First stop. New DeVore Orangutan 93…93db. $8k-ish. Sumptuously seductive. John DeVore is spinning some Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Lovely.
Further information: DeVore Fidelity
NAD M50 Music Player ($2500) and NAD M52 Music Vault ($2000) for CD ripping and playback.
…but Paul Barton’s new powered desktop speakers. PSB Alpha PS1. $300. Fruity. They ship in a handy re-usable box for easier portability.
Further information: NAD Electronics / PSB Speakers
Chris Sommovigo of Black Cat is finally moving beyond his terminator supply issues and is launching his Neo-Morpheus cables. Tubular copper! Interconnects $195, spkr cable $355 (3m pair).
Further information: Black Cat Cables
The guys from DEQX are from the land down under so it’d be rude of me not to check them out. They corrected my mis-assumption that their boxes performed ‘room-correction’. In fact it’s ‘group delay correction’, luxury DSP. The all-new DEQX Mate is $4500. Way cool.
Further information: DEQX
I finally get to hear a pair of Neat Iota ($1150/pr). Bob Surgeoner has flown in from the UK to assist with the dealer demo; who’s pushing them with some serious Zanden electronics. The Iota sit on their side. Ribbon tweeter, exceptional resolution. These underline why I love standmounts.
Further information: Neat Acoustics
I know I know, it ain’t digital but the awesome VPI Traveler turntable ($1300) is hooked up to a budget Cayin integrated. VPI score points for keeping it real with a budget ‘table and for partnering it with a real-world-priced amplifier.
Further information: VPI Industries
The finest-sounding room of the day was that of South Korea’s April Music. Fronted by the Eximus DP1 running balanced out into their new integrated, the Stello Ai700 ($6500). This new model is essentially two of the shoebox Eximus S1 amplifiers distilled into one unit but fuelled by a bigger, badder power supply. It runs in Class D and pushes a hefty 500wpc. The Stello Ai700 will begin shipping after the show.
Further Information: April Music
April Music were using a Macbook with Amarra as transport and Sonic Studio’s own room was across the hallway. Here, the guys give another convincingly demo why their software is one of the top OS X playback choices. Using the same playback engine as the more expensive versions, Amarra Hifi is $49. Cool.
Further information: Sonic Studio
Remember the Burson Audio Conductor? Here’s the matching half-width power amplifier. The Timekeeper – making its debut at RMAF – 75wpc, bridgeable, $2200. Exciting.
Further Information: Burson Audio
The CEntrance Hifi-M8 ($699) is showing in prototype form. Shaping up nicely. I’m told it will begin shipping in 6-8 weeks.
Further Information: CEntrance
Pure Class A tube headphone amplifier and 32/192 DAC? That’s the Woo Audio Wa7. Introductory price of $800. Drives HifiMan cans just nicely.
Further Information: Woo Audio
Also pushing the HifiMan is the Mytek 192-DSD DAC that debuted here last year. Bowie’s “Five Years”. Sooooo detailed.
Further Information: Mytek Digital
As usual, Emotiva have a rack of killer bargains on display. It’s been a long time coming but the XDA-2 DAC will finally begin shipping around Christmas. $399. 24/192 on every input and a resistor ladder volume control. Look carefully at the left-hand side of the front panel: there’s a headphone output.
Further Information: Emotiva Audio
Roy Hall’s doing his own budget standmounts now. The Music Hall Marimba will sell for $349 and they sound superb. “Fucking amazing” and “Designed by a genius” is how Hall describes them. I’d expect nothing less.
Further Information: Music Hall Audio
Sonus Faber are launching a range of more aggressively-priced speakers, the Venere. Made in China to keep costs low, the 1.5 ($1200/pr standmount still looks beautiful.
Further Information: Sonus Faber
The new, improved MMG (still $599) from Magnepan might look like the old model but who cares? The sound is stunning. Possibly the biggest bargain in budget hi-fi. On display also is the Magnepan bass panel (that looks like a table!) So, $1394 for the speakers and the bass panel. If you have an amplifier that’s up to the task, you’d be hard-pushed to find better sound for the money. Well done Wendell.
Further Information: Magnepan Inc.
And that’s a wrap on Friday in Denver.