Companies featured in gallery below: MSB Technology, Atohm, Kharma, Heco, Albedo, VTL, Metaxas, CH Precision, PureFlow, Zellaton, Estelon, Cyrus, Lindemann, Marten, Nagra
All prices in euros or US dollars unless otherwise indicated
MSB Technology says its cylindrical M204 monoblock amplifier features a new power supply that allows it to deliver a noise floor 20dB quieter than its predecessor, the M203. The $39,000-per-pair monoblock has a class-AB output stage rated to deliver 200W into 8 ohms or double that into 4 ohms. The company says no feedback at all -- neither global nor even local feedback -- is used in the design.
The French-made Atohm GT SW2 subwoofer contains two 9" woofers powered by an internal 500W RMS class-D amplifier. It is priced at €1980. Multiple GT SW2s can be . . .
. . . stacked for higher output capability, which is more suitable for larger rooms. The GT SW2 is available in either a white or black high-gloss finish.
Kharma’s new Enigma Veyron line features four models. Second from the top is the €350,000/pr. EV2, which features a “triple diamond tweeter”: two . . .
. . . 2" tweeters made with industrial diamond domes, above and below a 1" diamond-dome tweeter. (The top-of-the-line EV1 has two more of the 2" tweeters, one on each side of the 1-incher.) Four 11" carbon-fiber woofers (two in back) and two 7" carbon-fiber midbass drivers complete the array.
The Heco Direct Dreiklang loudspeaker shown at High End 2016 was a prototype, but will be available at the end of 2016. The efficiency of this three-way design (38cm air-dried woofer, 20cm paper midrange, 300mm tweeter that is slightly horn loaded) is claimed to be 96dB, which the company says is perfect for tubed amplifiers. The projected retail price of the retro-looking Dreiklang is €7000/pr.
Albedo, from Italy, introduced the Alecta loudspeaker, a three-way design described as a "double transmission line." It was designed by Massimo Costa. The drivers are all from Accuton -- ceramic midrange and tweeter, ceramic-coated aluminum woofers. The damping system consists of a metal-and-rubber sandwich that can be seen bolted onto each side of the cabinet. The price is €64,000/pr., including VAT.
The TL-6.5 Series II, which retails for $15,000, is a one-box version of VTL's reference preamp, the TL-7.5 Series III, which has two chassis and is priced at $20,000. It's a hybrid design with tube gain stages and FET output stages. The TL-7.5 Series III is completely dual-mono, with . . .
. . . separate power supplies (and even separate toroidal supply transformers) for left and right chassis, and separate relay-switched resistor networks to control volume.
We’re betting VTL’s new TL-2.5i preamp will rank among the best bargains at the show. At $3000, this model looks like a great deal in an all-tube line stage from a well-known name in tube amplification. What’s really special, though, is the . . .
. . . $2000 optional all-tube phono stage, which is switchable to use either active amplification or internal step-up transformers for MC cartridges.
The wild-looking Metaxas line of electronics includes the Ikarus integrated amplifier (black, on left) and Solataire power amplifier (red, on right). They sell for €27,000 and €35,000, respectively. The line also includes dedicated preamplifiers and monoblock amplifiers, all with similar aesthetics and circuit designs. All of the Metaxas components are milled from solid blocks of aluminum, which allows for the completely original shapes to be produced.
The CH Precision I1 integrated amplifier combines a P1 phono stage, L1 line stage, C1 digital-to-analog converter, and an A1 amplifier, all within a single chassis. The base I1 has an assortment of analog and digital inputs; options include a phono stage and an Ethernet streaming section that includes additional digital inputs including USB. The base price is €26,800, with the various options ranging in price from €1800 to €3200.
The PureFlow power conditioner (price TBA), which is made in Spain, is a passive device that reportedly lowers EMI, therefore improving the sound of components plugged into it. The PureFlow representative says that details regarding the technology contained within will be forthcoming.
The Zellaton Statement is the company's new top-of-the-line model. It, like the rest of the company's speakers, is made in Munich, Germany. We were told the Statement was five years in development, and features Zellaton's proprietary driver designs configured in a D'Appolito-type arrangement. The dual woofers are 11.5" in diameter, while the twin midrange drivers are 7". These drivers, along with the tweeter, are mounted in a semi-open baffle. The mammoth Statement weighs 350kg and is internally wired with Schnerzinger cabling. The price is a mind-boggling €300,000/pr.
Molded from a proprietary composite material, Estelon’s YB feels as acoustically dead as concrete. The €15,900/pr. (in standard Black Matte finish) YB is so named because of its Y shape, as opposed to the X shape of the company’s previous speakers. It incorporates an 8" SEAS woofer, a 5.25" Scan-Speak midrange, and a 1" beryllium-dome Scan-Speak tweeter. It is wired internally with Kubala-Sosna cable. The YB is also available in White Gloss or Black Gloss finishes for an additional €1000/pr.
The Cyrus One is a feature-rich integrated amplifier with a built-in phono stage and a DAC with streaming Bluetooth capability. The One's amplifier section uses a linear power supply combined with the company's propriety class-D output stage, first seen in their Stereo 200. The class-D stage is unique in that when the amp is first connected to a pair of loudspeakers, it automatically detects the impedance and adjusts its output to mate perfectly with them. The price for the One is very reasonable: €999.
The Lindemann Musicbook series includes a new 80Wpc class-D power amplifier called the Musicbook: 50 (left, €1980); a more powerful (240Wpc) Musicbook: 55 power amplifier (middle, €2980); and the Musicbook: 25 network music player (right, €4780). All the Musicbook components are built into compact chassis designs for a clean system appearance.
Marten, based in Sweden, introduced the Mingus Quintet, a floorstanding, three-way, four-driver loudspeaker that uses Accuton drivers, which are crossed over with first-order slopes for the best time-domain behavior. Its price is €45,000/pr. Bass reach of the Mingus Quintet is rated at an impressive 24Hz (-3dB) -- impressive for a moderate-sized loudspeaker.
Nagra’s Classic Preamp is about twice the depth of previous Nagra preamps, which designer Philip Chambon needed to accommodate the larger power supply capacitors he wanted to use. The full tube design can be used with or without the optional battery-based MPS power supply. The Classic is expected to retail for about $18,000, and the MPS power supply an additional $7000.