Holland's Crystal Cable is known for glass, but the new Arabesque III is made entirely of aluminum. Featuring Scan-Speak Illuminator drivers and a beryllium tweeter, the III is said to be a time-aligned design using true first-order electro-acoustic slopes. The price has not yet been set, but it's expected to be about 30,000 euros. [www.crystalcable.com]
Anthony Gallo Acoustics has only produced round speakers in one form or another up till now. This year, the company debuted a complete line of speakers that aren't round! The new Nucleus Classico collection is a full line of conventionally shaped speakers, although they still feature Gallo's signature CDT ribbon tweeter, and at least that's round! The Classico speakers, one of which is seen here with Anthony Gallo himself, are all transmission-line designs filled with the company's proprietary S2 fill. All speakers in the line are covered in real-wood veneer, and availability is projected for March 2011. [www.roundsound.com]
Focus Audio has decided to retire the venerable FS888 and they've replaced that speaker with the new FP88SE, retailing for a very reasonable $6800. The FP88SE weighs in at a substantial 70 pounds, is 90dB-efficient, and reaches down to a respectable 30Hz. [www.focusaudio.com]
Denmark's Vitus Audio showed the Masterpiece Series MP-L101 two-chassis preamplifier priced at $69,000 -- the company's best line stage. This ambitious effort weighs over 100 pounds (combined weight) owed in large part to the massive power supply and heavy chassis components. [www.vitusaudio.com]
Esoteric is now fully immersed in computer-based audio reproduction, but they have not lost their disc-based heritage either. The new K-01 flagship digital source player features a 24/192 asynchronous USB digital input along with the most advanced transport mechanism they've ever produced. The retail price is $22,500. [www.esoteric.teac.com]
The internal construction of the Esoteric K-01 is impressive on many levels. Maybe it's the eight DACs per channel, or the beautiful transport mechanism, or the heavy shielding, or . . . OK, we'll quit drooling now. [www.esoteric.teac.com]
Bel Canto has been known for providing audiophile-quality sound at real-world prices for some time now. The new C5i integrated amp is perhaps the best example of this philosophy yet. It features a 24/96 USB DAC and a digital volume control along with multiple line and digital inputs. The C5i's power output is rated at 60Wpc into 8 ohms and 120Wpc into 4 ohms. The projected retail price is under $2000. [www.belcantodesign.com]
The new Zanden Audio 1000 phono stage is expected to sell for $12,500 and features five EQ settings and two inputs. [www.zandenaudio.com]
Zanden continued their tradition of building beautifully styled equipment. Here sits their new 6000 integrated amplifier that uses KT120 tubes to produce 100Wpc. The 6000 comes with a remote control and has three inputs and an adjustable phase button on the front panel. The retail price is expected to be between $15,000 and $20,000 when it's released later this year. [www.zandenaudio.com]
The larger Hegel HD20 also sports 24/96 capability via its USB input, but adds 24/192 conversion via its two coaxial and one optical inputs. The HD20 comes with a remote control that can be used for adjusting volume or checking the sample rate of the incoming signal. The HD20's price is $2000. [www.hegel.com]
Hegel's least-expensive digital-to-analog converter, the HD2, packs in a lot of technology and value. This little unit features a 24/96 USB digital input and retails for only $350. [www.hegel.com]
Doug Schneider has stated that Korea's April Music might be the best-kept secret in audio. They own the Stello and Eximus brands. If that's true, then you'll want to check out the newest member of their lineup, the Eximus P5 preamplifier ($9000) that has a separate power supply and silver-gold internal wiring, among its many cool design features. It is old school, though -- no remote control. But it looks quite nice . . .
. . . as you can see from peering into the inner workings. Those circuit boards are gold-plated all right!
Convergent Audio Technology was showing The Statement mono amplifier that is really an upgraded version of their JL3 Signature model. This top-of-the-line amp features new ultra-low-loss power capacitors, and transformers with a new core material that, according to company president Ken Stevens, results in less time smear. The Statement's price is $72,000 per pair.
Who says digital isn't beautiful? In the case of the interior of the dCS Debussy DAC ($10,999), there is much to admire both visually and technically. The big news here is the imminent release of the 24/192 upgrade for its asynchronous USB input, coming very soon.
The Debussy is a natural for an ambitious computer-based audio system. Could an optimized computer and a Debussy be state of the art? We certainly can't wait to find out!
Constellation Audio is going downmarket, sort of, with their new Performance-series components, which will include a preamp, a CD player, a phono stage, and a stereo power amplifier. The projected retail for each piece is $25,000.
Esoteric is now distributing the M2Tech brand of digital converters and DACs. Seen here is the Young DAC, which will accept a digital signal through USB with up to 32-bit/384kHz resolution! The price is a reasonable $1700.