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High-End Audio Industry News


12 / 31 / 07

  Coincident will be at the 2008 CES proudly introducing their Pure Reference, and Total Eclipse IV loudspeakers ($22,000 and $14,999 respectively) plus their Dragon 211PP and Frankenstein M 300B SET monoblock amplifiers ($8999/pr and $5599/pr respectively). The M300B Frankenstein MK II zero feedback monoblock amplifiers are built to the absolute highest standard with all connections being hardwired, 6N copper output and power transformers, V caps, and self biasing network. The three tube configuration consist of a 6EM7 input driver, 300B output, and 5U4 rectifier. Output power is 8 watts per monoblock with a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz. Measurements are 12 x 15 x 6 (DxWxH in inches) and weights in at 32 lbs. each. The 211PP Dragon monoblocks employs the same construction techniques plus use no coupling caps in the signal path. Internal parts include Teflon capacitors within the cathode bias circuit, 1500V polypropylene power supply capacitors, Alps volume control, red metal film 1% resistors, and auto bias circuitry. Tube compliment is a 6EM7 super tube for input, 300B for driver, and dual 211 output tubes in a push pull configuration. The unit produces 80 wpc, has a frequency response from 15Hz to 25kHz and weights in at a very hefty 65 lbs.

 

MBL 101X-Treme LoudspeakerMBL of America's CES 2008 feature will be the unveiling of their 101X-Treme statement loudspeaker ($199,000/pr). Said to be "significantly better our 101E Radialstrahler" according to the press release, the new MBL 101X-Treme employs three pulsating spheres. With two each for bass, midrange, and high frequencies as a starting point, MBL's engineers and craftspeople created this massive four-tower speaker system with mirror-imaged omni-directional Radialstrahler driver arrays supported by an armature of acrylic, steel, and wood plus lacquered woofer columns house a quartet each of proprietary 12-inch bass drivers. The entire array weighs in at 3600 lbs and requires 30 days to fabricate and calibrate. Note that only two sets will be available for purchase in the United States for 2008 delivery.

 

12 / 28 / 07

Furutech  Furutech, manufacturer of analog and digital audio and video cable plus accessories, will be at the CES 2008 show. They plan to have their full line of high performance cables, power connectors, award-wining accessories, OEM parts, and power distribution/filtering systems. New products at the CES include power connectors and a new range of audiophile fuses and many new accessories for both analog and digital playback.

 

Loiminchay Audio Chagall LoudspeakerLoiminchay Audio will be showcasing three of their loudspeakers at the 2008 Consumer Electronic Show. Loiminchay Audio speakers are artisan-crafted from carefully shaped solid layers of Birch MultiPly bored out and finished inside and out with sixteen coats of the finest lacquer available for exceptional appearance and finish. Designed in New York by Loiminchay's owner Patrick Chu, and lovingly crafted in China, all units feature a custom diamond tweeter and ceramic midrange. The Degas ($15,000/pr on up depending on options and finish) is a stand-mounted monitor featuring a sand-filled stand with binding posts conveniently set near the base for clean cable aesthetics and produces bass down to 35Hz. A 6.5-inch ceramic midrange driver and a sparkling 1-inch diamond tweeter brings uppermost frequencies to 27kHz, with an option for top-line diamond tweeter to achieve 50kHz. The Chagall ($35,000/pr on up depending on options and finish) goes the Degas one better with a turned-out bass cabinet with 8-inch woofer. Inside the voluptuously-shaped cabinet is substantial bracing and premium lamb's wool. The Chagall extends down to 28Hz with options for standard or top-line diamond tweeter. Loiminchay's top-of-the-line Kandinsky ($45,000 on up, pictured right) features a gracefully-curved 19-inch wooden horn driven by a custom 2-inch beryllium high-compression driver. The bass unit carries both a special 10-inch midbass and 12-inch woofer with carefully time-aligned crossovers. The 12-inch driver is mounted on a 1-inch concrete plinth covered with fine leather. The Kandinsky goes down to 30Hz with 90dB/W/m efficiency at 8 Ohms and includes a bi-wired silver internal wiring harness.

 

12 / 27 / 07

Cyrus Audio AV Master  Cyrus Audio will be debuting many new audio and A/V models at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show 2008. One of the newest models being introduced is the AV Master 8.0 is a sophisticated, configurable 7.1 channel AV system amplifier that includes a 7.1 channel preamplifier, up-sampling multi input DAC and 3 channels of user configurable power amplification. The 3 channels of amplification can be user configured, as this flexible approach allows users to assign the amplifier channels to fit whatever system design you have today, and they can be reassigned if users choose to add more loudspeakers in the future.

 

Perfect8 The Force LoudspeakerPerfect8 will be attending the CES 2008 to debut their flagship loudspeaker called The Force. Featuring 'Super Silent Glass' technology with gold and glass construction, The Force is a sleek contemporary audio work of art. Weighing in at about 200 Kg per channel and standing an impressive 2 meters high, The Force is composed of two towers fed through separate super quality passive crossovers encased in matching boxes of semitransparent glass. The low end is delivered by a quartet of subwoofers each with dual 12-inch custom modified drivers, fed by a custom active filter. Midrange frequencies are produced by eight 7-inch drivers while uppermost frequencies are produced by a 1600mm ribbon with FEM-optimized neodymium magnet system. System sensitivity is 90dB/W/m.

 

12 / 26 / 07

Wavelength Audio Royal DHT Line Preamplifier  Wavelength Audio will be showcasing many new products at the upcoming Consumer Electronic Show 2008. Seen here is the Royal directly heated triode (DHT) line preamplifier. The Royal is the only all DHT preamplifier available in the world according to the company. All three of the inputs are isolated by a custom MagneQuest input transformer. The input selected is fed to the 71A Directly Heated Triode via a Penny and Giles volume control (or optionally a remote motorized volume control). The 71A provides 9dB of gain and low output impedance. The high voltage is created from a 6V4/EZ80 tube rectifier and several stages of Black Gate Capacitors. Also to be shows at the CES 2008 will be the Corona Series SET amplifiers available in VT52, 300B, PX4/RE604 and 6A3/6B4G. This series is designed to accommodate DHT triodes that require DC heaters. Like the Cardinal we used the 5AR4 rectifier and the WE417/5842A input tube. Each amplifier is available in standard, enhanced (higher grade magnetics and capacitors) or silver outputs. In the case of amplifiers that require NOS tubes the price is available on request. Also to be seen at CES 2008 will be the Proton 24/96 LiIon USB DAC with headphone output. The Proton is completely portable and supports 24 bit data rates at 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96 kHz.

 

High-end audio manufacturer Linn will be offering their new Akurate DS ($6850) digital music server. The Linn Akurate DS provides audiophile-quality music digitally streamed throughout a home or business via a standard network connection. The Akurate DS also integrates seamlessly with other Akurate components for complete control of the entire system through a wireless touch panel, PC, laptop or IR handset. Audio file formats supported include FLAC, WAV plus other formats. The first unveiling will be at CES 2008.

 

Early sales figures from the Unites States' holiday season are indicating a low growth not seen since 5 years ago. Sales were a mere 3.6 percent increase for the month of December, with electronics experiencing a sales gains and online retailers still enjoying double-digital growth of 22% according to MasterCard. Online vendors are seeing more sales gains than their brick and mortar counterparts, with shipping companies experiencing some delays due to the increased quantity of packages being shipped. MasterCard's consulting unit has reported that sales from November 23 to December 24 had 3.6 percent percent gain, with December 15 through 22 spending reduced 2.2 percent.

 

12 / 21 / 07

SEAS Exotic F8 Driver  Norwegian high-end loudspeaker manufacturer SEAS  has introduced their new F8 Full-Range 8-inch driver. As the first in a new line of Exotic products, the F8 full-range driver bridges the past with the future, combining traditional design with advanced development tools and state-of-the-art materials. Of note is that SEAS began producing full-range drivers in the early 1950's for the European radio and high fidelity industry, and is now bridging the gap between old and new construction techniques. The Exotic F8 boasts a lightweight paper cone embedded with papyrus fibers, which allows the driver to produce an extremely smooth, extended frequency response. A powerful Alnico magnet system with a long gap is mated to a short, under-hung voice coil for linear performance and high sensitivity. New surround material made from lightweight foam rubber provides superior damping to corrugated paper surrounds, yet maintains very low moving mass. Lastly, an all-new spider design using an extremely open weave impregnated with a special resin to virtually eliminate distortion caused by friction noise and reflection. An optimally matched whizzer cone extends high frequency response beyond 10kHz. Total frequency response is from 30Hz to 20kHz with a sensitivity of 93dB/W/m at 8 Ohms.

 

NAD Masters Series M4NAD Electronics, manufacturer of high-performance audio/video components, will have a room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas to show their new Masters Series M4 analog/digital tuner ($1299). The M4 combines a highly sensitive FM/AM tuning section with the latest digital technology including XM satellite radio input. While transparent Auto Tuning finds all the stations available in any given area, there is a 40-station preset memory which allows listeners to save their favorites. The two-line dot matrix with RDS capability shows information about all broadcasts from RDS-compliant channels, including station IDs and song and artist information. A double-tuned FM detector is included for low distortion and frequency response correction for the multiplex (MPX) filter, and to improve the audio frequency response without sacrificing the filter's ability to block out the pilot tone. A Mute function eliminates inter-station tuning noise while a Blend function reduces the noise from distant stations by reducing high-frequency separation. Additional features include audiophile-quality TI/Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converters, T/I Burr-Brown operational amps, and separate power supplies for the digital control and audio stages. An IR input on the rear panel for interfacing with external IR sensors, an RS-232 port, and a 12-Volt trigger all allow the M4 to be fully integrated with advanced automated control systems, including models certified by Crestron and AMX.

 

12 / 20 / 07

Pass Labs XA.5 Series Of Amplification  Pass Laboratories, an audio innovator renowned for its unique high-performance products, will introduce the XA.5 series of power amplifiers at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show (prices range from $5000 to $31,000). The XA.5 Series consists of five models: the XA200.5, the XA160.5, the XA100.5, the XA60.5 and XA30.5. All models offer significant improvements on their classic Pass Labs predecessors and are said to possess the dynamic range to do justice to the 24-bit recordings yet retain subtle nuances of micro-dynamics. The top-of-the-range XA30.5 provides larger output current capacity than corresponding models from Pass labs' earlier XA Series, with more than five times the current capability! All models feature pure Class A operation with circuitry that does not compensate for any type of high frequency by using little frequency roll-offs, lag capacitors, output coils, Zobel networks, or other techniques. The amplifiers are stable because they are simple gain stages with minimal feedback. Pass Labs replaced input differential MOSFETs with JFETs possessing much less noise, higher input impedance and greater linearity. A new bias generator was developed that eliminated three sources of variation in the output stage bias current. They improved the power supplies by adding storage capacitance, larger and quieter power transformers, and fast-recovery rectifiers. The XA30.5 amplifier ($5000), smallest model in the line, produces 30 wpc at 8 Ohms with 1 percent THD. Its input impedance is 30 kOhms balanced, 15 kOhms unbalanced, measures 19x7x19 (WxHxD in inches) and weighs 75 lbs. The top line XA200.5 monoblock amplifier ($31,00 per pair) drives 200 wpc at 8 Ohms with 1 percent THD. Its input impedance is 30 kOhms balanced, 15 kOhms unbalanced, measures 19x11x28 (WxHxD in inches) and weighs an impressive 180 lbs. We have various reviews of Pass Laboratories' products including their Aleph X2.5 preamplifier, X250 amplifier and Aleph 30 plus the Volksamp Aleph 30 amplifier and First Watt Model F1 amplifier.  

 

PS AudioPS Audio, manufacturers of both high-end audio and AC power products, has announced their PowerPlay line of globally accessible AC power control centers and a new network memory CD transport ($1499 for transport). PS Audio will be showcasing five models of their PowerPlay line of AC power conditioners at the upcoming CES 2008. The PowerPlay concept permits the complete control of an entire home theater system through any web based medium, including an iPhone or Blackberry phone from anywhere in the world. The system does not require special software nor a static IP and can be installed in under 60 seconds. PS Audio's memory transport, as of yet unnamed, is the first in a new series of network addressable audio equipment from the company. The transport features true Exact Audio Copy (EAC) data acquisition, full memory playback, low jitter fixed clock output, built in Digital Lens, variable bit rate for Red Book CD's with upwards of 24-bits, upgradeable CODECS, access to internet meta data sources to display both cover art and track titles, wireless, USB and Ethernet port access to the outside world. This slot loaded TEAC drive makes inserting discs easy as a soft nylon ESD brush set in the opening of the slot loading mouth dissipates any static charge on the disc before it gets read. Error correction reporting is stated on the front panel and will display the quality of the data on any particular disc. PS Audio's new transport has a front panel with two inch color LCD display which, when the unit is connected to an internet connection, will go out and locate the cover art and song titles on the disc being played and display it on the front panel. If not connected to the internet, it will display individual time codes and track numbers. There will be a single knob in the center of the unit and a few touch buttons. The knob can be used to scroll through the song titles as well as menu items. Menu items include variable bit length so you can choose 16, 20, or 24 bit length for any CD playing. Enjoy the Music.com has reviews of various PS Audio products including their GCC-100, P600 Power Plant

 

KEF Kube-1 SubwooferKEF, renowned British manufacturer of audiophile-quality speakers, announces the release of its new KUBE-1 subwoofer. The KUBE-1 is KEF's new entry-level powered subwoofer and is a direct replacement for the discontinued PSW1000.2. Measuring a mere11.5 x 11.5 x 11.5 (HxWxD in inches), the unit includes 150 watt Class D amplification and 8-inch driver. Combined with an Auxiliary Bass Radiator (ABR) of the same size, the unit is said to produce "tunefully, defined bass with a tight response." The black cabinet is topped with a high-gloss surface.

 

12 / 19 / 07

Genesis 2-Series Loudspeaker  Genesis Advanced Technologies, longtime manufacturer of audiophile loudspeaker systems, has announced their latest generation in the evolution of Genesis 2-series ($63,000 in gloss black). The Genesis 2-series loudspeaker, G2 for short, is the penultimate Genesis model with four towers and external crossover system and Class D amplification for the woofers. The past five years of development have come to fruition with improved Servo-Bass Cable and 8-inch woofers with higher displacement and lower distortion. Genesis also moved to an acrylic/mdf composite sandwich for improved cabinet resonance control. A completely redesigned Servo-Controlled Bass Amplifier better controls the system's lowermost sound frequency reproduction, which is driven by new Class D modules with zero propagation delay and higher current capability. Driver compliment per channel includes fifteen 1-inch circular ribbons, a single 48-inch ribbon midrange, and eight 8-inch woofers. Frequency response is from 16Hz to 36kHz and sensitivity is 90dB/W/m.

 

ATC Room AnalyzerXTZ will soon offer their PC-based Room Analyzer measurement software/tool for audio systems. A combination of software plus the included USB microphone allows for frequency response measurement with RTA (Real Time Analyzer) from 16Hz to 20kHz. Other features include a high resolution room analysis (Room Analyzer) and reverb analysis. You can also use this setup to locate room modes and see where acoustic panels may be of benefit, thereby removing unwanted frequency depression or augmentation as is common in many listening rooms. A spectrogram, 2-D waterfall, shows time, frequency and magnitude. The USB microphone includes stand and helps to avoid lackluster internal soundcards and, instead, opt for direct digital signal input to the computer software for accurate results.

 

12 / 18 / 07

Waterfall Audio Victoria EVO  Waterfall Audio, known worldwide for their glass-enclosure designs it distributes in 30 different countries, will demonstrate their unique Victoria EVO and Iguasçu EVO at the upcoming CES 2008 ($5400 and $3,900 per pair respectively). Waterfall's loudspeaker designs feature dramatic enclosures that are individually handcrafted entirely of glass, which produce the visual effect of drivers that seem to "float" invisibly in the room. The Victoria EVO and Iguasçu EVO are slim, pure-glass towers standing 40 inches high and 10 inches wide. The Victoria EVO (pictured) is a three-way/four-driver design and includes Waterfall's proprietary down-firing, 8.5-inch passive woofer. The Iguasçu stands 34-inches tall, 10-inches wide, and employs identical drivers including the passive woofer in a two-way/three-driver arrangement. Both models use a key Waterfall technology including the Acoustic Damping Tube (ADT), which performs near-total damping of mid- and low-frequency "back-wave" artifacts, and precise damping control of midrange reflections. Both models use the Atohm 6-inch bass/midrange and Atohm 0/75-inch silk dome tweeter.

 

Revolver Audio Cygnis Loudspeaker and Replay TurntableRevolver Audio has announced their for the Cygnis loudspeaker and Replay turntable will be appearing at the January Consumer Electronic Show (£6000 and £1500 respectively). Cygnis' Replay turntable benefits from three years of intensive research and development. While it employs the same acoustic principles as it's famous forbear, the Revolver Rebel, added benefits of new technology and materials are mated with modern esoteric styling. Revolver Audio's Cygnis loudspeaker is a three-way design and provides a high sensitivity of (91dB/W/m. Frequency response is from 45Hz to 22kHz (+/-3dB) and the hand-built crossover utilizes air cored inductors, custom polypropylene capacitors and silver plated OFC wiring. To ensure top quality sound, the crossover network is acoustically isolated in a dedicated enclosure to keep unwanted resonances away from the critical components. Bi-wireable inputs are via heavy duty nickel plated minimum resistance binding posts and the enclosure is available is Maple or Dark Cherry veneer.

 

12 / 17 / 07

Jaton HD-661DX Speaker  Jaton, specialists in designing and manufacturing high-performance computer and consumer electronics products, will launch the new Operetta AP2300A high-performance amplifier and Lyra HD-661DX speaker at the CES 2008 ($5000 and $1600/pr respectively). The Operetta AP2300A stereo amplifier produces 300 wpc and operates in high-end Class A. Each part within the amplifier has been carefully chosen to provide top quality sound and long-term reliability. The Lyra HD-661DX speaker is Jaton's newest version of their well received monitor, yet now employs an updated the tweeter and bi-wire ability. This three-way unit produces frequencies all the way to 25 kHz. The new HD-661DX is said to produce a much larger soundstage than the previous version while keeping a smooth and very enjoyable midrange and highs.

 

Eventus Audio Lysithea LoudspeakerEventus Audio will be premiering at the 2008 International CES their Lysithea ($28,000) three-way loudspeaker that utilizes an evolution of the patented Simulated Anechoic Cabinet Construction [SACC] technology. SACC is said to reduces cabinet vibration and internal reflections to eliminate unwanted cabinet-causing distortions. The overall design is similar to a large stand mounted monitor; however, in place of a stand is an elegantly designed base with a captive low frequency driver. The crossover, located outside of the cabinet in the back of the loudspeaker, is damp-mounted in order to minimize the deleterious effects of the driver vibrations and its typology comes from the Eventus Audio's Nebula. A ring radiator tweeter and 5-inch carbon fiber cone midrange and mated with a 7.5-inch carbon fiber woofer to produce frequencies from 40Hz to 45kHz. Sensitivity is 89dB/W/m, weight is a staggering 99 lbs each, and dimensions are 42 x 12 x 21.5 (HxWxD in inches).

 

12 / 14 / 07

Enjoy the Music.com Audiophile Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine midmonth update features two articles from Sound Practices magazine never before seen online! Power Cord Plus will show you how to make your very own audiophile-grade power chord for very little money. Written by Gordon Rankin of Wavelength Audio, this article carefully takes you step by step into the process. Another must-read article is Guerrilla Tactics For The Audiophile Home where writer Joyce tells others how to deal with their DIY audiophile significant other. Enjoy Joyce's humor and truth in this perhaps all too close to reality article.

 

Lyngdorf Audio D-1More CES news is rolling in as the Lyngdorf Audio D-1 and TDA-2300 AV preamplifier / processor featuring RoomPerfect digital room correction technology and matching amplifier will make their first US show appearance ($15,000 and $2900 respectively). Lyngdorf Audio, Denmark-based manufacturer that specializes in high-performance audio technologies, is highly respected around the world. Their award-winning RoomPerfect, a Digital Signal Processing-based (DSP) room correction technology that greatly improves audio performance automatically by digitally correcting (calibrating) room-caused anomalies, is of great benefit to those with less that optimum listening rooms. According to Lyngdorf, "RoomPerfect is distinctive among room correction systems; its proprietary technology ensures frequency response far superior to its competition; it also gives much higher freedom of speaker placement in the room." Lyngdorf Audio's D-1 home theater preamplifier / processor handles 8-channels and utilizes a one-button user interface from where the user sets up and controls all the processing. System settings are predefined from 2 to 8 speaker systems. The D-1's advanced RoomPerfect processing permits the use of separate main and woofer speakers on each of the 7 channels, plus a complement of multiple LFE subwoofers. The RoomPerfect auto calibration process includes automatic setting of individual speaker delay. The TDA-2300 amplifier delivers two channels rated at 300 watts continuously into 4 ohms using Lyngdorf's proprietary True Digital Amplification. For a multi-channel home theater configuration, several TDA-2300's are required and can be digitally daisy-chained together. The Lyngdorf D-1 is capable of controlling up to 24 TDA-2300 units, thereby controlling a 14,000-watts. Of note is that TDA-2300 and the D-1 are connected via an encrypted proprietary Lyngdorf Link system that combines control and audio signals in one cable. By using the built-in crossover in the D-1, each daisy-chained TDA-2300 can be set up in individual fashion just by using one cable connection.

 

12 / 13 / 07

MoFi Rush Permanent Waves On LP  Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MoFi) is about to release some heavy-hitting rock albums not to be missed! Rush Permanent Waves with GAIN 2T technology on both 24 karat gold Ultradisc II CD and Ultra Analog 180g LP will soon be available. Virtually every rock fan knows this album, as it reached #4 on the charts and features the songs "Freewill" and "Spirit of Radio" plus the three part song "Natural Science." Also coming to CD and LP release is Santana's Abraxas that also benefits from Mobile Fidelity's GAIN 2T remastering system. Songs on this legendary album include "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts", "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen", "Oye Como Va" and many others. Pricing is $29.99 for LP and $24.99 for CD.

 

Audio-Technica AT-LP2D-USBAm getting many press releases concerning the upcoming CES 2008, and one of them states that Audio-Technica will debut its QuietPoint ATH-ANC3 high-performance active noise-canceling in-ear headphones and AT-LP2D-USB LP-to-digital system. The ATH-ANC3 earphones are the newest member of the QuietPoint family, which also includes the award-winning ATH-ANC7 headphones. These new in-ear headphones use patented QuietPoint noise-cancellation technology to deliver superior performance and block 85 percent of outside noise. Audio-Technica will also have their new AT-LP2D-USB LP-to-digital recording system, a complete USB turntable and software package that makes it easy to transfer vinyl records to digital media files and CDs.

 

12 / 12 / 07

Pass Laboratories INT-150 Stereo Integrated Amplifier  Pass Laboratories will soon launch their INT-150 stereo integrated amplifier ($6,500) at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show. As the company's first integrated amplifier, the INT-150 is based on the company's acclaimed X-150.5 stereo amplifier. Design technology and refinements include Pass Labs' patented Super-Symmetry circuit, said to improve performance by precisely matching characteristics of the two halves of a balanced amplifier. The company says the INT-150 will boast an excellent dynamic range and fast response. Rated at 150 wpc into 8 Ohms (300 @ 4 Ohms), convenience features include a wireless remote control for power, mute, volume, balance, choosing between five inputs plus tape. The main power switch is also on the rear, but a convenient standby switch is available on the front panel. The INT-150 accepts four single-ended inputs via RCA connectors, and two balanced XLR inputs. Loudspeaker outputs are equipped with heavy-duty, international safety-rated, five-way binding posts.

 

Bowers & Wilkins Spiral DiffuserBowers & Wilkins has developed a new Spiral Diffuser tube that will help vehicle manufacturers increase sound system performance within the current and limited package restrictions that speakers occupy. Undesirable back wave sound that emerges from the rear of a speaker cone can color the sound coming from the front. According to Bowers & Wilkins, this is often the case in automotive applications, where sounds from the rear of the speaker bounce around inside door enclosures, creating delayed, resonant noise. The small package restrictions of the car make controlling the back wave difficult. A space-saving technology used in its flagship home theater system, the CT800, was also found to be a perfect match for low profile automotive applications. A novel six-channel spiral diffuser provides the equivalent of a 4-inch tube length in only 10 percent of the depth. This patented spiral, visually similar to a turbine impeller, is typically made of injection molded plastic and can be integrated into OE speaker designs. The Spiral Diffuser is the latest technology released by the newly formed Bowers & Wilkins Automotive Division. Note that the company recently announced its first production system with Jaguar's XF premium system exclusively engineered into the new model year automobile.

 

12 / 11 / 07

The Abso!ute Sound Issue 178, January 2008  Enjoy the Music.com now offers a world premiere of The Absolute Sound's Issue 178, January 2008 table of contents and editorial! This edition features many new equipment and music reviews. Within Robert Harley's editorial, First Things First, he says "...there are more than 400 loudspeaker manufacturers who can be considered competitors in the high-end arena. The vast majority of these companies buy the same raw drivers from the same driver manufacturers, put those drivers in MDF boxes, and, with different levels of skill, create crossover networks. The results, as you might expect, vary widely. I saw and heard a number of loudspeakers that seemed to violate generally accepted principles of good design practice — and most of them had extremely colored tonal balances. A few managed to do some things well — dynamics, for example — but one had to listen past the tonal distortions. This phenomenon of a product being optimized for a single performance parameter is driven by designer "tunnel vision." The designer values one aspect of the sonic presentation so much more than other aspects that he optimizes the design to emphasize his priority to the exclusion of all else. That's fine if you happen to share the designer's idiosyncratic view but not so good if you're looking for a product that delivers balanced performance." You can see the table of contents and read the complete editorial by clicking here.

 

Skywire Audio 2020 InterconnectSkywire Audio new Skywire 2020 line of cables ($945 for 1 meter interconnect, others at various pricing) are designed by Don Palmer, a man who has worked for 34 years as an electro-mechanical design engineer on a wide variety of analog, digital, and Radio Frequency (RF) electronics products. The 2020 interconnect uses 14 gauge (19 strands) of pure silver plated soft copper conductor, low loss Teflon dielectric insulation and dual layer electrostatic shields for lowest noise. The overall design is said to be maximized for RF suppression to achieve the highest resolution. Connectors are gold plated and the cables are made within the Unites States of America.

 

12 / 10 / 07

Wireworld Matrix  Wireworld has introduced its new Matrix shielded power cord extender featuring a total of seven high quality power outlets and flexible mounting options ($119.95). The Matrix power cord extender is designed to provide the additional outlets required by systems with or without dedicated power conditioning equipment. It features a sturdy extruded aluminum chassis with seven high-quality NEMA 5-15 outlets, and an IEC 320 power inlet jack. The enclosure is shielded and grounded, and all internal wiring is 13 AWG solid copper to provide clean high-current power capability while preventing the introduction of audible interference from external electromagnetic sources. The Matrix includes flexible three-way mounting brackets, and can be mounted directly in a 1-u height 19-inch rack opening, surface mounted, or mounted in a concealed installation.

 

AudioQuest Sky InterconnectAudioQuest's new flagship Sky interconnect (SKY interconnect (£1633 for 1 meter length) utilizes three solid, high-purity Perfect Surface Silver (PSS) conductors said to minimize the distortion caused by the grain boundaries that exist in any metal conductor. AudioQuest further claims that the resulting effect is an elimination of harshness and greatly increased clarity compared to other materials. Air insulation, because it doesn't absorb and later release energy, is used within the Sky as is low energy absorption Teflon extruded insulation. Teflon tubes in the Sky are 50 percent larger than the company's previous flagship cable. Of note is that AudioQuest's Dielectric-Bias System (DBS) is part of this new cable and utilizes a 72 volt charge to bias the dielectric in the cable.

 

12 / 07 / 07

House Ear Institute (HEI)  House Ear Institute (HEI), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education to improve quality of life, is helping to educate teens and young adults with an awareness campaign titled "It's How You Listen That Counts". With prominent placement of Ear Bud, the campaign's mascot, the key is to get the message across concerning hearing conservation. To build on the success of its initial run on MTV, the campaign's educational video spot featuring Ear Bud and teens is posted on YouTube.com, and a profile of Ear Bud has attracted a network of friends on MySpace.com. It is estimated that children and teens represent roughly half of those suffering from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in the United States, with 5.2 million 6 to 19 year olds showing a hearing loss directly related to noise exposure. "The House Ear Institute feels it is imperative to educate teens and young adults on the importance of smart listening habits so they know how to protect their hearing from damage over the long term," says Marilee Potthoff, program director, House Ear Institute. "The early success of our initiative shows that impacting this younger audience is possible with the right message strategically delivered through the media they favor."

 

audioXsell CD-RTom Lynch from AudioXsell sent me an e-mail saying the company has begun to offer their famous audiophile grade CD-R's for sale after many requests. Audiophiles can purchase 100 quantity packs for $100, with smaller quantities also available at higher per disc pricing. AudioXsell says their CD-R media has been very popular at the audio shows and with audio societies.

 

12 / 06 / 07

  What is on retailer's mind this holiday season? Online sales of course as everyone from the music industry to hardware manufacturers to online magazines are realizing the strength of the Internet. CD sales for the week ending November 25, a time period that includes the day following Thanksgiving, saw an 18 percent decline compared to the same week last year according to Nielsen Soundscan. Year-to-date physical album sales have fallen 14.4 percent from last year while online music sales are continuing their double digit growth.

comScoreAccording to comScore, a service used by more than 800 clients including AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo!, BBC, Carat, Cyworld, Deutsche Bank, France Telecom, Best Buy, etc, says that the day after Thanksgiving experienced a staggering $531 million in online retail spending. This is an increase of 22 percent during the same period in 2006. E-commerce spending hit $9.3 billion during the season-to-date, thus bringing in a 17 percent gain versus last year. Thanksgiving Day spending was up 29 percent to $272 million and as we said, the day afterwards earned $531 million in sales. From November 1 to the 23 consumer electronics experienced a 21 percent gain in online sales versus last year.

Audiophile magazines are also seeing the light as many print-only audiophile journals are now offering their publication online in hopes of reaching a larger, more diverse and worldwide audience. Online sales of e-magazines plus the ever-increasing move by manufacturers and retailers who are shying away from print advertisement to investing in online advertisements shows the strong selling force of the Internet. With billions of dollars at stake and a worldwide marketplace, the Internet easily reaches far more readers than audiophile print publication subscribers.

 

Teresonic MagusTeresonic, a company is dedicated to research, design and manufacturing of high-end audio products, has released their Magus compact loudspeakers ($3,995/pair and optional stands for $385/pair). This compact monitor features a single driver and super high 98dB/W/m sensitivity, therefore requiring a mere handful watts for full sound levels. The special enclosure features multiple chambers while a 5-inch Lowther DX55 driver produces frequencies from 55Hz to 22kHz (± 3dB). "Low power amplifiers including vacuum tubes will sound huge using a fraction of energy compared to power hungry amplifiers and inefficient loudspeakers," says Mike Zivkovic, President of Teresonic. "Magus is bringing to compact monitors a breed of musicality – the magic of full-range design and ultra-high efficiency – that was just not available before."

 

12 / 05 / 07

Headroom Micro Line Portable Audio Unit  Headroom now offers their 1.5" x 3.5" Micro Line units that are easy to place in small spaces or carry around with your portable audio unit. The Headroom Portable Micro Amp ($399 standard or $599 with DAC) is a blend of audiophile quality parts, a road-worthy aluminum & urethane enclosure, a serious battery and recharging circuit plus includes various travel accessories. For those wanting more quality in portable separates, the Headroom Ultra Micro Amp ($699) is said to have "ridiculously high-quality electronics of our Max amp in the tiny Micro enclosure. The already excellent Texas Instruments OPA134 op amp of the standard Micro Amp is replaced throughout by the astronomically expensive OPA627, and all resistors and caps are of extraordinary reference-grade quality." Of course one might want the DAC, and so the company also now offers their Ultra Micro DAC ($699) that is said to have some of the world's finest upsampling DAC chips in a box this small. Internal parts include Cirrus Logic and Analog Devices such as the CS4398 with 120dB dynamic range and -107dB THD+Noise, and the Analog Devices AD1896 Asynchronous Sample Rate Converter up-samples all incoming digital data to 24-bit/196kHz with an interpolation algorithm using its own ultra-stable clock to ensure a jitter-free output data stream.

 

DaVinciAudioJust received word from DaVinciAudio that their Basis Line consists of MC PhonoAmplifier / PreAmplifier and Mono C-PSE 300B PowerAmplifier. All amplifiers comes with a Basis Power Supply. Current owners can rest assured in keeping their products at the company's cutting edge as, as DaVinciAudio offers the following upgrade step by step. This allows for lower entry price and upgrading as financing permits.

* The MC PhonoAmplifier with the LCR-RIAA Driver
* The PreAmplifier with the 300B Line-Driver
* The Mono C-PSE 300B Amplifier with the Mono-Driver
* Basis Power Supply can be exchanged with the Majestic Power Supply

 

Olive Media Karim Rashid No5Olive Media has unveiled their new Karim Rashid limited edition of their OPUS Nº5 digital audio player. Featuring four unique styles by world renowned designer Karim Rashid, this new and bold styling will surely get attention when prominently placed within one's home. The OPUS Nº5 is based on Olive Media's Pure Audio System (PAS) technology, fusing state-of-the-art audio with digital technologies, it is said to deliver a warm, full-bodied, and spacious sound. being a digital audio player with hard drive storage, users can access up to 2,200 of CD data. "Music is fluid, music is movement, music is sexy. Music is fun, embracing, mnemonic, liberating, emotive, experiential, memorable, and abstract" explains Karim. "So, for the new Opus Nº5, I designed four unique digital graphics patterns symbolic of our corybantic digital age. Omni-directional like sound, the patterns emphasize the 'voluminous' beats that radiate from music. The repeated elements are symbolic of binary notation enveloping a perfect container of sound."

 

12 / 04 / 07

Vacuum State Of The Art (VSAC) 2008  The Vacuum State Of The Art (VSAC) conference and show 2008 will be held from Saturday, May 24 thru Monday, May 26 at the Hilton Vancouver in Washington state USA. Exhibitors scheduled to appear include Bent Audio, Bottlehead, Cardas Audio, DIYCable, Eurotubes, Experience Music, Lowther America, ModWright Instruments, Serious Stereo, Tape Project and Wright Sound. Other features of VSAC 2008 include a craftsman room, live music and various seminars.

 

Dual TurntablesDual turntables, made in Germany, will be coming back the United States and other countries throughout the world! The former production manager of the DUAL production, Mr. Alfred Fehrenbacher who is now more than 70 years old, is still managing the manufacturing facility as nearly 15 workstations produce several hundred turntables each day. The parts are made with vintage tools while the cabinets are supplied from a small factory near the main manufacturing plant. Nat Distribution will head up distribution throughout the Unites States. Of note is the model CS 455-1 with solid wood frame, floating sub-chassis, Cardan bearing tonearm, vibration dampened aluminum platter, DC motor with speed control for 33/45/78 rpm, and Ortofon OMB 10 cartridge included.

 

Whest Audio PS.30RWhest Audio, a British company specializing in analog amplification, has developed what they are saying "could well be the world's most advanced phonostage under £3,000." Priced at £1,499, the PS.30R replaces the company's PS.20. Using discrete component technology together with true hybrid RIAA filter stages with multiple on-board voltage regulation "for macro-level signal retrieval" says Whest Audio, "the PS.30R manages to exceed the PS.20s performance, both audibly and technically." The PS.30R incorporates non-magnetic Vishay resistors, Panasonic FC capacitors as well as high performance audio specification polypropylene capacitors to ensure ultra low levels of distortion. Image stability is handled by hand selected transistors and multiple onboard voltage regulation.

 

12 / 03 / 07

Naim CD5i CD Player  Naim has re-launched the company's acclaimed CD5i CD player and NAIT5i integrated amplifier ($1795 and $1,550 respectively). As the extremely successful entry-level CD player and integrated amplifier though physically identical to their predecessors, delivers significantly improved performance on the inside. Both the CD5i and NAIT5i retain an intuitive ease of use and styling, yet benefit from upgrades. In the CD5i, the DAC has now changed from a Philips continuous-calibration IC to a Wolfson WM8706 multi-function chip that was chosen after extensive listening tests. A dedicated, on-board regulated power supply supply ensures top quality performance. Circuit-path optimization and critical component changes include an I-V conversion stage placed closer to the DAC output, judicious use of tantalum capacitors throughout the analog output stage, and re-aligned star grounding to maximize the benefits of a very low-jitter clock-all within the confines of the disc tray itself! The improved NAIT5i integrated amplifier now features an auto-switching iPod / MP3 player input on the front panel, with its own dedicated relay switching circuitry. All inputs feed an improved passive attenuator section (the Alps Blue Velvet) with improved RF filtering. A unity-gain AV input is also provided, for connection to an external AV processor or another receiver. The power amplifier section of the NAIT5i benefits from a solid re-design in several areas, reducing global feedback for better stability and reduced TIM, utilizing ceramic heat-sink material to reduce capacitive coupling of the complementary output transistors to the aluminum chassis, and additional treatment of complementary driver transistors within the circuit itself. Rated power output is still 50 wpc at 8 Ohms.

 

ATC EL 150 SLP LoudspeakerFlat Earth Audio will soon be delivering the ATC EL 150 SLP loudspeaker and SIA 2-150 integrated amplifier ($58,000 and $5,300 respectively.). As an ultra-high performance, no compromise, limited edition loudspeaker, the new EL 150 SLP is build by hand in ATC's UK factory. This statement piece includes a 25mm dome tweeter, ATC's SM-150s soft dome midrange, Super Linear 375mm woofer and a cabinet designed to eliminate edge diffraction and internal resonance. Frequency response is from 25Hz to 22kHz (+/-6dB) with a 91dB/W/m sensitivity. ATC's new SIA 2-150 integrated amplifier heads a new range of products for the company. This Class A/B 150 watt per channel amplifier features an output stage using fully discreet ultra low noise preamplification circuitry and massive power supply. Besides the usual features found in most integrated units, a line level subwoofer output and additional preamplification output are included for driving a second power amplifier. Frequency response is from 5Hz to 200kHz (+/- 0.1dB) with a very low SNR of 100dB and THD of -90dB.

 

12 / 01 / 07

  Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the December editions of our Superior Audio and Review Magazine. Of note is that we have officially launched our Sound Practices section within the Review Magazine! Come explore a whole new realm into audio archeology!

 


Many new articles are now online including...

Viewpoint Article
Sound Practices... An Audio Archeological Expedition
Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 98: TEAC ESOTERIC P-05 & D-05 Transport/Converter.

Sound Practices 
Voices From The Fringe?

BAS Speaker
Frank Van Alstine Tweaks
 

Equipment Reviews
Consonance Cyber 10 Multifunctional Tube Amplifier
Gemme Audio Tanto & System Audio Ranger Speakers
Great Audiophile Gifts Ideas For 2007!

Music Reviews
Many great classical, jazz and rock recordings reviewed this month!

See the December Review Magazine by clicking here.

 


This month we have:
AAD 7001i Monitor Loudspeaker
The Silicon Arts ZL-120 Monoblock Power Amplifier
Concert Fidelity CF-080 Line Preamplifier

See the November issue of Superior Audio by clicking here.


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