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High-End Audio Industry News


06 / 30 / 09

Dynaco ST70 Kit  Because i am on a Dynaco reminiscing phase, Triode Electronics offers a complete ST35 kit ($499) for those who want to experience the joys of building and hearing the joys of what this 17 wpc stereo amplifier design has to offer. The kit includes everything you need, except a soldering gun an solder, to build a working amplifier. Detailed step-by-step instructions make it easy to build over a weekend and if you should need help, troubleshooting is supported through the forums at diytube.com. The kits includes Triode Electronics' reproduction of the Dynaco Z565 output transformer as used on the Dynaco ST35 and SCA35 amplifiers, except that the output taps are 4 and 8 Ohms rather than the original 8 and 16 Ohms and are brand new production made in Chicago, USA. Frequency response is from 20 Hz to 20 kHz response at 17.5 watt output. The chassis is the same size as an ST70 and has ample room for stashing upgrades underneath. For those who want to build the 35 wpc stereo Dynaco ST70, Triode Electronics sells an upgraded version in kit form that is complete with everything needed sans tubes ($575). So what is special about the Dynaco upgrade boards? The object of the upgrade boards is to provide a replacement for the original boards that would result in a perceptible improvement in sound quality and overall performance. These boards emulate the simple but highly effective (due to the short signal path and single gain stage) original Dynaco circuit, yet with lower hum, noise, distortion and a wider voltage swing across heavier loads than a 7199, 6GH8, 6BL8/ECF80, 6U8/ECF82, or 6AN8, are capable of. The manual includes information on adapting the amplifier to different output and board tubes, adjusting resistor and capacitor values if desired, plus a comprehensive Troubleshooting Guide. What is new is that the latest version version of the EF86 board has been slightly revised to accept 6922, 6DJ8, 7308, and 6CG7 in the phase inverter position as well as 12AU7, 12BH7, and ECC99 that were previously supported. Of course the company's 6AU6 version of the board is also available but does not support 6922, 6DJ8, 7308, or 6CG7. Enjoy he Music.com's partner magazine VALVE features a nice article on the ST 70, which can be seen by clicking here

 

Ultimate Ears UE 4 ProUltimate Ears UE 4 Pro custom earphones ($399 plus $50 for custom fitting) is the newest monitors from this company to feature a dual-armature design with superior audio engineering. The UE 4 Pro Custom are highly durable and built to withstand the wear and tear from audiophiles to musicians who performing on stage. Each pair of the new custom monitors comes with a protective carrying case that is personalized with your name. Input sensitivity is 108dB @ 1mw, frequency response is from 20 Hz to 15 kHz, noise isolation is 26dB, and impedance is 17.5 Ohms at 1 kHz. For those who want more, Ultimate Ears' Custom UE 11 Pro combines a quad armature speaker configuration with a three-way crossover. The UE 11 Pro ($950) features a dual driver subwoofer that tightly and fully details the lows, a dedicated driver for the midrange and a tweeter to produce an overall frequency response from 10Hz to 16.5 kHz. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5pro (click here) and UE-10 Pro custom fit monitors (click here).

 

06 / 29 / 09

Reference 3A  Longtime loudspeaker manufacturer Reference 3A now offers upgrades implemented on their loudspeaker models. New CCC (Continuous Cast pure Copper) internal wiring with clear Teflon dielectric of appropriate thickness of the wire is used for each driver. This consists of 0.6mm for tweeter 0.8mm diameter for full range (plus 1.2 mm for bass unit depending on model). New mechanical grounding of the drivers drains spurious vibration energy from the driver frames. Also new is a copper shorting ring said to improve linearity in driver voice coil magnetic gap. Other upgrades include soft brass screws and phenolic washers used to fasten and isolate drivers to reduce interactive driver/frame resonances and isolates drivers from the cabinets. New larger and height adjustable brass cones and brass floor pads are an upgrade to the previous aluminum alloy or steel isolation cones. Special five-way binding posts with gold plated tellurium copper conductors provide higher conductivity than the commonly used brass for further improved clarity. Lastly, all connectors, internal wiring and metal driver parts are now cryogenically treated. In related news, Reference 3A is also offering interconnect, speaker and AC power cables made with Continuous-cast, mono-crystal, solid-core pure copper conductors (CCC) and copper connectors are used in the making and all materials are cryogenically treated. Eichmann, Furutech and custom copper speaker connectors are used to terminate our cables. In standard lengths, the 3-foot/pr interconnects, 5-foot AC cords and 8-foot/pr loudspeaker cables will retail at around $300. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Reference 3A MM De Capo-i monitor (click here), the Reference 3A Veena speaker (click here) and Reference 3A Grand Veena floorstanding speaker (click here).

 

Paradigm Reference Hybrid Millenia SpeakerParadigm's new Reference Hybrid Millenia 10 and 20 ($379 and $529 respectively) partially recess into the wall to create ultra-thin profiles to achieve a form factor that protrudes less than an inch and a half from the wall. Audiophiles and videophiles looking for Paradigm sound quality yet taking up less space into their room may enjoy the speaker's pre-attached glass-reinforced injection-molded polymer (GRIP) bracket is optimized to exploit maximum wall area for a complete absence of vibration, even when performing at maximum output. Like all Paradigm Reference Millenia speakers, the Hybrids' high-frequency drivers exhibit timbral clarity and transparency. The Reference Hybrid Millenia 10 is a three driver two-way design while the Reference Hybrid Millenia 20 is a 5-driver, 2.5-way design. High-frequency drive units feature S-PAL (Aatin anodized Pure-Aluminum) domes mounted on rigid high-pressure die-cast aluminum chassis. Paradigm's MLP (Mica-Loaded Polymer) midrange and bass cones have HTD (Heat Transfer and Dissipation) system to reduce unwanted temperatures from negatively affecting the sound quality. Over designed Nitrile-Butadiene Rubber (NBR) surrounds and Nomex spiders help round out this design. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Paradigm Mini Monitor v.6 (click here).

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
Federal appeals court ruled earlier this week that the Diamond Multimedia Rio, which plays MP3 files, is a legal product. This now paves the road for many other companies to join in on the high-demand MP3 playback device market!  Of course as expected the losing Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) played down the win. Of course if the RIAA won and shot down MP3, you just know they would now be singing to the high mountains. Fortunately the RIAA rightfully lost and now manufactures will soon be in full swing releasing their own MP3 players.  Thompson and others are already planning their own MP3 playback device(s).  Sony, on the other hand, has said they have no interest in the MP3 hardware or marketing MP3 software at this time and will be streaming media using the new Microsoft Windows Media Player file format. In a statement made on the RIAA website about the loss of the lawsuit "We’re obviously disappointed we lost in the Appeals Court. The court appears to have concluded that, despite Congressional intent, the Audio Home Recording Act has limited application in a world of convergent technologies. We filed this lawsuit because unchecked piracy on the Internet threatens the development of a legitimate marketplace for online music, a marketplace that consumers want. Fortunately, the shared interest in such a marketplace has overtaken the lawsuit; the technology and music industries have already come together, in voluntary initiatives like the Secure Digital Music Initiative, to create a secure environment in which consumers can access the music they love in new ways."
Still, there is a joint venture to offer digital music online using the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI). SDMI will create a secure environment in delivering digitized audio on the web and is being supported by many manufacturers including Diamond Multimedia.

 

06 / 26 / 09

Logitech Squeezebox Touch  Just learned that Logitech is about to update their Squeezebox line with the new Squeezebox Touch (approximately $300). This unit will have Wi-Fi, USB, handle a plethora of file types while they have upped the anti to handle 24-bit/96kHz audio files. The unit will have a color touchscreen and can be a wireless multimedia hub for NAS drives plus the usual online music streaming capability. Word on the street is that it will have a 4.3-inch 24-bit color touchscreen and handle AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, FLAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA Lossless and others. A built-in USB port will handle external hard drives and thumbdrives. Outputs will include analog RCA stereo, S/PDIF coax and optical digital outputs plus a headphone jack. Wireless interface will be 802.11g wireless and support 802.11b. Logitech will enable easy one-touch setup (with compatible WPS-supporting routers). For those security conscience, the unit will support WPA Personal, WPA-2AES and 64/128-bit WEP encryption Ethernet interface. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Slim Devices Squeezebox 3 network music player (click here) and the Bolder Cable modified Slim Devices Squeezebox 2 (click here).

 

Now Hear ThisAfter some months of being away, loudspeaker manufacturer NHT (Now Hear This) has been reborn as a direct-to-consumer retailer. This new action has also fundamentally changed the way NHT markets their brand. As a result, consumers will be saving 30 percent on NHT products from their original suggested retail. Add to that, the company has redirected their resources as new product development will showcase a much broader assortment of applications. Some NHT products can still be purchased through retails chains at the moment. Those seeking a great deal right now may choose the NHT Xd system, which once sold for $7200 is now offered direct online for only $2999 plus shipping. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the NHT M-00 active loudspeakers and matching S-00 subwoofer (click here).

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
The exclusive brands serve as the linchpin to the development of CoolAudio.com's local affiliate dealer/installer channel to service customers nationwide. Their website is being developed by IXL ("IIXL" NASDAQ), will offer both real-time online and telephone technical support with trained audio/video experts seven days a week.
"The home theatre experience seems to be relatively uncharted territory for the majority of consumers,'' added Marco Protano, CoolAudio.com's President.  "Our new e-retailing model is designed to eliminate the widespread frustrations of today's often ill-informed, under-serviced, audio and video equipment buyers.  In sharp contrast, our goal is to demystify the audio/video experience by bringing uniformity and understanding to the audio and video retail environment.'' Where are they now in June 2009 you ask. It appears they are long gone as is their website development firm IXL. Hmm, anyone remember AudioCafe and eTown?

 

06 / 25 / 09

NaimUniti  Now shipping, the NaimUniti's ($3750) innovative engineering team has created extreme audio in one sleek chassis, which means high performance with minimal wiring and space requirements. This new all-in-one package includes an integrated amplifier, CD Player, FM tuner, internet radio, digital-to-analog converter, music file player, network stream player and n-Link interconnect for Apple iPod dock ($150). The range of audio files handled effortlessly by this new player include MP3, Windows Media , AAC, Apple Lossless (from an iPod), FLAC and WAV formats. NaimUniti's high performance audio quality coupled with its remarkable digital media capability sets this system apart from any other all-in-one audio product. Inside the NaimUniti is a powerful integrated amplifier derived from the Nait 5i features 50 wpc with 10 inputs. This allows consumers to hook up multiple digital sources such as media servers, set-top boxes, DVD players/recorders, satellite systems, gaming consoles, and more. Furthermore, the system's iPod interface is extra powerful, thanks to the specially designed iPod n-Link cable. Once connected the NaitUniti system takes control and immediately displays content on the front control panel. It even charges the iPod battery when connected. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Naim Stageline phonostage (click here), Naim's N-Sat small loudspeakers (click here) and the complete Naim X Series system (click here).

 

Cabasse Altura MC Series Iroise 3 and Egea 3 LoudspeakersCabasse's new Altura MC Series floorstanding loudspeakers Iroise 3 and Egea 3 ($3450 and $3050 respectively) incorporate the company's proprietary Spatially Coherent System (SCS) technology. Audiophiles benefit from the advantages of Cabasse's single point source emission coaxial drivers and wide-range tweeters. Cabasse's careful design and development of their new version of the BC13 benefits from 20 years expertise in this type of midrange/tweeter combination. The BC13 was developed from the TC23, which is a three-way single point driver and included in the company's flagship La Sphère. This new version of the BC13 has been optimized for even better performance when used as a two-way unit. The bandwidth is larger and the efficiency and the power handling are improved thanks to the use of new magnets offering a 30 percent increase in magnetic force. Woofers for this new line of loudspeakers include the Duocell cones that are 7-inhces for the Egea 3 and are based on Rohacell foam. Weighing in at 77 and 66 pounds, respectively for the Iroise 3 and Egea 3, both models are available in Golden Cherry wood finish, Santos wood finish and Gloss black. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Cabasse Bahia loudspeakers (click here).

 

06 / 24 / 09

Pacific Valve Fathom DAC  Pacific Valve's new Fathom DAC ($299) involved careful design and engineering combined with several hours of listening tests. The company felt that they did not feel it was correct to bring a DAC to market until they addressed various issues as experienced with other DACs. For USB, the design must have an I2S conversion because Pacific valve felt this was the best way to go about it. The Fathom addresses various issues with an I2S USB interface, an advanced circuit topology and improved power supply regulation. The digital conversion process starts with a DIR 9001 receiver that is re-clocked by a 1 PPM, 12 MHz TCXO. The rest of the circuit uses top of the line Rubycon caps and high voltage low tolerance resistors. The power supply uses a 10W sealed transformer for low vibration, a high grade IEC plug, and a high-end voltage regulator. Digital receiver is the DIR9001, DAC chips are eight Philips TDA-1543, with digital input being S/PDIF coaxial, optical and USB.

 

ACF Sound & Music ExpoACF Sound & Music Expo marks the joining of forces to offer industry professionals and the general public an audio/video and music exhibition unique in Belgium. Both events are aiming to reach a wider public and offer a large-scale exhibition worthy of the capital of Europe. To be held from October 15 through 18 at the Tour & Taxis in Brussels, attendees can experience new technologies, audio and home studios as well as numerous concerts and workshops. The philosophy of Sound & Music Expos is to enable visitors to learn about music, deepen their musical knowledge, acquire equipment and discover what's happening in the music industry in an interactive environment.

UPDATE: We regret to inform you that the 2009 Audio Visual Creative Fair has been cancelled. The decision to cancel the event has been taken for several reasons beyond our control, the most important among them being the recession, which has forced some exhibitors to reconsider their participation. We have therefore decided to cancel this year's event and are already working on next year's event. We wish to thank you for your support during previous events. We will keep you informed of further developments.

Marika Dallos
ACF

 

HDtracksHDtracks has featured recording label Water Lily Acoustics that is based in Santa Barbara, California. Water Lily Acoustics is an American label renowned for their recordings of Indian classical music and cross-cultural collaborations of musicians from the world over. It was founded by producer Kavichandran Alexander. Not one to be swayed by modern catch phrases like digital or analog, nor discouraged by the prospect of bringing together the idioms of completely unlike cultures, Alexander's productions have consistently regarded integrity and fidelity their highest priorities. In 1993, the Water Lily Acoustics album A Meeting by the River featuring Ry Cooder and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.

 

06 / 23/ 09

apt-X Lossless  A new codec, called apt-X, is a high-performance audio compression scheme for high-definition audio. This virtually lossless audio codec exhibits low-latency and uses less computer resources than other codecs. apt-X Lossless, the latest addition to the apt-X series of audio compression solutions for consumer, professional and broadcast applications, offers up to 96 kHz sampling rates and sample resolutions up to 24 bits. Other features and benefits include a highly scalable and dynamically adaptive coding mechanism; mastering-grade audio; low coding delay; low computational complexity, run-time overhead and device power consumption. Furthermore, for applications in communications links that are occasionally subject to stringent bandwidth constraints, apt-X Lossless can operate in a special hybrid mode, dynamically incorporating "near lossless" coding to seamlessly mitigate against audio degradation. From a system integration stand-point, apt-X Lossless is easy to port across multiple hardware and software platforms. Applications in high-definition audio for apt-X Lossless include wireless audio peripherals for media players; digital wireless microphones; music storage and archiving; audio consoles; digital audio routers; broadcast audio distribution between production, network and transmission sites. From beginning to end, the high-definition audio quality is maintained, retaining audio frequencies up to 20 kHz and a dynamic range of at least 120 dB. Depending on the settings of other scalable parameters, apt-X Lossless can encode a 48 kHz 16-bit stereo audio stream using only 10 MIPS on a modern RISC processor with signal processing extensions. The corresponding decoder represents only 6 MIPS on the same platform. User metadata and special synchronization data can be incorporated into the compressed format at configurable rates. Available starting July 2009, apt-X Lossless is implemented as C and C++ code, and has been verified on x86 processors, ARM 9E and ARM Cortex M3, Texas Instruments C64xx, and others TBA.

 

Dared DV-6C Six Channel Integrated AmpliierDared's new DV-6C is a configurable six-channel hybrid integrated power amplifier combines a tube preamplifier with solid-state output amplification. The tube stage is said to add warm and rich harmonics while the solid-state power output provides accuracy and resolution. Preamplification is via three 12AX7 Class A single-ended triode and the six channels output of 65 watts each may also be driven in 5.1, 5.0, 3.0, 2.1 and 2-channel mode selectable through front panel and remote control. Various channels are adjustable including the Subwoof (-60dB to 60dB) while the Front, Center and Surround channels are also adjustable (-12dB to 12dB). Overall frequency response is from 20 Hz to 22 kHz, distortion is <1 percent @ 40 watts and SNR is >80dB. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Dared MP-5 vacuum tube amplifier, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

06 / 22 / 09

Van den Hul The Wave Audio and Vdeo Interconnect  Available now is Van den Hul's The Wave audio and video interconnect ($199 for 0.8 meter length). The Wave is not just any coax cable as it takes advantage of the company's 25 years of experience. This cable is a triple shielded interconnect designed to outperform its price class with superior qualities. The Wave starts with a generous 0.9 mm central conductor made of thick silver coated, high purity, matched crystal, oxygen free copper. It then adds a robust triple screen while the outer and inner layers are made of the same high quality material used in the central conductor. This unique design is said to "achieve first-rate interference suppression and highly linear conductivity. The Wave delivers impeccable transmission quality, large natural bandwidth and excellent noise rejection resulting in outstanding transparency, full bodied and clearly defined sound and a lively and precise rhythm." Van den Hul's The Wave is a 75 Ohm cable making it suited for a wide variety of audio as well as video applications. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Van den Hul The Frog MC phono cartridge, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

Denon DCD-510AE CD Payer and PMA-510AE Integrated AmplifierDenon has introduced their new DCD-510AE CD player and PMA-510AE integrated amplifier (£249.99 and £229.99 respectively) that furthers the company's high value profile yet holds some state-of-the-art technology. The PMA-510AE stereo integrated amplifier employs a high current (HC) single-push-pull circuit that produces a wide dynamic range to aid in supporting high-grade audio sources. The main transformer is augmented with separate power supplies for analog and digital circuits. The vibration resistant design of the unit also has direct mechanical ground construction to avoid RFI/EMI noise. The Denon PMA-510AE also includes an MM phonostage and front headphone jack. Denon's new DCD-510AE CD player handles MP3, WMA and of course standard CDs. High precision 24-bit/192kHz DAC upsamples the digital data while the reduced-resistant design with direct mechanical ground construction keeps out unwanted noise. The original Denon CD mechanism has a central assembly drawer unit. The company very carefully designed the internal circuitry to preserve audio signal purity and ensure a short signal path. Both units include a remote control and an aluminum front panel that is available in silver or black. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed Denon's 2900 combination player (click here) and the  DVD-5900 universal player with Underwood/Parts ConneXion Level 2 mods (click here).

 

The Grammy Foundations' Grant Program has awarded $150,000 in grants awarded to 11 recipients across the United States. Funds will be given to help facilitate a range of research, archiving and preservation projects on a variety of subjects including surveying recently discovered audio materials that potentially represent as many as 1,200 unique recordings of musical compositions by Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys; improving access to culturally and historically significant Native American and Latin American sound recordings; and testing whether music decreases pain and stress caused by medically necessary procedures such as the heel-stick blood draw in critically-ill premature infants. Preservation planning grants were awarded to the Bob Wills Heritage Foundation, Elliott Leib, Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center, and William James Association. Preservation implementation grants were awarded to the Bob Moog Memorial Foundation for Electronic Music, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, and University of Southern California, Santa Barbara. Research grants were awarded to the Institute for Music & Brain Science and Northwestern University. To date, the Grammy Foundation Grant Program has awarded $5.4 million to more than 250 noteworthy projects. The deadline each year for submitting grant applications is October 1 and grant applications are available now. Enjoy the Music.com has attended plus reported on four Grammy Award shows (click here).

 

06 / 19 / 09

Phiaton PS 200 In Ear Monitor  Earphone and in ear monitor company Phiaton, founded in 1959 and now has expanded their headquarters in Korea to operations in Japan, Indonesia and China with a global workforce of more than 12,000 people, manufacturers many components found in top quality units. Now the company is directly offering their PS 500 headphones ($299) with titanium driver and handmade housing made with genuine leather for maximum comfort for extended listening. Features include optimized airflow that is said to deliver concert hall sound quality from the 40mm titanium vaporized diaphragm. The rear enclosure and closed-ear design aids in noise reduction. The Phiaton PS 500 has an impedance of 32 Ohms, a sensitivity of 102 dB and can handle up to 2000 mW of power. The PS 500 weighs 9.1 oz without cord. For in ear monitor (IEM) fans, Phiaton's PS 200 (pictured, $249) is an ultra lightweight design and part of the company's Primal Series. These sound isolating earphones include soft silicon tips and included are three sizes to ensure proper fit. Dual balanced armature drivers with passive crossover network highlight this design, while the unique rearmost section has interesting rotary-like fins. Impedance is 39 Ohms, sensitivity is 95 dB and maximum input power is 30 mW.

 

AMR Gold FuseThe fuse market finds a new entry as London-based Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) launches their range of Gold Fuses that are premium replacement fuses for all electronic products. According to AMR, "Traditionally, one of the weakest points in any typical component is the fuse. This is because standard electrical fuses do not take into account the needs of a high quality audio or video system...". AMR's Gold Fuse was developed after lengthy testing and auditioning and is said to bring "fuller body, better definition and detail plus educed distortion, extended dynamic range and more. The internal silver alloy fuse wire is of the non-spiral variety and is a low inductance design. A special non-magnetic, shock resistant anti-resonant ceramic body is mated to gold-plated end caps. Values currently available include 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 5 and 10 Ampere, with further values to follow shortly.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
Liquid Media
Oh those crazy dot com days prove that selling music online is not as easy at it may seem. Ailing streaming media software company Liquid Audio is going for an IPO. Their planned IPO of 3.6 million common shares is about 21 percent of the company. Initial stock pricing should be between $10 and $12 according to our sources. This might be the very last breath of air for Liquid Audio as many companies are finding their encoding software not as easy to implement, or the Liquid Audio decoders as widely used as RealNetworks RealPlayer which holds over 75 percent of the streaming media market. Meanwhile Rounder Records has selected Liquid Audio for their on-line music distribution. Liquid Audio is on the move as Tower Records will be using the Liquid Distribution system to sell "CD-Quality" downloads from the Internet. The new service for Tower's on-line sales is called DigitalTower.com. Liquid Distribution has also been selected by Alligator Records, Sub Pop, Vanguard, and Mammoth to sell their music on-line as well. As of June 2009: Liquid Audio went public years ago and was subsequently acquired by Anderson Media in 2003 of California and now appears to operate under the name Liquid Media.

 

06 / 18 / 09

Bassocontinuo Audio Systems Tabla  Bassocontinuo Audio Systems, an Italian manufacturer of stands and equipment supports, offers their Tabla loudspeaker platform (575€). Internally, this unit employs an inert material of marble granules that allows the loudspeaker to 'float'. Each Tabla is wrapped in a special anti-scratching black or white paint, to minimize the probable scratch during the positioning of the loudspeaker. To avoid any problem, the company suggests users to place a base disk between the spikes of the loudspeaker and the Tabla unit. Each Bassocontinuo Audio Systems' Tabla measures 330 x 430 (WxD in mm) for the center platform, while overall dimensions are 460 x 510. The company can custom manufacturer various other sizes at the customer's request. Bassocontinuo also has an extensive line of equipment racks offered in a very wide variety of colors and finished including black, grey, white, Birch, Walnut, and Wenge.

 

Antique Sound Lab Line One Stereo PreamplifierAntique Sound Lab Line One stereo preamplifier ($350) is a very compact tube with four line level inputs and two sets of outputs. This no fill high-value unit has a frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz (+/-1dB) and a distortion of 0.5 percent at 1V output. Signal-to-noise ratio is 79dB, input impedance is 100k Ohm and output impedance is 1 kOhm. The unit provides a full gain output of 2 Volts via a 12AU7 dual-triode vacuum tube and supporting circuitry. This little unit is a mere 8 x 9.5 x 2 (WxDxH in inches) and weighs 3.5 lbs. For those seeking a purely passive stereo preamplifier, the Antique Sound Labs' Passive TX-1 DT preamplifier ($750) uses unique auto former/switch voltage divider control unit. Non-resistive volume level controls, dual monophonic operation with four sets of inputs and one tape monitor loop is included. This design aids in driving long line-level interconnects. Both Antique Sound Lab units have RCA jacks for all inputs and outputs. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Antique Sound Lab AQ1003 DT EL34-based stereo integrated amplifier (click here), the Flora EX DT line preamplifier (click here) and their Monsoon DT MKII monoblock tube amplifiers (click here).

 

Outlaw Audio ECS-10 Powered SubwooferOutlaw Audio just announced their new ECS-10 powered subwoofer ($849). There is a great deal of significance to the model number as this product marks the company's tenth anniversary celebration. As such, the subwoofer has a 10-inch drive unit within the 14-inch cubed enclosure. Thanks to a 1,000 watt RMS/2,000 watt peak amplifier, a long throw 10-inch woofer with a 22 pound magnet structure, the Outlaw Audio ECS-10 delivers subwoofer sound down to 23 Hz. The unit has line-level inputs and outputs, loudspeaker inputs, adjustable volume output and phase adjustment. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Outlaw Audio Model 950 home theater preamplifier/processor (click here) and the company's LFM-1 powered subwoofer (click here).

 

06 / 17 / 09

Wavecore SW070WA01/02 Driver  DIY enthusiasts and high-end audio loudspeaker manufacturer may enjoy the new Wavecor FR070WA01/02 full range or SW070WA01/02 subwoofer driver. Wavecor's 'Balanced Drive' product line are said to produce symmetry yielding, thus resulting in much lower even order harmonic distortion than traditional designs. Built in die cast aluminum baskets, the Balanced Drive line marks Wavecor taking another step up-market. All members of the Balanced Drive product line feature a new optimized motor structure, while the design ensures perfect motor alignment. The 2.75-inch transducers of the FR070WA01 are 4 Ohm (FR070WA02 is 8 Ohm) and were designed especially for high quality multimedia and lifestyle loudspeakers. With a frequency response from 150 Hz to 30 kHz, dual neodymium magnet structure ensures high efficiency and magnetically shielding. A copper cap on center pole reduces voice coil inductance and minimizes variations in voice coil inductance as a function of voice coil position. The black anodized aluminum cone ensures for better heat transfer while the vented polymer chassis provides lower air flow for speed reducing audible distortion. Wavecor's 7-inch transducers WF182BD01 is 4 Ohms (WF182BD02 for 8 Ohm) were designed as high performance bass and midrange units for monitors and high-end loudspeakers. With a relatively smooth frequency response from 60 Hz to around 3 kHz, the 'Balanced Drive motor structure for optimal drive force symmetry resulting in largely reduced even order harmonic distortion. A copper cap on center pole reduces voice coil inductance and minimizes variations in voice coil inductance as a function of voice coil position. The black Nomex cone is mounted to a rigid die cast aluminum chassis with extensive venting. Wavecore chose to use a Conex spider for better durability under extreme conditions and gold plated terminals to ensure long-term trouble free connection.

 

Arslab AC 3 Floorstanding LoudspeakerArslab loudspeakers is the house brand and offered by World Audio Distribution, with a design goal to produce an extremely flat frequency response and offer excellent transparency. Careful consideration was given to every aspect of the engineering. The box design in particular rivals enclosures at five times their price. The top-of-the-range AC 3 is a Type 3-way, reflex loaded design and has a frequency response from 40 Hz to 20 kHz (±3dB). Sensitivity is 88dB/W/m and it presents a 6 Ohms load. Dimensions are 9.54 x 44.5 x 15.8 (WxHxD in inches). Other loudspeakers offered by Arslab include the AC1 small monitor, AC Center channel and SC SUB subwoofer. The subwoofer has a 150 watt amplifier with both RCA and loudspeaker binding posts inputs and outputs. Frequency response is from 28 to 200 Hz (±3 dB). Adjustments include variable level output, phase adjustment and low pass frequency. All Arslab loudspeakers are available in black ask, cherry, mahogany and wenge wood colors.

 

06 / 16 / 09

Audyssey Sub Equalizer  Audyssey Laboratories, established in 2002 as a research-based company to find sound equalization solutions for the professional and consumer audio marketplace, now offers their Audyssey Sub Equalizer ($799). As the latest in a series of professional room calibration tools in the company's product lineup, the Sub Equalizer uses the award-winning MultEQ XT technology to correct the most difficult problem in home theater sound: low frequency distortion caused by room acoustics. Audyssey's Sub Equalizer solves acoustical problems in both frequency and time domains by utilizing MultEQ XT, which measures the entire listening area in the time domain and uses thousands of correction points to create a high-resolution equalization solution. Line level (RCA) inputs and outputs are provided for on the rear of the unit. On the front is a USD port for communication with a PC while a mini-XLR jack if for the calibration microphone.

 

Audio Expo North America (AXPONA)Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) is a brand new event/trade show, which will be held in March 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. As the first event of its kind held on the East coast in three years, the show will focus on high-end playback equipment, products, and the media that support them. The industries top manufactures, retailers, and the consumer will all have a chance to mingle while observing live demonstrations of the equipment and software. The purpose of this type of show is to introduce new and innovative products in an informal and informative setting. Top names in the industry will be speaking in scheduled seminars on topics as varied as high resolution downloads to analog tape and vinyl record albums. Many of the producers of the latest recorded playback material will be in attendance to speak about innovations in media and availability through retail outlets as well as downloadable formats. Retailers from the area and other major markets will also be displaying alongside manufactures and distributors, so as to offer a format that caters to industry insiders and retail consumers alike.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
Manley LabroatoriesEveAnna Manley acquires Manley Laboratories, as David Manley resigned as President and assigned his total shares in the company to EveAnna as part of an agreement signed on June 10, 1999. EveAnna Manley has officially assumed the duties of President, CEO and sole owner. Manley Laboratories, Inc., founded in 1993 by David and EveAnna Manley, manufactures vacuum tube high fidelity and professional studio products under the Manley and Langevin brand names. New products released during this time by EveAnna Manley's design team headed by Craig 'Hutch' Hutchison and assisted by Baltazar Hernandez include the 1998 TEC award winner, the Manley VOXBOX, The Stingray Integrated Amplifier, and the 1999 Studio Sound Industry Recognition Award winner and 1999 TEC award nominee Manley Massive Passive Stereo Equalizer. The success of these innovative products distributed by over 100 dealers worldwide have contributed greatly to the 75 percent growth the company has experienced under EveAnna Manley's leadership.

 

06 / 15 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com's June midmonth edition of the Review Magazine is now available! Updates include our letters page, more industry news plus new articles from the Boston Audio Society, Sound Practices and VALVE magazine plus a manufacturer facility tour of Shuguang manufacturing facility! These past few weeks Enjoy the Music.com has partnered with VALVE magazine, HIFICRITIC and now offers an Industry News site for mobile phone users!

 

Review Magazine
Your Letters To Us!
You e-mail our staff and our experts reply.

Daily News: Audiophile news updated each weekday!

VALVE Magazine
The Venerable Dynaco Stereo 70
Article By Dan Schmalle

Boston Audio Society
Sound Reproduction: Loudspeakers And Rooms
Book By Floyd Tool
Loudspeakers, Rooms, and Books Aren't Perfect
Review By Howard W. Ferstler

Sound Practices
The Feral Eye 2A3 Amplifier
Article By Herb Reichert With Schematic By New York Triode Mafia

Shuguang Vacuum Tube Manufacturing Facility
Article By Rachel Of Grant Fidelity! 

See the June 2009 midmonth Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

Neat Acoustics Elite SXNeat Acoustics, located in rural Teesdale in the North of England, launched theie ELITE SX floorstanding loudspeaker. As a successor to the company's ELITE SE, the new SX continues the Neat tradition of delivering serious audio performance from discreet and attractive enclosures. Unlike other bass reflex designs, the ELITE SX incorporates an innovative staggered port tuning design. A 32mm diameter port on the rear of the cabinet is tuned to 40Hz, with a narrow operating band. An additional 50mm diameter port, mounted in the base of the cabinet, is tuned higher and over a wider operating band. This carefully judged system is claimed to deliver a very convincing full-bodied bass performance, far more impressive than might be expected for an enclosure of these dimensions. The cabinet is raised above a solid, heavy plinth by means of 20mm spacers. This allows the port to breathe correctly and fixes the distance from the lower port to the plinth at the optimum height. The main drive unit is the latest version of that used in Neat's upmarket Ultimatum range. In keeping with Neat's thinking, this unit has a 6.5-inch doped paper cone, a ferrite magnet assembly and a fixed aluminum phase plug to enable smoother integration with the tweeter. The tweeter is a soft-fabric dome type with internal damping and a non-resonant chamber. As with all Neat loudspeakers, the crossover is simple in execution and the result of painstaking development. Neat prefer to judge all aspects of tuning & voicing by ear, rather than referring to measurements. Low loss air-core inductors are employed, as well as high-grade polypropylene capacitors. All crossover components are specified within very tight tolerances in order to ensure excellent pair matching. Recommended amplifier power is from 25 to 200 watts, impedance is 8 Ohms (nominal) and sensitivity is 88dB/W/m.

 

06 / 12 / 09

HIFICRITIC  Enjoy the Music.com, a leader in consumer electronics audio equipment and music reviews for approximately 15 years, has partnered with HIFICRITIC magazine. This marks the seventh magazine that has joined what has been referred to as the Internet's leading site for high-end audio consumer electronics reviews and information. Coming on the heels of this week's announcement of VALVE magazine joining Enjoy the Music.com, this once again extends and broadens the ability of the site to reach enthusiasts in virtually every facet of high-end audio.

Technical Editor Martin Colloms and Editor Paul Messenger see this as a mark of increasing recognition for their professionally produced print publication directed at serious stereo enthusiasts. "In what some consider a foolhardy venture there is no advertising in HIFICRITIC, and this is claimed to deliver to the reader a higher level of independent feature writing and review opinion," said HIFICRITIC's Martin Colloms. "In consequence, Enjoy the Music.com had to rethink their commercial model with respect to magazine affiliation to make the inclusion of HIFICRITIC a reality and we thank founder and editor of Enjoy the Music.com Steven R. Rochlin for making this possible. We aim to make this affiliation help readers and web visitors by increasing accessibility to our valuable audio resources."

"We welcome having HIFICRITIC magazine partner with Enjoy the Music.com and admire their technical prowess within the publication's high-end audio reviews," said Editor Steven R. Rochlin of Enjoy the Music.com. "They have taken the proverbial road less traveled by accepting no advertising and, as a result, relying on their subscribers to help finance their venture. HIFICRITIC has a staff with an immense knowledge of technical understanding and regularly publish articles that educate their readership. While a new model of partnership had to be achieved on our part, the sheer quality of their reviews and articles made the decision an easy one to make. As a benefit for Enjoy the Music.com readers, they will be privy to the table of contents and editorial plus will also enjoy an additional article at no cost from each edition of HIFICRITIC." See the most recent edition of HIFICRITIC on this site by clicking here.

 

Audio AficionadoFor those seeking fun on a discussion board, a brand new high-end audio forum called Audio Aficionado is now online. They cover many aspects of the high-end realm and also include access and direct communication from major manufacturers such as PMC, Wireworld, Symposium Acoustics, PS Audio and Modwright. In addition to the previous brand names there are also separate forum sections for B&W, Esoteric, Krell, Marantz, McIntosh and many others. It is a forum for all so whether you are a new audiophile or a seasoned expert, they invite you to take a tour and learn or share your knowledge. The man who created Audio Aficionado is member 'MasterLu' and he did it for one simple reason -- "Love of Music".

 

06 / 11 / 09

Bel Canto Design S300iUSB Integrated Stereo Amplifier  Bel Canto Design, manufacturer of analog and digital source components and amplifiers, is now shipping their S300iUSB stereo integrated amplifier that includes USB input ($2495). The S300iUSB takes a direct input from the USB output of your computer, using the same technology developed for Bel Canto's USB Link 24/96, and upsamples into a 300 wpc dual-mono fully-balanced two channel amplifier. This powerful but cool-running, half-size integrated amplifier uses the same technology found in the company's S300 stereo amplifier. The dual-mono regulated switching supplies and all-encompassing parallel protection circuits ensures long term reliability. Bel Canto's S300iUSB also features a multipurpose digitally-controlled analog volume control. Enjoy the Music.com has a review online of the Bel Canto DAC2 24-bit/192kHz upsampling DAC (click here).

 

Acronova Technology Nimbie NB11Are you tired of ripping your CDs one by one? If so, then Acronova Technology, the leading provider of affordable auto-loading systems for CD/DVD/BD, introduces a new ripping feature to the Nimbie series. The new Nimbie NB11 ($595) is a PC-connected, 100-disc autoloader that is ideally designed for in-house duplication, LightScribe disc labeling, data back up, audio ripping and many other customized burning functions. This compact, user friendly unit is targeted at home, office and studio users who are looking for a cost effective and functional solution plus those with large music collections seeking to rip many discs without the need for constant loading and unloading of discs. The new Windows XP/Vista compatible ripping software, called QQripper, is developed by Broadex Systems. QQripper works with iTunes and Windows Media Player to enable automated disc loading for unattended music ripping. Simply choose the desired ripping engine to start converting music from CDs to digital audio files. These digital audio files are stored in the HDD to allow users to easily archive their music collection and either play music on the computer or import to iPod or other popular portable music players or NAS drive. Nimbie's open FIFO loader permits a non stop disc refill so that users can add more discs any time during the ripping.

 

Unipheye Music Felix Mendelssohn Opus 13 A minor and Claude Debussy Opus 10 G minorUnipheye Music has proudly announced the release of their new recording of Felix Mendelssohn Opus 13 A minor and Claude Debussy Opus 10 G minor for string quartet. Recorded Direct-to-PCM, the music is performed by Joel Link and Bryan Lee on violin, Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt on viola and Camden Shaw on cello. Realizing that only a portion of people are able to handle 24-bit/192kHz, FLAC files for this album are available in both 24-bit/192kHz and 24-bit/96kHz. "Unquestionably, this is our best work yet," says Ira Norman Segall, owner and recording engineer for Unipheye Music. "During the recording sessions, I was mesmerized by how 'on- fire' the quartet was. We set out with intent to design something unique, organic, not cookie-cutter; to capture the intimacy of chamber music, and in someplace other than a concert hall environment. Perhaps you will find that among other things, we have captured the raw excitement and emotionality of the playing in a very fresh way."

 

06 / 10 / 09

VALVE (Vintage Audio And Valve Enthusiasts)  Enjoy the Music.com, a leader in consumer electronics audio equipment and music reviews for approximately 15 years, has partnered with vintage DIY specialty magazine VALVE (Vintage Audio And Valve Enthusiasts). As the sixth print magazine to join Enjoy the Music.com, this further enhances the vast knowledge of high-end consumer electronics content already available to millions of readers worldwide. This new alliance further extends the ability to reach enthusiasts in virtually every facet of high-end audio.

"We are happy to be working with Enjoy the Music.com on this venture," says founder Dan Schmalle of VALVE magazine and Bottlehead Corporation. "Editor Steven R. Rochlin and his online magazine have always been supportive of DIY tube audio community events and developments. VALVE magazine was a seminal DIY tube audio publication in the pre-Internet days, and we appreciate the ability to bring more exposure to the new wave of DIYers with some of the early explorations and experiments that led to the growth of Bottlehead as a leader in tube audio kits."

"Having VALVE magazine join forces with Enjoy the Music.com is a continuation of efforts to bring high-end electronic consumers, from the DIY hobbyist to those seeking finely-crafted cost-no-object finished products, to find the information they crave for on a continual basis, "said Editor Steven R. Rochlin of Enjoy the Music.com. "Joining our currently available content that encompasses thousands of reviews, over 100 show reports and so much more, VALVE is now firmly planted with a proper audience. While many online sites might focus on a small niche of high-end audio, Enjoy the Music.com achieves that and so much more. I have found that many consumers may enjoy finished products, yet desire the joys of building their equipment from well thought out kits. On the other hand, kit builders highly respect the craft and engineering prowess of top-flight audiophile gear. Each benefits from the other in a harmonious convergence as the end result is the same. The result being to further their life's pleasure though the enjoyment of music. Like Sound Practices, hobbyist publication VALVE will be part of the Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine midmonth update."

 

Sunfire Theater Grand Media System (TGM)Sunfire, manufacturer of home audio and theater products, announced that their Theater Grand Media System (TGM) is now shipping ($6,500 on up depending on configuration). The TGM system is a high performance, modular and scalable media server for music and movies with storage options ranging from one terabyte up to six terabytes. The TGM-100 system is as easy to use as it is sophisticated. Customers load their collection of DVDs and CDs onto an enterprise-level storage solution. Artist, album, genre, film, director, even cover art, are downloaded automatically, making it a breeze to sort through extensive collections. A unique layered approach employs multiple online sources, such as Gracenote, AMG, and GD3 for the highest quality metadata. An attractive TV interface provides intuitive and instant access to the collection - all at users' fingertips from the comfort of users' favorite listening chair. The TGM system is designed to work with all current ELAN Touch Panels. An independent User Interface allows whole-house control from wired and wireless panels. Due to its tight integration with ELAN control systems, the Theater Grand Media system will also be available to select ELAN dealers. The TGM-HD1 can start out with 'only' one terabyte of RAID 1 storage, though can be ordered or expanded with much more storage space as desired. TGM-HDC iSCSI chassis is an enterprise-grade RAID 6 hard drive solution, fully customized for the CI industry, with critical application performance only seen in financial, medical and scientific markets. This platform boasts dual redundant hardware that creates a real-time backup of precious libraries. Dual redundant, field replaceable power supplies, fans, and hard drives ensure that that the system will always perform on demand. And scalability means that users are able to increase capacity as libraries or families grow - up to 1,800 movies or many thousands of CDs. Audio performance features multiple channels of 24-bit/192kHz for audiophile quality playback.

 

SonosKeeping with the computer/homewide audio and media server theme, Sonos has teamed up with online media site Napster and announced that for $5 a month users can enjoy unlimited streaming from their catalogue that consists of over eight million songs. In addition, Napster is including an additional five downloadable MP3s a month. Sonos is a multi-room, homewide music server system (starting at $349 for a one room/zone setup) and can be configured for upwards of 32 totally independent rooms/zones. The system features S/PDIF digital output, can stream music from a home NAS server, plus each zone has an analog input. The analog input allows for line level input so audiophiles can send the sound of their turntable, CD player, etc to other zones throughout their home. Naturally online music sites including Pandora, Last.fm, Rhapsody, etc are intuitively available as are tens of thousands of online radio stations. Unlike other system, the Sonos system does not need to use your computer for assistance, as the Sonos system is completely independent and serves up each zone wirelessly through their proprietary system. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Sonos multi-room music system, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

06 / 09 / 09

Creek Audio Wyndsor Phono Preamplifier  Longstanding British high-end audio manufacturer Creek Audio follows the success of their Destiny with their new Wyndsor phono preamplifier, which is available in either silver or black finish. This no-compromise unit has the left and right channels built on separate PCBs plus each channel has dedicated power supply regulation for complete isolate and wide channel separation. Unbalanced input and outputs are connected via high grade gold plated RCA sockets, while balanced input is possible via dedicated 3 pin mini DIN sockets. Input selection, cartridge loading and gain are all fully adjustable from the front panel. High quality gold contact relays are used to switch all the functions and are driven from a dedicated power supply to isolate them from the analogue preamplification circuitry. The front panel display indicates which functions have been selected. A microcontroller based control interface is accessed through a rotary input selector and push buttons. Several types of cartridge with different parameters can be programmed and the user can name and store them as preset numbers in the unit's memory. It is possible to write up to 32 characters on the display for each selection. Specifications include:

Switch selectable cartridge range and gain for 0.770V output
MC low output 0.25mV – 0.4mV 70dB
MC normal output 0.4mV – 0.6mV 61dB
MC high output 2mV – 3mV 53dB
MM normal output 2mV – 3mV 53dB
MM high output 3mV – 5mV 45dB
Cartridge loading resistance 47k Ohms, 1k Ohms, 100 Ohms, 91 Ohms
Cartridge loading capacitance 100pF, 1100pF
Gain 45, 53, 61, 70dB, +Mute
Display features Bal/un-bal, Gain, Loading, Name, Preset #
Display type Vacuum fluorescent dot matrix
Display options Multiple brightness settings, including off
Power supply options Standby and on/off

 

HDtracksHDtracks, an online music store that provides true high-resolution music, is offering a free album for download called the Jazz & Blues Experience. This album is a seven-track odyssey of music of some of today's hippest and coolest artists. Pioneered by David and Norman Chesky of Chesky Records, HDtracks offers you a superior listening experience in clarity and quality, as well as the full PDF artwork and liner notes to provide context and enrich your enjoyment of the music. HDtracks offers downloads in AIFF and FLAC formats, as well as superior-quality mp3s. HDtracks features a variety of different types of your favorite music, bringing out the best talent of all the hottest artists. Jazz & Blues Experience features the freshest, most exciting music of all your favorite jazz legends, who currently record for the hottest labels, such as Palmetto, Koch, Analogue, and Light Without Heat. Tunes include, respectively, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith's "Dapper Dan," from Rise Up, trumpeter Dominick Farinacci's "Vision," from Lovers, Tales, and Dances, Harry "Big Daddy" Hypolite's "Big Bad Girl," from Louisiana Country Boy, and Steve Vai's "Louisiana Swamp Swank" from The Elusive Light and Sound, Volume 1. Hot Chesky Records artists round out the album. David Johansen and the Harry Smiths perform "Oh Death," from their self-titled album, while Dave's True Story adds "Misery," from Unauthorized. Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji completes the stellar Chesky lineup with "Saré Tete Wa," from his album Love Drum Talk.

 

Apple iPhone 3G SAudiophiles who enjoy their music on the go may choose Apple's just announced iPhone 3G S ($199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB model), which the fastest, most powerful iPhone. The new iPhone 3G S is a step up for audiophiles as new features for the iPhone 3G S include improved speed and performance — up to twice as fast as iPhone 3G — with longer battery life. Naturally there are many audio application available at the Apple's App Store, plus of course the ability to enjoy streaming media from popular sites including Pandora, Last.fm, Rhapsody and others. A faster internal processor and 7.2 Mbps HSDPA networking speed support will make things move faster. New iTunes features available with iPhone 3.0 software include wirelessly downloading movies, TV and audio programs as well as iTunes U so students can download learning materials on the go. The 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display can resolve 480 x 320 pixel images at 163 ppi. Audio/Video formats supported include AAC, protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV plus H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; H.264 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 3.0 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats. Enjoy the Music.com now offers Industry News dedicated for the many millions of iPhone, Windows Mobile and other such devices, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

06 / 08 / 09

Trends Audio TA-10.2P Class-T Power Amplifier   ITOK Media Limited's innovative hi-fi brand Trends Audio launched their new TA-10.2P Class-T stereo power amplifier ($179). Trends Audio's TA-10.2P stereo amplifier applied the well accepted Trends TA-10 technology with Tripath's proprietary Class-T audio amplification technology. This integrated the class-D digital audio signal processing technique (PWM) with the Class-AB power amplification into a small IC. It has the mini-size, low heat advantages of Class-D amplifiers and the high fidelity sound quality of Class-AB amplifiers. Quite a bit of effort has been applied for this proprietary technique that includes circuit design, components matching, sound tuning and the case grounding and shielding. Additionally, Trends Audio applied audiophile electronic components including the non-magnetic aluminum case, gold-plated sockets, MKP capacitors as audio input decoupling capacitor, low LSR plus high ripple current Rubycon MCZ series tank capacitors, and high-quality AC power supply. Each unit includes a two year limited warranty. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Trend Audio TA-10.1 amplifier (click here), their UD-10 DAC (click here) and just released our World Premiere review of the Trend Audio PA-10 hybrid preamplifier and headphone amplifier (click here).

 

Artisan Ultimate Silver Dream InterconnectArtisan Silver Cables just released their Ultimate Silver Dream interconnects (£199 for 0.5-meter, £289 for full meter including shipping). As Artisan's "cost-no-object" interconnects, this is said to be the company's finest achievement to date. Each cable is made with high-purity silver conductors with eight conductors. Upgraded Teflon tubing is parts of this new design that Artisan has introduced across its full range of cables and is a slightly wider diameter over their previous version. To quote the company, "By allowing more room around the pure silver conductors, this gives an improvement to the ideal 'air dielectric' effect, giving an increased perception of purity to the sound. In high resolution systems, a further layer of inner detail becomes audible. The cushioning effect of a larger air-gap around the conductors also increases isolation from external physical vibrations - which is generally also thought to be good for sound quality."

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
Linn Klimax Monoblock AmplifierLinn just officially announced their Klimax 500 Solo power amplifier. Linn's new  high performance monoblock power amplifier designed for use in multi-amplified sound reproduction systems and delivers over 500W of power. Ivor Tiefenbrun M.B.E., Managing Director of Linn, says "The new Klimax Amplifier technology demonstrates how Linn sets new standards for performance, value and application versatility." The Linn patented noiseless 4-G power supply and amplification circuitry is used in the Klimax while overload protection can activate in less than half a microsecond.  Both single-ended on RCA jacks and balanced via XLR inputs are standard. The Neutrik Speakon 4 contact speaker sockets are used for the speaker wire output. Optional binding post output terminals are available upon request. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Linn Classik integrated amplifier with the Kan loudspeaker (click here) and Linn's Katan monitor loudspeakers with their Sizmik 10.25 powered subwoofer (click here).

 

06 / 05 / 09

Erin Bode  HDtracks, a company that offer high-resolution music downloads and every music file is DRM-free and comes with complete album liner notes, is now featuring vocalist Erin Bode. Her album Don't Take Your Time is a wonderful blend of jazz and fun as Erin performs her personal take on tunes from the Great American Songbook, pop classics, and her first original song, "Don't Take Your Time." Erin also has an album on HDtracks titled Over and Over as this St. Louis-based jazz vocalist builds on the American Songbook interpretations of her first release with a collection of self-penned originals, as well as covers of Paul Simon's "Graceland," Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years," and the standard "Alone Together." Her accompanying trio provides a supple, subtle accompaniment on this down-tempo set of ballads. HDtracks also offers music from many popular recording labels, all available in lossless high-resolution audiophile format with DRM or other limitations.

 

Peak Consult The KepheusPeak Consult The Kepheus floorstanding loudspeaker encompasses "countless hours of measuring and critical listening by many audiophile ears" according to the company. The Kepheus is one of the finest three-way loudspeakers plus has an impedance curve and electrical phase characteristic like an electrostatic. The multifaceted enclosure of The Kepheus is handcrafted in Peak Consult's facility in Denmark by skilled Danish artisans. Specially glued sandwich material covered by 1-inch solid acrylic and resonance suppressers have been used in the construction. As for drivers, the tweeter is a triple magnet 1-inch soft dome with a non-resonant aluminum chamber. It features multiple chambers with low compression and a customized aluminum faceplate. Dual 5-inch Audio Technology midranges are hand-built specifically for optimal behavior in The Kepheus enclosure. The driver features a cone that has been uniquely shaped for this moving system and a vented magnet system that includes Symmetric Drive, optimizing the linear directivity. For lowermost frequencies, dual 6-inch Audio Technology woofers are hand-built and specifically designed for The Kepheus. Using new technology in the moving part of the units make them very low-loss drivers. The huge magnets and ventilation that includes Symmetric Drive systems make the driver's reproduce very tight and extremely low frequencies. Peak Consult's The Kepheus includes an acoustical fully compensated second order crossover in the tweeter/midrange and woofer section, isolated from the moving system in its own dual sealed department. Bi-wire capability is provided for via WBT platinum signature binding posts. Overall frequency range is from 28 Hz to 45 kHz and the unit has a sensitivity or 90dB/W/m while presenting a 4 Ohm load. Dimensions are 50 x 10.6 x 27 ((HxWxD in inches) and each unit weighs 343 lbs.

 

06 / 04 / 09

Enjoy the Musuc.com Mobile  Enjoy the Music.com, a leader in consumer electronics audio equipment and music reviews for approximately 15 years, now offers daily high-end consumer electronics industry news for those with mobile devices such as the iPhone and Windows mobile devices. With approximately 6 million Apple iPhones and over 20 million Microsoft Smartphones worldwide, Enjoy the Music.com once again leads the industry in providing content dedicated for those on the go. As a continuation of technological firsts offered to audio enthusiasts worldwide, with over a decade of development expertise, we once again expand our ability to deliver content to consumers all around the world.

Enjoy the Music.com began delivering content for mobile devices nearly half a decade ago via our Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) site. While the technology was primitive in relative terms, it was widely used by those who sought the information they desired. As with virtually all computer technology, the past five years has allowed for many advances in capability with mobile Internet browsing devices. With the announcement of this new initiative, today marks the next generation mobile site for Enjoy the Music.com and joins other industry firsts including the world's only Internet browser customized for high-end consumer electronics. To date, no other such site has come close to offering these abilities to many millions of high-end audio aficionados worldwide.

The new Enjoy the Music.com Mobile site is specifically designed for the needs of mobile users. From super fast page loading to elegant and appropriate page formatting, the mobile site will have news articles specifically designed for the portable device user. In total, Enjoy the Music.com is now available to hundreds of millions of consumers who purchase electronics devices each year.

"Once again Enjoy the Music.com delivers information in more ways to more high-end electronics consumers worldwide with our new mobile resource than any other site online," said Editor Steven R. Rochlin. "Our daily industry news updates, with over a decade of such articles online, has now been expanded for those on the go. We have once again delivered on our longstanding commitment to be at the forefront of Internet technology. By the end of this year our mobile site could reach approximately 30 million people worldwide who use portable devices to find information on the Internet. With many 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. Today, mobile users can also take advantage of the immense knowledge found within the site."

 

Raysonic SP-200 Stereo Integrated AmplifierRaysonic's new SP-200 ($2990) stereo integrated amplifier produces 100 wpc and is the most powerful integrated unit the company has designed to date. The amplifier is set up as compact stereo monoblock and offers four line inputs. The centrally-located volume control can be operated manually or via remote control. On the back plate is an industry standard IEC power connector, unbalanced RCA for input plus both and 4 and 8 Ohm loudspeakers binding posts. The thick chassis is manufactured from high quality aluminum. Operating in Class AB, a quartet of KT-88 tubes per channel produce 100 watts with minimal overall negative feedback. Extended frequency range C-core audio output transformers ensure the very wide frequency response from 8 Hz to 62 kHz (-1dB). A quartet of 12AU7 also support this design. SNR is a low 96dB, the unit weighs over 60 lbs. Customers can order the unit is silver as shown or black chassis. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the award winning Raysonic CD-168 CD player (click here).

 

MartinLogan Encore TF Center Channel SpeakerMartinLogan introduced their new Encore TF center channel speaker ($499) for use either on- or off-wall. Designed to serve as a high performance center channel for home theaters and multi-channel music, the compact Encore TF includes the company's ATF (Advanced Thin Film) driver and long-excursion low-mass woofers. Mated with sophisticated crossover engineering, the speaker is claimed by MartinLogan to "produce sound with lifelike clarity and openness." Each crossover unit is carefully hand-built using high quality air core coils and polyester and low dissipation electrolytic capacitors. Encore TF's crossover employs MartinLogan's proprietary Vojtko topology for low distortion and driver integration. This precision-tuned network is said to preserve the most subtle sonic nuances while handling the full dynamics of any source. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the MartinLogan Clarity electrostatic hybrid speaker (click here) and Summit floorstander (click here).

 

06 / 03 / 09

Bowers & Wilkins's Society Of Sound Music  High-quality music download service from Bowers & Wilkins's Society Of Sound Music now offers more albums in even better sounding 24-bit Flac format. Specially recorded exclusive albums now available in super high-definition 24-bit, bonus albums and back catalog items allow members to pay less than $3.15 an album. Many albums have been recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios. Bowers & Wilkins' Society of Sound Music offers an alternative to poor quality MP3s with wonderful sounding lossless downloads. Members can download a selection of music specially recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in a choice of three exceptional high-quality formats. Since the Society of Sound Music (formally B&W Music Club) is celebrating its first birthday, and has dramatically changed the benefits offered to members, it still gives members exclusive stunningly recorded album every month to download. Members can now also access a selection of previously featured albums for the first time, which brings the price of membership down to below $3.15 an album. Users have the choice of three high-quality lossless music downloads, all of which package the tracks for convenient download, but unlike MP3 they are indistinguishable from the original recordings when they are played back. Apple Lossless is perfect for copying to your iPod or burning to CD, as is 16-bit FLAC for non iTunes users. The quality bar has been pushed even higher with the introduction of 24-bit FLAC. These incredibly high-quality music files get listeners closer than ever to the sound the artist heard in the studio, and can either stream it via a computer, or burn onto a DVD to play on a home system. Since its launch in May 2008, Society of Sound Music has brought members a wide variety of different musical styles, all from exceptional artists: Gwyneth Herbert; Dub Colossus; former Suede frontman Brett Anderson; guitarist Tom Kerstens; Mercury Award nominees Portico Quartet and an exclusive lossless EP download from Eurythmics star Dave Stewart. Future releases include the new album from the hotly-tipped Dengue Fever, a band that blends Cambodian pop music with West Coast psychedelic rock. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) Nautilus 800 loudspeaker (click here) and the company's 800D reference floorstanders (click here). Editor Steven R. Rochlin personally toured Peter Gabriel's Real World recording studio and remastering facility, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

PIEGA MasterONE LoudspeakerThe new PIEGA top-of-the-range MasterONE is a successor to the much loved C 40. Piega has uniquely combined a dipole system with a coaxial ribbon system within this column loudspeaker. Unlike conventional large electrostatic panel loudspeakers, the coaxial ribbon system operates solely as a single point sound source. Compared to panel speakers, this has the advantage that the loudspeaker has a single acoustic center, and placing fewer requirements in terms of room conditions when it is positioned. PIEGA's coaxial ribbon system is said to use a "light-as-a-feather membrane". A specially designed bass cabinet offers an extraordinarily large net volume in relation to the small dimensions and specially tuned 22cm MOM (Magnetic Optimized Motor) bass chassis, which ensures a full-bodied low bass range. The baffle is made from a solid aluminum block and a core with high damping properties. A 7000 ton press is used to press the individual cabinet sections from a three ton aluminum block, and the bass cabinet consists of aluminum plates that are laser welded with total precision. The sophisticated damping made from bituminized composite material is claimed to prevent any kind of resonance.

PIEGA is also launching their TMicro series, a new entry-level of PIEGA loudspeaker that consists of a slim, filigree column and a small satellite. It is complimented by a new subwoofer that provides relatively full, bass within a very small package. This satellite/sub system is equipped with a dome tweeter and very efficient bass chassis. TMicro is ideally suited as a addition to one's computer audio desktop system.

 

Pioneer BDP-V6000 Professional Blu-ray PlayerSince the future of audiophile recordings will either be digital downloads or on Blu-ray disc, the new Pioneer BDP-V6000 Professional Blu-ray player handles SACD. DVD-Audio, dts, Dolby Digital and much more. Videophiles will enjoy the 1080p high definition video output plus the ability to play 30, 25, and 24 frames per second (fps). It can also handle both NTSC and PAL video formats. High-end audio is handled by 24-bit/192kHz DACs and the entire unit is built for robust use day in and day out. As such, internal parts have been carefully tested, and uprated accordingly. The new Pioneer BDP-V6000 has enhanced search options so users can navigate through a disc's title, chapter, and time code menus quickly and easily. A professional graphic user interface (GUI) incorporates a newly designed graphics for improved player setup and internal playlist operation. Naturally BD-Live is included with one GB of on-board memory allows new video content to be downloaded to the player without having to remaster a BD disc. A USB 2.0 port supports external devices to further expand BD-Live storage capacity and allows for playback of various media. The player supports SD/SDHC memory cards (SD Specification Version 2.00) at various storage capacities and transfer rates. Enjoy the Music.com has published a review of the Pioneer DV-AX10 DVD-Audio / SACD player (click here).

 

06 / 02 / 09

Cambridge Audio Azur Series  By developing the new Azur 550 and 650 Series, Cambridge Audio has gone back to their roots with a range of products that take a true 'audio-first' approach to musical reproduction. The 550A integrated stereo amplifier produces 60 wpc while the 650A produces 75 wpc. Both models have six inputs, two outputs and Tape In. Both Cambridge Audio Azur models use new Sanken output transistors with external emitter resistors for reduced thermal modulation and increased current delivery. Other features include the use of Alps film type 'black box' volume pot, audiophile grade toroidal transformer and substantial extruded heatsink, fully updated and re-tuned CAP5 protection technology to enhances performance at high volumes and low dissipation polypropylene signal capacitors and custom made electrolytic capacitors in critical positions. Each model has preamplification output for those who may choose to use an external amplifier. Both models are available in silver and black.

Also new from Cambridge Audio is their 550C and 650C CD players that enjoy the use of a completely new proprietary Cambridge Audio S3 servo solution. The excellent sounding Wolfson WM8740 DACs, all PCBs and DAC stages now feature double-sided surface mount technology to provide the shortest possible signal paths, an accurate master clock oscillator and carefully designed impedance-matched clock buffering schemes are part of the design. New low inductance Metal Electrode Face resistors further improve performance as does audiophile grade toroidal transformer. The 550C has three-pole double virtual Earth balanced filter topology while the 650C has a four-pole dual differential double virtual Earth balanced filter topology. Both models are available in silver and black.

 

Harbeth P3ESR Monitor LoudspeakerIn July, British loudspeaker manufacturer Harbeth will have available their new P3ESR minimonitors that harks back to the legendary LS3/5a loudspeaker. The RADIAL 5-inch midrange/bass unit is Harbeth-made, so the company has full control over drive unit sourcing. As an added note, the company claims they have recently secured enough enough component parts to make these woofers for years ahead. For the uppermost frequencies, Harbeth chose to use a special SEAS custom-made unit because "it is really unbeatable". The starting point was to re-measure the LS3/5a and the P3ES2 at the BBC anechoic chamber, study the measurement curves, and then design and make comparisons accordingly. Harbeth claims that this new unit matched or exceed the overall midband sensitivity around 1 kHz with similar power envelope for a small speaker. The design for an easier electrical load on the amplifier equals increasing the impedance from the P3's 4 Ohms to about 6 Ohms so that the P3ESR will not be as taxing to the amplification device. Furthermore, Harbeth claims to have reduced coloration in the presence region (and completely eliminate LS3/5a-type coloration at 5kHz by careful design of dustcap) so that the P3ESR sounds more like its bigger, RADIAL-based Harbeths. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Harbeth Monitor 40 (click here), Monitor 30 (click here) and Harbeth P-3ES2 minimonitor (click here).

 

06 / 01 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com's June editions of Superior Audio and the Review Magazine are now available! Once again we deliver many World Premiere reviews for your reading pleasure. June's Superior Audio has six new reviews, with five being World Premieres!

 

Superior Audio
World Premiere!
Acousticbuoy Scorpio Linestage Preamplifier
Very competitive with others within its price range.

World Premiere!
Acuhorn Nero 125 Loudspeaker
Does every speaker sound good with some music, yet not so well with others?

World Premiere!
Bybee Wire Power Purifier
Value in a component depends on the values of the listener.

North American Premiere!
Chord Electronics QBD76 DAC
Is it up to the challenge of getting the best out of Redbook, Bluetooth and high resolution sources.

World Premiere!
EMM Labs TSD1 CD-SACD Transport And DAC2
Pushing the limits of high-resolution digital material.

World Premiere!
VPI Scout 2 Turntable
A new platter and tonearm transforms the Scout into the new Scout 2.

Flashback: conrad-johnson CA200 Control Amplifier
An amazing deal from one of high-end's most respected companies.

Flashback: EMM Labs CDSA SE Stereo SACD Player
The gold standard!

 

See the June / July 2009 edition of Superior Audio by clicking here.


Review Magazine
Daily News: Audiophile news updated each weekday! 

Viewpoint
More World Premiere Reviews
Plus the state of the economy and drum set update.

The Nearfield: The Current State Of The Desktop System

AA Chapter 80: Electrical Gremlins

The Nearfield: Speed Dating Five Monitor Loudspeakers
Including The Arcam Alto, BG Corporation Z-1, Dali Royal Menuet II, ERA Design 4 Sat and Naim N-Sat.

 

Audiophile Show Coverage
Munich High End Show: High End Society Event Report

AK Fest 2009: Audio Karma Show Report

 

Audiophile Equipment Reviews
London Super Gold And Jubilee Cartridges
Taking The Direct Route and cutting out the mush with a London Cartridges

World Premiere!
Trend Audio PA-10 Hybrid Preamplifier And Headphone Amplifier
With the Benchmark DAC1 USB and ASL HB1 thrown into the mix.

Flashback: Aurum Cantus Leisure 2 Special Edition And Leisure 3 Special Edition Signature Loudspeakers

Flashback: Tweaks, Cables, Digital Storage And Music
So many goodies, so little time!

 

Music Reviews
Classical Music
George Antheil: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2; Jazz Symphony; piano pieces: Jazz Sonata, Can-Can, Sonatina, Death of Machines, Little Shimmy.
A treasurerable recital by the great mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.
Two stirring Mahler in-concert performances from Gergiev and the LSO. Symphone No. 2 and No. 8

Jazz, Folk, Bluegrass, Blues, Etc.
Mike Clinco Neon
Brigitte DeMeyer Red River Flower
Pierce Pettis That Kind of Love
Various Bluegrass, Blues And Jazz Albums
April Verch Steal the Blue
Randy Weeks Going My Way

Rock, Alternative, Etc
The Project_Pale Our Inventions and How They Fail Us
Roy Rogers Split Decision

 

See the June 2009 Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

Musical Laboratory* Maedeup Monoblock AmplifierEnjoy the Music.com now offers a world first sneak peek at Musical Laboratory*'s upcoming Maedeup top-of-the-line 40 watt monoblock amplifier ($3900 per pair including dual power supply) that is based around the LM3875 device. The Maedeup is the company's cost-no-object project, which uses the Bosangwha internals as a starting point and builds on this. Some very exotic and rare passives are used in the transformation process, and the whole project is finally window-dressed in luxury wooden casings decorated with images of cranes, which are a national symbol of Japan. The new unit will also feature child-proof locks, which are decorated with traditional Korean macrame knots. To quote Musical Laboratories*, "The design brief for the Maedeup was clear: The Maedeup should offer the absolute transparency, detail and soundstage capability of the Bosangwhas. However, the Maedeup will also be voiced to include certain sought-after artifacts normally associated with single-ended triode designs, such as bloom and body. At ML* we are known for continually striving to push the musical envelope in terms of what is possible. Can we deliver this? Well, let us wait and see shall we?" The Meadeup is due for release later this summer. Enjoy the Music.com delivered a world premiere review of the Musical Laboratory* Paeonia Rev. 2.3 passive preamplifier and Bosangwha Rev.2.3 monoblock amplifiers with Bosangwha "dual" power supply (click here for review).

 

Adcom  GFA-555SE Stereo AmplifierAdcom's new 200 watt per channel GFA-555SE ($1300) bridgeable stereo amplifier takes a bow to honor the highly-regarded previous version offered by the company nearly a decade earlier. The classic award winning amplifier design of the original GFA-555mkII has been reborn with a chassis footprint and front panel design identical to the original. Internally, all circuitry has been upgraded to meet ETL/ETLc, FCC, LVD and CE/EMC requirements using UL approved FR-4 printed circuit boards. High performance component selections include ultra low ESR electrolytic capacitors. The result of these improvements is lower distortion, better dynamic range, improved damping factor and greater stability and separation of individual instruments on the sound stage. This high current amplifier can be easily bridged to allow it to act as a single 400 watt amplifier and is stable to 1 Ohm output impedance. Internally, users can find 16 discrete output transistors, a custom 700 watt toroidal transformer, 60,000uF total storage capacitance plus 'Ultra-Stable Bias Circuitry'. Both XLR balanced and RCA single-ended inputs are provided for. Power bandwidth is from 1.7 Hz to 100 kHz (-3dB), dimensions are 7.25 x 17 x 12.18 (HxWxD) and the unit weighs is at 35 lbs.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
Bright Star Reference SeriesBright Star Audio has released their new Reference Series (pictured) and Gemini Isolation Twin vibration/resonance control devices. The Reference Series build on their other award winning designs to achieve an even higher performance. The Air Mass Reference uses carbon fiber, heat-fired glass crystal, and dual-layer air cell for both vertical and horizontal controlling. The Air Mass 2 Reference is 19.5"x17"x2.75" and retails at $750 while the Air Mass 3 Reference is 17.25"x14"x2.75" and retails at $650 (both in Black Pearl Finish).
The Bright Start Audio Gemini Isolation Twin uses an Air Mass pneumatic system plus their standard Big Rock platform for dual controlling effectiveness. A bubble level and hand pump are included as are solid bras feet. The Gemini 2 Isolation Twin is 19"x17"x2.75" and retails for $379. The Gemini 3 Isolation Twin is 17.25"x14"x2.75" and retails for $279 (both in Dark Granite finish, add $20 for the Black Granite finish). Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed various Bright Star Audio Isolation devices such as the Little Rock 1, Gemini 2 and Gemini 3 (click here) plus their IsoRock 3 Reference vibration control platform (click here).


 

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