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Cool New Audio for You in 2013

New Sonus faber Venere range of loudspeakers.

A new Sonus faber model is always and event in itself - change is only made to substantially further the Sonus faber ideals. While the flagship models might only be aspirational for many of us, the fact that design elements from these speakers are now directly applied to their entry level models allows you to benefit from the history and expertise that is uniquely Sonus faber.

From a surprisingly affordable NZ$2000 the pair for the Venere 1.5 - a classic compact two way design suitable for either stand or shelf mount - through to a pair rather fabulous floor-standers, the Venere range offers you something really special. Learn more here.

Rotel 12 Series

Rotel RA12 amplifier

For the best part of 30 years Totally Wired have been selling Rotel. Rotel owners will agree that progress in the range is always well considered. They do the best they can for each product so change does not come about frequently. Hence Rotel has always been one of the great sounding, reliable yet affordable HiFi electronics we’ve sold. The new Rotel 12 series follows this tradition – but with some exciting changes making the amplifiers in particular some of the most versatile and user friendly around. They all still have the ever popular phono stage built in and ability to run, and switch between two pairs of speakers, and by-passable tone controls. The better models also include a high end Wolfson WM8740 24 bit/192kHz DAC DAC for making the most of digital sources plus a front USB input and Bluetooth.

The New Cambridge 752BD.

This may well be the last silver disc player you ever consider buying - there is that much that it can do to a very high standard and it incorporates an almost bewildering array of upgradable paths for both audio and video media of every description and standard. The earlier Cambridge Blu-ray player - the well proven Azur 751 BD - was a highly capable multi-format player. But the 752 works on another level again. It has become a central hub with multiple inputs, state of the art video and audio processing and full control over output - including volume. It essentially replaces the conventional BluRay/reciever option and allows you more flexibility and higher performance. More.

Cambridge Azur 752BD

The 752BD, even with all the improvements over earlier models is just NZ$1699 and carries Cambridge's 2 year warranty.

The Well Tempered Labs RIAA Phono stage - $499

In keeping with our program of audio socialism we now bring you an absolute ripper of a phono stage from no less than the esteemed Well Tempered Labs for just under NZ$500 - Like NuForce with their high value DACs and amplifiers, Well Tempered Labs are all about bringing high end analogue performance to the masses. The RIAA Phono stage is gusty little box finished in the same style as the DPS power supply for the WT range of turntables, but is about half the size. It runs off 12v DC (which the DPS is set up to provide) but can equally well be used with any decent plug in supply - Tivoli units are perfect. It is specifically designed for moving magnets such as Ortofon or high output MC cartridges like the Dynavector 10X5. For low output Moving Coil cartridges go straight to the latest Dynavector P75MK3 or Pure Audio.

What makes the Well Tempered phono stage so special is the sound - it's a wonderfully solid and warm presentation backed by real power and drive. We don’t know the back story behind the design but it’s immediately obvious that this phono stage gives a full scale analogue performance from even modest cartridges. It comprehensively blitzes anything else we’ve tried at this level - both the well regarded Pro-Ject and Cambridge units sound threadbare by comparison and it betters plenty of far more costly units on MM. The WT phono stage is easily the biggest and best value upgrade for the performance of 90% of turntables out there - the logic of placing more resources in the phono stage than cartridge has always been compelling to us - styli and cartridges quickly wear out and need replacement to maintain sound quality, but a good phono stage lasts a lifetime and makes easily affordable cartridges sound far better than they have any right to.

So the WTL Phono stage is now our best recommendation for not just Well Tempered turntables but also any Project, Rega, Thorens or Linn fitted with either a moving magnet or high output moving coil.

New Pro–Ject Debut Carbon NZ$ 699

Pro-ject Debut Carbon turntable

The Debut name can be associated with Pro–jet’s most popular and affordable 'grass roots' turntables. Each rendition has been greatly upgraded from the originally rather prosaic Debut with an all round program of improvements. Replacing the 'Debut 3, 'The 'Carbon' is the best yet with a larger 12 inch steel platter, improved motor suspension and a carbon fibre tonearm, (a simplified version of that found on the Xpression. RCA connections allow for future up–grading of the interconnects.

Simply put, this is a great introduction to analogue at it’s price, all up and running with an Ortofon OM10 cartridge, dust cover and isolating feet. Witchdoctor likes it, as does the EISA judges. As with it’s predecessor beautifully finished in gloss piano black or choose to different with red, blue, silver or white.

Tramping in the Upper Wilkin Valley

Makarora is just a quick three and a half hour drive from Dunedin. It's also the gateway to some of our favorite back country in the Mt Aspiring National Park. The Gillespie Pass Track is one of the most travelled routes outside of the Great Walks in New Zealand and was our introduction to tramping in the area about four years ago. The Blue River proved to be even better with fantastic camp sites and rather less company. But if you ask the DOC staff what's their favorite area they will inevitably direct you to the two lakes at the headwaters of the Wilkin - Lucidus and Castalia. More.

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