High End 2014 - Munich, Germany
- Written by News Editor News Editor
- Parent Category: High End 2014 High End 2014
- Created: 16 May 2014 16 May 2014
Companies featured in gallery below: Fink Audio-Consulting, Dynaudio, Dali, Audio Research, Wadia Digital, McIntosh Labs, Sonus Faber, TAD, PMC, Tidal, Arcam
All prices in euros or US dollars unless otherwise indicated
Fink Audio-Consulting demonstrated its three-way Triple-F Concept Speaker A, which uses the company's proprietary flat-diaphragm drivers in the mids and bass, and an Air Motion Transformer tweeter for the high frequencies. The price, if it goes into production, will be approximately €30,000/pr. One feature of the flat-diaphragm midrange driver is . . .
. . . the small damper that is placed in the center. Overall, we thought this speaker sounded extremely nice, so we hope it gets made.
Dynaudio has updated its Xeo line of wireless, powered loudspeakers with the introduction of the floorstanding Xeo 6 (€3000/pr.) and stand-mounted Xeo 4 (€1700/pr.). Dynaudio reps told us that more processing power and increased amplifier power have improved the sound of the Xeos. The Xeo wireless transmitter now has a digital coaxial input as well, and it can support resolutions up to 24-bit/96kHz (the previous series was limited to 16/48).
Dali's new Rubicon speaker line consists of (from left to right) the LCR (€999/each), 2 (€899/each), 5 (€1399/each), 6 (€1799/each), and 8 (€2399/each). All but the smallest model feature a 45mm ribbon super tweeter, and all have soft-dome tweeters and wood-fiber woofers in bass-reflex cabinets.
The new range of Audio Research Galileo-series products ushers in a brand-new look for the company. The new styling, done by the Fine Sounds Group's chief industrial designer, Livio Cucuzza, mixes aspects of old with new. The GS150 stereo amplifier ($25,000) is said to produce 150Wpc into 8 ohms, while the . . .
. . . GSi75 integrated amplifier-DAC, which will retail for $19,000, produces 75Wpc into 8 ohms and also features a DAC that supports DSD and PCM (up to 24-bit/192kHz). The GSi75 has five sets of single-ended RCA analog inputs and is said to use only 4dB of overall negative feedback. Rounding out the new range is the . . .
. . . GSPre preamplifier-headphone amplifier ($18,000), which also incorporates an onboard phono stage. The GSPre has balanced and single-ended connections, while the phono stage "features low-noise JFET inputs and 6H30 outputs as well as programmable loading." One cool design flourish . . .
. . . of the GSPre is the "tube canyon," which was inspired by the classic Audio Research SP-1 preamp from 1970.
Wadia Digital introduced the 150 and 300 power amplifiers, which will become available later this year. Both feature casework similar to the 321 Decoding Computer, which was introduced at CES 2014. The two models also have the Wadia Link digital input and a switch-mode power-supply module. The Wadia 150 is said to produce 150Wpc into 8 ohms, while the . . .
. . . 300 mono amplifier pumps out 300W into 8 ohms. The 300 is said to be a fully balanced design. The prices for the 150 and 300 in the United States are $4500 and $5000, respectively.
The McIntosh Labs MHP1000 headphones were displayed in a glass case that featured a hologram display that showed not only the company logo (as in the accompanying photo), but also exploded-view driver diagrams and other nifty graphics. McIntosh developed the MHP1000s in conjunction with well-known headphone manufacturer Beyerdynamic -- it's purported to be a cutting-edge design that will sell for $2000 when available later this year. This display was perhaps the most unique way we've seen to educate attendees on the design aspects of the product. Although we did not hear the MHP1000s, the superb display made us want to!
The McIntosh Labs MC301 mono power amplifier is the lowest-powered of the company's solid-state offerings. The MC301 features McIntosh's iconic blue power meter and a sleek black chassis that is only 5" in height. The MC301 will produce 300W into 8 ohms. A stereo version, the MC152 (behind), will also be released and will output 150Wpc into 8 ohms.
The new Sonus Faber Lilium loudspeaker combines design elements of the recently celebrated Ex3ma and the already-well-established Aida. In an effort to completely minimize the interaction between the ultra-low-bass drivers (which Sonus calls "infra woofers") and the upper-bass, midrange, and tweeter, the Lilium uses . . .
. . . a separate bass cabinet located directly behind the enclosure that houses the main drive units. Furthermore, if you push on the bass cabinet, you'll find that it moves independently of the main cabinet due to a built-in suspension system. The Lilium, a 3.5-way affair, uses all-new drivers created specifically for this model. The frequency range is stated as 20Hz to 35kHz, and the price is €48,000/pr.
Available by the end of 2014 will be the TAD Compact Evolution loudspeaker, which uses the same drivers as the company's pricier Compact Reference model, but housed in a simpler, smaller enclosure. The projected retail pricing is expected to be under €20,000/pr. when it's released.
PMC's new twenty.26 is the only three-way model in the twenty-series line. The twenty.26 features a new 7" woofer that is coupled with PMC's proprietary 50mm dome midrange and a SEAS 27mm soft-dome tweeter. The price is €6388/pr. in any of four finishes: Oak, Walnut, Amarone, and Diamond Black.
The new Tidal Contriva G2 (€41,000/pr.) is still a three-way design just like the original Contriva, but the G2 has an enclosure made from a new cabinet material called Tiradur. It is also slightly smaller in stature compared to the original. The G2 model uses drive units taken from the company's larger Agoria model: two 9" woofers, a 7" midrange, and a 1.2" diamond-diaphragm tweeter. Designer Jorn Janczak was emphatic that this is a loudspeaker improved in every way. "Even the binding posts were redesigned for better sound!" he told us. The Contriva Xtender (shown left, price TBA) is designed to augment the low-bass capability of the Contriva G2. The Xtender has a pair of 9" woofers and four rear-mounted 9" passive radiators.
Arcam introduced the C49 preamplifier and the . . .
. . . P49 stereo power amplifier at High End 2014. These products are priced at $5000 each in the United States and are the new flagship stereo components from this stalwart British company. The power amplifier is rated to deliver 200Wpc into 8 ohms or 400Wpc into 4 ohms. Also from Arcam . . .
. . . is the UDP411 universal player, which is capable of playing Blu-ray, SACD, DVD . . . well, basically everything because it's universal! It also has a number of digital inputs, as well as the ability to stream 24-bit/192kHz-resolution music wirelessly. The price for the UDP411 is projected to be $2000 in the United States when it becomes available this summer. If the UDP411 does everything it says when it's released, it might be one of the most feature-rich digital sources on the market today.
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