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High-End Audio Industry News


10 / 29 / 10

VTL TL-7.5 III Reference Preamplifier  Award earning and longstanding high-end audio company VTL has announced their new TL7.5 III preamplifier ($20,000). As a significant revision to its TL-7.5 Reference Preamplifier platform, the new Series III features a completely redesigned power supply and utilizes new advances in FET technology, as well as upgrades to the circuit that build on the preamplifier's recognized strengths. The "clean box/dirty box architecture" ensures power supply noise is far away from the analog signal plus the analog section now features a fully balanced differential audio circuit using hybrid tube/FET architecture. A high-resolution volume control with high overload capability is also included. The revised power supply is a current-sourced shunt power supply that minimizes impact on the audio signal by eliminating high voltage gain. Far more precise power regulation yields dramatically improved rejection of noise and AC fluctuation. Newly available FET technology developed for green technologies such as solar panels and electric cars requiring devices that are normally-on is utilized for the new output stage of the Series III. Unlike MOSFETs that need to be biased on, normally-on FETs operate more like vacuum tubes, using a simpler circuit and conducting current continuously, resulting in a more tube-like sound with greater midbass control. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the VTL TL-7.5 Reference line preamplifier (click here).

 

Antonio Vivaldi Le Quattro StagioniHDtracks, a leading audiophile music lover's digital music website that offers high-rez downloads, is featuring Antonio Vivaldi Le Quattro Stagioni and Astor Piazzolla Le Grand Tango (both in 24-bit/96kHz). The Salvatore Accardo release was masterfully conceived and produced by Fonè Records head Giulio Cesare Ricci, this album features one of the most famous compositions of all time: Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. Salvatore Accardo, widely recognized as one of the greatest living violin virtuosos, leads the Orchestra Da Camera Italiana on this absolutely fantastic audiophile recording. Regardless of how many versions of The Four Seasons you have in your record collection-this will almost certainly bring out performance elements that you've never heard before. HDtrack's Astor Piazzolla release is led by world-acclaimed violin virtuoso Salvatore Accardo, the Orchestra da Camera Italiana explores the work of the great Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla. The centerpiece is the composer's fantastic "Le Grand Tango," though the album includes seven other stunning compositions as well. A wonderful introduction to the work of a great 20th Century Master.

 

10 / 28 / 10

The Absolute Sound  Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the Spring 2011 Buyers Guide edition of The Absolute Sound (Issue 207)! This edition of The Absolute Sound features their must-have yearly Buyers Guide that covers hundreds of high-end audio products from around the world! Other articles in this edition includes The Democratization of High-End Audio, The Critical Listener's Lexicon, The Best Recordings for System Evaluation, Loudspeaker Types and How They Work... and much more! Within Robert Harley's editorial titled Time Machine he writes, "This perspective on what high-end audio is really about is desperately needed right now. It’s no secret that high-end audio has suffered along with the rest of the economy. The recent announcement that New York retailer Sound by Singer has closed its doors created quite a shock in the high-end audio community. Sound by Singer was a veritable Manhattan institution; its demise doesn’t bode well for high-end audio’s future." You can see the complete table of contents and editorial of TAS by clicking here.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
AOL.comLooks like AOL is readying the Time-Warner merger by releasing version 6.0 of the AOL software.
This new version marks a world first in a major company offering a subscription media player that handles many different streaming audio and video types while also readying their 25 million members to pay for play music and/or subscribe to music on a monthly basis. With an incredibly large amount of people accustom to paying monthly fees with their credit card number already on file, AOL is poised to become one of the largest internet streaming media deliverers in the world. Recently Jupiter Research did a study and the outcome is that 61 percent of active online music users are willing to spend 20 percent of their normal music purchasing budget on a subscription-type service. Jupiter Research has estimated that online music delivery will be a $1 billion business by 2005. Word on the street is that Sony will take advantage of the huge market saturation of their PlayStation 2 by also offering their own subscription music plan.

 

10 / 27 / 10

TTWeights GEM ULTRA Turntable  TTWeights new GEM ULTRA ($8990) rim drive turntable marks a continuation and top line of their rim-drive models. Weighing in at nearly 60 lbs, this new model is the same as the GEM yet has upgraded brass TTSoundPoints with custom black oak plinth, upgraded platter with additional decoupled copper 4 pound top layer and a carbon fiber record interface plus like other models has a built in level. The GEM ULTRA also includes eight spare drive rings and Aeroshell bearing grease, one tonearm pod, external brushless three phase DC servo motor with four spare drive o-rings and controller with adjustable speed pot for 33.3/45/78 rpm playback. Users can choose the optional ONYX controller for additional cost. The spindle is stainless steel while the bearing is 0.5" cobalt with carbide thrust ball, the platter weighs in at 12 pounds while the plinth is a unique two-piece design oak wood that is available in either black or natural oak finish. The entire unit comes with a four years parts and labor warranty, with a ten year warranty on the parts.

 

MIT Cables Oracle V1.3 Speaker CableMIT Cables, a longstanding and award winning leading innovator in cables designed by the legendary Bruce Brisson, now has an online store that offers analog interconnects, speaker cables, power products and loudspeaker interfaces. In the loudspeaker side of the company, their Shotgun S3.3 speaker cable ($1499) has 20 articulation poles while the top-line Oracle V1.3 loudspeaker cable ($26,999, pictured) has 80 articulation poles. MIT Cables Shotgun S3.3 employs their 2C3D and is true to its heritage in delivering "unbelievable impact and immediacy while it is still able to reproduce the nuances of the original recorded music." Its all black construction blends easily into any system and the cable uses MIT patented iconn connectors with four spades and four bananas included. Of note is that Bruce Brisson joined editor Steven R. Rochlin of Enjoy the Music.com at the RMAF 2010 event for a seminar that discussed cable technology. Bruce Brisson began designing audio cables in the 1970's after "hearing" the sonic problems inherent in typical audio cables of the day. In 1981 he licensed the first of many of his designs and patents to Monster Cable. Many of Monster’s products are still using his designs today (“Bandwidth Balanced”, “Phase Correct” windings, “Time Coherent windings, for example), and have become some of Monster’s most enduring and successful products. In 1984, he founded Music Interface Technologies (MIT), which as been a leading force in the research design, and manufacturing of high performance audio, video and AC cables ever since.

 

10 / 26 / 10

DaVinciAudio Phono PreAmp  DaVinciAudio, a Swiss company who feels that all parts play a key role and must work error free, is now shipping their Master's Reference Virtu preamplifier (pictured) and Nifty Phono Preamp. As the company's first solid-state phonostage with preamplifier, this two stage unit operates in Class A and is totally transformer coupled. It is powered by an external power supply to ensure the analog stage does not affect the small analog signal. Design criteria of the DaVincicAudio Phono PreAmp includes that particular components for amplification are of the single-ended solid-state design and operate in Class A. For each stage a specialized handmade transformer was developed in their factory in Bern, Switzerland. All transformers are encapsulated in Mu Metal cans to reduce electromagnetic disturbances and use DaVinciAudio developed c-cores. For volume adjustment, a transformer-based potentiometer design is used. The Nifty Phonostage has custom developed moving coil (MC) transformer with two inputs (20 and 26 dB). Each input has a RX chinch for impedance adjustment. Inputs include two MC phono (XLR and/or RCA switchable), one MM phono via RCA, and three analog inputs via XLR or RCA (switchable). Outputs are either RCA or XLR. DaVinciAudio designed this very special moving coil transformer to reproducing a better, higher sound stage, and accuracy of the original performance. In short to bring you closer to the fascination of music. The Nifty MC transformer can be purchased separately yet perfect mates with the company's  Master's Reference Virtu preamplifier. There is also an MM version that operates in Class A and has input gain switching, and output transformer based potentiometer. Retail pricing is €15,100 for the complete preamplifier/phonostage system.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
While Napster has mainly been the domain of IBM-compatible users, the largest segment of the Internet surfing world, Napster has now released a version for the Mac enthusiast! Users can enjoy searching and sharing music files, chatting with other Napster users and join in on the new wave of free online music. The inventor of Napster, Shawn Fanning, is receiving a rock star like welcome from students throughout America. Of course there are various legal issues we have been reporting on that may still shut down the Napster service.

 

10 / 25 / 10

Cabasse L'Océan Speaker  Cabasse, an innovative French company that pioneered multi-amplification and active filters since the late 1950s, has shown their L'Océan (€80,000) that is a fully digital version of the company's La Sphére. With 2250 watts of digital amplification per channel, Cabasse's L'Océan uses the TC23 three-way coaxial drive unit plus a newly designed 38cm honeycomb dome woofer. The three co-axial transducers from the TC23 present a constant directivity index, as the smaller membranes are not affected directivity wise by the larger ones. To obtain such a result without compromising on the linearity, efficiency and power handling parameters of each way, Cabasse's engineers employ technologies like the in house die-casting of Rohacell foam or the most powerful rare earth magnets available. Fitted in a lens made off a sandwich of composite materials with high damping capacities, the TC23 takes over the 80 Hz to 22 kHz bandwidth. Cabasse's L'Océan is custom fitted with a phase linear digital filter capable of variable crossover slopes of 94dB to optimize frequency response. Each pair of speakers includes a separate CRCS controller/preamplifier unit connected via optical digital interconnects to the speakers. Inputs on the CRCS includes two S/PDIF (RCA), two TosLink optical, one AES/EBU (XLR) two analog via balanced XLR and normal RCA. Naturally a specialized calibration microphone in includes for room calibration for speaker optimization.

 

Audelity OD10 Omni-Directional LoudspeakerAudelity, with a goal of designing premium sounding products with an appealing visual appearance, now sells their OD10 omni-directional loudspeaker (40,000 SEK). The company boasts that "The sound from these omni-directional speakers will surprise you with its open and life like nature. It's a versatile loudspeaker that is very easy to connect, has built in amplifiers and active filters." Besides the included multiple amplification and filters, the unit comes with a precision digital crossover and inputs including USB, S/PDIF and analog. A remote control is also provided. This omni-directional speaker uses seven high quality drivers and there are separate amplifiers for the six woofers and one tweeter. All amplifiers are Class-D from Hypex. Output power is 100 watt for each amplifier. While the digital crossover is said to prefer a digital input, the crossover between woofers and tweeters are performed in a digital signal processor with high precision. The resolution is 24 bits and internal calculations are done with 56 bit precision. The DSP is also used to improve overall performance of the speaker and adapt it to home listening environments. Drivers are arranged at the top of a hexagon shaped box for full omni-directional sound. The woofers have a very narrow face plate and each of them has an opposite element thus canceling the vibrational forces. The tweeter is facing upwards and the sound is distributed equally by a cone at the top. All speaker elements are positioned very close together to minimize lobing effects and to provide a point source for sound generation. The Audelity OD10 speaker cabinets are made by a high-quality manufacturer in Sweden.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
Bringing advanced single-chip technology to audio, C-Cube Microsystems Inc. has released the world's first one-chip design in digitized CD audio and video applications.
Their ZiVA-5 integrates a 150-MHz, 32-bit SPARC CPU with a dual-issue capability for both integer and DSP instructions, offers MP3 audio-codec technology, progressive-scan output, and Internet applications in DVD players. "The full-audio complete and DVC codec technologies are industry firsts in DVD," said Tim Vehling, C-Cube's director of marketing of consumer products. "This technology is at least six to nine months ahead of the competition."

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
In other chip news, Analog Devices Inc. has introduced two multichannel audio devices, the AD1836 coder/decoder and the AD1833 digital-to-analog converter.
The AD1836 offers six D/A and four analog-to-digital converters (A/D). It also supports multiple digital stereo channels with 24-bit conversion resolution and a 96 kHz sample rate. Those looking for ever higher performance may use the AD1833 that offers six D/A converters with a 192 kHz sample rate and 24-bit resolution for two channels, and a 96 kHz sample rate for all six channels. It fully complies with the latest Digital Versatile Disk audio (DVD-Audio) specifications. Both of these chips are based on ADI's patented Sigma-Delta modulation architecture that is said to reduce "idle tones". A high quality data-directed scrambling capability is included within the chip to minimize sensitivity to jitter. Pricing for the AD1836 is $9.50 in 1000-piece quantities. The AD1833 is $6.80 in 1000-piece quantities.

 

10 / 22 / 10

  Enjoy the Music.com has a world premiere of Hi-Fi World's Volume 20 Number 10 (December 2010) including the compete editorial and table of contents. This issue includes reviews of the Naim UnitiQute network music system, Sony CMT-MX550i and Panasonic’s SC-HC40DB, Weiss DAC202 DAC plus many speakers including the Tannoy Mercury, KEF C3, Wharfedale 10.1, Acoustic Energy Neo 1 v2 and much more. The editorial titled The Past And Future by David Price says, "Famous for the video that launched MTV, 'Video Killed the Radio Star', the album is thirty five minutes of swirling synthesizers and Trevor's idea of a sci-fi future. When first released, it captured this thirteen year old schoolboy's imagination, conjuring up visions of a brave new technological world... So, if you'd asked me in 1979 what a 2010 hi-fi magazine would have looked like inside, I'd have answered you with a romantic vision of stacks of equipment looking like computer banks, sporting flashing LEDs and display screens, soaked in laser light...". See the complete December table of contents and editorial of Hi-Fi World by clicking here.

 

Illegal LoveHDtracks is proud to present Illegal Love with Cristina Sartori and Gershwin with the Hallo Mr. Sax Saxophone Orchestra; both available in high resolution audiophile digital music download. Illegal Love marries Latin rhythms with slippery funk guitar, searing blues licks. and Cristina Sartori's 70's style diva vocals. Illegal Love is a delightful throwback to 70s and 80s blues-rock s there is plenty of variety from the R&B ballad "Changes" to the churning acoustic rock of "I'm On Fire" to the psychedelic folk of "Mahabratha" and the twisting Latin-lounge rhythms of "Il mio uomo non esiste." The new album titled Gershwin by the Hallo Mr. Sax Saxophones Orchestra brings an invigorating sound to this classical music. Led by saxophonist extraordinaire Mario Marzi, Hallo Mr. Sax Saxophones Orchestra takes on four Gershwin classics that marry jazz and bombastic, exhilarating classical music: Rhapsody in Blue, Cuban Overture, Porgy and Bess, and I Got Rhythm. Paolo Zannini's lightning-fast piano accompaniments act as a high power propeller for these fantastic woodwind arrangements that breathe new life into these oft-performed masterpieces.

 

Sonos Wireless Dock (WD100)Sonos, a leading developer of wireless multi-room music systems for the home, today introduced the Sonos Wireless Dock (WD100, $119). With the Sonos Wireless Dock music lovers can play all of the music from their iPod or iPhone in every room of the house. The Sonos Wireless Dock is compatible with the following devices: iPod touch (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation), iPod classic, iPod Nano (3rd, 4th, and 5th generation), iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and iPhone, and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards. Any file from mp3 to lossless can be streaming from the dock to the Sonos homewide music distribution system. No longer are audiophiles limited to single-room high-end audio music systems as they can enjoy easily controlling multiple systems throughout their house. Users of the Sonos system can also enjoy over 10,000 Internet radio stations, music playlists and much more. Enjoy the Music.com's editor Steen R. Rochlin reviewed the Sonos multi-room music system at this link.

 

10 / 21 / 10

House Ear Institute  From November 5th through 7th at the 129th AES convention, the House Ear Institute is returning for its 13th year to provide hearing conservation education and screenings to thousands of people as well as introducing a more comprehensive hearing health outreach program. The screenings and other hearing health information will be available during show hours in Booth T1 at the AES Convention, from November 5 through 7 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA. Each year an average of 700 convention attendees and exhibitors take advantage of the free screenings and audiology consultations. In addition, over 7,000 pairs of ear plugs along with hearing health materials are distributed to convention attendees. Licensed audiologists, from the House Ear Institute and House Clinic will be available to counsel participants on their hearing screening results. The institute's outreach staff will offer additional hearing health information and help for convention attendee's who have a hearing loss that is already impacting their careers. "The reality is that large numbers of audio professionals already struggle with hearing loss and related issues and are in need of treatment information and medical help. The Sound Partners program is uniquely positioned to serve as a comprehensive hearing health resource for audio and music professionals, with the strength of House Ear Institute's world-renowned research and the House Clinic's patient care behind it."

 

KingRex UC192 USB And IIS S/PDIF InterfaceSeen here in near final production version is the new KingRex UC192 USB and IIS to S/PDIF converter ($189). Handling digital audio up to 32-bit/192kHz, the UC192 has S/PDIF and IIS digital output available from your PC to provide high-end audio sound quality. The master clock generator is a "classy 1ppm TCXO w/ proprietary drivers lower jitter". KingRex's UC192 streams out high resolution playback from PC or MAC USB v1.0/2.0 port from 16-bit/44.1kHz to 32-bit/192kHz via a very high quality S/PDIF stereo audio output and IIS (RJ45/Ethernet) all able to pass the signal from KingRex UC192 to your system's DAC. KingRex used a fully aluminum case with black hair brash polish. The style still remain neat and clear. Other features include adaptive clock generator for audio streaming synchronization an the unit supports CRC error correction for playback data. For IIS (RJ45/Ethernet), the KingRex UC192 supports IIS Master Mode, Slave Mode sample rates from 8 to 192 kHz with bit rates from 16 to 32. No pricing given at this time. Enjoy the Music.com reviewed the KingRex PREference preamplifier and Pop Pulse T150 amplifier at this link.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
SDMI.orgIt is official folks! While the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) is denying public confirmation that their music protection schemes have been broken (as reported by Enjoy the Music.com days before others, on October 14th), it has been announced by leading groups they have indeed done the dirty deed.
Yesterday various groups from Princeton University, Rice University, and Xerox Palo Alto Research Center all claim to have successfully defeated the four watermarking technologies SDMI offered. Meanwhile, the SDMI seems to not care about sound quality pre se as the original test tracks were said to lack what audiophiles would consider high sound quality. Edward Felton of Princeton University said "In any case, I think 'golden-ear' tests are beside the point, because pirates would be satisfied to distribute music that sounds -- to everybody but a few highly trained experts -- just like the original." Mr. Felton also feels as we at Enjoy the Music.com do, "...protecting music is not feasible with today's watermarking technology." While Sony uses some hardware schemes with their proprietary SACD format, if there was any true demand for their product it could simply be reverse engineered (probably by the Chinese) and then be mass produced and sold on the grey marketplace. Fortunately for Sony it seems that no one so far feels their technology is worth defeating. Meanwhile a six-member panel of the SMDI is closely studying the 447 potential defeating of their four technologies. The official results is scheduled to be announced at the November 8-10 SDMI meeting in Washington, DC.

 

10 / 20 / 10

Hi-Fi+ Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the November edition of Hi-Fi+ (Issue 75)! This edition marks the magazine's 75 issue milestone. This issue includes reviews of the Peachtree iDecco/Amphion Argon3 integrated amplifier, Squeezebox Touch network audio player, Von Schweikert UniField One standmount loudspeaker, Linn Majik DS-I integrated amplifier/network streamer, conrad-johnson ET3 line and phono preamplifier and much more. Within Alan Sircom's editorial he writes, "It is our 75 issue and it’s our Awards issue. Any excuse for a party! The audio world is very different from how it was in 1999 and we decided to track the changes of the first decade of the 21st Century, and a little bit of crystal ball gazing to guess what the next few years might bring for music lovers.  Looking back at the best of a decade ago and comparing it to the best of today is an interesting exercise; with products like the Devialet D-Premier, the Squeezebox Touch and the Linn DS-I, it shows just how far forward we have come. On the other hand, in some respects the best of 1999 is still worthy of respect. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose." You can see the complete table of contents and editorial of Hi-Fi+ by clicking here.

 

Soundsmith, a company that specializes in music on vinyl replay, now offers their "EZ-Mount" ($30) cartridge screws. These are hand-tightened and so it only takes two hands to install a phono cartridge and thus lowering the risk of dropped cartridges and snapped cantilevers. Each screw is 10mm long and the kit includes two nonmagnetic stainless steel nuts and four captive nylon washers. This kit includes four sets of EZ-Mount Screws, differentiated by material and weight:

Nylon (1.04g per pair)
Aluminum (2.06g per pair)
Stainless (5.80g per pair)
Brass (6.24g per pair)

Enjoy the Music.com reviewed the Soundsmith system that includes the Denon DL-103 and DL-103 Gold cartridge plus MCP- 2 MC phono preamplifier (click here).

 

10 / 19 / 10

NHT B10d Powered Subwoofer  NHT, a company that was mired down with controversy via possible conflicts of interest between owner Ken Kantor and ex-Stereophile reviewer Corey Greenberg and later finding new ownership, has improved their Super Zero 2.0 ($99) mini monitor plus added the B10d and B12d powered subwoofers ($499 and $699 respectively). NHT's Super Zero 2.0 uses a tweeter mated with a small 4.5-inch midrange/woofer driver. Of note is that the tweeter is crossed over at a very low 1000 Hz. The B10d and B12d powered subwoofers sport a 10 and 12 inch driver respectively. NHT's B10d includes a 300 watt Class D amplifier while the B12d has a 500-watt Class D amplifier. Both models also include LFE and line-level inputs, with the B-10d adding speaker-level inputs and speaker-level outputs. All models are offered in a no-frills black wood cabinet.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
RIAAIn a huge breakthrough helping to pave the way for music delivery through the internet, the National Music Publishers' Association, Inc. (NMPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have come to an agreement regarding procedures for licensing and distribution via the internet
. While this new agreement differs from the RIAA's SoundExchange program that was created by a joint venture of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the American Federation of Musicians, the RIAA and other industry representatives.
To quote the press release "The agreement, to be implemented in transactions between RIAA member record companies and a wholly owned subsidiary of NMPA, The Harry Fox Agency, Inc., (HFA), sets forth streamlined procedures under which musical works may be licensed expeditiously through HFA. These procedures will substantially reduce the time and effort required to clear music publishing rights for the electronic delivery of sound recordings to consumers." Cary Sherman, senior executive vice president and general counsel of RIAA said "Record labels have been putting more and more of their content online, but securing licenses from the various rights owners has been time-consuming as well as an administrative burden. The new arrangement with HFA will expedite licensing for digital downloads very substantially, enabling our companies to make more music available to consumers more easily and more quickly." Edward P. Murphy, President and CEO of NMPA said "This opens a new era in the licensing of music on the Internet. Broad utilization by distributors of the licensing resources of HFA will make getting licensed music into the hands of the consumer that much easier. The arrangement will also enable accurate identification of Internet music files, a critical requirement for copyright owners and their songwriter partners."

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
SDMI.orgIn a challenge to hackers to defeat the four watermarking technologies, the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) offered a "prize" of $60,000 to those who could break/defeat SDMI.
Well, like virtually all "protected" or encrypted data brought up to a challenge, it did not take long as all four formats (Blue Spike, CRL, Samsung/MarkAny and Verance) were allegedly broken and therefore made useless. Our sources say that a grand total of 447 had attempted the task. While there is nothing official on the SDMI website, the official committee has scheduled presenting the results at the November 8-10 SDMI meeting in Washington, DC. SDMI said yesterday "At this point in time no proposed technology has been eliminated based on the public challenge." Needless to say, today (ten years later) this organization is defunct.

 

10 / 15   to  10 / 17

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2010  Enjoy the Music.com's seventh annual virtually live coverage of the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2010 (RMAF 2010), a high-end audio show open to the public, will be live online the very first day of the event. Held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel in Colorado on October 15th through 17th, there will be many manufacturers and distributors with complete stereo systems for attendees to audition. An added bonus is that most exhibitors will be more than happy to play one or two songs of your favorite music from your CDs, iPod, etc. There is expected to be over 300 brands represented in over 160 rooms plus live music and various seminars all weekend. Last year Enjoy the Music.com's editor Steven R. Rochlin was asked to hold an Audio 101& Tweaks seminar, and the year before he held a seminar called  Music Everywhere that discussed enjoying music wherever one may desire (see video of the seminars here and here respectively). This year editor Steven R. Rochlin will hold a seminar called The Snake Pit that discusses interconnect and speaker cables, AC cords, etc. See our most recent and past RMAF show coverage by clicking here.

 

10 / 08 / 10

McIntosh Laboratory C50 Preamplifier  McIntosh Laboratory has ignited the industry with many new products as they revamp their products. First up are the model C48 and C50 preamplifiers ($4500 and $6500 respectively). The C48 is designed to interface for maximum performance with the McIntosh MC302 amplifier while the C50 (pictured here) is designed to interface with the MC452 amplifier. Third party control systems are easily integrated into the operation of both the C50 and C48, which will translate third party control commands to legacy McIntosh source products for seamless functionality and convenience. In both units, phono playback at the highest level is assured with two separate phono inputs, covering all phono cartridge types. Phono playback may also be trimmed for the most pleasing response using the handheld remote control. In the C50, McIntosh's exclusive eight band tone equalizer is now enhanced to be deployed or bypassed by input selection. The C48 features McIntosh's five-band tone controls in place of the normal bass and treble adjustments, which are also programmable to be deployed or bypassed by input selection as needed. Both units also feature the latest 32-bit/192kHz digital to analog conversion. All digital data is asynchronously re-sampled up to 32-bit/192kHz making the data independent of its source and virtually jitter free. Both models also feature eight analog inputs, two of which are phono (moving magnet and moving coil). In the C48, four additional digital inputs may be assigned to any of the eight inputs. One fixed digital USB input, combined with the eight analog inputs result in a total of nine inputs. The C50 features two additional balanced inputs and four digital inputs may be assigned to any of the eight inputs. One fixed digital USB input, eight analog inputs and one processor loop combine for ten total inputs. Aesthetically, both units are as beautiful to look at as they are to listen to. The iconic "McIntosh Blue" front panel meters on the C50 allow monitoring of output level (illumination may be switched on or off at any time as a user trim option -- a trim command that also controls illumination on many McIntosh power amplifier models). Both units feature remote control and inverted, polished stainless steel chassis, with a top glass cover for the C50 and five-inch glass face plate for the C48.

McIntosh Laboratory MC452 Stereo AmplifierMcIntosh Laboratory's new MC302 and MC452 ($5500 and $7500 respectively) stereo amplifiers are the culmination of McIntosh's longstanding engineering experience in high-performance amplifier development and design. Both models feature the latest advancements in both electronic component and material design to deliver unsurpassed accuracy, warmth and emotional impact in music reproduction. The MC302 produces 300 wpc and said to be the company's most advanced amplifier ever produced at this power level. The MC452 (pictured here) produces 450 wpc in "Quad Balanced". In both amplifiers, McIntosh's new patent-pending speaker wire binding posts make excellent connection with all types of speaker wire terminations, ensuring the smoothest and most reliable high-quality music reproduction. Both units feature Thermal Track technology, allowing instant and accurate monitoring and adjustment of temperature, assuring maximum performance with minimal heat. The MC302 and MC452 are both able to mate with any loudspeaker type because of the unique McIntosh Autoformer. Both amplifiers use McIntosh Output Power meters, which display power in watts. The large, oversize power transformer and both of the stereo output autoformers of the MC302 and MC452 are encapsulated in aluminum enclosures, which are further sealed with transformer potting tar. This construction technique has been proven to extend the life of these parts while providing quiet, cool amplifier operation. Built-in Power Guard prevents these amplifiers from being overdriven into distortion and will cut in if there is a speaker wire fault. For total user convenience and "armchair listening enjoyment," both new McIntosh amplifiers can be remotely controlled by a McIntosh control center and may have the meter illumination switched on or off as desired. Cosmetically, both new amplifiers feature the new McIntosh Faceplate and chassis design with larger easier-to-read iconic "McIntosh Blue" precision power Watt Meters.

McIntosh Laboratory MCD1100 SACD / CD PlayerLastly, McIntosh Laboratory announced their MCD1100 SACD/CD player ($10,000), a "ground breaking" audio component that significantly upgrades the performance of all digital music sources. The MDC1100 is engineered to deliver maximum musical fidelity from CD, CD-R, CD-RW, SACD, Hybrid SACD, MP3 and WMA stereo music discs. Utilizing the latest technology advancements combined with extended functionality, the MCD1100 is a truly special digital source system that performs its "audio magic" without the need for a separate preamplifier. While cosmetically the MCD1100 is quintessentially design, the MCD1100 can be added to any existing system or used as a standalone component with a set of high quality headphones. The MCD1100 is designed to drive power amplifiers directly, delivering performance comparable to the finest stereo preamplifiers. An advanced USB audio digital input allows convenient access to music stored or streamed from a computer while also controlling popular computer audio programs. Five additional digital inputs allow connection to the digital audio outputs of CD changers, radio tuners, pro audio gear or music stored on Windows or Mac PCs. For added convenience, when connected to a user's favorite streaming music program, users may control and navigate from the handheld McIntosh remote. Unified operation is simple, easy and "plug and play." For disc users, an aluminum die cast transport base with aluminum die cast disc tray aids in stability of disc play. Advanced digital laser servo motor yields quieter and the most accurate positioning of the twin laser optical pickup, and allows for optimum reading of the disc. The McIntosh MC1100 disc player is fully balanced in analog output and internal digital to analog conversion. Every possible engineering technique has been utilized, as there are four 32-bit/192kHz PCM/ DSD Digital Audio converters are used per channel in a Quad Balanced configuration. Eight total digital to analog converters employed results in the best possible audio performance. USB input will accept data rates up to 32-bit/192kHz. SACD disc conversion uses Pure DSD decoding.

 

10 / 07 / 10

SuperKord Signature-SD II  Russ Andrews Accessories has upgraded the recently launched SuperKord Classic to Classic-SD II status and introduced the SuperKord Reference-SD II and SuperKord Signature-SD II (£950 and £1250 for 1 meter length respectively), with improved Sawyers Disc technology to enhance the RFI reducing properties of the woven cable. Designed by Dr. Craig Sawyers, who holds a First Class Honors Degree in Electronics and a PhD in Laser Physics from Southampton University, has carefully designed these cables for high-end performance. Both cables utilize the well known RFI rejection properties of Kimber Kable's woven cable technology, with 16 hyper-pure copper conductors in the SuperKord Reference and 24 featured in the Signature product. The crossing wires in the woven geometry creates a capacitive rejection of RFI, with the more wires crossing and the longer the cable, the greater the rejection properties. Fitted into the wooden housings are the Sawyers Discs, invented by Dr Craig Sawyers and Ben Duncan, which are perforated discs which enhance the cable weave and electrically terminate the cable more effectively. The addition of a new proprietary earth enhancement to the SuperKord-SD II range assists in attenuating earth wire RFI, and helps reduce common mode noise without the sonic degradation and performance limitations of conventional common-mode chokes. The result of both the improved Sawyers Discs and the new earth enhancement is a smoother and more even RFI rejection across a wider range of frequencies, which is also many times deeper and clearly measurable.

 

Lexicon DD-8 Multi-Channel AmplifierHarmon International, a company that controls such leading brands including AKG, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon and Mark Levinson, has announced their new Lexicon DD-8 multi-channel amplifier. The new DriveCore amplifier employs a highly advanced silicon-based technology that was developed in conjunction with Texas Instruments to deliver an unprecedented amount of power while using less energy and less rack space than ever before. Providing eight 125-watt channels in a one-unit chassis without a fan, the DD-8 complies with the new half-watt standby power consumption standards and consumes less power while in use than most products do in stand-by mode. It also has feedback and protection circuits integrated into the silicon for fast and accurate response while providing audiophile grade sonic performance; and it has the ability to automatically switch to low-power stand-by mode when not in use for even lower energy consumption. The new DD-8 comes standard with Phoenix speaker connections and flexible configuration options including four local inputs, a bus input/output and selectable Mono to Stereo output. It also features independent output level adjustment for each channel, as well as selectable triggers.

 

10 / 06 / 10

KR Audio Kronzilla SXI MK II  KR Audio Electronics, an award winning Czech Republic high-end audio company founded in 1992 has proudly announced their the upgraded version of the stereo vacuum tube integrated 50 wpc amplifier now called the Kronzilla SXI MK II as the successor of the award-winning Kronzilla SXI. The upgrade comprises a new electrical architecture, a newly redesigned gain and driver board with particular attention to signal, power, and ground paths, and premium components that raise the sound stage and performance of the KR T 1610 triodes to new heights. With the new Kronzilla SXI MK II, the listener will hear still more dynamics than the former version, experience even greater detail from the recording be it CD, vinyl or computer audio streaming and almost feel with her/his fingertips the tangible imaging of the sound. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the KR Audio 300B Balloon Triode Tube (click here), KR Audio VA340 integrated amplifier (click here) and the KR Audio Kronzilla DX monoblock amplifier (click here).

 

Cantico Cx15 LoudspeakerCantico, and Italian loudspeaker company that manufactures high-sensitivity designs, has finally released their Cx15 coaxial three-way design. As a new implementation of an old concept in audio reproduction, the coaxial point source is phase and time coherent. This design provides high dynamics and a wide frequency range with the aid of a 15" woofer. The cabinetry features beautiful real wood veneer finishes that are handcrafted by expert Italian woodworkers so as to blend harmonically within any decor. Tough internal bracing and high thickness (40mm to 70 mm) material is used for cabinet construction. Copper Litz cabling and high level components are used throughout the Cantico Cx15 as great care has been taken in every detail. There are no resistors in the tri-wirable crossover circuit and regulation of midrange and higher frequency is possible in 1 dB steps by using precision variable transformers. Sensitivity is 99dB/W/m, frequency response is from 30 Hz to 35 kHz with a power handling of 600 Watt continuous. Driver compliment is a Bullet horn tweeter, 3" compression driver and 15'' cone woofer. Dimensions are 50 x 59 x 133 (WxDxH in cm) and each unit weights 220 lbs.

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
Arcam has announced their new DiVA range of hi-fi and home cinema separates. DiVA stands for Digitally integrated Video and Audio.
The DiVA series includes their first DVD-Video player, the DV88 (£900), and has been developed by Arcam from the ground up to set new standards for audio and video performance. The great news about the DV88 is that it's modular design will allow owners to upgrade to DVD-Audio by replacing the main board. Two CD players, three integrated amplifiers, two power amplifiers and the T51 FM/AM tuner (£280) help round out the DiVA series. John Dawson, MD Arcam said "The DiVA series represents a major advance for Arcam. We have developed a range of products that combine high performance electronics with attractive industrial design that will further strengthen our position as the UK's leading manufacturer of specialist hi-fi."

 

Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
Just to prove it can be done, the world's first streaming multichannel uncompressed 24-bit/96kHz audio signal has been done with the aid of a whopping 30+Mbp stream
! Using Mytek converters, this allow McGill to succeed with the first live Internet transmission of multichannel 24-bit/96kHz audio. A jazz band performed live in at McGill University in Montreal while at the recent Audio Engineering Society (AES) the live band's multichannel digital signal was streaming in and decoded in a theatre at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The critically acclaimed recording engineers Bob Margoulef and Brant Biles created a 5.1 mix from the 12 audio channels used to capture the live performance which was, in turn, sent uncompressed at 24-bit/96kHz to the audience in the Norris Theatre at the USC School of Cinema and Television. "The focus was on technical issues, challenges of latency, quality of service and various possible applications" said Wieslaw Woszczyk of McGill University. Wieslaw continued "This is the first time ever that the highest production quality 24 bit, 96kHz uncompressed multichannel audio has been transmitted over the Internet. This is not the common MP3 but rather the future of recording." The audio data was sampled at 24-bit/96kHz by Mytek 8X96 converters, and sent through an ADAT lightpipes (4 channels per pipe,) to an RME Hammerfall 9652 audio interface, installed on a PIII-733 PC running RedHat Linux.

 

10 / 05 / 10

Audi Q7 Concept  The Volkswagen Group uses high-end audio company Linn for their Bentley line of automobiles, yet for the new Audi Q7 they are looking to have a staggering 62 speaker system! The Audi Sound Concept project engineered by Peter Gleim, who works in Infotainment Development at Audi in Ingolstadt, has been busy testing the Q7 "rolling hi-fi studio" that takes a radically new approach. The idea behind Audi Sound Concept is a physical principle called wave field synthesis, which states that the front of any individual wave can also be considered as superposition of individual waves. In the world of acoustics this means that a sound wave can be recreated by a multiplicity of small sound sources placed closely adjacent to one another along the wave front. This principle was first put into practice by Dutch scientists in the late 1980s, and it can be experienced today in a movie theater in Ilmenau, in the German state of Thuringia. One of the driving forces in the field of wave field synthesis is the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (IDMT) in Ilmenau. Audi began its development work in collaboration with the IDMT five years ago. The current status of the project is the Q7 prototype, which is parked in a workshop. A powerful amplifier takes up most of the space in the luggage compartment, and thick cables connect it to three PCs. Installed in the Audi Q7 are 62 speakers: 5 woofers and 5 tweeters plus 52 mid-range speakers that are located within the instrument panel beneath the windshield, in the roof pillars and in the doors. Five units are integrated into each door sills.

 

Xindak PC1000Xindak, a Chinese company established in 1988 to undertake the manufacturing and sales of high quality audio products, just released their PC1000 power processor. This power filter unit carefully processes the AC and ensures an output of highly stable 50Hz AC through its hi-tech energy regeneration system. With protective functions of over-current, over-voltage, automatic protection, etc, high-end audiophile equipment is safe from unwanted power problems. PC series power processors are suitable for the audio and video devices, or precision instruments which require high quality and high sable power supply. The Xindak PC1000 is available in two versions, Schuko sockets and USA sockets. Also new from Xindak is their XA6950 hybrid stereo integrated amplifier. It integrates the characteristics for both solid-state amplifier and vacuum tube amplifier by using the 6922 within the preamplification stage. The solid-state output section produces 130 wpc @ 8 Ohms. For computer audio users, there is a built-in USB interface audio DAC. There are multiple stereo analog inputs including three via RCA and one balanced XLR. This hefty unit uses two transformers and overall weight of the Xindak XA6950 is 58 lbs.

 

10 / 04 / 10

Paradigm Electronicc MilleniaSub  Paradigm Electronics announced the MilleniaSub, a Reference ($1399) subwoofer in unconventional design that boasts performance in a sleek and unique cabinet. The MilleniaSub features known Paradigm Reference elements such as their corrugated surround to achieve greater excursion length than typical subs. The driver consists of a 1" diameter voice coil and a high-energy density rare-earth ring neodymium magnet. Showcasing a new FEA-optimized cone design, the MilleniaSub presents a significant increase in stiffness while maintaining the strength-to-weight ratio of the cone's assembly. With a slender profile and 5-mm thick extruded aluminum cabinet, this sub virtually eliminates cabinet resonances within its operating band. The dual 14" oval woofers are mounted back to back in a bipolar design that inherently provides vibration canceling for additional distortion reduction. Paradigm's MilleniaSub incorporates state-of-the-art technologies and materials to overcome typical issues. Not only is the subwoofer wireless-ready, it can literally be placed anywhere in the room -- mounted to the wall with the MilleniaSub custom wall bracket (sold separately), hidden under the couch for discrete installation or on display in its low-profile cradle stand (included). This subwoofer can be placed anywhere in the room and tuned via Paradigm's Perfect Bass Kit (PBK) room correction (sold separately). A built-in 900 watts dynamic peak, 300 watts RMS sustained amplifier is included. Subwoofer cut-off frequency of variable 50 Hz to 150 Hz is also provided .Two RCA (L/R-Mono) for L/R line out or Sub-Out/LFE-Out of receiver processor or other line-level source.

Paradigm Electronics MilleniaOne Bookshelf/Satellite SpeakerAlso new from Paradigm Electronics is their MilleniaOne bookshelf/satellite speaker ($249 each). With the ability to be used as a left, right or center, the MilleniaOne provides versatility in a compact form factor while maintaining the superb level of quality and performance associated with the Paradigm Reference line. The MilleniaOne is designed in a compact oval cabinet and ships with a small bookshelf stand, minimizing its footprint. It can be easily incorporated into any room environment for optimal enjoyment of movies, music and television. With both white and black gloss finishes and a uniquely shaped shell, the MilleniaOne satellite speakers are ideal in rooms where space is at a premium or where a modern "minimalist" look is sought. Using critical cabinet alignment, engineers carefully crafted the MilleniaOne with die-cast aluminum enclosures to provide superior rigidity while maintaining a thinner wall and acting as a heatsink for drivers and crossover components. The die-casting process also allows for a sculpted enclosure, a change from the standard rectangular box. The MilleniaOne uses a S-PAL aluminum dome tweeter with silver finish to match the 4.5: midrange/woofer cone plus the tweeter motor employs neodymium magnets and extruded aluminum heatsinks.

 

KEF Q300 SpeakerKEF's brand new Q100 and Q300 bookshelf speakers (£380 and £450 respectively) marks the 8th Generation Q-Series from the company. Offering a "quantum leap in performance due to the clean sheet design", KEF's technology originally developed for the Concept Blade loudspeaker now appears within the new Q models. At the heart of the all new model KEF Q Series is the very latest Uni-Q driver array, directly derived from the acclaimed KEF Concept Blade project. This embraces a new, larger, high performance vented tweeter mounted at the acoustic centre of a new resonance damped, metal cone LF/MF Driver and gives the new range the sonic capability of much more expensive speakers. Like the Uni-Q array, the new Q Series advanced bass driver is a tour de force in its own right. A die-cast aluminum chassis rigidly locates the high efficiency vented magnet assembly to prevent unwanted resonance, and the large (50mm) voice coil ensures impressive power handling and output levels. The first two speakers to be released from the extensive all new range are two stand-mounts, the Q100 and Q300. KEF's Q100 is a two-way with 5.25" Uni-Q driver array including 1" HF unit. The Q300 (pictured here) is a two-way with 6.5" Uni-Q driver array including 1" HF unit. Both models have Z flex surround for good bass with smooth MF/HF performance. Both models also feature 30% more enclosure volume from new rectilinear cabinets (matching the latest furniture trends) for deeper bass with greater output, first order minimalist crossovers with high end and bi-wire system with no links or wires to lose.

 

10 / 01 / 10

Review Magazine Enjoy the Music.com's October Review Magazine features six world premiere equipment reviews and much more! Also check out the editorial titled "Getting A Bit Bored With Your System? Me Too!" by Steven R. Rochlin for some thought-provoking ideas for you.

Viewpoint
In This Issue....
Getting A Bit Bored With Your System? Me Too!
Article By Steven R. Rochlin 

Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 132
Eleven years and Counting
Plus the Vibraplane, Arcici Suspense Rack, Black Ravioli Footers, Pure Power PP 2000 AC Regenerators and much more!
Article By Dr. Bill Gaw

Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 72
Bits is bits... or are they?
Article By Bill Gaw

The Nearfield
Speakers, Speakers, Speakers!
M&K B-1500 monitors plus Role's Kayak and Role Discovery speakers.
Article By Steven Stone

 

Equipment Reviews
World Premiere!
Arion Audio RS-500 Monoblock Amplifiers
Big bang and great sound for moderate bucks.
Review By Wayne Donnelly

World Premiere!
Grado GR8 In-Ear Headphones
Life-like sound for in-ear monitoring.
Review By Tom Lyle

World Premiere!
Master Builders: Lance Cochrane And Jim Nicholls
Review By Dick Olsher

World Premiere!
Rogers High Fidelity EHF-100 Integrated Amplifier
Escaping my room to join the performance.
Review By Ron Nagle

World Premiere!
Silicon Arts Si2 Micro Integration Line Preamplifier, Amplifier And DAC
Child prodigies that pack a significant sonic wallop!
Reviewed By Dick Olsher

World Premiere!
Vincent CD-S8 Hybrid HDCD CD Player
The Glory of Tubes in a state-of-the-art package.
Review By Anthony Nicosia 

Art Audio Carissa Stereo Tube Amplifier
Review By Todd Warnke

Manley Laboratories Skipjack And Stereovox Studio Cables
Slippin' the cable fantastic!
Review By Rick Becker

 

Music Reviews
Classical Music
J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partiatas for Solo Violin by Alina Ibragimova.
Review By Evan Shinners

Composer Oswaldo Golijov's striking St. Mark Passion, in both live-performance DVD and superb studio performance on CD.
Review By Joe Milicia

Gergiev: LSO tackle Mahler's Fourth Symphony.
Review By Phil Gold

Mozart piano music played on a replica of Mozart's piano.
Review By Phil Gold

Winning Mozart from a fiddling siblings Scott and Lara St. John.
Review By Wayne Donnelly

Telarc offers two attractive discs of Latin American guitar music.
Review By Joe Milicia

 

See the October Review Magazine by clicking here.


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