Salon Son & Image 2012 - Montreal, Canada
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- Parent Category: Salon Son & Image 2012 Salon Son & Image 2012
- Created: 25 March 2012 25 March 2012
Companies featured in gallery below: Axiom Audio, Magico, T+A, Totem Acoustic, Lyra, BitPerfect Sound, Pro-Ject, Zellaton, JRiver, Bryston, Genesis Advanced Technologies, Trigon
Here's something really new and very innovative! Axiom Audio's new LFR 11 loudspeaker houses a total of 11 drivers on its front and . . .
. . . rear sides in a more or less bipolar configuration. To those who know the Axiom brand, this will seem like a radical departure from what they've previously done. But it's not so odd when you realize that company founder Ian Colquhoun hired former Mirage designer Andrew Welker as part of his design team. Andrew says that the LFR 11 is far more advanced than a typical bipolar, overcoming many of the inherent limitations of the technology by employing a subtle angle on the back panel and . . .
. . . doing digital manipulations via the supplied DSP controller that resides in the playback chain between the preamplifier and power amplifiers. According to Andrew, this design could only work because of modern DSP technology. The LFR 11 retails for $3760 USD per pair in standard finishes and comes with the DSP controller. The LFR 11 also needs four channels of amplification per stereo pair.
Magico showed their S5 loudspeaker that first debuted at CES 2012 in prototype form that retails for $28,600 USD per pair, and is now finally moving into production. The S5 loudspeaker is a departure for Magico in that . . .
. . . it is available in a variety of painted finishes, something never before available for any of their speaker models. Jason Thorpe was thrilled that . . .
. . . he could get one to match his shirt perfectly.
T+A of Germany introduced the DAC 8, a fully balanced design with an asynchronous USB input. The DAC 8 sports an analog volume control (so you can also use it as a preamp), employs switchable digital filters, and . . .
. . . accepts up to 24/192 signals through all of its digital inputs. The DAC 8's retail price will be $3000 USD when it's released in the middle of this year.
The newest member of Totem Acoustic's Element series is the Ember bookshelf-sized, two-way speaker, with no crossover on the woofer. The Ember sells for $4200 CAD per pair and employs a 6” version of the company's Torrent woofer, which is entirely built in-house. The Torrent woofer features multiple neodymium magnets that keep the coil completely centered in the magnetic field. The cabinet features Totem's lock-mitered construction and a beautiful multi-layered, hand-laid polyester lacquer finish.
The new Atlas cartridge stands at the top of Lyra's line, and, as such, features several innovative new technologies. The body of the $9500 USD Atlas is carved from a billet of titanium in a shape that is asymmetrical and without any parallel surfaces. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Atlas is their New Angle technology, which pre-biases the coils so that they're perfectly aligned only once the cartridge makes contact with the record at the specified tracking weight.
Here's a bargain for you. If you're using iTunes and you're streaming your music to a DAC via USB, you might want to investigate BitPerfect's new playback software. But hurry! Currently $4.99, it'll increase to $9.99 as of April 1st. For your five bucks you'll get an audio-optimised layer that runs alongside iTunes and plays your music on command, bypassing OS X's Core Audio layer (for improved sound quality). We spoke to the sofware engineer Tim Murison about his value-priced playback product and he stated that the BitPerfect engine will accept 32/768 signals and output a bit-perfect signal -- not surprising given the company name.
Value for money + turntables = Pro-Ject. This company keeps upping the ante when it comes to affordable record players. While Pro-Ject does make some seriously high-end turntables, it's the lower end of their product line that amazes. The new Debut Carbon features . . .
. . .a carbon-fiber arm . . .
. . . a sorbothane-damped motor suspension, and juicy high-gloss finishes for a ludicrously cheap $449 CAD. This thing looks like an even better deal once you factor in the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge that comes pre-installed for no additional charge.
What's old is new again. Zellaton has a history that dates back to the '30s with Dr. Emil Podszus's patented driver technologies that have been resurrected in this new series of speakers that starts with the $24,750 USD-per-pair two-way Emotion loudspeaker that . . .
. . . features a modern-day version of Podszus's crossover-less midrange-woofer and a newly developed cone tweeter. The cabinet . . .
. . . is constructed from MDF and concrete and features a stunning paint job available in black, white, silver, charcoal-grey, and metallic-brown high-gloss finishes.
Jim Hillegas, the CEO of JRiver, was in Montreal to show the company's popular Windows-based Media Center player ($49.95 USD) and to discuss computer setup and the future of digital audio in various workshops and seminars on Saturday and Sunday.
Bryston used Salon Son & Image 2012 to debut the replacement for their very popular B100 SST integrated amplifier, a model that SoundStage! Network reviewer Philip Beaudette has used for years. The B135 SST2 is rated at 135Wpc into 8 ohms or 180Wpc into 4 ohms and carries a base price of $4600 CAD. An optional DAC module can be added for $1395 and a moving-magnet phono stage is also available for $600.
While the Genesis G5.2 loudspeaker ($23,500 USD per pair) isn't new, it's still quite impressive. Sporting a serious servo-controlled bass cabinet with a 400W amplifier . . .
. . . they've updated their tweeter to a new version that extends up to 40kHz from the old version's 36kHz.
Beyond the normal streaming functionality that's found in most digital streamers, the new Trigon Chronolog packs in an 80GB solid-state hard drive. In addition, there's a slot on the front of the Chronolog that accepts a CD, so you can slide a new disc in and it'll rip that disc to your library. How handy! The Chronolog accepts digital signals up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution and retails for $9500 CAD.
Meet the Gaanam integrated amplifier from Rethm of India. This is Rethm's first amplifier. The Gaanam is a 16Wpc single-ended triode design based on the Soviet 6C33C valve, one that has a lineage dating back to Cold War-era MiG fighters. With an external power supply and an . . .
. . . interestingly laid-out rear panel, the Indian-built integrated retails for $7750 USD. We thought the Gaanam to be a compact, refreshing little piece that sounded very nice driving the company's single-driver speakers.
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