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High-End Audio Industry News


01 / 31 / 12

finite elemente Ceraone Footers  German high-end audio manufacturer finite elemente has expanded their CERA series with the new entry-level model Ceraone footer. Based on the company's well-proven CERA technology, which was specifically developed for this purpose, these 30mm high component feet for hi-fi components will "draw off unwanted resonance directly where it evolves. The advantage: no resonance accumulation, no over-damping, and no loss of sound" according to finite elemente. Audiophiles can use these under their CD/DVD players, amplifiers or loudspeakers and the Ceraone comes in a convenient set of 4 pieces, in silver or black anodized aluminum. Optimum range of application is for weight up to 250 lbs.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
GutWire has introduced the MaxCon AC line conditioner (from $899 to $2,239 depending on power cord) and the Stingray Power Extension Bar ($219). The Stingray features a Hubbell 4-plex hospital-grade outlet with Hubbell 8215 AC plug while the MaxCon offers four Hubbell outlets and provides AC line filtering. The MaxCon can be ordered with the Basic Clef power cable ($899), the G Clef power cable ($1,039), the C Clef power cable ($1,239), the Power Clef power cable ($1,429) and the Pure Clef power cable ($2,239). In each case, the provided power cord is 5.5 feet in length.

 

01 / 30 / 12

Pioneer Electronics N-30 And N-50 Elite Networked Audio Players  Seems virtually all high-tech audio companies are now offering networked audio players and Pioneer Electronics is no exception. Pioneer Electronics introduced the N-30 and N-50 Elite branded networked audio players ($499 and $699 respectively) for audiophiles. Both units are equipped with AirPlay and DLNA 1.5 wireless technologies, offering music lovers access to their music files stored in a variety of different sources. Additional features include vTuner Internet radio, iPhone and Android control apps and a 2.5-inch full-color LCD display. Both models look the same, but the N-50 adds three digital inputs along with better build quality. Both players are AirPlay-compatible, enabling consumers to listen to music saved in their iTunes library as well as access to music available on AirPlay-enabled apps like Pandora Internet radio, iHeartRadio and other music streaming services. The N-30 and N-50 are both "Made for iPad, iPhone and iPod" for music playback and charging. Their DLNA 1.5 Certification enables consumers to stream music from a computer or other DLNA 1.5 server via a home network. These systems enable playback of standard compressed audio formats including MP3, WMA and AAC. Through DLNA 1.5, both units feature high-resolution audio playback which can support 24-bit/192kHz FLAC and WAV files that are now available from a number of Internet sites. A full-color 2.5" LCD screen built into both systems provides a convenient way to display the album art and song information of currently playing music. For added convenience, consumers can control their music via ControlApp, a free app that is available for the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad as well as select Android devices. Pioneer's N-50 includes an armored chassis to resist noise and gold RCA jacks for better audio connections. The N-50 also comes with additional audio features including Advanced Sound Retriever and Sound Retriever AIR that enhance the audio quality of compressed audio files, Internet radio and Bluetooth audio transmissions. For higher quality audio output, the N-50 features twin EL transformers to reduce interference and a Hi-Bit 32-Bit conversion processor. Digital inputs for both units include USB, TosLink optical and S/PDIF coaxial. Digital output include TosLink optical and S/PDIF coaxial.

 

Rotel RSP-1562 A/V ReceiverRotel's new RSP-1562 A/V receiver ($2599) offers full 7-channel audio with 100 watts per channel. Other features include Bluetooth, parametric EQ and USB input. Improved circuitry and technologies include HDMI 1.4 with 3D and six inputs; one with an Audio Return Channel (ARC). ARC in HDMI 1.4 enables the sending via a single HDMI cable, audio data upstream, to an A/V receiver or surround audio controller. The front-panel USB input may be used with Apple's iPod, iPhone, iPad, or other MP3 players. This new receiver incorporates Bluetooth operation (via included wireless dongle), so that the physical connection of portable audio players is not required. For audio versatility, the preamplifier includes a 10-band parametric equalizer and advanced bass management. Video signals are handled by the latest generation Faroudja Torino FLI30336 Cortez Advanced Platform. Torino combines unique analog and digital processing to drastically reduce video noise without sacrificing image quality and sharpness. It also offers next-generation Faroudja RealColor, color management technologies. Rotel's RSX-1562 audio section and decoding supports Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS HD, and more. Dual 32-bit DSP and 24-bit/192K audio ensure audiophile performance. Rotel RSX-1562 uses ICE Class D amplification and produces seven channels at 100 watts into 8 Ohms each. Multizone outputs provide composite video and analog audio for up to three additional entertainment areas. Chassis finishes include silver and black.

 

01 / 27 / 12

  HDtracks has Warner Music Group into the fold of the many recording labels offering high resolution digital music downloads online. Warner Music Group has been archiving these state of the art albums in 24-bit/192kHz and 24-bit/96kHz. Now available is Hotel California by The Eagles, which is one of the most celebrated albums in rock history and was both the band's best selling and most critically acclaimed record. Another album now available on HDtracks is Chicago II by the band Chicago and was their classic breakthrough second album that put this band squarely on the map and delivered three Top 40 hits in 1979. These hits included "Make Me Smile," "Colour My World" and their masterpiece "25 or 6 to 4." Jazz lovers rejoice as Tutu by Miles Davis is one of his late career-defining masterworks and the winner of two Grammy Awards, Tutu found Davis again revolutionizing jazz by bringing it further into the realm of rock, funk, and R&B. The album features compositions by multiple Grammy winning bassist/songwriter Marcus Miller. Audiophiles should see all the great new albums available right now for download by clicking here.

 

Reference Recordings has just presented their next LP release in the Reference Mastercuts series. Specifically, Sergei Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances; Vocalise (RM-1504, $34.98) as directed by Eiji Oue and performed by the Minnesota Orchestra. This marks the first time ever this title has been available on vinyl. Each 33 1/3 rpm half-speed mastered virgin vinyl LP weighs 200 grams and comes in a gatefold jacket packaging. This title is widely believed to be the finest orchestral recording RR has ever made. Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of the most beloved composers of the twentieth century. His music is redolent of his Russian homeland, and it sings long, lush melodies that define the term "romantic." Everyone who knows and loves his piano concertos will enjoy these lyrical and dynamic works for orchestra. The "Symphonic Dances" in recent years have become one of Rachmaninoff's most-performed scores. "Vocalise" is one of the great classical melodies, and is hum'able by everyone. It was also Grammy nominated 2003 for Best Engineered Album – Classical; Keith O. Johnson, engineer. The compact disc (RR-96) and HRx high resolution DVD (HR-96) are also available.

 

01 / 26 / 12

Enjoy the Music.com Android Application  Enjoy the Music.com app users get an advanced look at our February WORLD PREMIERE review of the amazing ModWright Instruments KWA 150 Signature Edition amplifier. In his review, Phil Gold says "What I can say is that the sound field is spacious, musical, tonally accurate and extremely dynamic. It doesn't feel bass heavy or bright, but wind and brass instruments exhibit their full quota of air, while the deep bass is both tuneful and full in level. What's special about the bass is not the amount of it – the response is flat after all – but how agile it is." Enjoy the Music.com's Android and Windows Phone 7 application users can enjoy this special sneak peek this month! The fast growing popularity of the Android and Windows Phone operating systems on a wide variety of mobile devices proves that enthusiastic and tech savvy consumers want devices they can use to get the information they desire right now. Enjoy the Music.com is the only high-end audio website offering apps plus a customized web browser for audiophiles. Android users can download the Enjoy the Music.com Android application by clicking here. Windows Phone 7 users can download the Enjoy the Music.com Windows Phone 7 application by clicking here.

 

01 / 25 / 12

Hi-Fi World  Enjoy the Music.com has just posted Hi-Fi World's Volume 22 Number 1 (March 2012) edition including the complete editorial and table of contents. This issue includes reviews of the coverage of the Bristol show, Audio Research SP17 and VSI 115 valve amplification combo, a variety of network players including the Naim ND5 XS, Cyrus Stream X, Cocktail Audio X10, Musical Fidelity Clic, Cambridge Audio NP30 and Logitech Squeezebox. Speaker reviews include the Tannoy Definition DC8T 46, Acoustic Energy Reference 2 and Usher Dancer Mini-One floorstanders... and more! The editorial titled Changes To Technology by Noel Keywood says, "As  the New Year kicks off we are faced with a deluge of “network players”. Designed to play music stored on your computer, through an Ethernet link, they can play iTunes through the hi-fi – or whatever Windows Media Player has stored we must not forget! Computer audio files? They're low-fi aren't they? They were but Naim have come up with a player able to handle top quality 24/192 digital files and this raises a lot of issues. Find out more about this new player and the challenge it throws down to others in our round up of network players starting p13." See the complete March table of contents and editorial of Hi-Fi World by clicking here.

 

Hi-Fi+ MagazineEnjoy the Music.com has just posted the February edition of Hi-Fi+ (Issue 86)! This issue includes reviews of the PMC Twenty24 floorstanding loudspeaker, Icon Audio S60 MK II valve integrated power amplifier, Focal Electra 1008 BE standmount loudspeaker, Linn Akurate DS media renderer/digital source and much more. Within Alan Sircom's editorial titled Why Do We Compare he says, "Beneath the calm surface of the audio world, there are dark stirrings. The backlash is beginning. It's starting slow, and starting at the very top of the top end of hi-fi, but there are people in high-end audio who are comparing CD or SACD with the equivalent computer files, and are consistently preferring the spinning disc. You see, when you compare the very, very best of what CD and SACD replay has to offer (we're talking Accuphase, dCS, Esoteric, Metronome, Wadia and Zanden-grade disc replay, here) and do the same with the latest and greatest in computer audio in all its guises, CD and SACD often come out on top. At less breathtaking levels of audio expenditure, the differences are not so clear cut. But the fact remains that in many of these tests, CD outperforms its computer audio 'replacement'. It's LP vs. CD all over again..." You can see the complete table of contents and editorial of Hi-Fi+ by clicking here.

 

01 / 24 / 12

Blumenhofer Acoustics Wiki  Blumenhofer Acoustics, a small company in Bavaria Germany that has been producing professional and high-end audio loudspeakers for more than 30 years, has announced their full lineup. The company is devoted to horn loudspeakers and high efficiency, thus renewing the old audio tradition for those who may enjoy low powered tube amplification. Blumenhofer Acoustics uses new materials and the knowledge gained in the years of production. Top product of the company is their Wiki a two-way horn loudspeaker (pictured here). The mid high of the Wiki is a 2" compression driver in beryllium while the bass is a 16" paper woofer with front horn loading. A compression chamber and back-loading are also parts of the design. The length of the bass horn of the Wiki is about 14 feet. Sensitivity is 103dB/W/m and the speaker presents an 8 Ohm load. Each unit is a hefty 60 lbs. Note that the The Wiki is strictly built to order and takes between four to six months to produce. Other models by the company include the Genuin FS 2, Fun 17 and Fun 13, which are smaller floorstanders.

 

Focal XS Book Powered MonitorsFocal has introduced a high-end desktop stereo speaker system for Mac or PC called the Focal XS Book powered monitors ($399) These two active loudspeakers are easy to use and have high sound quality for their size. Focal technologies used within the XS Book include an aluminum dome tweeter and a 4" proprietary Polyglass cone woofer. This permits the XS Book to cover a large bandwidth from 55 Hz to 22 kHz, with a maximum sound pressure level of 96dB SPL at 1m. A vented port with complex shapes aids in deep bass production while also controlling air-flow turbulence and noise. The built in amplification is 2 x 20 watt. While there is no iPod dock, the unit simply needs power and an analog audio signal supplied by 3.5mm or RCA inputs. Overall dimensions are 11 x 4.5 x 7.875 ((HxWxD in inches) and weight is 11 lbs.

 

01 / 23 / 12

Role Audio Sampan Music Box  Role Audio has introduced their compact, portable, all-in-one Sampan Music Box ($1295) stereo system. With a built in 50 watt per channel audiophile amplifier and frequency response of 35 Hz to 20 kHz, the Sampan Music Box is a compact two-channel stereo music system for consumers looking to access high-quality audio from their computers, smartphones, internet streaming devices, CD players, and other sources. Users can connect these sources to the Sampan Sound Box's 3.5 mm or RCA stereo inputs. The Sampan Music Box uses a built-in high-performance 50 wpc stereo power amplifier and folded transmission line design to deliver full-range audiophile sound without the need for a subwoofer and other components. The interface is simplicity itself: one wire in to connect the Sampan Music Box to a music source and one wire out to connect it to a power source. The Sampan Music Box uses two full-range transducers, that are spaced 37 inches apart, in folded transmission lines to deliver sound that is time and phase coherent and bass response that can meet the THX requirement for subwoofers. The enclosure measures 42 X 4.5 X 5.25 (WxHxD in inches), weighs 12 lbs. and is certified green and formaldehyde-free. The transmission line design allow low bass reproduction. The Sampan Music Box can be used in a wide range of situations including as an on-wall music system, a desktop music system for computers, a portable music system or as a rear channel speaker system for high-end home theater. The amplifier section uses a modified digital power amplifier featuring Tripath TK2050 chip-set. Total harmonic distortion is < 0.01% @ 30 watts and signal to noise ratio is 103dB (A weighted). Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Role Audio Sampan loudspeakers and Role Audio Enterprise loudspeakers.

 

NSMT Loudspeakers 30M FloorstanderNSMT Loudspeakers new 30M ($1995) compact transmission line tower has a frequency response from 27 Hz to 20 kHz (+/-3.5dB) and uses a specialized proprietary eighth-wave tuned port transmission line design. The 30M is a time coherent, point source, first order, two-way transmission line loudspeaker designed to reproduce music with superior musicality, coherence, spatial presentation, speed and tonality. A single concentric two-way driver employs a one inch soft dome tweeter and a 6.5 inch poly woofer. Each unit is magnetically shielded whist the crossover uses laminated metal core copper inductor, polypropylene capacitor by-passed with film foil capacitor and metal oxide resistor. On the rear are five-way gold plated binding posts. The cabinet itself is black lacquer painted 0.75-inch formaldehyde-free anti-resonant mediate board and black fabric applied as a veneer. Measuring 40 x 8.5 x 8.5 (HxWxD in inches), this time coherent design uses minimalist first order crossover and point source technology. Sensitivity is 88dB/W/m and the unit presents an 8 Ohm impedance (6.5 Ohm minimum). Each unit weights 40 lbs. Warranty is 5-year limited and if you desire grills they are a $200 option per pair.

 

01 / 20 / 12

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn the Torpedoes  HDtracks, an online high-resolution music download website, now offers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers legendary classic Damn the Torpedoes in stunning 24-bit/96kHz! This online 'bonus disc' version includes the same songs as the normal CD/LP version plus demos, B-sides, and unreleased material, including an alternate take of the song "Refuge". Liner notes in PDF format are by legendary rock journalist David Fricke and includes rare photos and lyrics for each of the songs. As one of the most highly acclaimed albums of the 1970s, Damn the Torpedoes remains a steadfast on plenty of "all time greatest" lists. Widely regarded as the band's magnum opus, the album spent 7 weeks on the Billboard chart, yielded two massive singles, "Don't Do Me Like That" and "Refuge," and has sold over 10 million copies. At last, the album is given a much-deserved full reissue treatment, including 24-bit/96kHz remastering and a 'bonus disc' including previously unreleased studio material (including the gem "Nowhere"), two B-sides, demos, and three searing live tracks from a 1980 performance at London's Hammersmith Odeon. You can get this and many other high resolution digital music downloads by clicking here.

 

 Living Sounds Audio LSA .5 MonitorsLiving Sounds Audio (LSA) has two new products, the new LSA .5 ($799 per pair) bookshelf speakers and the new LSA CD1 CD player. Based on the company's LSA1 Monitors, the new compact LSA .5 features a smaller sized cabinet, a 5.25" midrange/woofer, front ports and flush rear jacks, and a sound as pure as its larger sibling model. The LSA .5 retains the same fabric dome tweeter as in many of this manufacturers other speakers. Overall frequency response is from 50 Hz to 20 kHz, sensitivity is 89dB/W/m and each unit weights 21 lbs. The LSA CD1 CD player has a full complement of digital inputs and allows playback of most any digital music format in addition to Redbook and SACD.

 

Parasound Halo A 31 THX Ultra2 Power AmplifierParasound's Halo A 31 THX Ultra2 power amplifier ($3000) produces 250 watts rms in three channels. The Halo A 31 provides high-bias Class A/AB operation with pure Class A operation up to 7 watts per channel. Analog inputs include balanced via XL and unbalance via RCA. Matched pairs of complementary JFET input-pre-driver stages, matched pairs of complementary MOSFETs in the driver stages and 8 beta-matched 15 Ampere, 60 MHz bipolar output transistors are used for each channel. Due to using direct coupling, no capacitors or inductors are in the signal's path. Loudspeaker binding posts are heavy-duty 24k gold-plated five-way and each is relay protected. The Parasound A 31 provides a gain control for each channel offering ±6db relative to THX reference level. This enables the A 31 to play louder in very large rooms and facilitates level matching with other amplifiers. Other features include: auto turn-on options by an audio signal with a threshold adjust or a 12v trigger with input and loop out jacks plus indicators for AC power, channel status, and high temperature. The heavy-duty 4u chassis has rear carry handles, and an included rack-mounting adaptor. The front panel is anodized aluminum.

 

01 / 19 / 12

MartinLogan Motion 20 and Motion 40 Tower Speakers  MartinLogan's just launched Motion 20 and Motion 40 tower speakers will be available Q2 2012 and continues this speaker manufacturers folded motion transducer products. Replacing the popular Motion 10 and Motion 12 models, both floorstanding models benefit from a number of design and performance enhancements including nearly twice the internal volume over previous models. This results in extended bass performance whist the larger cabinet is wrapped in a high gloss piano black finish. Key to the MartinLogan Motion Series sonic performance is the unique Folded Motion tweeter (similar to tweeter technologies found in ultra expensive speakers), precision high-end Vojtko crossovers, powerful woofers, and acoustically inspired cabinet design. The Motion 20 and Motion 40 are bi-wire capable and feature premium five-way binding posts. A perforated metal grille accentuates the speaker's elegance while oversized 5.5-inch and 6.5-inch black aluminum cone woofers (on the 20 and 40 respectively) paired with a rear firing bass port adds extra output in the lower frequencies. The oversized woofer design also creates increased cone area for higher output and better bass response. Reinforced solid internal bracing dramatically reduces internal resonances and standing waves. Bass drivers in both models are located near the bottom of the speaker while mid-range drivers and Folded Motion tweeters are orientated near the top. Pricing for the Motion 20 and Motion 40 is yet to be determined.

 

McIntosh Laboratory MC8207 Multi-Channel AmplifierMcIntosh Labs' new MVP891 Blu-ray disc player and MC8207 multi-channel amplifier ($5500 and $6000 respectively) will be at dealers worldwide soon. McIntosh Laboratory's handcrafted reference MVP891 Universal Blu-ray disc player offers world-class performance from virtually every video and audio disc format, including BD-Live Blu-ray Profile 2.0 web-enabled features. It offers fully up-to-date home entertainment integration capabilities, allowing for BD-Live and file sharing across a home network. The MVP891's ultimate-quality music listening experience is made possible through inclusion of internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD digital to analog audio decoding with 7.1 channel analog outputs, with high performance stereo digital to analog audio decoding with four dedicated fully balanced DACs per channel. The MVP891 has the best stereo decoding section of any McIntosh universal player. In addition to its advanced Blu-ray capabilities, the MVP891 excels at playing SACD and DVD Audio discs as well as standard CDs and DVDs. For maximum flexibility in convenience and installation, the unit also features a USB memory stick reader, an RS232C interface and an Ethernet connection for BD-Live content and future software updates. McIntosh Laboratory MC8207 (pictured)  is a seven channel 200-watt per channel power amplifier. Handcrafted at McIntosh's Binghamton, NY facility, this unit is ideal for a 7.1-channel system or a 5.1-channel system with the remaining two channels utilized for a second stereo zone. The unique McIntosh Dynamic Power Management circuit allows full power into both 4 and 8 Ohm speakers. Aesthetically stunning, the MC8207 features three new "theater style" LED watt meters which allow monitoring of power sent to the main three front speakers. By operating the amp to match the power requirements of specific speakers, users are always assured optimum performance.

 

01 / 18 / 12

EMM Labs DAC2X  New for EMM Labs is their DAC2X ($15,500) reference stereo DAC, with a sneak peek of information on the upcoming Meitner Audio MA-2 CD/DAC. The EMM Labs DAC2X is the company's new reference digital to analog converter. It utilizes all of Ed Meitner's award winning technologies and proprietary systems previously only available in the EMM Labs flagship XDS1. The unit is simple to use as there is nothing to configure. Just plug and play. USB input works seamlessly with Windows, OSX and Linux operating systems and complies with the USB2 audio interface standard. DSD over USB to be released as a software update later this year. The unit handles 24-bit/192kHz on all PCM inputs including USB. Analog output includes balanced via XLR and unbalanced via RCA. Implemented in their latest generation, the DAC2X includes:
• MFAST asynchronous technology to eliminate source jitter
• MDAT: 2xDSD (5.6Mhz) up-sampling DSP
• Reference MDAC dual differential discrete 5.6Mhz DAC coupled with MCLK high-purity master clock system.
• New USB and digital I/O implementation that further
• Supports sampling rates of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192kHz at word lengths up to 24 bits
• Digital inputs include EMM Optilink, AES/EBU, USB2, S/PDIF, and optical TosLink

Coming soon for Meitner Audio is the MA-2 CD/DAC, which is built on the highly popular MA-1 DAC engine and technologies derived in the flagship EMM Labs XDS1. Features of the upcoming MA-1 include:
• MFAST asynchronous technology to eliminate source jitter
• MDAT: 2xDSD (5.6Mhz) up-sampling DSP
• Standard MDAC dual differential discrete 5.6Mhz DAC coupled with MCLK master clock system.
• Completely new CD playback system
• Proprietary built in volume control 
• Completely new CD slot mechanism
• Supports sampling rates of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192kHz at word lengths up to 24 bits
• Digital inputs include AES/EBU, USB2, S/PDIF, and optical TosLink

Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the EMM Labs TSD1 CD/SACD transport and the EMM Labs XDS1 CD/SACD Reference player/converter. 

 

Sennheiser HD 700 HeadphonesSennheiser's new HD 700 headphones ($1000) features vibration dampening frame, ultra-wide soundstage from angled transducer system, specialty steel mesh ventilation in open-air chamber and patent-pending ventilated magnet system. Beginning with an angled transducer, the 700 angles sound to mimic the positioning of a set of reference monitors. This, in tandem with the DuoFol diaphragm, is said to provide a wide sound stage with ultra-fast response and rest times. Sennheiser's acoustic team is introducing their patent-pending ventilated magnet system, which by venting the magnet laying behind the diaphragm airflow was properly managed and overall turbulence was minimized. This advancement did not add to the sound - but subtracted an artifact from it says Sennheiser. The Sennheiser HD 700 also utilizes a vibration damping frame -- strategic layering of materials to aide in eliminating unwanted resonances from entering the acoustic chamber. Frequency response is from 10 Hz to 42 kHz, nominal impedance is 150 Ohms, THD is <0.03% and the included cable length is 9.8 feet. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Sennheiser HD800 headphones with Cardas Audio cable and the Sennheiser HD 650 headphones.

 

01 / 17  / 12

Soundsmith Hyperion Cactus Spine Cantilever Moving Iron Cartridge  Soundsmith's new Hyperion Cactus Spine Cantilever Moving Iron cartridge ($7000) is inspired by Frank Schroeder. Designed and hand built by Peter Ledermann, the Hyperion's cantilever sets new standards for the company's cartridge performance by taking cantilever design to a new level. Featuring formerly mutually exclusive properties such as ultra-low mass, extreme rigidity and inherent damping, the Hyperion is available in both of Soundsmith's Contact Line and Optimized Contour contact line diamond configurations plus the new Hyperion LT. Soundsmith's Hyperion LT is the world's first cartridge designed for linear tracking arms in that it has lower compliance in the horizontal plane than the vertical plane. All models carry an impressive 10 year warranty that includes retipping. Each is handmade and signed by Peter Ledermann.

 

Light Harmonic 384k Da Vinci DACLight Harmonic 384k Da Vinci DAC ($20,000) made its way to the CES in final form that was first shown in beta form last year. Da Vinci is a asynchronous USB 2.0 DAC capable of up to 32-bit/384kHz and has both unbalanced via RCA and balanced via XLR analog output. Light Harmonic feels that upsampling, oversampling, or any digital filters or signal-manipulations to be ineffective. What they feel is best is to preserve the integrity of the digital music stream by developing new buffering and clocking technologies. This ensures that it's core conversion module produces an accurate analog music stream. They developed a patent-pending three-layer buffering technology, a proprietary 3X clock circuit, silent clock power technology and a -166dB phase error oscillator to ensure signal accuracy. Proprietary USB ground galvanic isolation technology with a dedicated digital power supply completely independent from the PC eliminated high-frequency noise caused by a computer's power supply through the use of total power isolation. The modular design of Da Vinci consists of six printed circuit boards, each of which represents a key functional unit of the DAC. Having each key functional unit running separately on its own PCB also means separate communication paths, which improves signal performance by eliminating possible interference. Additionally, a modular upgradeable design allows for ease of maintenance and gives owners of Da Vinci the option to upgrade to future features. This preserves user's initial investment and extends the life of the product for future upgrades. The chassis is constructed of CNC-milled aerospace-grade 6061-T6 aluminum blocks to provide thermal stability and RFI/EMI shielding plus resonance control.

 

Chick Corea Further ExplorationsConcord Music Group has just released Further Explorations by musicians Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian. The contributions of pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader Bill Evans to the language and appreciation of jazz continue to have a profound influence. Master pianist Chick Corea leads original Evans alumni -- bassist Eddie Gomez and the late drummer Paul Motian -- on his new recording, Further Explorations on a two-CD live set. Produced by Corea, Further Explorations was recorded May 4th through the 17th, 2010, at the Blue Note in New York City. Note that 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the release of Evans' original Explorations LP with Motian and bassist Scott LaFaro on the Riverside label. In preparation, Corea, Gomez and Motian examined the entire Bill Evans discography. Rather than approach the music as a tribute, his material provided more of a template. The results are said to be very inspired.

 

01 / 16 / 12

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced today that the 2012 International CES is the largest in the show's 44 year history, with 1.861 million net square feet of exhibit space. The previous record was 1.857 million net square feet of space at the 2008 International CES. Owned and produced by CEA, the 2012 International CES, the world's largest tradeshow for consumer technology, runs through Friday, January 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CEA is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $190 billion United States consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA's industry services. See our CES 2012 show report/THE Show coverage by clicking here.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
Gryphon Audio Designs Adagio CD PlayerGryphon Audio Designs of Denmark is proud to announce the introduction of the Adagio CD player. The Adagio ($6900) is replacing Gryphon's CDP1 that introduced the Gryphon upsample technology. The Adagio is taking this technology to its next level with enhanced mechanical structure and no compromise features, all chosen for exceptional musical realism. Much attention was given to the analog output circuits in the Adagio. Discrete Build circuitry, true "Class A" with no negative feedback. The signal passes a minimum of components and the analog filter of first order is said to have minimal influence on the audio frequencies. The analog filter uses a polypropylene capacitor with very high slew rate and tight tolerance. All resistors in the analog outputs are SMD (Surface Mount Device) types with low induction and excellent sonic performance. Other features include:

* Dual differential 24-bit/96kHz D/A converters with separate regulated power supplies.
*Upsampling to 24-bit/96kHz for enhanced sonic performance.
* Two custom-build, temperature compensated crystal oscillators with better than 5ppm accuracy.
* Completely isolated power supplies for the digital section and the transport/display.
* Modified dual digital servo transport with a fixed pick-up mechanism.
* True Class A discrete-build, no negative feedback analog output circuits.
* Separate custom-build C-core transformers for left and right analog sections.
* 12,000 pF power capacitor banks per channel.
* True dual mono configuration.
* Ultra-short signal path with minimal internal wiring.
* Four-layer printed circuit board for minimal noise and optimal signal transfer.
* Both balanced and single-ended analog outputs.
* Balanced 110 Ohm AES/EBU and 75 Ohm S/PDIF digital outputs.
* Full remote controlled operation.

 

01 / 11   to   01/13

CES 2012 Show Report  Enjoy the Music.com has updated our CES 2012 show report / T.H.E. Show audiophile event coverage! Right now we have eight pages filled with well over 100 photos covering approximately 130 products that are being shown in Las Vegas. Stay ahead and be the first to learn of all the new gear appearing at these events before others. Enjoy the Music.com is updating our CES 2012 show report and T.H.E. Show coverage over the next few days so check back often!

 

01 / 10 / 12

Nagra Audio  Nagra Audio is being transferred from the Kudelski Group to a newly created company called Audio Technology Switzerland. Run by the Kudelski family, this new company is designed to give the audio activity a more focused framework to support its development. In the course of the last three decades, the fantastic growth of the Kudelski Group in the area of security technologies for digital television has progressively reduced the relative importance of the audio activity within the Group. Based in Romanel-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland, Audio Technology Switzerland will manage the three traditional sectors of Nagra Audio: professional recorders, recorders for security applications and high-end Hi-Fi products. All areas will be strengthened including research and development, manufacturing and sales and marketing, with the objective of creating new dynamics for the legendary brand based on its long-standing spirit of innovation and requirement for excellence.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
Clearaudio's Maximum Solution turntable ($6500) furthers their three-point star shaped acrylic plinth design and drive system of the Master Reference, the Maximum Solution builds upon the Master Solution by utilizing the three motor/pulley/belt drive of the Master Reference. As with the Master Reference, the Maximum Solution uses the Clearaudio Accurate Power Generator (APG) to filter, re-synthesize and synchronize the power to all three motors. Dubbed the "mini Master Reference", the Maximum Solution approaches the sheer musicality of our flagship turntable at only half the cost. The Maximum Solution can accommodate up to three tonearms and may be field upgraded from the Solution ($1600) or Master Solution ($3200) for only the difference in retail price.

 

01 / 09 / 12

Gibson Guitar  As part of its continued diversification into the music and audio lifestyle arena, Gibson Guitar Corp., the world's premier musical instrument manufacturer, today announced a strategic partnership with Onkyo Corporation. With a reputation of excellence for high quality audio equipment and home theater systems, Onkyo offers Gibson's newly-formed Pro Audio Division substantial technology resources. Gibson will provide Onkyo with its marketing resources and expertise. The result will be an ability to deliver a far superior audio experience to the consumer who has become more and more used to hearing only inferior compressed music through inexpensive ear bud headsets. Through this venture, Gibson will acquire a majority of Onkyo USA (Onkyo's exclusive distributor for North America and a distributor for Central and South America) and become the second largest shareholder in Onkyo Corporation. Gibson will make a strategic investment in the company, and Gibson Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz will be given a position on the Onkyo board of directors. Likewise, Onkyo will invest in Gibson, and CEO and President Munenori Otsuki will take a position on the company's Board of Directors. Together, the two entities will form a Hong Kong-based joint venture focusing on design and development of unparalleled consumer audio products. Through this alliance, Onkyo USA becomes the latest addition to the Gibson Pro Audio division, which already includes KRK, Cerwin-Vega! and Stanton. All agreements are subject to Japanese regulatory clearance, negotiation of definitive agreements and financing approvals of lenders.

 

CA Electronics HS-1 Headphone StandCA Electronics' HS-1 headphone stand is designed to perfectly balance your headphones for display purposes via this hand-made, hand coated design. Made of sturdy 3 millimeters thick aluminum, it measures 10 centimeters in depth and reaches a height of about 25 centimeters. Due to the curves of the stand your headphones headband will be at the broadest end, whilst the ear pads are cupped by the smallest point of the stand. This, added to the slight flexibility of the material, will leave your headphones resting in its natural position when not in use, greatly enhancing its lifespan. Each headphones stand is powder coated by hand (available in black or white). Powder coating provides a very durable finish, to maximize the stand's longevity. Its timeless design and durability will make this headphones stand last you a lifetime.

 

01 / 06 / 12

  HDtracks, founded by David and Norman Chesky of the audiophile-record label Chesky Records as a service offering a diverse catalog of high resolution digital downloads, is now offering Diana Krall's The Look Of Love and The Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed in 24-bit/96kHz! Diana Krall's The Look Of Love is a lush, cinematic collection of ballads and bossa nova tunes as backed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The album features an all-star cast of musicians, including guitarist Russell Malone, legendary percussionist Paulinho Da Costa, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Peter Erskine. The Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed is their legendary 1967 concept album that set a new standard for symphonic rock. It married the band's early R&B stylings with lush orchestral sounds, complex songforms, and epic interludes by the London Festival Orchestra.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
Graham Engineering's Robin tonearm ($795) incorporates engineering advances derived from the 2.2 tonearm, and built to exacting Graham Engineering standards. The medium mass Robin uses the identical Graham fixed mount pattern of the famous 2.2 tonearm. This design also allows the use of the Graham Engineering patented off-turntable cartridge alignment system, using the removable headshell and separate alignment gauge. Adjustable VTF, VTA, and anti-skate and a special Rega drop-in mounting plate make the Robin an ideal choice for both new turntable purchases and upgrading existing turntables in the field. The Robin includes a quality tonearm cable, while its standard DIN (JIS) output termination allows for future cable upgrade capability. Also in the news, Graham Model 2.1 Basic tonearm ($1,995) is based on the famous 2.2 tonearm, the new 2.1 Basic uses a 2.2 derived aluminum bearing cap, brass side weights, SW-1 aluminum armwand with copper wire, and includes the standard Robin tonearm cable. All other features are identical to the Graham 2.2 and can be upgraded in the field. Those upgrades include the CA-2 alignment gauge, SW-3 Ceramic armwand, T2 tungsten side weights, 2.2 bearing cap and IC-70 tonearm cabling. The 2.1 Basic Ceramic at $2,495 comes with the SW-3 Ceramic armwand with silver internal wire.

 

01 / 05 / 12

Coincident Speaker Technology 211PP Dragon MK. II Monoblock Amplifiers  Multi-Award earning company Coincident Speaker Technology is now shipping their new 211PP Dragon MK. II monoblock amplifiers ($10,999 per pair). The finest 6N copper interstage, output and dual power transformers are just some of the highlights of this design. There are dual power transformers in place of the previously used single unit. The new transformers individually possess the capability of powering the amplifier. In tandem, they are coasting only using less than 25% of their rated capabilities. The company feels that, sonically, there is an improvement from top to bottom. The bass is tighter, deeper and punchier. The mids and highs are more transparent and the soundstage more expansive. Due to the reduction in noise, overall revelation of low level detail is enhanced. Naturally the chassis has been enlarged by 20% to support the transformer layout and the overall unit weigh 85 lbs. The standard supplied 211 tubes are the Shuguang Pevane. AC ground lift is now included as this switch conveniently eliminates hum created by AC ground loops. There are no coupling caps in the signal path, tube compliment is a pair of 211, a 6EM7 super tube for input and 300B for driver. Output power per monoblock is 75 watts (triode) / push-pull Class A, output impedance is 8 or 16 Ohm and overall frequency response is from 20 Hz to 20 kHz (±1dB).

 

AXPONA 2012The AXPONA Jacksonville Florida event will take place from March 9th through the 11th and feature many great high-end audio products. Also of note is that the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra joins AXPONA and will hold some special events. AXPONA 2012 takes place at the Omni Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida. As the first-ever audio expo and symphony orchestra collaboration, the expo welcomes the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra's performances within their concert hall. The concert weekend features Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, one of the "A-list" works for the classical audiophile. AXPONA's Steve Davis is excited to bring the expo back to Jacksonville. "We found that there are more people with a genuine interest and knowledge in high-end home audio in Jacksonville than in cities twice its size. We're also thrilled to include a live orchestral experience in Jacksonville's acoustically superior concert hall," said Davis. Symphony Executive Director Stacy Ridenour welcomes the collaboration. "It is not often that hundreds of audiophiles have the chance to sample the world's finest equipment and compare it with the very thing it was intended to reproduce, the emotional power of a live symphony orchestra," said Ridenour. The Omni Jacksonville Hotel is directly across from Jacoby Symphony Hall.

 

01 / 04 / 12

Hi-Fi+ Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the January edition of Hi-Fi+ (Issue 85)! This issue includes reviews of the Crystal Arabesque Mini standmount loudspeaker, KR Audio Kronzilla SX-ECO hybrid mono power amplifiers, Classé Audio CP-800 digital hub/preamplifier, Esoteric K-01 CD/SACD player, conrad-johnson HD3 digital to analogue converter, VPI Classic 3 turntable and arm combination, Benz Micro SLR Gull wing moving coil phono cartridge and much more. Within Alan Sircom's editorial titled The Year Of Prophecy he says, "It seems 2012 is a big year for prophecy. Another cataclysmic prophecy has been circulating that t'internet for a few months; Side-Line, an online music magazine announced that major labels would abandon CD by the end of 2012. While this column didn't come with a whole lot of ‘on the record' confirmation and the only source cited directly was the editor of the site (who, presumably, wasn't too upset at the increased site traffic such a statement might bring), it did quickly respawn, with even hard news agencies citing it as a reference. In fairness to the Side-Line author, getting someone to confirm or deny such a rumour in a major label is a Herculean task, and you end up with a lot of crisply pressed ‘no comment' statements..." You can see the complete table of contents and editorial of Hi-Fi+ by clicking here.

 

01 / 03 / 12

Audioengine D2  Audioengine, an award winning company that manufactures high quality speakers and electronics at reasonable prices, has announced two computer audio interface products, the D1 Premium 24-bit DAC and D2 Premium 24-bit Wireless DAC ($169 and$599 respectively). The Audioengine D1 can stream high-quality audio from your computer to headphones, powered speakers, or any music system. D1 bypasses your computer's headphone output or soundcard and sends audio through the USB port, which will improve the audio quality of all your music - even if you don't listen to HD audio yet. The D1 is a computer DAC capable of converting audio files with bit depths of up to 24 bits and sample rates as high as 192 kHz. In addition to being an excellent USB computer DAC, the D1 also includes an optical input for DVD/Blu-ray players, TVs, and game consoles. The Audioengine D1 uses the AK4396 DAC. Audioengine's new D2 (pictured here) streams wireless HD audio from your computer to any music system, independent of your Wi-Fi network. The D2 Sender will accept USB or TosLink optical input and the D2 Receiver will output TosLink optical or analog audio through audiophile-quality RCA connectors. The system utilizes an over-the-air 24-bit/96kHz PCM stereo digital stream in a "closed-system" Wi-Fi configuration. The proprietary RF technology ensures data integrity, with no impact on existing routers or networks. In addition, the D2 Sender can simultaneously transmit HD audio to up to three receivers. The volume control is transmitted over an entirely separate channel, so there is no impact on the digital stream. The DAC is based on Burr-Brown PCM1792 chipset. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Audioengine 5 powered monitor, Audioengine A2 powered minimonitor and Audioengine W1 wireless audio adapter.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
GamuT CD 1The GamuT CD 1 by GamuT Audio is said to be a major improvement over the firm's prior DAC that used Burr Brown's 1702K 20-bit DACs. The CD1 is based on a Crystal 24-bit/96kHz CS4390 DAC with reduced jitter sensitivity. All circuit boards and the CD drive of the CD 1 are mounted on rubber insulation to minimize mechanical vibration while the drive control board contains a number of trim potentiometers to allow for the individual adjustment of performance during final QC testing. For connectivity, the CD 1 offers XLR and RCA analogue outputs and a 75-Ohm BNC digital output. Output voltage is 4V, dimensions 17" x 15.9" x 4.42" (WxDxH) and weight 26.4 lbs.

 

1 / 01 / 12

Review Magazine Enjoy the Music.com's January Review Magazine is now available and features many outstanding high-end audio equipment and music reviews. See the January issue by clicking here.


Regular Reading
Daily News: Audiophile news updated each weekday!

BAS Speaker
Bob Ludwig On Digital Audio

Sound Practices
More Than Meets The EYE
Article By Joe Roberts

VALVE Magazine
Triode Amplifier Operating Points
Article By Paul Joppa

Show Report
CES / T.H.E. Show 2012 Preview Report
See what will be in Las Vegas before anyone else!
Report By Steven R. Rochlin

Viewpoint
In This Issue... New year, new audiophile reviews and our CES / T.H.E. Show 2012 coverage.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 146
Natural Disasters And Lessons Learned.
Article By Dr. Bill Gaw

Manufacturer Articles
Harman Mobile Showcase visits Blue Moon Audio
Article By Anthony Nicosia

Competing Paradigms in Amplifier and Loudspeaker Design, Test and Measurement.
Article By Ralph Karsten Of Atma-Sphere Music Systems

Superior Audio
World Premiere!

Jaton Operetta A2300AX Stereo Power Amplifier
A glorious combination of warmth yet with a good dose of neutrality too.
Review By A. Colin Flood

YG Acoustics Carmel Floorstanding Speaker
A real game changer!
Review By Phil Gold

Superior Tweaks!
Major sound improvements with minimal investment.
Review By Steven R. Rochlin

Penaudio Serenade Loudspeaker
Making a statement... quietly.
Review By Rick Jensen

Triangle Magellan Concerto sw2 Loudspeaker
Review By Alvin Gold

Equipment Reviews
Exclusive Report!
Preamplifier Shoot-Out!
The Jaton Operetta RC2000P takes on Conrad Johnson CT5, Art Audio VPS, Cary SLP 98 and the Audio Research Reference Five.
Can solid-state compete against tubes costing ten times more?
Review By A. Colin Flood

World Premiere!
Supravox Carla Bi-Reflex Single Driver Tower
Enjoying the expressive midrange details and dynamic quickness of this design.
Review By A. Colin Flood

From HIFICRITIC
Listening To Storage
Listening tests reveal significant sound quality differences between various digital music storage technologies.
Article By Andrew Harrison and Stephen N. Harris

From HIFICRITIC
The Supravox Field-Coil
Chris Bryan gets back to basics with a simple full-range drive unit driven from an electromagnet.
Review By Chris Bryan

Digital Cable Comparison Review
Teo Liquid Cable, Harmonic Technology Photon and Audio Sensibility S/PDIF Digital IC.
A Tale Of Three Cable Technologies
Review By Rick Becker

Mark Grant G1000HD Interconnect Cable
A neutral, natural sounding cable that will not break the bank.
Review By Clive Meakins

TEAC CR-H500NT
AM-FM CD receiver with USB iPod Digital Direct interface, phono input, subwoofer output, Internet stereo radio plus wired and wireless LAN.
The proverbial Swiss Army knife of high-end audio receivers.
Review By Brett Rudolph

Plus many classical, jazz and rock music reviews!

 

See the January Review Magazine by clicking here.

 


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