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High-End Audio Industry News

 

02 / 28 / 05

Vibrapod Cone  Vibrapod, critically acclaimed for their isolation devices, are now shipping a newer Vibrapod Cone ($8 each) with a 7/16" chrome ball. The previous 3/8" ball one has been discontinued in favor of the larger version that supports equipment weighing up to 25 lbs, matching the company's Model 5 Vibrapod Isolator. While the supplied chrome ball is good, those who desire higher performance can substitute 7/16" balls of different materials such as tungsten carbide, ceramic, etc.

 

02 / 25 / 05

inn Products Limited Chakra 4200 amplifier  Linn Products Limited today announced their new Chakra amplifier range. The series consists of eight units including stereo and multi-channel designs with either 100 or 200 watts of output per channel. In addition, all models are capable of housing Aktiv crossover cards for active configuration with the company's loudspeakers. Linn has combined monolithic and bipolar output devices within the Chakra amplifiers. According to the press release, "When output current is less than a few Amperes, all of the power output comes from the monolithic, maximizing the speed and linear properties of this design. At higher output currents the bipolars provide the majority of the output current, leaving the monolithic to operate well within its capability and so able to correct any error instantaneously. Even under extreme overload conditions, like short circuit, the monolithic never delivers more than a fraction of its safe output, while separate circuitry protects the bipolars." Linn has also employed their audio-optimized Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS) technology to generate accurate, low noise power for audio circuits. The Chakra amplifier range can be purchased with either balanced (XLR) or single ended (RCA) input connectors. Loudspeaker terminals accommodate 4mm banana plugs and 6mm or 8mm spades. No pricing set and the entire range is scheduled for release in Spring/Summer 2005.

 Linn Chakra

Power Output (per channel)

Number of Channels

C2100

100 W

2

C3100

100 W

3

C4100

100 W

4

C5100

100 W

5

C6100

100 W

6

C2200

200 W

2

C3200

200 W

3

C4200

200 W

4

 

 

 

02 / 24 / 05

Channel Island Audio (CIAUDIO) Monolith Sound PS•2 moving magnet / moving coil (MM / MC) Phono Stage  Channel Island Audio (CIAudio) now offers their Monolith Sound PS•2 moving magnet / moving coil (MM / MC) phono stage ($599) that improves upon the companies acclaimed PS•1. Various internal parts have been upgraded while the gain has been increased for those who use extremely low output moving coil (MC) cartridges. Loading resistance selections include 47k, 10k, 1k, and 100 (ohms) while capacitance consists of 100pf, 270pf, and 370pf. Depending on the output of a cartridge, the gain can be set to 42dB, 48dB, 54dB, or 60dB. Resistive load, capacitance, gain and subsonic filter can be chosen from DIP switches located at the rear of the unit. The CIAudio Monolith Sound PS•2 includes power supply, though further improvements can be obtained from the company's HC•1b dual mono supply ($279).

 

02 / 23 / 05

Opera Audio Consonance Cyber-10 Signature 2A3  Opera Audio's new Consonance Cyber-10 Signature 2A3 ($2,000) is a full function integrated amplifier that produces 11 watts per channel. With a frequency response from 6Hz to 60kHz, the Cyber-10 Signature has five inputs and loudspeaker outputs for both 4 and 8 Ohm loudspeakers. The vacuum tube compliment includes four 2A3, two, 6SL7, and two 12AX7. Dimensions are 430 x 320 x 180 (DxWxH in mm) and the unit weighs 25kg. A wireless remote control is also included.

 

02 / 22 / 05

American Power Conversion (APC) now offers their new H10 and H15 Power conditioners  American Power Conversion (APC) now offers their new H10 and H15 Power conditioners ($300 and $400 respectively). Both units provide surge protection, noise filtering, and automatic voltage regulation (AVR) outputted through 12 surge-protected and filtered outlets. Six outlets have electro-magnetic and radio frequency noise filters for digital devices, two are for analog, two for video, and the remaining two are for high current devices (amplifier, powered subwoofer, etc.). With a brushed aluminum cabinet, these units also come with an Equipment Protection Policy.

 

02 / 21 / 05

Bright Star Audio IsoRock GR3  Owners of the Gallo Acoustics Reference 3 loudspeakers will naturally want to upgrade the sound and also raise the level of them for more appropriate ear-level height. Enter Bright Star Audio that now offers their IsoRock GR3 stands ($399 per pair) that are said to "significantly increase the performance capabilities" of the Gallo loudspeakers. Over thirty layers of various materials are utilized to provide an inert and stable mount. The central chamber of the IsoRock GR3 stand can be filled with sand or leadshot to provide extremely high mass and resonance absorption. The Bright Star Audio IsoRock GR3 stand weights in at 20 lbs when empty and approximately 50 lbs when filled.

 

02 / 18 / 05

MusiCares Foundation  The Recording Academy and eBay have teamed up to help the MusiCares Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists struggling musicians with addiction recovery, emergency financial assistance, health treatment and other quality of life issues. The auction continues through February 24 (2005) and features VIP experiences including a cooking lesson with Patti LaBelle, an answering machine greeting from Wynonna, a drum lesson with Mick Fleetwood and a Maroon5 VIP concert experience. Also available are exclusive Grammy memorabilia items including a 47th Grammy jacket signed by James Brown; a custom drumhead signed by Velvet Revolver; a BB King signed Gibson Lucille guitar; celebrity drawings/sketches by Kanye West, Steven Tyler and Tim McGraw. To see the winners of the 47th Grammy Awards please click here.

 

02 / 17 / 05

GutWire Maxcon Extreme Power Conditioner  Gutwire, known for their cables and NotePad/SoundPad supports, has announced their new Maxcon Extreme power conditioner ($3999). The unit includes a pair of Hubbell HBL8300R 20A hospital-grade receptacles and a pair of Hubbell IG8300R 20A isolated ground hospital-grade outlets. Internal wiring is GutWire's own 16AWG high purity OFC copper with each wire individually shielded for maximum RFI and EMI rejection. Passive filtering consists of "GutWire Electron Rectification Processing improved (GERPi)" that is claimed to compensate for the instability of the AC current without sonic coloration or frequency alternation. Also of note is the extensive use of natural minerals like SiO2, Tourmaline, Peridot and Microcrystalline Quartz. The chassis is milled from aircraft-grade aluminum using CNC machinery for precise cutting.

 

02 / 16 / 05

  The Festival Son & Image of Montreal and PRIMEDIA Specialty Group's Home Entertainment Show 2005 audiophile/videophile shows are only weeks away. The Festival Son & Image of Montreal show is from April 1st to April 3rd at the Delta Montreal and Midtown Holiday Inn.

Festival Hours
Friday, April 1st 2005: 9am to 1pm (for professionals only)
Friday, April 1st 2005: 1pm to 9pm
Saturday, April 2nd 2005: 10am to 7pm
Sunday, April 3rd 2005: 10am to 5pm

Admission: $10
2 days pass: $15
3 days pass: $20

 

PRIMEDIA's Home Entertainment Show 2005, also called the Stereophile show, is from April 29th through May 1st at New York City's Hilton Hotel. Tickets to the event include free live music, educational seminars, contests, and more.

Show Hours:            
Friday, April 29th: 10am to 6pm
Saturday, April 30th: 10am to 6pm
Sunday, May 1: 10am to 5pm

Admission: $20
3-Day Pass $37

 

02 / 15 / 05

  With compressed audio formats taking hold, a group of professional audio personalities have formed the Music Engineering and Technology Alliance (META) that will evaluate and certify technologies that aid in reproducing music to a high degree. The groups hopes are to evaluates and certifies current and emerging technologies, facilitate research and development, and to educate music professionals/technology providers and consumers. Due to the relatively recent popularity of online music and various portable devices, consumers have been listening to compressed audio formats that are lossy, losing information, and not what the musicians nor engineer painstakingly worked to achieve. META seeks to certify various audio hardware and software that strives for high-resolution, thereby reproducing music as intended. Their hopes are to also educate engineers and the public concerning the difference between audio codecs. META's President and cofounder Rory S. Kaplan is joined by former DTS COO Bill Neighbors as Acting-CEO. Other cofounders include Grammy winner George Massenburg who will be the organizations Chief Technical Officer and Standards Committee Chair. META's President said ""Our group has been in close communication for several years working to reach the technical developers, and the consumer electronic groups. It was the right time to focus all of our efforts into a proactive mission to improve audio quality and the integrity in which it's delivered."

 

02 / 11 / 05

  Online music is heating up with Napster and MP3tunes.com now entering the fray. While Napster provides a low monthly subscription for all the music you can download, there is a catch! Technically, users of the Napster service must keep their subscription going or they lose all the music they have downloaded. While users spend $180 to keep their subscription, if they cancel said subscription all of their downloads will not work as the service demands re-syncing to the Internet so the Digital Rights Management (DRM) software can verify status. DRM also allows Napster to control the transfer of the music to certain devices. Napster users can keep the music they download on a permanent basis... if they pay an additional 99 cents per track. Meanwhile MP3tunes.com has launched their digital music service with 300,000 songs, generally from independent/unsigned bands, priced at 88 cents each. Unlike most other online music stores, there is no DRM protection so users can keep and trade the music as they see fit. MP3tunes.com also pans to roll out a Linux-based software for accessing music. Michael Robertson, previously owner of MP3.com and now operating this new service, said "Digital music sales make up less than two percent of the total music business because many consumers know they aren't really buying the music -- they're renting it from a big corporation that controls what software, computer and portable devices they can use. MP3tunes gives the consumers more value because they can use the music on all their computers and MP3 players -- whatever brand they may have."

 

02 / 10 / 05

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  According to Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the trade association representing more than 2,000 corporate members who account for more than $113 billion in annual sales, audio sales in 2004 were up 14.5 percent in 2004 as compared to 2003. The combined audio sales of automotive, home, and portable devices together reached a three-year high of $7.9 billion; a 14.5 percent increase over 2003. While portable audio sales were up a staggering 24.1 percent ($2.6 billion), home audio components gained 16.1 percent ($1.1 billion) and home audio systems sales strengthened 11.1 percent ($3.0 billion).

 

02 / 09 / 05

Bösendorfer Loudspeakers  A young piano maker named Ignaz Bösendorfer was awarded a permit by the City of Vienna "for manufacturing pianos and the right of citizen and master" in 1828. Today Bösendorfer is known worldwide for their excellent pianos. In 2002 Enjoy the Music.com™ was first to break the news of the company's decision to manufacturer loudspeakers. From February 14th to 19th the company's New York showroom launches their American debut. Their "Week of Sound" includes an "Evening of Truth" highlighting live performances by Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music students that will be recorded live, then played back through the Bösendorfer loudspeakers. For this presentation, Bösendorfer New York chose Art Audio vacuum tube home electronics and Synergistic Research cables. Musician and acoustics expert Hans Deutsch will hold a lecture on the 16th. Gerhard Feldmann, president of Bösendorfer New York, said "This is the true sound I've always been listening for -- finally I can be satisfied."

 

02 / 08 / 05

GamuT L-3 Monitor Loudspeaker  GamuT Audio 's new L-3 monitor (pictured here) and L-5 floorstanding loudspeaker share key components and architectural design elements including custom-made ScanSpeak driver units made to GamuT specifications. The L-3 two-way features the patented ScanSpeak dual ring radiator diaphragm tweeter to produce the uppermost frequencies. Midrange and bass frequencies are produced by ScanSpeak's cone driver that features their SD-2 dynamic linear magnet system and slice cone design. The cone is claimed to reduce break up, thereby minimizing coloration and distortion. The L-5 two-and-a-half way floorstanding loudspeaker adds a second midrange/bass driver enclosed in a larger cabinet. The cabinet interior is divided into carefully constructed 25mm MDF sound chambers dedicated to each driver unit and are reinforced with a large number of skeletal bracings to ensure cabinet rigidity. Both the L-3 and L-5 curved cabinets are finished in high-gloss Maple Bird-Eye real wood veneer. WBT loudspeaker terminals allow for bi-wiring and adjustable stainless steel floor spikes are also included.

 

02 / 07 / 05

  Vacuum Tube Logic's (VTL) new TL-6.5 Signature Preamplifier ($8,500) joins the company's highly prized Signature Series components. Deriving from their award winning TL-7.5 Reference Preamplifier ($12,500), the new TL-6.5 is a single chassis design claimed to offer nearly the same performance as the two chassis TL-7.5. With fully regulated and shielded power supplies, low-noise microprocessor, and high current/low impedance output stage, the fully balanced TL-6.5 includes audiophile-grade parts and a simple circuit topology with low negative feedback. Remote operation and true RS-232 bi-directionality enable the TL-6.5 to integrate seamlessly into any modern home theater system.

 

02 / 04 / 05

VAC Auricle  VAC's new Auricle Musicbloc amplifiers ($4,990 per pair) evolved from their acclaimed premium Phi 110/110 model. Handcrafted in the USA, each VAC Auricle employs a pair of KT88 beam power tubes coupled through audiophile quality VAC custom output transformer. The shielded, choke-based power supply and the use of direct current heaters (even for the large KT88 tubes) ensure low noise. Also of note is the Class A1 direct-coupled triode front end that is said to provide superb balance and is user friendly as it requires no user adjustment. Output tube bias adjustments are user friendly, using discreet indicator lights at the front of the chassis. Machined from aluminum alloy, the chassis is designed to avoid magnetic coupling as experienced with conventional steel chassis. Single ended (RCA) inputs are standard while balanced inputs (XLR) are available on special order.

 

02 / 03 / 05

Wavefront Semiconductor DICE II FireWire Audio Chip  Designed by TC Applied Technologies Ltd. and distributed exclusively by Wavefront Semiconductor, the new DICE II FireWire Audio chip may become the next Holy Grail for both professional and high-end home audio products. Recent evaluation models of the chip offer a dazzling array of connectivity including AES/EBU, ADAT, I2S, MIDI, Optical, RS232, S/PDIF, and TDIF. Adding to the incredible usability of the DICE II includes networking via 1394a and IEEE1394b CAT5. Furthering the incredible nature of this new device is that it can handle 144 channels of input, 112 channels of output, plus includes two clock domains digital audio routers so that any input can be routed to any output. A pair of Jitter Elimination Technology (JET) PLLs provide jitter-free synchronization up to 192kHz. Another added benefit is that Wavefront's Software Developer's Kit (SDK) allows for complete open source programming. Wavefront's vice president and director of engineering Bob Moses said, "A lot of customers have told us that it is critically important for them to get the source code and customize it for their particular needs. We're a chip company, not a software intellectual property licensing firm. We don't want to be a bottleneck in getting products to market -- our job is to remove barriers. So we're giving the software away for free, and using open source tools. We're hoping to enable a groundswell of FireWire products."

 

02 / 02 / 05

Halcro MC 20 LYRUS  Halcro has introduced their new Class D amplification technology, called LYRUS, that is claimed to "contain patented distortion canceling circuitry, so that at high power the LYRUS Class-D design performs on par with Class A, AB and B amplifiers." While Class D offers designers benefits of higher circuitry efficiency and lower circuit heat, audiophiles will also quickly point out such amplification is also lacking in sound quality as compared to Class A amplification. Halcro also claims that their LYRUS Class-D design produce 20 percent less distortion of typical Class-D amplification. products using this new technology includes their MC20 (2 x 400 watts, $4,490), MC30 (3 x 400 watts, $4,990), MC50 (5 x 350 watts, $5,990), and MC70 (7 x 350 watts, $6,990).

 

02 / 01 / 05

  Enjoy the Music.com's February Review Magazine is now online and includes three new CES/THE Show reports plus professional assessments of Boston Audio Design's turntable mats, the NAD L53 DVD receiver, and Joe Audiophile proclaims "A Super Bargain!" concerning Sony's SCD-CE595. We have also launched a new monthly feature titled The Nearfield that covers desktop listening. See the February issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

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1999

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