Alpha Design Labs is a new brand from Japan-based Furutech. For their first product they had on display a tiny, beautifully built portable headphone amplifier that has two headphone jacks and runs off a rechargeable 9V lithium-ion battery. Roger Kanno listened and thought it sounded surprisingly good for such a small, inexpensive headphone amp. Furutech expects this unit to be available in June and have a retail price of $200. [www.furutech.com]
Furutech might really be onto something with their new FT-809 pure-copper binding posts. The special part about them is what the company calls Torque Guard, which prevents overtightening and allows each post to be torqued evenly with the others. These posts will carry a retail price of between $65-$75. [www.furutech.com]
DH Labs' latest offering is a cost-effective upgrade for turntable owners. The HS-1 pure-silver headshell leads are made from seven strands of pure extruded silver in a Litz configuration that are polished and enamel coated. The connectors are CNC machined and gold plated. These headshell leads are only $49 for a set of four and are available now. [www.dhlabs.com]
DH Labs introduced a new flagship power cord this year named Encore. Although a price has not yet been established, we do know that the cord is an 8AWG design and will be available in March. [www.dhlabs.com]
Essential Sound Products has another high-quality power cable in their line-up of high-value products. The MusicCord-PRO ES is similar to their less-expensive MusicCord-PRO, but is cryogenically treated. The prongs of the plug are also said to be pre-treated with a proprietary process to further reduce resistance and increase performance. The MusicCord-PRO ES starts at $299 for a 2m cord and is also available in European versions. [www.essentialsound.com]
Genesis Advanced Technologies has updated their loudspeaker line with the G7.2p. The improvements over the older G7.1p design include a new titanium midrange that is said to be 12% lighter than the previous driver. However, the real star of the show might be . . .
. . . the brand-new ribbon tweeter with claimed response to 40kHz. The G7.2p retails for $3000 per pair. [www.genesisloudspeakers.com]
Alfred & Partner's Estelon Model XA loudspeaker ($43,900 per pair) features a trio of ceramic drivers: 1.2" tweeter, 7" midrange, and 11" woofer. These are all housed in a composite cabinet in what could be described as a very organic shape.
MSB Technology showed what they call their Universal Media Transport, which is a device that will play back files from a USB memory stick, an external hard drive, or a music streamer -- as well as Blu-ray Drive from the onboard drive. The price is $3995 and the unit is based on the Oppo BDP-93 player. The box below the UMT is an external power supply that can be purchased separately.
Belgium's Venture demonstrated their new flagship loudspeaker, the Xtreme ($199,000 per pair). This model incorporates a 2" proprietary AGC tweeter, two 5" Venture midrange drivers, four 7" midwoofers, and six 9" woofers. The Xtreme is a four-way design that uses first-order crossovers.
Hong Kong-based Volent played the VL-2 Signature loudspeaker priced at $8600 per pair, which is an upgrade to the standard $4900-per-pair VL-2. Along with the Twin Ribbon tweeter and 7" titanium-sandwich midrange-woofer, the Signature adds Mundorf crossover components and WBT binding posts. The VL-2 Signature reportedly has response out to 50,000Hz.
Beyerdynamic debuted their T5p portable stereo headphones that have an ultra-high-quality closed-design Tesla driver that is angled to fire back towards the ear to provide better imaging. The T5p has an impedance of 32 ohms, which is said to be ideal for use with mobile audio devices. The T5p also features an extremely soft and comfortable headband and ear pads and weighs 11 ounces. It retails for $1295 and is available now.
The Sherbourn PT-7020C4 surround-sound processor is designed to provide high performance at a reasonable price. It has all of the expected features of a high-end processor including 7.1-channel XLR outputs and Genesis Torino video processing, including support for 3D video. The PT-7020C4, which will be available in March, is priced at $3000 for the stock version and $3400 with the optional Control4 module.
The Cambridge Audio 751BD (left) is a true universal optical-disc player that provides improved performance over their current 650BD. It is priced at $1199 and is expected to be available in March. The 751BD features state-of-the-art video processing with QDEO from Marvell and a high-performance audio section. The audio board contains five Wolfson 8740 DACs and is said to be comparable in quality to that of their 740C CD player. Also shown (right) is the forthcoming 751R receiver that will feature improved performance over the current 650R model. Price and availability of the 751R are unknown.
Audio Aero of France debuted the La Fontaine CD/SACD player priced at $24,995. This unit features Anagram Technologies digital processing, a Burr-Brown 1792 DAC, and an Esoteric VOSP-UMK 5 transport mechanism. It also features a host of digital inputs including USB.
Colorado, USA-based Avalon Acoustics demonstrated the Trancendent loudspeaker that is priced at $14,995 per pair. This is a two-way design with a pair of 7" Nomex-Kevlar midrange-woofers and a 1" ceramic-dome tweeter.
Boulder Amplifiers from Colorado, USA, had a static display for their new 3050 mono power amplifiers. These $180,000-per-pair monsters will feature four power transformers each and produce between 1200 and 1500W per chassis. The company stated that the 3050 will have 50% more output devices compared to the 2050 mono amp. The amplifier is sitting on an integral base that is made of granite.
According to Berne Ahne of Germany's Hi-Fi Tuning, "This is the best fuse for the next 50 years!" His company's new fuses are made from 99% silver and 1% gold and are priced from $55 to $85 depending on size.
EgglestonWorks continued to expand their Signature line of loudspeakers with the new Rosa Signature. This model is priced at $13,500 per pair and features four 6" carbon-fiber drivers and a 1" tweeter in a three-way configuration.