Australia’s SGR Audio used High End 2018 to debut its new CX4F Mk2 active speaker ($25,000 per pair), a four-way design that incorporates a 30mm textile-dome tweeter, a 50mm textile-dome midrange, a 6.5" paper-cone midbass, and four 6.5" long-throw woofers. According to the company, the CX4F Mk2 is the world’s first current-driven active loudspeaker. A total of 650W of power is available in each speaker from . . .
. . . the large, internal power-amplification section -- you can see the heatsinks from the rear.
Paradigm's Persona series is now available in a range of custom colors, which you can see on the company’s new Persona website. You can preview the models online, with paint and metalwork matched for whatever look you want. On display at High End 2018 was an all-black version of the Persona 9H ($35,000/pr.).
The Estelon Lynx active loudspeaker comes in two versions: the pair shown at High End 2018 utilize beryllium-dome tweeters (€40,000/pr.), whereas a diamond-tweetered version of the Lynx is also available for €50,000/pr. Since the debut last year at High End 2017, both versions of the speaker now have upgraded amplification, along with increased connectivity with Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay, and DLNA compatibility.
The Dan D’Agostino Master Audio Systems Relentless mono power amplifier is the company’s largest amplifier to date: 22.5"W x 11.5"H x 32.5"D and 485(!) pounds. The price is just as shocking -- $250,000 per pair. With 100 output devices and a 5.5kVA transformer, the Relentless is unlikely to be taxed by any speaker. The power output is rated at 1500W into 8 ohms, 3000W into 4 ohms, or 6000W into 2 ohms. The unique copper-and-aluminum chassis is -- of course! -- offset by a supersized version of D’Agostino’s output power meter on the front panel . . .
. . . and equally large speaker binding posts on the rear.
The Italian-made Bassocontinuo equipment racks are real lookers. The model shown here with three shelves would be €3000, but can of course be ordered with as many (within reason, we assume) shelves as you need. The Accordeon XL4 shown represents a restyling of the company’s original racks, we were told, which came onto the market exactly ten years ago. Bassocontinuo also offers finishes that match certain speakers from Sonus Faber, which is Italy’s best-known speaker brand.
Ayre’s new 8 series brings the company’s fully balanced zero-feedback circuitry to an affordable component range with modular upgrade options. The EX-8 integrated amplifier (shown) puts out 100Wpc into 8 ohms and provides dual RCA and balanced analog inputs. It also features balanced and single-ended headphone outputs driven by the company’s Diamond output circuit. A base analog EX-8 is priced at $5990. A maxed-out version with digital input modules for S/PDIF, optical, AES/EBU, asynchronous USB, and Ethernet connectivity boosts that price to $7950.
From the mind of famed designer Tim de Paravicini comes the EAR 834P Phonobox (€1800), a moving-magnet / moving-coil phono stage that comes stock with three 13D16 tubes. (Tim told us that the first Phonobox model was released in about 1990.) The tubes are pin-for-pin identical to ECC83 tubes, which can also be used. You can substitute a black faceplate for a chrome faceplate for €100 over the base price. The 834P is available with or without a volume control -- the price remains the same irrespective of what’s chosen.
French-manufacturer YBA has updated its Heritage A100 integrated amp for 2018, boosting the power output from 100Wpc to 110Wpc and adding Bluetooth connectivity. The new model, the A100B (€2200), also features a USB DAC with support for up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD256. Available in a silver or black finish, the new integrated will be available in July. Another new product YBA introduced at the show with a July ship date is the PH100 moving-magnet / moving-coil phono preamplifier (€1100, right).
Billed by Aurender as a “true wireless lossless speaker system,” the S5W ($3000/pair) plays CD-quality audio transmitted wirelessly from a supplied dongle plugged into an iOS device or computer. The speaker’s aluminum enclosure is available in a dark blue, black, or wine-red finish. A 2 x 50W built-in amplifier powers a 1" tweeter and 4.5" midrange-woofer. The S5W’s most notable feature, however, is its power source: a rechargeable 18V Bosch battery, the same type used for power tools.
The Figaro XL floorstander from AudioSolutions is the company’s top-of-the-line speaker in that series. Given its towering size, solid construction, and full-range performance, the speaker’s €9100/pair price comes as something of a surprise -- especially at a show packed with €50,000-plus models. The three-way Figaro XL’s driver configuration consists of four woofers, two midrange drivers, and a single tweeter. Power handling is stated as 400 watts, and sensitivity as 92dB. Available now, the Figaro XL comes with 17 custom finish options.
The Cocktail Audio X14 (€679) and . . .
. . . X45 Pro (€4500) introduced at High End 2018 join the company’s growing lineup of all-in-one music systems. Both the X45 Pro and X14 feature a built-in phono preamp and rip CDs to up to 8Gb of optional storage. The X45’s ES9038PRO DAC handles up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM, while the X14’s CS4350 DAC supports 24-bit/352.8kHz signals. Each system functions as a DLNA renderer and server and can stream from Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, and Spotify. Control is carried out via the front-panel LCD display or using the company’s custom app. The X14 and X45 will be available in June.
The new Cayin CS-6LA preamplifier (€2490, middle) and CS-845M mono amplifier (€7490 per pair, left and right) from Cayin represent cost-no-object options from a company known for affordable vacuum-tube integrated amps. Four 12AU7EH and two 22ED4 tubes are used in the preamp, which operates in class-A mode and provides a quartet of RCA inputs and a pair of RCA outputs. Each mono amp features 300B, 6SL7, 6SN7, 845, and 22ED4 tubes, and puts out 28W RMS in class-A mode.
Three years in the making, the new Edge series of electronics from Cambridge Audio was created to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary. The line consists of the Edge A integrated amp (€5000), . . .
. . . Edge NQ preamplifier with network player (€4000, bottom), and Edge W power amplifier (€3000, top). Along with standard digital and analog inputs, the Edge NQ has an Ethernet port and a USB DAC input that supports up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD256. Wireless streaming features include Chromecast Built-in and Bluetooth aptX HD. The Edge W power amplifier delivers 100Wpc RMS into 8 ohms (200Wpc into 4 ohms), and provides balanced XLR and single-ended RCA inputs. All Edge-series components will be available in June or July.
Cary Audio’s new SLI-100 stereo integrated amplifier is a step-up version of its SLI-80, a mainstay of the company’s tube-based electronics line. The SLI-100 operates in class-AB1 mode using KT-150 output tubes in a push-pull configuration. In triode mode, the amp delivers 50Wpc, and it delivers 100Wpc in ultra-linear mode. Cary Audio expects to ship its new integrated amp in June, and the price should be around $5000.
SME’s new Synergy (£14,950 including VAT) is the first integrated turntable to emerge from the company. A combined effort with Nagra and Ortofon, the Synergy features a built-in, switchable phono preamp from the former, and a Windfeld PWTi moving-coil cartridge from the latter. SME’s integrated Synergy also has a precision magnesium tonearm, contains Crystal Cable lead and internal wiring, and was designed with easy setup and use in mind. The Synergy will be available in September.
The Concept Plus (€2890) is the newest turntable to come from German manufacturer Clearaudio. Available in multiple finishes, the Concept Plus features a stainless steel platter and a counter-direction flywheel with a longer drive belt to reduce rumble. Another new Clearaudio product at High End 2018 is the Concept Smart Power battery power supply (€590), which can be seen beside the turntable. Designed to reduce noise during playback, the Smart Power provides 125 hours of playing time per charge and is compatible with all Clearaudio turntables. Both products will be available in Q4 2018.