LATEST ADDITIONS

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 16, 2015 0 comments
Peachtree has several new digital products of note this year, one being the sanaDAC which will retail somewhere south of $1,500. It features native 36 bit architecture to process both PCM and DSD and has both balanced and unbalanced analog outputs on the back. There are a complete set of five digital inputs on the back as well as 1/4 inch headphone jack on the front backed by a 800mW (8 ohms) amp.

There will be more products in the series, such as a sanaAMP around the $1k range.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 16, 2015 0 comments
Aimed at the power portable user, the new Shift should be appearing in April for approx. $399 and features a luxurious leather covering on the case that attaches it to your portable. Can be used with a PC or phone, and can even charge an iOS device if needed.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 16, 2015 0 comments
Another portable player in the $1k range is Sony's latest offering which includes the proprietary DSEE HX process to "upscale" music while streaming. Files up to 24/192 and DSD are supported and there is 128GB of built-in memory, as well as micro SD card slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and about 30 hours of HD playback per battery charge.

The NW-ZX2 will be available shortly for $1,199.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 16, 2015 0 comments
Sporting beautiful casework for relatively modest pricing, Burson's Conductor Virtuoso will be shipping in two versions: one with a Sabre ESS9018 DAC chip for $1,995 and the other with the BurrBrown PCM1793 for $1,495. Inside is a 4 watt headphone amp section along with PCM processing up to 24/192.

On the back are digital inputs for USB, SPDIF and optical and also analog RCA jacks. Also on the back are the digital and analog outputs and on the front a 100-step volume control and 1/4 inch headphone jack. Remote control is included.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 16, 2015 0 comments
Replacing the HM901, the new s version has a redesigned aluminum body, tweaked analog section and quicker power up and down cycles. This is another premium player in the $1k price range and like the others, handles both PCM and DSD and features nice build quality. There is an SD card slot for up to 256GB of storage and stepped volume control on top. The new model should be appearing in the second quarter of 2015.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 16, 2015 0 comments
My assignment at CES 2015 was to report on speakers costing less than $10,000/pair, so when I went into each room my first task was to see if they had any new (or at least new-to-me) speakers that met this criterion. I found one in the KEF room that appeared to fit the bill: the sign on the speaker identified it as the Reference 1, priced at $7500/pair. Johan Coorg of KEF explained to the assembled visitors how the design of this speaker utilized knowledge gained in designing the Blade.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 16, 2015 0 comments
Monitor Audio's Dean Hartley told me that he's been busy, revising the Gold Series (ranging in price from $2000/pair for the Gold 100 to $3500/pair for the Gold 300). He described the changes a "facelift rather than a complete revolution."
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 16, 2015 3 comments
An enterprise founded by brothers Trevor and Todd Ryan (left to right), Ryan Speakers proudly proclaims that their loudspeakers are "handcrafted in California." Looking at the Ryan 630 ($5000/pair), I remarked on the presence of felt around the tweeter, a technique pioneered by the late John Dunlavy. "Oh, yes," said Todd Ryan, "felt around the tweeter, offset mounting drivers; we use all the old tricks."
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 16, 2015 0 comments
What a difference a tweeter makes! Elac makes a small bookshelf speaker, the BS 73, which costs $850/pair. They make another, even smaller, bookshelf speaker, the BS 312, which costs $2800/pair. The BS 312 is shown in the center of the photo, with the BS 73 flanking it (I'm not sure which one). There are some obvious differences in construction (the BS 312 has a metal cabinet), but the greatest difference is probably the tweeter: the BS 73 uses a dome tweeter, whereas the BS 312 uses what they call a JET tweeter.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 16, 2015 0 comments
Like many (most?) audiophiles, I've tended to turn up my nose at in-wall and on-wall loudspeakers. I normally assume that there must be major sonic compromises in designing speakers that fade into the background. I was then most pleasantly surprised by the sound of the Totem Tribe V ($6000/pair) at CES 2015. This is an on-wall speaker, but that sort of mounting is not possible in a hotel environment, so the speakers were stand-mounted, as close to the wall as possible. The sound was clean, open, and dynamic, with a firm bass foundation.

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