HI-FI '98 Product Previews, Part Four

Hundreds of manufacturers will be demonstrating state-of-the-art audio products at HI-FI '98---some of which have never before been seen by the public. We're running several announcements each week leading up to the Show to give you a taste of what to expect. Here's the fourth assortment:

A major treat for Showgoers: a chance to hear Martin-Logan's new top-of-the-line model, the Statement---Evolution 2. Martin-Logan has used the "Statement" name before to identify their flagship model, and the "Evolution 2" suffix denotes radical changes from its predecessor.

A stereo pair consists of four enclosures, each channel employing a 36"-wide, 82"-tall double-section panel, or "dipole tower," containing the company's elegant, see-through electrostatic driver and eight 7" midrange drivers. Supplying the foundation to the music are two 63"-tall Sub-Bass Towers, each consisting of four acoustically isolated and mechanically independent modules housing two 12"-bass units apiece, for a total of sixteen 12" woofers to complete the system.

With this arsenal of drivers, the Statement can produce levels of 115dB with 125dB peaks, close enough to concert or cinema levels to turn your listening room into a facsimile of the real thing---not a compromised substitute.

Martin-Logan will be demonstrating the Statement with VTL's Wotan. This 600W, class-A all-tube amplifier---with a per-channel weight of 350 lbs---is as much of a declaration of intent as the speakers they'll be driving. The Statement---Evolution 2, at $75,000/pair and with a total system weight of 1800 lbs, is aimed at the serious music and film lover . . . who just happens to have a very large room.

We may be nearing the end of the millennium, and the world grows increasingly digital, but Rotel has something to bring a tear of joy to the eye of every vinyl user: a brand-new affordable turntable!

The RP955 is a two-speed, belt-drive record spinner with a heavy-duty AC synchronous motor, a 3-lb die-cast aluminum-alloy platter, and resonance-damping feet to isolate the RP955 from floorborne or airborne vibration. But the best news is that a fixed-headshell tonearm and a high-compliance moving-magnet phono cartridge are included in the $599 price.

Rotel has also introduced a cost-effective phono stage, the RQ970, but don't let its $199 price tag fool you into thinking "compromise": this unit features a full 430mm case, contains a serious toroidal power supply, and offers moving-coil and moving-magnet capability.

Also on show at HI-FI '98 will be new versions of the company's successful stereo power amplifiers. The RB981 is developed from the RB980, but features higher output---130Wpc---while the new RB991 delivers a hefty 200Wpc. For multichannel installations, Rotel will show the RB976---up to six channels with 60W output, or users can reconfigure the unit to three-channel operation at 150Wpc.

SA-S (Sound Alignment Systems) by Checkpoint
A must-have accessory for any serious audiophile, the SA-S System with the new Rotary Base Plate allows exact directional placement---using a special laser tool---of any home or professional sound system. Speaker setup and alignment become a snap, enabling the user to optimize a system based on the speaker manufacturer's setup criteria.

Audio Refinement
HI-FI '98 will see the introduction of a brand-new product line, conceived to offer the renowned musicality or "sonic signature" of YBA electronics by Yves-Bernard AndrT in a more affordable range of products. Audio Refinement benefits from the same design philosophy and attention to minute detail that are YBA's hallmarks.

On display will be the 50Wpc Complete integrated amp and the Complete tuner. A unified remote also operates the amp, tuner, and a CD player. All components used in the Complete are hand-soldered directly onto the circuit board to ensure the highest quality, and the use of extremely high-quality components with special regard to heat dissipation guarantees product longevity. Audio Refinement is designed by Yves-Bernard AndrT and manufactured under license from YBA.

Revel Corporation
Revel Corporation will be hosting three suites at HI-FI '98. One suite will demonstrate Revel's new Salon loudspeaker in a two-channel configuration using Mark Levinson electronics. This new full-range, floorstanding system utilizes proprietary transducer technology and will retail for $15,500/pair in its most expensive finishes.

A second suite will demonstrate the company's new multichannel loudspeakers (the Voice Center and Embrace Surrounds), along with the Gem loudspeakers and Sub 15/LE 1 subwoofer system, using Mark Levinson and Proceed electronics. The video in the multichannel suite will be 720p digital TV by Joe Kane and the Imaging Science Foundation. Reception for the Revel demonstrations will be in the third suite, room 860.