So according to Focal, "The Elegia was designed for use with portable audio players, which are often used when commuting, so the Elegia has excellent sound-proofing, to ensure anyone nearby can't hear your music." The Elegia uses a newly designed full-range speaker as a headphone driver that has what Focal calls a 'frameless' voice coil that drives a 40mm diameter 'M-shaped' aluminum / magnesium dome. When you're not using the headphones, you can store them in their supplied thermo-formed protective carry-case, which measures 250 x 240 x 120mm.
The second-busiest queue was for Sony's DR-Z7M2 headphones which take over from Sony's award-winning DR-Z7M2s and whose neodymium driver magnets are twice the volume of that model. The MDR-Z7M2 (A$1,299) uses 70mm aluminum diaphragms coated with liquid crystal polymer and claims a frequency response that extends to 100kHz. The DR-Z7M2s were connected to Sony's new DMP-Z1 'portable' DAC/Headphone player, which uses dual Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4497EQ DACs and features Sony's DSD Remastering Engine which converts PCM to DSD 5.6MHz. The battery enables around nine hours of playback from the 256GB of on-board storage which can be expanded via two microSD cards. You can also hardwire via analogue, digital or USB, or deliver music wirelessly via Bluetooth aptX. It retails for A$9,999.99.
Dynaudio Confidence 20
The new coned drivers have revised chassis to enable freer air flow around the rear of the cones, new glass-fibre coil formers and 'NeoTec' magnets. All baffles on the new models are made from a material Dynaudio calls 'Nomex', rather than the previous MDF. The Dynaudio Confidence 20 is a large, two-way stand-mounted speaker that couples a single 177mm bass/midrange driver with the Esotar3 tweeter.
The speaker comes with a dedicated stand because it has an unusual down-firing bass reflex port, and so cannot be used on a conventional speaker stand. The new directivity control lens (DDC) is said to be the direct result of measurements made by Dynaudio's 'Jupiter' measurement system in its new HQ in Denmark. 'Intensive analysis using the Jupiter measuring facility enabled us to refine the Confidence speakers' high-tech DDC sound-beaming technology to produce the new DDC Lens system,' said Otto Jørgensen, of Dynaudio.
Yamaha 5000 Series
The C-5000 pre-amp has twin toroidals and fully balanced, mirror-imaged circuitry that is floated to remove potential issues caused by grounding. The M-5000 power amplifier's circuit topology is similar, and power output is rated at 100-watts per channel into 8 Ohm (20Hz to 20kHz, 0.07% THD) and 200-Watts per channel into 4 Ohm. Both models have the retro Yamaha hi-fi 'look', though the switches and control mechanisms have been modernized with ball-bearings and precision-cut aluminum knobs and housings.
Marantz Ishiwata Anniversary
The two components celebrate Ishiwata's 40th anniversary of working for Marantz. The PM-KI Ruby has a Class-D output stage derived from the Marantz PM-10 amplifier that's rated at 100-Watts per channel into 8 Ohm and double that into 4 Ohm. The SA-KI Ruby plays SACDs, CDs, and home-recorded CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs. An asynchronous USB input handles formats up to PCM/DXD 384kHz/32-bit and DSD11.2MHz. Marantz uses what it calls 'Marantz Musical Mastering technology' to up-converting all file formats to DSD before conversion to analogue.
The shape of the Davone Solo cabinet not only looks beautiful, but also serves the physics of loudspeaker design well, because down low the cabinet is wide enough to enable a good-sized bass/midrange driver (203mm), before narrowing to accommodate a 100mm midrange driver, with the narrowness of the baffle ensuring improved dispersion, after which the cabinet thins yet again, to provide an almost point-source environment for the 25mm dome tweeter. Plus, of course, the height of the speaker means the tweeters are at the ideal height (seated ear level). The curvature of the cabinet also minimizes internal standing waves, reducing resonances and the integral stand seems to suspend the cabinet in mid air, decoupling the cabinet from the floor, minimizing vibration transmission in both directions.
Two Shows Too Many?
Opinions about the relative merits and the popularity of the two shows differed significantly, with no real agreement between either exhibitors or attendees, but the one thing on which they all agreed was that having two hi-fi shows in two weeks in the same city was not a good idea.