Salon Son & Image 2012 - Montreal, Canada
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- Parent Category: Salon Son & Image 2012 Salon Son & Image 2012
- Created: 23 March 2012 23 March 2012
Companies featured in gallery below: Atoll Electronique, Audio Note, Bryston, GutWire, KingRex, Mass Fidelity, Monitor Audio, Ardán, Naim, Quad, Rega
The Atoll company of France showed the beautifully designed Atoll PR400 preamplifier and the matching AM400 amplifier, which retail for $5599 and $5999, respectively. Atoll also showed . . .
. . . the matching DAC200, which sells for $2399 CAD and has six digital inputs, including USB, that support up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. You can use the DAC200 as a preamp since it comes equipped with a volume control. The . . .
. . . DAC200 can also receive data wirelessly using the supplied dongle, but it's limited to 16-bit/44kHz (CD) resolution.
Looking suspiciously like Doug Schneider's old Systemdek 2x2 turntable, the new Audio Note TT Two Deluxe, which retails for a hefty $3650 without arm, is powered by two motors and comes in a very nice rosewood finish. It's also available in black-ash and cherry finishes.
Canada's Bryston had on hand an early production model of what they're calling the Model T loudspeaker, which they designed in collaboration with Axiom Audio. The Model T is a three-way design with three 8” long-throw woofers, two 3.5” midranges, and two 1” tweeters. What's special about this speaker is that it is . . .
. . . an active design controlled by the DSP-based BDX-1 crossover that operates at 24-bit/96kHz resolution. The BDX-1's analog section is a class-A design with all discrete components. Since the Model T is a three-way design, six channels of amplification are needed. Bryston anticipates that the Model T will retail between $10,000 and $12,000 CAD (speakers plus crossover, but not including amplification) when it becomes available.
GutWire's Herbert Wong holds a new iPhone 4/4S case that they're producing in partnership with Divoti. The case, which retails for $180 CAD, is made from titanium and germanium and is claimed to make your iPhone sound better.
GutWire also showed their new Vision speaker cables, which are terminated with Boccchino spade lugs, milled from a solid block of copper and gold-plated and then silver-plated (for luck?) as well. The Vision cables retail for a whopping $8999 per 8' pair.
High value alert! For only $495 CAD, the KingRex UD384 USB DAC can asynchronously decode signals up to 32/384. The company claims that the UD384 minimizes jitter to a claimed 1ppm. The UD384 has . . .
. . . analog outputs on its backside, as well as an RCA-based S/PDIF output, so it can be used as a USB-to-S/PDIF converter.
Then there's the KingRex T20U, a 22Wpc (4 ohms) class-T integrated amplifier that contains a built-in 24/192 USB DAC. The T20U also seems to offer . . .
. . . exceptional value, retailing for a most reasonable $359 CAD.
The new Model 1 integrated amplifier from Mass Fidelity sells for $995 and is designed with urban living in mind. It's compact and elegant, with a machined-aluminum enclosure. The Model 1 is rated by the manufacturer at 50Wpc into 8 ohms (90Wpc into 4 ohms). Mass Fidelity is positioning the Model 1 so that it can be paired with their StereOS operating system that we wrote about separately.
Complementing the Model 1 amplifier was the Mass Fidelity Model 1 speaker system. Each MDF enclosure contains a 3/4” tweeter, two 3.5” midranges, and a 5.25” bass driver. The grille is made from one piece of aluminum. The Model 1 speaker system retails for $995 CAD per pair.
While the Monitor Audio GX200 isn't a new speaker, North American distributor Kevro was touting the fact that it's now available in the stunning Ebony Veneer that their Platinum series comes in. The high-gloss finish is as near to perfect as we've seen and everyone on our team agreed that it looks great. The Ebony adds a 20% premium to the GX200's $5000 CAD-per-pair base price, making them $6000.
Sitting close to the GX200 was the little-brother GX50, which is also available in the Ebony finish ($1995 CAD per pair). But what really caught our attention were . . .
...the Ardán speaker stands supporting the speakers. The elevation pro™ EVP-M1 stands, which retail for $600 CAD per pair, are infinitely adjustable and are wonderfully styled and extremely well made (Ardán is an Irish company, but the stands were designed in Italy). Fans of desktop high-end audio are encouraged to check these out.
Fresh from Naim was their $13,000 CAD NDS music streamer, which will accept resolutions up to 24/192. This UPnP-compliant device will soon be Airplay-compatible via a software upgrade. On top of that $13,000 for the NDS, you'll need to add the power supply of your choice, and Naim has three models available for $3000, $5800 and $9500 each. Each successive increase in price reportedly results in better sound. What's more, the NDS can accomodate two power supplies: one for the digital section, the other for the analog section. The NDS is likely the most expensive streamer on the market right now, with Naim obviously feeling that this is the way of the future for high-end digital playback.
That other classic Quad amp, the 606, morphed a number of years ago into the 909, and now it's been improved once again, becoming the Elite QSB. The Elite QSB is certainly a solid-looking beast with splendid casework that looks great from . . .
. . . every side. We thought that the Elite QSB would cost a fortune, but it retails for a most reasonable $1995 CAD, which becomes even more palatable once you consider that the US retail price is $2100! For once Canadians get a break on the price.
The new Rega Apollo R CD player looks sleek and sexy and retails for a price suitable for normal folks: $1095 CAD. We were especially smitten by the player's top-loading mechanism . . .
. . . which felt, in Jason Thorpe's words, "oh so sexy." Frankly, the Apollo R seems worth the money for this feature alone. Hopefully we can get one in for review to hear how it sounds.
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