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High-End Audio Industry News


05 / 29 / 09

  The officially audited CES 2009 attendance numbers plus the attendees at the recent Munich High End 2009 show are in. The International CES, a show that covers everything from game system to high-end audio and small electronic toys from Asia, claims that during the tradeshow's four-day run in Las Vegas, Nevada from January 8 through the 11 there were approximately 110,000 attendees. Approximately 2,700 worldwide companies, including 300 new exhibitors, unveiled an estimated 20,000 new technology products across 1.7 million net square feet of exhibit space on the CES show floor. More, 140 countries were represented by 22,000 international attendees. The High End show held from May 21 through 24 experienced a uptic in trade visitor attendance, which increased by around 18 percent as compared to the previous year. The foreign trade visitors came from 60 countries. The number of visiting press representatives increased from the previous year, and reached a record number of 438 journalists. This is an increase of 8 percent as compared to the previous year. Exhibitors at the High End show are virtually exclusively high-end consumer audio and video electronics and numbered 248 exhibitors represented themselves on a 18,373 square meter area. Compared to the previous year, the number of exhibiting companies increased this year by around 7 percent. The proportion of exhibitors from outside Germany has increased by 6 percent from the previous year and now accounts for 40 percent of the total.

 

Naim Ovator S-600 LoudspeakerThe new Naim Ovator S-600 (£6000) high-end floorstanding loudspeaker is a technically advanced system targeted at the music lover. The S-600 has taken three years to bring to market and marks the company's evolution of designing and manufacturing loudspeakers. Features include Naim's Balanced Mode Radiator midrange/high frequency drive unit, the first use of BMR technology in a high-end loudspeaker, a claimed zero discontinuities of crossover or dispersion in critical voice band. The Ovator S-600 employs low-distortion high-linearity bass drivers while there is an isolating enclosure positioned by leaf-springs, as the cabinet is isolated from plinth and crossover by a leaf spring. The plinth is made from high pressure die-cast material with adjustable stainless steel spikes. The new technology called Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) technically delivers two advantages. There is no crossover point right in the middle of the frequencies where the ear is most sensitive, so as such the Naim BMR covers six octaves from the mid bass to beyond the hearing of even a young child. The Naim BMR drive units comprises of a honeycomb diaphragm driven by a voice-coil immersed in a twin-neodymium magnet system optimized for linearity through finite-element analysis. The pressure die-cast chassis provides the rigidity necessary to ensure that undesirable effects are virtually eliminated. Frequency response (in room) is from 28 Hz to 35 kHz, sensitivity is 88dB/W/m and nominal impedance is 4 Ohm (minimum Impedance 3.2 Ohm). Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Naim Stageline phonostage with Flat-Cap 2 power supply (click here), the N-Sat small bookshelf loudspeaker (click here) and Naim's X Series complete system (click here).

 

05 / 28 / 09

Microsoft Corporation Zune HD  Microsoft Corporation just announced their evolution of the Zune portable audio/video device, dubbed the Zune HD. Due to the Zune HD's XBox LIVE awareness, available also in the fall for International customers, this marks an important development in the Zune strategy and brings the Zune brand to more than 17 million international Xbox LIVE subscribers. In addition, Microsoft confirmed the next generation of the Zune portable media player will be the first portable media player that combines a built-in HD Radio receiver, high-definition (HD) video output capabilities, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch screen, Wi-Fi and an Internet browser. "The Zune music player is an integral part of the overall Zune experience, and we're proud to be growing and extending our offering beyond the device," said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of the Microsoft TV, Video and Music Business Group. Zune will be a premium partner in the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace, including a catalog of TV and films to the platform. The bright OLED touch screen interface allows users to flip through music, movies and other content with ease, and the 16:9 widescreen format display (480x272 resolution) offers a premium viewing experience on the go. Naturally users can employ the Zune to feed their home video systems for even higher resolution via an HDMI audio/visual docking station (sold separately). There is no word on the exact audio specification, though one could assume it will handle 24-bit/192kHz. There is also no information from Microsoft as to what file formats it will handle or the storage capacity, though am sure there will be lossless audiophile music file-types supported as Microsoft has an in-house high-end audio/video studio and the Zune tends to sound much better than iPod devices. Judging from the thinness of the unit, one would assume it will be of the faster and more energy efficient solid-state memory variety versus a legacy small spinning hard drives.

 

Aperion Audio In-Wall 6-IWAudiophiles seeking high-quality in-wall loudspeakers can now turn to award-winning Aperion Audio with their new In-Wall 6-IW and In-Ceiling 6-IC speakers ($149 each). In addition to aimable 1-inch silk soft dome tweeters, the Intimus 6-IC In-Ceiling speaker features an angled 6.5-inch dual voice coil woven fiberglass midrange/woofer may be pointed toward the "sweet spot" during installation. The new Aperion architectural speakers are properly voiced to blend seamlessly with the rest of the Intimus line of award-winning speakers. "The advantage of aimable tweeters for in-wall speakers is that the directional treble frequencies can either be aimed into the listening area for most applications or away from the listening area in order to get a more diffuse, ambient sound that is desirable in surround sound use," says Aperion's lead audio speaker engineer Ken Humphreys. "And since this type of speaker may or may not get placed near bass-boosting side-walls, we felt it was important to have a bass adjusting feature. From a design point of view, this is fairly hard to do as it requires the woofer to have two voice coils, one of them dedicated to the bass adjusting signal from a separate section on the crossover." Both units have a frequency range from around 60 Hz to 22 kHz, a sensitivity of 88dB/W/m and present an 8 Ohm load. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Aperion Audio Intimus 5B monitor/bookshelf unit (click here), the 6T floorstander (click here) and Intimus 632-LR bookshelf and 634-VAC center channel units (click here).

 

Densen DNRGDenmark-based high-end audio company Densen DNRG power unit is available is either black or albino finish (600€). Say the 'word' DNRG fast and you will easily understand the name. The unit is a sophisticated power supply for most of Densen's products. It can be connected to all current Densen integrated amplifiers, tuners and the Densen top of the line B-250 preamplifier. DNRG comes in a DP-Drive size cabinet (1/4 of a standard Densen cabinet in width) and is complete with a built-in transformer and necessary cables. With over 100.000uF of storage capacity and filtering, the DNRG is said to be a significant upgrade to any Densen product.

 

05 / 27 / 09

The Audiophile Voice  Enjoy the Music.com now offers an Internet world premiere of the table of contents to Volume 13 Issue 3 of The Audiophile Voice. This issue features to CES 2009 show reports plus equipment reviews including the Kimber KabIe 12TC loudspeaker cable, the Lirpa iDlO transmitter, the McIntosh MCD301 SACD / CD player and Sound Science's Music Vault II music server. See this edition of The Audiophile Voice by clicking here.

 

NAD Masters Series M2 Direct Digital Stereo AmplifierNAD Electronics, the highly regarded manufacturer of high-performance audio/video components, just announced the availability of their Masters Series M2 direct digital stereo amplifier ($5999). NAD says that "The M2 can be thought of as a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) that directly drives a loudspeaker, but with the same precision as the very best low-level DACs. The M2's technology is far more sophisticated than the Class D analog amplifiers that are often erroneously referred to as 'digital.' In fact, the M2 is the first digital amplifier that can match the best linear amplifiers for low noise and distortion, delivering better than Class A sound with Class D efficiency." The NAD M2 amplifier is capable of delivering 250 wpc at 4 or 8 Ohms continuous power, and 500 wpc dynamic power. The M2 can also be said to represent a number of "firsts" as it is claimed by NAD to be the first digital amplifier to fully exploit the resolution potential of HD audio and a fully digital signal path, the first audio amplifier to use high-speed digital error correction to reduce distortion while maintaining full HD resolution, the first digital amplifier to fully implement digital closed-loop processing (a.k.a. error correction); and the first digital amplifier to implement a new technology called Direct Digital Feedback developed by U.K.-based Diodes Zetex Semiconductors Ltd. during its collaboration with NAD on the M2 project. The M2 uses a unique, custom implementation of Diodes Zetex's patented Direct Digital Feedback Amplifier (DDFA) architecture within a Xilinx field programmable gate array to provide a custom platform for blending DDFA technology with NAD's own innovations. As a result, the M2 redefines what is possible with digital amplifier technology. The M2's RS-232 serial interface allows it to be controlled from a PC or through advanced control systems like those from Crestron and AMX. A 12V Trigger and IR Input permit other popular control options, and add flexibility for home and studio use. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the NAD T763 surround sound receiver (click here), L53 DVD receiver (click here) and NAD's PP1 phonostage (click here).

 

Creative Technology Aurvana AirCreative Technology has added the Aurvana Air ($299.99) to their line of award-winning Creative Aurvana family of designer earphones and headphones. Combining premium comfort fit with excellent audio performance, the elegant Creative Aurvana Air is an avant-garde acoustic masterpiece. Crafted with precision, the Creative Aurvana Air's EaseFitT ear-hook design provides listeners with superior comfort over long hours of extended use. Its lightweight FlexniumT ear-hook leverages on Nickel-Titanium alloy (Shape Memory Metal) for a flexible and robust design while an inert coating renders it safe on sensitive ears. A soft rubber tip completes the design for a comfortable fit. This precise design is well complemented by the Creative Aurvana Air's luxurious champagne-gold finishing and polished metal accent that lends an air of timeless sophistication. Powerful Neodymium magnet with ultra-thin drivers and acoustically-tuned Bass-Slots deliver a visceral acoustic performance. Combine this with the high-purity OFC cabling and gold-plated plug makes the Creative Aurvana Air a higher-end proiduct for those seeking earphone-like music listening. The Creative Aurvana Air incorporates an intuitive cable-fit slider to manage excess cable and includes two pairs of foam ear cushions and an elegant leather pouch for storage and travel. The unit comes with a compact leather pouch with cable management holder for easy storage. Audio specifications are s frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, impedance of 32 Ohms and sensitivity of 102dB/mW at 1kHz.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
Linn GenkiThe new Linn Genki is a cost-effective alternative which offers high-quality, value for the dollar music reproduction. The Genki offers a direct connection into many of Linn's component systems. A new multi-function display and in an LK-style case, the Genki is designed so it can be connected directly to a power amplifier and loudspeakers for a compact CD system or be connected in the conventional way to a preamplifier. This versatile and flexible high quality source product has both fixed and variable volume control outputs that enable it to operate as part of a simple two room system. Connected to a conventional hi-fi system in one room, yet it can also supply a second room via its direct independent local volume control to another system! Analog outputs are via two pairs of single-ended RCA jacks, S/PDIF 75 Ohm digital output is also included. Digital to analog conversion is via Delta-Sigma at 24-bit resolution with HDCD decoding. Enjoy the Music.com reviewed the Linn Classik and Kan (click here), Katan monitor loudspeakers and Sizmik 10.25 self-powered subwoofer (click here) and Linn Sizmik 12.45 subwoofer (click here).

 

05 / 26 / 09

Norstone Design Kubben  Norstone Design claim to always on the cutting edge and seeking for the latest trends, so they have widened their product line with the launch the Kubben range. The Kubben range (composed of the Kubben and Kubben AV) may set a new trend in terms of design just like its elders. The Kubben and Kubben AV both combine rigorous lines and harmonious proportions for a Zen and contemporary range of furniture. With a trend for serenity, the dark wood contrasts with the white glass which looks like floating on that frame. The three shelves of the AV version can safely welcome a wide range of Home Theatre equipments. The top shelf of the hi-fi version is ideally located to place a turntable on it. The invisible steel structure is designed to maximize the reliability of the entire installation. The material quality as well as the nice proportions of the Kubben offer aesthetic and secure perspectives that will for sure exceed expectations. Available by June, the Kubben range will be retailed at the very affordable retail price of 269€ for the hi-fi version and 299€ for the AV version.

 

KR Audio Kronzilla DXL Dual Monoblock AmplifierKR Audio's new Kronzilla DXL dual monoblock amplifier (27,000 per pair) marks the companies continuous drive to offer the best amplification devices within he industry. Using a push-pull set of four KR T-1610 tubes, each monoblock produces at least 150 watts. It was a great wish of KR's customers to have a more powerful set of Kronzilla's to drive even the most 'difficult' loudspeakers so they can enjoy their favorite music at top volume levels. Also of note is that KR Audio is celebrating their 15 year anniversary. Especially for this occasion, the staff decided to introduce a new line of amplifiers using a push-pull circuit. Chief Engineer Marek Gencev has developed a completely new electronics circuit based on the often awarded single ended Kronzilla amplifier Riccardo Kron and Marek designed together. The new circuit also uses MOSfets and micro processing to drive and control the KR T-1610 tubes. The result is said to be "a very powerful and clean sound quality without any stress." Although the look of the Kronzilla DXL is the same as the 42 watt Kronzilla DM and the 100 watt Kronzilla DX, the difference is inside and the result of another new technical innovation. The new push-pull design is also available as "the VA880", an integrated version using a KR KT-88 quad at 70 wpc. A limited anniversary edition is available at 6900€ per unit. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the KR Audio 300B balloon triode tube (click here), the VA340 integrated amplifier (click here) and KR Audio Kronzilla DX monoblock amplifier (click here).

 

5 / 21  through 05 / 24, 2009

HIGH END 2009  For the tenth consecutive year Enjoy the Music.com will be reporting live from High End show in Germany. This year marks the 28th time in succession, connoisseurs of high-quality home entertainment electronics have the opportunity to admire the latest developments. Without a doubt this is Europe's leading consumer home entertainment electronics exhibit, with many manufacturers and distributors in attendance. Editor Steven R. Rochlin will be in attendance at the show and looks forward to meeting many of our readers and high-end consumer electronics manufacturers in Germany. To see Enjoy the Music.com's High End 2009 event coverage click here.

 

05 / 19 / 09

hi-fi+  Issue 65 (June 2009) of our hi-fi+ preview is now available on Enjoy the Music.com! This issue features many equipment reviews, including the Sennheiser HD800 headphones, Lehmann Black Cube Linear USB headphone amplifier/DAC, 26 dCS Puccini integrated CD/SACD player, 32 Naim HDX hard disk player, Pass Labs XP-10 preamplifier and XA160.5 monobloc power amplifiers plus much more! Within this issue editor Alan Sircom chimes in and says, "I am currently looking at the ways Hi-Fi Plus can go forward, both in terms of its style and editorial content. In this issue, the fruits of this investigation include long-form reviews — the six-page special on Pass Labs' pre/power combination — and short-form supplementary reviews, such as the one-page review of the Lehmann Black Cube Linear USB headphone amplifier, to accompany the Sennheiser HD800. We are also looking at follow-ups of important products, like the Vitas amplifier and cables. But while the magazine has got the decorators in, now's the perfect time to let me know what you think - good and bad. Otherwise, I'll just paint the whole magazine in purple and green stripes with yellow spots. Mmmmm... tasteful." To see the entire table of contents and read the complete editorial click here.

 

Headroom Ultra Desktop DACThe new HeadRoom Ultra Desktop DAC (UDAC pictured, $1299) is a stand-alone digital to analog converter with ESS Technology Sabre 9008 oversampling/DSP DAC at its heart. It will accept S/PDIF digital signals on coax and TOSlink optical connections, and digital audio from a computer with the amazingly easy-to-use USB connection. The UltraDAC accepts S/PDIF digital audio signals at standard rates and depths (44.1, 48, 96 and 192 kHz from 16 to 24 bit word depth) on both coax RCA and TOSlink optical connections, and will decode 44.1/16 digital audio from your computer via a standard USB connection. The front panel has indicators for sample rate lock lights, input selection switching, a switch to control internal noise shaping filters and a power on-off switch. Also new is Headroom's Balanced Ultra Desktop Amp (BUDA, $1699) that includes the company's now famous class-A biased Max electronics module with OPA627s and Jung Diamond Buffer discrete component headphone amplifier electronics. The BUDA can drive two regular pairs of headphones or one pair of balanced headphones, and will accept both balanced and single-ended audio inputs. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Headroom Total AirHead combo (click here), Cosmic and Maxed home headphone amplifiers (click here), Headroom's bi-amplified Audiophile Desktop Package (click here), and HeadRoom's Micro Headphone DAC and Amplifier combo (click here).

 

05 / 18 / 09

Furutech CF-201 and CF_202  Award-winning company Furutech will unveil at the 2009 Munich High End Society Show their Analog Pure Transmission technology for your valued vinyl. Furutech will also be taking the cover off three new Pure Transmission power distribution units and the CF-Series (carbon fiber and nonmagnetic stainless) connectors. Furutech's Pure Transmission Piezo Ceramic Carbon series products feature a "remarkable active system" construction. Furutech has created a unique material, nano-sized ceramic particles and powdered carbon, that are said to effectively couple for the piezo effect to occur. Nylon and fiberglass are incorporated into the construction as well, and the whole forms an extremely effective mechanically and electrically damped material. The Monza LP Stabilizer is precision finished and machined with a nonmagnetic stainless steel base plus top modules girdled by a layer of damping carbon fiber. Seen here are Furutech's new CF-201 and CF-202 Pure Transmission connectors that feature Alpha pure-copper rhodium-plated center conductor and nonmagnetic stainless steel body Carbon fiber and nonmagnetic stainless steel housing. The conductors are fixed by set screw or solder while a specially designed copper alloy set screw ensures stability. During the Munich High End 2009 event they will also be showcasing various new power distributors and cables. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Furutech Piezo Powerflux cable (seen here), the Evolution line of cables (seen here) plus Furutech won the  2008 CES Design Awards by Phil Gold (seen here).

 

Aragon and AcurusKlipsch, founded in 1946 by Paul W. Klipsch and now is one of America's longstanding loudspeaker manufacturers, has sold the Aragon and Acurus nameplates to Indy Audio Labs. Indy Audio Labs was founded in late 2008 with one goal in mind: to build the best future-ready audio rendering electronics for listening rooms and home theaters. Klipsch originally purchased selected assets such as Acurus and Aragon from th then privately held Mondial Designs Ltd. in 2001. Now, Klipsch has sold the rights to these electronics brands to two former Klipsch employees. According to Mike Klipsch, president of the Klipsch brand, Klipsch purchased the brands because in 2001 it was aggressively seeking new ways to enhance its sound experience and wanted to develop perfectly matched, electronic solutions under the Aragon name. However, a few years in, the electronics market underwent significant changes and Klipsch decided to cease production of the Aragon line in 2005 while still honoring warranty terms and offering customer support. "From that point on, we decided our product development and engineering teams needed to be completely focused on what we do best and that's building high-performance loudspeakers." Today, the discontinuation of Aragon has opened new doors for former Klipsch electronics engineers Rick Santiago and Ted Moore. These two industry veterans, with 36 years of experience combined, have co-founded a new independent startup company called Indy Audio Labs, LLC and plan on developing and marketing new products under the Aragon and Acurus names. Indy Audio Labs will also assume full responsibility for the ongoing service and support of existing Aragon and Acurus products. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Klipsch Reference RP-3, RC-3 and RS-3 system (seen here) and the Klipsch Reference RP-5 floorstanding loudspeaker (seen here).

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
Death of analog in the recording studio? Maybe not, though Studer has reportedly claimed to be ending their manufacturer of the A827 analog tape machine. Joe Bean of Studer says they plan on making only 100 more A827 analog machines with 60 of them allotted to the USA. Anyone who has entered a recording studio or two knows they will see an analog Studer of some vintage somewhere inside. Alas, demand for new analog Studer machines is at an all time low as more studios are moving into digital recording and storage via hard disc, MO-Drive or other methods.

Also featured 10 years ago today was that Analogue Devices offered a new chip that enables a then newly-achieved 192kHz sampling rate! Their AD1853 offers proprietary data conversion with multi-bit sigma-delta converter core. The AD1853 is fully backward compatible with current CD and DVD technology.

 

05 / 15 / 09

Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's May midmonth edition of the Review Magazine is now available! Updates include a world premiere of the new OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray disc player that handles SACD and DVD-Audio discs! Also available within this update is our letters page, more industry news plus new articles from the Boston Audio Society, Sound Practices and a manufacturer exposé concerning jitter!

Your Letters To Us!
You e-mail our staff and our expert replies.

Daily News: Audiophile news updated each weekday! 

World Premiere!
Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 116
OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player
Article By Dr. Bill Gaw

Boston Audio Society
Four Headphones, Only Two Ears
Article By Peter V.K. Brown

Sound Practices
Casual Reactions
Article By Herb Reichert

Manufacturer Article
Jitter in Digital Audio Data Streams
Article By Steve Nugent Of Empirical Audio

See the May 2009 midmonth Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

AK Fest 2009Enjoy the Music.com now offers our coverage of the AudioKarma Fest 2009! The 6th annual AudioKarma Fest, 2009 edition, was held May 3rd and 4th at the Embassy Suites Hotel, in Livonia, Michigan, hosted by website owner and co-founders David and Nancy Goldstein. Their hard work and dedication to both the site and the event made for a casual and enjoyable experience, much like a visit to their website. The AudioKarma discussion board is well known in enthusiast circles for living up to their credo of "All audio, no attitude". This year, the 'Fest was bigger and better than ever, having over 50 individual listening rooms and attended by over 1,000 audio enthusiasts. See Enjoy the Music.com's AK Fest coverage by clicking here.

 

05 / 14 / 09

French Flag  As reported on by Enjoy the Music.com on April 9th, while the United States of America is considering passing a law that essentially legalizes spying on your computer to find allegedly illegally shared music files, in France lawmakers are on the verge of passing the same type of law. While the initial vote in France to spy on Internet users failed to receive enough votes, yesterday the law passed in France's government's second attempt, with 296 votes for and 233 against. The United States government readily admits to spying on computer usage for years. The French proposal, called the "Création et Internet", also called the "three strikes" rule in which if someone is caught with illegal music files they could face stiff penalties and/or jail time. First and second offences would be noted by e-mail, while the third such offence would require the Internet provider to stop servicing the customer. A preliminary vote by France's Parliament is expected to pass and also is supported by President Nicolas Sarkozy. A document from this initiative states that "Over and above the consequences this has on the traditional physical media, the culture of pirated works is, today, the main obstacle to the development of legal downloads in our country." The memorandum also states that "However, penalties against illegal downloading exist, on the basis of the criminal offence of infringement of copyright: a maximum fine of €300,000 and up to three years imprisonment. They appear inappropriate however, as does the legal procedure in the event of ordinary pirating." You can read more at this link. In the United States of America, President Barack Hussein Obama may be considering signing the unConstitutional "Cybersecurity Act of 2009" that is reported to then give the government warrentless spying and dictatorial power over Internet usage. It begs the question, are Americans paying any attention to their highly diminished liberty and freedom?

 

Artisan Silver Star Interconnect Artisan Silver Cables, a cable specialist company based in England, has launched their new Silver Star entry-level pure silver interconnects (£99 for 1-meter length). Artisan's Silver Star is claimed to provide 85 to 90 percent of the performance of the company's "Silver Dream" yet for a fraction of the price. Despite the different appearance between the two, the construction is very similar. There are four high-purity solid silver conductors of the same thickness and purity as "Silver Dream" (but from a different source) in a braided Litz configuration and again insulated in Teflon. The insulated conductors are then covered in black weaved sheath. High silver-content solder is used. The RCA plugs used are less extravagant, yet still of high quality as they are manufactured by Neutrik. The all-metal body has proper gold plating.

 

DVD-RW Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
Dolby Digital has more than ten licensees working to implement Dolby Digital encoders for the consumer market!  The three approved implementations are Matsushita MN67735, Motorola DSP56362, and Pioneer DSP56303. These encoders can be used for re-writeable DVD (DVD-RW) in which DVD recorder can used as a new type of "digital VCR". Of course other uses for re-writeable DVD can range from computer data backup to a new line of digital camcorders!

NXT, known for their flat speaker technology, showned their newest technology called SoundVu. SoundVu is a complimentary technology to the NXT panels as it uses ultra-thin film technology which is claimed to be totally transparent and can be used on substrate polycarbonate plastics to laminated and toughened glass!  In normal human English this means the speaker can be part of a TV or computer screen and act as a speaker driver.

 

05 / 13 / 09

Avantgarde Acoustic  German hornspeaker specialist Avantgarde Acoustic is releasing a new model that pays tribute to the UNO, DUO and TRIO, which had remained visually unchanged over the past 20 years. Avantgarde Acoustic 'transforms' these products during this year's High End 2009 in Munich into its second generation of development. The new G2 product portfolio comes with unsurpassed technologies, craftsmanship and true 'superspeaker' dynamics. By using more powerful bass modules with Neodymium drivers, newly developed capacitors and its optimized internal wiring, the new G2 series is sound-wise the best Avantgarde Acoustic has ever made. And from its looks the new G2 series is significantly different from its well respected predecessors. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Avantgarde Acoustic Uno (click here), the Duo hornspeaker (click here) plus a think/review piece titled  Uptown Horns: The New York showcase for Avantgarde Acoustic loudspeakers and Viva amplifiers (click here).

 

 

HDtracksHDtracks, an online music site founded by David and Norman Chesky that offering high-resolution digital music downloads, (APO). Audiophiles seeking real Blues should check out these high resolution music downloads. Authentic Blues that makes your spine tingle! APO Records has but one goal - to capture deep, true Blues through audiophile recordings. From world-renowned Blue Heaven Studios, a church-turned-recording studio to our mastering facility and AcousTech Mastering, APO Records consistently spends more to bring deserving artists exceptional recordings. HDtracks offers very high resolution music downloads or lower quality CD-like 16-bit/44.1kHz DRM-Free FLAC file in AIFF or 320 kbps MP3 files.

 

05 / 12 / 09

HIGH END 2009  For the 28th time in succession, connoisseurs of high-quality home entertainment electronics have the opportunity to admire the latest developments at the HIGH END 2009 show in Munich, Germany. The HIGH END is Europe's leading provider for their consumer home entertainment electronics exhibit, with many manufacturers and distributors in attendance. The HIGH END started their event in 1982 at Düsseldorf, then subsequently took place in Frankfurt for 21 years and relocated to Munich in 2004. These moves have been due to great expansion as the show continues to be the most popular European event. The very large Munich Operation Center (M.O.C.) in the North of Munich has played host to the oldest trade fair of this kind in Europe. Their 2009 event details are as follows:

Location: M.O.C. Munich Lilienthalallee 40  80939  München-Freimann
Duration: 21st through 24th of May 2009
Trade Day: Thursday, May 21st 2009 (only by pre-registration)
Open: From 10am to 6pm
Entrance fee:
       Trade visitors: 20€ with pre-registration (the badge is valid for all days)
       Public: 10€ / day
       20€  family ticket (for 2 adults and up to 3 children)

This year will mark Enjoy the Music.com's tenth consecutive year covering this event. See our previous reports of each year's show: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000.

 

05 / 11 / 09

ATC P1 Stereo Amplifier  ATC, a company that was formed in 1974 by Billy Woodman to manufacture custom drive units for the professional sound industry as all products are designed and hand-built in England, now offers their new P1 stereo 150 wpc power amplifier ($3700). Developed and built in house, the new P1 dual mono power amplifier utilizes ATC's latest generic chassis, with a precision machine 0.5-inch brushed aluminum front plate. The modular power circuitry, allows visual and performance compatibility throughout the ATC electronic product range, with each unit being hand built using dual mono circuits and massive power supplies. The Class A/B design of the P1, utilizing ATC's unique "grounded source output stage" achieves a distortion figure better than -95dB (0.002 percent) and very high stability, allowing control of difficult impedance loads. Both balanced XLR and phono inputs are provided along with amplifier linking facility for bi and tri-amplification configurations. Frequency response is from 2 Hz to 400 kHz and the unit is backed by a six year warranty. Enjoy the Music.com offers a manufacturer article by ATC titled Loudspeaker Technology Active Versus Passive Loudspeakers (click here to read it).

 

Holland Shielding Systems MuFerroHolland Shielding Systems, established in 1985 to serve the electronics industry, has developed a new material for shielding / screening low frequent magnetic fields. These fields are generated by installations in which high currents flow such as places where there are large transformers, power lines, busbar systems and nearby high-voltage cables. The frequency of these magnetic fields is typically 50/60 Hz, yet the newly designed MuFerro material is suitable for magnetic shielding in frequency ranges from 10 Hz to 100 kHz and provides upwards of 95 percent field-strength reduction. MuFerro combines permeable and satiety characteristics which makes it extremely suitable for screening low-frequent magnetic fields and their product comes with a 10-year guarantee.

 

Audio Note Zero System Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
As first seen world-wide on the Enjoy the Music.com Milan Show report, just hitting the American shores is their new Audio Note Zero system. The Audio Note DAC Zero uses a 24-bit/96kHz DAC-Zero processor. The analog uses a single 6111WA miniature valve which is claimed to last approximately 100,000 hours! The matching transport as seen on top includes a wireless remote control and offers a 75 Ohm digital output. Matching structure is the M-Zero line level pre-amp. The M Zero preamplifier as seen in the middle also uses the 6111 WA tube and offers four inputs plus a tape out. Two sets of preamplifier output are included for bi-amplification. The bottom pieces are the  P Zero monoblock power amplifiers uses two ECL882 tubes per unit for a total output of 8 watts. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Audio Note DAC 2.1x Signature (click here), their Kit 1 amplifier (click here), top line DAC 5 Special (click here) and have two manufacturer articles including Audio Note Transformer Design Philosophy by Andy Grove and Peter Qvortrup (click here) plus Audio Note Ongaku article by Hiroyasu Kondo (click here).

 

05 / 08 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com, an industry leader in consumer electronics audio equipment and music reviews for approximately 15 years, is celebrating 10 years of delivering audiophile news online. With thousands of state-of-the-art products highlighted over the past decade, all accessible from our easily searchable database, millions of online consumers are able to learn about the latest and greatest products as they become available. Updated every weekday, visitors can rest assured if a product is making big news they can learn about first within Enjoy the Music.com. "I am humbled and happy to realize that, in total, our archives now hold ten years of consumer electronics industry news online," said Editor Steven R. Rochlin. "With millions of visitors to Enjoy the Music.com over the years, if they are interested in a certain product or technology odds are we have extensively covered it. Our readership can find a vast array of information within our industry news plus we may have reviewed several products employing that specific technology. It is all easily accessible via our search engine, which provides many parameters to gather the information visitors are looking for. Thanks go out to everyone for making the past 15 years so enjoyable and Enjoy the Music.com looks forward to delivering the next 10 years of high-end audio industry news online."

 

The Absolute SoundEnjoy the Music.com now offers a world premiere of the June / July 2009 edition of The Absolute Sound (Issue 193) featuring the complete table of contents and editorial! This edition features the magazines Golden Ear Awards plus is filled with many new equipment reviews and think pieces. Equipment reviews within this edition includes the Primare DVDI10 CD/DVD receiver, TW Acustic Raven One turntable, DaVinci Audio Labs Reference Grandezza phono cartridge, Logitech's Transporter network music player, Goldenote S-1 Signature integrated amplifier and Koala CD player, Krell S-300i integrated amplifier... and the Focal Grande Utopia EM loudspeaker. Within this issue's editorial titled Space — The Final (Sonic) Frontier it says "CES provides an annual microcosm of the state of the audio art. This year, I heard a profusion of systems exhibiting audiophile virtues such as midrange purity, high and low frequency extension, finely gauged dynamics, holographic soundstaging, and precise imaging. Yet while I was deeply impressed with the timbral veracity and dynamic dexterity of these systems, I was surprised to find myself unconvinced when it came to their spatial accuracy..." You can see the table of contents and read the complete editorial by clicking here.

 

05 / 07 / 09

Atlantic Technology Speakers  Atlantic Technology has introduced three new compact speaker systems plus a new line of subwoofers. The new lineup marks the most substantial redesign of the company's freestanding speaker offerings in over five years. The new compact speaker introductions consist of three separate multichannel speaker systems, designated the Atlantic Technology System 1400, System 2400, and the THX Select certified System 4400; these series replace the company's acclaimed System 1200, 2200, and 4200e. Each of these series consists of three models, a two-way LR front channel speaker, two-way horizontal MTM center channel, and a dipole/bipole selectable surround channel speaker. New features across the Atlantic Technology offerings include the addition of the company's LRT (Low Resonance Tweeter) in the System 1400 and 2400, new on-wall mounting capabilities for the System 4400, and updated aesthetics to match the company's larger floorstanding speaker lines. Also, an entirely new speaker, the dipole/bipole selectable System 1400 SR-Z, is expected to find widespread application as the height channel speaker in home theater systems equipped with the new Dolby ProLogic IIz audio technology. The 1400 SR-Z is also well suited for conventional applications as the left/right or rear surround channels in 5.1 and 7.1-channel music and theater systems. Atlantic has also introduced its new line of SB powered subwoofers. The line includes a new, more powerful 350 watt version of the popular 642e SB, as well as three all-new models, the 325 watt 444 SB, the 220 watt 334 SB, and the 180 watt 224 SB. Each of the models features a long-throw composite cone woofer in a sealed acoustic suspension enclosure, as well as the company's proprietary CFT (Clear Filter Technology) for crisp, precise bass response. The series is designed to provide high-quality deep bass output levels to suit a wide range of room sizes and listening preferences. All of the new Atlantic Technology speaker systems and subwoofers will be available in late May. Suggested retail pricing for complete 5.1-channel systems ranges from $1680 to $3800, depending on series, subwoofer, and configuration.

 

Computer Audiophile SymposiumComputer Audiophile is proud to announce the inaugural Computer Audiophile Symposium ($279) to take place at world-renowned Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California June 27 and 28. Never before has an event demonstrated this complete musical chain. Experience everything from a live acoustic performance to a high resolution digital recording to the state of the art in computer-based playback. Witness legendary Recording Engineer and product innovator Prof. Keith O. Johnson capture this live performance. Industry leaders including Mastering Engineer Paul Stubblebine, Reference Recording's Marcia Martin, Sonic Studio's Jonathan Reichbach, Berkeley Audio Design's Michael "Pflash" Pflaumer, and representatives from Meridian-Sooloos will illustrate every step in the chain from performance to playback. In addition to these well recognized panelists, Matan Arazi will debut a groundbreaking music server and his approach to developing this all-out assault on computer based-playback. The Computer Audiophile Symposium will consist of two identical sessions the weekend of June 27th & 28th, 2009. Food and Beverages will be served at both sessions. Each session will be at least four hours in length (breaks included). Parking is available in the Fantasy Studios lot at no additional cost. There are a very limited number of tickets available for each session as this is a very intimate setting. The sessions will both be held in Studio A with the live recordings to take place in Studio D.

 

05 / 06 / 09

Auralex Great Gramma Equipment Platform  Auralex, founded in 1977 with the desire to provide room acoustic control products with unique benefits yet at cost-effective pricing, offers their Gramma and Great Gramma resonant control platforms ($60 and $90 respectively). The Gramma (Gig and Recording, Amplifier and Monitor, Modulation Attenuator) is a very effective patented device that is used to 'float' an amplifier or loudspeaker. This unit is said to yields nearly total acoustic isolation, resulting in a purity of tone and enhanced music playback sound quality. Gramma and Great Gramma both come complete with a carrying handle, road-ready carpet, Studiofoam Wedges (underneath) and PlatFoam (underneath). While both units can handle gear upwards of 300 lbs, the Great Gramma does the same thing, yet is a bigger platform for physically larger gear. The Gramma is 23 x 15 x 2.75 while the Great Gramma is 30 x 19 x 2.75 (LxWxH in inches).

 

TACET Beethoven Symphonies, Ludwig van Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8TACET offers new Beethoven title while also considering the possibility of changing digital disc formats as demand dictates. TACET's Beethoven Symphonies, Ludwig van Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8 with the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Wojciech Rajski [DVD-Audio 0149-3, barcode 40 09850 014935]. TACET music label recognizes the current situation with SACD, DVD-Audio and Blu-ray disc regarding surround sound and may indeed be shifting towards favoring the Blu-ray, which Enjoy the Music.com has previously reported on. TACET's letter is below:

Dear Music Lover,

At TACET, when it comes to new technology and formats we place high importance on good surround sound (TACET Real Surround Sound and Moving Real Surround Sound). TACET has a solid base of satisfied customers who listen to surround sound. Which of the three formats promises to be the most interesting for our customers in the future?

SACD (Super Audio CD): Recently, more SACD players have come onto the market playing back only stereo recordings and not multi-channel (surround sound) ones. It would seem that many manufacturers do not believe that the surround sound SACD has a future. There is good reason to doubt that the SACD will become the market leader for surround sound, in view of the high manufacturing costs (two layers to ensure compatibility with the CD) and a low level of SACD player owners amongst surround sound listeners.

Blu-ray Disc: It is not compatible with SACD or DVD-Audio. It sounds good, but not any better than the other two. Customers interested in surround sound are (almost) sure to own a DVD player and often an SACD player too. If they wanted to use a new format they would have to invest in both a new player and a new disc collection. In the longer term, in the best case there will be three formats rather than two, all of which must be playable. That is, if the Blu-ray Disc is to be an alternative to pure audio formats at all, in addition to its function as a movie medium.

DVD-Audio: In its original format the sound quality and capacity are ideal. With a minimal reduction in quality it is compatible with DVD-Video and will thus in the foreseeable future be playable on any surround equipment in the world.

Conclusion: TACET will continue to offer DVD-Audio and SACD. For the reasons we have stated, we will wait to see what happens with Blu-ray Disc. If Blu-ray should turn out to gain acceptance in the audio sector worldwide, TACET can still bring out Blu-ray discs at short notice. At the moment, however, this would probably be counter-productive and unsettle our satisfied customers. TACET is making a clear statement: starting from now we are releasing ten new DVD-Audios in tried and tested TACET Real Surround Sound (one per month). 

Yours Sincerely,

Andreas Spreer
TACET GmbH

 

05 / 05 / 09

Densen B-175 Stereo Integrated Amplifier  Densen, headed by Thomas Sillesen who at the age of 13 made his first amplifier, has launched their B-175 stereo integrated amplifier (£6800). The B-175 is the company's most powerful integrated and merges the technology of Densen's two current top-of-the-line products; the B-250 preamplifier and B-350 monoblocks. Densen's B-175 delivers 125 wpc @ 8 Ohm (250 wpc @ 4 Ohm) with an ease and control. Large recessed heat sinks allows for the amplifier to run with a high bias, thereby securing that most power in normal listening conditions are delivered in Class A. The power supply is made with a toroidal transformer, encapsulated for isolation of vibrations to the main PCB, and with separate outputs to all critical stages of the power and preamp sections of the B-175. As always with Densen, it contains custom-made capacitors made especially for the circuit in which they are used. No less than 15 custom-made capacitors is used in the power supply of the B-175. Further to that, for the first time ever in a Densen amplifier, there is used Densens own film capacitors. These film capacitors are the result of a long research of the behavior of capacitors in critical paths of amplifiers. Furthermore, the B-175 contains no less than ten separate voltage regulators, many implemented as SMD voltage regulators, placed close to where the power is needed. While the internal power supply is impressive, like other Densen products users may choose to employ the company's advanced DNRG external power supply. Also optional internally is Densen's advanced SAXO electronic crossover for true active performance in a high-end system.

 

Rotel RC-1550 PreamplifierRotel, a home audio electronics manufacturer known worldwide for creating components for nearly five decades, offers their new 15 Series home audio/video components. The RA-1520 stereo integrated amplifier ($999) produces 60 wpc @ 8 Ohms and provides for multiple inputs plus a moving magnet phonostage. Rotel's new RCD-1520 CD player ($999) utilizes a segmented power supply with a large toroidal transformer to minimize power supply "sag" and reduce hum emissions. All rectifiers, voltage regulation components and BHC low-ESR storage capacitors are carefully selected, not only for tight tolerance specifications, but in particular, for their sound quality. The new RC-1580 preamplifier ($1299) is designed for the hi-fi purist in terms of its minimalist approach and absolute musical fidelity. Component parts such as an oversized toroidal power transformer and special BHC capacitors, along with circuit topology, have been carefully selected to obtain the best sound possible. For those who want the best of both audio and video worlds a unity gain stage has been included to enable a surround processor to feed straight through to the power amplifier thereby bypassing the volume control. The RC-1580 includes a low noise MM/MC phonostage with discrete, differential input stages, as well as CD, Tuner, and two AUX inputs. The preamplifier can be controlled by RS-232, or IR input. A tone defeat, media input socket, phones socket and remote control is included. Rotel also offers their RC-1550 preamplifier (pictured), RB-1582 and RB-1552 power amplifiers in this new range of products ($699, $1499 and $899 respectively). Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed quite a few products from Rotel including their RA971 stereo integrated amplifier (click here), RCD-971 CD player (click here), Rotel's RC-1070 preamplifier and RB-1050 amplifier (click here), plus their RA-1062 integrated amplifier (click here).

 

05 / 04 / 09

Ypsilon BC1 And MC10 / MC16 / MC20 Step-Up Transformer  Aaudio Imports has announced the availability of the Ypsilon BC1 balanced to unbalanced signal unit plus the Ypsilon MC10 / MC16 / MC20 moving coil cartridge step-up transformer ($3600 and $2700 respectively). The BC1 balanced converter employs a transformer to convert a single ended two phase electrical signal to that of a three lead balanced. Advantages are claimed to be for breaking ground loops in a system, lowering the total noise floor due to the nature of a balanced signal and improving the interface between equipment by providing galvanic isolation. Each BC1 Transformer has two inputs, one RCA Nextgen connector and One female XLR Neutrik connector with pin 1 and pin 3 grounded. The output connector is a XLR male Neutrik connector. On the XLR pin 1 is the center tap of the secondary coil that is connected at pin 2 and 3 respectively. This allows for the standard pin 2 hot as found in virtually all audio gear. While there is no gain, frequency response is from 4 Hz to 250 kHz (-3dB) and induction is <200H.

The Ypsilon MC10 / MC16 / MC20 moving coil step up transformers are named as such for their ability to provide gain of 20dB, 24dB or 26dB respectively. Developed in conjunction with the Ypsilon VPS100 phono preamplifier, these new units bring a low moving coil signal to that of a moving magnet, so users still need a phonostage to provide RIAA equalization. These units are basically large transformers that are single C-core double coil that use a proprietary amorphous core material. Special winding techniques were developed in order to minimize inter-winding capacitances, maintain wide frequency response plus are overall optimized sonically to be as transparent as possible. The sensitive transformers are shielded with mu-metal and are potted in 10mm thick soft iron nickel coated enclosures providing immunity to outside magnetic fields and a quiet and noise free performance. Minimum frequency response from these units are 8 Hz to 60 kHz with an inductance of <80H.

 

05 / 01 / 09

Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's May edition of the Review Magazine is filled with some delicious treats to satisfy your audiophile palette. Dr. Gaw covers the Black Ravioli, more Montreal show coverage, two world premieres of audiophile gear not to be missed plus much more!


Daily News: Audiophile news updated each weekday! 

Viewpoint
Our May Banquet Of Reviews
Satisfying your hunger for audiophile treats.

Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 115
Black Ravioli And Ravenous Audiophiles

Flashback: Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 78
Mea Culpa & Thor Power Distribution System

Flashback: The Role Audio Skiff And Gallo Adiva Ti

 

Audiophile Show Coverage
Part III Now Online!
Salon Son & Image 2009 Show Report
Electronics And Entertainment In Canada

 

Audiophile Equipment Reviews
Budget Monitor Loudspeaker Shootout!
The Aperion Audio Intimus 5B, Axiom Audio M2v2 and Paradigm Mini Monitor v.6

World Premiere!
Coincident Speaker Technology Triumph Extreme Signature Loudspeakers
A versatile, transparent sound for the best high-end systems.

World Premiere!
Shuguang Treasure Series Vacuum Tubes Series 6CA7 And KT88
These Aren't Your Grandfather's Fire Bottles

Flashback: Axiom Audio EP500 Subwoofer

Flashback: Dared MP-5 Vacuum Tube Amplifier

 

Music Reviews
Classical Music
From Harmonia Mundi, a fabulous, great-sounding "chamber" presentation of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.

Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra give us a wonderful Mahler Fourth in glorious sound. Definitive? Maybe so.

From Telarc, a brilliantly played and recorded Four Seasons.

Want something off the beaten path?
Try this bargain 3-CD set of music by Alexander von Zemlinsky. 

Jazz, Folk, Bluegrass, Blues, Etc.
Kirsten Scott Benson Second Season
Bruce Robison His Greatest
Hank Williams The Unreleased Recordings
Various Bluegrass, Blues And Jazz Albums

Rock, Alternative, Etc
La Fleur Fatale Night Generation
Thin Lizzy Still Dangerous
REM Murmur Deluxe Edition
Johnny Winter Saints & Sinners/John Dawson Winter III

See the May 2009 Review Magazine by clicking here.


 

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