Monthly Archives: October 2012

PS Audio Inc, a 40 year old U.S. based company, has just announced today that it will be returning to the online sales of it’s own products, joining the PS Audio brick and mortar retail dealers. Sales outside the United States will continue to be handled by its network of worldwide distribution partners.

A PS Audio Inc. has been concerned with decreasing brick and mortar specialty retail outlets in the United States and an increasing number of unauthorized online retailers selling PS Audio products without proper warranty and service benefits.  A return to direct retail presence was felt to be important to make sure customers have proper access to PS Audio products.

The new online store is state of the art and gives our customers a chance to try anything we make in their homes without any risk.  PS customers in the US will enjoy free FEDEX shipping, a month to try the products and if they’re not happy and paid return shipping for unwanted produts.  

PS Audio’s Director of Sales, Angie Duran, elaborated on the dealer changes. “Last month we reduced our brick and mortal retail outlets from 450 to just 90 of our strongest and most trusted retailers throughout the US. Working together we can cross promote the brand and the products as well as maintain both the value and service levels. This is an exciting move for the company, our domestic customers and one that will help our worldwide distributors maintain the brand’s value.”

PS Audio was one of the first online retailers in Specialty Audio starting in 1997 and continuing to sell both direct and through a network of US dealers until 2009 when the company turned its online store operation over to three US retailers, Music Direct, Audio Advisor and Crutchfield. All three online retailers remain strong partners of PS Audio.

The online ecommerce store can be visited by going to the main website www.psaudio.com.

The Walt Disney Company has just made an agreement to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is currently 100% owned by George Lucas, Founder and Lucasfilm Chairman, most well known for his Star Wars epic movie series.  The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney’s very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.

Look for more details at: www.lucasfilm.com and www.thewaltdisneycompany.com.

Paradigm Electronics Inc., commonly referred to as Paradigm, is a Canadian company that has been producing loudspeakers for around 30 years.  In early 2011, this well-known speaker company launched an all-new brand, named Paradigm SHIFT.  Paradigm SHIFT, as the name infers, brings with it a whole new product focus and image.  The focus is on the hot and growing mobile and computer-related audio product segment, including powered speakers, earbuds, headphones and gaming headsets.  The new image appears to cater to an active and youthful lifestyle that demands style with quality.  Three all-new models are the first entrants to Paradigm SHIFT’s earbud line-up and are simply named: E1 ($59), E2m ($109) and E3m ($139).  The “m” at the end of the name designates the models with a microphone, for use with cell phones.

Paradigm designs and engineers all its earbud products domestically; however, all three earbud models are manufactured in China.  The research and development (R&D) approach taken for the Paradigm SHIFT earbuds was both innovative and unique, involving the use of a specially designed manikin head and torso, to simulate a human user.  This method allowed the R&D team to measure the earbud sonic properties and evaluate ergonomics in a simulated though realistic manner.  More than 30 designs were evaluated before arriving at the final three most favoured designs.  Each of the three SHIFT earbuds models has been tuned to match a corresponding Paradigm loudspeaker line, with the E1 matching the Monitor Series, E2m the Studio Series and E3m the Signature Series.  You may ask, what does “tuned to match mean”?  Paradigm’s experience in loudspeaker design shows that good sounding speakers have both flat on-axis response and smooth but gently sloping off-axis response curves.  This means that within an actual room, rather than a ruler-flat overall response, a smooth yet tapered-off high frequency curve is most desired.  Since earbuds produce only direct sound, with no in-room effect, the earbuds were tuned to mimic their Paradigm loudspeaker counterpart’s in-room frequency response, including the high-frequency downward tilt.  This was also felt to better replicate the original mastering process in which studio monitors are used rather than headphones.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to evaluate the Paradigm SHIFT E3m, the top-of-the-line earbud.  The E3m came packaged in a compact cardboard box with a plastic insert.  On the box it stated “Audiologist Approved Fit” and a gold seal boldly declared “HD Intense Bass”.  I assumed this meant I would find the E3m both comfortable and anything but bass shy.  Inside the plastic insert, I found the earbuds themselves along with a compact leatherette travel case, instructions and three sets of soft eartips – small, medium and large (the medium pair was mounted on the earphones at the factory).

The black travel case is attractive, embossed with the Paradigm SHIFT logo, and offers a netted pouch within.  The soft eartips are thoughtfully colour coded for right (red) and left (white).  Though the review set came in a black finish, the E3m is also available in white.  The E3m sports a silver, cylindrical aluminum body that is fused to a moulded plastic enclosure.  This moulded enclosure is flat on its backside with the Paradigm SHIFT logo boldly imprinted in silver.  The cable is 48 inches long with a traditional Y-layout but has a unique braided fabric covering with an aluminum Y-splitter that is also inscribed with the Paradigm SHIFT logo.  An in-line microphone/one-button remote is attached to the cable and a gold plated 3.5mm jack with a tasteful aluminum surround terminates the cable.  I found the E3m earbuds to be distinctively styled, exuding a sporty and urban chic appearance.

On the technical side, the E3m utilizes an 8 mm super-neodymium driver and has a published frequency response of 8 Hz to 19 kHz.  The sensitivity is 105 dB, with an impedance of 18 ohms, which should make them easy to power by any portable audio device.
I used the E3m earbuds for about three months; travelling to-and-from work, at leisure and while at my home computer.  From the first time I placed them in my ears, I found them to be both comfortable and well fitted – I guess the “Audiologist Approved” designation helped.  The earbuds isolated my ears effectively from outside noise allowing for listening at even lower levels.  I experimented with a couple of positions, outlined in the accompanying instructions.  The first, being a traditional standard position with the cables hanging down and the second, known as a sport position, with cable up, over and around the back of the ears.  Both positions were comfortable; however, the sport position substantially reduced microphonics (noise induced by cable movement or rubbing, when walking or moving.)

My first impression, when listening to the earbuds straight out of the box, was not overly positive.  I was surprised to find them uninvolving, veiled and imprecise with bloated bass.  Since I’m familiar with the sound of Paradigm loudspeakers, I assumed this was something to do with break-in and waited patiently for improvements.  It took about 50 hours of use before I noticed a distinct improvement in their sound.  I perceived further sonic refinements up to the 70 hour mark.  What were the changes?  The veiling disappeared.  The details improved along with the high-frequency extension and delicacy.  The bass tightened and the congested lower midrange cleared up.  The caution here is that with these earbuds, first impressions don’t really count.  The changes during the first 70 hours of use were transformational.

The majority of my listening was done using a portable Sony Walkman Digital Media Player listening primarily to WAV files at 1411 kbps.  My critical listening however was done using my Grant Fidelity DAC-09 digital to analog converter connected to my PC via SPDIF coaxial, playing ALAC files via iTunes.  I also compared the E3m earbuds to my Grado SR-80 headphones.  Though the Grado headphones have a completely different design – on-ear and open-back –I thought they would make for an interesting comparison, given their relatively close pricing.

Listening to Worrisome Heart, by Melody Gardot, I found the brush strokes on drums very apparent.  The piano resonance was lovely and trumpet battiness was clear and extended but also smooth.  The sax had good warmth and body, while the drums had good weight, with the kick drum providing a real thump.  Melody’s voice came across as warm yet still retained a girlish intonation.  Bass string plucks were distinct, though not as detailed as with my Grado headphones.  It was as though there was a little lacking in the upfront snap of the strings.  Overall, the sound was very pleasing and relaxing and the E3m allowed for listening at rather high volume levels with comfort and enjoyment.  The Grado provided more shimmer and sparkle, sibilance was much more apparent and string pluck definition more upfront.  Brush thwacks with the Grados were more defined, yet more difficult to hear in the mix and Melody’s voice took on a lighter quality but became a little harsh at higher volumes.

Putting on the Metheny Mehldau Quartet album, the second track, “Sound of Water”, produced a lovely tone of the piano.  Sting details were clear with fullness and bass guitar was well grounded and weighted.  The Grado headphones demonstrated more pronounced leading edges on notes, more focus on midrange and high frequency detail; however, there was less weight to bass, less body and less warmth.

Taking things up a notch or two, I threw on Metric’s Live It Out album.  Track six, “Monster Hospital”, was an ear-opening event.  The drums were tight, had superb weight and were concussive, to say the least.  Bass came across with tremendous extension and Emily’s voice was clear and even within the mix.  The Grado on the other hand was much less forgiving and brought out the harshness in the track, making it impossible to comfortably listen to this track at the same volume as the E3m.

Overall, the E3m offered a relaxed and slightly darker persona, which lends to a smooth sound and allows for many hours of continuous, pleasurable listening, even at high volume levels.  A lot of headphones and earbuds that are praised for detail tend to sound a tad bit clinical or etched and with the variation in the quality of recordings that exists, can be downright fatiguing for extended listening.  But not so with the E3m.  I found the E3m to be a little more forgiving on less-than-optimal recordings, while still providing good insight into the music and a level of detail that made listening interesting.  When it came to bass, these little buds really did put out!  As mentioned earlier, when bass was intense in the recording, these earbuds were concussive, to the point that I could feel my eardrums vibrating – “warning” do not try this at home.  The E3m also often gave me the impression that I was listening to speakers in a room, rather than buds in my head.  Though I would not say the E3m provides a particularly airy and open sound, it does provide a rich and tuneful take on the music.  All in all, I would say that if you’re looking at earbuds in the $120 to $200 range and tend to prefer a richer presentation, these are worthy contenders.

Paradigm Electronics Inc.
www.paradigm.com
(905) 696-2845

Paradigm SHIFT E3m Earphones
Price: $139 CAD

Did you know that your audio system can affect the kind of music you listen to? As an extreme example, consider the tricked out Honda Civic with massive subwoofers cruising down the high street. No way would Miles Davis or the Tokyo String Quartet sound good in that environment, never mind the strange looks you’d get from the people you’re out to impress.

You play to your strengths. You’ve got massive deep bass – well hip hop just thrives in that environment. Single ended triode amps? These so called flea-powered amps will fall flat under the load of heavy rock or a full symphony orchestra. It’s a vicious circle. You buy the big subwoofers because you like hip hop, then you find your system isn’t much good for anything else so you stay in that groove. It can also be a virtuous circle if you play your cards right.

If you want to expand your musical horizons, you’re going to need equipment that serves a wide variety of music well. And when you have that system, you’ll be able to enjoy the head banger stuff and modern jazz, Mahler and Keb’ Mo’, Amy Winehouse and Leonard Cohen. It may cost you an arm and a leg, but you wouldn’t be reading this magazine if you were happy with what you’ve got now, would you?

How do you choose the music you listen to? Does the music really speak to you or does it just impress your friends? Have you really tried every kind of music out there and made rational choices based on that extensive experience or are there entire musical genres you never mess with – salsa, opera, reggae, funk, techno, Motown, folk? There’s amazing music to be had in every area, but if you’ve set up your HiFi to favour one particular style, you won’t enjoy some other styles and you’ll be missing out.

I’ve been in this business for a long time, contributing articles to a variety of HiFi magazines and blogs. I’m a gear-head for sure, but music is my first love. I grew up on a parentally enforced diet of classical music (Monday to Friday) and traditional jazz (weekends), but cheated by listening to pirate radio (Radio Luxemburg) on a transistor radio out of earshot of my parents. In fact I installed a bell push on that radio so the music would cut out when I fell asleep at night. Despite looking like a geek to all my friends, who thought classical music was for blue-rinse old ladies, I lapped up the best that London’s Royal Festival Hall or my local music library had to offer, while borrowing and taping my friends’ Led Zeppelin and King Crimson albums, falling under the spell of Dylan, Donovan, Nina Simone, The Stones, The Who and The Kinks. I’ve reviewed classical, pop, klezmer, jazz, folk and world music and nothing excites me more than discovering a new type of music where the invention is high and execution superb. OK so I’m not into Polka, electronic or country but that still leaves quite a lot for me to discover.  Along the way, my stereo has been on an upward path where you could easily plot against time not just bandwidth extension and flatness, but lower distortion levels, improvements to imaging and dynamics.  I’ve also experienced a startling expansion of the range and quality of live music in Toronto.

During this time there have been many aha moments, where a window has opened onto the music which I never want to close. The Linn Sondek LP12 was a revelation as to just how good a gramophone could sound, so much better than the direct drive offerings from Japan. I bought mine in 1980 and it’s still performing superbly today, in fact much better, thanks to a steady stream of updates. The introduction of digital, sadly, was not one of those happy moments, although today’s hi-rez bears little relation to the early cold, clinical, even sterile offerings we were assured had “perfect sound forever”. The Meridian M2 active speaker was a genuine game changer, a speaker so good I held onto it well past its “sell-by” date because it put most other speakers to shame. Ditto the Wilson Benesch Act 1, not just world class sound but looks to die for. The YBA Integré DT amp also marked a great leap forward – a true glimpse of the real high end at a somewhat affordable price. More recently, the XDS1 SACD player from EMM Labs finally showed me what digital sound can be, mightily expensive but still less than half the price of several inferior rivals.

When one of these breakthrough products appears, you find there’s more on your recordings than you ever knew. It’s not that you suddenly hear details that weren’t there before. Go back and listen to the previous component and you’ll probably hear that new detail. What has changed is the ease with which your brain absorbs the richness and subtlety of the music, the spaciousness and pin point precision of the image, the improvements in dynamic range that remind you of the live music experience.

How do I know when I’m listening to a great component? First of all you can’t hear just how good that EMM Labs CD player is unless the rest of the system is performing at a similar level. In fact your system is only as strong as its weakest link, so a reviewer like me has to have top notch (reference quality) components end to end. Then you can judge a particular component by switching it in and out of the system and comparing it with another component you are familiar with. When I listen, I’m not looking at how deep the bass goes, or how sharp the transients or any of those aspects of sound that I must eventually describe in my review. I’m just hoping to be captivated by the music I’m listening to. I want to be overcome with emotion, connected to the performing artists and unwilling to press pause. If I find my feet tapping, or I start singing along or I want to get up and dance or air conduct, that’s the sign I’m looking for. The details come later.

A lot of people say to me that good equipment would be wasted on them because their ears aren’t critical enough to really hear much difference between two amplifiers or two pairs of speakers or so on. They may even laugh at the suggestion that substituting one power cord for another can make any significant difference. But I will tell you categorically, my ears are no more special than yours, and if I can hear the difference, so can you. I’ve never had anyone actually sit down with me and fail to appreciate the major differences I do, so I think those people are selling themselves short. Certainly some people will enjoy a type of sound that I don’t – listening is pretty subjective, but certain aspects will have all listeners appreciating lower distortion, improved imaging, higher dynamic range and so on. Even among professional reviewers there are some I generally agree with, one in particular I always seem to agree with (or perhaps he always agrees with me), and some that make we want to pull my hair out (while I still have some).

Let me break it down and explain some of the key qualities that a good quality HiFi system should offer while listening to music.

Editor’s note: each term below is followed by an example of an album and/or specific song compiled by Phil Gold, Neil Underwood and Suave Kajko.

Wide Bandwidth

The ability of a system to reproduce all the notes of the musical spectrum with equal delight. No small speaker can give you this – they will all roll off in the lower frequencies. Diana Krall’s All For You should do the trick.  Also try just about any track from the Dire Straits Brothers In Arms album.  This album nicely captures a wide musical spectrum ranging from soft cymbal strikes to deep, tuneful bass notes and everything in between.

Soundstage
You’re looking for a three dimensional image where each performer is clearly located in space – there should be depth (one in front of another), width (strung out across a stage) and height (very difficult to achieve – only the very best equipment can portray height). Most of all, the image should be stable and consistent as you move around the room. You won’t find this in early stereo recordings or in anything compressed to MP3. Try the Ray Charles album Genius Loves Company.  Another disc with a great soundstage is the Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill Acoustic album.  The track “You Oughta Know” should very easily allow you to pin point the locations of the vocals and the instruments – the vocals are slightly raised to the right of the soundstage, the acoustic guitar is elevated slightly and positioned on the left, while the drums are clearly located behind the vocals.  This entire album has a natural three-dimensionality, with a good portrayal of width, depth and height.  Most Radiohead albums also offer a great sense of mesmerizing three-dimensionality, although you should realize that Radiohead song soundstages are engineered rather than the real-life soundstage that’s on the Alanis Morisette disc.

Air
By this we mean extension at the top end of the frequency band. Commonly speakers will roll off (or cut off) in the high treble and you will experience this as a lack of sparkle, particularly noticeable as a tizzy sound on cymbals or a very dry sound in percussion and wind instruments like the flute. Voices in particular really open up on a system with air. Try Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Amy Winehouse’s Rehab or the Alanis Morissette album mentioned above.  If you’re into new rock, you should also try City and Colour’s Little Hell album.  “The Grand Optimist” track contains two voices that are perfectly blended together yet each one is very clearly within its own space.  There is plenty of air between all of the instruments, which creates a clear distinction and space between the guitar and drum elements.

Accurate Tone
You want to be able to tell if the guitar is a Fender Stratocaster or a Gibson Les Paul, or if that violin is an Amati or a Stradivarius. It’s all about the harmonics that resonate above the actual note that is played and you need a very fine tweeter to do the job. If it’s a voice it should be like the singer is standing in front of you – clear, rich and reflective of their talking voice, not a shrill, artificial voice singing words you can barely make out. Try First We Take Manhatten or anything else by Jennifer Warnes.  Cat Stevens’ Tea For the Tillerman album also has some great tracks to test this.  Play “Sad Lisa” and listen for an accurate piano tone as well as clear and rich vocals.  Also pay attention to natural tones of the string arrangement at the back of the soundstage, as the bows are drawn across the strings.  The vocals should maintain clarity even as other instruments play their respectable parts.

Resolution

The higher the resolution, the more detail you can hear, for sure, but also the easier it is for the mind to recognize the sound. Just like a very low resolution picture may make it hard to see a small detail like the time on a watch, so it is with sound. The problems are amplified when there are many simultaneous voices or instruments. Low resolution makes the singers in a choir blend into one, while high resolution lets you hear each voice individually among all the others. Try the Beach Boys classic Good Vibrations.  Radiohead’s Kid A starts with a track named “Everything In  Its Right Place” and sets the right tone for the entire album.  This track contains multiple voices, instruments and various sound effects which blend perfectly as a whole, yet each individual component can be easily distinguished.  AIR French Band Moon Safari is another great album which contains plenty of musical details.

Dynamic Range
This is something you’ll pay a lot of money to get right. All loudspeakers compress, as do all amplifiers but to a lesser extent. You’re looking for something that maintains the same distance between the quietest parts of a song and the loudest – Pinball Wizard will be as good a test as any sort of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony.  “Since I’ve Been Loving You” from Zepplin’s III album is another good song to test dynamic range.  This song starts with a soft guitar lick, supported by the louder thump of drums, and slowly builds in intensity and dynamics.  The vocals and guitars fluctuate greatly in dynamic range throughout this track.

Speed

An accurate system gets the timing right, especially noticeable in sharp transient, drum thwacks for example. But it takes time to accelerate a mechanical object such as a speaker cone up to speed, resulting in blurred edges and a noticeable reduction in impact. Try Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra or Keb’ Mo’s Am I Wrong?  Another good track to test speed is “Overture” on The Who’s Tommy album.

Presence
A bit hard to define but you know it when you hear it. It’s a forward thrust to the music that draws the listener in, making it impossible to treat as background music. It applies equally to just about any genre of music.  When played on a quality audio system, Adele’s “Someone Like You” from the album 21 should give you the perception that she is right in front of you singing and playing piano.  Pay attention to the nuances in her voice and the natural tones of the piano keys.  If the hairs on the back of your neck stand up then you know your system is getting it right.

Transparency
A hallmark of the very best HiFi is the clarity that certain highly accurate and high resolution equipment can bring. Like presence it can apply to any music. It’s true to the mantra “do no evil”, adding nothing of its own to the signal. There’s plenty of stuff out there that has its own house sound, which may be attractive in itself but is really a form of distortion. Think warmth, an excess of harmonic richness you sometimes get with tubed equipment.  Try Johnny Cash’s American IV album – listen to the subtleties of his iconic vocals and the richness of guitar strings as well as the strumming as the pick hits the strings.  A transparent system should extract the finest details in his voice and produce an emotion filled performance.

The big payoff

The reward for your hard earned cash and perseverance in putting together a system that scores well on all these characteristics is the sheer delight in the beauty and realism of the best recordings. In every genre there are insanely great recordings which will just transport you, have you stomping your feet and swaying your hips in time to the music. Jazz fans should pull out Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Classical music lovers will revel in the sound world of the Kodaly String Quartet playing Haydn. Everyone can rejoice in the Beatles startling Love album and so on. But all recordings will reveal far more musical value than you might have imagined and you’ll be open to a much wider variety of music than ever before when you can hear them each at their best. Ultimately, it’s not about the equipment, it’s about your musical enjoyment, and music enriches our lives to no end.

Balanced Music Concept (B.M.C.) Audio, is introducing a new product, the AMP CS2 Power Amplifier.  The AMP CS2 can operate as either an integrated amplifier with B.M.C.’s exclusive Load Effect Free (LEF) technology of by connecting it to a B.M.C. DAC, it will act as a stereo power amplifier with LEF.

The AMP CS2 brings a number of B.M.C. proprietary technologies to the table, including the aforementioned LEF amplification, as well as, Current Injection (CI), and Discrete Intelligent Gain Management (DIGM).  B.M.C. claims that these technologies together, bring a new level of transparency to the listening experience.

Contributing to the exceptional sound are a short, pure signal path, and the absence of distortion. Instead of compensating for distortion as other amps do through a negative feedback loop, the AMP CS2 simply avoids it, believing that it’s better to avoid distortion from the start than to try to correct it later.

The AMP CS2 outputs 200 Watts x 2, into 8 Ohms or 360 Watts/channel into 4 Ohms. A fully regulated power supply with a large 2kW toroidal transformer, and energy storage by specially designed balanced current capacitors, provide the muscle behind the music even as the amp, itself, runs cool and quietly. In addition, an innovative electronic stabilization circuit filters voltage ripples and other disturbances out of the supply voltage, ensuring exceptional tranquility and dynamic stability.

The AMP CS2 includes three technologies developed by and exclusive to B.M.C.:

Load Effect Free (LEF) Technology handles a speaker’s current demand separately from the voltage demand. This helps the amplifier achieve high output and high-quality reproduction. It provides a top-level signal without voltage amplification, and increases efficiency. The result is a level of musical complexity that brings to life delicate details, rock-shaking power, high dynamics, sonic vitality, and accurate imaging.

Current Injection (CI) Technology processes the input current from a signal source through a special XLR-CI input and the amplifier’s circuitry until it attains the desired output voltage for the loudspeakers, increasing the purity of the amplified signal and the immediacy of its musical reproduction.

Digital Intelligent Gain Management (DIGM) is a volume and amplification control system that recalibrates gain without dividing and downgrading the input signal. It enables users to adjust left/right output balances in 66 1-decibel increments. It also avoids unnecessary attenuation of the input signal and excessive amplification, eliminates the need for a preamp circuit, and allows a DAC to directly connect to the amplifier. Less amplification means less distortion and noise, which leads to a more natural musical quality.

Exhibiting the modular construction and massive build quality typical of B.M.C. components, the AMP CS2 is housed in a sturdy aerospace-grade aluminum chassis using the finest components available. Large Power and Volume buttons and an easily read Power Meter enhance the front panel.

A handsome aluminum remote control is included to operate the AMP CS2. Rear-panel connections include 2 pairs of balanced XLR-CI inputs, 3 pairs of unbalanced RCA inputs, 2 pairs of speaker outputs, an optical input and output for stereo operation, and an AC power connection.

The AMP CS2 Power Amplifier is available now at a M.S.R.P. of of $7,990 U.S.  Look for more details on this product at: www.bmc-audio.com.  B.M.C. products are distributed in Canada by www.audionation.ca.

Ushering in a new era in home entertainment, the first “Ultra High Definition” flat-panel TV – with four times the resolution of today’s HDTVs – has just began appearing on stores shelves in the United States.

The LG 84-inch class (84-inch diagonal) LED TV offers a native Ultra High Def screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 and carries a price of $19,999.99 US.  Model 84LM9600 quadruples the level of detail from full 1080p HD resolution to a massive 8 million pixels.  Before so-called “4K” content is available, LG’s up-conversion engine, the proprietary “LG Resolution Upscaler Plus,” is said to deliver higher detail from current HD/SD external sources.

In addition to its excellent picture quality, LG’s 84LM9600 boasts a growing Smart TV ecosystem, which is composed of over 1,000 apps and gives users access to a growing range of premium content services. Users can easily browse and navigate through the Smart TV ecosystem using LG’s Magic Remote, which allows users to make commands using the control modes of Voice Recognition, Wheel, Magic Gesture and Point. It also features LG’s CINEMA 3D technology and an imbedded 2D to 3D conversion engine expanding 3D content availability.

LG could not confirm whether this TV will be available to Canadian consumers at this time.

For more info, please visit www.lg.com

AURALiC has just introduced their new VEGA digital audio processor. Utilizing a Sanctuary Audio Processor the new VEGA brings new technologies to the table. The VEGA uses a ‘Megahertz upsampling’ algorithm that processes all PCM music to 1.5MHz in 32bit. In addition, a ‘Femto Master Clock’ provides ultimate clock precision with jitter only 82 femtoseconds(0.082 picoseconds). Binding with other AURALiC’s patented technologies such as ‘ORFEO Class-A module’ and discrete ‘Purer-Power solution’, is designed to maximize music playback resolution.

VEGA supports all high resolution music formats including DXD(352.8KS/s, 384KS/s in 32bit) as well as DSD stream at 2.8224MHz and 5.6448MHz. Five digital inputs include AES/EBU, Coaxial(set of two), Toslink and USB. With both balanced and single-ended analog outputs and an adjustable volume, in the digital domain, the VEGA provides for a number of connection possibilities, including direct connection to a power amplifier. The new VEGA has six built-in filter modes that allow users to customize according to different music formats.

The AURALiC VEGA digital audio processor is now available at the following MSRP: $3,499 U.S. Look for more details at: www.auralic.com.

Hot on the heals of MartinLogan’s first headphone product the Mikros 70 in-ear headphone, MartinLogan has just announced their new Mikros 90 reference noise isolating on-ear headphones.  Inspired by the sonic clarity and detail of MartinLogan electrostatic speakers and designed by MartinLogan’s in-house team, the Mikros 90 is poised to delivers realism, richness and purity of sound that MartinLogan is know for.  Given the noise isolation of these on-ear headphones, users may get a taste of having their own portable MartinLogan listening room.  

MartinLogan has focused on delivering outstanding reference quality sound with natural deep, extended bass and an open, revealing midrange, along with executive styling within a minimalistic design. High quality materials, uniquely tuned drivers, and obsessive attention to detail are as much part of this new portable design as in our traditional loudspeakers. The Mikros 90 body is constructed from genuine leather and lightweight polished aluminum to provide years of deepening enjoyment. Soft replaceable ear pads provide a snug fit that isolates up to 92.05% of ambient noise and provide outstanding sound quality.

Features include a 90-degree gold-plated 3.5mm plug and a simple, yet durable, removable black rubberized cord that dampens and isolates noise often transmitted through contact and movement. A folding design and custom carrying case assure safe stowage when traveling.

Mikros 90′s in-line remote/microphone controls volume, play/pause, track selection, voice control, and allows seamless transitions between listening to music and phone calls on compatible Apple devices. The remote and microphone also function with a variety of smart phones, digital media players and similar devices with a standard 3.5mm 4-conductor socket.

The Mikros 90 is shipping at the end of November with an MSRP of $299.95 (US) each, look for more details at: www.martinlogan.com/headphones.

Audio Electronics by Cary Audio has just introduced their new Constellation tube preamplifier.  The Constellation preamplifier utilizes 6SN7 tubes, in Class-A triode mode.  The preamplifier usesa fully regulated power and heater supply with a custom R-core power transformer device that was designed to Cary Audio specifications.  With a focus on providing sonic integrity, the signal path is simple; however, employs premium parts.

The Constellation was developed with a focus on providing the highest sound quality, avoiding wasted expense on non-essential features.  The Constellation can be used in any system where a suitable preamplifier is required but can also be paired with Audio Electronics new Hercules power amplifier to provide musical enjoyment. 

Weight: 22 lbs.

Dimensions: 13” L x 14.25” W x 7.5” H

The Audio Electronics by Cary Audio Constellation preamplifier is currently available for purchase through Audio Electronics by Cary Audio’s online store or through your local Cary Audio dealer at a MSRP of $1,495 U.S.  Look for more details at: www.caryaudio.com.

Yesterday, Apple revealed the iPad mini, a completely new iPad design that is 23 percent thinner and 53 percent lighter than the third generation iPad. The new iPad mini features a stunning 7.9-inch Multi-Touch display, FaceTime HD and iSight cameras, ultrafast wireless performance and an incredible 10 hours of battery life?every inch an iPad, yet in a revolutionary design you can hold in one hand. Apple also announced the fourth generation iPad featuring a gorgeous 9.7-inch Retina display, new Apple-designed A6X chip, FaceTime HD camera and ultrafast wireless performance. Both iPad mini and fourth generation iPad come with iOS 6, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features.

iPad mini comes in a beautiful new aluminum and glass design that is just 7.2 mm thin and weighs only 0.68 pounds. The 7.9-inch Multi-Touch display delivers the same iPad experience users have come to expect, in a design that has 35 percent more screen real estate than 7-inch tablets and up to an astonishing 67 percent more usable viewing area when browsing the web. The dual-core A5 chip delivers responsive graphics and a fast, fluid Multi-Touch experience, while still providing all-day battery life.

iPad mini features a front-facing FaceTime HD camera and a 5 megapixel iSight camera on the back with advanced optics for taking sharp still pictures and recording full 1080p HD video. The iSight camera includes video image stabilization and both cameras feature backside illumination to let users capture great pictures in low light. iPad mini also allows easy sharing of photos with friends and family using iCloud’s Shared Photo Streams.

iPad mini features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for speeds up to 150 Mbps, which is twice the Wi-Fi performance compared to previous iPad models. iPad mini is available in Wi-Fi + Cellular models which are world-ready with built-in support for ultrafast wireless standards, including LTE and DC-HSDPA, so you can browse, download and stream content fast from wherever you are. iPad mini data plans will be available with no contract so you can simply sign up and activate service directly from your iPad. The Personal Hotspot feature means you can share a fast cellular data connection via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB with up to five other devices such as MacBook Pro, iPod touch or another iPad.

The new fourth generation iPad features the amazing 9.7-inch Retina display and includes a new Apple-designed A6X chip that delivers up to twice the CPU performance and up to twice the graphics performance of the A5X chip, all while delivering an incredible 10 hours of battery life in the same thin and light iPad design. Other new features include a FaceTime HD camera, twice the Wi-Fi performance when compared to previous iPad models and support for additional LTE carriers worldwide.

iPad mini and fourth generation iPad both feature support for the Lightning connector that is smaller, smarter and more durable than the 30-pin connector. Lightning connector accessories are available to support cameras, SD cards and VGA or HDMI digital video. Existing iPad Smart Covers and the iPad Smart Case are compatible with fourth generation iPad, and new polyurethane Smart Covers custom-designed for iPad mini are available in pink, green, blue, light gray, dark gray and (PRODUCT) RED for $39.

iPad runs over 700,000 apps available on the App Store, including more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad, from a wide range of categories including books, games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. iPad also supports the more than 5,000 newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand and the more than 1.5 million books available on the iBookstore. The iTunes Store puts the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store at your fingertips with a catalog of over 26 million songs, over 190,000 TV episodes and over 45,000 films. The new iBooks app for iPad lets users read ebooks in over 40 languages. iBooks also lets users experience an entirely new kind of ebook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. Ebooks created with Apple’s new iBooks Author offer gorgeous, fullscreen ebooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, custom fonts, mathematical expressions and much more.

Pricing & Availability
iPad mini with Wi-Fi models will be available in black & slate or white & silver on Friday, November 2, for a suggested retail price of $329 (US) for the 16GB model, $429 (US) for the 32GB model and $529 (US) for the 64GB model. The fourth generation iPad with Wi-Fi models will also be available on Friday, November 2, in black or white for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model and $699 (US) for the 64GB model.

For more info, please visit www.apple.ca

JOIN US & WIN GREAT PRIZES!

1,710FansLike
456FollowersFollow