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Las Vegas 2001




Magnepan MG-12/QR

  Magnepan had a glorious room playing their MG-12/QR ($1,095/pr) with Theta Dreadnaught amplifier giving 'em the juice. These are quasi two-way ribbon planar loudspeakers. While they are slightly higher than 51", being the planer variety makes them only 1.5" deep. Those of you who read my review in Ultimate Audio of their larger sister, the MG3.6/R,  know how much enjoyment the Magnepan line of loudspeakers can deliver. 


Monolith Gold

With sexy curves and sleek design, the Monolith Gold loudspeakers from Italy has a 2mmm tweeter with 135mm midrange/bass drivers above and below. The carefully tuned ported cabinet assists in providing a broad frequency response of 40 Hz to 20,000 Hz (+-3dB). There are various colors of grills available to match many decors.


Wisdom Audio Adrenaline

For those with large listening rooms and wallets may find the Wisdom Audio Adrenaline ($85,000) with Jeff Roland pre-amplifier and amplifiers as seen here to be the end all, be all system. Using the Accuphase SACD system for reply, this room was reproducing one of the best sounds at the show. The more slender cabinet contains a 75" long and 3" wide planar ribbon. The wider cabinets hold four 12" woofers to reproduce frequencies down to a super low 10 Hz! This entire 1,400 lbs system requires a minimum of 800 watts (200 per cabinet) and is claimed to handle a grand total of over 5,200 watts! Extra electrical spur to power the necessary electronics is not included.


Classé CD/DVD-1

The new Classé CD/DVD-1 ($3,500) allows for playback of CD, HDCD, CD-R, CD-RW and Video DVDs using the Philips mechanism. Two separate laser mechanisms assist in bringing about the wide selection of disc playback choices. A full function wireless remote control is also included for ease of use for couch potatoes. Both balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) analog  outputs are provided for. Digital outputs include AES/EBU, SPDIF, and TOSlink. Both S-Video and composite (YcrCb) are also included. 


Classé CAM-200

Classé were also showing their new CAM-200 monoblock amplifier ($2,000 approx). By stacking the boards three-high, this cute 25" x 16" x 19.5" (HxWxD) box-like amplifier produces 200 wpc. at 8 ohms (400 wpc. at 4 ohms). Classé's new "UHC Transfer" power supply section is claimed to provide for higher current than normal supplies.


Audiomeca Mephisto II

i was fortunate enough to have spent some time talking with the head designer of Audiomecca. Seen above is their Mephisto II ($6,700) that uses a custom CD mechanism, not the usual Philips or Pioneer units that appear in virtually all other high-end units. Fully customized electronic servo mechanism, suspension, and a very powerful 32-bit floating point digital signal processor (DSP) recalculate incoming data to 24-bit/192kHz using proprietary signal enhancement algorithms. Instead of using the usual PLL clock, the Mephisto II calculates hundreds of millions of times a second recalculating the data for its own clock. This is said to reduce jitter to an almost immeasurable degree. To give you an idea of how much mathematics is happening here, the usual basic CD of 65635 steps is increased to almost 17 million. Analog outputs include balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) while digital outputs include two SPDIF and one AES/EBU.


Sony SCD-CE775

Sony's upcoming multi-channel SACD units were on display during the show. The SCD-CE775 ($399 as seen above) is a 5-disc changer with analog output of all five channels. The C-555 ($1,699 as seen below) is also a five disc changer. The main difference between the two is better electronics including power supply and copper shielded chassis for the more expensive unit. The SCD-CE775 includes a five year warranty while the C-55 comes with the more normal one year coverage.

Sony C-555




JVC's new XV-D723 DVD-Audio/Video player ($799.95) offers full 192kHz/24-bit audio playback plus dts, Dolby Digital and MLP, CD-DA, VCD, CD-R and CD-RW formats. The audio and video paths are handled on separate boards and power supplies to insure high quality playback capabilities. For those into video, a 10-bit/54mHz digital to analog converter (DAC) is included. Furthermore, the 4:4:2 YcrCb can be oversampled to provide a 4:4:4 signal!


Pioneer Elite DV-38A

The Pioneer Elite series DV-38A DVD-Audio ($2,000) unit plays DVD-Video (dts and Dolby Digital), DVD-Audio (and MLP), VCD, CD-R, CD-RW and normal audio CDs due to the use of dual laser mechanisms. This full 24-bit/192kHz audio capable player has a "Pure Audio Clock Reference Function" that will sense the necessary audio clock needed and turn off the unused oscillator to avoid unwanted electrical resonance that can degrade the music reproduction quality. A high performance delta-sigma DAC decodes the digital bits to multi-channel analog sound. 


Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000

Coming in at the audiophile side of super-tweak compact disc replay is the open up and say Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 CD player ($579, factory installed digital transformer upgrade adds only $20). Following the success and rave reviews of their Tjoeb '99, their new unit includes upgraded power supplies, new tube filament supply for more than twice the filtering capacity, independent logic stabilization, two military-grade ECG 6922 tubes in the analog stage... to name just a few of the improvements. The included wireless remote also offer output volume adjustment so that you can eliminate the use of a preamplifier if desired for sending the pure signal directly to your amplifier(s).


Meg Reichart and the famous J.C. Morrison
Meg Reichart and the famous J.C. Morrison of Sovtek


Ken Kessler of Hi-Fi News and Ultimate Audio.



RAO Lunch
RAO Lunch (left to right) Tom, Susan, John Stone and John Atkinson

RAO Lunch
More RAO Lunch (left to right) Gene Lyle, Jonathan Scull (J-10), Tom Albertz (Surfshop/Pat Mabottom)


RAO Lunch
(Left to right) Tom, Susan, John Stone, John Atkinson, "Sandman" (Jim Sanders), Steve Rochlin, Liliana Sanders, Gene Lyle, Jonathan Scull (J-10), Tom Albertz (photo taken by Kevin Deal).


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