Crystal Cable's Gabi van der Kley holds up the Absolute Dream USB cable, which is made with monocrystal silver cabling. Looking at the actual cable, you'll see two silver-colored wires and two gold-colored wires braided together to make the whole. The silver-colored wires carry the data signal, while the gold-colored wires carry the power feed. The dielectric on both is made from Kapton and Teflon, while monocrystal metal is also used for the outer braids. The cost of putting all of this monocrystal cabling together is not inexpensive: the Absolute Dream costs $9000 per 1m cable -- making it the most expensive USB cable in the world . . . but, according to Gabi van der Kley, "also the best in the world, too." Custom parts abound . . .
Gabi said it was tough, not to mention expensive, to get their ultra-heavy, quite large custom-made aluminum connectors narrow enough to accommodate side-by-side USB slots. But in the end (or should we say on the end?) they were successful.
April Music has added to their Stello brand with the introduction of the Ai700 integrated amplifier, which was inspired by their Eximus S1 amplifier (Eximus is another April Music brand). This model is rated to deliver 500Wpc into 8 ohms and is a class-D design based on an ICEpower module. The Ai700's retail price is $6500.
Germany's Octave Audio displayed a prototype version of the new V90 integrated amplifier that outputs 110Wpc via KT120 output tubes. The retail price will be $8000 when the production version is released next month.
Britain's PMC introduced the DB1-Gold stand-mount loudspeaker, which, even though diminutive in stature, uses the company's transmission-line technology (dubbed ATL) for full bass response. The price for the DB1-Gold is $1900/pr.
AMR subsidiary ifi Micro has introduced a new line of mini components. Shown above from left to right are the iUSB power filter ($199), iDAC digital-to-analog converter ($299), iCan headphone amplifier ($249) and iPhone phono stage ($399). We were told that more models are on the way.
SVS has a brand-new line of loudspeakers that seem to be very good value for their price. Shown above is the Ultra Tower ($2000/pr.), a 3.5-way design featuring a pair of side-mounted 8" woofers, two 6.5" midranges, and a 1" aluminum-dome tweeter. Also in the line is a . . .
. . . bookshelf model that is priced at $999/pr. A center-channel and surround speaker are also available.
Germany's Audio Physic showed the Classic 20, a compact floorstander that appears at first glance to be a two-way design. However . . .
. . . upon closer inspection you will see the side-firing, angled 6.5" woofer that's inset on one side. The price is $4500/pr.
Custom finishes are now available on the Aperion Audio Verus line of loudspeakers. The Ebony finish shown at RMAF is high-gloss and very striking. The price for the speaker is $1499/each in custom finishes versus $899/each in the standard finishes.
Aperion Audio's Aris is the first Windows 8-certified speaker system available. Priced at $499, the Aeris features a brushed-aluminum cabinet, six internal speakers, and 100W of internal power.
The Music Culture 501A CD player is an upgrade over the original 501 launched a couple of years back. The new model has an improved transport and a USB input to access its DAC functionality. The retail price for the 501A is $3995.
The new Nagra Jazz preamplifier made an appearance at RMAF 2012. The interesting-looking model is priced at $12,250 and includes the external ACPS II power supply.
Zellaton introduced the Studio Reference One floorstander, which is a two-way design that uses a 7" wideband driver mated to a 9" woofer. The price is $52,750/pr.
Sonus Faber's new value-oriented line is the Venere. Shown above is the 2.5, which is a 2.5-way vented floorstander that retails for $2498/pr. The smaller . . .
. . . 1.5 bookshelf model is $1199/pr. The stands cost an additional $398. These new SF speakers look incredible for the money.
Peachtree Audio demonstrated the Grand Integrated X1 integrated amplifier-DAC, which outputs 440Wpc into 8 ohms and 770Wpc into 4 ohms. This unit features a built-in DAC with an ESS Sabre chipset. The price for the Grand Integrated X1 is $4500.
Canada's Resonessence Labs, makers of the Invicta DAC, showed the tiny Concero DAC/digital-to-digital converter, which has . . .
. . . a USB input and an S/PDIF output, as well as analog RCA outputs. The price is $599.