Monthly Archives: July 2012

The King Sound Current Smoother KS-010 is a component that offers sophisticated electronic filtering technology.  It utilizes the same technology found in advanced medical equipment and voltage regulating principles normally used in laser devices.  The commonly used CRC (coil, resistor and capacitor) networks are not used in KS -010.  There is no hum or other noises normally associated with heavy coils.

A complex array of rearranged wiring circuit in the transmission line is employed to cancel noise and electrical interference.  The KS-010 provides excellent electrical isolation and stable A/C power without transient delays, phase errors or current limiting.  It also delivers unhindered A/C power to large power amplifiers. 

The unit is equipped with six isolated A/C outlets as well as cryogenically treated, high purity (99.999 %) OCC copper A/C cable and perfect-contact real copper A/C plugs.  The heavy gauge A/C power cable is double shielded against RF or EMF noise.

The KS -010 improves image stability, contrast and picture clarity of video components.  Audio components will benefit from a significantly refined sound, better defined spatial images, finer detail and well controlled bass.  The KS-010 has a well machined and rugged metal chassis, and is fairly compact in size and weighs much less than most A/C line conditioners that use heavy coils.

Retail price: $595.00 Canadian

For more info, please visit http://www.divertech.com/

What’s a spider cone? It’s an important question, because it’s the principal upgrade in the new Symphony Edition of the Mozart Grand speakers ($3,500US) from Austria’s Vienna Acoustics. The Mozart Grand has two 6 inch drivers, both clear X3P designs, while the upgrade replaces the lower of these with the new spider cone. According to the company’s Patrick Butler:

“The Spider Cone design dramatically increases rigidity while maintaining an optimal balance between low moving mass, rigidity and inner damping. The Spider Cone was first designed for the original Beethoven Classic in 1996 as a solution to the problem of not being able to find the right bass driver. A series of radial and axial reinforcement ribs were added to our X3P cones with the design assistance of Finite Element Analysis. The net result is a lower noise-floor, improved dynamics and lower bass extension over the older Mozart Grand model. Additionally, the crossover is optimized to take advantage of the capabilities of the Spider Cone bass driver, which resulted in greater midrange clarity. There are also some minor changes in damping used inside of the cabinet. All for a $500 price premium over the outgoing Mozart Grand.”

Let’s look at the picture (below).

Let’s take a step back. Who are Vienna Acoustics, and where does the Mozart Grand Symphony Edition fit in their offerings? I first came across their speakers at CES 2004 at the Sumiko display in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The speakers were beautifully finished but of conventional design, in contrast to the Sonus Faber speakers also represented by Sumiko. Then one year the remarkable Vienna Acoustics “Music” speaker, the first in their Klimt series, made its debut and suddenly everyone was paying attention. Strikingly modern in design with its unusual drivers on prominent display, the sound quality was equally impressive. The spider cone technology was taken to a new level in the NAVI bass drivers and has surfaced now in the Concert Grand line. Klimt speakers are beyond the budgets of most music lovers, but it is good to see such high tech solutions trickling down to the more affordable part of the product range. Spider cones and regular X3P cones are cast in Austria and then sent to SEAS to build up into drivers.

From day one, Peter Gansterer has been the mastermind behind this operation. Vienna Acoustics’s first speakers were shown in 1989, while the original design work for the Mozart speakers dates back to 1993. Today the company offers three distinct ranges of speakers: the Klimt Series, the Concert Grand Series and the Schönberg Series.

So we see a wide range of speakers. What distinguishes this company from all others is the perfection of the cabinet work, which is executed by a furniture manufacturer in nearby Italy. No cheap thin veneers here. Vienna Acoustics specifies furniture grade materials and hand finishing using special techniques, and employs seven layers of varnish. The members of the Concert Grand Series all feature carefully curved narrow baffles to minimize early refection and edge diffraction. Very strict quality control standards are imposed all the way along the line, and each speaker’s crossover is selected to create a close acoustic match to the reference speaker of each design, accommodating small differences in measured tweeter performance. Consistency – it’s what made McDonalds so successful. It may not be the world’s best hamburger but it’s always going to taste the same. Small differences between two speakers can impair the imaging so the very tight tolerances imposed here are designed to guarantee you get what you’re paying for, and ensure that reliability is going to be high.

The Mozart Grand SE stands 97.2cm tall, 34.3cm deep but a mere 21.6cm wide (with spike assembly) and sits on a black metal frame with four adjustable spikes to couple it firmly to the floor. A Scan Speak silk dome tweeter (exclusive to Vienna Acoustics) sits near the top of the thick front baffle. If you have small children or pets you’ll probably want to keep the protective grills in place, because this excellent tweeter has many fine qualities but resilience to finger pokes is not one of them. Immediately below the tweeter sits the first of the two main drivers, exclusive to Vienna Acoustics, and featuring a transparent cone made of X3P material. X3P combines thermoplastic TPX with 3 polypropylene based synthetics to achieve maximum inner damping, ultra-low mass and precise control over cone density and rigidity. Working from a single pair of high quality gold and silver alloy coated binding posts and high quality twisted pair solid copper conductors, a 2.5 way crossover feeds the full bass/midrange signal to the middle driver while the lower driver concentrates on the lower frequencies only. In the earlier version of this speaker the lower driver was identical in construction to its partner but in the Symphony Edition the lower driver is the new spider cone design. Still made from X3P but with important gains in rigidity it is able to dig deeper in the bass at reduced levels of distortion.

With its fine woodwork and slim design the Mozart Grand SE in Cherry finish looked great in my listening room. Even my wife approved, and that doesn’t happen every day. Being a dual-ported design, it is naturally quite fussy about positioning. Patrick, who delivered the speakers to me, also spent an hour or more making fine adjustments until he found the optimal spot and angle for each speaker, and your Vienna Acoustics dealer will (I hope) do the same for you if you are unwilling to take the time to experiment. Once in place the powerful bass locked in and the wide dispersion characteristics of the tweeter in particular means you do not need to constrain yourself to a narrow sweet spot. With some speakers it’s the other way around – it may matter less where you put them but once in place, there’s just a two foot range best suited for listening. Well in my house, people move around and speakers stay still so the Mozart exhibits the right imaging characteristics!

I mentioned that the bass was powerful and along with that, the image stable and spacious. Now it was time for some serious listening. I used a variety of amps and sources to partner with the speakers, but the speaker cables, like all the cables in the system were Nordost Valhalla throughout.

From a speaker called the Mozart Grand Symphony Edition I was expecting it to sound at its best in large scale material. That was not what I found. It performed well enough in the big orchestral works but I found it reached its limits of resolution in the climactic moments and didn’t display the nimbleness in the deep bass that its big brothers in the Klimt series offer. But switch to chamber music or jazz and it’s a different story. It’s quite at home with Miles Davis, a perfect match for Ray Charles and entirely convincing in the Beethoven String Quartets. It’s partly a question of squeezing a quart out of pint pot. You can do it, in terms of bass response, by leveraging the characteristics of reflex porting to enhance the output of relatively small woofers, but there’s no free lunch. The volume and bandwidth of the bass performance may meet your objectives, but the level of control and the deep bass sonority itself takes a beating, noticeable mostly in fast moving orchestral passages.

The Pavel Haas Quartet’s recording of Dvorak String Quartets [Supraphon SU40382] won a lot of accolades last year, including Gramophone’s “Chamber Recording of the Year”, and it simply leaps from the Mozart Grand full of energy and passion. The imaging is excellent, the string tone rich and warm, while the dynamics are if anything a bit over the top, although you cannot blame the speakers for that.

I’m crazy about the sound of the Beatles “Love” album [EMIDA 79810] and find it a great disc for bringing out the strengths and weaknesses of the various components passing through. In this case I noted some sibilance in the vocals on the opening track and the bird calls fall lower in the mix than with the reference YG Carmel speakers, but the imaging is solid and three dimensional. At a small fraction of the price, you wouldn’t expect the same level of detail retrieval. The voices are less than ideally distinct but the sound is dynamic, musical and low in distortion. “Blackbird” is excellent – full in tone and quick footed. Paul’s singing of “Yesterday” is slightly shut in but ideally warm and clear. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” fully resolves the guitar line but while the cello is rich it loses some volume and clarity in the deep bass.

I’ve just bought a new SACD recording of Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra” which is in the demonstration class on all counts [Hungariton HSACD 32187]. Some of the bite and tension in the upper strings is sacrificed here for a smooth treble presentation and the winds lack their full blown harmonics, both symptoms of a shy top end, but the midrange is very strong above a tuneful but slightly recessed bass. By contrast the superb 1957 mono recording of Coleman Hawkins “The Hawk Flies High” [Mobile Fidelity UDSACD2030] is much more comfortable ground for the Mozart Grand SE. Lots of low bass energy and a delicious rasp from the sax coupled with a slight step down in the level of the brushwork suit the recording well. The trumpet is very clear and concise with excellent colour while JJ Johnson’s trombone is deliciously well captured. There is a tremendous drive here and the rhythms dance along in a spritely fashion. Oscar Pettiford’s bass is particularly nimble although somewhat lacking in the deep fundamentals. Each instrument is presented clearly within a coherent whole. This is almost an ideal rendition and difficult to match in this price range.

Equally good is the complex track “Diamonds and Rust” from Joan Baez [Vanguard VCD3 125/7] who performed this again on her recent trip to Toronto. Reduced somewhat in level at both frequency extremes, the essence and impact of the music is well preserved and the track sounds delicious and infectiously musical. The strong imaging abilities of the Mozart Grand help sort out all the fine layers of detail here and elsewhere on this disc.

I enjoyed my time with this speaker. As long as you don’t push it out of its comfort zone by throwing Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” at it, you will be rewarded with a fully fleshed out soundstage, competitive levels of resolution, a surprisingly full if not fully sorted bass, a sweet and slightly recessed treble in a beautifully put together chassis that will give credit to any living room. It’s fairly efficient and will match a wide range of amplifiers. I find it well priced and worthy of extended audition for the serious listener looking for the truth in music rather than a brilliant HiFi sound designed to impress the neighbours.

Vienna Acoustics
www.vienna-acoustics.com

Distributed in Canada by Vienna Acoustics – North America Inc.
(425) 374-4015

Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grand Symphony Edition Speakers
Price: $3,500 US

Yamaha Corporation has just introduced two new Blu-ray players, the BD-S673 and BD-S473. These new Blu-ray players promise superior audio and video performance, robust network features and easy installation. Capabilities include NAD iOS, Android and Kindle Fire AV control apps and audio-video streaming via Netflix, YouTube and Hulu (BD-S673 only) services. The BD-S673 and BD-S473 have been styled and designed to complement Yamaha’s recently introduced RX-V “73 Series” AV receivers, including one-touch power on and playback via Yamaha AV receivers’ SCENE buttons.

The Yamaha BD-S673 and BD-S473 are designed to provide exceptional video and audio quality with 1080p/24kHz-compatible HDMI video output, full HD Audio decoding and playback of all current HD formats and FLAC files. Fun and informative content from the Internet can be accessed via BD-Live and BonusView features. Additional content from portable devices and drives can be played back through the model’s front and back USB ports.

The BD-S673 and BD-S473 have wide multimedia compatibility for disc and USB formats including AVCHD, WMV, MOV, MP4, MPG (Video), JPEG (HD), MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC (Audio). The BD-S673 adds DivX Plus HD compatibility as well. Both models can also playback JPEG slideshows with MP3 audio soundtracks for family and friends.

Other key audio and video features include direct bitstream and multi-channel Linear PCM output via HDMI, x.v.Color and Deep Color compatibility, as well as 1080p playback for DVDs, photos and home movies. The BD-S673 also offers analog 2-channnel down-mixed audio output and a 192kHz/24-bit audio DAC.

The Yamaha SCENE mode with HDMI CEC, which is available on most of the company’s AV receivers, enables users to power on the BD-S673 and BD-S473 models to playback content by pressing a single button on the receiver. Additional advanced operation and convenience features include DLNA client certification and on-screen display. An intuitive setup wizard instantly readies both models for operation and Internet connectivity makes it possible to quickly download future firmware updates.

The Yamaha BD-S473 will be available in August 2012 at a MSRP of $229.95 U.S. and the Wi-Fi enabled BD-S673 U.S. will be available in September 2012 at a MSRP of $329.95 U.S. For more information, visit: www.yamaha.ca.

Quad has just announced their latest entrants to their L Classic loudspeaker series – the 23L Classic and 25L Classic floorstanding loudspeakers.

The two new models aim to produce a transparent uncoloured window to the music. The two models use Quad’s down-firing auxiliary bass radiator (ABR) technology. This approach is intended to provide extended and virtually uncoloured low bass response and exceed the performance of typical rear ported and sealed designs.

The 23L is a 3-way design, measuring up just below the one-meter mark and housing the Classic L range’s 25mm fabric dome tweeter. A 125mm woven Kevlar cone handles midrange duties and an identically sized driver looks after mid/bass operations. The 25L flagship of the series, uses the same tweeter but incorporates a brace of 125mm drivers to deliver midrange, as well as a pair of 165mm bass drivers to deliver lower frequencies.

Two different wood materials are used for the carcass of the cabinets, reducing the audibility of resonance and making the cabinet more opaque to sound. Quad laminates together high density chipboard and fibreboard in a structure that breaks up the resonant modes into multiple mini-modal frequency bands that lack the strong sonic signature experienced by more coherent panels such as MDF.

These models are finished to ‘furniture grade’ levels, with wood veneers carefully selected for their grain structure, and then laid, and hand polished.

Available in four finishes overall – non-lacquered cherry or piano black provide the price entry point for both models, while the lacquered versions come in cherry or piano black.

The Quad 23L and 25L are available now in the U.K. at the following MSRP: £1299.95 for the 23L and £1749.95 for the 25L. North American release and pricing is yet to be announced.

Look for more details to come at: www.quad-hifi.co.uk.

We are very pleased to introduce Marc Saltzman as one of the distinguished guests of the 2012 Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show (TAVES)!  Marc has reported on the high-tech industry since 1996 as a freelance journalist, author, lecturer, consultant, and radio and TV personality.  You might recognize Marc as a guest from various TV shows on CNN, CTV, NBC as well as “Gear Guide,” a technology-focused segment which runs nationally in movie theatres before the movie previews.  In addition to presenting one of the growing number of seminars at this year’s TAVES, Marc has also kindly agreed to help promote TAVES through his media avenues.  In his seminar Marc will discuss digital music download formats and suggest the various ways of playing digital music on your audio or home theatre system, while offering his personal opinion about the topic.  More details, along with the schedule of this seminar, will be posted on the SEMINARS page a little closer to the show date.

For more info about TAVES, please visit http://www.taveshow.com/.

This year, Bay Bloor Radio is delighted to be able to bring Bose® to TAVES. Bose® is America’s leading audio brand, founded in 1964 by Dr. Amar Bose, with world headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts.

At TAVES, Bay Bloor Radio will be demonstrating the amazing Bose® QuietComfort® headphones, ideal for travel, work, or home use. These headphones present an unmatched combination of audio performance, noise reduction, and comfort. You’ll also get a chance to hear the world renowned Wave® Music System III, the compact, one-piece system that brings room-filling sound to small spaces. It’s perfect for bedrooms, kitchens or boardrooms. Finally, Bay Bloor Radio will be showing off the latest in Bose® home theatre in an exciting ten minute presentation that’s sure to be a ‘show stopper.’

For more info about Bay Bloor Radio and Bose products please visit www.baybloorradio.com.

For more info about the Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show (TAVES), please visit www.taveshow.com.

HDtracks, an online high resolution music site, has just announced the release of six legendary titles from the Blue Note catalog in high-resoulution.

These six albums from the Blue Note label are for the first in available in 192kHz/24bit and 96kHz/24bit and have all been re-mastered from their original analog multi-track master recordings.  The six albums are as follows:

John Coltrane’s – Blue Train;

Eric Dolphy’s – Out To Lunch;

Herbie Hancock’s – Maiden Voyage;

Wayne Shorter’s – Speak No Evil;

Horace Silver’s – Song for My Father;

Larry Young’s – Unity.

Each album is accompanied by its original sleeve notes plus additional photos and newly-written package essays.

In addition, until July 30th, a 10% discount is being offered on their site when using the promo code: bluenote10

Look for more details or to purchase at: www.hdtracks.com

Edifier has introduced its flagship speaker system – the Spinnaker.  With a sail inspired design, Edifier claims the Spinnaker delivers crystal clear sound.

The Spinnaker stands 16.5″ tall and is designed to project sound towards the listener with front facing tweeters and mid-range drivers, reinforced with a downward firing bass driver in each speaker.  The Spinnaker is Bluetooth enabled and features a USB rechargeable wireless remote control for volume, track navigation and play/pause preferences, within a 10-meter radius (30 ft).

The sail inspired form of the Spinnaker is purported to enhance the sound.  Using a tapered cylindrical shape, internal standing waves and resonances are unable to collect to a measurable degree in any area within the enclosure and in fact, cancel themselves out at various frequencies.  Additionally, the aluminum frame paired with internal damping materials reduces unwanted enclosure vibration.  The result is a more lifelike and accurate sound presentation for the listener.

Tri-amping is involves using three separate audio amplifiers to power a 3-way loudspeaker - one to power the bass driver (woofer), one to power the mid-range and the third to power the treble driver (tweeter).  This is different than a traditional single amplifier method that divides power to a woofer, mid and tweeter via a crossover filter, which can lead to wasted power and diminished response.  The tri-amping design still utilzes a crossover; however, it is a DSP electronic crossovers within Spinnaker’s amplifiers.  This design also serves to reduce internal components and provide more internal air in a smaller enclosure.  

The Edifier Spinnaker is available in black and burgundy for $349.99 U.S.  currently.  Look for more details at:  www.Edifier.ca.

Emotiva Audio Corporation, just announced the release of their new XPR-5 Five-Channel Reference Power Amplifier.  The XPR-5 features a faceplate constructed of 25 millimeters of solid billet aluminum.  The face contains a 60 LED dual-colour dimmable level metering systembehind a smoked polycarbonate window.  Variable intensity accent lighting serves to add aesthetic flair that is in character with other Emotiva products.

The XPR-5 boasts five high-efficiency Class AB power amplifier modules powered by a massive 3.3 kVA Optimized Class H toroidal power supply.  All of the internal electronics are controlled, monitored, and protected by an advanced ARM-7 microprocessor with a custom operating system for reliability.  The result is 400 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 600 watts per channel into 4 ohms, with all channels driven.  Distortion is claimed to be very low.

Rounding out the XPR-5’s impressive feature set is a clean, elegant back panel with five independently switchable balanced (XLR) and unbalanced ( solid machine , audiophile quality, gold plated RCA) inputs; massive heavy duty audiophile speaker binding posts with clear acrylic insulators and gold-plated contacts, designed to accept heavy-gauge bare cables, lugs, or banana plugs; 12V trigger inputs and outputs; an input voltage switch; and an IEC receptacle for the amp’s requisite 20A power cable.

The Emotiva XPR-5 is available now for a retail price of $1999 U.S.  Look for details at www.emotiva.com.

Pioneer Electronics has announced its new HTZ-BD32 home theater system.   The HTZ-BD32 includes a multi-functional Wi-Fi Blu-ray 3D player, up to 1100 Watts of power, six compact speakers for 5.1-channel surround sound effects, and network features.

Pioneer’s HTZ-BD32 is designed to provide a user friendly home theater experience in a small package, with easy setup.  The plug-and-play system includes color coded wires for fast connections.

The system includes two (3.8? x 3.8?) front satellite speakers, one (11.8? x 3.5?) center speaker, two rear (3.8? x 3.8?) speakers and an amplified 250 Watt subwoofer.  Audio features include Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, and Virtual 3D sound, as well as Pioneer’s Advanced Sound Retriever technology, in which enhances compressed audio files to deliver near-CD quality playback.

It also offers Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray Disc, DVD, AVC, SACD and CD playback, 1080p up-scaling and two HDMI inputs. For versatility and convenience, the HTZ-BD32 includes built-in Wi-Fi and DLNA 1.5 capability, is Bluetooth ready (AS-BT200 required, sold separately), and supports YouTube, Picasa and Netflix viewing (Netflix subscription required) as well as Pandora Internet Radio listening. The system is equipped with a cradle for iPod/iPhone, a front USB connection, and a Karaoke function with microphone volume and echo control.

The Pioneer HTZ-BD32 will be available in July 2012 at a MSRP of $499 U.S.  Look for more details on this product at: www.pioneerelectronics.com.

JOIN US & WIN GREAT PRIZES!

1,716FansLike
457FollowersFollow