Kora had their new Cosmos monoblock
amplifier ($4,400/pr) as seen in our massive pre-show
report. The Cosmos 100w triode monoblocks use eight Svetlana 6AS7G power
tubes in push-pull configuration.
Galante Audio had their first (unnamed) new small black stand
mounted minimonitors loudspeakers ($1,800-2,400/pr) that use an 8" coax driver
with a true center mounted 1" horn compression tweeter. Their floorstanding Buckingham ($6,500) uses a 15" driver with horn tweeter.
Galante Audio also was showing another first! Their new amplifier,
again with no name, that will retail for approximately $3,500. It uses a
single type 45 output tube stereo, Magnequest output transformers. It looked
very impressive and it is good to see more manufactures building type 45
single-ended tube amplifiers. It is time for the 2A3 to rest in piece as the
type 45 is an amazing tube in my humble opinion.
The new WAVAC unit in the center bottom is their model EC-300B
stereo amplifier. Using a single 300B output tube to produce 10 watts of
output power, it seems quite impressive as most manufactures only achieve only
7 watts or so. WAVAC uses their proprietary IITC interstage transformers to
achieve this high performance. The frequency response is said to be from
20 Hz to 100 kHz. The outermost units are the MD-811 stereo integrated
amplifier on the left that uses the 811 tube to achieve 15 watts while on the
right is the MD-300B stereo integrated amplifier that also uses the 300B
output tube to achieve 10 watts per channel. The top center unit is the WAVAC
PR-X1 stereo pre-amplifier that offers remote control selectable six inputs
while the top of the cabinet is 24 karat gold plated!
The Italians are here! Wish they brought a Ferrari, though they did bring the Pearl Contrabass, the VYGER
turntable and for electronics they were showcasing the Nightingale tube amplifiers.
Best bet is t see out Milan 1999 and Milan
2000 show coverage. No as for that Ferrari... see our private tour of the Pininfarina
facility. The cool loudspeaker are the Pearl Linea Granit Contrappunto
three-way design. This ported design has a frequency response of 37Hz to 25kHz with a sensitivity of 89dB/W/m.
The lovely Italian made Nightingale ADM-35 (£7,500,000) is a five-channel amplifier. Two channels are tubed while the other three are solid-state
(for home theater use) and all channel are rated at 30 wpc. output
("Class A" for the tubed section).
Art Audio's new PX 25 ($5,495 as seen in chrome, black chassis with chrome
accents is $4,995). This six wpc. single-ended tube amplifier uses the PX 25 output tube. An
optional volume control is available.
From Italy is the U-Vola loudspeakers designer ($2,490) as
seen within our pre-show report. These Italian
loudspeakers are geared more for the interior decorator than the audiophile.
Still, they looked very interesting and are built quite well. Below is a photo
of the quite good quality drivers used. Specifically, a 100mm woofer is mated
with a centrally-mounted 26mm tweeter.
A pair of Plinius SA-250 Mark 4 amplifiers were used with the
quite large Nearfield Acoustics Reference 18 loudspeakers ($49,500). Welcome
to the "more is better" club of audio folks. Kinda reminds me of
that stereo salesmen in the movie Ruthless People.
Von Schweikert new VR-4 Gen. III ($3,995) is said to reach all
new heights of performance for a relatively low price. i must admit they did
sound quite impressive! The cabinet is constructed of 1" MDF except for
the crucial front baffle that is 2" thick. Two 9" woven-filament
carbon fibre woofers cover the lowermost frequencies. Meanwhile a 6" Vifa/Scanspeak
midrange and 1" Vifa/Scanspeak tweeter reproduce the upper octaves. A
rear dipolar tweeter is also included to assist in adding ambience and
"space". Two pairs of gold plated Cardas binding posts are included
for bi-wiring capabilities.
The SLS S8R monitors are intended for near field use as is
found in recording and pre/post production facilities. and 8" woofer with
phase and 5" ribbon tweeter reproduce frequencies from 44 Hz to 20 kHz.
Impact's Airfoil loudspeakers five piece system ($38,500) uses
a very innovative Airfoil Bending Wave driver for the upper frequencies (top
unit). The special tweeter section is mounted on top of the cabinet that holds
two 6.5" poly cone midrange/woofer drivers. The separate cabinet to the
left is Impact's specially designed self-powered subwoofer.
Seen here is Robert Suchy of Clearaudio with their new Outer Limit rig ($700).
It is carefully placed on the top edge of a record to insure the outermost
section of your vinyl record remains flat on the turntable's platter. The
Outer Limit is machined from a solid block of stainless steel. Clearaudio
also has a new small Basic phono stage that can accommodate both MM and MC
cartridges (around $600).
Rockport Technology Hyperion ($86,500) loudspeakers. The
baffles are molded from carbon fibre while the back is a special epoxy composite. It employs the Esotar tweeter
while a pair of 13" drivers for bass, and two 6" for midrange. All wiring by Transparent Audio.
Seen here is the Nitty Gritty Mini Pro II in special 20th anniversary
Cocobola wood ($952). It cleans both sides of your vinyl record at the same
time. i personally love my 2.5Fi and the Cocobola wood looked absolutely
As internet companies such as ourselves and Audiogon have succeeded
into having room(s) at the show. Seen here is a web surfer checking out
In the Antique Sound Lab room they had their new Tulip 2A3 stereo
amplifier ($899). It uses a step-up transformer for the first gain stage to insure quiet
signal gain. This is especially needed for guys like me who use high efficiency
loudspeakers. It is tube regulated using the 5R4 and is bridgeable to monophonic
operation. Output power is 3.5 wpc. of stereo or 12 watt monophonic (because it
switches to push-pull operation). Antique Sound Labs Leyla is their 845 stereo integrated unit that includes a wireless remote
control ($2,500). It is tube regulated using KT66 tubes. A front bias meter is
included for another $90.
Atma-Sphere were showing their MA1 ($9,800) 150 wpc. OTL
(output transformerless) monoblock amplifier (far right and left). The center unit is their S30
MK. II ($2,850). The S30 MK. II stereo amplifier operates in pure "Class
A" to produce 30 wpc. The amazing thing with top-flight OTL designs are
their frequency response. The S30 MK.II is claimed to produce frequencies from
2 Hz to 75 kHz!
Diva had their Tain Zhu ($2,980) designed by T.S. Lim. The 2A3
tube is driven by the 2A3 to a pair of EL34 tubes operated in parallel singled-ended
operation to achieve a 25 wpc output rating.
Final Labs AC-6RCT power supply (400,000 yen) is their all new
all tube power supply for their Final Labs systems. While their systems are
normally 100% battery operated, there was a demand for electrical operation.
While not one for the usual simple transformer designs, Final Labs created an
all tube power supply! See our review of the Final Labs system within our
Lamhorn 1.8 with ADR Mark I German-made driver ($6,500/pr). Uses no crossover and is 99 dB/w/m sensitive. Silver internal wired while the cabinet is
optimized for the driver. Frequency response is claimed at 50Hz to 21kHz.
Classic Records just released the new Crosby, Stills, & Nash
(SD8229) on 180 gm vinyl $30. Songs include "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" and
"Marrakech Express" to name a few. "Long Time Gone" too!!!!
David Chesky of Chesky Records fame.
Wavelength Audio had their new Triton Signature monoblock amplifier
(seen above) and Sine battery powered pre-amplifier (below). The Sine
offers a virtually dead quiet operation as this two-chassis design keeps the
rechargeable battery power supply separate from the (seen above)
pre-amplification stage. Being a single-stage design, only one ECC86 tube is
employed for pre-amplification duties. Three inputs and tape plus normal
output appear on the rear of the chassis. Most impressive!
Here is a fast peek at Pioneer's new DV-AX10 universal DVD/DVD-Audio/SACD player.
Will give you the lowdown on this ultra-cool unit soon. Stay tuned!
Click here to see
a complete listing of
specialty high-end audio show exhibitors.
Click here to see last
year's show coverage.