Wharfedalewhich now bills itself "Britain's Most Famous Loudspeaker. . .Since 1932"introduced the Diamond 200 series at CES 2015. The series includes the model 210 and 220 bookshelf monitors, model 230, 240 and 250 floorstanders, model 220C center-channel speaker, and model WH-D8 and WH-D10 subwoofer.
While his multipurpose integrated amp lurked in the background, I took immediate notice of Dan D'Agostino's hulky 6U form-factor multichannel amplifier, the Cinema Standard. Available with two ($12,000) and three ($15,000) channels, it offers 250Wpc into 8ohms and doubles down to 500 into 4 and 1000 into 2, at 0.1% total harmonic distortion! Now that's dynamic headroom.
Manley Labs' Evanna Manley was deeply involved in discussion so I asked around about what new amps/preamps are showing. The answer was that, since there were no new products being introduced, they decided to present their current offerings to emphasize their aesthetics by having them framed and hung. Point taken. Picture taken.
Kevin Deal was so proud of his new DiaLogue Premium HP power amplifier ($3899 stereo or monoblock) that he insisted on showing off its underside so that we can all appreciate the quality of the components and the fastidious wiring.
I visited the Burson room because I retain a strange interest in this Australian company’s innovative discrete op-amp modules even though I am long past my DIY years. (JA has a pair of Burson's op-amp modules in for evaluation.)
Dynaudio North America's Michael Manousselis was proudly demonstrating the Danish parent company's Contour S 3.4 LE speakers with the new Octave V 110 integrated amplifier ($8000), a fixed-bias pentode design that has been optimized specifically for the KT120 tube. Features include wideband output transformers while utilizing soft-start circuitry, extensive monitoring and protection circuitry, as well as an energy-saving EcoMode feature.
T+A's entire HV range was the epitome of sleek and sexy. I was particularly impressed with physical architecture, even beneath the skin, as there is a casework frame of solid aluminum plates, screwed together. The plates form sealed chambers to de-couple and shield all sub-assemblies from each other. External case parts are up to 40mm thick!
The big news at Ayre is that the standing range of "5"-series components is being upgraded to "The Twenty Editions," which incorporate the circuit and performance facilities of the well-received flagship KX-R Twenty, MX-R Twenty and VX-R Twenty.
With the demise of the iPod, the number of high quality portable players has jumped. Case in point are these two new players from Questyle. Both play DSD and Double DSD files along with about a dozen PCM formats up to 24/192. The players also feature the company's unique "current mode" headphone amplification.
Another music server that caught my eye was the latest offering from SOtM, which will hit retailers in February for around $3k. Though the front of the box is plain, this is a full-featured machine, as evidenced by the back panel. USB inputs and outputs support up to 32/384 PCM and native DSD, and networking support for DLNA is included.