Let me begin with a confession: I did not intend to write this article. Actually, I did not expect to write any articles at all during Audio Video Show 2023. My plan was to take most of the photos, edit them, guide writers Matt Bonaccio and Jason Thorpe around the show, and then take more time listening to systems than I usually do. I figured I’d only write about something if it really intrigued me. The Paradigm-Anthem setup at the PGE Narodowy stadium did just that, so I wrote an article about it.
It seems that Matt and Jason had other plans for me. In his October 1 editorial on SoundStage Ultra!, Jason wrote that I’d be covering important new products at Audio Video Show 2023, just as I had in 2022. Matt confirmed this arrangement in his first show report. So I was committed (not exactly voluntarily). But some new products are too important not to cover—hence this article, which I’m writing in the wee hours in my hotel room. I look like I haven’t slept well for days—because I haven’t. Prices are a mixture of Polish zlotys (zł) and euros (€). All products were seen at the PGE Narodowy stadium.
T+A R 2500 R stereo receiver
Germany’s T+A elektroakustic showed its new R 2500 R, a component the company describes as a “multi-source receiver.” The R 2500 R has a CD drive; a tuner section for FM and DAB; a Roon Ready streamer with support for Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, and Apple AirPlay; a digital-to-analog converter (DAC); a preamplifier stage; and, of course, an amplifier stage, which runs in class-AB and is said to deliver up to 250Wpc into 4 ohms.
Connectivity is impressive. There are three HDMI inputs (one with ARC support), one coaxial (RCA) and two optical (TosLink) S/PDIF inputs, USB Type B (for connection to a computer), USB Type A (for connecting an external drive), and wired ethernet (RJ45), plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless playback. For analog sources, there are two sets of single-ended (RCA) and one set of balanced (XLR) inputs, as well as one set of single-ended (RCA) preamp outputs and a coaxial S/PDIF output. The only thing lacking is a phono stage, but, of course, an external one can be connected to one of the analog inputs.
At €14,500, the R 2500 R isn’t cheap, but that’s because T+A hasn’t skimped on technology or quality. The DAC section features the company’s “Path Separation Technology for separate processing of PCM and DSD signals,” with four converters for PCM and a bespoke 1-bit converter for DSD. The case is composed of thick, perfectly finished aluminum panels, and there are two snazzy VU meters on the front panel to indicate amplifier output. It’s the only electronic component most consumers will ever need—they just have to add speakers.
Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista Vinyl 2 phono preamplifier and Nu-Vista DAC digital-to-analog converter
For audiophiles who think bigger is better, Musical Fidelity presents its Nu-Vista Vinyl 2 phono stage and Nu-Vista DAC. Both components measure about 19″W × 7.5″H × 20″D and are priced the same—zł51,999. Per their names, both use Nuvistor tubes in their circuits. They also both have connectors in the back to attach them to optional Nu-Vista-series power supplies to heighten performance.
You have to wonder why these components are so huge—there are many phono preamps and DACs a fraction of their size. But they’re certainly full-featured.
The Nu-Visa Vinyl 2 supports moving-coil and moving-magnet cartridges, with 60dB, 63dB, 66dB, and 69dB gain settings for the former and 40dB, 43dB, 46dB, and 49dB for the latter. It’s a fully balanced design, with two pairs of XLR inputs, each for use with a turntable equipped with an MC cartridge and balanced outputs. The Vinyl 2 also has two pairs of unbalanced RCA inputs, as well as one pair each of balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs. Presumably you could have up to four turntables connected to the Vinyl 2 at the same time. The moving-magnet input impedance is set at 47k ohms, but capacitance can be varied from 50 to 400pF. Moving-coil impedance is adjustable from 5 ohms to 47k ohms, but capacitance is fixed at 400pF.
The Nu-Vista DAC is based on dual ESS Technology ES9038Q2M converter chips—presumably one per channel. Like the lower-priced Musical Fidelity M6x DAC Phil Gold reviewed on SoundStage! Hi-Fi earlier this year, there are selectable digital-filter and upsamping options, as well as a volume control, so you could run this DAC straight into a power amplifier should you choose. Balanced and single-ended analog outputs are available. Digital inputs include one USB, one coaxial S/PDIF (RCA), three optical S/PDIF (TosLink), one AES/EBU (XLR), and even one I2S for connection to the company’s CD 2 disc transport. Sampling frequencies and bit depths vary depending on the connection type. No wireless connectivity is available, but that’s not surprising—this is a big DAC and is aimed squarely at hardcore audiophiles.
Denon DP-3000NE turntable
Last month, Denon announced the DP-3000NE turntable. The new ’table piqued my interest, so I was pleased to see it here in Poland, where it retails for zł11,999. On its website, Denon describes the DP-3000NE as “the flagship premium direct drive turntable from Denon,” which surprised me, because Denon has offered more expensive turntables in the past and I thought the company might still have some models priced higher.
Like Denon direct-drive turntables before it, the DP-3000NE is attractively styled and, from what I could tell, well-built. I particularly like the ebony-veneer finish around its sides and top, which is dark yet eye-catching. Since it’s a direct-drive design, there is, as Denon proclaims, “No aging belt to be replaced in the future.” Playback speeds of 33⅓, 45, and 78 rpm are supported.
The DP-3000N comes with a 9″ S-shaped tonearm of Denon’s design but no cartridge. That said, it seems ripe for a Denon DL-103 moving-coil cartridge, which is almost a legend—it was released in 1964 and is still made today. I just looked up its price on Denon’s website and saw that it’s just $349 in the United States. You could, however, put any other cartridge on the new ’table.
I think a lot of people will be interested in the DP-3000NE because of its apparent quality, seemingly reasonable price, good looks, and Denon’s impressive history with direct-drive designs. For precisely those reasons, I’m interested in the DP-3000NE. I’ve started looking for a new spinner for my upgraded living-room system, which is based on Estelon Aura loudspeakers and Simaudio Moon North Collection components. That system is the subject of my next “System One” column, which will appear on SoundStage! Hi-Fi on November 1.
AudioSolutions Figaro L2 loudspeaker
Following up on the introduction of its Figaro M2 loudspeaker at last May’s High End show in Munich, Lithuania-based AudioSolutions announced the larger Figaro L2 floorstander about a month ago. Audio Video Show 2023 was its first showing. Priced at zł51,990 per pair, it’s now the flagship of the Figaro line. The pair on display in Poland had what the company calls a Battleship Grey finish.
The L2 features a 0.75″ soft-dome tweeter with a small waveguide around it, a 7.2″ paper-cone midrange driver, and two 9.2″ paper-cone woofers. The L2 is a three-way design, but one of the company’s hallmarks is to use the midrange over as wide a frequency range as possible for the purest midrange presentation possible. As a result, the midrange driver operates from around 400Hz to 4kHz, with the woofers and tweeter filling in below and above that. In-room frequency response is said to be 24Hz–25kHz, and sensitivity is rated at 92dB (2.83V/m), the latter presumably in-room specified again.
At Audio Video Show 2023, the speakers were being driven by Audia Flight electronics and sounded good—like all the other AudioSolutions speakers I have heard before. This is a company whose speakers offer good performance and value.