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High-End Audio Industry News


11 / 30 / 09

 Audial D-09 DAC  Audial's new D-09 (690€) is their latest D/A converter with one USB and three S/PDIF sources (75 Ohm BNC, RCA, and TosLink optical). With D-09, due to its 'galvanically decoupled' USB front end, PC integration into the audio system gets easy and trouble free. And, besides the regular set of analog outputs, D-09 also has an S/PDIF output so it can be additionally operated as a USB to S/PDIF converter. Audial's D-09 is the first device of this kind that allows user to choose between two PLL modes. One classic which locks onto the S/PDIF data and another one that locks onto the S/PDIF preamble and achieves high data related jitter attenuation according to the company. High performance zero feedback discrete output stage, zero feedback low noise discrete supply regulators. Use of high quality parts include Allen Bradley signal resistors, Panasonic FM and PPS, plus Black Gate N capacitors, Toshiba transistors and Schottky barrier rectifiers.

 

Technics SL-1200 TurntableWhile perhaps not 'audiophile', those who have tried the Technics SL-1200 turntable have generally came away impressed for the money and it has been RUMORED that sales of this legend is coming to an end. A sad day as word on the street is that Technics has stopped making these jewels after producing well over 3,000,000 units since its introduction in 1972 and many evolutions and variants over the years. From Wikipedia, "The Technics SL-1200 is a series of turntables manufactured since October 1972 by Matsushita under the brand name of Technics. Originally released as a high fidelity consumer record player, it quickly became adopted among radio and club disc jockeys. Since its release in 1978, SL-1200MK2 and its successors have been the most common turntable for DJ'ing and scratching. The MK2 presented several improvements, including to the motor and casing. Since 1972, more than 3 million units have been sold. It is widely regarded as one of the most durable and reliable turntables ever produced." This turntable in its most recent generation features a magnetic (no wear) direct drive (low slip) mechanism, high torque of 1.5 kgf·cm (0.15 N·m), which means the platter will spin at the desired speed within 0.7 seconds to reach 33.3 rpm from standstill. Very low wow and flutter of 0.01 percent so that the platter will stay within 1/100 of 1 percent of the desired speed. A heavy base of over 27 lbs aid in reducing the likelihood of feedback or stylus jumping. There is also a variable pitch control so users may adjust the speed -8 to +8 percent, which DJs used for beat matching. Even after many years of DJ use, the Technics SL-1200 has proven reliability. As a ex-DJ myself, have personally used these during gigs and am right debating buying a new pair for future use.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
The audience is listening... and the music industry may finally be "getting it" by making the soon to be release DVD-Audio format backward compatible while keeping within the WG-4 specification. Working on ways to make the upcoming new DVD-Audio fully compatible with current models of DVD-Video players, Warner Music and Universal Music are making inroads to placing uncompressed 24-bit/96kHz music within their future DVD-Audio releases. Warner's technology VP Jordan Rost said his company's first DVD-Audio discs will include a compressed Dolby Digital 5.1 mix playable on current DVD-Video players. Meanwhile Universal Music's production director Jim Belcher said his company is "looking at" uncompressed 96kHz/24-bit stereo PCM tracks on its future DVD-Audio discs. This could possibly spell the demise of and real mainstream acceptance Sony's new SACD format whose only real advantage seems to be the backward compatibility with legacy systems low bit and sampling rate 16-bit/44.1kHz CD systems.

 

11 / 27 / 09

Guangzhou AV Fair 2009  We now offer our exclusive Guangzhou AV Fair 2009 show report! There are so many unusual and new products that have never before been seen anywhere in the world. From hornspeakers to exotic vacuum tube amplification and solid-state devices... this show coverage is not to be missed! There are so many truly awe-inspiring products that even reporter Steven R. Rochlin wonders why so few of them make it to the American or European shores. You can see the entire Guangzhou AV Fair 2009 show report by clicking here.

 

Hi-Fi WorldEnjoy the Music.com has a world premiere of Hi-Fi World's Volume 19 Number 11 (January 2010) including the compete editorial and table of contents. This issue includes reviews of the Eminent Technology LFT-8B, Monitor Audio RX8, Wharfedale Diamond 10.3, Audion Silver Night, LFD Stereonow NLE Signature, Naim DAC, Isokinetik Modular One, Goldring Legacy... and much more! The editorial by David Price says, "I have to say that it's one of the more onerous tasks I have to perform as editor, as in a good year such as this, it's like choosing between fine chocolates at the very best confectioner. Right across all categories and at most price points, there have been some extremely strong contenders. To find which ones emerged triumphant, see our 13-page Hi-Fi World Awards Special starting on p15." To see the entire table of contents and read the complete editorial click here.

 

11 / 26 / 09

Olive Media 4HD  Olive Media 4HD now has their new 4HD network-aware and hard drive storage media server ($1999 for 2TB of storage). Fueled with 24-bit/96kHz content from Chesky Records, the company's first HD hi-hi music server handles upwards of 24-bit/192kHz music files. With ease of set up, configuration and navigation, the new Olive 4HD serves as a control center that can access any digitized music library. A two terabyte hard drive stores up to 6000 CDs, or 20,000 high resolution 24-bit tracks. Music can easily be copied to the Olive 4HD via the built-in CD mechanism, or from a PC or Mac through its wireless or wired network connection. The Olive 4HD's proprietary high-resolution digital to analog converter (DAC) features Texas Instrument's best-of-breed 192khz/24-bit Burr-Brown PCM1792A. Olive enforces its commitment to HD by partnering with Grammy Award-winning Chesky Records, producer of high-resolution audio recordings. Twelve tracks from Chesky artists are included free with the Olive 4HD. As part of your home entertainment system the Olive 4HD connects directly to a stereo receiver. Music libraries are easy to navigate through the integrated touchscreen, or, using the unit's built-in HDMI interface, on a TV. Olive also offers a free iPhone/iPod Touch application that allows users to control the 4HD HD hi-fi music server from anywhere within the home network. Beyond standard music information such as artist, album, track title and cover art, the Olive delivers extended metadata, describing music more accurately and tailored to its specific genre. The Olive 4HD can be integrated into a home network with its Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n connection, which also allows for direct download of music. Adding the Olive 2 hi-fi player allows users to access their music anywhere within their home.

 

Bergmann Audio Sindre Airbearing TurntableBergmann Audio's Sindre airbearing turntable ($20,000) and tonearm are said to feature advanced technology to provide high-end audio sound quality. The Sindre's turntable and linear tracking airbearing tonearm is built using as few parts as possible in a simple, timeless design. This follows the philosophy of the company's "less is more" attitude. An 8.8 pound acrylic platter floats on a thin film of air and is centered by a steel spindle in a low-fiction, vibration-muffling polymer housing. The air supply is noiseless and is extremely easy to operate and adjust. Bergmann feels that its airbearing technology is superior to other bearing solutions in important ways. For example, the airbearing is frictionless, reducing bearing noise to a minimum and yielding exceptional speed stability. The airbearing tonearm also glides frictionless, its only contact with the turntable being through the stylus tip and the wire of the tonearm. Bergmann Audio Sindre's air bearing consists of two aluminum discs between which a pumped air supply creates a thin, frictionless film of air. The belt-driven platter rests on a 7 pound aluminum subplatter while both reside atop a massive plinth comprising three layers of solid fiber board. The plinth stabilizes the tonearm while the plinth itself rests on three adjustable spikes for easy leveling. The spikes provide the smallest contact surface possible to prevent substructure vibrations from reaching the turntable. The tonearm is made of a very hard aluminum alloy and consists of a long fixed air pipe with small vents that create a frictionless film of air on which the pipe gently floats. The arm tube is made of carbon fiber and mounted on this sliding pipe. The hard alloy head shell as the same as the rest of the tonearm, while it rests parallel with the sliding pipe to result in a perfect azimuth. The internal wire is twisted in one piece from clips to plugs to minimize soldering along the sensitive signal path. The tonearm includes an adjustment for the Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA), and another for horizontally adjusting the air pipe, which is independent of the plinth.

 

11 / 25 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com rounds out our China high-end audio factory tour 2009 as editor Steven R. Rochlin visits Sheng Ya electronics and speaker facility. This highly professional company takes great care to every detail from initial design to boxing up the final product. While there are nearly countless companies in this large country, within just over a week a grand total of six manufacturers have been highlighted. It took trains, planes and automobiles to make all this happen. Coming this weekend will be a live show report of the China high-end show! To see the China 2009 high-end audio factory tour click here.

 

11 / 24 / 09

The Cable Company Summer Against Hunger  The Cable Company celebrates two decades of business and has also announced the results of their annual Summer Against Hunger initiative. Twenty years ago this month The Cable Company began operations with the core concept that cables matter (a lot), optimal cable choices will depend on the components in use and the best way to choose cables is to try them in your system. The results of their 14th annual Summer Against Hunger are in and this year contributions from The Cable Company, their vendors, customers, and an anonymous donation totaled over $28,200. These funds were donated to CARE who was able to identify 10:1 matching funds yielding total program donations of over $310,500. For every one dollar The Cable Company customers spent with them in August, even on used products, at least $1.05 is being donated to CARE. For purchases of sponsoring vendors' products, it is $2.10. Contributions this year are being earmarked by CARE to support a child survival project in Sierra Leone. A newborn in Sierra Leone has the world's lowest chance of surviving until his or her fifth birthday. High rates of maternal, newborn, and child mortality are largely due to the lack of an effective, functioning healthcare system.

 

Einstein Phono StageEinstein Audio just announced the release of the three-piece Einstein phonostage ($3850). This new little Phono Stage is based on the circuit of the company's TTC and is a discrete design with no OpAmps directly in the signal path. There is a single outboard power supply and each channel has a totally separate housing. Specifications are as follows:

Gain: 68dB
SNR: 77dB
THD: < 0.18% at +6dB output voltage
Adjustable impedance loading
Low output impedance of 50 Ohm
Output Voltage: >5 Volt
Dimensions: Per mono unit 6.89 x 1.97 x 0.79 (LxWxH in inches) 
Weight: 5.5 lbs.

 

Red Wine Audio Black LightningRed Wine Audio unveiled their Black Lightning high-current battery power supplies (starting at $625 on up). This is a plug-and-play replacement for inferior stock AC power adaptors and claimed to bring out the full musical potential of audio components. Inexpensive AC power adaptors, also called "wall worts", may lack the clean power necessary for optimum sound quality. Black Lightning is a replacement for these AC adaptors and are each hand-built and preconfigured to meet the users specific power and connectivity requirements. Black Lightning takes audio components off-the-power-grid, completely eliminating the noise and grunge found on all AC power lines. With Red Wine Audio's proprietary SMART board (SLA battery Monitoring and Auto Recharge circuiT), all battery-related process are monitored and fully automated.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
The Who   Who's NextIt deeply saddens me to report the following. Enjoy the Music.com received this letter on November 19th (1999) yet did not post it per the request of an employee of Mobile Fidelity. Mo-Fi, as they are affectionately called, were at that time hoping for last minute financing which unfortunately never came. What spurred this situation? M.S. Distributing of Hanover Illinois, the company that distributes some of Mo-Fi's products and also other music and video labels, went bankrupt taking with them millions of dollars of inventory from many companies. This includes quite a large sum of Mo-Fi's software. While M.S. Distributing is trying to work out deals with some of the companies, this situation was not resolved in time to save Mo-Fi. With the very fragile economy some "high-end" companies work upon, this might spell just the beginning as companies become reliant on their distributors (or other county's sales). This is, perhaps, a wake up call? With the recent flat sales in the Far East within the past year has given a few manufactures a wake up call. Now Mo-Fi folds because one of their distributors goes bankrupt. Posted below is the actual letter, word for word, we at Enjoy the Music.com received on November 19, 1999 from Mobile Fidelity.

November 19, 1999

Dear Friend;

It is with incredible sadness that Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab announces its closure after more than 22 years in business. This announcement was made today after extreme, but unsuccessful, efforts were made to overcome the financial blow dealt by the events leading up to the abrupt closure of M.S. Distributing's music division.

Mobile Fidelity has remained a small, fiercely independent audiophile label since its inception in 1977. The company was able to weather and withstand several economic and industry upheavals throughout the years. As you know, for the past three or four years, much of the high-end audio industry has suffered through a recession. Mobile Fidelity, once again, undertook the necessary measures to ride out the downturn - especially with the anxiously-awaited new SACDs and DVDs with video soon to be in the marketplace.

However, in September of 1999, the closure of M.S. Distributing's music division resulted in a substantial percentage of uncollectible receivables for MFSL, plus the inventory it represented. Without access to the funds or the availability of inventory for re-sale, the financial devastation was more than our small company could overcome. Therefore, as of November 19, 1999, the company that changed the way the world listened to music, itself has closed its doors.

Herb Belkin was a co-founder of Mobile Fidelity and a co-owner until his retirement nearly five years ago made this statement when contacted: "I am deeply saddened with the knowledge that the employee-owned Mobile Fidelity - which for so many years represented a major symbol of quality in the field of pre-recorded music - was in the end a victim of bigness and mediocrity. I, along with all audiophiles every - where will deeply miss the musical efforts of MoFi."

Herb and the loyal employees of Mobile Fidelity wish to thank all of our friends and supporters throughout the years. Without everyone's belief in our efforts to make the very best audio reproductions possible, our star wouldn't have shone so bright for so long. We offer our best wishes to those companies that remain and hope they survive this most challenging era of high-end audio.

We sincerely hope that our memory and legacy will continued to be enjoyed for many years to come through the hundreds of classic LPs, aluminum and gold CDs, and even cassettes, that Mobile Fidelity has lovingly remastered for the enjoyment of music lovers, and for ourselves. It was a wonderful ride while it lasted.

 

As a side note, this also comes just as Mo-Fi released their first SACD disc whose own controversy is a story unto itself. In the end we here at Enjoy the Music.com are devastated at hearing on Mo-Fi's demise. Arguably the world's best remastering facility is now no more. The folks who brought us the UHQR and Anadisq 200 vinyl plus possibly the best sounding The Wall on CD. Of course there is also Muddy Waters, The Who, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, B.B. King, Cream and too many more to mention here. We wish all past employees at Mobile Fidelity the best and hope the music loving community gathers together to pay homage to the late great remastering label that has brought so much musical joy to many people all around the world.

 

11 / 23 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com continues our China factory tour by Steven R. Rochlin as Day 5 takes you on a trip with a glimpse of Jungson Audio. So far they have been the most protective of all the manufacturers, and rightly so as they are akin to McIntosh or Krell in China. As such, they want to keep their special design and engineering secrets, well, secret. Jungson Audio is one of the few high-end manufacturers that make everything from the plus to speakers and all in-between. See the China 2009 high-end audio special visit page by click here.

 

11 / 21 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com's China factory tour day 4 by Steven R. Rochlin takes you to see Compact Audio Technology. This is one of the larger manufacturers of loudspeakers enclosures that also specialize in mirror finish wood veneer cabinets. They not only make their own line of speakers, they are OEM suppliers to American and European companies. See the China 2009 high-end audio special visit page by click here.

 

11 / 19 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com's China factory tour day 3 by Steven R. Rochlin is now online. Time for another vacuum tube factory tour and this time it was the extremely large Shuguang manufacturing facility. Did you know they manufacture an impressive 40 percent of all the modern new tubes being sold in the world today! See the China 2009 high-end audio special visit page by click here.

 

11 / 18 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com's day 2 of editor Steven R. Rochlin's live China 2009 high-end audio factory tour update is now online.  Today i was honored to visit the TJ Full Music vacuum tube factory and met with the world's most longstanding authority in audio tube design and manufacturing plus i have a special world premiere of some exciting news on an output tube that will soon be available to audiophiles worldwide. This is not to be missed! See the China 2009 high-end audio special visit page by click here.

 

11 / 17 / 09

  Enjoy the Music.com's editor Steven R. Rochlin has begun his live China 2009 high-end audio factory tour plus will include a China high-end show report near the end of the month! China, a country with one of the world's highest populations and a growing economy is making their mark within the consumer electronics high-end audio industry. While there are nearly countless companies in this large country, his plans are to visit a few of the major audiophile manufacturers. The tour will wind its way through this countryside by high speed land travel via the train and of course by air via plane. With so much to see and do, this report will be updated frequently from November 17 through November 29, 2009 so visit this page often for updates! To see the live China 2009 high-end audio factory tour and show report click here.

 

11 / 16 / 09

The Absolute Sound  Enjoy the Music.com has just posted a world premiere of the December 2009 edition of The Absolute Sound (Issue 198) and updated our Hi-Fi Plus section as well; featuring the complete table of contents and editorial! This edition of The Absolute Sound features many equipment and music reviews while Hi-Fi Plus issue 68 is their 2009 Hi-Fi Awards edition. New reviews within The Absolute Sound include Arcam FMJ A28 integrated and FMJ CD17 CD player, Nagra BPS phonostage, the Oppo BDP-83 disc player, PMC DB1i loudspeaker, Rega's Elicit integrated, the Lamm LL2.1 preamplifier, Simaudio Moon i3.3 integrated and Moon CD3.3 CD player... plus much more. Within this issue's editorial by Robert Harley honoring Jim Thiel he writes "I'm deeply saddened to report that Jim Thiel, founder of the loudspeaker company that bears his name, passed away on September 18 at the age of 62. Jim Thiel was one of the founding fathers of American high-end audio. His story is archetypal; he built a loudspeaker in his garage, initially for his own use, because he thought he could improve upon the commercial offerings of the time. He went on to co-found Thiel Audio in 1976 to manufacture his unique time- and phase-coherent design. Every Thiel loudspeaker, from the first garage-built model to today's flagship, is based on the principle that time- and phase-coherence is a fundamental prerequisite of a high-fidelity loudspeaker." You can see the table of contents and read the complete editorial of TAS by clicking here and Hi-Fi Plus by clicking here.

 

11 / 13 / 09

THTST Drum and Percussion Album  Audiophiles can finally enjoy a truly high-resolution drum and percussion album to test the abilities of their high-end audio system. Steven R. Rochlin, a classically trained musician since 1974 and editor of Enjoy the Music.com, has released his first album titled THTST. After nearly two decades of being away from the recording studio, Steven captured his new solo album using only a pair of ultra-precise, hand matched laboratory-grade microphones. On THTST there are no overdubs, 'destructive' devices or techniques so as to deliver the true purity and absolute sound of a real drumset within your listening room. As one would expect, this recording provides a dynamic range from the soft sounds of studio wind chimes to woofer and amplifier testing deep bass of a large gong bass drum. THTST offers a wide variety of percussion and drum styles using an extensive assembly of musical instruments. "After many years of hiatus this is my first venture back into the studio as it were" said musician Steven R. Rochlin. "Am sure drum and percussion enthusiasts will listen to this album and be amazed at the sheer accuracy and stunning dynamics plus harmonic accuracy of this recording. Due to the expansive dynamics, ultra-wide frequency range and having been recorded in high-resolution, this truly is the most comprehensive test recording of this genre in quite some time. Audiophiles should get THTST to hear if their system is capable of delivering wide dynamics and accurate sound quality. Of course what matters is that listeners enjoy the music." The album is available for download in high definition 24-bit/96kHz FLAC, 16/44.1 and 320kbs mp3 format from HDtracks.

 

High-End Audiophile reviews   Enjoy the Music.com's November midmonth update of our Review Magazine is now online and includes three informative articles plus two show report updates.

Letters: You write 'em and we reply.

Boston Audio Society
No Time For CDs
Article by David A. Rich

Sound Practices
Casual Reactions
Article By Herb Reichert

VALVE Magazine
My Own Triode Input MK III
Dan remakes a Dyna MKIII to 'juice his lizard'.
Article By Dan Schmalle

See the November 2009 midmonth Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

11 / 12 / 09

 Genesis Advanced Technologies 7.1f Loudspeaker  Genesis Advanced Technologies, manufacturer of high-end luxury loudspeaker and amplifier systems, now offers their 7.1f $8000 per pair) model that just received a CES Innovations 2010 Design and Engineering Award. The G7.1f is a high-end audiophile loudspeaker with full-range musical performance in a small-footprint svelte and elegant enclosure. A built-in servo-controlled 8-inch solid-aluminum cone side-firing subwoofer delivers bass down to 22 Hz. The Genesis 1-inch circular ribbon tweeter is identical to the one used in the Genesis 1 flagship model and ensures high frequencies extension to 36 kHz. A new crossover was designed for the G7.1f to aid it in producing dynamics and foot-tapping musicality by blending the extremely fast ribbon tweeter with the solid titanium mid-woofer. Controls include front tweeter level (±2 dB), rear tweeter defeat switch and bass contour control (±6/-8 dB). Sensitivity is 89dB/W/m, impedance is 8 Ohms (nominal), weight is 82 lbs each and there are 5-way binding posts on the rear of the unit. Dimensions are 48 x 12 x 14 (HxWxD in inches) and finish options are high gloss black, with other finishes becoming available soon.

 

Boulder 1008 Phono PreamplifierBoulder, with over twenty-five years of experience in building high quality audio components, has just announced their 1008 Phono Preamplifier ($12,000). This new phono stage takes advantage of the continuing popularity and growth of vinyl LP sales and completes Boulder's 1000 Series. The 1008, the junior sibling to Boulders $33,500 2008 Phono Preamplifier, includes multiple technical features so that it achieves great sound quality for nearly 1/3 the price of the 2008. There are three equalization curves in addition to the standard RIAA curve, each selectable via a front panel button. These curves include FFRR, Columbia, and EMI. There is +6 dB greater gain for MC cartridges with a claimed no increase in the noise floor of the gain circuit via Boulder's 985 gain stage. The 985 gain stage uses a discrete initial gain stage for significantly reduced distortion and noise and is housed in a massive aluminum structure and then potted in a proprietary epoxy resin for thermal stability and increased reliability. The unit is fully balanced and dual mono for total isolation of left and right channels. Two inputs per channel are available for connecting multiple tonearms, each with customizable personality cards which can be tailored for optimal loading of specific phono cartridges. All electronics and features are contained within a single machined aluminum chassis.

 

11 / 11 / 09

Pass Labs INT-30A Stereo Integrated Amplifier  Pass Labs , founded in 1991 by legendary audio designer Nelson Pass, is now shipping their INT-30A stereo integrated amplifier ($7150). Producing 30 wpc (60 @ 4 Ohms) in Class A, this unit relies on the critically acclaimed and patented low-noise Super-Symmetry circuitry. The Super-Symmetry topology developed by audio innovator Nelson Pass improves performance by precisely matching characteristics of the two halves of a balanced amplifier. To the extent that distortion and noise can be made to appear identical at the two output connections, the INT-30A's balanced output will not detected them. In the INT-30A, Super-Symmetry lowers distortion and noise by an order of magnitude higher than other designs. The front panel of the INT-30A includes a fluorescent display showing the operational status, a large volume dial, on/off button and blue LED indicators for Mute and Stand-by Power, four input selection buttons, and a receiver for the signal from the IR remote. The INT-30A's rear panel includes XLR and RCA connections for single-ended or balanced inputs, XLR or RCA preamplifier outputs, right and left channel speaker connectors, a five-way binding post for use as a signal ground connector, an IEC 520 AC power inlet module for the supplied IEC polarized power cord, a main power switch, and a fuse holder. The speaker outputs are equipped with heavy-duty, international safety-rated, five-way binding posts. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Pass Laboratories Aleph X2.5 stereo preamplifier (click here), did a world premiere of Nelson Pass' First Watt B1 buffer preamplifier (click here) plus offer Nelson Pass' article titled Leaving Class A (click here).

 

RealTraps BareTraps RealTraps, a specialist of room acoustic devices, has announced their new BareTraps ($100 each), which is the company's most affordable bass traps they have offered. BearTraps are similar to MiniTraps, with each unit measuring 2 by 4 feet by 3.25 inches thick and weighing 18 pounds. There are a few small cosmetic differences that let us sell these "bare necessities" for what could be considered half the price. Like MiniTraps, BareTraps are real membrane bass traps having the same high absorption at low frequencies that RealTraps is famous for. BareTraps are available in both Standard and High Frequency styles, for corner bass trapping and reflection control respectively. Color choices are black, white, and wheat (off-white). BareTraps have the same solid metal frame as MiniTraps, but without the fancy side slots. They have four holes in the rear for attaching hanging wires, but no cross bars for mounting on our RealTraps Stands, microphone stands, or with Post Base Kits. Note that BareTraps are sold in pairs only, to reduce the cost of shipping and packaging. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the RealTraps MiniTraps and MicroTraps, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

11 / 10 / 09

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Mobile Headphones  Bowers & Wilkins, a leading exporter of loudspeakers in North America that began operation in 1966, has announced their first headphone offering called the he P5 Mobile. Claiming to offer natural sound, the noise isolating design is for users on the move. Recognizing that many mobile headphones can be tiring when listened to over extended periods, Bowers & Wilkins' engineers at the Stenying Research Establishment work to produce a headphone with a natural, non-fatiguing performance and comfortable over long periods of use. The use of specially developed ultra-linear neodymium magnets and highly optimized Mylar diaphragms provide high-end sound quality. Sound isolation is achieved through a combination of the closed-back design featuring a rigid metal faceplate and the sealed-leather ear pads. The leather-clad headband has been designed for extreme comfort where it interfaces with the side of the head while the softest available sheep's leather from New Zealand has been used for the ear pads. Recognizing the dominance of Apple's iPod and iPhone in the portable media market, the P5 comes supplied with a Made For iPod approved cable, which allows for speech and device control. It also comes supplied with a high-quality, standard audio cable with gold-plated plugs. Switching between the two is facilitated by the magnetically attached ear pads, which simply pop off allowing access to the cable. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) top-line reference 800D large floorstanding loudspeakers, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

11 / 09 / 09

Kuzma Stabi SD Turntable  Kuzma, founded by Franc Kuzma in 1982 and born of his interest in music combined with a mechanical engineers education, now offers a very special edition Stabi SD turntable ($2715) can accommodate two tonearms and is built with high-end engineering like other award-winning Kuzma turntables. It includes a sold brass weight and the second tonearm is fixed on the extended T part of the main turntable chassis. Stabi S turntable can be modified to accept a second tonearm by simply replacing the shorter part of T beam with extended version which also increases the mass of the Stabi SD turntable. It is possible to order arm bases that are precut for most major tonearms. A new top lid will soon be available soon to cover this turntable as well as the Stabi Reference. The mass is nearly 30 lbs including the almost 9 lbs platter, the motor is synchronous and handles both 33.3 and 45 rpm plus there is an optional clamp and supporting board available. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Kuzma STABI Reference turntable and the Graham 2.2 tonearm (click here) and their Stogi Reference 313 VTA tonearm (click here).

 

Silbatone Acoustics Reference 300Silbatone Acoustics' stunning Reference 300 stereo integrated amplifier is a cost-no-object design and marks the company's third generation integrated amplifier. This is a platform to realize the highest musical potential of the Western Electric 300B triode and uses a "broadcast grade" stepped attenuator with solid milled knobs for precise control. The unit accepts five inputs easily selected via a front-mounted high-end switch. As with other Silbatone designs, parts quality is far beyond most commercially produced amplifiers. Critical components for Silbatone electronics are selected according to listening tests and technical performance without regard for cost. Silbatone employs custom-manufactured silver capacitors and expensive silver Litz internal wiring said to achieve ultimate musicality and detail. Their latest generation Semi-Silver foil-wound nickel core output transformer encompasses hundreds of hours of careful engineering and listening tests. The substantial chassis is CNC milled from aluminum billet, designed by a celebrated industrial artist for visual aesthetics and functional considerations such as shielding, cooling, and vibration control. Besides the WE300B, others tubes in this design include the 5965 for voltage amplifier and 5687 for driver tubes. More exotic types such as E180CC/7062 can substitute for 5965 and 7119 or the rare Bendix 6900 can be used as an upgrade for the 5687 depending on preferences. Power output is 8 wpc and can handle 4, 8, or 16 Ohm output. Overall weight is 80 lbs. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Silbatone C-102 preamplifier (click here) and Ji-300MKII integrated tube amplifier (click here).

 

11 / 06 / 09

Grant Fidelity Reference Tube CD-1000 Player  Grant Fidelity's new Reference Tube CD-1000 player (aka Impression II, $3200) features careful circuitry layout to achieve high-end audio sound quality. All main sections of the player (power supply to tube and solid state circuits, tube analog output, tube headphone amp, CD drive) are strategically placed in the four corners and the middle of the player in isolated aluminum chassis to avoid unwanted interference with each section as it relates to another. Completely separated left and right channel pair of BB PCM1794 D/A converting IC chip and ten OPA2604 / OPA 604 for IV converting and low pass filtering are employed. Also within this high-end design is the Sanyo DA11VZ CD drive and Nikon high grade capacitors as key components. The servo system uses Toshiba's TA2125AF, 2157F and TC94A14F as the servo system. For analog amplification, a set of EH 6922 drive the unbalanced output, plus there is a set of transistor unbalanced output and a set of transistor fully balanced output to choose from. Other outputs includes S/PDIF digital coaxial, TosLink optical, AES/EBU XLR. For headphone users, analog output is provided for using an EL84 tube. There is also a defeatable upsampling with three optional frequencies: 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/96kHz and 24-bit/192kHz. The aluminum chassis has anti-vibration isolation for five key components. Dimensions are 17 x 14 x 7 (WxDxH in inches) and overall weight is a very substantial 50 lbs. A polished stainless steel finish is available at extra cost of $380.

 

JoLida JD 1000RC Integrated AmplifierJoLida's JD 1000RC stereo integrated amplifier produces 100 wpc and includes a remote control. Selecting from one of the four inputs can be chosen from the front panel while there is fixed and variable outputs. Custom wound audio transformers have a core of German grain oriented silicon steel and the secondary can be configured for a 4 or 8 Ohm loudspeaker load. Internal components include ALPS audio potentiometer, gold plated RCA input jacks, audiophile grade carbon composite grid resistors, high-speed soft recovery diodes and poly tin coupling capacitors. The built-in E-Z biasing system ensures performance while needing minimal effort from the user. Frequency response is from 8 Hz to 80 kHz at full power output with a distortion of less than 1 percent. Tube complement is four matched pairs (8) of 6CA7/EL34 for power output, a pair of 12AX7 for preamplification and a pair of 12AT7/ECC81 as power drivers. The output tubes are operated in ultra-linear (Class AB). Dimensions are 17x15x7.5 (WxDxH in inches) and the unit weighs 62 lbs. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Jolida 202A integrated tube amplifier (click here), the JD 300B unit (click here) and the JD 9A phono preamplifier
(click here).

 

11 / 05 / 09

  HDtracks, founded by multi Grammy-nominated jazz and classical composer and inventor of new sound technology David Chesky as the world's premiere high-resolution music store, is exclusively offering Keith Jarrett's newest release Paris/London: Testament in 24-bit/96kHz audio. Over the past forty years, Keith Jarrett has come to be recognized as one of the most creative musical forces of our time. ECM Records is a standard-setting record label that has released over a thousand albums spanning many idioms. Testament is the first ever high-resolution release from either twentieth century musical icon. Keith Jarrett's solo piano recordings have redefined the role of the piano in contemporary music. His improvisations effortlessly span and seamlessly blend an impressive spectrum of musical idioms - classical, jazz, ethnic, gospel, folk, blues and pure sound. With the advent of Jarrett's Testament in 24/96, listeners will be able to delve into Jarrett's musical consciousness with unprecedented nuance and intimacy.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
DVD's Content Scrambling System (CSS) has been cracked and pirate downloads could be close at hand.
Just as the Windows Media player's security encryption has been cracked to unprotect previously protected data so has the codes used on DVD discs. A Norwegian groups of programmers have breached Hollywood's digital defense against the copying of digital video discs, CSS. "This opens a whole can of worms," said Michelle Abraham, senior analyst with multimedia-market researcher Cahner's In-stat Group. "The movie studios will be hard-pressed to stop this." Jerry Giaquinta, spokesperson for Sony Pictures said. "At this stage, we are assessing the matter..." Of course Sony and other studios are keeping a close eye on this matter to insure their property is protected. "One part of the (CSS) algorithm is really weak," said Stephenson, who analyzed the source code and found additional holes that the original program has not exploited. "The slowest attack that I have to break the encryption takes less than 18 seconds on my PC ... a Pentium III." The one saving grace is that DVD-Video movies use a large amount of data and therefore downloading a complete movie via the normal 56kbs interconnect connection would simply take days (unlike MP3 audio which is a matter of minutes). Is the new security code for MP3 called SDMI far behind?

 

11 / 04 / 09

Boston Acoustic RS 260  Boston Acoustics, a loudspeaker specialist founded 30 years ago, has launched their Reflection Series that features advanced tweeter technology and high-gloss black lacquer cabinets. The Reflection Series loudspeakers consist of six models that range from small monitors to floorstanders plus center channel and a subwoofer. Boston Acoustics designed Reflection's Super Linear Plane (SLP) baffles to significantly reduce acoustic diffraction. Super-shallow grilles use an invisible magnetic attachment and create a seamless alignment with the baffle plane. The Extended Wide Bandwidth (EWB) tweeter borrows many of the same performance attributes found in Boston Acoustics' flagship VS line. this driver exhibits stabilized linear motion, lower distortion, improved dispersion, power handling, and clarity. Engineers accomplish this by utilizing a special central diaphragm termination (creating a dimple) and rear chamber venting. All Reflection models incorporate new Fiber Ceramic Copolymer Material (FCCM) Woofer cones. These cones are made from a composite of fiber and ceramic materials impregnated in a proprietary copolymer. By combining these multi-composite cones with Boston's Deep Channel Design, woofers produce a smooth response over the entire operating range. The RS 230 and RS 260 (pictured) bookshelf models feature 3.5 and 6.5 inch woofers (respectively) and are claimed to "produce incredible sound for bookshelf speakers their size." The powerful RS 244C's unique configuration features quadruple 4-inch woofers and enables it to perform perfectly with full size, full range floor standing speakers while maintaining a slim and attractive profile. The RS 334 floorstanding speaker, featuring four high performance 4-inch woofers, packs all the performance of a full-size tower speaker in a slender and elegant cabinet. Finally, the 500-watt (1000-watt peak) RPS 1000 powered subwoofer includes a 10-inch woofer and dual 8-inch passive radiators. All models include widely spaced, gold plated binding posts, and the RS 260, RS 244C and RS 334 also include a second set for bi-wiring or bi-amping. Pricing is as follows:

RS 230 compact bookshelf $249.99 each 
RS 260 bookshelf $399.99 each
RS 244C center-channel $499.99 
RS 223 compact LCR $399.99 
RS 334 floorstanding $699.99 each 
RPS1000 subwoofer $899.99

 

Sonos S5Homewide audio multi-zone audio specialist Sonos  is now selling their new ZonePlayer S5 ($399), an all-in-one wireless five speaker music system. The S5 wirelessly plays music from the Internet and users iTunes collection in any room. The unit features five integrated speakers and five dedicated digital amplifiers so each driver has the freedom to deliver top quality sound via special DSP programming. The unit can be controlled by either of the two remote control offered by Sonos, an iPod Touch or iPhone, or from a MAC or Windows computer. The Sonos system provides for wireless expandability for up to 32 separate zones and each can be playing different music sources from Internet radio to a music collection on a computer or NAS drive. In addition, Sonos released Sonos Software v3.1 that includes Twitter functionality. Technical specifications of the S5 include:

Five Class-D digital amplifiers
Five drivers: two tweeters, two 3-inch midrange and one 3.5-inch woofer
Volume/Mute control - Quick-access controls on the top of every S5
Two Ethernet port switch
Headphone connection via 1/8-inch jack 
Analog audio input via 1/8-inch jack for iPod, CD player, TV, etc.
Audio formats supported: MP3, iTunes Plus, WMA, AAC (MPEG4), Ogg Vorbis, Audible (format 4), Apple Lossless, FLAC (lossless) and uncompressed WAV and AIFF files.
Support for 48, 32, 24, 22, 16, 11 and 8 kHz sample rates
Music Services: Last.fm, Napster, Pandora, Rhapsody 3.0+, SIRIUS Internet Radio
Internet Radio pre-loaded with 25,000 stations
Operating systems supported (for stored files): Windows XP SP2 and higher; Mac OS X v10.4 and higher; NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices supporting CIFS
Wireless connectivity via SonosNet 2.0, a secure AES encrypted, peer-to-peer wireless mesh network
Power supply is AC 120/240V, 50-60Hz, auto-switchable
Dimensions:  8.5 x 14.4 x 4.8 (HxWxD in inches)
Weight: 9.15 lbs.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
New Sensor Corporation, the folks behind Sovtek vacuum tubes and manufacturer of Electro-Harmonix sound effects, has acquired the Reflector vacuum tube factory in Saratov Russia! This facility is the world's largest vacuum tube factory and currently supplies to New Sensor's specification the highly respected Sovtek 12AX7LPS, 5881 WXT, EL34WXT, 6550WE, KT88, EL84, 6922, 6B4G and other tubes. Sovtek tubes are prized for their smooth musical tone, linearity and low microphonics. There are plans for a brand new line of premium Electro-Harmonix tubes that New Sensor Corporation claims will rival the Mullards and Telefunkens of the sixties!

 

11 / 03 / 09

Musical Laboratory* Maedup Monoblock Amplifiers  Musical Laboratory* is now offers revision three of the company's Maedup monoblock amplifiers that produce 38 watts. Like their Bosangwha monoblocks, these power amplifiers are based on the classic and legendary sounding LM3875 and are said to deliver the "warmth and bloom normally associated with tube designs while still retaining the dynamics and transparency of the chip". Each monoblock is powered by a physically separate power supply, with the amplification circuitry housed within high-gloss lacquered boxes. Colors available include black with Zen purple highlights and purple macramé knots, black with red highlights with red macramé knots or black with black macramé knots. Features of these amplifiers include child-proof locks decorated with traditional colorful macramé knots, white LED power indication, high-speed PCB substrate, hand-picked vintage and exotic resistors in the signal path, highest class audio capacitors and proprietary high-purity silver gold foils using air dielectric in the signal path. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Musical Laboratory*'s Paeonia Rev. 2.3 passive preamplifier and Bosangwha Rev.2.3 monoblock amplifiers, which can be seen by clicking here.

 

Jade AudioJade Audio has announced their Reference Solid Gold, Reference Solid Gold/Platinum interconnect and the Hybrid and Reference Solid Gold speaker cables. The Reference cables all use 99.99 percent pure solid gold or 99.99 percent pure solid gold and platinum wires. The reference line uses no gold plated silver thus no silver haze in the interconnect link. The Reference Solid Gold is made with multiple strands of 30 gauge pure solid gold wire in cotton sleeve for the positive conductor. The negative conductor consists of multiple strands of 30, 28 and 26 gauge pure solid gold wire in cotton sleeve. pricing is from $3300 with Bocchino B-11 RCA connectors or $4500 with Bocchino BAXLR XLR connectors. Jade Audio's Reference Solid Gold/Platinum has positive conductors of multiple strands of 30 gauge pure solid gold wire in cotton sleeve and a negative conductor of multiple strands of 30 and 28 gauge pure solid gold wire and multiple strands of 30, 28 and 26 gauge pure solid platinum in cotton sleeve. Pricing is $3400 with Bocchino B-11 RCA connectors and $4700 with Bocchino BAXLR XLR connectors.

 

11 / 02 / 09

Review Magazine Enjoy the Music.com's November edition of our Review Magazine is now available and packed with five World Premieres, one North American Premiere and many music reviews plus viewpoint think pieces! Those thirsting for more show coverage, we have posted quite a few more RMAF 2009 event reports plus have an interview with Chesky Records and HDtracks founder David Chesky!

Viewpoint
In This Issue....
Industry Notes And Streaming Thoughts
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 121
Audience AU24 AC Power Cable And High Definition Downloads
Article By Dr. Bill Gaw

Manufacturer Article
A Few Moments With David Chesky
Composer, musician, Chesky Records and HDtracks...
Interview By Nels Ferre

Cool Vintage Video!
Now Presenting Ella Fitzgerald

Show Reports
More, more, more RMAF 2009 Reports!

Equipment Reviews
World Premiere!
JohnBlue TL66 Monoblock Tube Amplifiers
They reproduced music. It is just as plain and simple as that.
Review By Tom Lyle

World Premiere!
Monarchy Audio SE-100 Delux MK2 Monoblock Amplifiers
A revised edition of a fifteen year production run.
Review By Anthony Nicosia

World Premiere!
Opera-Consonance LP6.1 Turntable And TP988 Arm Combination
An Analog Rig for Everyman?
Review By Nels Ferre

World Premiere!
Tekton Design S12 Subwoofer
Achieving greatness at a very reasonable price.
Review By Rick Becker

World Premiere!
Lawton Audio LA7000 Headphones
Each pair are unique, almost artisanal in execution and finish.
Review By Linden Park

North American Premiere!
Manley Labs Stingray iTube Integrated Amplifier
Possibly the perfect integrated amplifier for the whole family.
Review By Nels Ferre

Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones
The Crown Prince of quality.
Review By A. Colin Flood

Music Reviews
Classical Music

Pianist Angela Hewitt's new complete recording of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier.
Review By Evan Shinners

Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle from Valery Gergiev on LSO Live.
Review By Wayne Donnelly

Ludwig Van Beethoven String Quartets performed by the Tokyo String Quartet
Review By Phil Gold

Marin Alsop deliver the best recording yet of Leonard Bernstein's Mass.
Review By John Shinners

Delightful Handel organ concertos in great performances with excellent sound
Review By Wayne Donnelly

Love the violin? Then check out virtuoso violinist James Ehnes.
Review By Phil Gold

Shostakovich's long-suppressed satirical opera The Nose.
Review By Joe Milicia

Definitive performances of Shostakovich's first and last symphonies.
Review By Wayne Donnelly

Jazz, Folk, Bluegrass, Blues, Etc.
Angela Easterling Blacktop Road
Review By Steven Stone

Gina Villalobos Days On Their Side
Review By Steven Stone

Andrea Wittgens In The Skyline
Review By Steven Stone

Various Bluegrass, Blues And Jazz Albums
Reviews By Steven Stone

Rock, Pop, Funk, Techno, Punk, Metal, Etc.
My Dinner With Jimi
Review By Steven Stone

See the November 2009 edition of our Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

 

DIY MagazineEnjoy the Music.com's Fall edition of our 2009 DIY Audio Magazine is now available! Within this edition we feature:

Repairing Damaged Speakers / Drivers
Article By Jeff Poth

Merrill DCA 4 And The Zigmahornet
Article By Jeff Poth

Xenover Ver. 2.0
Article By Grey Rollins

DIY Room Treatment Devices
Article By Bob Jackson (aka Bob In St. Louis)

MONOphono Preamplifier
Article By Diego Nardi, Audio Note Italia

A Homebrew Horn For Dual Concentric Loudspeakers
Article By Roy Hilsley

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

 

See the Spring 2009 edition of the DIY Magazine by clicking here.

 

Audio Industry News 10 Years Ago
DACT CT2-xxk-6Coming from the critically acclaimed manufacture Danish Audio ConnecT (DACT) comes the new CT2-xxk-6 six channel stepped attenuator (seen here). DACT claims improvements are obtained by using their new six channel model in Audio/Visual systems since their new product helps to "reduce distortion, increased bandwidth, more details, better dynamics and much more." The CT2-xxk-6 is available in 10kOhms, 50kOhms and 100kOhms (part numbers CT2-10k-6, CT2-50k-6 and CT2-100k-6). DACT also offers 20kOhms, 250kOhms and 500kOhms on special request basis. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the DACT CT1 audio attenuator review (seen here) and the DACT CT100 phonostage with two DACT CT102 power supplies (seen here).


 

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