Author Archives: TAS Staff

Pro-Ject Announces New Debut Pro Turntable

The following is a press release issued by Sumiko and Pro-Ject.

MAPLE GROVE, MN (July 15, 2021) – Sumiko and Pro-Ject USA are proud to announce the new Debut PRO Turntable from Pro-Ject Audio Systems. The original Pro-Ject 1 and its successor, the Debut series, revolutionized the music listening experience while reinvigorating a passion for analog playback – a turning point for the industry. Pro-Ject continues to satisfy music lovers and vinyl enthusiasts with continued innovation in performance and value that bring the joy of stereo hi-fi to life in your own home.

The Debut PRO extends the tradition of the Debut collection with a new striking design, featuring a satin black and brushed-nickel color scheme that emphasizes the strengths of the technologies within the turntable. Tracking performance is enhanced by an all new 8.6” tonearm that features a one-piece carbon fiber wrapped aluminum arm tube for excellent rigidity and reduction of harmful resonances. A heavy-duty, nickel-plated machined aluminum bearing block ensures the tight tolerance tonearm bearings move freely, allowing the tonearm to track precisely across the entire surface of the record. The Debut PRO also features a die-cast aluminum platter with integrated TPE damping, resulting in the perfect combination of mass and low internal resonance.

New to the Debut series, the tonearm height and azimuth are both adjustable, allowing for the use of a wide range of cartridges. The critically acclaimed Sumiko Rainier phono cartridge is included with the Debut PRO and has been mounted by our experts and precision-aligned at the factory. Height adjustable leveling feet with integrated resonance damping, electronic speed selection, a detachable acrylic dust cover and a premium semi-symmetrical phono cable (Connect It E) round out the Debut PRO’s robust feature set.

Like all Pro-Ject Audio Systems turntables, the special-edition Debut PRO is hand crafted in Europe and will be available in the US in limited quantities at select Pro-Ject dealers beginning in August 2021, with a suggested retail price of $899 USD.

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Parasound Taking the Audio-Show Plunge at RMAF

The following is a press release issued by Parasound.
SAN FRANCISCO (July 12, 2021) — When Parasound introduced and first started shipping its flagship Parasound Halo JC 1+ 450-watt monoblock power amplifier in early 2020, they were looking forward to demonstrating the amps to customers, reviewers, and dealers at the AXPONA 2020 High End Audio show outside Chicago that August, 2020. However, with the rapid spread of Covid 19, that show was not to be.
Now, with the Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest, popularly known as RMAF, opening to the public in October, Parasound will be exhibiting at its first domestic audio show since 2019. The centerpiece of the exhibit will be a pair of the company’s flagship Parasound Halo JC 1+ power amplifiers with a speaker partner to be announced at a later date.
The Parasound Halo JC 1+ is the result of a five-year effort by John Curl and Parasound to replace, after two decades, their legacy Parasound Halo JC 1 with a new amplifier that is noticeably better.
“‘A little better’ wasn’t good enough for me, and it certainly wasn’t for John,” said Richard Schram President and founder. “The improvement had to be noticeable and dramatic. It had to grab the listener’s attention and leave them in a state of amazement. This project encompassed an almost total redesign of the internal circuitry so it can deliver effortless power at 450 watts into 8 ohms, 850 watts into 4 ohms, 1300 watts into 2 ohms, and a peak current of 180 amperes; the JC 1+ excels even with speakers that can dip to 1 ohm. It operates in pure Class A up to 25 Watts and Class AB to full power, reflecting Curl’s attention to detail and sound quality.”
“In 2003, the JC 1 was an immediate success,” said Richard Schram, Parasound’s president. “For over ten years we couldn’t imagine how to improve it. Therefore, I was surprised and excited when John called me in early 2014 to discuss his ideas for a new amplifier that would significantly outperform the JC 1. During 2015 and 2016 we built numerous prototypes to confirm Curl’s theories, and the sonic improvements he’d predicted. The results were outstanding. We decided to create a new amplifier built on the JC 1’s legendary reputation. The JC 1+ is a technological masterpiece, raising the bar for amplifier performance and value for years to come.”
Parasound invites enthusiasts to experience the new Halo JC 1+ amplifiers displayed on NorStone Spider amp stands in room 11-116 at RMAF 2021.
The Parasound Halo JC 1+ power amplifier, in black or silver finish, is currently available from authorized Parasound dealers as well as any of our authorized e-commerce partners.

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Wilson Benesch Introduces GMT ONE SYSTEM Turntable

The following is a press release issued by Wilson Benesch.

July 2021 – Wilson Benesch was founded in 1989 following two-years of research and development. In 1990 the company unveiled its first product, the Wilson Benesch Turntable. The Wilson Benesch Turntable became recognised as a landmark design that introduced a number of novel technologies, including carbon fibre composite structures that had not only not been seen in a high end audio product before, but indeed were seldom seen in consumer products at all in 1990. The carbon fibre / nomex core sub-chassis was developed in collaboration with Derbyshire based engineer, Neil Humpston. Humpston had worked on numerous challenging projects including the Rolls Royce RB211 carbon fibre fan blades. The final chassis design for the turntable emerged out of exhaustive where all the parameters of the design were trialed and measured. This important groundwork would pave the way for a much better understanding of exactly how carbon fibre functions. Audio applications have complex requirements beyond specific stiffness and cores are equally complex. Of all the core materials, Nomex was found to be clearly superior in all aspects of performance. 

The Wilson Benesch turntable was discontinued after the Papst motor was made obsolete. But the technology that had been developed and the expertise that now existed in the company, coupled with the growing number of collaborative partners in fields of engineering excellence allowed Wilson Benesch to forge a strong ethos and unique position as the pioneers and leaders in carbon fibre composite technologies within high end audio. 

In 1992, Wilson Benesch unveiled its first loudspeaker the ‘Advanced Composite Technology or ‘A.C.T.’ One. Like the Wilson Benesch Turntable, the A.C.T. One was received with considerable critical acclaim from the press, industry professionals and customers. Today, three decades on from their launch, the Wilson Benesch Turntable and the A.C.T. One loudspeaker are regarded as designs which set a new benchmark within the market, timeless classics.

Through the 1990s Wilson Benesch continued to invest in analogue technology development and subsequently released its second of only two turntables designs. The Full Circle introduced the carbon fibre unidirectional ‘U.D.’ cantilever suspension system. Amongst a number of key benefits structurally, the Full Circle also delivered a solution to unstudied or new analogue enthusiasts who had little to no previous experience of setting up and maintaining a high-end turntable and was a direct answer to the ease of the digital compact disc that was threatening the very existence of vinyl at the time.

In 2010, Wilson Benesch submitted a proposal to Her Majesty’s government in a competitive grant scheme and was awarded ‘SMART’ Research funding of £150,000 for a project that the company referred to as ‘The Mondrian Project’. It was a very ambitious project which would prove to be a step too far. However, the seeds were planted that would continue to develop over the next decade. 

During this decade Wilson Benesch continued to fund cutting edge technological development. Through painstaking trial and error and iterative design, completely original ideas emerged as the analogue system defined itself through new components for the motor the tonearm, and numerous sub-assemblies. The development of these sub-systems required a completely new approach that was greatly influenced by new manufacturing technologies that were then emerging in additive manufacturing. New collaborative partners were identified at Sheffield University and the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) to enable these conceptual models to be refined and optimised in time frames that would have been inconceivable with conventional manufacturing technologies. 

At the close of 2020 Wilson Benesch brought together a Consortium which successfully won £327,000 of Innovate U.K. funding. The Consortium is comprised of Sheffield Hallam University – Dr F. Al-Naemi, Dr J. Travis and Professor G. Cockerham. These scientists have enabled the most nuanced and sophisticated modelling to be accomplished using state of the art 3D software and have been critical to the success of the project. And a second highly innovative SME, CAAS Audio, which is also based in South Yorkshire and is driven by the proven world class expertise of Dr C. Broomfield and N. Broomfield. Since winning this important funding the consortium has gone on to pioneer a completely new and completely novel motor and dedicated poly-phase motor power supply system that is equally innovative.

It is widely recognised that at the heart of all turntables is the motor drive and its power supply. It is also broadly accepted that to-date every turntable ever produced has suffered from one compromise or another in terms of how it is driven. The Omega Drive as a key part of the GMT® System simply concludes this unending search. The Omega Drive is completely novel and is a patent applied for system that also has multiple design registrations. It has been developed from a clean sheet for one single purpose. It isn’t an off the shelf system that has been adapted to the role. It is without exception, unlike anything seen before. Every aspect is unique and as a whole, is the subject of both a patent application and many design registrations. 

All the GMT® systems will be manufactured and assembled in house within the very same building within which the product was designed and developed. This applies to the electronic systems that will be supplied by the developer Dr Broomfield and Neil Broomfield of CAAS Audio. Of course, the quality of the outcome is only as good as the measurements. The classic measuring systems used to date for measuring speed and speed fluctuations was found to be inadequate for the task and a novel new system based upon a high resolution pico-encoder was developed. The resolution was critical to the iterative design approach. The result is a truly unique, State-of-the-Art, control & drive system that delivers unprecedented levels of precision and immeasurable speed fluctuations. Poly-phase drive signals are synthesised by a sophisticated microprocessor controlled DAC module with absolute control over each and every critical variable, to ensure the ultimate performance. The control software and algorithms were also developed in tandem with CAAS Audio. These advanced systems monitor the drive technologies in real time, while pure analogue, linear amplifiers handle the transfer of the synthesised signals. These bespoke, high precision systems combine to guarantee the lowest possible levels of distortion and absolute accuracy in the motor drive system.

The GMT® System has been designed to meet the needs of the archivist. Its primary goal is to preserve valuable recordings and minimise the impact of transcription. To achieve this, the GMT® System provides unprecedented levels of control. For the first time, it is possible for each and every parameter to be controlled to extremely high levels of precision to achieve the ultimate and virtually flawless transcription of the micro groove. Significantly, these transcription parameters for the motor and the tonearm can be dialed in remotely to unprecedented levels of accuracy. No other product in the world can approach this level of accuracy, control or reliability. As such the GMT® System sets the new benchmark from which all other analogue replay systems will be judged by. 

AVAILABILITY: Wilson Benesch are reviewing opportunities to present GMT® ONE SYSTEM Turntable to the public for its official launch. Possibilities for a January 2022 public launch are being explored and full details will be released via our website, social media and newsletter as details become available.

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Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG Set to Release Brand-New Live Albums As Part Of “The Montreux Years” Series

The following is a press release issued by Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG.

Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG have announced the forthcoming releases of ‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’ and ‘Etta James: The Montreux Years’ on Friday, 25 June 2021. The live albums, which will be available in multiple-format configurations, including double LP and two-disc CD editions, feature sublime collections of the musical icons’ finest Montreux Jazz Festival performances, including previously unreleased material, all restored to their full glory and more. The audio will also be available on digital download and streaming services, and in full master quality on TIDAL.

Pre-order ‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’ and ‘Etta James: The Montreux Years’ here.

Simone’s and James’ albums are the first releases of Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG’s brand-new collection series “The Montreux Years”. The collections will uncover legendary performances by the world’s most iconic artists alongside rare and never-before-released recordings from the festival’s rich 55-year history, with mastering performed by Tony Cousins at London’s iconic Metropolis Studios, incorporating MQA to capture the original sound of these special live performances. Each collection will be accompanied by exclusive liner notes and previously unseen photography.

Nina Simone’s story from the late sixties to the nineties can be told through her legendary performances in Montreux. Taking to the Montreux stage for the first time on 16 June 1968 for the festival’s second edition, Simone built a lasting relationship with Montreux Jazz Festival and its Creator and Director Claude Nobs and this unique trust and electricity can be clearly felt on the recordings.

Simone’s multi-faceted and radical story is laid bare on ‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’. From Nina’s glorious and emotional 1968 performance to her fiery and unpredictable concert in 1976, one of the festival’s most remarkable performances ever witnessed, the collection includes recordings from all of her five legendary Montreux concerts – 1968, 1976, 1981, 1987 and 1990.

Featuring rare and previously unreleased material from Claude Nobs extensive collection of recorded material (Montreux Sounds), Nina Simone devotees worldwide will be thrilled by the inclusion of the powerful I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free, poignant and fearless Four Women and Simone’s hauntingly beautiful performance of Ne Me Quitte Pas.

A spine-tingling version of Janis Ian’s searing and potent Stars, which Simone covered for the very first time during her 1976 Montreux performance, sits alongside her bold and electrifying re-imagine of Bob Marley’s ballad No Woman No Cry in 1990. The collection closes with the encore of Nina Simone’s final Montreux Jazz Festival concert and one of Simone’s most-loved and best-known recordings, the exuberant My Baby Just Cares For Me, showcasing the deep and multidimensional facets of Simone’s life and music.

The CD edition of ‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’ will also include Simone’s 1968 landmark concert in full, the first time the full concert will be available on CD.

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Orchard Audio Introduces Starkrimson Stereo Ultra

The following is a press release issued by Starkrimson.

June 15, 2021 | Succasunna, New Jersey –  Following the enormous success of the Starkrimson® Mono amplifier, Orchard Audio is introducing the Starkrimson Stereo Ultra amplifier, with the same proprietary dual-feedback modulator and next-generation gallium nitride (GaN) transistors. Unlike its predicesor the Ultra amplifier delivers up to 500WRMS (1000WPEAK) of power and 20A of current while maintaining extremely low noise and distortion.

This latest design, which has already been previewed, tested and highly praised by those who were able to have access to it, fully explores the benefits of the latest GaN transistors, providing less harshness, cleaner highs, and better overall transparency and detail with irrelevant noise levels. The pulse-width modulation is performed completely in the analog domain before being amplified by the GaN power stages. Starkrimson amplifiers use Leo Ayzenshtat’s proprietary DC-coupled, fully balanced dual feedback modulator, which allows the amplifier to be completely balanced from input to output, through the use of bridged GaN power stages.

This design provides the Starkrimson Stereo Ultra amplifiers with a huge reserve of power for extended transients, and the power expands linearly with the load – 125 watts into 16 ohms; 250 watts into 8 ohms; and 500 watts into 4 ohms – for powerful, unrestrained music. The amplifier is packaged in an aluminum and steel chassis with high-end gold-plated binding posts and connectors, with a front panel option of either matte black or brushed aluminum (silver).

Features:

  • Fully balanced from input to output (w/differential input)
  • Differential and single-ended audio inputs
  • Extremely low noise and distortion
  • 2-ohm capable
  • 20A of output current

 

Specifications:

  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): 120dB (A-weighted, 22kHz BW)
  • Frequency response: DC – 80kHz+
  • Gain (balanced input): 19.05dB
  • Gain (single-ended input): 25.05dB
  • Power output into 16/8/4Ω: 125/250/500WRMS

 

Orchard Audio is still offering preorder prices ($1,999.95 USD) on its website until the end of June 2021. Starkrimson Stereo Ultra amplifiers will start shipping in August and are available with differential (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) inputs or both ($150 option). All DIY enthusiasts can also order the Starkrimson Ultra Mono Amp Module and kits separately, in order to build their own systems.

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Moon Announces Upgraded and Updated 280D Streaming DAC

The following is a press release issued by Moon Audio.

MOON’s 280D streaming DAC has been upgraded and updated to increase its already formidable connectivity options. At the heart of the 280D is the industry leading MiND2 streaming module, now featuring Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2, plus Tidal Masters, Deezer Hi-Fi, HIGHRESAUDIO* and Qobuz Sublime+ music services.

The MOON 280D is designed to deliver an outstanding high-resolution streaming experience from these integrated music services and its extraordinary digital engine decodes native DSD up to DSD256, as well as PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz, including DXD. The fully balanced analogue stage features an exceptional third order filter for lifelike transparency. It is MQA certified, Roon Ready and has Bluetooth aptX connectivity.

The integrated MiND2 module (MOON intelligent Network Device) provides a superlative way of organising, streaming, and listening to music and allows playback of all the most important music file formats.

The 280D can be operated by remote control or MOON’s intuitive app, the MOON MiND Controller, which is available in iOS & Android versions. This beautifully designed app is simple to use and allows music files to be played from digital services, computers and NAS drives. It is regularly updated by MOON to provide extra features to the existing list.

A couple of the most popular recent additions to the app are: Tidal’s My Mix, which creates the perfect playlist for a listener by using an algorithm to comb the Tidal library based on their most recent listening patterns and saved music collection. And Spotify Connect, which is opening the door to the world of MOON sound quality for the 350 million Spotify users by linking to the Spotify app.

Extended system control is available via SimLink when connected to other MOON products. As well as seamless connectivity and intuitive operation, the 280D delivers the renowned natural and detailed MOON sound.

 

FEATURES:

 

  • Fully asynchronous
  • Supports native DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 (USB only).
  • Supports PCM up to 384kHz (32-bit on USB only).
  • Seven digital inputs: AES/EBU x 1, S/PDIF x 2, TosLink x 2, USB x 1 and Qualcomm aptX audio for Bluetooth x 1 – for usewith virtually any digital
  • An eighth digital input is through the MiND 2 streaming module (via WiFi or Ethernet).
  • Front panel LED indicators to show active input and input signal PCM sampling and DSD
  • Analogue stage: fully balanced differential circuit for increased dynamic range and headroom and higher resolution, aswell as improved signal-to-noise
  • AirPlay 2
  • Roon
  • Tidal Masters, Deezer Hi-Fi, HIGHRESAUDIO and Qobuz Sublime+ music
  • MQA
  • Spotify Connect
  • Multi-room synchronised

 

Available in a black or signature MOON two-tone finish, the 280D is designed and manufactured in Canada and comes with a 10-year warranty.

RRP: £2,950

*HIGHRESAUDIO although available in the UK, is not available in all countries.

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The Focal powered by Naim Store: The Future of High-End Dealerships?

The Imperative

High end audio faces an imperative: to expand its market before traditional customers age out, young prospects opt for ultimate convenience over superior sonics, and well-heeled, middle-aged professionals succumb to the more discreet aesthetics and intuitive usability of CI. (For those unfamiliar with that last acronym, it stands for “Custom Installation.” CI is a massive field in which the bulk of high-end manufacturers play no role.)

Every producer in our industry is aware of the imperative to expand the customer base. Most are addressing it in the form of new products aimed at attracting new customers. Thus, we see even uber-high-end purveyors like Goldmund offering headphone amps and compact integrateds. Yet while moving into new product categories is clearly a necessary step, is it sufficient?

In particular, is the traditional audio dealer—dimly-lit, dark-hued, bursting with intimidating gear stacked on industrial-looking racks—where Millennials and affluent families really want to go to drop a sizable portion of their discretionary funds? Perhaps not. The younger crowd is accustomed to Best Buy, where they can find Sonos, or Bose shop. And, as already noted, those middle-aged couples building their dream home are highly susceptible to the comfy environs that CI dealers offer. Maybe, then, in addition to a broader product range, high-end expansion also requires a rethink of the traditional dealer.

That’s certainly the premise behind recent moves by the VerVent Audio Group, owner of English electronics manufacturer Naim and French speaker builder Focal. VerVent is working with its worldwide dealer network to create new, dedicated places to showcase and sell Naim and Focal products. The new spaces are called “Focal powered by Naim” stores, and, though they may be located within or adjacent to existing dealers, they are very different from those traditional outlets.

To create a store, VerVent shares the cost and workload with a partner dealer. Specifically, VerVent dictates elements (color scheme, graphics, etc) that define the store’s “look and feel.” The company also generates an initial store layout, optimized for the available space, and proposes an initial equipment configuration. Both are subject to the dealer’s revision and approval. Finally, VerVent provides financial assistance for both constructing the store and populating it with demo gear. The end result is owned, staffed and operated by the dealer. Once the new store is up and running, the relationship between the manufacturer and the dealer reverts to normal.

The benefits of this approach are easy to glean. Because the look of these stores is centrally controlled, Naim and Focal maintain a consistent, recognizable visual presence worldwide. At the same time, the stores cement in the customer’s mind the close relationship between Naim and Focal. Finally, unlike other schemes being tried by some high-end manufacturers, such as direct or online sales, the VerVent approach ensures that it is never in competition with its dealers. Most significantly, this model gives both VerVent and participating dealers an opportunity to create an entirely new environment attuned to the tastes of a broader audience.

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ELAC Announces the Uni-Fi Reference Line of Home Speakers

The following is a press release issued by ELAC.

Orange, CA | June 7th, 2021 – ELAC, a leading global provider of high-performance speakers and electronics, today announced the Uni-Fi Reference line of home speakers. This new line builds upon the success of the Uni-Fi 2.0 series and incorporates a variety of performance and cosmetic improvements.

“This new line removes the price limitations of the Uni-Fi 2.0 series along with the technical barriers associated with that price point. The Uni-Fi Reference series offers significant performance improvements such as cast chassis for both the concentric and bass drivers, newly developed bass and concentric drivers, enhanced bracing, improved crossover design, along with luxury cosmetics” said James Krodel, senior vice president sales, ELAC.

Some of the notable new features of the Uni-Fi Refence line-up include.

Newly Developed 4” Concentric Driver with Cast Chassis: A wide-surround tweeter enhances its low and high frequency extension allowing for improved blending with the midrange. An entirely new midrange driver with large diameter voice coil, vented rear spider and new neodymium magnet allows for better excursion and control of midrange frequencies. A new cast chassis was designed to minimize reflections back to the cone resulting in better clarity.

Newly developed 5.25” and 6.5” Aluminum Woofers with Cast Chassis: Drastically improving low-end reproduction, this newly developed bass driver features a single piece compound curvature aluminum cone with a large rear vented magnet delivering improved linearity and better low frequency response of any previous Uni-Fi bookshelf speaker.

Sophisticated 3-way Crossover: An entirely new design improves response linearity, improves driver integration, and delivers a true 6-ohm nominal impedance for compatibility with virtually all AV receivers.

Full Perimeter Bracing: Reducing the speaker cabinets influence on audio quality the Uni-Fi Reference line implements full perimeter bracing significantly reducing cabinet vibration and cabinet coloration.

Front Firing Ports – Placing the vents on the front of the bookshelf and center speakers allows for greater freedom of placement, even in restricted places like a cabinet or up close to a wall.

All three new models will be available in late-June at ELAC retailers nationwide.

 

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2021 Editors’ Choice Awards: Integrated Amplifiers Under $1,000

NAD C 316 V2

$449

The entry-level C 316 is still the go-to amp for audiophile newbies who crave sonic neutrality, good power output, nice tactile feel, and NAD’s characteristic quality control. 

NAD C 316 V2

NAD D 3020 V2

$449

Truly a design for our times, the D 3020 is improbably small and portable and loaded. This 30Wpc integrated offers a 96kHz/24-bit USB input and aptX Bluetooth music-streaming. With a smooth top end, its speed and openness can be truly enthralling. Although there’s a little bit of a veil over the sound, the D 3020 need make no apologies. At $449 it is a small miracle of packaging and portability, and a delight to use and listen to. 

NAD D 3020 V2

NuForce DDA-120

$499

The DDA-120 was made for audiophiles who need a moderately priced, single-box amp/preamp to connect any conventional digital source to a pair of loudspeakers. If your speakers are at least 88dB sensitive and you can work around the DDA-120’s ergonomic limitations, you may find that it is simply the best-integrated amplifier you’ve heard. (Now includes an analog input.) 

NuForce DDA-120

NAD C 328

$599

NAD calls its new integrated amplifier a “Hybrid Digital DAC Amplifier,” a moniker that hints at its digital prowess. The C 328 can handle a wide range of digital sources and, indeed, features a topology that keeps signals in the digital domain until the switching output stage. Although the amp is rated at 50Wpc, Paul Seydor found that the C 328 wasn’t lacking for power in real-world situations. The C 328 acquits itself excellently in nuance and resolution. With rock and driving jazz it displays a lot of punch, kick, drive, and swing. Subjectively, noise and distortion are extremely low, the presentation notable for its clarity and articulation without appearing in the least analytical. A tremendous bargain and a worthy successor to NAD’s legendary 3020 integrated amplifier. 

PS Audio Sprout100

$699

Though the updated Sprout100 version’s compact, retro-modern form factor remains the same, many changes abound, including a redesign for the mm phonostage and headphone amp, an upgrade to a new ESS Sabre 9016 DAC chip, defeatable bass boost, a tiny indicator LED, and a remote control. Oh, and twice the power: 100Wpc into 4 ohms. We were struck immediately by the Sprout100’s ability to coax even more spaciousness, lively musicality, detail, and low-end extension from the Air Tight Bonsais’ single drivers. Expect big sound from a sweet, small-footprint, full-featured component with plenty of visual and tactile appeal.

PS Audio Sprout100

Marantz PM7000N

$999

The Marantz PM7000N integrated stereo amplifier is a good-sounding product that can shrink audiophile sprawl down to something more manageable without sacrificing what matters most. It’s an all-in-one solution that comes equipped with built-in DAC, network streaming, Apple AirPlay, multiple line inputs, multiple digital inputs, and a phono section. Despite having a foot firmly in every camp, its presentation is gracious—an overall solid performer packed with value. Digital is easy to set up, and while the phono section isn’t perfect, it reveals plenty of detail and has a nice, engaging sound. 

Marantz PM7000N

NAD C 368

$999 

NAD’s C 368 is a great-sounding and forward-looking integrated that will satisfy now and well into the future. The 80Wpc C 368 (240Wpc IHF dynamic power into 4 ohms) incorporates not just a DAC, but a full suite of interchangeable modules thanks to NAD’s Modular Design Construction. The C 368 sounds more powerful than its rating, capturing music’s continuously changing dynamic level with noteworthy precision and exhibiting a dynamic exuberance typical of NAD equipment. 

NAD C 368

Yamaha A-S801

$999

Is there any other audio component with as many features as the A-S801 amplifier? And it’s not like the features were just thrown in to impress; the A-S801 surprised reviewer Vade Forrester by how good it sounded driving the inefficient KEF LS50 speakers in his largish room. Optional Bluetooth connectivity expands the A-S801’s functionality and appeal. A flaming bargain.

Yamaha A-S801

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Luxman Celebrates 95 years With the L595A Special Edition Integrated Amplifier

The following is a press release issued by Luxman.

BALLSTON SPA, New York | May 2021 – The new Luxman L-595A SPECIAL EDITION is a premium Class A integrated amplifier built to commemorate Luxman’s 95th anniversary. The unique industrial design reimagines the highly regarded L-570 series inaugurated in 1989. “Not many consumer electronics companies can point to a 95-year heritage,” said Jeff Sigmund, president of Luxman America. “The Luxman L-595ASE validates our ongoing commitment to sonic excellence, superb build quality and timeless design.”

In place of a conventional serial number, a back-panel plate identifies the amplifier as a 95th Anniversary limited offering and cites the three-digit serial number as “### of 300.” With just 100 units allocated to North America, first deliveries will commence in June at a suggested retail price of $11,995.

Distinctive design

The Luxman L-595A SPECIAL EDITION combines advanced technology and a massive physical presence. Luxman enthusiasts will note that unlike recent Luxman amplifiers, the new model deletes front panel VU meters. Instead of a rotary input selector, the amplifier features an array of aluminum clad direct selection switchgear, each with an annunciator LED. The Luxman aluminum front panel is accented by a black Alumite lower section, creating an elegant, two-tone scheme reminiscent of the original L-570 series. The calibrated volume control features a bold counterbore and indicator light. Both the front and top panels also feature Luxman’s signature hairline finish.

Class A amplifier with ODNF-u, Only Distortion Negative Feedback (ultimate)

When Class B transistor amplifiers rose to prominence in the 1960s and 70s, Luxman engineers were quick to recognize the pitfalls of related switching distortion. Audiophiles know this distortion occurs when output transistors responsible for one half of a musical waveform switch off and others are switched on to handle the other waveform half. Because this distortion occurs at the “crossover” transition between the top and bottom of all waveforms, it’s particularly troublesome, becoming more prominent during quiet musical passages. True to its heritage, the L-595A SPECIAL EDITION eliminates the problem with Pure Class A amplification, available up to its rated power into 8 Ohm loads. During Class A operation, the output transistors operate all the time – no duty cycle switching on and off. The result is music reproduction of stunning textural clarity.

Negative feedback is an extremely powerful tool in analog circuit design. But even minuscule inaccuracies in the application of feedback can compromise the expressive power of music reproduction. For this reason, Luxman incorporates the most advanced version of our Only Distortion Negative Feedback (ultimate) – ODNF-u – circuit, with improved error detection.

LECUA1000 88-step attenuator

During operation and with low-level signals, traditional rotary resistive type volume controls often introduce noise. In addition, resistance tracking errors can unintentionally shift the left/right stereo balance with volume adjustments. For these reasons, Luxman has long avoided these types in favor of carefully crafted attenuator circuits. The L-595ASE incorporates the Luxman Electronically Controlled Ultimate Attenuator, LECUA1000, first used in the range topping C-900u control amplifier. This computerized precision attenuator delivers meticulous volume adjustment across 88 steps, while minimizing distortion.

A Luxman through and through

Designed to give its fortunate owners pleasure for years to come, the L-595A SPECIAL EDITION reflects unstinting attention to every detail.

  • 30 Watts + 30 Watts RMS, pure Class A into 8 ohm loads
  • 60 Watts + 60 Watts RMS at 4 Ohms, and stable into 2 Ohms
  • 3-stage Darlington equipped triple-parallel push-pull configuration for superior signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion
  • Instant, effortless power thanks to an oversized, highly-regulated power transformer and large, independent left/right filter capacitors of special construction
  • Large speaker relays minimize resistance for low output impedance and high damping factor
  • Thorough anti-resonant design with a massively overbuilt chassis of 64 pounds (29 kg)
  • Density gradient cast iron feet resist shelf-borne vibration
  • Discrete buffer preamplifier output
  • Copper-clad, steel-shielded internal cabling
  • Copper alloy RCA terminals combine conductivity and durability
  • Luxman’s peel coat input/output circuit boards eliminates the green film coating that can introduce high-frequency noise
  • Smooth, round-cornered printed circuit board traces optimize signal flow
  • Built-in phono preamplifier with Moving Magnet/Moving Coil cartridge type selection
  • Preamp output/main amp input terminals for bi-amping and SEPARATE function to support home theater installations
  • Electronically controlled Bass and Treble adjustment
  • Loudness compensation linked to volume-control setting
  • Speakers A + B output terminals with multi-way binding posts
  • Two separate balanced XLR line input pairs
  • Supplied RA-17A remote control also operates current Luxman digital players

The post Luxman Celebrates 95 years With the L595A Special Edition Integrated Amplifier appeared first on The Absolute Sound.

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