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High-End Audio / Hi-Res Audio (HRA) Audiophile Industry News

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09 / 18 / 18

AXPONA Goes Back To Original Spring Schedule For 2020 And Beyond
This e-mail just in....  Dear Audio Industry Friends,

First, please know AXPONA will not be moving to the fall dates as stated last week, but will remain in April for 2020 and beyond.

As stated in our announcement last week, we have been encouraged by many exhibitors in recent years to move far away from Munich, to add a trade day and to make it easier for international vendors to exhibit. When dates became available at The Renaissance in Schaumburg that accommodated all of those elements, we jumped at the opportunity to secure them. We announced the new dates immediately and more than two years in advance. Much positive feedback was received in support of the date change. However, we also received negative feedback regarding the disruption of fall schedules and questions were raised as to the intentions behind the move. We certainly did not intend to cause harm to any other events. Our goal has always been to serve the domestic and the international market, and the initial decision was made to accommodate that goal.

We have not, and will not lose sight of our valued exhibitors, attendees and friends in the audio community, so to best serve the entire industry, we are going to take a step back and hold the show April 17-19, 2020. The AXPONA team is greatly appreciative that so many manufacturers, dealers, distributors, audiophiles and press feel passionately enough to have expressed their opinions to us directly and on social media. AXPONA’s vision remains to be the premier North American event for the audio industry. Going forward, AXPONA will be sure to gather more comprehensive input from the entire audio community before making any significant date changes. We also now appreciate how many people like our April timeframe within the audio show calendar.

Please know that we are listening, we hear you and we want to continue receiving your feedback. The most important goal for AXPONA is to serve the audio community and to provide the best possible venue and timing every year for the industry to gather and experience great systems, great products, great music and great comradery. We look forward to seeing you April 12-14, 2019.

Thank you from Mark, Liz and the AXPONA team.

-- Sophia Lapat


Dante Domain Manager Software For Complete Network Management
Audinate's Dante Domain Manager is network management software that enables user authentication, role-based security and audit capabilities for Dante networks, while allowing seamless expansion of Dante systems over any network infrastructure. Dante Domain Manager now has new features to bring IT best practices to AV, making audio networking more secure, more scalable and more controllable than ever before. With Dante Domain Manager, you can define specific AV device groupings by room, building and site, allowing for the creation of independent Dante Domains. A single Dante Domain can encompass multiple network subnets, eliminating the need for complex workarounds and enabling the creation of truly enterprise-scaled AV systems. The software makes it easy to deploy your AV network across a WAN, route Dante transparently across subnets, organize devices and route audio independent of network topology, plus there's no need for single subnet VLANs or workarounds. Features added within the latest version of Dante Domain Manager brings support for over 1,000 devices. The automatic device discovery service that customers have grown accustomed to with 4.0 firmware devices, has now been extended to legacy (pre-v4.0) devices. This makes it easier to for products with and without the 4.0 firmware to co-exist in Dante Domain Manager. As for what this means for audiophiles, perhaps nothing, perhaps everything as a unified, secure, and seamlessly controllable multiple room audio environment is making its way into millions of home worldwide. There is little doubt that in the future your home network will be far more than just surfing the Internet via Wi-FI, as music / video plays a key role for home entertainment. Enjoy the Music.com offers an Industry Point Of View article concerning IT... IP... Network... AV over IT won't hurt you.


Tokyo International Audio Show 2018 Starts November 16th
The International Audio Society of Japan (IASJ,) will be presenting the Tokyo International Audio Show from 16th November through 18th . Rich textured analog music to detailed and spacious sound of digital music will be played in 35 rooms. Each exhibiting room is acoustically sealed providing an ideal listening environment for playback demonstration. The world’s top-notch 192 brands will be exhibited, portraying the joy of listening. Please visit the show and feel the superb reproduced music through the high-end consumer audio equipment. You will feel "you are in a live music event". The show is set for Friday November 16th through 18th at Tokyo International Forum, 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Exhibitors include 32 distributors and manufacturers who represent 192 brands. This event started 1983 as the "Import Audio Show" to introduce cutting edge audio technologies and the joy of listening music through such high-end audio equipment. Since 1997 the show has been located at the Tokyo International Forum; it is an annual event. The number of visitors during the show's three day period is over 10,000. Analog players to Hi-Res Audio file music will be demonstrated in acoustically ideal listening environment. Listeners will enjoy quality music in a cozy environment, played on affordable high-end to flagship equipment rarely seen at stores. Exhibitors are planning to have seminars by audio reviewers or engineers in their own exhibit rooms. Please refer to official site of IASJ.


09 / 17 / 18

VAC To Introduce Their Statement 450i iQ Integrated Amplifier At RMAF 2018
VAC (Valve Amplification Company) will introduce the latest member of its award-winning family of Statement audio components at the 2018 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver from October 5th through 7th. VAC's new Statement 450i iQ Integrated Amplifier ($150,000) is the company's ultimate performance, cost-no-object instrument that establishes a new benchmark for sound quality for high-end audio vacuum tube integrated amplifiers. Part of the secret of its performance is in the unusual vertical form factor, which allows the optimal placement of circuit elements and purest, most direct routing of signals. The Statement 450i iQ builds upon the prior art of the Statement separate components. Conceptually, the 450i includes a Statement 450S iQ power amplifier, a Statement Line Stage, and phono stage with multiple inputs and adjustable loading. Power supply arrangements are dual mono throughout, with six main power transformers for left & right power amplifier, line stage, and phono stage. VAC's patented iQ Continuous Stable Automatic Bias system keeps the KT88 output tubes set at the intended operating point at all times for optimum sound quality, protection, and automatic indication of when tubes should be replaced. The Statement 450i iQ goes on sale on October 2. See Enjoy the Music.com's World Premiere Review of the VAC Renaissance Preamplifier Mk V with MM/MC phono stage at this link.


09 / 13 / 18

Goldmund Mimesis 11 Digital Hub / Preamplifier And Logos Tower Speakers
Magnificent products that are worthy of the Goldmund name.
Review By Tom Lyle


09 / 12 / 18

KEF R Series Includes Their New 12th Generation Uni-Q Point Source Driver
The new KEF R Series has been completely re-engineered from the ground up. Decades of experience combined with unbridled passion for music have come together in the new R Series that features the company's 12th generation Uni-Q driver. KEF's R Series offers a choice of three floorstanding speakers, a stand mount for more compact spaces and accompanying matching theatre models. The new R Series is the beneficiary of many technologies, materials and developments made in the creation of the Reference Series. Their 12th generation Uni-Q driver places the tweeter in the acoustic center of the midrange cone to bring the acoustic ideal of a single point source closer to realization. This 12th generation of the legendary Uni-Q which has been extensively designed using KEF's in-house simulation and analysis tools. KEF's engineers have been able to dramatically reduce coloration through reducing resonance in the minute gaps between Uni-Q's separate elements. The resulting sound is said to be purer, more precise and makes stereo imaging far more believable. Derived directly from the Reference Series, the Shadow Flare is an innovative method of reducing harmful cabinet diffraction for delicate high-frequencies. Shadow Flare is a carefully profiled transition surface which extends the waveguide effect of Uni-Q. The tweeter no longer has line of sight of the cabinet edges, creating a 'shadow region' at the points where the potential for diffraction is highest. The result, says KEF, "is vastly improved fine detail, particularly when it comes to the subtle nuances of plucked strings and other percussive sounds." Bass is the very foundation of music; everything is built upon it and maximizing bass performance is a vital building block towards pristine sound. R Series bass drivers are built using a two-part structure, where a shallow concave aluminum skin sits atop a paper cone. This great stiffness, combined with the cone's unique geometry, delivers pure piston like movement to deliver punch and speed. To accurately control this mighty driver, KEF has also completely redesigned its magnet system to create a more even magnetic field. The overall result is more impressive and impactful. As for the cabinets, KEF's new R Series benefits from Constrained layer damping. This system utilizes internal braces joined by a 'lossy' interface and is highly effective at dissipating unwanted vibrations that would otherwise artificially change the sound and music. KEF also gave quite a bit of thought to their bass port technology. Ports within R Series models feature innovative flexible walls. Using computational fluid dynamics, the flare and profile of each port is calculated to delay the onset of turbulence, while the flexible port walls prevent longitudinal resonances from coloring the midrange. While the new KEF R Series is available in a variety of finishes, the grey grill goes with the white cabinet, brown for the walnut, and black for the black. The grilles' edges are burnished in a similar way to fine leather goods and the overall effect is almost suede-like. KEF's new R Series consists of the R11 large floorstander, and goes smaller from there with the R7, and R5 floorstanders; R3 small monitor and R2c center channel speaker. There also a R8a for surround sound use plus a R400b active subwoofer.


09 / 11 / 18

AXPONA Moves To October / November Show Days For 2020 Event
This Just In: AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) is pleased to announce its permanent home at the first-class Renaissance Schaumburg venue in the Chicago area, facilitating a transition to fall dates and accommodating a new dedicated "Trade Day" beginning in 2020. Following the upcoming April 12-14, 2019 AXPONA, the next event will be held October 29th through November 1st, 2020. AXPONA's new dates in 2020 will serve the entire high-end audio industry better than ever before by timing the fast-growing audio show perfectly for fourth quarter product launches, enticing more consumers to buy audio products for the holidays and to "gear up" for the indoor listening season. Also, alleviating busy spring travel schedules for industry executives will greatly increase the number of international buyers, distributors and press that can attend AXPONA every year. The 2020 Trade & Press Day will open exclusively to dealers, distributors, manufacturers and press to get a head start on exploring AXPONA exhibits. Industry executives can use this day for business meetings and to experience the newest products on the market before the event opens to the public, Friday through Sunday. In addition, there will be an Opening Night Trade & Press Reception on Thursday, October 29 to kick off AXPONA on the right note with great food, refreshments and live music. "We've been listening to our customers and industry leaders for years and have been strongly advised to move AXPONA's dates further away from the Munich High-End show in May and to add a separate day exclusively for trade professionals and the press," says Liz Miller, VP and Event Director, AXPONA. "We were thrilled with the positive feedback we received regarding our new Schaumburg home in 2018. The first-class venue in the fall timeframe, coupled with a special day for trade professionals, will prove to be a huge win for the global audio industry and AXPONA for years to come." See Enjoy the Music.com's AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) show report 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.


09 / 10 / 18

Focal Introduces Katana No1, Kanta No3, Kanta Center, And Subwoofer
Focal is delighted to unveil their expansion of the Kanta range of high-fidelity loudspeakers. After launching the line in October 2017, the French acoustics brand now launches three new Premium Hi-Fi loudspeakers to round out the line: Kanta Nฐ1, Kanta Nฐ3 and Kanta Center ($12,000, $8000 and $6000 respectively). A Flax cone is combined with a Beryllium inverted dome tweeter to provide exceptionally clear and precise sound rendering. This range of loudspeakers is now made up of four models designed for music lovers who love listening to their sound systems, or for film fans searching for a multi-channel home theater set-up with a striking design. The new models contain the same technologies as Kanta Nฐ2: a speaker driver with flax cone, an IAL 3 Beryllium tweeter that combines the IAL (Infinite Acoustic Loading) and IHL (Infinite Horn Loading) tweeters, features, a TMD (Tuned Mass Damper) suspension and an NIC (Neutral Inductance Circuit) motor. Focal's Kanta Nฐ1 is the Premium solution for rooms under 269 sq/ft. This discreet loudspeaker is particularly suited for a bookcase setting or near a wall to optimize bass. Focal's Kanta Nฐ3 is their 'gold standard' of this line for larger rooms of up to 861 sq/ft. Kanta Center is the ideal complement fr those seeking multi-channel audio setups. Lastly, Focal's Sub 1000 F subwoofer employs a flax cone and matches well with the speaker lineup. Focal's Beryllium tweeter features an incredibly light and extremely rigid dome, overcoming compression of air in the back cavity to have nearly infinite volume. The unique Flax cones for other drivers are made of high-quality flax fiber cores enclosed by two thin layers of glass fiber.


09 / 07 / 18

RMAF 2018 Show Report

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018 In Denver On October 5 - 7, 2018
Featuring a glorious and tasteful renovated venue, our Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2018 show report will celebrate 15 years of this spectacular event. With continued and steady growth, RMAF has become the leading high-end audio fall event in Western America. Once again we have the Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest teaming up with Head-Fi's CanJam event! Audio gear from large reference speakers to the smallest in-ear monitors could be experienced at the show. RMAF 2018 is being held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel from October 5th through the 7th. Enjoy the Music.com brings you exciting RMAF 2018 show coverage, with a special separate CanJam 2018 Denver report too! This very special 15th Annual Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest (RMAF) is the largest consumer audio and home entertainment show within the Mid-West United States. Denver's own audio wonderland featured over 160 exhibit spaces representing more than 400 companies from North and South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. RMAF is proud to announce that 2018 marks their fourth year of their Entry Level Room series. RMAF donates these rooms free of charge to a host of exhibitors who offer new innovative products at a reasonable price for people looking to enter the high-end market. There were five rooms again this year. Each room featured a loudspeaker and headphone system. The price point for these are rooms are: $500, $1000, $1500, $2500 and $5000.


09 / 06 / 18

McIntosh Debuts New Line Of Custom Install Multi-Channel Amps And Speakers
McIntosh, a leader in home entertainment and audio for over 65 years, is debuting their new line of custom install products. A new line of distribution amplifiers and in-wall / in-ceiling Speakers join the company's legendary home audio offerings. Distribution amplifiers consist of the MI254 and MI128, with McIntosh's MI254 bring a four channel amplifier outputting 250 Watts per channel. Their eight channel MI128 outputs 120 Watts per channel, while both multi-channel amps employ highly sophisticated closed loop digital switching amplifiers that are paired with extremely robust power supplies to produce excellent performance levels. Both models also have the same installer-friendly physical dimensions and are 2U rack mountable (mounting ears are removable for non-rack installations). The MI254 uses standard five-way speaker binding posts while the MI128 uses two-pole Phoenix style push-in speaker terminals. The MI128 also includes back panel volume controls for volume balancing, along with two digital audio inputs (either S/PDIF coax or TosLink optical), and channel summing circuits for easy mono signal distribution. In addition to the amplifiers, a new line of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are fully enclosed to provide air sealing plus a controlled air chamber to minimize distortion and response irregularities. They all feature newly designed shallow woofers that fit in standard 2x4 wall construction. The woofers utilize a long throw, high power design with molded carbon reinforced cones with molded elastomeric surrounds for high linearity. The 2" midranges and 0.75" tweeters are the same drivers used in our highly regarded XR50 and XR100 home audio speakers. Each in-wall speaker will come with all required hardware and mounting mechanisms for post construction installations; new construction brackets will be available. A rough in kit will also be offered for the in-ceiling model. All grilles magnetically attach, are paintable and will leave little to no visible edge of the mounting flange so the speakers can virtually disappear into their surroundings. Each speaker is designed to handle up to 250 Watts of power. No pricing has been announced for these new units.


Sonus Faber Amati Tradition Floorstanding Loudspeaker
A musically strong coherent performance with realistic imaging plus gorgeous Italian craftsmanship!
Review By Phil Gold


09 / 05 / 18

Alcons CRMS-LFE18 LFE Subwoofer With Dual 3" Voice Coils
Alcons' CRMS-LFE18 is the company's large-format reference subwoofer system for very demanding listening applications. It is said to deliver very accurate bass and sub response for maximum quality and performance. Typical applications, says the company, includes LFE system for quality-conscious post-production facilities and mastering suites; including high-end mix/screening rooms, recording studios and premium home environments. The direct-radiating 18" transducer is mounted within the internally-stiffened sealed cabinet, which enables an in-room response to below 10 Hz. Alcons' CRMS-LFE18 has a fast impulse response so it is claimed to be a perfect match with the ultra-fast transient response of the Alcons pro-ribbon systems. The 4 Ohms impedance caters for maximum amplifier efficiency. For full system performance, the CRMS-LFE18 is best to be driven by the company's own ALC amplified loudspeaker controller. This provides optimal sound quality and output power with long-term operation reliability. Special integrated factory presets within the drive processor of the ALC offer optimization settings, as well as VHIR processing for excellent phase-matching with an Alcons pro-ribbon system. The CRMS-LFE18 is also available in a slim enclosure (CRMS-LFE18sl) for maximizing space-efficiency. A specially-developed 18" woofer is aided by a large motor structure with dual 3" voice coils, plus the driver has 1.2" of excursion. Rated frequency response is 30Hz @ +/-3dB and 21Hz @ +/-10dB. As with many professional speaker systems, connectors are a pair of Speakon NL4 input/links. The CRMS-LFE18's dimensions are 28.9" x 31.5 x 17.7 (HxWxD) and it weighs a hefty 127.9 lbs.


Panasonic RP-HD605N Wideband High-Resolution Audio Wireless Headphones
Panasonic, makers of the world's first dual-driver IEM decades ago, has intriduced their new high-resolution wireless headphones, the HD605N ($287.38). These wireless headphones have wideband, high-resolution audio playback and support LDACTM and Qualcomm aptX HD audio codec that faithfully reproduces high-resolution equivalent high-quality sound. This allows for swift responsiveness and authentic audio fidelity wirelessly. Panasonic has also adopted a MLF (Multi-Layer Film) Diaphragm for the HD driver to further secure response and audio quality while eliminating extraneous vibrations. This is assisted by both the new structure and materials of the frame which minimize vibrations in the driver and maximize the spaciousness of the sonic field. Panasonic's HD605N has approximately 20 hours of continuous playback when noise canceling is active. Playback is up to 96kHz/24-bit via LDAC support when connected via Bluetooth. For travelers, Panasonic's HD605N is equipped with three noise canceling modes to allow fine-tuning to your environment. There's also a feedforward system that positions the microphone outside the housing, a feedback system arranged on the driver unit to be close to the eardrum, and the unique system that processes and cancels signals to achieve excellent wideband noise cancellation performance. The headphones are also equipped with an Ambient Sound Enhancer, which lets in outside sound when you need it, such as when waiting for a flight announcement or when you need to say a few words in passing, without having to remove your headphones. Panasonic's HD605N is designed to fit any user comfortably via 3D Ball Joint Structure, which enables the headphones to adapt to the optimum positioning for all head sizes and ear shapes. This is enhanced with a unique, ergonomically designed 3D Ear Pad crafted with low-resilience urethane foam that fits closely on the ear to comfortably provide an air-tight seal for outstanding sound insulation. These headphones are be available in both black and brown. The 40mm driver has a 38 Ohm impedance, with a frequency response from 4Hz to 40kHz. Weight is 268 grams without cord and they come with an industry standard USB charging cord. Supported profiles include A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP with CODECs being SBC, AAC, Qualcomm aptX, Qualcomm aptX HD, and LDAC.


09 / 04 / 18

Hi-Fi World October 2018

Hi-Fi World's October 2018 Issue Features Great Articles And Reviews
Hi-Fi World's October 2018 issue features a contest for your chance to win a pair of Q Acoustics 3050i floor standing loudspeakers, worth ฃ645! Reviews within this issue include Acoustic Energy AE309 loudspeakers, Eclipse TD508 MK3 loudspeakers, AURALiC Aries G2 Streamer, Shanling Mo 47, Vincent SV-237 MK II hybrid amplifier, Kralk Kalsu / Timestep T-01hs, Philips CDR775, Chord Signature Reference Cables, MCRU No.75, plus details of a forthcoming London show. Within his editorial Noel Keywood says "A great sound, one that moves you, mimics real life. There are dramatic sounds: think PA cabinet pumping raw acoustic power at you at a concert. But that's more about getting the musical message across in a brutish way – an acoustic bulldozer. Fine for a thrill at a concert but not for the home where subtlety is needed, a sound that is convincing of the real thing. One with the lively dynamics and rich timbral content I hear from my son's Simon and Patrick acoustic guitar that has obviously gorgeous tone – a quality that struggles to get through conventional solid-state amplifiers." See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World and read the complete editorial at this link.


09 / 03 / 18

Hi-Fi+ Issue 163 September 2018

Hi-Fi+'s September Magazine Features Many High-End Audio Reviews
Hi-Fi+ magazine's September 2018 issue features System Building The Studio Way as David Browne on setting up a system, plus Meet Your Maker features HiFi+ traveling to Slovakia to visit IsoTek Systems. Reviews within this issue include Hegel Audio Systems H590 integrated amplifier, Boulder Amplifiers 1110/1160 pre/power combo, Audio Research REF 160M mono valve power amplifier, CH Precision I1 integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA7200 integrated amplifier, Primare I35 integrated amplifier, Zanden Audio Systems Model 3000Mk2 line-level preamplifier, Cyrus Audio One HD integrated amplifier, Chord Electronics Blu Mk2 upsampling CD transport, Magnepan 30.7 (revisited) four-panel dipole planar loudspeaker, Aqua La Scala Mk II digital converter, Sennheiser HD 820 closed-back dynamic headphones, Ansuz Acoustic X-Series interconnect cables, loudspeaker cables, power cords, and power distribution box. Also reviewed are the Critical Mass Systems Center Stage2 resonance control system and Riva Concert Preview Alexa-controlling speaker system. Within his editorial Alan Sircom says "The truth is that we are getting some of the best performing, best sounding audio products ever at this time. The combination of ever-more sophisticated electronic design programs, coupled with an understanding of the importance of an iterative design-build-listen-repeat process, and extraordinarily consistent modern production techniques makes the amplifier world of 2018 something to be proud of. Normally, in any given year, a reviewer might happen across one or two products in a category that help redefine what we can do in audio; this month I think I encountered at least four of those products in the same amplifier category. Reviewers all have their own little internal dialogues ('would I recommend this to a friend?' being the most common) but several times this month, I've found myself questioning the equipment I use regularly, and questioning the need to spend more. It's that degree of shifting the goalposts that makes me think audio is in a very good place at the moment, and getting better." See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+ Magazine at this link.


09 / 01 / 18

September's Review Magazine Features Our Annual Blue Note Awards
Enjoy the Music.com's September Review Magazine features our very exciting annual Best Of 2018 Blue Note Awards! Join us in celebrating the many great achievements by audiophile manufacturers within the high-end audio and Hi-Res Audio industry. Our 2018 Blue Note Awards is a culmination of eighteen years of reviewing and carefully choosing what products have earned special recognition for our annual awards. Let it be said here and now we make no apologies that during 2018 our staff chose only 18 products to receive our special Best Of 2018 Blue Note Award.

WARNING: Due to our ongoing growth and to keep this industry news posting relatively short in length, below are just a sampling of the many articles and reviews within the September issue. You can see everything within this month's edition of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine at this link. As always, in the end what really matters is that you... 

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin
Creative Director
Enjoy the Music.com


Enjoy the Music.com's Best Of 2018 Blue Note Awards
Enjoy the Music.com's Best Of 2018 Blue Note Awards
Our top 18 picks of the finest in high-end audio gear for 2018!


High-End Audio Dinosaurs Unite!
Roger Skoff likes doing it the 'old fashioned' way and tells us why.
Article By Roger Skoff


Sound System Performance, Part 3
Some effects of signal-to-noise ratio and reverberation.
Article By Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES


Quality Record Pressings / Acoustic Sounds Vinyl LP Pressing Plant Tour
How A Vinyl Record Is Made
Quality Record Pressings / Acoustic Sounds Vinyl LP Pressing Plant Tour


Monsieur Rankin's Euro Selection
Yet more pro bono work from the explorateur at Wavelength Audio.
Article By Gordon Rankin Of Wavelength Audio


Acoustical QUAD
The original QUAD components were introduced around 1954...
Article By Dan Schmalle


Analogue Artisan A1 Series Turntable
With Remote Control VTA-SRA Mongoose Tonearm And Pod
Truly reference sound quality with astonishingly low distortion.
Review By Tom Lyle


Acoustic Signature Double X Turntable
With TA 2000 Tonearm And Dynavector XX2 MC Cartridge
A vehicle to bring all the escapist enjoyment your musical heart desires.
Review By Ron Nagle


Kralk Audio TDB-12 Professional Three-Way Studio Monitor
Old school appearance with powerful musical performance.
Review By Clive Meakins


Audience ClairAudient 1+1 V2+, And The ONE V2+ Loudspeakers
These tiny loudspeakers are even smaller than an LS3-5a, so here's a review for those with a phobia of speakers.
Review By Paul Messenger Of HIFICRITIC


Townshend Allegri+ Stereo Preamplifier
Martin Colloms undertakes a renewed (albeit brief) re-acquaintance with the 2017-2018 edition of a respected auto transformer volume control.
Review By Martin Colloms Of HIFICRITIC


More Articles Available Online!
See all our show reports, articles, and gear reviews within Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine now available online.

Also visit us online at:      


08 / 30 / 18

GIK Acoustics New Impression Series Of Room Panels And Bass Traps
GIK Acoustics is proud to announce the release of five new designs available in the company's Impression Series line of acoustic panels and bass traps. First introduced in January 2017, the Impression Series changed the face of room treatments for GIK Acoustics. These acoustic panels and bass traps combine proven, effective absorption with beautifully decorative plates to deliver an aural and visual statement to enhance any room. The rigid plate not only gives the panel a stylish appearance but also helps reflect/scatter high frequency content in the room giving the proper balance needed. Now the company is offering an even bigger impact by expanding the decorative patterns available. GIK Acoustics Impression Series panels available in twelve elegant patterns including Basketweave, Braids, Palomar, Sunrise, and Wavy Leaves along with Bubbles, Checkerboard, Gatsby Arches, Mod Geometric, 3D Cubes, Digiwave (horizontal & vertical). Three standard sizes include Square (24" x 24"), Narrow (12" x 48") and Rectangle (24" x 48"), with three levels of absorption. Five plate finishes are Beech wood veneer, Black veneer, White veneer, Grey Elm veneer, and Mahogany veneer.


Sonos Brings Convenient Smart Home Features And Developer APIs
Only weeks after successfully IPO'ing, Sonos (Nasdaq: SONO) has unveiled all-new Sonos Amp ($599) to power smart home entertainment while also doubling down on their commitment to Installed Solutions channels. Sonos Amp, a powerful and versatile home audio hub that powers traditional wired speakers with sound from nearly any source, and fully integrates these speakers into Sonos' easy-to-use wireless home sound system. New collaboration with industry leader Sonance will focus on creation of a series of architectural speakers to complement Sonos Amp; Sonos fully opens developer platform and adds new control APIs. The all-new Amp is twice as powerful as its predecessor, supports Apple's AirPlay 2 and more than 100 streaming services, and includes an HDMI Arc port for TVs. Amp is designed to fit perfectly into standard AV racks used by custom install professionals, and can power up to four speakers with 125 Watts per channel — more than enough for virtually all home speaker systems. Onboard HDMI and line-in ports means TVs, turntables, CD changers, and other audio components can easily connect with Amp and become part of the Sonos system. New updates to the platform make it easy for installers to incorporate Amp into integrated smart home set-ups, including smart lighting and centralized control systems. It is also AirPlay 2 compatible, meaning music and other audio from any iOS device can be played wirelessly through Amp. And when wirelessly connected to an Amazon Alexa-enabled device like a Sonos One or Beam, Amp is controllable with voice commands. Finally, like other Sonos devices, Amp will gain new features, services, and integrations over time through free software updates, ensuring customers will get the best from their set-up for years to come. New developer APIs and deeper integrations with the Sonos platform partners create seamless smart home control. Starting in early September 2018, Sonos will further evolve the developer platform by fully opening up to all potential partners and will also add a new set of Control APIs, making it easier than ever to integrate Sonos into the smart home. This is especially great news for those with integrated control systems such as Control4 and Crestron.


Estelon YB Floorstanding Loudspeaker
The baby of the Estelon family.
Review By Phil Gold


08 / 29 / 18

Longtime Audio Veteran Paul Hales Launches Theory Audio Design
Paul Hales, 30-year loudspeaker engineer, AV industry veteran is pleased to announce the launch of Theory Audio Design. This new company is a specialty manufacturer of loudspeakers and Amplified Loudspeaker Controllers (ALC). Theory loudspeaker models consist of three in-wall and four slender on-wall models, featuring dual 5", 6" and 8" woofers. For tight, deep bass, Theory offers two subwoofer models sporting 12" and 15" high-power drivers. Three soundbars round out the loudspeaker line designed for those who desire multi-channel surround sound. Two innovative Amplified Loudspeaker Controllers provide the power and brains behind the beauty. Under the hood of Theory's loudspeakers you'll find 1.4-inch aluminum diaphragm compression drivers on proprietary Theory Impedance Optimizer waveguides that achieve 110dB of SPL with just 1W input. For the bottom-end, Theory loudspeakers feature reflex-loaded carbon fiber woofers which generate 95dB to 100dB SPL per watt depending on model. Constructed from custom aluminum extrusions that are only 3.6" in depth, and available in black or white, Theory loudspeakers feature clean lines, rounded edges, machined aluminum accents, and configurable decorative trim to suit any d้cor. Finish options for the trim pieces include carbon fiber, white, gray, or black gloss, natural and black aluminum, brushed stainless steel, and matte pewter. At the core of every Theory system lies a 96kHz / 24-bit DSP processing engine called a Loudspeaker Controller. Theory's ALC-1508B and ALC-1809B eight and nine channel Amplified Loudspeaker Controllers (ALC) combine the functionality of a multi-channel DSP processor, high-power multi-channel home theater and distributed audio amplifier. Theory Audio Design's fan-less 1U ALC-1508B and ALC-1809B offer two and three 300W high-current amplifier channels for subwoofer drive respectively, plus six 100W bridgeable amplifier channels to drive full range loudspeakers. The ALC-1508B can support 5.1, 5.2, 7.1 surround sound formats while the 1809B, with its additional 300W channel, adds support for 5.3, 7.2 and the new 5.2.2 Dolby Atmos format. Both Amplified Loudspeaker Controller models include 80 user-programmable parametric EQ filters (10 per channel), plus gain adjustment, source signals for system diagnosis and delay of up to 75msec per channel for on-site system-wide optimization and calibration. ALC also provides over 160 IIR filters, 8 FIR filters, intelligent power-limiting, and delay. Also of note is that the ALC-1508B and ALC-1809B each include a full 8x8 matrix mixer, mic input, all-channel priority ducking/paging, four stereo plus mono-sum inputs, bass and treble controls and up to 75msecs delay per channel.


08 / 28 / 18

SOtM Announces Their mT-1000 Audio Grade Six Outlet Power Strip
SOtM uses innovative technology within their mT-1000 ($1500) to block and/or reduce noise to achieve what they feel is the best sound quality for your audio system. The mT-1000 uses a unique noise reduction technique — a specially-shaped filter block installed around the power line. Because this technique does not add filters in the middle of the power line, according to SOtM it does not hinder the details and dynamics of the music. "Instead", says the company, "it works with your system to deliver the natural texture and live sound of your music." You may employ small, adjustable spiked footings on the mT-1000 that are designed to minimize vibration plus preventing long term abrasion. In total, there are six protected outlets, with availability for USA, EU, and UK type outlets available. High grade aluminum body design ensures a solid platform. Internally, there is 8 AWG (200A) stranded tinned copper wire that connects to dust and splashed water protected (IP54) outlets. Dimensions are 106 x 75 x 526 mm and it weighs 3.75 lbs.


08 / 27 / 18

Burning Amp Festival 2018, DIY Audio's Premiere International Festival
Burning Amp Festival 2018 (BAF) is coming to the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on Sunday, September 30th from 8:30am to 8pm. New BAF's hours have been extended due to the increased interest and popularity of DIY audio amongst music-loving enthusiasts of all ages. Held annually in the fall since 2007, BAF has grown into a premier international event for do-it-yourself (DIY) audio enthusiasts and professionals. DIY audio is the original maker movement, dating back to the 1940's and 1950's when Hi-Fi was in its infancy, and a lot of great-sounding equipment was assembled at home by enthusiastic amateurs. BAF celebrates audio technology both new and old, tube and solid-state, analog and digital. Come listen to hand-built audio amplifiers, speakers, and more. Bring your own gear: DIY amps, speakers, turntables, DACs, servers, etc. Share ideas and learn to design and build your own equipment. By way of encouraging people to bring their own projects for show or demonstration, there will be free admission to anyone bringing a DIY project. There will be displays, demos, auction and raffles items and freebies, plus well-attended lectures by prominent figures in audio engineering design like Nelson Pass, Roger Modjeski and Wayne Colburn.


08 / 24 / 18

Paradigm Defiance Subwoofers With App Control And Room Correction
Paradigm Electronics Inc. is proud to announce their new Defiance line of six subwoofers featured in two series (X Series and V Series). Defiance X10 / X12 / X15 subwoofers have heavy-duty, internally-braced cabinets and Active Ridge Technology woofer surrounds for maximum driver-excursion. High volume levels are achieved with precision control and low distortion. Their Defiance V8 / V10 / V12 subwoofers are more value-oriented and have a smaller footprint. All Defiance subwoofers (except the V8) feature app control, Anthem Room Correction (ARC), and optional wireless connectivity. Paradigm's Subwoofer App Control makes setup and room tuning easy via iOS and Android. Controls include volume, low-pass filter, phase, room gain, and much more. There are three preset listening modes, and you can remotely turn Anthem Room Correction on and off. Paradigm's top-line Defiance X15 ($1499) features a 15" flush-mounted driver with patented ART Surround and 900 Watt (1800W dynamic peak) Class-D amplifier in a down-firing ported enclosure. Defiance X12 ($1299) includes a 650 Watt (1300W dynamic peak) Class-D amplifier. Their smallest in-series Defiance V8 ($399) model V8 features an 8" flush-mounted driver and 75 Watt (150W dynamic peak) Class-D amplifier in a down-firing ported enclosure. Inputs include RCA (Left and Right/LFE) and Speaker Level (Left and Right). All Defiance subwoofers are available in a Satin Black finish.


08 / 23 / 18

TBT VIDEO: Joe Beard And Lazy Lester
Blues Masters at the Crossroads 2014 Concert
NOTE: It deeply saddens us to report that Lazy Lester passed away 8/22/18. If he looks a bit familiar, it may be due to his blues harmonica playing during Geico commercials.


Rotel A12 Integrated Amplifier And Rotel CD14 CD Player
Rotel's dynamic duo delivers outstanding performance for their price.
Review By Dwayne Carter


Summer Against Hunger Update From The Cable Company
According to The Cable Company, now at the mid point of the third week of this year's Summer Against Hunger fundraiser benefiting CARE.org, we wanted to announce that this is our strongest August fundraiser ever. Reports Robert Stein, "We were a little concerned in the current environment that this year's fundraiser might be a little flat, but results so far in August are well exceeding our expectations." He continued, "For sure this year's results will propel combined program donations for the 2+ decade life of this effort to over $5 million, not a bad number for our high end audio industry." Once again for 2018, in the 23rd year of organizing the Summer Against Hunger, 100% of August purchases of sponsored products from The Cable Company benefit CARE.org - and this is guaranteed. All products from other of our vendors, and even used products, generate a 50% donation to CARE. This dollar for dollar donation for products from our sponsoring vendors works due to leverage: The Cable Company donates a percentage of sales which is matched by sponsoring manufacturers. The 1:1 total donation to CARE is guaranteed by the participation of an anonymous donor, who is providing a funding match for total Cable Company plus vendor contributions. Additional matched funding from institutional participants further multiplies the donations we generate directly, to bring the donation to CARE up to a full dollar for dollar. Here's a list of the 100% sponsors: Abyss Headphones • Acoustic Signature • Acrolink • Alpha Design Labs • Analysis Plus • Aperture Acoustics • Audeze • Audience • Audio Desk Systeme • Audio Magic • Audio Plus Services • AudioQuest • Aural Symphonics • Backert Labs • Bluebird Music • Bybee Technologies • Cardas Audio • Chang Lightspeed • Chord Cables • Chord Electronics • Clearaudio • Crystal Cables • DH Labs • DS Audio • Fidelis AV • Focal Headphones • FoQ • Gingko Audio • Gutwire • Hana Cartridges • Harbeth Speakers • HRS Harmonic Res Sys • Harmonic Technology • Herbie's Audio Lab • HiFi-Tuning • High Fidelity Cables • IsoAcoustics • JPS Labs • Kimber Kable • KR Audio Tubes • Lotus Group • Marigo Audio • Michael Green/Roomtune • MIT Cables • MrSpeakers • Musical Surroundings • Mytek • Oyaide • Pranawire • PS Audio • Purist Audio Design • Quadraspire Racks • Rega • REL Acoustic Subs • Rogers High Fidelity • Shun Mook Audio • Shunyata Research • Siltech Cables • Sonoma Acoustics • Sound Organisation • SteinMusic • Stillpoints • Straightwire • Sutherland Engineering • Symposium Acoustics • Synergistic Research • van den Hul • Voodoo Cable • Wattgate • WBT • Wireworld • Wolf Audio Systems • Wywires • XLO Electric • ZL Technologies.


08 / 22 / 18

Enjoy the Music.com's Best Of 2018 Blue Note Awards Goes Live Sept. 1st
Only 18 products have earned our Best Of 2018 Blue Note Award, so they are quite rare! This award celebrates the many great achievements by audiophile manufacturers within the high-end audio and Hi-Res Audio industry. During 2017 only 17 products earned this award, with 2016 bestowing 15 products this very rare recognition. So until September 1st when our 2018 picks go live, check out Enjoy the Music.com's Best Of 2017 Blue Note Awards at this link.


08 / 21 / 18

AES Conference On Audio For Virtual And Augmented Reality
The Audio Engineering Society is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2018, and now counts over 12,000 members throughout the USA, Latin America, Europe, Japan and the Far East. The organization serves as the pivotal force in the exchange and dissemination of technical information for the industry. Today the AES is holding their second International Conference on Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality. Taking place August 20th through 22nd at the DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA, the conference and exhibition will bring together a community of influential research scientists, engineers, VR / AR developers, and content creators. The conference's esteemed keynote presenters – Jean-Marc Jot, Distinguished Fellow, Magic Leap; Ivan Tashev, Partner Architect, Microsoft Research Labs Redmond; and Ravish Mehra, Lead Research Scientist, Facebook Reality Labs – are at the forefront of innovation for VR and AR. The three-day conference and expo will focus on the dissemination of top-level research in the field of spatial audio for virtual and augmented reality, with demonstrations and discussions focused on technical solutions and recommended practices. Leading researchers, practitioners and industry luminaries will offer panel discussions, tutorials, and workshops on new and forthcoming technologies. The conference promises to be as interactive and cross-disciplinary as the field of VR and AR itself, and will include an exhibition of relevant software and product demos. The conference will bring together talented researchers and developers who are creating the next generation of audio tools for immersive content, with presentation topics including:

- AR/VR audio content development tools & workflows, including personalized vs. generic HRTFs 
- Realistic sound propagation for immersing the user in virtual environments
- Auditory distance discrimination in cinematic virtual reality
- Spatial audio capture, rendering, and synthesis over headphones and speakers
- Binaural, ambisonics, and wave field synthesis techniques
- 3D sound field navigation
- HRTF modeling and derivation from optical and/or acoustic measurements
- Reverb and room acoustics synthesis
- 3D audio mixing and content production
- Music and sound design for VR/AR 
- Higher education & immersive media 
- Sound for 360 VR
- XR [extended reality] audio in diverse industries 
- Dialogue for VR/AR and MPEG-H


08 / 20 / 18

Sony DMP-Z1 Digital Music Player With Balanced 4.4mm Headphone Jack
Sony's new DMP-Z1 is a digital music player capable of Hi-es Audio and Hi-Res Music playback (HKD 61,880, about $7900). There's 256GB internal storage plus two Micro SD slots for storage, Bluetooth streaming, and an intuitive 3.1-inch WVGA (800 x 480) touchscreen experience makes it easy to change settings, and a spectrum analyzer visualizes frequency amplitude instantly. Complete with dedicated control keys, the DMP-Z1 lets you choose between UI interface and a more tactile experience. By capturing and reproducing digital audio at a higher rate than the decades old CD, this allows you to get closer to the original studio recording and enjoy your music just as the artist intended. DSD native playback up to 11.2 MHz and PCM playback up to 384kHz/32-bit. There's a 4.4mm balanced connection headphone jack plus industry standard unbalanced 3.5mm stereo jack. By incorporating an audiophile-grade high-power headphone amplifier, Sony's DMP-Z1 realizes 1500 mW (16 Ohms) headphone output to to drive most headphones. There are five electric double-layer capacitors (EDLC) with large capacity and low ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance) supply power from the batteries of the DMP-Z1. This means no sudden falls in voltage, and power is stably supplied to DAC and amplifier. External noise is shut out from the DMP-Z1 amp board to the headphones through internal wiring engineered with Kimber Kable. Formed from a four-wire braided cable the wiring transmits high-quality audio signals for both balanced and unbalanced listening. As for Sony's included sound effects, the DMP-Z1 offer a vinyl playback simulator and is said to give back the warmth and character of vinyl to your digital tracks and get lost again in the richness of the melodies and dynamics of your favourite albums. Subtle reproduction of the low-frequency resonance, tone-arm resistance and surface noise deliver an authentic listening experience. A new Sony DSEE HX analyses song type by AI and it is claimed this upscaling is improved even further by Sony new DSEE HX processor which intelligently recognizes instrumentation and musical genres. To quote Sony, "Realism and liveliness of different instruments, including the human voice, are inherently characterized by high frequency harmonics. By identifying instruments, and the relative energy of the audio, our enhanced DSEE HX can accurately rebuild audio lost during digital compression, for a full fidelity experience even with heavily-compressed audio formats." Another twist is the Sony DSD remastering engine for PCM audio. PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) audio is re-sampled into 5.6MHz DSD (Direct Stream Digital) ultra-high-frequency 1-bit audio stream. The single-bit stream delivered to the DAC is claimed by Sony to have a character far closer to that of analogue – so your music is delivered exactly as the artist intended.


08 / 17 / 18

Blues Masters At The Crossroads 2018 Concert In Salina, Kansas
Just announced! "What a lineup! Those who have waited on our announcement of performers for our 21st Annual Blues Masters at the Crossroads, wait no longer. With our co-sponsor for this year's event — Kansas State University — we're bringing you our typically strong roster of veteran blues artists. For starters we're bringing back Bobby Rush, this time for an acoustic flavored set — a different look than his appearance at Blues Masters in 2017 with the Take Me To The River - Memphis Soul and Rhythm & Blues Revue. Another bluesman with classic and paternal roots to the genre also returns, Mud Morganfield, son of blues icon Muddy Waters. St. Louis blues artist and Blues Masters favorite Marquise Knox returns, and we finish off Friday night by welcoming the fabulous Beverly "Guitar" Watkins to our stage. Watkins, 79, is a fierce, pyrotechnic guitar maven with six decades of performing alongside the likes of Ray Charles, James Brown, BB King and many more musical legends. Saturday's lineup includes the swamp blues multi-instrumentalist and Grammy nominated performer Kenny Neal; Robert Finley, a soul-stirring singer with ties to Black Keys singer Dan Auerbach who helped produce Finley's 2017 album loaded with Memphis-to-Texas electric southern grit — 'Goin' Platinum.'; award-winning Baton Rouge bluesman Larry Garner; and lastly, another of the distinguished blues-singing Neal family, Lil' Ray Neal. Neal served as sideman to blues and rhythm-and-blues legends such as John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Little Milton Campbell and many others for nearly 40 years. His transition from sideman to frontman culminated in 2015 with the release of his album 'Nothing But The Blues.' Get down to the vibe from this exciting singer-songwriter and guitarist." Tickets are $60 each night and are available for purchase through this link. Watch Enjoy the Music.com's recorded live broadcast of Blues Masters At The Crossroads 2014 below.

Enjoy the Music.com  /  Enjoy the Music.TV Live Streams Blues Masters At The Crossroads 2014

You can see our tour of Acoustic Sounds, a video on how sister company Analog Productions produces vinyl, and of course all Blues Masters At The Crossroads 2014 concert videos at this link.


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