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High-End Audio Industry News


03 / 31 / 09

Goldenote S-1 Signature Amplifier  Koetsu USA has just announced the S-1 Dual Mono and S-1 Signature Amplifiers by Goldenote ($1436 and $1866, respectively). Both units are solid-state stereo models featuring unusually sophisticated designs. The S-1 Dual-Mono and S-1 Signature are superbly and entirely handcrafted in Goldenote's own facility in Florence, Italy, where the company is based. Both amplifiers feature a proprietary Mirror-Amp electronic design, enabling the preamplifier sections to work as a Class A amplifier. The critical power supply is handled by two different custom made transformers while a quartet of thermal switches can activate to turn off power to prevent overheating. The S-1 Dual-Mono boasts a power output of 40 watts for each of its two channels, and a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz (+/-3dB). Signal to noise ratio is -90dB and total harmonic distortion (THD) is 0.2 percent. The S-1 Signature is a special edition of the S-1 that is enhanced by extra power, higher-grade components, and matched HQ transistors to further refine its performance. It boasts a power output of 60 watts for each of its two channels. The Mirror-Amp design featured in both models is a gain stage made with a proprietary cascade differential amplifier with a mirror current. This is claimed to produce a super-linear signal while virtually eliminating distortion. The mirror current helps regulate the amount of the current and avoid overheating.

 

03 / 30 / 09

Veloce Audio V6 Monoblock Amplifiers  Veloce Audio has just announced the release of their 100 watt each battery powered V6 mono amplifiers ($12,500 per pair ). After over two years of intensive development, Veloce Audio these DC battery power supply that eliminates the shortcomings of AC power. The V6 Monoblocks produce 180 watts into 4 Ohms (100 watts into 2 and 8 Ohms) and will easily play for over 50 hours per charge driving even the most inefficient loudspeakers. Furthermore, all aspects of battery charging are transparent to the user. According to Mark Conti, managing director of Veloce Audio, "In this age of ultra resolving audio systems and dirty AC power, we believe the best approach is to get the key audio components off the grid. And DC powered equipment reduces or eliminates the need for expensive powerline conditioning and power cords".

 

Enjoy the Music.com On my.MSN.comEnjoy the Music.com's daily Industry News updates are now available on my.MSN.com. Users of the highly popular MSN page can add Enjoy the Music.com's daily high-end audio Industry News to their content preferences. Reaching tens of millions of viewers each month, my.MSN.com provides a variety for information to consumers on a daily basis. With well over a decade of developing innovations, Enjoy the Music.com has a longstanding history of enabling our content to reach the widest possible audience. These innovations over the years include, but are not limited to, push-pull content to the desktop, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), custom bookmark graphic for browsers and iPhone users, plus the world's only customized Internet high-end audiophile browser. Users of my.MSN.com will be updated each day with important high-end consumer audio industry news and events. In addition, they can easily click on the appropriate link to ascertain additional information on each topic featured. "As the only audiophile magazine to offer such diverse availability of content, today marks an important achievement in furthering the accessibility of high-end consumer electronics information to consumers all around the world," said Steven R. Rochlin, editor of Enjoy the Music.com. "Once again the internationally critically acclaimed Web site Enjoy the Music.com is here to assist our readership in choosing the best product that fits their needs. We are continually expanding our information-based Web site and now provide over 100 show reports from around the world plus hundreds of equipment and music reviews combined within our Superior Audio, DIY, and Review Magazine. Enjoy the Music.com is the Internet's largest Web site for independent high-performance audio information, news, and worldwide show reports." You can easily learn how to add Enjoy the Music.com to your my.MSN.com page by clicking here.

 

03 / 27 / 09

Perreaux éloquence 250i   New Zealand hi-fi amplifier manufacturer Perreaux has just announced the launch of the éloquence range, including the 250i ($8,999) solid-state integrated amplifier. The 250i delivers in excess of 350 Watts of continuous power into an 8 Ohm load before clipping and is said to be the most powerful Class-AB integrated amplifier in the world. The Perreaux 250i features a custom-designed 1000VA toroidal power transformer, with an XQ core and magnetic shielding, to provide low electrical and mechanical noise, while offering well-regulated voltage and enormous amounts of current. A low-impedance power supply, along with high-current MOSFET output devices and Class-A signal stages, is claimed by the company to result in a sound that is "dynamic, commanding and resolute". The rugged chassis design features 18mm thick milled aluminum front panel, massive custom heat sinks and unique surface finish exudes luxury and ensures a lifetime of trouble-free operation. The 250i's compact little brother, the éloquence 150i ($5,999), is rated at 150 Watts into 8 Ohms and 300 Watts into 4 Ohms yet retains the same sonic characteristics, intuitive user interface and luxurious fit and finish. Both éloquence integrated amplifiers are available with an optional 24-bit/192kHz DAC and MM/MC phono stage ($999 and $499 respectively).

 

03 / 26 / 09

hi-fi+  Issue 64 (March / April 2009) of our hi-fi+ preview is now available on Enjoy the Music.com! This issue features many equipment reviews, including the Focal Grande Utopia EM loudspeaker, Audio Research's Reference CD8 CD player, the KEF iQ50 loudspeaker, Pure Sound's A30 integrated valve amplifier, the Siltech Classic Anniversary cables and much more! This issue chimes in new editor Alan Sircom, where he says, "A change in editor will naturally entail changes to the magazine, but I¹m keen not to shake the tree just for the sake of making my presence felt. I have intimated my feelings on Hi-Fi Plus and its future direction on pages four and six of this issue, but this is just a jumping-off point. I welcome your comments and opinions about Hi-Fi Plus good and bad. It¹s not possible to please everyone, and if your dearest wish is that Hi-Fi Plus campaigns to bring back 8Track, I¹m sorry but your dreams are likely to remain unfulfilled...." To see the entire table of contents and read the complete editorial click here.

 

Melisa Morgan Until I Met YouTelarc International has released a very sexy new jazz title with Melissa Morgan called Until I Met You. The CD conjures the sounds of old-school vocal jazz from this newcomer with an old-school pedigree. Melissa's earliest exposure to jazz was by way of her grandmother's record collection when she was growing up, with some of the first jazz voices she ever heard from among those old LPs were Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. Two decades after first hearing those classic voices, Morgan's tastes still run to that heyday of the great jazz divas. Her debut recording, Until I Met You, scheduled for release on Telarc on April 28, 2009, captures that organic, old-school sensibility and reintroduces it to an entirely new generation of listeners. "I wanted that classic sound," Morgan explains. "I told the engineer from the very beginning, 'I don't want this to sound too polished or too modern.' There are some places where it's not perfect, but it has such an organic feel to it, and just a raw soul about it, and that's exactly what I wanted." Morgan is assisted on this first outing by a great crew of musicians. The rhythm section consists of pianist Gerald Clayton, guitarist Randy Napoleon, bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Kevin Kanner. Augmenting the core lineup is the four-piece horn section of trumpeter Christian Scott, alto saxophonist Tim Green, tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel and trombonist Francisco Torres. Visit her MySpace Music page to hear some of the songs (click here).

 

03 / 25 / 09

Kharma Loudspaker and Spyker  Kharma's Grand Exquisite Midi will be available July 1st and while there is not much more information on the Midi version, the standard Kharma Grand Exquisite is the company's top-line unit employing D'Appolito configuration. The Grand Exquisite embodies two 30 mm and one 20 mm Kharma/Thiel diamond tweeters, two ceramic midrange-units and two Nomex-Kevlar subwoofer units placed in a huge multilayer wooden cabinet. The diamond tweeters have a underhung-system, thereby guiding all the energy straight to the cone and reducing the energy-loss by warmth to a absolute minimum. The resistors used in the Grand Exquisite are a development of Kharma and represent the ultimate in freedom from any graininess with negligible induction. All Exquisites use the recently developed Kharma Connectors, which are claimed to guarantee a negligible loss of information. Like Linn, Burmester and other high-end audio manufacturers, Kharma has entered the car audio marketplace and has placed their products within the Spyker C8 Aileron. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Kharma Ceramique 2.2 loudspeaker (click here) and Kharma CE2.3c loudspeaker (click here).

 

Spike Sound-Will FloatersDivergent Technologies Inc., manufacturers of Reference 3A loudspeakers, has announced the arrival of a new patented magnetic levitation device from South Korea that is designed to effectively isolate loudspeakers and components. The Spike Sound-Will floaters are available in three different weight capacities of 12 to 22 lbs, 22 to 40 lbs. and 40 to 70 lbs. When placed under loudspeaker or high-end audiophile components, they system 'floats' the unit between them via magnetic levitation. They are packaged in sets of four and the introductory selling price in the us will be $200.00 per set, though single units can also be purchased to achieve a perfect float for complete isolation.

 

03 / 24 / 09

Combak Corporation Enacom Tuning CD  Combak Corporation offers their Enacom Tuning CD for loudspeaker enhancment. This is the first of its kind in the world and is said to be an unprecedented new advance in sound designed to work in concert with the Speaker Enacom. Users simply place this tuning CD in their current digital disc player, turn up the volume and push play. The tuning cycle takes ten minutes as the Enacom Tuning CD sends a signal through your system which automatically re-tunes it,. The effects are claimed to be added extension with a remarkable no-noise of the Speaker Enacom out beyond the loudspeaker. This CD works with all types of loudspeaker no matter is they are dynamic driver, electrostatic or planar. All systems from very basic to the very intricate may benefit from tuning and could provide "a whole new level of expansiveness and clarity to your music." Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Combak Reimyo CDP-777 CD transport/player (click here), ALS-777 Powerline Stabilizer (click here), and Combak Bravo loudspeaker (click here).

 

Kimber Kable TriFocal-XLLongstanding cable manufacturer Kimber Kable offers their top-of-the-range tri-wiring product called the TriFocal-XL. Comprised of hundreds of components per pair of cables, the TriFocal-XL is formatted in a seven layer, poly-concentric geometry. Aside from the Model 88 - The Black Pearl, this is quite possibly the most elaborate loudspeaker cable ever designed within the high-end audio industry. Termination alone takes a full eight hours to complete a single matched pair. A production run of 250 feet of this cable takes over 50 hours of machine time. There are 42 discrete conductors of Varistrand hyper-pure copper, making the cable an impressive 38mm in diameter. Kimber Kables feels that their TriFocal-XL will allow the most intimate union possible between tri-wire loudspeakers and an amplifier. All ends are furnished with WBT connectors. Specifications are as follows:

• (Cp) parallel capacitance: 1,7600.0 pF @ 20 kHz 
• (Ls) series inductance: 0.425 H @ 20 kHz 
• (Rdc) dc loop resistance: 0.009 
• (Xt) total reactance: 0.053 @ 20 kHz 
• Frequency response ± 0.5 dB High: dc - 1.0 MHz 
                                             Mid: dc - 1.0 MHz 
                                             Low: dc - 1.0 MHz 
• Crosstalk Low-Mid 20 - 100 Hz: < -100 dB 
• Crosstalk Low-Mid 200 Hz - 1 kHz: < -81 dB 
• Crosstalk Low-Mid 1 kHz - 30 kHz: < -61 dB 
• Crosstalk Mid-High 20 - 100 Hz: < -102 dB 
• Crosstalk Mid-High 300 Hz - 1 kHz: < -82 dB 
• Crosstalk Mid-High 1 kHz - 30 kHz: < -62 dB

 

03 / 23 / 09

Meridian Control 10  For those seeking the ultra high-end cost-no-object audio/video system, Meridian and Sooloos have teamed up to deliver the first of Meridian's new designs. With the recent acquisition of Sooloos, a server-based home entertainment systems, Meridian's Control 10 ($5000) integrates the company's proprietary connectivity with the award-winning Sooloos touchscreen. The Control 10 acts as the controller for the Sooloos system featuring a user interface to connect with a range of modular hardware components. Meanwhile, Meridian's SpeakerLink connections transmit digital audio and system control messages via standard Cat5 cables over distances of up to 300 feet. Moving audio over large distances in your home without noise or grounding problems has never been easier. Using the SpeakerLink and legacy Meridian Comms protocols, the Control 10 can seamlessly integrate with Meridian's digital loudspeakers, preamplification/controllers, and music systems plus includes RS-232 for integration with the full spectrum of legacy media and home-control systems. With this system, the storage devices can be placed in a central location, and Ethernet cables can then be used to connect each room in which audio is desired. The result is a device that greatly expands the possibilities of directing digital audio signals to different areas of the home. The desktop-style Control 10 touchscreen features a razor-sharp 17-inch LCD display with crisp, HD-level imaging, and a resistive touchpanel with outstanding user feedback. Adding to its ease of use, the Control 10 includes a slot-loading CD drive in its low-profile base for convenient, local loading or playback of content without requiring a computer or outboard disc drive. Like all Sooloos components, the Control 10 communicates with its Storage and Source components via standard TCP/IP Ethernet connectivity, using either the supplied high-quality Neutrik EtherCon connectors or any conventional CAT5/5e/6 RJ-45 cables. Naturally this system handles HD video and the highest of resolution audio sampling and bit rates for a no-compromise system Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Meridian G51 stereo receiver, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

2L Mozart Grieg2L's now offers their Dena Piano Duo Mozart/Grieg Volume II title on dial-layer SACD and FLAC 24-bit/192kHz digital download. Music lovers may enjoy this wonderful music for two pianos from two of history's greatest composers. Mozart was without a doubt one of Grieg's first and foremost musical inspirations. What is special about Grieg's adaptation of the Mozart Fantasia in C minor is that he has not reworked it in the traditional manner. Grieg's unusual achievement lies in the fact that he has retained Mozart's text unchanged, adding an entirely new part which is to be performed together with the original. When both parts are played, they interweave and become something entirely new. The Mozart/Grieg Fantasia for two pianos in C minor is on this album surrounded by Mozart's famous Sonata in D for two pianos and Grieg's only original work for two pianos, the lesser known masterpiece Old Norwegian Melody with variations.

 

03 / 20 / 09

Acoustic Preference Loudspeakers  From Slovenia with love is loudspeaker manufacturer Acoustic Preference with three models to choose from. Established in 2001, the new models of loudspeakers for 2009 include the Gracioso 1.0 monitor, Gracioso 2.0 and top-line Maestro 2.0 floorstanders (starting at €6060, €6540 and €13,375 respectively, with 2.0 stand starting at €1080). Made for those who appreciate high-end sound quality and lovely wood finishing, Acoustic Preference loudspeakers are said to produce full embodied, warm, dynamic and transparent sound. The top of the line Maestro floorstander is a three-way, double-select ported bass reflex system that is 91/dB/W/m sensitive and presents an easy to drive 8 Ohm load. Overall frequency response is from 35 Hz to 22 kHz. The woofers are 160 mm Morel high performance drivers with one piece DPC cone/dust cap. For the critical midrange frequencies, the Morel 140 mm driver with one-piece DPC cone/dust cap with large diameter aluminum former and Hexatech voice coil was chosen. The tweeter is also by Morel and is their 28 mm Supreme series with Acuflex hand-treated soft dome driver. The three way 12dB/octave crossover is made with Mundorf air foil coils that use 99.999 percent pure OFC copper with polypropylene insulation. Mundorf high-end audio grade MKP capacitors, matched to 0.5 percent tolerance, custom braid solid silver wire and bi-wirable WBT terminals round out this design. Pricing is for European walnut wood, American walnut wood is also available at higher cost..

 

Pacific Valve & Electric Company Ming Da MC 84 CIIPacific Valve & Electric Company's Ming Da MC 84 CII stereo tube iPod/USB headphone integrated amplifier ($699) includes two analog inputs, USB input plus both headphone and loudspeaker output. The front panel has an analog level meter while the unit produces 12 wpc using a pair per channel of the EL84 as output tube. Adding to the coolness factor are a pair of 6EZ 'cat's eye' rectifier tubes while the centrally-located analog meter dances with the music's volume output. Rounding out the tube compliment are a pair of 12AX7s. Overall frequency response is from 20Hz to 55 kHz (±1dB) and SNR is 89dB.

 

03 / 19 / 09

Wavelength Audio Corona Series Tube Amplifiers  The new Wavelength Audio Corona series monoblock single-ended vacuum tube amplifiers (staring at $6000 per pair) are now available with four variations of output transformers and wide variety of tube compliments. Beginning with a copper transformer ($6000/pr) and topping out the range with enhanced silver transformers ($25,000/pr), the Corona Enhanced version not only includes higher grade output transformer as it also has other upgraded components. Within the new series of amplifiers, the Lightning form employs the 6V4/EZ80 rectifier tube while in the Corona form it is the 5AR4/GZ34. The Lightning series is available for tubes using AC heaters 45 and 2A3. Both the Corona and Lightning amplifiers use the 5842A/WE417A input driver tube. All models use a grid choke on the output tube and custom magnetics from MagneQuest as well as capacitors from Black Gate. These amplifiers come with fixed output impedance of 8 or 16 Ohms. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Wavelength Audio Duetto stereo amplifier (click here) and Cardinal X-1 monoblock amplifiers (click here).

 

Reference 3a Royal Virtuoso LoudspeakerAs the floor standing version of Reference 3a's Royal Virtuoso, the L'Integral Nouveu loudspeaker stands at 42 inches tall with a sensuously curved front panel sculpted from solid Corian. The driver compliment is the same critically-acclaimed soft-dome tweeter and carbon fiber midrange/woofer. Due to having a larger cabinet volume inside than the smaller Royal Virtuoso, the company was able to tune it to frequencies reaching down to below 40Hz. Overall frequency response is from 36Hz to 22kHz (±3dB) with a 92/dB/W/m sensitivity and easy to drive 8 Ohm load. Distortion is a very low 0.3 percent at 1000Hz with an output of 94dB while the full frequency phase in virtually constant at ±10 degrees. Dimensions are 42 x 13 x 14 (HxWxH in inches) and each unit weighs 75 lbs. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Reference 3A MM De Capo (click here), the next generation 3A MM De Capo-i (click here), the Veena (click here) and larger Grand Veena loudspeaker (click here).

 

03 / 18 / 09

Beyerdynamic Headzone PRO  For those who demand more than just a standard set of headphones, Beyerdynamic's Headzone PRO ($2,800) is a unique alternative for multi-channel audiophile music enjoyment and for sound engineers to mix surround sound mixes. Due to its analog and digital connecting possibilities, and its compactness, the Headzone can be used almost everywhere. The system is based on the 19/1HU Headzone base unit (with integrated DSP), which disposes of both balanced 25-pin SUB-D analogue and digital 5.1 audio inputs via FireWire (IEEE 1394) and AES/EBU (3-pin XLR). Further features are an enhanced headtracking functionality, an adjustable communication input with volume control, and a second headphone output. The Headzone PRO XT base unit also allows for three individual user presets to be directly accessed through buttons on the unit's front panel and includes an adjustable, password protected limiter for hearing protection and the new patented EarPatron technology. The unit can be upgraded for free via downloadable updates for both the software and firmware.

 

NPD GroupAccording to the NPD Group, a leading market research for the entertainment industry, the number of Internet users paying for digitally downloaded music increased by just over 8 million in 2008 for a total of 36 million. Purchases of online digital music downloads increased by 29 percent since last year; they now account for 33 percent of all music tracks purchased in the United States. As for the hard format CD, nearly 17 million fewer were purchased in 2008 as compared to the prior year. While the decline in CD buyers cuts across all demographic groups, it was particularly focused on teens and consumers age 50 and older. "Rising incidence of paid downloads is a positive development for the industry, but not all lost CD buyers are turning to digital music," said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for The NPD Group.

According to NPD, there is evidence that music listening is increasing. For example awareness and usage of Pandora, a leading online radio station, doubled year over year to 18 percent of Internet users; one-third of those who were aware of Pandora report using the service. Similarly, the percentage of consumers claiming to listen to music on social networks climbed from 15 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 19 percent in the same time period of 2008. Nearly half of United States teens are engaging with music on social networks, which is an increase from 37 percent a year ago; among college-age Internet users, the percentage increased from 30 percent in 2007 to 41 percent in 2008.

 

03 / 17 / 09

The Absolute Sound  Enjoy the Music.com now offers a world premiere of the April / May 2009 edition of The Absolute Sound (Issue 192) featuring the complete table of contents and editorial! This edition features a special focus on the 2009 CES with coverage of many turntables, digital disc players, amplifiers, loudspeakers and much more! Equipment reviews within this edition include Paradigm Monitor 9 loudspeaker, the Muse Model Two Hundred integrated amplifier, Synergistic Research's Tesla PowerCell 10 SE AC conditioner plus the amazing Pass Labs XP20 preamplifier and XA160.5 power amplifier. Within this issue's editorial titled Closer To The Absolute it says "I believe that the primary reason reproduced music doesn't sound like live music is some kind of catastrophic loss that occurs at the microphone diaphragm. Ed Meitner and I once discussed this subject at length after he told me about an experiment in which he put a microphone in front of a guitar amplifier's 10" cone and then tried to reproduce the sound through the same cone that created the sound in the first place. The reproduction sounded significantly different from the original....." You can see the table of contents and read the complete editorial by clicking here.

 

Salon Son & ImageCanada's Salon Son & Image audio/video show will take place Thursday April 3rd through the 5th at the Centre Sheraton in downtown Montreal. Over 80 exhibitors will have a total of 300 brands, with many new items for attendees to see and hear. The show will encompass five levels of large suits of the hotel as well as three other levels of smaller suites and hotel rooms converted into isolated listening rooms. The Salon Son & Image will have a press only day April 2nd. The cost to attend the show is $15 for all three day, with students and seniors receiving a $5 discount. Children under 12 are free to attend with an adult pass. Enjoy the Music.com has covered this event for many years, with our 2008 show report seen at this link.

 

03 / 16 / 09

Anthem Statement D2 Audio/Video Processor  Canadian manufacturer Anthem is now shipping their Statement D2 audio/video processor ($7499). Call it the Swiss Army knife of A/V processor/preamplifier as this unit handles virtually everything from 24-bit/192kHz audio to four HDMI and four HDMI 1.3c inputs and one each for outputs. All inputs and outputs offer Deep-Color support (36-bit) and high-definition audio streaming. Audio performance on the Statement D2v feature a pair of dual-core digital signal processor (DSP) engines offer 800 MIPS (million instructions per second) of processing power to allow 7.1-channel decoding of Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High-Resolution Audio and DTS-HD Master Audio. The Anthem Statement D2v also supports 24/192 PCM audio input, up to 7.1 channels. Anthem's Room Correction System (ARC) is a standard feature on all Statement D2v preamplifier/processors. While equalizing frequency response in a room to achieve some generic (i.e., "flat") response is a common approach, it sounds unnatural because it assumes the listening room is anechoic and does not account for how a speaker sounds in a room. Anthem's true audiophile approach with ARC instead uses proprietary processing to compute each speaker's in-room frequency response and then computes a target frequency response for each to yield the optimal sound.

 

PandoraWith the major recording labels looking to squeeze every penny from their music library, Internet radio stations will be on the defensive within a federal court in Washington, D.C. With online music companies like Last.fm, Live365, Pandora and Yahoo Music delivering music to hundreds of thousands of people and helping to spur music sales, a recent ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board, which is part of the Library of Congress, is at play. In May 2007, there was an imposed sharp increase in performance-royalty rates that apply to Internet radio stations and these increases may cause some online services to go out of business. This new increase is a substantial 2.5 times the current rate. "We were faced with drastically rising costs," said Michael Spiegelman, head of Yahoo Music. "Internet radio facilitated discovery while compensating artists and labels for their effort. They may feel in the short term it gets them a better revenue stream. But in the short term, it's driving the Webcasters out of business." Founder of Pandora Tim Westergren is also deeply concerned with these new royalty rates. Of note is that webcasters like Pandora and Yahoo Music pay royalties for the music they serve up while AM/FM radio currently does not.

 

03 / 13 / 09

Nain NAIT XS Stereo Integrated Amplifier  Naim's new NAIT XS ($2250) stereo integrated amplifier is a slimmed-down 60 wpc version of Naim's popular SUPERNAIT. It features six inputs, including a 3.5mm jack on the front panel for use with portable music players, as well as a powered DIN-5 240 socket for use with a Naim outboard phono stages that include the SuperLine or Stageline. The NAIT XS has both stereo outputs plus a full-range subwoofer output, switchable AV bypass option, and option for Naim's FLATCAP2x power supply ($1100).

 

KAB Electro Acoustic SpeedStrobe Turntable Speed TesterKAB Electro Acoustics, a company that specializes in analog replay, offers their SpeedStrobe ($99) turntable speed tester. The KAB SpeedStrobe is designed to replace and improve upon older strobe designs that relied on power line frequency. KAB also wanted something that was easier to use and included the ability to actually measure small amounts of error. Not just a go - no - go - test. As a result, the KAB SpeedStrobe features a quartz locked illuminator with 99.99 percent accuracy and since it is battery operated, it works everywhere as there is no need for 50 or 60 Hz versions. The Disc is silk screen printed on durable 20 mil PVC. Instead of hypnotic bars, the KAB SpeedStrobe features the actual speed numbers. In use, the desired speed is read directly from the disc. no searching for the right band. Covers 16.66, 33.33, 45, 70.59 - 90 RPM. By timing the drift of the display over one minute, accuracy can be measured to 0.03 percent.

 

03 / 12 / 09

  Go to HDtracks to download an absolutely free 24-bit/96kHz collection. HDtracks Ultimate Download Experience offers excellent world, blues, pop, and classical music in audiophile quality 24-bit/96kHz downloads that are DRM-free, with full liner notes and artwork in a PDF format. HDtracks is a music download store founded by David and Norman Chesky of Chesky Records, the label that has produced some of the finest analog audiophile recordings of the last 25 years. Now, the brothers aim to bring the same integrity and fidelity to digital music. Their vast and growing selection, culled from some of the most interesting independent record labels around the world, is available as 320 kbps MP3, CD-quality, and/or full high-resolution DVD-Audio quality downloads.

 

03 / 11 / 09

Boston Audio Society  For those in the Boston MA area, the Boston Audio Society is having their White Elephant Sale on Sunday March 22, from 1pm to 5pm. Bring all you want to sell in audio playback, recording and electronic test equipment. Vendor tables are only $1 each and it is free to attend. Set up begins at 1:45pm. For those wishing to have a vendor table, please pre-register with Alvin Foster at amfmail@gis.net. Enjoy the Music.com is web partners with The Boston Audio Society and has many great articles from their journals available at this link.

 

Lone Star Audio FestFor those located or wishing to visit Texas, the Lone Star Audio Fest in Dallas will be held at the Embassy Suites Dallas Park Central on June 19 through 21. According to the show promoter, "There has been a need of a common place for fellow audio enthusiast to meet in our region. And Dallas seemed like the logical place that is central to several surrounding states and cities for us to meet. Therefore, LSAF was born with the hope of bringing our community closer together. LSAF 2009 is the third annual meeting, with the desire to expand attendance and continue our festival into future years." There is no registration cost for exhibitors and no admission price for attendees.

 

03 / 10 / 09

Hanss Acoustics T-60 Turntable  Hanss Acoustics, as distributed by The Lotus Group in America, now sells their top-of-the-range T-60 turntable that is carefully crafted to deliver the company's best performance for analog replay. The extremely rigid turntable structure is mated with outboard motors to keep motor noise away from the critical needle/vinyl interface. The platter weighs in at over 40 lbs and is carefully CNC machined from aluminum. Bearing structure for the Hanss Acoustic T-60 turntable is a stainless steel ball, with magnetic suspension for low noise and virtually frictionless operation. The motors for rotation the platter are dual synchronized and can be adjusted for either 33.3 or 45 rpm speeds. The tonearm base is suitable for SME type tonearms and overall structure weight of the turntable is a hefty 130 lbs.

 

Wavelength Audio USB DAC Proton 24/96 USB DACWavelength Audio's USB DAC division now offers their Proton 24/96 USB DAC ($900) that has both stereo RCA and headphone output. The Proton is for desktops, home audio travel... or whatever! The idea was to make a DAC that could operate by using only the power as provided by the USB port, with the critical areas being powered by the Lithium-Ion  battery for extra clean power for the DAC and the headphone outputs. The Proton supports 24 bit data at 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96 kHz and is indicated on the rear by four LEDs. The volume control icon for the headphone and line outputs will appear on the computer desktop. Setting the volume slider on the computer will result hardware in the Proton to set the analog volume control for the outputs to the desired setting. Enjoy he Music.com has reviewed the Wavelength Audio Brick USB DAC (click here) and Cosecant USB DAC (click here).

 

03 / 09 / 09

Gryphon Audio Atilla Integrated Amplifier  Prestigious high-end audio manufacturer Gryphon Audio has introduced their Atilla stereo solid-state integrated amplifier (€6950). In response to demand for a lower powered integrated amplifier, Gryphon drew heavily on technological innovations from the most expensive Gryphon products. In the finest Gryphon tradition, it features healthy output power conservatively rated at 100 Watts per channel. The Gryphon Atilla is designed by the same team of award-winning engineers responsible for the conceptualization, exterior design, audio circuit design and final voicing of every single Gryphon product since the very beginning. Gryphon Audio says that the result is a shockingly transparent, cohesive sonic image, with low-frequency control and front-to-rear and left-to-right differentiation that surpass most separate pre-/power combinations.

 

Gold Acoustics GA STAR LoudspeakerGold Acoustics combining the GA STAR loudspeaker with Lowther EX2 full range driver and the company's GA EARTH subwoofer to provide bass extension. Of particular note is the loudspeaker's gold mirror finish and acoustic curved reflector above the driver that guides the sound from the driver into the listening room. Van Den Hul Goldwater silver plated loudspeaker cable is wired internally while highly polished granite isolation platforms are provided to minimize vibrations. As a visual finishing touch, gold edged domed speaker grills are employed. Due to using the Lowther driver, a high sensitivity of 100dB/W/m with an easy to drive impedance from 8 to 15 Ohms makes this design very friendly to single-ended tube amplification. Frequency response is from 40 Hz to 20 kHz, the unit can handle 100 Watts and overall weight of each speaker is 44 lbs.

 

03 / 06 / 09

Manley Labs Neo-Classic 500 Monoblock Amplifier  For those seeking high wattage vacuum tube amplification, the Manley Labs Neo-Classic 500 monoblock ($12,000) produces 500 watts via ten KT90 output tubes. As the company's most powerful push-pull production-models, both the circuit design and the selected components have been refined over years. This amplifier is said to combine musical accuracy and emotional authority while delivering extremely high reliability. The unit's operation mode may be switched between "sonically seductive" triode and the more powerful tetrode configuration. Manley Labs's Neo-Classic 500 monoblock have very large pair of 3800uF reservoir capacitors in the high voltage supplies, thereby providing an abundance of instant energy for dynamic performance of transient peaks plus bass impact and weight. Tube compliment includes ten KT90EH Electro-Harmonix Russian output tubes, a high current double 6414W GE for driver stage and 12AT7EH large plate Electro-Harmonix Russian for input. Inputs are both Balanced (XLR) and single ended (RCA), while loudspeaker binding posts are by WBT. Frequency response is from 10 Hz to 30 kHz, with total weight being a staggering 82 lbs. For those who do not need a 500 watt monoblock, the Manley Labs Neo-Classic 250 monoblock ($9000) uses ten EL34 tubes and produces 250 watts. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Manley Neo-Classic 250 monoblock amplifiers, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

Tonewin Electronics BL-90 Integrated Stereo Tube AmplifierChinese manufacturer Tonewin Electronics offers a wide array of vacuum tube amplification. Seen here is their BL-90 integrated stereo tube amplifier that produces 12 wpc using a pair each of the 300B, 6L6, 6SL7, 5Z4P and 6E2. Frequency response is from 13 Hz to 38 kHz with a THD of a low 0.3 percent and SNR of >85dB. There are four inputs and a set of output, all via RCA jacks. The Tonewin Electronics BL-90 weighs in at a hefty 60 lbs. The company is located in Shenzhen province and specializes in the design and production of quality audio products. They utilize innovative designs and advanced technology to build reliable and affordable home audio products. Their broad range of products includes amplifiers, integrated tube amplifiers, headphone amplifiers, preamplifiers, mono-power amplifiers, loudspeakers, CD players, digital tuners and cables.

 

03 / 05 / 09

Jaton Corporation Lyra Loudspeakers  Jaton Corporation Lyra loudspeakers combine materials as traditional and venerated as silk with components as advanced as double-fluid, molded macromolecule sound boxes to deliver audiophile sound quality. The heart of the high-frequencies is an ultra fine silk soft dome tweeter with an array of exactly 25 fibers that are aligned to accurately radiate sound. For midrange and bass frequencies, a magnesium alloy vibration film is mounted in either an aluminum or beryllium frame backed by an ultra-high-powered magnet. Although these materials may not be unique, Jaton's methods are. They extrude their frames with a precise process that yields a faster reacting crystal structure in the resulting metal. The advantage for this technical innovation is said to be more precise rhythms and fidelity to the all-important critical midrange.

 

Weiss MINERVA FireWire D/A Converter Weiss has recently introduced their MINERVA FireWire D/A converter ($3790, pictured) and VESTA FireWire - AES/EBU interface. The MINERVA is a high performance stereo digital to analog converter for usage in conjunction with a sound file playback device such as a PC, MAC or a Network Player. In high-end audio circles there is a trend towards high resolution file downloads from dedicated websites. Such downloads need a D/A Converter which can convert the high resolution files, e.g. uncompressed 24-bit/192kHz audio, to analog. Note that the VESTA has the same features as the MINERVA except it does not have any analog outputs. The MINERVA accepts digital audio in FireWire or AES/EBU and S/PDIF formats at rates of up to 192kHz at a 24 bit wordlength. Features for the MINERVA include:

— Inputs: Digital Audio inputs on FireWire (two connectors), XLR, RCA and Toslink (optical). (FireWire 800 via an appropriate adapter cable).
— Outputs: Stereo analog output on XLR and RCA. Digital Audio output on FireWire, XLR and RCA. (FireWire 800 via an appropriate adapter cable).
— Sampling Rates, Wordlength: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz at up to 24 Bits.
— Volume Control
— "Insert" mode where any digital audio equipment (e.g. a equalizer) can be inserted into the playback path via AES/EBU
— Recording path from AES/EBU or S/PDIF to FireWire

 

03 / 04 / 09

Win Analog 's LS845a Vacuum Tube Stereo Preamplifier  Win Analog's LS845a vacuum tube stereo preamplifier ($15,000) offers multiple inputs and provides an extremely wide frequency response. Featuring a volume control with 1% metal film resistors, the Elma 24 positions stepped attenuator tracks each channel with high accuracy for precise channel balance. Each transformer is hand wound with ultra-fine crystal copper. The tube complement consist of a pair each of the 845, 12AX7 and EM84 plus one 5R4. All tubes are mounted on ceramic bases with 24 Karat gold plated pins. This zero feedback design has an auto-bias circuitry for ease of use. Frequency response is an outstanding 10 Hz to 80 kHz (+/- 1dB) while input impedance is 130 kOhms. The Win Analog LS845a has four stereo inputs and two stereo pairs of outputs via high-end WBT connectors. Output impedance is 300 Ohms. Dimensions are 15 x 20 x 13 (WxDxH in inches) and the unit weights 35 lbs.

 

Yamamoto Sound SS-300 And SS-500 Wooden HornsYamamoto Sound's new straight type wood horn SS-300 and SS-500 are now available (¥300,000 and ¥100,000 respectively). The SS-300 is a 2-inch slot wood horn while the SS-500 is a 1-inch design. According to the company, "There are various forms, such as a circular straight horn, a square-shaped radial horn, a sectral horn that has a partition in an opening, and a diffraction horn which has a partition in the central part, and it has a merit and a demerit in each." Yamamoto Sound conducted many experiments with various designs and as a result, the conclusion that this form was best. It extends and goes to a square shape from a round shape whose form changes gradually. The character of the spread of the sound wave of a horn gave roundness to the corner part, and these new units are devised so that diffusion of a sound wave is smooth. Each unit is made from Asada cherry tree laminated wood, a tree that grows wild mainly in Hokkaido, with the wood having a specific gravity is about 0.73. As for crossover frequency, the SS-300 and SS-500 are made for a crossover frequency of 500 Hz, with a possible to the cutoff frequency of 300 Hz. The directional characteristics of SS-300 and SS-500 are 30 vertical and 70 degrees horizontally. The attachment screw of both units support Altec and JBL.

 

03 / 03 / 09

AVI Neutron 5 2.1 System  AVI latest offering, the Neutron 5 2.1 system (£1299), is an entire sound system with DAC, remote controlled preamplifier, three 100 watt amplifiers and subwoofer. With all active electronic items neatly contained within the inconspicuous flat black subwoofer enclosure, the AVI Neutron 5 2.1 system consists of a pair of two-way monitors and subwoofer unit, all elegantly covered in piano black finish. Users may simply plug in their CD player, media-friendly computer, Apple TV, Sonos, etc. into their choice of digital and analog inputs. For digital duties, a 24-bit/192kHz DAC (via coaxial input) while three optical digital via Toslink, one USB and one stereo analog input are provided for. The wireless remote handles input selection, volume level, mute, Subwoofer level plus frequency, which are displayed digitally on the subwoofer's front panel.

 

German Tube AmpsGerman Tube Amps is a high-end audio manufacturer that specializes in hand-made high-quality tube amplifiers. After more than seven years of development, the company has released their Skyline, which is a push-pull single-ended amplifier. The circuit is a new development with innovative patents and employs the finest customized components available. The entire signal path is realized with only a few components, without any resistors, relays and input switches. For internal wiring, very pure 6N silver provides the cleanest sound. German Tube Amps Skyline power amplifier is built without any feedback. The Skyline is built as a dual-mono unit, with each channel shielded from the other. As for the critical power supply, it is housed separately to keep noise away from the delicate analog signal path.

 

03 / 02 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com's March editions of our Review Magazine and Spring 2009 DIY Audio Magazine. Within this month's Review Magazine we feature a world premiere of the Blue Circle Audio SB90T hybrid stereo amplifier!

Review Magazine
Daily News: Audiophile news updated each weekday! 

Viewpoint
Music Servers And The Death Of The CD Player Part II
And let us add the rise of Sonos to the shall we?

Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 113
Miscellaneous Samsung BD-UP5000 video player, the CyberLink DVD Suite 7 Ultra and a great SACD.

The Nearfield
CEA Survey and PS Audio GCC-100 plus Bel Canto S-300 reviewed.

 

Show Coverage
More CES / THE Show 2009 Preview Report
Parts 5 now online!

Phil Gold's CES / THE Show 2009 Design Awards

 

Audiophile Equipment Reviews
World Premiere!
Blue Circle Audio SB90T Hybrid Stereo Amplifier
A hybrid marvel priced to sell.

Blue Circle BC501 DAC
Rejuvenate and rejoice in music!

ASL HB1 Hybrid Tube Headphone Amplifier
Large miniature with big sound.

Benchmark Media DAC1 PRE
You could spend more, yet doubt you can find one that performs better.

Benchmark DAC1 USB As A Headphone Amplifier
Impressively engineered, easy to set-up and operate... and dead quiet.

conrad-johnson ET250S Hybrid Stereo Power Amplifier
The best of both worlds.

GIK Elite Pillar Bass Traps and D1 Diffusers
The benefits are just too great to pass up.

MartinLogan Summit Loudspeaker
Hoping they can finally mix panels and drivers properly.

 

Music Reviews
Classical Music Reviews
Artur Schnabel's incomparable Beethoven Piano Sonata cycle on 10 CDs.
Vittorio Giannini Piano Concert; Symphony No. 4 Gabriela Imreh, piano

Jazz, Folk, Bluegrass, Blues, Etc.
Patricia Barber The Cole Porter Mix
Hal Ketchum Father Time
Celeste Krenz My Mother & Me
Robin and Linda Williams Buena Vista
Yarn Empty Pockets
Various Bluegrass, Blues And Jazz Albums

Rock, Pop, Funk, Techno, Punk, Metal, Etc.
Cannata My Back Pages Volume 1
Janus Red Right Return
Spirit California Blues Redux

 

See the March 2009 Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

 

DIY Magazine
GedLee Abbey 12 Loudspeaker Kit
Immediately appealing with lifelike dynamics and great clarity.

The Difference Engine Preamp Version 1.0
Exploring a 'secret' circuit called a differential.

DIY Record Cleaning Machine
With bonus DIY cleaning fluid formulas.

The T-Rex SET Amplifier- A DIY Project

See the Spring 2009 edition of the DIY Magazine by clicking here.


 

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