Odin 2 is Nordost's new flagship cable line. The O2 line comprises speaker cables ($29,999.99 for a 1m pair), interconnects ($22,499 for a 1m pair), tonearm cables ($11,999.99 for a 1.25m cord), and power cords ($16,999.99 for a 1.25m cord). The Odin 2 line incorporates a host of material and design upgrades over the original Odin models, like new connectors with HOLO:PLUG technology. We were also told that the cable gauge has been increased in all models.
Nordost also introduced its new 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) cables here in Munich. Pictured in red is the Heimdall 2 4K UHD, which starts at $599.99 for a 1m length, while the silver cord with wood dampers is the Valhalla 2 4K UHD, ringing in at $2999.99 for a 1m cord. Each cable uses the company's proprietary Micro Mono-Filament technology, and Nordost states that the cables work to eliminate jitter, timing errors, and crosstalk.
KEF had new earphones and headphones at High End! The M400 headphones Hans Wetzel is wearing feature 40mm drivers and come in your choice of four colors. The M100 earphones contain 10mm drivers and also come in four colors. The price of each model is TBA.
The Moon by Simaudio 780D digital-to-analog converter is the company's new flagship model. It features nine digital inputs and comes standard with the company's MiND network player installed. The 780D supports DSD256, as well as PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz. The 780D is a fully balanced design, and is fitted with a pair of ESS Technology Sabre ES9018 DAC chips. The power supply is what the company calls Moon Hybrid Power, which is its own marriage of switching and linear power supplies. The price for the 780D is $15,000.
The Paradigm Concept 4F is the most ambitious speaker design yet from this venerable Canadian company. The 3.5-way F features not only a beryllium tweeter but also a 7" beryllium midrange, both mounted behind Perforated Phase Alignment lenses, which improve dispersion. The bass section is internally powered by two 700W RMS amplifiers, and contains four 8.5" drivers in a force-canceling arrangement. There are two woofers mounted on the front and . . .
. . . two that are mounted toward the rear. Anthem Room Correction (ARC) is also standard. Price for the Concept F is TBA, as is availability.
Tidal Audio released a slew of new products at High End, including two new speakers in its flagship range: The Akira (€165,000/pr.) and the . . .
. . . La Assoluta (left, estimated between €400,000/pr. and €500,000/pr., without the optional bass towers). These models both feature 1.2" diamond tweeters and 5" diamond midrange drivers. Bass drivers are 8" sandwich-composite cones. The cabinets are made from Tidal's proprietary Tiralit Ultra, a new material that has a shielding component that the standard Tiralit material lacks. What's special about these speakers? The frequency range from 150Hz up is reproduced entirely by diamond drivers, a first according to company founder Jorn Janczak.
On the electronics front, Tidal showed its new top-of-the-range La Assoluta monoblocks, which each feature a huge linear power supply that is said to be fully regulated. The power output is 350W into 8 ohms or 690W into 4 ohms. The amps feature silver bypass transformers. The price of the La Assoluta is €140,000 per pair.
PMC's new twenty.sub is priced at €4099 and uses two 7" woofers that are loaded in a transmission line. A 400W class-D amplifier powers the drivers. A PMC rep told us that DSP circuitry allows the user to adjust both cutoff frequency and slope to aid integration with the owner's main speakers.
An updated Focal Utopia line? Not quite. This is the French company's new Sopra line, positioned just underneath the Utopias. There are currently two Sopra models, but expect to see more: the N°1 standmount design (€8000/pr.) and the N°2 floorstander (€12,000/pr.). The Sopras sport a number of innovative features, including the . . .
. . . Infinite Horn Loading chamber located directly behind the tweeter. This feature is designed to absorb the back wave of the driver so that high-frequency definition is improved. We thought these speakers looked terrific.
Naim Audio's newly updated amplifier range was on display in Munich. The new models are differentiated from their predecessors by the addition of their DR (Discrete Regulator) technology, of which the NAP 500 DR (shown, price TBA) is the top model. The DR-series amplifiers share engineering inspiration from the company's Statement range, we were told. Other models in the DR line . . .
. . . include the NAP 300 DR, NAP 250 DR, and NAP 200 DR. The model designations indicate the models' stereo power output.
Arcam's Solo Music is a one-box audio solution: it's a CD/SACD player combined with an audio streamer, and it even has Bluetooth connectivity. The Solo Music has an internal class-G amplifier that is rated at 80Wpc into 8 ohms, meaning you just add speakers and you're ready to go. The Solo Music will be available in August, with a price estimated to be €2000.
Crystal Cable's Arabesque Minissimo stand-mount loudspeaker now has a more expensive sibling: the Arabesque Minissimo Diamond. The new model has been updated with -- you guessed it -- a diamond-dome tweeter, but now also has biwire input facilities (versus single-wiring only in the Minissimo). This new model is priced at €18,000/pr. Also introduced by Crystal -- in fact, playing with the Minissimo Diamonds -- was the . . .
. . . Crystal Cable Deep Bass (CCDB) subwoofer, which houses a pair of 13.5" woofers powered by a pair of balanced 600W class-AB amplifiers. The woofers are arranged in an opposing, force-cancelling configuration in order to lower cabinet resonance. The price of the CCDB is €10,000.
The ProAc Response K8 features the company's ribbon tweeter mated to a 3" soft-dome midrange. The bass is handled by a pair of 200mm Kevlar drivers that have been impregnated with a polymer that the company says adds "concentric weighting" to the cones. The integral plinth raises the height of the K8 to 1.23m, and the weight is a stout 154.5 pounds each. The price of the Response K8 is €38,000 per pair.
The new Alluxity Media One media server (€9500) is seen here above the company's also-new Integrated One (€7500) integrated amplifier. The Media One is said to use the Request software platform for smooth operation. This beauty of a product has a linear power supply and a built-in DAC. The Integrated One is rated to deliver up to 200Wpc into 8 ohms or 400Wpc into 4 ohms. The One is also said to be a fully balanced design. Both models are equipped with touchscreens and are available now.
Vermeer is the new Audio Aero, which went out of business several years ago. The company has been reborn after being purchased by Bruno Ginard, one of the original founders, and staffed with new engineers. Their first product is the Two preamplifier-DAC, based on the previous La Fontaine design from Audio Aero. The Two has a host of digital and analog inputs, including a USB port that supports DSD. The Vermeer Two is priced at €20,000.