02 / 28 / 06
is pleased to announce the new Consonance Reference 1.3 Transformer Passive Attenuator Line Stage ($2,700). This passive control unit provides multiple inputs, volume change, and balanced or
unbalanced mode. Being a purely passive unit, the harmonic distortion is a vanishing low 0.005 percent from 10Hz to 100kHz. There are three RCA inputs, one XLR input, and output is RCA and XLR. The R1.3 uses transformer volume control and as such trades current against voltage by stepping up or down with up to +6dB of gain. Primary windings have a tap that allows the transformer to give 6dB of gain when the output is set on the 0dB tap. This is especially useful with power amplifiers having a minimal number of stages and therefore lower gain than common. Secondary (output) winding offers a number of taps allowing the following attenuation values rated in dB:0, 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 40, and 46.
02 / 27 / 06
manufacturers of various resonance control devices, is now shipping their model 612 vacuum tube dampener that works for 6922, 6DJ8, 12AX7 and similar sized
tubes. Bigger versions are said to follow, including high temperature power tube versions. Seen here is computer model, the real unit is claimed to be milled from T651 alloy and is the main heatsink to cool the tubes. Teflon clamps connect to the tube while various fluted and milled slots assist in
dissipating heat away from the tube. There is no information as to how the additional metal may affect the way a tube functions versus dampeners that employ polymers with no metal content.
02 / 24 / 06
Krell Industries new Evolution 202 preamplifier, Evolution 505 SACD/CD player, plus Evolution 402 and 600 amplifiers are now
shipping. These components represent the culmination of 25-years of Krell design and manufacturing. The Evolution One
($30,000/pair) is a 600-watt monaural design featuring Krell's CAST (Current Audio Signal Audio Transmission) circuitry. Krell's Evolution 402
($15,000) is a 400-watt stereo amplifier featuring the same CAST circuitry. For digital disc replay, the Evolution 505
($10,000) SACD/CD player features a unique chassis-in-a-chassis design that provides ultra stable disc drive operation, while damping induced vibration from the electronics. Krell's Current Mode circuit architecture featured in each source is tailor made for SACD because of the format's extended bandwidth capabilities. Krell designed DAC reconstruction filters, Evolution CAST, balanced circuitry, multi-channel output, and RS-232 control cround out the features of this unit. The Evolution 202
($15,000) preamplifier is a stereo counterpart to the monaural design of its big brother, the Evolution Two. It utilizes a separate chassis for its power supply, and has an audio bandwidth rated at a staggering 1.5 MHz. Other features include an RS-232 port, IR and 12-volt controls for integration.
02 / 23 / 06
will preview their new MAJIK System that includes the MAJIK CD player, MAJIK KONTROL pre-amplifier and MAJIK 2100 power
amplifier. Each component is designed to deliver audiophiles an exceptional stereo experience. The MAJIK CD player includes technologies derived from Linn's critically acclaimed SONDEK CD12. Key features of the MAJIK KONTROL pre-amplifier include six stereo analog inputs, MM/MC phonostage, and an independent record path for continued enjoyment of the music without interrupting the recording. Linn's MAJIK 2100 power amplifier benefits from proprietary CHAKRA amplifier technology and has 4mm binding posts ensure solid electrical contact. Due to the entire MAJIC system being modular and expandable, the system performance can be enhanced over a lifetime including the ability to upgraded to go AKTIV. Multi-room abilaity is included for homewide integration with Linn's KNEKT multi-room system.
02 / 22 / 06
Debut III turntable ($299 in black or $329 in designer colors) includes a pre-mounted Ortofon OM-5E moving magnet phono cartridge and
may be perfect for the audiophile seeking a cost effective vinyl playback
solution. A felt-covered steel platter mates to a chrome plated stainless-steel axle running in a brass bearing housing for exceptional speed stability and accuracy. The aluminum tonearm employs inverted hardened stainless-steel points for superior tracking with the supplied phono cartridge. A silicone-damped
arm lift is supplied. The Debut III operate at a selectable 33.3 or 45 rpm,
has a speed accuracy to ±0.8 percent, and signal to noise of -65dB. The
tonearm length is 8.6 inches and overhang of 18.5mm. Standard color is matte
black with designer colors being blue, yellow, green, piano gloss, black, red
silver, gloss white or champagne.
02 / 21 / 06
Energy Speaker Systems, a manufacturer and designer of loudspeakers for more than 30 years, has announced the new RC-Mini ($200 each) as an addition to the award winning Reference Connoisseur
Series. Designed by Energy's chief engineer John Tchilinguirian, the RC-Mini features real wood Cherry or Rosenut veneer finishes, or the High Gloss Piano Black. The driver compliment is a combination of Energy's 1-inch Hyperbolic aluminum dome tweeter and Kevlar cone midrange/woofer with patented Ribbed Elliptical Surround.
02 / 20 / 06
Online music is expanding, further cutting into brick and mortar stores profits.
Wolfgang's Vault is offering free music while
Amazon has been reported to be readying their online music
site. Wolfgang's Vault sells memorabilia including posters, t-shirts, and posters, plus are now streaming music from various artists including Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Aretha Franklin, Emmylou Harris, Bob Marley, Tom Petty, The Who, Sex Pistols, and Stevie Wonder. All this music is currently free for the asking! On the other side of the coin, online store Amazon is said to be launching online sales of music as downloads. To date Amazon has been selling CDs,
DVDs and other hard formats, yet it appears they have realized consumers do not want to wait, or perhaps bother, with
physical media in favor of immediately receiving a music download.
02 / 17 / 06
Lehmann Audio, longtime manufacturers of analog and headphone amplification, has released a new version of their universally famous Black
Cube. First released in 1995, the Black Cube phono stage became a cult classic and the new
Version 2006 improves upon the original design. New features include all MKS capacitors (passive RIAA-filter and output) are replaced by MKPs which have only a fraction of the loss inherent with MKS caps. Chokes are now in the power supply lines of the audio section while a High Gain jumper is better optimized for mid-output MCs. The new, higher maximum gain of up to 66dB optimizes the handling of cartridges with a very low output level and a soft
Soft-Bass-Rolloff jumper (6dB/Oct. @ 60Hz) protects woofers.
02 / 16 / 06
MusicGiants, an online music service with content from all major recording labels, plans to offer 5.1 channel lossless compression high-definition audio
files. Benefits of 5.1 channel digital surround sound are derived from recording audio on five separate tracks: front left, front right, center, rear left, and rear right, with one extra track (the ".1") for very low bass sounds. This three-dimensional sound quality imitates the real world experience of human hearing. MusicGiants is the first commercial download service offering high-fidelity music files, including the complete digital music libraries of the major music labels, in the Windows Media Audio Lossless format. This format provides the sound quality of the original digital recording. while most
music download services provide data rates of 128 to 192 kbps, Music Giants offers downloads at up to 1100 kbps. MusicGiants uses Windows Media Digital Rights Management (Windows Media DRM) to deliver content. Surround sound files will be playable on HDD servers as well as PCs equipped with 5.1-capable sound card.
02 / 15 / 06
Gryphon Audio Designs
has announced their Trident Reference Standard loudspeaker system (€70,000). A unique configuration of dedicated onboard 500 watt bass power amplifiers work in conjunction with 7 extensively modified Danish drive units per channel. These drivers consist of four 8-inch woofers, two 5-inch midrange units, and one Scan Speak Revelator ring radiator tweeter. Each crossover is hand-adjusted for Constant Phase while the calculated time-aligned front baffle curvature insures precise image focus. The enclosure is constructed from very solid
materials while internal baffling greatly reduces the possibility of distortion-causing resonances within this 195 kg structure. Trident side panels incorporate Gryphon SideSpin, an innovative modular construction that makes removing and replacing easy, thereby offering Trident owner the option of re-dressing and updating the exterior of the loudspeakers at any time.
02 / 14 / 06
The Orchard, a leading distributor and marketer of independent music who represents thousands of labels spanning 73 countries, will be digitizing what they feel are the best rare vinyl for first-ever digital
releases. The company's "Digital Wax" program will produce archival-quality digital masters of rare and unreleased vinyl. Digital Wax is the result of collaboration between The Orchard and Kondo-san of Audio Note Japan, and Simon Yorke of England. United States distributor for Audio Note Japan and Simon Yorke, Steve Klein of
Sounds of Silence, helped facilitate the partnership. The system, almost eight months in the making, offers Orchard labels a digitization platform top quality equipment that includes a modified Simon Yorke S7 turntable fitted with a Kondo IO-j cartridge. This signal feeds a Kondo M1000 preamplifier via Kondo KSL SFz silver step-up transformer. This signal is in turn converted via an audiophile A-D 2 channel converter and archived in DSL. All components are isolated by Vibraplane active isolation platforms. Initial Orchard-distributed labels participating in this program include SST, Delicious Vinyl, Lookout! Records, In the Red, Amphetamine Reptile, and Bizarre/Straight. The newly mastered vinyl releases will begin appearing in March in digital music stores worldwide, including eMusic, iTunes, Napster, Real/Rhapsody, MSN, Yahoo!/Musicmatch and over 70 others under the moniker "When It Was Wax."
02 / 13 / 06
TD 350 features a unique subchassis technology and precision belt drive turntable held within a solid wood
cabinet. A unique subchassis concept joins a mass drive and the company's new Independent Double Damping (IDD) suspension system. This system provides independent dampening of horizontal and vertical vibrations that can negative affect the critical needle to vinyl interface. Weighting over 9 lbs., the diamond-lathed platter with bitumen coating rides on an extremely low-friction bearing. The plater is driven by a noiseless AC synchronous motor while the TP 250 tonearm rounds out the Thorens TD 350 package.
02 / 10 / 06
has announced new cables to their line of extensive cable solution for audio and video
systems. The Baton Mk2 (£95 for 0.8m pr) is an upgrade to their well received Mk1 interconnect and features silver plated copper conductors that are surrounded by triple continuous shielding. Ecosse's Symphony interconnect (£229 for 0.8m pr) also employs silver plated copper, and is rope lay woven, has triple continuous shielding, and
dielectric is low loss foamed Polyethylene. For digital signal transfer, the Director SE (£100 for 0.5m) is the company's no-compromise true 75ohm design and may be specified with RCA or BNC plugs (or combination of the two). Power
transfer improvements are said to be gained with their Big Red SC Powercord (£200) that features monocrystal rope-lay weave single crystal grain-free copper conductors. Ecosse
claims the use of double screened shield with aluminum foil and tinned copper make it one of the quietest power cables in existence.
02 / 09 / 06
The Grammy Awards, established in 1957 by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences with members consisting of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals, has announced their 2006 Award
winners. Self-titled as "Music's Biggest Night" by the organization, most people only feel they award pop music due to their televised event. This is far from the
truth as winners of a 2006 Grammy Award include:
Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra)
Beethoven: Piano Cons. Nos. 2 & 3
Claudio Abbado, conductor; Martha Argerich (Mahler Chamber Orchestra)
Best Jazz Instrumental Solo
Why Was I Born?
Sonny Rollins, soloist
Track from: Without A Song - The 9/11 Concert
Best Surround Sound Album
Brothers In Arms - 20th Anniversary Edition
Chuck Ainlay, surround mix engineer; Bob Ludwig, surround mastering engineer;
Chuck Ainlay & Mark Knopfler, surround producers (Dire Straits)
Best Comedy Album
There are many other impressive jazz,
classical, and world music Grammy Awards. The complete winner list can be seen by clicking here
02 / 08 / 06
is celebrating six decades of success by introducing a special
anniversary edition of its legendary three-way Klipschorn speaker (tentative
$11,000 per pair). Originally developed by Paul W. Klipsch in 1946, a limited
run of 225 pairs of the company's 60th anniversary Klipschorn will be adorned
with distinct aesthetic features that will never be available again. While the
high-frequency cabinet will feature high gloss black piano finish, the front
panel of the low-frequency cabinet comes in a Lacewood veneer. The black
anodized aluminum kick plate at the bottom of the speaker features a silver
PWK logo with a real diamond inset. For the first time ever, the rear of the
speaker has received a cosmetic facelift with solid panels now enclosing the
high frequency and low frequency cabinets. Furthermore, two display windows
are also included on the back of each anniversary Klipschorn to show off an
updated crossover network and a silver, engraved plaque that honors PWK and
lists the speaker’s production number. Crossovers are made with premium
components and feature high-end Van den Hul wiring. Magnetic grille posts
allow for secure attachment and easy removal of the low-frequency grilles and
top-grade WBT binding posts are used for loudspeaker cable connection.
Klipsch is also launching many new Reference Series models with five new floorstanding speakers (RF-83, RF-63, RF-82, RF-62 and
RF-52), three bookshelf models (RB-81, RB-61 and RB-51), and six powered subwoofers (RT-12d, RT-10d, RSW-10d, RW-12d, RW-10d and RPW-10). This fourth generation of product will replace the current Reference line except for the entry-level 10 series models The RF-83 and RF-63 flagship floorstanders each utilize three high-output Cerametallic woofers and a 1.25-inch titanium compression driver with exclusive Tractrix Horn-loaded technology. Available in either a cherry or black wood veneer finish, the RF-83 and RF-63 also feature bi-wire
inputs with premium binding posts and Klipsch custom internal wiring for high-quality connection. The RF-82, RF-62 and RF-52 floorstanders offer improved Tractrix horn-loaded tweeters and extended low-frequency capability among other added high-performance benefits. The latest bookshelf speakers all offer improved bass response and feature high-output Cerametallic woofer cones and titanium compression drivers mated to the latest generation of square Tractrix Horns. The RB-81 flagship bookshelf model utilizes an 8-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter with a ceramic motor structure for extended low and high frequency responses. Available in either a cherry or black woodgrain vinyl finish, the
RB-81 also includes bi-wire inputs and Klipsch custom internal wiring for high-quality connection. United States MSRP price points ranging from $498 to $2498 for a pair of
floorstanding speakers, $248 to $698 for a pair of bookshelf models, $199 to $899 for a center channel, $298 to $998 for a pair of surrounds and $349 to $1,999 for a powered subwoofer.
02 / 07 / 06
Acoustics' Musina Music System ($39,950) is comprised of a pair of Musina 2.0 BPU loudspeakers, two Musina .2 BPU subwoofers, the Uintah 2.2 AMPX preamplifier/processor/amplifier and Wasatch Acoustics Ultama audio
cables. The system is designed to work in synergy with patented DEQX DSP acoustic optimization technology to achieve musical realism. The Uintah 2.2 AMPX preamplifier/processor/amplifier is at the core of the Musina music system incorporating DEQX proprietary processing techniques to deliver loudspeaker optimization and room equalization within ±0.2dB. DEQX technology also provides phase and time alignment, as well as group delay correction and additional sonic benefits. Connections include SPDIF and AES/EBU, analog, as well as a balanced XLR calibration microphone and USB computer connection. The Musina 2.0 BPU loudspeaker is a full-range monitor that is compact, measuring 16.5 inches high by 10.5 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep. Driver compliment are a transformer-coupled 5-inch ribbon tweeter and 7-inch high-excursion metal-cone woofer. As for bass, Wasatch Acoustics' Musina .2 BPU subwoofer utilizes a 10.5-inch long-throw driver incorporating a 15 lbs. magnet structure loaded in a port-terminated transmission-line enclosure. The system is also available without the Musina BPU .2 subwoofers at $29,950 suggested retail, and the Uintah 2.2 AMPX preamplifier/processor/amplifier is available separately at a suggested retail price of $14,950.
02 / 06 / 06
The House Ear Institute announces (HEI) the official launch of an aggressive consumer awareness campaign aimed at teens and young adults concerning hearing damage due to using devices such as Apple's
iPod. The campaign uses the theme "It's How You Listen That Counts" to warn young adults of the potential dangers to hearing posed by listening to loud sound. Due to the soaring popularity of digital portable music players, many people play their music too loud for too long and cause permanent noise-induced hearing loss. HEI's commercials are designed to captivate teens and drive them to the campaign's Web site,
EarBud.org for information on safe listening habits. "This campaign is a vital step to discovering what it will take to reach teens and young adults with a message that motivates them to make smart listening choices to preserve their hearing while still appreciating great sound," said Marilee Potthoff, marketing director, House Ear Institute. "Today, baby boomers who are struggling with hearing loss from the loud activities of their youth regret that they didn't know enough when they were young to protect their hearing from permanent damage. Our goal is to deliver the warning message to the next generation before it's too late."
02 / 03 / 06
Electric's new loudspeaker and Electrodyne amplifier are described as "Industrial Art for Audiophiles." Their Type One loudspeaker ($7,950/pr) is a 2-way full range, stand-mounted system with a frequency response from 65Hz to 20kHz. Using a 6.5-inch "polyfiber" woofer and a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter, the Type One is a limited production loudspeaker designed to satisfy those with high standards for both audio quality and industrial design. The Electrodyne amplifier ($6950) is a hybrid dual mono design using NOS E88CC tubes in the first gain stage along with high power MOSFETs. power output is 275 wpc into 8 ohms or 375 wpc into 4 ohms.
02 / 02 / 06
The Isonoe Isolation System ($160 for four, add $50 for rubber footers) are designed utilizing 3D CAD
modeling and simulation, with the intent to block undesired vibration into the mechanical assemblies of audio
equipment. Isonoes replace stock feet and are machined from raw magnesium alloy billets by multi-axis CNC machinery to within a tolerance of 1 micron. In fact the body and hub are made from a specific grade of magnesium alloy imbued with exceptionally high rigidity, implemented to
maximize the ratio of stiffness between the elastomer cradle and the alloy. Stainless-steel bearings in the base of the outer body assist in blocking the transfer of energy by keeping the point of physical contact area between surfaces to a minimum. Each isolator has a 6mm thread making the system compatible as a retro fit with many industry standard turntables and CD-players.
02 / 01 / 06
Atma-Sphere launched its new Mark III series, replacing the highly praised Mark II series that was
originally released back in 1996. The Mark III series builds on the prior art of Atma-Sphere with improved performance, yet retaining their patented OTL output 'Class A' triode operation and single gain stage with fully balanced operation. Bias adjustment has been eliminated in the new Mark III series and the new amplifiers incorporate a VU meter to monitor amplifier power and the state of the tubes. A redesigned layout is more compact and frequency response has been increased to now produce from 2Hz to 75KHz (+-0.5dB). Other specification include THD typically 1 percent at full power, IM distortion typically under 0.04 percent at full power, phase shift is less than 1 degree @ 20kHz, and output section risetime is 600V/micro-second.
Following our new issue of Superior Audio, we now have the
February Review Magazine online. Our
headline article helps the industry save thousands of dollars if they plan to
attend a show in Los Angeles. New equipment reviewed includes Blue Circle BC501 DAC,
the MartinLogan Summit loudspeaker, and Welborne Laboratories' 300B DRD SET
monoblock amplifiers. We also have a look back at some great past shows
including the Vacuum State Of The Art Conference And Show 2003 plus the Philadelphia Tube Audio
Show. Steven Stone's The Nearfield covers CEA's survey news & the PS Audio GCC-100
plus Bel Canto's S-300. To see the
February edition of our Review Magazine click here.
The February issue of Superior Audio in now online with a
very special, new format. In this issue we feature a single manufacturer,
Clearaudio. Virtually every audiophile who enjoys analog has heard of
Clearaudio, and may personally have owned one of more of their products. We
invite you to enjoy this very special edition and learn how one man has
single-handedly brought joy to tens of thousands of music lovers. To see the
February edition of Superior Audio click here.