Magnepan had a glorious room
playing their MG-12/QR ($1,095/pr) with Theta Dreadnaught amplifier giving 'em
the juice. These are quasi two-way ribbon planar loudspeakers. While they are
slightly higher than 51", being the planer variety makes them only
1.5" deep. Those of you who read my review in Ultimate
Audio of their larger sister, the MG3.6/R, know how much
enjoyment the Magnepan line of loudspeakers can deliver.
With sexy curves and sleek design, the Monolith Gold
loudspeakers from Italy has a 2mmm tweeter with 135mm midrange/bass drivers
above and below. The carefully tuned ported cabinet assists in providing a
broad frequency response of 40 Hz to 20,000 Hz (+-3dB). There are various
colors of grills available to match many decors.
For those with large listening rooms and wallets may find the Wisdom Audio Adrenaline ($85,000) with Jeff
Roland pre-amplifier and amplifiers as seen here to be the end all, be all
system. Using the Accuphase SACD system for reply, this room was reproducing
one of the best sounds at the show. The more slender cabinet contains a
75" long and 3" wide planar ribbon. The wider cabinets hold four
12" woofers to reproduce frequencies down to a super low 10 Hz! This
entire 1,400 lbs system requires a minimum of 800 watts (200 per cabinet) and
is claimed to handle a grand total of over 5,200 watts! Extra electrical spur
to power the necessary electronics is not included.
The new Classé CD/DVD-1 ($3,500) allows for playback of CD,
HDCD, CD-R, CD-RW and Video DVDs using the Philips mechanism. Two separate
laser mechanisms assist in bringing about the wide selection of disc playback
choices. A full function wireless remote control is also included for ease of
use for couch potatoes. Both balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA)
analog outputs are provided for. Digital outputs include AES/EBU, SPDIF,
and TOSlink. Both S-Video and composite (YcrCb) are also included.
Classé were also showing their new CAM-200 monoblock amplifier ($2,000 approx).
By stacking the boards three-high, this cute 25" x 16" x 19.5"
(HxWxD) box-like amplifier produces 200 wpc. at 8 ohms (400 wpc. at 4 ohms).
Classé's new "UHC Transfer" power supply section is claimed to
provide for higher current than normal supplies.
i was fortunate enough to have spent some time talking with
the head designer of Audiomecca. Seen above is their Mephisto II ($6,700) that
uses a custom CD mechanism, not the usual Philips or Pioneer units that appear
in virtually all other high-end units. Fully customized electronic servo
mechanism, suspension, and a very powerful 32-bit floating point digital
signal processor (DSP) recalculate incoming data to 24-bit/192kHz using
proprietary signal enhancement algorithms. Instead of using the usual PLL
clock, the Mephisto II calculates hundreds of millions of times a second
recalculating the data for its own clock. This is said to reduce jitter to an
almost immeasurable degree. To give you an idea of how much mathematics is
happening here, the usual basic CD of 65635 steps is increased to almost 17
million. Analog outputs include balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) while
digital outputs include two SPDIF and one AES/EBU.
Sony's upcoming multi-channel SACD units were on display
during the show. The SCD-CE775 ($399 as seen above) is a 5-disc changer with analog output
of all five channels. The C-555 ($1,699 as seen below) is also a five disc changer. The
main difference between the two is better electronics including power supply and copper shielded chassis
for the more expensive unit. The SCD-CE775 includes a five year warranty while
the C-55 comes with the more normal one year coverage.
JVC's new XV-D723 DVD-Audio/Video player ($799.95) offers full 192kHz/24-bit
audio playback plus dts, Dolby Digital and MLP, CD-DA, VCD, CD-R and CD-RW
formats. The audio and video paths are handled on separate boards and power
supplies to insure high quality playback capabilities. For those into video, a
10-bit/54mHz digital to analog converter (DAC) is included. Furthermore, the
4:4:2 YcrCb can be oversampled to provide a 4:4:4 signal!
The Pioneer Elite series DV-38A DVD-Audio ($2,000) unit plays
DVD-Video (dts and Dolby Digital), DVD-Audio (and MLP), VCD, CD-R, CD-RW and
normal audio CDs due to the use of dual laser mechanisms. This full
24-bit/192kHz audio capable player has a "Pure Audio Clock Reference
Function" that will sense the necessary audio clock needed and turn off
the unused oscillator to avoid unwanted electrical resonance that can degrade
the music reproduction quality. A high performance delta-sigma DAC decodes the
digital bits to multi-channel analog sound.
Coming in at the audiophile side of super-tweak compact disc
replay is the open up and say Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 CD player ($579, factory
installed digital transformer upgrade adds only $20). Following the success
and rave reviews of their Tjoeb '99, their new unit includes upgraded power
supplies, new tube filament supply for more than twice the filtering
capacity, independent logic stabilization, two military-grade ECG 6922 tubes
in the analog stage... to name just a few of the improvements. The included
wireless remote also offer output volume adjustment so that you can eliminate
the use of a preamplifier if desired for sending the pure signal directly to
Meg Reichart and the famous J.C. Morrison of Sovtek
Ken Kessler of Hi-Fi News and Ultimate
RAO Lunch (left to right) Tom, Susan, John Stone and John Atkinson
More RAO Lunch (left to right) Gene Lyle, Jonathan Scull (J-10), Tom Albertz (Surfshop/Pat
(Left to right) Tom, Susan, John Stone, John Atkinson, "Sandman" (Jim Sanders), Steve Rochlin, Liliana Sanders, Gene Lyle,
Jonathan Scull (J-10), Tom Albertz (photo taken by Kevin Deal).
Click here to see
a complete listing of
specialty high-end audio show exhibitors.
Click here to see last
year's show coverage.