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Friday, August 03, 2012

image Linn Products is one of the great European manufacturers whose roots trace back to the golden audiophile era with products like its iconic Sondek LP12 turntable. In more recent times the company has been active with new technologies, including music servers and Web-based technologies.

The company's latest product is the Kiko music system, and this product offers homeowners a compact, fully integrated preamplifier and amplifier and a pair of speakers all in one package. The amplifier section is rated to deliver 33-watts RMS and it includes features like Apple AirPlay, analog phono inputs, HDMI, Toslink, S/PDIF and HDMI pass-thru, UPnP compatibility, front-panel Aux and headphone inputs for iPods and other devices, Neutrik Speakon loudspeaker connectors and Linn's proprietary Dynamik Switch Mode Power Supply. Linn also says the system is capable of decoding FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, MP3, lossy WMA, AIFF, AAC and OGG files with sample rates as high as 24-bit/192kHz.

With the Kiko system installers can set up their clients to play music from their PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones; music from their home theaters, including Blu-ray players and game consoles, and the system is available in a choice of six colors: "Back to Black," "Blue Monday," "White Lines," "Champagne Supernova," "Silver Hammer" and "Baby Blue."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

image There are few companies in the world of home audio that have a history as rich in analog audio as the N.C.-based manufacturer Cary Audio. With a product line that balances realistic price points, home theater, desktop audio and traditional two-channel audio, Cary is a diverse company that's done a lot in addition to keeping analog alive in an era in which the CD, surround sound and downloads were all the rage.

Digging into its past, the company recently revamped its phono preamplifier to appeal to a new generation of vinyl consumers who are either returning to vinyl or discovering it for the first time. Cary's new PH 302 MkII MM/MC phono preamplifier is an updated version of its original PH 302 phono preamp and it utilizes a direct-coupled, single-ended Class A circuit design with two 6SL7 tubes in the head amp, two 6SL7 tubes in the RIAA EQ, gain stage and buffer stages, and a 5AR4 tube for voltage regulation. The phono preamp also employs 1 percent metal-film resistors, a shielded R-Core power transformer, a separate step-up transformer for moving coil (MC) cartridges, and a three-conductor detachable power cable.

Cary says the PH 302 MkII MM/MC phono preamplifier incorporates separate inputs for MC and moving magnet (MM) cartridges, and it provides 38dB of gain for MM cartridges and 60dB of gain for MC cartridges.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

image The Conn.-based audio manufacturer Krell is considered by many in the consumer audio world as a benchmark company.

Krell's latest new product addresses the two-channel audio market and it is designed to be a versatile solution that solves a variety of music enthusiast needs. The company's Phantom III Preamplifier is the first preamp from the company to include the option of either a headphone input or a digital module input, and the digital module includes AES/EBU, coaxial and optical inputs. Internally the Phantom preamp incorporates a dual-mono design with separate power supply regulation for the left and right channels. The Phantom also employs Krell's proprietary, zero-feedback, balanced Current Mode design.

The digital module option supports LPCM bitstreams up to 24-bit/192kHz and it feeds all digital signals to ESS Sabre DACs (digital-to-analog converters) which then feed the company's Current Mode balanced analog circuit.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

image A lot has happened over the past few years in the custom installation market and one of the biggest trends to develop has been the increasing adoption of digital technologies.

Universal Remote Control's (URC) new DMS-AV Networked Home Theater Amplifier leverages the versatility of digital A/V technologies to engineer an affordable all-in-one solution that enables URC dealers to combine a modern home theater with a modern whole-house audio system. URC says the DMS-AV Networked Home Theater Amplifier sits on a network and when combined with its DMS Series of products it can handle up to 32 streaming audio sources in a whole-house audio system with provisions for analog sources. It's theater options include all of the current state-of-the-art amenities such as Dolby True HD, DTS HD Master Audio, HDMI 1.4a, video upconversion to 1080p/24fps and video processing.

The N.Y.-based company also incorporates an amplifier section that is rated to deliver 125 watts to each channel, and an automatic EQ option that includes a microphone. URC says the DMS-AV Networked Home Theater Amplifier can be controlled via IR, RF or IP, and the unit is set up through the company's Accelerator software.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

image Apple's impact on the world of music has been so great that it redefined on how music is listened to, consumed and now it's impacting how music is being made.

Beyond that massive scope of influence, the Cupertino, California-based company is also impacting the consumer audio market. The audio manufacturer Griffin Technology has introduced its new Twenty amplifier that combines a Class D amplifier with Apple AirPlay friendliness to provide homeowners with a simple way to stream their iTunes content to traditional passive loudspeakers. The Twenty incorporates a 20-watt Class D amp, digital inputs, a subwoofer output with a set crossover point of 80Hz in a device that can be easily hidden behind a speaker or placed on top of a speaker.

The Twenty has provisions to power a stereo pair of speakers and it's designed to work with an AirPort Express to provide instant Apple AirPlay iOS compatibility. When used with apps such as Pandora, Spotify or any other music service app that resides on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, consumers can have a choice of music services to listen to in combination with their iTunes content.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

image Hailing from the land of hockey and Rush, the Ontario-based electronics manufacturer Bryston is the Bobby Orr or Neil Peart of its respective field. As one of the top manufacturers in the world of pro and consumer audio, the Canadian company is consistently reevaluating its product line to ensure its products live up to the company's reputation of performance and reliability.

Keeping up to market demands Bryston recently announced its new B-135 SST integrated amplifier. The B-135 replaces the B-100 and it enters the marketplace at the same base price point as the previous model. Bryston rates the amp to deliver 135 watts into an 8-ohm load and internally the integrated amp employs the company's proprietary preamplification circuitry and three toridial power supplies that Bryston says eliminate crosstalk, interference and any interaction between the unit's analog and digital circuits.

The B-135 SST's other features include an upgrade path with options for a built-in DAC and MM phono stage, and a choice of analog and digital inputs.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

image The Lexington, Kentucky-based manufacturer Audio Authority is listening to what its dealers have to say. After asking for amplifiers that combined versatility and reliability Audio Authority has responded to its dealers requests by designing its new SonaFlex 16-channel amplifier (SF-16M) that combines features that can be applied to commercial and residential installations with the reliability of its Class D circuit designs all in a single package.

The SF-16M incorporates 16 RCA inputs along with two of its Cat-5 based FlexPorts to provide electronics professionals with a total of 20 mono/10 stereo inputs. The FlexPorts can be configured to accept balanced line/mic XLR, digital coax/optical and analog RCA sources and the amp's outputs can be configured as mono, stereo or a combination of both to service a variety of installation scenarios. Audio Authority says installers can also daisy chain as many as four of the amps for larger installations that require configurations as diverse as 32 inputs/64 outputs. The amp is also rated to deliver 45 watts with all channels driven or 60 watts with eight channels driven. The company adds the amp is also stable down to 2 ohms, and its sound can be customized through the use of bass and treble controls, high- and low-pass filters and seven bands of parametric equalization (EQ).

Other features include a choice of RS-232, IR and IP control, and the ability to set up 10 audio groups that can share volume settings, muting and sources.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

image For years the brand Acurus was a highly respected brand among home theater enthusiasts. Unfortunately the brand went away for a variety of reasons.

In 2009 Indy Audio Labs revived the brand and in the fall of 2011 the company debuted its Acurus line of products at the annual CEDIA show. Included in the company's newly released line of products is the A2005 five-channel amplifier which is designed specifically for home theater applications. The A2005 is a THX Ultra2 certified product that is specified to deliver 200 watts into an 8-ohm load; 300 watts into a 4-ohm load, and the Midwestern-based company says that per THX requirements, the amp is also capable of delivering 18 amps of current into 2.2 ohms for peak bursts.

Other features incorporated into the Class A/B design A2005 include network integration controls that are intended to facilitate the integration process, and a configuration option that enables two A2005 amps to be setup together as a 10-channel amplifier solution.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

image With headphones now one of the top selling categories in consumer electronics the market has adapted and the audiophile community has latched onto this trend, which was initially driven by neophyte audio listeners.

HiFiMAN, a manufacturer of headphones, high-performance portable audio devices and other components recently introduced its EF-6 headphone amplifier, which it says enables audiophiles and music fans in general to utilize low-efficiency headphones to listen to their favorite tunes.

The 24 pound, robustly built amplifier is made of brushed aluminum and steel with aluminum heat sinks, and internally it provides users with a 5 watt, Class A circuit and a hand-built step attenuator with matched resistors that contribute to its symmetrical output. The EF-6 is stated to produce a quiet 95dB signal-to-noise (s/n) ratio, and HiFiMAN says that as a result of the engineering behind the EF-6, users can enjoy a warm, relaxing sound with lots of detail no matter what headphone it is driving.
Filed in Audio, Amplifiers,

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

image A couple of years ago the Riverside, California A/V manufacturer Proficient introduced its first wireless audio solution it called AirFlex. Recently the company released its latest wireless audio system it calls Zero.

Proficient says the new wireless audio system builds upon the capabilities of the AirFlex and the company says the solution is capable of broadcasting audio signals as far as 90 feet to enable electronics professionals to offer existing home clients whole-house audio solutions that can be tailored to their exact requirements.

Some of the new features Proficient has built into the Zero wireless audio system include the ability to expand up to eight receivers per transmitter, and with the transmitter's three broadcast channels installers can dial in a level of performance that is consistent and reliable. The transmitter also incorporates an optical input that can be transmitted simultaneously with the analog inputs. Proficient says that transmitting all of the inputs allows a transmitter to send "left and right" audio for zone two or rear surrounds, as well as audio for a subwoofer in a home theater. The Zero receiver features a 2x35 watt-per channel amplifier and an LED display that shows system status.

Monday, February 06, 2012

image Meridian has earned a reputation within audiophile circles for producing some of the consumer audio industry's finest digital components.

At the recently completed Consumer Electronics Show (CEA) the British A/V company announced its new 818 Reference Audio Core preamplifier that it says will enable its dealers to easily combine its flagship 800 series components with its Sooloos line of digital audio components. The preamplifier incorporates the latest in standard consumer electronics technologies such as XLR (balanced) and RCA (unbalanced) connections, as well as proprietary technologies that include advanced digital signal processing (DSP) and the company's SpeakerLink outputs to facilitate connections to its active DSP line of loudspeakers.

With the 818 Reference Audio Core preamplifier and a choice of Sooloos series components Meridian says that electronics professionals can create a customizable, state-of-the-art audio system for their clients, or they can use the component with standard A/V components to create a system that utilizes the best traditional and digital electronics.

Friday, January 27, 2012

image Mark Levinson is one of the most famous names in high performance residential audio and recently at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) the respected American manufacturer announced several new products.

Arguably the most interesting of these products is the No.585 integrated amplifier. The No.585 marks a return to the integrated amplifier category, and according to Levinson, the new integrated amp is part of the company's 40th Anniversary Collection of products, which also includes the No.52 Reference Dual-Monaural Preamplifier, the No.519 SACD and the No.560 Digital Audio Processor.

The No.585 integrated amplifier's amplification section is rated to deliver 225 watts into an 8-ohm load, and it offers a choice of three line-level analog inputs, as well as a moving-magnet (MM)/moving-coil (MC) phono input. Levinson also includes a choice of HDMI 1.3, USB, AES/EBU, and coax S/PDIF inputs, along with USB and S/PDIF digital outputs. Internally the integrated amp incorporates 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog converters (DACs); on-board bass management with high-pass filtering, low-pass crossover controls for use with a subwoofer and the company's SSP mode that supports the unit's integration into a home theater system.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

image It doesn't matter if you are a die-hard two-channel enthusiast or a home theater lover when it comes to owning McIntosh gear. The company makes products that satisfies the demands of both markets without compromise.

Adding to its home theater legacy, the Binghampton, N.Y.-based company introduced its latest product to the home theater category: the MC8207 home theater amplifier. McIntosh says the new amplifier is engineered to provide the luxury, high-performance with a product that performs to the highest levels. McIntosh says the seven-channel amplifier incorporates its proprietary Dynamic Power Management circuit that allows for full power delivery into 4- and 8-ohm speaker loads. Aesthetically, the amp features the company's new "theater style" LED watt meters, which allows users to monitor the amount of power sent to their system's front three speakers.

McIntosh says the amp is rated to deliver 200 watts per channel, and it can be used with the company's line of A/V controllers to form a complete home theater electronics solution.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

image Back in the day there were two ways to listen to music: vinyl and the radio. Today however, vinyl and the radio are just two of the choices music fans have, and in fact many people start with a record or the radio and move on to a CD, DVD, Blu-ray, SACD, DVD-Audio, streaming Internet radio, a streaming service or their iTunes software before they are done with their music listening activities.

NuForce's new Dia digital integrated amplifier is a compact all-in-one solution that supports a music enthusiast's ability to tap into all of today's formats without having to invest the time, space and money of owning a rack full of gear.

The Dia incorporates 24-bit/192kHz DACs, as well as an amplifier section that is rated to deliver 18 watts per channel into an 8-ohm load and 24 watts per channel into a 4-ohm load. The unit also includes two Toslink inputs, a digital coax connection and a 3.5mm line out connection. NuForce says with the small footprint solution electronics professionals can connect a traditional A/V source like a disc player, along with devices such as an Apple TV and Airport Extreme to utilize the latest in audio entertainment.

Friday, November 18, 2011

image Since the advent of Class D amplifiers the audiophile community has generally shrugged off these products, as cheap and inferior to traditional Class A and Class A/B amplifiers.

The Canadian manufacturer Anthem is looking to change the audiophile community's perception of Class D products through the release of its Anthem Statement M1 monoblock amplifier. The M1 uses a Class D architecture, which afforded the company the ability to design an efficient, small footprint amplifier that delivers high levels of power with low distortion. Anthem says the amp took nearly 10 years to engineer and it says that most of that time was devoted to the research and development of the technology to push it beyond its current performance levels.

Anthem says the M1 incorporates a proprietary load monitoring system that includes a digital signal processor that operates outside of the signal path to monitor line voltage, output current, ground faults, temperature and DC voltage at the output to ensure the amp works with 120 volt and 240 volt circuits. The company rates the monoblock amp to produce 1,000 watts of power into an 8-ohm load and 2,000 watts into a 4-ohm load.

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