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High-End Audio Industry News


 

03 / 29 / 06

  Boulder Amplifiers has announced their first entry-level 800 Series product that begins with model 850 mono amplifier ($5,000 each). The 850 is essentially one-half of one channel of the company's 1060 stereo amplifier. Boulder Amplifiers says that distortion and noise are exceptionally low while sonic performance and bandwidth are exceptionally high. Weighing in at 30 lbs., yet being a mere 8.50-inches wide, the unit produces 200 watts of high-current output power into an 8 ohm load. Circuit features include Boulder's balanced instrumentation style input section, an all-analog power supply and output section with low heat radiation, full input, output, thermal, and clipping protection circuitry, and supervising microprocessor control.

 

03 / 28 / 06

Alpha-Core Goertz Balanced Power  Alpha-Core's Goertz line of products had added three new, attractively-priced balanced power units. The 300VA, 600VA, and 1000VA ($285, $355 and $433 respectively) help reduce or eliminate hum and noise from electricity by balancing the positive and neutral sides. This technique has been praised for many years by professional recording studios, reviewers, and consumers. Goertz's products consist if a transformer potted in epoxy compound inside a round steel enclosure with an outside finish of scratch-resistant, off-white powder coated enamel. The Goertz Power System has a two-foot long power cord for each of the input and output. Outside diameter of the housing ranges from 5.1-inch diameter for the 300VA, 6.7-inch for the 600VA, and 8.25 for the 1000VA with weight being is 8 lbs, 13 lbs and 20 lbs respectively. A bracket for wall mounting is included, though the unit can also be installed on an equipment rack.

 

03 / 27 / 06

Le Festival Son et Image de Montréal 2006 Show Repor The Home Entertainment and Electronics Show  Enjoy the Music.com's eighth annual coverage of the Le Festival Son et Image de Montréal has begun! This year's marks Montreal's 19th edition of the event, and was held from March 24th through March 26th, 2006. Our exclusive show coverage of this event can be seen by clicking here.

 

03 / 24 / 06

Vacuum State  Vacuum State has announced the availability of their new JLTi/Vacuum State upgraded Sony NS90/92V SACD/DVD/CD player ($1650). This marks the second machine that the company now upgrades, with the first being Samsung's HD950. Balanced output via XLR can also be supplied with the unit. A partial list of the upgrades include Vacuum State's Reference Clock, custom output stage, and back-EMF noise reduction. The Reference Clock incorporates a unique power supply, with extraordinary low frequency bandwidth and stability, and is claimed to insure extremely low jitter. Output stage modification removes IC based analog output stage and replaces them with Vacuum State's Custom Output Stage that employs a minimum number of components and filtering. Lastly, back-EMF noise reduction in digital circuits dampens by shunting the noise into the player's ground plane.

 

03 / 23 / 06

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)  According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), over half the high school students they surveyed reported suffering a symptom or more of hearing loss. The survey centered around the use of earbud/earphone use like those that come with Apple's iPod and portable MP3 players. This stems from a target sample of 301 high school student interviews via the telephone and has a margin of error of +/- 5.8 percentage points. According to the press release "The polling found that high school students are more likely than adults to say they have experienced three of the four symptoms of hearing loss: turning up the volume on their TV or radio (28 percent students vs. 26 percent adults); saying "what" or "huh" during normal conversation (29 percent students, 21 percent adults); and, having tinnitus or ringing in the ears (17 percent students, 12 percent adults). More disturbing is that less than half of high students (49 percent) say they have experienced none of the symptoms, compared to 63 percent of adults who say this." What they also found is that two-fifths of students and adults set the volume at loud on their Apple iPods, with students twice as likely as adults to play it very loud (13 percent vs. 6 percent). ASHA President, Alex Johnson, said "Overall, we believe that public education is a big part of the solution. We intend to redouble our efforts with a focus on prevention. Many ASHA members are school-based. Through them and others, we plan to reach out to younger kids -- to their parents, significant adults, and educators. This is so important because even minimal hearing loss can significantly harm the social and educational development of children." While this is not the first time Enjoy the Music.com has reported on possible hearing loss due to earbud use, we want to ensure the message comes through loud and clear.

 

03 / 22 / 06

Octave Audio  Octave Audio now offers Norma-Hylee-Tech's services that take existing Thorens 124 and Garrard 301 turntables and re-manufacture and modify them to today's standards while maintaining the intrinsic 'idler wheel sound.' They fit the unit within a carefully crafted plinth/frame while also offering various tonearm upgrades and matching cartridges. Specifically, several EMT phono cartridges, the 12" N-H-T ZA Trionius tonearm, or Brinkmann's 9", 10.5", or 12" tonearm.

 

03 / 21 / 06

Donald Fagen Morph The Cat Special Edition CD DVD  Donald Fagen, longtime member of legendary Grammy Award winning Steely Dan, has just released his long-awaited and highly anticipated third solo album Morph The Cat. Featuring nine new songs written and arranged by Fagen, Morph The Cat is the multi-Grammy winning artist's first solo album since 1993's Kamakiriad and the final installment in a musical trilogy that originally began with the release of The Nightfly in 1982. "I like it when songs develop in some way and four minutes usually isn't enough time for something to develop musically", says Donald Fagen. "I'm still plugged into the Duke Ellington model, something akin to classical music, where you start with something; you develop a little bit and stick with it. And when you get a groove going, time flies." Tracks include H Gang, What I Do, Brite Nightgown, The Great Pagoda Of Funn, Security Joan, The Night Belongs To Mona, Mary Shut The Garden Door, and a reprise of Morph The Cat. The album is available as both a CD and a CD/DVD in high-resolution audio and 5.1 Surround Sound.

 

03 / 20 / 06

Metronome Technologie Gaia Turntable  Metronome Technologie has introduced their Gaia reference, state-of-the-art analog turntable. Designed to reduce vibrations to the stylus to the lowest possible level, this allows for extraordinary low level resolution. A separate external power supply for the motor includes precision parts to insure extremely low noise and critical speed stability. The overall turntable design is made with materials that were carefully chosen to damp and eliminate resonances. Metronome Technologie's Gaia turntable includes very high build quality with close tolerance manufacturing while continuing the aesthetics achieved in their Kalista transport. Battery power supply (similar to the Kalista Reference) will be available at a later date. The Gaia is available in 2 versions - Standard & Deluxe - with the latter adding a Silent Base and shipping in a custom flight case. Retail is $35,000 and $44,000 respectively with the Silent Base being added at a later date.

 

03 / 17 / 06

Plinius Audio Reference Amplifier  Plinius Audio's SA-102 and SB-300 amplifiers have been recently updated, and are now called SA-103 and SB-301. A majority of the differences are that of styling to bring the esthetics more in line with the company's SA-Reference amplifier. A standard 12 volt trigger feature has also been added to both amplifiers while the A/C power switch has been shifted from the front panel to the rear on both amplifiers. The SA-103 now features a pair of micro switches on the front panel to control Class A/AB operation and mute. A similar micro switch to control standby/operate modes on the SB-301 has been installed on the front panel to improve and streamline the products' appearance. More changes to Plinius Audio products include their basic stereo Class-AB stereo amplifier, the P8, which been renamed the P10 and now features a set of XLR-terminated inputs as well as the current RCA jacks. The company's 9200 Integrated amplifier has added a similar set of XLR inputs to augment the standard RCA jacks as well.

 

03 / 10  to  03 / 16

Enjoy the Music.com Audiophile Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's midmonth update of our Review Magazine is now online! For those who say it is hard to have a visually attractive listening room have not been paying close attention. Our reviewer Rick Becker has long been within the home furnishings industry and reports on many stunning decorating designs available to audiophiles worldwide. See our midmonth issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

03 / 09 / 06

Highland Audio Seis 1201 Loudspeaker  Highland Audio micro loudspeakers Seis 1201 is a two-way unit with overall dimensions of 19 x 9 x 17 (HxWxD in cm). A titanium dome tweeter is mated with a 3-inch midrange/woofer driver to produces most octaves of sound. The cabinet is finished in glorious piano black lacquer and looks stunning. Highland Audio has also developed a new Dord subwoofer that mates will with the Sies 1201 for filling in the lowermost octaves of sound. Together, they can provide full frequency music reproduction.

 

03 / 08 / 06

Ecosse Reference Cables NuDiva Analog Interconnect   Ecosse Reference Cables NuDiva interconnect (£115 for 0.5-meter) cable draws on all the strengths, in terms of construction and conductor materials, of the company's multi-award winning 'Conductor' interconnect. Silver plated Ultra Hi Purity-OFC in twisted pair topology rope-lay construction is surrounded by air-foamed polyethylene dielectric and a dual screen. Ecosse Reference Cables claims that modulation effects due to microphony are all but eliminated by cotton fibre filler and the soft PVC outer jacket plus cryogenic treating. The NuDiva comes pre-terminated with MACH 1 silver-plated all-Cu RCA plugs.

 

03 / 07 / 06

Audioengine 5  Audioengine has designed an audiophile quality self-powered monitor loudspeaker for the Apple iPod and other devices called the Audioengine 5 ($349/pr). Said to provide "huge sound in a small space," the Audioengine 5's amplifier produces 45 Watts per channel (70 peak), has a frequency response from 60Hz to 22kHz (+/-1.5dB) and a solid enclosure made with 1-inch thick MDF. The tweeter is a 20mm silk dome with neodymium magnets while the midrange/woofer is a special 5-inch Kevlar cone unit. Audioengine's 5 includes a variety of inputs, outputs, and cables for use in a variety of configurations. There is an included, matching iPod charging station and USB jack for other units that require USB facilities. An AC power jack in the rear panel allows for stream music from your laptop directly to the loudspeakers through Apple's Airport Express.

 

03 / 06 / 06

JPS Labs Aluminata Series Cables  JPS Labs has announced the company's new reference in high-end cable designs, the Aluminata Series. Based on JPS Labs' Particle Aluminum Shield (PAS), said to offer superior noise rejection of RF and EMI, each Aluminata cable combines the thickest shield available with RF absorption, isolation, and containment, dissipating the noise within the cable itself. Aluminata is the ultimate expression of JPS Labs and includes their Alumiloy proprietary conductors that consists of ultra-pure metals and other elements in a patent-pending composite conductor material. Pricing begins at $2699/pr. for 0.75 meter interconnects and $7299/pr. for 6 foot/1.8 meter loudspeaker cables.

 

03 / 03 / 06

Ortophon MC Rondo Series Cartridges  Ortofon has many new cartridges now available for vinyl lovers. The SPU Synergy is part of the company's MC Rondo Series and features wooden-based housing structures. The Synergy SPU cartridge has black polished Urushi painting and exposes a precious new look that is usually only found on famous pianos. Also part of the MC Rondo line are the models Red, Blue and Bronze. After having been in production for 30 years, Ortofon's successful MC 10, MC 20 and MC 30 cartridges are now being succeeded by three completely new, mid-priced moving coils. The new MC Rondo Series cartridges feature newly developed Japanese wood/resin body as well as a new generator assembly with a 500µV output, making them easy to match with a variety high quality MC phono stages. Lastly, Ortofon's MC Samba and Salsa are entry-level moving coil cartridges.

 

03 / 02 / 06

Apple iPod Hi-Fi  Apple Computer is now offering a new iPod Hi-Fi home stereo system ($349). A built-in Universal Dock appears to take a page from Bose's marketing team in boasting high claims of superior sound quality. The unit's double-walled construction provides high stiffness for the sealed and tuned enclosure. Internally, there are separate cabinets for "wide-range" cones and tuned ports to extend bass. Apple's iPod Hi-Fi can operate from electricity or 6 D-cell batteries. The driver compliment is a pair of 80 mm cones and a130 mm woofer. There are more than 42 million iPods worldwide and this product has greatly aided Apple ailing financial bottom line, since the iPod accounted for 51 percent of the company's $5.75 billion in revenue in a recent quarter.

 

Atech iLoungeFile this under the wacky iPod accessories, as those who have to eat, breathe, and shite music on their iPod may enjoy Atech's iLounge ($99.95), a toilet paper dispenser that includes an iPod cradle. No joke, it is not April 1! Loudspeakers are side-mounted and at the ends of the dispenser holders. Perhaps we should call this a cr@ppy product, yet this reporter wipes himself clean of ever mentioning this product.

Note: the above Atech product is no joke. It is a serious offering that appeared during a recent show. We checked Atech's Web site and could not find the product listed.

 

03 / 01 / 06

Superior Audio  Enjoy the Music.com's March issue of both Superior Audio and Review Magazine are now online! Superior Audio showcases the Spectron Audio Musician III amplifier with it's Class D circuitry and high Amperage output. The Review Magazine celebrates tube amplification with three tube units reviewed plus two flashbacks! Reviews include the Dared MP-5, GREATech's µVAC, Manley Labs' Mahi, the Sophia Mesh Plate 300, and a World Premiere of Delta Studio's 6s33 SE! See the March issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here and Superior Audio by clicking here.



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