AXPONA 2019 Report Part 1 By Rick Becker
the Montreal show a month prior, the trip from Rochester to Chicago was
uneventful. I simply got up in the morning and drove to Chicago, cutting through
Ontario, Canada, to save some miles and tolls. Detouring through downtown
Chicago in hopes of getting a glimpse of The Bean in the dark, I ended up
winding my way through the west side out to Wheaton where I stayed with the kids
and grandkids, a half-hour south of Schaumburg. ---> Read More
Zagreb AV Show 2019 Report
This year marks the 24th annual Zagreb AV Show, which in 2019 gathered at the Sheraton Zagreb Hotel.
There were 24 exhibitors from Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia and Croatia showcasing more than 60 brands
of the high-end audio industry's latest hi-fi and audiophile components, plus home theater systems
too. ---> Read our Zagreb AV Show 2019
Ron Nagle Photofest! Over 140 Photos From AXPONA!
seeking visual delights will be very pleased. Let's all thank Enjoy the
Music.com's always-enthusiastic Ron Nagle for these wonderful photos from
AXPONA 2019. As always, enjoy the music! ---> Read More
Audiozen Announces Mono Si-C MOSFET Power Amp Audiozen
says their Mono Si-C MOSFET monoblock power amplifier (€5200 per pair) are the first in the world equipped with silicon carbide MOSFETS. Silicon carbide is a material composed of carbon and silicon, and features remarkable speed qualities (about three times faster than a silicon MOSFET). High thermal conductivity is claimed to be three times greater than silicon, and so has enhanced reliability with lower cooling requirements. Audiozen's Mono, the first monophonic class AB amplifier that adopts these devices, produces 200 Watts @ 8 Ohms (400 Watts @ 4 Ohms) and is powered by a hefty 625 VA toroidal transformer, two rectifying bridges, and by more than 25000 mF of capacitors. Mono is completed by the excellent rhodium-plated binding posts, a refined RCA connector, and power socket made in Germany by Schurter. Frequency response is from 5 Hz to 150 kHz (+/- 3dB), input sensitivity is 1.1
Volt @ 12kOhm, and a signal-to-noise ratio of 127dB. Available finishes are standard silver, with black being available on special request. Dimensions are 340 x 135 x 315 mm (WxHxD) and each
monoblock weighs 27.25 lbs.
04 / 16 / 19
Great Plains Audio At AXPONA 2019
Vintage audio buffs take note as Great Plains Audio was at AXPONA 2019 featuring vintage products and new parts, including an
homage to Altec Lansing speakers. Great Plains Audio is a premier repair center for Altec Lansing loudspeakers manufactured before 2005. ---> Read More
Cool Cleveland At AXPONA 2019
always enthusiastic Thomas Mulready of Cool Cleveland was at AXPONA 2019 doing
his brief video interviews of cool people at AXPONA 2019. Since last time he
interested me i was smoking a glorious cigarillo, guess he had enough of my personal
antics and so ensured there'd be no smoking this time around. ---> Read More
McIntosh Labs At AXPONA 2019
sure many of you reading this already are familiar with legendary USA
manufacturer McIntosh Labs. Their backlit blue meters are a thing of beauty!
In fact my Muse / Wife Heather loves the look of our MC611 monoblock amps
(reviewed here) we
have within our living room. --->
HIGH END In Munich Wants You To
Enjoy The Music
HIGH END 2019 show
will open their doors and welcome exhibitors and visitors from all over the
world from May 9th through 12th in Munich, Germany. With exhibitor space already fully
booked months in advance, this year's HIGH END show marks it's 38th time and 16th at
As during the past 19 years, longer than any other North American magazine, Enjoy
the Music.com will once again report on HIGH END in Munich. This internationally renowned exhibition has firmly established itself as a global event over nearly four
decades. Outstanding British singer Steven Wilson is HIGH
END's official brand ambassador for this year's event. Steven Wilson is a musical all-round talent par excellence and first became known especially as the founder and creative force behind the progressive rock
band Porcupine Tree. In the meantime, he has been pursuing a solo career under his own name and has enjoyed vast success as a solo artist, both in the charts and in concert. Most recently, Wilson delighted his audience in London, selling out three consecutive concerts at the legendary Royal Albert
Hall. Learn more about HIGH END 2019 and see our
show report at this link.
04 / 15 / 19
Astounding Attendance And Steampunk Satisfaction AXPONA 2019 Show Report By Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin For those who missed attending this weekend's show in Schaumburg (Chicago), am sure many voyeurs will enjoy reading AXPONA 2019 show reports online
and within a variety of print publications. With many members of the press in attendance from all over the globe, IMHO this will be
the most reported on audiophile show in the history of the USA. ---> Read More
Pro-Ject Announces Their New Generation T1 Turntable Pro-Ject T1
T1 turntable is the company's first model line-up aimed at delivering true high-fidelity sound on a limited budget. The base T1 foregoes any additional features for a pure phono output and best possible price/performance ratio (€275 including VAT). On top of the base model, the T1 BT features a built-in phono stage and a Bluetooth transmitter for wireless music streaming to your
favorite Bluetooth enabled speakers (€325 including VAT). Compared to the base T1-model, the Phono SB version includes a built-in Pro-Ject designed high-quality phono MM stage and an electronic speed switch between 33 and 45 RPM (€325 including VAT). According to Pro-Ject, "Boasting premium materials, stylish aesthetics and a rich, lively sound, the extensive development process has ensured that there has been no compromise in the sound performance when achieving such an affordable price. The stylish CNC-machined plinth features no plastic parts and is carefully manufactured to ensure there are no hollow spaces inside, therefore avoiding unwanted vibrations within the chassis. Carrying this philosophy through the design, the glass platter is also a heavy, zero-resonance design – again avoiding the flaws of plastic or lightweight steel alternatives. Finally, the purpose-chosen turntable feet also do a good job of isolating the T1 from ambient vibrations around your hi-fi system. In the T1, the motor drives a belt-system, attached to a newly designed sub-platter, which is mounted into an ultra-precise 0.001 mm main bearing with a hardened steel axle and brass bushing – just like Pro-Ject's coveted Essential III turntables. The tonearm on the T1 is a new model, based on previous Pro-Ject designs. With its straight, 8.6” effective length and stiff
aluminum construction, this one-piece tonearm also features low-friction bearings for absolute accuracy in use. Pro-Ject's T1 turntables are available in three different color options: Matt Walnut, High-Gloss Black, and Matt White."
Clarus Cable Introduces Four New Power Filter Devices Clarus Cables, the high-end audio cable brand that is a 'sister' company to Tributaries A/V cables, is introducing its first-ever line of AC Power Conditioners: Duet, Sextet, Octet and the flagship Bel Canto (beautiful voice, $1000, $1400, $1800, and $3,000 respectively). These models represent an entirely new approach to the implementation of filtering systems that are designed primarily for audio systems. According to the company, "It is widely accepted that filtering noise from the AC line keeps that noise from contaminating the audio signal. It is also common knowledge that some filter designs will choke input current thus limiting peak performance of power amps. Clarus however, has discovered that some types of filters used for supplying power specifically to analog components while measurably remove noise from the AC signal, audibly degrade the signal and restrict the sound from blooming. The Clarus solution is the implementation of three separate and unique AC filter ensembles for its new line of Power Conditioners; one for Analog components, one for Digital components and one for High Current amplifiers. These components are available in four models; three Power Blocks and one stand-alone component 2U rack-mountable unit. The Power Blocks are: Duet, a two-outlet model designed specifically for mono-block power amplifiers; Sextet, a six-outlet model and Octet, an eight-outlet model both designed for a mix of analog, digital and high current components. The Bel Canto component model has 8 outlets. As is the case with all four models, every Hospital Grade Duplex Outlet has its own dedicated and isolated AC filter circuit labeled Analog, Digital or High Current, respectively.
04 / 09 / 19
Audio Research Special Edition CD6
And Reference CD9 Audio Research
announced a special Edition update to the CD6 and Reference CD9 transport / DAC featuring a variety of updates ($10,000 and $15,000 respectively). The new CD6SE and Reference CD9SE feature beautiful faceplate updates that closely match
ARC's Foundation and Reference-series components. The redesigned faceplates, with matching buttons, illumination, and black
Plexiglas display allow an integrated and uniform look across the latest model platforms. Both SE units boast the latest V3.0 USB audio card, providing compatibility with macOS, Windows 10, and any Linux-based system that supports ALSA devices. This feature allows full streaming capability from products like Aurender and
Roon's Nucleus. This USB audio card offers a state-of-the-art FPGA design that re-clocks data and formats appropriately; firmware updates are not required. Digital inputs on the original CD6 included two TosLink inputs, in addition to S/PDIF RCA and USB. The CD6SE will have one TosLink input and one AES/EBU input, in addition to S/PDIF RCA and USB. Digital inputs on the REF CD9SE are the same as the CD6SE. PCM sample rates up to 192kHz with up to 32-bit depth.
What To Expect At AXPONA 2019
Excitement is building for the upcoming AXPONA 2019 event in Chicago this
weekend. Here are many of the highlights we expect to see, with more details appearing within the many upcoming AXPONA 2019 show reports on
Enjoy the Music.com. ---> Read More
Qobuz Streaming For Bryston BDP Music Players Bryston has introduced native support for
Qobuz streaming Hi-Res Music service as an available firmware update for the
company's award-winning BDP Music Players. Qobuz, the world's first certified high-resolution (24-bit/up to 192kHz) streaming service, enables users to stream uncompressed content from a library of well over 40 million tracks representing every imaginable style including jazz and classical music. Qobuz first became available to European consumers in 2007. Since the conception of the BDP series music players nearly ten years ago,
Bryston's primary goal has been to reproduce high-resolution digital content as faithfully as possible. Until now, users needed to have their personal high-resolution libraries connected to the BDP. Qobuz makes 40-plus million tracks, including millions in high-resolution 24-bit, available to BDP users without the use of lossy compression schemes that impair the listening experience. Qobuz offers exclusive editorial content along with deep metadata, complete digital booklets, interactive articles, reviews and playlists all available to Bryston BDP users. After a thorough evaluation, Qobuz was notably impressed by the BDP-3 and bestowed upon it the
company's Qobuzissime Award. Owners of Bryston BDP products — from the first BDP-1 to the current BDP-3
player — can take advantage of Qobuz compatibility by updating their firmware to the latest version and registering for Qobuz on their website.
04 / 08 / 19
Salon Audio Montreal / Audio Fest 2019 Show Report
Part 3 Show Report By Rick Becker In the Montreal 1 room at the back of the hall was DR Acoustics where I found their Antigone 2.0 power filter ($6995) using quartz crystals along with 4 AWG wire to provide clean power without restriction of dynamics. To emphasize the importance of the last
6' of cable, they ran a power cord into a long orange extension cord. Daniel Robidoux (DR) president of the Montreal based company went into great detail about their extensive cable line which he said is most popular in the Far East. ---> Read More
Record Store Day Is This Saturday, April 13th Record Store Day, conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners, has their
twelfth annual event taking place worldwide on April 13, 2019. This event celebrates and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1400 independently owned record stores in the USA and thousands of similar stores internationally. The first Record Store Day took place on April 19, 2008. Today there are Record Store Day participating stores on every continent except Antarctica. Special vinyl and other music releases plus various promotional products are made exclusively for the day. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, DJs spinning records, and on and on. For several years, 60% or more of the Record Store Day Official Release List came from independent labels and distributors. The list continues to include a wide range of artists, covering the diverse taste of record stores and their customers. Throughout its nine years, cities across the United States, including New York City, Los Angeles, Boise, Charleston and Las Vegas have declared Record Store Day an official holiday. While there's only one Record Store Day a year, the organization works with both independent and and major labels throughout the year to create contests, special releases and promotions in order to spotlight the benefits of supporting these independent, locally owned stores with music purchases throughout the year. Record Store Day is currently managed by Michael Kurtz and Carrie Colliton, in coordination with Michael Bunnell and Eric Levin. You can see
the entire list of special Record Store Day releases in PDF at this
04 / 05 / 19
New 5G UWB Phone Speed Delivers Over
Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband (UWB) network is now "live and fast" according to Engadget. Now
available in Chicago just in time for AXPONA 2019, and coming soon just as we went from slow 3G LTE to
far faster 4G LTE, in only a year or three there will be no need for lossy compressed music streaming over the Internet. Within
Enjoy the Music.com's article titled 'Please Tell Me Why Bother With Lossy Compressed
Music?', Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin says, "With bandwidth now solved and making its way into your home, cell phone, car, etc this year, obviously even the current Wi-Fi 5 and 4G LTE works just fine for streaming true lossless 24-bit/192kHz music. We may want to thank 4k video streaming for making this happen, plus the many IoT devices. We all know 4k video eats up far more bandwidth than whatever spec the music
industry's BUSINESS SIDE has decided is Hi-Res Audio /
Music. The real question is, why design a proprietary audio format solving
yesterday's problems that costs manufacturers, music labels, etc more to use than FLAC, etc?" You can
read the entire article, featuring educational videos about 5G LTE and Wi-Fi 6, at this link.
Mastering For Vinyl: Tips For Digital Mastering Engineers
A new article by Jett Galindo (iZotope contributor), titled Mastering For Vinyl: Tips for Digital Mastering Engineers, is a great read for both engineers and
music lovers about the challenges of producing vinyl LPs. Within the article, it says, "Since the resurgence of vinyl in the mid-2000s, vinyl sales have shown no signs of slowing down. But with its return comes a new set of challenges for the aging medium—new genres with increasingly complex production styles, the major paradigm shift from analog to digital production, and evolving audio mastering standards (just to name a few). How does the old medium fare in a brave new world? Has mastering for vinyl evolved since its recent resurgence?" You can
the entire article at this link.
04 / 04 / 19
Zagreb AV Show 2019 Show Report
For the 24th time, the traditional Zagreb Audio & Video
will be held under the organization of Enjoy the Music.com's partner magazine
HiFi Media. Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia, with the Zagreb AV Show taking place on April 6th and 7th, 2019. All the news and attractions will be available through
HiFi Media's news channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Attendees have the joyous opportunity to witness more than 60 brands with their latest hi-fi and high-end components, plus home theater systems in Sheraton
Zagreb's Hotel. Leading distributors of AV products from Croatia and Slovenia will present with their portfolios.
HiFi Media magazine was founded in 1996 and has since enjoyed a reputation as a highly professional specialized media that follows the consumer electronics industry (CE) in the Republic of Croatia and neighboring countries. HiFi Media reviews and reports on the latest products in the field of audio, video and
multimedia. You can read Enjoy the
Music.com's Zagreb AV Show 2019 Show report by Andrija Ćurković a few days
after this weekend's event.
Hi-Fi+ April 2019
Celebrates Their 20th Anniversary Hi-Fi+ magazine's
April 2019 issue celebrates the magazine's very special 20th
anniversary! Hi-Fi+ picks their Top 100 with 20 years of the finest in hi-fi products under review. With 20 years of
experience, Hi-Fi+ asks "What is the future of audio?" There's also a Meet The Editors article where Roy Gregory, Chris Martens, and Alan Sircom discuss 20 years of
Hi-Fi+. Manufacturer's Perspective showcases Naim Audio on the past, present, and future of audio. Of course
there's Bristol Show coverage, which is the most important show on the UK hi-fi calendar. The Ultimate System Set-Up Disc, which is included free with this issue of
Hi-Fi+, is a CD from Opus 3 and IsoTek with 20 tracks to help set-up, test, and tune your audio system. Gear reviews in this issue include Technics SL-1200GEG-S, SU-G700E, and SB-G90E, Soulution 325 and 311, Bowers & Wilkins 603 speaker, EAT Prelude turntable package, Leema Sirius digital music streamer/server, Monitor Audio Gold 200 floorstander, Marantz PM-KI Ruby integrated amplifier, NAD D3045 hybrid digital DAC / integrated amplifier, Stirling Broadcast LS3/5a V3 stand-mount speaker, Goldring Ethos MC phono cartridge, Gutwire SV-12, SV-16, and SV-22 power cords, plus Qaudraspire Qplus Reference Acoustic interface feet. Headphone and portable audio enthusiasts can enjoy
reading reviews of MrSpeakers Voce electrostatic headphones, HiFiMAN Ananda planar magnetic headphones, Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless headphones, Ultrasone PRO 900i headphones, and FiiO M7 digital audio player.
Within his editorial Alan Sircom says
"A lot has happened in the last 20 years. Skimming through the pages of the last 169 issues of
Hi-Fi+ may not give you a map of the geopolitical landscape of the world (except in the broadest possible terms), but it does give you a very strong idea of just how much – and how little – high-end audio has changed since the end of the last millennium. While not all of those changes are good,
we're possibly in a better place today.
At the end of the 1990s, the hi-fi industry was in a state of flux, and not in a good way. Home cinema was coming to dominate the market so drastically, it was wondered if there would even be a hi-fi industry by the middle of the 2000s! The state of music replay was at a difficult tipping point, too; LP and cassette were dismissed as irrelevancies by the music business, who focused on CD and CD alone. SACD was still a year or so away, high-resolution
didn't exist, and the combination of Napster and the first MP3 players all pointed away from high-quality being a function of future formats." See
what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+ Magazine at this
04 / 03 / 19
McIntosh MPC500 Power Controller / Spike Protection McIntosh is proud to announce the MPC500 Power Controller ($2500) that features cascaded surge protection in a multi-outlet package. Inconsistency in power quality can cause costly damage to electronic devices.
McIntosh's MPC500 delivers full-mode AC power line surge protection, such as from a lightning strike, as well as protecting low voltage devices against secondary surges and spikes that can occur after the initial event. AC power line protection is accomplished with the use of three thermally protected metal-oxide varistors (TPMOVs) – which are far safer than traditional MOVs – that provide Line to Neutral, Line to Ground and Neutral to Ground protection. For secondary surge events, the MPC500 provides protection for
Ethernet, coaxial, and other low voltage devices via Gas Discharge Tubes (GDT), Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) thermistors and Transient Voltage Suppression (TVS) components. Also included in the MPC500 is electromagnetic interference (EMI) filtering of the AC line and over/under voltage protection, which will switch off the rear receptacles to keep connected devices safe from trying to operate at undesired voltage levels.
McIntosh's MPC500 includes either eight Type B1 (a.k.a. NEMA 5-15R) or four Type F1 (a.k.a. CEE 7/3 or Schuko) receptacles. Note that
McIntosh says that only the appropriate version is available in each individual country to ensure compatibility with local power systems. Control of each receptacle can be configured via the rear panel Power Control ports or through the setup menus on the front panel. The front panel display can list input voltage, the amount of current being drawn through the receptacles, or total (apparent) power. Regardless of receptacle type, all versions of the MPC500 feature the timeless McIntosh black glass front panel, illuminated logo, control knobs, and aluminum end caps.
IFPI Global Music Report 2019 -- Revenues +9.7% IFPI, self-proclaimed to be "the voice of the recording industry worldwide representing the interests of 1300 record companies across the globe", has released their Global Music Report 2019. According to their report, "Total streaming revenues grew 34% to nearly half of all revenue, driven by paid streaming. Latin America shows highest regional growth for fourth consecutive year. Asia and Australasia second-largest region for physical and digital formats combined. The global recorded music market grew by 9.7% in 2018, the fourth consecutive year of growth. Figures released today in
IFPI's Global Music Report 2019 show total revenues for 2018 were $19,100,000,000 (19.1 billion). Streaming revenue grew by 34% and accounted for almost half (47%) of global revenue, driven by a 32.9% increase in paid subscription streaming. There were 255 million users of paid streaming services at the end of 2018 accounting for 37% of total recorded music revenue. Growth in streaming more than offset a 10.1% decline in physical revenue and a 21.2% decline in download
revenue.... For the fourth consecutive year, Latin America was the fastest-growing region (+16.8%) with Brazil (+15.4%) and Mexico (+14.7%) growing strongly. The Asia and Australasia region (+11.7%) grew to become the second-largest region for combined physical and digital revenue, with especially strong growth in South Korea (+17.9%)." Revenue from physical media is -10.1% while paid download revenue is -21.2%. So as you can see, streaming is up as are subscriptions while sales of physical media is showing double-digit declines. Worse still, buying music has never been a worse investment proposition for consumers as they can not sell legally purchased digitally downloaded music. So there is little to no
incentive for music lovers to purchase digital music titles, whereas vinyl LP can be
bought and sold freely. You can see
IFPI's Global Music Report 2019 in PDF at this link.
Major Publishers Request 5x The
Cost To Start MLC
With big business converging with government to form quasi-public/private entities,
which have a long and illustrious history of cost overruns, corruption, and
political/financial 'complications', it has been reported that last week there are two competing groups that seek to operate the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC). MLC is yet another possible over reach of quasi-governmental agencies, this one instance is being created by the Music Modernization Act (MMA) signed into law by President Trump last year. MLC tracks, collecting, and distributes mechanical streaming licenses for music. According to
"The legislation establishes a 'mechanical licensing collective' (MLC) to administer the blanket license, and a
'digital licensee coordinator' (DLC) to coordinate the activities of the licensees and designate a representative to serve as a non-voting member on the board of the MLC." Last week, two competing groups filed paperwork to run the Mechanical Licensing
Collective (MLC). Naturally there's the music BUSINESS side where the likes of Sony/ATV, Warner/Chappell, and Universal Music Publishing Group, are saying that start-up costs alone could reach
upwards of $48 million. And that's just their claimed start-up costs, with what could be virtually no limit to the overall fees and costs to the music industry, and thus musicians and performing
artists suffering with lower payouts accordingly. Think of it in the same light as
to how 'non-profit' CEOs get paid $2,000,000 a year or more. This group or major music labels did claim that their estimated budget of between $25 million and $40 million
per year will support a staff of approximately 60 people. We'll call the above group the Black Hats. Fortunately,
the White Hats are the American Mechanical Licensing Collective
(AMLC), who have musicians such as Stewart Copeland aboard. AMLC estimates their start-up budget is
around $7 million, with annual operational costs approaching $9 million. Another interesting point of note is that AMLC indicates that publisher and songwriter royalties
will not be used for operational costs. So it's the big music BUSINESS
labels versus musicians like Stewart Copland and others. If you trust United States of
America's government cost numbers,
the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) roughly estimated an annual budget of $30 million. Also, according to an article in
Digital Music News, "AMLC has indicated their plan to use
SOCAN's DataClef to help match unclaimed royalties. The presence of an estimated $1.5 billion in unclaimed mechanical royalties has been a focal point of the
AMLC's proposal, and arguably, a driving reason for the group's formation. The AMLC argues that major publishers have direct payment deals with platforms like Spotify, which means that the MLC
won't be benefiting them directly. Further, the AMLC contends that the estimated $1.5 billion tranche largely belongs to smaller songwriters and indie publishers, but will be divided by the largest publishers if they take control of MLC function."
Legendary Brand KLH Has Been Reborn and Revitalized
Under the ownership and leadership of former Klipsch Global Sales President David P. Kelley,
KLH offers music enthusiasts an all-new line of high-performance, value-oriented stereo, home theater and personal audio products. Marking
KLH's first consumer exhibition, AXPONA 2019
show attendees can experience the award-winning Kendall towers, Albany bookshelves, Ultimate One headphones and talk in-depth with the team about the exciting rebirth of this legendary brand. KLH has launched a deep line of in-room, architectural and personal audio solutions.
KLH's in-room loudspeaker line-up consists of 12 models. As a nod to the brand's history, originally founded in 1957 as KLH Research and Development Corporation was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts by now legendary audio designers and members of the Boston Audio Society Henry Kloss, Malcolm S. Low, and Josef Anton Hofmann. Each loudspeaker model is named after a street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the birthplace of KLH. Models are the three-way Kendall, Quincy and Cambridge (two-way) floorstanders; Ames and Albany two-way bookshelves; Story center channel, and Beacon and Broadway surrounds. Powered subwoofers include each a 10" and 12" model within both the Stratton and Windsor series. This summer, the company will release a 1000-Watt Class AB amplified dual
12" side-firing subwoofer, the Stratton MH212. All the speakers boast luxurious real-wood veneer finishes with MDF cabinetry featuring internal components and dampening, plus powerful performance-rich Kevlar drivers and anodized aluminum dome tweeters. To maximize
floorstanders' bass performance, incorporated are low resonance driver chambers with hand-tunable baffle ports. KLH warranty is unprecedented at 10-years on passive speakers, with 5 years on powered subwoofers. KLH headphones, Ultimate One, are classic open-air/over-ear headphones. Their fit-and-finish is exquisite, boasting real ebony wood finished earcups complemented by hand-stitched headbands and ear pads made of premium-grade cow leather and sheepskin and filled with high-density microfiber fill. Inside are 50mm pure beryllium drivers that deliver frequency responses of 18Hz to 22kHz.
There's also a Bluetooth model as well as various universal fit in-ear monitors. Virtually all KLH products will be shown at
the upcoming AXPONA 2019 even in Chicago.
04 / 02 / 19
Schiit Aegir Constant-Transconductance Topology Amplifier Schiit Audio just announced the immediate availability of Aegir ($799), a compact
'Class-A-like' stereo or monoblock amplifier with a unique constant-transconductance topology (Continuity). This topology is said to extend the benefits of Class A operation outside of Class A. Aegir is rated at 20W RMS per channel stereo @ 8 Ohms (40W @ 2 into 4 Ohms and 80W @ 8 Ohms as a monoblock). Aegir employs no-compromise design—100% discrete, fully complementary, current-feedback, linear power supply, intelligent microprocessor management. Aegir is said to be the first speaker amplifier with a constant transconductance output stage that is designed to operate outside of the Class A region. Unlike Class A designs,
Schiit's Continuity output stage enables Class-A-like performance beyond Class A operation. Additional efficiency allows Schiit to produce a more compact and affordable amplifier than traditional Class A designs. Frequency response is from 20Hz to 20kHz (-0.1dB, 3Hz to 500KHz at -3dB). THD: and IMD are a low <0.01%, with SNR being >114dB. Damping Factor is >100, input impedance is 22kOhms SE (44kOhms balanced), and crosstalk is >105dB. Inputs include L/R RCA unbalanced jacks for stereo input, single balanced XLR for mono input. Dimensions are 9" x 13" x 3.875" (WxDxH).
Professional mp3PRO2 Format Brings Music To Your Ears
A new Professional music format, cost-free with a clear goal of complete transparency and high sound quality, has been announced. This new Professional format is backward-compatible to billions of devices on the market today to revitalize, modernize, and revolutionize the incredibly popular mp3 format. As the music
industry's fastest accepted by consumers format in history, mp3 grew due to
consumer's choice first and foremost despite lawsuits from RIAA, IFPI and others. Today, a Professional version of the longtime familiar mp3 file format, called
mp3PRO2, will make its way to billions of devices worldwide. As open source freeware,
mp3PRO2 is a no-cost format for both music industry studios and consumers devices alike. With music
lovers' insatiable demand for enjoying their favorite tunes via mp3 for decades, a newly-updated Professional version, originally released by Thomson (Technicolor SA) and Coding Technologies (Dolby Laboratories), converts high resolution Waveform Audio File Format (WAV) files to
mp3PRO2. By combining mp3 audio format with Spectral Band Replication (SBR) compression method,
mp3PRO2 was developed to reduce high quality audio WAV or FLAC file size by as much as 50% while maintaining full spectrum sound quality. SBR is a technology that enhances audio / speech codecs to optimize streaming music bandwidth, and thus reducing high resolution digital music file size. This enables a very special codec to transmit the lower and midrange frequencies of the spectrum, while SBR mathematically replicates, or unfurls, higher frequency content by transposing upper harmonics at the decoder level.
mp3PRO2 builds on previous developments by allowing two unfurls, as this ensures your favorite music sounds as great as the artist intended via high resolution audio. A distinct
mp3PRO2 indicator, such as an LED light or display signifier, will appear when an authenticated
mp3PRO2 file is being enjoyed. Free software encoding software enables consumers to create
mp3PRO2 files from their current music library. If in the rare circumstance a consumer device does not play
mp3PRO2, only the SBR data is simply ignored as is experienced with other formats available today. Metadata is also maintained and extensive, so music services may offers liner notes, artist credits, source file type, etc. This not only ensures musical artists gets paid for their efforts, it also reassures consumers the provenance of its source file and allows them to explore more music from the same artists. The free encoding software supports batch file processing to ease workloads for both record labels and consumer with large digital music libraries. Soon to be widely available and license-free,
mp3PRO2 encoders and decoders are completely cost-free to use for record labels, hardware / software manufacturers, and consumers.
Gear reviews within this issue include
Ron Nagle's World Premiere of Audio Mirror's reasonably-priced $1500 32-bit/384kHz Tubadour III DAC.
Continuing the bargain theme this month is an analog fave with Schiit's Mani MM / MC
phono stage that delivers a thrilling performance for only $129 as
reviewed by Rick Becker! For head-fi aficionados, Editor Tom Lyle uses
top-line PS-2000e headphones as he evaluates Woo Audio's WA33 balanced
headamp/preamplifier and is transported into another audio realm.
Providing a solid one-two
punch for cost-no-object performance is Karan Acoustics' KA L Mk3
preamplifier and KA S 400 amplifier with over 400 Watts of power (660W @ 4
Ohms!) reviewed by percussionist Professor Michael R. Bump. Of course you need something to hold your gear, and so
Rick Becker examines Codia Acoustic Design's lovely Stage 3000 Diagon
customizable equipment rack.
As always, in the end what really
matters is that you...
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
the Music.com Sponsors
AXPONA 2019 Industry Mixer
And All Seminars Enjoy the Music.com, a
leader in CE audio equipment reviews, news and show reports, are joining
AXPONA in celebrating their ten years of providing high-end audio events
within North America by sponsoring their Industry Welcome Mixer and
Seminar Room. AXPONA's three-day experience features multiple hotel floors
featuring fascinating listening rooms, The Expo Hall's Record Fair, a
dedicated Ear Gear Expo, seminars, and live musical performances. --->
Audio Montreal Audio Fest 2019 Show Report Salon Audio Montreal Show Report
By Rick Becker
Montréal audiofest was celebrating 32 years of
producing a wonderful consumer audio event. The Montreal Audio Fest will
also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic Woodstock Fest
during its 2019 edition from March 22nd to 24th at the Bonaventure Hotel,
which has just received a refreshing facelift to celebrate its very own
Do A Proper Listening Test Part
1 Article By Ethan
Winer There are two ways to assess the quality of audio devices: measuring
and listening. Measuring is usually the better choice because the results
are absolute, and repeatable because they avoid the vagaries of human
hearing perception. But when measuring isn't practical or possible, a
listening test using a music source is perfectly fine. For example,
listening is needed to compare CD quality at a 44.1 kHz sample rate to
"high definition" audio at 96 kHz. --->
Stage 3000 Diagon Equipment Rack A world-class modular design
manufactured to the highest standard.
Review By Rick Becker Before the emergence of minimalism as a
lifestyle and decluttering as an admirable hobby, there were audio
equipment racks. In fact, there was an entire genre of mid-fi and low-fi
audio systems neatly packaged in vinyl clad chipboard. --->
Mani MM / MC Phono Stage A thrill for any newcomer and
satisfy most too.
Review By Rick Becker The word went out on Facebook that my son-in-law Justin wanted a
turntable for Christmas to try out the LP craze. Apparently the fine Sony
noise cancelling headphones I gave him for Christmas last year planted a
seed and the seed has sprouted. The $90 turntable on his list was a
turnkey unit with cartridge and built in phono stage. --->
Salon Audio Montreal / Audio Fest
2019 Show Report
Show Report By Rick Becker Bad weather didn't take long to find me this year. I was still 40 miles west of Syracuse when the snow started to fall. By the time I reached Interstate 81 to head north to Canada I was already contemplating turning around. But
that's not who I am. Besides, it happens every year, either coming or returning. Adventure always brushes with disaster and this year, like most, it was my own
fault. ---> Read More
Hi-Fi World May Features Reviews & Think Pieces Hi-Fi
World's May 2019 issue features your chance to win an iFi Audio xDSD DAC
Highlights of this year's Bristol hi-fi show and Hi-Fi World's annual awards! Audiophile gear reviews
include Arcam SA20 / SA10 integrated amplifiers, World Design Pre4, Naim ND5 XS 2 Streamer, Roon Nucleus+, Isotek Evo3 Nova mains conditioner, Audio Technica Disc Stabilizer / Stylus Cleaner,
and Chord Company Shawline X loudspeaker cable. Within his editorial, Noel Keywood says, "This
month's lead product – the gorgeous World Design Pre4 preamplifier came up in the slow lane, even a back lane. The first one we received
wasn't quite right so review was postponed. There was no space in a torrent of other products coming in on the fast lane, most of them perfectly preened. World Design Pre4 did not come with a Press Release, shiny press shot images or anything else – it crept in through a back lane I could say here. But it floated to the top, through wonderful sound quality and build quality, pushing itself onto our front cover this month, in chrome plated sparkling glory that you can see more of on p10. A very unique product in every way."
See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World
at this link.
Audioengine 512 Portable Battery Powered Speaker Audioengine has just announces their 512 Portable Speaker ($169) that features advanced Bluetooth, Aux input, and 12 hours of battery life. With fast and easy setup via Bluetooth 5.0 and
auxiliary stereo analog input via 3.5mm jack, enjoying your music is only seconds away once you take the unit out of the box. An internal battery provides approximately 12-hours of your fave tunes while custom full-range transducers matched with a passive bass radiator pump out some serious sounds.
Audioengine's 512 has a warm and inspiring voice, surprising imaging and a very large soundstage
according to the company. Audioengine are true music lovers, and so they ensured things like soundstage and imaging with this little mouse speaker were also important. While
there's a 3.5mm stereo input jack that works with your phone, TV and other devices, Bluetooth 5.0 brings higher level aptX-HD, aptX, and AAC codecs. Keep in mind that the capability of the source is what controls your Bluetooth experience.
An internal Class D 20 Watt RMS amplifier drives 2" full-range speakers with advanced
voice coils, while a 3" x 1.75" passive radiator helps pump out the bass. Frequency response is from 60Hz to 20kHz.
Audioengine's 512 dimensions are 3" x 7.75" x 3" (HxWxD) and it weighs around 2 lbs.
03 / 26 / 19
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
March / April 2019
This issue of
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
features audio news and a special Sound Travels where JB believes SRs improve SQ!
There's also obituaries of Geoff Matthews, 53-year veteran of the Australian Hi-Fi Industry, CEO and owner of Convoy International has died, aged
68 plus Björn Erik Edvardsen who was head of the design team that created the best-selling amplifier in hi-fi history.
High-end audio gear reviews within this issue include Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500
wireless turntable, ModWright PH 9.0 tube phono stage, ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2
loudspeakers, Marantz SA-KI Ruby SACD player, Cary Audio SI-300.2d integrated
amplifier/DAC, Kennerton Thror headphones, Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 digital headphone
amplifier/DAC, and Stax SRM-D50 driver/DAC & SR-L500 Earspeakers. Within his editorial
titled Wow & Flutter: Does It Improve Sound Quality?, Greg Borrowman says "I
can't say that I am surprised at the resurgence of vinyl as a playback medium. Good vinyl can be very, very good, with an extended frequency response (more extended in the high end than CD), low noise (rumble, groove noise, etc) and imperceptibly low wow and flutter. Well, I say
'imperceptibly low' but I have recently been alerted to what is potentially one of the reasons that many audiophiles prefer the sound of vinyl sound to that of CD.
It's wow and flutter. Whereas I'd always thought that lack of channel separation and cross-phasing effects between the left and right stereo channels were the prime reasons for the great sound of vinyl,
it's been pointed out to me that the wow and flutter that's inherent in every turntable — no matter how good — might be a reason for the great sound heard when playing back LPs."
See what's within this issue of Australian
Hi-Fi Magazine at this
RIAA: Music Community Calls For Building
A Better Digital Attribution And Credits System
This press release is via the RIAA:
Today, the Artist Rights Alliance, SAG-AFTRA, RIAA, and A2IM announce a new collaboration in support of building a
"more robust and effective system of digital attribution and credits." For the first time, the music community – including organizations representing both artists and labels – have come together to agree on the importance of attribution for everyone who makes or enjoys music and to look ahead to creating a state of the art credits system for the digital age. Together, the four major music advocacy organizations released the following statement:
"Attribution recognizes artistic achievement, helps creators connect, collaborate, and appreciate each
other's work, opens up new pathways for fans to trace artistic influences and find new music, and aids accuracy in the digital royalty economy. As music has shifted online, systems of attribution have become less robust and consistent. Where once cover art and liner notes often reflected who contributed to each specific musical recording, including producers, songwriters, and side players, attribution today is often less extensive, sometimes identifying only the featured artist or band and the track and album name. Credits are a
creator's resume. Knowing what music an artist or songwriter has made or contributed to can help them find more fans and build and sustain their careers over time. Credits are also a learning tool and
'map' to the music ecosystem for fans, creating a more educated music audience to the benefit of the music business as a whole. Digital music services are evolving and many are adding new information for fans, including lyrics and – in some cases – credits. The proliferation of new screens and listening methods from portable devices to vehicle consoles to home assistants creates new opportunities and options for greater availability of attribution, credits, and expanded liner notes for the digital age. A multi-media environment should offer new and creative ways to provide this information and context, not limit and shrink it. We welcome collaborating with everyone in the music ecosystem to develop and implement a more robust and effective system of digital attribution and credits to the benefit of creators and consumers
Hagerman Audio Labs Tuba Tubed Headphone Amplifier Hagerman Audio Labs new Tuba stereo headphone amplifier ($659) features a pair of EL84 vacuum tubes for amplification. According to the company, "The TUBA is a world-class vacuum tube headphone amplifier designed to operate with either low impedance (Grado) or high impedance (Sennheiser) headphones. The power stage is a single-ended parafeed EL84 triode into an impedance matching transformer, offering very low distortion and huge signal headroom. An internal switching power supply boosts the 15Vdc input by a factor of ten for B+, after a 30 second warm up delay. The amplifier is conveniently turned on and off by pressing the volume knob inwards." Input impedance is 10kOhm, stereo headphone output is 14 Ohm, with a rated amplification of 400mW @ 32 Ohms (6Vrms output voltage). Frequency
response is from 10Hz to 150kHz (-3dB).
Previous High-End Audio News
For previous high-end audio and music industry news