Hifi immigration

Mark Levinson gets UK citizenship. Of sorts. His Swiss/Italian company Daniel Hertz just signed a UK/Irish importer in Feel Flows, parent company of VAL Hifi and Whole Note. "Adopting a new approach for a paradigm shift in digital playback via propriety technology, the Mighty Cat chip and C-Wave processing are what Mark Levinson proclaims to be his finest work to date. Systems comprising the Maria amp and a pair of speakers offer digital inputs for a transport, PC, Mac or Roon core server as well as Bluetooth and Airplay. Said Greg Chapman, MD of Feel Flows: 'When I discovered Daniel Hertz, I knew I had to hear a system. Mark is a legend in the industry and the bold claims caught my attention. I'm glad I took note as he's created something very special indeed'. David Graham, head of sales, 'when I set up our first demo system, I struggled not to think our reference turntable was playing, it's that good. The best part is that this isn't achieved by shifting pitch or smoothing high frequencies. This is completely new tech created by extensive research'. The software-configurable class D Maria amplifier with SMPS, Perspex chassis, active DSP crossover and bridged/bi-amp scalability of eight channels starts at £12K, systems with matching speakers from £19K.

That was the press release of November 10th. Readers familiar with the ML story know that Mark Levinson relinquished all commercial rights to his name in the legal aftermath of the Harman Kardon Group buying his eponymous company because they considered him "a walking breathing trademark". They'll also remember his brands Cello, Red Rose Music and open enthusiasm for SACD then DSD.

As such they might assume that behind the new tradename C-Wave (short for continuous not sampled wave) sits a processor which like APL Hifi, Cen.Grand, Koch/Meitner, Nagra and PS Audio resamples PCM up to 384kHz to high-rate DSD. Banishing metal chassis for hifi was first popularized by Denis Morecroft of DNM Design to avoid hysteresis, eddy currents and other signal-path influences. Unlike the Sino-sourced Red Rose electronics, the Daniel Hertz ectronics are made in Venice. The Mighty Cat trademark is for this proprietary large-scale IC at right. It might draw a conceptual parallel to Javier Guadalajara who authored his own music IC for Wadax. Ancient Audio too have their own.

In the current Daniel Hertz portfolio, the Maria 350 amp can partner with the £7K 6" 2-way Eva monitor or dual-concentric £12K 10" Amber floorstander. In Maria 800 bi-amped/bridged 4-channel mode, we arrive at a £50K system with the 8" 2-way Chiara monitor with AMT tweeter. At £130K the speaker becomes the M4, a 15" 3-way with 12" midrange and horn-loaded compression tweeter. For £200K the speaker becomes the M1 which scales up the woofer to 18 inches. For 3.5K, there's a plexiglass stand for Eva and Chiara. In summary, from the man said to have jump-started US-made high-end audio now comes proprietary class D with switch-mode power, DSP crossovers and his own digital processor all in his original pursuit of the best analogue sound. Reframed, it's quite a FutureFi endorsement from a man who always considered classic digital audio inferior to vinyl or master tape.