Companies featured in gallery below: Simaudio Moon, Dynaudio, Monitor Audio, Anthony Gallo Acoustics, Focus Audio, Amphion, PSB, Electrocompaniet, Lansche, Silverline Audio, Audio-Technica, Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, HiFiMan
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise indicated
Simaudio released the full-size Moon 380D DAC (bottom) and compact Moon 180 MiND (Moon Intelligent Network Device) streamer. The 180 MiND is designed to seamlessly interface with other Simaudio products. You can stream music from your network to the 180 MiND wirelessly (up to 16/44.1) or via Ethernet (up to 24/192), and the 180 MiND will then send the audio signal to the attached Moon component via the SimLink wired connection and serve as the control center for the system through the app, which is accessed via an iPad or Android device. The 180 MiND retails for $1250 in basic form and can be purchased with an optional volume control for an additional $600. The Moon 380D DAC features 32-bit architecture inspired by the company's Evolution-series DACs. It also has eight digital inputs including USB that all support up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. The 380D is priced starting at $3900, with additional options available for an extra cost. [www.simaudio.com]
We were told that the new top-of-the-line Simaudio Moon Evolution 810LP phono stage is special because of the simplicity. There is no digital circuitry in the 810LP and the signal path is reportedly a "purist design." Being an Evolution-series product, the 810LP is built with high-quality parts. The retail price of the 810LP is $12,000. [www.simaudio.com]
Denmark's Dynaudio released two sleek new loudspeakers with some special features and some advanced technology. The new Xeo 3 ($2300 per pair) and Xeo 5 ($4000 per pair) have built-in amplifiers -- 50W for their woofers and 50W for their tweeters -- and operate wirelessly via a built-in receiver and . . .
. . . the Xeo Transmitter, which can accept an analog or digital signal from your audio system. From the demonstration that Dynaudio put on, the systems seem quite simple to set up and operate. Very slick, Dynaudio. [www.dynaudio.com]
Britain's Monitor Audio is known for their striking finishes, especially on their Platinum-series loudspeakers, but the new Monitor speakers introduced at the show are designed to blend into a room, not stand out in it. The new Shadow range is on-wall and, boy oh boy, are these speakers ever thin. The larger Shadow 60 ($1649 per pair) is on the left and the smaller 50 ($1449 per pair) is on the right. Both speakers are about 1.5" thick. What you can't see from the photo . . .
. . . are the innovative driver baskets housed inside. Shown is a 4" version of their on-wall driver, which uses the company's C-CAM driver technology and has a flat diaphragm along with a sliced spider, something we've never seen before. These drivers are powered by neodymium magnets to keep them small but also very powerful. [www.monitoraudio.com]
Continuing with the ultra-thin, on-wall theme, Anthony Gallo Acoustics showed prototypes of their entries into this crowded marketplace. Anthony Gallo Acoustics' speakers use . . .
. . . drivers that are 2" in diameter and have aluminum cones and neodymium magnets for high power. [www.roundsound.com]
Focus Audio is well known for speakers, but now they're trying their hand at amps. This as-yet-unnamed Focus Audio all-tube integrated amplifier produces 35Wpc with EL34 tubes and is expected to retail for $15,000. The folks at Canada-based Focus are proud to say that their new amp is made entirely in Canada, and they've sourced almost all the components there as well. [www.focusaudio.com]
But speakers are still the focus at Focus. The company also released a new stand-mounted loudspeaker in their Master series called the Master 6, this one equipped with a Scan-Speak beryllium tweeter and a 7" Eton midrange-woofer. The retail price is $8000 per pair. [www.focusaudio.com]
Finland's Amphion showed the new room-friendly Argon7L loudspeaker, which sports the usual company hallmarks: waveguides, well-controlled dispersion, low tweeter crossover point, etc. This two-way, three-driver floorstander is the largest model in the Argon range, taking over the top spot from the Argon3L, which we reviewed positively on SoundStage! Hi-Fi in April 2011. The 7L retails for $6000 per pair in standard finishes. [www.amphion.fi]
PSB made quite a splash with their Imagine Mini at the 2011 CES. This year sees that platform extended with the introduction of the Imagine T2, a five-driver, "transitional five-way" design. Transitional in this case means that the lower three woofers gradually roll off as frequency increases, with only the top of the three woofers actually crossing over to the midrange. The price is $3500 per pair in standard wood finishes and $3850 per pair in high-gloss white or black.
Norway's Electrocompaniet showed the ECI 6D fully balanced integrated amplifier, which comes with a built-in DAC for $5995. The ECI 6D can also be ordered with an optional music streamer module and/or HDMI inputs for additional cost.
The German-made Lansche No.7 is a three-way loudspeaker system that features a .3" Corona Plasma tweeter, two 4" midrange drivers, and four 8.7" composite glass-fiber woofers. The whole thing weighs 286 pounds and retails for $100,000 per pair.
Silverline of the USA is another speaker company now making amps. Silverline showed the sleek new IS-100 integrated amplifier, which comes complete with a separate power supply that has a pure-silver transformer. The IS-100 is rated to produce 100Wpc into 8 ohms and 200Wpc into 4 ohms. The retail price is $8000.
Audio-Technica is celebrating its 50th anniversary by releasing several limited-edition products. The AT50ANV air-core moving-coil phono cartridge features a solid boron cantilever, a machined titanium base, and aluminum and titanium body components. It comes in a wooden presentation case that will be engraved with its limited-edition serial number. The price has yet to be determined.
The Audio-Technica ATH-W3000ANV headphones have newly designed 53mm drivers, and the frame is constructed from magnesium for exceptionally light weight and high rigidity. The earpieces are lacquer-finished Hokkaido Asada cherry wood, and the earpads are made from Spanish lambskin. The ATH-3000ANV will retail for $1299. All of Audio-Technica's 50th anniversary products will be available in February.
Beyerdynamic’s T 50 p Manufaktur headphones are individually customizable. In fact, manufaktur is German for handmade. The customer can specify the color of the sheepskin on the headband and the paint on the earcups. Owners can even have their initials laser engraved on the side. These headphones feature the Tesla technology that's used in their top-of-the-line headphone products, and they start at $300 depending on the configuration.
The Sennheiser HD 700 is positioned just below their reference HD 800 model and is priced at $999. The HD 700 features 40mm Duofol transducers, which are mounted in high-precision gauze made of stainless steel.
HiFiMan introduced their least expensive planar-magnetic headphones, the $399 HE-400. Unlike most planar-magnetic headphones, HiFiMan says these are sensitive enough to be driven by a portable music player.
On the other hand, if you want to use a headphone amplifier, HiFiMan's new EF6 has three inputs, balanced outputs, and can be switched for either high-gain or low-gain headphones. This full-sized headphone amp weighs an impressive 24 pounds and will be available later this month for $1499.