George de Sa

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Akiko Audio Triple AC

Akiko Audio has just introduced their new Triple AC Enhancer product.  Akiko Audio affirms that negative influences of high frequency RFI-EMI radiation are more significant than many music enthusiasts and even audiophiles may believe.  Reducing RFI-EMI, which amount to high frequency noise / interference results in an immediate audible improvement in the rendering of music.  The Triple AC Enhancer does just this, reduces RFI-EMI and thus, provides a cleaner, more natural and pleasant sound to any system it is used with.  

Using the Triple AC Enhancer is as simple as plugging the provided Akiko Audio Gold connector into the power strip or wall socket that the audio system is connected to.  

The new premium model Triple AC Enhancer is now available from Akiko Audio directly or thorough authorized dealers at a European price of € 295.  Look for more information on this and other Akiko Audio products at: www.akikoaudio.com.

Samsung 590C

Samsung has just announced their new SD590C curved monitor.  Developed to provide a more immersive viewing experience, it also allows for multi-screen extension, given its super narrow bezel.  Sound is supported via integrated stereo speakers and the monitor has a specialized mode that optimizes it for gaming.

The SD590C’s curved LED screen provides users with a unique perspective ideal for viewing content ranging from multimedia to games. Through its carefully selected curvature of 4000R, the monitor has a wider field of view than flat 27-inch panels making the display seem bigger.  Because the display’s edges are physically closer to the user’s eyes and match their natural curve, users don’t need to shift focus to see the ends of the screen, which makes it ideal for anyone spending extended time in front of a computer.

High brightness (350 nit) and 3000:1 Mega Dynamic Contrast Ratio add to the experience by making images and video appear even truer to life with deeper blacks, pristine whites and amazingly bright colors.  The screen provides a wide field of view for watching multimedia content from nearly anywhere in the room.  In addition, the SD590C has a 5-Watt, 2-channel dual stereo speakers built right into the curve that are designed to deliver rich, high-quality stereo sound to envelop the watcher.  

With a single click the monitor switches into Game Mode, instantly adjusting settings for optimized play. It intelligently detects changes in scenes, enhances the color, and alters the screen’s contrast to make the darks darker and the lights lighter. With Game Mode, users can see all the action at all times, even in the darkest scenes. The curved screen provide a more engaged experience.  

Game Boost also enriches sound to further boost gaming in two ways: first, the monitor’s equalizers are adjusted to make sound effects sound true to life. Second, the most important game noises (for example, car noises in a driving game, explosions in an action game, or character sounds in a role playing game) will stand out over the background music. When paired with the display enhancements above, the result is an unmatched gaming experience.

Users can connect two or even three SD590C monitors simultaneously to create a wider, gentler curve that delivers an incredible viewing experience for all games and multimedia content.  The SD590C monitor features a clean, understated look and narrow bezel that keeps users focused on the content while still standing out on their desk. The screen is elevated on a curved metallic stand with an angled neck, which makes it appear to float weightlessly. 

The SD590C will be available beginning October, 2014 at a MSRP of $429.99 U.S.  Look for more information at: www.samsung.com.

 

Marantz AV7702

Marantz, has just released their first Multichannel A/V Preamplifier with Dolby Atmos capability, dubbed the AV7702.  The new AV7702 comes with the latest current feedback topology and the Marantz’s own high-definition HDAMs for the highest level of power and finesse.  Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities allows access to a plethora of music sources, including: Internet Radio, Spotify Connect, Pandora, SiriusXM, and AirPlay.  DLNA network streaming allows the AV7702 to play music files stored on a DLNA capable PC or external storage unit.  File compatibility is broad and includes: MP3, WMA, FLAC HD, ALAC, WAV192/24 & AAC.   In addition, Gapless, DSD, and AIFF are also supported for the full enjoyment of live concerts or classical recordings.  For additional functionality the AV7702 provides an iPod digital-compatible USB input and a Phono MM input for vinyl fans.

The video section comes with advanced video processing, support of the latest HDMI standard (4k 60Hz pass- through), 7+1 HDMI inputs and 3 outputs for main zone & multi-zone. The AV7702 upscales standard of high definition video to Full HD 1080p and even 4k full rate (50/60 Hz).  

Thanks to its four DSP (Digital Sound Processing) engines, the AV7702 handles up to 11.2 channels, giving it the ability to support Audyssey DSX, DTS Neo:X 11.1, as well as the latest decoding technology Dolby Atmos. The AV7702 has the processing power to run a more enveloping, 7, 9, or 11 channel Dolby Atmos layout using 5.1.2, 5.1.4, 7.1.2, 7.1.4 or 9.1.2 configurations utilizing ceiling mounted, or Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. A 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 speaker configuration is based upon a traditional 5.1 speaker layout complemented by 2 or 4 overhead, or Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. A 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 configuration is based on a 7.1 speaker layout with 4 overhead, or Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. A 9.1.2 configuration is based on a 9.1 speaker layout with 2 overhead speakers.

 To finish off, the AV7702 owns 13.2ch pre-out capability (11.2ch XLR, 13.2ch RCA) for extreme versatility in amplification options. The most advanced Audyssey MultEQ XT32 (Pro ready) room correction suite adds to the most accurate calibration of the speakers to guarantee that every seat in the room is a ‘sweet spot’ for audio. Audyssey LFC reduces the transmission of low frequency sound through walls something your neighbors are sure to appreciate, while Audyssey Sub EQ HT cares for perfect integration of two subwoofers in the home theater setup.

Main Features:

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in
  • Big trapdoor design
  • Current Feedback topology and new Marantz HDAM
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT32, LFC, Sub EQ HT, Pro ready
  • Audyssey DSX; DTS Neo:X (11.1ch)
  • 13.2ch pre-out (11.2ch XLR, 13.2ch RCA) and 11.2ch signal processing
  • Latest HDMI version with 4k 50/60Hz 4:4:4 resolution
  • 7+1 front HDMI in / 3 HDMI out (2 + 1 zone) (4k 50/60Hz, 3D, ARC, Deep Color)
  • HDMI scaling 1080p, 4k 50/60 Hz
  • ISF video calibration
  • MP3, WAV, AAC, WMA, AIFF
  • HD Audio streaming: FLAC 192/24, DSD, ALAC
  • Gapless Playback
  • USB port
  • Spotify Connect, Pandora Sirius XM, Flickr, Internet Radio support
  • Phono (MM) input
  • Setup Assistant and Advanced GUI
  • 4 Smart Select buttons for fast selection of listening presets
  • RS232
  • Marantz Remote App for iOS and Android™ devices

The new Marantz AV7702 will be available this October at a MSRP of: $1,999.00 U.S.  Look for more information at: www.marantz.com.

 

Marantz Headphone Amp HD-DAC1

Marantz has just introduced their first ever headphone amplifier, the HD-DAC1.  Leveraging amplification technologies from Marantz’s high-end Premium 11 Series, the new HD-DAC1 had been developed to provide exceptional sound quality.  Though carrying a Marantz family resemblance, the new HD-DAC1 brings a new design with a retro flair.  

The headphone outputs of some devices such as computers and portable players are not designed to get the best out of headphones, as they have low-grade amplifcation circuits and low-quality integrated DACs.  The new HD-DAC1 is poised to solve these problems by providing amplifcation and an integrated DAC that are of premium quality.

The HD-DAC1 is so powerful, it can even drive audiophile high-impedance headphones of up to 600 ohm – with complete MODE ease.  All thanks to its three-level gain control, Marantz HDAM-SA2 modules, a high current audiophile DAC (CS4398), and its Premium Quality fixed and variable RCA outputs.  In fact, the HD-DAC1 can be used as preamplifer to drive a power amplifier or active speakers.  Connectivity abounds with S/PDIF optical and coaxial digital inputs, and a USB-B port for connection of a PC or MAC.  iDevices can also be connected via the USB port on the front. The USB-B port is an asynchronous, 192 kHz/24-bit high-resolution input that also has DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz ability, for maximized performance.  Marantz has incorporated extended isolation around the USB-B input to eliminate the chance of any high frequency noise generated by the computer entering the HD-DAC1.  In addition there is jitter is not a problem with a Dual Clock. 

Main features, include the following:

·      High quality Headphone amplifier with DAC Mode
·      2x optical, coaxial and USB type B digital inputs capable of 192kHz/24bit
·      Native DSD2.8 and 5.6 support
·      Asynchronous mode
·      High quality D/A converter CS4398
·      Jitter remover
·      Dual Clock
·      Noise isolation for all digital inputs (USB-A, Optical, Coaxial, USB-B)
·      HDAM & HDAM-SA2
·      Gain control to support wide range of headphones
·      Fix and variable RCA output
·      iDevice capable front USB input
·      Gold plated fix level and variable level RCA output terminals

A solid aluminum front plate is supported by a double layer bottom plate and side panels that have a retro-style wooden look.  The Marantz HD-DAC1 is expected to be available in black beginning in October 2014 at a MSRP of $799 U.S.  Look for more details at: http://www.marantz.com/.

 

Zesto Audio Andros Phonostage 1.2

Zesto Audio has just announced that it will be premiering the new 1.2 upgrade of their Andros Phonostage at the New York Audio Show in September.

The Andros 1.2 Phonostage upgrade includes:
• 10 position MC load, from 20 to 1000 Ohm and more positions in the sweet zone between 200 to 1000 Ohms
• 2 position MM loading, 47K &15K to accommodate a wider range of cartridges
• 67dB of gain
• +6V max output
• Same sonic signature
• Improved circuitry design and component value upgrades
• Enhanced grounding scheme
• Binding post moved to accommodate shorter ground wires
• Lower noise
• New feet

Factory 1.2 Upgrade Includes:
• New 2 year warranty
• Complete new back panel assembly with new components i.e. Printed circuit board, connectors, transformers etc.
• New front logo with Andros 1.2 and new serial number
• Pricing includes return shipping to the customer in the USA

The factory upgrade will be made available through authorized Zesto Audio product dealers at a price of $1,000 U.S. for Andro Phonstages that are less than 1 year old and $1,500 for older models.

The updated Andros 1.2 Phonostage has a MSRP of $4700 U.S. and will be available shortly through authorized dealers. Look for more information on the Zesto Audio Andros Phonostage at: http://www.zestoaudio.com/.

Bryston CIW

At CEDIA 2014, Bryston officially launched their new CIW architectural loudspeaker model.  CIW has been designed to accommodate various needs, including those of the recently introduced Dolby Atmos format.

The Bryston CIW is a coaxial design with 6.5-inch aluminum woofer and a 1-inch titanium tweeter. Utilizing a similar tweeter design as other Bryston loudspeakers the CIW departs slightly by employing a neodymium magnet for the tweeter that is both compact and powerful element. The CIW tweeter also pivots, allowing tailoring of dispersion characteristics to match applicationneeds.  The CIW’s woofer is also derived from Bryston’s A-Series loudspeakers.

The CIW is a fully enclosed acoustic suspension design with anti-standing wave rear chamber.  This design produces a controlled and balanced output difficult to achieve from an architectural loudspeaker platform. A fange-less and a flush-mount version of the CIW is currently being developed.

Bryston CIW Specifications:

  • Enclosure: Acoustic Suspension
  • Max Amp Power: 175 Watts, Min Amp Power: 10 Watts
  • Frequency Response +/-3dB: 70 – 22 kHz, +3dB- 9dB: 50 – 22 kHz
  • Impedance 8 Ohms
  • SPL in Room1w/1m: 92 dB, Anechoic 1w/1m: 88 dB
  • Crossover 2.2 kHz
  • Tweeter: Single 1″ titanium
  • Woofer: Single 6.5″ aluminum
  • On-ceiling Dimensions (inches) – 9 5⁄8″ diameter x 3⁄8″
  • In-ceiling (Cut out) Dimensions (inches) – 8 1⁄4″ diameter x 4 9⁄16″
  • On-ceiling Dimensions (mm) – 244 diameter x 9
  • In-ceiling (Cut out) Dimensions (mm) – 210 diameter x 116
  • Weight (lbs) each 12.7 lbs – Weight (kg) each 5.761 kg

The Bryston CIW has an MSRP of $290 U.S./speaker and is expected to ship in Q4, 2014.  Look for more details at: www.bryston.com.

 

Klipsch soundbar

Klipsch, has announced their new Reference R-20B soundbar that has been designed to significantly raise the bar on performance over the speakers that are integrated into flat panel televisions.

The two-way soundbar uses two lightweight ¾-inch horn-loaded textile dome tweeters and four 3-inch polypropylene woofers.  The tweeters are coupled with Klipsch-exclusive Tractrix Horns to reduce distortion and control dispersion.  The R-20B also includes a 10-inch side-firing wireless subwoofer with MDF slot-port cabinet, which automatically connects to the sounbar using wireless technology.

The Reference R-20B soundbar is compatible with most Bluetooth wireless enabled devices and also offers aptX audio coding technology for lossless, high-quality music streaming. It also has a Dolby Digital Decoder that ensures sound is reproduced in detailed and high-quality manner.

The soundbar can be mounted to a wall, using the integrated keyhole mounts or can be set on a shelf using the removable feet. Distinctive Reference copper cones and detailing make the R-20B soundbar a quality statement piece.

Klipsch - specifications

The Klipsch Reference R-20B soundbar has a MSRP of: $799.99 U.S. and is currently available.  Look for more information at: www.klipsch.com.

Phase Technology

Phase Technology, an MSE Audio brand, has just announced that that their new Teatro TSB3.0 soundbar with features left, right and center channels paired with two SFE Spatial Field Expanders.  The Teatro TSB3.0 is designed to deliver a wide, dynamic and enveloping front stage in an attractive, slim enclosure.

The Teatro TSB3.0 is a passive soundbar that has a nominal impendence of 8 ohms, allowing to be powered by just about any AV receiver.  The soundbar uses dual 3” mineral filled polypropylene drivers, ultra-long throw woofers with rubber surrounds and a ¾” silk/synthetic blend soft dome tweeter per channel. SFE 1” full-range inverted aluminum drivers are mounted on the sides.  Utilizing PhaseTech’s proprietary EVT (Enhanced Voice Technology) that can be activated via a front-panel switch, frequencies that predominate human speech are accentuated to provide crisp, clear dialogue in even the most challenging mixes.  Phase Technology’s signature Absolute Phase crossover network ensures phase matching across all drivers.

The TSB3.0’s extruded aluminum, ported, mono-frame cabinet has a curved profile with a depth of only 1.5 inches at the edge to a maximum of 2.5″ at it’s centre.  At 43” wide, it is well suited to a multitude of screen sizes and with a powder-coated steel grille, it looks stylish, while being durable.  The speaker comes with the necessary accessories for wall-mounting as well as tabletop positioning.

The Phase Technology TSB3.0 has a MSRP of $738 U.S.  Look for more details at: http://www.phasetech.com/

Audio Physic Classic 30 Loudspeakers 01

I’m no stranger to the Audio Physic brand.  From 2012, their Sitara 25 floorstanding loudspeaker has served as my primary reference speaker.  The Sitara 25 is the smallest floorstanding loudspeaker within the Audio Physic High-End Line and was my introduction to the company; an audio product manufacturer from the quaint town of Brilon, Germany.  Upon hearing the Sitara 25, I was smitten and amazed at their capabilities.  These speakers incorporate innovative engineering, high quality materials and exacting workmanship to provide a high-level of performance combined with musicality.  I recommend reading my review of the Audio Physic Sitara 25 on the CANADA HiFi website at www.canadahifi.com/audio-physic-sitara-25-loudspeakers.

Audio Physic has been honing their skills and building on their expertise for more than 25 years.  Their products have been steadily refined, while embracing the company motto, “no loss of fine detail”.  In 2013, Audio Physic introduced an all new loudspeaker line, called the Classic Line.  The Classic Line is a successor and replacement of the company’s successful Yara line.  However, the Classic Line is not simply another evolutionary step but rather, a revolutionary leap from something more traditional to progressive.  It incorporates innovative new technologies, construction methods and unconventional materials, such as glass cabinet panels and ventilated enclosures .  And, if all this wasn’t enough, with the Classic Line, Audio Physic has provided an avenue for personal expression by way of all-new aesthetic options – which includes a modernistic colour palette that should make any interior designer happy.  As well, the new Classic Line models unite clean architectural lines with svelte stature that are both functional and complementary to an urbane décor.

Within the Classic Line there are seven models, including the: Classic Compact bookshelf, Classic On-Wall, Classic Centre, Classic 10, Classic 20, Classic 30, as well as a Luna subwoofer.  With this extensive model line-up, Audio Physic positions the Classic Line to satisfy the needs of stereo purists, as well as the functional necessities of multi-channel / surround-sound applications.  All of the Classic Line models (apart from the subwoofer) utilize the same new 1.2” soft-dome tweeter, while midrange and bass requirements are met through varying combinations of a couple specialized drivers, specifically: a 5.9” midrange; 5.9” midrange/woofer; 5.9” woofer and in the case of the Classic 20 and Classic 30 loudspeakers, a 7” woofer.   This array of speaker drivers are the outcome of many years of experimentation and experience, and heavily leverage the knowledge, which Audio Physic acquired in developing their top-tier HHC drivers for High-End and Reference loudspeaker lines.

The cabinet designs, of the Classic Line, are an expression of insight and invention.  These loudspeaker cabinets are designed with narrow baffles to minimize unwanted diffraction and promote low distortion and precise imaging characteristics.  In fact, unlike any speaker I’ve come across – the Classic Line loudspeakers breathe between their cabinet walls, which eliminates the need for a more traditional bass-reflex tube port.  This radical design involves the use of an inner and outer MDF cabinet.  The inner cabinet is thicker and has narrow horizontal openings on its sides, while the outer cabinet is much thinner and sandwiches this inner cabinet.  A very narrow gap on the sides, between the inner and outer cabinets is maintained, which is open to the back.  This narrow opening permits air to be inhaled and exhaled by the loudspeaker, in a bass-reflex like fashion, without the sonic compromises that a tube port introduces – including audible additive midrange frequencies.  This multi-layer sandwich design also serves to significantly reduce the amount of undesirable sound leakage and quell cabinet vibrations.  But it doesn’t stop there.  With the optional Classic Line high gloss glass finishes, yet another layer is added to the cabinet – a third glass layer that adds even more reinforcement and anti-resonant characteristics to the enclosure.  All Classic Line loudspeaker cabinets also incorporate internal bracing and chambering to prevent undesirable internal interactions between the various drivers.

Audio Physic Classic 30 Loudspeakers Internals (Custom)

For the two largest models in the Classic Line, the Classic 20 and 30, the Audio Physic engineers developed another ingenious solution, which allows these models to maintain svelte dimensions, while raising their overall bass capabilities.  This solution is so stealthy that it could easily go unnoticed.  Let me explain.  At first glance, the Classic 20 and 30 appear to be tri-driver loudspeakers that use a midrange, tweeter and midrange/woofer combination but in actuality, this is only about half the story.  Lying hidden within the cabinet of both the 20 and 30 models is a sub-cabinet that contains either a single 7” woofer, in the case of the Classic 20, or twin 7” woofers, for the Classic 30.  This internal sub-cabinet ports out through the bottom of the cabinet enclosure via a gap between the cabinet bottom and the plinth base.  In the Classic 30, these two woofers are arranged in a push-push manner, mounted opposite one another and slightly offset, which virtually cancels the vibrations.  On the whole, the result is significantly more powerful bass reproduction with increased precision.  As this design approach brings added benefits, over side-mounted woofers, it will be interesting to see if Audio Physic actually implements this creative solution in their higher model lines, in time.

The drivers in the Classic Line loudspeakers use powerful magnets and robust motor structures.  For the midrange drivers, phase plugs are utilized, which are affixed to the magnet system to minimize compression effects and improve heat dissipation, thus, lowering distortion.  The new 1.2” soft dome tweeter is surrounded by a unique star-shaped acoustic foam panel that promotes consistent radiation characteristics.  For the speaker grills, Audio Physic has not gone with commonplace removable fabric covers but rather, includes two baffle panel options, both of which are integral to the front baffle structure.  The panels are made of MDF with one covered in acoustic fabric and the other being just painted and leaving the drivers open and exposed.  On the back-side, the Classic Line speakers (excluding the On-Wall and Luna models) feature top-quality WBT Nextgen binding posts that use conductors which noticeably reduce the negative effects of micro-vibrations.  A full set of high quality speaker spikes came with the Classic 30; however, I used the optional Audio Physic VCF II M8 vibration control feet ($220 / set of 4; see side-bar of mentioned Audio Physic Sitara 25 review) for the duration of the audition.

The Classic 30 review sample came in their standard Black Ash real-wood veneer.  It’s fit and finish was very good, though I’m sure the other available standard veneers, Cherry or Walnut, would make a greater statement.  As mentioned, the Classic Line is also available in premium High Gloss glass finishes that include white and black; however, an array of other High Gloss Special glass finishes are also available, at additional cost.  Some colours are listed on the Audio Physic website but Reinhard of Goerner Communications, the North American distributor, informed me that twenty-five RAL colours are currently available, with custom requests also being entertained.  Reinhard reminded that “…all Audio Physic speakers are made to order in matched pairs, each built by one skilled craftsman/woman – there’s no assembly line at Audio Physic.”  Talk about attention to fine detail!

The Classic 30 has dimensions of 41.5” high x 6.7” wide x 16.1” deep and weighs in at a considerable 59 lbs.  Recommended amplifier power is 25 to 180 watts.  Nominal impendance is 4 Ohms, with a sensitivity of 89 dB and a quoted frequency range of 31 Hz to 30,000 Hz.

For the duration of this review I used my Squeezebox Touch to play music files from my MS-Vista PC connected via Ethernet.  Other sources used were my Rega Apollo CDP and Goldring GR1.5 turntable with an Elektra cartridge.  Pre-amplification duties were performed by a Simaudio Neo 350P (review upcoming) with an integrated 24-bit/192 kHz DAC and phonostage.  I also leveraged my long-term reference Bryston 4B-SST2 amplifier, as well as, a complete Nordost Heimdall 2 cable loom (review upcoming).  My current full-range reference loudspeaker, the quadral Aurum Montan VIII ($7,800) provided some comparative insight.

Since the Classic 30 has a notable 31 Hz rated bass extension, I was very curious to see how it would do with some bass weighted tracks.  Listening to the title track on Sade’s “Soldier of Love” album – the opening wind and distant thunder was convincing and foreboding, building my anticipation.  The sole trumpet playing in the near distance had a hauntingly realistic tone.  The track contains some inherent tight and heavy drum and bass rhythms which the Classic 30 was able to orchestrate with commendable weight.  The overall sound was detailed, deliberate and full.  There was a touch of extra stoutness to the bass, in and around 50 Hz I’d guess but the level of articulation was appreciable, leaving me without any complaint.   Extension was also remarkable, especially given their apparent size but I remembered that the speakers are actually anchored with twin internal woofers and substantially deep enclosures – leave it to clever engineering and design to provide such surprises.  I moved to the next track – Morning Bird, which opens with string instruments and slow playing piano notes.  The soft details and textures of the strings combined with the woody tones of the instrument bodies, captured my attention.  Then there was the haunting glow of the piano keys, accompanied by the easily identifiable sound of the internal hammers on the wires, well preserved and enthralling.  As beautiful as all this was to hear, it took a backseat to the silky exquisiteness of Sade’s voice, as presented by the Classic 30 on this track.  Not so much “it” but “she” sounded textured and expressive – truly personified in the presentation.  There was no denying that the Classic 30 had a liquid and revealing midrange – a standout in its performance.  The track moved on and the heavy drum beats sounded both full and deep, while remaining controlled, which was complementary to Sade’s vocals.  As the piano played on, the Classic 30 proved adept at portraying the lower registers of the piano.  These speakers were capable of providing detail and precision, while balancing that with a welcome dose of natural warmth, giving the reproduction sincerity.  In comparison, my quadral Aurum Montan VIII loudspeakers provided a more visceral take on these tracks.  The Montan was perceivably quicker with transient uptakes and seemed to draw out details from the mix, making them more apparent.  There was also a greater perception of air with the Montan versus the Classic 30.  Bass was delivered with greater dynamic punch, evenness, extension and control, with less girth than the Classic 30.  That said, I found that the Classic 30 was able to provide me with a greater illusion of reality.  Sade’s voice, with the Montan VIII, had sharper focus, sounding raspier, while the Classic 30 begot Sade in a more mellifluous and embodied manner.  I found the Classic 30 was most capable at integrating details and balancing them with musical beauty; conceding only (perhaps graciously forgiving) when it came to ultimate transparency.  It was as though the Classic 30 was resistant to generating what might constitute as high frequency detritus – a welcome quality in many circumstances.  In contrast, the Montan, seemed to focus on drawing out and exposing everything contained in the recording, even when that was at the expense of the illusory experience.

I went to one of my favourite albums next, “Chris Botti – In Boston”, a live performance.  The opening track is magnificent on the album – the classic tune Ave Maria.  The claps and shouts of the audience that introduced the song were enveloping.  As the trumpet began to play, I was swallowed by its lovely warm brassy tone and its palpable presence.  The string instruments in play had a natural ease with their detail expounded in an effortless fashion.  This soundstage, of generous size had an air of warmth within it.  Textures and definition were present, though not up-front, but rather woven into the tapestry of the whole, lending to the sense of “being there”.  I moved to the song Cinema Pardiso, played by Yo-Yo Ma with Chris Botti.  Here the piano notes came across with a graceful splendor, avoiding any glare or glassiness.  The cello began to play, its sonorous quality unadulterated, with completeness in tonal colour.  The interchange between the instruments as they played was easy to follow, demonstrating separation and timing.  On the low bass notes from the orchestra, the Classic 30 was quite capable of producing substantial fullness and depth, which added to the emotion of this composition.  In this recording, Chris Botti’s trumpet changes its tone between the first entrance and the subsequent return, just after Yo-Yo Ma’s intermediate cello phrasing.  The Classic 30 easily revealed this change in trumpet tone, disclosing Chris’ use of a trumpet mute in his second play.  The added metallic shrillness and brilliance with the mute in place was clear and distinct yet never harsh – an indication of the high quality of the Classic 30’s dome tweeter.

Of Monsters and Men is an indie folk-pop/rock band from Iceland, whose album “My Head Is An Album” has some addictive tunes.  I listened to the track King And Lionheart a number of times while evaluating the Classic 30.  This tune opens with a lone guitar strum off to the right and moderately deep, situating itself just behind the speakers in my room (note that I sat the Classic 30 about 3ft from the front wall and just over 2ft from the side walls of my 13’ x 19’ studio).  The Classic 30 localized the guitar and rendered it in a very believable way.  The guitar was perceivably in my room and I was given a sense of its size and position.  The voices of the two main vocalists were differentiated in space and possessed a natural quality – a humanness that held my attention.  Bass and drum beats remained tight with a good measure of heft.  I found that some of the hyped up air and effects that I’m accustomed to hearing were somewhat quelled by the Classic 30 but with this came an added sense of ease.  I would take this to be the result of a smoothness in the tweeter combined with a well-integrated high-frequency response and the utter eschewal of any leading edge emphasis on notes.

I have truly appreciated my time with the Audio Physic Classic 30.  Like the Sitara 25 that served as my reference, the Classic 30 is an amazing speaker in its own right.  If I had to compare the Classic 30 with the Sitara 25, I’d say that the Classic 30 is a little less revealing and transparent, making them a little more forgiving.  In terms of bass weight and extension, the Classic 30 is definitely the more masterful of the two.  I’d strongly recommend giving both a close listen before making a final decision between the two.  The Classic 30 is not a ruthlessly transparent kind of animal; it produces detail in droves, just not in a hyped manner but rather, well integrated within the overall tapestry of the music.  There is an absolute beauty in the natural way it serves up the midrange frequencies with a finessed treble.  In all it does, the Classic 30 brings a general sense of ease – a true gentleman crooner.  The Audio Physic Classic 30 is not just “classic”…it’s a “Class Act”!

Audio Physic
www.audiophysic.de

Distributed in Canada by
Goerner Communication
www.goernercommunication.com
514-833-1977

Audio Physic Classic 30 Loudspeaker Prices:
$6,990 CAD (Cherry, Walnut, Black Ash veneer);
$7,750 CAD (High Gloss Glass black or white);
$8,250 CAD (High Gloss Glass Special custom colours)
$220 / set of 4 (optional accessory – VCF II M8 vibration control feet)

 Cambridge Audio G2

Cambridge Audio has just announced their G2; an urban styled, portable Bluetooth speaker that provides extended operation with its long-life battery.  The G2 joins Cambridge Audio’s Bluetooth range of products and has been designed to provide sound and scale that is siginificantly beyond its compact size (189mm (W) x 67 mm (H) x 55mm (D)).  The G2 sports a solid aluminium body and has backlit soft-touch controls.  It also comes in a two finishes - champagne or black.

Utlizing an impressive four driver array the G2 is set to provide stereo sound but can also be paired with an additional G2 to provide an even larger stereo image and/or fill a larger space with sound.  The battery has an amazing 10 hour life and there is integrated hands-free speaker phone capbability.  

CONNECT AND PLAY

The G2 will connect to almost any Bluetooth device and also supports NFC technology for one-touch Bluetooth pairing.  It can remember up to 8 different devices for similicity of re-connection.  

BATTERY LIFE WITH MAXIMUM ENDURANCE

Utlizing a high capacity lithium-ion battery, the G2 can provide up to 10 hours play on a single charge. And, with intelligent battery management software – bettery life and charging time are optimised.

A convenient USB socket is provided to charge connected mobile devices – the perfect charging back-up.  

G2 X TWO

Pairing of two G2 speakers is possible for twice the sound  and better stereo imaging.  The G2 accomodates BBC iPlayer, Spotify or Google Play Music for wireless music play.  

The G2 portable Bluetooth speaker will be availabe in October at the following prices: £99.95 / €149.99 / $159.99 U.S. / speaker.  If you’re interested in more details: http://www.cambridgeaudio.com

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