"For those who want the Burmester signature sound at a relatively reasonable price," declared Burmester General Manager Robert Hagemann, Burmester Audiosysteme Berlin will issue the Burmester 101 integrated amplifier (projected price under $10,000) at the end of February. Outputting 120 Wpc into 4 ohms, and equipped with three XLR inputs and two RCAs, this is the first integrated amplifier from the company to sell for less than $17,000. Frequency range is 3Hz45 kHz, and the preamplifier outputs are balanced only.
After a few years absence from the U.S. market, France's oldest loudspeaker company, Cabasse, has signed a distribution agreement with Esoteric and Teac. In the next few months, many of Teac-Esoteric's 125 US dealers will begin distributing the Cabasse line.
Ted Denney's Synergistic Research has enlarged its already large line with its new entry-level Core Series ($245 to under $1000). "Distilling Synergistic technology to its essence" is how Denney describes the complete line, including computer audio and digital cables. The new Transporter Ultra ($1995) and Transporter Ultra SE ($2295) is a single unit that replaces all the individual wall warts used on various Synergistic products. There is also the Core Ethernet Active ($345/1m) and Core Ethernet Active SE for Synergistic Research's digital power tools, and new Element Series power cords composed of copper, tungsten and silver. I'm not certain, but I believe this cord is shown draped over one of the company's fabulous Tranquility Bases.
Clarus Cable, launched less than two years ago at RMAF 2011, is based in Orlando, FL. Produced by Gordon J. Gow Technologies, and designed by Jay Victor, it was developed after Tributaries Cable dealers asked for a higher-end cable for their customers. According to Joey Perfito, National Product Specialist, the Ohno Continuous Casting Copper (OCCC) design consists of thick and thin-gauge conductors, each individually insulated, to transmit different frequencies, plus one long, flat conductor to help support the midrange. The boxes, designed for aesthetic purposes, conceal the start of silicon tubes on the terminations. Prices range from the Aqua interconnect ($500/1m RCA) to Crimson ($1000/1m RCA).
California Audio Technology showed their new 300.2 FD (Fully Differential) solid-state, 300Wpc, amplifier ($8800) that utilizes a bridged output stage. Like Theta Digital, the CAT 300.2 amplifier is another product designed and manufactured by Morris Kessler's ATI company in California.
The first time I had come across a highly precise (and expensive) femto clock in a DAC was at last year's CES in the MSB room. This year Calyx says they have added a femto clock into their new DAC which is available now and retails for $6850. Inputs include two coax, two optical and two AES-EBU in addition to a BNC and USB jack. All inputs handle up to 24/192 and there are both balanced and unbalanced outputs.
Arriving in the US next month, the new Cambridge follow-up to the 751BD has a retail price of $1299. Arcam's Dan Poulton was quick to point out that though it has a similar feature set (most disc formats supported as well as streaming services), this is not just an Oppo in a Cambridge box.
Audio is upsampled to 24/192 using Cambridge's Adaptive Time Filtering (ATF) system and allows the user to set the digital filter from several options as with the company's DacMagic.
Resolution Audio, based right across the Bay from our humble casa in East Oakland, has just introduced the Cantata C-50 2.0 integrated amplifier ($4495). With a revised power supply with new customized T-Network capacitors, the 50Wpc C-50 2.0 also includes a discrete front end and FET output stage and the company's own eddy current reduction technology. Resolution Audio claims "greater detail and transparency" for the 2.0, to which original version owners may upgrade ($495).
Cary Audio demonstrated its CAD-211 ($20,000/pair) 150W tube amplifiers, two-chassis piece SLP-05 tube preamplifier ($8500), and CD-303T SACD player ($6500), with Tannoy's flagship floorstander, the Kingdom Royal ($55,000/pair). All cabling was by WyWires. The Tannoy is a four-way speaker design, with a 15" woofer handling music below 150Hz, the midrange handling up to 700Hz, the tweeter up to 17kHz, and the super-tweeter up to 65kHz. The Kingdom Royal is very sensitive at 94dB/W/m the resulting sonics were clear, delicate, and musically involving. And as John Atkinson said when he listened to this system, “there’s no substitute for horsepower.”
Sharing the room with Cayin was cable manufacturer Tara Labs. No one from Tara Labs was present when I was in the room, but I did learn that the rectangular solid-core RSC Air series has been redesigned with new red sleeving. Look for the new Air 1EX interconnects with anti-corrosion coated copper braid shield, as well as other new products.
Cayin’s beautiful new A-88T Mk2 integrated amplifier ($2500) is rated to deliver 25Wpc in triode mode or 45Wpc in ultralinear and uses pairs of 6SL7, 6SN7, and KT88 tubes. Fit and finish were excellent. Sam Tellig favorably reviewed the original A-88T in our December 2005 issue.
CEntrance, whose products have been favorably reviewed by JA, is exhibiting next to the registration desk at T.H.E. Show. New this year is their very flexible DAC/Amp combo that comes with three different panels for optimizing your connections. The HiFi-M8 runs on an internal lithium battery, handles asynch 24/192 USB and should be available in March for $699.
But perhaps the most interesting aspect of this product is that the design and feature set was "crowd-sourced". The company went to the hive mind and asked HeadFi's readers what they would like to see in a portable DAC/amp. Hundreds of posts and discussion threads later, the M8 is the result.
CES Unveiled, scheduled from 4:007:00 p.m. on the day before the Press Day, is an event that provides a preview of CES, giving exhibitors a chance to have press coverage before CES proper opens, and, similarly, allows attending members of the press to get an early start on their CES coverage. It's a kind of mini- (or micro-) CES, with products mostly on static display, and, given its size (small booths in a hotel ballroom) it cannot be representative of the giant entity that is CES. Still, for most of the CES press, CES Unveiled is the only game in town during that time, so you might as well attendand, who knows, maybe you'll see something interesting that's worth checking out further when CES opens. Based on previous experience, I knew there would be a long lineup, so I didn't go until after 5 o'clock. There was no lineup, but inside it was still crowded.
For many years, when the Stereophile crew journeyed to Las Vegas to cover the Consumer Electronics Show, we stayed at what eventually became the Hyatt Place. Not only was it smoke and slot machine-free, quiet, and equipped to serve breakfast gratis, but it was also located just a block from the CES "high performance" exhibits in the Alexis Park and the "alternative" T.H.E. Show in the St. Tropez, and a shuttle bus ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). It was an ideal place to sleep, work, and recoup in... until CES shifted its "high performance" exhibits to the Venetian Hotel on the Strip, and T.H.E. SHOW moved nearby.
At last, Stereophile has caught up with the shows, and made the move to the Mirage. Located just across the street from the Venetian, and down the block from T.H.E. SHOW at the Flamingo, it's a massive hotel whose interior is dominated by a huge, multi-story arboretum complete with towering plants and waterfalls. Behind the registration desk is a huge aquarium, packed with an impressive collection of exotic looking fish whose blank-eyed stares are mirrored in the faces of many of Las Vegas' veteran gamblers. To get to the room elevators, you must walk through the gambling area, with all the smoke, noise, and looks of desperation that are the mark of one side of Las Vegas. Pictured is the alternate reality view from my 5th floor hotel window. Treasure Island is on your left, and the Venetian on your right. Don't even think about what lies in between.
Robert Deutsch had yet to make his appearance, fresh from performing in two musicals in Canada, when I snapped this photo of some of Stereophile's CES team stressing the show account and plotting our on-line coverage at the Mirage's classy BLT Burger. Pictured, LR, are John Atkinson, Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and Audiostream.com's Michael Lavorgna.