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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2016 0 comments
Monitor Audio has now moved to its second-generation Platinum series loudspeakers, which Monitor presents as "most accurate and beautiful loudspeakers" the company has ever made. Shown was the top-of-the-line, towering PL500 II ($28,995/pair), whose front baffles are hand-upholstered in the same Ingleston leather used in many luxury British brands.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2016 1 comments
The tube warmth of the aluminum-chassis, leather-clad Absolare Passion integrated amplifier ($24,750), a hybrid SET design with a tube preamplifier section and solid-state dual mono amplifier section that aims for a "tube sound," was a touch of heaven amidst a limbo of grayness. How lovely, after encountering a number of gray-tinged presentations in other rooms, to again hear lots of enjoyable, warm color.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2016 2 comments
Audio Note Japan, the company whose expensive gear was designed by the late Hiroyasu Kondo, is poised to replace its M Series with the new G Series in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2016. Among the new products playing was the forthcoming flagship preamplifier, the G-1000 ($100,000 approx.). With the former 37-step attenuator replaced by a quieter 57-step attenuator, bigger and better proprietary silver capacitors, and an expanded power supply, the preamp reportedly retains the same tonal character as its predecessor.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2016 0 comments
Although the Valve Amplification Company (VAC) system at CES 2016 was virtually identical to the one I blogged at RMAF last October, save for the shrouded TV or mirror, there was a world of difference in the sound. VAC's Kevin Hayes attributed the improvement to a change in tubes in the VAC Phi 170 IQ master preamplifiers ($9900). While the tubes at the earlier show were Russian Gold Lion KT-88, here they were Chinese Shuguang KT-88SC. The sound on the Mahler 9 SACD I played at CES was very, very beautiful.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 13, 2016 0 comments
Good sound was a notable achievement given that the new Genesis Forte loudspeakers ($140,000/pair) had been shipped to Las Vegas a mere two days after assembly, and had only three days of break-in on them.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 13, 2016 0 comments
None other than designer Terry Miles was on hand to introduce Spendor's "all-new top-of-line Spendor Classic" 3-way loudspeaker ($24,995/pair).
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 13, 2016 0 comments
Jeff Rowland's Model 725 S2 monoblocks ($34,000/pair) have been out maybe four years, but now include new error-correction circuitry originally developed for the Jeff Rowland 625 S2. Also of import are ceramic circuit boards, 4-pole Jensen capacitors, and virtually immeasurable distortion from 20Hz–20kHz. The class-A/B amps deliver 330Wpc into 8 ohms, and have fully balanced transformer coupled inputs as well as switch-mode power supplies with power-factor correction. The display was passive, with Rowland's active system, complete with Nordost cabling, showcasing other products.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 12, 2016 0 comments
With an older Grand Prix Audio Monaco 1.5 turntable ($23,500) outfitted with a Tri-Planar Ultimate 12" tonearm ($9800) and PC-1S cartridge ($8500) as source, Japanese manufactured Zanden Audio Systems electronics, cables, and room treatment allied with Canadian sourced Verity Audio Sarastro IIS 3-way loudspeakers in custom finish ($55,195/pair) to produce great soundstaging on a Bach LP. Equally wining was the enticing sound on an LP from Ray Brown.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 12, 2016 0 comments
Pass Labs may laugh a bit at its excess, as in the XS series, but Vladimir Lamm saves his smiles for the sounds of his brand-new, four-box LL 1.1 Signature line level preamplifier ($45,390/pair). That "pair" in the price is not a typo. This baby consists of two mono preamps plus two separate power supplies!
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 12, 2016 1 comments
Even though Robert Deutsch has blogged about Magico's new S1, Alon Wolf (right) prevailed upon me to take a (brief) listen. Paired with Convergent Audio Technology (CAT) monoblock amplifiers, the sound was lovely and warm. I did catch a bit of distortion on the right channel at one point, cause unknown, but Joni Mitchell's aging, low voice was maximally evocative, with an extra kiss of tube warmth.

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