Kevin Deal was so proud of his new DiaLogue Premium HP power amplifier ($3899 stereo or monoblock) that he insisted on showing off its underside so that we can all appreciate the quality of the components and the fastidious wiring.
I visited the Burson room because I retain a strange interest in this Australian company’s innovative discrete op-amp modules even though I am long past my DIY years. (JA has a pair of Burson's op-amp modules in for evaluation.)
Dynaudio North America's Michael Manousselis was proudly demonstrating the Danish parent company's Contour S 3.4 LE speakers with the new Octave V 110 integrated amplifier ($8000), a fixed-bias pentode design that has been optimized specifically for the KT120 tube. Features include wideband output transformers while utilizing soft-start circuitry, extensive monitoring and protection circuitry, as well as an energy-saving EcoMode feature.
T+A's entire HV range was the epitome of sleek and sexy. I was particularly impressed with physical architecture, even beneath the skin, as there is a casework frame of solid aluminum plates, screwed together. The plates form sealed chambers to de-couple and shield all sub-assemblies from each other. External case parts are up to 40mm thick!
The big news at Ayre is that the standing range of "5"-series components is being upgraded to "The Twenty Editions," which incorporate the circuit and performance facilities of the well-received flagship KX-R Twenty, MX-R Twenty and VX-R Twenty.
All the Harman boys were over at the Hard Rock Hotel rather than the official CES sites, but I was able to swing by on my way to the airport to see the new statement amp from Mark Levinson, the No.536.
Nelson Pass's introductory claim was modest: "Pass simply added some input selection and level control to the front end to turn these amplifiers into new integrated models." What I saw were two impressive integrated amps that are clearly derived from the larger Point 8 amps.
Possibly, the most beautiful design I saw CES was the new Absolare Passion 845 push-pull amplifier ($40,000/pair) and they were handily driving a pair of Rockport Avior speakers. As with the earlier Passion 845 single-ended amp, the push-pull amp sports a pair of glowing 845 power tubes but by adding a pair of EL-34 drivers after the input 12AT7, Absolare is able to increase the output palpably from 45W to 85W of zero-feedback power while remaining substantially in class-A operating mode.
The new Jadis JA120 monoblock amplifierss ($27,900/pair) were driving a pair of Estelon XA speakers to lusty levels at the Bluebird Music room. The design uses the newish KT120 output tubes, six per amp, and, with an additional front-end tube and a higher-gain driver stage, each JA-120 is claimed to be capable of 100W of pure class-A output.
In addition to the Steinway Lyngdorf components which are designed to work as a system, Lyngdorf showed components which can integrate with other brands. Included were the SDA-2400 power amp (400Wpc, $2400) and the TDAI-2170 stereo digital integrated amplifier (170Wpc, $4000).