Audio-Technica's new ATH-AG1 open-back and ATH-ADG1 closed-back gaming headphones are actually based on their A700 and AD700 series of audiophile headphones. The headphones feature high-grade 53mm drivers and a self-adjusting 3D Wing Support Housing for comfort, and connectivity options include both a standard 1/8" miniplug and USB plug with a built-in D-to-A converter to allow connection to the USB output of a computer or other device. They will be available in early 2014 and are priced at $249.95 and $299.95, respectively.
Westone Audio, known in the pro-audio market for its in-ear musicians' monitors, is celebrating its 55th anniversary with the release of its W series of multi-driver audiophile earphones. The top-of-the-line W60's six-driver system has dual drivers for the tweeters, midranges, and woofers, and it retails for $999. The W50 has one less driver and will retail for $749.
German headphone manufacturer Beyerdynamic showed their A 200 p high-end portable digital headphone amplifier, which was engineered and developed with Astell&Kern. It comes with both USB and Apple Lightning connectors and can play digital files with resolutions up to 24-bit/96kHz. It is priced at $299 and can play for up to 11 hours on a single charge.
Maryland-based Polk Audio displayed its retro-looking, powered lifestyle speaker system, the Hampden. A real teak veneer covers the MDF enclosures, which house a 1" silk-dome tweeter and 4.5" polypropylene bass-midrange driver. Each driver is amplified separately with 10W going to each of the tweeters and 30W to each of the bass-midrange drivers. Connectivity consists of a USB Type-B connector, 1/8" stereo miniplug, and Bluetooth with aptX. An app will be available that will allow multiple mobile devices to create playlists for the Hampden. It will be available in February and will retail for $399 per pair.
Sennheiser displayed new professional-quality headphones ideal for DJs and mixing. The 150-ohm HD6 is optimally compatible with mixing and studio equipment, while the 95-ohm HD7/HD8 is compatible with DJ equipment and can be driven by portable devices. They should all be available . . .
. . . by the end of the month with prices ranging from $279 for the HD6 to $389 for the HD8. The HD7, shown above, is $329.
Parasound's Halo JC 3+ phono preamplifier improves upon its original John Curl-designed JC 3 phono preamp. John Curl and circuit-board designer Carl Thompson tweaked the circuits. The MC load can be adjusted independently . . .
. . . for each channel from 50 to 550 ohms, and it will be available in silver or black at a price of $2995.
Internet-direct retailer SVS introduced two new subwoofers, each with a newly developed 12" driver and 500W Sledge STA-500D DSP-based amplifier. The SB-2000, priced at $699, features a sealed enclosure and is rated to play down to 19Hz. The larger PB-2000 . . .
. . . is priced at $799 and has a 4" front-firing port that lowers the rated frequency response down to 17Hz. Both models are shipping now.
Velodyne introduced its wireless Wi-Q 10 and Wi-Q 12 subwoofers. Both feature the company's wireless Wi-Q technology, which operates at 2.4GHz; auto-EQ bass correction; and a digital distortion-limiting system. Pictured is the Wi-Q 10, which has a 10" front-firing driver, downward-firing port, 195W amplifier, and a claimed frequency response of 28 to 120Hz (+/- 3dB). The Wi-Q 12 has a larger 12" driver and 225W amplifier that extends the response to 25Hz (-3dB). The Wi-Q 10 and Wi-Q 12 are priced at $799 and $899, respectively, and will be shipping later this month.
HiFiMAN had two new models of headphones on display that feature its "advanced single-ended planar driver." The HE400i will sell for $499, and the HE560, which has teakwood earcups, will sell for $899. Both are scheduled to be released in March.
Jeff Fritz featured a very large Torus Power power-conditioning system in his TWBAS 2012 event. For those whose budgets and aspirations aren't quite as big as those of a TWBAS-worthy system, Torus has the new TOT series of toroidal-based isolation power conditioners. The TOT Mini is rated at 7A, and the TOT Max is rated at 15A with series-mode surge suppression available for an additional $350 on either unit. The base price of the TOTs is $899 for the Mini and $1299 for the Max. Both units will be available in about four weeks.
The Hugo is Chord Electronics' new reference-grade DAC/headphone amp that features optical and RCA coaxial S/PDIF, USB, and Bluetooth connectivity. It will accept sample rates up to 384kHz and is DSD/DXD capable. Sample rates of up to 192kHz are supported from Windows operating systems without the use of any additional drivers. The Hugo can operate for 10 to 14 hours on a single charge and is priced at $2150.
Primare showed its 24-bit/192kHz-capable NP30 DAC, which features a balanced design throughout. It also features gain control, allowing it to be connected directly to a power amplifier. Digital inputs include asynchronous USB on both Type-A and Type-B connections, coaxial and TosLink S/PDIF, UPnP, and Wi-Fi. There is also a dedicated app available for both iOS and Android devices. The NP30 costs $3750.
MBL announced its new Noble line of electronics, which will be available in the middle of 2014. Made completely in Germany, the line will include . . .
. . . a stereo amplifier, a preamplifier, and a CD player with digital inputs. Available in black or white, and with a very cool remote control on display, MBL's iOS application can handle 24/192 wireless transmission. Details were sparse about the line in terms of their specifications and connectivity, but they sounded phenomenal partnering MBL's own 111 F loudspeakers.
Genesis Advanced Technologies demonstrated a new ambitious loudspeaker, the Genesis 4, which features a ring-ribbon tweeter, a planar-magnetic midrange, and two solid-titanium midbass couplers -- all of which operate in an open-back, dipole arrangement. The woofers are dual 10" powered units. The price is $45,000/pair.
Balanced Audio Technology showed its VK-P12SE SPK tube phono stage, and the substantial unit retails for $12,495. The SPK in the model name is short for "Super-Pak," and it refers to a six-pack of custom-designed amorphous-core output transformers. The company's flagship phono stage has revised gain stages that allow for a significantly cleaner signal path.
Lamm Industries demoed its LP2.1 phono preamplifier, and the $8960 dual-monaural vacuum-tube design has classic Lamm styling cues. Compared to the outgoing LP2, the LP2.1 significantly reduces output impedance, has a low-noise power transformer, and uses new tubes: the 6C3P and the 6C34P-E. A variety of other internal parts have also been improved upon.