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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 16, 2016 49 comments
Digging MQA (from L–R): Peter McGrath, Jason Victor Serinus, and Michael Fremer, with Bob Stuart anxiously looking on and Winai Pawitwatana behind. (Photo: John Atkinson)

CES 2016 marked the first time that three writers for Stereophile—Editor-in-Chief, John Atkinson; AnalogPlanet analog guru, Michael Fremer; and this Contributing Editor—could sit down in the same room with Bob Stuart of MQA/Meridian and spend a concentrated amount of time comparing before- and after-MQA encoded (Master Quality Authenticated) tracks.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 15, 2016 2 comments
Aesthetix's Jim White (above right), along with the company's distributor, Garth Leerer of Musical Surroundings, showed off the new, Aesthetix Saturn Atlas Eclipse monoblock amplifier ($25,000/pair). An evolution of a product first launched 10 years ago, the Saturn Atlas Eclipse sports super-matched output devices that effectively lower noise by 40%.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 15, 2016 0 comments
Boldly proclaiming that its new the Renaissance ESL 15 A ($24,995/pair) combines a 45" x 15" electrostatic transducer with dual 12" aluminum-cone woofers, dual 500W woofer amplifiers, bass and mid-bass level controls, and Anthem room correction, MartinLogan proceeded to mate it with excellent Constellation Audio amplifiers and MIT cabling.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 15, 2016 2 comments
"It's the only loudspeaker under 6 figures with a beryllium midrange diaphragm," Paradigm's Erin Phillips told me about the Paradigm Concept 4F (price not set, but expected to be under $40,000/pair), a speaker that has been forthcoming since last May's Munich High End, and probably won't arrive until late summer/fall 2016. The Canadian-crafted, full-range loudspeaker combines four powered 8.5" woofers—two front-firing and two rear-firing in "vibration-cancelling configuration"—with passive TruExtent® 1" beryllium-dome tweeters and 7" midrange drivers.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 15, 2016 0 comments
Now this is an interesting one. Using the same Dan D'Agostino Momentum monoblocks ($65,000/pair) as in the Wilson Alexia/dCS suite in the Mirage, albeit with the new case work; the same dCS Rossini player ($28,499) and Rossini Clock ($7499) as in that room, and whose sound I know quite well because I've spent considerable time with the player in my own listening room; an even higher Opus level of Transparent Cabling than in the Wilson/dCS suite; and the not too shabby Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Momentum preamplifier ($32,000), EgglestonWorks' Ivy Signature SE Reference Series loudspeakers ($155,250/pair) made an entirely different impression.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 15, 2016 0 comments
I've been variously enamored and critical of the sound of Acapella loudspeakers and electronics on previous occasions, but here, in a space I would have considered too narrow to be optimal, the German-handmade Acapella Cellini ($55,000/pair) sounded excellent. Never before shown at a US show, the Cellini stands out due to its hyper-spherical midrange horn. (The Acapella Violin, for example, has a spherical horn.) It also has Acappella's TW1 ion tweeter, and claims an overall frequency range of 28Hz–40kHz , and a sensitivity of approx. 91dB/W/m.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 15, 2016 0 comments
Shipping in the second quarter of 2016, Meitner's extremely powerful MTRX2 1kW monoblock amplifiers (price around $80,000/pair), which output 600W into 8 ohms and 1000W into 4 ohms, may be the weaker siblings of their flagship MTRX predecessors, but they have their own proprietary topology to make them feel their equal.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 15, 2016 1 comments
The picture shows the inside of Nagra's new HD Amp, whose 6 output devices are specified as driving 270W into 8 ohms, 1kW into 2 ohms. The HD Amp was on passive display, but Nagra's all-Nagra component chain, feeding Wilson Audio Sabrina loudspeakers, made quite a favorable impression.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2016 0 comments
GamuT designer Benno Baun Meldgaard, whose 41 years give the lie to those who suggest that the High End is populated solely by old fart engineers, joined Audio Skies distributor Michael Vamos (left in photo) for the press launch of GamuT's new "no-compromise" loudspeaker, the Zodiac ($139,000/pair). Featuring a cabinet composed of 27 layers of wood of different thicknesses, a new tweeter and companion drivers, and phase alignment between the crucial frequencies of 200 Hz—15 kHz, the Zodiac comes with a massive spiked stand adjustable according to listening distance. It is designed to have the agility and speed of a stand-mount. Only 12 pairs will be built a year, which to my way of thinking makes the point-to-point wired speaker an instant collector's item, and each pair will be fine-tuned at the buyer's home by Meldgaard.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2016 0 comments
Roger Gibboni of Rogers High Fidelity unveiled the Rogers 34S-1 integrated amplifier ($19,900, top on rack in photo). A dual-mono class-A amplifier with eight EL-34 power tubes, this baby, set to ship in March, has a unique, dedicated iOS platform (visible on Gibboni's iPad) which allows for complete functionality including bad tube indicators. Apple and Android smartphone operation via Bluetooth is included, and auto-bias circuitry and a lifetime warranty are other pluses. On a scale of 1 to 10, this product's cool factor is very, very high.

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