Krell’s new Krell IPOD Dock (KID) only costs $1200, but offers balanced outputs, signal conditioning with bass and treble adjustments, all digital control lines, diverse outputs (2 balanced, 2 RCA, and S Video) with optical isolation. The auxillary input allows one to attach a Zune or Creative Digital Zen MP3 player. The Krell KID received much attention from press and public alike.
A tradition at HE SHows is the "bazaar: in one of the hotel's ballrooms, where record companies and accessory manufacturers do a brisk business. Here, Marcia Martin of Reference Recordings shows off their latest release Serenade, a recording of the same vocal group, the Turtle Creek Chorale, as in their best-selling Rutter's Requiem CD.
On January 1, 1990, Canadian electronics manufacturer Bryston instituted a remarkable warranty program that covered each of their products for a full 20 years. This warranty includes all audio products ever manufactured and sold under the Bryston name. Besides covering parts and labor costs, the company will also pay shipping costs one way. This is all the more significant for their 4B NRB amplifier, which has been in production since 1976. The amp's $2k price, while not cheap, is at the lower end of what well-heeled audiophiles typically pay for amplifiers.
Over the years, I have used and enjoyed in my audio system large, single-purpose components. Each of these chassis has had but one role: preamplifier, amplifier, digital-to-audio converter (DAC), etc. I guess I've been just a little suspicious of products with multiple functions crammed into a single small chassis; I've figured that the designer may have cut a corner that could affect the sound.
July came in this year like September: cool, crisp night air and bright, clear days. The humidity and temperature remained low throughout the week I spent setting up the Denon AVR-4800 surround A/V receiver. So, crouched down behind its crowded rear panel, wiring up eight loudspeakers and multiple inputs, I wasn't sweating from the temperature. Launching the new multichannel Denon AVR-4800's surround audio-visual system required hard work, trial and error, and an emergency trip to the UPS terminal in the Bronx. While there were great musical pleasures ahead, the path to music-surround knowledge was rougher than I ever imagined it might be.
Mark Levinson showed a design study for its Reference No.53 monoblock amplifier in its Hilton suite, which will replace the previous flagship, the No.33. Although details are not finalized, Levinson's Walter Schofield suggested that each monoblock chassis will be rated in the neighborhood of 500W into 8 ohms, and will be priced at approximately $20,000.
After 10 years of selling the $15,000/pair Ultima Salon as its flagship speaker system, Revel introduced a redesign, the $22,000/pair Ultima2 Salon, at CES 2007. When I reviewed the original Salon, I was very pleased by its bass extension and dynamics. What's new in the Mk.2 Salon? It has a more conventional look, and employs all-new drivers that performed better in double-blind tests conducted by the manufacturer. While retaining the basic configuration—a four-way design with one tweeter, one midrange, one mid-woofer and 3 woofers—the Salon 2 no longer has side panels, a rear-firing port, or a rear-firing tweeter. Revel had a pair of the Ultima2 Salons playing in a demo room at the Hilton, driven by a 200Wpc Mark Levinson No.433 amplifier via Transparent speaker cable, a Levinson No.32 Reference preamplifier, and a Levinson No.390S CD processor. The loudspeaker played with all the dynamics and excellent LF response of the original Salon, reproducing the powerful deep bass of the organ accompaniment to John Rutter's Requiem. There was also a richness and smoothness that I found very pleasing.
BAT introduced the two-chassis, $18,500 REX preamplifier at CES. The 18-tube preamplifier incorporates vacuum-tube rectifiers, C-multipliers, oil capacitors, and shunt regulators to filter the power supply's DC voltages. The control module incorporates a 140-step volume control that uses a 16-bit digital control with Vishay bulk-metal–foil resistors as pass-through devices. Each input to the preamplifier can be adjusted individually.
Modern Audio Consultants’ Richard Gerberg showed me a new $6000/pair loudspeaker from English company ProAc, the two-way D28. The 60 lb floorstander, designed by ProAc founder Stewart Tyler , includes a 1" silk-dome tweeter and a 6.5" bass/midbass driver. I was able to audition the loudspeakers driven by a new $3000 Sugden 21 SE CD player, a $4000 Sugden 21SC integrated amplifer, and ProAc speaker cable. The D28’s sound was smooth, detailed, and musical. I particulary enjoyed playing Jamie Cullen’s Twenty Something album. Richard told me that the album had been recorded and edited using ProAc loudspeakers. Perhaps that was one reason the D28s sounded so good!
VTL introduced a new phono preamplifier at CES, the $6500 TP-6.5 Signature Phono Stage, as well as an upgraded MB-450 Signature monoblock amplifier. Using the single-chassis configuration of the TL-6.5 line preamplifier, VTL's phono preamplifier follows its hybrid design approach, using a low-noise J-FET to drive high-current 12AU7 tubes. It features switchable, five-corner, passive RIAA filtering. Gain, cartridge load impedance, phase, muting, rumble filter, and power on/off can be switched by remote.