Vincent's new SV-800 integrated amplifier ($4999.95) outputs 100Wpc into 8 ohms, the first 50 of which are class-A. A tube hybrid design, it uses four 12AX7s, four 12AV7s, and six output transistors. Most of its inputs are RCA, but there is one pair of XLRs.
Magico's MRack ($30,000$50,000, depending upon configuration) absorbs and dissipates energy with the same constrained-layer damping mechanism employed in the Magico QPod equipment supports that Michael Fremer raved about in his June 2012 "Analog Corner" column, and that I use under my transport and DAC. Constructed of 500 lbs of aluminum, copper, and damping compound, the MRack is a byproduct of the R&D Magico put it into their Q series of loudspeakers. "Think of the MRack as a giant QPod," says Magico's Alon Wolf.
MIT has a lot of new goodies on its plate. With hopes that I got everything right in my notes, the Oracle MA-X SHD (super high definition) interconnects ($19,999/1m pair) include 125 "poles of articulation"the most MIT offers in an interconnect. Their familiar and substantial boxes include an "articulation control" knob, adopted from hearing-aid technology. A complement to the company's SHD speaker cables (which have up to 145 poles of articulation), the cables are designed so that the box sits on either the floor or equipment rack, thereby relieving strain from the cable itself and the components to which it is connected.
Opening the top of Ayre's new AX-5 integrated amplifier ($9950) revealed an impressive layout, with transformers so big that they extend down through the bottom of the chassis. Rated at 125Wpc into 8 ohms, or 250 into 4, the AX-5 uses the same volume control as in the KX-R, and a diamond buffer circuit in the output stage. The amp, driving TAD CR-1 stand-mounted monitors, sounded eminently smooth on a track by Ella Fitzgerald, and did a fine job communicating the smile in her voice.
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.
Among Cardas' new goodies at CES was the 3455R IEC plug ($49.95), with pins of solid ultra-pure copper with silver/rhodium plating, and the 3455R-US wall plug ($49.95), whose pins are made of the same material. Cardas is now substituting these for Furutech terminations on their power cables. National Sales Director Brian Von Bork reports that they're also re-launching the Cardas Ear Speaker 5813 ($425), aka ear buds with bloom.
Importer Charles Harrison had arranged four distinct systems in an air-walled ballroom at THE Show. The room's boundaries were so porous that I was able to hear the sounds of a competing Mahler symphony playing so loudly in an adjacent room that I thought they were coming from one of the four systems in the room I was in. The system I was actually trying to listen to featured the new Ayon Audio Triton III integrated stereo amplifier ($12,500), which can output 125Wpc of pure class A power, as well as Ayon's Ortho II XS flagship preamplifier. Witht eh room
S sub-optimal acoustics, the chain produced a very bottom-heavy snippet of Mahler's Symphony No.2, capped by bright highs.
How nice to again make the acquaintance of the folks at Balanced Audio Technology, aka BAT, now owned by Music Direct, and discover their three handsome new preamplifiers. The VK-53SE ($15,000), which replaces the VK-52SE, incorporates the same transformer-coupled output stage as in the flagship REX II preamp, and uses a new amorphous-core output transformer, encapsulated in a Mu Metal case. "There are no caps in the signal path in our preamps," proclaimed Geoff Poor. "The best capacitor is no capacitor." Also new are the VK-33SE preamplifier ($9995), a replacement for the 32SE and a trickle-down beneficiary of the VK-53SE's technology; and the VK-33 preamplifier ($7000), which replaces the VK-32.
Mystère hosted a sneak preview of its forthcoming ma21 power amplifier ($TBD). Available in March, this mono version of the pa21 ($2995) boasts automatic bias, and can work with EL-34, KT-88, or KT-120 power tubes.
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).