Arcam has added two new products to its high-value r-series compact components. The rPlay is described as a DTS PlayFi music receiver, but it’s essentially a DAC that supports DTS PlayFi, Apple AirPlay, and UPnP. It can be connected to a network either wirelessly or via Ethernet, and it has both fixed and variable analog RCA outputs as well as a coaxial digital output. It can be connected directly to a power amp, and it features the same digitally controlled analog volume control as the one found in the company’s flagship A49 integrated amplifier. The rPlay will be priced at $600 when it becomes available in February.
The Arcam rPhono is, as you might have guessed, an MM/MC phono amplifier that . . .
. . . features adjustable input impedance from 50 to 550 ohms (MC), input capacitance (MM), and gain. It also has an optionally selectable rumble filter. Precision internal components are said to give it an excellent RIAA frequency response. The rPhono will be available in February at a price of $600.
The Chord Blu Mk.II CD transport (top) features FPGA-based variable upsampling, which Chord calls M Scaling. It will output up to 706kHz, which is compatible with the company’s DAVE digital-to-analog converter. The Blu Mk.II has a digital input as well, so you can use M Scaling with other digital sources. The Blu MK.II’s price is £7995.
Genesis Advanced Technologies introduced the Maestro loudspeaker, which is an update of the company’s long-running G series. This new five-way design houses four 8" ribbed-aluminum bass drivers (two front, two rear) that are powered by an internal 500W amplifier. The two aluminum midbass couplers (one front, one rear) are 6.5" in diameter, while a 5" titanium-cone unit (front only) handles the midrange. There are two ring-radiator ribbon tweeters, which are front and . . .
. . . rear-mounted. Finish options include High Gloss Rosewood and Ebony. The price for the Maestro is $30,000/pr.
The Rockport Technologies Atria II is a three-way, 150-pound loudspeaker that improves upon the original with the addition of a waveguide-loaded beryllium tweeter, a feature first seen in the company’s Cygnus loudspeaker. Waveguides increase sensitivity and improve dispersion. The crossover has been updated to retune the entire system, which is also equipped with a 9" carbon-fiber-sandwich bass driver and a 6" midrange made of the same material. The Atria II’s price is $26,500/pr.
The Naim Uniti Nova is an all-in-one-sans-speakers music system with an 80Wpc stereo amplifier and a plethora of input options: four analog and seven digital, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Uniti Nova’s price is $6500.
Avantgarde Acoustic, from Germany, introduced the 104dB-sensitive, 8-ohm Zero TA three-way loudspeaker, which comes with a 16" spherical horn that allows the full-range driver within it to run with no crossover. It and the tweeter are passive, so they need an external amplifier to drive them. Bass is handled by a 12" woofer powered by . . .
. . . a 500W class-D, DSP-controlled amplifier. The Zero TA’s price is $15,600/pr.
The Bel Canto Design Black ACI600 integrated amplifier is rated to deliver 300Wpc into 8 ohms or 600Wpc into 4 ohms, and is said to be stable into even lower impedances. A phono stage is built in, with selectable gain and loading. Inputs include analog and digital. The price is $25,000.
Furutech displayed new products that feature the company’s NCF (Nano Crystal Formula) material, which is designed to provide both electrical and mechanical damping. The e-TP309 NCF power distributor has a thick top plate made of NCF and a case made of heavy-duty aircraft-grade aluminum with patented Axial Locking Screws that are precisely hand-torqued to reduce resonance. The cost of the e-TP309 NCF is yet to be determined, but is expected to be in the $4000 price range.
All of Furutech’s audiophile-grade AC connectors have also been upgraded with construction that incorporates NCF materials. The FI-50M NCR and FI-50 NCF male and female connectors (rear middle, as well as left and right) are available for $385 each, the GTX-D NCF duplex AC receptacle (bottom middle) for $280 , and the 105-D NCF outlet cover (part of receptacle) for $220. All are available now.
Zanden Audio Systems displayed the new 3000mk2 preamplifier. This new model features an improved power supply and includes input and output transformers that have been upgraded from permalloy in the original to an amorphous cobalt material. The circuit is said to build upon the strengths of the 3100 preamplifier, which was one of our 2016 Products of the Year. The 3000mk2’s price is $23,000, and it will begin shipping in April.
Keith Monks, of the UK, was displaying the latest version of the company’s record-cleaning machine, the DiscoveryOne Redux, which it claims to be its quietest model ever. It features a precision wash system that uses a . . .
. . . medical-grade diaphragm suction pump that is imported from Germany. The DiscoveryOne Redux is priced at $2950 and is available now.
The statement-making YG Acoustics Sonja XV was on display in one of the large suites in the Venetian. Created to celebrate the company’s 15th anniversary, the Sonja XV is a two-tower speaker that features the company’s BilletCore bass, midbass, and midrange drivers, with cones made of machined aluminum. The BilletDome tweeter features a hybrid design comprised of a soft dome supported by a very lightweight yet rigid skeleton that’s machined out of aluminum. The Sonja XV is currently available for $265,900/pr.
VTL showed a new entry-level phono preamplifier called the TP-2.5i, which is configured similarly to the company’s other phono preamplifiers -- it has two 12AX7 tubes, and a single 12AT7 for the buffer in the pure-tubed MM stage. The hybrid JFET/tube active MC stage has a single 12AU7 tube and a user-selectable MC step-up transformer option for even lower noise. The TP-25i is priced at $3750.
Longtime British electronics manufacturer Roksan has been acquired by British loudspeaker manufacturer Monitor Audio, which plans to continue to grow the brand, including maintaining its presence in the vinyl market through the well-known turntables and cartridges it makes. On display were the 150Wpc Blak integrated amplifier (bottom) and Blak CD player (top). The Blak integrated amplifier includes a built-in USB DAC that can decode digital data up to 24-bit/192kHz and DSD. It also has a headphone output and Bluetooth capability. It is priced at $4200. The Blak CD Player features both XLR and RCA analog outputs and digital inputs on XLR, RCA, and optical jacks. It is priced at $3750.
British loudspeaker manufacturer Wilson Benesch showed its A.C.T. One Evolution loudspeaker, which is currently available at a price of $36,500/pr. in standard finishes and $38,800/pr. for premium finishes, such as the one pictured above. Unique features of the speaker include cabinet construction that utilizes carbon fiber along with an aluminum front baffle. The A.C.T. One Evolution is a 2.5-way design with the midrange-bass driver -- which is rolled off acoustically -- located at the top of the cabinet in a separate compartment of the enclosure, to keep it separate from the two bass drivers. The 25mm tweeter features a silk dome with a carbon fiber brace, the latter to provide additional stiffness and to flatten the frequency response.