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High-End Audio Industry News

 

04 / 15 / 02

  Avantgarde-USA, US distributor for the famous German hornspeakers, has updated its website to add information on the AUDIOPAX Model 88 SE monoblocks the firm has begun to market. Finished standard in chrome and black, custom amplifier lacquer options to match Avantgarde's hornspeakers are currently under discussion. On the speaker front, the new Avantgarde Solo ($7,970 with stands) is a dual-concentric, self-powered full-range hornspeaker for music and multi-channel applications that now occupies the entry-level position formerly held by Avantgarde's Uno. Series 3.0 iterations for all models benefit from new SUB 225 amplifier modules and woofer surrounds, Cardas uni-jumpers to simplify the inherent tri-wire scheme, internal Cardas wiring and Cardas power cords for the amplified woofer sections. Avantgarde-USA also announced what could become the first of many specialty events. On the weekend of May 4th and 5th, 2002, Avantgarde will host a special demonstration of their hornspeakers and AUDIOPAX Model 88 amplifiers at the Newport Beach Marriott Suites. Interested parties should RSVP by clicking here. The demonstrations and Q&A sessions will occur with limited seating available for each of the multiple daily presentations.

 

Odyssey Designs, makers of the popular Stratos amplifier, has opened a loudspeaker naming contest to introduce five new speaker models to its current electronics lineup. All Odyssey loudspeakers will feature ScanSpeak, Vifa and SEAS drivers exclusively. For now merely dubbed Model 1 thru 5, the Model 1 ($2,500/pair) is the identical version of the German $7,600 Symphonic Line Legato and will be manufactured in the US and Canada to achieve the same kind of pricing advantage the firm's current electronics offer. Drivers will be ScanSpeak Revelators. The Model 2 ($1,550/pair) is a 2.5-way dual 6-inch bottom-ported design while the Model 3 ($1,050/pair) is a 4-inch equivalent. The Model 4 ($550/pair) is a two-way monitor and the Model 5 ($375) a matching center channel. Participants in Odyssey's loudspeaker naming contest can win one of the following prizes:

1. Grand Prize: Odyssey Stratos stereo amplifier with the 120,000 uF reference cap upgrade in any face plate color of your liking. Total value incl. shipping: $ 1,300.

2. 2nd Grand Prize: 1 pair of the model 3 loudspeakers. Total value incl. shipping: $ 1.080.

3. 3rd Grand Prize: 1 pair of the bookshelf loudspeakers. Total value incl. shipping: $ 580.

4. 4th Grand Prize: 1 center channel. Total value incl. shipping: $ 390.

5. 5th Grand Prize: A complete set of Groneberg Quattro Reference cables: 1pair of 8" Loudspeaker cables & 1 pair of 1.5 m interconnect cables. Total value incl. shipping: $ 310. 

For the drawing:

6. 1 pair of Groneberg TS Premium 1m Interconnects. Total value: $ 250.

7. 1 pair of Groneberg Quattro Reference 8" loudspeaker cables. Total value: $ 150.

8. 1 Groneberg Quattro Reference 6' power cord. Total value: $ 125.

9. 2 packs of Audio Selection Gold cones (8 pcs). Total value: $ 90.

10. 1 pack of Audio Selection Gold cones (4 pcs). Total value: $ 45.

The rules of participation are as follows: Each participant can only submit 1 (one) name per model. Please give a very brief description as to where your idea comes from, and absolutely leave a valid E-mail address or otherwise your possible winning submission will be voided. All entries will be displayed as they are submitted in order to avoid duplicate entries. The contest goes until midnight on Sunday, April 21, 2002. Klaus and Sherrie Bunge are the contest judges, and will pick the winning names for each model. All winning contestants will be notified by E-mail by Tuesday, April 23, 2002.

 

04 / 12 / 02

Alon by Acarian Lotus Elite Signature  Alon by Acarian's new Lotus Elite Signature loudspeaker ($8,000/pair) features Generation III implementation of the open baffle technology that Alon pioneered in its earlier Model 1 thru 4. The Lotus Elite Signature employs paralleled twin 8-inch woofers in separate sealed and stagger-tuned chambers while the mid/hi transducers are deployed in a 45 degree mirror imaged array as in the firm's Grand Reference model. The regular Elite version ($4,000/pair) eschews the Alnico woofer and tweeter magnets and external tri-wire crossover of the Signature version but uses the same 5.25" tri-laminate midrange cone with Alnico magnet. Frequency response for the Elite/Elite Signature is given as 35/28Hz to 25kHz, impedance is 8/4 ohms nominal/minimum, finish Cherry or Black Ash with black cloth, and dimensions 40" x 10" x 15" (HxWxD), with a weight of 75 lbs per loudspeaker.

 

 

SonneteerSonneteer of Britain has introduced its first Tripath Class "T" amplifier, a digital amplifier technology first brought to high-end audio attention by the eVo digital amplifiers of United States firm Bel Canto Design. The fully remote controlled Sonneteer Bronte integrated amplifier ($1,000) is capable of delivering 150wpc into 4 ohms at 96% efficiency and sports six line level inputs and one pre-out. It measures 70 x 430 x 280 (HxWxD in mm) and weighs approximately 13kg. The matching Bronte 24/96 CD player ($931), like the amp, is available with silver or black face plates, fully remote controlled, features an RCA-type S/PDIF digital output and measures 70 x 430 x 280 (HxWxD in mm) and weighs approximately 7kg.

 

04 / 11 / 02

Opera Loudspeakers  Opera Loudspeakers of Italy are fashioned from solid hardwoods and mostly named after famous Italian opera singers. The Opera Mini is a 2-way front ported reflex monitor with magnetic shielding and bass extension to 60Hz. The Callas Gold monitor extends to 50Hz, features a sloping rear panel to minimize internal standing waves and uses a Scanspeak silk dome tweeter and Focal 13cm neoflex mid/bass driver. The optional hard wood stands S1 and S2 are suitable for both models. The Super Pavarotti is as a narrow-profile 2.5-way floorstander with asymmetric, twin cavity loading and dual 11cm mid/woofers that are ported into a floating plinth. The larger Caruso is a 4-driver 3-way with dual 130mm woofers, an equally sized midrange and 26mm titanium/aluminum tweeter and claimed low frequency extension to 40Hz. Importation of Opera loudspeakers to the USA and Canada is handled by VMAXservices.

 

 

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)Life is buzzing at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) "hive". They seem to be lavishing in a recent out-of-court settlement for $1 million with Integrated Information Systems Inc. (IIS) who are a high tech company that ran a dedicated server permitting its employees to access and distribute thousands of MP3 files over the corporate network. In another case, the RIAA settled with CD manufacturing facility DOCdata USA for $3.2 million to resolve claims of copyright infringement. Then we have the recent lawsuit involving California based Technicolor Inc. CD manufacturing plant that has allegedly copied and distributed pirated CDs from artists such as Amber, Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, Will Smith, Lauryn Hill, N-Sync and others. Meanwhile the RIAA has now officially released their "Seizures, Raids, Arrests and Convictions" for 2001:

· More than 230 distribution operations raided (compared to approximately 100 in 2000.)

· More than 145 manufacturing operations raided (compared to approximately 50 in 2000.)

· 2.8 million unauthorized CD-Rs seized (compared to 1.6 million in 2000.)

· 21 million labels seized (compared to 3.5 million last year)

· Search warrants up 74 percent 

· Arrests and indictments up 113 percent 

· Sight seizures up 170 percent 

· Guilty pleas/convictions up 203 percent

"The record companies sent a clear and united message in 2001: Those who illegally duplicate, distribute, or otherwise steal artists’ work will be pursued and suffer the consequences," said Frank Creighton, Executive Vice President, Director of Anti-Piracy at the RIAA. "It's encouraging to see that our anti-piracy efforts continue to pay off with significant results." The RIAA claims that piracy within the USA totals theft of more than $1 billion per year while worldwide losses exceed $4.2 billion. We here at Enjoy the Music.com™ do not condone illegal copying or distribution of music, yet support the right of consumers to have the ability to copy their music for personal use.

In a rare commentary focused directly at a computer manufacture by the RIAA's president and CEO Hilary Rosen, "The Gateway commercial is fun, but their website is nothing but a gateway to misinformation. No one has proposed anything that would 'prevent all digital copying.' If Gateway truly believed that illegal copying hurts all artists and labels who make the music we enjoy, they wouldn't be relying on these misleading scare tactics -- they'd be working with us to find a solution to the piracy problem. If only they would devote a little bit of the millions of dollars they're spending on this ad campaign to help stop illegal downloading...but that wouldn't help them sell more CD burners, would it?"

 

04 / 10 / 02

Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG)  Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG), owner of over 200 music labels in over 42 countries, has announced they will begin copy protecting their promotional 5" silver discs with music in an effort to reduce file-sharing and "ripping" of the music. The reason we do not call these 5" silver discs a "CD" is that they do not follow the rules set forth by Sony/Philips in what is technically a music CD. In fact the debate has become so heated that Philips has officially denounced calling this type of disc a "CD". There has been quite a bit of ink spilled on this subject, including some from Enjoy the Music.com's editor Steven R. Rochlin (see article here), to stop this action. Some of the methods employed to protect the music has caused numerous problems with computers users that  cause their machine to completely lock up or crash. Please help us fight the record label's efforts of this possibly illegal action. Read our article concerning this issue by clicking here.

 

 

Phoenix Acoustics SE-15The SE-15 Revelation ($10,000/pair) monoblocks by Canadian Phoenix Acoustics firm utilize a 6DJ8 input stage and 6N1P-EB driver tube to wring 15 watts RMS of "Class A" output from a solitary 6C33C power triode. Negative feedback is switchable between 0 and 6dB, and the tubes can be powered down into stand-by mode. Patent-pending are the polarized output transformers and the associated polarization circuit. Frequency response is given as 8Hz to 60kHz (-3dB), with 47kOhm input impedance, 300mV input sensitivity and 4 or 8-ohm output impedance. Each SE-15 monoblock measures 9.75' x 18.75 x 9.25' (WxDxH) and weighs 35 lbs.

 

04 / 09 / 02

Gramy Awards  It has been officially announced that the 2003 Grammy Awards held by the Recording Academy will be held at New York's Madison Square Garden. The 45th annual Grammy Awards will take place on February 23rd and broadcast by CBS television. Enjoy the Music.com is proud to be active members of the Recording Academy and have been the only audiophile magazine to provide virtually live coverage of the 43rd and 44th annual Grammy Awards (click here for our show reports).

"We are extremely delighted to be bringing the Grammys to New York for our 45th anniversary," said President/CEO of the Recording Academy Michael Greene. "This caps off a very interactive year of Recording Academy programs in the city through our ongoing community outreach programs, mentoring and local school initiatives, an energetic, involved New York Chapter, Grammy professional education and networking events, and additional funds and services when the city has needed us most..."

 

 

JoLidaJoLida has added two new products to their extensive line of audio electronics. The JD 1501 RC ($750) is a hybrid integrated amplifier with full remote control that combines a 100 watts per channel MOSFET output stage with a twin 12AX7A vacuum tube pre-amplifier section. The firm has also added the JD-100 ($900) vacuum tube reference CD player to its lineup of value-priced tube components.

 

04 / 08 / 02

Audiovector  Loudspeaker manufacture Audiovector has launched their new S Series. This new top of the range series employs slim, stylish "drop-like" shaped cabinets with luxurious hand finishing. The complete model line includes the S6 Signature (£5,749 per pair), the better drive unit S6 Avantgarde (£6,949 per pair) and features Oscar Heil's type air motion tweeter. Going up the range to the S6 Avantgarde Arrete (£8,949) that builds upon the Avantgarde model, though uses NCS-freeze treated copper parts in it's construction. All can be further upgraded to active operation, through the purchase of the AVEX electronic cross-over (£1,399).

 

 

Bocchino Audio Brenda B3 "The Rocket" RCA ConnectorAustralian audio manufacture Bocchino Audio has just announced their new Brenda B3 "The Rocket" RCA connector. The Brenda B3 accepts bare wire that are secured via screw terminals. This is along the lines of WBT's model 0108 (as reviewed here). Length of the Brenda B3 is 116mm with a diameter of 18.5mm and can accept cables of a maximum diameter of 12mm. The entire unit weighs in at a healthy 98 grams. Pricing for the Brenda B3 is AUD 319.70 each (approximately $170 USD).

 

04 / 05 / 02

Meadowlark Loudspeaker  Hot on the heels of Enjoy the Music.com's exclusive two-part coverage (click here) of Meadowlark Audio's recent relocation to upstart New York, business expansion and crop of new models, here's another sneak peek at things to come from tireless designer Pat McGinty: an as-yet unnamed new Meadowlark floorstander that will fill the $995/pair price point vacated by the popular Kestrel due to inflation and parts upgrades. The prototype in our spy picture shows the narrow 5.25" two-way in raw MDF, without the solid hardwood baffle and top of the final product. Like all Meadowlark products, this speaker is phase- and time-aligned and transmission-line loaded. To obtain unusual bass extension from his newest model, McGinty has rethought the Physics of woofer resonance and developed a novel way to reinforce low frequency support for the driver via clever cabinet loading. Final cosmetics, nomenclature and release date TBA.

 

 

Piega P-2The P-2 ribbon monitor ($1,700/pair) by Piega Loudspeakers of Switzerland is part of the firm's LDR series and sports an elegant aluminum chassis. The 6.5" two-way system with its back-loaded ribbon tweeter is recommended for 20 - 200 watts of amplifier power, offers an 89dB sensitivity, a nominal 4-ohm impedance and frequency extension from 40Hz to 50kHz (+/-2dB). Dimensions are 13" x 9" x 9" (HxWxD) and weight is 22 lbs.

 

04 / 04 / 02

KEF Reference Model 207  KEF loudspeakers has released their new Reference Series line that continues the company's legendary products. Each loudspeaker is assembled by hand and the drivers are carefully matched to 0.5dB. All new Reference Series models come with a state-of-the-art 19mm titanium dome Hypertweeter for extended HF performance flat to 50kHz. The Hypertweeter is mounted in a low diffraction, chrome-plated steel enclosure that is time aligned with the main driver array. The top-of-the-line Model 207 is a true five-way design with Hypertweeter, 25mm titanium dome tweeter, 165mm midrange, 250mm lower midrange, and two 250mm woofers. The lower midrange driver is derived from the woofer unit employing KEF's lightweight neodymium magnet assembly allowing it to be effectively decoupled from the cabinet to improve imaging and integration while minimizing coloration. The reflex-loaded bass enclosures are differentially tuned. Overall frequency response is from 40Hz to 55kHz (±3dB) with an overall sensitivity of 91dB/W/m. Weight of the Model 207 is 66 kg. and overall dimensions are 1290 x 400 x 685 (HxWxD in mm). Available finishes include Maple, Black Ash and Cherry real wood veneers.

 

 

Duevel Bella LunaGerman loudspeaker company Duevel has enhanced their popular Bella Luna high sensitivity loudspeaker ($5,000). Giving the design an improved base has increased the stability while bringing the drivers upwards to optimum height. This unique omnidirectional two-way design offers horn-type loading with a high sensitivity of 92dB/W/m. A 22cm carbon fiber midbass/woofer with die cast chassis and textile suspension has a 38mm voice coil. The top-mounted 38mm carbon fiber tweeter/midrange has a 38mm Nomex voice coil former. The intricate cabinetry includes strutted and interlocking design to reduce cabinet resonances. Overall frequency response is 40Hz - 20,000Hz with a 6 ohm load. Overall weight is 35 kg and dimensions are 280 x 280 x 1040 (WxDxH in mm). Finishes include Cherry, Ice Birch, Maple Cluster, Maple Burl, Pacific Maple, and Walnut Burl. Please see the Enjoy the Music.com™ review of this loudspeaker by clicking here.

 

04 / 03 / 02

  PRIMEDIA Specialty Group Inc.'s Home Entertainment show will focus on home theater and audio. The Hi-Fi and Home Theater Event will be held in New York City from May 31st through June 2nd. Attendees of this event are invited to participate in various seminars and panel discussions. Generally focusing on home theater, movie enthusiasts will be able to learn about new technologies and interact with moderators. Below are the details of seminars offered during the three day event:

Friday, May 31, 2002
Ask the Editors - Stereophile
10:30 a.m. to noon

The Future of Flat-Panel Television
12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

High-Resolution Super Audio CD
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Custom Installation - Ask the Pros
4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Digital HDTV - Here & Now
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 1, 2002
Ask the Editors - Home Theater
10:30 a.m. to noon

Dealer Face-Off
12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Evolution of HDTV MicroDisplays
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Demystifying Home Networking
4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Update on DVD-Audio
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 2, 2002
Ask the Editors - Stereophile Guide to Home Theater
10:30 a.m. to noon

DLP Projectors for Your Home Theater
12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Evolution of HDTV MicroDisplays
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location:
Hilton New York Hotel
1335 Avenue of the Americas
New York City, NY

Show Hours:
May 30  Noon - 6:00 p.m.
(Trade, press & advance ticket holders only)
May 31  10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
June 1   10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
June 2   10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Tickets: $35.00 for weekend pass
            $25.00 for one-day pass

 

 

Ayre Acoustics Inc AX-7Colorado based Ayre Acoustics Inc. is now offering their new AX-7 integrated amplifier. This solid-state unit produces 60 watts per channel into 8 ohms (120 watts into 4 ohms) with a zero feedback design. The AX-7 is completely balanced from input to output, has four inputs (two balanced via XLR, two unbalanced via female RCA), and includes a wireless remote control. Volume adjustment offers 66 steps that are 1dB each while the proprietary balanced volume control employs FET switches and metal film resistors. Frequency response is rated from 2Hz to 200kHz, the unit weighs 25 lbs, and overall dimensions are 17-1/4" x 13-3/4" x 4-3/4" (WxDxH).

 

04 / 02 / 02

Korato Group 10th Anniversary Pre-amplifier  Yugoslavia based Korato Group is offering their 10th Anniversary pre-amplifier as a statement piece and is constructed in three boxes consisting of two power supply boxes and the analog stage. This construction insures each channel has separate, clean power while keeping said circuitry at a distance away from the critical analog stage box. The analog stage employs two 5687 and two E802F valves while each power supply uses one ECL82 and one 85A2 valve. The 10th Anniversary pre-amplifier is wired with VdH SCS-18 cables, has the Alps "Black Beauty" potentiometer, Audio Note copper foil signal caps, Beyschlag 1W precision resistors, and Black Gate bypass capacitors. All connectors are gold plated with Teflon insulation. Specifications are as follows:

Frequency Response: 8Hz - 90kHz 
Distortion: 0.15% 
Gain: 26dB 
Output impedance: 290 Ohms 
Dimensions (H x W x D): 480x 72 x 290 mm 
Dimensions supp. (H x W x D): 240 x 72 260 mm 
Weight: 14 kg

 

 

MartinLoganPossibly taking some cues from Bose loudspeakers, MartinLogan and the Tokyo-based Mechanical Research Corporation have teamed up for a new surround sound system. What appears to be a close resemblance to the Bose direct-reflect system, MartinLogan places six speakers in two separate cabinets and uses wall reflections to aid in surround effects. A DSP system called "broad and detailed" is said to help in tuning this MartinLogan direct-reflecting system.

 

04 / 01 / 02

Lirpa Sloof Turn Table  For those vinylphiles growing weary of playing flat plastic LPs, the Lirpa Loof turn table attachment converts a record's musical message into actual word form and merely requires a good supply of virgin paper to discover what the composer really meant to say when he opened his symphony with a dissonant cord and major pause. Built to order, interested customers should check the date first to calculate length of delivery time.

 

 

Famous for being the ultimate salesman while taking credit for the work of others, Mark Leftinson has begun driving around in a white van to promote his new line of loudspeakers. These all new studio quality loudspeakers offer the performance of $1,200 units, yet are sold for as low as $300 per pair. Badged as the Image Acoustic Studio Monitor 6.6, these loudspeakers offer incredible transparency and the deepest lows. Once you buy this new product by Mark, your wallet will be more transparent as you feel emotionally down for be taken by yet another slick salesman.

 


 

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