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High-End Audio Industry News


Von Schweikert Unified 3 Loudspeaker08 / 29 / 08

  Von Schweikert's new Unified 3 loudspeaker ($15,000/pr including stands) produces a very wide frequency range in a small package that rivals much more expensive and larger systems. The heart of the speaker is a unique 5-inch full range driver with a forged aluminum-frame and exotic cone made from five different compounds. Since this driver has response from bass to treble, the Unified 3 has the tonal signature of a 'one way system', according to the company, with all of the clarity and coherence users expect. Deep bass is provided by a 7-inch magnesium coned subwoofer in a highly damped transmission line. This system produces frequencies down to 32Hz, while the upper frequencies are handled by a ribbon super tweeter with response up to 50kHz. The Von Schweikert Unified 3 is available in high gloss piano black and cherry finish. Sensitivity is 88dB/W/m, impedance rated at 8 Ohm nominal (4 Ohm minimum) and overall system weight is 190 lbs/pr including stands, woofer and midrange/tweeter modules. Dimensions are 40 x 10 wide x 14 (HxWxD in inches when on supplied stands).

 

China MobileChina Mobile has announced that their Limited's M.Music Wireless Music Club now has a staggering 80+ million subscribers! With all four of the major music labels taking part in this music service, users can download ringtones, songs and videos. To show how successful this type of service has become in Asia, China Mobile reported that within 26 hours after the Olympic theme song "You and Me" was performed at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games there were nearly five million subscribers that downloaded the song. China Mobile has a subscriber base of 421.7 million and is the region's top wireless provider.

 

08 / 28 / 08

Paradigm Monitor 11 Floorstanding Loudspeaker  Celebrating their quarter century anniversary is loudspeaker manufacturer Paradigm, who has introduced their Monitor Series v.6 series. This extensive new series begins with the Atom Monitor two-way bookshelf with 5.5-inch midrange/woofer and 1-inch H-PTD dome tweeter ($149/ea) and goes all the way up to the series' flagship Monitor 11 (pictured) four-driver 2.5-way floorstanding with a pair of 7.5-inch carbon-infused polypropylene woofers, a 7.5-inch midrange and 1-inch H-PTD dome tweeter ($699/ea). The re-vamped Monitor line retains all of the same technology as the v.5 series while adding updates such as modified phase-coherent crossovers, redesigned magnetic grilles and a luxurious new finish. In response to customer and dealer feedback, Paradigm did a complete re-design of the Monitor v.6 grilles. The new magnetic grilles feature ultra-low diffraction with re-worked, reinforced placement of the magnets to ensure the grilles will stay perfectly centered over the baffle at all times and not move unless removed. Paradigm also added nickel-plated screws to all bookshelf, floorstanding and center-channel speakers to provide a lustrous, high-tech touch. All v.6 models are available in a chic new Wengé (pronounced wen-gay) finish plus the normal black, rosenut and cherry. The new Monitor Series v.6 lineup consists of:

Atom Monitor: Two-driver 2-way bookshelf/stand-mounted $149/ea
Mini Monitor: Two-driver 2-way bookshelf/stand-mounted $219/ea 
Titan Monitor: Two-driver 2-way bookshelf/stand-mounted $279/ea 
Monitor 7: Four-driver 2.5-way floorstanding $379/ea
Monitor 9: Four-driver 2-1/2-way floorstanding $499/ea
Monitor 11: Four-driver 2-1/2-way floorstanding $699/ea
CC-190: Four-driver 3-way center channel $299
CC-290: Four-driver 3-way center channel $499
CC-390: Seven-driver 3-way center channel $699
ADP-190: Four-driver 2-way surround/rear $249/ea
ADP-390: Five-driver 3-way surround/rear $429/ea

 

SoundSenseAcoustic design and engineering firm SoundSense has revealed their Acoustic Chimney that absorbs, filters, and reduces low frequency sound in a listening room or living area. A sound generating room is encapsulated within an outer acoustic rated perimeter that contains various openings to one or more acoustic duct(s), or "chimney(s)". The acoustic chimney(s) functions as an acoustic waveguide to the open air, or specific location intended to receive the low frequency wave. The chimney may be tuned to transmit defined frequencies. This allows low frequency sound waves to diffract through the sound generating room (through duct openings), and broadcast through the acoustic chimney. Ultimately, the sound is radiated at a distance outside the source room. The effect is similar to a pressure release valve. The Acoustic Chimney generates effective noise control for the home theater, media room, or any room with excess noise at a reduced cost to standard treatments. The acoustic waveguides may be coupled to tunable passive or active noise mitigation devices such as Helmholtz resonators and low frequency noise sources that utilize phase information.

 

08 / 27 / 08

KEF  C7 Floorstanding Loudspeaker  Next month KEF will release their new C series of entry-level loudspeakers. Their C Series has been on the company's best-seller list for more than two decades. While the company's Reference Series models bask in uncompromising high-technology glamour, the C Series is said to provide maximum performance at a relatively minimum of cost. The C1 bookshelf ($240/pr) has a 4-inch midrange/woofer and 0.75-inch tweeter while the C3 has a larger 5.25-inch midrange/woofer ($300/pr). The C5 floorstander employs the same tweeter and has a pair of 5.25-inch drivers ($650/pr) with the larger C7 floorstanding loudspeaker (pictured here) has a pair of 6.5-inch drivers ($800/pr). The KEF C series also includes their 6LCR ($250) R/L/C speaker with a central tweeter flanked on each side by a 5.25-inch midrange/woofer. For deep bass duties, the C series subwoofer has an 8-inch driver and 200-watt Class D amplifier with adjustable crossover and phase. The new KEF C series is available in black Ash or European walnut with gloss black baffle.

 

Mercedes-AMG and Bang & OlufsenIn the quest of luxury automobile manufacturers to stand out from their competition, Bang & Olufsen will supply automotive sound systems for Mercedes-AMG. AMG is the very high-performance division of Mercedes-Benz cars. Each AMG will be fitted with a unique sound system specially designed for music on the go. Bang & Olufsen is considered by some to be among the top-tier of mainstream audio's sound systems and now have entered the car audio market. "Our new partnership with Mercedes-AMG is hugely important to us," says Karl Kristian Hvidt Nielsen, Bang & Olufsen President & CEO. "The agreement enables Bang & Olufsen to further utilize the expertise and processes we have built up in order to meet the requirements of the automotive industry." This joins the likes of Ferrari, with their typical relationship with mainstream brand Bose for perceived better audio. Meanwhile Naim Audio, a company that provides true high-end audiophile performance, supplies mobile audio systems for the legendary Bentley brand of luxury cars. Enjoy the Music.com has a full review of the Bentley/Naim Audio system, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

08 / 26 / 08

KL International AV Show  Enjoy the Music.com now has our KL International AV Show report by Wong Kok Chieat online! This event is Malaysia's the premier audio / visual exhibition and was held from July 25th through the 28th, 2008 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. We have nearly sixty photos spanning three pages. See our extensive show coverage by clicking here.

 

Allensound FRS1201An interesting e-mail reached my inbox as Allensound Electronic, a Chinese manufacturer of audio equipment, now offers full range drivers including these 12-inch units. With an FOB NGB price of $25, these may just be something special for the DIY community to experiment with! From the impedance curve they sent me, it looks to be 9 Ohms at 20Hz, rising to 30 Ohms at 65Hz and then going down to a 12 Ohms average upward. The frequency response graph looks more to be of a midrange, yet perhaps a creative transmission line box could allow the bass a bit more oomph. The highs seem good to 12kHz, yet falling off from there. The specific driver (with paper center cone on the left, not a clue about the right driver) is called the FRS1201 and claims to be 100dB/W/m sensitive from their website and the unit weights 50 ounces. Maximum SPL is said to be a staggering 128dB! When on their website, click speaker system and then scroll down a bit to see it.

 

voca Semiconductor Inc.Avoca Semiconductor Inc., a leading designer of voice-enabled user interface solutions, will launch its new VIP Music Edition (starting at $3990) in only a few days. The new Avoca system is a residential music control system designed for living rooms that turns a CD collection into a fully, immediately accessible digital library through a unique touch-and-talk interface. The VIP Music Edition consists of a VIP Music Player, a wireless VIP Music Companion (MC), and the unique 'Say it-Play it' control interface. The Music Player plays CDs on a slot-loading, front-panel CD Player, stores a copy in lossless digital format in its built-in hard drive, and plugs into any stereo or audio system via RCA or optical cable connections. Once a CD is loaded into the Music Player's disc storage, building a digital library becomes as easy as simply listening to the music. The VIP Music Companion is a wireless handheld controller equipped with Avoca's touch-and-talk interface and a large, bright 3.0 x 2.25-inch touch-screen. The screen provides a portable browsing list of its owner's music library by genre, artist, album, or track. By touch or voice, users can control their audio environments, from anywhere in a home, without depending on a direct line of sight to the Avoca Music Player, or to the TV to see a music list.

 

08 / 25 / 08

Gryphon Mikado Signature CD Player  Gryphon Audio, a Denmark-based high-end audio company since 1985 that has earned a worldwide reputation for state-of-the-art performance products, now offers their Mikado Signature CD player (12,600€) with innovative 32-Bit/192kHz upsampling. Gryphon boldly invested considerable research resources in the further advancement of CD playback with their first upsampling unit, the CDP 1. Gryphon's Mikado Signature furthers these efforts with 32-bit/192kHz asynchronous sample rate conversion to maintain the integrity of the original signal against a silent background with a noise floor well below that of the recording itself. As a true dual-mono and fully symmetrical balanced design, the Mikado Signature is fully balanced throughout the digital domain as well. There are twin two-channel Digital-to-Analog converters (DAC) per channel in full dual differential mode with separate regulated power supplies to create optimal conditions for digital and analog circuits. This configuration is said to drastically lower the digital noise floor and contribute to an expansive soundstage and sharply focused stereo image. Based on a heavily modified version of the legendary Philips CD-Pro 2 top-loading floating suspension transport with die-cast, all-metal frame, Gryphon Mikado Signature employs specially designed dual master clocks, an ultra-low jitter oscillator near the DACs and a local master clock to control the transport. Acknowledging the possibility of future advancements digital technology progresses, the digital audio sections of the Gryphon Mikado Signature are removable modular boards for upgrading, thereby future proofing the unit.

 

08 / 22 / 08

Queen with Paul Rogers The Cosmos Rocks  And now some news about new vinyl releases including Queen with Paul Rogers The Cosmos Rocks, Metallica Death Magnets, David Gilmour Live In Gdansk, The Who By Numbers and Sony Legacy titles. If you were like me and saw the ban Queen fronted by singer Paul Rogers you surely know how great a combination this was. As the first new album by Queen in a long time, since front man Freddie Mercury passed away due to HIV, you will be delighted by this new effort. Am hearing some very positive early comments about this new 14 track release. The album will be released in three physical formats: standard CD, deluxe package which includes additional DVD featuring 15 highlight performances by Queen + Paul Rodgers from the band’s Super Live in Japan concert recorded live at Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo on 27th October 2005, along with double gate-fold vinyl release. Fans of Queen will want to check out this album plus if you have the opportunity, get tickets and see them live in concert!

The Who By NumbersMetallica, claimed to be one of the most influential metal bands in he world, will have their album Death Magnets on vinyl available shortly. As the band's ninth studio album, it is also their very first release in nearly half a decade. Have seen this band in concert and they are very powerful indeed! David Gilmour Live In Gdansk was recorded during the last venue of his 2006 summer tour, with 50,000 fans at the shipyards in the Gdansk, Poland venue. Of note is that this was the only time they also performed with an orchestra, using the 40-strong string section of the Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zbigniew Preisner. This 5 LP box set will include "Wot's... Uh The Deal?", which will not be on the CD release. The Who By Numbers will continue the great releases from audiophile reissue label Classic Records, headed by Mr. Hobson. As the band's seventh album, released in 1975, was during the band's peak on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. Like other Classic Record offerings, there will be a 200 gram deluxe vinyl release and a normal 150 gram offering. Lastly, word on the street is that Sony's Legacy division will be releasing many reissued titles on 180 gram vinyl including Johnny Cash 16 Biggest Hits, Boston Boston, Charles Mingus Mingus Ah Um, Lou Reed Rock n Roll Animal, Blood Sweat & Tears Blood Sweat & Tears, Earth Wind & Fire Gratitude, Sam Cooke Live At Harlem Square and many others.

 

08 / 21 / 08

Parasound Halo P 7 Preamplifier  Parasound, a manufacturer of high-end audio components, now offers their Halo P 7 stereo and 7.1-channel analog preamplifier ($2000). Designed for sound purists seeking superior low-noise performance from classic stereo sources as well as multi-channel music and movies from Blu-ray, DVD-Audio, and SACD players, the Parasound Halo P 7 provides analog bass management for stereo sources to make subwoofer and small speaker integration easy. There is also a volume control bypass mode for users who wish to employ their home theater receiver to decode digital sources. The Halo P 7 can also switch 1080p HDMI sources when it is linked to the optional Zhd HDMI switcher. "With stereo or surround sound, silence is golden," said Richard Schram, Parasound's president and founder. The Halo P 7 user can adjust left-right / front-rear balance, make custom input names and match the gain for all 10 inputs, including a front panel MP3 input. Versatility includes balanced XLR connections, a low-noise MM/MC phono input and remote tone control. It provides RS-232 control, discrete IR codes, IR repeater input/loop jacks and three DC triggers invite system integration. The Parasound Halo P 7 has a very simple and elegant front panel operation, with just two buttons and one knob to control most of its functions. There are a pair of multi-channel (7.1) inputs for surround sound movies and music, seven stereo inputs (one balanced XLR input). Vinyl lovers will enjoy the MM/MC phono input, while portable music junkies will like the front panel input. Outs are via RCA or XLR. The built-in software allows for custom input naming for all inputs, a theater bypass mode for connecting a digital surround receiver, input level matching, and headphones level offset. The full featured remote makes it easy to adjust the bass and treble, defeatable tone for pure sound, left/right balance, front/rear balance and subwoofer output plus overall volume adjustment and mute. Frequency response is from 5Hz to 100 kHz (+0/-3dB), THD is less than 0.006% and SNR is greater than 110dB. The Parasound Halo P 7 comes with a 5/10 year warranty and can be rack mounted. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Parasound NewClassic Model 2100 preamplifier & Model 2125 amplifier (click here) plus their excellent John Curl designed Halo JC 1 monoblock amplifiers (click here).

 

NACSound Kayak LoudspeakerNACSound has introduced their Kayak ($2,900) single stereo designer loudspeaker. Italian company NACSound hopes of bringing beauty both visually and audibly to music within one's home. The Kayak single stereo loudspeaker is said to reproduce astonishingly natural stereo sound from a single component. This unique design features dual coaxial driver arrays housed in opposed cone enclosures that fire into a central computer-derived acoustic reflector meticulously formed to deliver astonishing stereo imaging from a single unit. The Kayak, which can be suspended vertically or horizontally, utilizes elements of both omnidirectional and multidimensional sound. All materials used to create the Kayak are handcrafted to fine-art standards, including precision machined aluminum housings available in 14 different finishes using a specially developed ceramic-coating process (special-order options cover any remaining spectrum). Finishes include both solid gloss and matte offerings as well as more complex, fine-art effects individually created for each speaker.

 

08 / 20 / 08

Ultimate Ears  Ultimate Ears, a leader in custom in-ear monitors, has been purchased by Logitech International. With distribution in more than 100 countries worldwide and strategic partnerships with most top-tier PC manufacturers, Logitech International has agreed to acquire privately held Ultimate Ears for $34 million in cash. The acquisition of Ultimate Ears allows Logitech to expand its portfolio of digital audio products, providing more options for portable music listening. The company already offers a line of digital music speaker systems for in the home and on the go. Pricing for Ultimate Ears consumer products begins at $40, while pricing for custom products can be as much as $1200. Their in ear monitoring products are heralded by audiophiles worldwide for high-end sound quality. "Ultimate Ears is a perfect fit for Logitech and our audio business," said Gerald P. Quindlen, Logitech president and chief executive officer. "Since its inception, Ultimate Ears has been driven by innovation, close ties to its customers, and the desire to enable an immersive audio experience." Enjoy the Music.com offers two reviews of Ultimate Ears products including the UE-10 Pro custom fit canal (in ear) monitors (seen here) and a shootout of the Shure E4c versus Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5pro (seen here).

 

08 / 19 / 08

RealTraps  Audiophiles quickly realize that their room's acoustics, combined with he positioning of their loudspeakers, is perhaps the most important 'single component' in achieving the best music reproduction. As such, owner of RealTraps, Ethan Winer, has produced a new educational video All About Diffusion as the latest release in their "See and Hear" video lecture series. Since many people have no way to hear what diffusers do or how they sound in a room, this video explains diffusion in plain terms with no math and then lets you hear an acoustic guitar recorded in close proximity to five different surface types - a QRD diffuser, a poly diffuser, absorption, a bare wall, and a typical bookcase. The video is 16x9 wide-screen, and the audio is at 256 kbps for highly accurate sound. It's listed about halfway down on the RealTraps Videos page. Users of RealTraps include Bob Katz, Chesky records, Bösendorfer, Herbie Hancock, NBC, Telefunken and many others. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the RealTraps Corner Room devices, which can be been seen by clicking here.

 

dyantone TopDog Loudspeakerdynatone, a Swiss company that after three years of research and development and 30 prototypes, have finally introduced their Topdog loudspeaker ($8245). This two way dipole/waveguide loudspeaker consists of a 10-inch wideband unit and 18-inch woofer. These over 100dB/W/m sensitivity units present a 4 Ohms load and are said to produce a flat frequency response from 30Hz to 21kHz. The crossover network is computerized and fully active. As such, users can adjust the phase correction, have the liter on/off, stepped limiting soft or or a hard limiter. Periodically, dynatone releases crossover data through their site that can be download with two mouse clicks to the system. The TopDog can be bi-wires or bi-amplified with as little as 1 watt per amplifier or as much as 500 watts per unit. TopDogs are designed as an ecological product with low power requirements, ultra long product life, use of recycled high-quality-materials and eco-harvested veneers and leathers. These chemically inert materials are for those who desire ensuing their living room is a safer place. Dimensions are 78 x 52 x 45 (HxWxD in cm) and weight 66 lbs each.

 

08 / 18 / 08

Gemme Audio  Gemme Audio is now shipping their new generation of VFlex loudspeakers that include the Vivace, Tanto and Katana ($5500, $6100 and $11,200 respectively). Gemme Audio's new generation speakers offer a host of improvements including manufactured ports milled from solid billets of aluminum, which are adjustable to match room acoustics. Binding posts are also much improved with a very innovative and efficient cable pressure system. Katana and Tanto loudspeakers also offer bi-wiring/bi-amplification capabilities, while the top-of-the-range Katana adds high frequencies contour adjustment. Katana loudspeakers also sports a ceramic drivers with Mundorf Supreme capacitors and copper foil inductors. Combined to the company's VFlex Extreme bass loading architecture, the ceramic drivers are said to perform their very best. The new slanted enclosures adds visual beauty plus built using mortise and tenon construction for optimum rigidity. All models come in piano black high gloss finish. Optional Rosewood and Ebony high gloss finishes are also available.

 

Music N 
Live Nation, one of the largest concert promoters within the USA, announced a net income of $1.2 million for the second quarter. This is down from the the $9.9 million from the same quarter last year. Though profits dropped, revenue rose to $1.16 billion, an 18 percent increase from the same period during the prior year.

Warner Music Group (WMG) had a loss of $9 million for their third quarter that ended June 30. This is a reduction in shortfall than the same period last year where the company reported a loss of $17 million. Of note is that WMG's revenue increased 5 percent to $848 million, as digital content revenue was up a staggering 39 percent and accounted for $166 million. Perhaps physical media is getting too costly as many companies realize that online digital delivery of content is more efficient and reaches more consumers worldwide for far less cost.

Sony Corporation is buying out Bertelsmann AG's 50 percent stake in Sony BMG for $1.2 billion. If this deal passes regulators, Sony Music Entertainment will include recording labels Arista Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, RCA and many others.

EMI is selling their recorded music businesses in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan to Chinese partner Typhoon. This new business transaction, worth a reported $12.8 million, allows Typhoon major access to many more customers than in America. Exclusive licensing by Typhoon for physical distribution of EMI Music's international collection and the non-exclusive licensee for digital product in China and Taiwan is part of this major deal. EMI will maintain digital distribution oversight.

Disc Makers, a popular music producer, has acquired CD Baby. Over 240,000 independent artists sell their music at CD Baby.

 

08 / 15 / 08

Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's August midmonth update of the Review Magazine is now available! This update features the manufacturer article A Speculation Regarding Perception Of Detail by George S. Louis who is a self-proclaimed 'Perfect Polarity Pundit'. Coming in September is our Best Of 2008 Blue Note Awards where we bestow this year's top products with our accolades.

 

Acoustic Energy Limited Edition AE1 Mk III SE MonitorAcoustic Energy's new limited edition AE1 Mk III SE ($5000) will be produced for a grand total of a 100 pairs. With the original AE1 receiving critical acclaim worldwide, this third iteration of these popular bookshelf speakers is available in four custom finishes - eight-layer Piano Black, Cheery Wood Veneer, Pearl White, and Bespoke Finishes, the latter of which can be painted to suit the buyer's preferences. Designed and built in the United Kingdom, the AE1 Mk III incorporates a heavily braced 18mm MDF cabinet that is lined with a 4mm steel plate using specially manufactured damping glue, resulting in a stiff and well-dampened enclosure. The bass driver couples AE's signature pressed alloy cone with critical hyperbolic flare, plus a die-cast magnesium allow chassis of very high strength and rigidity. The motor assembly uses twin neodymium magnets and a 32mm voice-coil. A 38mm ring-radiator tweeter has a frequency response upwards of 40kHz. The AE1 crossover was re-designed, as Acoustic Energy reduced number of components to six, as opposed to the usual 13. Parts within this minimalist crossover include a unique blend of ferrite-core and air-core inductors, Welwyn wire wound resistors, and ClarityCap capacitors. Internal wiring is all PTFE-coated multi-strand silver cable, terminated in a single pair of gold-plated WBT binding posts. Overall frequency response is from 70Hz to 22kHz (+/-3dB), sensitivity is a low 87dB/W/m with a nominal impedance of 8 Ohms. Dimensions are 295 x 180 x 255 (HxWxD in mm). Enjoy the Music.com has a review of the Acoustic Energy AE1 Mk III loudspeaker by Alvin Gold, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

08 / 14 / 08

acuhorn nero125 Loudspeaker  Celebrating their five year anniversary, acuhorn has announced their special 8 Ohm version of the company's acuhorn nero125 (3900€) that is specially matched for tube amplifiers. With a mere five pairs offered, these will surely sell out fast. According to acuhorn, "By applying a full wooden jacket with alternating active and opposite sides of wood structure elements we devised a proper musical instrument. acuhorn series project features a holographic spaciousness of sound with a grasp of dynamics and suggestive sound reproduction unmet before." The wooden, two acoustic chambers are produced from solid pressed sheets of wood. The neodymium acuhorn is placed on a CNC machined aluminum driver body. Sensitivity is a very high 96dB/W/m, weight is 66 lbs, and overall dimensions are 20 x 50 x 125 (WxDxH in cm). Other features of this design include Siltech silver wire internally, Nextgen WBT binding posts, aluminum black anodized bases, and spikes for M8 threads.

 

Boston Acoustics VS 336 Floorstander LoudspeakerBoston Acoustics is aiming at the high-end wit their new Vista line of loudspeakers that begin $400 for the VS 240 bookshelf models all the way to $1700 for the top-of-the-range VS 336 floorstanders. The VS 240 uses a 4.25-inch Organic Composite Cone Material (OCCM) for midrange/bass driver and 1-inch Super Wide Bandwidth (SWB) tweeter. For those seeking the best of Boston Acoustics' Vista series, the VS 336 three-way design employs three 6.5-inch drivers and the same midrange and tweeter as the VS240. For added lower frequency support, a self-powered subwoofer, model VPS 210 ($1700) produces nearly 1800 watts of power to feed a 10-inch driver with a 3-inch voice coil, plus a 10-inch passive radiator for additional acoustic output. Other models in the Vista line include the VS 325C center channel ($900), VS 260 bookshelf and VS 224 L/C/R ($700). The cabinetry for each Vista is made with MDF cabinets, feature curved sides and have either high-gloss cherry or black layered-wood veneer end caps with piano-black main panels. Those who want that extra something, Bird's Eye Maple and Ebony end panels plus limited edition Arctic White with silver end caps and grilles and Red models are available.

 

08 / 13 / 08

  HDtracks, a high-quality music download service offering DRM-free music in high-resolution format, is now working with a significant number of new labels as part of the company's ongoing expansion. In the coming months releases from Arabesque Recordings, BIS Records, Cantaloupe Music, CSO Resound, ESP Disk, Harmonia Mundi, Important Records, Leon Russell Records, SFS Media, Six Degrees Records, TSO Live and others will be joining the HDtracks family with complete liner notes for all full lengths and your choice of FLAC, AIFF or MP3 high resolution sound. Recently added music titles include Composers Inside Electronics (from the Kitchen Archives No. 4), Dance Like There's No Tomorrow by John Ellis, Bowery Songs by Joan Baez, Mississippi Soul by Slick Ballinger, and Jazz Hat by Mike Garson.

 

Awesome Enjoy the Music.com Swag!Enjoy the Music.com now offers awesome DIY Magazine SWAG! From hats to t-shirts... beer stein and tote bag, a wide variety of cool products to show your support for the high-end community. We have also added new DIY Magazine logo SWAG for those who enjoy making their own hi-fi gear! As a bonus, if one of our representatives or Secret Agents catches you wearing our swag at an audio show you may receive some free audiophile products! You could receive free music, or tubes... could be cables or excellent tweak devices. Come join us and show your joy of music to the world and perhaps win some cool stuff for your home audio system! To get your share of great products we offer plus have a chance for free audiophile goodies at shows click here.

 

08 / 12 / 08

Auralex SubDude(HD)  Auralex's new SubDude(HD) is a 15" x 15" x 2.5" platform wrapped with a cleanable black velour to fit any room setting. Its purpose is to prevent sound from transmitting through your subwoofer to surrounding surfaces. Subwoofers create big vibrations (low frequencies) that you can feel in the floor and in objects placed nearby. In turn, you now have two (or more) objects vibrating, which creates an acoustical problem called 'secondary resonance'. The SubDude is said to effectively reduce secondary resonance by decoupling the subwoofer from the floor so you hear your subwoofer and not the vibration of the other objects in your listening environment. The result is a cleaner response in the low frequency range meaning less boom, more punch and improved accuracy. Sound Isolation is also improved by reducing structural resonance.

 

Oyaide Focus 1 XLRThe Lotus Group just informed us that there are new products now available including the Oyaide Focus 1 XLR and Feastrex Nf 5ex Naturflux field coil driver. Never content to rest on past glories, Oyaide's new Focus 1 XLR employs several important innovations including an entirely new one touch, push-pull locking system. The ball bearing based mechanism is machined to ultra precise tolerances resulting in a connection that is smooth and absolutely positive. In addition, they have provided a unique innovation to protect equipment from POP noise at the moment of contact: The Focus 1 contact pin (ground) is 3mm longer than the other pins, allowing it to make contact before the other pins. Each pin is machined from phosphor bronze, polished and then plated with silver and rhodium, and are set into 30 percent glass filled PBT to insure high-speed vibration attenuation. The body and housing are machined by high precision CNC. For elegance and channel identification, the L and R channel are hallmarked with the use of Swarovski rhinestones, blue and red, which are encased on the surface of the body.

Feastrex Nf 5ex Naturflux Field Coil DriverNew from Feastrex is the Nf 5ex Naturflux field coil driver, which the company feels benefits greatly from the 'groundbreaking' Naturflux spherical yoke. Coupled with Feastrex's field coil technology, the Nf 5ex ranks as one of the company's cleanest and purest drivers according to the United States importer. Available upgrades include machined phosphor bronze framework, Urushi Lacquer coating for framework and phase plug. This new model adds to the already impressive offerings from Feastrex that include:

D5nf 5" Naturflux in black or gold finish
D5 5" Monster Alnico
Nf 5ex 5" Naturflux Field Coil
D5e I 5" Field Coil Type I
D5e II 5" Field Coil Type II
D5e III 5" Field Coil Coil Type III
D9nf 9" Naturflux
D9 9" Monster Alnico
D9e I 9" Field Coil Coil Type I
D9e II 9" Field Coil Coil Type II
D9e III 9" Field Coil Coil Type III
PB-9 9" Passive Radiator

 

08 / 11 / 08

Consonance DAC16  Consonance now offers their new DAC16, a 16-bit digital analog converter that uses the TDA1543 plus offers both USB and SPDIF input. According to the company, "SpAct memory architecture and Linear technology have been applied in the whole USB and built-in DAC section, where the received digital signal from computer is checked, clock corrected and decoded through. SpAct memory architecture is set within the data path establishing smoother data flow so that the final audio has the lowest possible jitter. It ensured that the built-in DAC section set latter is able to be fed with information both higher data integrity and lower jitter." The same technology is found within Consonance's CD120 linear CD-player. RCA input and output terminals are gold-plated RCA, while a USB input handles streaming audio data from a computer. DAC resolution is 16-bit using the TDA1543, while maximum output is a healthy 2.35 Volts. Frequency response is from 20Hz to 20kHz with a phase accuracy of less than 5 degrees deviation. Signal-to-noise and crosstalk is a low 100dB while distortion via RCA output is less than 0.12 percent. Enjoy the Music.com has reviews various Consonance-Opera products including the Consonance Cyber 211 monoblock amplifier (click here), Opera Audio Droplet LP5.0 turntable (click here) and the Consonance Cyber 10 Multifunctional tube amplifier (click here).

 

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC)With the Olympics in Beijing receiving worldwide acclaim, while the world begins to realize that China has a population approximately five times larger than the United States of America, it is interesting to note that China is now #1 in the quantity of Internet users. According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the state network information center of China, 253 million Chinese went online by the end of June 2008. By comparison, in the United States of America there are 223 million users. According to a recent report by the CNNIC, the 19 cities in an online shopping survey found that during the first half of 2008 sales reached RMB 16.2 billion. From the perspective of gender proportion, the total amount of online shopping by men was RMB 8.4 billion; the amount of online shopping by women reached RMB 7.8 billion. The total amount of online shopping in the first half of 2008 by students was RMB 3.1 billion.

ADDED: According to the Financial Times yesterday, China is set to become the world's largest manufacturer in 2009. This is four years ahead of when previously predicted, and due in part to the continued weakening of economy within the United States of America. It has been estimated that "China will account for 17 per cent of manufacturing value-added output of $11,783 billion and the US will make 16 per cent."

 

08 / 08 / 08

discWelder Steel v3.0  discWelder Steel v3.0 ($595) from Minnetonka Audio Software enables the production of professional-level DVD-Audio, DSD and other audio formats to hard drive or disc. Users can import all Linear PCM formats supported in the DVD-Audio specification, including non-encoded/uncompressed surround (up to six channels of 24-bit/48kHz) and/or high-resolution stereo (two channels of 24-bit/192kHz) in WAV or AIFF file format. Surround and stereo tracks may be used on the same disc, and a discWelder-burned disc will play on any DVD-Audio player that supports DVD-R/RW. Other features include DSD import and convert to PCM for authoring, DSD to PCM conversion to a folder for offline editing and of course standard Redbook CD burning. The AutoMirror feature in DiscWelder v3.0 takes audio stored in the DVD-Audio zone and automatically creates, or "mirrors" a Dolby Digital encoded surround program, producing a fully compatible DVD disc than can be played back in any DVD-Video player. While DVD-Audio, DVD-Video and CD source material can be employed as reference discs, they can be imported to become Direct Stream Digital (DSD) files for authoring, or conversion from DSD to PCM for editing in a digital audio workstation. Former member of the Beatle's Ringo Starr used discWelder software to make his recently release title Ringo 5.1. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the discWelder Bronze software, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

08 / 07 / 08

The Absolute Sound Issue 184 -- September 2008  Enjoy the Music.com now offers a world premier of the September edition of The Absolute Sound (Issue 184) with complete table of contents and editorial! This edition is filled with many equipment reviews including the VPI Typhoon record-cleaning machine, Totem Acoustic The One loudspeaker, Gershman Acoustics' Sonogram loudspeaker, the Atma-Sphere M-60 Mk III OTL amplifier and MP-3 preamplifier plus many more! The September editorial titled Paradigm Shift by Robert Harley says, "But suppose you could respond instantly to something you read in TAS — and get an immediate reply from the writer or editor. This response could range from asking a question that wasn't answered in the review to commenting on an article, making a suggestion, proffering your own observation about a product, technology, or the industry, or even asking advice on upgrading your system. And what if you could tap into not just the TAS editors' background and knowledge, but that of the entire TAS readership?" You can see the table of contents and read the complete editorial by clicking here.

 

08 / 06 / 08

Sonos ZonePlayers ZP90  Sonos has introduced brand new Sonos ZonePlayers ZP120 and ZP90 ($499 and $349 respectively), a brand new introductory 2-room Bundle BU150 ($999) and new Sonos 2.6 software. The new ZonePlayer 90 is a pasive unit that handles signal transmission and allows he use of external amplification. Sonos' ZonePlayer 120 is a new stereo amplifier that produces 55 wpc and can drive most loudspeakers. These new units incorporate SonosNet 2.0, the company's latest wireless mesh network technology that doubles the wireless range of the Sonos Multi-Room Music System. With state-of-the-art MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) wireless technology, which uses three antennas to send and receive music, the SonosNet 2.0 helps assure the music gets to all the right rooms. Advances in power supply design, digital amplifier engineering and mechanical engineering make these the smallest, lightest, most powerful Sonos ZonePlayers ever. A network bridging is taken advantage of via a pair of 10/100Mbps (auto MDI/MDIX) that allows Ethernet devices to connect through SonosNet. These Sonus products are finished in anodized precision machined extrusion aluminum cases. Supported audio formats include MP3, WMA (including Windows Media DRM), AAC (MPEG4), Ogg Vorbis, Audible (format 4), Apple Lossless, Flac (lossless) music files, as well as uncompressed WAV and AIFF files. Sampling rates handled including 48kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 32kHz, 24kHz, 22kHz, 16kHz, 11kHz, and 8kHz. Also supported are Best Buy Digital Music Store, Napster, Pandora, Rhapsody 3.0+, SIRIUS Internet Radio, and downloads from any service offering DRM-free tracks, including Amazon MP3, eMusic and more. Album art file support includes JPEG, PNG, BMP, and GIF while playlists handled include Rhapsody, iTunes, WinAmp, Windows Media Player, and MusicMatch (.m3u, .pls, .wpl).

 

Futuresource ConsultingA recent Consumer Home Piracy market research survey carried out by Futuresource Consulting (USA sample size 3,613 and the UK sample size 1,718), the study claims that approximately 33 percent of all respondents in both countries admitted to making copies of pre-recorded DVDs in the last six months. Males within the age group from 18 to 24 year old were most likely to copy DVDs. UK respondents showed a significant increase in copying TV shows on DVD while if respondents had been unable to make copies of DVDs, 63 percent in the UK and 77 percent in the USA said they would have purchased all, some or at least a few of the titles. There was no report concerning audio discs or the sharing of lossless music files between audio enthusiasts.

 

08 / 05 / 08

  The Cable Company has announced their 13th annual Summer Against Hunger benefit where 50 to 100 percent of a purchase may go to benefit CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. This promotion has come about through the generous participation of manufacturers and an anonymous audiophile donor, who is providing a match against total Cable Company plus vendor contributions. This month, when consumers purchase sponsors' products, the Cable Company, it's sponsoring vendors, and other CARE donors will send an amount equal to your purchase to CARE. Purchase other products from The Cable Company (and UsedCable.com) and an amount equal to half of your purchase goes to CARE. More than 90 percent of CARE's expended resources — among the highest of all philanthropic organizations — support its poverty-fighting projects around the world. Less than 10 percent of their resources go toward administrative and fund-raising costs. In addition every $1 that CARE receives in private support in turn helps to secure an additional $4 in donated supplies, government grants, and other monies from international, institutional donors.

 

TACET Theresienstädter KonzertTACET, founded in 1989 as a small company in Germany that produces music to the very highest of standards for the most discerning of listeners, has released their recording of the Theresienstädter Konzert [EAN 40 09850 103905]. Featuring the string quartet Bartholdy-Ensemble Rheinfelden, the Terezin Concerts have been held on the morning of the last Sunday before Advent (Totensonntag, dedicated to the memory of the dead) in the Haus am Münchberg in Merzig, Saarland. Members of the Bartholdy Ensemble perform works by composers who were persecuted and blacklisted by the National Socialists; the hosts of this event are the Gustav Regler Centre and the Saarland Democracy Foundation. In between two Classical and Romantic masterworks, the four musicians resurrect works by composers who, undeservedly, have still not been adopted as standard concert repertoire. This CD documents one of these concerts. The center of attention is the impressive Third String Quartet by the Czech composer Pavel Haas. On either side of it, there are an early Mozart quartet (K 159) and the famous Rosamunde Quartet D 804 op. 29 by Franz Schubert.

 

08 / 04 / 08

Snell Acoustics B7 Loudspeaker  Legendary loudspeaker designer Dr. Joseph D'Appolito will now be working exclusively with Snell Acoustics. As a leading manufacturer of high-performance loudspeakers for more than 30 years, Snell Acoustics began with designer Peter Snell who penned the Type C and Type K that are still popular today and have an underground following. Joseph D'Appolito, a name synonymous with the paired-vertical array, is now the company's full-time chief engineer. In his newly designated position, Dr. D'Appolito will work closely with David Logvin, Snell's Senior Design Engineer, to direct new product development. Dr. D'Appolito is best known for designing loudspeakers with a geometry commonly known as the D'Appolito Array, which is now incorporated into the designs of many premium quality speakers manufactured in Europe, Asia and the United States. His technique, when properly executed, sandwiches a tweeter between two midrange drivers so that the tweeter's output is directed primarily at listeners in the horizontal plane, minimizing reflections with the floor and ceiling, resulting in increased clarity and a broader sweet spot. Joseph D'Appolito also authored a book titled Testing Loudspeakers plus has contributed widely to both the technical and popular literature on loudspeaker and crossover design. Pictured here is the company's B7 Reference D'Appolito array 3-way tower that features dual 8-inch aluminum woofers, a pair of 4-inch machined magnesium midrange drivers and centrally-mounted 1-inch silk dome tweeter. Enjoy the Music.com offers several articles by the previous Snell engineer David Smith, including Loudspeaker Placement: Fix The Bass And Define Your Sonic Space (click here) and The Listening Room, Your Most Important Component (click here). For those still seeking the legendary type Snell J and K designs with modern audiophile updates may want to read our review of the Audio Note AN-E/Lexus Versus The AN-J/SPx. Loudspeaker Shootout (click here).

 

08 / 01 / 08

  Enjoy the Music.com's August editions of Superior Audio and the Review Magazine are now available! Within this month's Superior Audio we feature a world premiere not to be missed!

 

Superior Audio
World Premiere!
Coincident Speaker Technology Super Victory
Reaching the upper tier of high-end audio without spending unreal sums of money.
Review By Rick Becker

Santor Stereo Power Amplifier and Sarod Preamplifier
Two beauties from AcousticPlan of Germany
Review By Dick Olsher

Funk Vector Link Turntable
The joys of updating one's Linn Sondek!
Review By Malcolm Steward

The Story Of Naim's Bit-Perfect CD Ripper
Article By Steve Harris, Software Engineering Manager Of Naim Audio

Ray Samuels Audio
Emmeline XR-10B MM/MC Phonostage
Review By Steven R. Rochlin

Revisiting The Audio Note DAC 5
Review By Steven R. Rochlin

See the August 2008 edition of Superior Audio by clicking here.


Review Magazine
Letters: You write 'em and we reply.

BAS Speaker: Speaker Efficiency -- An Initial Review
Article By Peter W. Mitchell

Sound Practices: Consiuer Rankin's Euro Selection
Article By Gordon Rankin Of Wavelength Audio Issue 9, Fall 1995

Manufacturer Article: Leaving Class A
Article By Nelson Pass of Pass Labs



Viewpoint
Naim That Bentley
Two proper British brands mobilize their legendary skills.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 106: Home Theater Computer Pt. 3
Article By Dr. Bill Gaw

The Nearfield: Summer Speaker Survey
Harbeth P-3ES2, the AV123 ELT525 and Aperion Intimus 4B
Speakers Go Head-To-Head!
Article By Steven Stone

AA Chapter 82
Electricity Again: APC S15 Power Conditioner
Article By Bill Gaw

New Adventures In High Efficiency
Article By Scott Faller



Audiophile Equipment Reviews
Cables Galore: Part 1
Atlas Cables Mavros Vs. The Music Cable Vs. MIT Oracle
Who says all cables are equal?
Review By Phil Gold

JoLida JD 9A Phono Preamplifier Plus The Audible Arts JD 9A Special Edition
Making a very good unit something truly special!
Review By Wayne Donnelly

KECES DA-151 Digital To Analog Converter (DAC)
I Would Not Change A Thing
Review By Nels Ferre

VMPS 626Jr Loudspeaker
Sheer madness!
Reviewed By Dick Olsher

Ultimate Ears UE-10 Pro
Custom Fit Canal (In-Ear) Monitors
Review By Phil Gold

Michael Yee Audio PA-3 Power Amplifier And
Musical Surroundings Super Nova Phono Preamplifier
Review By Ron Nagle

See the August 2008 edition of the Review Magazine by clicking here.


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