Companies featured in gallery below: Wyred 4 Sound, Emerald Physics, Sutherland Engineering, Light Harmonic, Triode Corporation, Benchmark Media Systems, Ayre Acoustics, Thiel Audio, Totem Acoustic, Simaudio, PSB Speakers, Hegel, Aragon, dCS
Wyred 4 Sound continued its tradition of offering small, high-value components. At RMAF 2012 they introduced the mAmp, a 250Wpc-into-8-ohms monoblock. The retail price is $899 each.
Emerald Physics released their MS3 stand-mounted loudspeaker, which features two 7" woofers loaded in an isobaric configuration. The price is $3600/pr., which does not include the stands.
Ron Sutherland of Sutherland Engineering holds up his new Insight phono stage. The Insight retails for $1400 and is AC-powered instead of battery-powered like some of Sutherland's other products.
Light Harmonic's $20,000 Da Vinci DAC has been shown many times before, so it's certainly not new. But we thought that decked out with a clear acrylic case, it was too cool to pass up and not shoot. According to the reps, the clear-acrylic casework is only to show the internals of the DAC at shows like this one, but consumers cannot buy it. Perhaps that will change after readers see this striking shot and decide they're willing to pony up for a case like this -- which, according to LH, would cost about $9000 extra if they offered it. Time will tell.
Japan's Triode Corporation released a new DAC, the TRV-DAC 1.0. This unit features two USB 2.0 inputs with 24/192 capability, along with a pair of 6DJ8 output tubes. The price is $2499.
Benchmark Media Systems introduced the new DAC2 HGC, now their top-of-the-line DAC. This model features . . .
. . . native DSD conversion, an asynchronous USB input, five digital inputs, and two analog outputs. The DAC2 HGC is quite a sophisticated DAC and retails for only $1995.
Ayre Acoustics debuted the new AX-5 integrated amplifier, which is rated to output 125Wpc into 8 ohms and 250Wpc into 4 ohms. This unit features the company's new Diamond output stage as well as some other features trickled down from the company's R-series products. The price for the AX-5 is TBA.
Thiel Audio's new CS2.7 was making music for the first time at a show. This new model is a three-way design with the coaxial midrange-tweeter driver that Thiel made famous in their flagship CS3.7. The price of the CS2.7 is $9900/pr.
Audio Research has added to their Reference range with the Ref 75 stereo amplifier, which outputs 75Wpc into 8 ohms. The dual VU meters will certainly make ARC fans happy. The price is $9000. ARC also released . . .
. . . the Ref 10 preamplifier, which is a two-box design and is now their top line stage. The Ref 10 is priced at $30,000 and is available now.
The new Totem Acoustic Forest Signature loudspeaker is a limited-edition design based on the original Forest. It includes a reworked crossover network and comes in two new finishes: Cherry and Sapele, both with a thick polyester coating. There will be 500 pairs available in North America, with 250 in each finish. The price is $6000 per pair.
Canada's Simaudio had a bevy of new products on display, including the new Moon Evolution 870A stereo amplifier ($20,000) and . . .
. . . 740P preamplifier ($9500). These two models replace the outgoing W-8 amp and P-7 preamp, respectively.
According to designer Paul Barton, PSB's new Alpha PS1 computer speaker "shares the same DNA as the Imagine Mini," which was featured on SoundStage! Hi-Fi this month as a Recommended Reference Component. The PSB Alpha PS1 computer speaker is fully powered and quite cute. Its electronics feature a subwoofer output so that you can run a sub/sat system, ostensibly with a sub designed by PSB. The system is configured so that all the electronics . . .
. . . are contained within one loudspeaker (3.5" woofer, .75" tweeter in each cabinet), while the other acts as a "slave." The price per pair is $299.
The Hegel H300 integrated amplifier is priced at $5500 and outputs 250Wpc into 8 ohms. This unit comes with a built-in 32-bit DAC and five digital inputs. The SoundStage! Network's Hans Wetzel already has this impressive new integrated amplifier in for review.
A blast from the past: Aragon has released two new power amplifiers. The Iridium monoblock ($3995 each) outputs 400Wpc into 8 ohms, while the stereo version, the 8008 ($3995), is rated to produce 200Wpc into that load. Both looked beautifully built.
Britain's dCS had their Vivaldi "stack" in play. The DAC ($34,999), Transport ($39,999), Upsampler ($19,999), and Clock ($13,499) combine to represent perhaps the most expensive digital front end available. Although the features and technologies that dCS has brought to the table in these products are too numerous to list, suffice it to say that the build quality and attention to detail in the Vivaldi products are astonishingly high.