Each year at this time, audio “loonies” from
around the World head for the deserts of Nevada and a
rendezvous extraordinaire. Otherwise known as the Winter
Consumer Electronics Show, it’s THE place to be for those
afflicted with that most dreaded of diseases; audiohilia.
The atmosphere, the weather, the music and the gear are just
the ticket to satiate the most ardent audiophiles’ appetite.
Good things on hand this year so let’s have a look...
In my opinion, the best sound at the show
this year was to be
found in the mbl suite; though this isn't the first year
I've felt this way. The last three or four years I've come
away with the same impression.
I simply have never experienced
more transparent and dimensional sound, from any system,
period. In a word, the sound was breathtaking.
Expensive? I suppose. But then
how much is state of the art worth? Without question, there
are far more expensive speakers out there that, to these
ears, can't hold a candle.
The secret to the speaker's
astounding performance comes from their groundbreaking
midrange and high frequency transducers, the Radialstrahler.
Like no other drivers on the planet, these unique creations
are lightning fast and utterly grain free.
No longer could I resist their
attraction, and this year acquired the line. Our first
pieces and have just arrived and I'm in the midst of
break-in and set-up, trying to replicate the splendid sound
I heard at the show. You'll have to get back with me in a
few weeks for a full report. In the mean time, check out our
Featured Product page
for more information.
ROWLAND DESIGNS: I don’t
think Rowland had any idea how popular the new 201
amplifiers would be. The company has been shocked at the
number sold. 480 in just six weeks and over 600 to date! If
you’ve had a chance to audition these tiny wonders you’ll
know exactly why they’re being scooped up; they are
remarkable amplifiers in every way.
At a diminutive 2.6”H x 8.4”W x 11.5”D, the
201’s deliver a surprising 250 watts into 8Ω,
doubling to 500 watts at 4Ω.
Even more amazing, the amplifiers run cool to the touch
(never exceeding body temperature), even under demanding
conditions. They pull only 8 watts from the wall at idle!
Heck, I have a night light that consumes more energy than
The sound is, well, Rowland: black backgrounds,
wonderful inter-note and inter-transient silence, refined
top-end and excellent staging. Of course the legendary
Rowland build quality and attention to detail is fully
evident; it’s second to none. From the solid billet chassis
(machined from solid aluminum plate) to the dazzling
faceplate, the Rowland exudes a jewel-like air of
The most surprising feature of the 201 is
the price; just $4700 a pair!
To follow that success, Rowland serves up the
501 mono blocks. These fellows offer double the power of
the 201’s, in a chassis only fractionally larger. Yep, 500
watts at 8Ω
and a staggering 1000 watts into 4Ω.
Of course you’ll need a preamp to go with your new
amplifiers. Let me introduce you to the new Concerto
Preamp. This slim-line beauty is just the thing to
partner with a pair of 201’s or 501’s. $3900 and available
Integrated fans will cheer the arrival of the all
new Concerto Integrated. Another slim line component, the new
model utilizes the same innovative amplifier circuitry found
in the 201, so it’s powerful, 250 watts a side. $5900. Add
$600 for a phono card. Late February availability.
goodies in the snake den! Power cables and line conditioning
products were introduced, filling out the line and covering a
range of prices.
New power cables include:
• Copperhead ($395):Designed to work well with
all components, especially amplifiers, the Copperhead
uses beefy 10 gauge cryogenically treated copper conductors.
Double shielding (foil and braided copper) reduce background
noise and haze. Medical grade clear dielectrics and jacketing
are employed along with the Shunyata Venom Silver IEC. Good
moderately priced addition to the Hydra’s.
• Taipan Alpha ($650): Ten gauge cryogenically treated
copper conductors, triple shielded, encased in medical grade
clear jacketing and fitted with Shunyata’s Venom Silver IEC. A
great partner for Hydra’s, amps, pre-amps and other analog
• Taipan vX ($750): Featuring the patented FeSi-1000
compound, the Taipan vX noise reduction ability makes
it an ideal partner for digital electronics, processors,
video, DAT and video projectors, plasma and all other
displays. Inside are 10 gauge conductors arranged in a
proprietary twist-lind braided geometry. Silver and Rhodium
plated AC and IEC connectors.
• Python Alpha ($995): A new variant of the Python,
without the FeSI-1000 compound, uses five cryogenically
treated CDA-101 copper conductors, hand braided using
Shunyata’s patented matrix geometry. Silver and Rhodium plated
AC and IEC connectors. With a 9 gauge cross section, the
Python Alpha is a great choice for high power amplifiers,
Hydra’s, high resolution front-end components and just about
• Python vX ($1095): FeSi-1000 noise reduction compound
surrounds five conductors of cryogenically treated CDA-101
copper wound in the Shunyata patented hand-braided matrix and
topped off with custom Shunyata Silver/Rhodium plated IEC and
AC connectors. An outstanding cable for high resolution
Anaconda vX and Anaconda Alpha, state of
the art super-cables, remain unchanged. The vX is
designed for all things digital, the Alpha is tuned for
amps, preamps and other analog sources and is the supreme
partner to the Hydra.
Seeking to extend the range of line conditioners,
Shunyata introduced three new models at CES.
• Hydra M6 ($995): Offering six outlets, the
Hydra 6 offers Shunyata’s proprietary Trident Defense
System of spike and surge protection, individually
filtered custom made outlets and the company’s unique Venom
noise filtration. Capable of passing 2400 watts (20A)
continuously, the M6 will not constrain dynamics, even
when used with large amps. Inside you’ll find a solid silver
buss bar array for carrying power to the outlets. The M6
is a great option for those looking for Shunyata quality in a
more moderate price range. Note: Power cord additional -
choose from any of the models in their line and receive a $100
discount off the price of the cable.
• Hydra M4 ($595): Specifications the same
as the M6 above, but with four outlets. Note: power cord
additional, choose from any of the models in their line and
receive a $100 discount of the cable.
• Hydra M2 ($395):– You guessed it, a two
outlet model intended for use with amplifiers, video
projectors or other components separated from the main system.
Note: power cord additional, choose from any of the models
in their line and receive a $100 discount of the cable.
The Hydra 8 was awarded
the Innovation in Design for 2003 and remains Shunyata’s
flagship. Priced at $1995, the Hydra 8 is killer.
The very popular Guardian
HT-4 continues in the line and is a steal at only $395. A
particularly great value considering it comes with the $179
Diamondback AC cord (with gold plated contacts)! It features
Shunyata Venom noise filtration as well as the spike and surge
2 3 4