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High-End Audio Industry News


06 / 28 / 07

Plinius Audio Tautoro Preamplifier  Plinius Audio Limited's new Tautoro Preamplifier takes key points from the classic Plinius design ($7595 and with phonostage $8750). A comprehensive array of inputs and outputs allows for balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA connection to the 5 line inputs, home theatre bypass loop and dual outputs for bi-amplifying or multi room installations. An optional phonostage is based on the Plinius Koru and can be added in place of one line input. As with all Plinius products, the Tautoro is available in a high quality anodized Black or Silver finish. Frequency response is from 20Hz to 20kHz (+/-0.2dB) with less than 0.05% THD. Phonostage has adjustable gain from 50dB to 66dB in steps and load can be varied as can resistance (47k, 470R, and 100R, 47R, 22R). Dimensions are 6.4 x 17.5 x 18.75 (HxWxD in inches) and the units weighs in at a very impressive 35 lbs.

 

06 / 27 / 07

Oracle Audio Technologies CD2500  Oracle Audio Technologies now includes balanced (XLR) outputs to their highly respected line of CD players. The company's CD1500 and CD2500 units benefit from the creation of a proprietary 2 IC chip circuit implementation of the balanced technology, said to result in excellent audio performance with a more open, transparent sound plus improved dynamics. The Oracle Audio balanced circuitry greatly reduces transient demand on the component power supply while also reducing EMI/RFI noise within the analog signal, further improving signal integrity and noise immunity. Unbalanced analog (RCA) outputs are also included.

 

06 / 26 / 07

ASR Emitter  The North American distribution for ASR Audio Systeme, Half Note Audio, has announced the newest updates to the Emitter I Exclusive and Emitter II Exclusive. Upgrades include new gold plated PCB board, bypass input, a pair of balanced (XLR) inputs, plus connection of two or more Emitters for monoblock and bridged operation. The gold plated PCB offers an optimal combination with the Teflon isolated massive silver wire used throughout for all signals from input to output. This change offers a very durable surface with very low contact resistance results in an even wider, more open soundstage and a smooth sound with improved bass precision and impact. Owners can now choose options including a second set of balanced (XLR) inputs and a bypass input for the Emitter II. An optional Digital Control can be used to connect and control two or more Emitters for home cinema or tri-amplification duties.

 

06 / 25 / 07

Parasound Halo JC 2 Preamplifier  Parasound is now shipping their John Curl-designed Halo JC 2 stereo preamplifier ($4000). Designed and engineered by the legendary John Curl and CTC Builders team, the Parasound Halo JC 2 is a precision analog stereo preamplifier employs fully-balanced inputs and outputs with professional-grade XLR audio interconnections plus normal unbalanced RCA connections. The Halo JC 2 has a total of six line-level inputs, with two of those switchable for balanced or unbalanced connections. The main output jacks have both balanced XLR connectors and unbalanced RCA connectors. When used with power amplifiers that invert polarity the user can maintain absolute polarity, either by using the rear-panel inverted output jacks or by using the main output jacks and the polarity invert button on the included IR remote control. There are also fixed-level RCA record output jacks for connecting audio recording devices. The new Halo JC-2 also can interface with integrated home control via RS-232 interface, four 12-Volt Triggers, and remote control repeater input and loop out jacks. The RS-232 interface allows bi-direction communications with home automation and control systems such as Crestron, AMX, Control4, Niles, and Elan.

 

06 / 22 / 07

musicFIRST  It came as a surprise to me that broadcast radio stations within the United States do not pay any royalties to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a trade group that represents approximately 90 percent of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States plus is known to judiciously go after anyone not paying what they feel is fair compensation for copyrighted music. With all the legal wrangling towards satellite radio, cable services and Internet radio, perhaps one assumed musical artists also received payment from normal AM/FM radio stations within the United States. Broadcast radio is a multi-billion dollar industry that currently enjoys playing any music they desire free of the same guidelines of payment satellite radio, cable services and Internet radio adhere to. Well, now a coalition of musicians have formed musicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) in hopes of receiving money for the music broadcast radio stations use as content. Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said, ""As we celebrate 50 years of the GRAMMY Awards, it is important to note that artists have sought fair compensation from radio for each of those 50 years. Three years ago in Washington, The Academy called for action at its GRAMMYs on the Hill event. Today, with the launch of the musicFIRST coalition, that effort moves into high gear. A performance right for artists is long overdue as hundreds of millions of dollars that rightly belong to copyright owners and creators continue to go unpaid. The time has come for Congress to correct this historic inequity and for U.S. radio stations to join the rest of the industrialized world and compensate artists for using their works on the air." Many major musicians have joined this coalition, including Don Henley, who says, "What we're talking about here goes beyond the big-name stars; we're talking about aspiring artists, back-up singers, band members - all the people that bring the music to life. Radio makes millions of dollars because of our creativity, talent and hard work. It's time that all of us are fairly compensated."

 

06 / 21 / 07

Hagerman Technology Archiver  Hagerman Technology designer Jim Hagerman wants you to "rip your LPs to bits." Their new Archiver ($1249) phonostage is aimed at collectors and enthusiasts of both current vinyl and older recordings, including mono, who want to achieve the utmost in sound quality. Sporting two inputs via unbalanced RCA, variable loading, gain, equalization, and phase, the phonostage includes a built in 16-bit digitizer for direct connection to your computer via USB and analog output via balanced XLR. The analog circuitry employs super-quiet solid-state design uses matched discrete JFETs (no OpAmps) without feedback in a fully balanced and differential configuration. The extreme flexibility of this phonostage accommodates any cartridge, with default settings for RIAA stereo playback and includes ease of mounting to professional equipment racks.

 

06 / 20 / 07

Stax  Legendary music label Stax will be celebrating their 50th anniversary June 22nd with a benefit at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis to help raise funds for the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Performing music stars will include Isaac Hayes, Booker T & the MGs, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, Mavis Staples, Mable John, the Soul Children, Angie Stone and many more. Per their press release, "Founded by Jim Stewart (the "ST") in 1957, and co-owned by Estelle Axton (the 'AX'), Stax's contribution to popular music, both sonically and socially, continues to be felt to this day. Stax, a racially integrated label in a then notoriously segregated city, released hit after hit from such seminal soul artists as Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs, the Bar-Kays, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, and William Bell amongst many, many others. The Stax studio, in a cavernous former theatre with a sloping floor, featured an atypical layout with no directly parallel surfaces where soundwaves would "ping pong" around the room, resulting in a very live, reverberant sound. The Stax studio sonics — combined with the prominent use of horns, a heavy gospel influence, uniquely emotional vocal deliveries, and a delayed backbeat resulted in what came to be recognized as the 'Stax Sound.' The Stax Sound defined such classic compositions as "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay," "Respect Yourself," "Hold On I'm Comin'"... Stax is participating in a reissue campaign that includes the just released Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration 2 CD Deluxe Box, new individual artist Best Of CDs, and many rare or currently unavailable Stax albums, from such artists as Carla Thomas, the Staples Singers, Booker T and the MGs, Isaac Hayes and much more."

 

06 / 19 / 07

Furutech Power 6 AC Mains Distributor  Award winning manufacturer Furutech has announced the availability of their new Power 6 AC Mains Distributor ($6,400). As "the ultimate expression of Furutech’s Pure Transmission Technology, " the company's engineers set out to refine every part and step in the process of power conditioning. This includes the use of the Furutech's proprietary Formula GC-303 EMI-absorbent material, two-stage cryogenic and demagnetizing Super Alpha Treatment applied to all metal parts. The main housing is made from precision CNC machined solid aerospace-grade aluminum alloy that also protects internal parts and doubles as a shield against RFI (Radio Frequency Interference). Within the three internal compartments house three independently-wired duplex receptacles using twisted multi-gauge Teflon-shielded high-purity silver-plated Alpha-OFC. Furutech also takes advantage of their patented Power Plate Receptacles to further enhance the vault-like build quality while the Rhodium-plated 20 Ampere rated receptacles are not simply flush with the outer chassis, but tapped 25mm into the thick aluminum for a tight fit. The entire unit measures in at 8x8x3 (HxWxD in inches) and weighs 22 lbs.

 

06 / 18 / 07

Densen B-420 CD Player And Transport  The new Densen B-420 heralds in a new generation CD-players/transport from Densen Audio Technologies. As the 'big brother' to the company's B-410, the new B-420 has a heavily modified CD transport with external clock control to avoid jitter by using same clock in both sending and receiving end of the datastream. The analog stage uses Densen's unique six watt zero feedback Class A topology that has been further refined over previous generations. An oversized 300 VA transformer and 40.000 uF storage capacity power supply is augmented with no less than 8 individual regulators and 4 bridges for clean and plentiful power. Two sets of analog output, one Digital DenLink and one BNC for digital, and 24-bit DAC are some of the technical features of this unit. The main microprocessor can be upgraded via a computer and choices of finish include black with gold or chrome buttons or albino with chrome buttons.

 

06 / 15 / 07

  Enjoy the Music.com's mid-June Review Magazine update is now online! We have just posted one of the most extensive Stereophile show reports to be seen anywhere online, which spans 8 web pages and features over 60 photos! We also have a new review of the amazing CEC CD3300R player/transport that offers amazing sound quality for only a few hundred dollars. See the mid-June issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

06 / 14 / 07

Mosquito Absolute D-8  Mosquito Absolute, formerly Audience Absolute, has a new subwoofer line now offered by Mutine. The Mosquito Absolute D-8 and D-10 subwoofers are built with a very rigid enclosure and an aluminum driver driven by a Class D amplifier. The D-8 includes 250 watt, the D-10 has a very power 350 watt unit and both models incorporate proprietary equalization. Also of note is the included infrared remote control for the volume and stand-by mode. Lovely sculpted round edges and gloss finish provide an elegant look that easily mates with the best of home decor.. 

 

06 / 13 / 07

Starkey In Ear Monitors (IEM)  Starkey has announced their new line of custom fit personal audio in ear monitors (IEM, priced from $279 to $649). Configured with the latest drivers and featuring a uniquely low-profile design, their IEMs are made for discriminating audiophiles and professional musicians. A team of Starkey engineers and technicians worked for the past 16 months designing, testing and perfecting the new line that incorporates the latest balanced armature drivers into a low-profile shell design. For those unfamiliar with Starkey, they have 35 facilities in more than 24 countries around the globe and is an industry leader in hearing instrument production. The company creates top quality diagnostic equipment, hearing protection products, wireless technology and unique hearing solutions for many environments.

 

06 / 12 / 07

AcoustiucPlan Sarod  AcousticPlan, distributed in America by Yujean Kang of Tangram Audio, has announced their Sarod preamplifier ($9,300 for manual rotary volume switch version, $11,000 for the relay remote control version, add $3,600 for optional phonostage with upgraded transformer coupling). Attention to detail is the small signal, like line signal or phono signal, is of importance as the Sarod preamplifier uses transformers without exception as coupling devices with the least possible number of amplification stages. An example of this minimalist approach is that AcousticPlan placed only one triode in the signal path of line inputs. This principle of minimalist circuit design continues at the optional phono stage has a pair of triodes for the amplification of MM signals; equalization for RIAA is done passively. Step-up transformers lift the smallest signals of an MC cartridge to MM level. Balanced inputs are equipped with transformers. Volume control is carried out via a 24 position-stepped attenuator. Keeping the power supply noise away from the small audio signal, the main transformer is enclosed in a separate unit.

As a mate to the preamplifier is the Santor 50 wpc stereo hybrid power amplifier ($9,300) with 'wide Class A' and capable of producing high current. Keeping with the company's minimalist design, the number of amplification stages in the signal path is reduced as the signal for voltage amplification passes only one triode followed by a tube driver and finally an impedance converter with MOS-FETs. This is done without any overall feedback or differential amplification. Balanced as well as unbalanced inputs are transformer coupled to achieve DC free signals at the first stage and groundless connection with balanced signals. Santor stereo power amplifier can be converted into a mono power amplifier in bridged operation for high power output. Therefore, phase splitting is provided by the transformers. Casing consists of high quality, precision-engineered single aluminum plates and two heat sinks placed at the outside. The main transformer is enclosed in a separate unit.

 

06 / 11 / 07

Linn Records SACD Sale  Linn Records is now having their Summer Promotion that offers more than 50 percent discount on SACD music titles. Audiophiles can choose either Linn's SACD collections of 10 disc Jazz or our 10 disc Classical collection, each priced at only $99.99. The Jazz collection features the honeyed-tones of Claire Martin, the peerless delivery of chansonnier Barb Jungr, Willard White, Haftor Medboe Group and more. Linn's classical SACD collection includes recorder virtuoso Pamela Thorby, the passion of pianist Artur Pizarro, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and much more.

 

06 / 08 / 07

The Home Entertainment Show 2008  The Home Entertainment Show has announced the acquisition of Alexis Park in addition to their St. Tropez Hotel location for the 2008 Las Vegas show in January. Marking the organization's 10th annual event, unlike the CES that is staged during the same time, The Home Entertainment Show provides free lunch and has a special high-end International Building dedicated to exhibitors from Asia; including providing a Japanese translator. Extended operating hours, from 9:30am to 6:30pm daily, provide the press and trade more time to conduct business. Mike Maloney, founder and CEO of T.H.E. Show says, "This is the year we have been building toward for over a decade. I think the Audiophile and Home Theater community will be joining our new and improved exhibition sites enthusiastically... The Audio and High-End Home Theater industry has been over-priced and really pushed around to a point where it is too spread out, too overlooked, and too expensive for many exhibitors. We are attempting to regain a sense of a cohesive convention that serves not just as a great and unified place for audiophiles to do extensive international business with international exposure, but also a place for the community as a whole to come together and enjoy 'The Best' of the entire industry." Mr. Maloney continued by saying, "We encourage our exhibitors to enjoy flexible hours to better accommodate late private sessions; and our furniture removal and freight requirements are both much more flexible and much less expensive than our competitor." The Home Entertainment Show will be adding more shuttles in 2008 for connection between their show and the CES.

 

06 / 07 / 07

LaLa.com  LaLa.com, an online music site that claims to be "reinventing digital music with discovery built-in and sharing enabled," is now taking the industry a step further by offering free music from a major recording label. The company has made an agreement that will have them paying perhaps tens of millions of dollars over the next two years, with the hopes of getting enough customers to offset the investment. While LaLa.com sells only complete albums, LaLa.com has an agreement with Warner Music Group (WMG) to accept payment of one penny for each song someone listens to within their site. Of note is that LaLa.com is not inserting advertising or charging a monthly fee for this service. The company hopes to offset the costs of free songs via album sales, since they do not sell single songs, plus the profits from their $1 fee customers pay for each CD traded from another one of LaLa.com services. Add to that, the company's new software plug-in will enable users to avoid using Apple's iTunes software and, instead, use LaLa.com's own browser-based software to convert and load music in mp3 format directly to an iPod. It has been reported that LaLa.com will be offering DRM-free music with album prices ranging from $6.50 to $13.50 per album and that the company is in talks with other major music labels in hopes of providing more content under this new service.

 

06 / 06 / 07

Finite Elemente Modul LS Loudspeakers  Finite Elemente is marking the company's 10th year anniversary with their Modul furniture and Modul LS loudspeakers. The Modul is a modular state-of-the-art furniture system that combines sound and functional quality with avant-garde design. Aimed at a wide range of living room environments, Modul features extreme flexibility and modularity, an integrated cable management system as well as selected materials and first class craftsmanship. Finite Elemente's Modul LS is the company's first step into the world of high-end loudspeaker manufacturing. Combining an active bass amplification with a passive mid-range/tweeter arrangement, Modul LS offers high-technology and high-grade materials. Other than this photo, little other technical details are available at this time.

 

06 / 05 / 07

  Enjoy the Music.com has just sent out e-mails to give away well over $24,000 in audiophile prizes! Randomly chosen members of our Mailing List have received e-mail notification of the prize they have won. Quite a few winners have replied and their prize is being sent out to them this week! If you are not a member of our Mailing List please click here to join in on special information, prize contests, and much more! A partial list of winners from our $24,000 Equipment Contest appears below. We will post a complete listing in the coming weeks within the Equipment Contest page.

Randell Coops: AAA-Audio Dussun V6i hyper 'Class A' integrated amplifier MSRP: $2098

Donald Stickney: Environmental Potentials North America EP-2450 and EP-2050 MSRP: $1500

Paul Barker: Sound Mechanics C100 cones, C101 Bases, and Acrolink 6N-P4030PC MSRP: $1395

Rudolph Lu: Taddeo Group Active Sound Unit MSRP: $995.99

Peter van der Maas: Ultimate Ears UE-10 and ear impression MSRP: $950

Jeffrey Fox: Aperion Audio Intimus 533-T Tower Speaker MSRP: $750

Curt Cummings: The Music Cable (TMC) XLR/XLR Truly Balanced interconnects MSRP: $533

Ruth Bousquet: Hagerman Technology Audio "The Ripper" LP-to-USB converter MSRP: $399

 

06 / 04 / 07

Outlaw Audio BLS  Outlaw Audio, one of the leading direct-to-consumer Internet electronics manufacturers, has introduced their Bookshelf Loudspeaker (BLS, $999 in black and $1099 in Cherry as shown). Designed and built in the USA, the BLS features audiophile-grade crossover components and high-end drivers, with each loudspeaker being matched to within 0.5dB of Outlaw's reference standard. This ensures that speakers, even if bought at different times, will be optimally matched to one another for excellent performance. The BLS includes a 1" silk dome tweeter and long-throw 5.25" SEAS woofer within an enclosure that utilizes identically dimensioned internal and external port baffle flares for balanced pressure equalization. This is claimed to virtually eliminate any audible air turbulence. Of note is that a high frequency adjustment switch allows the tweeter output to be boosted or lowered by 2dB to compensate for acoustically 'live' or 'dead' rooms. Each loudspeaker also employs a proprietary three-position Boundary Compensation switch to tailor output for placement near walls, corners, or in open air. Frequency response is from 54Hz to 22kHz (+/-3dB), sensitivity is 87dB/W/m, dimensions are 12.13 x 10.94 x 7.25 (HxWxD), and each unit weights 16.5 lbs.

 

06 / 01 / 07

Audiophile Equipment Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's June Review Magazine is now online! We celebrate the past 30 days with six show reports covering all three recent audiophile events. From Montreal to New York and Munich, more than 25 web pages contain a grand total of over 200 photos! Be amongst the first to know about new products soon reaching audiophiles stores worldwide! We also have many new music reviews and various editorials for your reading pleasure. See the June issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here.


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