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The Newsletter of Len Wallis Audio

Autumn 2018



AVID’s Acutus SP turntable

THE COMPLETE MUSIC SOURCE? New Marantz ND8006 ticks all the boxes


(02) 9427 6755




Meet Chord’s n ew DAC


SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SOUND, NOT WIRES. The HEOS Bar delivers exceptional performance


to enhance the sound from a TV or Blu-ray player, while retaining the elegance of a slimline soundbar – and the ability to act as an audio streaming solution.

4x Better Than CD

You can also extend your home theatre to wireless 5.1 surround sound or add HEOS speakers for

Play & Share

music anywhere in your home.’ AVAILABLE FROM

USB Music Anywhere

(02) 9427 6755

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Inside... 04 From the desk of Len



06 Marantz goes up to 11 (channels) with new receivers, and debuts versatile new stereo components 09 Stunning Sony projection 10 Musical Fidelity has new products and prices for analogue and digital 12



Triangle’s latest speakers and turntable package

14 Meet the Qutest DAC! 15

Meridian gets in the zone

16 AVID’s stunning Acutus SP turntable delivers music through high engineering 18

New decks on debut from Pro-Ject and Rega...

19 Yamaha’s stereo receiver 19 New pricing for Krell



20 Devialet ups the Phantom power in a white edition 21

B&W’s subwoofer is as beautiful as its speakers...

22 New arrivals from Panasonic and NAD 24 Strictly limited Stax 80th anniversary editions 26 Collectable movie art 27 Roon’s new Nucleus



28 The amazing tech behind the new Referenz cable from Germany’s Inakustik 29 Our favourite audio essentials, accessories and special offers!

64 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove NSW 2066 Telephone 02 9427 6755 TRADING HOURS Monday Tuesday Wednesday Friday: 9 to 5.30 Thursday: 9 to 8; Saturday: 9 to 5; Sunday: closed THE LATEST IS ONLINE! –







018 marks 40 years for Len Wallis Audio. It has been a fabulous journey. We have witnessed a great number of changes, made an ever greater number of friends, and most importantly count ourselves incredibly lucky to work daily in an industry that we love and enjoy so much. I came into this industry almost 50 years ago through my love of music. That has not diminished – and I doubt it ever will! The components and systems that we recommend are simply a means to an end. Ideally every system we provide should have the ability to allow the music you are listening to have the same emotional impact on you that I find it has on me. This industry is currently undergoing some profound changes, and I predict that we will see these changes continue for some time. The world is no longer shrinking – that has already taken place. The consumer

now has the tools at their fingertips to shop where they like, research what they want, and dictate that business is done on their terms. Most industries, including this one, find that they need to adapt, and adapting they are. Len Wallis Audio has been around long enough to remember when the prices of audio equipment were multiples of overseas markets. Import duties were sky high, sales tax was 32%, and dealer margins were at levels we can only dream about today. The only respite for the consumer was a trip to Hong Kong, Fiji or a similar duty-free port – and many audio components made their way to our shores via these means. Today customers can check international prices with a keystroke, and will no longer accept large discrepancies. Local distributors and retailers have accepted this, and many have now adopted a policy of making their product as close to international parity as possible.

While not the first to do so, Bowers and Wilkins recently took over the local distribution for their product in Australia, and one of the first things that they did was reduce prices to bring them in line with international levels. The distributors for British brand Musical Fidelity recently sliced pricing so severely that on some key models they are below the recommended selling prices in the UK. Other companies are now following suit. In this publication you will also find companies like Triangle loudspeakers and Stax headphones announcing new prices, with some of the largest reductions coming from American company Krell. The obvious winner from this is you, the consumer. Pricing for audio in this country has never been more affordable. Nor has the choice been greater or the performance been better. This is a golden age for the reproduction of recorded music! Len Wallis


amplifier to drive these, and the solution was a variation on the Naim Statement, in this case utilising four power amplifiers instead of two. This was the first (and possibly the only) version of this superb amplifier in the world, and was specially developed by Naim in the UK for this project. The result – stunning!

One of the perks of this industry is that we get to be involved in some pretty extraordinary system installations, yet few are as exciting as this one. Our client already owned some exceptional product, including a pair of 2.14-metre high Sound Lab Ultimate electrostatic speakers and the matching bass panels. He needed an



Series 6


It’s Black & White, Thor Series 6 Faster & More Powerful than ever before! Designed for today’s Entertainment demands the Thor Series 6 has been totally redesigned to look great and sound even better. Smaller than before yet faster and more Powerful delivering accurate, fast deep bass for a powerful Musical or Home Theatre Experience.

For more information and to find a dealer visit


Marantz goes up to 11 (channels) Marantz combines legendary sound quality with the latest Home Cinema technology – including Voice Control, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D and Apple AirPlay 2 – with their latest home cinema line-up including two new high-end network AV receivers, the SR7012 and SR8012.

Marantz SR7012 Having completely re-tuned sound using upgraded parts and features, the SR7012 is a 9.2 channel network AV receiver with 11.2-channel processing capability. It includes a 192kHz/32-bit digital-to-analog converter block with Clock Jitter Reducer for a more precise, pure and high-quality sound. The SR7012’s nine amplifier stages see each channel providing 125W of pure Marantz power and finesse, giving users the ability to drive a full 5.1.4 home cinema set-up without the need for additional external amplifiers. Priced at $4190.


The classic Marantz central circular display keeps the front panel clear and purposeful, while the rear panel reveals the versatility of connections for inputs and for different output speaker configurations.

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Marantz SR8012 Taking the SR7012 advancements to a whole new level is the SR8012, Marantz’s first-ever 11.2-channel AV amplifier. It’s compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro 3D sound formats, so the 11 amplifiers can be used in a 7.1.4-channel or 9.1.2-channel configuration. Power output is rated at an impressive 205W per channel, and is High-Res audio friendly. The receiver can decode up to 24-bit/192-kHz ALAC, FLAC, and WAV lossless files as well as DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz tracks via the front panel USB port and from network sources. Benefiting with its partnership with Denon, HEOS integration also means this AVR can be paired with other HEOS speakers in a whole house network, while it’s also Bluetooth and AirPlay compatible — and made in Japan. Priced at $5740.

Future-proofed entertainment These new AV receivers are prepared for the future, with both offering video capabilities that are fully compatible with the latest HDMI and HDCP 2.2 specifications on all eight HDMI ports. Additionally, both models have 4K Ultra HD 60Hz video, 4:4:4 Pure Color subsampling, High Dynamic Range (HDR), 21:9 video, 3D, BT.2020 pass-through, and Dolby Vision pass-through support on every input. All HDMI inputs enable a full array of 4K Ultra HD sources to be connected, and the triple HDMI outputs allow both models to support not just TV and projector set-ups in the main listening room, but also a separate display in another part of the

house with an independent source. Audyssey MultEQ XT32 audio set-up and calibration ensures precise sound, which the user can tune using the Audyssey Editor app which is available through Google Play and iTunes stores. These advanced audio and video features allow us to offer robust home cinema solutions while simultaneously introducing more customers to the power and beauty of multi-channel arrays featuring object-based audio. It’s clear by the massive toroidal power supply, dual heatsinks, and monobloc amplifier construction that Marantz is returning to its roots in emphasis of “sound quality first” in AV receivers.



The Marantz ND8006 ‘complete digital music source player’, atop the new PM8006 integrated amplifier.

Marantz ND8006 “The Complete Digital Music Source Player”

Now here is a product that ticks all of the boxes. While the audio world moves rapidly down the streaming route, there are still a lot of people who have, and use, large CD collections. The ND8006 straddles both of these worlds – Marantz is calling it “The Complete Digital Music Source Player”.

Marantz PM8006 integrated amplifier This amplifier had a lot to live up to – its forerunner, the PM8005 (see below) has been a long-time favourite of many people. In fact Marantz obviously had a hard time topping the PM8005, as the specs between it and its latest rendition are almost identical. The major upgrades

have been the implementation of a new electric volume control, an upgrade of the phone stage and improved isolation via new feet. The good news is that at $2,640 the ‘Made in Japan’ PM8006 is only marginally more expensive than its predecessor.

The ND8006 features: • • • • •

• • • •

High-performance CD player; AirPlay; Bluetooth; Wi-Fi; Online services such as Internet Radio, Tidal, Spotify Connect, Amazon Music and Deezer; 32bit/192kHz DAC with optical, coaxial and USB inputs; High performance headphone amplifier; HEOS wireless multi-room audio on-board; Both fixed and variable analogue outputs (you can use it as a pre-amp). Priced at $1,990.



We have a limited number of PM8005 integrated amplifiers in silver available at special run-out pricing. The PM8005 combines fully discrete current feedback circuitry and exclusive HDAM technology to deliver audiophile-grade sound quality along with system operational flexibility. Rated at 70 watts per channel into 8 ohms, the PM8005 features a robust power supply along with high current capability to deliver 100 watts per channel into 4 ohms, for compatibility and operational stability with the widest range of loudspeakers.

RRP $2495 Special Price $1495, only while stocks last. Like /lenwallisaudio on Facebook


Home cinema in native 4K


ony projectors take pride of place in our home cinema display suite. In fact, we have committed both spots in the room to Sony. We introduced the VW550 projector a few issues ago, but now are equally impressed with its baby brother, the VPL-VW260. As with all of Sony’s digital cinema projectors, the VW260 uses the advanced SXRD (Silicon X-tal Reflective Display) panel technology which delivers native 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution images.

And let’s be clear… this is true 4k. Other similar (and some also pricier) projectors use a shifting technology that projects an image and then the next frame “shifts” the image by half a pixel, thereby appearing as ultra-high definition. A standard 1080 projector will shift from approximately 2 million pixels (or mega pixels) to 4 mega pixels; the DLA versions shift to 8 mega pixels. With the Sony projectors, you get over eight and a half million pixels at all times!

Fine details in the image are wonderfully clear and natural, without jagged edges or visible pixels. While there are various screen lens settings, the VW260 doesn’t have the lens memory that the VW550 does, but that makes it ideal for a “set and forget” configuration. With 1500 lumens, this projector is more than suitable for a great mid-range cinema that can really bring your movies to life. Priced at $7,999.





usical Fidelity is yet another company that has recently been re-priced in Australia to bring it back into line with international pricing. This has resulted in some exceptional bargains, particularly the M3Si, M5Si and M6Si integrated amplifiers which are now


$1,999, $2,999 and $3,999 respectively, savings of up to $1,000. Musical Fidelity amplification is legendary, while these new price points also now make ownership more attainable. Musical Fidelity have also released a couple of new models – one firmly analogue, the other impressively digital! Here are the details… Like /lenwallisaudio on Facebook


NU-VISTA VINYL PHONO STAGE The Nu-Vista series of amplifiers is about as good as integrated amps get. Musical Fidelity has now added a phono stage to the range, still utilising the nuvista sub miniature valve – and again this is an exceptional product. Producing a high performance phono stage is one of the most difficult areas of this industry to get right. You are starting out with a very low level signal, particularly with moving coil cartridges, so any small failings in the design are amplified along with the music. Most


There are a lot of good Digital to Analogue Converters on the market, and at $2,695 the M6 DAC is one of the best value. Superbly built (as is all of the M6 series) this 32bit/768kHz (no, that is not a misprint) DSD-capable DAC features 7 inputs – 3 x Coax, 3 x Optical and 1 x USB. All inputs are upsampled to 32/768. The technical specifications are exceptional. Distortion is 0.0004% at 20kHz, stereo separation is better than

analogue sources connected to your amplifier (CD, tuner, tape etc.) put out around 2 – 2.5 volts. A moving magnet cartridge outputs around 5mV, and a moving coil is around 0.5mV. It is no surprise that there is so much variation in the performance of phono stages, and that the majority of phono stages

found in amplifiers offer mediocre performance at best. The Nu-Vista Vinyl has five inputs, all of which can be configured to Moving Magnet (MM) or Moving Coil (MC). Each can then be individually loaded to match perfectly your cartridge. The unit features both balanced and single ended outputs. The ideal piece of electronics has no signature – the output is identical to the input, only louder. According to Musical Fidelity, the Nu Vista Vinyl has no practical noise, it has no distortion and you cannot overload either the input or output. You could not ask for more – other than the subjective performance, and it has won us over there! Priced at $5,999.

120dB, and the noise ratio is better than 110dB down. It features both balanced and single ended outputs, and has a very high performance headphone amplifier built in.

For those living in the purely digital world the output is selectable between fixed and variable, allowing the M6 DAC also to be used as a pre-amplifier. We understand that there is a matching M6 power amplifier due later in the year, but the M6 DAC can be paired with any power amplifier of your choice. This is an exceptional DAC for the money, one that we predict will find many a happy home. Priced at $2,695.





ctive speakers have been with us for a very long time – Meridian for example were championing the technology during the 70’s. However it is only during recent years that consumers have begun to take serious notice of the category. Triangle were recently awarded the 2018 ‘Wireless stereo speaker of the year under $1,500’ at the 2018 Sound+Image Awards for their LN-01A bookshelf speakers, which sell for $1,199 the pair.


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Sound+Image have also conducted a full review on these speakers, with the conclusion: “We thoroughly enjoyed these fine little speakers, then, with their excellent set of inputs for versatility, and truly hi-fi performance available from them. But there’s more — Triangle has just released a package in which you get the LN01A speakers along with a turntable ready to plug straight into its phono inputs. The turntable is badged to Triangle but we gather it’s a Pro-Ject underneath, and the package will have an Australian RRP of $1499, making the turntable quite the bargain add-on.

The result is a vinyl system ready to play, with Bluetooth available for streaming, and with inputs enough to handle your TV audio — a powerful combination for today’s preferences.” As you can deduct from this review the Triangle LN-01A features, among its various inputs, a phono stage allowing you to connect a turntable directly to the speakers. Their package mentioned above is ideal for anyone looking for a compact, good sounding digital based system but who has also discovered the world of vinyl. This package is available in both matte black and matte white finishes.


Antal 902 For a lucky few, we have a limited number of Triangle Antal 902 floorstanding speakers which we are running out. This is a full-sized 3-way bass reflex speaker able to easily fill living rooms with full bodied sound – they would be perfect in either a twochannel or home cinema application, offering a taut, controlled low-end heft balanced with a robust treble and finely-controlled midrange. This all adds up to a dynamic speaker that combines a good speed, transparency and precision for an undeniably enjoyable entertainment experience. Finished in a delightful Cognac or Black Ash, they are sure to sell fast! RRP $2499. Our price $1699.

TRIANGLE CABLES Triangle have also released a couple of pre-cut speaker cables. There are two models, the Opera and the Symphonie (pictured). Both have a 2.5mm² cross section, both come in 2.5mtr lengths, and both come pre-fitted with banana plugs. The ‘Opera’ is a tinned OFC (99.99% pure oxygen-free copper coated with tin) cable with special strand braiding. Tinned cables offer

better longevity by greatly limiting the corrosion or oxidation that normally occurs over time. Priced at $179 a pair. The conductors of the ‘Symphonie’ cable are made of OFHC strands of very high purity (oxygen-free copper, 99.999%). In order to eliminate any distortion and electromagnetic disturbance, the conductors have a double insulating jacket made of polyvinyl chloride separated from an antistatic sheet. It is completed with an outer sheath of fabric for better protection. The banana plugs are silver plated. Anodized aluminium caps ensure excellent signal protection. Priced at $299 a pair.

Sextan 902 Centre Speaker If you’re buying some Antal 902s for a home theatre, a 902 Sextan Centre Channel is the perfect accompaniment for your project. You’ll enjoy greater transparency and clarity to the dialogue with consistently high reliability thanks to the Sextan’s built-in electronic protection. Finished in the same Cognac or Black Ash. RRP $749. Our price $549.



Chord Qutest


hord has produced some of the best, most accessible DACs available. Using high quality silicon chips with FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) technology allows Chord to tune the hardware to exacting standards to maximize a clean

sample rate with minimal distortion. Many of Chord’s DACs include a built-in headphone amp with a long-


lasting rechargeable battery. The Hugo 2 (see our Autumn 2017 issue) has been a great success in this regard, but if you don’t need the headphone option, you can now get the same great sound from the Qutest. As a direct replacement for the excellent 2Qute, it features the same upgrades as the Hugo 2. The solidly-built aluminium box has coaxial inputs that support 24bit/384kHz PCM and DSD128 files, while its USB-type B input pushes that to 32bit/768kHz PCM and DSD512. There is also an optical input that handles PCM

files up to 24bit/192kHz with output via a pair of RCAs. And when we say solid, the architecture behind the chassis is like a rock. Precision-machined from solid aircraft-grade aluminium billet, the Qutest PCB nestles within a shallow cavity in the chassis. This gives the circuit board greater protection within the casework and additional isolation from external vibration compared to previous designs. Another new feature is the option for variable outputs. You can select between 3V, 2V, and 1V RMS via a dual press of ‘Filter’ + ‘Input’ upon start-up for flexible connectivity with a wide range of partnering devices. With its black finish and trademark vari-coloured lights that correspond to the sample rate, the Qutest is another great upgrade from Chord. Priced at $2,400. Like /lenwallisaudio on Facebook


Meridian gets in the zone


he benefits of wireless streaming, seamlessly distributed throughout your home, were delivered by Sonos almost a decade before anyone else. But since then a growing demand for a higher performance version of the technology has prompted the introduction of a myriad more expensive options – most notable being Bluesound. Meridian have been playing around the edges of this market for some time, but have now taken the technology to a higher level with their 251 Powered Zone Controller (above). The 251 is a compact 65 watt per channel/streamer/amplifier with both digital and analogue inputs. It will drive almost any passive loudspeaker and will serve as the centre-piece of a high performance stand-alone zone of music. The 251 Powered Zone Controller sells for $2,699, and given its performance and flexibility it offers excellent value. This

is for the discerning consumer who wants the flexibility of multi-room streaming, but does not want to compromise on performance.


SPEAKER SPECIAL For a limited time only Meridian is offering a free 218 zone controller – valued at $1,699 – with each pair of Meridian M6 digital active speakers. The M6’s are one of the most visually attractive speakers on the market. Combine this with their performance and price ($8,495 – which includes the built-in amplifiers and DACs) and this is a compelling solution for anyone looking for a high performance, simple to use, yet unobtrusive audio system.


AVID Listening


e have been singing the praises of AVID turntables for some time now, but this is the first time that we have had an Acutus SP


on our showroom floor. AVID is different to most companies in that they initially set out to make the very best turntable they could, resulting in the Acutus. They then trickled this technology down to less

expensive models. Most manufacturers produce an initial offering and then work to improve on that, releasing consecutively more expensive models. The fact that the Acutus turntable – released two decades ago – still forms the basis of their premium offering and still remains competitive in a market where the ‘flavour of the month’ seems to change on Like /lenwallisaudio on Facebook


“AVID is different to most companies in that they initially set out to make the very best turntable they could...”

a weekly basis, bears testament to the fact that they got it right the first time. The Acutus SP is a rare jewel of precision engineering, developed by an engineering company of great merit. This is obvious by simply looking at the unit – but it is when you listen that the magic happens. The Acutus SP sells for just over $20,000 without arm. The unit we have on display is fitted with an SME 309 tonearm – the combination selling for $23,000. Contact us if you would like to arrange an audition of this magnificent turntable.



Pro-Ject Debut Record Master

Decks on debut PRO-JECT DEBUT RECORD MASTER Pro-Ject are one of our ‘go-to’ brands for simple and straight-forward turntables, and the Debut Record Master (pictured above) continues the trend with great looks and reliability. Based on their popular range of Debut tables, the Record Master goes a little bit further with an in-built phono stage to get you going right away. Added to that is the convenience of a speed selector right on the plinth, avoiding having to manually change the belt for adjustment. The OM10 cartridge is perfectly suited to the table, and having a USB output allows you to save that vinyl sound directly to your computer for listening on the go with your favourite digital device. But this is all about the analogue. An increased platter size and weight results in even smoother rotation, ensuring the overall sound quality is greatly improved. The approved belt-drive design offers a low noise AC motor with effective motor decoupling (utilising TPE), and an ultra-precision frequency DC-driven AC generator for ultimate speed stability. Top all that off with a beautiful woodgrain finish and clear dustcover, and this turntable is perfect for the person keen to jump on the vinyl boat but who is serious about their music. No surprise, then, that the Record Master is already proving a popular sell. Priced at $799.


REGA PLANAR 6 The successor to the hugely popular RP6, the all new Rega Planar 6 raises the bar for performance. This turntable has been designed from the ground up after several years in development, and it continues Rega’s constant evolution of design. Visually, the deck (pictured below) is beautiful, with an elegant and minimalist feel about it. Most feel that turntables

“This turntable has been designed from the ground up after several years in development...”

look better without a lid, but the Planar 6’s example might just change your opinion. With its stylish smoked appearance, it’s a well thought-out inclusion. From a technical perspective the new Neo PSU borrows a lot of technology from Rega’s RP10, including the RP10’s DSP (digital signal processing) generator, which is built upon a high stability crystal. The DSP generator has been designed to feed the motor with the purest power supply possible – in effect, a sine wave which is completely unaffected by mains interference. Other technical highlights include: • A super-lightweight foam core plinth; • A plinth laminate of new Polaris HPL (high pressure laminate), a nonmarking matt finish scratch-resistant high rigidity skin; • Beautiful high gloss black polymer edging; • New single piece aluminium sub platter; • New custom -machined high precision drive pulley; • Patent pending central brass hub; • Rega’s double brace technology, with integral custom matched aluminium tonearm and hub pillars to ensure maximum rigidity and accuracy; • New aluminium foot trims and Planar style feet; • RB330 handmade precision tonearm with custom stainless weight; • Moving Coil or Moving Magnet. In our opinion, this package represents fantastic value for money, and should be considered as a logical choice or future upgrade path. Priced at $1999 (without cartridge).

Rega Planar 6

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Yamaha’s networked stereo receiver


he new Yamaha R-N303D network Hi-Fi stereo receiver (with DAB+ digital radio) provides a huge array of playback options for wallet-conscious audio enthusiasts. The timeless brushed-metal design encapsulates an ability to play music from online streaming services, mobile devices, computers, and legacy audio devices like CD players, providing a true all-in-one solution for those who can never quite settle on their preferred listening method

— or who have favourite music strewn across many formats. In addition, the receiver offers all the advantages of Yamaha’s MusicCast multiroom integration, allowing it to deliver content to any MusicCast-enabled speakers or soundbars in your home, all controlled via a mobile app. The full list of connectivity options includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay, DLNA and Ethernet, with music streaming integrations that include Spotify and Tidal,

as well as thousands of internet radio stations and DAB+ digital radio. The stereo receiver uses a high-quality Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter that allows 24-bit lossless audio playback. Perhaps the best thing about the Yamaha R-N303 is the price: the 140-watt receiver retails for just $699, making it a great option for those who are just getting into the world of high quality music, but who still want all the functionality of the highest-end set-ups.

Krell – all the quality, now at a lower price! Krell has represented the pinnacle of amplifier design for decades. Audiophiles around the world aspire to own a Krell. That aspiration is now a little easier to achieve. Krell has been repriced in Australia to bring it into line with US pricing, and in some instances they are

slightly better than ‘in line’. Some of the reductions have been significant, resulting in fantastic value. Most significant is the 200 watt/ channel Digital Vanguard integrated amplifier. Already considered to offer value at $9,995 it has been repriced at

$7,995. Its less expensive sibling, the same amplifier minus the digital inputs simply called the Vanguard, is now $6,495. Also the ever popular Solo 575 Class ‘A’ mono-block power amps, rated at 575 watts RMS, have been reduced from $19,995 to $15,995 each.



“The makers promise zero saturation and absolutely no background noise – meaning power, precision and clarity...”

Phantom power


he Devialet Phantom looks like no other wireless speaker. When it launched a couple of years ago, it could be pushed up to an impressive 750 watts of sound output with very little if any distortion from its unusual driver configuration. As a result it carved out a new following of Phantom devotees. Following on from its success, Devialet decided to show what it was capable of, with a 3,000-watt Silver model and then an even more amazing 4,500-watt Gold version, The only trouble with this was it made the original entry model look like a little bit of a poor relation. That’s now been remedied with the release of an updated 1,200watt “white” Phantom. The headline-grabbing feature of this new-improved Phantom is of course the four-figure or 60 percent peak output increase, but the sound pressure level (SPL) has also gone up from 99dB to 101dB (at 1m), total harmonic distortion/noise is reported to be a remarkable 0.0005 percent, and the makers promise zero saturation


and absolutely no background noise – meaning ‘power, precision and clarity’ become the marketing catch-phrases. A glassfibre-filled polycarbonate inner skin surrounded by ABS housing with an aluminium central core is home to the Phantom’s aluminium tweeter, mid-range and side-firing bass drivers, and it has an updated version of Devialet’s ADH technology (which is said to significantly boost performance by “blending all the sophistication of Class A analog with all the power and compactness of Class D

digital technology”), with a 24-bit/192kHz DAC and ARM Cortex A9 brains, plus support from 512 MB of DDR3 RAM. The high-end audio thrower features dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with aptX (for “CD-like” streaming quality), Gigabit Ethernet and an optical input for connection to a games console or TV. The Phantom is described by Devialet as putting out a high-end ultra-dense sound, and previous incarnations have certainly pleased industry pundits and audio lovers alike. Its functionality is controlled via the Spark companion app for Windows, OSX, iOS or Android, where users can play music, set up playlists and access streaming services like Deezer and Tidal, as well as tune into internet radio. The New Phantom is now priced at $2,690 – some $300 less than the original launch price.

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Bowers & Wilkins DB4S


owered by a mighty 1000W of digital amplification, and featuring the same Aerofoil-profile cone technology found in the 800 Series Diamond, the new DB4S delivers unrivalled precision, control and authority for a subwoofer in its price range. It’s the perfect partner for the company’s 700 Series speakers to deliver high-performance acoustics in home cinema environments, as well as being suitable for big and small living rooms. Styled classically, the DB4S provides more authority and control, using a digital preamplifier that features industrybest Dynamic EQ for better performance no matter how scattered the frequency range. As well as Dynamic EQ, Room EQ ensures that the audio is suited for most

living room configurations. The DB4S also has its own smartphone app, which offers easy control options, including adjusting the calibration and making quick corrections. The B&W DB4S uses a single 250mm (10 inch) Aerofoil bass cone backed by that maximum power output of 1000W. It achieves a frequency response of 10Hz to 350Hz -3dB (centred on level at 100Hz), though its actual power consumption is quoted at 195 watts at 1/8th of its rated power, and less than 0.5W power consumption when it is in standby mode. The active closed box subwoofer system is 377mm in height, 360 mm in width and 368mm in depth – robust, withstanding any vibrations and ensuring a better overall listening experience.

Net weight is 26kg. Ideal to be combined with the Bowers & Wilkins 700 series speakers, it shares their finish options of Rosenut, Gloss Black and Satin White. Priced at $2599.



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PRO-JECT VC-S RECORD CLEANER One of the consequences of the return to vinyl is that many people are re-discovering their (or their parents’) old collections. However in many cases their condition leaves a little to be desired, which in turn has heralded a return to record cleaning machines. One of the best value units on the market is the Pro-Ject VC-S, which sells for $899. This wet cleaner utilises – like most quality record cleaners – a vacuum pump system. Where it varies from most systems is that it is fast, rotating the record at 2 or 3 times the speed of some of its more expensive competitors. Cleaning one side of a record takes around one minute. Another distinction is that the cleaning fluid developed by Pro-Ject does not contain any alcohol, a substance which may harm record surfaces. Pro-Ject have even developed a label-sized clamp to prevent any damage to the label for the fluid used. John Darko recently reviewed this unit and while doing so measured the surface noise of a record before and after cleaning. The results are more than impressive. I would suggest you have a read for yourself on his website: <https://> . His final conclusion was “Pro-Ject’s VC-S record cleaning machine (and fluid) (is) a must have for any crate digger serious about returning previously DJ-d vinyl to home-playable condition.” The Hi-Fi Pig review concluded: “If you collect a lot of vinyl or have a large collection already this is a no brainer product you must have.” And Audio Appraisal: “The VCS is a high quality yet affordable cleaning machine that produces outstanding results.” What more can we say? The Pro-Ject VC-S Record Cleaner is priced at $899.


Panasonic DMR-UBT1GL-K This machine does it all. It is a 4K UHD Blu-ray player, it has a massive 2TB hard-drive for full HD recording and twin tuners – which means recording on one channel while watching something on the other (a surprising handy peace keeper when you have a programming clash!). The unit also offers extensive networking features

NAD C 328 amplifier In the last issue of The Hi-Fi Headlines we mentioned the 50 watt/channel $999 C 338 integrated amplifier from NAD, which comes with Chromecast connectivity. NAD have just released another version of this called the C 328. The

such as 4K VOD (Video on Demand) via Netflix, plus the ability to enjoy live and recorded content via your smartphone or tablet. You can also easily register TV programs to make sure that they are automatically recorded and stored, so you’ll never miss out on recording your favourite weekly. Well done Panasonic! The DMR-UBT1GL-K sells for $999.

specifications are the same with the exception that it does not have Chromecast on board, but still supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Like the C 338 the ‘328 also features a phono stage, both optical and coaxial inputs, and a high quality headphone amplifier. The C 328 sells for $799.



Stax anniversary editions We have said many a time that we believe that the Stax range of electrostatic headphones is the best out there (or at least we thought so, until we heard the €50,000 HA-1 from Sennheiser). Stax is celebrating its 80th anniversary, and to celebrate has released two limited commemorative models.

SR-L300 Limited Earspeaker

SRM-353XBK drive unit

Based on the existing L300 but with the sound element from the SR-L700 and the ear-pads from the SR-L500, this headphone (or ‘Earspeaker’ as Stax refers to them) will sell for $999, giving it the performance of the SR-L700 at the price of the SR-L500.

An upgraded version of the existing SRM-353X; this will sell for $1,699. The only drawback, as mentioned, is that this is a very limited release with Australia receiving only 15 systems. They have confirmed that there will not be a future production run, so if you are interested in a pair (we will not be splitting the combination) I’d suggest that you let us know.

NEW PRICING Like so many other brands covered in this newsletter, Stax have had a price reposition. Stax pricing relative to their competition has been dropping for some time now, but the latest round of changes makes the brand more affordable than ever. This range is now one of the bargains of the industry – if you have not listened to a pair do yourself a favour and do so. New pricing is shown here.





SR-L300 earspeaker / SRM252 driver $1,199

SR-L500 earspeaker/ SRM353 driver $2,499

SR-007MK2 Earspeaker / SRM-727II driver $5,998 Like /lenwallisaudio on Facebook

Incredibly Loaded. Now Unbelievably Priced. EFFORTLESS AMPLIFICATION Musical Fidelityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s range of amplifiers now start from just $1995 making them more affordable than ever. By combining 30+ years of audio expertise and the latest technical innovations, Musical Fidelity has created a family of powerful hi-fi separates offering exceptional performance.

Nu-Vista 800 NOW $12,995

M5si NOW $2,995

M6si NOW $3,995

M3si NOW $1,995

So whether youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re taking your first steps towards better performance or striding into the world of high-end products, Musical Fidelity will take you there for a lot less than you might expect.

For more information & details of your nearest stockist visit or call 02 9882 3877


Special Frames Star Trek: One for the Trekkies! Signed by eight of the cast, including Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and DeForest Kelly, plus screenwriter and producer Gene Roddenberry. Price $4,995.

Some time ago we acquired a private collection of music, movies and special interest signed posters. We have since acquired a three-frame Star Wars set (pictured above) which we are now adding to the remaining frames. This set, signed by the cast and crew, including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Dave Prowse, John Williams and George Lucas is being offered as a complete set for $6,900 (Antiquities of California currently have these listed for US$8,985 the set). We have also repriced some of our remaining frames: The Avengers: Signatures include Robert Downey Jnr., Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johanssen and Stan Lee. Price $1,699.


Director’s Cut (below left): signed by Martin Scorsese, Stephen Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Price $799. Director’s Cut Film Can: 12 of the greatest all-time movie directors, signed by all of the above plus among others Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone and Clint Eastwood. Price $4,995.

The Rat Pack: This includes an original copy of Frank Sinatra’s album ‘Sinatra ‘65’, and has been signed by all five members of the Rat Pack. Price $4,995. Apollo 11: Signed by Neil Armstrong, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldwin and Michael Collins. Fantastic piece of history. Price $5,995.

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A new Roon is in da house.


n our last newsletter we predicted that we would be selling Roon hardware by Christmas. In this newsletter we are predicting that by the time you read it we will have stock of the less expensive of the two models, the Nucleus, but will have to wait a month or more for its big brother, Nucleus+. Roon is best known as a software program, and is arguably the best music streaming interface on the market, promoting itself as ‘The music player for music lovers’. While still a relative newcomer, the brains behind Roon have been around for some time. One of the first, and still one of the best, music management systems was the Sooloos Music Server, released over a decade ago, and subsequently purchased by Meridian. Roon Labs was spun off from this company in 2015. In recent times we have witnessed many manufacturers release Roonready devices, including Krell, PS Audio, Meridian, Bluesound, NAD, Naim, Oppo

– the list goes on. Roon have now released two hardware devices of their own. The combined power of Roon and Nucleus offers the kind of flexibility and ease of use that no other media server can. Whether you have a full Sonos system, a stereo pair of Devialet Phantoms, or an OPPO UDP-205 (or a combination of all those devices and more!), Roon is able to combine different device streaming platforms into a single, easy to use interface that has enough

depth to satisfy even the most demanding of listeners. Once you’ve got the Nucleus set up, you’ll be able to access your digital music library (be it on an external hard drive, a NAS drive, or through Tidal) through the app on your phone, tablet or computer, and easily stream it all through the house. And this is what separates Roon from the rest. It’s able to handle an astounding array of music formats with grace, and Nucleus backs it up with the power to keep it running as smoothly and seamlessly via your home network. Nucleus, selling for $1,995, will stream music up to five zones, and will manage a library of up to 12,000 albums. For those with more expansive properties and larger collections the Nucleus+ at $3,499 will stream to an almost unlimited number of zones, and handle hundreds of thousands of tracks.



THE REFERENZ CONNECTION Inakustik LS-2404 AIR speaker cable. Made in Germany.


nakustik have quickly established themselves in Australia as a leading high-end cable manufacturer. They are obviously not content to rest on their laurels, and they continue to push the envelope of cable design, as demonstrated by their new Referenz LS-2402 AIR cable. It is easy to dismiss cable manufacturing as being a black art, however the technology and the detail that has gone into this cable is extraordinary. Hand-built in Germany, the LS-2404 AIR is based on its predecessor, the popular LS-2404, and there are a number of unique technologies employed in the development of this cable: • Air Helix Structure: Inakustik have developed a unique clip to ensure that air insulation is as close to perfect as possible. A large number of these clips form the supporting structure on the inside of the cable. This holds the signal conductor free in the air in a helix form and guides it through the cable at defined intervals. The flexibility of this construction is attained with two bridges that hold the clips together evenly and at exact intervals. • Cross Link Super Speed Waveguides: The conductors themselves also play a major role. The LS-2404 is made of 24 highly pure copper wires braided on a PE core. An exceedingly thin coating layer on the PE-NETWORK JACKET


wires prevents eddy currents inside this Cross Link Super-Speed Waveguide. • Double Layer Multicore: The finding that the loudspeaker cable should primarily have a low inductivity has been optimally implemented in the LS2404 AIR. The two-layer arrangement of the double-layer multicore allows the conductors to overlap and neutralise the magnetic fields that arise around the individual conductors. This considerably reduces the inductivity of the cable and also allows the high sound frequencies to be transferred without hindrance or time delays. • PE-Network Jacket. Every additional type of material used (such as PVC insulation) impairs the electrical characteristics of a cable. Therefore the Reference cables are braided with the PE network jacket using a sophisticated technique. This means the cables consist of only two materials: copper and polyethylene. Priced at $5,995 per 3mtr pair.

Unique technologies and extraordinary detail combine in the new Inakustik Referenz LS-2402 AIR cable. CONDUCTORS


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ST2 Antenna

FM is still a very viable source of quality listening. Many people are unaware that FM offers a marked improvement over Digital Radio (DAB+), which is in turn a huge improvement over AM. The best FM tuners come from Magnum Dynalab in Canada, so it is hardly surprising that they make one of the best FM antennas as well. The ST-2 concentrates its reception ‘focus’ only on the horizontal plane providing a stronger single to the tuner with flutter and fading. It is also less susceptible to multipath interference, a problem in heavily built-up areas. The ST-2 sells for $199.

AudioQuest DragonFly Red & Black While the original DragonFly defined the market for microDACs, its USB power draw made it compatible with computers only. Music lovers have craved a more portable version — one that could be reliably used with Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. The DragonFly Black and DragonFly Red do just that. Convenience and performance are no longer mutually exclusive. With DragonFly Black and Red, any computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone can be used as a true high-fidelity music player, allowing music lovers to enjoy beautiful sound wherever they go, whenever they please. The DragonFly Black is priced at $160. The DragonFly Red is priced at $320.

Meridian Explorer2 DAC It is even a better time to get a hold of the Meridian Explorer2 DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter). This is a great solution to maximise the quality of sound when outputting from your computer, and you can take full advantage of MQA (from the TIDAL streaming service) to get easy access to hi-res audio. Price $479.



Musical Fidelity Roundtable The Musical Fidelity Roundtable turntable initially came onto the Australian market at $1,299, and its performance indicated that this was a fair price. However the Roundtable does not have a Perspex cover, and due to slow sales the distributors quickly reduced the price to $999 - making this great value. We are now down to a handful of Roundtables, selling for $699. If you can do without a Perspex cover (tea towel anyone!) this is a great buy. Available in both black and red.

Les Davis 3D(2) Discs The product provides “viscoelastic layer damping for audio equipment” – quite a mouthful!! You might wonder how these little silver discs work but the technology used is a proven one, called Constrained Layer Damping (CLD), used most notably in the aerospace industry. It involves sandwiching a viscoelastic material between two layers of a stiffer material.

Place two of these under each foot of all audio components that generate and/or store mechanical and electrical energy, including your lap-top if it is part of your system (I kid you not) . The pack sells for $99.00, and contains enough discs for two pieces of equipment. Plus we are happy to back this product – if it does not work, bring the pack back for a full refund.

Musical Fidelity V90 LPS The quality of your phono stage is widely overlooked for new adopters of vinyl, but a great unit can really bring more “life” to your records. This compact unit from Musical Fidelity is a modestly priced, very high performance MM/MC phono stage with superb technical performance. This is a great option for those exploring the capabilities of vinyl and is available in silver for $349.

IsoAcoustics GAIA Good, good, good Vibra...pods

Yamaha makes streaming easy This must be the easiest way to stream digital music to an existing system – Yamaha’s MXAD-10 utilises their MusicCast streaming platform to access Spotify, Tidal and other streaming platforms. With an in-built Burr-Brown DAC, a digital stream is converted to a clean analogue sound. Also equipped with Bluetooth and AirPlay, it is available for $229.


Unwanted vibrations in your system are never welcome and can sonically compromise musical playback. Vibrapods can fix this by replacing your existing equipment feet (which are often fairly basic) and start soaking up those unwanted vibrations right away. The improvements they can deliver might well be the most cost-effective HiFi tweak on the market today. There are five models to cover differing weights of equipment from 1kg up to 13kg so you can get the one that’s right for your gear! Priced from $39.95 for a set of four.

Sometimes what seems the simplest of tweaks makes all the difference to your sound. IsoAcoustics’ range of GAIA speaker isolators transform your speakers, making them sound better that you thought possible. GAIA provides a high degree of isolation while resisting lateral movement and oscillations to maintain alignment with the listening position. You will be amazed how the sound ‘opens up’ as vibration is absorbed through IsoAcoustics’ patented design. Delivered in sets of 4 with alternative thread sizes to fit most speakers, GAIAs come in three sizes depending on the weight of your speakers – up to 32kg $299, to 54kg $425, up to 100kg $999. Like /lenwallisaudio on Facebook


Tivoli Audio


he Tivoli Model One has been on the market for almost 20 years, and it is still going strong. However technology moves on, and Tivoli have released an additional range of products (the Art Collection) to reflect these changes. What has not changed is their commitment to producing some of the best-sounding radio-based products on the market.

Model One Digital



Loosely based on the Model One this unit has DAB+, FM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It merges the simplicity and user-friendly features that Tivoli Audioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s classic line is known for, but with a tech refresh.

This wireless speaker can be configured to offer mono, stereo (two Orbs) or multi-room audio playback. It can be free standing, or you can hang it on the wall. There are multiple finishes available.

Tivoli have reduced the prices on most of their range, and the Music System+ has been reduced from $1,299 to $999. This stereo unit incorporates CD, DAB+ and FM radio, Bluetooth, dual alarm and remote.

RACK SPECIALS We have recently purchased a number of Alphason Hi-Fi racks at a very attractive price. There are three models of particular interest: AD3/105: Three-shelf glass and metal stand: $399 AD2/105: Two-shelf glass and metal stand (pictured): $299. AD3/96: Three-shelf glass and metal stand with screen mount: $599.

Ortofon stylus pressure gauge scale and cartridge alignment While turntables are increasing in popularity, many people are not aware that taking care of your stylus is extremely important in getting the best sound and

longest life out of your investment. Using the Ortofon Alignment Tool ($8) ensures your cartridge is aligned properly in the grooves of your record. The Stylus Pressure Gauge Scale ($13) confirms that your tone arm is weighted properly. It is a small price to get the most out of your investment.


Yamaha RX-A3070 AV Receiver of the Year Over $2,000

Len Wallis Audio Headlines Autumn 2018  

The official newsletter of Len Wallis Audio

Len Wallis Audio Headlines Autumn 2018  

The official newsletter of Len Wallis Audio