November 19 update
The TechDAS Air Force ONE Turntable. I snagged this image off my Facebook feed, specifically from hp’s new website HPSoundings (worth your time and subscription).
Imported from Japan by Graham Engineering (who is providing the arm), this air vacuum system is ‘…made out of pure aluminum and the material used for the middle chassis is super duralumin. The manual claims that this strong material was chosen to help eliminate unnecessary oscillation. A specifically designed glass surface is located directly below the platter. Graham brought a custom machined Harmonic Resolution Systems (M3X) isolation base to support the turntable. A flat, non-flexible (4mm-wide flat) polyurethane fiber belt is used with the platter.’
No price as yet. But…
Aug 9 update
I dropped by a local audio store the other day and spied these stunning beauties from Canadian manufacturer, RJH Audio (please excuse my iPhone photo — it does not do the speaker justice). This is their top model, the Reference One. They were not hooked up as they had just been delivered, but if they sound as good as they look? And, at a relatively reasonable $7000, they look like a super bargain. I’ll report back when I get a listen next week. They will also be showing at the upcoming Toronto Audio Show (TAVES).
The Reference One features Alnico magnets, no crossover and is 95dB efficient. Lots more information at RJH Audio’s website.
July 30 update
I was invited by Zesto Audio to drop by their room at the upcoming California Audio Show (another new and very welcome show). Unfortunately, we are unable to attend this year, but the idea of spending time in San Francisco for any reason is very alluring. It’s a show for our To Do list.
The Zesto email included some images of their gorgeous tube gear. I thought they were worthy of inclusion in our Audiophilia Eye Candy recurring post.
Above is the Leto Preamp. The Andros Phonostage follows the same beautiful form. I’ll be dropping by our local distributor to snag a review copy of both. Stay tuned. In the mean time, visit them at the CA show or Zesto’s website.
May 1 update
Some Danish loveliness in the form of a CD player and DAC. The Gato Audio CDD-1 - CD-player ⁄ DAC. Gato Audio describes it — At Gato Audio we are very pleased to announce the long awaited and very versatile CDD-1 CD player and D/A converter. It has now been delivered to our distributors and their dealers whom are ready to demonstrate its superior sound quality and stunning beauty.
Developing CD players and D/A converters is almost an art form, it takes loads of time and huge amount of patience to master the delicate mix of digital and analogue signal circuits. In the heart of the CDD-1 you will find the Philips CDpro2 mechanism, mounted in 1kg of machined aluminum suspended in a tripod of Sorbothane viscolastic material. A special clamp/lid solution secures and stabilizes the CD while spinning – all in the name of eliminating mechanical resonances.
The asynchronous USB and a coaxial S/PDIF digital inputs, able to accept up to 24bits/192kHz – ensures a extremely versatile use of the CDD-1. High definition music from digital streaming devices, computers or even directly from an iPad, will benefit from the ultra detailed D/A converter and analogue section of the CDD-1.
An ultra low jitter clock signal feeds the sample rate converter and the dual mono, dual differential coupled Burr brown PCM1794 DACs. Carefully selected I/V converters and analogue output stage – both optimized in hundreds of hours of listening and adjusting – ensures a clean, musical and spotless reproduction of the delicate signals.
Feb 27 update
An audiophile friend from Barcelona loves the coloured vinyl and his Clearaudio rig. Love his photographs. He has great taste in vinyl, analogue and wine. Trifecta!
From Good Things in Life blog.
Dec 11 update
Crayon Audio’s stunning CMA mono block power amplifiers. Not much about the sound, but these German beauties look so good.
Dec 1 update
The Mansberg ‘Sinus’ is a unique floor standing loudspeaker that combines a graceful appearance with high quality drivers. It is a four-way, five-driver speaker system, incorporating a 10″ woofer and dual 7″ mineral filled polypropylene cone midrange drivers in a sub-enclosure. The made-in-Holland Sinus is clearly a high-end loudspeaker - and looks like one.
What sets the Sinus apart is the philosophy of avoiding parallel surfaces while paying meticulous attention to cabinet design and construction. This design minimizes unwanted internal vibrations. Two of the units are sunken deep into the front of the cabinet, which not only looks striking, but also positions the drivers at precise angles for optimum imaging, both on- and off-axis. Due to the precise time alignment, low-level ambient cues integrate perfectly with primary sound staging. Superior components and meticulous configuration result in high frequencies which are detailed but not exhaustive, and a smooth life-like midrange.
September 24 update
Antelope Audio. ‘Zodiac Gold is an advanced digital audio converter engineered to deliver pristine audio with keenly articulated pitch and a spectacular soundstage. This unique sound is based on Antelope’s 64-bit clocking technology used by the world’s top audio engineers. A custom designed USB controller chip streams digital audio at 480 Mbits, supporting sample rates up to 384 kHz with native drivers. As a preamp, the device allows up to 8 input sources with auto-detection of active channels with ease and flexibility to connect to virtually any device. A dual-stage headphone driver architecture unveils every sonic detail, while the relay based volume control assures superb stereo imaging at any listening level. For enhanced user experience your Zodiac comes with aluminum remote control and friendly PC/Mac software panel.’
September 22 update
The Hungarian Bodor Audio Plus is debuting at the London Design Festival with a high-end product family. The complete system consists of a CD player, a power, a pre and an integrated amplifier and speakers. The system named “Presence” offers a unique musical experience which also includes a personalized service package.
The speakers look intriguing. I wonder how they sound?
August 2 update
I receive many press releases each week. A recent submission by Robert Koda led me to his website and the electronic home of some stunning amplifiers and preamplifiers. The photo above is the Takumi K-70. Robert Koda continues: ‘Contained in a triple chassis format, the K-70 is our flagship model and our vision of the ultimate amplifier. Incorporating vacuum tubes and transistors, this unit shares no similarity sonically or electrically to either technology. Instead, the K-70 reaches into the ether and delivers a sweeping sound of universal beauty and unbounded complexity.’
Robert, we hope you have a Canadian distributor. We’d love a review copy.
June 6 update
Simaudio’s Moon 750D 30th Anniversary CD Player and 600i 30th Anniversary Moon Integrated Amplifier.
I have observed with Canadian pride the rise and continued pursuit of excellence of Simaudio (photo credit) over the past 30 years. A real audio success story. Not only do Simaudio’s ‘Moon’ products sound spectacular, they look amazing, too.
May 21 update
Two of my favourite high end products, NuForce [an Audiophilia advertiser] and Amphion Loudspeakers from Finland, have joined forces at the 2011 Munich High End Audio Show.
From the NuForce Press Release: Look for NuForce at the High End 2011 show in Munich, Germany, May 19th to the 22nd. In addition to our electronic products partnered with Amphion speakers, we are previewing the Icon iDO and P-18 preamp.
The Icon iDO extracts audio data in its original digital form in USB Host Mode from iPod/iPad/iPhone, thereby allowing for the ultimate in bit-perfect, low-jitter music file playback. The iDO offers three outputs: analog RCA, coaxial digital, and 3.5mm headphones-out. The estimated list price will be between $249 and $299, with an anticipated shipping date around mid-July.
Housed in one 17″ chassis, the low-noise, high-performance Nuforce P-18 preamplifier improves upon the P-9 preamp with ultra low THD+N (<0.0004%), switch resistor network volume control, and independent gain settings for each input. The P-18’s estimated list price will be about $4800, with availability around the end of June.
May 3 update
From Good Things in Life Blog.
Spinning Elastica’s ‘Stutter’, 1994 US 10” Limited Edition Gold vinyl EP, on my trusty Clearaudio, using Grado Prestige Gold cartridge. A very golden affair!
March 30 update
Saw this gem on Atane Ofiaja’s Tumblr blog (@atane on Twitter). Made in Warwick, NY. And looking gorgeous. Might try to drop by this summer and have a listen. Rogers EHF-100 Amplifier. Audiophile quality. Half the price. Lifetime, transferrable warranty. iPod compatible.
March 13 update
We are putting the finishing touches to the review of the Focal - JM Lab Grande Utopia EM. One of the world’s most expensive speakers. Yours for 180K. Watch this space.
March 5 update
Swedish designer Jonas Eriksson has created the 76 Synthesizer iPad app. Certainly not high end audio, but very sexy nonetheless. I wonder what the future holds for high end audio and the Apple ecosystem?
Feb 27 update
‘The minimalist eye of Danish architecture and furniture design has been on inspiration for the design of the Rithm. By uniquely marrying the acoustic technology with a minimalist design, the Rithm can hardly be recognized as a loudspeaker.’ Not sure that’s a good thing, but looks good. More photos of this beautiful speaker if you click on ‘click to continue’.
Feb 26 update
Braun CE251. 1970s FM Tuner goodness. So beautiful.
Feb 2 update
Our reader Ivan wanted Valves (Brit speak for tubes). You got it, Ivan. A shot taken by our own Rick Nickel of some serious corona on the tubes on my Audio Research amplifier. If you click on the photo, you’ll see some detail. Rick has real skill and a superb camera.
To begin, a lovely shot of some Denon headphones. Makes me almost want to buy expensive headphones.