Jim Fosgate plans to issue two new Signature products, the Fosgate Signature tube preamplifier (projected $3500) and 50Wpc Signature stereo tube power amplifier (projected $4000). Seen in prototype form, and expected in the 2nd quarter of the year, the nine-tube preamp combines a hybrid MM/MC phono stage with an all-tube line stage, and comes complete with remote control and six-position MC cartridge loading.
Think this is a photo of the forthcoming Convergent Audio Technology JL-5 power amplifier ($TBD, perhaps 10,000-12,000)? Think again. The new amp, still in prototype form, will have the same cosmetics but be ¾ the size. What is important, for those who love CAT's wonderful sound, is that it will be half the price of the company's former entry-level amp. A triode design using four KT120s per channel to output 100 Wpc, it paired beautifully with Wilson Audio Sashas and Stealth cables to produce gorgeous tonality on piano.
Based in Taiwan and sold in the US by Wavelength Audio Video, Puresonic specializes in high-performance A/V connectors. Their gold-plated “spring-spade” terminals have a patented spring-tension design to reduce the effects of mechanical vibrations, while their one-piece construction is said to improve high-current signal flow. I tightened this guy onto a binding post, and, sure enough, it wouldn’t let go.
Shunyata’s Hydra AV power conditioner uses the same technologies found in the company’s Reference series Triton (reviewed by Michael Fremer in January 2012), but is intended for floor-mounted applications without sacrificing performance. Shown here is a prototype; final production should be complete in about one month and the price should be around $3000 to $4000.
Handmade by carpenters in Taiwan, the Telos Quantum Diffusor ($600) is said to work on the air molecules of your listening room to “imitate natural electromagnetic waves.” The effect would be a more relaxed, soothing listening environment, putting the listener in a better mood, and consequently enhancing the sense of space and detail in the recording. In short, the Telos Quantum Diffusor augments the listener’s perception of music. It is said to also improve sleep.
“But you wouldn’t want to fall asleep while listening to music,” I kidded.
Specializing in user-friendly, wireless and desktop audio systems, Blue Aura is a UK-based company with manufacturing facilities in China. Though founded in 2010, the company gained presence in the US market just seven months ago. Here we see Blue Aura’s v30 Blackline system ($549), comprising 20Wpc hybrid vacuum tube amplifier and passive WS30 desktop speakers.
Audio Research had live demonstrations of a number of new products, including its new CD transport, the vacuum tube Reference CD-9 player ($13,000) and the vacuum-tube Reference 10 line stage preamplifier ($30,000). These were included in a system with their vacuum tube Reference Phono2 SE phono preamplifier ($13,000), their Reference D/A converter ($16,000), Reference 250 monoblocks ($26,000/pair), and a pair of DSM450M solid-state power amplifiers ($11,000/pair). The Ref250s and DSM450s were used to bi-amp a pair of Sonus Faber Aida speakers.
The Solo Neo now has networking capabilities and uses an upgraded disc transport. At $2000, it might seem a little pricey to a young or beginning audiophile, but considering that it combines tuner, preamp, power amp, and disc player in a clean, stylish enclosure, the Solo Neo represents great value.
I’ve mentioned NAD’s VISO HP50 headphones, but the company was also showing their new, smart-looking D Series digital components. From left: D 1050 USB DAC ($449), D 3020 digital DAC/integrated amp ($399), and D 7050 digital network receiver ($899).
In some rooms, spotting the new product or two can be tough without asking or taking time to carefully look at everything on display. Not the Oracle room. The BRIGHT yellow Paris CD 250 was screaming "look at me" the moment I crossed the threshold. Once my eyes had settled I could see Oracle had also brought the CD player and DAC in a few more color choices: black, white and red.
Using the same chassis design and color options, the CD player or DAC each run $3,500. The DAC features 24/192 SPDIF, Toslink and USB inputs as well as volume control.
Swiss company CH displayed the new $32,975 C1 DAC/controller with optional ethernet board ($5k) and USB board ($4k). The processor handles 24/192 PCM and will soon support DSD/DXD via ethernet.
The C1 is compact and beautifully made (unlike my photo) and has all the standard digital inputs as well as analog options and a variety of output options including balanced and unbalanced analog. The company says that the modular approach to the C1 makes it "future-proof" as they keep coming up with new boards.
JA noted the new Weiss network player at Rocky Mountain, but this was the first time I had seen the production version. There are two options available: with DAC for $12,262 or without for $9,083. Either way the MAN301 uses an iPad app for remote control, has a CD slot on the front for ripping your discs, and the need for external storage.
Since this is a network player and not just a music server, the Weiss can handle internet radio and podcasts and has a variety of digital inputs. Both balanced and unbalanced analog outputs as well as digital complete the back panel.
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.