HI-FI '98 Product Previews

Several manufacturers will be demonstrating state-of-the-art audio products at HI-FI '98---some of which have never been seen by the public before.

Between now and when the Show opens, we'll be running several announcements each week to give you a taste of what to expect. Here's the first assortment:

HI-FI '98 will mark the debut of a brand-new, cost-no-object EgglestonWorks speaker system, its name not to be announced until the Show.

Consisting of a single 1150-lb. enclosure per channel, each cabinet contains 22 drivers, high frequencies reproduced (as in all EgglestonWorks speakers) by a single Dynaudio Esotar tweeter per channel. The midrange frequencies will be handled by four individual transmission lines, each containing three Morel midrange drivers designed specifically for EgglestonWorks---12 per channel! The lowest frequencies emerge from a specially designed section of the enclosure containing nine Dynaudio 12" woofers: three woofers visible on the baffle of the speaker, with two additional woofers piggy-backed behind each visible driver in "pressure-driven," rear-ported enclosures.

Frequency response is estimated to be 14Hz-24kHz, and the speaker stands 72" tall, 15" wide, and 36" deep. Internal wiring is by Transparent Cable, with binding posts by Cardas, and crossover components include resistors by Vishay and capacitors by MIT. Italian Granite, an EgglestonWorks "signature," is used on the side panels both for acoustic damping and cosmetic properties. Price for a pair will be in the region of $97,000!

EgglestonWorks will be displaying its products in a joint effort with local dealer Ambrosia Audio & Video and various manufacturers, including Jeff Rowland Design Group, Theta Digital, and Transparent Cable.

Blue Circle Audio
Blue Circle will announce the new, higher-current BCG3.1 Super Power Supply for the legendary Blue Circle BC3 preamplifier. Improvements include a doubling of power capability, an incorporated power-conditioning module, HEXFRED rectification diodes, and Cardas internal and external wiring.

Blue Circle will also introduce the BC3000 line-stage preamplifier, externally similar to the BC3. Internally, however, there are several differences: DC power rails and signal-path wiring are "airborne"---suspended above the component board, which has a new proprietary damping system that further improves the preamp's suppression of mechanical feedback. Though the fundamental circuitry of the BC3000 has also been totally redesigned, the "ultimate" ladder attenuators are still present, as is the point-to-point hand-wiring.

Thiel has two new models in its line-up, at opposite ends of the scale. The new baby is the CS2.3 floorstander. A three-way system---easily identifiable as a Thiel product by virtue of its hallmark sloped, curved-edge baffle---it measures a manageable 11" x 15" x 41.5" and sells for $3300/pair.

The CS2.3's driver array consists of a dome tweeter coaxially mounted to a 3.5" midrange, the two drivers sharing the same voice-coil. Bass frequencies are handled by an 8" woofer augmented by a 9" passive radiator; all drivers feature Thiel-made aluminum diaphragms.

For those interested in something a bit larger, the CS7.2 is a 55"-tall floorstanding speaker with a 12" woofer and 12" passive radiator, a 6.5" midrange driver, and a coaxial tweeter/midrange driver. As fans of the brand will know, all Thiel cabinets are substantial---solid and rigid and vibration-free---and the company prides itself in offering a wide selection of real wood or fine laminate finishes.

Hard to believe, but NAD is celebrating its Silver Anniversary year. To mark the occasion, NAD will introduce the Silver Series Components, an entirely new line of high-value, high-performance audio products boasting smooth, sand-blasted aluminum chassis in gleaming silver---a dramatic new look for the brand.

Higher in price and performance than NAD's traditional components, S-Series products nonetheless adhere to NAD's traditional virtues of value-for-price, high performance, and ease of use.

The Silver Series---all using NAD's Link system operation---includes the S500 CD player, featuring a 20-bit Crystal D/A converter, high-current pure class-A balanced analog circuitry, brushless motor, balanced and unbalanced outputs, remote control, and NAD Link; the S400 stereo tuner with RDS facilities, 30 station presets, 25kHz tuning steps, full remote control, and NAD Link; the S300 integrated amplifier, producing 100Wpc into 8 ohms, dual-mono configuration, two toroidal transformers, and full remote control; the S200 power amplifier, good for 225Wpc of continuous power into 8 ohms, dual-mono configuration, balanced XLR circuits, and protection circuitry; and the S100 preamplifier, operating in class-A, with six line inputs, outputs with dubbing facility, balanced XLR outputs, independent headphone amp, and full remote control.

Reference Recordings
Reference Recordings will be presenting a new recording hot off the CD stampers: Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben and selections from Die Frau ohne Schatten with the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Eiji Oue. This is the latest in an award-winning series with the Minnesota Orchestra that also includes the recently released Mephisto & Co., also conducted by Eiji Oue.

Also on hand will be Paul Paray's Joan of Arc Mass, recently nominated for a 1998 Grammy in the category of Best Choral Performance.

Two new power-conditioning products will be introduced by Transparent at HI-FI '98, addressing what audio hobbyists have known for years: that the quality of the cable used in an audio component's power cord can make a significant improvement in its performance.

Transparent's new PowerLink XL is precision-constructed of heavy, solid-core OFHC conductors, Teflon insulation, and three shields. The cord is UL-approved for high-voltage, high-heat AC applications and comes terminated with a 20-amp IEC female plug on the component end and a male plug on the AC mains end. Three modules are distributed along its length, the modules preventing RF infiltration.

According to Transparent, the XL Isolator is intended to be used with the PowerLink XL power cord for best results, but the Isolator's technology can also benefit the performance of an audio component when used with any power cord. XL Isolator technology provides significantly more noise isolation than can be achieved with a PowerLink XL power cord alone. The XL Isolator "immunizes" a component from AC noise infiltration, providing a complete shield to the AC signal path, and the network housed within the chassis provides noise isolation in a totally transparent manner.

In the headphone department, Sennheiser will be showcasing their new high-performance HD570 headset. According to the company, the new model is intended for "discriminating" listeners, combining "balanced, natural sound" with a futuristic "Bionet" design that adapts headphones to the shape of the head. "The HD570 is perfect for the demanding classical or jazz aficionado who wants superb sound at a reasonable price."

Anthony Gallo Acoustics
Gallo Acoustics will be introducing the Nucleus Micro, a new 4" sphere derived from the spherical compression technology used in the patented Nucleus designs. The Micro requires no crossovers above 120Hz, benefiting the listener with a "seamless soundstage, astonishing dynamics, and a truly satisfying and emotional listening experience." For straight audio or home theater, starting at $699.