SoundBites Fall 2017

FALL 2017

The 14th Annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF), the largest consumer audio and home entertainment show in the US, was held in Denver October 6 – 8. Though I hadn't planned on attending this year, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet with Stuart McNeilis, CEO of SME and Paul Schenkel, designer of the wonderful Davone speakers. I also wanted to have a listen to the new A2 and A4 models from Spendor.

Glad I made the trip, it was a lot of fun. Here’s the low down.
 


SME: We’re quite proud to have been appointed the exclusive SME dealer for Texas. This most iconic brand has a worldwide reputation for quality and performance and a legion of dedicated fans. My association with SME goes way, way back. I’ve owned at least a dozen of their tonearms over the years and have loved the performance, marveled at the engineering. the superlative camera-like finish quality and fanatical attention to detail evident in every SME product.
 


SME Model 20 Turntable and Model V Tonearm

 

Founded in 1946, and with over one million tonearms sold worldwide, SME is the world's most accomplished manufacturer of high quality turntables and tonearms. SME is well known for its no-compromise passion for engineering perfection and extreme attention to detail.

SME turntables feature precision engineered construction, extensional damping of major surfaces and vibration-free moving parts, allowing them to deliver outstanding dynamic range and pitch stability, exceptional detail and resolution, superior tonal neutrality and a unique ability to more closely reproduce the sound of the original studio master tape.

SME is an engineering and manufacturing firm that designs and creates exotic machined parts for aerospace, F1 and the medical industries. The audio side of the business represents about 50% of their work. Their ability to design and construct incredibly complex and precise components for other industries gives them a huge advantage

Virtually every part of their tonearms and turntables are designed, fabricated, finished and assemble in house. From machining the raw metal to plating the final part, it’s all done in house. As testament to relentless pursuit of perfection, even small parts such as screws and washers (yes, washers!) are made in house. That blows my mind!

We’ve just received our first SME ‘table/arm, the Package 15A consisting of a Model 15 turntable with the 309 SPD tonearm. I was impressed from the very start. Just opening the box gave me a sense of the thought and care that went into designed the packaging. Each of the set-up tools and accessories are individually bagged and labeled, making the assembly process simple. Everything went together smoothly and the ‘table looks gorgeous! I mounted a Lyra Kleos on the 309SPD tonearm and was really impressed with the outstanding measured results achieved during fine tuning. Oh, and the sound, you ask? Superb!

There are MANY exciting new introductions in the works at SME, so stay tuned!

Surf on over to the SME page on our website for a more complete listing of the various models of both tonearms and turntables and learn the interesting backstory of SME, the company.

 

DAVONE: Followers of our SoundBites Newsletters and our product reviews know how much we love the Davone speakers. Gorgeous works of art, these speakers sound as good as they look.

Designed and manufactured in Denmark by Paul Schenkel, Davone speakers feature a unique design esthetic that make them instantly recognizable. The sleek lines and beautiful woodwork that highlight the non-traditional appearance are a welcome departure from the all too common boxy loudspeaker enclosures we see today. I very much appreciate the non-traditional forms, but I find that most audiophiles initially poo-poo the speakers, associating them with other so-called lifestyle audio products that sacrifice performance in favor of eye appeal. So, I really enjoy playing these speakers for the skeptical-ones, and watching the reactions on the faces of audiophiles who’ve prejudged the Davone's using their eyes rather than their ears.

Davone introduced two new models at RMAF, the Solo floorstander and Studio monitor. Even though the room was quite small, both speakers sounded really awesome.

The Davone design ethos is to produce a loudspeaker that walks the line between a musical presentation and one that is literal. Some speakers will resolve that last-minute detail, but can be overbearing or sterile. Davone speakers communicate the soul of music, resolving enough detail to let you hear deeply into the recording without feeling that you’ve gone so far as to uncover every subtle fault. I find I can listen to and enjoy virtually any recording or genre on Davone speakers and savor every minute.

I asked Mr. Schenkel about this characteristic and he told me that was exactly the intent; a speaker resolved enough to appreciate the quality of any recording without being mercilessly revealing. The term I’d use to describe the Davone sound is musically engaging.

We recently received a pair of Davone’s flagship speaker, the Grande, for one of our wonderful customers in Mexico. The Grandes will be the centerpiece of a wonderful system we are assembling for him. During the weeks we’ve had the Grande here, we’ve grown quite attached, so much so it will hard to see them go.

The Grande is immediately captivating with its distinctive styling, utterly gorgeous woodwork and impeccable fit and finish – a feast for the eyes. In the case of this speaker (indeed, all Davone models) beauty is far more than skin deep. Soundstaging, as with all Davone designs, is amazing - open, airy, spacious and yet defined. Surprisingly, we’ve found that meticulous placement isn’t required, the dimensionality comes with little effort, so owners can enjoy the speakers with months of endless tweaking. Instant gratification, so to speak.

 


Davone Grande

 

BRYSTON:  We’ve really been impressed with the new(ish) Bryston 4B-3 power amplifier that made it's debut here in the summer. The “Cubed” Series represents a significant sonic upgrade for what was already a very good sounding amplifier in its predecessor, the 4B-2. The Cubed Series innovation is the patented Salomie circuit which dramatically reduces noise and distortion at the input stage.

In the Cubed product we hear a more refined high frequency presentation with better fleshed out dimensionality. And, of course, like all Bryston amplifiers, the 4B-3 has incredible grip and power in the lower registers and is virtually unflappable in its control of even the most difficult loads (which is probably why Magnepan uses them at shows). I think you could drive virtually any speaker with this beast.

The same Salomie circuit topology is also found in Bryston’s latest preamplifier the BP17³. This fully-featured preamp offers a number of possible configurations including a on board optional phono module, DAC module or both. $3795 for the base model, the MM phono board adds $750, the DAC adds $1595.

Features include:

  • Expanded Input / Output - Two pairs of XLR outputs and two pairs of RCA outputs make it possible to connect a wide variety of equipment such as amplifiers and powered subwoofers. An RCA tape loop lets you use a line-level equalizer or tape recorder, but best of all, one of the XLR output pairs can be internally selected to have variable (default) or fixed output meaning you can easily connect a BHA-1 or another balanced-input headphone amplifier.
  • The original BP-17 only had single ended inputs. The new Cubed Series model includes two pairs of balanced inputs as well.
  • Full control! Select sources, adjust volume, and more all from the optional BR-2 remote control or via RS232.



Bryston BP17³ Preamplifier


Also new, and just in, the BCD-3 CD player. Yes, a new CD player!

Who says CD playback is dead? Although high resolution digital downloads dominate the attention of audiophiles, many music lovers have hundreds or thousands of CDs that require the finest playback equipment to sound their best. Though universal disc players or DVD players can playback CDs, they certainly won't resolve the full dynamic range and nuance the medium is capable of. Such players inherently compromise CD playback to support additional formats. The BCD-3 was engineered explicitly for the purpose of making your redbook CDs sound amazing.

Digital audio read from the CD is sent to a dual-balanced DAC chipset where it is converted to analog. The output stage is built with Bryston's proprietary fully balanced class-A discrete operational amplifiers. A professional grade optical disc transport reads the discs, and an ultra precise master clock synchronizes both. Zero jitter, superb linearity, and the best sound quality CDs have to offer are hallmarks of the new Bryston BCD-3. Connect the BCD-3 to your home network to control it with our web based user interface, or with a home automation system. You can also control it via IR with a Bryston BR-2 or universal remote control.


Bryston BCD-3 CD Player


BCD-3 REVIEWS:

Stereophile: "It's not enough to say that the BCD-3's sound was well balanced from bottom to top: Its treble performance, in particular, proved sufficient to let a bright recording sound bright, yet the quality of that treble was such that the player never used brightness as a tool to pry unnatural information from natural-sounding discs. For a listener such as I, who has enjoyed a number of digital source components whose musicality results from discarding or spackling-over treble information, this sort of sound is remarkable.

I'll take that a step further: Now as always, some if not most of the playback products I most love are those that work in mysterious ways: the artisanal, the antique, the natural, the rare, the intuitively rather than the merely logically designed. But sometimes—perhaps especially as an addition to a system comprising such products—there's something to be said for a product whose designer's apparent goal was simply to reduce distortion. As here.

But you could forget all that: In today's parlance, the Bryston BCD-3 simply is what it is—an apparently well-designed and exceptionally well-made CD player that succeeded in connecting me with most of the music I asked it to play, and that offers very good value for the money. I could easily, happily live with it, and can just as easily recommend it." - Art Dudley

Outputs: RCA, XLR, S/PDIF RCA, AES/EBU XLR
Control: Ethernet, USB-A, IR, DC, RS-232

Features:

DACs and transport slave to single master clock for jitter free performance
Dual balanced AKM digital to analog converters based on BDA-3 design
Fully discrete class-A operational amplifiers form the analog output section

Options:

Available with silver or black faceplate
17” or 19” faceplate available
Rack mountable option available (2U)
BR2 remote control available

Physical:

17” W x 3.325” H x 11.53” D (17" Faceplate)
43.2cm W x 8.5cm H x 29.3cm D (43.2cm Faceplate)
19” W x 3.325” H x 11.53” D (19" Faceplate)
48.3cm W x 8.5cm H x 29.3cm D (48.3cm Faceplate)
8.8 lb/4 kg

Page Two

TECHNICS: Technics Unveiled the SP-10R Prototype at IFA Show in Berlin and had it on display in Denver at RMAF. This is the new high-end model that audiophiles have been hoping Technics would introduce.

The unit looked great. As you would expect, the fit-and-finish were outstanding, even though the unit on hand was an unfinished prototype. This will surely be an awesome ‘table!


Technics SP-10R

Here are some features:

1) A coreless, newly structured direct-drive motor

  • In addition to the two-sided rotor drive system adopted by the coreless direct-drive motor in the SL-1200G, the new SP-10R motor features stator coils on both sides of the rotor, instead of only one to produce more than twice the torque of the SL-1200G.
     

2) Increased platter weight for more stable rotation

  • The platter features a three-layer structure consisting of brass, aluminum die-cast and deadening rubber, just like the SL-1200G platter. By optimizing the natural frequency of each layer, external vibrations are thoroughly suppressed.
     

3) Newly developed, ultra-low-noise power supply

  • Technics developed a new ultra-low-noise switching power supply by making full use of technology accumulated in the development of digital amps. Compared to a power supply using a transformer, this new power supply unit better suppresses the generation of noise, such as humming (a low-frequency component corresponding to the power supply frequency) and vibration.
     

Technics is working diligently toward launching the SP-10R turntable, with an anticipated launch in early summer 2018.
 

Also new here since the last Newsletter is the Technics SL-1200GR. This less costly model offers many of the same features found in the SL-1200G, at less than half the cost. Priced at $1699, the SL-1200GR offers incredible value. Performance is as good as – or better than – anything near the price point. We love it!

In particular, I’m impressed by the attention to detail in all aspects of the engineering, design and fabrication. Even the packaging is superb! And, after many, many years in this industry, I will tell you that the way a component is packed goes a long way to defining what you can expect from the company and the product – a company that cares about how their products are packaged and presented speaks volumes about their dedication and thoughtfulness.

We have partnered both the “G” and “GR” models with a wide range of cartridges at an equally broad price span. We are currently using the SH Audio DS-02 optical cartridge on our SL-1200G and mounted am Ortofon 2M Bronze on the SL-1220GR, which makes a very nice $2100 analog combo.


Technics SL-1200GR

MAGICO: We are extremely excited to have been selected to represent Magico loudspeakers, some of the most accurate and technically advanced speakers on the planet. Built like no other, Magico offers not only leading-edge design technology and state of the art manufacturing but sophisticated engineering and simply miraculous performance.

In August I was invited to tour their facility in Hayward, California and came away super-impressed by not only the technology but also the enthusiasm and excitement of designer, Alon Wolf, and the dedicated team of artisans and support staff at Magico. Mr. Wolf (an accomplished musician in his own right) pushes the boundaries of technology in the art and science of speaker design. From the aluminum enclosures (first in the industry to adopt this technology, it has been copied by many others) to exotic diamond and graphene coated drivers, Magico speakers are some of the world’s most advanced designs.

Of course, engineering and construction techniques may be interesting, but in the end, the only thing that matters is performance, and here there is no question that Magico speakers offer reproduction bordering on the surreal. Frankly, it’s hard for me to imagine a more resolving and refined design – if it exists, I’ve not heard it.

Just in, the Magico S-1MkII and on the way are the super-popular S-3MkII models which we’ll be partnering with Jeff Rowland Design electronics, an Chord DAVE/Blu Mk II digital front end, and an all-Shunyata Sigma cable loom including interconnects, speaker cables and power cords.


Magico S3 MkII

 

PARASOUND: Seen in the flesh for the first time was a product we’ve been hotly anticipating – the JC3 Junior phono preamplifier, designed by the legendary, John Curl.

We absolutely love the Parasound JC3+ phono preamplifier. So, last year, when Parasound phoned to ask us if there would be interest in a less expensive version, I said HELL YES!

John Curl is an audio legend with over 30 years’ experience designing the very finest sounding phono preamps. He has designed acclaimed phono stage preamps for Vendetta Research, Constellation Audio, Audible Illusions and for Parasound, whose JC3+ is a Stereophile Class A Recommended Component. The JC3 Jr. is his most affordable design… ever!

The JC-3 Junior is in stock - and ready to blow your mind - so order away! $1499, and a super value!


Parasound JC3 Junior

Page Three

SHUNYATA: The latest introductions from Shunyata have become some of the best-selling products we carry, and with good reason. In particular, the Denali power conditioners are incredible and clearly represent a significant step forward in Shunyata’s progression of class-leading designs. The performance improvements you'll hear are both immediate and striking.

Shunyata Denali Family

Denali Features include:

  • CCI™ v3 modules isolate power line noise from one component to another component. These new ‌CCI™ modules were originally developed in our military, scientific and medical imaging research programs. They are currently being used to great effect in Electrophysiology heart surgery. ‌CCI™ interference levels can be reduced more than -60dB from 500 KHz to 10 MHz!
  • ‌QR/BB™ technology dramatically eliminates any sense of dynamic compression that is often heard when an amplifier is connected to a power conditioner. Dynamics are actually improved when an amplifier is connected to the DENALI even when compared to a direct connection to the wall outlet. ~ Patents pending ~
  • CopperCONN Outlets - These outlets are used in the Triton v2 and DPC-6 v 2. Contacts are copper – NOT brass - with a layer of nickel plating.  
  • Surge Module provides 40,000 amps of surge protection, spike protection and noise reduction.
  • Hydraulic Electromagnetic Breaker used in the Denali D6000/T and D6000/S operate right up to their maximum current rating without current limiting.
  • KPIP Processor- The Kinetic Phase Inversion Process is a process and a machine that significantly reduces burn-in time for optimum sonic performance from the Denali.
  • ArNi Conductors - 8-gauge internal wiring that allows the Denali Series to have a 20 Amp continuous rating. These conductors are a “hollow tube” VTX design that are made from pure OFE (oxygen-free electrolytic) C10100 copper and treated with the KPIP process. The hollow core design of these conductors minimizes skin effects and random eddy currents. Cryogenic treatment of many of the electrical parts in the Denali improves the performance of the wires, conductors, connectors and terminals.
  • Chassis Ground System (CGS) Terminal – An internal ground-buss noise reduction feature that is tied into the NIC v2 to extend the noise reduction system to components external to the Denali. (this is a feature that other manufacturers sell as dedicated systems costing Thousands).
  • Vibration Control - Mechanical vibration can be very destructive to system performance. The DENALI was designed from its inception to include advanced forms of vibration control that improve the recovery of subtle musical detail and nuance. All chassis panels and internal structure are treated with vibration dampening panels. Each outlet is isolated from the chassis with a vibration dampening gasket that reduces vibration conducted through the AC cables. All internal modules, filters and electronics are encapsulated in a vibration absorbent compound.

A quote from the Denali review in Audio Stream: One Of Shunyata Research’s Finest Efforts: Over the years, I have had firsthand experience with a number of Shunyata Research’s power distribution centers including the Hydra V-Ray, V-Ray v 2, DPC-6, DPC-6 v 2,Triton, and most recently, the Triton v 2. I don’t remember any of these power conditioners creating the initial overall listening excitement I heard when first experiencing the Denali Series. And for those of you wondering if the Denali Series outperforms the “reference” stack composed of the Triton v 2, Typhon, and DPC-6 v 2, the answer is most definitely no. But for many users, the Denali will be more than sufficient for their overall system needs given

“Shunyata’s attention to detail in Denali’s components and design. I consider the Denali Series to be one of Caelin Gabriel’s finest creations and harbinger of things to come in future Hydra models.”

I DARE you to try a Denali – we’ll be happy to send you one to try.  But be forewarned, you won’t be returning it!


Shunyata Denali 6000S - Interior

The new range of power cables have been super popular. From the cost-effective Venom to the bang-for-buck Delta, amazing Alpha and the indescribably delicious Sigma, there is a model to suit any budget and any level of system.

Signal cables mirror the four ranges of products in the power family, namely Venom, Delta, Alpha and Sigma. We’ve been using a full Sigma loom in our high-end room and have been blown away by their contribution to the system. It literally has taken that system to a new level!

Just out, the Triton v3 is Shunyata’s flagship power conditioner. A host of new technologies have been employed, taking the Triton from great to astounding! Partner the Triton v3 with the Typhon for an absolutely state of the art power conditioning system.

In a review of the Triton v3 for Audio Stream, Steve Plaskin writes: “The Triton v3 is a product unlike anything Shunyata Research has previously offered in its 20-year history of producing power distributors. The degree of enhancement that the Triton v3 performed for my system was one of the largest sonic improvements I can remember over the last several years. For those of you that have the older versions of the Triton, I highly recommend that you upgrade your unit. The new technologies that Shunyata has added to the Triton v3 will more than meet your sonic expectations.

“The new NR AC cables were also very impressive easily improving upon the previous Σ SIGMA AC Cable line. When combined with the Triton v3, a formidable power conditioning system is created that will assuredly enhance the listening experience for the dedicated audiophile.”

Read more here 


Shunyata Sigma Group


 

ROGUE AUDIO: Rogue Audio's RH-5 is a headphone amplifier and line-level preamplifier whose hybrid circuitry includes MOSFET transistors and two 12AU7 vacuum tubes. The dual-purpose design makes it useful in a broad range of applications.  The RH-5 can also be used as the cornerstone of your two-channel audio system. Offering both balanced and single ended preamplifier outputs, the RH-5 will also do a wonderful job of driving your preferred amplifier and speakers. An optional phono board also allows you to play your favorite records through either the headphones or loudspeakers. The optional onboard MM/MC phono board has user adjustable gain settings of 43 and 55 dB to accommodate most popular cartridges. A wide variety of loading options also means your favorite cartridge can be configured to sound its very best.

From the review in Stereophile:
Conclusion:

“1) Because many of today’s best headphones use low sensitivity planar-magnetic drivers, which require an amp with low output impedance and high-power output – and the RH-5 is just such an amplifier – the questionable drive capabilities of most headphone amplifiers might be limiting these headphones’ potential.

“2) Because of its full-bodied sound, selectable gain, and extraordinary ability to drive low-sensitivity headphones, the Rogue Audio RH-5 is an important new high-value product.

“Best of all, my meandering investigations have answered my opening questions in the affirmative:  The Rogue RH-5 was able to resolve subtle difference among components under review.  It will make an effective anchor at the center of my reviewing practice – just as I hoped it would.”  - Herb Reichert


Rogue Audio RH-5

Page Four

CHORD: I can’t overstate my enthusiasm for the flagship digital offerings from Chord, the DAVE DAC partnered with the Blu MkII up-sampling transport. The two pieces in tandem are simply amazing!

As good as the DAVE is, the Blue MkII takes it to another level. Don’t think of Blu as simply a great CD transport (and that it is), the real story is its up-sampling ability that not only drastically improves CD replay, but up-samples other digital sources as well, vaunting them to new heights as well. We run our Aurender N10 server into the Blu for a significant performance boost. Amazing!

Read our review of the Blu Mk II here


Chord Blu Mk II with DAVE DAC on optional stands
 

The hotly anticipated Poly from Chord was on hand at RMAF and I had a chance to play with it a bit. Very cool!

Poly is a revolutionary streaming module for Mojo and is based on a condensed high-level PC, with data server, DLNA receiver, Wi-Fi hub, Bluetooth module and SD card reader/player functionality, plus highly sophisticated software. Poly enables wireless audio playback from smartphones and for the first time, negates the need for a cable between the two devices.

Poly acts as a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hub and can access music in a number of ways including streaming over Wi-Fi, network storage devices (NAS) and collections stored on SD cards (using MPD). Bluetooth connectivity and AirPlay functionality provide real flexibility with smartphones and enable multiple Mojo/Poly combinations to be used throughout the home, providing a high-quality multi-room streaming playback solution.

Poly removes the original need for a wired link between the smartphone and Mojo, and is controlled wirelessly from Android and iOS apps on your phone. When connected to Mojo, Poly conveniently slips into pockets, bags and handbags — it doesn’t need to be hand-carried or regularly checked like other players.

Poly is compatible with the latest high-resolution-audio file types and supports PCM files up to 768kHz resolution and DSD64 to DSD512 (Octa-DSD). Poly’s high-quality SD card reader/player frees up smartphone memory and storage, so vast libraries no longer need be kept locally on phones.

Poly integrates with advanced music players such as Roon (excluding SD access) and supported file types (at the time of writing) include: ACC, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, OGG VORBIS, ALAC, WMA and MP3. The device includes a rechargeable LiPo battery giving around nine hours playback from a sub-four-hour charge using the device’s fast-charging circuit; both Mojo and Poly can be simultaneously charged.

A final price has not been set, but should come in around $700. Deliveries expected to commence in November.


Chord MOJO with Poly


 

SPENDOR: Two new models, A2, A4 were debuted at RMAF. The Spendor A2 and A4 loudspeakers are completely new designs created for music lovers on a budget. They deliver class leading performance and are the most flexible, versatile and affordable loudspeakers Spendor has ever made.

The new A2 and A4 feature innovative trickle-down technology from the award-winning Spendor D7 such as the main drive units which employ Spendor’s new EP77 Polymer cones. These all-new designs partner beautifully with any amplifier and source equipment, regardless of price. The result is a dynamic, open and beautifully balanced sound with deep articulate bass.

The A Line cabinets share the same modern proportions as the larger Spendor D7 and D9 loudspeakers, but on a smaller scale. They're slim, compact and don't mind being right up against walls, (but don’t necessarily need to be.)

Both loudspeakers are two-way rear ported designs featuring Spendor’s highly-acclaimed 22mm wide-surround tweeter. The A2 uses a six-inch woofer and the slightly larger A4 offers a seven-inch unit. The loudspeakers look small visually but both pack a big punch. Wiring is via a single set of binding posts. Spendor opted for a clean lean look without grill covers but a wire mesh grill protects the tweeters.

Prices are $2,395 for the A2 and $3,195 for the A4. Both models and are offered in black ash, natural oak and dark walnut real-wood veneers.

Though I didn’t have an opportunity to audition the A2, I was really impressed with the A4. This speaker offers surprising performance at the price point, excelling both from a qualitative and a quantitative perspective. In other words, they do the small stuff really well and can also move a lot of air! Spacious soundstage, good localization within the stage, and far more bass extension than you’d expect.


Spendor A2 in Walnut, Spendor A4 in Oak

Click here to download the A Line Data Sheet

 

Van den Hul:  The new van den Hul Crimson Stradivari cartridge is a masterwork! A wonderful sounding cartridge that offers the speed and detail retrieval you'd expect from a moving coil, but with a full-bodied midrange and richness that's beguiling. Very musical without being blatantly colored. Lovely!

The Crimson offers a healthy 0.8mV output, gold coils, a Samarium-Cobalt magnet, extended channel separation and superb tracking ability. The CRIMSON is completely hand build by the Master himself, A.J. van den Hul, and comes with a 200-hour service check-up and fine-tuning, free of charge (for the original owner).

The Crimson Stradivarius XGW employs a Koa Wood Body with a very special Stradivarius formulation Lacquer coating. Applying the special lacquer is a tedious and time-consuming task involving multiple steps and requiring an extended period of curing that requires over six months to complete. Four weeks for first layer, four weeks for second layer, four weeks for third layer, followed by an additional three months of air curing and hardening process.

The Crimson offers a healthy 0.8mV output, Samarium-Cobalt magnets, superb channel separation and tracking ability. Another feature is the 24kt gold wire used in the generator. The Gold coil wires offer a number of advantages over copper. From the Maestro, A.J. van den Hul: "I use a 20 to 25-micron soft gold-wire for winding and find it better for very low level conducting. This Gold wire is drawn at extremely slow speed. This maintains much better the integrity of the conductor; around 5 cm/second, there's no mechanical drawing variations modulations and dramatically improved analog sound. Higher drawing speed adds extra crystal boundaries. Lower speed decreases number of crystal boundaries and layers and gives therefore a purer sound. The quality of the wire makes or breaks the final result after all other work on components and construction is done well.

"Soft metals have a high number of free electrons. This combined with a very high purity, produces the best sound specific on very low signal level like concert hall acoustics." - A.J. van den Hul

Here are some review snippets to further temp you:

  • HiFi News:All the while this cartridge’s innate speed and dynamics are brought to bear on the recording and the result is startling. Instrumental timbre is sublime; strings drip with harmonics yet never screech; brass rasps but doesn’t grate; cellos bow darkly and menacingly. The Crimson seems able to peel off layer after layer of ‘wrapping’ and get you to the music, yet it all sounds so easy and organic.

    “One of the best MCs I’ve heard, van den Hul’s the Crimson offers a uniquely beguiling combination of speed and sweetness. It is a dazzling performer no matter what music you play, but it isn’t a cartridge for ‘deconstructing’ records, rather it celebrates them and makes you want more.”
    Hi-Fi News
  •  
  • Soundstage Ultra: "The van den Hul Crimson Stradivarius sounds more neutral, even, balanced, and real than any other cartridge I have heard. By definition, that makes it, for me, of reference caliber, and a perfect addition to a reviewer’s toolbox or a music lover’s analog source. Fed well-recorded LPs, it will deliver equal portions -- large portions -- of truth and beauty." - Tom Mathew


van den Hul Crimson Stradivarius

Page Five

GOLDEN EAR: Did I tell you how much I like the new top-of-the-line Golden Ear Reference speakers? More than like, this has become my favorite product in the line!

Though all the G.E. designs offer incredible value, the Reference, for the first time, really shows the potential of their designs.

An upgraded tweeter offers a much cleaner and more open presentation and beefed up midrange drivers offer more speed and the more rigid/damped enclosure has improved the articulation in the bass. The overall tonal balance is more natural as well.

A very nice speaker, and pretty amazing value at $8500 a pair.


Golden Ear Triton Reference

We brought in a pair of Golden Ear's SuperSub X subwoofers and have used them to great success with the company's Triton Five (their largest of the two passive models offered). The Triton Five's go quite low (26Hz), but the SuperSub XL pair (it's really important to employ subwoofers in stereo pairs) add power and foundation down deep while significantly expanding the stereo image, as stereo subs will do.


Golden Ear SuperSub X

 

FOCAL: We love the Focal Utopia and Elear headphones. No surprise, these models have been immensely popular worldwide with the Utopia being crowned by one reviewer as the best headphones in the world!

At RMAF CanJam 2017, Focal debuted their latest design, the Clear. Priced at $1499, it finds a home between the Elear at $999 and the Utopia at $3999. Though the background noise in the venue made auditioning open-back headphones rather difficult, I heard enough to know that Clear continues the tradition of class-leading performance offered by Focal’s other models.
Clear includes a number of accessories including a snappy case, and multiple cables - one measuring 1.2 meters and terminating in a 3.5mm connector, a longer 3-meter wire with a 6.35mm plug, or another 3-meter cable with XLR termination.

We have them order, so more details shortly.

Focal Clear Headphones

 

RMAF Manufacturer Awards -


The 2017 Rocky Mountain International HiFi Press Awards are presented to products that excel in their categories.
This year, a number of the products we offer were recognized for their class-leading performance.

 

Digital – This category featured two products from Chord, the fabulous Chord DAVE DAC and the newly introduced Hugo 2. The Mytek Brooklyn DAC also took home an award.
 

Analog - On the analog side, the Rega Planar 3 and VPI Prime Signature turntables were recognized and the DS Audio Master 1 optical cartridge was a winner on the cartridge front.
Special recognition was given to the Technics SL-1200GAE. The GAE was a limited production product but the current SL-1200G has all the features and performance.
 

Amplification - The massively powerful Daemon integrated from Jeff Rowland design was a winner in the amplification category. On the speaker front, we congratulate Spendor for their award winning D9 and Dynaudio Contour 20 and
Contour 60 were honored.


Speakers - Magico received honors for their astoundingly good S3 Mk II and Q7 Mk II floor standing speaker systems.
 

Subwoofers - The subwoofer category lauded the Golden Ear SuperSub XXL. We’ve been playing the smaller Super XL here and have been very impressed with it.
 

Headphones - CanJam hosted the headphone events and several of the brands of ‘phones we handle received 2017 RMAF International HiFi Press Awards including the Audeze LCD-4, the new Susvara from HiFi Man and the superlative Utopia from Focal.
 

Headphone Amplification - Chord scored again with two awards in the Headphone Amplification category with honors going to both Mojo and DAVE.
 

Power Cords - In the Power Cable Awards section, the fabulous Shunyata Sigma was recognized. The Sigma has also become our reference power cord here. You’ve got to hear these!!
 

Power Conditioners - Shunyata was recognized once again in the Power Conditioner category for their superb Denali 6000 Series.

GALEN CAROL AUDIO STEALS

Latest Selection of New, Pre-Oened and Demo Equipment
Please call to order

 

 STATUS 

PRODUCT

RETAIL

SALE

NEW

CHORD Hugo 2 Portable DAC/Headphone Amp – IN STOCK!

 

$2379

NEW

CHORD MOJO Portable DAC/Headphone Amp – IN STOCK!

 

$519

NEW

FOCAL Utopia - State of The Art Headphones – IN STOCK

 

$3995

NEW

OKKI NOKKI Vacuum Record Cleaner with Dustcover

$549

$425

NEW

ACOUSTIC REVIVE RIO 5 II Negative Ion Generator

$595

$450

NEW

Complete Guide To High-End Audio - Fifth Edition - by Robert Harley

$45

$35

NEW

SHUNYATA Venom USB, 3M

$300

$195

NEW

Van den HUL Ultimate USB, 1.5M

$509

$325

NEW

GRADO iGi Earbuds

$99

$59

NEW

TRANSFIGURATION Axia MC Phono Cartridge

$2450

$1950

NEW

DENON DL103 MC Phono Cartridge

$299

$219

NEW

GRADO Sonata 2 Moving Iron Phono Cartridge

$600

CALL

NEW

CARDAS Headphone Cable for Sennheiser 650, 600, 15’ – ¼”

$360

$175

NEW

SACD 7 Disc Mozart Piano Sonatas, IsoMike Recording – Limited Edition #2135 of 2500

$250

$195

NEW

GRADO Gold 1 Prestige Phono Cartridgeg

$260

$189

       

DEMO

YG ACOUSTICS Kipod Signature Passive Speakers

$38800

$18500

DEMO

ROGUE AUDIO RP-1 Tube Preamp with Phono

$1695

$1275

DEMO

DEVIALET Expert 130

$7690

CALL

DEMO

SHUNYATA Sigma NR Power Cord, 1.75M, 15A

$3000

$2400

DEMO

BRYSTON BDA-2 Digital to Analog Converter

$2695

CALL

DEMO

SYNERGISTIC Atmosphere

$2494

$1295

DEMO

SYNERGISTIC Atmosphere Tuning Module

$499

$249

DEMO

SYNERGISTIC HFT, 10 Pack

$499

$249

DEMO

SYNERGISTIC HFT, 5 Pack

$299

$149

DEMO

SYNERGISTIC ECT, 5 Pack

$299

$149

DEMO

SYNERGISTIC UEF Dots, 10 Pack

$295

$149

DEMO

SYNERGISTIC UEF Acoustic Panels, Set of 4

$549

$269

DEMO

SYNERGISTIC XOT, Pair

$449

$224

DEMO

CLEARAUDIO Virtuosi v2 Ebony MM Cartridge – Very Low Hours

$900

CALL

DEMO

BASIS 2200 Signature with SA-9 SuperArm, Calibrator Base, Clamp

$29101

CALL

DEMO

MYTEK Brooklyn DAC/Headphone Amplifier/Preamplifier

$1995

$1595

DEMO

SENNHEISER CH800 S 4-Pin XLR Cable for Sennheiser HD800

$475

$199

DEMO

BERKELEY AUDIO Reference Series 2/MQA

$20000

CALL

DEMO

GRADO SR-80e Headphones

$99

$69

DEMO

HIGH FIDELITY CABLES MC-0.5 Magnetic Power Conditioner, set of three in carrying case

$897

$525

DEMO

SOPHIA 12AX7 Tubes, Grade A, Very Low Hours – Matched pair

$240

$140

DEMO

SONY HAP-1ZES High Resolution Audio HDD Player

$1995

$1495

DEMO

AURENDER N100H Music Server, 4TB HDD

$3000

$2250

DEMO

BRYSTON HA-1 Headphone Amplifier

$1995

CALL

DEMO

STILLPOINTS Ultra 5 Isolators with Bullet Spikes, set of 8

$5752

$3995

DEMO

TECHNICS SB-C700 Speakers, Black

$1699

CALL

DEMO

ROGUE AUDIO Triton Solid State MM/MC Phono Preamplifier

$995

$695

DEMO

TECHNICS Ottava Hi-Fi System

$2495

$1395

DEMO

PARASOUND JC-1 Mono Power Amplifiers

$9500

CALL

DEMO

QUADRASPIRE SVT Rack, 4 Shelves, Bamboo, Silver

$2196

$1550

DEMO

QUADRASPIRE SVT Amp Stands, Bamboo, Silver – Two Available

$549ea

$375ea

DEMO

AURENDER X725 DAC/Integrated Amplifier

$2500

$1500

DEMO

DAVONE Ray-S Speakers

$7600

CALL

DEMO

WIREWORLD Platinum Eclipse Interconnects, 1M, XLR

$3000

$1899

DEMO

JEFF ROWLAND DESIGNS 725S2 Mono Power Amplifiers

$34000

CALL

DEMO

QUAD Elite Preamplifier

$1299

$695

DEMO

SONOS Playbar

$699

$599

DEMO

SONOS Connect Amp

$499

$399

DEMO

AURENDER FLOW Portable DAC, Headphone Amplifier - 32bit/384KHz PCM and DSD128 (DoP)

$1295

$695

DEMO

PARASOUND Halo JC3+ Phono Preamplifier

$3000

CALL

DEMO

KIMBER SELECT KS2416Cu USB Cable, 2M

$620

$350

DEMO

MICHAEL GREEN Deluxe 5 Shelf Audio Rack, 48” H, 1.5” thick shelves, solid threaded steel posts

$1095

$450

DEMO

SPIRAL GROOVE Strange Attractors Isolation Footers for Berkeley Alpha DAC, set of 4

$600

$299

DEMO

CARDAS Parsec Interconnects, 1M, XLR

$360

$275

DEMO

SONY HAP-S1, Silver 500GB High-Resolution Music Player System

$999

$699

DEMO

CARDAS “Y” Cable, Two Male RCA to One Female RCA

$95

$35

DEMO

Van den HUL The Mountain Interconnects, 1.5M, RCA

$2395

$1195

DEMO

Van den HUL The Mountain Interconnects, 1.5M, XLR

$2395

$1195

DEMO

SALAMANDER Synergy 30” Cherry, Double Wide, One Door, Drawer, Perforated Sides

$1195

$599

DEMO

VERSALAB Split Rollers RFI Blockers

$260

$75

DEMO

AUDIO PRISM Ground Control, Pair, Spades

$99

$39

DEMO

AUDIO PRISM ground Control Reference, Pair, Bananas

$249

$99

       

USED

JEFF ROWLAND Continuum 2 Integrated with Optional DAC Module

$9950

$7250

USED

AUDIBLE ILLUSIONS L3A Tube Linestage - FACTORY REFURBISHED - FULL WARRANTY!

$3895

$2750

USED

BERKELEY AUDIO Reference DAC with MQA Upgrade

$16500

$10500

USED

JOLIDA FX-10 Tube Integrated, Black

$649

$350

USED

JADIS JPP-200 Tube Phono Pre-Preamp (step-up) - RARE!

 

$2600

USED

JADIS DPMC Tube Phono Preamp for MC cartridges

$5900

$2495

USED

AUDIBLE ILLUSIONS M3 Tube Preamp with MM Phono

 

$1495

USED

GOLDEN EAR Triton 1 Speakers

$5000

$3495

USED

YAMAHA T-1 Vintage Tuner

 

$50

USED

PIONEER CLD-3070 LaserDisc Player

 

$25

USED

MIT Cables Spectral MI-350 II Interconnects RCA, 25’

 

$350

USED

MIT Terminator 2 Enhanced Image 20.4, BiWire Speaker Cables, 3M, Spades – Damaged network boxes, but fully functional

$1409

$99

 

Please call to order any of the items on the list - 210-805-9927