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Hi-Fi News & Record Review
by Steven R. Rochlin

Absolute Sounds  The folks from Acoustic Sounds had quite a few rooms at the show. Seen here is their setup using an Audio Research 2 transport/CD Player, LS25 preamplifier and VT200 stereo amplifier with Sonus Faber speakers. Absolute Sounds was also showing, but not playing, the Krell super huge 1kw of nuclear brain damage amplifier monoblock amplifiers that weigh in at 500kg.! Forget the Ferrari like the owner of Krell drives and buy a pair of these for only 100,000 Pounds Sterling. In another room a complete system using Krell electronics with the relatively new Wilson Watt/Puppy 6 speakers.

Avantgarde Acoustic Trio speakersComing from Germany, the Avantgarde Trio horn speakers have been highly reviewed worldwide (and i can hear why as they are very impressive). These drop-dead lovely horn speakers have undergone many upgrades within the past year. The subwoofers are now motion-controlled by using the "negative output impedance of the amplifier and the impedance of the driver. It's the back EMF is used as the direct comparison" according to their head designer. Newer woofer driver are also used to enhance the ease of amplifier drivability with a movement of 9 mm each direction for 18 mm total forward/backward motion. New higher frequency drivers are also now implemented to assist in achieving the new, only two part, crossover consisting of one choke and one capacitor.

Carfrae speakersThe Carfrae horn speakers were making very impressive sounds at the show! Using the new Lowther DX4 driver, this "Little Big Horn" stands only 1.35 meters high with a depth of only 80 cms. By allowing nature to help in design, specifically the Nautilus shell, this speaker is able to achieve a claimed lower frequency response of 44Hz. As with most horn speakers, an expected high sensitive is also achieved (108dB/W/m). The optional side-firing powered subwoofer system is seen in the photo to the right as well (rear lower left drive unit). This helps to further extend the lower frequency capabilities of this package for a truly full range setup (28Hz to 22kHz for complete package).

Unison Research from Italy was showing their new S8 integrated single-ended valve amplifier. By using a single 845 output valve per channel, the S8 can produce about 24 wpc into either a 4 or 8 ohm load. Four inputs and tape loop are provided as is a silky smooth volume knob. Of course the usual Italian fine hand-crafted wood accented front brings forth it's true heritage.

Cura CA-21On the other hand, the proud to be British Cura  CA-21 is probably Austin Powers speaker of choice as seen here in special flag-like finish. Offered in many natural wood finishes, the CA-21 uses a 25mm coated fabric dome tweeter and 6.5" doped paper cone mid/bass driver and uses the special QED Silver Anniversary for internal wiring. Sensitivity is rated at 87dB/W/m. Multiple internal bracing is also deployed to add in achieving a very high internally dampened structure to improve the overall performance.

Speaking of QED, their highly raved about Silver Spiral cable claimed to offer "sonically accurate, transparent and neutral" sound. Constructed from silver-plated 99.999% oxygen free copper core, polyethylene core insulator and other carefully chosen materials, this looks to be quite an impressive cable indeed. In more rooms then i care to mention, my personal favorite Kimber Kables were being used to excellent effect. Specifically, the Kimber Kable Select line use all silver wire (not less expensive and less conductive silver-plated copper) to achieve some of the best music my ears have heard. If you ever get an opportunity i highly recommend auditioning the Kimber Kable Select in your music reproduction system.

Odeon's unique Double Seven loudspeakers use wood horns to enhance the volume output of the midrange and tweeter while two non-horn loaded 17cm drivers are used for lower frequency support to produce a frequency response of 45Hz to 20kHz (+-3dB).

EAR864 valve preamplifierDesigned by world renown Tim de Paravicini, the E.A.R. EAR864 valve preamplifier is the latest products from Yoshino Limited. Offering five inputs, and tape loop, the EAR864 uses five double-triode valves (four ECC83 and one ECC82) for delivering a very high voltage, vanishing low distortion signal path from your source component to your amplification. Both the heater current and high-tension anode voltage are pure DC and avoid the possibility of those nasty AC ripples. To round out this very impressive package, all input and output terminals are gold-plated.

CL 330 JETFrom Germany and straight away into the UK are the new ELAC CL 330 JET speakers which use an ultra-rigid aluminum cabinet to house their special ribbon tweeter and 180mm aluminum mid/bass driver. This high precision speaker's cabinet is also rear-ported to further enhance the bass frequency. Visually, these speakers with matching stands could look absolutely splendid in any high-technology environment.

Inner Sound was showing both their Eros and smaller ISIS hybrid speakers. The larger Eros has been highly reviewed by many magazines and claimed to give  a warm romantic sound that few electrostatic speakers seem to achieve. Although rated at 98 db/w/m, they also present a 4 ohm nominal (2 ohm minimum) load and therefore need to be properly amplified for best results.

Rehdeko RK125 speakersGiving very high sensitive and a relatively easy load, the Virtual Reality distributor was showcasing these very intriguing Rehdeko RK125 speakers which are 102 db/w/m at 8 ohm nominal. Using a full-range 26 cm woofer cone and one elliptical tweeter (12 cm X 19 cm), a total sensitivity of 102 db/w/m is achieved! This room gave out quite an extensive white paper to assist show goers in understanding why this unique design is superior to others. These speakers were downstream to the DNM PA3S amplifier and 3C preamp. Quite an interesting sound which one really should hear to understand in my humble opinion. Surely those who came to the show.


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