fine enamelled-copper windings – so fine they literally float – Eroica HX has output sufficient to work with moving magnet phono inputs without compromising the low crosstalk that moving coil designs are prized for.

Goldring Eroica HX

And by deploying a new pure-iron cross-armature, the copper windings have a permeable path for the parallel magnetic field in which to operate, resulting in greater output and correct impedance matching. In addition, the cross-shape design can separate left and right stereo channels far more effectively than the moving magnet alternative. Eroica HX’s Gyger II diamond stylus has a tiny five micron playing radius, which means it can trace frequencies as high as 50kHz without distortion, and thanks to the cross-armature’s low mass it can react to musical transients with absolute precision.

This is, unsurprisingly, a delicate mechanism. So Goldring has ensured it’s fully protected by enclosing it in a light, rigid and attractive housing formed from Pocan®. As well as the benefits of its light weight and stiffness, Pocan® has no input into the sound the cartridge makes.

Eroica HX is compatible with virtually all tonearms, no matter if they’re straight, S-shaped or J-shaped, and no matter if they’re made from aluminium or carbon-fibre. Its standard size fitment means it can be mounted using standard fixings, from above or below the headshell. And it’s among the most obvious and cost-effective upgrades you can make to your vinyl audio system.

The Goldring Eroica HX moving coil cartridge is available in June priced £549 / €699 / $899.

To buy the Goldring Eroica HX moving coil cartridge and discover other Goldring products please visit www.goldring.co.uk / www.goldringusa.com

Specifications

Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz ± 3 dB

Frequency Range: 10 Hz – 50 kHz

Channel Balance: within 1 dB @ 1 kHz

Channel Separation: Better than 25 dB @ 1 kHz

Sensitivity: 2.5 mV ± 1 dB, 1 kHz @ 5 cm/sec

Static Compliance: 25 mm/N

Trackability: 85 um (@ 315 Hz)

Equivalent tip mass: 0.4 mg

Vertical Tracking Angle: 22 °

Stylus Radius: Gyger II

Stylus Type: Non-Replaceable (re-tip service available see website)

Load Resistance: 47 kΩ

Load Capacitance: 100 – 500 pF

Internal Inductance: 0.13 mH

Internal Resistance: 35 Ω

Cartridge Mass: 5.2 g

Cartridge Mass (inc. fixings): 6.6 g

Fixing Centre: 0.5 ” (12.7 mm)

Playing Weight: 1.5 – 2.0 g (1.75 g nom.)

 

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KEF LS60 Wireless

We had heard something about this new project on the grapevine very recently. KEF’s new LS60 Wireless is a very different design to the LSX or LS50 Wireless, as it is a completely new design in its own right and a striking statement of how modern high-performance audio happens in the 2020s. By creating an active design that incorporates all kinds of streaming options for the listener, but by making it effectively like an active Baby-Bluetooth-Blade, this suddenly pushes the streaming concept front and centre.

We think this has the potential to be a new form of high-end audio, one without some of the baggage of what’s gone before. Watch this space…

From the KEF press release:

Maidstone, Kent, 12th May 2022

Celebrating 60 years of innovation in technology, performance and design, LS60 Wireless is KEF’s vision of high-fidelity for the future.

Over 60 years KEF has worked tirelessly to hone their craft and revolutionise the landscape of audio speakers. To mark this momentous milestone KEF has combined all their key technologies to deliver superlative acoustic performance in a distinctive, stylish and modern floorstanding speaker.

The LS60 Wireless is as powerful as it is attractive and its slim design makes room placement adaptable for everyone. The LS60 Wireless produces an impressively powerful, rich and full-bodied sound that evenly fills any space with high-fidelity audio.

60 years of acoustic innovation
LS60 Wireless is the world’s first Single Apparent Source wireless system. The unique technology is adapted from KEF’s flagship Blade speaker in which it aims to achieve the acoustic ideal of a point source where low, mid and high frequencies radiate from one point. This unique technology is only possible with KEF’s iconic Uni-Q driver array. Perfectly calibrated drivers that cover the entire bandwidth of the speaker are configured so that all frequencies appear to radiate from one single point. The result is noticeably more precise imaging and highly accurate sound across a wider listening area.

At the heart of LS60 Wireless’ Single Apparent Source configuration sits the remarkable 12th Generation Uni-Q with Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT™) driver array. Specially designed to perform at its best in the LS60 Wireless, this cutting-edge Uni-Q boasts a host of refinements including a tweeter gap damper and new Z-Flex surround that ensure a near-perfect transition of sound from the speaker into the room. With the MAT that acts as an acoustic black hole, 99% of the unwanted sound that comes from the rear of the tweeter is absorbed, eliminating the resulting distortion and providing a purer, more natural acoustic performance. Together, these innovations and refinements deliver a super-wide sweet spot, uncannily natural sound with vanishingly low distortion.

The slim profile of the speakers and close positioning of the drivers in the Single Apparent Source configuration call for a novel approach to bass driver design. As a result, LS60 Wireless features two pairs of Uni-Core driver arrays, first found on the KC62 subwoofer, maximising bass performance while minimising space. KEF’s P-Flex and Smart Distortion Control Technology also play their parts, ensuring that the low frequency performance is as balanced and detailed as the audio derived from the Uni-Q driver array. In addition, the bass drivers are mounted back-to-back in a force-cancelling arrangement, cabinet vibration is practically eliminated.

Smart and powerful
The LS60 Wireless delivers elevated sound with impact. This is because the Music Integrity Engine brings together the Single Apparent Source configuration and other KEF acoustic technologies, allowing them to work closely. The brain behind most of KEF’s wireless speakers, the Music Integrity Engine offers a suite of bespoke Digital Signal Processing algorithms (DSPs), enabling it to deliver a perfectly timed audio performance with better imaging and a tighter sound. The Music Integrity Engine for LS60 Wireless features low-frequency phase correction. This new feature does more than ensuring perfect timed performance, it delivers pinpoint timing exactly as if you were listening to the original sound.

The LS60 Wireless also has power in abundance, with a highly optimised mixture of bespoke amplification delivering a combined 1400 Watts of audiophile-grade power, with amplifiers dedicated to high, medium and low frequencies within each speaker. This smartly managed power means LS60 Wireless is capable of a beautifully balanced performance at any volume level.

Music Interview: Super Furry Animals

It’s been 20 years since psychedelic Welsh wizards Super Furry Animals released their masterpiece – the lavish and wildly eclectic Rings Around The World, their fifth studio album, which was nominated for the 2001 Mercury Prize.

In September of last year, it was re-released to celebrate its 20th anniversary – the original album has been remastered, with extensive bonus tracks, and is available as a deluxe double 180g gatefold vinyl LP, a single CD, a 3-CD set and a digital version.

The band’s first record for a major label, Sony/Epic, Rings Around The World was also the world’s first simultaneous CD /5.1 surround sound DVD release.

Recorded in Monnow Valley, in Rockfield, Wales, and Bearsville Studio, New York State, in Woodstock, it’s a hugely ambitious collection of songs, taking in diverse influences like techno, West Coast psych, plastic soul, A Guy Called Gerald, John Barry, Aphex Twin and Gene Clark. Guest musicians include Paul McCartney and John Cale. ‘(Drawing) Rings Around The World’ sounds like The Beach Boys doing Status Quo, ‘It’s Not The End of the World?’ and ‘Juxtapozed with U’ are gloriously wonky summer pop songs, ‘Presidential Suite’ has lush Easy Listening strings and Burt Bacharach horns, ‘Receptacle For The Respectable’ is a complex, four-part epic – Pet Sounds-meets-electronica, Beatles rock ‘n’ roll and pantomime death metal – and ‘Run!Christian,Run!’ manages to mix trippy dub with Byrds-style, cosmic country-rock.

To find out some of the stories behind the making of Rings Around The World, I got keyboard player, Cian Ciaran, and bassist, Guto Pryce, on the phone.

SH: Does it feel like 20 years since Rings Around The World?

CC: It feels like another life. Our last studio album came out in 2009 – after that, we didn’t do anything for six or seven years, and then we did two years of touring and then nothing for five years. Once you have a break from that Groundhog Day routine of going into the studio, doing an album, going on the road and then having a break, it feels like a different life.

GP: It’s a weird one – it does feel like a lifetime ago. A lot’s changed.

Siltech Classic Legend cables

It came as some surprise to me that, when it comes to Siltech Cables, we hadn’t looked at a single cable in the range for the longest time. Our last reviews of Siltech products were all about the company’s high-end amplifiers; fine, and very impressive in their own right, but hardly representative of the company and practically all of its output. It’s a little like spending time discussing a brand like Mont Blanc and forgetting about its line of pens.

Siltech Cables makes several ranges of cables, each with a name that sounds like a brand of whisky that sponsors golf tournaments; Royal Signature, Triple Crown, Classic Anniversary and now the new Classic Legend series. So sit back and pour yourself a glass of Classic Legend (just a dash of water, please… no ice), while I tee off.

Classic Legend is three different classes of cables in one; 380, 680 and 880, each having its own interconnects, speaker and power cables. There are also digital, USB and even network cables, but even if they are in one of the three classes, these stand alone in the Classic Legend range.

Core to the Classic Legend is the company’s new G9 silver-gold conductors. Metallurgy is a big concern with Siltech Cables, and the company prides itself on its research-based development of cables using the latest metallurgical developments. Edwin Rynveld, CEO and Head of Engineering of Siltech Cables, is the kind of guy who would have a subscription to Ruthenium News if such a title existed, and keeps ahead of the curve when it comes to developments in everything pertaining to the improvement of audio in general and cables in particular, so it might come as no surprise that where most cable brands make no great distinction about the metallic make-up of their cables (“It’s gold an’ silver, innit”), this is the ninth generation of silver-gold alloy used in Siltech Cable’s line since the early 1980s.

As the name suggests, G9 is Siltech Cable’s ninth (and most current) silver-gold alloy generation developed by the company’s metallurgists. They spent over 12 years of research and testing to develop a material that offers a significant, audible, and measurable improvement of the company’s previous G7 generation solid silver-gold wire (S8 being a solid-core monocrystal silver cable of the highest purity used in the flagship Crown models). The result of the G9 project is silver-gold alloy with up to two-times larger conductors than previous generations with an extraordinarily reduced boundary distortion of 0.01%. This 9th generation of Siltech silver-gold alloy contains all the latest developments and improvements in the melting process, resulting in an even smoother sound and improved cable run-in times.

Picture 3022

Going a little deeper (and perhaps highlighting the difference between actual metallurgy and someone who looks up the properties of wire in a cable catalogue) Siltech’s proprietary silver-gold alloy works to improves a natural silver wire by adding traces of gold to fill the microcracks that occur during the solidification process. This means silver conductors injected with gold, rather than simple gold-plating. This has been a core component of Siltech Cables and has been improved upon time and again since the company started the process back in 1997.

Siltech’s silver-gold alloy process is able to reach a purity of 9N by increasing the filling rate of the crystal structure gaps to the highest possible level. Launched in May this year, the Classic Legend Series is the first cable range using G9.

Alongside the new elements relevant to the latest Classic Legend, there are also standard Siltech Cable elements common to all designs in the range. Siltech holds that an ideal cable should have zero series resistance (R), zero capacitance (C) and zero inductance (L). That is, of course, notional because its functionally impossible to create such a conductor, but the lower each of these basic properties of wire can get, the more stable the sound of the system. The idea being you effectively remove the low-pass filter created by higher series impedance from high inductance, lower the capacitive load for any input, and reduce the general distortion additional series resistance introduces.

Another important concern held by Siltech Cables is that because there is no one system that Siltech Cables are used with, any form of filtration or alteration of the signal will change the performance of a system in unpredictable ways. While this sounds like stating the obvious (cables are not tone controls), this maxim becomes more important with cable length; a design needs to be stable enough to sound identical regardless of whether a cable is 1m or 8m long. Once again, this ties in with striving to produce as low as possible LCR figures in Siltech Cables.

The ‘TL:DR’ version of all this is “it’s nerd stuff, but good nerd stuff.”

Warwick Acoustics BRAVURA electrostatic headphone system

If you cast your mind back to the early days of Warwick Acoustics, its first product that set the wheels in motion for its high-end and even automotive plans, was the Sonoma M1 electrostatic headphone and amplifier. Although largely eclipsed by the APERIO system, the Sonoma M1 is still on Warwick Acoustics’ books. At least, for now.

The BRAVURA is the result of three years development into Warwick’s unique HPEL (High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate) drive unit, the core of Warwick’s transducer system for its headphones. It’s designed as a direct, drop-in replacement for the Sonoma M1 Headphones, so those with the original matching Sonoma M1 Amp can simply buy a new pair of BRAVURAs. It’s also available as a complete kit, including the Sonoma Amp. The latter is also available in a spiffy new black finish to run alongside the existing deep brushed ‘Silver’ model. This ‘Black Edition’ and the Silver Sonoma amps are available separately, with the idea that owners of the original M1 who fancy a bit of a change to the desktop can buy a new amp/DAC. I think what’s more likely is Sonoma M1 owners will try the BRAVURA with their existing DAC, end up keeping both headphones, and adding a second Sonoma amp/DAC for a second room system at a later date. For reasons that will become clear later, I think the number of people who will try the BRAVURA system and decide the M1 is still for them is likely fairly small. Regardless, it’s good to keep all the options open.

Put simply, if you already own a Sonoma M1 then you can buy the BRAVURA just as a headphone, but if you don’t then you will need to buy the BRAVURA and the Sonoma M1 Amp as a complete system. And now, you can buy the Sonoma M1 Amp in a rich shade of black. The nomenclature could get a little tangled, so for the sake of clarity, ‘Sonoma M1’ means the previous headphone/amp system while ‘Sonoma M1 Headphones’ or ‘Sonoma M1 Amp’ refers only to that specific part. It’s simpler than it sounds… honest!

A lot has happened since the original Sonoma M1 launched, and given the similarities – and more importantly – the differences between Sonoma M1 and BRAVURA, it’s worth climbing into the Wayback machine to run through that Sonoma M1.

THE NEW MOON VOICE 22 – TAKING THE GUESSWORK OUT OF BUYING LOUDSPEAKERS

MOON now has its own voice!  The Canadian high-end audio manufacturer has used its audio design experience, premium materials and industry-leading technology to create the Voice 22. MOON customers no longer need to guess which pair of loudspeakers to buy when they are looking for the perfect match for their system – they can now have a full MOON solution.

The Voice 22 is a true partner for MOON amplifiers and will also bring out the best from other audio manufacturers’ systems. The new loudspeaker delivers the renowned rich and natural MOON sonic signature, and its wide soundstage gives the space to allow every small detail to flourish and for the deep, clean bass to expand.

The premium cabinet design has a modern feel with a classic twist recalling the company’s 1980 genesis. The class-leading drivers feature sleek baffles and beautifully machined bezels for a graceful appearance. The Voice 22 is available in a choice of either black or white piano gloss finishes with matching magnetic cloth grilles.

The Hover Base is a unique feature created especially for Voice 22. It lends a visually striking appearance to the speaker, and makes it appear to gracefully float above the surface on which it is positioned. It ensures that the Voice 22 can be placed on virtually any furniture without leaving a mark, while adding stability to the loudspeaker and guaranteeing sound integrity. It elevates the loudspeaker and the owner’s experience! If the listening environment requires the speakers to be placed on stands, the Hover Base may easily be removed, and the speakers can be fitted to the custom-made Stand 22. The top plate fits flush into the recessed area in the bottom of the speaker enclosure and disappears. This careful integration creates a pure and uncluttered appearance.

THE MOON ACE AND VOICE 22 – A BEAUTIFUL UNION

Renaissance believes that the award-winning MOON ACE all-in-one music system is the ideal match for a pair of Voice 22s as they combine to bring the very best out of each other. Simply hook up the speakers, connect to the internet and sit back and enjoy the music. Intuitive and easy-to-use, the ACE features Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect and AirPlay2, is Roon Ready and allows the playback of all major file formats, including DSD, and MQA. And its moving magnet phono stage allows the ACE to deliver a memorable performance from any vinyl record.

With a RRP of £2,650 for a pair, the Voice 22 offers excellent value for such a premium loudspeaker.

Take the guesswork out of buying a complete system with this special promotion to mark the launch: Renaissance is offering an ACE music system and a pair of Voice 22s for £5,700 – a saving of £450. This offer is available until the 31st of July (in the UK and Ireland only).

The custom stands are £495 for a pair.

MD of Renaissance, John Carroll, said: ‘The ACE is one of our most popular MOON products due to its versatility and excellent musical reproduction. Add a pair of Voice 22s and you really do have A Complete Experience! For most music lovers, this will be all the system they will ever need.’

Renaissance is delighted to announce that its first shipment has already arrived. UK customers should be able to hear the Voice 22

at their local MOON retailer as early as next week.

MOON will be showcasing the Voice 22 loudspeakers at the High End international audio show in Munich from the 19th to the 22nd of May in Room A3.1 / C120

John Carroll of Renaissance will also be at the show and will be available to introduce the Voice 22 and other products in his portfolio.

 

Contact: [email protected].

+44(0)131 555 3922

www.renaissanceaudio.co.uk

IsoTek V5 Aquarius power conditioner

IsoTek has a significant range of power products, but perhaps the one that has always been resoundingly popular is the Aquarius. Its predecessors – the Mini Sub and then GII Mini Sub – put IsoTek on the map. Both the Mini Sub models and subsequently the EVO3 Aquarius that followed were conditioners admired by those most reluctant and curmudgeonly of power product buyers – Naim Audio users. Having been programmed not to like the idea of power conditioners by Naim’s most zealous supporters, they bought the Mini Sub and EVO3 Aquarius in droves. However, time moves on and the EVO3 line is making way for the V5 models from IsoTek and they come in their spiffy new livery. How will IsoTek’s buyers react?

The IsoTek EVO3 Aquarius was first debuted at the Munich High End Show in May 2009 and officially released to market towards the end of 2009. Since then, EVO3 Aquarius has been considered a benchmark for mains cleaning as it represents that sweet spot of performance and value for money – not only within just the IsoTek range, but in a wider context.

V5 is a bold departure for IsoTek. The company has used a very similar case work for its products throughout the 21st Century. It’s established as IsoTek’s ‘look’… and the V5 line migrates from that look completely towards something far more ‘now’; cleaner lines, curved edges, all very modern and minimalist. There’s the option to have the IsoTek V5 Aquarius in black or silver; it has previously been available in black and silver, but until V5, the black version always looked like a bit of an afterthought (at least, it did to me.) Not so now – it is rightly marketed as a beneficial feature.

Today’s V5 Aquarius is a multiple power cleaning system, featuring six independent power cleaning networks in a single chassis, two outputs running for high-current devices such as power amplifiers, while the remaining four are designed for preamplifiers, source and network components. As with the EVO3 it replaces, its role in life is to reduce Differential Mode Mains noise, and the risk of cross-contamination between individual inputs, so that the connected loads do not influence each other’s performance.

The V5 Aquarius, along with the rest of the new V5 range, might be the product of a total redesign from the ground up, but it still stays true to the company’s design principles. This meant IsoTek’s team subjected the EVO3 Aquarius to rigorous questioning to reconsider and ultimately improve its job in hand, the result being the V5 Aquarius. It appears no single element was overlooked in the V5-ification process!

Burmester BC150 floorstanding loudspeaker

Burmester invited us to visit Berlin when launching the new BC150 floorstanding loudspeaker  – you can read an earlier version and exclusive preview that formed the basis of this review here. This new speaker design is an impressive statement; not only in terms of its physical presence and its £97,500 price tag, but in the sheer amount of research and development engineering that went into the project.

Just a look around the specification sheet shows why the BC150 is notable. Each BC150 weighs in at a shade under 200kg, a figure achieved by using a combination of aluminium, MDF, and steel (where appropriate) for a cabinet. This trio of materials combine (aided by some carefully chosen visco-elastic materials) making a cabinet that maximises the benefits of all three materials while minimising their own respective downsides. An aluminium frame with MDF housings and steel plates, carefully bonded together is a rare and uniquely successful approach in making a cabinet as non-intrusive and non-interactive as possible.

Each component or subsystem in the BC150 is given the same uncompromising, obsessive-compulsive approach to design and engineering. Alongside the two AMT folded ribbon tweeters (one front firing; a second, smaller and rear-mounted for adjusting spatial properties in room), the midrange is heavily modified to Burmester’s exacting specifications. That last sentence needs exploring; usually ‘heavily modified’ means “can you put our name on the front of the basket?” not “can you change the dust-cap for a phase plug, can we make that phase plug oval, and can we revise the doping materials on the paper of the cone, please? Thanks!”. In fact, when it comes to the side-firing bass unit, the company making the driver liked Burmester’s changes so much, they retrofitted many of them (such as beefing up the magnet) into its own designs.

The crossover too, shows just how seriously Burmester is taking things with the BC150. The board is large, populated with the highest grade components (many of which are ‘potted’… more on that later) and then sits on its own suspension system within its own chamber inside the loudspeaker. Short of playing the loudspeaker during an earthquake, nothing’s going to trouble that crossover. Furthermore, because it’s going to have to handle some high power, everything is built to last. Perhaps the adjustment for the rear-firing tweeter highlights this best; rather than a simple potentiometer mounted in the rear of the speaker, Burmester went the extra mile and built its own stepped attenuator. No one else does this!

Those aforementioned potted capacitors are a part of Burmester going the extra mile once more, in that the BC150 is one of the few passive loudspeakers to achieve UL certification. This means every aspect of the loudspeaker needs to be tested for fire safety, and usually applies to electronic components. Granted, if you are sufficiently infernoed to be concerned about the potential for loudspeaker terminals or internal capacitors in a crossover network to either catch fire or release toxic fumes, it’s probably already a bit late, but the fact Burmester even considered going the distance on this is impressive in its own right.

One of the things you should get from all this is that the engineers in Burmester are driven by passion, and it’s a passion that is shared by the people who end up buying the loudspeakers and enjoying them. OK, few engineers are unmotivated by their own projects, but to create a project like this, you need engineers who will spend hours on end talking about the design of the BC150’s feet, and how many iterations they went through to create the right dial-in adjustable foot sitting on its own bearings. They’ll even tell you about the creation of the tool used to adjust that foot with the kind of bright-eyed enthusiasm you might use to describe your child’s first day at school.

Music Interview: Matt Berry

It’s been 10 years since musician/comedian/actor and writer, Matt Berry, signed to iconic British indie label, Acid Jazz, and released Witchazel, an album steeped in his love of ‘60s and ‘70s folk-psych.

Since then, he’s put out eight more albums on Acid Jazz, exploring influences including funk, soul, electronica, garage-rock, vintage TV themes, country, prog and folk-horror.

This month sees some of the highlights from all of them, plus a whole bunch of demos, outtakes, and rarities, collected in a 55-track, career-spanning five-LP/four-CD box set called, rather appropriately, Gather Up. The compilation is also available as a two-LP or single CD edition.

Shortly before jetting off to Toronto for the rest of the year, to film the new series of US horror-comedy What We Do in the Shadows, in which he plays Laszlo Cravensworth, an English nobleman vampire, Berry kindly found the time to give me an interview to talk about his decade of making records for Acid Jazz. There was plenty for us to get our teeth into…

SH: Let’s talk about the Gather Up compilation. Does it feel like 10 years since you signed to Acid Jazz?

MB: No – it feels like two minutes. It doesn’t even feel like five years.

You were a big fan of Acid Jazz before you joined the label, weren’t you?

I was. As a youngster, in the days when you couldn’t search for everything on the internet, they put out some great compilations and stuff. To be signed to Acid Jazz was an honour for me. When I played them my album, Witchazel, I thought Eddie Piller [founder of Acid Jazz] might put out a single, but he put the whole thing out and that was that – it was done – and here I am, 10 years later.

You’ve curated the box set. Do you work quite closely with the label?

Very closely – there aren’t that many of us at Acid Jazz. Everybody is all over every aspect of everything, which is good, because I don’t want to f*** with their brand and everything which goes with that, but, at the same time, whatever I put out must be right for me.

Was it hard to decide what to include in the collection?

It was – no one likes to pick out the best of anything that they’ve done because it’s hard for you to tell. I asked members of my band, and Eddie and Dean [Rudland – Acid Jazz general manager] for them to pick what they consider are the best songs I’ve done on the label so far. They all came back with the same sort of things, so that’s how I arrived at it – I looked at all their lists and just did it from there.

From listening to the box set, it’s clear that your musical output over the past 10 years has been diverse – you have an eclectic range of styles and influences. When you make a new album, do you consciously set out to reinvent yourself, or react against the previous record, or is it more of an organic process?

It’s more organic, but to me it doesn’t sound that different – I’ll just take away some instruments or put every instrument on it. That’s all that I think I’ve really done. I’ve presented my songs in different forms, whether it’s with an acoustic guitar and a slight rhythm section, or with 15 guitars and 43 bass guitars!

 

The first song on the box set is ‘Take My Hand’, which is also the theme for your show Toast of London. It has a ‘70s pop singer-songwriter feel and the piano reminds me of Elton John’s ‘Song For Guy’…

I was doing a sketch show [Snuff Box] with an Elton John character in it, so I had to have some music for him to play – I came up with something very quickly and had that piano phrase. I must’ve been quite pleased with it because I developed it and it became ‘Take My Hand.’

Katanga! by Curtis Amy

Of the titles released in the Blue Note Tone Poet series, some of the very best reissues have been from a label related to Blue Note only by corporate acquisition. Pacific Jazz Records, a subsidiary of World-Pacific Records, released Katanga! in 1963, only a couple of years before Liberty Records acquired the catalogues of World-Pacific and Blue Note. The session was led by tenor saxophone player Curtis Amy, who recorded six LPs for Pacific Jazz, of which this is the sixth. Amy is often referred to as an ‘underappreciated’ player. His Pacifc Jazz sales were miniscule, and he recorded little after that. Unless you picked up the Mosaic box set (CDs only) issued in 2004, odds are that you do not have a Curtis Amy LP in your collection. I first picked up this LP decades ago on the strength of its cover art, but never saw it in a bin again. Other jazz players with tiny sales kept their names afloat by grinding out albums as leaders and sidemen over the years, but Amy took another tact. He became a record label executive and recorded backing solos for pop artists. Who does not remember the saxophone solo from The Doors hit song ‘Touch Me’ on The Soft Parade? Carole King’s hit tune ‘Jazzman’ was an ode to Amy’s influence on her. He played saxophone and flute on four of the songs of King’s Tapestry and for three years in the 1960s he was the musical director for the Ray Charles Band. The music did not stop when he went home to his wife of thirty-two years, Merry Clayton. He met Clayton in the Ray Charles Band and a year before their marriage she shot to fame with her Mick Jagger duet on ‘Gimme Shelter’.

Katanga! included Amy on tenor and soprano saxophone, Dupree Bolton on trumpet, Jack Wilson on piano, Ray Crawford on guitar, Vic Gaskin on bass and Doug Sides on drums. None of the musicians became well known, but all turn in the performance of their careers on this date. Side one opens with the title song, a Dupree Bolton composition. Bolton’s trumpet performance here steals the show, but after this – and his work on Harold Land’s The Fox – he disappeared from the music scene into a series of prison stints. Ray Crawford was never a headliner, but his smooth guitar recordings as a sideman with Ahmad Jamal and Gil Evans ensures his place in West Coast jazz history.

 Bolton’s impassioned solos on the title song, trading licks with Amy, ensure his reputation as one of the mid-century’s forgotten heroes. Amy takes over equal control in ‘Lonely Woman’ and ‘Native Land’ where he plays soprano saxophone on his two compositions. Flip the LP to side two and the sextet runs through three covers, including a haunting rendition of ‘You Don’t Know What Love is’ with Amy again on soprano saxophone and Bolton conjuring up a cross between Chet Baker and Clifford Brown.

When it comes to being underappreciated, I’d give the nod to recording engineer Richard Bock, who recorded this session at Pacific Jazz Studios in Hollywood. Founder of Pacific Jazz and World-Pacific, Bock produced and recorded one of the great bodies of West Coast jazz recordings in existence from the likes of Chet Baker, Gil Evans, Chico Hamilton, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz and Joe Pass. What you expect and receive from a Pacific Jazz title (in addition to top line music) is exceptionally well recorded music. A hallmark of Bock sound is the absence of ‘hole in the middle’ sound so often found in jazz recordings from the 1960s. Whether he was recording a quartet or a larger ensemble, his recordings present a smooth integration of the instruments across the stage and this recording is no exception.

Like all Tone Poet releases, this was curated and produced by Joe Harley and mastered by Kevin Gray. The sound is well balanced, with a deep and wide stage. Unlike so many audiophile grade releases today limited to a few thousand copies, UMG owns the title and can press as many copies as the market will support, so you will have no one to blame but yourself if you miss out on this splendid title. Even Tone Poet titles are not all created equal, and this belongs near the top of the stack.

Katanga!

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dCS brings back the limited-edition Vivaldi One – complete with APEX upgrade

From the dCS press release

Following the launch of the dCS Ring DAC™ APEX, and the company’s new Rossini and Vivaldi APEX models, dCS is ‘thrilled’ to announce the release of a new limited-edition version of the Vivaldi One – the company’s beloved single-chassis Network Music Player and CD/SACD Player

Initally, just 250 Vivaldi One systems were produced, and they quickly sold out. The company has since received numerous emails, letters and phone calls from music lovers around the world looking to purchase a Vivaldi One. Whilst dCS was delighted to see such a strong demand for the product, and had often considered re-releasing the Vivaldi One, the company ultimately decided to focus its efforts on developing new features and enhancements to the Vivaldi and Rossini ranges, as well as developing the dCS Bartók.

This year, however, dCS launched a major hardware upgrade that allowed the company to further enhance the performance of the Vivaldi DAC, Rossini DAC and Rossini Player. The new dCS Ring DAC™ APEX hardware is claimed to be measurably better in several ways, and is said to bring a range of sonic improvements, with listeners noting a range of benefits, from enhanced dynamics, rhythm and timing, to greater soundstage resolution and image focus, blacker backgrounds, and a heightened sense of realism.

Following extensive development, and several rounds of testing [read more about the process here], dCS decided to launch new APEX editions of the Vivaldi DAC, Rossini DAC, and Rossini Player, which feature the Ring DAC APEX hardware as standard. The company also announced the launch of a global upgrade programme for existing owners of the Vivaldi DAC, Rossini DAC, Rossini Player and original Vivaldi One.

The response to the upgrade programme – and the launch of the Rossini and Vivaldi APEX models – has been overwhelming, according to dCS. The positive feedback received from the audio community inspired the brand to  explore the idea of releasing an APEX edition of the dCS Vivaldi One, and with the company’s 35th anniversary just around the corner, dCS felt it the perfect  time to release a new, improved edition of a much-loved and celebrated product.

The Vivaldi One APEX combines all the benefits of the original Vivaldi One with dCS’ new, enhanced Ring DAC APEX hardware to deliver what is said to be an even more profound musical experience.

The Vivaldi One APEX is a powerful network music player and CD/SACD Transport. It offers the same core technologies as the globally renowned dCS Vivaldi series, including the latest-generation dCS Ring DAC, and the dCS Digital Processing Platform, as well as the company’s proprietary clocking system.

It supports all major lossless codecs, including MQA, and is compatible with a wide range of streaming services and music management platforms, including Roon, TIDAL, Qobuz, Deezer, Internet Radio and Spotify. It also supports streaming via Apple Air Play, TIDAL Connect and Spotify Connect.

For silver disc enthusiasts, its Esoteric VMK3 VRDS-Neo CD/SACD mechanism works in tandem with dCS hardware and software to extract revelatory levels of detail from standard and Super Audio CDs. An array of digital inputs, plus multi-stage DXD oversampling with optional DSD/64 or DSD/128 upsampling, and user-selectable DSP and DSD filters, offer unrivalled flexibility.

The system’ s performance is driven by flexible firmware, which can be easily updated to deliver new product features and enhancements. An aerospace-grade aluminium chassis reduces mechanical vibration and magnetic effects for enhanced audio performance, while features such as multi-stage power regulation, twin mains transformers, and separate power supplies for digital and analogue sections ensure maximum consistency and reliability.

Just 50 units will be available in anodised silver or black – classic dCS  finishes. The system will be unveiled at the 2022 Munich High-End show, and dCS will host demonstrations throughout the four-day event.

Units are available to order now and will begin shipping in June. The first 10 systems purchased will be dispatched on June 1 and remaining models will ship in late July 2022. UK RRP is £76,500 inc. VAT

Manufacturer: dCS Audio

URL: dcsaudio.com

UK Distributor: Absolute Sounds

URL: absolutesounds.com

Tel: +44(0)208 971 3909

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