High End 2018 - Munich, Germany
- Written by News Editor News Editor
- Parent Category: High End 2018 High End 2018
- Created: 10 May 2018 10 May 2018
Companies featured in gallery below: Raidho, Scansonic, Crystal Cable, Vitus Audio, Luxman, Von Schweikert Audio, EgglestonWorks, TriangleArt, dCS, Thrax, Sonus Faber, Auralic, Vivid Audio, Lumin, Furutech
All prices in euros (€) or US dollars ($) unless otherwise indicated.
Raidho Acoustics’ new TD-4.8 loudspeaker (€134,000/pr. in standard finish, €149,900/pr. in Walnut Burl) is a three-way vented design that uses a ribbon tweeter paired with two 100mm and six 115mm cone drivers. The cone drivers in the TD-4.8 improve on the company’s existing Diamond technology by adding 1 micron of tantalum, a ductile metal used in the creation of superalloys. The company is now referring to them as “Tantalum-Diamond” drivers. According to Raidho, the addition of tantalum to the diamond driver membrane reduces distortion and improves transient response, making it a better match with the speaker’s ribbon tweeter.
Scansonic, which is part of the same parent company as Raidho (Dantax), introduced its new M-series of speakers, of which the company showed the M-10 bookshelf model (€650/pr., right) and the larger M-40 floorstander (€2000/pr.). The smaller M-20 floorstander, not shown, will be €1500/pr. The midrange and woofer drivers are 4" glass-fiber honeycomb designs, whereas the tweeter in each model is a 1" sealed-ribbon design. The floorstanding M models are 2.5-way configurations, whereas the M-10 is a two-way design.
Crystal Cable’s Double Duet headphone cable is priced at €1100 for a 1.2m length, and €1700 for a 2.5m length. This new Crystal Cable earphone cable features an eight-wire configuration -- precisely double the conductor count in the standard Duet, a model we are told is primarily purchased for earphones. Each conductor in the Double Duet is made up of six silver-gold wires in Crystal Cable’s proprietary metallurgy formula.
Crystal Cable also debuted the Ultimate Dream interconnect, which features monocrystal silver conductors and has three separate layers of shielding and a center core composed of a hollow Teflon tube. The Ultimate Dream interconnect is priced at €16,500 for a 1m pair with XLR terminations.
The €12,200 Vitus Audio RS-101 stereo power amplifier -- a member of the company’s Reference line -- produces a stout 300Wpc into 8 ohms and sports a new circuit design that’s said to yield sound closer in quality to the company’s pricier Signature-series products. Rounding out the Reference series are the . . .
. . . RP-102 phono stage (€13,000, top), the RL-102 preamplifier (€12,000, middle), and the brand-new RD-101 DAC-streamer (€12,000).
Luxman’s CL-38uC control amplifier ($6000, right) was, according to the company, inspired by the CL-35, which debuted from Luxman in 1970. The new model features balanced inputs with dedicated input transformers, and Slovak JJ vacuum tubes. It comes standard with the wooden case seen here. On the left is the MQ-88uC stereo power amplifier ($6000), which was inspired by the company’s MQ-60, from 1969, and outputs 25Wpc into 4, 8, or 16 ohms.
The Von Schweikert Audio Ultra 11 is the new flagship from the company and is priced at a whopping $295,000 per pair. This 850-pound speaker is said to play from 10Hz to 60kHz and is, as can be seen in the photo, a very tall 90" high. Internally, the speaker is wired with MasterBuilt Ultra wire. In addition to the front-facing drivers, the rear . . .
. . . panel houses a pair of 15" subwoofers that are powered by independent 1000W amps. There are also two dome tweeters and a ribbon tweeter. The control panel, also on the rear -- using Fostex attenuators -- allows for quite extensive user adjustability in order to tailor the sound to the room.
The EgglestonWorks Kiva is based on the Tennessee company’s more expensive, larger Viginti model -- it, too, uses slot porting in the bass and has two woofers, though these are 7.5" across, whereas the Viginti’s are 10". The upper section is also similar to the Viginti in configuration -- two midranges and one tweeter -- but uses slightly different drivers. The Kiva’s price is $14,500 per pair, which is roughly a third of the price of the Viginti.
The TriangleArt TA-260S stereo amplifier is rated at 280Wpc into 8 ohms or 560Wpc into 4 ohms and is designed with Alma capacitors. The ultra-linear design is based on bipolar output devices and a 2000VA toroidal transformer. The TA-260S has both RCA and XLR inputs and an input level control. The price is $20,000, and it’s designed and built in Anaheim, California, USA.
dCS used High End 2018 to debut its new Rossini CD/SACD transport, priced at £16,500. While that might seem expensive for a transport, it’s more fully featured than any other we’ve seen. According to the company’s literature, this transport “upsamples CD data to DSD, DSD/128, or DXD (24-bit 352.8 kS/s) and transmits the data over the Dual AES/EBU interface. SACDs are played in their native DSD format, again over the Dual AES/EBU interface. Native CD data is available from 3 PCM outputs (1x AES3 and 2x SPDIF), as is down-sampled SACD data.” Ideally, listeners will mate it with the matching Rossini DAC, but you can also use it with any company’s DAC, providing it has the appropriate connections.
The Thrax Spartacus 300 mono power amplifier ($75,000/pr.) features 300B tubes in a two-stage design with a shunt-regulated power supply. While the use of tubes is decidedly old school, the Spartacus 300 is modern in that it is microprocessor controlled. The Spartacus 300 produces 50W of class-A power, with double that power for dynamic peaks.
Sonus Faber has introduced a speaker range just above its Venere line, the more upscale Sonetto collection. The largest floorstander in the eight-model series is the five-driver, three-way Sonetto VIII (€6000 /pr.), which features three 180mm woofers, a 150mm midrange, and a 29mm DAD tweeter. Also in the line . . .
. . . is the Sonetto II (€2000/pr.), the largest stand-mounted model. The II has a two-way configuration and is said to plumb to 42Hz in the bass. Stands are not included in the price, but are available. Every bookshelf and floorstander in the Sonetto series . . .
. . . has leather affixed to the top panel, a cosmetic feature first seen in the pricier Olympica-series loudspeakers.
Auralic introduced two new products: At left is the Aries G1 wireless streaming transport, which is priced at €2199 and features Wi-Fi and Ethernet streaming, as well as a USB DAC that supports up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD512. On the right is the Vega G1 DAC, priced at €3799. The G1 has AES, coax, TosLink, and USB inputs. It also features dual Femto clocks for lower jitter, and a class-A output stage for the highest-quality sound.
After 14 years, Vivid Audio is retiring the Oval series and is introducing a new speaker range called Kaya, consisting of the 90 ($26,000/pr.), 45 ($18,000/pr.), and 25 ($9000/pr. ) towers; S15 stand-mounted model (price TBD); and C25 center-channel (price TBD). The drivers all have the company’s proprietary tapered tubes on them, which dissipate rearward-directed energy from their diaphragms, but these new models now have bass-reflex composite enclosures shaped as tapered tubes, something the Oval range never had. The Kaya 90 and 45, both three-way designs, use a new C100SE midrange driver with a radial magnet that’s located next to the voice coil to reduce distortion at higher frequencies. The Kaya 25 is a two-way design with a single alloy-cone C125D driver to handle midrange and bass, while the S15 -- Vivid Audio’s most compact speaker yet -- incorporates a long-throw version of the company’s C100SE driver.
Lumin’s X1 network music player (€12,000) is a new design from a company known for high-end music streamers. The Roon Ready, UPnP- and MQA-compatible X1 features dual ES9038PRO Sabre DAC chips and streams up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD512. Supported music streaming services include Tidal, Qobuz, and Spotify. Lumin’s new Amp power amplifier (€12,000) is a class-AB design that delivers 160Wpc into 8 ohms in its stereo mode, but can also be bridged to mono for higher output. Both player and amplifier will be available in July.
Touted by Furutech as being the ultimate cable damping solution, the NCF Booster-Signal (€199 for the base module) provides a stackable system designed to elevate and tune speaker cables, audio interconnects, and power cords. All modules feature the company’s Nano Crystal2 Formula damping material. Extension shafts are sold in a ten-piece pack for €31. Cradleflats are €124 each, and top clamps are €142 each. It’s a modular system that can grow as your system -- and budget -- does.
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