"What kills me is that in my own showroom I have the same Wilson Alexia loudspeakers that Nagra is using, but they sound better in their set-up, and they aren't even using room treatment," lamented a retailer whose identity shall forever remain unspoken. What better compliment can one pay to Nagra's forthcoming HD amplifiers?
Is it an "implosive sound center" that offers, in Devialet's words, "The Best Sound in the World1000 Times Superior to Current Systems," or is it an overblown puffer fish? Such thoughts crossed my mind as a young, computer-happy Devialeter, standing behind a curtain, fed techno music to the Phantom ($1990) and Silver Phantom ($2390), whose side panels in turn pumped in and out as it flooded a large suite in the Mirage with the driving beat of increasingly loud music that, if pumped through the water, might lead a poor puffer to puff its last.
Closing three days of Hi-Res presentations at CES 2015 were (from leftright) Maureen Droney, Senior Executive Director of The Recording Academy's Producers and Engineers Wing and a recording engineer who has worked with Santana and John Hiatt; Marc Finer, whose Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) consults with Sony and other entities as he attempts to align messaging on the hi-res front; and Robert Heiblim, Vice Chair of the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) Audio Division.
"The High End needs products that can demonstrate to customers why they should spend more money for the high-end," Dave Nauber, President of Classé, told me. "Thus we've introduced the Sigma Series, a new range of products with prices half those of our other products."
Rotel previewed three new "best ever" models at CES. Although the passive display allowed for little more than photo and note taking, I learned that the brand new RC-1590 DAC/preamplifier ($1749), which ships in March, promises to be "the best stereo preamplifier Rotel has ever made."
In this case, it's the Bowers & Wilkins T-7 battery-operated Bluetooth loudspeaker ($349). Shipping now, this baby holds a charge for 18 hours, and takes four hours to fully recharge. The T-7 can pair with up to eight devices, has two 3" full-range drivers and one passive radiator. "It's just a lot of fun," says regional sales director Marc Schnoll.
Siltech has just released its Siltech Triple Crown interconnects (est. price in Europe, US prices still be determined, 20,000/1m pair) and speaker cables (est. price 35,000/2m pair). Touted as "cable royalty... sets new benchmark for interconnect and speaker cable performance," these major lookers utilize the company's newest mono-crystal technology. According to Lennart Thissen, who designed the cable's unique mechanical parts, they have "the lowest capacitance of any cable we know."
A year after they were first announced, WBT CEO Wolfgang B. Thoerner is preparing to release his organic carbon Nano Gen connectors at the 2015 Munich show. As opposed to customary metal connectors, Nano Gen's carbon is claimed to transport signals faster because it does so in only two dimensions, while metal transport transports signals in three dimensions.
I hope not, because it's (presumably indigestible) vibration-damping material from Scotland. Distributed by TWN Audio/Video's Santy Oropel, the Black Ravioli line includes the Big Riser ($190/each), which goes under heavy components such as amplifiers; the Big Pad ($90/each) for preamps, DACs and the like; the Small Pad (4 for $300), which either adheres to a light component's chassis or serves as a footer; and the iMac Vibration Controller ($250not shown), a base complete with feet that goes under a tablet.
Thanks to Brian Ackerman of Aaudio Imports, Finite Elemente's equipment supports and racks have returned to the US. market. All of the company six different Cera equipment supports models ($230$820/set of 3, depending upon model) uses ceramic bearings, and, save for the aluminum shell of the entry-level Ceraball, stainless steel housings to isolate equipment from vibrations.