High-End Audio, High Fidelity Audiophile Industry News
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04 / 30 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com just posted The Absolute Sound's May edition filled with many great equipment and music reviews plus think pieces. This issue includes equipment reviews of the Rotel RDD-1580 DAC, Zesto Bia 120 power amplifier, NuForce MCP-18 multichannel preamplifier, Rogers EHF-200 Mk2 integrated amplifier, Viola Audio Laboratories Concerto preamplifier & Crescendo power amplifier, Focal 906 loudspeakers, Abyss AB-1266 headphones, Light Harmonic DaVinci DAC and many more. In his editorial, Robert Harley says "For some audio hobbyists, there's only one true path to audio nirvana. That path is often exceedingly narrow—loudspeakers with first-order crossovers, or single-ended triode amplifiers, or DACs without an oversampling filter, for examples. These proponents of specific technologies claim that their chosen hobbyhorse is the only correct way to reproduce music and any other approach is simply wrong. The list of pet technologies I've encountered over the years is staggering: planar loudspeakers, single-driver speakers, horn speakers, output-transformerless amplifiers, high-mass turntables, low-mass turntables—ad infinitum. The list can get even more esoteric. I once heard an audiophile at a show say that he would never buy a speaker cable that didn't have a layer of rhodium plating in the terminations.
Enjoy the Music.com has just posted Hi-Fi World's June 2014 edition including the complete editorial and table of contents. This issue includes reviews of the Acoustic Energy 101S loudspeakers, JBL Studio 230 loudspeakers, Tellurium Q cables, Audeze LCD-XC & LCD-03 headphones, NAD 7020 receiver, Icon Audio Stereo 845 PP integrated amplifier, Fostex HP-A8C DAC headphone amplifier, YBA IA3 amplifier, Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum DAC and many more reviews. The editorial by Noel Keywood says, "Last month at the end on my editorial intro I mentioned the Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA) ruling in favour of Russ Andrews with regard to claims made for his mains cables. This was spotted immediately by an eagle-eyed reader and caused him to write in – see Letters. Quite right too! Cables are controversial and What Hi-Fi now avoid reviewing them, I think I am right in saying, as it has brought so much wrath onto their heads, mainly from the ASA. How, for example, do you prove that digital cables–of all things–affect sound quality? They do and we can demonstrate it with our Rohde & Schwarz UPV audio analyser, but others cannot. So they get hit. Until more work is done on testing cables some will be understandably sceptical about their affect upon sound quality. In the meantime it is best if everyone understands that cables are a hot topic, one in which definitive answers are hard to find." See the complete June table of contents and editorial of Hi-Fi World by clicking here.
04 / 29 / 14
There are only a few days remaining for you to claim your chance to win the Cardas Audio EM5813 Ear Speakers! Cardas Audio, after four years of exhaustive research and development encompassing every part of the human hearing system, has been receiving critical acclaim for their EM5813 Ear Speaker/In-Ear Monitor ($425). The human hearing system, musical chords, and the Cardas Audio EM5813 Ear Speakers are reflections of the Golden Ratio — closely related to the Fibonacci Sequence — George Cardas has based his cable and microphone designs on this age old mathematical sequence that naturally occurs in nature, architecture, and art. Created by company founder George Cardas, the custom designed ultra-thin ear tip ensures a precise and comfortable fit. You can learn more and claim your chance to enter the contest by clicking here.
04 / 25 to 4 / 27
Enjoy the Music.com is streaming our live AXPONA show coverage during the entire event! Our state-of-the-art high resolution studio facility will be broadcasting key information during the entire event to help educate consumers on the many high-end audio products at AXPONA. The live stream features high-end audio electronics, music, seminars, plus special interviews with equipment designers and engineers. With over a dozen leading print magazines and Web sites as partners, Enjoy the Music.TV continues their ability to reach a worldwide audience using the latest in advanced technologies. Enjoy the Music.TV's AXPONA 2014 live broadcast can be seen on Enjoy the Music.com's main homepage and on Enjoy the Music.TV. Viewers can participate during the live broadcast via integrated chat or use Twitter #AXPONA2014.
See all our videos from AXPONA 2014 at this link.
04 / 24 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com just posted Rick Becker's complete Salon Son & Image 2014 show report, including part 4. Our extensive report spans 11 pages filled with over 130 photos! Salon Son & Image 2014 was held at the Montreal Hilton Bonaventure in the heart of downtown Montreal, Canada, from March 28th through the 30th. See Rick Becker's Salon Son & Image 2014 report at this link.
04 / 22 / 14
To ensure high performance within their customer's home audio/video room, California-based Bay Audio has announced their PTM+ home theater solution. PTM+ distinguishes itself from competitive systems by pairing specially designed loudspeaker technology with collaborative specification and onsite factory tuning. "We developed Bay Audio PTM+ speakers anticipating that our factory-trained personnel would be tuning each system. This foresight has enabled our engineers to concentrate on building loudspeakers with incredible headroom, stunningly low levels of distortion and smooth off-axis dispersion. Manufactured with great care, PTM+ speakers are the technologically precise instruments we need to create the ultimate home theater. The Bay Audio PTM+ lineup is fully customizable to accommodate each installation. Standard sizes include a compact, high output monitor, center channel, in-wall loudspeaker, bass staging module and subwoofers in three sizes" says the company. PTM+ loudspeakers' use advanced design elements including 1" MDF cabinet designs veneered inside and out to balance and protect the material, multiple internal braces to lock all cabinet walls in place and eliminate unwanted resonances. PTM+ loudspeakers also include an energy dispersion pad behind each premium driver to absorb unwanted vibrations. PTM+ loudspeakers feature precision tuned crossover networks utilizing 5% resistors, 250V polypropylene capacitors, high-quality bypass capacitors and 12-gauge internal wiring. To provide the ultimate home audio and theater experience, Bay Audio dispatches a trained technician to each completed PTM+ home theater installation in order to correctly calibrate output levels, equalization, time alignment and any other adjustable parameters of the system. Factory tuning the systems adds critical support to integrators while delivering the utmost value to consumers.
04 / 21 / 14
Wavecor Ltd's new line of high-performance steel frame subwoofers are the latest members of their Balanced Drive line of transducers. With five sizes to chose from -- 4.5" SW118WA, 5.75" SW146WA, 6.5" SW168WA, 8.5" SW215WA and 10.5" SW270WA -- all drivers share the same feature list:
•Balanced Drive motor structure for optimal drive force symmetry
and reduced even order harmonic distortion
04 / 18 / 14
the Music.com, the industry's most forward-thinking
site for more than 19 years in concert with major print media and
Internet partners, is pleased to announce sister site Enjoy
the Music.TV will be streaming live at AXPONA 2014 from
April 24th through 27th! Our state-of-the-art high resolution studio facility will be
broadcasting key information during the entire event to help educate consumers on the many high-end
audio products at AXPONA. The live stream will feature high-end audio electronics, music,
seminars, plus have special interviews with equipment designers and
engineers. With over a dozen
leading print magazines and Web sites as partners, Enjoy the Music.TV continues
their ability to reach a worldwide audience using the latest in advanced
technologies. Enjoy the Music.TV's AXPONA 2014 live broadcast continues our
pioneering efforts and industry firsts in delivering a new level of
connectivity with enthusiasts worldwide. Viewers can participate during the live broadcast
via integrated chat or use Twitter #AXPONA2014.
Please see our press release at
Please see our press release at this link.
While everyday should be music day no matter what format you so choose or which store is your favorite to find hidden gems, tomorrow is officially Record Store Day. Conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees, tomorrow is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store — the staff, the customers, and the artists — to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities. Special vinyl/CD/DVD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for this day. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, and DJs spinning records.
We just posted part 3 of Rick Becker's extensive Salon Son & Image 2014 show report. Salon Son & Image 2014 was held at the Montreal Hilton Bonaventure in the heart of downtown Montreal, Canada, from March 28th through the 30th. See part 3 of Rick Becker's Salon Son & Image 2014 report at this link.
Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
04 / 17 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com can save you 15% off AXPONA tickets! Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2014 is an audiophile show that will be held from April 25th through 27th and is open to the public. Taking place at the Westin O'Hare in Chicago, the AXPONA show is now in their sixth year and offers demonstrations of home audio playback equipment and software replicating live music as accurately as possible. AXPONA 2014 is Chicago's high-end audio show featuring hundreds of listening rooms, informative daily seminars, live music, Ear Gear Expo (EGX) for portable music enthusiasts, and much more. Music lovers and audiophiles from across the country should attend AXPONA for demonstrations and access to the latest high-end audio equipment and accessories that the high fidelity audio industry has to offer! Come to AXPONA this Spring and experience your music as it was meant to be heard! Click this link and use code AXP52D to save 15% off AXPONA tickets.
Channel D, developers of the innovative and award-winning Pure Vinyl and Pure Music computer audio software for Apple Macintosh computers, has released a major update to its Pure Vinyl software ($299, or $79 for upgrade from previous versions until April 20th). The new Pure Vinyl 4 software includes dozens of new features and performance enhancements. The new Pure Vinyl 4 includes more than three dozen significant new features, user interface and performance enhancements. Pure Vinyl features 64 bit digital RIAA compensation for overall improvement over conventional analog RIAA LP reproduction, when used with a high quality analog to digital (ADC) and digital to analog converter (DAC). Sampling at 192kHz/24-bit results in a signal reproduction chain that is said to be demonstrably indistinguishable from a pure analog playback system. High resolution digital transfers can be edited to the track level using the fast, fun (and patented) "virtual vinyl" cue guide editor for incorporating transfers into iTunes playlists at full native resolution, conversion to CD format for use in CD players, or enjoyment on portable audio players (at native or user selected sample formats). For track editing, Pure Vinyl 4 replaces Pure Vinyl 3's excellent AUTO track locator function with an even easier to use and more powerful SNAP TO feature. SNAP TO uses a proprietary, statistical analysis of the inter-track sound levels to automatically position the playback stylus accurately at the track cue-in point. Going even further, the assignment of tracks is now fully automated, with Pure Vinyl neatly trimming the track intros, and a new 'Tidy Tail' feature automatically trims silence between tracks. Users who rely on Pure Vinyl for making comparisons between LP playback components (by recording test tracks with different cartridges, tonearms, turntables, VTA settings, etc.) will appreciate and enjoy the new ITU BS.1770 (Broadcast Standard) Perceived Loudness Measurement / normalization option. Pure Vinyl 4 also includes the ZEPHRR Zero Phase Rumble Reduction filter. ZEPHRR is a zero-phase-shift, continuous-time low-cut filter for eliminating low frequency noise and improving playback headroom without adversely affecting sound quality. Also included is a new playback convenience feature which allows designating a desired album side and track for playback to commence when a recording is opened.
04 / 16 / 14
Chesky Records has released their Dr. Chesky Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc in 192kHz/24-bit. Featuring 45 tracks of tests for headphones, it also includes all-star Chesky artists like Bucky Pizzarelli, Wycliffe Gordon, Candido Camero, and more. "There’s no doubt about it; we are living in the Golden Age of Headphone Design" says Chesky. "At every price category, headphones have never sounded better. You can hear superior detailing and clarity from headphones and typical room acoustic problems with speakers are completely eliminated. With the best headphones you hear what the microphones 'heard', and nothing else. Of course a stellar headphone can't make a poor quality recording sound great, so if you want to hear your headphones’ full potential you have to listen to the best recordings. Gathered on this test disc is an assortment of the latest Chesky recordings to show off the best of what your headphones can do." In addition to the music tracks, the album includes a selection of tracks that can test your headphone's dynamic range and imaging capabilities. Binaural+'s 360 degree spatial cues will sound very different on in-ear, on-ear, and over-the-ear headphones. There is no after-the-fact mixing or alteration to the balance. This recording is a must-have for headphone enthusiasts.
The new soulution 560 DAC ($26,000) is the company's top-of-the-line converter with preamplifier grade output stage. There are five different digital inputs (AES/EBU, S/PDIF, TosLink optical, USB and LAN) ensure versatility in all systems. The USB interface is an asynchronous design based on a high performance DSP and is clocked by the 560's high precision master clock. This clock receives powered via ultra-stable power supplies that are not USB bus powered. For the LAN connection, the soulution 560 is equipped with a separate dedicated DSP that manages the communication to the local area network and buffers/decodes the incoming music signal. Decoding capabilities include PCM from 16 to 24 bit and upward to 192 kHz. It also decodes DXD 24-bit/352.8kHz and DSD 1bit/2.82 MHz plus double DSD 1-bit/5.62 MHz.
04 / 15 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com just posted part 2 of Rick Becker's extensive Salon Son & Image 2014 show report. Salon Son & Image 2014 was held at the Montreal Hilton Bonaventure in the heart of downtown Montreal, Canada, from March 28th through the 30th. Exhibitors included manufacturers, distributors, retailers and craftsmen from the consumer electronics industry. There were a wide selection of audio and video entertainment for sale from vinyl LPs to CD and Blu-ray discs. See part 2 of Rick Becker's Salon Son & Image 2014 report at this link.
Spatial Audio will be at AXPONA 2014 room 450 introducing their new Hologram M2 loudspeaker ($1999). Development of their passive, plug 'n' play open-baffle speaker has been ongoing since 2011 and represents designer Clayton Shaw's first major step forward in his open baffle design technique since the original Emerald Physics CS2 in 2007. According to the press release, "The new Hologram technology provides outstanding musical realism in a completely passive design, eliminating the need for bi-amp'ing or DSP equalization. The Hologram’s compact, full-range design exhibits a sensitivity of 100dB, recreating music's entire dynamic envelope, without compression. Unlike most high-efficiency speakers, the Hologram M2 exhibits very high accuracy via its linear frequency response and controlled-directivity design philosophy." This two-way point source design employs dynamic drovers mounted on an open baffle that consists of a five layer sandwich made from aluminum and MDF composite. The pair of 12" drivers each have a 1" exit compression high frequency driver coaxially mounted. The crossover is a special 'Hologram Circuit' at 800 Hz; with an overall frequency response from 48 Hz to 20 kHz (+/-3dB). Impedance is 4 Ohms and sensitivity is 100dB/W/m. Dimensions are 28" x 16" x 2.7" (HxWxD) and weight is 40 lbs each. Available finishes include White and Graphite for $1995 per pair, with the Hologram M2 Turbo (Premium crossover) being $2495 per pair.
04 / 14 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com and Cardas Audio are giving away a set of their incredible EM5813 Ear Speakers to one lucky contest winner! Cardas Audio, after four years of exhaustive research and development encompassing every part of the human hearing system, has been receiving critical acclaim for their EM5813 Ear Speaker/In-Ear Monitor ($425). The human hearing system, musical chords, and the Cardas Audio EM5813 Ear Speakers are reflections of the Golden Ratio — closely related to the Fibonacci Sequence — George Cardas has based his cable and microphone designs on this age old mathematical sequence that naturally occurs in nature, architecture, and art. Created by company founder George Cardas, the custom designed ultra-thin ear tip ensures a precise and comfortable fit. You can learn more and enter the contest by clicking here.
04 / 11 / 14
Sonos, an industry leader in multi-room home audio distribution systems, has added Google Play music directly to their system. Music enthusiasts can use the Google Play music app on their Android device to send music directly to Sonos and enjoy all their favorite tunes. You can cast a song, playlist, etc directly to a Sonos player on your Android device too. Thus no more missing a single beat of music when you go from one location to another. You can also blend your entire personal library in the Google Play Music cloud in addition to accessing their 20 million track on-demand streaming service. Google Play Music makes it easy to explore, share, store, and listen to your favorite music. Play millions of songs instantly from anywhere on any device. Get free cloud storage for up to 20,000 tracks, create custom radio stations, and enjoy smart recommendations that get smarter the more you play. Sonos also easily handles playback of Beats Music, Pandora, Songza, Amazon Cloud Player, iHeartRadio and many other online music services too.
04 / 10 / 14
LH Labs, a division of Light Harmonics, announced the development of their newest product called the Geek Wave ($399). The Geek Wave is said to solve two common smartphone complaints: poor sound quality and short battery life. "Geek Wave works with smartphones to improve audio quality by making everything from MP3s to online music services such as Pandora and Spotify 128x clearer and 8x louder" says the company. Beyond making music, movies and games easier to hear, Geek Wave will charge smartphones twice and charge them twice as fast, plus works as an additional storage device with a built in 256 gig hard drive, enabling users to hold more than 50,000 songs with them everywhere their smartphone goes. Geek Wave is sleek and portable, plus works directly with a smartphone interface unlike similar audio devices on the market or in development that only act as standalone music players. One of the most common complaints with smart devices is that they don't have enough bass and volume. This is partly because up to 40 percent of a phone manufacturers' budget goes into the ultra-high-resolution screen, leaving about a dollar for sound components according to LH Labs. To achieve higher performance audio, Geek Wave is built on a high-performance digital to analog converter core that Light Harmonic has had in development since 2008 and uses it is "cost-no-object" audio components. Utilizing Light Harmonic's "INSTANT POWER" technology, currently used in its high-end Da Vinci DAC, Geek Wave delivers two times more power to headphones. This provides them to be heard to their fullest potential, even in the most crowded of places. For the millions of listeners that have entire libraries of lower quality MP3 music or stream through services like Pandora and Spotify, Geek Wave uses Light Harmonic's Duet Engine to improve the digital signal. Geek Wave also adds storage capacity with 256 GB of memory. Technical specs include USB micro-B connector or Apple Lightning connector, a 3000mAh internal battery, and 1/8" headphone jack with an output impedance of 0.47 Ohm. PCM decoding is from 44.1 to 352.8 kHz at 16 to 32 bits. DSD decoding is from 2.822 to 6.144 MHz @ 1 bit. Play time on battery is up to 12 hours.
HDtracks has reported a 20% increase in their high resolution audio downloads during the first quarter of 2014 as compared to last year. This continuing trend reflects the growing demand for better quality digital music downloads. Notably, consumer demand for the better sounding music downloads available at HDtracks spans a broad range of music categories and genres, with sales increases seen throughout the label's growing roster of both classic jazz, rock and contemporary pop albums – all available via DRM-free CD and DVD-Audio quality downloads at the highest possible bit/sampling rates. Since the launch of HDtracks in 2008, the company’s business has seen significant growth each year, a success that mirrors the explosive, double-digit growth of high-resolution digital downloads overall. HDtracks recently added three legendary Bob Dylan albums as well as new digital downloads from Skrillex, Foster the People and Shakira. This month HDtracks will offer high-resolution album downloads from Cream, Blind Faith, Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris and the B52s. For total flexibility, consumers can often choose their favorite format as well, and many HDtracks offerings are available in either 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz.
04 / 09 / 14
Sadurni Acoustics is now selling their Staccato horn speaker system ($40,000 ) after five years of development. This four-way system uses compression drivers for both the high and upper mid frequencies plus is one of the first horn systems using a front-firing (not folded) wooden bass horn that extends down to 120 Hz. Frequencies below 120 Hz to 25 Hz are delivered via a proprietary bass unit. An array of three or four Bass modules per side can be used according to room size and bass appeal. For smaller rooms, only two bass modules are enough and stay almost out of sight hidden behind the horns. The sound from the Staccato hornspeaker highlights the positioned drivers that are time aligned, yet detached and individually connected. Sadurni Acoustics developed a manufacturing process that is claimed to remove distortion from the horns to "deliver crystal clear sound, avoiding the famous horn shout and horn sound". Each driver was meticulously selected for its ability to maintain the correct timber and tone of the music. To complement the very fast dynamics and disappearing distortion in the Staccato Horn Speaker system, Sadurni developed a very fast bass system for deep low bass that will keep up with the horns and yet fill a room of any size. The horns are made with MDF wood, overall system frequency response is from 25 Hz to 40 kHz and sensitivity is 110dB/W/m. An active line Bass Xover is included and the speaker is available in custom color options.
04 / 08 / 14
Gryphon Audio Designs new Pantheon Reference loudspeaker system (€35,000 per pair) is a new five-driver, three-way design housed in a sleek cabinet. Positioned as the brand's most compact floor-standing model, the family resemblance to these acclaimed reference monitor systems is strong and readily apparent. Gryphon Audio Designs' Pantheon draws heavily on technologies and components developed specifically by and for Gryphon Audio Designs. Like its predecessors, Pantheon employs proprietary constant phase technologies to ensure that all drivers are in phase at all frequencies at all times. Like all Gryphon Audio Designs loudspeakers, the high-frequency is handled by an extraordinary Air Motion Transformer (AMT) drive unit with an extremely low-mass folded metal diaphragm capable of instantaneous response and a highly desirable point source sonic presentation. The Pantheon cone drivers are made in Denmark by ScanSpeak to Gryphon’s exacting specifications and custom designed for low Q and minimal dynamic compression. The dual 8" bass drivers and dual 5" midrange units are specially developed with tightly focused, ultra-linear motor systems for maximum force and focus and total control of the motion of the layer-damped fiberglass cones. The fourth order filter network is based exclusively on the finest components (Duelund, Jensen, Holm, Mundorf) in a layout carefully calculated to eliminate electromagnetic interaction and fitted to a decoupling platform to prevent vibration. The crossover network is pre-biased by a 28 Volt battery for constant charge to the electrolytic capacitors in the impedance correction circuit. Gryphon says the battery-biased Class A operation ensures a smoother, more richly detailed three-dimensional presentation. Each crossover network is hand-adjusted to ensure precision and transparency. The drivers are housed in a sleek, tall, massively braced sculpted enclosure with precisely contoured modular baffle and driver surrounds. The baffle covering was carefully selected and applied to effectively address baffle reflections and eliminate diffraction phenomena. Independent baffle elements for each driver break up the pathway through which vibrations would otherwise be transmitted in a single, shared baffle. The five dedicated Pantheon baffles allow precision time alignment of the individual drivers based on the now classic, subtle Gryphon baffle curvature. The side panels are an ingenious modular construction for simple removal and replacement at any time. Like every Gryphon product, Gryphon Pantheon is designed by Gryphon founder and CEO Flemming E. Rasmussen and manufactured in Denmark. System response is from 25 Hz to 40 kHz (-3dB), weight per unit is 195 lbs and dimensions are 148 x 29 x 69 (HxWxD in cm).
Intel's just-announced Thunderbolt 2 networking builds on the latest version of its Thunderbolt technology, with a bandwidth increase up to 20Gbps. With the addition of Thunderbolt Networking, this marks a new way to directly connect computers together with a standard Thunderbolt cable. Thunderbolt Networking, emulating an Ethernet connection environment, provides 10Gbps throughput between two computers. Already released on the Mac with OS X Mavericks, a PC driver will soon be available to connect two PCs together or a PC to a Mac, adding a new level of workflow flexibility for media professionals. By offering simple and fast file sharing, Thunderbolt Networking enables backup or upgrade across two computers using existing cables and connectors. Many versatile Thunderbolt storage products have been recently introduced including the Western Digital My Passport Pro, the first portable, bus-powered, dual-drive solution to deliver the performance to run the most demanding applications in the field and user-selectable RAID functionality. Promise Technologies announced a new Thunderbolt 2 portable storage solution, the Pegasus2 M4, which provides a highly portable 2.5" HDD/SSD external RAID solution, on the heels of the Pegasus2 R8 launch this past January. LaCie's Little Big Disk features Thunderbolt 2 and is now shipping. Billed as the world's fastest portable external storage solution, it delivers speeds up to 1375 MBs and fits in typical sized laptop bag. LaCie's 2big, 5big and 8big with Thunderbolt 2 provides industry leading capacity and bandwidth.
04 / 07 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com just posted The Absolute Sound's April edition filled with many great equipment and music reviews plus think pieces. This issue includes equipment reviews of the Rotel RCD-1570, RC-1570 P7 and RB-1552 Mk II Pro-Ject XTension 10 record player, a four speaker shootout with Neat Acoustics Iota, Gallo Strada 2 with Tr-3D Subwoofer, Dynaudio Excite X34, and Von Schweikert Audio UniField Two Mk2. Also reviews are the Audio Research VSi60 integrated amplifier, Westone ES5 custom IEM, and Audio Research Reference Phono 10 phonostage preamplifier. In his editorial, Robert Harley says "The recent public discussion about income inequality seems to have touched a nerve with some of our readers. I've received more than the usual share of letters complaining about the high cost of certain audio products. These correspondents don't just want to see more coverage from TAS of affordable equipment; they also object in principle to the very existence of ultra-high-end gear" See the April issue of TAS by clicking here.
This Just In: John Hamm, CEO of PonoMusic, to speak at AXPONA on Friday, April 25th, 6:00 to 7:00 PM. PonoMusic, the brainchild of Neil Young, is focused on the mission to allow listeners to experience music the way artists intended. PonoMusic is both an online music store and playback device offering the finest quality, and highest-resolution digital music. Join John Hamm, CEO of PonoMusic for an informative seminar and Q&A session to learn about this unique digital music experience.
04 / 05 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com's Salon Son & Image 2014 show report is now online! Salon Son & Image 2014 was held at the Montreal Hilton Bonaventure in the heart of downtown Montreal, Canada, from March 28th through the 30th. Exhibitors included manufacturers, distributors, retailers and craftsmen from the consumer electronics industry. There were a wide selection of audio and video entertainment for sale from vinyl LPs to CD and Blu-ray discs. Attendees had access to a wide range of high-end products plus expert information directly from designers and equipment engineers. During the three days of the Salon Son & Image 2014 Montreal event there will be a variety of seminars and discussions too. See part 1 of Rick Becker's Salon Son & Image 2014 report at this link.
04 / 04 / 14
Pro-Ject Audio Systems' Xtension 9 Evolution (€1990 without cartridge or €2490 with Ortofon MC Quintet Black cartridge) incorporates all of the company's turntable design and high-end know-how from more than 20 years experience in a slim-line unit. The Xtension 9 Evolution chassis is made from ultra dense MDF that gives high mass and is non-resonant. Unique magnetic feet decouple the main plinth from its base. These feet effectively isolates the weighty 35 lbs turntable mass from outer vibration and adds up to a combination of 'mass loaded' principle and 'floating turntable' design. Instead of a pure metal main platter, pro-Ject found an aluminum alloy which is damped with thermo plastic elastomer (TPE). Additionally, they glued recycled Vinyl records to the top, which they say acts as a perfect mat, and bake this 'sandwich' before precision balancing it. The final product subsequently benefits from a resonance-free heavy platter that runs silently on an inverted ceramic bearing (ball & plate) with magnetic suspension. This virtually reduces the platter-mass, so the platter 'floats' on the bearing with lowest rumble possible. Pro-Jects Xtension 9 Evolution features a quartz-generated high precision electronic speed regulation (Speed Box) with microprocessor control. An absolutely clean AC power is generated, which is led directly into built-in synchronous motor. The tonearm with the 9cc Evolution is of the conical carbon-fiber armtube variety that avoids standing wave reflections. It glides on an inverted bearing design with four hardened ABEC7 spec ballraces allows friction-free arm movement. A solid armbase permits accurate height adjustment of armtube and VTA (vertical tracing angle). Azimuth (horizontal tracking) can be adjusted precisely, by rotating armtube and single-point fixing. For universal use with nearly all quality cartridges, four different counterweights are included as an accessory to meet all different cartridge masses from 5 to 14 grams. A highly flexible top-grade copper internal wiring provides a 5-pole premium connector cable with RCA or XLR plugs that will fit unbalanced or balanced phono preamplifiers. An unbalanced arm cable is delivered as standard, balanced XLR by request. This dedicated phono cable is made in Europe in cooperation with Van den Hul and uses twin-core (balanced) geometry with very low capacitance (75pF/m), dense silver coated high purity OFC + Linear Structured Carbon saturated layers and is PVC-free. RCA and XLR plugs offer silver plated contacts for best connectivity. A heavy-weight record clamp and acrylic dustcover round out this design. The Pro-Ject Xtension 9 Evolution is available in five different high gloss lacquer finish options that include Mahogany, Olive, Piano Black, Red, and White.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has posted their Music Industry Shipment and Revenue Statistics for 2013. In 2013, strong growth in streaming revenues contributed to a United States music industry that was stable overall at $7 billion for the fourth consecutive year. Overall, this was a decrease of 0.3% versus 2012 revenues (at wholesale, the industry was $4.8 billion, up 1.9% versus 2012). The increase in digital sales was driven by streaming music services, which at $1.4 billion were up 39% versus 2012. This category includes revenues from subscription services (such as Rhapsody and paid versions of Spotify, among others), streaming radio service revenues that are distributed by SoundExchange (like Pandora, SiriusXM, and other Internet radio), and other non-subscription on-demand streaming services (such as YouTube, Vevo, and ad-supported Spotify). These streaming services have grown rapidly over recent years, contributing 21% of total industry revenues in 2013, compared with just 3% in 2007. Paid subscription services grew the fastest of the digital formats, up 57% to $628 million in 2013. Growth came not just in dollars, but in the number of subscribers as well, with the annual average totaling over 6 million subscriptions. You can see the complete report in PDF format at this link.
04 / 03 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com just posted Hi-Fi+'s April edition filled with many great equipment and music reviews plus think pieces. This issue includes equipment reviews of the Estelon XC standmount speakers, Roksan Darius S1 speakers, CEntrance HIFI-M8 portable DAC/headphone amplifier, Sonus Faber Olympica I speakers, Kuzma CAR-20 MC cartridge, Rega RP8 turntable, REL S/3 active subwoofer and more! In his editorial, Alan Sircom says "This month we have loudspeakers from Estonia, Italy, Germany, and the right in the heart of London; we have turntables from the UK and cartridges from Slovenia, power products from the USA and a headphone amplifier designed in the US and EU and made in China. We truly are a global village today..." See the April issue of Hi-Fi+ by clicking here.
OPPO Digital has just introduced its PM-1 and PM-2 planar magnetic headphones ($1099 and $699 respectively). OPPO's PM-1 is result of many years of research and development led by a team of passionate audio and acoustics engineers, chemical and material scientists, and audiophiles. The technology encompasses a wide range of innovative solutions that deliver exceptional performance. The OPPO PM-1 utilizes a planar magnetic driver that features a 7-layer diaphragm and an FEM-optimized high energy Neodymium magnet system. The diaphragm has a spiraling pattern of flat conductors etched on both sides, and the double-sided design allows twice as many conductors to be placed within the magnetic field, which leads to higher sensitivity, better damping, and even drive force. The magnetic field and conductor patterns are optimized for maximum driving force and consistency of the applied force over the radiating area. It's circumaural (over-the-ear), open back design provides excellent sound quality and comfort. The OPPO PM-1's high sensitivity and low weight also allow the headphones to be used freely with many portable devices without requiring additional amplification. OPPO will be releasing a PM-2 model, which is the more affordable version of the premium PM-1. The PM-2 will maintain very similar performance to the PM-1 while reducing costs to the customer. It utilizes the same planar magnetic driver, the same acoustic design principles and tuning techniques, tight tolerances for quality control, and its lower price is achieved "without sacrificing acoustic performance" according to OPPO. Certain metal parts that require many hours of machining time and have relatively low yields in the PM-1 have been replaced by materials and processes that are more suitable for quantity production, and the luxurious hand-picked lambskin found on the headband and ear pads of the PM-1 has been replaced with synthetic leather that offers similar comfort and durability at a much lower cost. The PM-2 is estimated to be available in summer 2014.
McIntosh Labs is now shipping their
MHA100 dedicated headphone amplifier ($4500). It employs a new adaptation of their unique Autoformer technology to produce three headphone impedance ranges of 8-40, 40-150 and 150-600 Ohms so that every headphone - from ear buds to studio quality phones - will receive the optimal McIntosh sound. McIntosh's MHA100 features a new Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) to allow high quality recordings to image like conventional speakers in your headphones. This is said to bring new depth and spatiality to music. Four digital inputs allow the McIntosh Digital Engine to decode your music at up to 32 bits and 192kHz. There are two analog inputs for non-digital sources. For normal loudspeaker hookup, 50-watt stereo amplification with Power Guard will prevent clipping that could damage your headphones or speakers. Tone controls include a 5 Step Bass Boost Control for further customization. The entire unit is housed in McIntosh's signature polished stainless steel chassis that compliments the classic glass front panel. The front
panel also has the company's classic knobs and brushed aluminum end caps. Full specifications are as follows:
04 / 02 / 14
iFi Audio is asking their customers what they want to have within the company's upcoming Micro iDSD unit. It is to be the bigger brother of the nano iDSD, which is their top-selling portable DAC in Japan and has a loyal following around the globe. The micro iDSD is expected to be on sale in early June, yet iFi Audio is still within their design stage of the unit. Right now is the time you can specify features for the upcoming micro iDSD! You tell iFi Audio what you would like to see via their Facebook page or e-mail and they shall do their best to meet your goal. Over the course of the next few months, iFi Audio will be collecting all the data and there will be a constant flow of updates on the company's Facebook and Twitter accounts. A pre-production version is scheduled to be showcased at the upcoming Munich High-End Show from May 15th through 18th. The top-10 contributors whose features are adopted will each receive the all-new micro iDSD.
04 / 01 / 14
Enjoy the Music.com celebrates April with excellent equipment and masterful music reviews plus a few humorous April Fools 'reviews'. Our Salon Son & Image 2014 show report will be online shortly and we look forward to seeing many of you at AXPONA in Chicago!
See the April Review Magazine by clicking here.
Paul McGowan of PS Audio & Ted Smith of DirectStream
Michael Mercer of Enjoy the Music.com & Audio360.org
Oracle Audio Delphi MK VI Turntable With SME V Tonearm
Naim Nait Integrated Amplifier
LIRPA DDRX - 401 Reference Converter
Tweaking To Beat The Band
We Tree Audio Ring Turntable
Vacuum Tube Valley Magazine
13 And Voïvod Target Earth
See the April Review Magazine by clicking here.
Enjoy the Music.com just posted the new issue of HIFICRITIC magazine with many informative equipment and music reviews plus think pieces. This issue's equipment reviews include Naim's compact DAC-V1, PMC's Fact.12 loudspeaker, JPLAY + JCAT software, Audio Research VSi75 integrated amplifier, affordable MC cartridges, Linn's DSP-based Exakt speaker, Musical Fidelity's V90-series headphone amplifier/phono stage and more! In the editorial by Paul Messenger it says, "When reading Martin Colloms' piece on reviewing techniques (pp30-33) I started to realise just how personal such a process can be. I'm not criticising Martin's methodology, which has a rigour and thoroughness that I rather envy (up to a point anyway), but the fact that it varies considerably from my own approach does interest me, and I daresay readers too." You can see this issue of HIFICRITIC by clicking here.
For previous high-end audio industry news click here.