Audeze makes its products in Los Angeles, CA, USA, including the new LCD-3 headphones. This ambitious model with its wood earcups features planar-magnetic drivers and retails for $1945.
Also built in California is the line of products from Schiit. Yes, we have to admit that their name is odd to pronounce, let alone to say aloud at a store. But their products certainly look interesting. At RMAF 2011 Schiit showed their new Bifrost DAC, which comes in two versions. The first has a S/PDIF input only and retails for $349. The second . . .
. . . costs $449 and comes with a 24-bit/192kHz-capable USB input. The Bifrost was designed by Mike Moffat, whose name you might recognize from when he worked at Theta Digital.
HiFiMAN's EF6 is a product that has several functions. It's a headphone amplifier capable of outputting 5Wpc in pure class A into a 50-ohm load. But it's also a . . .
. . . full-featured integrated amplifier that can drive your loudspeakers. It's rated to deliver 20Wpc into an 8-ohm load. The preamplifier single-ended outputs also allow the EF6 to be used as a standalone preamp. The price is estimated to be $1399 when the EF6 becomes available in November.
Have you ever seen a component case made of solid bronze? You have now. The Empirical Audio Overdrive Ultra DAC (price est. between $10,000 and $15,000 when available) is a non-upsampling DAC with a two-stage class-A analog output stage and multiple 24/192 inputs including USB. It also has an analog volume control for direct connection to your power amplifier. It's certainly expensive, but it's also definitely cool.
Induction Dynamics, based in Overland Park, KS, USA, was playing their new S1.8T loudspeaker ($13,000 per pair). This three-way design comes equipped with two 8" Kevlar bass drivers that are said to extend down to 36Hz. A 1.125" soft-dome tweeter and a 3" soft-dome midrange round out the driver complement.
"The first turntable by Luxman in 28 years," proclaimed US distributor Philip O'Hanlon. He then told us how the PD 171 married old technology with new -- such as a 32-bit microprocessor to control motor speed -- in a retro-looking package that's visually quite impressive. The PD 171's price is $6400 including tonearm.
What's old is new again. Most audiophiles from the '80s remember the Meitner brand, designed by Ed Meitner of course. Meitner went on to found EMM Labs, and the Meitner name is being brought back. The new Meitner brand lets consumers tap into technology usually reserved for the EMM Labs products for less money. The new MA-1 DAC is $7000 and comes with a bevy of 24/192 digital inputs as well as the company's Meitner Frequency Acquisition System (MFAST), which reportedly has almost no measurable jitter.
Canada's Oracle Audio is well known for their gorgeous-looking turntables. At RMAF 2011 they debuted the prototype for what will be their DAC 1000 Mk.II digital-to-analog converter. This unit will feature a fully discrete analog output stage and two high-speed USB digital inputs. The DAC 1000 Mk.II will retail for approximately $9500 when available later this year.
Bellevue, WA, USA's Peachtree Audio had a grand introduction for their, uh, Grand Integrated amplifier. This model is rated to deliver a whopping 400Wpc into 8 ohms and has an onboard 24/192 USB DAC. The amplifier section is class D, but the Grand also features a tube buffer to "smooth the harsh digital edge found in poor recordings." The Grand Integrated retails for $4299.
Nordost was, as always, impressing attendees with their newest products featuring cutting-edge technologies. In this case it was the Qv2 "AC line harmonizer." How does it work? Just plug it into one of your power conditioner's AC outlets and it applies the company's QRT technology to your AC line. Sounds simple, costs $350 apiece.
According to the folks at Sennheiser, their RS 220 headphones sound just like the company's HD 650 headphones. The difference is that the RS 220 is wireless! The RS 220 headphones are priced at $599.
VTL's Siegfried is now in Series II form. A host of upgrades, including a fully balanced differential input stage and a lower-impedance push-pull output stage, account for the new model designation. There's a new output transformer as well. The price is now $65,000 per pair.
Woo Audio says that the new 234 is the world's first mono headphone amplifier, which also happens to be a speaker power amplifier. These units are said to be unique yet again due to their ability to use 2A3, 300B, or 45 power tubes. To let you switch tube type or switch between headphone and power amp, the company has designed a set of "switching keys" whereby the user configures the amplifier as they want it. The new 234 is certainly interesting to look at from the front, as well as . . .
. . . from the rear. The 234 is priced at $10,000 per pair.