Companies featured in gallery below: Calyx, Alpha Design Labs, Zanden, EgglestonWorks, T+A, Naim, NAD, D'Agostino Master Audio Systems, Bel Canto Design, Joseph Audio, Eclipse Home Audio Systems
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise indicated
The Calyx M portable media player will play digital music files at resolutions of up to 2X DSD and DXD. The body is made from solid aluminum and the user interface is said to be very smartphone-like. The price is $995 and it ships in April.
The Alpha Design Labs GT40 MKII is a 24/192 DAC/ADC that will play PCM- and DSD-type files. The unit also has a headphone amplifier and an MM/MC phono stage to make this a truly full-featured product. The GT40 MKII's price is $729.
The Alpha Design Labs A1 is a portable headphone amplifier/DAC that is designed to take the digital signal from Android devices and decode them for better sound. It is said to accept high-resolution PCM and DSD. The A1 is priced at $599.
Alpha Design Labs also debuted the $198 EH008 earphones. The dual-driver design features an 8mm driver for the bass and midrange, and a 5.8mm titanium driver for high frequencies. ADL claims that the EH008 has been "Alpha-Cryo treated." Its inner housing is constructed of a special ABS resin for driver stabilization, while the outer housing is constructed of carbon fiber for its superior damping properties.
The Zanden 120 phono stage ($7500) features five selectable EQ curves and solid-state circuitry (Zanden's designs are primarily tube-based). The 120 also has an absolute polarity switch and is equipped with an external power supply and Jensen step-up transformers.
The EgglestonWorks Nico stand-mounted loudspeaker is a two-way design that uses custom drivers and a front-firing port, making it compatible in a bookshelf environment. The price is $3250/pair, which seems quite reasonable given the top-quality cabinetwork.
The T+A A 3000 HV is a stereo/mono power amplifier ($18,500 each, top) that is designed as an upgradeable platform (HV stands for "high voltage"). The PS 3000 HV ($12,500, bottom) is a separate power supply that can be added to the A 3000 HV in order to increase the current capability.
T+A's new P 3000 HV ($15,000) preamp is designed with a high-voltage power supply and is fully balanced. It also uses discrete circuitry throughout. From what we could tell, the P 3000 HV's build quality looked a cut above most others.
The Naim Statement NAC S1 preamplifier and the NAP S1 power amplifier are the most ambitious products the company has ever launched, which says a lot given their impressive history and track record. The preamplifier is in the center, and there is an amplifier channel on each side. We spoke to Steve Sells (in photo above), Naim's technical director, about the products. He told us . . .
. . . that although the heatsinks are attractive and most will think they were created for that purpose only, they were thermally modeled for the best efficiency. The S1's power output is massive: 746W into 8 ohms and up to 9kW into 1 ohm. The power supplies are . . .
. . . in the bottom compartment and the amplifier circuits are in the upper compartments, all cleverly separated. One cool feature on the preamp is that all the deselected inputs are not electrically connected in any way when not in use. The volume control is a 100-step fixed-resistor type switched by relays. The price for the complete set is $200,000 -- a high price for sure, but not surprising given the ambitiousness of this design.
NAD introduced some very interesting new Masters Series components. Shown in the photo above are the M12 Direct Digital preamp-DAC $3499 (top) and the M22 stereo power amplifier ($2499), which is rated at 250Wpc. Also new . . .
. . . are the M17 AV surround-sound processor ($5499) and matching M27 seven-channel amplifier ($3999). We thought the high-quality casework for all these new NAD components to be absolutely stunning.
D'Agostino Master Audio Systems, which bears the name of its founder, Dan D'Agostino, released the new Momentum integrated amplifier, which is priced at $45,000. This unit produces 200Wpc into 8 ohms, 400Wpc into 4 ohms, or 800Wpc into 2 ohms. The . . .
. . . bottom section, which is separate from the main chassis, houses the 1400VA power transformer. The build quality is outstanding and the styling is simply gorgeous.
Bel Canto's Black system, which comprises the ASC1 digital-based preamplifier and two MPS1 mono amplifiers, was still a prototype when we covered it at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last fall, but it's now in full production. In fact, the components that the company showed at CES 2014 were the first production pieces. The total price for all three components is $50,000.
Joseph Audio released two new loudspeakers priced far lower than the company's flagship models. First was the stand-mounted, two-way Prism, which is priced at $3699/pair, excluding stands, and is about half the price of the next stand-mounted speaker in the line, the Pulsar. Second was the . . .
. . . floorstanding Profile, which is a three-driver, 2.5-way design priced at $6999/pair.
Eclipse Home Audio Systems released its TD-M1 desktop loudspeaker system, and the attractive design sounded terrific. The all-in-one system will ship in February, and features . . .
. . . Apple AirPlay connectivity, USB-A and USB-B ports, and a stereo miniplug auxiliary input. A class-D amplifier is built in, along with a non-oversampling digital-to-analog converter. With 3.1" full-range drivers, touch-sensitive controls on the base, and a dedicated iOS application for remote functionality, the distinctive speakers should find their way into plenty of offices.