The ASR Emitter amplifiers are special in almost every way. When I learned there was a new North American distributor, I jumped at the chance to represent these amps and have never looked back. You can Google "ASR Emitter" and read the various reviews from around the world as the journalists are unanimous in their praise. Unlike many very high-end amps, ASR also has the measurements to place them in the top rank: high bandwidth, very low distortion, quiet, and all the power you would need to drive any speaker. These fine amplifiers are built to order in Hebron, Germany, and have been in continuous production and refinement since 1980. Hi Notes is one of the few dealers in the country where you can audition these amps.
Bergmann Audio has finally realized the full potential of air-bearing turntables and tonearms. Founded in 2008 by Johnnie Bergmann, this company stands out for its unique approach – every single part is meticulously crafted by Bergmann himself in his atelier located in Hobro, Denmark. Trained as a mechanical engineer, his singular goal was to overcome the drawbacks that have plagued other air-bearing tables and arms. Bergmann offers three different models of tables and two arms. Both the construction and sonic qualities are top-notch, and while they might be expensive, they represent the pinnacle of analog design. The sleek Scandinavian design of his products is an additional plus.
Unique amongst British high-end audio manufacturers, Cryus' pioneering work in their Cambridge research and development studios has led to remarkable advances in DAC design, power management, CD servo design, and noise rejection. Each of their classic and XR products is housed in hand-finished inverted ‘cast-aluminium’ chassis and fitted with the finest audio components available. Each product is manufactured to order – painstakingly hand-finished and soak-tested, taking over four weeks from start to finish. The stunning elegance and searing performance of your Cyrus music system truly justify their ‘pride-of-place’ in your listening room.
From France, we have some planar speakers that are truly excellent. I have been following this company since they were first founded about twenty years ago and finally got a chance to listen to their speakers on several occasions in Europe. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. There are many fine planar speakers already on the market, but Diptyque utilizes a number of technologies that are unique, giving them a distinct advantage. The build quality is superb and they are 100% made in France. The prices range from $5,000 to $50,000 for their reference speaker. Customization, in terms of colors and finishes, is also available.
Nestled in the heart of the West Country, English Acoustics was established in the spring of 2015. This innovative company came to fruition simply from a love for classic design and modern technology; and the realization that they were not the only ones with an appreciation for high-end tube amplifiers and superior sound quality. At the core of their company resonates a firm belief that British manufacturing and design are key to future success and development. Investing in quality, value, safety and high standards also make them advocates for the other British manufacturers that not only contribute towards their products; but stand by the ‘Made in Britain’ collective mark with pride.
Hailing from Poland, Ferrum introduces one of the most innovative DACs in recent times – the Wandla. While this stands as their inaugural standalone DAC, Ferrum has a track record of OEM work with some of the most respected names in audio. The Wandla is built around the widely used ESS chip, but its implementation sets it apart within the industry. Beyond the standard filters, Ferrum has developed its proprietary filters, one of which has become a personal favorite. Notably, you have the option to enhance its performance by adding the Hypsos dedicated power supply. Excitingly, the Wandla has recently secured the prestigious EISA award for the best DAC – a well-deserved recognition.
I am pleased to introduce Gold Note, another impressive Italian brand, to Hi Notes. Established in 2012 near Florence, Gold Note has rapidly expanded to the point where their components are exported to over fifty countries. What sets Gold Note apart is their comprehensive range of products – from turntables and DACs to speakers and amplifiers, they cover it all. Their phono stages are particularly remarkable, showcasing state-of-the-art technology across all price points, ranging from the new PH-5 to the highly sought-after PH-1000.
Goldring is proud to boast over 100 years of rich heritage and expertise. The Goldring is a name closely associated with quality, innovation, and reliability throughout the long history of the gramophone record. While one of the oldest audio companies in existence, Goldring continues to push boundaries at all levels by developing the E series, a set of high-quality entry-level MM cartridges which have received great acclaim. They also forged ahead with MC cartridge development, making use of emerging technologies to create in 2018, the Ethos, their highest performing moving coil cartridge.
I love great-sounding and reliable products that feature innovative designs. Grandinote certainly meets this criterion with a circuit they have named “Magnetosolid”. The name of this technology comes from the combination of "ferromagnetic" with "solid-state". By using solid-state components typically used in tube amplifiers, Grandinote managed to combine the advantages of both types of amplifiers while overcoming their respective limitations. These zero feedback, transformer-coupled amps are biased in true class A. Grandinote has been called the “best amplifier in the world” by more than one magazine.
As a freshman at North Texas State in Denton back in 1971, some friends and I went to see Stanley Kubrick's groundbreaking film, "A Clockwork Orange." In the movie, there was a mesmerizing turntable playing Beethoven. Little did I know that this turntable would evolve into one that I now own and cherish – the Michell Gyrodec. Referred to as "the most iconic turntable on Earth," the Gyrodec is a sonic tour de force, built robustly and delivering pleasure to countless fans worldwide. Michell offers three models: the Technodec, Gyrodec, and the Orbe. On display at Hi Notes are the Gyrodec SE with the Technoarm and Cusus E cartridge.
Moonriver is a relatively new company that has already made a name for itself with its 404 Reference Integrated Amplifier. Hi Fi+ dubbed it the "best amplifier no one has ever heard of" and crowned it their amplifier of the year. The 404 has garnered numerous other rave reviews from the global audio press. Moonriver products not only offer distinctive styling to match their sonic qualities but also feature innovative circuits. Their new 505 phono preamp is expected to be another substantial addition. All Moonriver products are meticulously handcrafted in Malmö, Sweden. Undoubtedly, this is a company to keep a close eye on.
Don Morrison has been making speakers in his Toronto workshop since 1977. His speakers have evolved from one of the oldest designs in audio, dating back from Stu Hegeman's groundbreaking work in the '50s. But these older speakers have little to do with what is produced by Morrison today as each generation brings continual refinement and improvement. Harry Pearson, writing in the Absolute Sound, called them "the best small speaker in the world". I should add that Morrison speakers have been my personal choice for over forty years.
As I went about selecting a line of audio furniture for Hi Notes, my decision was easy; Pangea Audio. Pangea is an American company famous for delivering high-performance audio products at sensible prices. Their stands and racks are sturdy, easy to assemble, and attractive. They also offer options such as casters and glide feet which can make your life so much easier when changing components or cables. Pangea has also recently introduced a line of furniture made from sustainable parawood and they look great.
Once in a great while, an audio company will come out of nowhere and introduce a product that is a true game changer. Perlisten is one such company. Their staff includes some of the smartest people in the industry and their products greatly benefit from this knowledge. The speakers literally disappear from your room, leaving you with a realistic, low-distortion performance. Perlistens are built like a tank, look great, and a good number of their models are available with lovely veneers. They are not inexpensive but they are also not “silly money”. You can pay far more for much less. Perlisten are reference speakers at Hi Notes for very good reasons.
Here is a fairly new company (2006) that offers some of the best speakers you can imagine. Q Acoustics is not driven by tradition like so many other British speaker companies. As one British magazine said, Q Acoustics designs are “some of the most forward-thinking products in existence”. They make a full range of speakers at all price points from about $5,000 to $300. Finally, like Perlisten, they are well-regarded both in the two-channel and home theater communities. While Hi Notes is very much a “two-channel” shop, we are more than happy to help you with your home theater speaker needs.
British audio specialists QED has been designing and engineering superior AV cables for nearly five decades and is considered the original cable brand, with its QED 79 strand cable, released in 1976, widely recognized as the world’s first “specialist” speaker cable – a product that demonstrated how cables could have a tangible impact on audio performance. Since then, the company has used extensive scientific research and computer-aided design techniques to ensure its products remain at the very cutting edge of technology. That rich heritage and constant drive for innovation underpins QED’s latest products. All cables deliver an enhanced sonic performance without compromising on their competitive price points.
This may be a new name to you but their roots come some of the oldest in audio. The Rekkord factory was once home to two of the most well-known brands in German audio. As these two companies moved their production to Asia, the workers at the factory decided to form Rekkord in 1993. Located in the Black Forest in Germany, over 99% of the parts used in Rekkord’s turntables come from within a few miles of the factory. Like so many German brands such as Leica optics and Blüthner pianos, these are true precision products. Rekkord offer both automatic and manual models and most come pre-mounted with an Ortofon cartridge.
Unison Research was established in 1987 by a group of passionate audiophiles, with Giovanni Maria Sacchetti at the helm. Sacchetti, driven by a blend of electronics curiosity and his father's musical legacy (as a skilled pianist), committed himself to the study and creation of hi-fi systems from a young age. Following his electronics studies, he spent twenty-five years in the realm of education while simultaneously crafting and refining amplifiers for Unison Research. The company's expertise has grown significantly over the years, resulting in both significant milestones and remarkable value in product development. Notably, these accomplishments have been entirely achieved through an exclusively Italian operation – spanning from design to production.
We are very pleased to introduce Wattson Audio products to our growing customer base. Wattson may be a name unfamiliar to you but their parent company, Engineered S.A., has been producing OEM digital products for some of the biggest names in European audio for twenty years. Wattson digital products are 100% Swiss made with all the precision and quality you would expect. They presently have three products on offer: The Madison, an ultra-compact steaming DAC, and two varieties of their network bridge, the Emerson. On demo at Hi Notes is the Madison. Roon certified, the Madison also offers a headphone amp and lossless LEEDH processing volume control for direct connection to power amplifiers. Not surprisingly, rave reviews and coming in from around the world.