Companies featured in gallery below: Stello, Eximus, Audio Research Corporation, Ayre Acoustics, Magico, Nordost, Musical Fidelity, Thiel, Sonus Faber, Penaudio, Raidho
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise indicated
April Music's Simon Lee stands proudly behind his company's new Stello CDA700 CD player and Ai700 integrated amplifier, which are positioned in their line above the still-current 500-series components. These models are available in black or silver finishes. Their prices are TBA.
Like all April Music products, the Stello 700 series shows exceptional build quality and styling. The CDA700 CD player has top-mounted controls, which we thought was a very nice touch. [www.aprilmusic.com]
April Music also owns the higher-end Eximus brand. The new Eximus S5 is a 300Wpc stereo amplifier that features a 1.2kVA toroidal transformer and will be priced at $9000 when it becomes available later this year. [www.aprilmusic.com]
Audio Research Corporation showed the new Reference 5 SE linestage preamplifier (top, $12,995) and Reference Phono 2 SE phono stage ($12,995). These products feature parts upgrades that were derived from the company's Reference Anniversary preamplifier, which went out of production in 2011. [www.audioresearch.com]
ARC also debuted their first Reference-series digital-to-analog converter, aptly named the Reference DAC. This massively flexible model features wired and wireless Ethernet, two USB inputs as well as a host of additional digital inputs, and a 3.5" TFT front-panel display. The price will be between $14,000 and $15,000 when it's available in the second quarter of 2012. The back of the Reference DAC is quite populated . . .
and hints at the unit's comprehensive connectivity flexibility. With products like this one, it's obvious that state-of-the-art music streaming is now an official part of the high end. [www.audioresearch.com]
Ayre Acoustics showed their new QA-9 analog-to-digital converter at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest show last October, but now they're shipping and have a set retail price: $3950 in standard configuration and . . .
. . . $4750 with optional word-clock output. Ayre claims this is the first audiophile-grade ADC, and that it should do a bang-up job of helping to digitize LPs. [www.ayre.com]
Magico unveiled the Q5 at CES 2010 and the Q3 at CES 2011, and now they're using CES 2012 to launch the cost-no-object Q7, which weighs a backbreaking 750 pounds and costs $165,000 per pair. The Q7 is a four-way design that at CES was . . .
. . . triwired. According to Magico, the Q7 is their most ambitious speaker product yet, and it puts into place everything their design team has learned since they've been building loudspeakers. [www.magico.net]
Magico also showed their new three-way S5, the first in their new S series. The S5 is the successor to the V3, a model that's now discontinued. The S5 will be priced at $28,600 per pair when launched later in 2012. [www.magico.net]
Nordost always seems to have something new. This time it was an update to the company's popular Norse line. From left to right are the Heimdal 2 power cord ($1799 per 2m cord), Heimdal 2 interconnects ($899 per 1m pair), and Frey 2 power cord ($1899 per 2m cord). [www.nordost.com]
The Musical Fidelity M1 power amplifier was designed using the company's proprietary pulse-width-modulation technology and has impressive specs given its small size. The M1 is rated to deliver 60Wpc in stereo mode but can be bridged to output 100Wpc in mono mode. These power ratings double into 4 ohms. The price is $1299. [www.musicalfidelity.com]
Musical Fidelity has embraced high-resolution music transfer with the introduction of the cool little V-Link digital converter, which is priced at $399. It takes in a USB signal at up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution, converts it, and outputs the digital signal via XLR and RCA S/PDIF connectors. It's perfect for DACs that don't have a USB input. The V-Link also has sampling-frequency indicators. [www.musicalfidelity.com]
In March, 2012, Thiel Audio will be shipping the new CS1.7 loudspeaker, which uses technology derived from the company's flagship CS3.7. New drivers, a new crossover . . . it all adds up to a brand new model that will be priced just a tick above $5000 per pair.
Italy's Sonus Faber showed the stunning new Aida loudspeaker, a seven-driver, four-way design that weighs in at 383 pounds. This speaker sits right below The Sonus Faber in the company's product line and is priced at $120,000 per pair. One thing you can't see from this photo . . .
. . . is the bottom-firing 13" woofer for deep bass.
Penaudio's Sara S is a 2.5-way design that uses two SEAS Excel 145mm midrange-woofers and a SEAS 20mm textile-dome tweeter. The Sara S is reflex loaded via a rear-mounted port.
Raidho of Denmark showed their new C1.1, which retails for $17,000 with stands. The C1.1 has a rather unique construction in that the main part of the cabinet is MDF, while the rear panel and front panel are aluminum. Raidho makes their own drivers, including the ribbon tweeter and . . .
. . . the midrange-woofer, which has a unique motor structure along with a basket that's part of the front baffle. Raidho's main designer is Michael Børresen, shown in the photo above.