Sunday, March 24, 2013


Tube integrated amplifier

The Copland CTA 405 is a 2x50W Class-AB
 Valve Amplifier featuring integrated RIAA Phono Amplifier for Moving Magnet
 and High Output Moving Coil Cartridges.

I recently had the chance to make an audition of this great valve amp, in my system in which I'm using my favourite Luxman SQ-38U with 6CA7 power tubes.  Now, the Copland Valve intgrated amp is using 4 KT-88 valves at the power stage  to deliver 2x50 Watts supported by a high standard construction for its price range. Three big transformers from which one is toroidal make us sure that this amp is well fed any time and in any case with plenty of power. The internal architecture is great and everything is well placed, in order.
The design is quite minimal and personally I would prefer a better in terms of quality, casing for the machine, to be in balance with the high quality internal construction. Also a better ventilated chassis would be fine, because during function top plate of the machines becomes so hot that you cannot touch it.

CTA 405 replaced my Luxman Valve amplifier and it drove my Audio Physics Scorpio II's. The first impression I had was that I was in front of an amplifier of at least double of its nominal power output! Great control tight Bass with fine articulation and overall weight. Big bodies and a big soundstage was also someof its highlighted characteristics with an ability to present clear sound idols in the soundstage. Mids were clear with plenty of detail followed by  a transparnt feeling until the highs. Analysis was also in great amounts and generally the feeling was that I had in front of me an excellent machine. Tonally my Luxman sounds more musical but this is a characteristic of the 6CA7 tube which is more audio oriented in application then the KT-88 which was build for military application. That doesn't mean that the Copland is less musical. It goes more to the side of transistor like feeling, sound but it still more musical. Something that is felt in voices which have this charming tube like sense. The amp is remote controlled and offers 5 inputs, phono stage for MM and MC cartridge.

The truth is that CTA 405 focuses in music and performance and not in fancy looks and tricks. Having a fine functionality with remote, enough inputs, and the option to tweak it's sound by changing its 11 tubes, is a fine machine and it is more than sure that it will please its buyer! Give it an Audition!

Saturday, March 9, 2013





The Swedish company is well known in the circles of  Audio friends. It has become known by the high price-performance ratio but also on the qualitative realization of devices always giving emphasis and attention on the part of all power devices. Always focuses on the substance of the target is the sound quality rather than gimmicks. Last renewed its range of products to all levels presenting devices that conform to the requirements of the time and especially the digital sound.From the range of products, could not miss of course, a D / A Converter the time when a large percentage of the audience is no longer large digital music library. The new Primare DAC 30 So is the proposal of the Swedish manufacturer reproduction and utilization of valuable intangible digital music and materials (CD) files that have.


The first impression created by the DAC 30 is the sense of solidity of weight (8.5 pounds), not a few, since we are accustomed to lighter and smaller devices of its kind. Implemented in 'normal' sized chassis follows the known design company line with the thick part of the facade of brushed aluminum to 'stand' from the rest of the main section, with a metal piece which connects the housing to the remainder of the device, leaving a gap, which together with three metal mountings, gives a distinct feel to the device, followed and in other embodiments of the company, and features. The sense of construction is very good in all respects. The implementation of the parts is flawless, like weighing - balance the three support points of the inverter. At the front there are the basics and the feeling that prevails is of minimalism. So there are two buttons, one on the left, which is the switch / standby accompanied by a soft white with blue led, which lights up when the device is in standby. Right there is the option button of the digital inputs of the device which is five. Between the two buttons located above the company logo and below are two lines led us to update mode. The top line informs the longer of the five inputs is active with equal led and bottom row with six led us shows each time the frequency of the incoming digital signal at levels of 44, 48, 88, 96, 176 and 192khz respectively. And here ends the facilities as I think it would be useful to have a regulatory level, or maybe some options of digital filters. On the back side now the first thing one notices is the completeness Connections - inputs that has the inverter making it very versatile, able to accept up to a large number of devices that can have one of the rack. So from right to left we have the plug to the main ignition switch, followed by a digital coaxial output, a USB port asynchronous Level 24/192, an input AES / EBU (XLR) and then the remaining three inputs, which consist of an optical input and an omaoaxoniki each, all level 24/192. On the left side there are two pairs of end analog outputs, an Unbalanced (RCA) and a Balanced (XLR). Passing inside the device come in front of a quality implementation with emphasis on correct and more than adequate provisioning of circuits, based on past experience of the Swedish manufacturer with options and solutions are mistaken and in other constructions. So find a transformer type R-Core with special wrap for the analog and digital circuitry. The capacitance of the capacitors on the digital stage of the device reaches the number of 48.000mF and the number of analog Mf 74,000 (!) Numbers encountered in integrated medium power amplifiers. For users and / or computers, the USB input which as we said is asynchronous, using the XMOS Chipset which requires the installation of this driver (driver software) to operate at USB 2.0. H software installation is easy downloading from the site of primare. The digital signal from the remaining inlets and from the chip of the XMOS USB, driven in a SRC4392 sample rate converter which implements upsampling level 24/192 to all incoming signals to the accuracy of the information and zeroing the jitter . After this signal is fed to a Chip of Crystal, for transformation, the CS4398 DSD DAC (however not supported by the DAC playback DSD) which delivers the analog signal to MOSFETs for outputs RCA and OpAmps for weighted outputs (XLR) . These elements predispose least positive for the sound effect.


The DAC was placed on my system, consisting of the speakers Audio Physic Scorpio II, the amplifier Luxman SQ 38U and fed digitally alternately from both Laptop I have a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo (Windows XP), one Lenovo (Windows 7) and in my Desktop which is setarismeno to play music only (Windows 7). The software was foobar2000 player with the necessary components, but also a DAW program with native players algorithms. Occasionally used and the player that I have, Marantz CD 6000 OSE Limited Edition. The wiring was VDH, Ultralink and Audio Agile.This is the first minute is clear musicality of the converter but not in the sense of a colored effect, but the extroversion of the middle and especially mesoupsiles frequencies. The sound is effortless flow regardless of the level of analysis of the incoming signal across something that favors the reproduction of acoustic instruments such as the piano or the guitar that the notes almost naturally fade in time domain unhurriedly with harmonic completeness. Bites strings and percussion, have speed and cue that impresses and gives strong sense of listening live. Generally across the inverter has vitality and speed that comes naturally without the slightest feeling of anxiety and michanikotitas. Heard it has high levels of transparency in the mid and high frequencies reinforcing a sense of three-dimensional sound recordings, leaving her to breathe on our site and not among our speakers. The DAC 30 has great soundstage in all axes, leaving bodies in hearing between sets to breathe without creating confusion or blur in bright passages or richer ensembles. Each instrument is focused and firm, very well in the imaginary space of the regenerated sound stage and I could not ever noticed any ambiguity. The atmosphere of each recording alleging comfortable making hearing have immediacy. In no case, however forgave mistakes recordings, but not expose any mediocrity so ostentatious but as a result of high-resolution features and rich tile and tiniest micro and macro detail. Wealth of detail in recording quality allows you to observe the slightest movement, scratching chord, the musical breath, ie all those little details that make listening to music exciting. To this end let the low frequencies were Mrs. cue excellent volume without excessive detriment of frequency balance with the rest of the spectrum. Have fist volume and high tension vibrated space featuring very good and clear articulation and performance personally charmed.
As I listened to the inverter input or USB, either coaxial or optical from PC or CDplayer, performance was high with high resolution files to show their teeth. The manufacturer's design choices and experience in the area created a converter that gives basis to the essence of music and not unnecessary (maybe) functions perfectly capable of supporting the immaterial and material music library and to cope with the digital age. Great!

Naim Nait XS

Naim Nait XS

The British Naim company is well known among the audiophilers all over the world for its design and sceptic around Hi-Fi. Minimal looks fine build quality and performance in all products, plus flexibility of upgrading through a range of external transformers. This time I had the chance to come across and audition the affordable Naim Nait XS amplifier. The Nait XS replaced my tube amplifier for about a week and I made a lot of listening!

Naim is also known for the low nominal output of its amplifiers which behave like they have the double output. Result of fine power supply design. So the Naim nait XS was called to drive my Audio Physics Scorpio II with 60 watts at 8ohms per channel rated power output.
Nait XS did it fine. Well controlled and tight bass,clear mids and highs wit analysis and fine articulation.
High frequencies were detailed and presentation of detail was very good. Mids were clear and detailed as well and well integrated with highs and mids. I would prefer a more transparent performance across the spectrum. Tone was neutral but without the feeling of cold sound.

Surely a more than decent choice for someone who likes neutral sound and wants driving capabilities in a modest price level. Very good.