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High-End Audio Industry News

 

10 / 15 / 01

Tyler Acoustics Mojo  Tyler Acoustics' Mojo speaker ($650 to $850/pr) features a shielded 5.25"Audax aerogel midbass driver and a 1" gold tweeter. The crossovers are wired with DH Labs silver sonic wire and Cardas solder. The rear-ported cabinets use hand-built 1" MDF construction. The Mojo is available in a variety of real wood veneers or High Gloss painted finishes. Matching Mojo subwoofer come in 10-inch ($595 to $795), 12-inch ($696 to $895) and 15-inch ($797 to $995) versions. Mojo and matching subwoofers are available factory-direct in various stereo and surround sound packages. Standard finishes include maple, oak, black oak and red oak. Premium finishes ($100 upcharge) include Birdseye maple, rosewood, tiger maple, zebrawood, walnut, cherry and mahogany. High Gloss finishes ($200 upcharge) are available in red, black, white, yellow, blue and green.

 

 

Valve Amplification Company, or VAC for short, has closed its Durham/North Carolina facility and reopened in Sarasota/Florida, where the company had conducted business until 1996. The new address is: VAC, 4366-C Independence Court, Sarasota, FL 34234, Voice (941) 359-2066, Fax (94) 359-2057.

 

 

According to the results of a new study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), DVD players have not only achieved remarkable sales levels in the four years since their introduction, earning the title of " fastest selling consumer electronics product of all time", but may already have penetrated into as much as one-third of all U.S. households. Additionally, the "DVD Ownership and Market Potential" survey finds that interest in owning DVD technology is staggeringly high among current non-owners. Nearly three quarters of those without a DVD player (73 percent) state an interest in purchasing one, and almost half of non-owners (46 percent) say they plan to do so within the next year. The study finds that currently more than two-thirds of owners feel that all or most of some form of DVD technology is present in one-third of all U.S. households. Among the formats included are stand-alone DVD players, DVD-enabled game consoles, and/or PC-based DVD-ROM drives. The largest contributing factor in the rapid adoption of DVD appears to be word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied current owners. The survey finds that an amazing 94 percent of DVD owners are satisfied with their player and are telling others. In fact, family and friends were second only to product displays in stores as an information resource used when making a DVD purchase decision. Previous research showed that concern over a lack of available software titles was an impediment to adoption of DVD technology but that this appears to no longer be a problem.

 

 

Vandersteen Audio's new VCC-5 Reference Center ($1,995) is the company's statement center channel speaker and was developed for use with the Model Five, 3A Signature and Reference Monitor speakers. The VCC- 5 is a three-way design based on the VCC- 1 Signature, but with the addition of two 6.5-inch cast-basket woofers. These woofers are internally mounted and cross over at 150Hz to the coaxial system, which has a crossover frequency of 3500Hz. A true triaxial output is achieved by channeling bass around the midrange-tweeter coaxial array. This is said to eliminate the severe comb filter lobing produced by horizontally displaced drivers.

 

 

German-Physiks International, known for its loudspeaker using bending wave driver technology, has entered the AC power conditioner market with Pion Audio Electronics, a line of two "power cleaners" and one power cord. The Pion N3ZF power cord utilizes conductors with a 3 square-millimeter cross-sectional area for unhampered current delivery. A special conductor geometry with added damping compounds is said to eliminate current-induced conductor movements within the cable, which can create additional and cable-specific high-frequency noise. The Pion C250D power cleaner is a single power conditioner module derived from the firm's 8-channel power conditioner. The „digital“ module is particularly designed for high frequency filtering, starting in the audible frequency range and extending into the Megahertz spectrum. Power handling capacity is limited to about 250 Watts and optimized for low power source components like CD players, D/A converters and preamplifiers. The „analog“ module Pion C1200 is designed for high power gear and can handle loads of up to 1200 Watts. A very low-resistance-circuit is optimized for dynamic performance. Filtering in both conditioners is bi-directional and works from the powerline to the component and back from the component to the powersupply system.

 

10 / 12 / 01

Muse Thalia  MAP, the modular audio/video platform of Muse Electronics, has announced the release of its second generation Thalia. Based on a 4-slot modular chassis, some of the new refinements include a dual laser OPU to support recordable formats like CD-R, CD-R/W and DVD-R; 24-bit MP3 to make the Thalia the first high performance oversampling MP3 decoder; the machined Remote-1; the Sage FLI2200 high performance video deintelacer with 64Mbit memory; an enhanced menu bar and new user interface to expand upon the Thalia's usability; and an attenuator option for those who want to simplify their system.

 

 

The Creek Audio CD43 mk2 is said to be a totally new player based on the chassis size and cosmetic design of the 43 series range. It now matches the look of the T43 tuner and 4330 amplifier. Inside a 2mm thick alloy case, the CD-R/CD-RW compatible Creek runs a Philips transport with CD7 chipset. A high grade grain-oriented steel mains transformer feeds low impedance capacitors and separate stabilized power supplies for digital and analogue sections to "provide the highest degree of isolation and lowest noise performance possible." A custom Creek microcontroller operates a backlit green LCD display, while Crystal Semiconductor 1-bit Delta Sigma 24-bit CS4390s handle D/A conversion. A new customized low jitter master clock circuit and extra circuitry are said to minimize jitter. A re-clocked, low jitter, co-axial digital output is standard, as is a modest sized full feature RC5 type remote control handset.

 

 

Snell XAClaimed to be the highest performance system in Snell's 25 year history, the Snell XA Reference Towers were designed as a cost-no-object speaker system. A constrained dual-layer wood/high-loss polymer cabinet (triple layer for the baffle) minimizes cabinet colorations while five 2-octave +/- 2dB frequency contour controls allow the fine-tuning of different frequency ranges and rear tweeter energy. Three bass port tuning options can alter the system's tuning frequency or convert to sealed box operation.. Snell's eXpanding Array (XA) design is said to configure their line-source such that the effective length of the array grows longer in proportion to radiated wavelength. This is claimed to give a constant vertical directivity for a very wide sweet spot with virtually no change in frequency response or perceived balance. The midrange-tweeter-midrange module is mounted to a computer-cut aluminum plate and adds a wide-angle wave guide for the tweeter. The driver complement of the XA Reference consists of 2 x 1-inch titanium dome tweeters (one front, one rear), 2 x 4.5-inch midranges with magnesium baskets and 4 x 8-inch black-anodized, long-excursion aluminum woofers. Claimed frequency response is 27 to 24,000 Hz (+/- 3dB), with a nominal 4-ohm impedance, 87dB sensitivity and 200 watts recommended minimum amplifier power. Each speaker weighs 210 lbs and measures 72.75" x 17.75" x 21.5" (HxWxD). Standard finish is hand-sanded, hand-painted Black Oak veneer. All other veneers and finishes carry an upcharge.





The conrad-johnson design MF-2250, 2500 and 5600 are solid-state amplifiers with a low-impedance FET-based voltage gain stage, bipolar output stage and "less than 1/1000th the feedback of conventional designs". Audio circuit capacitors are polystyrene with less than 1/200th the transient blurring dielectric absorption of electrolytic capacitors. All resistors are low noise, precision metal foil and metal film types. The Model MF2250 offers 2 x 120 watts per channel from 20 Hz to 20kHz at no more than 1% THD or IMD, both channels driven into 8 ohm. The model MF2500 doubles this power output while the multi-channel MF5600 offers 120 watts for five channels. Dimensions and weights are, respectively, 16D x 19W x 4.25H inches and 36 lbs, 16D x 19W x 6.75H inches and 55 lbs., and 16D x 19W x 8H inches and 59 lbs.

 

10 / 11 / 01

  Universal Music Group is planning on offering new releases of recordings by reggae legend Bob Marley. These recordings stem from Marley's multi-track live performances between 1973-78 that have been in Universal's vaults for many years. Jeff Glixman, Director of Studio Operations for Universal Music said "It is my understanding that Universal plans to turn these recordings into releases over the next year. We are also re-mastering and releasing other classic Marley albums; there are plans for up to 15 Marley releases over the next year. Video footage of these concerts also exists, so there is the potential for DVD releases or DVD-Audio discs as well as regular CDs."

 

 

NEAT AcousticsNEAT Acoustics of England has launched two new loudspeaker models, the Vito and Ultimatum MF 9 towers. The Vito is a triple-cavity, 2.5 way, isobarically loaded bass reflex floorstander of 8-ohm impedance and 89dB sensitivity. The Vito is available in Cherry Ash, Rose Ash, Natural Ash, Black Ash. The Ultimatum MF9 loudspeaker incorporates seven discrete internal cavities and a multi-driver enclosure constructed from Birch Plywood. The top and front driver mount baffles are decoupled from the cabinet via a polyethylene membrane. The total baffle is a 45mm thick 'sandwich' of Birch Plywood, Polyethylene and MDF. The Ultimatum MF9 is a 2.5 way design that employs six of Neat's 168mm main drivers, a Focal inverted titanium-dome tweeter and two super-tweeters. Five of the drive units face forward in an extended D'Appolito array, with the top and bottom units handling low-bass, the inner pair bass and midrange while the main tweeter is augmented by two upward-firing EMIT super tweeters. Two separate compound chambers are employed for the low-bass sections. Finishes for the Ultimate are made to order.

 

 

Mirage OM-1Mirage's new omni-polar flagship model is called the OM-1 ($25,000 - $29,000), a 4-piece system consisting of two 74" tall panels and two powered subwoofers. Each subwoofer holds four individually powered and servo-controlled woofers in a bipolar configuration (two per side), with a 375watt amplifier per woofer or a total of 1500 watts per channel. The carbon fiber woofers employ dual voice-coil/magnet/spider assemblies so that each cone is essentially driven by two motor structures. The subwoofers are flat down to a claimed 16 Hz where the multiple patent-pending servo-control system reduces harmonic distortion to 1%. The panels themselves house eight individually enclosed proprietary drivers split between the front and rear of the panel. Dual voice-coil carbon mid/bass drivers reproduce the 80-550 Hz frequency range, where they cross over to 2" titanium domed drivers which hand over to the 1" titanium domed tweeters at 2.5 kHz. Efficiency of the panels is over 90dB, with an amplifier-friendly impedance curve that doesn't dip below 5 ohms. The OM-1’s subwoofer will also be available for separate purchase.

 

 

Muzak, yes the folks who bring "elevator music" to over 100,000 business' has hired Stephen Villa as their new Chief Operating Officer (COO). Still, we can not help but wonder if they will now provide real music by real bands and not the usual "happy fluffy cloud 'nother wonderful Prozac day" music to over 100 million people daily. We can only hope Mr. Villa is a fan of musicians like BB King, King Crimson and Frank Zappa. Some Funkadelic and Rage Against the Machine would be a welcome change.

 

 

Best Buy is now offering major-label music downloads through their website. Various music content from BMG Entertainment, EMI Recorded Music and Warner Music Group are being sold between 98 cents and $2.98 for single song downloads. Full-length albums such as Janet Jackson's Janet will cost $16.98. Downloads are via the Microsoft Windows Media Audio and Secure Audio formats.

 

 

Energy VeritasEnergy's new Veritas series is based on the award-winning Veritas 2.8, which remains the flagship model but is now augmented by another 6 designs plus one stand. The Veritas V2.4 uses the 1-inch/2-inch aluminum dome high-mid module common to the line and adds three 6.5-inch woofers with staggered low-pass crossover points, for a claimed 30 - 20,000Hz +/- 3dB frequency response and 90dB in-room sensitivity. The V2.4 measures 46" H x 18.125" D x 8.75" W and weighs 95 lbs. The V2.3 is the V2.4 minus one woofer while the V2.2 is a three-way monitor with a single 6.5" woofer, and the V2.1/2.0R a 6.5-inch two-way front or rear channel monitor. The V.20C dual 6.5" center channel rounds out the line. Finishes include black with gloss cherry or gloss black. Pricing for the Veritas series remain TBA.

 

10 / 10 / 01

ASL Orchid  Divergent Technologies, the US/Canadian importer for Antique Sound Labs, has announced two new integrated amplifier models in that Chinese tube electronics line, the Orchid ($999, seen right), a 3.5wpc 2A3 SET with remote control, and the Leyla ($2,499), a 20wpc 845-based SET with remote control. Also new from Antique Sound Labs is the TI DT ($399), a preamplifier with "super grade auto-former volume control".

 

 

German tube manufacturer Audio Valve has added the Avalon PPP60 amplifier to its Class A product line of parallel push pull designs. The driver stage is powered by an ECC 82 while eight EL34 power tubes deliver the necessary current to the output transformer. The Avalon outputs 60 to 80 watts RMS over a power bandwidth of 5 Hz to 40KHz, with a claimed damping factor of 75, 0.3% distortion at 40 watts and a S/N ratio of 82dB. The Avalon PPP60 weighs 35lbs.

 

 

VDH BreezeVan den Hul has introduced the Breeze Hybrid, a new line of speaker cables in the firm's Fusion Series of audio cabling based on a newly developed vacuum-cured copper/zinc/silver alloy described as a "metal alloy with a glass-like atomic structure - a non-crystalline frozen liquid." The Breeze Hybrid is a multi-core single conductor loudspeaker cable with a complex strand construction consisting of 291 single non-insulated strands in 7 different layers, with a total cross-section equaling AWG 8.5. The metal construction is coated with a linear structured carbon layer while the outer strand layer employs the Fusion material and the saffron yellow outer jacket is made from Hulliflex 4.

 

 

Tannoy DimensionTannoy's new Dimension series anticipates the extended DVD-Audio/SACD bandwidth with the implementation of a SuperTweeter that's down 6dB at 54 kHz and 10dB at 100kHz. Consisting of five models, the TD series speakers use a new curved, laminated-birch ply cabinet finished in American Cherry. Tannoy's dual-concentric technology with new twin-roll surrounds and paper pulp cone matches the nomenclature of the floorstanders in diameter size - a 12-inch in the top-line TD-12, a 10-inch in the TD-10 and an 8-inch in the TD-8. Continuous and peak power handling for the TD-12/10/8 are 180/675w, 130/480w and 100/375w, with sensitivities of 92dB, 91dB and 90dB respectively. Nominal impedance of 6 ohms for all three models, bass response to 30Hz, 38Hz and 45Hz and weights of 108 lbs, 77.2 lbs and 55.1 lbs respectively. The TD C-1 center channel and TD Sub round out Tannoy's new Dimension series.

 

10 / 09 / 01

Thor TPA-60  Thor Audio's long-awaited TPA-60 monoblocks ($15,990) are shipping. Using the firm's trademark circular chassis in a 16" diameter size, these 60-watters use one 12AT7, 12AU7 and 12BH7 each and four EL34 output tubes for a claimed frequency response of 10 Hz to 60 kHz (+/-1dB). A clear 1/4" thick tempered safety glass with acid-etched logo sits directly in front of the output tubes and is bathed in a row of blue LEDs and tinted gel. The lettering, knobs and wall behind the output tubes are available in either chromed silver (standard) or 24k gold ($750 upcharge option). Other features include top loading fuse replacement, on-the-fly bias adjust controls (usable while music is playing), and built-in bias meter. THD is specified as 0.08%, input impedance as 100 KOhm and weight as 60 lbs. Thor Audio has also entered the power cord market with its own designs, the Pre-1 tuned specifically for preamplifiers ($450), the Dig-1 tuned specifically for DACs, Transports, and CD players ($500) and the Amp-1 tuned specifically for power amplifiers ($550).

 

 

Red Rock Audio is a new Denver/Colorado-based company that manufactures Red Rock Black Powder speaker cables and distributes KR Audio Electronics from the Czech Republic and Synthesis products from Italy in the US.

Fase NimisThe Synthesis Naïf collection is available in bright designer colors and includes the Nimis integrated tube amplifier ($1,050), the And CD player ($995) and a forthcoming tuner. The Synthesis Wood Collection includes the Ecstasy dual-mono tube linestage; the Brio dual 12AU7 MM phono stage with separate power supply; the Harmony tube preamplifiers ($995); the Renaissance (four EL34 tubes) triode stereo power amplifier; the Encore (four 5881 tubes) pentode stereo power amp; The Theatre Fase Nimis 70-watt EL34 monoblocks ($3,475) and The Dream 2A3 SET monoblocks. The Ensemble 3-input (eight 6BQ5/EL84) integrated, 4-input (four EL34 tubes) Seamus integrated and four-input (four 6BQ5/EL84) Nimis tube integrated amplifiers round out the Wood Collection amplification components. The Pride CD player ($995) is also available while a separate D/A converter is announced soon. The Synthesis Club speaker ($1,150/pr) is a 12 liter two-way bass reflex design with a 25mm silk dome tweeter and 156mmm polyflex cone finished in beech red lacquer.

The KR Audio Electronics imported by Red Rock Audio include the VT 850 SET monoblocks ($12,500/pr), the VT 8000 vacuum transducer push/pull monos ($14,000/pr), the Antares SET stereo amp ($3,450) and the Model 140 solid-state remote-controlled preamplifier ($1,595).

 

 

Redpoint Audio DesignRedpoint Audio Design is a new Scottsdale/Arizona-based high-performance analog outfit that designs and builds turntables and vinyl-related components. Current product projects include the Standard Plus turntable with PVC, composite, aluminum or drilled aluminum platter and the Testa Rossa table with the same platter options.

 

10 / 08 / 01

Audio Carpet  Audio Carpet of Italy has introduced a line of "audiophile" floor coverings that, while looking like conventional carpet, feature an internal structure made of materials especially designed for "the highest sound and vibration absorbency power known today". After installing an Audio Carpet, claimed sonic improvement include enhanced clarity of detail, transparency and sound staging. Different top layer fabrics from the Missoni collection provide many different color and pattern choices. A line of standing and wall-hanging sound panels is also available.

 

 

Moondog Audio is a new division of Welborne Labs that will combine all future product development in the form of amps, preamps and speakers under its name. A line of kits will be offered exclusively through Welborne Labs and a completely separate line of assembled products through dealers. First new products were on display at this year's VSAC show in Silverdale and are expected to be available around the first of 2002. A new line-array speaker uses modified Jordan modules without in-line crossover components for direct-coupling to amplifiers and a frequency response from 150Hz to 22Khz. A partnering self-powered subwoofer with matching mahogany cabinets is currently under development. Estimated retail price is about $3500 for the speakers, and $4500-$5000 with matching subs. A flagship version uses the same Jordan line array but is self-powered via a built-in interstage transformer coupled 300B monoblock amplifier with a 6N1P driver stage. Estimated retail is price is ca. $8000 without sub. A new remote-controlled passive linestage will sell for approximately $2000-$2500 while new 2' x 6' sound absorption panels should sell for $1000 per pair. Further new product announcements for 2002 include a new 2A3 amplifier kit, a high-power SET amp kit, a new tube linestage kit, a non-DIY PX25 amplifier design and a non-DIY tube linestage.

 

 

Stealth B-IIAudio Magic, maker of well-regarded silver cables, has introduced its family of Stealth Power Purifiers. Fashioned with hyper-pure silver wiring, the Stealth units feature 7 stages of surge/spike protection, 14 stages of broad-band RF noise suppression and also incorporate Shakti Innovations filtering technology. The 6-outlet Stealth ($1,699) is joined by the 2-outlet Mini Stealth ($599) and the flagship Stealth B-II ($3,500, seen right), a true dual mono unit with dual power cords and two banks of 4 outlets each that are physically and electrically isolated from each other to optimize the performance of analog and digital components. Front-mounted VU meters on the B-II show voltage and current status. All Stealth Power Purifiers come standard with Audio Magic XStream silver power cords (one for the Mini and regular Stealth two for the B-II). Based on the firm's Clairvoyant technology, the Stealth Power Master Power Cord ($800 for 1.5m, $1,000 for 2.0m) is said to maximize the power conditioners' performance.

 

 

Wavelength Audio CosineWavelength Audio has entered the digital arena with the Cosine 24/96 ($3,750) and V-24/96 ($4,500) vacuum tube digital-to-analog converters. Selectable digital inputs are fed to a Crystal 8420 digital receiver and sample rate converter before a Crystal 4390 24/96K chip performs d/a conversion. The output of the DAC is transformer-coupled to a tube output stage for complete isolation of the digital and analog sections. The single stage tube output stage is also transformer coupled . The V-version (shown at right) adds an integrated P&G analog volume control to be used as a digital preamplifier.

 

10 / 05 / 01

  The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has released the dollar amount of manufacturer-to-dealer sales of audio products in July 2001 and also year to date sales. During the month of July sales reached $617.5 million, a decline of ten percent as compared to the same period a year ago. Audio products year to date achieved only $4.2 billion, this is down just under seven percent during the same period of 2000. A complete listing of July audio sales by product category can be seen below.

Consumer Electronics Association
Factor Sales of Audio Equipment


July and Year to Date 2001
In Thousands of Dollars

 

July 2001

July 2000

% Change

Portable Audio *

175,630

222,698

-21.1

Separate Components **

101,779

112,408

-9.5

Systems

174,703

179,948

-2.9

Aftermarket Autosound

165,427

169,481

-2.4

Total

617,539

684,535

-9.8

 

 

 

 

 

Year-to-Date**

 

 

 

2001

2000

% Change

Portable Audio *

1,188,686

1,350,098

-12.0

Separate Components **

732,175

839,345

-12.8

Systems

1,029,304

1,049,224

-1.9

Aftermarket Autosound

1,283,158

1,297,435

-1.1

Total

4,233,323

4,536,102

-6.7

NOTE: Totals and year-to-date may not add due to rounding.

* Includes home radio 
** Comprised of electronic components and speakers
Information contained in this report reflects total market statistics for products sold in the United States regardless of the brand name or country of origin.

 

 

Looking for the ultimate in loudspeakers? Wisdom Audio is scheduled to unveil their million dollar ($1,000,000) Infinite Wisdom super system at T.H.E. SHOW in Las Vegas, Jan. 8-11, 2002. Over 10,000 watts of Jeff Rowland amplification will insure plenty of SPL headroom for this system.

 

 

SAP RelaxaThe Italian audio company Strumenti Acustici di Precisione, distributed in the US by Blue Cow Audio, has introduced the Relaxa, a patent-pending magnetic levitation platform designed to isolate electronic vibrations of sensitive audio components. Depending on the weight of the component to be isolated, different strength magnets are employed.

 

 

REL Q-150British subwoofer specialist REL's Q-150 ($1,095) is a one cubic foot compact subwoofer with a forward firing 10-inch woofer, a discrete 150 watts amplifier, continually variable low-pass crossover from 25Hz up to 100Hz, a Neutrik Speakon connector for ABC high level input and dual RCA jacks for low-level inputs. The Q-150 features variable and independent gain adjustment on both high level and low level inputs for perfect gain matching in both two channel and theater applications. Defeatable low level crossover for line level inputs allows .1 channel LFE management of the Q-150 from the sound processor. Full Set-Safe® circuitry provides overload protection. The Q-150 is finished in Brittex black and weighs 26 lbs.

 

10 / 04 / 01

Outlaw Audio ICBM  Outlaw Audio, the consumer electronics brand sold exclusively via the Internet, has launched its ICBM Integrated Controlled Bass Manager ($249), to make up for a specific shortcoming of most DVD-Audio and SACD players. While those DVD-Audio and SACD deliver up to six channels of "full range" audio signals. they don't provide a means to extract the bass data from these channels to feed the subwoofer of a 5.1-channel system. Thus, the small 5.1 satellites must absorb this excess bass energy, which can cause significant distortion. The Outlaw Audio ICBM is a completely analog design that provides comprehensive bass management system for these players. While primarily intended for DVD-Audio and SACD, the ICBM is also useful as a high quality alternative to the less-comprehensive digital bass management included with home theater receivers and even some expensive preamp/processors.

The one-rack-unit ICBM allows individual adjustment of the bass re-direction cross-over point for each channel and channel pair in a home theater system. With the ICBM, the front left/right, front center, surround left/right and rear center speakers may be individually set to roll-off bass information at 40 Hz, 60 Hz, 80 Hz, 100 Hz, or 120 Hz, or to bypass bass management when it is not needed. The ICBM can create mono or stereo bass signals, sum the bass from each side of the soundstage to an individual subwoofer output, feed dual subwoofers and allows bass data to be sent to both full-range front speakers and a subwoofer. An LFE contour allows up to 10dB of bass boost while a rear panel switch selects between 12 db or 24 db per-octave slope.

 

 

RBH 641-SE RBH Sound has added the 641-SE tower speaker ($1,875) to their Signature Series loudspeaker line. Available in more than 30 real hardwood veneers, this new model incorporates two 6.5-inch side-firing aluminum woofers for accurate lower frequency reproduction. A high quality 4-inch aluminum midrange and 1-inch silk-dome tweeter reproduce the upper frequencies. A slim, compact tower design lowers cabinet reflections to improve the imaging capabilities. Special spiked feet insure stability and isolation from the adverse effects of undesired vibrations.

 

 

Tripath Technology Inc., creators of Digital Power Processing (DPP®) technology, received their 11th U.S. patent (number 6,281,747, with another 59 patents pending worldwide approval) for a Power Efficient Line Driver technology used in its TLD401X ADSL line driver products. The Power Efficient Line Driver patent covers an improved amplifier topology, which may be used to reduce distortion, heat dissipation and power consumption of virtually any type of amplifier including class A, AB, C, D, E, F, G and H. In High-End audio, Tripath technology has been implemented in Bel Canto Design's eVo line of digital power amps. In consumer audio, Tripath technology can be found in audio and video products by Sony, Sanyo, Hitachi, Alpine and Aiwa. This ongoing adoption of DPP technology by different mainstream consumer electronics manufacturers (as well as parallel developments at Sharp with their one-bit amplifier technology that operates at SACD's sample rate) suggest that cost- and energy-effective space-saving digital amplifier topologies may be the way of the future for audio amplification.

 

 

Internet audio is heating up as the mp3.com website is now pushing the new mp3PRO format while the Internet Streaming Media Alliance has released ISMA 1.0 of the MPEG-4 audio/video protocol. mp3PRO compresses audio twice as efficiently as standard mp3, yet is also backwards compatible. The Frauenhofer Institute of Germany mp3PRO format employs more advanced psychoacoustics techniques and also "...splits audio recordings into two parts. One part analyzes the low frequency band information and encodes it into a normal mp3 stream. This allows the encoder to concentrate on less information and allows it to do a better job of encoding. This also maintains complete compatibility on old mp3 players. The second part analyzes the high frequency band information and encodes it into a part of the mp3 stream that is normally ignored by old mp3 decoders. New or upgraded mp3PRO decoders will tap into this part of the stream and put the two bands back together, resulting in the full audio bandwidth."

The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (IMSA) has now published their specifications for streaming MPEG-4 video and audio for Internet protocol networks. "As a first in the streaming media industry, ISMA 1.0 will allow content creators, owners, distributors and aggregators to be able to choose products and solutions from different vendors, and thus tailor their systems purchases to their exact needs," said Hans-Peter Baumeister, board member of the ISMA. "In addition, and also as a first in this industry, we can expect to see a truly competitive marketplace for streaming components and solutions, assuring continued improvements and innovation in this space." The ISMA was formed only a year ago by founders Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, Kasenna, Royal in hopes of having a set of standards within the industry.

 

10 / 03 / 01

  Taking advantage of former California Audio Labs engineering talent, the nOrh Loudspeaker Company of Thailand has contracted for a state-of-the-art tubed CD player dubbed the CD-1 ($799) that features 24-bit/96 KHz Burr Brown PCM 1728 24-bit D/A processors, a Matsushita transport with anti-jitter circuit, a Crystal CD8414 low jitter receiver, separate transformers for analog digital circuits, 7 power supplies and a dual 12AX7 analog output stage. Further specs include a 105 dB S/N ratio, and 106dB of dynamic range. The CD-1 measures 19 inches wide, 4 inches tall and 12 inches long and includes a full-function remote control.

nOrh SM 6.9nOrh Loudspeaker Company has also issued its first models in the synthetic marble SM series to bring the performance of its top-performing real-marble models to a wider audience. The model SM 6.1 ($600/pr) uses a very efficient 6.5-inch Vifa woofer with a 1-inch silk dome tweeter mounted inside a horn faceplate for a claimed sensitivity of 90 dB and low-end response to 50Hz. The model SM 6.9 ($995/pr. seen right) uses the new XT tweeter from Vifa (also used in the very expensive Krell LAT-1 loudspeaker and certain Audio Physics models) and Vifa's famous M18W0-09-08 woofer, for a rated sensitivity of 87dB and frequency response from 38 Hz (-3 dB) to 28 KHz (-10 dB). Both models are available in black, white and green, weigh 56 lbs each with a cubic volume of 25 liters, and measure 19 inches long and 14 inches tall.

nOrh has also contracted with Curt Wishman of Integrity Research & Development to design Le Amp ($295 ea., $495/pr), a 100-watt monoblock that will support peaks of 200 to 300 watts peaks and features a claimed frequency response of minus 3dB at 8Hz and minus 1 dB at 200KHz. High grade parts like silver solder, 1% metal-oxide resistor and an overspec'd 400VA power transformer are employed inside Le Amp, while a detachable power cord, stainless steel feet, easily detachable top cover and high-quality binding posts are some of the external features.

 

 

Marantz PDM 520With the decline of three-head tape decks in the consumer market, serious recordists should take a look at the Marantz Professional PDM 520, an unusual dual-well deck with dual stationary 3-head mechanisms that can be accessed via their own inputs. A sophisticated auto balance / auto bias calibration system is included, as are provisions for normal (1x) and high (2x) speed operation, a recessed fine speed control (+/- 3%), auto rewind, Dolby B/C & HX Pro Headroom Extension, a 25-Pin Contact Closure Control Port, and a Marantz RC-5 Remote Port (AMX & Crestron Compatible). Optional wired or infrared remote control are available.

 

 

Furman Sound IT-ReferenceFurman Sound is entering the power conditioner arena with its new Reference Series of Balanced Power and AC Regulator units. The first product in this line is the Model IT-Reference ($3000) that's claimed to offer more than 24dB of AC-line noise attenuation and 80dB of RF noise rejection with four individually isolated, electrostatically shielded, symmetrical power banks for equipment with low to intermediate power needs. High power components, such as power amplifiers and powered subwoofers, are supplied separately via a high current bank, providing ultra-low impedance, filtered, non-symmetrical AC. Symmetrical (balanced) power operates at +60 and -60 VAC (rather than +120 VAC and neutral) to cancel common-mode line noise. Highest industrial quality "super-spec" isolated-ground outlets used throughout, and all symmetrical power banks are individually ground-fault (GFCI) protected. A power correction circuit provides protection from equipment-damaging spikes and surges via a precision high inrush magnetic circuit breaker. The IT-Reference is claimed to provide in excess of 8 Amps of current "headroom" for the most extreme peak power demands.

Specifications:
AC Current Capacity: Continuous - 12 Amp
                              Peak - 20 Amps
Dimensions: 5.5" x 16.9" x 15.9" (HxWxD)
Weight: 80 lbs.

 

 

Accuphase DP-85Accuphase has introduced their new DP-85 CD/SACD player with HS-Link. Both new-generation decoding capabilities for 2.8224 MHz/1-bit and also 192 kHz/24-bits via the built-in MDS (Multiple Delta Sigma) converter. The transport section has a dedicated DSP for digital servo control and single lens/twin pickup while entirely separate construction of transport and processor sections insure high sound quality. The processor sections of the DP-85 can be used entirely independent of each other via Accuphase's HS-Link and coaxial outputs and the digital inputs. Slots for option boards are provided for added versatility and upgrade ability.

Features and Specifications include:

- Digital servo with dedicated DSP assures highly accurate signal pickup for SACD and CD
- Plays also regular CDs with impressive quality
- Single lens/twin pickup mechanism minimizes access time and SACD/CD switching time
- Compatible with super high quality digital audio interface HS-Link developed by Accuphase; one RJ-45 HS-Link output connector built in
- Dedicated coaxial connector for CD signal output
- Text data display shows disc and title name, artist name, and other information
- Strong chassis with resonance and vibration resistant construction
- "High Carbon" cast iron insulator feet with superior damping characteristics further enhance sound quality
- Multi-function remote commander RC-28 supplied as standard equipment
- Supports new generation formats with high sampling rates such as 2.8224 MHz/1-bit and 192 kHz/24-bits
- MDS type D/A converter achieves stunning performance and sound quality
- D/A converter with printed circuit boards made from Teflon (glass fluorocarbon resin) with low dielectric constant and low loss
- Ultra jitter-free PLL circuit topology

Transport Section:

Digital Processor Section:
- Digital inputs COAXIAL Format: EIAJ CP-1201/AES-3 compliant
OPTICAL Format: EIAJ CP-1201 compliant
Sampling frequencies
32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz
(16 to 24 bits, 2-channel PCM)
Implemented by option board:
176.4 kHz, 192 kHz (24 bits, 2-channel PCM)
2.8224 MHz (1 bit 2-channel DSD)
- D/A converter 24-bit MDS converter
- Frequency response 0.5 - 50,000 Hz +0, –3 dB
- Total harmonic distortion 0.0008% (20 to 20,000 Hz)
- Signal-to-noise ratio 116 dB
- Dynamic range 112 dB (24-bit input, low-pass filter off)
- Channel separation 108 dB (20 to 20,000 Hz)
- Output voltage and impedance BALANCED : 2.5 V at 50 ohms, balanced XLR type
UNBALANCED: 2.5 V at 50 ohms, RCA phono jack
- Output level control 0 to –60 dB in 1-dB steps (digital)

General:

 

10 / 02 / 01

Tascam CD-RW2000  Tascam, the professional division of TEAC, calls its CD-RW2000 ($1125) "the most advanced stand-alone CD recorder available." It includes XLR/RCA balanced/unbalanced I/O, word sync input, call function for checking play cues, digital gain adjustment and digital fade in and fade out. A RAM buffer ensures tight ID markers without danger of clipping the start of the track, and the SCMS code can be set via the user menu. Digital gain adjustment allows signal boost without going back to the analog source, and the adjustable auto cue function localizes the start of actual audio rather than track ID. The CD-RW2000 plays and records on both 74min and 80min CDs and SCMS copy protection is selectable. A wired remote is included.

Specifications: 
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz 0.5dB 
Recordable Media: CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R-DA, CD-RW-DA 
Sample Rate Conversion: 32kHz - 48kHz (converted to 44.1kHz) 
Inputs: Analog; XLR Balanced, RCA Unbalanced
          Digital; AES/EBU (XLR) , S/PDIF (Coaxial and Optical) 
Outputs: Analog; XLR and RCA 
             Digital; AES/EBU and S/PDIF (Coaxial and Optical) 
Total Harmonic Distortion: < 0.004% 
Dimensions: 483mm x 98mm x 317.5mm

 

 

Toten Acoustic LightningTotem Acoustic of Canada has released their first-ever subwoofer called the Lightning. Available in Mahogany, Cherry or Black, the Lightning is built around a carbon fiber/Kevlar cast frame woofer with six-bundle neodymium magnet structure and a 200-watt amplifier with a variable 2nd order Linkwitz-Riley low pass filter from 50 to 100 Hz. The Lightning's dimensions are 11.5" x 16" x 15.75" (WxDxH), and Totem's premium "URT" power cord is included.

 

 

Analysis Plus, makers of the patented hollow oval cables, has announced their customization service that allows end users to pick from their new line of proprietary T1 spades and locking WBT bananas, gold & silver plated BFA style bananas, gold & silver plated 1/4" to 3/8" spades and Neutrik Speakons connectors. Analysis Plus will fabricate custom cables in single, bi & tri-wire versions, with various termination and model configurations such as banana connectors at the amplifier end & spades at the speaker end, Silver Oval for the hi-frequency and Oval 9 for the bass legs of a speaker cable.

Analysis Plus has also announced a total of eight new cable designs this year. After the already released Sub-Oval and Oval One, the Clear Oval speaker cable is the latest introduction. Based on the Oval 12 but priced lower, it replaces the former's 12 AWG high purity oxygen-free copper conductors with 14 gauge equivalent wire in the firm's patented hollow oval configuration. Available cold-welded termination options include 1/4" or 5/16" gold-plated spades, gold-plated BFA-style bananas or gold-plated pin connectors.

 

10 / 01 / 01

  Enjoy the Music.com's October 2001 issue of their Review Magazine is now available online. Equipment reviews includes two products from Blue Circle, the Dynavector Karat 17D2 MK.II MC cartridge, Kuzma STABI Reference turntable with Graham 2.2, Sonus Faber Grand Piano loudspeaker and many others. See the October 2001 Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

 

While full-length CD units sales dropped 5.3% during the first half of 2001 in America as compared to last year, it now totals a $5.5 billion dollar value. Worldwide music sales has seen a decline of 5% in value during the same time period. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said the drop in value is due to the wide availability of CD-R technology and online music. Countries such as the UK and France have posted gains of 10% and 8%, respectively while the Latin American market saw a 20% decline. Please feel free to see our previous article concerning the RIAA and music sales for the first half of 2001 by clicking here.

 

 

Sonus Faber Grand PianoSonus Faber of Italy has upgraded the Grand Piano Home floor standing loudspeaker ($3,250). Formerly a two-way design with passive radiator, the new iteration is a 2 ½ way floor standing with two 7" multi-coated fiber-glass cone woofer and a 1" silk dome tweeter. Finished in black lacquer, the Grand Piano Home measures 42.5" x 9" x 11.5" (HxWxD), weighs 55 lbs, has 90dB sensitivity and is recommended for amplifiers of 30 - 250 watts. Please see the world's first review of this new loudspeaker by clicking here

 

 

Quantum Resonance Technology OctaveQuantum Resonance Technology has introduced the Octave ($449.95), an eight receptacle in-line power conditioner with up to four stages of surge/noise protection and built-in QRT. The series filter design provides "the highest level of noise filtration available" and allows the user to determine the level of protection necessary for high-end audio and video equipment.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Operating line voltage: 120 VAC
Noise filtration: Filter 1 (75dB), Filter 2 (100dB), Filter 3 (110dB), Filter 4 (125dB)
Max. Energy Dissipation: 1,785 joules
Operating Line Current: 15 amps Max.
Max. Surge Voltage: 6,000v
Load Handling: 1,875W continuous
Noise Frequency: 150 KHz - 100 Hz
MHz Frequency: 60Hz
Noise Rejection: Transverse / Common
Max. Surge Current: Total 140,025 amps
Clamping Response Time: 1psec. typical.
UL 1449 Rating: 330V
Size: 13" X 3 3/4" X 2 1/4"
Weight (approx.): 3.00 lb.

 


 

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