Companies featured in gallery below: CH Precision, Trinity Electronic Design, Aurender, Focus Audio, AudioQuest, Thiel Audio, MartinLogan, Marten, Arcam, Crystal Cable, Siltech, Krell, Monitor Audio, Totem Acoustic, Einstein
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise indicated
CH Precision played its new flagship monoblock amplifiers, the M1s. These units are double the height of its smaller A1s and much more powerful: 200W into 8 ohms in biamp mode or 700W in bridged mode. The M1 has user-adjustable feedback levels in 10-percent steps and adjustable gain in 0.5dB steps. The power supply includes a 2000VA transformer and 100,000 microfarads of capacitance per rail (200k in each chassis). Seven pairs . . .
. . . of output devices per channel round out the technical details. The price, according to CH's Florian Cossy (shown holding an output board), is TBA.
The Trinity Electronic Design preamp is made in Germany -- the company is an offshoot of the defunct GTE-Audio, and is now producing DACs, phono stages, and preamps under the new banner. The Trinity preamplifier is a fully balanced, symmetrical design with a price of $34,750.
Aurender, based in Korea, has two new products: the X100L ($3499, bottom) and X100S ($2999) digital music players. The difference between these two models is the storage capacity, with the X100L offering an internal 6TB hard drive, while the X100S has a 1TB drive. Both players connect to DACs via USB, and they both play from a solid-state drive (the music being played is copied from the storage drive to the solid-state drive), just as in the more expensive S10 ($6990).
Focus Audio has expanded its Prestige Series of loudspeakers with the introduction of the three-way, floorstanding FP 90 BE, which uses Rel Caps in the crossover and comes equipped with a beryllium-dome tweeter. The price is $13,000/pair.
AudioQuest's new DragonFly 1.2 is an upgrade over the original, with an improved power supply on the DAC, a more direct signal path between the output stage of the DAC and the preamplifier/headphone amplifier, and a lower price -- $149, which is $100 less than the original.
The new Thiel TM3 stand-mount loudspeaker is a two-way design with a cabinet that is constructed of 12 layers of 1/16th-inch plywood that is then veneered (Amberwood is shown). The seamless joinery . . .
. . . impressed Doug Schneider greatly. The TM3 is not a time-coherent design, but one that optimizes off-axis dispersion and low distortion, we were told. The price is $2999/pair, not including stands.
MartinLogan's new Crescendo wireless speaker system is both AirPlay and Bluetooth compatible and features an impressive driver complement of . . .
. . . two Folded Motion Tweeters and dual 5" x 7" woofers (there is 100W of total system power). The price is TBA, but should be less than $1000.
Marten's new flagship loudspeaker is the Coltrane Supreme II, which has a lot of drivers: one 20mm upper-treble diamond tweeter, one 51mm lower-treble diamond tweeter, one 5" ceramic midrange, one 8" aluminum midbass, and six 8" bass drivers. The retail price is $450,000/pair, which we found mindboggling because the appearance and sound weren't all that great.
Arcam's new integrated amplifier, the FMJ A49, is British designed and USA made. The A49 is rated at 200Wpc into 8 ohms or 400Wpc into 4 ohms. This unit features balanced inputs and produces its first 50Wpc in class A. The price is estimated to be $5000.
Crystal Cable launched its new The Cube integrated amplifier, which uses technology from Siltech's very successful SAGA amplifier platform. The Cube uses solid-state circuitry and zero feedback with the company's LightDrive biasing technology to produce 200Wpc into 4 ohms. The price is estimated to be $15,000.
Crystal Cable also played a new prototype loudspeaker -- a two-way, stand-mounted teardrop-shaped design machined from one solid block of a new aluminum-loaded compound. The tweeter is a beryllium-dome unit and the woofer is a Scan-Speak Illuminator. The price is TBA.
The Siltech Triple Crown is the company's new top-of-the-line interconnect with some innovative features, including a user-adjustable shield (each end is separately adjustable via integrated switches located on connector boxes on each end of the cable). The connector . . .
. . . is a completely new design made from aluminum and is rose-gold plated. The conductors are Monocrystal silver. The price is expected to be about 25 percent higher than the current top-of-the-line interconnect from Siltech, the Double Crown.
Krell's Solo 575 mono amplifier uses the company's new iBias technology to produce 575W ($22,500 per pair) in modified class-A mode. The Illusion II ($7000) preamplifier is the companion piece and has a full complement of digital and analog inputs. These new models, and others like them, replace Krell's entire previous Evolution line of amplifiers and preamplifiers, indicating that the company is making a rapid change in its direction.
Monitor Audio was showcasing its new $500 A1 integrated amplifier, which features a 50Wpc class-AB amplifier, DLNA and Apple AirPlay wireless connectivity, two RCA inputs, a preamp output (which can double as a subwoofer output), and an optical connection. Available in white or black, and able to be oriented vertically or horizontally, it sounded quite accomplished for its modest asking price.
Totem Acoustic debuted the diminutive Kin Monitor, a small stand-mount speaker designed to mate with the Kin Sub, which it released at CEDIA 2013. Company president Vince Bruzzese stated that the speaker was designed for spatial accuracy. It has a silk-dome tweeter with a neodymium motor system with response to an impressive 40kHz (+/-2dB!). The price is $500/pair.
Einstein, based in Germany, demonstrated the Silver Bullet OTL mono amplifier (price TBA). This unit produces 65W into 8 ohms and is said to be a fully balanced design. The Silver Bullet also produces 45W into 4 ohms and 80W into a 16-ohm load for wide compatibility with various loudspeakers.