Companies featured in gallery below: Mark Levinson, GoldenEar Technology, MartinLogan, Anthem, Moon by Simaudio, Nordost, Constellation Audio
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise indicated
The Mark Levinson No.519 digital audio player has a discrete, direct-coupled, fully balanced, dual-monaural signal path and can play virtually all two-channel digital audio formats. The front panel has a slot for loading CDs, but it will also play back PCM audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz and DSD up to 5.8MHz through its various digital inputs. It also has Bluetooth aptX connectivity and onboard support for Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, Rhapsody, Internet Radio, and podcasts. The No.519 features an ES9018K2M 32-bit DAC from ESS Technology and has a built-in volume control so that it can be used to directly drive a power amplifier. Around back . . .
. . . you can see all the digital inputs of the No.519 that consist of XLR, optical, coaxial, and USB, in addition to both analog and digital outputs (a headphone output is available on the front panel). The No.519 is tentatively priced at $17,000 and is projected to be available in July.
Also new from Mark Levinson is the No.527 dual-monaural preamplifier, which has a similar DAC section to the No.519, as well as the headphone output, but with the addition of analog inputs, including a highly configurable phono input stage with resistive-loading and capacitive-loading settings, selectable gain for moving-magnet and moving-coil cartridges, and a high-pass filter to reduce rumble. There is also a discrete, dual-balanced R-2R ladder volume control. On the back panel . . .
. . . are five analog inputs, a phono input, and six digital inputs. The No.527 also has the ability to integrate a subwoofer with your main speakers with its selectable fourth-order, 80Hz high-pass filter. The No.527 is tentatively priced at $15,000 and is expected to be available in May.
GoldenEar Technology introduced updated versions of their original Triton Two and Three loudspeakers, the first two floorstanding loudspeakers the company made. The new Two+ ($3498/pr.) and Three+ ($2498/pr.) feature new bass and midrange drivers, revised crossovers with a balanced topology and polypropylene capacitors, and improved bass tuning. Both models feature new voicing based on the flagship Triton One loudspeaker, and both . . .
. . . have DSP-controlled powered bass sections using a combination of front-mounted active drivers and side-mounted passive units. The Three+ uses one 5" x 9" active bass driver and two passive radiators, while the larger Two+ has two 5" x 9" active drivers and two side-mounted passive radiators. The passive radiators are mounted on opposing sides to create a force-cancelling effect, to reduce cabinet vibrations, and more evenly load the room. The photo above shows one of the passive radiators on the Two+.
GoldenEar Technology's newest and smallest subwoofer in the SuperSub line is the X. This $1249 model features two horizontally opposed 8" woofers and two vertically opposed 9.5" x 10.5" passive radiators. A 1400W amplifier . . .
. . . with 56-bit DSP controls the bass reproduction. For audiophile purists using the SuperSub X in a basic stereo system, right and left analog inputs are available for easy connectivity.
MartinLogan introduced a new hybrid electrostatic loudspeaker, the Renaissance ESL 15A, which marries a 15" x 46" electrostatic panel with two 12" woofers. The ESL 15A features . . .
. . . new industrial design compared to the old models and Anthem Room Correction (ARC) in the powered bass section. The price is $24,995/pr.
MartinLogan also introduced the ElectroMotion EM-ESL X. The electrostatic element is over 50 square inches larger than that in the original EM-ESL loudspeaker, which was launched approximately five years ago. This model also features . . .
. . . dual 8" woofers (one on the front, the other on the back) and is a fully passive design. The price is $3999.95/pr.
Anthem introduced three new amplifiers in the long-running MCA series: the stereo MCA 225 ($1999), the three-channel MCA 325 ($2499), and the five-channel MCA 525 ($3499). All three amplifiers are designed and built in Canada. Sitting atop these powerhouse amps is the AVM 60 ($2999), which represents Anthem's next generation of surround-sound-processor design.
The three new Anthem receivers that debuted at CES 2016 are the MRX 520 ($1399), MRX 720 ($2499), and MRX 1120 ($3499). The model nomenclature indicates the number of channels -- five, seven, and 11. The MRX 720 and MRX 1120, in addition to having more channels than the MRX 520, have some additional features, such as DTS Play-Fi functionality.
Anthem also showed an engineering concept (meaning early prototype) analog and digital stereo preamplifier with Anthem Room Correction built in. Its working name is Opus, though that's likely to change when the production model is completed. No price or availability dates were announced at the show, though Anthem reps told us that this new model would be the perfect companion piece to the Statement M1 mono amplifiers.
The Moon by Simaudio Neo ACE is an integrated amplifier with a built-in streaming DAC. Its stereo power amplifier section is rated at 50Wpc into 8 ohms, and its DAC section . . .
. . . is capable of accepting PCM up to 32-bit/384Hz and DSD64/128/256. The ACE also comes with an impressive ten-year warranty, at least twice what most companies offer. The retail price for the ACE is $3500.
Nordost continued doing what they do best: producing cables! The new Blue Heaven headphone cable ($400 for 1.25m length) uses the company's Micro Mono-Filament technology in a 34-gauge cord. Nordost also introduced . . .
. . . the Heimdall 2 Ethernet cables, which are constructed with 8 x 23-gauge solid-core conductors and are priced at $699.99 per 1m cable. The more budget-friendly Blue Heaven Ethernet cable (shown in, uh, blue) is $399.99 for a 1m length. The centrally positioned Tyr 2 digital interconnect is $1499 for a 1m cable and is available in either a 75-ohm or 110-ohm configuration (the 110-ohm version is shown).
The Constellation Audio Inspiration Integrated 1.0 stereo integrated amplifier is rated to output 100Wpc into 8 ohms. This model also features a dedicated headphone amplifier circuit and is priced at $13,500. The Integrated 1.0 will begin shipping in March.