High-End Audio Industry News
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09 / 30 / 13
Cambridge Audio's new Aero speaker range was developed from the ground up as new models that combine BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) drivers instead of traditional tweeters. These are mated to conventional cone drivers for what the company is calling "an entirely new approach to speaker design". Using a BMR driver instead of a traditional tweeter gives Aero several key advantages. In traditional tweeters, the crossover between the tweeter and driver happens at about 3kHz, right at the point where our ears are most sensitive to any distortions or differences between the two sources. With a BMR driver, the crossover happens at 250 Hz, which is far outside the most sensitive hearing frequencies. The driver construction also delivers a more coherent and wider dispersion. BMR drivers create sound not only with in-out motion like normal drivers, they also use surface vibration. Like Cambridge Audio's BMR drivers, all of the Aero range's bass drivers are custom designed to suit their specific application and each was specifically designed with a clear crossover at 250 Hz in mind. Each of the Aero cabinets was created in house and the ultra rigid MDF design offers an excellent platform for musical reproduction. Five distinct models are in the new Aero speaker range and consist of the Aero 2 stand-mount, Aero 3 surround, Aero 5 center, Aero 6 floorstander and Aero 9 subwoofer. All models are available in two carefully selected finishes – dark walnut and black.
Audioaccess' PX-800 ($2195) handles 16-sources and can distribute the sound to upwards of 16 zones. With 16 sources routable to 16 separate zones, the PX-800 exudes versatility. For convenience, the zones can be combined in up to 10 separate groups or a program routed to all zones. In addition, a zone can have independent tone or 10-band EQ, or even be combined for 2.1 playback. The PX-800 supports use of Audioaccess KPS-101 legacy keypads when the system is also equipped with the Audioaccess new CPC-800 Control Protocol Converter. Audioaccess also has a new Crestron control module for the PX-800, including an iPad interface. When used with Audioaccess legacy KPS-101 keypads and the CPC-800, existing zones can be controlled by the keypads of the iPad. Changes made via the keypads are updated on the iPad so the user is always aware of the status of any zone. "The PX-800 continues Audioaccess tradition of great sounding audio routers that are easy to use" says Jeff Hipps, Sr. VP for Sales and Marketing "What's new is the modern controls available to make the PX-800 stand up and dance. Whether you choose IP, IR, RS-232 or 3rd party control, we've made certain the PX-800 is up to the task."
09 / 27 / 13
The long awaited Grammy nominated film, The Greatest Ears In Town: The Arif Mardin Story, is filled with rare studio footage, photos, interviews, incredible music, and is finally arriving on DVD and digital platforms on November 5, 2013 from Shelter Island. Hailed as one of the music industry's greatest producers, arrangers and composers, Arif Mardin created musical magic that won him countless awards as well as great friendships with illustrious talents such as Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Chaka Khan, Phil Collins and the Bee Gees, among many others. The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story is said to be "one of the most insightful, inspiring and enjoyable documentaries ever produced about how 'hits' are created; a must-see for any musician, producer or fan of popular music." A 15-time nominee and 12-time Grammy award-winner, Arif Mardin was a visionary and tastemaker who could spot talents, nurture them and groom them for success. Mardin was comfortable working in almost all music genres including jazz, R&B, pop and rock and roll, and he quickly rose among the ranks at Atlantic Records to become the in-house producer and arranger. He was a major architect of the 'Atlantic Sound' in the 1960s as his recording and producing career continued to flourish after he left Atlantic Records to eventually join EMI. Under the Blue Note label, he was still creating hits including Norah Jones' Grammy award-winning Album of the Year Come Away with Me, which included Record of the Year "Don't Know Why." Mardin received Producer of the Year accordingly. The DVD includes 24 never-before-seen minutes of bonus materials. Co-producer/co-director, producer, songwriter and arranger, Joe Mardin is available for interviews.
Linn's new Exakt (£50,000 / $80,400) is a new revolution in hi-fi for the company that turns the loudspeaker into an intelligent, connected, software-upgradeable product. The Exakt features new Linn technology and builds on the company's DS to extend the lossless digital path all the way to the speaker, thus keeping the signal digital and only converting to analogue at the last possible stage. This ensures absolute accuracy of data, guaranteed low latency, extremely low jitter, and high precision synchronization between speakers. Linn's Klimax Exakt System, comprising Klimax Exakt DSM and Klimax Exakt 350 Speakers, combines and improves on three key Linn innovations. Source-First, Aktiv, and DS all work together to radically improve the performance of the music system. The Exakt sends digital data to an Exakt speaker losslessly to eliminate sources of noise, distortion and interference inherent in the traditional analogue hi-fi chain. This includes a Studio Master file, or any other music source, which is then transmitted digitally to the speaker. Inside the Exakt Speaker is a digital platform that enables a whole new range of audio performance enhancing capabilities in design, manufacture and in the customer’s home. Linn's electronics within the Exakt conduct phase corrects of every signal, thus eliminating the phase and magnitude distortion introduced by analogue crossovers. The Exakt measures and corrects for even the tiniest variation between drive units, meaning every system that leaves the factory is guaranteed to perform exactly to its specification, guaranteeing a perfect speaker. Within your home, the Exakt system is optimized to suit every individual’s room using powerful new Linn software and Linn specialist retailer expertise. The customer now has the flexibility to choose where they would like their system positioned to fit around their lives without compromising the sound they hear according to the company. As with all Linn DSM players, all sources can be connected for improved performance. Linn says that vinyl sounds better too! New ADC technology converts the delicate Linn LP12 turntable, or any turntable for that matter, to digital and sends it losslessly to the speaker.
Theta Digital has just introduced their latest version of the company's flagship Casablanca IV Music and Cinema Controller (from $16,245 on up depending on configuration). Since its introduction, the Casablanca platform has undergone continuous development designed to maintain its position at the forefront of the audiophile world. In its latest iteration, the Casablanca IV adds Dirac Live 96K digital room correction and optimization. Theta's proprietary Jitter Jail II and new post-processing capabilities are designed to allow the addition of new features to the platform as technological advancements warrant. To denote the new version, the Casablanca IV has new metalwork and a new display window. The key to these new features is the development of a new expandable post-processing card: the PR-3. The new card quadruples the DSP power of the platform, increases the audio bandwidth, consolidates all digital inputs onto a single input slot, frees another slot for future expansion, has space to add additional processing power and uses multiple FPGA devices to allow the addition of new instruction sets to accommodate new technology as it arises. According to Dave Reich, Theta Digital's chief engineer, "We had two goals with this project, to make a significant improvement in the Casablanca user's experience and to ready the Casablanca platform for the next decade of audio innovation. Dirac Live 96K and Jitter Jail II fix real sonic issues caused by the listening room and source material while the innovative expandable PR-3 card leaves the door open for new sources and new DSP solutions."
09 / 26 / 13
Westone just announced the availability of the new W-Series 10, 20, 30 and 40 IEMs ($200, $30, $400 and $500 respectively). The new W-Series is designed to continue the award winning success and acclaim of the Westone lineup while adding improved audio performance and an enhanced design for improved comfort, fit and user customization. These new models include two cables and multiple faceplates for users choice of colors. The W-Series features Westone's proprietary balanced armature drivers and advanced crossover designs. The W10 features their single armature driver whilst the W20/30/40 feature multiple balanced armature drivers and multistage crossover designs to achieve "sonic purity that is unrivaled in universal monitors at their respective price levels" says the company. The W 20 has a dual driver balanced armature design with passive crossover, whereas the W30 has a three-way crossover matched to individual low, mid, and high frequency drivers. Their top line W40 has four drivers with a three-way crossover. Westone's W-Series is supplied with Westone's new replaceable EPIC cable for easy replacement or custom cable selection as well as an Apple MFi cable with three-button controls and integrated microphone. The new connector is compatible with all the new Westone cables including the ADV active cable and the new UM Pro cable. The EPIC replaceable cable is constructed of high-flex, ultra-low resistance tensile wire, reinforced with a special aramid fiber, and braided durability and isolation from mechanical cable noise. Westone's W-Series features interchangeable faceplates in the colors of red, blue and black plus Mini-Monitor Vault II weather resistant travel case. Their patented STAR and True-Fit Tips ensure proper fitment to the user's ear.
Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
09 / 25 / 13
Enjoy the Music.com, an industry leader in high fidelity audio information including show reports plus equipment and music reviews for over 18 years, is pleased to announce CANADA HiFi magazine coming aboard our site! This marks the eighth magazine to join what has been referred to as the Internet's leading site for high fidelity audio reviews, daily news, show reports and general information. There is little doubt Enjoy the Music.com is a major resource for information about the industry on the Internet. CANADA HiFi joining Enjoy the Music.com once again extends and broadens the ability of our site to provide timely information on virtually every facet within the high fidelity audio and high resolution music sector of consumer electronics. Our industry prominence encompasses providing virtually live show reports too; including our ongoing efforts as official media partners with five major North American events. We are very proud to introduce CANADA HiFi to our worldwide readership and look forward to long and mutually beneficial relationship. See complete press release at this link. Readers of Enjoy can easily find each new issue of CANADA HiFi at this link.
HDtracks, a source for master quality music downloads, is offering 10% off In Utero - 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe by Nirvana and Dream Theater's new self-titled album. In Utero is Nirvana's third, and ultimately final studio album. Released in 1993, it was perhaps one of the most polarizing albums at the time as the sonic rawness of Steve Albini's recording laid bare every primal nuance of the most confrontational yet vulnerable material by Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl. In Utero was essentially the first record Nirvana would make with any expectations from the public. So from the opening quasi-shamble melodics of "Serve The Servants" through the bittersweet closing strains of "All Apologies," In Utero was the sound of the most incredible yet conflicted rock 'n' roll band of the era. This Super Deluxe Edition features more than 70 remastered, remixed, rare and unreleased recordings, including B-sides, compilation tracks, never-before-heard demos and live material (including the complete "Live & Loud" show from Seattle's Pier 48 on December 13, 1993) featuring the final touring lineup of Cobain, Novoselic, Grohl, and Pat Smear, plus never-before-released bonus material. Dream Theater's new self-titled opus is a masterpiece of ambition, adventure and redefined purpose. Dream Theater heralds an exceptionally energized and profoundly dynamic emergent chapter for the melodic, progressive and consistently heavy masters of hard rock invention and is a name synonymous with the penultimate synthesis of studied expertise and relentless creative passion. This album is one that at once recalls the brilliant hallmarks that have made the band icons to fellow musicians and hard rock fans alike, while simultaneously a bold declaration of a future yet to come. Dream Theater serves as both entry-point for curious newcomers and shining beacon to longtime devotees. It is a landmark statement befitting of not only the band's multiple milestones, but of their increasing prowess, perseverance and overall fulfillment from creating diverse, nuanced and atmospheric compositions. Dream Theater's music is as timeless as their dozen-album strong discography that spans over 25 years. You can save 10% off both titles by using the code 'septsale' during checkout.
09 / 24 / 13
Cambridge Audio new Minx Xi ($899) digital music system is designed with the 24-bit/96kHz Wolfson WM8728 DAC for wireless music streaming. The Minx Xi features Bluetooth connectivity and can wirelessly play back music stored on any UPnP server, NAS drive or computer. You can also hook up set-top boxes and games consoles to the digital inputs, plug in local media to the two USB inputs, or connect devices to the three analog sockets. The two USB sockets will also charge phones and tablets and, in addition, you can add a subwoofer for a 2.1 system. There is built-in support for many streaming services including BBC iPlayer Radio, Pandora and Rhapsody. Naturally there is a free app for iApple and Android device. Premium quality internal components include a Class AB amplifier, oversized toroidal power supply and a Wolfson WM8728 24-bit/96kHz DAC. The internal amplifier produces 40 wpc @ 8 Ohms (55 wpc @ 4 Ohms). An external clock, taken from their NP30 network player, minimizes jitter in digital audio streams. There is support for WAV and FLAC downloads as well as popular codecs including Apple Lossless, MP3, AAC, and OGG Vorbis. Wireless connectivity support includes 802.11 b/g and n plus hardwired Ethernet network. Firmware updates can be pushed to Minx Xi, ensuring it will continue to work with the latest internet services, apps and protocols. Digital connections on the rear panel includes optical TosLink and coax S/PDIF. A total of three stereo analog inputs, two via RCA one via 1/8" stereo, plus a subwoofer output via RCA are provided for too.
09 / 23 / 13
Triangle Art's new line of power conditioning, the Ra-4, Ra-6 and Ra-8 ($2500, $3000 and $3500 respectively), takes advantage of the company's experience from their research and development of the Reference Turntable. The Ra-4, 6 and 8 have carefully chosen electronics that are housed within a CNC precision Aerospace-level aluminum alloy enclosure for aesthetics and vibration control. Triangle Art uses the highly regarded Furutech AC Receptacle and IEC inlets with 24K gold-plated pure copper Alpha conductor. These conductors are treated with ultra-low temperature and demagnetization treatment for best electrical signal conduction results. Audience Capacitors are extensively used inside, whilst, deeply cryogenic POCC solid-core conductor also also employed. Other features of the Ra-4, Ra-6 and Ra-8 include surge protection, ultra low noise floor, extreme build quality, with claims of perfect tone and pitch, perfect pace and timing with unyielding dynamics. According to Triangle Art, "From all the Technology employed, what come out when you plugged your components into our conditioner are extreme Low noise, Black background with Micro and Macro dynamics. Music will flowed out empowered by perfect Pitch and Tonality, each Note will be free of haziness or noise making your listening much more enjoyable and will make you truly more appreciative of what good music will really sound free from the grain, fuzziness that you get from dirty Power." The Ra-4 has four outlets, the Ra-6 has six and Ra-8 has eight power outlets.
Linn is celebrating four decades of delivering high quality audio gear by releasing a Limited Edition Sondek LP12 turntable (£25,000 / $40,000). With only 40 examples being manufactured, the new Limited Edition Sondek LP12 turntable comes with a special bottle of Highland Park single malt that has been aged for 40 years. As the company's highest performance turntable, it is encased in a whisky wood plinth made from the solid oak casks in which Highland Park was matured. The new turntable also includes Linn's Kandid cartridge, their Ekos SE tonearm and Radikal DC motor and power supply. For the all-important sub-chassis and armboard their Keel is used. Linn will also supply you with their Urika phonostage that mates with the Kandid cartridge. So drink up and enjoy music with Linn's new Limited Edition Sondek LP12 turntable.
09 / 20 / 13
The Chester Group has formed a great strategic alliance to purchase Salon Son & Image, changes date/location of their NYC event and is actively looking to take an important role with T.H.E. Show. Beginning in 2014 the Montreal Audio Show will come under Chester's ownership. Both show organizers had previously come together under the new Organizers Alliance so there was a natural and immediate synergy between the two family concerns as they share the same ethos. There will be no fundamental changes to the highly respected Montreal show including the Venue (Hilton Bonaventure); the management (Sarah Tremblay); or the date March (28th through 30th). "I'm delighted to be joining a full time team of dedicated professionals," said Sarah Tremblay of Salon Son & Image. "This is exactly what the SSI needed to continue its expansion. The Chester Group is the perfect fit for us, a family business with entrepreneurship that has the development of the audio industry at heart. They understand the special nature of the Montreal Show and I have their complete support to keep it that way. I'm also delighted to have been offered the opportunity to manage two such high achieving shows." The second announcement relates to the New York Audio Show in 2014, which is now moving to the fall. Specifically, to the last weekend in September and the Chester Group's New York Audio Show will settle down in Brooklyn at the Marriott on the Brooklyn Bridge. Everyone will enjoy superior access for offloading/loading; bigger converted bedrooms; much better layout; and guarantees to the future. Uniquely, this still allows the Chester Group to cross-sell exhibitors into both shows, with advantageous packages. Agreements have now been reached and contracts signed, so sales for both shows can now commence. Finally, the Chester Group will be bringing NEW-TECH to North America in 2015, which they are currently rolling out in Europe and Australia. This is said to be a vital contribution for the need to attract new business and new visitors into the higher end Audio & AV, and breaks completely new ground not only in its show format and size (around 100,000 square feet) but also how it's funded and the packaging and pricing into the industry. Adding to all this great news, the Chester Group is currently in negotiations with Richard Beers of T.H.E Show with a view to complimenting those events with special packages.
The book 108 Rock Star Guitars by Lisa S. Johnson is the stunning new fine-art photography book featuring rare, up-close images of the guitars belonging to some of the world's most iconic players, including Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Ace Frehley, Slash, Billy Gibbons, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Nancy Wilson and many more. A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to the Les Paul Foundation for music education. The 396-page book is bound in embossed red leatherette and includes nearly 500 photographs focusing on the wear and tear details -- nicks, scratches, sweat stains, burn marks and personal adornments and modifications -- that provide an extraordinary view of the artist's personality and playing style. While 108 Rock Star Guitars arrives in stores on October 8, 2013, to mark the occasion The Cutting Room will host a book signing and concert from 6 pm to 10 pm on October 8th. The evening's proceeds will naturally benefit the Les Paul Foundation. Les Paul, the late, legendary musician and inventor who is best known for his contributions to the early development of the solid body electric guitar and whose signature model Gibson is a favorite among rock's elite, allowed Johnson -- at the time a technical sales rep for Kodak -- to photograph his guitar after one of his regular Monday night sets at the Iridium Jazz Club. That early shoot ultimately inspired the book, which took 17 years to complete. Les Paul wrote the book's foreword a few months before he passed in 2009. Books will be available for purchase at the venue, with the standard edition ($108) including a 16-page booklet with behind-the-scenes information on the book and one of three custom guitar picks featuring a holographic design. The deluxe, signed, limited edition ($540) includes the book, booklet, guitar pick and a hand-rolled purple chiffon silk scarf in a die-cut collector's box. Details of this event to be held at The Cutting Room in NYC are as follows:
The Boston Audio Society's September guest is past BAS President and Speaker editor David Moran. Starting in the 1980s while working at dbx with Mark Davis, David has been interested in meaningful speaker measurement, and he has spoken to BAS and AES section members numerous times on appropriate and 'proper' testing of loudspeaker radiation pattern, with notes on resultant imaging variables. He has written widely on the subject for the AES Journal, Stereo Review, Sensible Sound, Speaker Builder, Digital Audio / CD Review, and most recently for the new magazine Linear Audio. In October David will be one of three panelists at an AES NYC convention workshop entitled 'Lies, Damn Lies, and Audio Gear Specs'. This coming Sunday BAS members will get a sneak preview of his upcoming panel presentation. An open discussion will follow about why so many publications covering loudspeakers are still off the mark. The BAS meeting will be held on Sunday, September 22 @ 6:00pm at the Boston University's Life Science & Engineering Bldg on 24 Cummington Street.
09 / 19 / 13
Enjoy the Music.com has just posted number 7 issue 3 of HIFICRITIC magazine. This edition of HIFICRITIC includes reviews of the TEAC UD-501, Benchmark DAC2 HGC, Mytek Stereo 192-DSD, Aurasound Vida, Roksan Caspian integrated amplifier, Avalon Compás floorstander, Audiolab M-DAC, Musical Fidelity V90-DAC and more. In his editorial, Paul Messenger says, "Like the music we play on it, hi-fi is a broad church. My taste in music is not the same as yours, or Joe Bloggs' for that matter, so why should I presume I like the same things about music reproduction? I try not to make such assumptions, but am not sure it's possible to avoid doing so. We're well aware that music has considerable effects on the human psyche, but don't really know either how or why." You can see the complete table of contents and editorial plus review and Subjective Sounds article of HIFICRITIC by clicking here.
VPI Industries' new MW-1 Cyclone vinyl record cleaning machine ($1000) firmly places it between the HW-16.5 and HW-17 units. The company created this model to provide an LP cleaner that was a step above the HW 16.5 that could be produced at a faster rate than the HW-17. Three main points that make the MW-1 Cyclone stand out over the HW-16.5 includes an aluminum housing for stronger durability, the ability to turn the motor in both directions while the vacuum is on, and that the motor turns on the outside of the platter rather than the center. The center turning feature allows you to press as hard as one chooses with their brush, yet without worry about bending or breaking the center motor shaft. Note that the new MW-1 does not replace VPI Industries 16.5, yet fills the gap for those users who are looking for a step above the HW-16.5 yet not quote ready to invest in the HW-17. The final production unit might be slightly different than the photo as seen here. The first production model will be at on display and for use at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Audio Fest.
09 / 18 / 13
While earlier this year Amazon announced it has extended their popular AutoRip service to vinyl records, it is also being widely reported that vinyl sales are up 745% since 2008. Their AutoRip feature gives customers free digital (mp3) copies of vinyl records purchased from Amazon, which expands the ease for customers who enjoy analog replay via vinyl records and digital music too. Amazon's top selling vinyl records as of this moment include No Love Deep Web by Death Grips, Random Access Memories by Daft Punk, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse and Reflektor by Arcade Fire.
Marantz, celebrating their 60 years of bringing the joys of music into homes worldwide, announces the launch of two new models in its premium line of Reference Series products. The PM-14S1 integrated amplifier ($2999) offers the newest current feedback technology using Marantz's unique HDAMs (hyper dynamic amplifier modules) whilst the new SA-14S1 Super Audio CD player ($2499) features a newly enhanced standalone DAC function that supports direct-stream digital (DSD) playback via USB-B, high resolution PCM via digital coax or fiber optic inputs. The Marantz PM-14S1 integrated amplifier features a total of 24 HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module) discrete circuitry and current feedback topology. A massive power supply with a high current toroidal power transformer and high current Schottky Barrier Diodes in the rectifier circuit allows the unit to produce 90 watts per channel @ 8 Ohms (140 @ 4 Ohms). Newly designed Marantz original high-quality, high-purity copper speaker terminals, rigid mechanical construction for anti-vibration and linear control volume with new volume-control integrated circuit (IC) are just some of the features. Multiple inputs, including a phonostage, and also included. Marantz's new SA-14S1 Super Audio CD Player and DAC accepts a wide variety of digital formats and employs their exclusive HDAM and HDAM-SA2 in a hybrid configuration to achieve low noise and high speed. A new disc drive mechanism has vibration-absorbing, shock-resistant and sound isolation characteristics for improved disc-reading accuracy. The USB-B port works in asynchronous mode and can handle LPCM and DSD content. An optical isolator eliminates influence of clock noise while a special jitter reducer generates a low-jitter output clock from jittery external clock source. There is a fullly discrete, high-quality headphone amplifier too. For those who enjoy experimenting, there is a user-selectable digital filter. Both units can be operated from an iApple or Android device using the Marantz Remote App.
09 / 17 / 13
Soon high fidelity audio could get a boost while saving money on cabling as HDMI 2.0 will provide upwards of 32 audio channels for "a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience". With backwards compatibility to earlier versions of HDMI specifications, the new HDMI 2.0 will have "significantly increases bandwidth up to 18Gbps and adds key enhancements to support continuing market requirements for enhancing the consumer video and audio experience." HDMI 2.0 does not define new cables or new connectors as current HDMI Category 2 cables are capable of carrying the increased bandwidth. New functionality with HDMI 2.0 includes:
Disney Research has created a microphone that enables a person to record an audio message and transmit it silently through their body and reproduce it with the touch of a finger. Called "Ishin-Den-Shin," a Japanese expression for communicating through an unspoken mutual understanding, the technology turns an audio message into an inaudible signal that is relayed by the body. When the communicator's finger slightly rubs an everyday object, the physical interaction creates an ad hoc speaker that makes it possible to hear the recorded sounds. If the finger touches a recipient's ear, the message can be heard just by the recipient. "Ishin-Den-Shin lends an unequaled level of intimacy to digital communications," said Ivan Poupyrev, principal research scientist and head of the interaction technology group at Disney Research, Pittsburgh. "It explores the continued blurring of the boundaries between the human body, the messages we generate and the world around us. It's almost as if a person's finger can whisper in your ear or playback a message hidden in an everyday physical object." The technology also makes it possible for a group of people who are in physical contact to turn their bodies into a transmission medium, with the signal passing silently from one to another until someone touches an object. The Ishin-Den-Shin system includes a handheld microphone connected to a computer's sound card. When someone speaks into the microphone, the computer turns the sound into a looped recording. The recording is then converted into a high-voltage, low-current inaudible signal that flows into a thin wire connected to the exterior of the microphone. This looped, inaudible signal creates a modulated electrostatic field around the body of the person who is holding the microphone and can be transmitted from person to person via any sort of physical contact. The modulated electrostatic field produces a very small vibration as a finger touches an object, which then forms a speaker. The Ishin-Den-Shin technology thus can turn everyday artifacts into interactive sound devices without the need to instrument them with any apparatus. YouTube video can be found at this link.
Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
09 / 16 / 13
Enjoy the Music.com and the Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show, the area's largest electronics show, have joined forces to offer worldwide coverage of TAVES 2013. This new agreement brings to a total of five events and seven publications to partner with Enjoy the Music.com. Millions of online audio and video enthusiasts will enjoy extensive coverage of this important Canadian event. Both major manufacturers and niche companies will fill the King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto from November 1st through 3rd; with attendance expected to surpass their impressive 2012 event. "We are delighted to work together with Enjoy the Music.com to help more consumers discover the joy of listening to music on a high quality audio system," says Suave Kajko, president of the Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show (TAVES). "Both Enjoy the Music.com and TAVES share a common goal — to inform consumers about the latest audio components and technology developments, while promoting good buying decisions. As the name implies, TAVES also places a big focus on home theatre equipment as well as educational seminars. We are aware that plenty of Canadians read Enjoy the Music.com and hope that most of them will came out to experience TAVES this year. Likewise, through this partnership TAVES hopes to introduce many new readers to Enjoy the Music.com." To learn more, see the official press release at this link.
iFi Audio and Enjoy the Music.com are giving away over $2500 in great high fidelity mobile audio devices that will enhance your enjoyment of music! Travel the world in high style while listening to great sounding music thanks to the great innovators at iFi Audio and Enjoy the Music.com. Five lucky winners will each be receiving critically acclaimed high fidelity products from this pioneering company. The five prize packages to be given away consist of the following:
1st Prize receives an iFi Audio iUSB, iDAC, iTUBE, and iCAN
for a total prize package of $1056
09 / 13 / 13
Once again proving the power of the Internet, Light Harmonic's Geek USB DAC/headphone amplifier Kickstarter campaign final total reaches an outstanding $303,061. This marks a mind-blowing 1082% of the campaign's goal of $28,000. With 2,146 backers funding the campaign, there is no doubt of the immense success achieved by using Kickstarted to aid in advanced sales of desirable high fidelity audio products. The Geek employs technology Light Harmonic developed during R&D of their Da Vinci DAC, yet squeezes it into one tiny little package that easily fits within your hand for only $299! The Geek is a USB DAC that handles everything from 384kHz/24-bit files to DSD and of course all your computer audio needs including Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, etc. "The support we've received for Geek has just been unbelievable," said Light Harmonic's VP of Sales Gavin Fish. "The Kickstarter community has proven beyond a doubt that there is a market for high-performance audio products outside of the same old, dying audiophile market. People do care about good sound from their music, movies and games." Light Harmonic's CEO Larry Ho said "When we first thought about presenting a new product this way on Kickstarter, it sounded a little crazy. Because of our campaign, we've made new friends all over the world, and people are excited about what [the] Geek can do. Our team has done an incredible job of bringing hi-res audio to a whole new market."
09 / 12 / 13
MIT Cables new range of SL-Matrix interfaces utilizes many of the same patented features of their Reference cables, but using surface-mount technology to miniaturize the networks to achieve a lower price point. MIT realized their customers were asking for the benefits of the company's Oracle Reference-level products, so as a result developed a completely new product line for the audiophile and music lover The new SL-Matrix series will feature three interconnect/speaker interface pairings. First up is their new SL-Matrix 26i/39s (starting at $1299/1 meter pair for single-ended interconnect, $2499/8 foot pair speaker interface) The SL-Matrix 39 speaker and SL-Matrix 26 audio interfaces place an emphasis on optimizing the all-important midrange octaves for increased realism and naturalness of voices and musical instruments. Their new SL-Matrix 36i/70S (starting at $2499/1 meter pair, $4999/8 foot pair speaker interface) focuses on the relative strength of harmonics relative to a note's fundamental frequency, which is what gives each instrument its characteristic tonal color. SL-Matrix 70 speaker interface and SL-Matrix 36 audio interfaces feature poles of articulation optimized through all ten audible octaves, centered about the central frequency of all Western music (A4 = 440 Hz). The SL-Matrix 70 speaker interface and SL-Matrix 36 audio interfaces then add numerous harmonics to each octave "in proper proportion according to the physics of music" says the company. They continue by saying "When multiple instruments are played together, accurate timbre for each is what develops musical density and texture, easily heard in live performances but very difficult to recreate with a music system. By reproducing at least seven harmonics in proper balance, the timbre of each instrument can be completely realistically portrayed. When the highest frequencies are aligned in correct amplitude and time, the imaging and soundstage cues snap into focus and the recording setup and environment are clearly delineated in space." Lastly, MIT's SL-Matrix 50i/90s (starting at $4999/1 meter pair, $9999/8 foot pair speaker interface) are claimed to "create additional poles of articulation in the network, optimizing the musical intervals within each octave, resulting in a High Definition (HD) presentation. This HD process further extends the naturalness of response at all frequencies, and results in not only more realistic timbre, but in accurately rendering the acoustic space of the recording venue".
09 / 11 / 13
Meridian is looking to redefine the future of car audio with its 3D surround system built in the Jaguar C-X17. Meridian has developed and designed a car audio system in close conjunction with Jaguar's C-X17's interior to provide a unique harmonic space. A grand total of 28 loudspeakers within the vehicle cabin are optimized to deliver a better and more authentic sound by raising the sonic image at a human height, thus making the experience more believable. Meridian's subwoofer "force canceling" technology has been gem-set within the rear centre tunnel to provide a more consistent and accurate low frequency reproduction for all passengers; ultimately the raised loudspeakers have been located in the top of the head restraints to deliver the correct perception of image height enabling each passenger to enjoy a personal and even more authentic musical experience. The all-new architectural speaker location is based on Meridian's integral sound/design principles of uncompromised performance delivered through refined authentic and consistent sound. "The Meridian audio system for the C-X17 is an audio statement. Inspired by the design and performance of Meridian home systems and technologies, this system represents the future of in-car 3D surround" says Bob Stuart, Meridian co-founder and Chief Technical Officer. "It is very satisfying to see two great British brands blend together their design languages and technologies to produce something unique." Key points of the system include:
Shiit's Loki DSD companion DAC ($149) allows anyone to add DSD playback to any DAC and natively handles DSD playback. The Loki decodes DSD 1X (DSD 64) using the DoP spec and proprietary Schiit firmware on a Microchip PIC controller to provide bit-perfect DSD native playback with a variety of music players on both the PC and Mac platforms. It connects to any PC or Mac via USB, and is powered by the USB bus, with extensive filtering and power regulation to ensure pure, noise-free performance. "In our opinion, DSD and PCM playback should not be shared on the same analog stage" says Mike Moffat, co-Founder of Schiit Audio. "The filtering requirements of DSD are drastically different. Because of this, we chose to offer DSD as a separate, dedicated DSD-only box with pass-through switching, so it can simply be added to any DAC." Like all Schiit products, Loki is made in the USA and comes with a 15-day money back guarantee and 2 year warranty. Frequency response is from 2 Hz to 200 kHz (-3dB), THD is a vanishing low <0.005% and SNR: is >100dB. Conversion is via the AKM4396 in native DSD mode. The unit's analog stage is based on AD8616 with DSD-specific filtering. Dimensions are 5 x 3.5 x 1.25 (WxDxH and the unit weighs 1 pound.
09 / 10 / 13
Microsoft has opened up their online streaming music server to everyone online! Over 30 millions songs are now available for online streaming. Nearing its one-year anniversary, Microsoft's all-in-one music service, Xbox Music, continues to deliver the music people want, wherever they want it played. Accessing music across all the different devices people interact with has become complicated according to the company. People today use PCs, laptops, tablets, phones and TVs to access different music services that don't connect with one another. The only exception is the recent announcement by Spotify (see Enjoy the Music.com industry news from 09/06/13). Xbox Music is designed to solve this by combining the best of all music offerings with free streaming on the Web and on modern Windows PCs and tablets, Internet radio, subscription, and download-to-own options. Today's news expands this for access to Microsoft's Xbox Music service to include iOS and Android devices, as well as a free Web-based interface on computers. "Xbox Music now, more than ever, powers music experiences between Windows 8, Xbox, Windows Phone, and now iOS, Android and the Web," said Jerry Johnson, general manager of Xbox Music. "We're also excited to connect artists with their fans on the most anticipated consumer product of the year when Xbox One launches Nov. 22."
Marshall, a company that has been busy buying up high fidelity audio companies, offers a limited edition Hanwell Anniversary Edition of their brand new compact active stereo speaker with headphone amplification ($800). The Hanwell Anniversary Edition is all about modern listening capability in a classic Marshall package. On the top of the unit are power switch and 1/8" headphone jack plus treble, bass and volume knobs. The fret cloth and gold logo on the front is borrowed from vintage Marshall amplifiers whilst the body is outlined with gold piping for a celebratory effect. The Hanwell is said to embody Marshall's legacy of 'loud'. "Hailing from a line of 50th Anniversary products, the Hanwell moves Marshall's heritage of big stage performance out of the arena and into your personal space. Delivering a sound that resonates with the presence and power of live music, the Hanwell is a carefully crafted machine, designed to attain that trademark Marshall tone. Its dual long-throw woofers produce super lows and hi-fi tweeters yield extended highs that render the sound sharp and clear, like sitting front row" says the company. As a tribute to Marshall's 50-year legacy, each Hanwell is branded with a numbered Anniversary Edition commemorative badge. The new Marshall Hanwel is available in black, cream, purple and green. The unit comes with a one year warranty and flatrate shipping of the Hanwell Anniversary Edition is only available in the following countries: US, Canada, Japan (110-120VAC 50/60Hz version), EU, Norway and Switzerland (220-230VAC 50/60Hz version).
Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
09 / 09 / 13
Red Wine Audio, a manufacturer of battery-powered hi-fi components, has begun shipping their Signature 57 Integrated amplifier ($3995 for base unit, optional modules are extra). Establishing a new performance/ value standard for the company, the Signature 57 offers expansion options to integrate multiple Red Wine Audio products into one enclosure. The unit runs entirely off-the-grid via high-current, ultra-clean LiFePO4 battery power and is said by the company to be the world's first integrated amplifier of its kind to combine high-current LiFePO4 battery technology with a high-power, discrete Class AB MOSFET design. The Signature 57 is configured to output 57 watts RMS per channel into 8 Ohms (115 watts RMS per channel into 4 Ohms). "The Signature 57 Integrated is as close as you can get to our flagship Liliana monoblock amplifiers in a single-box solution," says Vinnie Rossi, Owner of Red Wine Audio. Red Wine Audio's Signature 57 supports a variety of additional cost extras including their Isabellina Pro 192kHz/24-bit DAC, Analogica MM/MC phonostage and Cassabria's single-ended headphone stage ($2500, $1000 and $500 respectively). Available front wood panel finishes include cherry, maple and walnut.
Once again the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) joins consumer electronics (CE) manufacturers, retailers, music labels and artists in offering expanded support for and promotion of high-resolution audio (HRA). CEA is exploring initiatives to corral support among consumers and retailers, and plans to leverage opportunities to promote HRA at the 2014 International CES. Adoption of HRA offers benefits for consumers as well as new market opportunities for the CE and music industries. HRA offers the highest digital sound quality while retaining the benefits of digital audio, such as portability and personalization. HRA music files provide greater clarity and detail than MP3s and other compressed digital audio formats, resulting in a listening experience that more closely represents the original recording. "The time is right for our organization to explore new avenues to help promote this exciting audio technology. Recent market trends and research indicates that consumers are poised to embrace high-resolution audio, creating tremendous new market opportunities," said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "We expect major HRA announcements over the next year and believe that the technology will have a strong presence at the 2014 International CES." CEA research shows consumers are ready to embrace HRA, and that the appeal of high quality audio electronics extends beyond enthusiasts. CEA research finds four in ten (39 percent) consumers with a moderate interest in audio indicate they are willing to pay more for high quality audio electronics devices. Nine in ten consumers say sound quality is the most important component of a quality audio experience. Other factors identified include compelling content (85 percent) and superior audio electronics (72 percent) as vital to consumer enjoyment of audio (Notions of Quality: Audio Expectations of Consumers, July 2011). CEA research has also confirmed that audio buyers and potential buyers focus on quality as a critical purchase factor, second only to price (Discovering the Motivations and Opportunities Behind Home Audio Upgrades, November 2012).
09 / 06 / 13
Clarus has introduced their Crimson USB cable ($250 for 1 meter) that is specifically designed for USB 2.0 computer audio applications. The engineering of the Crimson USB cable is the result of careful consideration of the complex issues associated with the design of digital cable, namely the preservation of signal integrity including minimization of jitter and the elimination of noise. To satisfy these design requirements, the Crimson USB cable is manufactured from heavy gauge PCOCC copper, Pure Copper by the Ohno Continuous Casting — a process that yields perhaps the purest copper available today. The USB features 20 AWG power conductors to ensure there is adequate current flow to USB audio devices. To reduce jitter and timing issues, the Crimson USB cable is manufactured using high-precision wire twisting machines that ensure perfectly match twisted pairs. Skin effect is said to be minimized by plating the solid-core PCOCC signal conductors with 6.1% solid silver. For noise elimination, there are effectively six layers of shielding to prevent the power signal or outside EMI/RFI from corrupting the digital USB signal. This heavy-duty protection also prevents emission of the high frequency USB signal from the cable, which if leaked, would adversely effect nearby cabling and electronics. Like all Crimson Series cables, the new USB is covered with an attractive black and red woven jacket.
Spotify's new featured called Spotify Connect is a new home audio experience giving you effortless control of your music across your phone, tablet, home system and more in a simple, seamless and hassle-free way. Unlike other music services that do not allow you to continue where you left off with a song, Spotify's new Connect lets the music continue on virtually any device as you change from one to another. For example, you've just walked through the door and are listening to your favorite playlist on your phone. With Spotify Connect, simply hit play on your living room speakers and the music instantly fires up exactly where you left off so you never miss a beat. For those who choose their home speaker system, Spotify Connect will be available on a wide range of speakers and home audio systems from music hardware specialists including Argon, Bang & Olufsen, Denon, Hama, Marantz, Philips, Pioneer, Revo, Teufel and Yamaha, with further brands coming soon. "Today, listening to music at home can be a frustrating experience – dropouts, below-par audio quality, signal range and phone restrictions, battery drainage, it's basically a hassle," says Sten Garmark, VP Product Management at Spotify. "Spotify Connect solves this by giving you effortless control of your music across your phone, tablet and now speakers with millions of songs built right in." Spotify Connect will roll out to Spotify Premium subscribers on iPhone, iPad and home audio systems over the coming months, with Android and desktop updates to follow.
Jaguar Audio Design.com's RealTime Audio Operating System is an OS optimized for audio and operates on Linux. Now officially in version RTOS v1.0, this computer operating system for audio playback has RealTime audio capability within the kernel. The Jaguar RTOS is a fully packaged audio operating system that can either be burned to a disc or thumb drive and run as a Live OS or installed permanently to the user's hard drive. As a Realtime Linux operating system for audio, this operating system uses a realtime kernel with the goal of providing audio processes priority to prevent interruption by non-audio processes. The theory is that these interruptions could disrupt the precision of the clock timing and result in jitter. Please note that DAC USB compatibility can be an issue for Linux since manufacturers who develop proprietary USB drivers usually develop for Windows and Mac. Only those DACs with Linux drivers or those that that do not require special driver installation can be connect with USB and function properly. Please note that Enjoy the Music.com has not tested this software or its security/stability, so try at your own risk.
09 / 05 / 13
Sony's new Walkman F886 touchscreen high fidelity portable music player (£250 / $390) handles 192kHz/24-bit. Sony's Walkman F886 includes 32GB internally and has a 4" color touchscreen, handles NFC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Through a combination of Sony's proprietary sound technology and support, the new Walkman F886 lets you enjoy high-resolution audio that is significantly higher sound quality than MP3 and CD. Files types for music playback include WAV, AIFF, FLAC and Apple lossless (192kHz/24-bit) plus the usual MP3 and other formats. Optimized for audio, Sony's latest S-Master HX digital amplifier reduces distortion and noise. Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) HX technology restores upper frequency sound that is lost in the compression process. Standard NFC plus Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth A2DP/AVRCP/OPP/HID are supported. The unit operates on the Android 4.1 platform, includes pre-installed apps tailored for the Sony Walkman plus apps for e-mail, games, maps and media gallery. Apps from Google Play may also be installed. Battery life is up to 35 hours playback with MP3 and 26 hours with 96kHz/24-bit.
Parasound's new Halo P 5 stereo + subwoofer preamplifier/DAC ($950) continues the company's high quality offerings at reasonable pricing. The Halo P 5 includes five unbalanced stereo analog inputs via RCA plus one stereo set of balanced analog input via XLR connection. There is a home theater bypass for those who need such switching and a Record Output. For those with turntables, there is an MM/MC phono input. Enjoy digital audio via the S/PDIF coax, USB and optical TosLink inputs with upwards of 24-bit/192kHz resolution. Outputs include balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA stereo outputs plus there is two sets of RCA stereo and one balanced subwoofer output. Controls are available for bass management including adjustable crossover frequency and defeatable high and low pass filters. A 12V trigger and IR connection plus loop-out are provided. On the front panel is a 3.5mm auxiliary port to plug in mobile audio device with 12dB of gain plus a headphone jack for private listening. Parasound's Halo P 5 stereo preamplifier/DAC is available in silver or black. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Parasound Halo JC 1 monoblock amplifier and Parasound NewClassic Model 2100 preamplifier with 2125 amplifier.
French manufacturer Waterfall Audio will soon introduce their Niagara Platinum reference speaker ($39,500 per pair). The Niagara Platinum edition is designed to be used in esoteric high fidelity systems, home cinema systems and larger acoustic spaces. For driver duties, custom built midrange/bass Atohm drivers are equipped with the patented Acoustic Damping Tube (ADT) while for upper frequencies a unique Glass Horn tweeter is used. Perhaps the most important aspect is the intricately engineered Glass Horn tweeter, which is designed with its own detailed crossover. The fabrication process requires more than ten hours of intense machining and hand finishing. This component is so delicate that it is packed separately for shipping in a specially designed padded box to ensure. There is also an ultra low-frequency passive driver fixed in down-firing position within the Niagara Platinum's solid aluminum base. Niagara Platinum's midrange/bass drivers and base foundation are covered in the highest quality, hand-stitched Nappa leather typically used by such automotive brands as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. All drivers are mechanically decoupled from the main enclosure to enhance overall performance. Niagara Platinum's enclosure is made of 10mm safety glass that stands 48" tall and in total the speaker weights 100 lbs. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the Waterfall Audio Iguascu EVO loudspeaker at this link.
Those with the Astell&Kern AK120 can now download system software/firmware v1.33. Version 1.33 for the AK120 now supports .DSF file tagging plus music information and album art in case of changing music automatically under deactivation of gapless has been fixed. You can download firmware 1.33 by clicking here. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the AK120 at this link.
09 / 04 / 13
Enjoy the Music.com just posted the September edition of Hi-Fi+ filled with many great equipment and music reviews plus think pieces. This issue includes equipment reviews of the Acoustica Applicata DAAD Range room acoustic treatment, Magico S1 floorstanding loudspeakers, Cardas EM5813 Ear Speakers in-ear monitors, Ayon Audio CD-3S valve CD player/DAC/preamplifier, VPI Traveler turntable and tonearm system, Electrocompaniet ECD 2 digital to analogue convertor and more! Within Alan Sircom's editorial he says, "Left to their own devices, middle-aged men with too much time on their hands and nothing to grumble about tend to turn on themselves. This periodically happens in audio, and typically it happens when audio is on one of its upswings. New formats are becoming understandable, old formats are living beyond their years, things generally sound better than ever... all the things that are anathema to a curmudgeonly old audiophile git." You can see the complete table of contents and editorial of Hi-Fi+ by clicking here.
Audience's new top of the line Au24 SE are now available in configurations including loudspeaker cables, analog interconnects and both USA and European power cords. The company feels this new line delivers a major step forward in musical accuracy. The expanded Au24 SE provides connectors including spade lug and banana plug terminations for speaker cables and RCA or XLR for analog interconnects. Power cables include United States or European configuration of Schuko AC plugs. Audience's Au24 SE cables have been upgraded from previous models with ultra-low-mass, high-purity copper connectors that are said to enable the passage of more low-level information in phono, line-level, speaker and power cord applications. "The Au24 SE cables are the most significant advancement in cables Audience has ever made, and we don't say that lightly," noted John McDonald, President of Audience. Owners of Au24e and Au24 cables can have them upgraded to Au24 SE at prices ranging from $220 to $440. The Au24e speaker cables, interconnects and power cords will remain available.
High fidelity loudspeaker manufacturer Magico will soon be unveiling their QSub at CEDIA 2013. As their first subwoofers, the QSub-18 and QSub-15 ($36,000 and $22,000 respectively) are built around the renowned Q platform. Capable of delivering 136dB SPL with less than 1% total harmonic distortion at 20 Hz, these subwoofers can easily fill any normal listening room or home theater. The QSub-18 weighs over 550 pounds and has a power handling of 8000 Watts. The high SPL level capability within the enclosure of Magico's QSub can reach an internal SPL upwards of 175dB. To handle this, the pair of drivers are mounted on 2" thick aluminum baffles and fire adversely in phase to cancel out driver-borne resonances and lower internal pressure. Each woofer is capable of 34mm of linear excursion and handling power of 8000 Watts to achieve a frequency response from 15 to 150 kHz. To drive the subwoofers, a new 6000 Watt digital amplifier equipped with a 7000VA power supply and regulated output stage was developed. Magico's QSub has an onboard digitally-controlled active crossover for integration with main loudspeakers. The controller can also be bypassed. Dimensions for the QSub-18 are 25.4" 37" x 25.4" and weight is 570 lbs. while the QSub-15 is : 22" x 27" x 22" (HxDxW) and weighs 350 lbs. The new Magico QSub-18 and the QSub-15 can be ordered in Magico's M-CAST range of satin colors or their signature hard black anodized finish.
09 / 03 / 13
Bluesound International, a division of Lenbrook Industries dedicated to delivering on the promise of wireless high fidelity audio, have raised the bar on providing audiophiles and music lovers true 24-bit HD digital audio. Their first four products include the Pulse, Powernode, Node and Vault. All models support MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF @ rates of 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 kHz in 16 or 24 bits. Supported cloud services include WiMP and rdio, with others probably coming soon. To control the Bluesound system you can choose either desktop program (Windows and Apple) or iOS/Andoid app. Connectivity is via Ethernet, USB Type-A and Type-B plus TosLink optical. The Bluesound Pulse is a bi-amplified unit with speakers that are driven by digital amplification from NAD Electronics and produces 80 watts total power. Bluesound's Powernode is a communication unit with all normal inputs plus 90 watts of NAD power @ 4 Ohms. The Node is a communication unit with RCA analog outputs to feed an amplifier/self-amplified speakers. Lastly, the Bluesound Vault is an interesting device with all the features of a Node plus a CD drive to aid at ripping your digital music library. This unit rips CDs in high resolution lossless FLAC format, or lossy space-saving MP3, or both. Bluesound can be connected to the Internet using DSL, Wi-Fi or cable modem connection and each component is available in gloss black or white.
Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
08 / 29 to 9 / 03
Enjoy the Music.com's September issue of our Review Magazine features two World Premiere equipment reviews plus we are giving away over $2500 in iFi Audio prizes! See the September Review Magazine by clicking here.
Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 166
Skoff'ing Up Food For Thought
Marshall Fridge Goes To 11!
Pangeia Instrumentos Exhibit
iFi micro iTube 'Swiss Army Knife'
Bob Carver VTA20S "Black Magic" Power Amplifier
Conrad-Johnson ARTsa Stereo Amplifier
Benz Micro Ace SL Moving Coil Cartridge
High End 2013 Part 2
Rock, Techno, House, etc.