Kimber Axios Headphone / IEM
Cable With 4.4mm Balanced Connector With the recent release of the
Sony Walkman, including their top line NW-WM1Z and NW-WM1A with 4.4mm balanced audio headphone jack,
Kimber Kable has announced the availability
of their new 4.4mm balanced connector Axios headphone and in-ear monitor cable configurations. This connector is compatible with both
of the new Sony NM-WM series players and the Sony TA-ZH1ES headphone amplifier. Advantages include a larger and more durable connector, plus better
signal connection, over the tiny and fragile 2.5mm balanced connector as used within products
from other companies. Kimber Kable is now offering a variety of copper and silver cables, which are hand made within their facility in Utah.
Read Enjoy the
Music.com's world premiere hands-on review of the Sony NW-WM1Z here.
January Issue Is Now Available Online
Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the
January 2017 issue of Hi-Fi World! This issue
features the Hi-Fi World Awards 2016 plus reviews of the KEF Reference 3 loudspeakers, Dali Katch Wireless speaker, Cayin i5 Hi-Res portable player, Lehmann Linear D headphone amplifier, Tellurium Q Diamond / Ultra Silver cables, and a very special Christmas wish list.
editorial Hi-Fi World Awards 2016 And A Special Christmas, Noel Keywood says "It's that wonderful time of the year when we reveal the products that were a cut above the average – and memorable because of it – in our World Awards issue. These days few products are poor, most work well. But that doesn't mean they are brilliant in the sense that they bring a tingle to your spine, changing the way you view audio quality. Our top products for the year this year were those that moved us, where everyone in our London offices (who like to listen in!) murmured "ooh-aah" in unison.
Sometimes style and finish played an important part: I mean, how many manufacturers in this world re-create the wonder of 1970s build quality (well, the good bits, that is), complete with big, yellow illuminated analogue power meters – you know, the ones with real needles! Lux of Japan are one of very few and their prize winner this year was a delight to see and use – not a software menu anywhere!"
See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World at this
Of The Year Awards December Issue Is Now Online Enjoy the Music.com has posted the
December 2016 issue of Hi-Fi+ magazine.
This issue highlights their very special annual awards plus show coverage of the
Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest 2016! Reviews include the Magico M3 floorstanding loudspeaker, Focal Utopia open-backed headphones, Pathos Inpol Remix MKII HIDAC Evo integrated amplifier/DAC, Schiit Audio Jotunheim balanced & configurable headphone amp/preamp, Transfiguration Proteus revised moving coil cartridge plus expert assessment of both contemporary and audiophile music.
Within his editorial Amazing Innovation In 2016, With 2017 Being Very Significant Too, Alan Sircom says "Welcome to the last issue of 2016, and our now annual Awards. We've taken the best products we've seen in this 'interesting' year, and the chance to look at these products in overview shows just how important a year it's been for audio. OK, in fairness, there were some other events that also took place in the wider world that might just overshadow what's happened in hi-fi in 2016!
Nevertheless, I suspect 2016 will go down as one of the most important and innovative years for the modern audiophile, and the changes that have begun to permeate through the audio industry will have ramifications for years to come. It might not be quite the Golden Age of Audio, but it's a fascinating time to be involved in the business of good sound, in all its guises."
See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+ magazine at this
11 / 29 / 16
Devialet Achieves $106,000,000 In
Series C Round Of Investor Funding It has been an epic year or so for audio company investors and high-end audio as
WOM (World of McIntosh), was Fine Sounds Group) now oversees Audio Research, McIntosh Laboratory, Sonus Faber, Wadia Digital and Sumiko.
Eva Automation, a Silicon Valley startup founded by former Facebook CFO and San Francisco 49ers co-owner Gideon Yu, acquired Bowers & Wilkins in May 2016 with plans to launch specialized new gear in mid-2017.
Enjoy the Music.com just learned that French company
Devialet, one of the world's most awarded innovative
start-ups in sound technologies featuring their Phantom series of speakers, has successfully
raised $106 million within their Series C round of financing. Foxconn's European investment arm Ginko Ventures, Foxconn itself, Groupe Renault, Qatar's Future French Champions,
CM-CIC Investment and BPI France, Sharp Corporation, Andy Rubin's Playground Global, and music star Jay Z's Roc Nation plus Korelya Capital
supplied capital to bring Devialet the ability to expand their operations. Devialet's most recognized product is their Phantom series of DSP-enabled self-powered streaming music speakers starting at $2000. Andy Rubin purchased 160 Phantom speakers for
himself and to gift them to friends. Andy said, "I am a huge fan of Devialet. I love the technology and the team. I believe Devialet is the most disruptive company in the audio business. It is my dream to work with Quentin and his team to change the way people appreciate media of all types. I am very proud and happy to take part in this financing." Devialet also produces amplification,
DACs plus other high-end audio products and will be further expanding their brand awareness and hardware selection. Devialet seeks to embed
their technology within TVs made by Sharp, cars made by Renault, music services such as Jay Z's Tidal, smartphones, etc. It almost begs the question what, or more specifically who, is behind all these moves into having investors expand their reach into high-end audio. What is their future technology plans to bring high-end audio sound quality and
industry awareness to consumers worldwide?
11 / 28 / 16
Online Shopping: Excellent Sales Growth During 2016 Holiday Season According to a report by Reuters, "Sales and traffic at U.S. brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday declined from last year, as stores offered discounts well beyond the weekend and more customers shopped online. Internet sales rose in the double digits on both days, surpassing $3 billion for the first time on Black
Friday" RetailNext, an analytics firm, reported that brick-and-mortar stores fell 5% during the two day period, with transaction counts declining 7.9%.
Online sales are expected to see a "total holiday season sales... jump 3.6% to $655.8 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation."
Estimates says that on average each consumer is expected to spend $636 on holiday purchases during the 2016 holiday season, which is an increase of 3% as
compared to last year according to NPD. "Thanksgiving and Black Friday online sales
as tracked by Adobe Digital Index were $5.27 billion, up 18% from a year earlier and higher than its prior estimate of $5.05 billion" says a Reuters report. Adobe also tracks sales, which they claims to measure 80% of all online transactions from the top 100 United States of America retailers, and their latest numbers say
there were 22.6 billion visits to retail websites. To put this growth in perspective, according to CNN
a decade ago (2006) the "total online purchases on Cyber Monday, one of the biggest shopping days for e-tailers, jumped 26% to a record $608 million, according to the latest numbers from ComScore Networks. It [was] the highest single day in retail e-commerce history and the first day ever to break the $600 million threshold"
said Gian Fulgoni, who was chairman of comScore Networks in 2006.
Black Cat Cable's Impressive ¥800,000 INDIGO Silverwave Interconnect Black Cat
Cable's resident artisan, Chris Sommovigo, feels that after nearly a decade of experimenting with a concept that he had codenamed "Superleggera" - due to it's extraordinary lightness - it seems he's ready to release the first fruits of his unreasonably long development cycle: INDIGO "Silverwave". Valued at ¥800,000 per one-meter length (ass ¥250,000 per half-meter pair), Mr. Sommovigo knows that these won't be flying off the shelves - and that's just as well, as far as he's concerned. The INDIGO Silverwave interconnect uses RCA connectors that were designed by Mr. Sommovigo especially for the INDIGO project. They are developed under his sub-brand, XOX, and not available on any other cable that is produced. As with his Black Cat Cable products, Mr. Sommovigo personally builds these cables by hand, starting only with raw-materials with his seaside workshop in Yugawara, Kanagawa, Japan. "This project runs counter to just about everything folks seem to think when it comes to what makes audiophile cable better, given that they are accustomed to big and heavy cables - as if sheer quantity or heft or girth somehow equates to increases in performance," said Chris Sommovigo. "That way is - and always has been - a recipe for madness. With Indigo the development cycle was very long, labor of love, and it always seemed that I was near breaking through - but never quite there. With the recent development of the Silverwave conductor, and the last iteration of it - all the veils just dropped, and there was everything just hanging right there in the space between and around my speakers. Pure, effortless coherence. The final version of the Silverwave conductor is very difficult to make, as I've got to process it in-house using strange tools that I've adapted for the purpose. Making pair of these interconnects takes a tremendous amount of time, skill, and patience. But once you hear the result... you can't un-hear it."
11 / 22 / 16
Triangle Elara LN01A Two-Way
Self-Powered Speaker System Triangle high-end audio company's new Elara LNO1A (€599) self-powered bookshelf speaker is an easy set and
forget audio system. Playing music with high-fidelity sound is easy as you simply plug the speakers
in electrically, connect a wire from the main speaker to the passive unit, and you're ready for music enjoyment. Triangle's LN01A offers integrated Class-D amplification of 2x50 Watts, plus an EQ with control over low and high frequencies. This
allows you to adjust the LN01A according to your preference and to the acoustics of the listening environment. aptX 4.0 Bluetooth codec passes audio in CD quality 16-bit/44.1kHz. You can also connect directly to Triangle's LN01A digital input via TosLink optical or S/PDIF RCA. There's also a subwoofer output for those who desire adding a powered woofer for adding deep bass. Analog lovers take note as the LN01A speaker also offers an analog RCA input and a 3.5mm headphone style jack input to connect your speakers to your CD, DVD players or any other type of audio device via their analog output. There's an integrated MM Phono input so that a vinyl turntables can be used. Speaker sensitivity is 89dB/W/m, frequency response is from 56Hz to 22kHz, and dimensions are 291mm x 165mm x 291mm (HxWxD). Net weight of the system is 9.5
Acoustic Preference Gracioso 2.0 ST And LE Loudspeakers Acoustic Preference
new Gracioso 2.0 loudspeaker models for 2017 are a result of the company's hard work, which is based on many years of experience, state-of-the-art components, and their most effective technical solutions to date. Within new Gracioso series for 2017 are two models, their 2.0 is either ST (Standard version) and LE (Limited Edition of 99 pairs. Pricing is €14,990 and €11,490 respectively. If we compare them, the LE model has a higher sensitivity at 91dB/W/m
verses 89dB/w/m. Both models have point-to-point crossover wiring, yet LE models feature higher class Mundorf components. In addition, solid silver wires are used internally. The ST model has high quality oxygen-free copper.
Acoustic Preference adds special ceramic disc feet for LE model and set of APMWK 1 (Wax Kit 1) for wood loudspeakers cabinets. Gracioso 2.0 LE is a two-way bass reflex system down firing) and has a
12dB/octave crossover at 2800Hz. Frequency response is from 37Hz to 35kHz. Dimensions are 255mm x 355mm x 1040mm (WxDxH) and weight for each speaker is approximately 27 kgs. Acoustic Preference is now offering a trade-in used for new” where you can trade in your old high-end audio components (loudspeakers, amplifiers, turntables,
CD / SACD players, etc.) for one of their models of loudspeakers. If you trade in, they will deduct
whatever they feel is their own estimated price from price of new loudspeakers purchased direct from the company. Please remember that Acoustic Preference reserves the right to refuse a trade-in without explanation.
11 / 21 / 16
ELAC Element EA101EQ-G Integrated 80Wpc Amplifier With 24-bit DAC ELAC's
Element EA101EQ-G ($699) highly compact stereo 80 Watt per channel stereo integrated amplifier offers a comprehensive feature set for the hi-fi solutions for the modern music lover. The Element EA101EQ-G provides asynchronous USB interface for high-resolution audio, S/PDIF signals at up to 192kHz resolution, and can decode multi-channel Dolby Digital signals. Also on board is convenient wireless music playback via Bluetooth. DSP-based signal processing functions allow for extensive customization of playback. All of this is conveniently controlled from the EA101-EQ-G APP, available for both Android and iOS. App-based Auto Blend and Calibrate function (ABC) seeks to ensures optimum results in every room. Auto Blend optimizes the interaction of the subwoofer and main loudspeakers by determining the ideal crossover frequency and phase relationship. The remote learning feature of the EA101EQ-G facilitates seamless integration with your television or set-top box remote control. ELAC's Element EA101EQ-G provides 80 Watts @ 4 Ohms (40 Watts @ 8
Ohms) of BASH technology amplification that takes the best of Class D and Class AB to creates a new class of its own. By combining a fast response power converter with a linear amplifier, BASH is able to maintain both class AB sonic performance and efficiency approaching Class D.
There are two stereo analog inputs via RCA and a subwoofer output. Digital inputs include two TosLink optical, RCA S/PDIF and USB. Overall frequency response is from 20Hz to 40kHz (+/-1.8dB) and dimensions are 8.375 x 2.125 x 11.625 (WxHxD).
Industry News 10 Years Ago
Broadcom Produces World's First Blu-ray / HD DVD SoC Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM), one of the world's largest fabless semiconductor companies with 2005 revenue of more than $2.67 billion and a global leader in semiconductors for data and multimedia, has announces the world's first complete Blu-ray/HD DVD System-on-a-Chip solution
(SoC). Broadcom claims to have developed a next-generation universal solution, the BCM7440, that "significantly surpasses current chip technology in integration and performance, but will further the advancement of high definition media players." Blu-ray and HD DVD formats have caused confusion with consumers, who have to make an either/or choice for their media players. This confusion may lose revenue to both hardware and media companies as the entertainment and electronics industry once again releases
competing formats that appear incompatible. Both formats offer higher resolution
entertainment possibilities than the current DVD format, which is one of the fastest growing and adopted media delivery format in the history of consumer electronics. If the industry can produce a single player that handles both formats, this could ease consumer concerns of investing in a format that may fail as past formats such as Beta did during the video tape
revolution. The BCM7440 Blu-ray/HD DVD SoC integrates a multiple-core MIPS architecture, a multi-stream HD video decoder, dedicated graphics engines, DSP-based audio processors, a security processor, DDR2 interfaces, integrated video and audio outputs and a complete array of system and network connectivity interfaces.
"Broadcom is simplifying the development of next-generation Blu-ray and HD DVD products with a proven, complete single-chip solution that offers OEMs both a time-to-market advantage and cost-effective design," said Peter
Besen, Vice President, Consumer Electronics, Broadband Communications Group, of
Broadcom. The BCM7440 supports a wide variety of mandatory audio and video compression standards required for Blu-ray and HD DVD optical disc formats, including
H.264/AVC, VC-1 , MPEG-2, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Tru-HD and DTS-HD. The BCM7440 also provides full backwards compatibility for current DVD video titles as well as DVD-R,
DVD-VR and audio CDs.
11 / 19 / 16
Updated: PBS' Eight-Part Series Soundbreaking
Explores The Art Of Music
PBS' eight-part series called
Soundbreaking explores the art of music recording, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of brand new sounds. Featuring more than 160 original interviews with some of the most celebrated recording artists of all time, Soundbreaking explores the nexus of cutting-edge technology and human artistry that has created the soundtrack of our lives. Episode 1, The Art of Recording, begins where a recording does — at the intersection of inspiration and execution. Profiling some of the most accomplished and revered producers in the recording industry, "The Art of Recording" offers a study in contrasting styles and approaches. Episode 2, Painting With Sound, chronicles a watershed event in the history of music: the moment when the recording studio itself effectively became an instrument and gave rise to sounds that could never be reproduced live. Enjoy the Music.com is proud to present to you episodes 1
through 8 at this link.
11 / 18 / 16
Enjoy the Music.com Updates RMAF
2016 & TAVES 2016 Show Reports
PBS' Eight-Part Series Soundbreaking
Explores The Art Of Music PBS' eight-part series called
Soundbreaking explores the art of music recording, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of brand new sounds. Featuring more than 160 original interviews with some of the most celebrated recording artists of all time, Soundbreaking explores the nexus of cutting-edge technology and human artistry that has created the soundtrack of our lives. Episode 1, The Art of Recording, begins where a recording does — at the intersection of inspiration and execution. Profiling some of the most accomplished and revered producers in the recording industry, "The Art of Recording" offers a study in contrasting styles and approaches. Episode 2, Painting With Sound, chronicles a watershed event in the history of music: the moment when the recording studio itself effectively became an instrument and gave rise to sounds that could never be reproduced live. The series ends with Episode 8, I Am My Music, and explores how formats, from the LP to mp3s, have shaped our musical lives. During episode 8 this PBS series shifts the focus from the creation of music to the experience of listening to it, and to the formats that defined that experience. From vinyl, cassette tape, CD, and MP3, each generation has had a piece of musical media to call its
own. Enjoy the Music.com is proud to present to you episode 1 below.
We have all eight episodes now online at this link.
50 Years With Peter Paul And Mary
Documentary By Jim Brown The
documentary 50 Years With Peter Paul and Mary is coming to home video on December 9th. This is a celebration of the trio whose anthems provided America's soundtrack for generations.
50 Years With Peter Paul and Mary is a new documentary by four-time Emmy Award-winning producer/ director Jim Brown that focuses on portions of the trio's career not included in previously aired PBS specials. This program features rare and previously unseen television footage including a BBC program from the early 1960s that embodies many of the trio's best performances and most popular songs. This is Peter Paul and Mary at the peak of their artistry, a time when this popular and influential trio dominated the Billboard music charts. From the group's emergence in Greenwich Village, to the Civil Rights and Anti-War era of the 1960s, through the decades of their later advocacy and music, to Mary Travers' moving memorial, and finally to the present, where their legacy continues to inform and inspire successive generations, this far deeper and more intimate exploration of the trio reveals the impact of their artistry and activism on their generation and the world.
50 Years With Peter Paul and Mary will be available on DVD and select video on-demand platforms on December 9th.
11 / 16 / 16
Audioengine HD3 Wireless
Speakers Make Music Listening Easy Audioengine
introduced their HD3 wireless music system. More than just a powered multimedia speaker, HD3 is a complete music system that allows you to listen to all of your music from any source ($399 per pair). The HD3 is simple to use and designed for the way people listen to music today. Connect any way you like: wireless or wired, digital or analog. Play your music library or stream TIDAL, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube from just about anywhere in your house without dropouts. HD3 works seamlessly with all your favorite audio players and streaming music services, so no matter how you connect and listen, HD3 has you covered. A 15 Watt RMS / 30 Watt peak per channel of amplification is built inside the left speaker for an efficient mini stereo system. Audioengine includes connections for your phone, tablet, computer, and turntable - and you can even add a subwoofer. Wireless setup takes about a minute as there's no software to install, no apps to download, and no Wi-Fi passwords to enter. If you're using HD3 at your desk, connect up direct to your computer with a USB cable for a high-end listening
experience. Audioengine's HD3 wireless speakers also includes an audiophile-quality headphone amplifier. Each cabinet has a custom 2.75" Kevlar midrange/woofer mated to 0.75" silk tweeter. Frequency response is fro 65Hz to 22kHz (+/-2dB). Detachable magnetic speaker grills make it easy to leave them on or take them off. Hand-built cabinets feature furniture-grade finishes including either Walnut, Cherry (as pictured), and Satin
Noble Audio Sage And Top-Line
Kaiser Encore In-Ear Monitors Noble Audio
has launched Sage universal-fit IEM that represents the most affordable proprietary-driver IEM in Noble's range (£549) and their Kaiser Encore, a new proprietary technology 10-driver IEM that's built for high-resolution audio (£1699). The new Sage from Noble Audio is a US-made multi-driver IEM (In Ear Monitor) which features the company's new proprietary driver technology. Sage offers the performance benefits of Noble's bespoke drive units, as seen in its flagship nine- and ten-driver models, Katana and Kaiser Encore, but with an entry-level price tag.
Sage is a two-driver design which sits squarely in the middle of Noble's five-strong universal- fit Classic line. It directly replaces Savant. Noble Audio's Kaiser Encore is their new proprietary technology 10-driver IEM that builds on the strengths of Noble's ground-breaking original flagship, the Kaiser 10U that it replaces. The proprietary drive units introduce improvements to the critical midrange, adding additional clarity whilst bringing a more neutral tonal balance. The redefined midrange integrates seamlessly with the rest of the frequency spectrum as with Noble's other multi-driver IEMs and CIEMs (customs). By
implementing 10 Noble Audio drivers per earpiece, this allows the Kaiser Encore to take full advantage of today's high resolution music. Noble Audio says that they produce full frequency range, dynamics and detail with increased clarity that the new proprietary balanced-armature drivers bring. They are produce a larger soundstage presentation, with greater imaging accuracy and enhanced spatial representation, giving the feeling of larger, on-ear model.
11 / 15 / 16
Benchmark Media Systems' DAC3
With ES9028PRO 32-bit Audio DAC Benchmark Media
Systems' new DAC3 takes advantage of the all-new ES9028PRO 32-bit audio D/A converter. It has been a little over seven years since ESS Technology introduced the revolutionary ES9018 audio D/A converter chip. This converter delivered a major improvement in audio conversion and as you may recall Enjoy the Music.com announced the new ESS Technology ES9028PRO within our Industry News page a while back. For several months, Benchmark Media Systems has been working with some early samples of the new ES9028PRO converter chip and have conducted numerous measurements and listening tests and came away very impressed! Benchmark Media System's new DAC3 HGC is a high-performance version of the popular DAC2 HGC. The DAC3 L is a high-performance version of the DAC2 L for users who don't need a headphone amplifier. The Benchmark DAC3 is one of the first products worldwide to take
advantage of the new ES9028PRO converter chip. The ES9028PRO has an improved selection of filters and overall better performance over the previous chip. New filtering exceeds the pass-band performance of the best filter available in the older ES9018. It is important to note that the DAC2 and DAC3 converters frequency-shift the selected built-in filter by driving the converter chip at a fixed 211 kHz sample rate. This frequency shifting places the near-Nyquist region entirely above the audio band. The Benchmark upsampling system completely eliminates the time-domain errors that would have been produced by the built-in filter. The ES9028PRO has an improved digital phase locked loop that allows it to lock more quickly than the ES9018. How fast you ask, how does a high precision lock in less than 6 milliseconds sound to you? This has allowed for
Benchmark Media Systems' new UltraLock3 system. Benchmark's UltraLock system has near-perfect jitter attenuation and exceed the performance of the phase locked loop that is located inside the ESS converter chips. Ultra-fast phase-accurate settling of the new UltraLock3 system allows seamless switching between digital inputs. The DAC3 input selector is suitable for conducting A/B comparisons between two digital inputs. Performance and complexity of the support circuitry outside of the ES9028PRO can be configured to match a manufacturer's budget and space constraints. Overall performance will be determined by the manufacturer's budget, goals, and skills. Within the DAC3, Benchmark uses the following techniques to
maximize the performance of the ES9028PRO:
4:1 channel summing - improves the SNR by 6 dB
External I-V converters - lower noise and lower distortion
Precision differential amplifier - removes common-mode distortion
Very low noise voltage regulator - Benchmark discrete design reduces noise and distortion
UtraLock3 jitter attenuation - virtually perfect jitter rejection
211 kHz Upsampling - eliminates time-domain errors caused by the D/A conversion chip
High-headroom DSP - eliminates clipping of intersample peaks
Six-layer circuit board with external ground planes - reduces noise and provides RF shielding
Everything But The Box Terra Mk4 Special Edition
Loudspeaker Everything But The Box
has announced their Terra Mk4 Special Edition loudspeaker. A very special 4.5" midrange / woofer with 2.5" voice coil uses a high-end neodymium magnet and hexagonal wire to reproduce the lower frequencies. For seamless highs, Everything But The Box adds a 25mm neodymium tweeter with phase plug. The midrange / woofer enclosure is made from a die cast resonance-free aluminum enclosure, while the tweeter is mounted to a lovely solid wood baffle. There's an integrated handle for easy moving, which is covered with full grain vegetable tanned leather that has been carefully hand stitched. A passive equalizer on the tweeter permits fine-tuning of the sound to suit your needs. On the rear of the aluminum enclosure are a pair of gold plated connectors to
securely hold loudspeaker wire. Specially-shaped CNC machined solid aluminum horn for the tweeter ensures uniform dispersion. The midrange / woofer driver benefits from shaped wood to deliver uniform
dispersion. Below the 4.5" driver is a CNC machined solid aluminum horn as bass port to prevent the turbulence. To match the overall design, CNC machined solid aluminum feet combined with CNC machined solid aluminum leather damped pads round out the design of Everything But The Box's Terra Mk4 Special Edition loudspeaker. Frequency response is from 59Hz to 25kHz, nominal impedance is 8 Ohms and sensitivity is 88dB/W/m. The Terra Mk4 Special Edition loudspeaker can handle 150 Watts. Dimensions are 38 x 21 x 28 cm (HxWxD) and it weighs 5.9 kgs. If you
need a special color, the company can easily customize the design to suit your requirements. This includes high gloss finish in any possible color in solid, peal or metallic type, matt finish in any possible color or nuance, micro-Structure finishes and velvet finishes.
11 / 14 / 16
Samsung Electronics Acquires Harman International For $8 Billion Samsung Electronics is acquiring and
Harman International Industries for $8 billion USD. Have officially entered into a definitive agreement under which Samsung will acquire Harman for $112.00 per share in cash, this transaction will immediately give Samsung a significant presence in the large and rapidly growing market for connected technologies. In particularly, this
includes automotive electronics, which has been a strategic priority for Samsung, and is expected to grow to more than $100 billion by 2025. Harman is a market leader in connected car solutions, with more than 30 million vehicles currently equipped with its connected car and audio systems, including embedded infotainment, telematics, connected safety and security. Approximately 65% of Harman's $7.0 billion of reported sales during the 12 months ended September 30, 2016 are automotive-related, and its order backlog for this market at June 30, 2016 was approximately $24 billion. Samsung expects the combination to deliver significant growth opportunities and benefits to customers by leveraging Samsung's and Harman's complementary technologies, resulting in increased market penetration across important end markets.
"Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time," said Oh-Hyun Kwon, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Electronics. "As a Tier 1 automotive supplier with deep customer relationships, strong brands, leading technology and a recognized portfolio of best-in-class products, Harman immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform." Dinesh Paliwal, Harman Chairman, President and CEO, stated, "This compelling all-cash transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our shareholders and provide new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger, more diversified company. Today's announcement is a testament to what we have achieved and the value that we have created for shareholders. Samsung is an ideal partner for Harman and this transaction will provide tremendous benefits to our automotive customers and consumers around the world. Combining Samsung's strengths in leading-edge displays, connectivity and processing solutions with Harman's technology leadership and long-standing customer relationships will enable OEMs to provide new offerings for their customers."
acquisition also benefits audiophiles as Harman brands include JBL, Harman Kardon, Mark Levinson, AKG, Lexicon, Infinity, and Revel. The company also licenses Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen brands for automotive. All of these brands will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Samsung's mobile, display, virtual reality and wearable products to deliver a fully differentiated audio and visual experience for customers. This combination will also expand the combined company's business-to-business platform through its ability to deliver integrated, large-scale audio and visual professional solutions at stadiums, concert facilities and other performance centers such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Staples Center – home of the Grammy
Awards. This month, Enjoy the Music.com published our world premiere review of the Mark Levinson No 523 preamplifier, phono stage and headphone
11 / 11 / 16
Singer, Songwriter, Poet,
Novelist... Leonard Cohen Has Passed Away It
saddens us to report that the legendary Leonard Cohen has passed away at the age of 82 at his home in Los Angeles. As a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist, his work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships. Cohen was inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian
honor. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize. Cohen's first album,
Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), was followed by Songs from a Room (1969) that featured the often-recorded "Bird on the Wire".
His work as a poet and novelist are equally impressive. Cohen's writing process, as he told an interviewer in 1998, was "like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I'm stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it's delicious and it's horrible and I'm in it and it's not very graceful and it's very awkward and it's very painful and yet there's something inevitable about it." During the 1960s, he was a fringe figure in Andy Warhol's "Factory" crowd. Warhol speculated that Cohen had spent time listening to Nico in clubs and that this had influenced his musical style. Cohen is mentioned in the Nirvana song "Pennyroyal Tea" from the band's 1993 release,
In Utero. Kurt Cobain wrote, "Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld/ So I can sigh eternally." Cohen's fourteenth album,
You Want It Darker, was released on 21 October 2016. Themes of political and social justice also recur in Cohen's work, especially in later albums. In "Democracy", he both acknowledges political problems and celebrates the hopes of reformers: "from the wars against disorder/ from the sirens night and day/ from the fires of the
homeless / from the ashes of the gay / Democracy is coming to the USA. Leonard Cohen was survived by his two children and two grandchildren.
11 / 10 / 16
Music Plays An Important Part
Within The Future Of Smart Home Devices According
to Futuresource Consulting, the audio industry is set to
capitalize on new role at centre of the Smart Home. Voice recognition technology is shaking up the CE industry, broadening the horizons of speaker vendors and reinventing the audio device as the gatekeeper of voice, smart home and machine learning. "There is no doubt that the audio industry will play a starring role in the rise of the connected home," says Rasika D'Souza, Senior Market Analyst, audio devices at Futuresource Consulting. "The inclusion of wireless connectivity in audio devices is propelling speakers far beyond simple music playback. Their flexible form factor and primary components for sound pickup and amplification position them in the smart home sweet spot, linking consumers to a supply chain that fulfils many needs and opens the door to value-add services." This year (2016), 6.3 million voice assistant speakers will be shipped globally, generating revenues of $890 million, according to recent research from Futuresource Consulting. Amazon's Echo is leading the way in the VPA market, with its intuitive voice technology and 3,000 apps or 'skills', which have tripled in number since June. Owners are already using Echo to alert them if somebody rings the doorbell, to turn appliances and lights on and off, to control heating and order pizza. According to Futuresource research, Amazon's Alexa speakers (including Echo, Dot and Tap) are expected to capture 8% of worldwide wireless speaker shipments and accounts for 15% of the US market alone. By the end of 2016, voice speakers will account for 51% of Wi-Fi speaker shipments. For audiophiles and music lovers, this opportunity extends across the audio market, with Sonos, Denon, Bose and DTS's Play-Fi speaker brands announcing partnerships with Amazon Echo. JD.com already has a VPA speaker for the Chinese market whilst start-up company Omate has announced an Android-based personal assistant called 'Yumi' which is also partnered with Amazon. Retail group Rakuten meanwhile is also expected to announce VPA speakers for the Japanese market next year. "In consumer electronics, the winners are those who can ride the riptide of changing consumer tendencies," says
Futuresource Consulting's D'Souza. "Voice recognition technology is the next big thing, and it's going to be huge. Everyone is talking to us about it. Speakers have the ideal feature set for incorporating voice, and right now this is a colossal opportunity for audio companies, if they get it right." Audio vendors are constantly improving the user experience for in-home music listening. Wired stereo systems have evolved into Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices for convenient streaming from the smartphone. The focus on
multi-room capability has now shifted to providing music content directly on-speaker – Apple music on Sonos speakers, Spotify on Bose speakers.
11 / 09 / 16
Audio Research Foundation
Series DAC9 Is Now Shipping Audio Research
is now shipping their Foundation Series DAC9 ($7500). From the same engineering and design team responsible for the award-winning Reference Series, the Foundation family of vacuum tube components has been created to provide incredible musical experiences. This straightforward DAC employs a vacuum-tube analog section and the latest digital design capable of decoding DSD music files, upsampling to 384kHz, and has the ability to accommodate multiple digital inputs. Native DSD file decoding provides true Direct-Stream-Digital signal running at 2.8224 MHz or 5.6448 MHz. ARC designed two distinct digital paths to the DAC9's digital-to-analog converters, with one path for PCM music files from 44.1kHz to 384kHz sample rates and another separate path for DSD music files at 1x and 2x DSD clock rates. The
Audio Research Foundation Series DAC9 will also play DoP files if desired. Quad D-A converters ensure that each channel uses dual stereo DACs running in mono to increase dynamic range and lower the noise floor. Furthermore, ARC's DAC9 uses two different TCXO crystal Master oscillators, one for 44.1, 88.2, 176.4, and 352.8 sampling rates, the other for 48, 96, 192, and 384kHz sample rates. Native sample rate upsampling is available for all inputs, up to 352.8kHz for 384kHz for non-DSD (PCM) music files. Selectable digital filters are available, with both Fast and Slow roll-off, so the user can customize according to personal taste. Reference Recordings DVD-R HRx recordings are compatible. Being a high-end audio product for true music
connoisseurs, there are four galvanically-isolated inputs including S/PDIF RCA
and BNC, AES/EBU XLR, and optical TosLink to assure no ground loops. There is
also a USB input for computer audio use and controllers that handle library
software. The zero-feedback pure Class-A analog section features two high performance long-life 6H30 vacuum-tubes directly coupled to the DAC. There are no capacitive coupling to diminish low-frequency response at this critical point. Audio Research's DAC9 is a fully balanced design, with both XLR balanced and RCA single-ended analog outputs.
Audio Fidelity SACD
Release Of Carlos Santana's Two CD Set Lotus Marshall Blonstein's
Audio Fidelity will be releasing Santana's critically acclaimed live album
Lotus on limited edition hybrid SACD. Lotus is a 1974 live album by Santana, recorded at the Osaka Koseinenkin Hall, Osaka, Japan in 1973. It was originally released in 1974 as a triple vinyl LP in Japan only. The first U.S. release was in 1991 as a
two-CD set. It features the "New Santana Band" and combines that group's jazz and spiritual influences. Some of the band's biggest hits are performed, such as
"Black Magic Woman" and "Oye Como Va,"" but it is the extended, intense instrumentals that are the order of the day such as the breathtaking
"Incident at Neshabur," "Every Step of the Way," and "Toussaint L'Overture." Carlos' superpowered guitar is mesmerizing, the entire atmosphere is otherworldly, beautiful, modern jazzy and most of all, electrifying. His guitar tone is perfect, each solo has a central rhythmic and melodic structure that was used to express in a moment what can never be repeated. The greatness of Lotus is its ability to take all of Carlos' beautiful melodies and expand them each into a whole new creation. This release is produced by The New Santana Band and mastered by Steve Hoffman and Stephen Marsh at Marsh Mastering, with SACD authoring also by Stephen Marsh at Marsh
In related news, Audio Fidelity will also be releasing Weather
Report Tale Spinnin' and Return to Forever Musicmagic on Hybrid SACD. Both recordings are considered essentials from the jazz fusion era of the mid-1970s. Recorded in early 1975,
Tale Spinnin', Weather Report's fifth studio album is filled with sunny textures of Latin and African flavors. The album stands with anything recorded during the period for the range of fresh, intriguing originals by the band's co-founders and principle composers, the keyboardist Joe Zawinul and the saxophonist Wayne Shorter.
Musicmagic is Return to Forever's final studio album and one of the best jazz recordings released in the fusion genre. The album contains the final line-up of the band with only founders Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke returning from the earlier recordings. This 1977 release was the first Return to Forever album in five years to contain vocals, performed here by Gayle Moran and Stanley Clarke. This album also marked the return of original member Joe Farrell on saxophone and flute, along with several new members making up a killer five-piece horn section.
Audio Research VT80 Vacuum
Tube Stereo Power Amplifier Audio Research
has introduced their VT80 vacuum-tube power stereo amplifier to its Foundation Series ($8000). From the same design and engineering team responsible for the award-winning Reference Series, the Foundation family of vacuum tube components has been "created to provide an incredible musical experience" says the company. Combining a new esthetic with worry-free operation and great performance, this beautiful new look of the VT80 also comes with great features. Producing 75 Watt per channel, Audio Research's VT80 "offers startling dynamics, powerful bass, and natural clarity combined with a very holographic presentation". The open architecture of its extruded metal chassis provides beauty and a rigid structure from which two 6H30 driver tubes and four KT120 output tubes emerge. The rear panel contains both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR input connectors allowing the VT80 to be integrated into virtually any system. In addition to a tube hour meter, there is a 12V trigger and an RS232 port to remotely control operation. Both 4 and 8 Ohm brass and gold binding posts provide secure speaker connections. There is also a switch to engage or defeat an auto-off function, triggered when no input signal is encountered after four hours. A proprietary auto-bias circuit, developed entirely in-house by Audio Research’s chief analog engineer, ensures ease of use and long tube life. Once the tubes are installed and the unit is powered-up, the VT80 will automatically adjust bias for each output tube. The circuit adjusts for tube wear or fluctuations in the power in real time. The VT80 will also work with different types of output tubes, including 6550, KT88, KT90, KT120 or KT150. Another new feature includes individual fusing of each output tube just in case of a fault condition, and thus the fuse is very easy to replace. Available in both natural and black anodized finishes, the low profile front panel contains a black inlay that matches other Foundation Series products, along with a power switch, flanked by two handles.
Industry News 10 Years Ago
Universal Music Seeks To Merge With BMG Music Publishing Music mergers and sales are heating up as two of the top major labels seek to merge as another is bought out by media
company. Universal Music, the third largest music company, has requested the European Commission to allow it to purchase BMG Music Publishing, the
fourth largest music company, for an estimated $2 billion. Combined, these two companies hold a 22 percent stake in the music world and would become the industry leader over
number one ranked EMI. Meanwhile, International Creative Management sold their classical music unit to ICM executives and Newsweb Corporation for $2.5 million. Artists under the label include Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma.
11 / 04 / 16
ATC P2 PRO Dual Mono
Power Amplifier Delivers 300 Watts Per Channel ATC's
new P2 PRO dual mono power amplifier (£2833) delivers 300 Watts per channel to drive even the most challenging loudspeaker loads. Hand-built by ATC in the UK, their Class A/B P2 stereo amplifier keeps the power supplies, signal, and return paths discrete. This approach ensures that the amplifier will achieve maximum signal separation with minimal crosstalk, and that intermodulation between channels via the power supplies is reduced to an absolute minimum across a frequency range of 400kHz. It also means that the power delivery from one channel cannot affect the specified power available from the other. Within a new low-vibration 19-inch rack-mount chassis design featuring a precision machined 12.7mm brushed
aluminum front panel, the P2 PRO amplifier's layout includes a massive, custom-made 400 VA low-noise transformer for each channel and an output stage involving three pairs of MOSFET devices per channel to achieve peak current output of over 15 Amperes. According to ATC Technical Sales Manager Ben Lilly, "The final design of these transformers is the result of seven design iterations with the goal of achieving best possible audio performance and lowest possible mechanical noise. This was achieved by using a very high-grade steel core which is then vacuum-impregnated with high-temperature resin, post-winding. The exceptionally low levels of mechanical hum/buzz, along with convention cooling, are vital features if the amplifiers are to be used in control rooms designed with lowest possible levels of background noise." The P2 PRO dual mono power amplifier offers both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs, 'Link' phono outputs, proprietary speaker terminals, and a front panel-mounted power switch. Weighing in at 46.2lbs, ATC's P2 power amplifier has a
frequency response from <2Hz to >400kHz (-3dB) and a signal to noise ratio of >110dB. Crosstalk is kept very low at >100dB and THD is >0.002% / -95dB.
11 / 03 / 16
Digital Delights November Issue Is Now Online Enjoy the Music.com has posted the
November 2016 issue of Hi-Fi+ magazine.
This issue focuses on digital audio gear and includes reviews of the dCS VIVALDI 2.0, Chord Electronics Dave DAC / headphone amplifier, AURALiC Altair wireless streaming DAC, Lindemann MuicBook:25 digital player, Ayre Acoustics CodeX DAC/headphone amplifier, Convert Tech Plato Class A digital media player, PS Audio Directstream JR DSD DAC, Rockna Wavedream DAC, MrSpeakers Ether
Flow open-back planar magnetic headphones, German Physiks Borderland IV floorstanding loudspeaker, Reed Muse 3C and 3P turntable and tonearm, Ophidian Prophet P1 standmount loudspeaker, Tellurium Q Silver Diamond loudspeaker and interconnect cables, and Torus Power TOT AVR isolating power transformer.
Within his editorial I Give Up! About Modern DACs..., Alan Sircom says "Fortunately, three of the most exciting products in our digital line-up this month have a distinct home-team advantage. And they work that advantage to the max, with products that sound astonishing or proved a level of digital flexibility that is hard to find elsewhere. What's surprising in this round-up of DACs in a way is how many of them now share the same updatable, reprogrammable architecture, something that would have been not unthinkable, but unimportant only a few years ago. A DAC was a ten year investment, and it only played digital files from spinning discs. Now, digital needs to keep pace with the changes from the internet, the idea of re-writable architecture has become all important, and companies like dCS and Chord are really taking advantage of what modern chip design can do."
See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+ magazine at this
Gold Note PH-10 Dual-Input
Phono Stage Is Extremely Versatile Italian
company Gold Note has just released their new PH-10 phono stage. Engineered to allow ultra-precise adjustments, it seeks to let you enjoy the best out of your analog system. With two separate RCA inputs, you will be able to independently connect two different tonearms and tune it to match each cartridge specifications. Once the tonearm is connected, Gold Note's PH-10 can be adjusted with four different gain levels [-3, 0, +3, and 6 dB] to match precisely the output level of any MM or MC cartridge. There are nine different load options including 10, 22, 47, 100, 220, 470, 1000, 22K, and 47k Ohms. You can also select between three equalization curves as well. This
includes the internationally recognized RIAA curve, Decca London or the American Columbia. The chosen curve is always graphically shown on the front display, plus you may enhance each curve with a modern Gold Note proprietary design for "superior dynamic and powerful results" via a 2.8" color display says the company. The chassis is built from a solid block of machined
aluminum and designed to elegantly cool the internal sophisticated electronics. Gold Note's proprietary SKC (Single Knob Control) technology is an intuitive control system developed to easily browse and select all the unit's functions. Their PH-10 comes with a USB port to quickly update the unit via computer anytime new software is available. The unit can be externally powered by a dedicated inductive dual-mono power supply to enhance even more the audio performance. Gold Note's modular design allows upgrades with external units, including an external inductive power supply, curve equalizer extender unit, Class-A vacuum tube output stage, and gain stage enhancer. Frequency response is from 2Hz to 200kHz (+/-0.3dB), total harmonic distortion is <0.002%, and signal to noise ratio is -102dB. Dynamic response
is rated at 122dB, and you can choose linear phase or absolute phase inverted. The brushed anodized
aluminum chassis is available in black, silver, gold, or red.
11 / 02 / 16
Qualcomm: 51% Are
Willing To Pay More For Better Audio Gear Within
Qualcomm's "The State of Play"
research that surveys consumer audio trends, attitudes and purchase drivers, it says that "In the last two years, buyers have become more discerning about audio quality than ever before. They now expect to be able to connect to their music wherever they are, enjoying full compatibility between their devices, regardless of brand. Bridging the gap between user expectations of technology and what can be delivered is a big task. However, with consumers willing to pay for products that meet their needs, manufacturers and developers stand to benefit from a huge opportunity. Improving sound quality and compatibility can lead to a wider, committed customer base, and a vital edge in a competitive market. This report looks at the present state of wireless device-to-device and networked audio, consumer audio trends, buying decisions and attitudes towards in-car listening. It identifies key consumer expectations, pain points and purchase drivers". Key findings are that a vast majority of consumers in the wireless audio market agree that both connectivity and sound quality are of paramount importance. This represents a great opportunity for audio manufacturers, as they are able to take advantage of new technology to alleviate many of today's consumer pain points. Qualcomm's paper says that 78% remark that compatibility with other brands is important to their purchasing decision, and that they expect all music devices to work together. A
staggering 83% say streaming music is now the norm, and that sound quality is important when doing so. We have 81% who use a smartphone device to store and connect to music regularly. Perhaps the highest of all is that 84% are concerned about compromised sound quality. As for networked audio, 50% think that
one day they'll have a networked speaker system within their home.
Of interesting note is that 72% of respondents expect the sound quality through wireless speakers to be the equivalent of wired. However, at present, respondents rate the sound quality of wireless networked speakers as worse than wired equivalents.
"...wired products have the highest quality ratings. And, although 18% does not look like a huge number, it grows in significance when put alongside the finding that 66% of respondents are confident in their ability to assess the standard of audio products based on sound quality alone" says
Qualcomm. While there is an abundance of information, audiophiles take note as Qualcomm asks "Would you be willing to pay more for a streaming service or for audio equipment that delivers high sound quality with streaming and other music formats?" Seems that 23% would not
pay more, 26% are willing to pay more for higher quality music streaming, 30% are
willing to pay more for audio equipment that enhances sound quality, and 21% would pay more for both a higher quality music streaming service and audio equipment. For those keeping track, that's 47%
would pay more for higher quality music streaming and 51% want to pay more for better audio
gear. Join our Facebook
discussion about what you want this holiday season to enjoy the music.
Enjoy the Music.com's
November Review Magazine Is Now Available Enjoy the
Music.com's November Review
Magazine features our world premiere reviews of the Mark
Levinson No 523 preamplifier with phonostage and
headphone amplifier plus the hottest new top-line Sony NW-WM1Z Hi-Res Audio Walkman!
Will Gryphon Audio's now legendary Diablo 300 integrated amplifier
sporting their 32-bit/384kHz DAC module work within your system? Read our
review to find out.
DACs, the Mytek Brooklyn DAC has MQA and we give you a carefully detailed
assessment. Wire lovers should check out our Danacable Lazuli and Lazuli Reference
headphone cable review. Uber-tweakers need to learn about Synergistic Research's
mystical Black Quantum Fuses and UEF Black Duplex Outlet. We're
continually updating our RMAF and CanJam show coverage plus look forward
to reporting on TAVES this weekend!