Simaudio's new two-box Moon Evolution 850P is the company's new top-of-the-line preamplifier. This unit is priced at $25,000 and displaces the P-8 as the Canadian company's best, although we're told the current Moon Evolution P-8 will continue in the line. Of course a flagship preamp is only part of the picture . . . [www.simaudio.com]
The Simaudio Moon Evolution 880M mono amplifiers are rated to deliver 800W into 8 ohms, 1600W into 4 ohms, and we're told even more power is available into 2 ohms. These beasts are priced at $38,000 per pair and feature some really nice casework. [www.simaudio.com]
Differential Technology debuted the production version of their TT1 turntable. This attractive 'table uses a Pabst motor, and has feet that levitate the unit magnetically. The TT1 retails for $2000 without tonearm.
Wadia showed a hot little DAC that we'd love to try out: the 121Decoding Computer (est. $1500-$2000). This unit will accept digital signals via USB at resolutions of up to 24/192. It also has a built-in volume control and several additional digital inputs, as well as single-ended and balanced outputs. [www.wadia.com]
Copland's CDA825 sports a cool-looking CD-bay cover, but the parts underneath are reportedly what's most special. The top-of-the-line Philips transport is one such touch, as are the Wolfson WM8741 DACs. The CDA825 retails for $6500.
Audience's John McDonald has spent years working on his company's 3" full-range drive unit. Well it's now ready, and available in more and more of his ClairAudient speakers. The smallest one . . . [www.audience-av.com]
. . . is in fact called the One, which retails for $995 per pair and plays down to 40Hz with the help of the wall behind it. The One also extends to 22kHz, according to Audience, which is quite impressive for a single-driver speaker. Want more than one driver? OK . . . [www.audience-av.com]
. . . then you'd want to hear the 4+4, which retails for $12,300 per pair. This model features eight full-range drivers (four front, four rear) and two passive radiators per cabinet. [www.audience-av.com]
The Musical Surroundings room contained what looked like a complete line of Clearaudio products. Within this labyrinth of steel and acrylic sprouted the new Clearaudio Ovation Wood turntable with the Magnify arm. The Ovation Wood is made from German Panzerholz wood, which, it seems, is a form of plywood that is actually bulletproof. The Ovation Wood and Magnify combination retails for $5600.
The UK's Musical Fidelity introduced the M6500i integrated amplifier ($6999) that produces 500Wpc into 8 ohms and features three analog inputs. The special feature here is the digital optical-encoder resistor-ladder volume control, which is said to be very transparent. The M6500i's circuit design was derived from the company's Titan mono amp. [www.musicalfidelity.com]
This Canadian company is constantly improving their products, and the work seems to have paid off this year. GutWire was featuring three new series of cables that look most impressive -- particularly the way the company displayed them. The Uno-S interconnects ($2499 per 1m pair), SP Crystal Edition AC cable ($1799), and Eon-Z interconnects ($1599 per 1m pair) were all on display and were attracting a whole bunch of attention.
Fresh out of the oven for CES, Peachtree Audio had their new iNova (shown left, $1799) and iDac ($999) on display. The iNova is, as you mght expect, the Nova integrated amp/DAC with a built-in iPod dock that extracts a digital signal via the company's Pure Digital technology rather than relying on the questionable DAC built into the iDevice. The iDac has Peachtree Audio's Pure Digital iPod dock, but it also accepts a variety of digital signals. The iDac also outputs component and S-video passed from the iPod.
The incredibly friendly folks at Roksan were displaying their new Caspian Mseries-2 amplifier (above) and CD player. Roksan claims that the Mseries-2 amp is a significant step up from the previous model, with balanced inputs, separate power supplies for pre and power stages, a thermally controlled amplifier that only comes on when needed, and -- most significantly -- more power and current. The new Caspian amp and CD player retail for $2900 each.
Audio-Technica debuted a number of new in-ear and audiophile-oriented headphones. The three new audiophile models were the ATH-AD900 ($299.95), the ATH-A900 ($249.95), and of particular interest were the ATH-W1000x ($699.95), which feature beautifully finished, high-gloss, real-wood cups (shown above). All three models employ large-diameter drivers and powerful rare-earth magnets. The cords and voice coils are manufactured using oxygen-free copper. The ATH-W1000x sounded great, even at the ear-bleed levels that all their headphones were playing.
Headphones were front and center at Sennheiser. The CXC 700 in-ear headphones employ digital noise cancellation that features three different modes: transportation, day-to-day usage, and a combination of the two for situations where wider-bandwidth cancellation is required. If the 16 hours of battery life for the noise-cancellation system isn't enough, the headphones will continue to play even if the battery is totally drained. The CXC 700 retails for $229.
Convergence upon convergence! Audio-Technica also showed their new AT-LPZ40-USB turntable ($499.95) which features -- yes, you guessed it -- a built-in A-to-D converter and USB output. Unique for this product segment, the AT-LPZ40-USB is endowed with variable anti-skating and VTA adjustment.
The LVCC is one noisy place -- totally unsuited for critical listening. Unless, that is, you're locked inside an almost completely soundproofed vault with a pretty girl who's demonstrating a killer stereo. DTS has partnered with Ford Motor Corporation and the companies are now including a full 7.1 surround system in the new Lincoln Mk X. Aptly demonstrated by Angela from DTS, the Mk X sounded crisp and reasonably coherent with respectable bass from the dedicated subwoofer.
One potential measure of a statement-quality speaker is whether it's big enough to be buried in. Sonus Faber's new The Sonus Faber speaker measures up in this regard and costs more than any coffin could: $220,000 per pair. This flagship transducer looks more like a small building than it does a speaker. While it should have sufficient low-frequency grunt from its two 10” woofers, the addition of a side-firing 15” subwoofer serves to add in a healthy foundation on which to construct that edifice.
The Sony SS-AR1 floorstanding loudspeaker (est. $27,000 per pair) is not yet imported to North America, but it is available in Japan from what we were told. This speaker features a 1" soft-dome tweeter, a 5" sliced-paper-cone midrange, and two 8" aluminum-cone woofers. As you can see, the cabinet construction looks solid.
Vince Bruzzese of Totem Acoustic debuted his latest line of loudspeakers, the Element Series. The stand-mount model is the two-driver Fire ($5995 per pair), the smaller floorstander is the three-driver Earth ($8995 per pair), and the top of the range is the Metal ($12,995), which has the largest cabinet. They all have one thing in common: no crossover on the midrange-woofer driver.