Monthly Archives: May 2011

 

Tributaries Cable, a Florida based company, has just announced a new power extension bar – the Tributaries T10X (Note: image above is of their T100).  Is it just me or does the name totally get you thinking of “The Terminator” movie series?  I’m sure Cyberdyne systems would have welcomed such a name.

The T10X was designed for mounting horizontally across the back of a rack, providing clean power to the user’s system.  Featuring a total of 10 outlets, six front and four to the rear, the T10X utilizes the company’s latest surge suppression technology i.e. X3MOV, to provide a high level of protection from power spikes and surges.  In addition, triggers for remote turn-on of the T10X via 12-volt trigger output or to turn-on another component via 12-volt trigger input, are incorporated.

Technical Specifications:

  • Line Voltage 120VAC 15A 50/60Hz
  • Surge Suppression 3240 Joules
  • Surge Current 400 Amperes
  • Response Time Instantaneous (<1ns)
  • Clamping Voltage 400 Volts
  • Maximum Spike Current 216,000 Amperes
  • Maximum Spike Voltage 6000 Volts
  • EMI/RFI Filter Frequency / Attenuation 150KHz ~ 100MHz / 70dB
  • Circuit Breaker 15A, Front Panel Resettable
  • Power Cord 10ft, 14AWG, Shielded, w/lighted, 3-Prong, 45° AC Plug
  • Width / Height /Depth /Weight 17″ (43 cm)/1.75″ (4.4 cm)/3.25″ (8.3 cm)/3.8lbs (1.7kg)

The T10X is available now, with an MSRP of $225 U.S.

More details are to be found at: http://www.tributariescable.com

Toshiba has unveiled its most advanced 3D LED televisions to-date to the Canadian market with the new TL515 series and UL610 series.  Both new series feature a graphical user-friendly interface and Toshiba’s exclusive CEVO Engine technology for enhanced 3D picture quality.

The lineup offers Canadians ultra-thin cosmetic designs and a range of connectivity options for a superior home entertainment experience. The new series are complemented by the release of two Blu-ray Disc players – the BDX2200 and BDX4200.

Toshiba offers consumers the choice between a Dynamic (Active) 3D option with the UL610 series and a Natural (Passive) 3D experience with the TL515 series.   

The Next Level of 3D

Toshiba’s exclusive CEVO Engine takes 3D home entertainment to a whole new level through the combination of three key 3D technologies:

TriVector 2D to 3D Conversion – With the ability to convert 2D sources into 3D experiences, Toshiba’s TriVector technology drastically expands available 3D content. Consumers can now enjoy all of their favourite 2D TV programming, video games, Blu-ray Discs and home movies in full 3D.  TriVector technologyeven converts still 2D photography into 3D images.

3D Resolution+- This proprietary technology upconverts and sharpens 3D content not already in HD for richer and higher quality 3D images.

3D Cross Talk Canceller (available only on the UL610 series) – 3D Cross Talk Canceller technology mitigates any crosstalk ghosting, where one eye is accidentally exposed to the residue of an image dedicated to the other eye, for the clearest, most dynamic 3D images possible.

Connected to the World
With built-in Wi-Fi capability, the TL515 and UL610 series keep consumers connected to more than just the latest television programming for an all-in-one home entertainment experience. Toshiba Enhanced Net TV 1 offers personalized content with just a few clicks of the remote through Yahoo! TV Widgets.  Whether you want to catch the latest releases on Netflix, engage with friends on Facebook, or explore your family’s latest content on YouTube and Flickr, Toshiba Connected TV makes thinking outside the box simple.

UL610 Series: Dynamic 3D
Toshiba’s dynamic UL610 3DTV series is the perfect fit for discerning customers seeking   uncompromised 3D experiences2.  Featuring Toshiba’s first-ever Quantum BLACK LED display with Fine Local Dimming, this series achieves dramatic contrasts for deeper blacks and richer, more robust colour images. Powered by new CEVO Engine technology, this series offers Canadians incredibly clear picture quality in Dynamic (active) 3D when used in conjunction active shutter glasses. Toshiba’s new Metal Blade Design with Illusion Stand make the UL610 series the pinnacle of aesthetic design and technological innovation. The UL610 series ships with two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses.

Pricing:
46”- $1,999.99
55”- $2,399.99
65”- $4,299.99

TL515 Series: Natural 3D
With the TL515 Toshiba introduces its first-ever Natural (Passive) 3D HDTV series. Ideal for consumers seeking a high-quality 3D experience2 at an economical price point, the TL515 series utilizes affordable polarized glasses so that the whole family can enjoy 3D entertainment together. Featuring a sophisticated Black Brushed Aluminum aesthetic, the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) -certified series offers a LED Edge Lit display with Local Dimming, 240Hz ClearScan technology and Net TV with Yahoo! Widgets. This series is optimal for longer viewing periods and ideally suited to both gamers and families. The TL515 series ships with four pairs of Natural 3D glasses.

Pricing:
55”-$2199.99

Blu-ray Players
For a complete home entertainment experience, Toshiba of Canada also releases today two connected Blu-ray Disc players – the BDX2200 and BDX4200. Both units are Wi-Fi ready (wireless adaptor is sold separately), featuring network connectivity giving access to a variety of content such as Netflix and YouTube.  Each model comes with four months of free movie rentals from Zip.ca. For consumers looking for a 3D-capable3 Blu-ray Disc player, the BDX4200 additionally offers full 3D HD 1080p video output and is Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)- certified.

BDX4200 Blu-ray Player
Product Highlights:

  • Full 3D HD 1080p video output
  • AVCHD, MKV Playback
  • HDMI CEC
  • BD-Live 4
  • Support for enhanced audio formats from Dolby and DTS
  • SD Card Slot / USB
  • Wi-Fi Ready
  • Toshiba NetTV: Netflix, YouTube
  • DLNA-Certified
  • Energy Star 2.0

Pricing:
$169.99
BDX2200 Blu-ray Player
Product Highlights:

  • Full HD 1080p video output
  • AVCHD, MKV Playback
  • HDMI CEC
  • BD-Live 4
  • Support for enhanced audio formats from Dolby and DTS
  • SD Card Slot / USB
  • Wi-Fi Ready
  • Toshiba NetTV: Netflix, YouTube
  • Energy Star 2.0

Pricing: $129.99

For more info, please visit www.toshiba.ca.

NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and Sharp Corporation have worked together to develop a new 85-inch LCD Super Hi-Vision prototype TV, which sets a new benchmark for resolution.

NHK began R&D into Super Hi-Vision, which has dramatically higher resolution than current HDTV, in 1995 and aims to begin trial broadcasts in 2020. Super Hi-Vision is approximately 33 megapixels or 16 times the resolution of current HDTV.

Super Hi-Vision-Compatible LCD

85 inches

7,680 x 4,320 pixels

300 cd/m2 brightness

This LCD will be shown to the public at NHK’s Science & Technology Research Laboratories in Tokyo from May 26 to 29, 2011

Look for more details at: http://www.sharp.ca

Announced eariler this year at the CES, Klipsch has just began shipping its new Klipsch Gallery speakers.  These ultra-thin speaker systems aim to fulfill any audio need and present a fitting home theater option for any living environment. The passive Klipsch Gallery models are the first available components of a greater cross-over home audio solution.

Engineered for the ultimate sound experience, Klipsch Gallery speakers capture the same distinct power, detail and emotion of Klipsch’s renowned horn-loaded speakers. Employing exclusive Tractrix Horn technology, this series promises legendary Klipsch sound, complete with reduced distortion and constant directivity for a live soundstage experience. Modern in appearance, Klipsch Gallery speakers occupy minimal space but deliver deep bass and crystal-clear dynamic range.

The current Klipsch Gallery offering is complete with three satellite models (G-12, G-16 and G-28, utilized as left, center, right or surround speakers (LCRS)) and one integrated LCR 3-channel soundbar (G-42), with the names representing their corresponding size in length in inches. Arranging the satellite speakers to fit any room is made simple since each speaker can serve a variety of audio and placement needs and be mounted in a horizontal or vertical position. Every Klipsch Gallery speaker is produced with a titanium tweeter with linear travel suspension, loaded behind a new 90 x 90 Tractrix horn. As a result, listeners experience an open, natural sound.

Accompanying the series in the fall will be the Klipsch Gallery Forum wireless-new media system. Forum connects wirelessly over an existing Wi-Fi network and can be controlled with an Apple smart device. Because Klipsch is an official AirPlay partner with Apple, Klipsch Gallery Forum will utilize AirPlay technology to allow for wireless transmission of users’ iTunes libraries throughout any living environment.

Available in a high-gloss black finish, each Klipsch Gallery speaker exudes superior style for seamless integration into any décor. The four Klipsch Gallery passive speakers will be available for purchase on June 1 at select Klipsch retailers. Klipsch Gallery Forum will follow soon after and be available for purchase in fall 2011.

For more info, please visit www.klipsch.com.

Panasonic just announced their new PH30 Series, to join their HD Professional Plasma Displays product line. The displays are available in two models, the 42-inch TH-42PH30 and the 50-inch TH-50PH30.

The PH30 Series caters primarily to the needs of professional applications such as signage, restaurants and public areas where a quality picture, energy efficiency and durability are sought. The displays feature a high contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1 and wide-range color reproduction.

The PH30 Series’ energy efficiency has increased by approximately 35 percent compared to its predecessor, the PH20 Series and like all Panasonic professional plasma displays, the PH30 Series is both lead and mercury-free.

PH30 Series plasmas offer a 100,000 hour service life compared to the 60,000 hour average of competitive LCD professional displays. The new display also features a front glass panel approximately 10 times as strong as that of an LCD.

This new line of plasma displays, which can be mounted in landscape or portrait mode, features two sets of digital input and three sets of analog input connectors.

The TH-42PH30 and TH-50PH30 are available now at $880 U.S. and $1200 U.S., respectively.

For more information go to: http://www.panasonic.com

It’s always nice to see manufacturers keeping their customers’ best interests in mind, especially when it comes to safety and health. In this case dB Logic has just announced its latest in sound pressure level limiting headphones. The HP-100 headphones feature dB Logic’s proprietary SPL2 technology, which regulates volume to protect hearing.

SPL2 technology limits volume using circuitry that does not required battery assisted processors that are required for other sound limiting products on the market. The technology also maintains sound quality, making the limiting as unnoticeable, as possible.

dB Logic HP-100 headphones are now available for $49.95 in blue, red, silver, orange, pink or green.

More information can be found at: http://www.dblogic.com

The new Cambridge Audio 751BD player promises to expand on the company’s highly successful 650BD Blu-ray Universal player, a player which we’ve been using as the reference player in the CANADA HiFi lab for some time now.
The 751BD offers support for BD-3D, all the latest surround sound formats, QDEO video processing and Anagram Technologies audio up-sampling, this lightning-fast, easy to use player truly reproduces movies and music with all the passion of the original performance.

Featuring almost universal disc compatibility, the 751BD not only plays Blu-ray discs – including those with 3D content – but also CD, HDCD, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio and SACD.

And with twin HDMI outputs, the 751BD can even deliver 3D video to multiple displays (such as a 3D TV and projector) and both are fully compatible with the HDMI 1.4 standard for 3DTV and Deep Colour support. The primary output also features a high quality Marvell QDEO video scaler with motion adaptive noise reduction for quiet and natural, video free from noise and artefacts. As well as stunning performance with Blu-ray discs, the 751BD delivers unbeatable picture quality from existing DVDs, which can also be up-scaled to 1080p resolution.

The 751BD supports decoding of the very latest formats including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. These formats can also be output as bitstreams over HDMI for an AV receiver to decode internally.

However it is the 751BD’s musical performance that really sets it apart from its peers with genuinely uncontested audiophile credentials. A mouth watering specification including five Wolfson WM8740 24/192kHz Digital to Analogue converters, Anagram Technologies Q5 192 kHz upsampling, a choice of digital filters and zealous attention to the design of audio circuits ensures the 751BD can reproduce the dynamics and scale required for the most elaborate movie soundtracks. The 751BD truly excels as an audio source supporting all high-resolution formats including DVD-A, SACD plus of course CD.

Yet despite being bestowed with such a vast specification, the 751BD is genuinely simple to use with essential operations available on the ergonomic front panel and more comprehensive control via a clear on-screen menu. In use, the 751BD is whisper quiet and lightning fast, with disc loading times a fraction of the competition enabling delay-free access to movies and music.

Aesthetics and premium build quality are further strengths of this new Blu-ray player which benefits from Cambridge Audio’s trademark wrap-around casework design. This houses the 751BD’s proprietary engineering within a low resonance, acoustically damped chassis.

Supplied with a wireless dongle, the 751BD is ready to connect to the internet via Ethernet or Wi-Fi and supports BD Profile 2.0 (BD-Live and BonusView) and other interactive features.

With such a combination of multi-format capability, 3D video performance and highly engaging audio capability, the 751BD is set to be another huge Blu-ray success for Cambridge Audio.

For many users with extensive movie libraries, the 751BD’s ability to maximise performance of standard definition DVDs is a major consideration. From the primary output an onboard Marvell QDEO scaler with motion adaptive noise reduction and a host of other technologies offers huge gains in picture quality from all disc types. In addition, the 751BD is equally at home with a wide array of other formats including CD, SACD, DVD-A, AVCHD and HDCD.

As well as universal disc playback, dual USB ports (front and rear) and a rear mounted eSATA port enable users to experience high definition video, photos and music from their external hard drives.

A full range of HDMI, digital and analogue outputs facilitate connection to the widest possible choice of TVs, projectors and home cinema receivers.

All the latest surround-sound formats are supported and in particular, support for the true lossless Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio formats provides unprecedented audio fidelity from Blu-ray discs. The 751BD is also capable of outputting all of these formats as bitstreams over HDMI for decoding in a suitable AV Receiver. Twin HDMI outputs allow older non 3D compatible AV receivers to be sent audio via one link whilst the 3D video is sent on the other to a suitable 3D display.

Video of up to 1080p resolution from BD discs at 50/60Hz or 24fps can be output over HDMI. The 751BD can also process DVDs to provide an upscaled 1080p output massively enhancing existing movie collections.

The 751BD is the ideal no-compromise choice for audiophiles who demand the ultimate audio reproduction with superb sonic performance as standard via two channel and multi channel outputs. Five dedicated Wolfson WM8740 DACs ensure every channel is decoded in the very highest quality and Anagram Technologies Q5 192 kHZ upsampling further enhances audio quality whether played from CD, DVD, Blu-ray or any other supported format.
[Note: more information on Q5 upsampling technology is available at www.cambridgeaudio.com/Q5″>

In addition to superb quality decoding, the ultimate in control is offered with a choice of digital filters. Linear phase, minimum phase and steep filters can all be selected to suit an individual’s listening preferences.

And for the ultimate audiophile touch, select Pure Audio Mode and the 751BD shuts down all video processing to prevent any audio signal interference or degradation.

The 751BD again benefits from Cambridge Audio’s rich musical heritage by supporting all high-resolution audio formats including DVDA and SACD. Both can be output via HDMI or using the 2ch or 7.1 channel analogue connections – the 7.1 connection in particular enables older, non-HDMI AV receivers to benefit from a new lease of life.

The 751BD retails for $1249 CDN and US.

For more info, please visit www.cambridgeaudio.com

Wilson Audio has announced their new Wilson Audio Theater Comes Home (WATCH) Center Series 3 speaker a.k.a. the WATCH Center 3.

This new WATCH Center 3 uses the same midrange as the Alexandria Series 2, with the tweeter from the Sasha W/P and Sophia Series 3.  The new tweeter makes the WATCH Center slightly more efficient, while more dynamic and will be better matched to the Wilson midrange driver.

Wilson claims that their proprietary materials and mechanical configurations combine to dramatically reduce distortion, time-delayed reflections as well as high-frequency noise and grain.

The WATCH Center 3 incorporates a new crossover design with the latest in Wilson’s anti-jitter technology with the objective of producing greater articulation from a near-silent background.

The Center 3 incorporates a milled, square alignment guide, with a clear demarkated indicator, facilitating very precise tweeter-module alignment.  The Center 3’s front baffle is angled upward, directing sound at the listener’s ears.  The Center 3 utilizes X-Material in both tweeter and woofer enclosures.  S-Material, Wilson’s latest composite first used in the Sasha, now finds its place in the Center 3’s mid-woofer baffle.  The new cabinet minimizes enclosure resonances and enhances the Center’s settling characteristics, allowing for better microdynamics and deeper shades of black.

 Shipments on existing orders are scheduled for June 1, 2011 at a MSRP of $8,995 U.S.

 Look for more details at: http://www.wilsonaudio.com

Understanding The Pros and Cons of Ribbon Tweeters

 

Loudspeakers divide their output into frequency bands. Typically they will have one or more large drive units to cover the low (bass) frequencies, and a single smaller unit to reproduce the treble. There are variations of course, for example there may be an additional dedicated drive unit to reproduce middle frequencies, but it is important to understand that more may not necessarily mean better as any theoretical advantages are likely to be outweighed by the additional complication. But the idea of specialisation, using a combination of drive units, each dedicated to a particular band of frequencies, is common to virtually all loudspeakers at all price levels.

The reasons why speakers are designed this way are straightforward enough. Low frequencies need drive units capable of moving plenty of air, which means drivers with large area diaphragms with lots of fore-aft travel in their suspensions to pump the air, and hefty magnets to provide the motive force.

Tweeters have different physical characteristics, though the fundamentals are similar. They don’t need to pump much air as the rules for electro-acoustic efficiency stack up in a different way. A very small number of high frequency Watts goes much further than a similar number of Watts at low frequencies, partly due to the way the ears and brain perceive sound. But tweeters do need to be very agile. They must be able to start and stop quickly so they can mirror the subtle micro-architecture of the changing musical waveform, and it is this speed that helps define their ability to cover the high frequency region effectively.

Most tweeters end up looking at least superficially like miniature bass drivers but usually with a dome shaped diaphragm, typically 1inch/25mm in diameter instead of a cone. The reason for domes is that the shape is inherently stiff without the need to add heavy reinforcement. Any unnecessary mass really is the enemy here, as it will damp down acceleration and deceleration as the diaphragm attempts to follow the rapidly changing signal waveform. Another factor here is that most domes can be simply stamped out using a suitable machine tool, which is the key to making them easy and cheap to manufacture. The diaphragms may be made of woven fabric or silk (or even fabric incorrectly described as silk – it happens). Sometimes the diaphragms have a surface coating to add stiffness or damping, and sometimes they also come with ferrofluid Iron filings suspended in fluid injected into the magnetic gap to help damp the assembly or help with heat dissipation. Other designs use much harder, stiffer diaphragms, often stamped from aluminium – and sometimes more exotic materials, even in a few celebrated cases, synthetic (vapour deposited) diamond or beryllium. But although these are some of the hardest materials available, even they have disadvantages. They’re relatively fragile and heavy, and beryllium in particular has environmental issues. Oh yes, and they’re extremely expensive to fabricate. Vapour deposition of diamond is a tricky procedure even for the best equipped producer.

Ribbon tweeters are quite different. Rather than using a dome radiating element, and a traditional magnet system (and associated voice coil attached to the edge of the dome, which is the other half of the motor system), ribbon drivers use an ultra-thin flat diaphragm, typically made from a thin aluminium foil, or constructed as a metalized polymer film, though this type of tweeter is perhaps better described as a quasi-ribbon. Magnepan make very effective use of just such a design in their panel designs. Ribbons may weigh as little as one-tenth of a tweeter dome, so they’re incredibly light and responsive, but unlike domes, ribbons have virtually no intrinsic structural stiffness of their own, as they are driven evenly over their whole surface and move in response to an adjacent magnet system. Domes, even costly ones, can suffer from structural breakup resonances or rocking motions on their suspensions under dynamic conditions.


Ribbon Tweeter Pros

Ribbons have a thoroughly deserved reputation for being special. Their low moving mass and evenly spread drive over their whole surface means they have a potentially ultra-fast transient response, so if detail resolution and delicacy are your main priorities, ribbons could be just what you’re looking for. Ribbons respond to the most subtle waveforms, and to the highest frequencies, including those above 50 kHz that are the special preserve of high resolution formats like DVD-Audio and SACD. They can easily cope with the subtle ultra-high harmonics that lie above the main part of the audio band, and which add some of the air and sense of space you will hear from a really fine recording. Domes on the other hand need a suspension to work, which introduces a hard to control compliant mass to the system, and this inevitably introduces high frequency resonances which under the right circumstances may be audible.

Domes have a significant mass – often around half a gram – and they need a suspension to work, and they may have ferrofluid injected into the voice coil gap, and these things add additional compliant mass to the system, which is not ideal. Ribbons are essentially undamped, and well behaved when controlled by their magnet.

Even the shape of the ribbon influences the sound. The ribbons themselves are generally narrow and tall, which gives them wide lateral dispersion and very limited vertical dispersion (due to cancellation). Narrow vertical dispersion is often beneficial as it reduces muddling ceiling reflections (reflections from the floor are not usually an issue as they will be absorbed by soft floor coverings), while the broad, even horizontal dispersion gives a wide sweet spot which is good for households with multiple listeners. Another plus point with speakers equipped with ribbon tweeters is that they tend to sound predictable and consistent from room to room.

Ribbon Tweeter Cons

The ribbons themselves have characteristically low impedance, which can be hard to couple to the system amplifier. The usual solution is to use a matching transformer, increasing cost and complexity.

The way ribbon tweeters work demands unusual precision in their manufacturer. The coupling transformer for example will have very few secondary windings, in some cases as few as five, so even minor variations in the way they are assembled can have a disproportionate effect on their audio behaviour.

Ribbons don’t lend themselves naturally to production line automation – another reason for their high cost. There are some reasonable low cost ribbon tweeters of Chinese manufacture, but even cheap ribbons are expensive in everyday terms. In addition the overall design of ribbons tends to be complex for the reasons given earlier, and sound quality is not necessarily an improvement over conventional designs – though the best of breed do inject a touch of magic into the sound that is hard to find elsewhere.

Ribbons don’t respond particularly well in the middle frequency region because they don’t usually work well at their lower frequency limits, where dome tweeters are still on song. As a result the majority of speakers with ribbon tweeters are three way systems, meaning that they include a dedicated midrange driver. There are hidden traps for the unwary here too, as the dispersion of midrange drivers near their high frequency limits tend to become very directional and may not work well where they overlap with the ribbon’s output. Very few ribbon tweeters will work down below 2.5 kHz, and one consequence is that crossover designers are forced to use high order filters in their crossover networks which can be problematic.

Scandinavian manufacturer Dali has gone to the extent of designing a novel twin driver tweeter assembly, which includes a moving coil midrange unit combined with a high frequency ribbon sharing a single faceplate. There are some good two-way ribbons, an example of which is the Monitor Audio PL100, but they’re few and far between.

The bottom line here is that ribbons tweeters are no panacea for the limitations of alternative dome based technologies. They offer some real musical benefits, but equally they introduce problems of their own. The ribbons themselves are necessarily very light and as a result this means they tend to be both fragile and very expensive, though it is usually possible to rebuild a ‘blown’ ribbon.

Sidebar

Alternative tweeter types
The main feature concentrated on how ribbon tweeters differ from the most familiar paradigm for modern tweeters, the moving coil/dome based unit, but there are quite a few other types of tweeters, including (but not limited to) the following:

Coaxial
Coaxial tweeters (e.g. KEF’s Uni-Q & Tannoy Dual Concentric). These speakers position a moving coil tweeter at the back of the cone, which means there is a single acoustic centre, with all sounds appearing to come from a single point in space.
Pros: Improved stereo imagery, better performance and integration for off axis listeners.
Cons: Can be difficult to eliminate midrange colourations due to the complex audio waveguide required.

Electrostatic
An electrostatic tweeter uses a miniature version of a full range electrostatic drive unit. The diaphragm is a thin polymer film with a high resistance conductive coating which is driven by electrically charged perforated plates in front of and behind the diaphragm.
Pros: The best of breed offer finely detailed, low amplitude and low phase distortion, phase coherent sound.
Cons: Step up transformer and power supply required, low sensitivity (for domestic designs), so these speakers tend to be relatively complex and expensive.

Planar magnetic
Planar magnetic tweeters share some points of similarity to true ribbons but use imprinted polymer or PET film diaphragms.
Pros: Relatively simple and cheap, easy amplifier loading.
Cons: Performance no match for true ribbons.

Horn
Horns (which you can model by speaking through cupped open hands) are often used in PA applications, and sometimes in combination with other technologies, including ribbons. The horn modifies the directional response, and usually increases efficiency which is useful as power handling is often at a premium with tweeters.
Pros: Helps where power handling is limited, which accounts for their popularity in PA and professional applications.
Cons: Sound quality tends to be unrefined, and colouration levels are often high, though there are some honourable exceptions (e.g. Triangle).

Plasma
An electrically ionised gas, shaped as a small sphere, which is modulated by an electrical field to produce sound.
Pros: Extremely refined and detailed sound, similar to ribbons, but arguably better still.
Cons: Very complex and expensive, output limited in level, and frequency coverage (with very restricted low frequency output). Also potentially hazardous due to the generation of low levels of poisonous ozone.

 

Audiowood is a company that takes pride in its natural wood influenced designs.  When I saw the name of this latest product offering, I couldn’t help thinking of three little critters that go by the name Alvin, Simon and Theodore.  That’s because Audiowood’s latest turntable offering is named the Chipmunk. 

The Chipmunk is a belt-driven turntable that uses a solid ash trunk slice for a plinth finished in hand-rubbed polyurethane paste-wax.  The functional parts are by Music Hall i.e. Music Hall Tracker cartridge, tonearm, metal platter and felt mat.

 The Chipmunk comes with a 1 year limited warranty from Audiowood and is available currently at a price of $850 U.S.

 More details are available at: http://www.audiowood.com

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