Companies featured in gallery below: Siltech, Crystal Cable, Ascendo, Margules Audio, Absolare, Inspire Hi-Fi, Tannoy, Sonus faber, KEF, Constellation Audio, Pathos, Amphion, NuForce, Orpheus, Soulution
Siltech's Edwin van der Kley spoke about the company's new Structural Amplifier Gain Architecture (S.A.G.A) system. This three-component setup comprises the C1 (28,000€) preamplifier (originally released in 2011), . . .
. . . the brand-new V1 (9000€) interstage amplifier (above), which uses E80CC tubes and is used exclusively for voltage amplification, and the . . .
. . . P1 stereo amplifier (18,000€), which is used for current amplification and is said to deliver 380Wpc into 8 ohms, 760Wpc into 4 ohms, and 1520Wpc into 2 ohms. Siltech claims the system's signal-to-noise ratio is 126dB. You can also add a second P1 in order to biamp your loudspeakers (the V1 will drive two P1s).
The Crystal Cable Absolute Dream cables were shown at CES 2012 in prototype form, but were displayed in Munich as production items. These are now the company's top cable offerings. The Absolute Dream speaker cables are 21,000€ per 2m pair, while the interconnects are 9000€ per 1m pair (XLR or RCA). Absolute Dream phono cables and power cords are also available. Crystal Cable claims . . .
. . . that these are the world's first all-monocrystal cables. (Shown in picture above: Crystal Cable's president, Gabi van der Kley.)
Ascendo's Jurgen Scheuring with his new C6 loudspeaker, a two-way floorstander that features a coaxial driver with an 18cm woofer and a 25mm soft-dome tweeter with a neodymium magnet. The C6's price is 3200€ per pair.
Margules Audio was celebrating the 20th anniversary of their U280SC class-A stereo power amplifier with an upgraded version that features better parts. The U280SC outputs 80Wpc in ultralinear mode or 40Wpc in triode mode. The U280SC's price is 3800€.
The Absolare Passion 845 class-A mono amplifier is a single-ended design that produces 50W and features hand-wound power and output transformers. It reportedly has an extremely short signal path for ultimate sonic purity. The exterior . . .
. . . uses leather covering, which we found really elegant. The Passion 845's price is 19,900€ per pair.
Inspire Hi-Fi's Robert Isherwood crouches behind his Monarch turntable, a . . .
. . . direct-drive design that retails for 3970 UK pounds. The platter is made of a solid billet of damped aluminum, and the table can accommodate 9" and 12" arms.
Tannoy introduced a number of new speakers at High End 2012, including the Definition DC10A (13,750€ per pair, left), which uses a 10" concentric driver powered by an alnico magnet. The three-way Precision 6.4 (right) retails for 3000€ per pair and uses a 1" titanium-dome tweeter, a 6" treated-paper-cone midrange, and dual 6" woofers.
Sonus faber was playing their Aida loudspeaker ($120,000 per pair in the United States), which was introduced in Las Vegas at CES 2012. The difference in Munich was a beautiful high-gloss white finish versus the wood finish in Las Vegas.
KEF's LS50 was introduced to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. Among its many unique features are the use of the latest-generation . . .
. . . Uni-Q driver technology, a curved baffle that reduces diffraction, a constrained-layer-damped bracing system, and a flanged rear port with a "soft-tube" center (stick your fingers in like we did and you'll feel it's like spongy rubber) that was designed to avoid chuffing and to minimize internal standing waves. The LS50 retails for 998€ per pair.
Constellation Audio showed the new Centaur Mono amplifiers, which are part of their Performance series. These amplifiers are rated to deliver 500W into 8 ohms or 1000W into 4 ohms. They operate in class A up to 20W. The Centaurs are priced at $48,000 per pair in the United States. One of the hallmarks of Constellation's Performance series is . . .
. . . the finely textured metal finish on the top, front, and side panels.
Italy's Pathos introduced a number of components that are considerably smaller than their regular fare, including the Aurium headphone amplifier (left), which can be converted into a full line stage with the addition of an external power supply. Also shown was the Converto 24/192 digital-to-analog converter, which is equipped with a USB input. The versions shown were prototypes, so the prices have not been finalized, but they're expected to be under 1000€ each when they become available later this year.
Finland's Amphion introduced the new Ion+ (999€ per pair), which is a two-way desktop speaker that features a 4.5" woofer, a 1" titanium tweeter, and technology trickled down from their pro-series models. The Ion+ is designed to be listened to either nearfield or in a more conventional setup, and is said to have the resolution of a professional monitor.
NuForce of the USA showed the DDA-100, which is an integrated amplifier that includes four digital inputs (one USB, three S/PDIF). The power output is rated at 50Wpc into 8 ohms. The DDA-100 will sell for a very affordable $499 in the United States when it's released before summertime.
Switzerland's Orpheus played the incredibly feature-rich Digital Audio Dock (DAD), which is a DAC with an analog volume control as well as a digital converter, and it also has a single-ended analog input to accommodate "legacy" components. The DAD accepts multiple types of digital connections and includes a top-panel-mounted iPod dock that captures the latter's native digital signal. The fully remote-controllable DAD is priced a 6800€.
Switzerland's Soulution continues to expand their 5-series product offerings with the new 520 preamplifier. The 520's price is expected to be approximately 17,000€ when it's released later this year. The 520 cosmetically matches the 501 mono amplifiers, which were introduced at CES 2012.