Getting near the top of the $4k$18k range, at $16,500/pair is the Magico S1 (Mk.II)which is actually the lowest-priced speaker from Magico. Although it looks similar to the original S1, the Mk II has a newly designed 1" diamond-coated Beryllium diaphragm tweeter and a new 7" mid/bass driver incorporating Magico's Nano-Tec cone material. As was the case for the Mk.I, the enclosure of the Mk.I is formed from a single piece of extruded aluminum, but with a new massive top plate machined to a 3D convex shape, and a thicker base plate.
At $15,995/pair, the Tempus III is the top-of-the-line from Ryan Speakers. Their speakers have impressed me before as offering high quality for the price, but perhaps not world-beaters. The Tempus III is different. It uses proprietary drivers, including a new beryllium-dome tweeter, two side-firing woofers, and a midbass that covers the range from 100Hz to 350Hz.
Moderately Priced Speakers. That's my assignment for this year's CES show reportas well as moderately priced turntables and other phono equipmentModerate being defined this time as priced from $4000/pair to $18,000/pair. Right at the top of this range is the $18,000/pair Raidho XT-2, an extremely slim floorstander that uses the same tweeter as the rest of the Raidho range and two 4" cone drivers.
The day before the opening of CES is devoted to press conferences, mostly by the big boys: Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic, etc. These are generally of little interest to Stereophile readers, so our detailed show coverage doesn't start until the official CES opening.
When the presentation turned to audio, Sony's Michael Fasulo referred to consumers' desire for "an even better listening experience," and that this was illustrated by the progression from LP to compact cassette, and then to CD, and to MP3. I must admit that I was taken aback by this statement. These changes in recorded music media may well represent a search for increased convenience, but few audiophiles would argue that a change from LP to compact cassette or from CD to MP3 represents "even better listening experience."
But there is evidence for Sony's commitment to sound quality in their support of Hi-Res audio. Fasulo reported great interest on the part of major record labels in higher quality recording technology, a need that is met by Sony's development of Hi-Res audio.
TAVES 2015 presented the World Premiere of the ACA Seraphim Skogrand Edition speakers ($58,500/pair), with Skogrand cable CEO/Designer Knut Skogrand (above) on hand for the event. "Manufactured in a small workshop in the mountain hills of Norway," Skogrand cables are designed to "let any system perform at its full potential." This search for perfection does not come cheap: a 3m pair of SC Beethoven speaker cables costs $32,500!
Cellist Vincent Bélanger (above) is getting to be a fixture at audio shows, the sound of the instrument and Bélanger's impeccable musicianship always serving as a welcome reminder of what our hobby is all about. He played at the party TAVES put on for the industry and media in a large ballroom, and first apologized that the sounds he was about to make were not nearly as loud as people were used to in the demo rooms. I think there's a lesson in thereand it's not that Bélanger was playing too softly!
The first room I visited at the 2015 TAVES, held this past weekend in Toronto, was Update Stereo & TV's big room that had MartinLogan's flagship Neolith speakersand they sounded completely different from the pair that I heard at the 2015 CES. Transparency, tonal neutrality, precise imaging, presence: it was all there. These are great speakers!
I ran across the poster above in Canada HiFi magazine: an announcement of the launch of a new audio store with an evening of vinyl playback. Located in the town of Orangeville, Ontario (population 30,000, about an hour's drive from Toronto), the store, with the intriguing name of Aardvark Boutique Audio, hadn't opened yet, but the event, taking place in the Orangeville Opera House, promised "Canadian Musicians On VinylIn Amazing Hi Fi Sound." I had to go and check it out.