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Enjoy the Music.com High-End Audio Equipment Reviews & News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High-End Audio Industry News


01 / 30 / 09

Heads Up  Back by popular demand, Telarc and Heads Up have issued two new SACD samplers! The classical SACD sampler features music from several of Telarc's popular SACD releases from 2007 and 2008, plus includes a sneak peek of music scheduled for release in 2009. Highlights include an excerpt from Ralph Vaughan Williams: "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis," Michael Gandolfi's "The Willowtwist" from The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, an excerpt from Bruckner's No. 5 from Benjamin Zander and the Philharmonia, Jeanne Demessieux's Octaves, from Six Etudes, Op. 5 from organist Cameron Carpenter's "Revolutionary," and much more! The Heads Up jazz and popular music sampler features music from releases of the past several years. The sampler kicks off with the big band sound as Randy Brecker is joined by his late brother Michael on the "Some Skunk Funk." Other offerings include soul legend Ray Charles singing the classic "Oh What a Beautiful Morning," and hot new bassist Esperanza Spalding with Fourplay on "Prelude for Lovers," plus much more.

 

Enjoy the Music.com has updated the Tonearm Alignment Geometry Excel Spreadsheet in honor of the original pioneer and inventor of modern tonearm alignment geometry. John Elison continues his efforts and says, "Commonly, we think of the name Baerwald in conjunction with tonearm alignment geometry, but in truth it was actually Professor Erik Löfgren of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, who developed and published the first tonearm alignment equations in 1938. Baerwald, Bauer, Seagrave and Stevenson produced identical equations, differing only in notation and arrangement. Therefore, had there been no further writing by anyone other than Professor Erik Löfgren, we would still be able to mount and align a tonearm and cartridge today with the certainty that distortion due to lateral tracking error would be minimized." You can learn more and download the

 

01 / 29 / 09

Al Stiefel  It deeply saddens me to report that Al Stiefel, the wonderful and hard-working man behind the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF), has passed away. To quote the RMAF website:

In honor of Al's passion for music and audio technology, the 2009 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest will go on as scheduled under the direction of Al's wife, Marjorie Baumert, with guidance from an advisory board, the Colorado Audio Society, and friends. To ensure the stability of this popular and growing event, the hotel, shipper and staff remain the same as in past years.

We understand that Al and Marjorie have touched many lives, but request that expressions of sympathy exclude telephone calls. Office operations will resume in mid-February. For those many friends in the Colorado area, a memorial open house will be held at the family home from 2-4pm on Saturday, January 31st. There will be no service, but rather this gathering will be a celebration of Al's life.

Memorial gifts in honor of Al Stiefel may be made to:

 

Swallow Hill Music Association
71 East Yale Avenue
Denver, CO 80210
Center for Hearing & Speech & Language
4280 Hale Parkway
Denver, CO 80220

 

01 / 28 / 09

Audio Desk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner  Audio Desk Systeme's new Vinyl Cleaner ($3495) is the first and only LP cleaning machine that incorporates an ultrasonic cleaning cycle in addition to a more conventional mechanical cleaning via bi-directionally rotating microfiber cleaning drums. The Vinyl Cleaner is completely automatic, as users will simply insert an LP into the machine's opening vertically from above and press a red button. The gentle cleaning process operates automatically during which time the yellow LED lights up. After about five minutes the green LED lights up and the cleaned disc can be removed. When in operation the machine filters the cleaning fluid. Two extremely high-performance motors guarantee effective yet quiet drying of the LP. Audio Desk Systeme's Vinyl Cleaner comes with a proprietary cleaning fluid ($14.95) developed specifically for this machine. A container of the fluid concentrate plus 4 liters of distilled water (just over a gallon) cleans 200 new LP's, or 100 used LP's.

 

Pacific Valve Transcendere S5Pacific Valve's Transcendere S5 ($619) is the Swiss Army Knife of audio, with features that includes a two-source stereo input preamplifier, preamplification outputs, a built-in 6 wpc stereo amplifier for headphones and loudspeakers plus a USB DAC. The 6 watt amplifier is driven by a pair of EL84 output tubes, a pair of 6Z4 / 6X4s for rectification and an 0B2 tube for AC to DC conversion. For preamplification, the 5670 tubes are put to good use. For USB DAC, a Burr Brown PCM 2702 decodes and upconverts the signal. A PCM 2702 supports 12Mbps data transfer and is USB 1.0 compliant plus is in Adaptive Mode for isochronous transfer. Overall, the unit has a frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz (-1dB), THD of <0.5 percent and SNR of >90dB.

 

01 / 27 / 09

ATC CA2 Stereo Preamplifier  ATC has re-launched their CA2 ($2500) stereo preamplifier with new electronic series fascia and new features. Hand built in the UK with ultra low noise discrete circuits, the CA2 features a precision machined 12mm thick brushed aluminum front plate, with IGUS ultra smooth bush bearings for both rotary controls. In addition, the CA2 preamplifier now has an on-board RIAA cartridge matching phonostage board, gain controlled stereo sub out plus tape and headphone outputs. The improved printed circuit board layout and production engineering have resulted in a further reduction in the low noise levels as compared to the previous version. Circuitry has been designed specifically to avoid phase distorting ICs in the signal path, making full use of discrete component gain blocks. With separate power supplies for each channel, the CA2 delivers a wide bandwidth and low distortion. With an all function remote, the CA2 provides six stereo line level unbalanced RCA inputs, with main outputs featuring XLR unbalanced and unbalanced via RCA plugs. Frequency response is from DC to 200 kHz with a THD of >110dB.

 

Maybe the music industry is finally going to find their best stance as the Isle of Man may soon be offering all the music you care to download for a small monthly fee. The proposal is for broadband subscribers to pay around $1.50 per month to their Internet service providers for a blanket licensing fee for unlimited music, which will be distributed to the music copyright holders. Since this small island has virtually 100 percent penetration for broadband use, the small additional fee would neatly avoid illegal P2P music sharing problems. Sadly, the music industry is still not fully convinced that this new scheme is the way to go about thwarting piracy problems. Ron Berry, who is the director of inward investment for the Isle of Man, said "A lot of people in the business are concerned with how much money they are losing, but not with how much money they could make." Thankfully the major recording labels, including EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group may eventually warm up to this new technique as it may increase their revenue while avoiding costly investigative and legal bills to prosecute illegal music sharing.

 

01 / 26 / 09

 CES / THE Show 2009 Preview Report  Enjoy the Music.com has posted Part 2 of photojournalist Rick Becker's CES / THE Show 2009 report. This update spans two pages and features many new products with photos and in-depth descriptions. You can see Rick Becker's Part 2 of his CES / THE Show 2009 report by clicking here.

 

Artisan Silver CablesArtisan Silver Cables starting at £129 each on up) manufacturer interconnects of pure solid silver because, according to the company, "We believe it is the best material to make them out of." The company offers a single model and make it as best as possible using what they feel are the best materials. The Litz weave configuration offers a natural way of reducing noise, plus it's simplicity of construction "leads to the money being spent where it matters most: on the pure silver conductors" says Artisan Silver Cables. Conductors are of 4N (99.99 percent) high-purity solid silver, arranged in double-balanced four conductor Litz braid. The conductors are sheathed in Teflon insulation, which is a deliberate loose-fit, thus the conductors are surrounded by a mainly air-dielectric. The silver conductors are 24AWG to balance "skin effect" for best overall sound.

 

01 / 23 / 09

Spendor ST Loudspeaker  The new Spendor ST (Statement, $8,995 per pair) is a distinctive high performance loudspeaker styled with a gently curved shimmering piano black lacquer cabinet. For the Spendor ST, the company developed a new 7-inch Kevlar composite cone bass driver and a new Spendor 180 mm polymer cone bass-mid driver. For the uppermost frequencies, a new wide-surround 29 mm tweeter with bi-elliptical acoustic front plate and damped rear acoustic chambers was designed. Spendor's ST is a 2.5-way system with a meticulously refined crossover network that uses high-end electrical components with parts including linear 630V capacitors and WBT Next-Gen terminals. The slim cabinet is 45 liter in size while bass loading is a development of the proven Spendor S series linear-flow system. The base of each ST cabinet holds a set of four machined steel stabilizer discs, which are rigidly attached deep into the core structure of the cabinet to ensure the widest possible footprint for good stability. Frequency response is from 58 Hz to 20 kHz (± 3dB), sensitivity is 87dB/W/m and the ST presents an 8-Ohm load. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed many products from Spendor including their SP 1/2 (click here), SP2/3E (click here), the Sub 3 subwoofer (click here), S3/5 monitor (click here) and SR5 (click here).

 

B&W ST 8 LoudspeakerB&W's new XT 8 ($3500 per pair) slim aluminum tower loudspeaker supersedes the company's model XT 4. B&W's Nautilus tweeter "pod" appears at the top of the aluminum cabinet for wide sound dispersion as is found within the company's top-line products. Enhancements to the XT 4 include re-engineered midrange driver using proprietary FST (fixed-suspension transducer) technology to deliver demonstrably (and measurably) greater mid-frequency accuracy. The crossover network has been realigned to optimize the FST mid's abilities that is claimed to achieve "clearly audible gains in transparency, imaging precision and depth, and articulation of subtle sonic details." The XT 8 retains the Nautilus tweeter of it predecessor with metal-dome yet has a newly refined low-order crossover to take full advantage of the XT 8's improved FST midrange. Also retained from the XT 4 are the new model's twin 5-inch woofers. These utilize B&W's trademark paper/Kevlar composite cones to produce frequencies down to 34 Hz. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the B&W DM602 Series 2 (click here), Nautilus 800 (click here) and newer 800D reference loudspeakers (click here).

 

01 / 22 / 09

Verity Audio Finn Loudspeaker  As high-end audio company Verity Audio approaches their 15th year in business, they have released two new loudspeakers to celebrate this festive occasion. Verity Audio's Finn (pictured) is the direct replacement for the Tamino-series of floor-standing loudspeakers introduced in 2001. The Verity design team went back to the drawing board to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the previous designs, and the resulting Finn is slightly larger than the company's Tamino. The Finn three-way uses new custom drive units plus new crossover topology and an elegant cabinet design. The loudspeaker is a stable 8-Ohm load and is a good 2dB to 3dB more sensitive (91dB/W/m) than the previous Tamino, making it even more adaptable to various amplifier topologies.

Verity Audio's other new model is the Leonore, which is a direct replacement for the long-running Fidelio and Fidelio Encore loudspeakers. It retains the signature Verity Audio midrange driver from the Fidelio and Parsifal, however the design team worked diligently to greatly improve its sensitivity and to incorporate a newly-developed tweeter and a pair of custom woofers. The resulting loudspeaker is a very stable 8-ohm load with 93dB/W/m sensitivity, substantially expanding options for partnering amplifiers.

 

AnthemCanadian audio manufacturer Anthem now caters to audiophiles and video enthusiasts with their Audio/Video Master 50v (AVM 50v, $5499). This is the company's state-of-the-art music preamplifier/home theater processor with a built in tuner and independent source selection for recording. Featuring the latest Sigma Designs* VXP broadcast-quality digital video processing, this ensures deep color while offering improved noise reduction through block artifact and mosquito noise reduction. Two new dual-core audio Digital Signal Processing (DSP) engines, designed in-house by Anthem, offer a total of 800 million instructions per second (MIPS) of processing power to allow decoding of high-resolution stereo, Dolby and DTS HD audio standards. Anthem has upgraded its pulse-code modulation (PCM) input to support 7.1 channels at 24-bit/192kHz. Anthem's Room Correction System (ARC-1) comes standard with the AVM 50v, which equalized the frequency response in a room to achieve a true audiophile solution.

 

01 / 21 / 09

JAS Audio CD Player  Many new products are now offered from JAS-Audio including the Jas Music CD player, JAS H-1 hybrid integrated stereo amplifier and JAS GD-120 solid-state integrated amplifier. The JAS Musik Tube CD player employs one 6Z4 as tube rectifier and one 12AX7 (Sovtek) as tube buffer for the output stage. For digital duties, a 24-bit Burr Brown PCM1732 (24/96 upsampling, with HDCD decoder) is put to good use. This unit is available in either silver or black finish. The Bravo H-1 Hybrid ($1795) tube stereo integrated amplifier operates in Class A, uses four EL34 output tubes and produces 70 wpc. Bravo H-1 is a transistor-driving tubes output amplifier which integrates a Class A Direct Current Coupling Dual-differential Circuit in its circuitry design. In addition to the use of an imported quality circular ferrite core input transformer, a pair of oversized EI output transformers of 500W in capacity is employed in order to ensure availability of power allowance and lower internal resistance for meeting vigorous demand in high current output. Bravo H-1 is supplied with a remote control. JAS GP-120 integrated solid-state stereo amplifier ($1389) produces 90 wpc and includes wireless remote control. Four stereo inputs are provided for plus a pre-in and pre-out, all via RCA jacks.

 

Quest For Sound now offers the SQ84-V2 integrated stereo tube amplifier and PH-1t MC/MM phonostage preamplifier ($1249 and $1595 respectively). The SQ84-V2 produces 15wpc, has two stereo inputs and includes a built-in headphone amplifier. The SQ-84-V2 operates in push-pull triode mode Class AB, has very little global feedback, employs four 6V6 output tubes and 6F2 / 6U8 as input stage and driver stage. Quest For Sound's SQ PH-1t MC/MM phonostage preamplifier has variable gain, can be used to drive mono or stereo power amplifiers directly and is adjustable to work with virtually any cartridge. Variable gain is either 40dB (MM) or 66dB (MC), with the vacuum tube compliment being a pair each of the 12AX7, 12AT7 and 6G2/6AV6/EBC91. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Sound Quest SQ-84, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

01 / 20 / 09

Audience A3 3-inch Full Range Loudspeaker Driver  Audience announced the release of their model A3, 3-inch full range loudspeaker driver ($170). The Audience A3 is claimed to be a breakthrough full range loudspeaker driver design comprised of a patented motor structure, patent-pending suspension and patent pending basket. The A3 has an exceptionally flat response from 40 Hz to 22 kHz with very high power handling and dynamic range. The A3 is built like a high power sub woofer driver using a large neodymium motor structure, big voice coil and suspension venting. It's ultra responsive at a mere 2.5 grams total moving mass, thus providing high resolution and dynamic range with 12mm of usable excursion. The A3 is currently available in 16 Ohm and soon to be available in 4 Ohm and 8 Ohms design.

 

Acousticbuoy Scorpio PreamplifierCanadian based Acousticbuoy offers their stereo DAC 2488 V.3 and Scorpio dual-mono preamplifier to audiophiles worldwide ($4600 and $4900 respectively). The DAC 2488 V.3 has 24-bit/352.8kHz or 24-bit/384kHz auto-select upsampling for the best sound quality plus employs a unique active jitter reduction receiver that provides ultra low jitter performance (<50ps RMS). It also has a specially designed Precise Voltage Reference to maximize the exactness signal amplitude of the CD playback. Digital inputs include S/PDIF (RCA) and AES-EBU (XLR), with an option for AT&T if desired. Stereo analog output is via RCA or XLR. Acousticbuoy's Scorpio dual-mono stereo preamplifier includes an excellent sounding shunt resistor ladder volume control in a completely dual-mono valve design. The distinctive circuit utilities zero negative feedback with a pair each 12AU7 and 6C4 valves to provide the purist sound possible. Frequency response if from 20 Hs to 20 kHz with a  low 0.035 percent THD and channel separation of 78.6dB. There are three stereo inputs via RCA and a pair of stereo outputs.

 

01 / 19 / 09

IFPI Sales  The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), an organization that promotes the international recording industry worldwide with membership including over 1400 companies in more than 70 countries, has released global digital music sales figures for 2008. Music companies' digital revenues internationally grew by an estimated 25 per cent in 2008 to $3.7 billion, as the digital platform now account for around 20 per cent of recorded music sales. This is up from 15 percent in 2007. The continued growth in digital sales has helped slow down the rate of decline in the overall market for recorded music. Single track downloads, up 24 percent in 2008 to 1.4 billion units globally, continues to drive the online market. Digital album sales are also growing healthily and are up a staggering 37 percent. The United States is the world leader in digital music sales, accounting for some 50 percent of the global digital music market value. Single track downloads crossed the one billion mark for the first time in 2008, totaling 1.1 billion and is up 27 percent versus 2007. Digital album sales totaled 66 million, an increase of 32 percent according to Nielsen SoundScan. Digital albums now account for 15 percent of total album sales, compared to 10 percent in 2007. The United Kingdom saw the biggest increase in digital sales in the first half of 2008 among the top markets, with sales up by 45 percent with 110 million single tracks were downloaded in 2008. France is also seeing strong digital growth, with sales up 49 percent in 2008. Digital music sales in Germany are showing steady growth and totaled 37.4 million in 2008, which is a 22 percent increase.

 

Klang ManufakturKlang Manufaktur, a small cable manufacturer from Germany, now presents their new cable series with the name of RIO, RII and RIIsym (pricing begins at 1230€ per pair for two meter RIO loudspeaker cable, 490€ per pair for 0.6 meter RII interconnects and $890 per pair for 0.6 meter RIIsym XLR interconnects). These cables are designed and manufactured in small batch under the most demanding and perfectionist craftsmanship for music lovers. Features of the cables include the use of pure silver 4N foil or 4N solid core as conducting material, which Klang Manufaktur typically treats afterwards. The dielectric is from high-technology plastic (Polytetrafluoroethylene) and air, while the special ivory-colored outer netting is braided out of 6000 or 12,000 single threads depending on the model of the cable.

 

01 / 16 / 09

Esoteric Transport Mechanism  Esoteric, a division of TEAC America, now offers many new high-end audio products to audiophiles worldwide. First up is their new CD/SACD disc player model X-05 ($5999) that employs the company's latest VRDS-Neo VMK-5 disc transport mechanism. This new VRDS transport expands the VRDS family and is optimized for the high speed rotational requirements of Super Audio CD and CD. The X-05 incorporates a newly developed, high precision aluminum and polycarbonate turntable and a new drive mechanism for disc loading. Disc tray opening, clamping and closing is managed by a newly developed proprietary process know as 'differential gearing'. This system (patent pending) enables exceptionally smooth disc loading through the seamless engagement of the tray and disc clamp gears during the load sequence. This reduces the number of parts required and adds to system longevity. The short spindle shaft design implemented in the X-05 contributes to very stable turntable rotation, reducing vibrations and random movements associated with long shaft designs. The X-05 uses Cirrus Logic's 24-bit/192kHz processing DACs model number CS-4398. The analog audio output circuits are engineered in a dual mono configuration helping to produce superior channel separation.

Esoteric also has a new wired and wireless transmission system ($1200) for sending uncompressed linear PCM audio to a digital to analog converter that is as an option for the company's D-05 ($7500) digital to analog converter. Transmit data with sampling rates of up to 16-bit/48kHz can be handled both wired or wirelessly, while the D-05 up-converts PCM audio to 176.4 kHz. This Esoteric add on kit includes one USB input board to enable wired and wireless connections. The system handles mp3, AAC, etc and uncompressed FLAC, AIFF, wav, etc.

Esoteric Master Sound Works A-03Esoteric's new Master Sound Works Class A stereo power amplifier, model A-03 ($12,000) produces 50 wpc and includes an advanced power supply with dedicated L/R dual mono architecture. By using the A-03 as a monaural power amplifier in bridged (BTL) mode, a minimum output of 200 watts at 8 Ohms can be achieved. The A-03 features a highly rigid body construction. The amplifier’s mass of about 84 pounds presages excellent musical purity protected by thick steel. The internal circuit components are separated into dedicated inner compartments for each circuit, partitioned by 2 mm thick steel walls. Combined with a 5 mm steel bottom chassis, interference between circuits is prevented and the adverse effects of resonance caused by internal and external vibrations are minimized. For connection terminals, the amplifier uses balanced (XLR) inputs along with Esoteric's original RCA inputs. In addition, the WBT nextgen WBT-0710Cu speaker terminals are used and have conductor cores of pure copper with gold plating to achieve ultra high conductivity and low resistance.

For vinyl enthusiasts, Esoteric now offers their Master Sound Works phono stage preamplifier model E-03 ($5500). The unique feature set of the E-03 includes dual phono inputs with a dual mono analog circuit configuration. A single line stage output is provided and either of two turntables can be selected from a front panel selector. Input 1 is exclusive for moving coil cartridges and Input 2 can handle moving coil and moving magnet. Moving coil load impedance and moving magnet load capacitance are selectable over a wide range of options. A built-in demagnetization setting can also be selected from each phono stage input controller.

 

01 / 15 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine midmonth update includes an update to our Sound Practices section plus the first of many CES / THE Show 2009 reports! Within the Sound Practices section a new article concerning the Altec Lansing Corporation horns by Greg Boynton, where he says, "Finding a good horn is the key to building a great system. Unfortunately, the good horns are few. Some horns require "throats" or adaptors to mate with your driver. Try to get these when you get your horn if you need them. They can be  expensive or hard to find as spare parts. A crossover no lower than 500 cycles is recommended with these nominally 300 cycle horns. Here are a few horns that worked for me...." See our January Review Magazine midmonth update with the complete article by clicking here.

 

 CES / THE Show 2009 Preview ReportEnjoy the Music.com has posted our first of many CES / THE Show 2009 reports. Photojournalist Rick Becker chimes in with Part 1 of his report, which spans two pages and features many new products with photos and in-depth descriptions. You can see Rick Becker's CES / THE Show 2009 report by clicking here.

 

01 / 14 / 09

Cisco System Linksys Homewide Wireless Home Audio Distribution System  Cisco System's new Linksys homewide Wireless Home Audio distribution system is now available. Utilizing Wireless-N technology, this system delivers music to any room within one's home at up to 24-bit/48kHz. The Wireless Home Audio solution can be controlled by by ARC or IR RCU, while audio formats it can stream include PCM, mp3, or FLAC lossless, AIFF, wav, PCM, mp3, AAC, AAC+, Ogg Vorbis, mp2, Real and WMA. Their system is DLNA 1.5 and UpNP Compliant and Certified. Internet services it can handle include, but is not limited to, Podcasts, Rhapsody, AudioLounge, and RadioTime. An optional iPod docking station is available, wie the unit may be controlled by either Cisco's basic or color screen touchpad-enabled remotes. Specific products within this new system include the all-in-one Conductor DMC350 system with built-in color screen, the Director DCM250 player with 50 wpc amplifier, the Player wireless Music Extender, and the basic DMRIR500 basic IR remote or the Controller DMRW1000 touchscreen unit. Cisco's iPod Docking Station MCCI40 allows iPod integration. Audio quality was taken into account, as precise synchronization of the music throughout your home is ensured, including that for lossless audio formats. Prices are below, though various combination/package deals are going to be available.

Director: $449.99
Player: $299.99
Controller: $349.99
iPod Dock: $79.99
IR Remote: $29.99

 

HDtracksHDtracks.com continues to offer high-resolution uncompressed music to music lovers worldwide, and now has added music from recording label Rounder Records to their offerings. In 1970, with only their passionate enthusiasm for American roots music lighting the way, three Cambridge, Massachusetts college students cast their lot into the perilous music industry to form Rounder. "Before founding Rounder, we were basically music fans," says Rounder Records co-founder Ken Irwin. Bill Nowlin and Marian Leighton-Levy were also part of the trio who launched this now legendary recording label. As America's premier independent, their catalog of well over 3000 titles runs the gamut from folk to world, soul to socas, jazz to juju, Cajun to Celtic, and beyond. Rounder recording artists garnered multiple awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) at the October 2008 awards show held at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. Newcomers Dailey & Vincent swept seven categories including Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year. In addition, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss have been honored with Grammy nominations in five categories for the T Bone Burnett produced, Rounder release Raising Sand.

 

01 / 13 / 09

Stefan AudioArt  Stefan AudioArt has announced the availability of their Equinox VOICE headphone cable for the Sennheiser HD650 and HD800 headphone, which is available balanced or unbalanced in either Noir Version finished in black with custom wood/Rhodium connectors or a Classic Version finished in all white with custom wood/Rhodium connectors ($1400 for ten foot length). This is the new state-of-the-art ultra high-end headphone cable from Stefan AudioArt and conceptualist lead designer Kristof Rodzon's efforts, with many years of experience of manufacturing cables for the Sennheiser headphones. As a result of two year's work, the Equinox VOICE internal and external architecture ensures the purist electrical signal reaches the headphones. The conductive surface consists of a new proprietary copper material which is surrounded by a proprietary silk based material with close to zero dielectric absorption. A new approach of using a specialized form of virgin cotton/ultra fine nylon and maple wood as external materials is also a major factor in keeping the signal resistance extremely low. With these parameters in place, the signal translated to each driver in the Sennheiser headphones is translated to a much higher level. Each cables comes with a lifetime warranty. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Stephan AudioArt Sennheiser HD600 And Stefan AudioArt Equinox Cable by Steven R. Rochlin HD600 with Stefan AudioArt Equinox Cable (click here).

 

Chario Academy Sovran LoudspeakerChario's Academy Sovran loudspeaker ($16,000 per pair) is the company's new entry in Chario's flagship Academy line of products. The Academy Sovran is a handsome floorstanding three-way system that integrates bass, mid-bass and mid-range output to deliver accurate soundstaging and tonal accuracy with excellent detail. The Sovran was designed by Mario Marcello Murace, Chario's head of research and development, using advanced acoustic studies of binaural hearing in small rooms. With a two-part cabinet, the gorgeous cabinet is exquisitely constructed using thick, solid Walnut or Cherry, with a front baffle of high-density fiberboard (HDF). While the upper cabinet houses a 1.2-inch soft-dome Silversoft tweeter and 6.7-inch midrange/woofer, the lower unit holds a pair of 8-inch subwoofers. Sensitivity is 90dB/W/m at 4 Ohms, overall dimensions are 47.6 x 9.4 x 17.2 (HxWxD in inches) and each unit weighs over 100 lbs.

 

01 / 12 / 09

CES 2009  More than 2,700 global companies, including 300 new exhibitors, unveiled an estimated 20,000 new technology products across 1.7 million net square feet of exhibit space this week at the CES 2009. "Despite a subdued economy, excitement exuded from the International CES show floor, with the sheer volume of innovative products, the quantity of senior level executives from the consumer technology and related industries, the international participation from companies and government officials and the partnerships and deals at the show," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. "More consumer technology business deals start at the International CES than any other event on earth. The success of the 2009 International CES gives us optimism that innovation will restart the world's economic engine." The 2009 CES was a celebrity-filled event which featured entertainment and sports figures including Tom Hanks, Alex Trebek, Jimmy Fallon, Stevie Wonder, Counting Crows' Adam Duritz, Usher, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Reggie Jackson, Dr. Oz and Ludacris. CEA conducts an independent audit of International CES attendance in order to ensure the accuracy of data regarding the show. Preliminary estimates suggest attendance at the 2009 International CES will be more than 110,000, with the final verified number to be released in about 90 days. At the close of the 2008 CES, a verified audited attendance of 141,150 was released in the spring of 2008. See Enjoy the Music.com's CES 2009 show coverage by clicking here.

 

Apple iTunesApple iTunes Plus is the new standard on iTunes, as they have finally eliminated their proprietary digital rights management (DRM) from their products. Users may choose from millions of iTunes Plus songs from all four major music labels and thousands of independents at a low 256kbps AAC encoding. Of note is that Amazon.com offers 320kbs songs in mp3 format for 99 cents. Both Amazon.com and Apple iTunes songs are free of burn limits and digital rights management (DRM). Therefore iTunes Plus and Amazon.com's mp3 music will play on iPod, Apple TV and many other digital music players. Of note is that Apple is charging their customers an insulting 30 cents additional per song, which they have already paid for, to 'upgrade' to DRM-free for this new 'privilege'.

 

01 / 09 / 09

Paradigm Electronics Reference Studio Series v.5 Loudspeakers  Paradigm Electronics' fifth generation of its Reference Studio Series v.5 loudspeakers benefit from engineering advances that further enhance their aesthetics, ergonomics and performance capabilities. Series v.5 also introduces the Studio 10, the company's smallest model to date and measuring a mere 15 x 8.25 x 12.27 inches. Every model in the line has received a cabinetry makeover and new grille; select models also feature a redesigned kickplate with outrigger feet sculpted to match the new cabinet. Two powerful new matching subwoofers also make an appearance. The Series' midrange/bass and bass drivers employ advanced Santoprene rubber suspensions with a new elliptical shape, thereby allowing the driver to achieve even lower levels of distortion than previous versions. High-hysteresis and progressive damping isolate and eliminate "edge-hole" distortion, while linearity is the finest Paradigm has ever achieved in this series. New outrigger feet with optional spikes and stability cradles are carefully sculpted to fit flush with the new floorstanding and cabinet-style center-channel models. These bronze-colored, bullet-shaped trimmings add a new level of stability and visual appeal to the Studio Series. All Paradigm Reference Signature Studio Series v.5 speakers and matching SUB 12 and SUB 15 subwoofers are available in cherry, rosenut or black real wood veneer finishes, except the ADP surround models, which are available in white or black. Pricing (each) for Paradigm's v.5 Series is as follows:

Studio 10:     $399 
Studio 20:     $599 
Studio 60:     $999 
Studio 100:   $1499
Studio CC-490: $799
Studio CC-590 $1199
Studio CC-690: $1499
SUB 12:       $1999
SUB 15:       $2799

 

Eleven Engineering Inc.Eleven Engineering Inc. today announced their wireless transmitters for the iPod/iPhone. The Cecille dongle offers high-fidelity by processing audio at a sampling rate of 48 kHz and it has the ability to transmit to multiple loudspeakers simultaneously. Their product leverages the popularity of the iPhone/iPod user interface while avoiding the TDMA noise issues, which the company claims is the crutch to current iPhone/iPod docking stations. Physical dimensions are 28 x 15 x 6.5 (WxDxH in mm).

 

01 / 08 / 09

House Ear Institute  House Ear Institute has received a $100,000 grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation toward the national expansion of its Sound Partners teen hearing conservation initiative - It's How You Listen that Counts. Recognizing teenagers are at increasingly high risk for hearing damage from noise, the Institute is rounding up support among foundations and corporations to educate teens about noise induced hearing loss. The message is focused on prevention. Teenagers are known to be a challenging audience to reach concerning health issues. The institute was the first organization to make inroads with teens in the area of hearing conservation. "With hearing loss on the rise, the House Ear Institute is committed to a leadership role in reaching teens and young adults nationwide about the issue and how they can protect their own hearing from needless damage over the long term," says Marilee Potthoff, director of marketing, House Ear Institute. "The S. Mark Taper Foundation's support significantly helps us in our abilities to achieve our goal."

 

First Impression MusicFirst Impression Music (FIM) K-2 format is alive and well, with an ongoing expansion of high-resolution music titles to show for it. These 24-bit/192kHz digital discs are the highest consumers can purchase, with FIM's recordings being in the running for winning a 2009 Grammy for best instrumental soloist performance! New titles include A Rose For Me by The Soundscapers, Autumn Yearning Fantasia with David Oistrakh on violin with the London Symphony Orchestra as conducted by Harp Jascha Horenstein, and Discovered Again! Plus with Dave Grusin.

 

01 / 07 / 09

The Audiophile Voice  Enjoy the Music.com now offers an Internet world premiere of the table of contents to Volume 13 Issue 2 of The Audiophile Voice. This issue features an exclusive interview with B.B. King plus reviews of the Acoustic Research AWD210 wireless headphones, C. Crane's FM transmitter, a roundtable review of CAIG DeoxlT and Axe Wipes, the Zoom H2 digital recorder plus Stax's SRS-005 II and SR-001 Mk2 earspeakers. See this edition of The Audiophile Voice by clicking here.

 

DALI LEKTOR LCR LoudspeakerDALI has introduced their LEKTOR LCR (299€) that can fill a satellite subwoofer system or for surround sound systems. The loudspeaker is intended for on-wall mounting, though can be placed in a bookshelf or on stands and has an integrated wall brackets for either horizontal or vertical positioning. The pair of 5-inch midrange/woofers incorporate wood fiber cones, low-loss suspensions and powerful magnet systems. For the uppermost frequencies, the 1.1-inch soft dome tweeter is based on the same technology platform developed for the company's IKON Series. The tweeter has a powerful neodymium magnet system and a geometrical design optimized for wide dispersion. Crossover components are of the audio-grade variety and optimized for short signal path. The gold-plated binding posts accept bare cable ends and 4 mm banana plugs. Frequency response is from 52 Hz to 27kHz, has a sensitivity of 87.5dB/W/m and presents an 8 Ohm load. Dimensions are 23.6 x 6.8 x 6.9 (HxWxD in inches) and the LCR is available in either black ash or light walnut veneer.

 

01 / 06 / 09

The Absolute Sound  Enjoy the Music.com now offers a world premiere of the February 2009 edition of The Absolute Sound (Issue 190) featuring the complete table of contents and complete editorial! This edition features a report on the 2008 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest plus equipment reviews that include the Paradigm Mini Monitor, Denon's DRA-CX3 integrated amplifier and DCD-CX3 CD/SACD player, the Harbeth 40.1 loudspeaker, Esoteric's X-05 CD/SACD player, the all-new MartinLogan CLX electrostatic loudspeaker plus many others. Within this issue's editorial titled A High-End Audio Taxonomy Robert Harley says "We often talk about the "high-end-audio industry" as though it were a monolithic entity whose component companies share the same motives, perspectives, values, and business models. In fact, the companies making up the industry are wildly divergent. Nonetheless, we can broadly group them in several categories...." You can see the table of contents and read the complete editorial by clicking here.

 

Consumer Electronics Show 2009 Report & Coverage   The Home Enteetainment Show
E
njoy the Music.com has once again updated our Consumer Electronics Show & THE Show 2009 preview report! Every few days we have been busy updating our pre-show coverage, which will continue up to the day of the event. To see the Enjoy the Music.com CES & THE Show 2009 preview click here.

 

Durob AudioDurob Audio's Herman van den Dungen, already responsible for the production and distribution of well-known brands PrimaLuna and Mystère, has purchased Bow Technologies and Thule Audio. This agreement was finalized only days ago, and now marks two new known companies from Denmark now in the folds of Durob Audio. The intention is to restart production of existing models as an improved version. In the near future, new models will be added to both company's product lines. For those residing within the United States, Upscale Audio is Durob Audio's partner.

 

Neeper Acoustics Perfection One LoudspeakerNeeper Acoustics' Perfection One loudspeaker ($20,000 per pair) will now be available for the first time in the United States thanks to Nawrocka Distribution. The cabinets are hand crafted in Demark by the world-renowned cabinet manufacturer Hornslet using their patented Hornflex technology. Each Perfection One incorporates a total of 60 specially made aluminum parts including a full-machined aluminum front, which the drivers are connected to. This two and a half way design uses the top of the line ScanSpeak 1.5-inch Ring radiator tweeter and two proprietary custom designed ScanSpeak 5.5-inch midrange/woofer drivers. Frequency response is from 30 Hz to 50 kHz with a sensitivity of 87dB/W/m and the unit presents a 4 Ohm load. The Perfection One weighs in at over 66 lbs and includes a ten year warranty. 

 

01 / 05 / 09

TACET Louis Spohr  TACET now offers two new audiophile-quality recordings, the Auryn Series Volume XVII and Louis Spohr (pictured). The Auryn is a two CD set with Opus 33. Matthias Lingenfelder (first violin) explains that during the recording why the parts for the first violin of Haydn's string quartets are all so much trickier than the other parts. The reason was that Haydn was having an affair with the wife of the first violinist of the quartet which performed his works, and in order to keep him busy for longer, so that he had less opportunity to check up on his wife, Haydn built extra challenges into his part. While many are not sure to believe Matthias or not, but in any case, he has no problem at all with his violin part, as this new release will clearly demonstrate. The second new release, Louis Spohr, includes the String Sextet in C Major Op. 140 and Nonet in F Major Op. 31. There is a shortage of literature for some larger chamber music ensembles, so that it can sometimes seem hardly worth the trouble to found a special ensemble. This is why the existing works for large chamber music ensemble are performed less frequently, and often by musicians who have met up briefly just for the purpose. The camerata freden concentrates on such pieces, which is what makes this ensemble of the Freden Music Festival so interesting for TACET. After making recordings of Beethoven's Septet and Octet, they followed with Schubert's and Mendelssohn's Octets, Tchaikovsky's Sextet, and works by living composers (C. Jost, B. Günes and H. Huyssen).

 

01 / 03 / 09

HIGH END 2009  For the 28th time in succession, connoisseurs of high-quality home entertainment electronics have the opportunity to admire the latest developments at the HIGH END show in Munich, Germany. The HIGH END is Europe's leading provider for their consumer home entertainment electronics exhibit, with many manufacturers and distributors in attendance. The HIGH END started their event in 1982 at Düsseldorf, then subsequently took place in Frankfurt for 21 years and relocated to Munich in 2004. These moves have been due to great expansion as the show continues to be the most popular European event. The very large Munich Operation Center (M.O.C.) in the North of Munich has played host to the oldest trade fair of this kind in Europe. Their 2009 event details are as follows:

Location: M.O.C. Munich Lilienthalallee 40  80939  München-Freimann
Duration: 21st through 24th of May 2009
Trade Day: Thursday, May 21st 2009 (only by pre-registration)
Open: From 10am to 6pm
Entrance fee:
       Trade visitors: 20€ with pre-registration (the badge is valid for all days)
       Public: 10€ / day
       20€  family ticket (for 2 adults and up to 3 children)
Enjoy the Music.com has reported on this show for the past nine consecutive years. See our report of each year's show: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000.

 

Shuguang 300B 50-Year-Anniversary Treasure SeriesShuguang, the premier Chinese vacuum tube manufacturer with 50 years of history in designing, manufacturing and distributing high fidelity audio tubes, has just released their '50-Year-Anniversary Treasure Series' of vacuum tubes. Grant Fidelity, as Shuguang's North American distributor, is the first one and so far the only one to bring these "Treasure Series" tubes into North America. According to Shuguang, the "Treasure Series" has adopted quite a few new technologies in the design - such as "High Polymer Compound Carbon (HPCC)" coating inside the glass enclosure to reduce the tube's internally generated noises and stabilize electron current. In addition, "Super Alloy" has been for the first time used on audio vacuum tubes construction to improve electron emission - before such type of material has only been used in aerospace industry and military application. Shuguang Treasure Series vacuum tubes production includes over 100 processes, which are nearly 60 more processes than those for manufacturing the Shuguang clear glass generic series. All parts go through 30+ screening and matching procedures to insure quality, accuracy and consistency. Production is done only by technicians with 30+ years of experience. The newly released Shuguang Treasure Series of vacuum tubes include the following model at the time being: 300B-Z, KT88-Z, KT66-Z, 6CA7-Z (interchangeable with EL34) and CV181-Z (interchangeable with 6SN7GT, 6N8P).

 

01 / 02 / 09

SEAS DESIGN Series 10-inch Subwoofer L26ROY  SEAS of Norway launches their new DESIGN Series 10-inch subwoofer. The company's L26ROY subwoofer driver is designed to combine large excursion with low distortion and wide frequency range. Accomplishing this task required technologies not found in the company's standard subwoofer designs. The powerful magnet system uses a copper cap over the pole piece to reduce non-linear distortion and flux modulation. The stiff aluminum cone is matched to a proprietary design natural rubber surround. The spider employs lead-out wires that are woven into the material to eliminate noise and improve reliability. A 2-layer voice coil, resulting in low inductance and reduced mass. In combination, this all results in low distortion of the sound this driver produces. Mr. Håvard Sollien, R&D Engineer at SEAS, says "Having worked extensively in the development of this driver, I am very pleased with the result and I am confident the customers will feel the same. The unique features of this driver make it a versatile choice for powered subwoofers – or even passive 3 way designs."

 

01 / 01 / 09

Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's January 2009 edition of the Review Magazine plus our CES / THE Show 2009 Preview are now available! Within this month's Review Magazine we feature three world premiere not to be missed!

Letters: You write 'em and we reply.

Boston Audio Society
New Balanced-Line Receiver Circuit And IC- Part 3

Sound Practices
More Than Meets The EYE

Manufacturer Article
Content Insider - Visions for 2009
A Year of Realignment, Reassessment And Repositioning

Viewpoint
More World Premiere Reviews In 2009!
Speeding along to bring you a first look at audiophile products.

Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 111: Predilections

Are You On The Road To... Audio Hell?

CES / THE Show 2009 Preview Report

Audiophile Equipment Reviews
World Premiere
fo.Q Audio Damping Accessories
Impressive anti-vibration devices for your high-end audio system.

World Premiere
Juicy Music's Peach II Linestage Tube Preamplifier
A hand-built tube preamplifier with some unique functions.

World Premiere
TJ Full Music Carbon Plate 300B
Getting to the heart and soul of the performance.

Cables Galore: Part 3 = Power Cords
The MIT Oracle AC1, Furutech's Piezo Powerflux, Nordost Magus, Dynamic Design Lotus, the Dynamic Design Spirit Digital And A Generic Power Cord

Marantz SA8003 SACD Player
Lackluster user interface and minimal niceties yet delivers good sound.

THIEL SCS4 Monitors With SS1 SmartSub Subwoofer
A beautiful combination that achieves outstanding realism.

Music Reviews
Classical Music
American composer Elliott Carter's complete piano music, by leading interpreters.
Sir Colin Davis and the LSO offer concert performances of familiar Elgar.

Jazz, Folk, Bluegrass, Blues, Etc.
Cadillac Sky Gravity's Our Enemy
Drew Emmitt Long Road
Vance Gilbert Up On Rockfield
Marco Granados Music Of Venezuela
Donna Lee Quartet Mellow
Bill Monroe Father Of Bluegrass
Darrell Scott Modern Hymns
Various Bluegrass, Blues And Jazz Albums

Rock, Pop, Funk, Techno, Punk, Metal, Etc.
Ayreon Timeline
Freddy V Easier Than It Looks

See the January 2009 Review Magazine by clicking here.


 

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