Minneapolis-based Bel Canto Design (props to my homies) brought a new amplifier to CES this year. The e.One REF150s ($1495, shown on the lower rack) is a fully balanced dual-mono amplifier that will put out 150Wpc into 8 ohms This may be a wee-sized amplifier, but it sounded huge strapped to a pair of new Joseph Audio bookshelf speakers.
I had a great time listening to my own recordings in the Halcro room. Though the room lighting and the alien looking Vivid Audio G2 Giya speaker gave foreboding vibe in this photo, the sound was warm and detailed and the Halcro folks were really friendly. Featured in the Halcro system were the dm10 preamplifier($20,990) and the dm78 power amplifier ($41,990). The dm 10 is Halcro's top-of the line preamp and features its own phono stage. (It was reviewed in the April 2004 issue.) The dm78 is a mono amp that puts out 225W into 8 ohms and handled big dynamic swings in recordings of both Vivaldi and Eric Whitacre with ease and grace.
"Modern recordings, for all their glory . . . have conditioned audiences to expect an inhuman degree of performance accuracy, comparable to what a recording studio's editing team can produce by patching together the best moments from multiple takes."—James F. Penrose, Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2008
John Atkinson and Cantus are at it again. Last June, John and Cantus, the Minnesota-based male vocal ensemble, traveled to Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, to record an adventurous two-volume Christmas CD. Comfort and Joy: Volume One is being released this week.