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High-End Audio Industry News


01 / 29 / 10

Earl Wild  This past week music lovers lost one of the greatest pianists of the modern era, Earl Wild. To quote David Chesky of Chesky Records, "Candidly, if it were not for Earl Wild, there probably would never have been a Chesky Records or an HDtracks. There is not another artist who had a more positive effect on my audiophile labels. When I was a young student, I was introduced to Earl Wild by a family friend. Over time, we became friends. Not only was I a young composer, but I was also an avid audiophile and I knew that Earl had done many great LP recordings for Reader's Digest which were then being distributed by a budget label. These had been recorded by the legendary team of Charles Gerhardt and Kenneth Wilkinson, who had produced some of the greatest sounding recordings of the early 1960's. I did not understand why the budget vinyl disc had such poor sound quality, so I asked Earl if he could arrange for us to go to the RCA studios and listen to the master tape of his recording of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2. The master tape was nothing less than stunning. The sound was absolutely sensational. It defined the Golden Age of stereophonic recordings. It was right then and there in that room with Earl Wild when I decided that, with my brother Norman, we were going to start a record company that would reissue these magnificent recordings on the best quality vinyl we could obtain and with the best remastering and LP cuttings that could be done with current sonic technology. That was the genesis of Chesky Records. Subsequently, we not only reissued several of Earl Wild's earlier recordings, but also many new ones. Chesky Records was indeed fortunate to work for many years with Earl and his brilliant producer and partner Michael Davis. Earl and Michael later started their own audiophile label Ivory Classics, which is dedicated to recording great pianists and great piano music. Ivory Classics was one of the first labels to join HDtracks."

 

Earl Wild's Beethoven Sonatas Opus 10 Number 3HDtracks is featuring Earl Wild's Beethoven Sonatas Opus 10 Number 3, Opus 57 Appassionata And Symphony Number 1. This newly remastered album was carefully done with 24-bit state-of-the-art technology to ensure the best sound quality from the master tape to your home audio system. Beethoven's sonatas are milestones in piano literature. And when two masters meet in profound rapport - a composer second to none and a pianist whose temperament is so totally suited to the music - the results are a melding of reverence and passion. As the living dean of American pianists, Earl Wild has been performing Beethoven's music for 75 years. Wild is the kindred soul and perfect spokesman who divulges the musical secrets of the master. In Wild's interpretations the sonatas abound in the vitality and irresistible urgency. The recital of masterpieces is made even more delectable with the inclusion of Franz Liszt exceptional piano transcription of Beethoven's First Symphony. Virtuoso music, full of emotion, energy, performed unforgettably!

 

Jaton is now offering factory direct pricing for a limited time for their United States customers. Music lovers all over the USA States will be able to buy their favorite Jaton's amplifiers, preamplifiers and loudspeakers at factory direct price. To find out more about this new savings offer, users will need to contact their local Jaton dealer for details. If no dealers are available in their area, users will need to contact Jaton directly and the company will redirect them to the closest dealer available to them. Inventory is limited and this sale will be on first come first served bases until all specially-priced units are gone.

 

01 / 28 / 10

Capital Audiofest  Capital Audiofest is a unique audiophile event open to the public and will be held from June 11th through the 13th in the Washington DC area at the historic Glenview Mansion. Located on the grounds of the Rockville Civic Center the Glenview Mansion is a charming historic structure constructed in the 19th century and is surrounded by lovely parkland and well groomed grounds. The Capital Audiofest is set to be a casual fun-filled event for audiophiles, music lovers, music and audio gear collectors, hobbyists, DIYers, dealers and manufacturers. This event is expected to attract those interested in high quality vacuum tube and transistor audio equipment, analog and digital playback sources, buying and selling of LP records and CDs, and manufacturers of audio accessories from the Baltimore - Washington DC Metropolitan Area and beyond. The event will be catered by quality food and beverage vendors and plan to have live musical performances on two evenings as well as an indoor audio swap meet on Sunday morning.

 

Bastanis Firebird LoudspeakerBastanis is now shipping their latest DIY creation, the Firebird loudspeaker with ribbon tweeter and open baffle midrange design (2000€). These high sensitivity units are 93dB/W/m and feature and open baffle midrange, ribbon tweeter and specially designed woofer arrangement. The open baffle midrange features a 25 cm broadband driver that is said to help provide a three-dimensional soundspace that is clear and capable of representing the finest details. A ribbon tweeter ensures fast and clan uppermost frequencies and have a minimal crossover in the signal's path. For bass duties, a large diameter 18-inch woofers is specially loaded so that its output fires into a controlled enclosure and then into the listening room. This new DIY design is very easy to assemble and requires no soldering skills. Owners can choose to lave the wood natural or stain it any color they wish. Interior designers may choose to paint the cabinet a special color to accent the style. Bastanis plans to offer a center and rear channel designs for those seeking multi-channel audio. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Bastanis Prometheus mkII (click here) and the company's larger Atlas open baffle loudspeakers (click here).

 

01 / 27 / 10

Lehmann Audio Black Cube Linear Headphone Amplifier   TransAudio Group, a United States distributor of high-end pro audio gear, is now handling Lehmann Audio's Black Cube Linear headphone amplifier ($1100). Award-winning audiophile company Lehmann Audio employs top quality components within their designs and seeks to optimize the signal's path. The Black Cube Linear is ideal for computer mixing, live monitoring, studio recording, or any application where accurate listening is paramount. Its circuitry and adjustable maximum output gain optimizes performance for any headphone impedance or sensitivity. The Black Cube Linear's specifications include a frequency response from 10 Hz to 35 kHz (-1dB), SNR better than 95 dB and greater than 70 dB channel separation. Total harmonic distortion is less than 0.001% at 6 mW and 300 Ohms. Selectable gain (0, 10, or 20 dB) effectively optimizes the output level of the zero global feedback Class A output stage. Many of the other popular Lehmann Audio products including their phonostages and amplification are available from Jerry Raskin's Need Doctor.

 

IFPIIFPI, an organization that represents the recording industry worldwide with a membership comprising some 1400 record companies in around 70 countries, has repotted that new licensing deals help push digital music sales to 27% of global revenues. Global digital music trade revenues reach $4.2 billion, which marks a 12% increase in 2009 sales as compared to 2008. More than a quarter of all recorded music industry revenues worldwide are now coming from digital channels, as music companies license music in partnership with ISPs and mobile operators, subscription services, streaming sites and hundreds of download stores. Single track download sales increased by an estimated 10%, while digital albums rose an estimated 20% in 2009. Recent innovations in this sector include the introduction of variable pricing, which has increased the conversion of track purchases to album sales, as well as the launch of the iTunes LP and the rollout of DRM-free downloads internationally. In the last year, music companies have partnered with advertising-supported services such as Spotify, Deezer, MySpace Music and We7; ISPs such as TDC in Denmark, Terra in Brazil and Sky in the UK; mobile operators such as Vodafone; handset makers such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson; and online video channels such as Hulu and VEVO. In the US, only 18% of internet users aged 13 and over regularly buy digital music (NPD Group, 2009). In Europe, digital adoption is even less widespread - only 8% of internet users in the top five EU markets frequently buy music digitally (Jupiter Research, 2009).

 

01 / 26 / 10

Hi-Fi World  Enjoy the Music.com has a world premiere of Hi-Fi World's Volume 20 Number 1 (March 2010) including the compete editorial and table of contents. This issue includes David Prices' sampling of Revo's new Heritage DAB/FM/Internet radio, Arcam's irDock and Cambridge Audio's DV30. Other equipment reviews include the DPA CA1/SA1 pre-power amplifier combination, Musical Fidelity AMS50 solid-state power amplifier, CYRUS FM6, Usher V-604 floorstanding loudspeaker, Q Acoustics 2020 budget mini-monitors and much more... and much more. The editorial by David Price says, "My own feelings towards DAB are of general indifference; it's a mediocre technology that's already (in my home) largely been replaced by internet radio. Where it hasn't, I still listen to FM for sonic reasons or those of poor DAB reception. So by suddenly taking away the option of FM, the government would significantly impede my ability to listen to decent sound radio at home, or any radio out and about. I was crestfallen; how could this happen?" To see the entire table of contents and read the complete editorial click here.

 

Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series DiamondBowers & Wilkins 800 Series has experienced five generations of their award winning 800 Series. The new 800 Series Diamond builds on that legacy, with improved performance and, for the first time, the inclusion of a diamond dome tweeter in every speaker in the seven-model range. Advances in audio-critical areas provide the entire range with a leap forward in terms of audio quality compared to the outgoing 800 Series. The diamond dome tweeter is now a quad-magnet design, which increases efficiency and improves the dynamic range of the top-end performance. A new surround material aids dispersion characteristics, and provides a more stable stereo image while increasing openness. At the other end of the tonal scale, bass performance has also improved with the introduction of a new dual magnet motor system, which utilizes powerful neodymium magnets. This innovative design improves the linearity of the bass drivers' performance, therefore reducing harmonic distortion. New Bowers & Wilkins-designed oxygen-free-copper speaker terminals and links ensure the signal quality into the speaker is the best possible. All models' crossovers feature a new design of capacitor using a unique silver, gold and oil construction. Proprietary Bowers & Wilkins technologies such as Kevlar FST mid-range drivers, Nautilus tube-loaded tweeters, Matrix enclosures and the unique sphere/tube heads on the two largest speakers in the range. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Bowers & Wilkins DM602 Series 2 (click here), Nautilus 800 large floorstanders (click here) and their reference 800D floorstanding studio/home speakers (click here). Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond is available from February 2010 and priced as follows:

800 Diamond $24,000 per pair
802 Diamond $15,000 per pair
803 Diamond $10,000 per pair
804 Diamond $7500 per pair
805 Diamond $5000 per pair
HTM2 Diamond $5000 each
HTM4 Diamond $2500 each

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
As Harman Corporation is trying to achieve a more prestigious positioning for themselves in the car audio industry, they just announced the development of a Mark Levinson OEM sound system which is currently under evaluation by Lexus
. Lexus is the more luxury division of Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Currently in prototype form, the "Mark Levinson Premium Sound System" was first shown in a Lexus sports coupe concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1999. "We have an exciting opportunity to expand the appreciation and awareness of Mark Levinson to an important new group of highly qualified luxury buyers," said Phil Muzio, CEO of Madrigal. "No path could have existed without the two crucial ingredients: the right vehicle and the right partners - Lexus, Mark Levinson and Harman's OEM Group." Madrigal claims in their press release that "only Lexus could supply a passenger cabin quiet enough to showcase the spectacular sound which is the hallmark of Mark Levinson home products" (!).

 

01 / 25 / 10

The Absolute Sound  Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the February 2010 edition of The Absolute Sound (Issue 200) featuring the complete table of contents and editorial! This edition of The Absolute Sound features a celebration of TAS' 200th issue! Equipment reviews include the Cambridge Audio Azur 550A integrated amplifier and 550C CD player, the SuperNova 2 phonostage, Empirical Audio Off-Ramp 3 and Overdrive DAC, Bel Canto S300iU integrated amplifier and USB DAC, the Reference 3A Episode loudspeakers and much more.

 

JCV HA-FX700 IEMJVC (Victor Company of Japan, Limited) , a worldwide development and manufacturer of sophisticated audio and video hardware and technologies founded in 1927, is offering their new birch HA-FX700 IEMs ($330). As an updated version of JVC's HA-FX500, the new HA-FX700 features a 10mm cone driver per ear that produces frequencies from 6 Hz to 26 kHz and presents a 16 Ohms load. Specially chosen birch wood provides a "wood dome unit" that Victor JVC feels has the acoustic quality which is superior to plastic as used in many other IEMs. The driver takes advantage of thin film process technology in order to reduce distortion and resonance of the diaphragm. A new development "dual hybrid structure" adds the big brass ring is said to decrease vibrational loss. Each unit comes with small, medium and large inserts to fit various sized ear canals. The 0.8 meter cord is made with OFC while the 3.5mm male plus is plated with 24 karat gold.

 

01 / 22 / 10

The Cult Dreamtime  HDtracks, an online music store that provides true high-resolution digital downloads of music, is now featuring rock group The Cult. Based on the fiery partnership of vocalist Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, The Cult were blessed with an impressive pedigree. Duffy and Astbury first called themselves Death Cult, before resorting to the snappier and simpler Cult. They immediately leapt to the forefront of what was known as Positive Punk and, though Astbury would vociferously protest at the label, it turned out to be pretty accurate (if a tad limiting). From the outset, The Cult were hard rockers and unashamedly set on their own idiosyncratic path. In Astbury they possessed a spokesman of boundless optimism with a bent for the spiritual heavily marked by the plight of Canada's Native Americans, which he had of course viewed at first hand. Some called Astbury naive, others called him a visionary.

 

Carla LotherHDtracks is also featuring singer, pianist and songwriter Carla Lother. A native of Canada, Carla was a serious award-winning pianist. Growing up, she often traveled to compete in music competitions and spent summers studying at prestigious festivals such as The Banff School of Fine Arts. Carla hitchhiked to New York City and enrolled in graduate school earning a master's degree in piano performance from The Mannes College of Music. Upon graduating, Carla took an administrative position at Mannes and was soon running the Continuing Education Division. She started a successful jazz program at the school, but found herself missing out on playing music and developing artistically. Five years later, she wrote her first song. Featured here is her album Ephemera, which mixes pop, traditional folk, New Age and classical music into songs that will caress your senses. On Ephemera, she infuses the poetry of William Butler Yeats ("Ephemera," "The Song of Wandering Aengus" and "Sweet Dancer") with her own modern melodies, and turns her own compositions like "The Lake" into cinematic vignettes. Carla's magnificent voice is accompanied by acoustic piano and guitar, modern percussion, lush synthesizers and a string quartet.

 

01 / 21 / 10

Danley Sound Labs DTS10 Subwoofer DIY Kit  Danley Sound Labs, a specialist in loudspeaker design and engineering, is now selling their DTS10 do-it-yourself subwoofer kit ($975). This is a limited time offer and is a fraction of the price of a regular Danley home theater subwoofer. The DIY DTS10 delivers bass down to 11 Hz at high SPL levels with "the robust fidelity for which Danley is renowned". With the owner's very hands being responsible for its assembly, pride of ownership is virtually guaranteed. The kit ships with all of the wood pre-cut and pre-drilled plus includes two custom 12-inch drivers as well. Due to flexibility in output porting, the DTS10 can be positioned in almost any orientation with no reduction in frequency response or SPL. "The DTS10 boasts conservative specs that will make any home theater enthusiast drool. We have customers replacing multiple 18-inch extremely long travel drivers with a DTS10," said Mike Hedden, president of Danley Sound Labs. "Outdoors at one meter, one watt of input generates 90 dB at 12 Hz; 99 dB at 20 Hz; and 108 dB at 80 Hz... Most audiophiles will find building their own sub a labor of love, the assembly time is just value added." Dimension of the subwoofer are 45" x 60" x 16".

 

Current-Driving of Loudspeakers book by Esa MeriläinenA new book titled Current-Driving of Loudspeakers by Esa Meriläinen ($27.76) demonstrates new process for loudspeaker feeding. Meriläinen argues that conventional loudspeaker technology is flawed and introduces a new method for loudspeaker feeding called current-drive. According to Meriläinen, all audio power amplifiers in use today deliver voltage signals despite the fact that electrodynamic speakers respond only to current. Meriläinen argues that virtually all speaker systems have been severely impaired by the diverse electromotive forces induced in the voice coil that corrupt the flow of current. In response, he has developed new design practices and example circuits to operate the loudspeaker by controlled current, eliminating major distortion factors and offering what he feels is a superior listening experience. "Why have the basic laws of electrodynamics been ignored in the design of all loudspeaker operations?" Esa Meriläinen asks. "These design flaws affect the quality of all sound produced by loudspeakers everywhere and therefore perhaps even the musical preferences and choices of our entire culture." In addition to new concepts for amplifier and speaker design and demonstrative projects, the book also features ideas for modeling, filter design, measurements, and protection and provides a useful tutorial on analog linear systems. It can be purchased from Amazon.com at this link.

 

01 / 20 / 10

German Tube Amps Skyline Amplifier and Preamplifier  The Weber Röhrenverstärker GmbH, with more than seven years of development and going under the product company names German Tube Amps and Weber Laboratories, have announced their new Skyline preamplifier and matching Skyline amplifier. The Skyline amplifier (top unit in photo) has a very wide frequency range and enough output power to drive the most difficult loudspeakers. The circuit features a new development with many innovative patents. All amplifiers are handmade with the audiophile-grade customized components. The signal path is short and has few components to ensure purity. Silver of the 6N variety is also part of the company's Skyline designs as is zero feedback and industrial CNC manufacturing precision. The Skyline amplifier operates in Class A triode and has separated external power supply (dual mono) with toroidal transformers. The tube compliment is eight KT88 and two 6N1P. Input is via both unbalanced (RCA) and balanced (XLR) as has a sensitivity of 1.24 Volt for full output. Frequency range is from 5 Hz to 220 kHz (+/-3dB) with an SNR of greater than102dB and weight of the Skyline amplifier is 88 lbs. The Skyline preamplifier (bottom unit in photo) operates in triode mode and input switching is realized with "heater"-switching without contacts in the signal way according to the company. This is done as every input has its own tube and only the tube heater of the used input is on. Volume control is via a 42 step-switch in silver while other parts include Jensen custom-made silver/oil-paper coupling capacitors, Caddock precision resistors and 6N silver wire. Frequency range is from 5 Hz to 280 kHz with a SNR of greater than 98dB. The Skyline and Frontline amplifiers are chrome plated in standard design. Others surfaces, cases or other changes are possible on request.

 

Cardas Audio XLRCardas Audio has many new products including various cables, jacks, Sennheiser HD800 cable and a new FLAC music section. Check out the Digital Downloads section of Cardas Audio's website to download high quality FLAC audio files. Several recent projects from longtime Cardas recording artist Kip Dobler are available, including Forever Love that is an album Kip recorded with his brother David Dobler. Three other recordings are correctly available for download. Cardas Audio's new Light interconnect is the latest design from George Cardas. Light brings Clear technology to a more affordable audio cable. The Clear Serial Buss (USB) brings Cardas copper and Golden Ratio stranding to a USB cable. It is available with standard size Type-A and Type-B ends. The new George Cardas designed and manufactured XLRs (pictured) feature Rhodium contact surfaces and pure, non-magnetic eutectic billet Brass, Gold and Rhodium over Silver plating. These connectors have a unique end shielding technique that is said to block RF and Clock signals. Lastly, the new Sennheiser HD800 version of the Cardas Headphone Cable brings out the true capabilities of the top of the line Sennheiser headphones.

 

Richard Gray's Power Company by Audio Line Source Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
Richard Gray's Power Company by Audio Line Source are claiming to have reinvented power filtering by delivering high-current-on-demand via a "reactive electronic interface device"
. They claim that unlike traditional power line conditioners, isolation transformers and sine wave regenerators, their device is wired in parallel to the source of power. Therefore it does not limit current necessary to satisfy power transients requirements. According the the press release their power device "serves as an electronic flywheel, which delivers instantaneous high-current-on-demand to increase dynamics and performance of analog and digital equipment. It also provides an invisible yet highly effective surge protection system, which quenches A/C line noise and cross talk, with no trade-off." Suggested retail is $700. If we fast-forward to 2010, the company continues to manufacturer many award-winning power filtration/conditioning devices that protect electronics from harmful surges and spikes.

 

01 / 19 / 10

Opera Audio Consonance Reference CD2.2MKIII CD Player  Opera Audio, an award-wining high-end audio company based in China, just announced their Consonance Reference CD2.2MKIII balanced/RCA tube CD player with volume control. Opera Audio has been at the forefront of audio playback in China since it started in 1994 by founder Liu Shihui. The updated CD 2.2 MKIII features a digital input and a Wireless Digital Box 1.0 that can transmit songs files on your computer to your audio system. The Reference CD2.2MKIII CD player employs a 24-bit/192kHz multilevel sigma-delta with synchronous upsampling DAC chip with superclock. Over the past seven years the CD2.2 been improved upon to keep up with the current state of audio and is a true balanced direct output design from the DAC chip. Using a 6H30 RCA analog tube stage makes regular playback "very smooth and relaxing" according to the company. Analog output is via balanced on XLR or unbalance via RCA. Frequency response is from 20 Hz to 20 kHz with a SNR of more than 110dB. Enjoy the Music.com has toured the Opera Audio facility (click here) and has reviewed their Droplet LP5.0 turntable (click here), Cyber 10 multifunctional tube amplifier (click here), Opera Audio Consonance LP6.1 turntable and TP988 tonearm (click here) and the Cyber 211 monoblock tube amplifier (click here).

 

New Audio Frontiers Supreme 300B Special Edition Integrated Amplifiertmh Audio  distributor of New Audio Frontiers products from Italy, is now offering their Supreme 300B Special Edition ($25,000) integrated amplifier. This unit operates in pure Class A and produces 25 watts per channel from 20 Hz to 65 kHz with zero global feedback. Internally, this Italian company felt it was best to build a dual-mono design within a single chassis to ensure top quality channel separation with ease of use in a single enclosure. Weighing in at a hefty 120 lbs, custom advanced OPT transformers use silver over copper Litz winding to minimize skin-effect. Special custom power supplies are said to provide for unrestrained dynamics while ultra-high quality parts throughout may produce high-end audio sound quality. Standard is 300B tubes, though other version available include 845 as an amplifier or as an integrated amplifier.

 

01 / 15 / 10

Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's January midmonth update of our Review Magazine is now online and includes three new articles plus our CES / THE Show report. More CES / THE Show reports will be appearing online in a few days so check back for those.

Daily News: Audiophile news updated each weekday!

The BAS Speaker
February 2007 Meeting With Jim Thiel Of Thiel Audio
Article By David B. Hadaway

Sound Practices Magazine
Loudspeaker Matching With Single-Ended Amplifiers
Article By Graham Tricker Of GT Audio

VALVE Magazine
October's Meeting Article By Dan Schmalle

Show Report
CES Preview / THE Show 2010 Coverage Now Online!
Reporting By Steven R. Rochlin

See the January 2010 midmonth Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

01 / 14 / 10

Ultimate Ears 18 Pro Custom Monitors  Ultimate Ears 18 Pro custom monitors ($1350) feature six individually-tuned speakers per ear. It featuring passive crossover technology and patent-pending triple and concentric sound channels that keep the low, mid and high frequencies separate and balanced until they blend naturally in your ear - not inside the monitor - so the sound stays pure. The model 18 Pro Custom Monitors are specifically for the most discerning performers and music listeners who demand nothing but the best. As the company's flagship in-ear monitors, they combine six-speakers and include a new cable built for durability and reduced distortion, three acoustically tuned sound channels, and multiple passive crossover points. Ultimate Ears 18 Pro Custom Monitors provide -26 dB of isolation and passive noise cancellation. They can also be ordered with an optional ambient feature to allow for stage/outside sound bleed while controlling the isolation effect. All of the company's professional monitors can be ordered in a variety of colors and personalized with individual artwork. Input sensitivity is 110.6 dB, efficiency is 115.6 dB @ 1mW, frequency response: 20 Hz to 18 kHz and impedance is 21 Ohms.

 

Ultrasone Edition 8 PalladiumUltrasone AG, a German manufacturer of headphones for over 17 years, is shipping their Edition 8 Palladium ($1699). Based off the design of the original Edition 8 headphone, these new special edition headphones incorporate lavish accoutrements to create the best sounding and most elegant pair of Ultrasone headphones to date. The Edition 8 Palladium is a luxurious black and silver closed-back headphone that employs Ultrasone's latest S-LogicT Plus technology, resulting in an impartial acoustic feeling that affords the listener the utmost spacious tonal perception. Catering to the growing need of audiophiles, Ultrasone has adorned the outer earcups with palladium which increases durability and limits tarnishing. The earcups are also embossed with a high-tech ceramic inlay, completing the first-class appearance of the headphones. Each Edition 8 headphone is individually stamped with its own serial number and comes in a sleek leather bag for storage and transportation. Inside, a 40mm titanium plated driver produces a frequency range from 6 Hz to 42 kHz at an impedance of 30 Ohms.

 

01 / 13 / 10

Snell Acoustics Phantom B7  Snell Acoustics, a designer and manufacturer of high-end loudspeakers for over 30 years and now owned by D&M Holdings, now offers their Phantom B7 ($25,000) fullrange floorstanding loudspeakers. The Phantom is engineered to provide the prestige, style and sound quality of the company's flagship Illusion, yet in a smaller footprint for those with more modestly sized listening rooms. Designed by Joe D'Appolito Ph.D., Snell's Chief Engineer, Phantom boasts dual 4.5-inch machined XL magnesium midrange drivers mounted over and under an extremely low-resonance 1-inch SEAS XL silk dome tweeter with neodymium magnet. This configuration, called a D'Appolito Array, is time and phase aligned so as to produce a soundwave with smooth and consistent axial dispersion. The result is an accurate three-dimensional soundfield. The Phantom employs dual 8-inch aluminum woofers coupled to the loudspeaker's unique enclosure to produce bass down to nearly 30Hz. In addition, Phantom's discrete crossover boards for bass, midrange and treble allow for tri-amplification (tri-wire), bi-amplification and single pair connectivity. Like the flagship Snell Illusion, Phantom features Snell's continuously variable cabinet geometry, with gently curved surfaces and a sculpted, statuesque appearance. Snell woodworkers and design engineers spared no expense in the creation of this exceedingly labor-intensive cabinetry. Standard finish is high-gloss black under multi-coated, hand-rubbed clear lacquer. Snell customers may also choose virtually any paint finish, however familiar or exotic, and is available under special order.

 

McIntosh Labs MVP881BR Universal Blu-ray SACD And DVD-Audio PlayerMcIntosh Lab's, celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2009 as a longstanding audio innovator that is now owned by D&M Holdings, showcased their new MVP881BR ($8000) universal digital disc Blu-ray player at CES 2010. Supporting BD-Live Blu-ray Profile 2.0 web-enabled features, this unit also has top quality audio performance and balanced analog output. In addition to its advanced Blu-ray capabilities, the MVP881BR plays SACD and DVD-Audio discs as well as standard CDs and DVDs. The elegantly designed rock-solid "dreadnaught style" component features custom fabricated steel and aluminum casework with unique, compartmentalized sub structures that inhibit resonance while shielding sensitive audio circuits. Most notably, the unit features a supremely durable all-metal disc mechanism. Set in a heavy, damped base, this quiet-running mechanism is exceptionally accurate, and also features a cast-aluminum disc tray. For maximum flexibility in convenience and installation, the unit also features an SD card reader, an RS232C interface and an Ethernet connection for BD-Live content and future software updates. The unit's custom designed linear power supply includes an R-core transformer to provide low noise and extremely low distortion performance. Leading edge HDMI 1.3 audio and video are fully implemented with HDMI Mode and Resolution selectable from the front panel. The latest Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio codecs are supported and an uncompressed, 24-bit/192kHz PCM 7.1 channel audio bitstream is also provided. Four 32-bit, 192 kHz internally-balanced stereo DACS deliver 7.1 channels of audio output; a fifth DAC supplies a separate, stereo downmix. On-board audio decoding with full bass management and a multi-channel audio output enable use with legacy A/V processors. Differential balanced, analog audio circuitry is used throughout.

 

01 / 12 / 10

MartinLogan Motion Series Loudspeaker  MartinLogan, a Kansas based company with 80 employees handcrafting loudspeaker products, has announces their Motion Series that marks the company's first products to feature Folded Motion technologies. Inspired by MartinLogan's high-end electrostatic loudspeakers, the Motion Series provides sonic realism in small rooms. This exotic tweeter is said to produce fast transient response combined with a large surface area (8-times that of a typical 1-inch dome tweeter) creates clear, highly dynamic and precise sound. For lower frequencies a normal dynamic cone driver is used. The company says the keys to the Motion Series sonic performance is the unique Folded Motion tweeter combined with Vojtko crossovers, powerful compact woofers and acoustically inspired cabinet design. The cabinetry features high-gloss piano black finish and contoured exterior. MartinLogan Motion Series Models Include:

Motion 2 / 4 - Compact bookshelf speakers - $199.95 / $249.95 each
Motion 6 / 8 - Compact center channel speakers - $299.95 / $399.95 each
Motion 10 / 12 - Floorstanding tower speakers - $999.95 / $1499.95 pair

 

AMR AM-777Abbingdon Music Research (AMR), a subsidiary of the Abbingdon Global Group and multiple award winning high-end audio equipment company, is now offering their AM-777 integrated amplifier with USB DAC. The sonic heart of the AM-777 is a single vacuum tube combined with a bi-polar devices and transparent volume control. The AM-777's on-board USB DAC engine allows it to serve as a computer audio source while four stereo RCA and one set of balanced XLR provide analog input. The most salient features of the AM-777 are the OptiGain, which is comprised of two-stages: first is a Single Ended Triode (SET) valve stage without any negative feedback to provide voltage gain. The second section is a pure-power buffer stage using bi-polar technology to provide current gain. To produce 60 wpc, AMR's OptiValve mirrors much of the circuit design as their AM-77, which enables it to function and sound like an SET but for real world, lower efficiency speakers. Uniquely, the 60 wpc power rating remains unchanged when impedance drops from 8 to 4 Ohms. The AMR AM-777 also includes the OptiTrans, which in this case is a 380VA toroidal audio transformer for the output stage and one 32VA EI audio transformer for the valve stage. Overall frequency response is from 10 Hz to 30 kHz, SNR is >100 dB, weight is 31 lbs and dimensions are 17.7 x 4.7 x 14.6 (WxHxD in inches).

 

01 / 11 / 10

naim Audio UnitiQute  Naim Audio, a passionate and committed company that for over 35 years has been an innovator in audio electronics, just launched their UnitiQute ($2000) compact all-in-one system. Naim developed UnitiQute stereo integrated amplifier for those who want the performance and the convenience that new technology brings but will not accept the compromise in performance that following this route from a non-audiophile brand might entail. The UnitiQute is the first high-end remote controlled all-in-one audio player to offer so many sources: FM & Internet Radio (plus DAB in supporting markets), MP3 / iPod (Authenticated digital iPod connection), Streamed audio and USB plus 30 wpc stereo amplification at 8 Ohms (45 wpc @ 4 Ohms). To ensure substantial electrical current the linear power supply includes a 200VA toroidal transformer with three separate windings plus separate power supplies for digital circuitry, analog stage and power amplification. UnitiQute can wirelessly stream music stored on UPnP networked devices, providing access to music including high resolution 24-bit/96kHz WAV or FLAC files. With its onboard 24bit / 192kHz capable Wolfson DAC, UnitiQute is able to interface with digital audio sources including computers and gaming consoles. There is also switchable bass contour control for low-volume listening, bass management system for use with subwoofer/satellite loudspeaker systems, and digital output on 75 Ohm BNC connector (RCA adapter supplied).

 

MSB Platinum SystemMSB, founded in 1986 as a high-end audio component manufacturer, now offers their 32-bit/384kHz Platinum DAC IV, MSB Platinum Data CD IV Transport, MSB iLink Integrated Transport, both two and eight channel Platinum Studio ADC plus the MSB M202 200 wpc Class A monoblock amplifiers. The new Platinum DAC IV ($5995) is a step up from the well known Platinum DAC III with better performance at a similar price. In the basic configuration the DAC IV offers the company's 2nd generation dual 24-bit 100 Mbit/sec sign magnitude R2R ladder DAC with four discrete converters. It accepts 384KHz S/PDIF inputs and includes advanced 32x MSB Digital Filter. It outputs via RCA or XLR balanced analog and has a clock sync for studio use. Inputs include balanced or single ended analog inputs, Toslink, Coaxial, Balanced and MSB network digital inputs. The Signature Platinum DAC IV incorporates many upgrades over the basic These DACs can run at twice the speed (with a 384 kHz sampling rate source) with half the settling time as MSB's standard DACs. The noise level is cut to 1/3 the normal value and the signal-to-noise ratio is up to 140dB. MSB's Diamond Platinum DAC IV ($13,995) is MSB's top-of-the-line DAC including our best Diamond DAC modules. The Diamond DAC IV ($25,995) is their best DAC modules for the most refined sound quality. These limited edition DACs are the company's reference DACs. The Data CD IV ($2995) offers performance and value while including all the digital outputs most users could desire while playing CDs and DVDs with high-resolution audio files up to 384 kHz and 32 bits. It requires a 12 V power supply of which there are several options from $595 to $1795. MSB's Platinum Studio ADC ($14,995) is a reference level unit that also includes a 32-bit/384kHz output resolution. Sold in two versions, the studio version has eight balanced analog inputs plus four digital outputs and the MSB Network. It also features clock in and out. The stereo version offers just two input channels while both models include MSB Platinum Power Base. Lastly, the MSB Platinum Mono 202 amplifier ($17,500 per pair) is a fully balanced 200 watt unit with unique all-MSB-design from top to bottom with unique enclosure.

 

01 / 08 / 10

The Home Entertainment (THE Show)   Enjoy the Music.com's CES 2010 report is now live and online. The report covers the many wonderful people that make the high-end audio industry such a joy to be a part of. Enjoy the Music.com's THE Show report will be online later today so check back for that update.

 

01 / 07 / 10

April Music Eximus CD5 CD Player  April Music, founded in 1998 and is committed to the development of select products specifically designed for demanding audio enthusiasts, has announced their digital audio Eximus CD5 CD player. With only three front-panel buttons and four top-mounted function buttons, the CD5 features a top-loading CD Pro transport from Philips. The CD Pro's minimal moving parts promise years of maintenance-free enjoyment. The player's refined electronic circuitry renders both incredibly wide audio bandwidth from 10 Hz to 55 kHz with an SNR and dynamic range of 120dB. In addition, the CD5 serves as an external DAC with upsampling to 96kHz and there are three levels of sampling frequency which are decoded using the PCM1704 K grade chipset. Digital outputs include S/PDIF via RCA, TosLink optical and AES/EBU via XLR. Digital inputs include S/PDIF via RCA, two TosLink optical and USB. Analog outputs include both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA).

 

THIEL USS SubwooferTHIEL Audio is at the CES with a new member of their SmartSub, the THIEL USS ($1990). The USS is said to virtually eliminate unbalanced response due to room placement restrictions as well as thermal compression distortion common to other subwoofer designs. The THIEL Universal SmartSub embodies all of the design features and functionality of the original SmartSub SS1 and produces detailed bass response down to 10Hz. The USS incorporates a powerful 500-watt amplifier that drives a 10-inch aluminum woofer that has a 1.5-inch peak-to-peak excursion capability. The new USS also includes THIEL's patented Thermal Compression Compensation Circuitry as well as a level correction switch to accommodate the use of multiple USS's per PX05 crossover for systems requiring increased output capability. Overall frequency response is from 16 Hz to 300 Hz (+-3dB), dimensions are 11 x 17 x 20 (WxDxH in inches) and weight is 55 lbs. THIEL Audio's USS will be available in Natural Cherry, Dark Cherry, and Black Ash finishes and each subwoofer comes with stainless steel hardware, new silver logo and heavy duty floorspikes. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the THIEL SCS4 monitors with SS1 SmartSub subwoofer (click here) and the THIEL CS2.4SE limited edition floorstanders (click here).

 

01 / 05 / 10

CES Preview Report  Internet website Enjoy the Music.com has featured over 70 products with links to more than 50 associated products reviews within their CES / THE Show 2010 preview. As the world's largest preview report that focuses on high-end audio consumer electronics, millions of Internet users worldwide can access this report days before the actual event begins. As the high-end audio consumer electronics foremost authority and leading provider of event coverage worldwide for the past 15 years, Enjoy the Music.com's efforts continue to be recognized with audiophiles and the President of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The editor and leading photojournalist, Steven R. Rochlin, was a panelist within CEA's first seminar concerning online activities and since then has headed many seminars within the industry. Recently, Enjoy the Music.com toured over six manufacturing facilities in Asia and was the only major site to report on the largest audiophile show in China. "It brings me joy to announce that once again Enjoy the Music.com offers the industry's largest CES / THE Show preview" says editor Steven R. Rochlin. "Visitors to the site are able to learn about cutting edge high-end audio consumer electronics well before these events, thus getting a head start in learning about new technology. To date, Enjoy the Music.com has well over 125 event reports online and continues to provide industry-leading information available to millions of consumers worldwide. As members of our staff are located on virtually every continent within the world, this provides our readers with a wide range of information not equaled by single-county efforts. This year's CES and THE Show coverage will add to the wide array of state-of-the-art consumer electronics information to Enjoy the Music.com's worldwide audience."

The 2010 CES / THE show preview is online at www.EnjoyTheMusic.com/ces_2010/preview/

 

01 / 04 / 10

nternational CES 2010 (Consumer Electronics Show)   Enjoy the Music.com's International CES 2010 preview (Consumer Electronics Show) and The Home Entertainment (THE Show) has been updated! Why wait months when you can learn about all the shiny new products filled with technology you must have right now, today, and featured right here on Enjoy the Music.com! We offer tomorrow's news today :) 

The Home Entertainment (THE Show) The 2010 report marks our 15th annual CES show coverage plus 11th annual THE Show reporting and will feature many photos and detailed information. Held from January 7th through the 10th, 2010 in Las Vegas, we naturally focus on high-end audiophile gear. Our live show report will be online starting the very first day of the events, yet why wait so long for that load of... live photos and reports by a bunch of writers you know and love. Instead, come see what will be at these events right now! Remember to check back often as we will be updating our CES 2010 and THE Show preview / pre-show report up until the day of the events. See tomorrow's products today right now by clicking here.

 

01 / 01 / 10

  Enjoy the Music.com's January update includes a mid-issue update to Superior Audio with two world premiere equipment reviews plus of course new reviews within our Review Magazine. Add to that, our CES preview and THE Show pre-show report are now online, which will be updated daily until our live coverage begins the first day of these events so check back often!

 

Superior Audio
Yes, we have made a rare mid-issue update just in time for CES / THE Show!

World Premiere!
Bryston 9B SST2 C-Series Amplifier
Quite simply in a class by itself.

World Premiere!
Oracle Audio Technologies CD 1500 MK III CD Player
Able to extract minuscule detail from my killer resolution test disc.

See the January Superior Audio magazine by clicking here.

 

Review Magazine

Viewpoint
In This Issue...
Promise Fulfilled To The High-End Audio Community
My promise to our readers concerning world premiere reviews continues.

Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 123
OPPO BDP-83 SE, Black Ravioli And Miscellany...

Show Report
Show Report 
CES Preview / THE Show 2010 Preview Now Online!

Equipment Reviews
World Premiere!
Hegel Music System HD10 DAC
A high-end digital to analog converter from Norway that rocks!

Spin-Clean Record Washer
The best sixty bucks a vinyl lover can spend.

Tekton Design OB4.5 And Subwoofer Combination
A follow-up to my original reviews.

Revisit: JuicyMusic Merlin Preamplifier

Revisit: Slatedeck
The Slayer of Myths

Revisit: Morel Octave 5.2M, Octave Subwoofer & Harmony Amp 200

Music Reviews
Classical Music

Ludwig Von Beethoven Symphonies No. 1 in C Major, op. 21
and No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastoral"

For piano enthusiasts, a lively collection of four-hands music.

Sergei Rachmaninoff Ten Preludes, Op. 23, Thirteen Preludes, Op. 32,
Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 3, No. 2

Jazz, Folk, Bluegrass, Blues, Etc.
Rosanne Cash The List
Guy Clark Somedays The Song Writes You
Kieran Kane Somewhere Beyond The Roses
Peter Mulvey Letters From A Flying Machine
Adam Steffey One More For The Road
Various Bluegrass, Blues And Jazz Albums

See the January Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

Epos Encore 50Epos, a British speaker company founded in 1983 by Robin Marshall and it became apparent that there was a great synergy between Creek electronics and Epos loudspeakers, is releasing its long awaited flagship Epos Encore 50. This top of the line Epos speaker has been three years in design from initial cabinet construction to the speaker drive units and crossover network. The cabinet is tall, standing at just over 47-inches high, and is deeper rather than wide with strong stylish painted MDF plinth to support its 110 lbs weight. Fully adjustable turned aluminum and steel spiked feet can raise or lower the speaker to adjust or tilt the level. The cabinet itself is made from a composite of birch-plywood and MDF which has been extensively strengthened internally using plywood bracing within the mid-range and bass enclosures. To ensure the lowest coloration, the cabinet and bracing have been optimized, following accelerometer measurements and listening tests. Hand selected and book-matched real wood veneer has been chosen give the most luxurious finish on an Epos speaker so far. Separate bass, midrange and crossover sections of the cabinet are hermetically sealed and allow the crossover to be located in a convenient section at the bottom of the cabinet. All drive units are separately wired to the crossover section, using custom Epos solid core wire. A pair of 220 mm woofers and 158 mm midrange cones are made from a Kevlar/carbon fiber/pulp mixture to combine high rigidity, with good inherent damping and feature concave dust caps coupled tightly to the cone. They each incorporate a copper shorting ring in the magnetic circuit to reduce and linearise inductance and therefore, reduce harmonic and inter-modulation distortions at high sound pressure levels. The two woofer cones couple acoustically at low frequencies and are port loaded for extremely high power handling. The uppermost frequencies are produced by a specially developed version of the Epos Mi tweeter, with anodized aluminum dome, Kapton voice coil former, braided lead-out wires and Ferro-Fluid damping. The centre pole is damped under the dome and vented into a contoured, felt- filled, rear chamber to damp the fundamental resonance frequency. Overall frequency response is from 28 Hz to 30 kHz (-6dB), it presents a 4 Ohm load and has a sensitivity of 89dB/W/m.


 

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