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High-End Audio, High Fidelity Audiophile Industry News


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Industry News

05 / 30  to  06 / 01

T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2014  The Home Entertainment Show Newport Beach (T.H.E Show) 2014 marks the fourth year of this informative, fun, and relaxing southern California event. Taking place from May 30th through June 1st at the Hilton Hotel and Atrium Hotel Orange County Airport on MacArthur Blvd., T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2014 high-end audio event featured hundreds of manufacturers from around the world! T.H.E. Show Newport Beach will showcase state-of-the-art digital audio systems, top-quality headphones and PMP units, ultra-rare tube amplifiers, large floorstanding speakers, small wireless speakers, headphones, rare vinyl records and so much more! The Atrium Hotel courtyard offers nearly continuous live entertainment during the day — poolside will be the place to be. In the evening there is DJ entertainment at the Poolside Bar. Show attendees benefited from a variety of educational seminars on timely audio/video topics moderated by manufacturers and editors.

 

05 / 23 / 14

Hi-Fi World Magazine  Australian Hi-Fi's latest edition is now online here on Enjoy the Music.com. This issue includes reviews of the Evolution Acoustics MMMicro One loudspeakers, Pro-Ject Elemental turntable, Creek Evolution 50A integrated amplifier, Definitive Technology SC4000 subwoofer, Neodio Origine CD player/DAC and more! The editorial by Noel Keywood says, "Ya gotta love the hi-fi industry. After inventing and popularising a format* that delivered the best sound the great majority of consumers had ever experienced in their own homes, the self-same industry has been driving sound quality backwards ever since... I blame the Germans. And no, not Dieter Seitzer and Karlheinz Brandenburg, but Eberhard Zwicker and Richard Feldtkeller. Although Brandenburg worked for the Fraunhofer Institute and is often called the 'father of MP3' because he'd been researching methods to compress music since 1977 and Seitzer was a professor at the University of Erlangen who was involved in similar research, it was Zwicker and Feldtkeller who started the whole thing, 'way back in 1967 with their book 'Das Ohrals Nachrichtenempfänger' (The Ear as a Communication Receiver) where they proposed that it was possible to remove information from a music signal without affecting the ear's ability to perceive the end result as music because, as they wrote in their preface: 'For communication systems [specifically referencing telephones and radio signals] to be cost-effective, they must aim at transmitting only parts of the signal that are relevant to the purpose of the system and, most importantly, only parts that are perceivable by the listener.' In other words, lossy compression." See the complete table of contents and editorial of Australian Hi-Fi by clicking here.

 

05 / 22 / 14

Hi-Fi World Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com has just posted Hi-Fi World's July 2014 edition including the complete editorial and table of contents. This issue includes reviews of the Chord Hugo DAC, Sony HAP Z1 ES, McIntosh MA8000 integrated amplifier, Spendor D7 loudspeakers, Magneplanar MG 1.7 loudspeakers, Oppo PM-1 magnetic planar headphones, EAT E-Glo phonostage, Origin Live turntable belt/Ortofon LW-7N lead wires and more! The editorial by Noel Keywood says, "For us, this was a particularly fascinating issue because of the problems we encountered with products under review. Looking back on the action I do worry slightly that we seem to be getting bogged down in digital issues so complex and obscure, no-one could understand them. Are we unwittingly learning to accept a degree of digital complexity that does not sit well with the real-world?" See the complete July table of contents and editorial of Hi-Fi World by clicking here.

 

Futuresource ConsultingWith Spotify online music service just announcing 10 million subscribers, we here at Enjoy the Music.com feel the need to offer some research to ponder. According to research site Futuresource Consulting, consumer spend on global music subscription services such as Spotify and Deezer was estimated to be just under $2 billion in 2013. There is still significant potential for the market to grow. Music subscriptions accounted for just 10% of the total music market spend last year, equivalent to around 25% of the digital music market. This is expected to exceed $5 billion in 2017, equivalent to 30% of global music market spend. In comparison, spend on online video subscription services such as Netflix last year was almost $5 billion. In Sweden, music streaming accounted for around 70% of total market spend in 2013, up from around 20% in 2010. Paid-for streaming subscriptions are increasingly driven by in-home wireless audio products, such as wireless speakers, Sonos and integrated Hi-Fi with airplay, Bluetooth and the like. Global shipments of wireless home audio products grew by over 100% in 2013 to reach 27 million units. Futuresource's latest Living With Digital consumer research indicates that owners of such devices are 2.5 times more likely to pay for a digital music subscription compared to the overall population.

 

05 / 21 / 14

Autonomic Mirage MMS-2A Music Player  Autonomic's new Mirage MMS-2A music player ($1995) supports high resolution audio, includes a SSD for storage and provides USB and coaxial digital outputs. The Mirage MMS-2A delivers 24-bit/96kHz quality audio through three independent streams to a multi-room system as large as 96 zones. As one of a new generation of cloud-based media servers, the MMS-2A will store, sync, schedule and stream an entire music collection along with the most popular online streaming services. Autonomic has equipped the MMS-2A with a highly reliable solid-state drive, whisper quiet fanless cooling and the versatility of a 1RU rack-mountable chassis. The MMS-2A also delivers access to the most popular streaming services including Pandora Internet radio, Rhapsody, TuneIn Radio, SiriusXM Internet radio, Slacker, Napster and Spotify. There are two onboard AirPlay receivers enabling guest computer/device streaming, and Autonomic's exclusive TuneBridge technology that makes it easier than ever to listen to, discover and explore your favorite music styles and genres. The MMS-2A is available with pre-programmed modules to integrate with all of the major control systems: Crestron, RTI, Control4, Elan, AMX, and more. Alternative control options include the Mirage Media Controller app for iOS and Android devices, Airplay control and the Mirage Web Interface. Autonomic is now offering Mirage Audio System 2 or 5-stream base packs leveraging the MMS-2A and MMS-5A music players, giving integrators a complete range of high-resolution whole-house audio distribution systems.

 

Astell&Kern AK120 IIAstell&Kern will be officially debuting their second generation AK100 II and AK120 II high resolution portable audio players for the first time in the United States at T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach on Friday, May 30th. Announced at High End 2014 Munich, the new AK100 II and AK120 II are the latest players in the Astell&Kern high resolution portable player line. Building upon the success of the 1st generation AK100 and AK120, the AK100 II and AK120 II add new features found in the flagship AK240 launched in 2014. The new AK100 II provides balanced out as proven in their flagship model to be incredibly useful for improving sound quality. The AK100 II employs a re-tuned A-Amp designed specifically for the CS4398 DAC. Playback includes all major file types and it handles 24-bit/192kHz and up to DSD128 plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. For the new AK120 II, Astell&Kern uses the CS4398 Dual DAC and the balanced output method with sound quality proven through their flagship model. The AK120 II provides "the weighty sound through the CS4398 Dual DAC and the A-amp, while providing delicate melodies through the balanced output" says the company. With 24-bit/192kHz and DSD128 decoding, you also get full Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. Both models use a 3.31"  WVGA (480 x 800) AMOLED touchscreen and can play back WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE (Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, and AIFF files. As improvements in the GUI and performance are developed, firmware upgrades are extremely easy via Wi-Fi over the air (OTA) download.

 

05 / 20 / 14

Kissteria – The Ultimate Vinyl Road Case  Legendary rock band KISS is soon going to be releasing their new KISSTERIA vinyl LP box set ($1750) to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary. KISSTERIA comes in a true road case that contains 34 LPs and features 19 studio albums, five Alive releases and their four solo albums pressed onto audiophile 180 gram vinyl. Also included are six exclusive vinyl albums not available via any other offering. With all audio newly remastered in ultra-high definition DSD (Direct Stream Digital), KISSTERIA – The Ultimate Vinyl Road Case offers the band's music in maximum fidelity treatment for each iconic album. Additional bonus items include twelve 11" x 17" archival posters including the band's very first promo poster, KISS vinyl cleaning cloth, KISS turntable mat, KISS dominoes set, four band lithographs highlighting four decades of the band and a certificate of authenticity proudly displaying the limited edition number of each box set. Weighing nearly 50 pounds when fully assembled, only 1000 fans worldwide will be lucky enough to own this incredible vinyl box set.

 

Weiss Engineering MAN301DAC-AWeiss Engineering is celebrating their 30th anniversary by offering a limited edition MAN301 network player. The specially manufactured gold plated MAN301DAC-A will be exclusively offered only during 2014. The MAN301DAC-A uses a new DAC section with the company's discrete single ended output Operational Amplifier (the OP1-BP) design. This design employs a discrete, balanced output OP-Amp design that performs at a very high quality sound level. Existing MAN301SERVER or MAN301DAC units can be upgraded with the new DAC section. For analog output, both XLR balanced and single ended RCA analog output are provided. For digital input, the unit has Ethernet and Wi-Fi to stream from NAS drives, TosLink, AES/EBU, FireWire, S/PDIF, and USB. An iPad device with the Weiss MAN app provides remote control of the unit. Also included in the unit is Gracenote database support for metadata, cover art, lyrics, etc. All common audio file formats are supported including 192kHz/32-bit and DSD. The built-in CD transport gives users the ability to rip a CD in all common file formats. Weiss Engineering's MAN301DAC-A is software upgradeable via the Internet, with plans to provide various DSP facilities in the near future.

 

05 / 19 / 14

Krell Industries  Krell Industries new Vanguard stereo integrated amplifier ($3500) combines a 200 Wpc with a fully balanced Class A Current Mode preamplifier circuit and an optional DAC module. Enclosed in a chassis that borrows its design and construction from the new Krell Foundation series, they are offering an optional field-installable digital module with USB input, Ethernet audio streaming and apt-X Bluetooth. The Vanguard incorporates a large 750 VA toroidal transformer and 80,000 microfarads of storage capacitance to ensure plenty of electrical power to all the internal circuitry. Output power is 200 watts per channel into 8 Ohms; doubling to 400 Watts at 4 Ohms. Vanguard's preamplifier section borrows its fully balanced, fully discrete Class A circuit concepts from Krell's top-of-the-line Illusion preamplifiers. Krell's Current Mode technology assure clean signal bandwidth. A machined aluminum volume control accesses a sophisticated front-panel menu system that controls the Vanguard plus it provides features such as input naming, input trim, balance control and muting level. A home theater bypass mode lets the Vanguard serve as the core of a surround-sound system. Inputs include three stereo RCA and one stereo balanced XLR. Very high quality WBT speaker cable terminals provide a secure connection. There are 3.5mm jacks for IR input and 12-volt trigger input and output, as well as optional rack-mount ears. Additionally, the unit can be controlled with home automation systems through its Ethernet connection. The optional digital module includes USB, HDMI, S/PDIF coax and TosLink optical digital inputs. Ethernet music streaming is controlled through dedicated iOS and Android apps; and apt-X Bluetooth wireless for convenient streaming from phones, tablets and computers.

 

LKV Research Line One PreamplifierLKV Research just announced the company's Line One dual mono preamplifier ($3500). This new preamplifier provides features and flexibility that suit virtually every high end system and includes two balanced XLR and four single ended RCA inputs. There are also two XLR balanced and two RCA single ended outputs. In addition, the unit has three levels of user-selectable gain 4, 10 and 16 dB. Volume adjustment is via an Elma stepped attenuator and on the front panel is a Mute function. The LKV Research's Line One preamplifier is a dual mono design and has very low distortion and noise using zero-feedback, fully differential (balanced) Class A amplifier circuitry executed with discrete, plus hand matched LFETs. All resistors, with the exception of volume control, are Vishay/Dale 1% metal film and all signal path caps are Wima polypropylene. The power supply uses a custom designed toroidal transformer, low noise HEXFRED rectifier diodes and numerous stages of regulation and filtering.

 

05 / 15  to  05  / 18

Munich High End Show Report 2014 High End Society  This year marks Enjoy the Music.com's fourteenth year covering High End 2014 Munich audiophile event promoted by the prestigious High End Society. The High End Show is the international key exhibition for the high-quality consumer electronics industry. The High End event has been held an impressive 33 times in succession; and 2014 marks the 11th time at the MOC Munich. This makes the High End the oldest specialist exhibition in its field in Europe, now seen throughout the world as the central and most established hub of the industry. This event is Located at the M.O.C. Munich from May 15th through 18th, 2014. You can see our daily coverage of the High End 2014 show at this link.

 

Sneak Peek! World Premiere! 
Sonus faber Ex3ma Loudspeakers
Another milestone for the this Italian high-end speaker company.
Review By Matej Isak

Sneak Peek! North American Premiere! 
M2Tech Marley Headphone Amplifier
A top-flight, relatively compact, very stylish headphone amp.
Review By Tom Lyle

 

05 / 13 / 14

Albert Cllins In Concert  MusicFilmWeb, the online curator for music documentaries and concert films, has launched MusicFilmWeb.tv. This is a new home where passionate music fans can find, purchase and view music documentaries and concert films. MusicFilmWeb.tv will initially offer 40+ music focused titles from MVD Entertainment Group, plus films from other independent directors and distributors, with new titles added regularly. "Our mission has always been to connect passionate music fans with great music films and music documentarians with music fans," says MusicFilmWeb Chief Content Wrangler Andy Markowitz "There's a large supply of quality music films out there and a huge base of music-obsessed fans -- just not many places where the two can meet. Our goal is to bring them together through great content and experiences." MusicFilmWeb.tv offers music fans the chance to download or rent from a curated selection of unique music films. The starter catalog features everything from profiles of iconoclastic artists like guitar innovator John Fahey and actor/singer Harry Dean Stanton, to blues legends such as John Lee Hooker and Albert Collins in concert, to musical and cultural histories like Strange Fruit: The Beatles' Apple Records; My Career as a Jerk, a biography of iconic hardcore punk band the Circle Jerks; and No Fun City, a DIY look at the endangered underground music scene in Vancouver. MusicFilmWeb has secured both international and regional rights for films available on MusicFilmWeb.tv. Titles are offered in three currencies: USD, EUR and GBP depending on region. Prices range from 2.99 to 5.99 for streamed rentals and 7.99 to 19.99 on downloads. DVDs are also available for selected titles.

 

Constellation Audio Inspiration Series Preamplifier and AmplifiersConstellation Audio is pleased to announce the debut of their new Inspiration Series preamplifier and amplifiers at the High End Show in Munich Germany. Derived from their Reference and Performance Series components, the Inspiration Series components include the AMP 1.0, MONO 1.0, and PREAMP 1.0 ($10,000, $20,000 per pair and $9000 respectively). The amplifier and preamplifier are the first of the Inspiration Series components to be released, with an integrated amplifier, phono preamplifier, DAC, and media player to follow later this year. Murali Murugasu, CEO of Constellation Audio, states that the Inspiration Series "are landmark components that offer a unique value proposition to the high end audio customer. Their ability to deliver such high performance at a relatively modest price is unmatched in our industry." The company does everything in-house and utilize many of the same circuit topologies found in their more sophisticated designs. Inspiration power amplifiers are available in both stereo and monaural configurations and are designated AMP 1.0 and MONO 1.0, while the preamplifier is called PREAMP 1.0. The heart of the amplifiers' design is Constellation Audio's unique Balanced Bridged circuit topology, which combines multiple single-ended amplifier modules in a fully balanced design. To ensure a perfectly balanced signal, the AMP 1.0 and MONO 1.0 also incorporate the servo circuits in our Line Stage Gain Module to make certain that both halves of an incoming signal are perfectly balanced, no matter what the source. With AMP 1.0 delivering a conservatively rated 200 wpc into 8 Ohms (400 wpc into 4 Ohms) and MONO 1.0 delivering twice that into 8 and 4 Ohm loads respectively per chassis. Technologically, PREAMP 1.0 uses the same Line Stage Gain Module design in a fully balanced configuration as does its more costly siblings. Features include a home theater bypass, remote turn-on/turn-off capability, and a machined-aluminum remote control. PREAMP 1.0 is equally suited to be the centerpiece of a great music system or as an integral part of a multi-channel home entertainment system.

 

David Berning Company 211/ 845 OTL AmplifierThe David Berning Company will be debuting their 211/ 845 OTL amplifier ($73,000 per monoblock pair) at the High End 2014 show in Munich. The amplifier will automatically bias to 211 or 845 output tubes. No user adjustment is ever required. This output transformer less (OTL) design produces 60 watts per channel in Class A triode mode. The unit is differentially balanced, has zero global feedback and employs proprietary advanced switch mode power supplies with full Power Factor Correction for global plug and play operation. The new 211 / 845 OTL amplifier has constant output impedance over the entire audio spectrum utilizing the patented Berning ZOTL circuit. The amplifier can drive difficult dynamic loads within its power rating while the inherently low noise floor accommodates high efficiency loudspeakers. Stillpoints Ultra 5's, Ultra Bases and circuit board isolators are integrated for vibration control. Stillpoints cryogenic treatment is selectively utilized throughout the amplifier. Additionally, Stillpoints Aperture Room Treatments and Fono Acustica cables will be fully implemented during their Munich demonstration.

 

05 / 12 / 14

Lab12 Mighty Tube Amplifier  Lab12's new Mighty Class A, single ended vacuum tube stereo amplifier produces 10 wpc via one EL34 per channel. Features include the ability to choose either triode or ultra linear output, handcrafted custom audio grade transformers and a zero negative feedback design. The toroidal power transformer powers special audio grade matched parts in every stage. The pair of EL34 and 6n1p tubes are matched for channel balance for sound and output. Analog inputs are gold plated Teflon RCA and outputs are gold plated five-way binding posts. The tube sockets are also gold plated. Frequency response is from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, input impedance is 100 kOhms and output impedance is either 4 or 8 Ohms. Available chassis colors include Etna Black, Pearl White or custom color. The luxury paint of the 5mm aluminum face plate exists on the output transformers covers too, so the overall feeling of the device is really attractive and eye catching says the company. Dimensions are 43 x 19 x 29cm (WxHxD) and weight is 18.5 lbs.

 

Teufel Audio and hülsta Audio FurnitureTeufel Audio and hülsta have just presented their next generation of furniture with integrated audio. The furniture manufacturer hülsta introduces its SCOPIA and XELO range with integrated audio systems from Berlin hi-fi specialists Teufel. The collaboration between the Berlin hi-fi manufacturer Teufel and the furniture manufacturer hülsta from Stadtlohn has released their first sonic fruit. Media furniture from hülsta's SCOPIA and XELO ranges combine elegant furniture design with sophisticated home cinema sound. The integration of the sound components within the furniture was seamlessly executed. "Our cooperation already began in the product design phase," explained Teufel CEO Edgar von Velzen. "The Teufel components were custom-designed for the hülsta furniture units and imperceptibly integrated without acoustic compromise." hülsta's managing director Heiner Goossens added, "When developing the furniture, we took the acoustic and technical requirements into consideration and worked them into the design without compromising the overall look. In this way, the inherent qualities of hülsta's furniture and Teufel's sound were mutually promoted." The timeless look of hülsta's SCOPIA range garnered it the Interior Innovation Award. The complete sound system in the SCOPIA and XELO media lowboards are concealed behind a fabric front. So while you won't see the audio technology within, you'll hear a true-to-source, natural sound. All of the high-end micro speakers are positioned in such a way that they create a perfect sound image at the listening position. A compact, high-performance subwoofer brings amazing precision and dynamics to the lower range. An integrated control unit for a Blu-ray player, game console, or other playback device has been mounted on tracks so that the user can easily access a total of nine connections. With contemporary features for 3D video and high-resolution audio formats, the control unit makes the system compatible with all standard playback devices and future-proofs it against new developments. With all of the technological features, Teufel's developers and hülsta were careful to ensure that the system remained easy to use and could be operated with just a few easy steps. In this way, users are able to relax and concentrate on the most important thing: Enjoying the best possible sound packaged in a high-end, room-enhancing furniture unit.

 

AURALiC Aries SeriesAURALiC will soon debuts the company Aries series, which is the first product in the Lightning family, at the Munich High End 2014 show. The Aries LE is the standard model with low-phase noise crystal and standard external PSU whilst the Aries model step-up model includes two individual Femto Clocks for both USB audio host and digital outputs, low noise internal design to eliminate jitter and AURALiC Purer-Power based 10uV low noise external linear PSU ($999 and $1599 respectively). The Aries serves as a 'bridge' between music files on network storage or high quality online streaming services and the consumers' DAC -- enabling DACs for the first time to stream high-resolution music quickly and wirelessly in virtually any sampling rate, including DSD, Double-Rate DSD and DXD. Aries is powered by AURALiC's proprietary Telsa hardware platform that includes a Quad-Core ARM Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 onboard memory and 4GB internal storage. The Telsa platform has a calculation ability of 25,000 MIPS, more than enough to decode a vast spectrum of audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA. Inputs include dual-band high-speed Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 port. The outputs are USB audio host buffered by AURALiC's patented ActiveUSB technology; low jitter digital audio outputs: AES/EBU, Coaxial and TosLink. The USB audio host can deliver PCM from 44.1 to 384 KHz at 16-, 24- and 32-bit resolutions as well as DSD, Double-Rate DSD for compatible USB DAC. The other digital outputs are limited to 192 KHz at 24-bit in maximum according to S/PDIF standard. Aries is bundled with AURALiC's Lightning DS App. The App has the capability to fully control Aries to browse your music libraries on your network-attached storage (NAS), to steam high quality music content from service providers like Qobuz and WiMP, to control the playback and to select the hardware settings such as output channel and Wi-Fi network, etc. The App also supports Songcast, a music distribution service that allows users to map computer's sound to any Lightning-equipped system and to map sound between different Lightning systems in the house and streaming sound though Apple AirPlay.

 

Artisan Silver Cables The Nth DegreeArtisan Silver Cables has launched their new flagship pure silver interconnects called 'The Nth Degree'. Named after the phrase "to the nth degree", it means to the utmost degree; without limit. The new cable has twice as many pure silver conductors dedicated to carrying the delicate musical signal compared to their best-selling "Ultimate Silver Dream model. Therefore the music meets just half of the electrical resistance found in the Ultimate Silver Dream says the company. In addition, the cables have deep cryogenic treatment as standard. They are fitted with Furutech's top-of-the-range connectors: the CF-102R RCA plugs or the CF-601 XLR connectors. These are the same connectors used by the Crystal Cables Absolute Dream interconnects, which sell for over £10,000 in the UK. Artisan's flagship comes in a variety of lengths, starting at £624 for a half meter pair and maxing out at £999 for a 1.75 meter pair.

 

Audonet DNA1This year Audionet will be at the Munich High End 2014 event showcasing their range of products for both professional and public audiences. Audionet will celebrate the world premiere of their new integrated network stereo amplifier Audionet DNA I (€6990), which is an audiophile-grade 220 Watt into 4 Ohm amplifier. Multiple connection options provide playback of analog, digital or network based music including USB data, Internet Radio or UPnP media servers. The Audionet Apps (aMM for Android, iMM for iOS and RCP for JAVA) enable a sophisticated control of the DNA I by tablets and computers and provide features like play list control, media search and gapless playback. Furthermore Audionet is going to present another novelty at the High End Show: a new full metal Audionet remote control will be available very soon. The suggested retail prices will be €295 for the RC 1 and €345 for the RC 2.

 

05 / 09 / 14

High End Society QR Code  Today the High End Society has made available their High End 2014 Munich show app for all iOS and Android smartphones. Beside all relevant show facts, you will be able to find any brand exhibiting at the show and many other little services around the High End 2014 show in Munich. Just use your QR scanner on your smart phone to enter the app store and to download this useful application. Also now available is their special High End Reference book (€12 plus shipping) and will be delivered shortly after the Munich event. This book has over 530 pages and provides perhaps the best overview about all relevant manufacturers and distributors involved in the High End 2014 Munich show business. The book will also be available at the event or you can order it online at this link.

 

OPPO Digital HA-1 Headphone AmplifierOPPO Digital has just released their versatile and feature-packed HA-1 headphone amplifier ($1199). OPPO Digital's HA-1 headphone amplifier builds upon the success of the BDP-95 and BDP-105 audiophile players. Drawing upon the proven circuit design of these award-winning players, the HA-1 combines an uncompromising analog audio section with the latest technology in digital audio. The analog audio section of the HA-1 is a fully balanced design with an emphasis on keeping the audio signal in the analog domain once it leaves the DAC. The HA-1 is anchored by a hefty toroidal power transformer, and linear power regulators and filters with custom made capacitors ensure that the headphone amplifier has a clean power source with plenty of reserve energy. The fully balanced Class A power amplification section uses hand-picked and paired discrete components to ensure symmetry, and a motor-driven precision volume control knob allows for both manual and remote control volume adjustment while keeping the audio in a pure analog audio path. The HA-1 is especially suitable for high-resolution digital audio playback. Its digital inputs include coaxial, optical, balanced AES/EBU, and an asynchronous USB DAC. It is easy to connect the HA-1 to digital audio players or to a computer running the listener's favorite playback software. The USB DAC supports PCM audio up to 384kHz/32-bit resolution and DSD audio up to 256x the CD sample rate. The same ESS 9018 Sabre32 Reference DAC and output driving stage used in OPPO audiophile Blu-ray players ensure extremely low noise and low distortion performance. The HA-1 is compatible with Apple's iPod, iPhone and iPad for use as an external DAC, enabling the listener to directly tap into digital music played from these devices. For additional convenience, the Bluetooth audio transport with high quality aptX CODEC sets music free from your mobile phones with a performance boost. OPPO designs the HA-1 headphone amplifier provides users a choice of the 4-pin balanced XLR or the traditional quarter-inch headphone jack. Normal preamplifier Line Level analog inputs and outputs are provided with both RCA and balanced XLR sockets. With the unit being housed in an aluminum chassis, the familiar volume and source selection knobs are complemented by a 4.3-inch color screen for easy operation. While music is playing, the screen can show a classic VU meter, a modern spectrum display, or detailed technical information about the audio signal. A supplied IR remote and a smartphone app provide complete control and convenience.

 

Bob Marley Legend 30th Anniversary EditionOriginally released on May 8, 1984, Bob Marley's Legend illustrates the remarkable life and recording career of one of reggae music's most important figures. Coming soon is Bob Marley's Legend 30th Anniversary Edition that not only serves as the perfect introduction to the music of Bob Marley, it has become an essential part in every Marley collection. It remains the world's best-selling reggae album and continues to be one of the best-selling catalog albums, exceeding 15 million RIAA-certified copies in the United States alone and over 27 million worldwide. On July 1, 2014, Universal Music Enterprises celebrates the 30th Anniversary of Legend with the release of the CD/Blu-ray Pure Audio Disc combo set Legend 30th Anniversary Edition (Island Records/Tuff Gong/UMe). Coupled with the original release of Legend, this deluxe version features this iconic collection entirely mixed in 5.1 by the Grammy Award winning producer Bob Clearmountain on Blu-Ray Pure Audio Disc and now includes the original, early studio version of "No Woman No Cry," in lieu of the previous live version. Also featured are two, previously unheard alternate takes of "Easy Skanking" and "Punky Reggae Party" recently discovered in the Marley vault. Classic Marley anthems include "Three Little Birds," "Get Up Stand Up," "One Love/People Get Ready," "No Woman No Cry" and "I Shot The Sheriff," which was later a No. 1 hit for Eric Clapton, as well as "Jamming," "Exodus," "Redemption Song" and "Is This Love." Both the CD and Blu-Ray Pure Audio Disc are housed in a 28-page, casebound book featuring extended liner notes, unseen photos and forewords written by Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, and liner notes by author of the book Marley, Christopher Farley. Legend 30th Anniversary Edition will also be made available on tri-color vinyl (yellow, green and red) and pressed as a double gatefold LP allowing for a higher fidelity sound quality that is closer to the original source.

 

05 / 08 / 14

  Here is some early news from the upcoming High End 2014 event in Munich:

EMMEspeakers GalileoEMMEspeakers will be proudly presenting their new Galileo loudspeaker (€14,990 on up depending on finish). The Galileo began by targeting the same and fulfilling listening experience of the company's Da Vinci yet in a larger format to fill the widest range of listening rooms. With the goal of having a multi-way loudspeaker with a center of emission very close over the whole frequency range, they feel EMMESpeakers has reached their goal with the Galileo. With seven drivers on the larger cabinet, the need to maintain relatively lightweight has represented them a new challenge against stationary waves and resonances. With a uniquely-shaped cabinet, mass variation and absorbing material with high damping, the decoupling of the sensitive ceramic midwoofers and tweeter drivers has been obtained via an aluminum front panel. The exterior shape, functional to the design requirements, combines modern taste with gorgeous finishes. Driver compliment includes four10" woofers, two 5" Accuton CELL ceramic midwoofer, and one 1.2" Accuton CELL ceramic tweeter. Sensitivity is 86dB/W/m and it presents a 6 Ohm load. Also new from EMMEspeakers to be shown in Munich are the new look for EMMESpeakers products: combining the black matte back panel with luxury given by the gold leaf finish. Read Enjoy the Music.com's full review of EMMESpeaker's Da Vinci speaker at this link.

 

HDtracks will be exhibiting at the upcoming Munich Show and David Chesky will be on-hand to discuss the launch of HDtracks.com in UK and Germany, various upcoming releases and the current state and future of high resolution audio plus new hardware offerings.

 

Beyerdynamic GmbH T 90 Jubilee HeadphonesPremiering at the High End audio show in Munich will be Beyerdynamic GmbH with their Anniversary edition of the T 90 Jubilee headphone ($699). This open-back design celebrates the company's 90th anniversary and is limited to only 1000 units. The Jubilee builds on the same exclusive Tesla technology. The premium quality of the T 90 Jubilee is accentuated by its particularly elegant design: The majority of components are in black, including the acoustically transparent Swiss tulle covering the back of the ear cups, the silky-soft ear pads and solid anodized aluminum yokes. This is starkly contrasted by the two polished chrome-plated surrounding the ear cups. The limited edition high-end headphones are supplied with an elegant, fabric covered hard case for storage and transport purposes. Beyerdynamic says that "the T 90 combines the neutral and analytical sound of the Tesla transducer with spatial and dynamic balance, creating a unique auditory experience. This is best demonstrated using binaural sound recordings, which use two spatially aligned microphones, instead of the traditional multi-channel mix. To make a binaural recording, two microphone capsules for the right and left channels are embedded in the ears of an artificial head, known as a dummy head, or Kunstkopf. These emulate the transmission-characteristics of a real human head." To give customers the chance to experience this amazing effect directly for themselves, Beyerdynamic includes an audio CD from Chesky Records with every T 90 Jubilee purchased.

 

Estelon Extreme SpeakersEstelon will be at the Munich High End show with launching its new flagship loudspeaker model Extreme (€170,000). The proprietary marble-based composite material is mated with the finest aesthetic finish the company can provide. This presents the familiar sculpture-like design that Estelon has trademarked over the years. The most noticeable change from their other designs in Exteme model is that it is built of two modules. The upper module allows the speaker to be adjustable by user for optimizing the sound in regard of room specifics (speaker height is changeable from 177 to 207 cm). The two module design also isolates the high, medium and mid-bass drivers from the vibration that the lower positioned bass drivers provide. Symmetrically arranged bass drivers work in equal conditions, which results in outstanding bass performance. To achieve the maximum performance, the listener can also adjust the tweeter to his listening position. The design features Estelon's best components available, including using two of their new 10" aluminum woofers a 10" midwoofer, a special 7" ceramic midrange and 1.5" diamond tweeter. All drivers are custom produced by Accuton.

 

ADL (Alpha Design Labs) Stratos DAC / PhonostageFurutech's ADL (Alpha Design Labs) will be unveiling new products at the High End 2014, including the Stratos, A1 portable DAC/AMP, H128 headphones and EH008 earphones and the highest spec iDock and Lightning cables available on the market. The ADL Stratos handles DSD and 24-bit/192kHz files plus has a headphone amplifier and MM/MC phonostage. The Stratos is built for enthusiasts with growing music collections on their computer hard drives yet desire a phonostage too. If you are looking to convert your LPs or other analog sources to digital then the Stratos will enable this ability. The unit features a low-latency USB 2.0 audio driver that plays and records at 192 kHz and includes a built-in low-noise MM/MC phono preamplifier. The Stratos features L/R analog outputs, and switchable line or phono inputs.

ADL's new A1 DSD (2.8M/5.6M) DAC is small, discrete but highly specified with inputs supporting digital signal at up to via OTG Cable Android devices. The A1 also runs DSD (2.8M/5.6M) and 24-bit/192kHz S/PDIF with high-resolution files from PC/MAC via its TosLink and USB input. There's an analog line-level 3.5mm input and two 3.5mm output for Line out and headphone out headphones in the 12 to 600 Ohm range. The 3.5mm four-pin input supports 3.5mm Remote and Mic Earphones. The 3.5mm TosLink optical output delivers USB and Digital Device source signal up to 24-bit/192kHz files.

ADL H128 HeadphonesADL will be showing their H128 headphones that feature Alpha Triform earcups. These units have With high noise attenuation and 40mm high-resolution extra-large high-flux α (Alpha Cryo treated) magnet drivers incorporating a special trembler film. Including a ring engineered to keep ultra-high frequencies in coherent phase and excellent transient response from extremely light-weight coils made with copper-coated special aluminum alloy wire. Sensitivity is 98dB SPL (1mW) at 1 kHz, a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz and rated impedance of 68 Ohm @ 1KHz. Another headpone is ADL's EH008 with dual dynamic drivers. The dual dynamic drivers together produce full range sound. An α (Alpha Cryo treated) 8mm driver for mid-to-low frequencies and α (Alpha Cryo treated) 5.8mm driver for high frequencies are used. The 5.8mm driver has Titanium Trembler Film for high resolution sound reproduction. The inner housing is constructed of special ABS resin for driver stabilization. ADL's EH008's outer housing is constructed of carbon fiber for its superior damping properties. Rubber outer seal ring enables improved sound isolation and added comfort.

 

05 / 07 / 14

Cirrus Logic and Wolfson Microelectronics  Cirrus Logic and Wolfson Microelectronics have announced the terms of a recommended transaction under which Cirrus would acquire Wolfson. The transaction, if approved by regulators, is expected to strengthen Cirrus Logic's ability to expand its customer base with highly differentiated, end-to-end audio solutions for portable audio applications. "Wolfson has a rich history of audio innovation, a broad catalog of audio products and a first class customer list," said Jason Rhode, Cirrus Logic President and Chief Executive Officer. "This acquisition strengthens Cirrus Logic's core business as a leader in audio signal processing components, enhances our ability to differentiate our products with software, and adds new product categories such as MEMS microphones to our portfolio." Michael Ruettger, Chairman of the Board of Wolfson Microelectronics, said "The Board of Wolfson believes that this is an attractive offer for Wolfson shareholders. We believe this reflects the hard work that Mike Hickey and his team have put into building Wolfson as a leader in the supply of high performance Audio Hubs and MEMS microphones to the consumer electronics market. Together with Cirrus Logic, we believe this will create a powerful platform for future growth, above and beyond our standalone potential." The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second half of 2014.

 

Focal-JMlab and Naim AudioFrench investment company company Naxicap Partners has acquired a majority stake in Focal-JMlab and Naim Audio and will work with investment group Aquasourca. Christophe Sicaud, CEO of Focal and Naim Audio, said "We are thrilled to begin this new stage in our history with the strong support of Naxicap and Aquasourrca. Their investment represents a resounding endorsement of our company's success and our commitment to R&D and creating innovative, high quality audio products for our customers. Our new investors have a strong track record of supporting R&D and manufacturing within fast growing European companies, making them ideal partners for us." Angele Faugier, of Naxicap Partners, said "We are very pleased to have the opportunity to back Christophe Sicaud and his outstanding management team. We look forward to supporting the teams in Saint-Etienne, France and Salisbury, UK as they continue to build a leadership position in the global audio industry." Vincent Menudier of Aquasourca added "Focal and Naim are incredible French and British brands with an impressive history. We are very excited to be supporting the further expansion of those brands into new markets and product areas." Paul Stephenson, Managing Director of Naim, said "Naim has a dynamic roadmap for business growth going forward. We welcome our new investors and their shared vision for our future." A new Group identity will be created as Focal and Naim Audio will become Vervent Audio Group (VAG).

 

05 / 06 / 14

CANADA HiFi  Enjoy the Music.com just posted CANADA HiFi's April/May edition filled with many great equipment and music reviews plus think pieces. This issue includes equipment reviews of the Cyrus Audio 8a integrated amplifier and PSX-R power supply, Monitor Audio Gold GX100 loudspeakers, Focal Chorus 726 loudspeakers and the Panamax MR5100 home theater power management system. In his editorial, Suave Kajko says "Welcome to the spring issue of CANADA HiFi As the mercury in our thermometers rises, spring is a great time to do some cleaning and to start a new project, like installing a pair of outdoor speakers or setting up a home automation system. Inside this issue we explore the increasingly trendy area of home automation, a category that's expected to grow significantly this year." See the April/May issue of CANADA HiFi by clicking here.

 

The Bespoke Audio CompanyTaking things to the ultimate level is The Bespoke Audio Company for those who want something truly custom made for their listening space. As a new name in the audio world, yet with an established history, the owners have been involved in designing, making and supplying class-leading products for the last decade. Every product that leaves their hands is crafted in collaboration between skilled engineers and customers. Built by hand in England to exacting specification, every unit is guaranteed for life. The company is founded on two principles: "To hold the experience of the customer as paramount and to accept no compromise in anything we do." They want to raise the standards of what can be expected from a high-end audio company. The Bespoke Company's debut product is a preamplifier with a flexible design that includes six inputs and two outputs in any combination of balanced and unbalanced connections. It provides 46 discrete steps of volume adjustment over a 67.5dB range in 1.5dB increments. There is also a remote control included yet no app for smartphone control. A wide variety of finish and technical options allow it to be configured to suit any system.

 

The Life of Riley -- B.B. KingCardinal Releasing Ltd., MVD Entertainment Group, and Syndctd Entertainment are pleased to announce the United States release of The Life of Riley, the much-lauded feature documentary film on the extraordinary life of Blues legend B.B. King. The film will be in theaters nationwide starting on May 21st, on VOD June 1st, and on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital platforms on June 17th. King worked closely with Director Jon Brewer for two years to create this powerful film. The heartfelt contributions from a plethora of music's superstars were a vast indication that this was the time for his story to be told. At 88 years old, King, his family, friends and contemporaries unveil the true-life drama that was the springboard for the future 'King of the Blues'. This candid life story of one of our living legends is highlighted by rare archive footage and beautifully shot scenes of the deep American south. Informative and visually stunning, The Life of Riley is the definitive document of a true American treasure. The Life of Riley includes appearances and contributions from: Aaron Neville, Bill Cosby, Bill Szymczyk, Bill Wyman, Bono, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Willis, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Carver Randle, Derek Trucks, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, George Benson, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Walsh, John Mayer, John Mayall, Johnny Winter, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mick Taylor, Morgan Freeman, Paul Rodgers, Rev. David Matthews, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Slash, Susan Tedeschi, Tina France, Walter Trout, and Wayne Cartledge.

 

05 / 05 / 14

AXPONA 2014  Enjoy the Music.com just posted 21 videos during the industry's historic first true live streaming coverage. During AXPONA 2014, our state-of-the-art high resolution studio facility broadcasted to the world our live show report. Our broadcast also included live interactive chat and Twitter integration so our worldwide audience could ask questions to those being interviewed. With over a dozen leading print magazines and Web sites as partners, Enjoy the Music.TV continues their ability to reach a worldwide audience using the latest in advanced technologies. See all our videos from AXPONA 2014 at this link.

 

05 / 02 / 14

Hi-Fi+ Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com just posted Hi-Fi+'s May edition filled with many great equipment and music reviews plus think pieces. This issue includes equipment reviews of the Chord Electronics Hugo, Audovector SI 3 Signature, Tune Audio Prime speaker, Purist Audio Proteus Provectus cables, OPPO 105D universal Blu-ray player, Audioquest Dragonfly 1.2 DAC and more! In his editorial, Alan Sircom says "New paradigms in audio are like buses; nothing comes along for ages, and then suddenly two appear at once. So it is with high-end active wireless loudspeakers. This is a category that more or less didn't exist two years ago, was shown in prototype form at last year's shows, and now we have two of them. Then there's MiZiK, the revolutionary controller system from the people who gave us Wadax, with almost all the performance for a tiny proportion of the price." See the May issue of Hi-Fi+ by clicking here.

 

Dared Audio Mars Hybrid Integrated Amplifier with Bluetooth/USB DAC and LP-1 MM/MC Phonostage/PreamplifierDared Audio just announced their new Mars hybrid integrated amplifier with Bluetooth/USB DAC and LP-1 MM/MC phonostage/preamplifier. The Dared Audio Mars hybrid integrated amplifier is equipped with the latest Bluetooth 4.0 module. It comes with USB DAC decoder that easily connects to your computer for high-quality digital music. Power output of this stereo unit is 20 wpc, frequency response if from 20 Hz to 20 kHz with an SNR of greater than 90dB. Output impedance is 4 and 8 Ohms. Analog output for preamplifier use is a pair of RCA jacks and the tube used is the 6N3 (5670). Dared Audio's new LP-1 MM/MC phono preamplifier is compatible with a variety of turntables. It provides six adjustable gain levels for MC and six adjustable gain levels for MM cartridges. Audiophile-grade ECC83 tubes (12AX7) work with the precise RIAA equalization. The unit is true dual mono configuration, has a subsonic filter and offers switchable input impedance and capacitance. Read Enjoy the Music.com's review of the Dared DV-6C 5.1 channel tube hybrid integrated amplifier and the Dared Retro Dreams RD-1 hybrid digital radio.

 

05 / 01 / 14

  Enjoy the Music.com's May Review Magazine features our Salon Son & Image and AXPONA show coverage plus reviews of the Artesania Audio rack, Sound Lab Majestic 845PX speaker, Audia Flight gear, Bryston BHA-1 headphone amp, Jupiter copper/wax capacitor and more!

See the May Review Magazine by clicking here.

Review Magazine  
Regular Reading
Daily News: Audiophile news updated each weekday!

Viewpoint
Senseless Ramblings
High-End Audio Is Dead... Or Is It?
Plus AXPONA live streaming and other thoughts.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

From Audiophile To Music Lover In Sixty Years
Article By Roger Skoff

Show Report
AXPONA 2014
We make history by broadcasting the industry's first-ever worldwide live streaming show report!

Salon Son & Image Show Report 2014
Over 130 photos spanning 11 pages!
Report By Rick Becker

Lifestyle & Design
Bentley Motors Continental GT Speed And V8 Flying Spur
Bentley's extends their powerful W12 and V8 luxury automobiles.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

Sotheby Auction Of Rare Stradivarius Viola
Alternative investing to the tune of $45 million.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

Stir Kinetic Desk
Modernize and track your desktop workflow.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

Superior Audio
World Premiere
Artesania Audio Prestige Suspended Audio Rack System
Raising the overall performance of your equipment.
Review By Matej Isak

Sound Lab Majestic 845PX Electrostatic Speaker
The heart of a music system that should last you forever.
Review By Dr. Jules L. Coleman

Venture Audio Encore Loudspeakers
The perfect speaker for my listening habits and perhaps yours too.
Review By Tom Lylec

Audiophile Equipment Reviews
World Premiere

Audia Flight FL Three Integrated Amplifier And FL Three CD Player
A dynamic combination from Civitavecchia, Italy, destined to turn heads.
Review By Anthony Nicosia

Bryston BHA-1 Headphone Amplifier
The Bryston BHA-1 is one heckova high-end Class A headphone amplifier.
Review By Ron Nagle

Temple Audio Monoblock Amplifiers
Light in weight, strong in performance.
Review By Clive Meakins

DIY Audio
World Premiere!
Jupiter Copper Foil Paper & Wax Capacitor
Article By By Jonathan Lo

Quick and Dirty DIY Dipole Surround Speakers
Article By Jeff Poth

Music Reviews
Classical
Bartok's two violin concertos, magnificently performed in great sound.
Review By Max Westler

Marc-André Hamelin offers a dazzling collection of Busoni piano music.
Review By Joe Milicia

Contrasting visions of Shostakovich's great Eighth Symphony.
Review By Max Westler

Rock Music
June In The Fields On 180 Gram Vinyl LP
Review By Claude Lemaire

 

See the May Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

 

 
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