Munich Day 4 Brings More to Explore
This time, it's two. One is the Duelund Precision Audio Capacitor (approx. $80-$90), a new bypass capacitor for speakers and electronics. Made from pure silver foil, paper, oil, and wax, it costs ¼ to 1/5 the price of its predecessor, thanks to a devastating fire which forced Duelund to build a new, far more efficient factory.
Also newly available is Duelund's large Cast Copper/Silver Hybrid capacitor (approx. $500). Carøe says it is only slightly more expensive that regular copper capacitors, but delivers a lot of the benefits of silver.
Introducing the Marten Coltrane 3 ($97,000/pair) were the three Swedish brothers behind it, Leif, Lars, and Jörgen Olofsson. Benefitting from the same research that birthed its larger sibling, the reference Coltrane Supreme 2, the Coltrane 3's tweeters, midrange and bass drivers have identical acoustic centers to optimize timing and flow. Leif Olofsson, chief designer and company founder, claims "perfect time coherence and time coincidence, which very few loudspeakers have, to create a more natural musical flow.
Drivers include two 8" aluminum-sandwich woofers, Accuton 7" ceramic midrange, and Accuton 0.75" diamond tweeter. Rather than having magnets in the center of the drivers, Marten uses ring magnets all around, which Leif claims results in less compression and "a lower distortion level than most amplifiers." The cabinets are carbon-fiber laminate, and the front a wood/aluminum laminate that is claimed to have great rigidity. Internal wiring is by Jorma Design. Frequency response is 24Hz100kHz ±2dB, and sensitivity a moderate 86dB.
Keeping company with MSB's new Select II DAC ($89,950blog below), UMT V transport ($7800), and dual transport power base ($5600), as well as Jorma Design Statement and Prime cabling ($100,000 total), the system delivered a somewhat blurry image with fabulous bass and air. The depth was amazing, but the sound was indubitably warm and fuzzy. Don't ask me what that was about.
Larry Gullman, aka Mr. MSB, says that the company's new Select II DAC ($89,950), which is due in 30 days and will also be active at next week's THE Show Newport Beach, uses new input and output hybrid DAC modules that click in and out for customization and upgrades. Separate modules are optimized for PCM (up to 768kHz) and DSD (up to 8x, or DSD512), which should keep even the most obsessive amongst us happy until DSDx16 comes along. A ladder DAC that obviates the need for either an output buffer or op amp, it sums a total of 16 channels to create a low-impedance, high-current output. The output is so high that you can use it with headphones without any amplification.
The Zellaton Reference Mk II loudspeaker ($129,950/pair) differs from its predecessor in that it has different drivers, a revised and upgraded crossover, better Duelund capacitors, and different stands to drain stored energy. It also uses the same unique lightweight, stiff rigid-foam diaphragm technology that Emil Podszus developed in 1932. Sensitivity is 89dB, frequency range 22Hz40kHz, and nominal impedance 4 ohms. I wish I could have heard this beauty, but it wasn't being played when I visited this room.
Speaker designer Jim Thompson of Eggleston Works displayed his just-introduced Camilla loudspeaker ($14,000/pair). A two-way, whose integrated stand mount includes a transmission line that runs through the stand, it has a 1" dome tweeter and 9" woofer. With a cabinet of MDF and aluminum, the speaker is designed to work well near walls in smaller rooms, and goes down to 32Hz.
"This is hopefully a jumping off point for our line's new aesthetics," Thompson told me. He also noted that Eggleston Works loudspeakers are used in several studios, including Wisseland outside Amsterdam.
Bless the folks at Engstrom & Engstrom amplification, Kaiser Acoustics, Kronos, Totaldac, and Bibacord for putting everything in their room into a single slick brochure. Confining this report to new products, let's start with the Kronos Sparta 0.5 ($15,000), a one-platform version of the company's larger Sparta table. The unit is modular, allowing 0.5 owners to add the second half for $7500 at a later date. If you buy everything at once, the cost is $21,500.
Engstrom & Engstrom debuted The Lars Type 2, 36Wpc monoblocks, which they paired with their Monica preamp with built-in phonostage (90,000 euros total). Both are fully balanced throughout. The new amp, due in the US this fall, uses different coupling and fewer capacitors to make it faster and more detailed. Lars Engstrom, who does the electrical design, and Timo Engstrom, who does the industrial design, say that it doesn't sound like a traditional single-ended 300B amplifier.
Together with Bibacord cables, Totaldac d1 server and d1-twelve DAC, and Kaiser Kawero! Classic loudspeakers with a huge outboard crossover designed especially for Russian audiophiles, the system sounded lovely at low volume, but tended to blur when louder. It sure pleased the man next to me, who was conducting away in the air as music was playing, but the buzz on voices at louder volume levels was off-putting.
Seen on static display, German Physiks introduced the HRS-130 (15,900 euros in finish shown). The speaker's main driver (top) covers the range from 200Hz24kHz, while a 10" downward-facing woofer descends to approximately 30Hz. An improved version of the HRS-120, it has a bigger bass unit, a slightly taller cabinet that provides more volume for the woofer to do its thing, and is available in high polish polyester finish.
In a booth down in the halls, Aurender displayed two new caching network music players with storage, the N10 ($7999) and smaller N100H ($2699). Using the same software, they are reportedly the same sonically, but the N10 has twice the storage (4TB) and far more outputs than the N100H's sole USB output. The N100H is available now, and the N10 at the end of June.