Monthly Archives: January 2012


CANADA HiFi has teamed up with Nordost to giveaway four Nordost Leif Blue Heaven LS Power Cords!

Most audio video enthusiasts realize the importance of clean, stable power delivery to their precious gear and how this can have a tremendous impact on the sound and video performance. Nordost has been developing and advancing cable technology for more than 20 years and the results continue to impress audio video enthusiasts around the world.

The image belows shows the Nordost Leif cable line.

Discover Nordost’s latest Leif product line and unlock the full potential of your system – you’ll be amazed with what you’ve been missing!

To qualify for this giveaway, simply ‘Like’ the Nordost and CANADA HiFi Facebook pages between February 1 and March 31, 2012. As members of this forum know the chances of winning here are pretty high since this forum is still relatively young and doesn’t have a huge number of members (although we have thousands of monthly readers). Note that this contest is open to everyone who has a Facebook account (in Canada and the US), not just CANADA HiFi forum members.

Click the two links below to visit the Nordost and CANADA HiFi Facebook pages:

For more information about Nordost products, please check out


Shure has just expanded its headphone line with the addition of the company’s first new open-back models – the SRH1440 and SRH1840 professional open back headphones.  These open-back models provide an alternate choice, designed for professional engineers who require a reference sound comparable to near-field monitors to achieve the best mix and production quality, and passionate audiophiles seeking an enhanced listening experience with professional sound quality. Leveraging superior sound, comfort, sleek design, and legendary Shure quality, the SRH1440 and SRH1840 are engineered to withstand the rigors of everyday use, while creating an exceptionally natural sound, wide stereo image, and increased depth of field. The open-back, circumaural design of the new SRH models enables sound to move more freely and with minimal distortion. This contributes to increased audio fidelity and a unique listening experience when compared to closed-back headphones. Customers will now engage in a more immersive listening experience, whether at home or in a professional mastering or post/editing studio.

The SRH1840 model features:

• Individually matched 40mm neodymium drivers for unparalleled acoustic performance with smooth, high-end extension
• Aircraft-grade aluminum alloy yoke and stainless steel grilles for enhanced durability and custom-crafted lightweight design
• Steel driver frame with a vented center pole piece to improve linearity and eliminate internal resonance for consistent performance at all listening levels
• Ergonomic dual-frame, padded headband is lightweight and fully adjustable for hours of listening comfort

The SRH1440 model features:

• 40mm neodymium drivers, to deliver full-range audio with rich, controlled bass and detailed highs in a sleek, attractive design
• Optimized impedance for a direct connection to a wide range of portable audio devices
• A premium-padded headband with a steel frame for a comfortable fit

Both models feature a dual-side detachable cable with Kevlar reinforced jacket and gold-plated MMCX connectors enabling secure connection and easy replacement. Other accessories include a storage case, replacement set of velour earpads, and an extra cable—promising years of uninterrupted listening enjoyment.

The SRH1440 and SRH1840 headphones are available now.

For more info, please visit


The digital edition of the February/March 2012 issue is now available in the Digital Editions section!

Features inside this issue include:

  • 4K Resolution: The Next Evolution of Video
  • How Much Amplifier Power Do I Need?
  • 2012 CES Highlights: A Look at the Latest Tech Coming Your Way This Year
  • Streaming Movies: An Alternative To Watching Movies From a Disc (Part 2): Evaluating Video Quality of Various Streaming Devices and Services

Reviewed inside:

  • Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD LCD TV
  • Reev Designs Aatma Loudspeakers
  • Woo Audio WA22 Fully Balanced Transformer Coupled Headphone Amplifier

Click HERE to jump to the Digital Editions page

iPad/iPhone/iPod touch users – please open the CANADA HiFi App on your Apple device and you will now see this new issue on the home page of the App.  If you haven’t downloaded the free CANADA HiFi App just yet, please do so from the App Store on your device.


Ultrasone, has just introduced a new headphone product, their Signature PRO headphone. This is the first model in Ultrasone’s new select range of headphone products that are “made in Germany”. The new range will cater to the discerning music enthusiast as well as professional users.

The Signature PRO is a handcrafted headphone that utilizes patented technologies such as S-Logic Plus, with the intent of appealing to musicians, sound engineers and music enthusiasts. With a classic design and high-quality materials, the Signature PRO is intended to provide excellent performance with style that is inspired of Ultrasone’s own Edition 9 headphones.

The Signature PRO uses a 40-millimetre titanium-plated sound transducer that has a frequency range of 8 Hz to 42 kHz. The decentralized arrangement of the sound transducers within the ear cup creates a pleasant spatial sound. Thanks to a ‘broader’ stereo platform, all signals in the panorama can be particularly well located. The S-Logic Plus technology that has been patented all over the world also ensures an outstanding depth of sound: this gives musicians and sound engineers a perfect feeling for their mix, and music lovers experience their favourite tracks exactly as intended by the respective artists. The closed design principle supports S-Logic Plus with a precise and present low frequency range.

The Signature glass nameplates on both ear cups are a visual highlight that blends harmoniously into the form of the headphones. The high-quality black leather and the special soft-touch coating ensure a pleasant, firm grip and are what give the Signature PRO its visual appeal.

Ultrasone has developed a new headband system that ensures comfortable listening even after long periods of use. In addition to special upholstery that follows the shape of the head, the ear-cup pads and head pad are covered with Ethiopian sheep’s leather, which is said to enhance comfort and greatly increase durability. Weighing in at 300 grams, the Signature PRO is no heavier than conventional headphones.

Ultrasone has paid particular attention to the headphone cabling: thanks to a bayonet fastening on the left ear cup, the cable can be exchanged in a flash. The headphones come with two high-quality Neutrik connectors: a 1.5m cable with a 3.5mm gold-plated jack and a 3.0m cable with a gold-plated 6.3mm stereo jack.

• S-Logic Plus technology
• Dynamic principle, closed
• Frequency range 8 – 42,000 Hz
• Impedance 32 Ohm
• Sound pressure level 98 dB
• ULE technology, MU Metal bufferboard, field emission in accordance with ULE standard
• 40 mm titanium-plated driver
• Magnet: NdFeB
• Weight: 300 g
• Includes transportation case
• 2 detachable cords with B-lock connection:
– 3.0 m straight cable with gold-plated 6.3 mm Neutrik plug
– 1.5 m straight cable with gold-plated 3.5 mm Neutrik plug/angled

The Ultrasone Signature PRO headphones are available now for $1,299 U.S. and come with a storage case. Additional models in the Signature line are expected in 2012.

Look for more details on this product at:


Nordost, took CES 2012 as an opportunity to launch their latest product line, the Norse Series 2. The introduction of the original Norse Series cables brought the benefits of Micro Mono-Filament (MMF) technology down to real world price-points and into real world systems, seriously elevating performance standards and expectations. Now the Norse Series 2 represents the latest evolution in Nordost’s cable technology. By combining the proven benefits of MMF construction with the latest developments in the mechanical tuning and optimization of conductors, topology and termination, Nordost claims to have achieved a significant breakthrough in cable performance.

The new Norse Series 2 will have the same family structure that was introduced with the Leif Series, including AC cables to source, interconnect and speaker cables at three distinct performance levels.

The new Norse 2 relies on essentially the same construction and parallel, multiple solid-core conductors, first seen in Nordost’s Valhalla cables, but features important refinements in the dimensions, number, spacing and arrangement of the conductors. All Norse 2 conductors are silver-plated copper with FEP (Teflon) insulation. Interconnects and speaker cables differ only in the number of conductors used and their gauge, with Heimdall 2 offering a full suite of AC, digital and tonearm options. Frey 2 also offers AC and tonearm leads, while the Tyr 2 is confined to interconnects and speaker cables alone.

Pricing begins at $899.99 U.S. for one-meter Heimdall 2 interconnects and extends to $2399.99 U.S. for Tyr 2. The range for speaker cables is $1799.99 U.S. to $5999.99 U.S. per two-meter pair. Power cords start at $799.99 U.S. per two-meter length and extend to $1899.99 U.S.

Look for more details at:


NAD announced at the just-passed CES that it will be expanding its Masters Series line-up of products with three new additions – the M50, M52 and M51 audio components.

The M50 Digital Music Player ($2,500 US, available this March) plays CDs, DVDs and digital files from external hard drives and can also rip CDs without requiring a computer.  Thanks to its built-in Wi-Fi, it can stream music from home network computers or NAS drives.  It can also play music from devices connected to its USB input. The M50 provides support for digital files including FLAC Lossless, MP3, AAC, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, and linear PCM to 192kHz/24-bit.

While the M50 does not provide on-board storage for digital files, the new M52 Digital Music Vault ($2,000 US, available this March) does and makes an ideal companion for the M50.  It features dual 3-terabyte RAID5 hard drive system, offering redundancy incase one of the hard drives fails.  Its fan-less design offer a whisper quiet operation.

Both the M50 and M52 embrace the power of the iPad/iPhone, offering an apps which allows playback control.

The M51 Direct Digital DAC ($2,000 US, available now) offers digital optical, coaxial and USB inputs (which support 192kHz/24-bit digital files) as well as analogue balanced and RCA inputs.  Then, there are also 2 HDMI inputs and an HDMI output.

For more info, please visit


UltraLink/XLO Products, has just announced a new cable product line – their cost-effective UltraPLUS cable line. The new UltraPLUS cables are updated replacements for the original and popular Ultra Series and actually modeled on the popular Reference series using XLO Field Balanced “exoskeleton” winding geometry with all-PTFE dielectrics, core structures and jacketing.

UltraPLUS incorporates many XLO technologies and is claimed to set a new benchmark in quality, affordable, high-performance cables. Rather than six-nines copper UltraPLUS is composed of single-filament, solid-core PC-OCC – Pure Copper Ohno Continuous Cast wire –wrapped in purple jacket. XLO significantly improved the already low self-inductance of the hand-terminated 24k direct gold-plated RCA and proprietary XLR connectors.

UltraPLUS cables include Single-Ended and Balanced interconnects, Speaker cables, a Phono cable (available late Q1 2012), Coaxial Digital and AES/EBU Digital.

Prices start at $150 U.S. for a half-meter single-ended interconnect. More details are to be found at:


Pass Laboratories (Pass Labs) has just introduced their new XP-30 preamplifier and all new Xs series of amplifiers. These new products were released at CES 2012 the second week of January and though fall into the category of the uber expensive – we all have the right to dream.

The XP-30 is stated as being Pass Labs highest performing and finest sounding preamplifier, to date. It is a triple-chassis structure with external power supply for two to six amps. Improvements over previous Pass Labs preamplifiers include: less noise, less crosstalk, less distortion and greater dynamic range, resolution, gain, output voltage, and output current. This promises a greater sense of spatiality and dimensionality.

The XP-30 is a modular preamplifier consisting of one power supply and control chassis and additional gain chassis, each serving one channel. It is typically supplied as a two-channel product although it can be configured to serve anywhere from one to six channels, enabling but not requiring the design of very large or unusual speaker systems.

Each channel provides master and slave outputs. A knob on the front of each of the gain chassis sets the slave output to be equal to or less than the master level; all connected gain chassis respond to a master level adjustment on the control chassis. Both single-ended and balanced outputs have the same gain structure and may be used interchangeably. The control chassis also supports a mono function that allows almost limitless multi-amplifier functionality.

The external power supply is large enough for a small power amplifier. Its chassis houses a pair of highly efficient, low-noise Plitron transformers. The circuits use dual mono topologies that supply ample current and excellent voltage stability to the gain stages, as well as inherently better noise suppression and filtering. Very low-noise, high-speed parts further enhance its performance.

The power supply enhancements allow music to flow through the XP-30 with a dramatically greater sense of ease, spatial development and dynamic contrast than through any other of Pass Labs’ preamplifiers.

? Overall Gain: -90 dB to +10 dB -70 dB
? Volume steps: 99
? Remote: Yes
? Inputs: 6
? Outputs: 4
? Frequency Response: -3dB @ 2 Hz and 60 kHz
? Input Impedance: 42k Ohm balanced
? Output Impedance: 120 Ohm balanced, 120 Ohm single-ended
? CMRR: -60 dB, 1 kHz
? Cross-talk: -100 dB, 1kHz Ref 1V
? Signal to Noise Ratio: < -110 dB, Ref 5V
? Power Consumption: 45 watts
? Number of chassis: 3
? Dimensions, Each Chassis: 17″W x 12″D x 4″H
? Shipping Weight (lbs): 75

The XP-30 preamplifier will be available August 2012 for $16,500 U.S.

In addition, Pass Labs has introduced their new generation of audiophile-grade Xs Series amps, starting with the 150-watt Xs-150 and 300-watt Xs-300 mono power amplifiers.

The Xs-300 and Xs-150 Amplifiers are mono block models, both of which offer double-stacked chassis with the power supply and current source in one chassis and the input and main output stage in the other chassis. The separate power supplies enable a bounty of benefits, including lower electromagnetic noise, twice as much storage capacitance as earlier Pass Labs amps, banks of high-speed/soft-recovery rectifiers, improved high-frequency noise filters, bigger and better transformers, improved passive decoupling, massive heat sinks, and lower standby currents.

The Xs Series has been three years in development. The first year, Pass Labs settled on the power supply and physical package. The second year, Pass Labs finalized the output stage and front end. The third year, the company refined the front end and the biasing of the output stage.

In the process, Pass Labs applied a number of new refinements, including adjusting the values for push-pull Class A biasing and the amount of single-ended bias in the output stage. It also significantly increased the single-ended bias in the output stage over earlier Pass Labs amplifiers. All three changes delivered major improvements. Pass Labs also installed sturdy output stage transistors; with a combined capacity well over 10 KW, and massive heat sink assemblies capable of 2 KW all day long.

? Separate chassis for lower electromagnetic noise
? Power supplies with greatly enhanced storage capacitance
? Banks of redundantly parallel high speed / soft recovery rectifiers
? Improved high frequency noise filters
? Larger / quieter transformers
? Improved passive decoupling
? Lower power standby
? Input impedances of 200 k-ohm balanced with negligible capacitance

The new Xs-150 and Xs-300 will be available in Q1 2012 at a price of $65,000 U.S. and $85,000 U.S. / pair respectively.

Look for more information on these products at:


Furutech is continuing to introduce innovative, high-performance and attractively priced audio components under its Alpha Design Labs (ADL) brand.  The latest of these is the iD-30P Series of iDock cables.

In the age of personal, portable electronics everyone carries their music with them to connect to iDocks, headphone amps, home audio and even car systems. And there are no better sounding (or hip-looking) cables than the ADL iD30P series which comes available in three versions to make every important connection you need.

 The iD-30P series are no ordinary cables; they are engineered and produced with Furutech’s Pure Transmission technology and feature silver-plated ? (Alpha) OCC conductor (28AWG) for minimal transmission loss and 24k gold-plated USB A-type or 3.5mm stereo connector, straight or angled. The cable achieves top-grade noise isolation using double-layer shielding – aluminum foil and tinned copper – in a RoHS-compliant sheath. The main conductors are treated with Furutech’s ? (Alpha) Process – a deep cryogenic and demagnetizing treatment. The result is outstanding, wideband, colorful and engaging sound that audiophiles and music lovers will love.

Connector types

  • iD-30PA-0.15M: Apple 30-Pin iDock-to-USB A
  • iD-30PS-0.15M: Apple 30-Pin iDock-to-3.5 Straight
  • iD-30PL-0.15M: Apple 30-Pin iDock-to-3.5 Angled

Cable Length: 15cm (0.5ft)

For more info, please visit or the Canadian distributor website


Furutech is continuing to introduce innovative, high-performance and attractively priced audio components under its Alpha Design Labs (ADL) brand.  The latest of these is the Stride Portable Headphone Amplifier.

We live in an age of personal, portable electronics and almost everyone carries their music with them. The Stride delivers thrilling sound to match its stylish appearance. Whether you’re using iTunes for low-bit-rate downloads or higher-resolution music files, just connect your computer to the Stride with one of our matching ADL Formula 2 USB cables or the new iD-35SP analog stereo cables. On the road, plug your music player’s analog headphone output to the line input of the Stride opening the volume to maximum on the player, then use the volume control on the Stride. For higher resolution all-digital signals simply connect the Stride to your computer’s USB port. The USB port charges the battery in the Stride and you can listen to music while it’s charging.


  • High-end performance; Furutech takes what’s there and makes it better
  • Beautifully-finished atomized Black or Silver-white aluminum body with anodized aluminum side panels.
  • Fits in the palm of your hand – enjoy your music anywhere, on your desk or on the go.
  • High quality volume control (front) and On/Off switch (rear)
  • Gold-plated 3.5mm analog line input (switched) or gold-plated USB digital input for PC audio (Phone jack overrides output from USB mini-B interface on rear panel)
  • Runs on USB power or an AC/DC switching power adapter that recharges battery
  • High performance headphone amplifier drives 12 to 600 ohm headphones
  • Gold-plated circuitry on high quality printed circuit board
  • HEADPHONES OUTPUT: 3.5mm phone jack
  • LINE INPUT: 3.5mm switched phone jack
  • VOLUME: Rotary type variable resistor
  • One dual color RED and BLUE LED: BLUE indicates Power On / RED indicates Battery Low Voltage

Rear Panel:

  • USB: 1 USB mini-B Type
  • Internal DC3.7V, 940mAh Li-ion Type 14650 Rechargeable Battery
  • Charging Indicators: One dual-color RED and GREEN LED: RED indicates Charging / GREEN indicates Full Charge

For more info, please visit or the Canadian distributor website