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High-End Audio Industry News


01 / 31 / 07

Trends Audio has updated their TA-10 Class-T amplifier, now called the TA-10.1 ($119), with an upgraded board plus larger input and power capacitors. With claims of fuller bass, improved dynamics, better channel separation and a wider soundstage, the tweaked design has upgraded power filtering capacitor. Specifically, from 220uF Elna electrolytic to 1500uF Sanyo WG (high frequency and low ESR) electrolytic. Trends TA-10.1 applied Tripath's Class-T technology and use their unique audio techniques for a palm size amplifier that weights a mere 1 pound with aluminum case. "As we believe, audiophile amplifier is no longer 'The Larger, the Heavier & the Hotter, the Best Sound'" says David Ho, the marketing director of Trends Audio. "Trends TA-10.1 applied the well accept Tripath's Class-T audio amplification technology. This integrated the class-D digital audio signal processing technique (PWM) with the Class-AB power amplification into a small IC. It has the mini-size, low heat advantages of Class-D amplifiers and also has the high fidelity sound quality of Class-AB amplifiers."

 

01 / 30 / 07

Empirical Audio  Empirical Audio has four new products for computer/digital audio application that include their Spoiler USB tube DAC, Pace Car I2S reclocker, Off-Ramp Wi-Fi wireless computer audio converter, plus Benchmark DAC-1 with 2S input and optional mods. The Spoiler USB DAC uses the very best components available including NOS Siemens tubes, highly acclaimed DF1704/PCM1704 D/A chipset, and audiophile-grade parts. Empirical Audio's Pace-Car reclocks and outputs low-jitter I2S signals to an I2S input-type DAC, such as the Northstar, P-3A or the modded Empirical Benchmark DAC-1. The Pace-Car can be driven from an array of different computer audio sources, including modified Off-Ramp Wi-Fi, modified Squeezebox, modified Olive servers, modified Sonos, stock Off-Ramp I2S and others. The company's Off-Ramp Wi-Fi is available with either S/PDIF, AES or 2S output and is based on the AirPort Express, but uses several newly designed boards from Empirical Audio. It includes a new power supply, Superclock4 and new digital outputs. It has the convenience of wireless iTunes, but with high-end audio quality. Lastly, Empirical Audio's Benchmark DAC-1 with I2S input and optional mods has the I2S interface replacing the AES input on the DAC-1. The DAC-1 also becomes non-oversampling and DC-coupled.

 

01 / 29 / 07

KEF Reference Series 207/2  KEF 's new and innovative Uni-Q driver has been further refined in the company's next-generation Reference Series. The Uni-Q array features a sophisticated elliptical dome tweeter and a patented 'Uni-Form' flat surround midrange driver said to produce clear vocals, excellent imaging and outstanding soundstage. An ultra low distortion bass driver produces accurate dynamics partially due to the use of a super light neodymium magnet assembly. KEF also claims improved low-frequency response and customization with a two-position bass control. Models in the new Reference series have special decoupling techniques, with all drivers being decoupled from the cabinet to avoid unwanted resonances and interactions. The company's top line, the Model 207/2 ($20,000 per pair, pictured), is a 4-way bass reflex design with two 10 inch woofers, a 10 inch midbass, 6.5 inch midrange with concentrically mounted 1 inch tweeter. Frequency response at 15° horizontally off axis is from 40Hz to 60kHz ( ±3dB) with an 8 Ohm impedance and 91dB/W/m sensitivity. Each complete unit weights 145 lbs. and measures 48.3 x 15.7 x 27 (HxWxD in inches). Available finishes include Piano Black, high gloss Cherry, high gloss American Walnut, and Satin Sycamore.

 

01 / 26 / 07

  With more and more savvy high-end car manufacturers choosing proper high-end systems, Jaguar has partnered with Bowers Wilkins (B&W), Bugatti with Burmester, and Lexus with Pioneer sourced Mark Levinson branded products. Exclusive collaboration reveals exciting audio entertainment innovations for the new Jaguar C-XF concept car, unveiled at the recent Detroit Motor Show, that features next generation audio solutions from longstanding audiophile loudspeaker company B&W. Applying over 40 years of experience to the challenges of achieving great sound in the automotive environment, Bowers & Wilkins' engineers have developed a unique in-car audio system featuring Micro-Matrix speaker panels, 'Bass Beam' low-frequency driver technology, Kevlar cone midrange speakers, diamond-dome tweeters, selective-directivity arrays in the rear passenger compartment, and a rear deck panel featuring a full complement of bass and wide-dispersion drivers. Micro-Matrix material is designed to deliver improved stiffness and damping properties, 'Bass Beam' low-frequency driver components are mounted in the doors, promoting structural integrity and superior audio imaging. This innovative design makes incorporation within the car's doors possible and provides an optimal implementation for the achievement of forward stereo imaging and concentrated 'up front' bass as is demanded by automotive audiophiles. Incorporation of Kevlar cone drivers in the dashboard and doors are designed to achieve smoother response throughout its frequency range. The end result is that these speakers deliver more fine detail to the listener and eliminate off-axis tonal-balance problems. The Diamond-dome tweeters, combined with award-winning B&W Nautilus technology, deliver unmatched high-frequency performance. The elements in the C-XF are taken from Bowers & Wilkins critically-acclaimed 800 Diamond Series loudspeakers. The tapered Nautilus tube is now replaced by a compact, spiral version which damps unwanted reflections from the rear side of the tweeter element.

Bugatti EB 16.4 VeyronThe Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron is an extraordinary car that easily travels at over 200 mph yet can handle both the twisty roads and straight speeds with ease. With cooperation during the early stage of body design and engineering work, Bugatti and Burmester has achieved the best in functionality, musicality and design. Thus, the controls are a completely new design to enable the driver to use them at high speeds without distraction. Many functions will be programmable so the driver can customize the system to his personal taste. Meanwhile Lexus's Mark Levinson Discrete 5.1 Surround Sound System has been a feature in the GS series of cars with both high-end driver and signal processing technology that includes the ability to play DVD-Audio, DVD-Video and DVD-R formats (both Dolby Digital and DTS). The 11-channel Mark Levinson processor/amplifier produces 330 watts in total through four tweeters, five midranges, four midbass drivers and one subwoofer. A multi-channel listening experience can be created from stereo sources that include CD, FM, and satellite radio, which are upsampled to 24-bit word lengths. On a related note, Dynaudio, Focal and other high-end driver designers offer aftermarket products for those seeking audiophile-quality sound within their automobile.

 

01 / 25 / 07

High End Society 2007 Germany Show  High End Society's 2007 Munich, Germany, show will take place from May 17th through May 20th at the Munich-Operation-Center (M.O.C.). Without a doubt this is the most important show of the spring with leading manufacturers, distributors, and members of the press from all around the world in attendance. In the course of more than two decades, the High End 2007 show has become Europe's most successful event of its kind that features high-end audio and video products from manufacturers and distributors. With a press/trade day followed by days for enthusiasts, visitor to the fair will meet the entire spectrum of audiophile technology including two-channel audio, turntables, tube power amplifiers, high-tech loudspeakers plus high-performance media servers and multi-channel demonstrations. American companies looking to reach a worldwide market should consider this show as possibly the best opportunity to greatly expand their business. Due to the show's importance, 2007 will mark Enjoy the Music.com's eighth consecutive year covering this event. To see our 2006 show coverage please click here.

Location: M,O,C, Munich -- Lilienthalallee 40 -- 80939 München-Freimann
Duration: May 17th through 20th
Trade Day: Thursday, May 17th (only by pre-registration)
Hours Of Operation: From 10am to 6pm
Entrance Fee: Public: €10 / day
Trade Visitors: €20 with pre-registration (the badge is valid for all days)

 

01 / 23 / 07

Audiomeca Belladonna Turntable And Septum Tonearm  Audiomeca's new Pierre Lurné designed Belladonna turntable and Septum tonearm combination is aimed at setting new standards for vinyl replay. Pierre Lurné, founder and head designer of Audiomeca, has been designing and building analogue products for nearly four decades and has published many papers in the technical press. Pierre has applied this knowledge to the Belladonna turntable and Septum pick-up arm with features including his Pure Mass Concept, where a perfectly balanced system is placed around a Point of Rotation. The most obvious application of Pure Mass is to be seen in the design of Belladonna's 10 Kg platter and main bearing. The drive belt pulls on a plane passing through the Centre of Gravity and not at the far edge. The bearing sleeve is made out of non-resonant material with a smaller contact area, with benefits being less friction and lower noise. The motor itself is heavily modified with flywheels both above and below the rotor to provide a stable storage of energy for the platter. The Septum tonearm, 230mm effective and 14 gram mass, also benefits from Center Of Gravity and Pure Mass concepts. It rides up when the stylus wants it to, then returns without introducing a swinging element. There is a claimed freedom from parasitic movement in all planes. Also of note is that the manufacturer claims that every joint, every bolt, every thread in an arm acts as a reflective surface to vibrations that may cause coloration and reduced dynamics. This unipivot are employs a single piece tapered-aluminum armtube/headshell assembly that is machined from a solid, drawn bar. A purpose-built stand, the Ground Base that is designed to protect the turntable from outside vibrations, offers a final sink to any floor-born vibrations from reaching the turntable.

 

01 / 22 / 07

Classé Audio Reference CDP-502 Digital Disc Player  Classé Audio has unveiled their combined concepts into a single "reference" disc-player, the CDP-502 ($8500). As one expects from a high-end audio company, the unit accepts audio CDs, DVD-Video discs, DVD-Audio high-resolution audio recordings, DualDisc, MP3, WMA and AAC audio-encoded discs plus Video-CD, S-VCD and JPEG discs. The unit outputs all HD-compatible resolutions including 1080p. "Classé customers are among the most demanding and discerning in the world," says David Nauber, Classé's Executive VP, Brand Development. "...state-of-the-technology performance for both DVD and CD playback, with all the benefits associated with Classé design."

Classé Audio has also debuted their "Best in Class" Delta Series surround processor, the SSP-900 ($25,000). This unit combines touch-screen control, a separate preview screen, full differential audio circuits, broadcast grade 1080p video processing/scaling, and multi-zone operation. The SSP-900 displays the beautiful curved aesthetic that distinguishes all Classé Delta series components with a centrally-mounted front panel color touch screen for ease of use. The SSP-900 includes analog audio inputs (four single-ended and one balanced) as well as accommodations for a discrete 7.1 source. Digital audio sources include six coaxial, one AES/EBU, and six EIAJ (TOSlink optical) inputs. The processor accommodates up to four HDMI audio/video sources and features four component, four composite, and five S-video inputs as well. Outputs include Main and Zone analog and digital audio with the ten Main analog outputs providing two programmable for either additional subwoofers or a two-channel stereo downmix. The video output complement includes two independently assignable HDMI outputs as well as component and S-video. A separate OSD (on-screen display) output allows easy configuration in a custom-installed environment.

 

01 / 18 / 07

IFPI  The IFPI, an organizations that represents the recording industry worldwide with a membership comprising some 1400 record companies in nearly 70 countries, estimated that $2 billion worth of music was sold online or through mobile phones in 2006 (trade revenues). This figure is almost double that of 2005 and shows extremely strong online music growth worldwide. According the the IFPI, "Digital sales now account for around 10 percent of the music market as record companies experiment and innovate with an array of business models and digital music products, involving hundreds of licensing partners." Of note is that in 2006 the number of songs available online doubled to four million and are available from over 500 online services worldwide. Also of note is that digital music distribution channels have diversify and expanded, with a-la-carte download services led by iTunes, which was the dominant digital format in 2006. IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said, "The record industry today has evolved into a digital thinking, digitally literate business. Revenues in 2006 doubled to about $2 billion and by 2010 we expect at least one quarter of all music sales worldwide to be digital. This is a market combining evolution and revolution, where the learning curve is changing direction on a regular basis."

 

01 / 17 / 07

Harbeth Audio UK  Harbeth Audio UK is about to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary and is searching for its oldest customer. The HL Monitor, Harbeth's first model, can still be found in customer's system and Harbeth is looking for the most original model and its owner. "We are keen to track them down in what is a very special year for us," said a Harbeth representative. The company was founded in 1977 by a BBC research engineer and the company notes that some exciting developments will be announced throughout their 30th anniversary. Anyone who thinks they might have the oldest working pair of Harbeth loudspeakers should contact Harbeth from their website.

 

01 / 16 / 07

Dave O'Brian Of McIntosh Laboratory  It saddens me to convey that, as reported a few days ago within our CES 2007 show coverage, Dave O'Brien of McIntosh Laboratory passed away due to prostate cancer. Born on May 3, 1928 in Worthington Ohio, Dave was perhaps the face of McIntosh Laboratory as he held clinics throughout America and it is said he tweaked/tested more than one million units during his three decade long career. Dave also wrote a 53-page book filled with various hints, tips, amusing experiences and much more. The story of "The McIntosh Amplifier Clinics" written by Dave O’Brien is available exclusively through Audio Classics for $19.95. Dave is survived by his brother Donald and nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held at J.A. McCormack Sons, 141 Main Street, Binghamton, NY on Friday, January 19, 2007. Visitation is from 1:30pm until 2:30pm with service at 2:30pm immediately followed by the burial at Vestal Hills.

 

01 / 15 / 07

Enjoy the Music.com Audiophile Equipment Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's would like to thank everyone we met during T.H.E. Show and CES events. While we have extensive coverage online right now, more reports will be appearing in the coming weeks. Please see what we have online right now by clicking CES or T.H.E. Show. Our mid-January Review Magazine is now online and includes CES / T.H.E. Show Roundup & Other Thoughts by editor Steven R. Rochlin. Another new articles is by senior editor Dick Olsher and involves his DIY Loudspeaker Project: Feasting on the Feastrex full range driver and Augie woofer. See the mid-January issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

01 / 13 / 07

LG BH100 Blue-ray and HD DVD Player  Big news during our CES 2007 show report was the LG Electronics' BH100 ($1199) Super Multi Blue home unit and GGW-H10N computer drive module ($1199 each). The unit will play both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats, but audiophiles seeking DVD-Audio and SACD are left out in the cold. Full HD 1080p and interactive functions based on BD-Java are included. The unit supports various A/V formats, including MPEG-2, VC-1, H.264 video, MPEG1/2 audio, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital+, DTS and DTS-HD audio, and includes multiple inputs/outputs such as HDMI out, component/composite video outputs, and optical/coaxial/discrete 5.1 channel audio outputs, etc. For those curious, the unit will not play normal audio CDs. LG Electronics' GGW-H10N computer drive is compatible with both Blu-ray Discs and HD-DVD formats. The Super Multi Blue drive is compatible with Blu-ray Disc, DVD, CD read/write and HD-DVD-ROM (read), offering consumers with the most universal unit available. The GGW-H10N can record up to 50GB of data. It also provides a 4x recording speed of Blu-ray Discs, which means that it takes only 24 minutes to burn a full single layer BD-R disc (25GB). These mark the electronic industry's first combination Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD unit in the marketplace, so there may be hope for a single unit that includes high resolution niche audiophile formats DVD-Audio and SACD in the days to come.

 

01 / 12 / 07

T.H.E. Show 2007  We have wrapped up our virtually live coverage of T.H.E. Show and CES 2007. Well over 100 products are news events are highlighted that could impact your life for today and, perhaps, for years to come! See our CES 2007 show report by clicking here. Our T.H.E. Show coverage can be seen by clicking here. More show reports appearing online in the coming weeks.

 

01 / 06   to  01 / 11

CES 2007 Product Report  It has been reported that entertainment media giant Warner Brothers' Hi-Def division will be releasing titles in the company's Total HD format, which is claimed to have both Blu-ray and HD DVD layers. As a way to help stem the tide of ongoing format wars that plagues consumers to make an either/or decision, Warner decided to develop a digital disc that will have Blu-ray data located 0.1mm from the disk surface and HD-DVD data placed 0.6mm deep. Barry M. Meyer, the chairman and chief executive of Warner Brothers, said "The next best thing is to recognize that there will be two formats and to make that not a negative for the consumer. We felt that the most significant constituency for us to satisfy was the consumer first, and the retailer second. The retailer wants to sell hardware and doesn't want to be forced into stocking two formats for everything. This is ideal for them." Also of note is that a third layer may be possibly added for normal DVD or other data. In related news, universal Blu-ray/HD DVD players will make their way to the CES 2007 from various manufacturers. See our CES 2007 show coverage by clicking here.

 

01 / 05 / 07

Paradigm Monitor 11 Floorstanding Loudspeaker  Paradigm has proudly introduced their Monitor Series v.5 lineup that includes the Monitor 7, Monitor 9, and Monitor 11 ($649, $899, and $1199 per pair respectively). The Monitor 7 is a four-driver 2.5-way floorstanding unit with two 5.25-inch carbon-infused polypropylene bass, 5.25-inch M-ICP mid/bass, and a 1-inch H-PTD tweeter. The Monitor 9 is a four-driver 2.5-way floorstanding unit with two 6.5-inch carbon-infused polypropylene bass, 6.5-inch M-ICP mid/bass,1-inch H-PTD dome tweeter. Lastly, the top range Monitor 11 (pictured) is a four-driver 2.5-way floorstanding unit with a pair of 7.5-inch carbon-infused polypropylene bass, 7.5-inch M-ICP mid/bass units, and a 1-inch H-PTD dome tweeter.

 

01 / 04 / 07

Gemme Audio Tanto  Gemme Audio has announced their Vivace and Tanto (pictured) loudspeakers that feature VFlex loading architecture. Both models are claimed to achieve bass down to 20Hz (16Hz @ -10dB anechoic) out of small size floorstanding enclosures. There is very little additional data, though we presume it uses a 1-inch dome tweeter and 6.5-inch midrange/woofer driver judging by the photo they sent us. The loudspeaker cabinet is made using CNC machining and CAD design technology.

 

01 / 03 / 07

CES 2007 News & Pre-Show Report  Our CES 2007 pre-show report now features well over 50 products and links to many reviews, with more announcements being added in the following days. Once the show begins on January 8th, you can expect our live reports to appear each day with special audiophile highlights, sneak peaks, and exclusives! Check out the multiple pages of high-end audio products to be seen during the CES 2007 by clicking here.

 

01 / 02 / 07

Tidal Audio Agoria Loudspeaker  Tidal Audio has announced the company's new Agoria large floorstanding loudspeaker. This no compromise single enclosure loudspeaker employs filter technology from their flagship model, The Sunray. The Agoria utilizes a 30mm inverted diamond dome tweeter, a 170mm ceramic midwoofer, and three 220mm ceramic woofers. This model moves twice the air as Tidal Audio's Contriva and Contriva Diacera, plus is a tube friendly design with 90dB/W/m sensitivity.

 

01 / 01 / 07

Superior Audio Audiophile Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's January issue of both Superior Audio and Review Magazine are now online! Superior Audio features Penaudio's excellent Serenade loudspeaker plus we tell you about many free Superior Tweaks to bring your system's performance up to the next level! The Review Magazine celebrates the Lure of Vintage Hi-Fi in one article plus a review of Deutsch Perfektion The History Of The Legendary EMT Turntables in another. We also have a very important article concerning safe listening levels by the H.E.C. Audiophile's best tool is their hearing, so please carefully read and follow the guidelines. Equipment reviews include Cayin's A-70T integrated tube amplifier, GINI's cute iTube & iConec system, Morel's Octave 5.2M mains and Octave subwoofer with Harmony amplifier.. plus more reviews! See the January issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here and Superior Audio by clicking here.


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