Concert Fidelity Electronics And Maxonic Speakers
If there is one thing i can always count on, it is that Japanese high-end audio manufacturer Concert Fidelity will always bring something extra special to a show. T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 is no different as they premiered their CF-i300B ($10,000) vacuum tube integrated amplifier plus an improved version of the company's monoblock amplifier, now called the ZL-120 V2.
Concert Fidelity's CF-i300B is an all-tube integrated amplifier featuring a pair of the 300B output tube driven by a pair of 6SJ7/6SJ7GT/5693. Rectification is handled by a longstanding fave of many audiophiles, the 5AR4. This directly heated triode stereo amplifier outputs 9 glorious watts per channel. Being classic Japanese ultra-high-end, they kept the circuit topology simple and signal paths short to achieve outstanding sound quality. Concert Fidelity's CF-i300B has four sets of unbalanced RCA inputs and one of them can be switched to balanced XLR. It has taps for both 4 and 8 Ohm, plus there is an excellent sounding solid-state headphone amplifier, which can drive either a pair of unbalanced or balanced headphones.
"By carefully optimizing the design and choosing the critical components carefully, Concert Fidelity's designer Masataka Tsuda achieved an exceptionally low noise floor for a 300B-based all-tube integrated DHT amplifier" says company representative Hajime Sato. Also within their room was the CF-080LSX2 tube hybrid line stage preamplifier, DAC-040 BD battery drive tube hybrid DAC, SPA-4C solid-state MC-only phonostage and a pair of impressive speakers.
Every year Concert Fidelity brings a pair of speakers that are far from ordinary and they did not disappoint here. Maxonic's TW7000B electrodynamic (field coil) speakers are a brilliant two-way coaxial design with a horn-loaded high-frequency driver and a 15"woofer. As you can see, the place the horn at the center of the 15" driver to achieve point-source sound. Sensitivity is an outstanding 104dB/W/m and the system includes the Field Exciter (pictured below), which supplies DC voltage to the field coils (black box on the top right of photo below). Frequency response is from 25Hz to 20 kHz.
We audiophiles know the electricity that feeds your audio gear needs to be the very best possible. And so for power filtering duties, World Power's Power Wing II ($3250) was put to great use. The Power Wing project started out as an attempt to build a cost-no-object, ultra-high performance, superior AC line conditioner and filter. They choose to employ solid technical, time-tested, engineering principles together with modern materials science. It was only after extensive beta-testing, including many comparisons over a period of nearly two years, that their goal was realized. World Power's carefully crafted Power Wing II is available in any combination of Oyaide SWO receptacles, with very special Oyaide Ultimo R-1 receptacles available as a $55 each upcharge. A limited lifetime warranty to the original purchaser is included and you can choose Corian end caps being either Mediterranean or Midnight.
Overall, the sound was highly detailed yet silky smooth and natural. As you'd expect from a high-sensitivity horn design being driven by 300B triode vacuum tubes, dynamics were lightning fast, with small subtle cues also being easy rendered. Concert Fidelity's sound system at T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 earns me award for producing one of the most classic and natural sounding high-end audio system.