Blue Circle Audio Now Distributes Audiomeca Reference-Quality CD Player & Turntables in Canada

Blue Circle Audio, the Canadian manufacturer of high-end tube and hybrid tube/solid-state audio electronics, has announced that it is now the Canadian distributor for Audiomeca products.

Audiomeca's Mephisto CD Player features a custom-built transport mechanism, low-jitter performance, all-gold connectors

The Audiomeca line-up of reference-standard analog and digital sources, developed by Pierre Lurne in France, make a great complement to Blue Circle’s own range of audiophile electronics.

Audiomeca makes several CD players and transports (Keops, Mephisto II.X), a DVD player with enhanced audio capabilities (Kimera), a digital-to-analog convertor(Enkianthus.X), turntables and tonearms (Romance, J1), generally priced in the $3,000 – $10,000 (CDN) range.

Blue Circle specializes in amplifiers in a wide variety of configurations, including preamps; monoblock, stereo and multichannel power amps; and integrated amps. Blue Circle also makes a solid-state phono stage, power line conditioning systems, cables and related accessories.

Blue Circle Audio Web Site

Audiomeca Web Site

Audiomeca's Romance Turntable and Romeo Tonearm

Manley’s New MAHI 40 Watt Monoblock Tube Amp is Now Shipping

Esoteric tube gear manufacturer Manley Laboratories has begun shipping the new MAHI monoblock amplifier. The MAHI is an update of the EL84-tube-based 50 watt monoblock design Manley has been producing under one name or another since 1993.

This latest revision comes in all-new styling, looking like a mini version of Manley’s Snapper 100 Watt mono amp. Conceptually (and electronically) however, the MAHI is a mono version of the Stingray stereo amp introduced last year.

"They are so cute," says Manley Labs CEO EveAnna Manley of the new MAHI mono amp, which features Triode/Ultra-Linear mode switching, and high energy B+ rail capacity

Like the Stingray, the new MAHI can be switched between ultra-linear operation (40 Watts) and triode mode (20 Watts). It is designed around a quartet of EL84/6BQ5 tubes, driven by a 6414 dual triode driver and a 12AT7WA input dual triode.

“The Ei Yugo EL84 has been one of our very favorite tubes for many years,” says Manley CEO EveAnna Manley. “They are extremely long lasting and reliable, and can be considered the smaller brother of the much-beloved EL34: really quick-sounding both in the bass and especially in the top end. And of course this has a lot to do with our Manley Output transformer, the same one we build for the Manley Stingray.”

Another key design feature is the MAHI’s increased B+ rail capacity. The earlier Manley 50 watt monoblocks had around 49 Joules of energy storage in the B+ rail. Now the MAHI’s have nearly 180 Joules of energy storage, and you can hear this improvement especially in the bass region: tighter, faster, deeper.

The Manley MAHI monoblocks are now available with a suggested retail price of $2500 (US) per pair.

Manley MAHI Features and Specifications

  • Vacuum Tubes: 4 x EL84 Output, l x 12AT7WA Input, 1 x 6414 Driver
  • Output Power: 40 Watts
  • Freq. Response +.5 dB: 10 Hz – 90 KHz
  • Input Sensitivity: 460 mV nominal
  • Input Impedance: 100 Kohm
  • Load Impedance: 5 ohm
  • S/N Ratio @50W: -80 dB
  • Dynamic Range: 86dB
  • Power Consumption: 100 Watts (idle)
  • 168 Watts (Full Power)
  • Dimensions: W=12″, D=10″, H=5″
  • Shipping Weight: 17 Ibs. each

Manley Laboratories Web Site

Mackie Designs Restructures with Investment and Cash Infusion from Sun Capital, Stock Trades on OTC Instead of NASDAQ

In an arrangement expected to close by today, Mackie Designs has agreed to an equity investment by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, a Boca Raton-based private investment firm.

Related to the restructuring, Mackie has voluntarily delisted its publicly-traded common stock from the NASDAQ exchange, and has obtained approval to trade the shares (MKIE) on NASD’s Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, or OTC Bulletin Board.

Mackie is widely known and highly regarded in the professional audio field as a leading manufacturer of consoles, mixers, studio and stage monitors, power amplifiers, audio processing software and control devices, for sound reinforcement, recording studio, installed sound, and custom home install markets. Company brands include EAW and RCF Precision, in addition to the Mackie label.

Sun Capital is acquiring approximately 9.8 million shares of Mackie common stock, roughly 65% of Mackie’s total common stock outstanding, through the purchase of approximately 7.4 million outstanding shares from certain selling shareholders and approximately 2.4 million newly issued shares for a total of about $10 million in cash.

“We are excited about this transaction,” said Mackie CEO Jamie Engen. “Upon closing, Mackie will receive approximately $6.3 million in fresh capital. Just as important, we also expect to benefit from the active support and hands-on participation of Sun Capital in assisting us to improve existing operations and to pursue potential new opportunities.”

Mr. Engen added that although company founder Greg Mackie is selling a portion of his shares in the transaction with Sun Capital, he will remain a shareholder and will enter into an exclusive consulting agreement with Mackie at closing.

Speaking for Sun Capital Partners, vice president Jason Neimark commented: “We are excited about our investment – Mackie has a strong brand, loyal customer base, and solid work force. We look forward to working with the management team to fully leverage these strong attributes and to position the company for long-term success.”

Mr. Engen adds, “We are focused on reducing costs and increasing productivity throughout the organization, including the rationalization of Mackie’s global manufacturing operations, R&D, and product lines. We are making progress in these efforts, and welcome the involvement of Sun Capital as an active partner in the next phase of our growth.”

Mackie Designs Web Site Offers Free Rhapsody Music Service Access and 49-Cent CD Burning Promotion

The Rhapsody online music service needs more subscribers, so it’s deal time for consumers.

To encourage music lovers to explore and enjoy Rhapsody’s CD-quality music and Internet radio programming, and Lycos Music and are offering a “Free Access Week” from February 13-21, 2003.

During this time, you can test-drive Rhapsody for free, with no credit card required. Customers who subscribe during this week will also get 50% off their first three months of service, which brings the price down to $4.95 (US) per month.

“This special offer will enable a wider audience of Lycos Music users to explore their musical passions and enjoy more music through Rhapsody,” says Katie Rae, vice president of product marketing for the U.S. portal of Terra Lycos.

“The number of subscribers who have signed up for Lycos Rhapsody has far exceeded our expectations in their willingness to pay for high quality, value-added services like Rhapsody,” adds Ms. Rae. “This promotion makes it even more convenient – and more affordable – for our users to try.”

At the same time, has launched a special promotion that will allow Rhapsody subscribers, both free and paid, to mix, match and burn custom-mixed CDs of their favorite music for just $0.49 per track.

This is the lowest per-burn price available to U.S. consumers through any of the new generation of digital music subscription services.

The special promotional price, half of the normal 99-cent per track cost of burning music through Rhapsody, applies to the service’s entire library of burnable content, including music from the digital catalogs of BMG, EMI, Universal, Warner, Naxos and more than 30 independent labels.

Rhapsody is the only online music subscription service to give subscribers the flexibility to burn individual tracks on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Rhapsody gives subscribers unlimited access to the world’s largest library of digital music, spanning more than 285,000 tracks and 20,000 albums of material from all five major music companies and more than 100 independent labels.

Rhapsody subscribers can burn full albums or custom mix CDs, build their own custom Internet radio stations, listen to professionally-programmed stations, and browse extensive music information and editorial recommendations.

“More than 75% of people who try Rhapsody become subscribers, so we know that our users are very satisfied with the service,” said Dave Williams, vice president of product management,

“Offering 49-cent CD burning lets us reward these existing subscribers, and provides a great incentive for new people to try RHAPSODY. Lycos Music is a great place for this kind of promotion because Lycos helps us quickly reach a large audience of passionate music fans.”

Rhapsody Web Site

AudioWorld Review of Rhapsody

Shure Acquires UK Distributor HW International

Microphone manufacturer Shure Incorporated today announced the purchase of its long-time United Kingdom distribution center, HW International, from Wilton Investments.

The new Shure subsidiary will keep all current employees, as well as the distribution of its other existing product lines, Phonic, QSC, and PreSonus. Dennis Harburn will continue as Managing Director at HW, and will report directly to Shure Europe GmbH management.

“The purchase of HW International provides an opportunity for Shure to have more direct contact with our end users in the UK, one of Europe’s largest markets,” said Mike McGinn, Shure’s Executive Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales. “This will make Shure even more competitive in the UK.”

Markus Winkler, Managing Director of Shure Europe added, “From the standpoint of our UK customers, the change in ownership of HW will be transparent, as we will continue to utilize the excellent staff that HW has assembled, and continue to carry the same product lines.”

Shure Web Site