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High-End Audio Industry News


09 / 27 / 07

Halcro  The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2007 will have Halcro partnering with Sound Hounds LLC, Tannoy and Acoustic Zen Speaker Systems. While demonstrations will take place in three separate rooms, the importance of this show is marked with Halcro introducing their new EC800 digital disc player and SSP200 MPCM processor. "We're very excited about [the Rocky Mountain] Audio Fest," says Vice President Jesse Walsh. "Last years show was outstanding, and it really gave people the opportunity to hear the outstanding performance of a properly tuned Halcro system. At this past CEDIA Show attendees were treated to lossless multi-channel audio in the Halcro exhibit, with the new SSP200 processor, featuring the MPCM upgrade. The difference between the standard 5.1 format and uncompressed audio is simply astounding."

 

09 / 26 / 07

Gryphon Audio Designs Atlantis Reference Loudspeaker System With Unique Battery-Biased Crossover  Gryphon Audio Designs introduced their Atlantis Reference loudspeaker system with unique battery-biased crossover (22,000€). The Atlantis reference loudspeaker system is the fourth loudspeaker to bear the vaunted Gryphon name. The Atlantis was developed by the same engineering team as the acclaimed Gryphon Poseidon, Trident and Cantata, yet aims to set a new standard for performance in moderately sized rooms. The hand-crafted Gryphon Atlantis employs specially developed dual 8-inch bass units, meanwhile the ultra-linear triple-magnet system of the dual 5-inch midrange drivers ensures total control of cone motion. For high resolution and excellent dispersion up to 32 kHz, the ceramic high frequency driver is loaded with a proprietary Gryphon wave guide. The time-aligned, front baffle curvature ensures identical arrival time from all drivers at the listening position. A high-precision hand-adjusted 4th order acoustical crossover is battery-biased for constant charge, said to result in audibly improved stability and substantial gains in body, timbral color and image coherence. Gryphon Atlantis offers virtually unlimited finish options with replaceable side panels and the unit weights 85 kg and measures 39 x 118 x 72 (WxHxD in cm).

 

09 / 25 / 07

House Of Linn  Longtime Linn enthusiast and ex-Linn employee Brian Morris has announced his opening of House Of Linn consultancy to serve those seeking high-end audio within their home, office, or business space. As a Linn customer prior to becoming a Linn employee for fifteen years until a recent change, Brian and partner/longtime Linn customer Trevor Liddle have opened this new boutique that specializes in offering product from Linn. House of Linn specializes exclusively in reference demonstrations, sales, installation, service, upgrades, advice and after sales support for all Linn source, control and playback components and systems. Brian and Trevor dedicate themselves to seeing one client at a time by appointment. This is a very specialized and personal treatment to ensure their customers receive outstanding attention to every detail.

 

09 / 24 / 07

Montery Jazz Festival (MJF)  This past weekend marked the Monterey Jazz Festival's (MJF) 50th anniversary! Held in what some refer to as a the Sardine Capital of the World, plus it was featured in John Steinbeck's Cannery Road, this quaint California coastal town celebrated 50 years of holding one of the world's best yearly jazz events for half a century. Performers this past weekend included John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension, Issac Delgado, Los Lobos, Diana Krall, Kenny Burrell, and Ornette Coleman 3 Bass Quintet. The big Sunday night spectacular included heavy-hitters like, Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck Quartet with special guest Jim Hall and the Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars with Terence Blanchard, Nnenna Freelon, Benny Green, James Moody, Kendrick Scott and Derrick Hodge. In total, 8 stages had in total over 500 musical artists along with 3 venues simulcasting the MJF Arena’s 5 concerts. In addition, "Behind the Lens / 50 Years of MJF Photos," was a special exhibit of photographic images of Monterey artists from the last 50 years. These photos were on display throughout the weekend in the Coffee House Gallery. The show features images captured through the lenses of Ray Avery, Michael Piazza and Ron Hudson, all photographers who have indelibly shaped the public image of artists who have appeared onstage at Monterey. In addition, the Coffee House Gallery will feature a special show.

 

Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At Monterey (Definitive Edition) on DVD and Hi-Def DVDIn related news, Experience Hendrix and Geffen, in association with Universal Music have announced the October 29th release of Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At Monterey (Definitive Edition) on DVD and Hi-Def DVD. This special edition DVD features all of the existing film footage from Jimi’s incendiary June 18, 1967 concert newly transferred to high-definition specs from the original 16mm camera reversal original. The concert footage has been re-edited, making this the first time Jimi's legendary performance will be captured on DVD in its original performance sequence. In addition to the legendary Monterey performance, the Definitive Edition DVD boasts several bonus features including a new documentary entitled "American Landing", which traces Jimi's rise from obscurity to his triumphant U.S. debut at the Monterey Pop Festival, "The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At Monterey: A Second Look"; a unique feature that enables viewers to view the concert via different camera angles, "Music Love and Flowers," a behind-the-scenes documentary about the origins of the Monterey Pop Festival, plus rare performance footage of Jimi performing "Stone Free" and "Like A Rolling Stone" in Chelmsford, England on February 25th 1967. The DVD features a new dts and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mixes by Eddie Kramer, Jimi’s original recording engineer. The soundtrack is also available on CD which includes the brand new stereo mix for the very first time. The DVD boasts extensive new liner notes penned by drummer Mitch Mitchell and and Hendrix scholar and Experience Hendrix's catalogue development director John McDermott.

 

Telarc Ray Charles and Count Basie Orchestra Ray Sings Basie Swings Hybrid  SACD/CDAnd speaking of legendary musical artists, tomorrow Telarc  will be shipping Ray Charles and Count Basie Orchestra performing Ray Sings Basie Swings on hybrid SACD/CD! This combination of great vocal tracks combined with new arrangements and performances by the Count Basie Orchestra should bring music lovers a great experience. Grammy Award winning engineer Michael Bishop personally remixed this original Concord 2-channel recording for multi-channel SACD for a "more real and immediate" sound claims Telarc. "To create a successful 5.1 Surround mix, I wanted to bring Ray's vocals closer to the listener, often mixing the vocal into all five main channels," says Bishop. "I was able to keep the magic of the CD while bringing the performances out into Surround for an even more involving Ray Charles/Basie Orchestra listening experience." The original 24-bit/96kHz PCM multi-track source masters were employed for this remixed/remastered album plus using a combination of custom and vintage analog processors for treatment of vocal and instrument tracks in the analog mix, rather than the customary PCM software. The final 5.1 analog surround mixes were then recorded to a DSD to create this SACD. Of note is that the hybrid CD program on the SACD was produced from Concord's original 16-bit/44.1kHz PCM master and is identical to that original release.

 

09 / 21 / 07

Furutech DFV-1 Vinyl LP Flattener  Furutech has debuted their DFV-1 ($1,480) stand up vinyl LP flattener. Users simply insert their clean, yet warped, vinyl into the machine and press a button to achieve a perfectly flat vinyl LP. Using a carefully controlled heating and cooling cycle, the Furutech DFV-1 flattens warped records, even those with only slight irregularities that still unsettle your cartridge causing mistracking. Improved film heating technology optimizes the entire heating and cooling cycle for a perfectly flat LP. An LCD keeps users informed of progress, while a tone sound when the process is complete. Of note is that the Heating plate maximum temperature is only 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit measures 19 x 21.5 x 7 (WxHxD in inches) and weights a healthy 24 lbs. The unit is carefully manufactured for Furutech by ORB High End Systems of Japan.

Also new from Furutech is their handheld deStat ($360) that removes dust and static charge from analog and digital audio media in just 10 seconds! Static charges on LPs, CDs and DVDs can lead to distracting noise and compromised sound. By simply holding the Destat over the media of choice and pressing a button, a Balanced Ion Flow removes dust and completely eliminate static charges. The deStat operates on four AA batteries and takes just 10 seconds, while a safety circuit prevents shock from the discharge pin.

 

Aleratec DVD/CD Disc Repair CGAleratec, a leading developer and manufacturer of Blu-ray, DVD/CD duplicating machines, now offers their DVD/CD Disc Repair CG ($525) that removes most light, medium or heavy scratch damages from digital discs. This commercial grade disc repair system will repair most damaged discs in as quickly as 5 minutes. The Aleratec Disc repair CG includes two 500ml bottles of finishing solution, repair pads plus a 3.5-inch disc holder that makes fixing scratched 5 and 3.5 inch discs as easy as 1-2-3. Users simply fill the unit with the Aleratec disc finishing solution, load a disc and turn the timer to desired running amount. Various refill and additional kits are available at a reasonable $12.99.

 

09 / 20 / 07

Transparent PowerWave 10  Transparent has announced their new PowerWave 10, PowerWave 8, Whole House MusicLink ($1695, $995 and $150/meter respectively) plus new power cable upgrade program. The PowerWave 10 has 10 AC outlets in 5 isolated banks, has no current limiting, and reduces more AC line noise than the company's PowerWave 8. The PowerWave10 als has superior AC power factor control. The unit includes fail-safe, super-fast surge protection with a full, connected components warranty and a detachable, upgradeable PowerLink Plus power cord. Other inputs/outputs include phone and two coaxial for cable TV or satellite. The PowerWave 8 has 8 AC outlets and no current limiting. It also has the fail-safe, super-fast surge protection with a full connected components warranty and a detachable, upgradeable High Performance PowerLink power cord. One phone and coaxial source protection is included. Transparent Audio's Whole House MusicLink controls noise, impedance and transforms coaxial cable into a conduit for music rather than ultra-high frequency signals. Owners of Transparent's power cord line-up starting with High Performance PowerLink is now upgradeable as customers can bring their old Transparent power cords to their nearest dealer and they get 70 percent off a new Transparent Power Cord.

 

SE2 Labs ITCSE2 Labs now offers their revolutionary ITC One (Integrated Theater Console) as the world's first personalized, fully-integrated, one-box home entertainment solution ($19,900 on up depending on configuration). Custom installers or end users can design a personalized system from the SE2 website, which is then shipped within days of receiving the order. The following components can be included: Microsoft X-Box 360, X-Box 360 HD DVD Player, Nintendo Wii, DirecTV, High-Def TiVo, Dish Network DVR, national cable providers DVR, including Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Cable, AMX Netlinx Control System, High-End Digital Surround Processor, Bryston Pre-Amp Processor with full digital outputs, IcePower High-End D-Class Amplifiers, High-End Video Processor, Front Touchpanel Screen, Apple Video iPod with Dock, proprietary Remote Control, Power Conditioning, Transparent Cabling and Cable Harness and an Anti-Noise and Vibration System - all integrated through a revolutionary design, working together from an elegant, compact box. It's like a house full of electronics slimmed down to a small console only 18 x 21 x 20 (WxHxD in inches). Upgrades and maintenance are easy, since every part of the ITC One is modular. All parts can be swapped or repaired with little effort. The ITC One can be configured for both residential and commercial applications, including corporate and education environments. A patented cooling system maximizes the effects of induction to keep circuitry cool, while four silent, high-powered fans keep internal temperatures low. An advanced mechanical isolation system protects the ITC One's circuitry from airborne and mechanical vibration and keeps internal noises from escaping (such as a hard drive or transport). A sophisticated power conditioning system is preinstalled. Cable connections are recessed into the chassis, so you can push the unit against a wall without straining cable connections. The rear panel has lacing straps for wire management and stress relief. The remote control for the ITC One includes innovations like color volume feedback, remote locator beeper and RF communication. It is ergonomically designed and easy to operate. Buttons light up automatically in the dark when the unit senses movement. With 11 patents, the ITC One is claimed by the company to be the only high-end, all-in-one home entertainment system of its kind on the market today.

 

09 / 19 / 07

  It is now official rock fans as the surviving members of Led Zeppelin (Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones plus original drummer John Bonham's son Jason ) will perform at a tribute for the late Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. London's 02 Arena will be rocked on November 26 as the stage is set for this historic event. Also of importance is the appearance of original members of British punk Sex Pistols (John Lydon, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock) as they will be performing at London's Brixton Academy on November 8th. What is next, a full world tour by the original members (minus Sid) of Pink Floyd? We can hope can't we?

 

ADAM Audio Tensor Series Alpha LoudspeakerADAM Audio has debuted their new Tensor Series loudspeakers consisting of the Gamma, Beta and Alpha ($8,199, $14,999 and $24,999 respectively). The result of exhaustive research and development over many years, this new series benefits from ADAM's extensive experience in the professional audio world. Housed in distinctive high-gloss black cabinets with silver faceplates, numerous new approaches and technical developments are combined with no-compromise materials. The company's Advanced Ribbon Technology (X-ART) is a folded ribbon design that increases the diaphragm size and moves air more efficiently than traditional ribbons or dome tweeters. The result claimed to be an open and natural high end, wider sweet spot, and less ear fatigue. A pair of HexaCone woofers work against each other in the bass cabinet, so the opposite forces compensate each other. This configuration neutralizes distortions typically found in classic cabinet designs with only one woofer. The bass tubes fire downward, preventing disturbing port noise due to their wide aperture. Impulse coupling, a significant improvement of the mechanical coupling between the woofer and cabinet, also ensures top quality sound production. Each chassis is mounted on an ultra stiff aluminum honeycomb plate that is acoustically dead. The result of the drivers being much more firmly anchored in this manner is that their time behavior (and consequently their clarity) is audibly and measurably improved. The Alpha and the Beta Tensors have separate bass cabinets, which improve the sound quality through decoupling. The upper part rests on specially designed sandbags, which sit on the bass unit and prevent interactions or interferences between bass and midrange/tweeter. The Alpha (pictured) is the pinnacle of the Tensor line and incorporates two 13-inch HexaCone woofers (front/rear mounted), each driven by electronically equalized 500 watt amplifier housed in a dedicated lower cabinet. The upper cabinet's midrange and high frequency array consisting of two 9-inch HexaCone midrange/woofer drivers, two X-ART midrange units and one X-ART tweeter. Frequency response is from 20Hz to 50kHz with a 91dB/W/m sensitivity.

 

09 / 18 / 07

Luxman SQ-N100 Stereo Integrated Vacuum Tube Amplifier  Luxman, founded in Japan in 1925 by T. & K. Hayakawa, is once again being distributed within the United States! With both solid-state and vacuum tube gear, Enjoy the Music.com first reported on Luxman making a comeback within our Munich Germany High End Society 2007 show coverage (click here). It was just announced by Philip O'Hanlon, President of Southern California-based On A Higher Note, that they will be importing the brand into the United States. Luxman has long been an upper end brand of consumer audio electronics at attractive prices. During the Munich show, Enjoy the Music.com reported on the new Luxman SQ-N100 (2400€, pictured) stereo integrated tube amplifier that produces 12 wpc with a frequency response from 20Hz to 50kHz from a pair of EL84 per channel. Other Luxman goodies at the Munich event include the EQ-88 (1550€) tubed phonostage and M800A (9900€) 60 wpc stereo amplifier. "We are very excited about the opportunity to rollout Luxman's full range of versatile luxury audio products after their twenty years plus hiatus from our marketplace," explained Philip O'Hanlon, President of Southern California-based On A Higher Note, LLC. "Luxman offers superb-sounding systems suitable for a wide spectrum of musical enjoyment, from music lovers' office to their home concert hall, providing rich and natural sound that relaxes and frees us from stress and tension."

"We are pleased to have secured On A Higher Note's commitment to aid us in rebuilding awareness and re-establishing distribution of our long-established brand," commented Mr. Kazuyuki Doi, President of Luxman Corporation. "Their proven track record in rolling out luxury audio brands in North America's high-end amplifier and music players, both key current offerings by Luxman, combined with their infectious enthusiasm to help high-end retailers guide music lovers, are a perfect fit with our mission and vision." Luxman will be available for audition through an exclusive network of specialty high-end audio retailers in all major metropolitan areas. In the interim, audiophiles & music lovers can call On A Higher Note or go to their local dealers to inquire about upcoming music seminars or private auditions.

 

Sennheiser CX500 IEMWith seven colorful in ear monitor (IEM) headphones from Sennheiser's new CX series, music enthusiasts can shield their ears from distracting external noise and also enjoy great sound. The CX 500 (pictured) , CX 400, CX 55 Street, and CX 95 Style ($129.95, $99.95, $79.95 and $139.95 respectively) join Sennheiser's Classic, Street and Style lines and also accompany the successful CX 300 ear canal headphone. Their easily exchangeable adapter rings ensure that all the models are a perfect fit for your ear canal, while the newly developed cords are resistant to handling noise. The CX 500 is the new top-of-the-range model in the Classic line and comes in high gloss black, high gloss white and titanium. It stands out for having a wider frequency response and special flange ear adapters, which give the ear canal phones a better seal. A convenient volume adjuster maintains total control over incoming audio levels on any playlist or shuffle. The CX 500 comes with a small, medium and large ear fittings, storage pouch, cable clip and cord winder.

 

Neumann U 87 Microphone Anniversary SetIn other news from Sennheiser, sister company Neumann is celebrating the 40th anniversary of their legendary microphone! Built from 1967 to 1986, what is probably the world's best-known studio microphone is now offered in a special U 87 Ai Anniversary Set ($4000)! Neumann is making waves with recording studios all around the world by releasing this new version! This special edition comes in a robust retro-style case and includes unique product features. In addition to an elastic suspension and a signed, already framed certificate of authenticity, the set includes a new pop screen for that true "sixties" feel. The set even includes a dust cover embroidered with the anniversary logo plus a pair of white gloves with which to handle this fine piece of gear. The U 87 is equipped with a large dual-diaphragm capsule with three directional patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid and figure-8. These are selectable with a switch below the headgrille. A 10 dB attenuation switch is located on the rear and it enables the microphone to handle sound pressure levels up to 127dB without distortion. Furthermore, the low frequency response can be reduced to compensate for proximity effect. Other features include variable large diaphragm and pressure-gradient transducer with double membrane capsule.

 

09 / 17 / 07

  DaVinciAudio Labs AAS-Gabriel/DaVinciAudio Labs TurntableDaVinciAudio Labs offers their AAS-Gabriel/DaVinciAudio Labs turntable in either white and gold or black and silver combination (CHF 42,000 on up). The company chose to use the same design drive unit and physical principles of mastering cutting lathe machines and stylus. This brings a highly stable drive chassis and acoustically "dead" turntable with silent bearings. Meanwhile the pick-up is decoupled from the chassis while a separate drive and control unit with external power supply ensure stable platter rotational speed.

 

Apple Logic StudioApple Inc, a company that recently shunned their computer image by changing names from longstanding Apple Computer to Apple Inc, has released their Logic Studio package ($499). This software is an in-depth program for musicians. As many small, home-based recording studios use Apple computers for their Digital Audio Workstations (DAW), Logic Pro 8 is a major upgrade to the previous version. New features include a single-window design that consolidates production activities in a single, elegantly-designed workspace. The Simplified Setup uses production-ready templates, a streamlined track setup window, and dynamic channel strip creation get users up and running fast. Improved ReWire support provides easy integration with other music applications. It is even easier to create and configure multiple audio, instrument, or external MIDI tracks from a single, simple setup window. New advanced editing features is said to "dramatically streamlines the process for building the perfect track." Apple's Logic Studio includes Soundtrack Pro 2, Apple's professional audio post production software; Studio Instruments, made up of 40 pristine quality instruments; Studio Effects, with 80 professional effect plug-ins; a vast Studio Sound Library; and a powerful set of production utilities.

 

Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) Jaguar XF 2008Critically acclaimed loudspeaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has once again teamed up with luxury automobile manufacturer Jaguar to offer high-end audio within a mobile audio environment. The 2008 Jaguar XF will include fourteen Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers that is said to deliver extraordinary clarity and faithful sound reproduction as the artist intended. In a departure from the typical OEM radio installation as found in mainstream vehicles, Jaguar and Bowers & Wilkins engineers began their cooperative work even before the new car hit the drawing board. Working together, Bowers & Wilkins and Jaguar engineers performed extensive computer analysis and prototype testing to determine the ideal layout, and locations, for the XF's fourteen loudspeakers. Woven Kevlar driver material combined with carefully selecting an electronics partners help to complete this unique system. Jaguar's XF car has a layout featuring the latest Pro Logic II 7.1-channel surround technology from Dolby Laboratories that achieves this immersive sound from every stereo source, including FM radio, satellite radio, compact discs, and additional as yet unrevealed options. Four metal-dome tweeters strategically positioned to deliver smooth, even coverage to all four XF occupants, nine Kevlar-diaphragm woofer and mid/bass units, including a solo front-center and rear-surround pair, strategically located to preserve natural tonal balance and spatial localization, and a single, rear-mounted high-powered subwoofer that delivers true deep bass extension. Each amplifier channel is individually tailored to its respective loudspeaker by the system preamplifier-controller, making extensive use of advanced digital signal processing (DSP) techniques. A total of 440 watts can be produced to drive the loudspeaker system. Jaguar is not the only car company that offers high-end sound, as Bugatti teams with German manufacturer Burmester and Lexus with Pioneer-sourced Harmon Corporation's Mark Levinson brand products. 

 

09 / 14 / 07

Amphion Prio Loudspeakers  Amphion launched their Prio range plus marks the introduction of the company's TAPS (Time Accurate Point Source) concept. TAPS ensures perfect integration of the drivers and creates a time-coherent point source multi-driver combination. A low crossover point of 1600Hz together with precise voice coil placement allows drivers to act like one big unit. First products in the Prio family are Prio 520 slim two-way and matching compact C version. Prio 520 C can be used as matching center for Prio 520 floorstanders or as a home theater LRC or surround speaker. Both units are 2-way vented design with 1-inch titanium dome tweeter and a pair of 5.25-inch long throw Nomex midrange/woofers. Nominal impedance is 4 Ohm and a sensitivity of 91dB/W/m. Overall frequency response is from 50Hz to 30kHz. Both models are available in graphite black, white, and natural birch.

 

Richard Grays Power Company (RGPC) PowerVault Whole Home UPS System Richard Grays Power Company now offers their RGPC PowerVault whole home UPS system ($24,500 on up). The PowerVault is a system that offers large-scale power storage and management designed specifically for audio/video installers and integrators. This combination power conditioner, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and long-duration backup solution is an all-in-one solution. Offering the benefits of backup power plus RGPC's patented parallel delivery system, the PowerVault provides centralized UPS functionality and long-duration backup power. It features the added benefits of an RGPC 1200C for noise removal, RGPC's patented power delivery, and surge suppression. During a power outage or interruption, the PowerVault provides consistent and uninterrupted power, thus eliminating the need to restart or reboot devices. Engineered for 11kW of continuous power output, the RGPC PowerVault can handle inrush demands of over 25kW while power modules can be configured for either 120V or 240V output. The RGPC PowerVault is ETL listed and authorized RGPC dealers will need to receive certification training before they can perform installations.

 

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF 2007)The 2007 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF 2007) is from October 12 through 14 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel in Colorado. Over 300 brand will fill RMAF 2007's 100+ rooms, with many audiophiles getting many great opportunities to see and hear some of their favorite gear and possibly a few surprises. Al Stiefel and Ron Welborne took it upon themselves to explore the possibility of creating an audio show in Denver. With Al's business acumen, Ron's knowledge of the infrastructure of local audio shows... the rest is now history. This year's show marks their fourth event and will have many educational seminars and other events to fill the day.

Where: Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel, 4900 South Syracuse in Denver, Colorado
When: Friday October 12 from 12pm to 6pm, Saturday, October 13 from 9am to 6pm and Sunday, October 14 from 9am to 4pm.
Price: $10 per day or three day pass is $25.

 

09 / 13 / 07

Harbeth Audio M40.1 Woofer  Longstanding and highly respected British loudspeaker manufacturer Harbeth Audio is developing a new top-of-the-range reference unit. Harbeth is celebrating their 30th anniversary and designing a replacement for the award winning Monitor 40. This project has taken over a year of sustained effort and will mark the introduction of a new bass unit to an already revered product. This means the new M40.1 will have tighter, dryer bass and a smoother frequency response. Other benefits include a simplified crossover and a less critical listening height plus added electrical efficiency. The M40.1 will be available in real-wood veneers of cherry or eucalyptus, as well as the hard-wearing textured grey finish for professional users.

 

ARIAThe land down under, Australia, has posted their recorded music sales for the first half of 2007. The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) today reported wholesale recorded music sales and without fanfare online digital sales are experiencing tremendous growth. With physical market sales on the decline, overall volume of the market increased by 11 percent to over 36.6 million units during the same period last year. Digital music sales increased and now account for 9.75 percent of the recorded music market by value. Sales of digital albums have increased by over 140 percent compared to the same period last year. Online digital tracks now represent 46 percent of the value of the total digital market. It may only be a matter of time when virtually all audiophile DACs have USB input to read music files on external hard drives.

 

Bowers & Wilkins' launched their B&W CT700 series that features a 10-inch and 12-inch powered subwoofers, plus front main loudspeakers and surround models. The subwoofers include an outboard rack-mounted 1000 watt amplifier and produce an abundance of deep bass. All models in the new CT700 line employ B&W's proprietary woven-Kevlar materials technology in their midrange and low-frequency drivers. To eliminate reflections from projectors or other bright light sources all cones in the CT700 models utilize Blue Kevlar. Similarly, all CT700 models (save the subs) employ the company's Nautilus tube-loaded tweeter design to absorb the unwanted back wave reflections. The CT7.3 LCRS is a three-way layout using dual 8-inch Kevlar woofers, a 6-inch Kevlar midrange, and 1-inch cloth-dome. The two-way CT7.4 LCRS uses dual 6-inch Kevlar mid/bass drivers with the same tweeter system, while the generally similar CT7.5 LCRS substitutes a single 7-inch Kevlar mid/bass unit. All three CT700 variants are rigorously engineered for precisely matching timbre and overall transient and dynamics characteristics, so that a system may be freely laid out between any combination of models. Pricing ranges from $600 for the CT7.5 LCRS to $1500 for the CT7.3 LCRS.

 

09 / 12 / 07

Joe Zawinul  It deeply saddens ms to report of another death in the music world. The legendary jazz keyboardist Joe Zawinul passed away at age 75 after a month-long hospital stay due to skin cancer. Born July 07, 1932 in Vienna Austria, Joe truly lit up the jazz community with his incredible sense of style and musicianship. He was very innovative and welcomed new ideas and instrument, including jazz-rock fusion and was a master at playing the synthesizer. His musical abilities extended to not only playing, but also as a creator of new jazz songs and immersive sounds. Towards the last few years he chose to be more creative with improvisation versus being somewhat constrained to the written notes on a page. In 1958 he won a scholarship to Berklee School of Music yet after a handful of days left to be a part of trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson's band. He also spent time playing with such greats as Miles Davis, Slide Hampton, Dinah Washington, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Cannonball Adderley and many others. His longest stint was with Adderly and he was part of such critically-acclaimed recordings such as "Country Preacher," "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," and "Walk Tall." To some he might be best remembered as a founding father of the band Weather Report. His solo work is well documented and some consider him as one of the leading forces behind the electric jazz keyboard movement. His incredible work was recognized over the years from fans and the musician community alike as he earned a Grammy for the song "8:3" with Weather Report, another for "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," and a third for Miles Davis' album Bitches Brew.

 

09 / 11 / 07

Inovadis CARAT I57   The new CARAT 57 series, with previous award-winning designs including their A57 amplifier, C57 CD player and T57 tuner are now joined by the I57 all-in-one component. Combining elegance within a compact cabinet this stereo integrated amplifier, CD player and a tuner features 50 wpc (into 8 Ohms), a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, and SNR of >85dB. Both loudspeaker and headphone output are included as are inputs for phono, auxiliary, tape and a front input for portable music players. The internal DAC is a Burr Brown PCM 1732 24-bit/96kHz and handles HDCD.

 

While Marantz appears to refuse to bring into the United States their audiophile units tuned by the legendary Ken Ishiwata, Pioneer is steeping up to the plate with their new two-channel multimedia music system for serious audiophiles. The tabletop Pioneer Elite X-Z9 ($1799) features a SACD/CD receiver that incorporates "breakthrough digital amplification design with processing technologies to ensure high quality playback of favorite audio files." The system includes a pair of high-end loudspeakers and the main unit is contained in a sleek, glossy black cosmetic finish. The Pioneer X-Z9 stereo unit produces 50 wpc and the precision loudspeakers benefit from the research done with the company's award-winning EX Series. This unique three-way design features a subwoofer and coaxial tweeter/midrange driver. Other features include the ability to handle Sirus and XM digital radio, an iPod, and USB input that allows users to plug in a MP3 portable player or external hard drive and access music files.

Pioneer PD-D6-J SACD pPayerPioneer is also offering a few new Elite series two-channel hi-fi music entertainment components. Two new stereo receivers, the SX-A6-J and SX-A9-J, plus the recently announced PD-D6-J SACD player (pictured). The SX-A6-J and SX-A9-J along with the PD-D6-J incorporate proprietary sound processing technologies with shortened digital signal paths for undistorted, smooth music performance and maximum clarity. Pioneer outfitted all three audio devices with hand selected parts and rugged construction. The SX-A6-J and SX-A9-J stereo receivers feature a dual mono symmetrical amplification design that works to eliminate dominance of one channel over the other. Special internal construction was developed to suppress any distortion causing power supply reverberation. The 70 watt two-channel SX-A9-J is meant for multi-format playback capability of everything from analog records to new digital music files via an array of advanced connectivity options including digital radio and USB. The two-channel SACD player utilizes twin Burr Brown converters and can playback SACD, CD, CD-R/-RW, MP3 and WMA compressed audio files. With Pioneer's special Legato Link Conversion PRO, the company claims to have achieved a more natural music performance with minimal phase shifts by its unique capability to quadruple the sampling rate. By increasing the rate, a smooth playback is realized with nearly non-existent song jitter. Additionally, Pioneer incorporates its exclusive Hi-Bit technology that helps attain a high resolution sound from even extremely minute signals.

 

09 / 10 / 07

Luciano Pavarotti  It saddens me to report that the great opera vocalist Luciano Pavarotti died at age 71 of kidney failure. Born October 12, 1935 in Modena (Italy), his amazing talent as an operatic tenor earned him great fame while his recordings sold in the multi-millions. He also earned five Grammy awards and was the 1998 MusiCares Person of the Year honoree. He also performed during the recent Olympic games in Italy as the closing musical act that was seen by millions all across the globe. In his youth he was an alto in the cathedral choir and a few years later he showed great ability in football (American soccer). Luciano's career as an opera singer skyrocketed due to his performance in 1966 at Covent Garden as Tonio in La fille du régiment. He was a man of the people as he gave back to the community with charity work including AIDS benefit concerts and world hunger events. Many Americans first became aware of his talents as one of the "Three Tenors." Luciano is survived by his father Fernando and daughters Lorenza, Cristina and Giuliana.

 

Rotel Electronics RMB-1076Rotel Electronics' two exciting new multi-channel amplifiers, models RMB-1085 and RMB-1076 ($1,199 and $1,599), use Class D circuit topology in a compact, lightweight, and cool-running chassis. Less than three inches tall and under 12 pounds in weight, both power amps fit where conventional amplifiers cannot, and since they produce virtually zero heat, they can safely reside inside cabinetry, racks, or system closets without fear of thermal limits. Features-wise, the RMB-1076 adds individual input-level trims, input-sharing channel-bussing, and RCA output-link facilities, all well suited to multi-room installations). The six-channel RMB-1076 produces 100 watts per channel. The RMB-1085 offers five 100-watt channels under the same specifications. Both new models feature Rotel’s proprietary Class D design, which combines controlled oscillator modulation and enhanced cascade control to bring what Rotel claims is "near-perfect efficiency of digital amplifier design and truly reference-grade sonic performance." Both models are available in matte black or black and silver cabinets.

 

09 / 07 / 07

The Absolute Sound  We have the world premier sneak peek of the upcoming edition of The Absolute Sound (TAS)! Last month Enjoy the Music.com brought you an advanced look at TAS' September issue, now we have the October issue online with the table of contents and you can read Robert Harley's editorial 'The 2007 Editors' Choice Awards' where he says, "Putting together the 38-page Editors' Choice Awards feature begins with examining last year's list, removing those products that have been discontinued, and then adding those select products reviewed in the previous year that may be worthy of an award. The next step is to reconsider every single product on the list. Has a product been eclipsed in performance or value by a newer product? Has a product's price increased to the point where it is no longer competitive? Have we received reports of reliability problems? When considering a product that has been reviewed in the previous year, and is thus a new candidate, I consult the original reviewer as to whether the product should receive an award. Similarly, the original reviewers are asked to reconsider some of their previous selections if a groundbreaking new product has emerged in the intervening year." See what is within the October 2007 edition and subscribe to The Absolute Sound by clicking here.

 

As we announced the very first dual format Blu-ray and HD DVD unit by LG Electronics within our 2006 CES report, LG has done it again by unveiled their second-generation LG Super Blu Player model BH200 ($999). Sporting both formats' logos, LG's new high-def player is capable of Blu-ray disc and HD DVD playback with advanced BD-Java and HDi interactivity, enabling consumers to choose from the widest variety of high-def content regardless of disc format. The BH200 further strengthens LG's position as an innovator because this new unit can play 50 to 60 percent more high-def movie titles than either single-format player. With full networked interactivity available from selected HD DVDs, and the capability to handle networked "BD-Live" interactivity in forthcoming Blu-ray discs, the BH200 has the latest available technologies for both formats. Viewers can also enjoy advanced options such as "Picture-in-Picture" available from many Blu-ray discs as well as HDi web-connected interactivity available from many HD DVDs. Access to these features enables viewing of storyboards, production videos and director's commentary as the movie is playing, as well as accessing up-to-date information. The unit also accepts additional entertainment content via a network connection and can output up to 1080p video resolution at 24-, 30- and 60-frames-per-second, supports various A/V formats, including MPEG-2, VC-1, H.264 video, MPEG1/2 audio, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital+, DTS and DTS-HD audio. The unit includes multiple inputs/outputs such as HDMI 1.3 out, component/composite video outputs, digital optical and analog audio outputs as well as a LAN Ethernet port for network interactivity.

 

AKG K 530 LTD HeadphonesAKG is going to offer their award-winning K 530 in a limited edition of high gloss black. Previously only for sale in white, the new K 530 LTD will be sold in retail stores in high-gloss black and incorporate AKG's XXL transducers, which utilize premium materials and post-assembly enhancement processes. The company's patented Varimotion diaphragm technology is included as are thinner rim diaphragms, known as the movement zone, so the driver can vibrate more easily to provide deep bass. The diaphragm also combines high circumferential flexibility with a piston-like motion in the center; this movement prevents undesirable diaphragm resonances. The AKG K 530 LTD headphones are also equipped with a hard gold-plated-jack plug with screw-on adapter, an oxygen-free single cable (99.99% OFC) and chrome AKG logo and black-cloth-covered cable. This semi-open design has a frequency range from 18Hz to 26kHz and a maximum SPL of 102dB.

 

09 / 06 / 07

NAD Electronic T 175 Preamp - Tuner - Processor  More news out of CEDIA as NAD Electronics introduces a trio of new audio separates, the T 175 Preamp-Tuner-Processor, and two multi-channel amplifiers, the Seven-Channel T 975 and Five-Channel T 955 power amplifier ($1,999, $2,499 and $1,999 respectively). Designed for demanding audiophiles, the new separates represent NAD's core values of simplicity as the T 175 boasts a user-friendly interface and modular layout that places key circuitry on five independent removable boards. This makes the NAD T 175 easy to service and to introduce new or enhanced technologies. Four HDMI v1.3 inputs that route HDMI signals with sufficient bandwidth to carry progressive-scan 1080p signals with unrestricted resolution while on-screen menu/display system provides ease of use. Audyssey Auto Set-Up and Calibration, a uniquely sophisticated, DSP-based system that balances and adjusts a multi-channel speaker system using the small, calibrated microphone supplied with each pre-pro. Also included is Audyssey's highly evolved MultEQ XTT Room Correction, which reduces the impact of room acoustics to yield a "family sized" sweet-spot and real gains in sonic accuracy. For digital to analog conversion, top-level Burr Brown DACs with a 24-bit/96kHz processing is provided for each of the 8 channels. A high-performance, 40-preset RDS FM/AM tuner plus XM readiness and universal portable media player input jack on the front panel gives ever more flexibility for choices in source components. As for the new power amplifiers, both the T 975 and T 955 contains an array of identical modularized single-channel amplifiers, fully independent beyond their common power supply, making them effectively "multi-monoblock" designs free from the interchannel crosstalk and dynamic interaction to which more conventional amplifiers can be subject. The T 975 provides 140 wpc of continuous power with all seven channels driven simultaneously while the T 955 delivers 100wpc of continuous power with all five channels driven simultaneously. Both amplifiers benefit from NAD's conservative philosophy in citing output power and the company's exclusive "Holmgren" transformer to enhance efficiency, making the transformer less sensitive to DC offsets on the AC mains voltage. Each channel has individual over current, DC, infrasonic and ultrasonic overload sensing, and protection for complete reliability under severe conditions. Of note is that each amplifier's rear panel includes individual gain adjustments for easy, accurate system configuration. Each channel is supplied with custom 5-way speaker binding posts and a gold-plated RCA jack for incoming audio signals.
See our complete CEDIA Expo coverage by clicking here.

 

TEAC Esoteric P-05 SACD Transport and D-05 D/A ConverterTEAC's Esoteric, celebrating their 20th anniversary in producing top quality components, is now delivering their P-05 SACD transport and D-05 D/A converter ($6,500 each). Incorporating a completely new VRDS-NEO mechanism and using a brand new 32-bit D/A converter technology, the new system combines two Esoteric proprietary technologies; the turntable disc clamping system and the unique VOSP pickup platform. The turntable securely clamps the disc and effectively reduces unwanted swing or vibration of the disc. This new turntable is precisely machined from solid aluminum helping to minimize rotational inertia. This extra light turntable design also ensures optimal performance required for high speed disc rotation. In combination with this turntable system, the VOSP (vertically aligned optical stability platform) provides extremely accurate data retrieval by positioning the laser optical axis at the very center of the data track. This design eliminates off axis tracking and off axis error correction. The D-05 DAC employs the latest digital to analog processing technology with 32-bit converters in a dual mono configuration to maximize its performance. The D-05 incorporates dual mono digital and analog circuits, and dual mono power supply components to achieve superior channel separation.
We first reported on this new unit within our Munich High End event report as seen here.

 

09 / 05 / 07

 Enjoy the Music.com's Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) 2007 Expo show coverage has begun! CEDIA was founded in 1989 and is an international trade association of companies which specialize in designing and installing electronic systems for the home — typically media rooms, single or multi-room entertainment systems, home automation and communication systems, home networking and integrated whole-house subsystems. Therefore this is not a true high-end audio show like the upcoming Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF). Instead, it is more for custom home installers and home system integration. There are quite a few products at the CEDIA Expo that have audiophile aspirations so we provide a brief look into this show. See our CEDIA Expo show coverage by clicking here.

 

The Naim LabelThe Naim Label has released two new 180g vinyl releases, Touchwood and Heartplay. These titles have taken some time, but Antonio Forcione's studio album Touchwood and Antonio and Charlie Haden playing together on Heartplay have both finally been successfully cut for vinyl. According to Naim, "It's not that The Naim Label, with Abbey Road's help, hadn't been making every effort; just that it proved difficult to achieve their own extremely high standards. The problems were the length of Touchwood – Antonio's hit recording from 2003 – at 56:13 and the track order of Heartplay, giving very uneven side lengths, which were compromising the dynamics, level and hence signal to noise. Finally, the duo agreed to a change of track order and Antonio agreed to be present for a final attempt at cutting Touchwood. Whether it was the tension or just sheer determination we will never know, but Steve Rooke at Abbey Road had a blinder of a day and cut two magnificent albums." Heartplay is a subtle and sublime collaboration. Charlie and Antonio play a combination of compositions by each other, and a beautifully sparkling track called Child's Play by Fred Hersch. Charlie's bass sounds beautifully deep and rounded, an incredibly satisfying and symbiotic partner with Antonio's guitar. These elegant and eloquent duets are totally atmospheric and an absolute joy to listen to. The album was recorded by Ken Christianson in Naim's very own tried, tested and spectacularly proven True Stereo method, where the musicians play live and are recorded direct to a two track reel to reel tape recorder. The result is an unprocessed analogue recording, in which the sound of the instruments is allowed to shine without any hindrance from the procedure.

 

09 / 04 / 07

Feastrex D9nf Driver  Feastrex, a company that specialized is full range drivers in Japanese paper that are handmade by artisans, has announced their D9nf Natur-Flux Driver. Claiming to fulfill the promise of being beyond any full range dynamic driver the company has heard to date, the paper in these drivers are made with 9th generation paper. Other drivers in the new line include the D9 Monster Alnico, D9e Field Coil Driver and PB9 Passive Radiator. Each unit is hand made with care and can easily be driven by low wattage, single-ended triode tube amplification.

 

RealTrapsRealTraps new Ceiling Tiles ($49.99 to $99.99) line includes eight models of ceiling tile as an affordable and attractive alternative to hanging bass traps and RFZ panels from a grid ceiling. Normal home or office ceiling tiles are problematic when installed at first reflection points on ceilings, because they're too reflective at high and mid frequencies claims RealTraps. RealTraps Ceiling Tiles elegantly solve the dilemma of treating first reflection points and adding additional bass trapping to grid-based dropped ceilings. All sizes of the new RealTraps Ceiling Tiles are available in any of RealTraps' four standard colors of black, gray, white or wheat. Tiles are available in both 2 x 2 and 2 x 4 foot sizes, and are offered in thicknesses of 1.5 inches (primarily for control of high and mid frequency reflections) or 3 inches (for bass trapping). Like their MiniTraps and MondoTraps products, RealTraps Ceiling Tiles can be ordered in either a Standard version offering a controlled amount of high and mid frequency reflection, or a HF version offering greater high and mid frequency absorption for treating first reflection points or for controlling flutter echo problems between floors and ceilings.

 

Empirical Audio Pace-CarEmpirical Audio Pace-Car ($1100 on up depending on configuration) is a very flexible architecture reclocker that can be used with USB, Wireless audio servers, some PCI cards and even Transports. Nicknamed the "Swiss Army Knife" of reclockers, the Pace-Car reduces the jitter from various streaming audio devices. The Pace-Car is available in two configurations, called "Types". Type One is for Wireless Music Servers, PCI cards or Transports that can accept a "Master Clock", "Word Clock" or "Bit-Clock" input. Type Two is for two input systems or USB-type systems where the source clock is fixed or based on frequency synthesis or software generation. The current version 2 Pace-Car PC board only interfaces to I2S DACs, including the Benchmark DAC-1 with Empirical I2S interface, Northstar 192, Northstar Extremo, Perpetual Technologies P-3A, Audio Logic. and DEQX with Empirical I2S interface. Version 3 Pace-Car PC board also has S/PDIF or AES output, allowing it to interface to any DAC. The S/PDIF or AES interface will add a small amount of jitter, which may be audible, depending on your components and cables. Sample rates include 16-bit/44.1 kHz, 24-bit/96 kHz, and 24-bit/192 kHz. The Pace-Car uses a FIFO-memory (First-in, First-out) to temporarily store the audio streaming data. The clock writing the data into the FIFO is independent from the clock reading the data out of the FIFO. The output clock, which is the critical one can be selected from Superclock4 (one or two), low-jitter monolithic oscillator (one or two), Ultraclock, or an external clock of your choice. Connections to the Pace-Car consist of Empirical I2S bus, S/PDIF coax and AES/EBU XLR

 

09 / 03 / 07

Aretha Franklin  Aretha Franklin has bee named the 2008 MusiCares Person Of The Year. Aretha has earned 17 prestigious Grammy Awards to date and will be honored as the 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year during a celebration on February 8 in Los Angeles. Over the years she has also been bestowed a 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom honor (the United States' highest honor), the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Grammy Living Legend Award and numerous other awards. Aretha Franklin began singing in the Detroit church of her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, while growing up in the 1950s. She made her first recordings as a gospel artist at the age of 14 and has gone on to have a luminous career. Known the world over by her first name and as the undisputed, reigning "Queen of Soul," Franklin is incomparable. In 1987, she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1979 she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has received countless international and national awards and accolades and has achieved global recognition on an unprecedented scale.

 

Ultimate Ears UE-11 ProUltimate Ears, a specialist within the in ear monitor (IEM) industry, has launched their new flagship UE-11 Pro ($1150). As the most sophisticated professional monitor available, this design separates the low, mid and high frequencies. The UE-11 has a dual driver subwoofer, dedicated driver for midrange and another for tweeter. These drivers are housed within a custom shell as a quad armature speaker configuration with an electrically and acoustically tuned three-way crossover (an industry first). As a professional IEM, the Ultimate Ears UE-11 Pro can be ordered in a variety of colors with individual artwork. Input sensitivity is 119dB at 1mW, frequency response from 10Hz to 16.5kHz, and it presents an 18 Ohms at 1kHz impedance. Noise isolation is rated at -26dB and the 1/8-inch (3.5mm) male plug is gold plated.

 

09 / 01 / 07

Audiophile Equipment Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com has announced our prestigious Best Of 2007 Blue Note Awards! The staff carefully considered many high-end audiophile products and music recordings, then picked our favorites for 2007 that deserve extra special recognition. Many new articles and think pieces are now online. We cover everything from the DRM/watermarking saga to the debate of Subs versus Obs. Add to that, we have a psychiatrist from Cambridge writing about the affliction and treatment of audiophilia!

Viewpoint Article
Audiophile Subjectivists vs. Objectivists
More Music Watermarking Shenanigans.
DRM Wars Concern You!
Some Sounds Your Stereo Can't Reproduce

BAS Speaker
Diagnosis and Treatment of Audiophilia, a Syndromic Affliction of the Modern Day

Equipment Reviewed
Digital Systems & Solutions Ultrabit Platinum disc treatment
Apple's iPod, NAD's PP1 phonostage, & Sonic Impact Super T amplifier
Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1 monitor loudspeaker
Naim's complete 'X' series system
Nomad Audio Sentinel loudspeaker
Role Audio NSM15EXP subwoofer

Manufacturer Article
Secrets of amplifier & speaker power requirements revealed!

See the September Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

This month's Superior Audio includes a world premiere review of Bastanis' Atlas DIY floorstanding loudspeaker. This is perhaps the very first DIY project we have reviewed that truly delivers superior audio, though it can be ordered in completely assembled form. We also examine Silver Circle Audio's extremely impressive PP1 5.0 power conditioner and the legendary Van den Hul The Frog MC phono cartridge. See the September issue of Superior Audio by clicking here.


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