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High-End Audio Industry News

 

05 / 15 / 02

PENAUDIO Charisma  Founded in Finland by Sami Penttilä, PENAUDIO Ltd. has announced their new Charisma monitor and Charm active bass system (€5,000). As first seen worldwide on Enjoy the Music.com™'s Frankfurt show report, this system is wrapped in a unique plywood finish. The Charisma is a two-way minimonitor with 20mm soft-dome tweeter and 120mm treated paper midrange/midbass driver with a frequency response rated from 50Hz to 20kHz. The Charm woofer covers 16Hz to 120Hz with two 215mm aluminum long-throw drivers. An included 75 watt, two-channel low distortion amplifier powers the Charm. Dimensions for the Charisma are 140 x 240 x 285 while the Charm is 350 x 410 x 350 (WxHxD in mm).

 

 

Dynaudio C4Also presented at the Frankfurt show were Dynaudio's new Confidence C2 ($12,000) and C4 ($16,000, pictured right) floorstanding loudspeakers. By employing technologies developed for their Evidence, Dunaudio's Confidence C2 and C4 exclusively utilize proprietary Dynaudio technologies such as the soft-dome Esotar2 and Dynaudio Directivity Control (DDC). DCC allows for controlling dispersion on the vertical plane to minimize reflections off the ceiling and floor boundaries, making the speakers much less dependent on room acoustics. To learn more about the C2 and C4 please see our exclusive Frankfurt show report by clicking here.

 

05 / 14 / 02

Kronzilla  Czech Republic tube and amplifier manufacturer KR Electric's Kronzilla integrated amplifier is currently not available to consumers but produced "industrially" for dealer and distributor promotion. The tongue-in-cheek named amplifier points at the use of the colossal KR-1610 output tube that carries an equally colossal $1,300 ea. price tag and was first used commercially by Cary Audio in their famous $40,000 double-decker amplifier.

 

 

The SpJ La Luce CS Centoventi turntable by Judy Spotheim uses anew 14" acrylic platter to move its embedded stainless steel weights radially outwards for increased inertial stabilization. The table's dimensions have been scaled up proportionally to accommodate this larger platter. Its massive, one piece bearing housing is hand matched to its chrome-hardened steel spindle shaft. A central, asymmetrical acrylic block holds the one-piece bearing and the SpJ dedicated arm board. An acrylic cylinder is bolted to the underside of the central block and forms a broad, T-shaped support. The La Luce platform rests on three contact points and is leveled by adjustment knobs on each side support. All major components are individually machined from billets of acrylic, stainless steel and high grade, grey TX. The ideal mechanical impedance match of the acrylic material and record vinyl are said to allows stylus induced resonance to pass smoothly into the mass of the platter and platform. The La Luce CS Centoventi uses a stand-alone, direct drive, synchronous AC motor. The motor's housing has three adjustment knobs for setting the level and height of the Baby-Thom, thread-sized belt-relative to the platter's drive groves. Platter speed is adjusted by moving the drive belt up or down dedicated 33.3 and 45 RPM grooves on the motor pulley. It can be fine tuned by varying drive belt tension even while the stylus is tracking.

 

05 / 08 through 05 / 13

High End Society  Enjoy the Music.com has begun our repot on Frankfurt's High End Audio Show. As the largest high-end event in Europe with over 500 brand names showcased, the High End Audio Show takes place on the grounds of the Hotel Kempinski in Neu-Isenburg with approximately 8,000 sq. meters of space. Sponsored by Germany's High End Society, this marks their 21st year of the event. Please feel free to enjoy our reporting by clicking here.

 

05 / 07 / 02

Seamless Interface Electro Acoustiques Big Dog  Seamless Interface Electro Acoustiques of Texas has announced their "Big Dog" ($2,700) transformer attenuator based reference grade pre-amplifier. Realizing the new wave of converts from stepped attenuators to transformer type volume adjustment, the "Big Dog" employs two custom made British attenuator transformers that are capable of 52 dB of attenuation. These custom transformers have a DC isolated secondary and are not of the auto-former variety. MuMetal enclosures are used for the electromagnetic shielding, high precision Swiss made 24 position rotary switches, silver clad copper wire, and Cardas non-magnetic/eutectic Brass/Rhodium over Silver/Gold plated RCA connectors round out the electrical design. Vibration control devices are included while the chassis is hand crafted from exotic Honduran Mahogany hardwood and Brazilian Granite for the base. Seamless Interface Electro Acoustiques plans on releasing other products including their "Lucidity" 13 watts "Class A" 300B SET monoblocks ($5,700/pr), "Clairvoyance" active tube line stage pre-amplifier ($3,900), and the "Opulent" integrated 300B tube amplifier (a Big Dog plus a stereo Lucidity in three chassis ($7,900).

 

 

Tricell Enterprises AcapellaTricell Enterprises of Canada is the importer for the German Acapella Audio Arts hornspeakers. Its top-line Sphäron Excalibur eliminates the classical Sphäron's 12 square-meter bass horn with quad 15-inch cone woofer towers for easier living room integration. With a very high 100dB/W/m sensitivity, demands on partnering amplifiers are minuscule, though the firm specifies long-term power handling at 100 watts RMS and 1000 watts peak. The Sphäron Excalibur system weighs a backbreaking 620kg and is intended for rooms measuring 40 square meters or larger. Dimensions are 230 x 150 x 130 (HxWxD in cm).

 

05 / 06 / 02

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  The following statement was issued by Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro in response to a federal court order forcing consumer electronics manufacturer SonicBlue to develop and install new software in consumers' personal video recorders (PVRs) that would collect all information about what shows the users watch, record or send to a select and limited group. SonicBlue would then be forced to provide the information to the studios suing the company for allegedly contributing to copyright infringement:

"The court's order is highly troubling. It forces SonicBlue to violate the trust of its customers and commit an incredible invasion of privacy. By court order, SonicBlue would be forced to spy on consumers and record every 'click' of their remote control, noting how they watch and record television shows. The data collection would include monitoring if the user chooses to skip commercials, watch the same program more than once or delete a program. While the order mandates the data be collected on an 'anonymous' basis, it does require SonicBlue to track individual users. Furthermore, it does not allow for users to 'opt out' of the data collection.

We also are concerned with the concept that a court can impose an order forcing consumer electronics manufacturers' to conduct surveillance activities on consumers. If the order stands, it will have a chilling effect on technological innovation and consumers' buying habits. Through lawsuits, proposed legislation, and the power of their influence, the studios' agenda remains clear: to curtail home recording and fair use rights in the name of preserving intellectual property. Our industry continues to seek and fight for an approach to copy protection that balances legitimate concerns about piracy and preserving intellectual property with established home recording and fair use rights."

 

 

Carver Professional ZR SeriesAudiophiles looking for top-quality digital amplifiers at sane prices might rejoice as Carver's Professional division has announced their new ZR Series of stereo amplification. By employing high-speed spread spectrum switching within the amplification stage (switches operating between 200kHz and 1.5MHz, with the average speed around 700kHz), this technique eliminates the need to use Brick-Wall type filtering that can be detrimental to the critical audio signal. Carver claims the artifacts of their switching amplifier can be eliminated by a second order filter at 90kHz. The benefits of digital amplification include an operational efficiency (near 75% for the ZR series) while the unit operates at cool temperatures. The Carver ZR500 is a 1-rack-space package with a power rating of 95 watts while the ZR1000 is a 2-rack-space package with power rated at 225 watts per channel (both rated into an 8 ohm load). The ZR1600 is also a 2-rack-space package, yet with a power output of 350 watts per channel.

 

05 / 03 / 02

Boulder 2020  The Boulder 2020 Advance D/A converter eschews ICs intended for video amplification and employs five gain stages dubbed 993 per channel. The first 993 is used for current to voltage conversion at the output of the DACs; three more comprise the 6-pole Bessel anti-imaging analog filter for the best transient response; a fifth unit provides balanced audio output. Total crystal re-clocking is said to completely eliminated jitter, and an eight times oversampling FIR digital filter to produce superb transient response. Five Burr-Brown DACs in parallel per channel lower distortion and increase accuracy to theoretical limits. Boulder's unique three-chassis design affords maximum isolation between digital and analog circuitry. The separate power supply chassis houses independent regulated supplies for each channel, as well as the digital / display chassis. The Advance time correction feature adjusts for improved stereo imaging even when the recording or listening position is less than ideal. It can be programmed for several listening positions with easy return to normal settings, an improvement over the company's claim that normal balance controls adjust levels between audio channels adequate only if your listening position is at a fixed point equidistant from the loudspeakers. Special features of the 2020 Advance include a programmable alpha-numeric display ; programmable digital record output; and digital clipping indicators. Connectivity includes 4 digital AES/EBU inputs, 1 ST Glass Fiber and 1 TOSLINK input, 2 AES/EBU digital outputs and two analog balanced outputs. Supported sampling rates are 32, 44.1, 48 and 96kHz. The Boulder 2020 Advance DAC measures 18" x x.875 x 16.25 (WxHxD) for the converter, and 18" x 4.25" x 15.5" (WxHxD) for the power supply. Combined shipping weight is 63.5 lbs.

 

 

Synergistic Resesarch's new Active X Series of AC power cords includes the Designer's Reference MkII Master Coupler ($2000/5 ft.), Designer's Reference ($1,400/5 ft.), Resolution Reference MkIII ($995/5 ft.), Reference A/C ($650/5 ft.) and A/C Master Coupler ($425/5 ft.). The improvements over the previous generation of cables are itemized as follows: new discrete circuitry with blue LED's to improve the sound of Active Shielding; new Matrix alloy signal conductors; Mini Power Couplers as standard "no-cost" upgrade on all Phase I and up X-Series cables; and a new third generation Master Control Center with BNC connectors.

 

05 / 02 / 02

Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA)  The Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) has released the complete consumer profile of music sales during 2001. Women slightly edge out men in overall music purchasing (51.2 versus 48.8 percent respectively). Music on DVD has increased from 0.8 percent in 2000 to now reach 1.1 percent in 2002. While CD sales have decreased from 2000 to 2001, vinyl sales increased from 0.5 percent to 0.6 percent. Rock music leads with a commanding 24.4 percent with Pop music coming in second at 12.1 percent. Religious music edged out Jazz with a 6.7 versus 3.4 percent in sales respectively. Classical music followed Jazz sales to acquire a 3.2 percent of market share in 2001. Click here to see the complete statistics released by the RIAA (Adobe Acrobat required).

 

 

Continuing in the statistics reporting... According to the figures compiled by Ernst & Young on behalf of the DVD Entertainment Group, DVD movies and music sales have reached over 120 millions dollars during the first three months of 2002. This is a staggering 74 percent increase over the period of 2001. Of equal importance, 3.6 million DVD players have reached consumers during first quarter of 2002 and is a 29 percent increase over the same period of 2001. "We continue to see families and younger audiences embrace DVD as their home entertainment medium of choice," said Bob Chapek, president, DVD Entertainment Group and president, Buena Vista Home Entertainment. "The popularity of video game systems compatible with DVD has also allowed for DVD playback capability inside of kids' rooms leading to even more software growth potential."

 

05 / 01 / 02

  Enjoy the Music.com has released the May 2002 edition of their Review Magazine. Equipment reviews include the Alón Capri loudspeaker, Audiomat Prélude Reference amplifier, Andy Bartha's Amanda monoblocks, Grand Prix Audio Monaco equipment stand, a small headphone survey, the Paravicini 312 Control Centre and Loth-X's Silbatone JI-300B integrated amplifier. Nineteen new music reviews, a new Montreal show report and various editorials round out Enjoy the Music.com™'s May issue of their Review Magazine. Please see the Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

 

Meadowlark Audio introduces the Owl ($1,695/pr), a bipole/dipole switchable on-wall surround loudspeaker that uses twin 5-inch 2-way arrays on its trapezoidal flanks. Frequency response is given as 50Hz to 20kHz, and sensitivity in bipole mode is a highish 92dB. Dimensions are 14" x 21" x 6" (WxHxD) and finish options include black or white. Customers may also readily repaint the cabinet and swap the grill cloth to suit their own color scheme. The Owl derives its name from its intended location: OnWaLl.

 


 

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