MoFi Distribution, HiFi Rose, Piega, Cardas, IsoTek

As MoFi Distribution is based in the Chicagoland area, it's no surprise they go all out at their hometown AXPONA. They packed the house with exhibits in four rooms featuring plenty of debuts, so I'll divvy my coverage into a couple of parts.

But first, some big news. As the name says, MoFi Distribution distributes products from all over the world, but they also have their own namesake brand: MoFi Electronics. Under that name, they've created turntables in collaboration with Allen Perkins of Spiral Groove, plus a limited edition Fender UltraDeck, phono preamps, etc. The big news? Illustrious loudspeaker designer Andrew Jones, known for his work for Pioneer, ELAC, and other companies, has joined with MoFi Distribution. Word is, Andrew will be designing a speaker to round out MoFi's own system lineup.

More news is to come, so stay tuned.

Back to the show gear... one debut that caught my eye-and later my ears-is the new HiFi Rose RA180 integrated amplifier, pictured above. It was shown on passive display in suite 334 on Friday, then I heard it in an active system on Saturday with the Piega Coax 711 speakers ($24,995/pair, below) with the Swiss company's handmade coaxial ribbon tweeter and a new HiFi Rose RS150B network streamer ($4495) playing tracks via Qobuz. (The RS150 is the bigger sibling of the RS250 that JA reviewed in December 2021.) I only listened briefly but recall highly resolved detail that stayed natural, not overhyped. The deep voices of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen came to life on a couple of live tracks. Bass was substantial, highs were airy and smooth. Cardas Clear Reflection cabling, IsoTek power cords, and the new IsoTek Aquarius V5 power conditioner rounded out this system.

The HiFi Rose RA180 integrated, is a four-channel amplifier that outputs 200W into 4 or 8 ohms, depending on setup. Run two-channel, it supplies 400Wpc in BTL (bridged) mode. There's a user-adjustable high-pass filter, balance controls, and more. It's a pure analog, class-D design deploying GaN (gallium nitride) transistors instead of silicon ones. There's an onboard MM/MC phono stage. Curiously it has five EQ curves (RIAA plus four unnamed) and turnover options (flat to 700Hz) but not adjustable gain or impedance loading options. Connections include a three pairs of RCA inputs plus a phono pair, one pair of XLR inputs, and a subwoofer output.

Though this HiFi Rose flagship's $7495 MSRP is considerably higher than those of other HiFi Rose components, it might give some pricier competitors a run for their money. Output level meters and a full suite of controls graces the RA180's solid aluminum chassis' front panel. "Controls" sounds boring. HiFi Rose designed them more creatively: In a nod to mechanics, the volume control's moving cogs are visible behind a hexagonal clear covering. The large volume control dial is topped with a chromed HiFi Rose brand symbol. The knobs, dials, and cockpit-style toggle levers had a nice, sturdy feel. Bonus: When you use the included IR remote control to switch sources or adjust volume, you can see the physical dials move (and they make a little sound). You can also use HiFi Rose's app for iPhone or Android for control. One more nifty detail: The text for the speaker inputs is printed both upside-down and right-side-up. So when you peer over the top panel to connect or disconnect speakers, life's a little easier. You've gotta love hi-fi with style.

avanti1960's picture

innovative coaxial ribbon midrange / tweeter of the Piega towers created the most resolving, transparent sound I have ever heard. A few upper range tinge artifacts were heard too but did not detract from the presentation. Sound stage was multi dimensional and equally impressive.
Well done Piega and Rose Audio.