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High-End Audio / Hi-Res Audio (HRA) Audiophile Industry News


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07 / 21 / 17

Multi-Grammy Nominated Mike Stern Releases New Album Trip
Mike Stern TripMultiple Grammy-nominated guitarist and former member of Miles Davis' band during the early 1980s, Mike Stern is set to release his new album Trip on Heads Up label. Following an accident that left Mike unable to tour, he is now back on the scene and co-leading a band with longtime friend, collaborator, and drummer Dave Weckl. Mike and his band mates went into Spin Studio in Long Island City between January and March of 2017 to record his 17th album as a leader. The guitarist's sly, self-deprecating sense of humor comes across in the title of the album, Trip, as well as on individual tracks like "Screws" (he initially had 11 screws put into his arm following his first surgery) and "Scotch Tape and Glue" (his current method for holding onto the pick). A powerhouse outing, Trip, set for release on September 8, 2017 via Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group, features such longstanding colleagues as trumpeters Randy Brecker and Wallace Roney, saxophonists Bob Franceschini and Bill Evans, the latter a bandmate in Miles Davis' 'comeback band' of 1981, bassists Victor Wooten and Tom Kennedy and drummers Dave Weckl, Dennis Chambers and Lenny White. Produced by pianist-keyboardist Jim Beard, Stern's frequent producer going back to 1991's Odds or Evens, Trip is a brilliant showcase of what the acclaimed guitarist does best – riffing on post-Miles funk-fusion ("Trip," "Screws," "Watchacallit"), urgent swingers ("Half Crazy," "Scotch Tape and Glue," "B Train") and lyrical ballads ("Emilia," "I Believe You"). His wife Leni Stern guests on two tracks, playing the n'goni (a three-stringed African instrument) on the buoyant "Emilia," which also features Gio Moratti on backup vocals, and the uplifting ballad "I Believe You." Other performers on Trip include percussionists Arto Tuncboyaciyan and Elhadji Alioune Faye, Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun and bassists Teymur Phell and Edmond Gilmore, both of whom currently work with Stern on his regular Monday and Wednesday night residency at the 55 Bar in the heart of Greenwich Village. Below is a video from one of Mike's performances with Dave Weckl.

 

07 / 20 / 17


Throwback Thursday: Gryphon Audio Designs Kalliope DAC
A cost-no-object 32-bit/384kHz and DSD512 DAC for those who desire the very best in music reproduction.
Review By Steven R. Rochlin

 

07 / 19 / 17

Commercial Launch Of The Genesis Mæstro Floorstanding Loudspeaker
Genesis Mæstro Floorstanding LoudspeakerGenesis Advanced Technologies has just announced the commercial launch of their Genesis 5-series loudspeaker. "There have been five generations of this loudspeaker since the Genesis V debuted in 1994" said Mr. Gary Leonard Koh, CEO and Chief Designer of Genesis. "There are many who love the form factor, and how fits into a small room. Since the last iteration of this series was launched in 2006, it was time to update the design. Having listened carefully to the feedback from our loyal end users, many of the greatly admired sonic characteristics and features of its predecessors have been incorporated into the new Mæstro and updated with the latest technology." The Genesis Mæstro loudspeaker is a five-way loudspeaker with two Genesis Ring-Radiator Ribbon Tweeters (front and back), a single 4.5" solid Titanium-cone midrange driver, two 6.5" aluminum mid-bass couplers and four 8" woofers with an integrated 500 Watt servo-controlled bass amplifier. Their Mæstro features the Genesis Acoustic Suspension system so that it can be used on the many types of flooring encountered throughout the world – including uneven natural stone tiles, smooth granite, deep pile carpet, and suspended wooden floors. Stainless steel spikes and a suspension frame hold the loudspeaker rigidly for best imaging and bass control. Neoprene decouplers act like shock absorbers, making sure that the cabinet is not affected by floor-borne vibrations. This Genesis loudspeaker systems delivers a frequency range from 20Hz to 40kHz using ribbon tweeters and proprietary solid metal-cone servo-controlled powered woofers.

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
Microsoft Supports Computer Music / Video Via Media Center
Microsoft is looking to enhance their usage in everyday life. Previewed during the 2002 CES, XP Media Center will soon be preinstalled on many new computer systems. This operating system (OS) will allow the use of wireless remote control and other devices enabling a computer to be a source unit for home-wide entertainment systems. This includes not only music discs and DVD-Audio/Video, but also MP3, WMA, TV/PVR and other types of leisure activities. The ability to record TV programs for later viewing (time shifting) is also standard. Hewlett-Packard, NEC and Samsung have been said to be very interested in including XP Media Center to their 2002 computers shipping later this year.

 

07 / 18 / 17

MUTEC Empyreal Class With REF 10 10MHz Reference Clock
MUTEC Empyreal Class With REF 10 10MHz Reference ClockMUTEC just announced the REF 10 - their audiophile reference master clock (€3598). The MUTEC REF 10 is an audiophile reference master clock generating 10 MHz signals to improve digital playback systems. Engineered around a handcrafted, ultra-low phase noise / jitter oven-controlled oscillator (OCXO) made in Germany, it delivers industry-leading performance and exceptional sound quality. As the centerpiece of a digital system, the MUTEC REF 10 will "unlock a more dynamic, more transparent sound stage with exceptional spatiality and level of detail, free from any digital blur" says the company. The REF 10 features a clean, intuitive user interface while improving and enhancing compatible DACs, audio re-clockers, music servers, and master clocks. Eight galvanically isolated, individually switchable BNC clock outputs with 50 and 75 Ohm impedance for maximum compatibility with clocks and DACs by other manufacturers. A revolutionary, sub-Hz optimized, lowest noise power supply for every circuit section. Highly efficient power line filtering. They have also integrated a high-quality international linear power supply. MUTEC's REF 10 is a match for the company's 10 MHz ready products like the MC-3+ and MC-3+USB Smart Clocks. Eight simultaneous clock outputs at both 50 and 75 Ohm impedance allow using the REF10 in combination with not just MUTEC products, but also 10 MHz compatible products by all other third-party manufacturers, such as Esoteric, dCS, or SOtM, for example. The unit comes with a three year extended manufacturer guaranteed warranty.

 

07 / 17 / 17

Hi-Fi World's August Issue: Audiophile Equipment Reviews
Hi-Fi World August 2017Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the August 2017 issue of Hi-Fi World where you could win an OPPO HA-2 SE headphone DAC/amp worth £289! This issue features reviews of the Tannoy Mercury 7.4 loudspeakers, NAD M32 DAC amplifier / NAD M50.2 server, Sennheiser HD 4.50 Btnc wireless headset, Focal Utopia headphones, Black Rhodium Concerto RCA cable, Garrard Zero-100 turntable, Lenco l-90 turntable, and more. Within his editorial, Noel Keywood says "First shown earlier this year at the Bristol Sound&Vision Show, in this issue we finally review a full production Technics SL-1200GR Direct Drive turntable, rather than an early review sample for the press. Interesting that our Timestep tweaked Evo version was better under measurement than its more expensive stablemate, the SL-1200GA. It had none of the measurable cogging everyone likes to talk about – that even Technics mention – even though this phenomenon is minuscule compared to all the stuff a belt drive puts out. What you get from the Technics is a sparklingly clean sound with metronomic precision. If you are looking for a top quality turntable to play LPs then turn to p78 to read our report on this fine piece of technology. There's every likelihood a GR would see out your lifetime and not be bettered over it." See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World at this link.

 

07 / 14 / 17

Studio Electric Announces m4 Fourth Generation Monitor Speaker
Studio Electric Announces m4 4th Generation Monitor SpeakerStudio Electric is pleased to announce the launch of the all new m4 monitor ($2750 per pair, less $350 without grills). Building on the success of their award winning SE Monitor, Studio Electric's new m4 features the company's proprietary highX 6.5" midrange/woofer driver. This is coupled to a modified version of a classic high-performance 1" soft dome tweeter. The asymmetrical crossover network uses custom value capacitors by ClarityCap as well as tight tolerance air-core inductors and non-inductive resistors. Their M4 cabinet construction features graded MDF and HDF with a veneer of a newly developed, sustainable wood product that looks and feels like exotic hardwood. Frequency response is from 44Hz to 22kHz with a sensitivity of 88dB/W/m @ 6 Ohms. Cabinet dimensions are 12" x 8.625" x 15" (HxWxD, sans grill) and they weigh 19 lbs. each.

 

07 / 13 / 17

Falcon LS3/5A Review
Throwback Thursday! Falcon LS3/5A Classic Two-Way Monitor Reborn
Resurrecting the old classic BBC LS3/5A that lives up against the older classics.
Review By Joseph Ki Cheong Ming

 

07 / 12 / 17

The Absolute Sound's July Magazine Features Many Reviews
The Absolute Sound Issue 274 July 2017The Absolute Sound's July 2017 issue features AXPONA show coverage plus reviews of the Continuum Audio Laboratories Obsidian turntable and Viper tonearm, Technics SL-1200G turntable, DS Audio DS 002 Optical phono cartridge, AMG Giro turntable, Acoustic Signature Challenger Mk3 turntable, Record Doctor V vacuum record cleaner, AudioQuest Conductive Fiber Record Brush, Morrow Audio 5-Series cables plus Cardas Iridium interconnects and speaker cables. Within his guest editorial, North American Sales Manager at Musical Surroundings Allan Moulton says, "Why do people still listen to records? It's the question instinctively asked by nearly all those outside our hobby (and many within) upon learning that there has been, for some time now, a thriving resurgence of a playback technology about to turn 70 years old. That this resurgence has also found an audience in young, 25- to 35-year-old listeners is even more perplexing. The vinylists under 40 aren't still listening to records — they just started listening to records. Against all "reason," they have chosen the pain and expense of an old technology in the face of more accessible and cheaper digital formats. What connects the interests of these new-to-LP listeners with the jaded old guard, which grew up with the LP as the primary playback format? What in the name of perfect sound forever is going on?" See what's within this issue of The Absolute Sound at this link.

 

07 / 11 / 17

Rotel RA-1572 Int. Amp, RC-1572 Preamp, &  RCD-1572 CD Player
Rotel RA-1572 Int. Amp., RC-1572 Preamp, &  RCD-1572 CD PlayerRotel's tradition continues with the latest introduction of three new stereo components as part of the 15 Series. Their RA-1572 stereo integrated amplifier ($1699) recognizes the newfound roles of audio components as a central, cost-effective, music system. Rotel's new RA-1572 is their best example of melding classic analog design with contemporary digital circuits to bring all sources to life with excellent high-fidelity. Internal circuitry draws on a high capacity power supply based on a Rotel custom designed and in-house manufactured oversized toroidal transformer. Subsequent power supply segments built with tight-tolerance parts including T-Network capacitors provide the exact voltage and current requirements to ensure stress-free signal reproduction. In recognition of the many digital sources available today, the RA-1572 has a built-in state-of-the-art 32-bit/768kHz AKM digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and high-end audio quality analog stages. A front panel USB input is provided for easy connection of a wide variety of music storage devices including Apple iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Bluetooth input also supports aptX for compatible devices. In addition, two each S/PDIF coaxial (RCA) and TosLink optical inputs provide easy connections for devices with up to 24-bit word lengths sampled at 192kHz. Stereo power output is conservatively rated at 120 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms. Rotel's new RC-1572 stereo preamplifier ($1099) leverages the design of their flagship RC-1590 preamplifier including its 32-bit/768kHz AKM stereo digital-to-analog converter to handle critical signal conversion. Among many refinements, the RC-1572 utilizes relay switching for analog sources instead of an IC based switch to maintain the integrity of the signal path for RCA, phono and XLR inputs. Rotel's RCD-1572 CD player ($899) focuses on careful refinements to reveal even the most subtle nuances buried in a CD's pit spiral. The RCD-1572 elevates performance by utilizing a purpose designed and built CD mechanism along with other circuit refinements. One of the RCD-1572's most important features is the Wolfson WM8740 digital filter/stereo digital-to-analog converter. Originally developed for high resolution sources, it is the product of extensive research and real world testing and processes digital signals up to 24-bits in length at sampling rates from 8 kHz to 192 kHz. Rotel's post-converter analog circuitry benefits from the company's many decades of experiences in crafting the finest sounding pathway from the DAC's internal output to RCA and XLR rear panel connectors that bridge the gap between the RCD-1572 and down-stream components. All circuit components – resistors, capacitors, inductors – are chosen only after their positive contribution to sound quality were quantified and verified qualitatively by extensive listening sessions.

 

Gold Note Celebrates Their New P-1000 Stereo Preamplifier
Gold Note Celebrates Their New P-1000 Stereo PreamplifierGold Note's P-1000 is the company's first remote control stereo preamplifier to fill their amplification line-up. Operating in pure Class A, this preamplifier was born with a new proprietary six gain stage design and with relays and optical encoder volume control. Powered by a triple linear transformer power supply, Gold Note's P-1000 preamplifier features 10 independent stereo inputs: five fully balanced XLR and five RCA plus a TosLink optional digital input available on demand. All settings can be found on the display allowing quick and precise fine adjustments. The sophisticated volume control is matched with the company's exclusive six single gain stages and Gold Note Ultra-Balanced technology to achieve "incredible low distortion and extended linear bandwidth for true superior musicality". This preamplifier may be set to Mono/Stereo, and thus allow the left/right channel swap to enable the reproduction of inverted recordings and can swap the absolute phase from 0 to 180 degrees. An Over-Boost function has been developed to drive speakers that require robust power supplies to provide enough energy in the lower range of frequencies. As all Gold Note electronics, P-1000 can be enhanced with external dedicated units, like the tube output stages TUBE1006/1012 and the power supply units PSU1100/1250 for ultimate performances. This unit can be updated with a computer through its rear USB port. Overall frequency response is from 2Hz to 200kHz with a THD of <0.001%. Available finishes for the main case include brushed aluminum, black or silver. For inserts there is Italian Walnut / aluminum plus black or silver.

 

07 / 10 / 17

McIntosh Labs MA9000 300 Wpc Stereo Integrated Amplifier
McIntosh Labs MA9000 300 Wpc Stereo Integrated AmplifierMcIntosh Laboratory's MA9000 integrated amplifier ($10,500 is the company's largest integrated in both size and power. It offers 300 Watts per channel stereo and provides 10 stereo analog connections comprised of two balanced and six unbalanced inputs plus a Moving Coil (MC) and Moving Magnet (MM) for turntable connectivity. Both phono inputs feature adjustable loading for fine tuning of vinyl playback. All RCA unbalanced analog connectors are made from premium gold-plated solid brass for superior signal handling and grounding. On the digital side, two S/PDIF coax, two TosLink optical, USB and MCT input (for use with McIntosh's MCT450 SACD/CD Transport) are all housed in McIntosh's new DA1 Digital Audio Module. The DA1 can be easily replaced by future modules to keep your MA9000 up to date as new digital audio formats and technologies are developed. The DA1 utilizes a powerful 8-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) used in Quad Balanced mode. The coax and optical inputs will decode music up to 24-bit/192kHz for high resolution audio playback; the USB input accepts even higher PCM signals up to 32-bit/384kHz and supports up to DSD256 and DXD 384kHz. All inputs can be given custom names for user-friendly system control and configuration. McIntosh's MA9000 features their new Monogrammed Heatsinks that are made from high quality materials with excellent thermal conductivity properties. New, more powerful control microprocessors have been used in the MA9000 to improve overall system operation. Some of the latest audio-grade circuit components have also been utilized to allow the MA9000 to deliver the best sound possible. At 300 Watts per channel, the MA9000 has enough power to properly drive virtually all loudspeakers – and our renowned McIntosh Autoformer guarantees your speakers will always receive that full 300 Watts regardless if they have 2, 4 or 8 Ohm impedance.

 

07 / 03 / 17

Hi-Fi+'s July Magazine Is Now Available Online
Hi-Fi+ Issue 149 July 2017Hi-Fi+ Magazine's July 2017 issue features show coverage of HIGH END in Munich plus reviews of the Jadis JA-80 Mk II Valve mono power amplifiers, Merrill Audio Christine line-level balanced preamplifier, Lejonlou Sagatun Mono 1.3 / Tundra Mono 2 preamplifier and power amplifier, Plinius Hiato integrated amplifier, B.M.C. Audio CS3 integrated amplifier, Jeff Rowland Capri S2 preamplifier, Devialet Expert 1000 amplifier system, ELAC Uni-Fi FS U5 Slim floorstanding loudspeaker, Kimber Kable Axios headphone cables, Audioquest Nightowl Carbon headphones, IsoTek Evo3 Genesis One / Evo3 Titan One AC regenerator and power conditioner, and Rega's A Vibration Measuring Machine hardback book. Within his editorial titled "Audio's Potential Bewilderment", Alan Sircom says, "Amplifiers are a pivotal part of the audio system, and arguably represent the most diverse and wide-ranging set of components in the hi-fi firmament. Where else other than the bit between the source and the speaker could you have a state-of-the-art Class D streaming integrated amplifier rub shoulders with a valve power amplifier, passive preamps, using balanced, single-ended, or a raft of different inputs and outputs, in a range of power options? The problem for audio is that is the best example of potential bewilderment around. The number of permutations of amplifier in broad terms are almost limitless, and with each successive month, those options multiply." See what's within this issue of H-Fi+ Magazine at this link.

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
Long Lost Soviet Music Recordings Have Been Found!
Classical music lovers are rejoicing as many Soviet recordings that were lost for many decades by the Soviet Ministry of Radio and Television have been found! The lost content includes both audio and video of such greats as cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, Violinist David Oistrakh performing a Prokofiev violin concerto in June 1953, Rostropovich performs a Dmitri Shostakovich cello concerto in November 1967, Shostakovich performing his own piano concertos accompanied by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra in 1956 and many others. How much content you ask. According to reports, there are over 400,000 performances - enough to fill 12,000 compact discs! California based Pipeline Music has procured worldwide distribution rights and is planning on releasing over 20 compact discs in the near future! "You're awestruck. It's almost too overwhelming – floor-to-ceiling of tapes, three floors," said Pipeline president Denny Diante, a producer and former executive at MCA and Columbia records.

 

07 / 01 / 17

Enjoy the Music.com's July Review Magazine Is Now Online
Enjoy the Music.com's July Review Magazine wraps up the final show trilogy of AXPONA, HIGH END and LAAS. Up next is the KL International AV Show 2017 at the end of July. We've got a great selection of reviews this month, including world premiere reviews of conrad-johnson's very special Classic 120SE vacuum tube stereo amplifier, the JE Audio HP10 vacuum tube MM/MC phono stage, and Synergistic Research's impressive PowerCell 8 UEF SE plus Atmosphere Level 2 & 3 power cords! While all three of those are world premiere reviews, we actually have one more trick up our proverbial sleeves with a world premiere review of Pro-Ject's Debut Carbon RecordMaster HiRes turntable, which is feature packed and ready for all your vinyl ripping needs too.

Our love of vacuum tubes continue with careful assessments of the 5 Watt Ampsandsound Agartha stereo amplifier/headamp and Audio Research's LS28 line stage with powerful VT80 amplifier.

Lovers of professional and personal audio can read HIFICRITIC's Martin Colloms assessment of the Rupert Neve headphone amplifier RNHP. Lastly, mixing audiophile with videophile we have the legendary Leonard Norwitz giving us details on the outstanding new OPPO UDP-205 Hi-Res Music and 4k Ultra HD audiophile Blu-ray disc player.

See Enjoy the Music.com's July Review Magazine at this link.

As always, in the end what really matters is that you... enjoy the music! 

 

Answers To Questions You May Have
Answers To Questions You May Have
With high-end audio going in so many directions...
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

If Everything Keeps On Improving, How Come Nothing Ever Gets Better?
If Everything Keeps On Improving, How Come Nothing Ever Gets Better?
Roger Skoff writes about an old saying.
Article By Roger Skoff

 

KL International AV Show 2017 Report
Coming Soon!  KL International AV Show 2017 Report
Kuala Lumpur International Audio And Video Show 2017 report.

 

LAAS (Los Angeles Audio Show) 2017 Show Report
LAAS 2017 Show Report
Los Angeles Audio Show 2017 Report Daily Updates!

 

conrad-johnson Classic 120SE Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier Review
World Premiere Review!
conrad-johnson Classic 120SE Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier
conrad-johnson's CL120SE is a truly spectacular and emotionally engaging amplifier.
Review By Rick LaFaver

 

JE Audio HP10 Vacuum Tube MM-MC Phono Stage Review
World Premiere Review!
JE Audio HP10 Vacuum Tube MM / MC Phono Stage
It's a win-win-win situation with great sound, excellent flexible, and easy to use!
Review By Tom Lyle

 

OPPO UDP-205 Hi-Res Music & 4k Ultra HD Audiophile Blu-ray Disc Player Review
OPPO UDP-205 Hi-Res Music & 4k Ultra HD Audiophile Blu-ray Disc Player
A truly outstanding high-end audio and video player at real-world pricing.
Review By Leonard Norwitz

 

Synergistic Research PowerCell 8 UEF SE And Atmosphere Level 2 & 3 Power Cords Review
Synergistic Research PowerCell 8 UEF SE And Atmosphere Level 2 & 3 Power Cords Review
World Premiere Review!
Synergistic Research PowerCell 8 UEF SE & Atmosphere Level 2 & 3 Power Cords
Goosebumps with my favorite music!
Review By Rick Becker

 

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon RecordMaster HiRes Turntable Review
World Premiere Review!
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon RecordMaster HiRes Turntable
A feature packed, high quality design for all your vinyl ripping needs.
Review By Paul Rigby

 

Ampsandsound Agartha Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier And Headamp Review
Ampsandsound Agartha Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier And Headamp
Master Of Two: Making sweet music for headphones and speakers.
Review By Dave Hanson

 

Audio Research Vacuum Tube LS28 Line Stage And VT80 Power Amplifier Review
Audio Research Vacuum Tube LS28 Line Stage And VT80 Power Amplifier
Far more than a foundation for a highly musical sound system.
Review By Rufus Smith

 

More Articles Available Online!
See all our show reports, articles, and gear reviews within the July 2017 edition of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine now available online.

 

06 / 30 / 17

Sony Once Again Begins Pressing Vinyl LPs Due To High Demand
Sony Once Again Begins Pressing Vinyl LPsAccording to Nikkei Asian Review, "Sony is setting up a new production line for vinyl records in Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture. Sony will resume pressing vinyl records for the first time in nearly three decades, looking to keep up with demand from not only nostalgic seniors, but also younger aficionados. Production will resume by March 2018 at a plant in Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture run by a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan). Sony stopped making vinyl records in-house domestically in 1989 after the advent of CDs, which the company co-developed and began selling in 1982. Sony Music installed record-cutting equipment at a Tokyo recording studio in February, enabling it to produce the masters from which vinyl records are copied. Cutting is a delicate process, with the quality of sound affected by the depth and angle of the grooves, and Sony is scrambling to bring in old record engineers to pass on their knowledge... Since Japan has only one active record manufacturer -- Toyokasei -- supply often cannot keep up with demand, and many new releases are often offered in only limited quantities, according to Sony Music. Though used records account for 70% of vinyl sales at Lawson HMV Entertainment, the Lawson unit is apparently seeing stronger demand for new releases from popular artists as well.... Japanese sales of vinyl records have roughly octupled from 2010 levels to 799,000 units in 2016. Sony and Panasonic rolled out new record players last year, while Lawson HMV has opened three Tokyo stores specializing in records since 2014. Tower Records has expanded its floor space. Vinyl sales outpaced digital music sales at one point last year in the U.K. In the U.S., 17.2 million units were shipped last year, with consumers 35 and younger accounting for 70%." For those curious how a vinyl LP is made, we'll show you within our extensive video tour of Quality Record Pressing at this link.

 

06 / 29 / 17

VPI Announces Their City Namesake Cliffwood Turntable
VPI Announces Their City Namesake Cliffwood TurntableVPI Industries is based in Cliffwood, New Jersey, and so after 40 years they have produced a turntable named after the city. VPI's new Cliffwood turntable ($900) celebrates their heritage and workers by naming this turntable after the place they are built. Only available within the USA for the time being, yet VPI plans to eventually ship worldwide, the demand is expected to outstrip supply. Estimated shipping is end of July to early August. VPI's Cliffwood turntable comes with a machined aluminum platter and 600 RPM AC motor with two speed pulley. A machined aluminum gimbaled 9" tone arm with VPI/Grado Green cartridge comes pre-mounted. Also of note is that VPI plans to make this system fully upgradeable. MDF vinyl wrap in Black Truffle finish, said to "look really cool" brings the final visual touches. There is a special "Snow White" version available too. In fact VPI is very excited to announce the this new finish as a standard option!

 

HIFICRITIC's Latest Issue Features Gear Reviews And More
HIFICRITIC Volume 11 Number 2 April / May / June 2017Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the latest HIFICRITIC magazine featuring HIGH END Munich report, a special tribute to Alvin Gold (May 13th 1948 -- April 7th 2017), plus reviews of the Neat IOTA ALPHA, Pass Labs INT-60, Fostex PC100USB-HR2, Rupert Neve Headphone Amplifier RNHP, Naim UNITI Core, Marantz SA-10, AURALiC Aries, Sennheiser HD 800 S, Sonus Faber Olympica I, AVM Inspiration CS2.2, Schiit MJOLNIR 2 + VALI 2, and UK car audio 2017. Within his editorial Digital Music And Online Music Streaming, Paul Messenger says "It might be more than fifty years since Bob Dylan originally wrote that 'the times they are a changing', yet that phrase is arguably even more relevant to the music business today. Sure, analogue vinyl will continue to steam on regardless, but the various digital sources are constantly evolving and coming up with new solutions. Indeed, one reason behind this editorial was a misunderstanding in the (virtual) office over naming the latest digital sources. From the mid-1980s and for twenty or thirty years thereafter, Compact Disc was really the only digital audio game in town. However, as computer memories expanded and internet speeds increased, various alternatives presented themselves. In its early days computer audio gained a poor reputation, due to MP3 digital compression and the practice of 'pirate' file-sharing." See what's within this issue of HIFICRITIC at this link.

 

06 / 28 / 17

Boulder Amplifiers Solid-State 1160 Stereo Power Amplifier
Boulder Amplifiers Solid-State 1160 Stereo Power AmplifierBoulder Amplifiers is now shipping their 1160 Stereo Power Amplifier ($28,000). The 1160 is the successor to the 1060 Stereo Power Amplifier and the first product in the new 1100 Series to debut. The 1100 Series is Boulder's mid-level product line, combining new technology and exceptional performance with reduced size, power and cost. The 1100 Series offers a substantial advancement over the previous 1000 Series, with improvements in sound quality by way of better thermal management, ground paths, noise floor, and circuit layout. The increased use of surface-mount technology, manufactured on Boulder's own surface-mount manufacturing machines and ovens, has also yielded improvements in noise radiation, propagation delay, parasitic capacitance and the elimination of lead inductance in affected circuits. It also offers improvements in unit-to-unit quality and consistency and long-term reliability. Also new for the 1160 is the use of a 64-bit, multi-core ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) processor for all supervisory functions, including management of protection circuits, AC line monitoring, power, thermal detection, error notification, and HTML- or IP-based external control. This ARM processor will also enable the use of Boulder Net, an IP-based unit-to-unit detection, system layout, and communication architecture available to external control systems such as Savant or Crestron and application-based system controls. For units that are network connected, an HTML setup and control page is available by simply logging into the amplifier's IP address via a browser. Gain stages within the 1160 are Boulder's proprietary 983, which are unique to the 1100 Series. 983 gain stages feature surface-mount mechanical design with board-mounted heatsinking and provide the initial 20dB of gain in a multi-stage design for exceptionally wide bandwidth. They combine discrete and monolithic design with a high-current output. Boulder's 1160 utilizes 56 bipolar output devices (28 per channel), 48 filter capacitors and 2 toroidal power transformers to generate power output of up to 300 watts per channel into any load, enabling massive current swings and the ability to drive any loudspeaker to realistic audio levels.

 

06 / 27 / 17

Rupert Neve Headphone Amplifier RNHP Review
Rupert Neve Headphone Amplifier RNHP
Martin Colloms assesses a headphone amp from one of pro audio's famous names.
Review By Martin Colloms

 

JCAT NET Card FEMTO Audiophile Network Interface
JCAT NET Card FEMTO Audiophile Network InterfaceJCAT has introduced their NET Card FEMTO (€422), which is said to be the first high-end Ethernet adapter for noiseless and jitterless data transfer from your PC media server. According to JCAT, "Setting up a media server on a PC or using a computer as a network audio renderer (endpoint) is easy nowadays. But the problem with computers is that they were never designed with audio in mind. While there are improvements for USB-based playback available, the network controller part of a PC remains noisy. JCAT puts an end to imperfections of network playback with NET Card FEMTO – the ultimate network interface designed specifically for transferring high-quality audio over LAN. By using ultra-low noise linear power supplies and FEMTO Clock Technology combined with enterprise level Ethernet controller from Intel, the JCAT NET Card FEMTO ensures maximum network transmission quality. Connect a network audio player, media server (NAS) or a broadband router to JCAT NET Card FEMTO and enjoy vast sound quality improvement when streaming audio data."
• Audiophile PCI Express GbE LAN adapter
• Ultra-low noise linear regulators/filters eliminate noise problems from PC 
• No switching power supplies
• FEMTO Clock Technology (Crystek CCHD-957)
• Industrial grade components
• Enterprise level Intel i350 Ethernet controller
• Gold plated high durability EMI shielded RJ-45 connectors 
• Two LAN ports supporting up to 1Gbit connection speeds
• LED-off feature to counteract noise
• Requirements for optional PSU: 5V/1.5A min
• PSU can be supplied from computer PSU via LP4 connector or from an external PSU via 2.1/5mm center positive DC jack connector 
• Low-profile & full-height laser cut PCIe brackets included
• All x1-x16 lane PCI Express 2.0 slots supported
• Supported operating systems: Windows (all editions) and Linux

 

06 / 26 / 17

Acoustic Research Hi-Res Audio AR-H1 Planar Headphones
Acoustic Research Hi-Res Audio AR-H1 Planar HeadphonesAcoustic Research will soon ship a new HiRes Audio over-ear AR-H1 ($599) headphone with planar magnetic driver technology for the company's unmatched sonic performance. The AR-H1 represents a new standard in headphone performance for the company by incorporating planar technology -- acclaimed for achieving detailed output with drastically reduced distortion compared to other technologies – with an open-back circumaural, or over-ear design for exceptional comfort and sound quality. Featuring an industrial design that is both comfortable and aesthetically appealing, the AR-H1 gives music lovers an 86mm planar driver with a neodymium magnet array that is considered among the best in its class. Frequency response is measured at 10Hz to 70kHz, with sensitivity rated at 100dB/V, and impedance at 33 Ohms. A true hi-resolution headphone should be as comfortable as it is sonically exciting, which is why the AR-H1 features as a genuine leather headband and low resilience ear cushion that add up to hours of listening with no fatigue. Acoustic Research's AR-H1 comes complete with essential accessories including a 1.2 meter audio cable (3.5mm three-pole to dual 2.5mm two-pole), a 6.3mm plug adapter, and a soft pouch for easy storage and portability.

 

Industry News 18 Years Ago
Huge Court Decision Handed Down: MP3 Players Are Legal
Federal appeals court ruled earlier this week that the Diamond Multimedia Rio, which plays MP3 files, is a legal product. This now paves the road for many other companies to join in on the high-demand MP3 playback device market! Of course, as expected, the losing Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) played down the win. If the RIAA won and shot down MP3, you just know they would now be singing to the high mountains. Fortunately, the RIAA rightfully lost and now manufactures will soon be in full swing releasing their own MP3 portable music players.  Thompson and others are already planning their own MP3 playback device(s). Sony, on the other hand, has said they have no interest in the MP3 hardware or marketing MP3 software at this time and will be streaming media using the new Microsoft Windows Media Player file format. In a statement made on the RIAA website about the loss of the lawsuit "We’re obviously disappointed we lost in the Appeals Court. The court appears to have concluded that, despite Congressional intent, the Audio Home Recording Act has limited application in a world of convergent technologies. We filed this lawsuit because unchecked piracy on the Internet threatens the development of a legitimate marketplace for online music, a marketplace that consumers want. Fortunately, the shared interest in such a marketplace has overtaken the lawsuit; the technology and music industries have already come together, in voluntary initiatives like the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), to create a secure environment in which consumers can access the music they love in new ways." Still, there is a joint venture to offer digital music online using SDMI. SDMI will create a secure environment in delivering digitized audio on the web and is being supported by many manufacturers including Diamond Multimedia.

 

06 / 23 / 17

Black Sabbath The Ten Year War LP & Hi-Res Music Box Set
Black Sabbath The Ten Year War LP & Hi-Res Music Box SetLove their press release, as it says, "A foreboding storm is gathering overhead. Bells toll, lighting cracks, rain falls... something dark and sinister is heading this way. It's 1970 and four guys from Birmingham, with the release of their debut self-titled album, have single-handedly created what would become known forever as heavy metal. It was a singular moment of crushing heaviness that would define the genre for years to come.... As the seventies came down like a dark cloud, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler welcomed these uncertain times with open arms and riffs of thunder. And so The Ten Year War began. Fresh from receiving the 'Golden God' Icon Award at this year's Metal Hammer Golden Gods, Black Sabbath are proud to announce The Ten Year War – a limited edition vinyl box set, released September 29th via BMG, that brings together their eight Ozzy fronted albums, plus a swathe of other rarities, all housed within exclusive artwork created by renowned street artist, graphic designer and activist Shepard Fairey. Despite Black Sabbath's multi-million selling albums and rabid fan base throughout the seventies, this adulation wasn't always mirrored by the music press at the time. The band received more than their fair share of criticism, prompting them to publish The Ten Year War brochure; a playful dig at journalists with the witty tagline "more good press than most – more bad press than any." The brochure is reproduced in full for the box set and is one of the many exclusive items held within that also includes eight vinyl LPs meticulously reproduced in their original sleeves, re-mastered by renowned mastering engineer Andy Pearce from the original tapes and pressed on 180 gram splatter-colored vinyl, each LP with unique and individual coloring." Also included are two rare 7" singles, reproduced in their original sleeves. A special crucifix shaped Black Sabbath USB stick, exclusive to this box set, which can be worn round the neck and contains MQA high definition audio of the first eight Black Sabbath albums. Each box set is individually numbered. It's fair to say that The Ten Year War is the definitive Black Sabbath package and is one of the most important and influential artists of the UK at their time.

 

06 / 22 / 17

Frank Zappa Absolutely Free Vinyl LP With Laser Etching
Frank Zappa Absolutely Free Vinyl LP With Laser EtchingThe Zappa Family Trust will mark the 50th anniversary of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention's politically-charged, envelope-pushing sophomore album, Absolutely Free, with an expanded vinyl-exclusive edition on September 29 via Zappa Records/UMe. This double 180-gram LP version will include the original record mastered by Bernie Grundman cut directly from the original analog master tapes and a second disc with 20 minutes of rare and unreleased bonus material, including the "Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?"/"Big Leg Emma" single as well as vintage remixes and radio ads from The Vault on side one and a laser etching of Zappa's visage from the album cover on side two. The package features Zappa's original layout and a reproduction of the rare, highly sought-after "libretto," an 18-page booklet with a foreword by FZ and lyrics to all the compositions, that was offered only by mail order when originally released. Released 50 years ago on May 26, 1967 on Verve Records, Absolutely Free was the Mothers of Invention's follow-up to their landmark debut album, Freak Out! Brash, challenging and exhilarating, the record was revolutionary as it pushed the limits of what an album could be. A pop culture pastiche, the album leaps through genres – from psychedelic pop and progressive rock to free-form jazz and avant-garde noise to doo-wop and garage rock, often in the same composition as on album highlight, "Brown Shoes Don't Make It," and is filled with Zappa's trademark biting political and social satire. Hailed by All Music as a "fabulously inventive record" that is "by turns hilarious, inscrutable, and virtuosically complex," the album is divided into two "oratorios" or song suites – "Absolutely Free" and "The M.O.I. American Pageant" – and is rife with complex instrumentation, cutting edge experimentation and unconventional editing. You can pre-order Zappa's Absolutely Free on Amazon right now.

 

 

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