Sometimes retro is cool, and reel to reel still falls under that 'make me lick my lips' category. Sure I want the latest and greatest digital front end, yet there is that
je ne sais quoi about them.
Silicon Arts had their Si Micro series, which are a mere 5 inches wide and embodies the company's "three-dimensional circuit design know-how and construction techniques, the fruits of more than 30 years of design experience by Masataka Tsuda". A very short and simple signal path ensures sound quality for each unit that includes a DAC, stereo line stage and stereo amplifier.
Enjoy the Music.com just released our world premiere review by none
other than longstanding audio journalist Dick Olsher (click
ΩMA Speakers ($12,000/pr introductory, normally $13,500) is a mere 14" high and deep and with stand is 57" high. This 95dB/W/m design works well with both low output tube and normal solid-state amplifiers. The proprietary horn is cast from aluminum, which is loaded with a compression driver that was carefully selected to achieve optimal performance. The woofer enclosure is either extremely high quality Birch ply or Bamboo, in a non resonant construction, with a porting design that mitigates room placement issues found with similar speakers.
The nearly all-singing all-dancing Naim Unitiqute ($1999) may be relatively new yet has already won awards and accolades. Of course it can be controlled iTouch, iPad, etc and provides analog inputs, WiFi, S/PDIF via 2 optical, 2 coaxial plus 1 digital/analogue 3.5mm jack. There are USB inputs, Ethernet, iPod/iTouch via USB, FM radio… Call it the proverbial high-end audio Swiss knife that can also play WMA, MP3, AAC, high resolution FLAC and WAV (up to 24bit/96kHz via UPnp and USB only). Long story short, it handles just about everything you can throw at it other than MM/MC RIAA. And if you are like me and drive a modern Bentley, you can get a Naim system in that too.
Aperion Audio Verus Grand Tower $1798/pr. Was literally just released, with units shipping out to customers the 26th of this month. Talk about a great bargain, each 43.5" x 8" x 12" (HxWxD) 65 lbs tower holds a 1-inch Aperion Axially Stabilized Radiator silk dome tweeter, a pair of 5-inch woven Kevlar mid-range drivers with aluminum phase plugs and a pair of 6-inch woven Kevlar woofers with butyl rubber surrounds. This is a 3-way bass reflex design and bi-ampable via 5-way gold-plated binding posts. The cabinet is available in gloss cherry wood veneer or gloss piano black finish.
MSB Platinum Signature DAC IV ($7995 on up) is one of the very first high-end audio units to achieve decoding of 32-bit/384kHz digital audio files. In basic configuration the MSB DAC IV includes 2nd generation dual 24-bit 100 Mbit/sec sign magnitude R2R ladder DAC with four discrete converters. It accepts 384kHz S/PDIF inputs and includes the advanced 32x MSB digital filter. Inputs include balanced or single ended analog, TosLink, coaxial, AES/EBU and MSB network. Available outputs are single ended RCA or balanced XLR plus clock sync for recording studio use. For additional cost you can upgrade the power supply add digital output for transport, 12V trigger, stepped attenuator, USB 2 Signature that handles 384kHz that is plug and play on a MAC, but MSB drivers will need to be installed on the PC.
Soundsmith Cartright ($899) is for analog lovers, God bless those still holding on to legacy technology, and makes setting up a cartridge extremely easy. All types of tuning/adjustments can be fine-tuned with ease using this new device. Very cool use of modern technology to tweak old-school products.
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