Our New Website - Premiering Soon. Presently we are hard at work redesigning our website which first went live at the beginning of 1998. (That was less than half a year after Google went online—so we were online relatively early!) It is hard to believe that our website is well over a decade old already―certainly it is time for revamp! Over the past few months we've been working on updating and expanding the content on our current website. Expect to see our revised site with a fresh new look and even more expanded content go live in late 2015!
Tip: In the meantime our present website (which you're now on) is best viewed at a screen/window width of about 1200 pixels. If your screen resolution is wider you could simply reduce the width of your browser window in which you view our present site—and that way the pages will format better. The reason for this is that because our site was designed long ago before widescreen monitors were available. Rest assured that our new site will format the pages better in the various modern browsers and screen resolutions that are in use today!
Tip #2: If you would like to change the size of the text and graphics on our site, and you are using Windows and FireFox 3.5 (or later) or Internet Explorer 8 (or later), just hold down the Control key and rotate the scroll wheel on your mouse to change the size. (This may well work on other browsers and versions also—and it will work not just on our website but on other sites too.) If you are using a Mac, hold the key and press the "+" key. For info on other browsers and versions click here.
Magico Q7 MkII. We now have a pair of the new Magico Q7 MkII speakers here on demo! You will have to hear them to believe them!
Spectral DMC-30SV line preamplifier.
We now have the DMC-30SV on display for your listening pleasure. Having listened to it extensively, we can say with great assurance that this is an amazingly good sounding preamp! Clearly Spectral has outdone themselves. Once you hear it for yourself you will understand why we are so impressed!
Baetis Reference Music Server. We now have the updated version of this which is even better sounding than the original—as the AES-EBU, SPDIF, USB outputs have all been sonically improved! Of all the music servers that we have auditioned, this is the best sounding music server that we have yet heard. And we now have this music server on demonstration in each of our high end audio soundrooms. For more info see here.
Alternatively if your DAC does not have an AES-EBU digital XLR input then you can go with the less expensive Baetis XR3 which provides SPDIF, USB, and HDMI digital outputs.
Kaleidescape Alto movie server.
We have just received the new Kaleidescape Alto! Priced at $2495, it is a Blu-ray/DVD player combined with a movie server. What is cool is that whether you are playing a disc or a download, the amazing hand-curated for each title interface allows for instant movie watching. No longer do you have to sit through 10 minutes or more of previews, warnings, or repetitive ads for Blu-ray technology!
Movie Server content is downloadable from the Kaleidescape Store which features bit-for-bit Blu-ray and DVD quality downloads for Kaleidescape Movie Servers. Bit-for-bit means that there has been no further lossy compression and that the picture and sound quality are identical to the discs themselves. As of May 2015 most of the major studios have content on the Kaleidescape Store including: Disney, Warner, Sony, NBCUniversal, Lionsgate, Pixar, and Marvel. We expect the remaining studios, both major and minor, to show up soon!
Also if you ever want more storage you can quadruple the storage in 2 different ways: Network up to 4 Altos to each other which is nice if you have multiple TV's in your home. Or use external Kaleidescape storage which is expected to be available in the first half of 2015. More info here.
MIT Articluation Consoles. We just received these newly released ultra-high end speaker cables and are currently in the process of breaking them in. Already they have proven to be an extraordinary listening experience!
Baetis Revolution III music server. We now have the new Revolution III music server on demonstration. This is the least expensive music server that we have heard which offers a high level of sound quality! Click for info.
Alternatively if you wish to go a step beyond in terms of sound quality then we can recommend the Baetis XR3 as it offers an even more refined and quieter SP-DIF digital output due in part to the sophisticated internal shielding utilized.
PSB Imagine T-3. We now have the PSB Imagine T-3 speaker here for you to audition. Clearly a great value in speakers! Click for info.
Devialet. We now have the Devialet line on display including the 120, 200, 400, and 800! Info.
Baetis Reference Music Server. This is the best sounding music server that we have heard to date. And we now have this music server on demonstration in each of our high end audio soundrooms. For info see here.
Berkeley Alpha DAC Reference. We now have our demo unit and have been playing it with all types of music. In short Berkeley has another winner here! Info here.
Spectral DMA-300 RS stereo power amp. After a long wait this stunningly good power amp is finally here! Along with the DMA-400 RS mono amp, this is now the other Reference Standard amplifier in Spectral's range of componentry. In our listening the DMA-300 RS has proven to be a very special power amplifier indeed—and in the context of a properly configured Spectral system will take you closer to a recorded musical event than you might imagine is even possible!
Audeze Planar Magnetic Headphones. These headphones have really started to catch on! Stop in and hear why for yourself! More info here.
Chord Hugo Mobile DAC/Headphone Amp. We have had this for a little while and already it has started to really catch on. This offers quite a bit of capability at a very reasonable price for what you get which is precisely why it has become so popular! More info here.
Spectral DMA-260 Series 2 power amplifier. We have just received the Spectral DMA-260 Series 2 stereo power amp for demo. See this white paper for info. Stay tuned for details...
Magico S3! This is a new model from Magico—and we recently received our pair of demos. What can we say, but that this is another great speaker from Magico—and you're welcome to come in and hear them for yourself! For more info click here.
More New Arrivals. Lots of exciting things are happening in the store this Fall! New arrivals include: Chord Chordette DAC; Simaudio Neo digital sources, integrated amps, preamps, and power amps; DeVore Orangutan 0/96 loudspeakers; Hegel P20 preamplifier; Hegel H300 integrated amplifier. A nice mix of some more affordable high end audio components now here for your auditioning pleasure! In addition we have some new StyleLine as well as some SL-Matrix cables in from MIT to audition.
We now have the new BlueSound wireless music system here in the store for demo. It is similar in concept to the Sonos system which we have been installing for a few years now. Though one significant advantage of the BlueSound is that it will play high resolution files which are now readily available! With it you can have it in one room or many. And of course you are welcome to come in to see and hear it for yourself!
JL Audio E-Sub.
Rockport Atria loudspeaker.
After hearing them at the 2013 CES we were definitely looking forward to hearing them in the store. Now that they are here we can report that they are wonderful sounding speakers!
The Atria is designed much along the same lines as it's bigger brother the Avior. They have all of the latest technological thinking from Rockport including: carbon-fiber-sandwich midrange and woofer, beryllium tweeter, and constrained-layer-damped enclosure. The main difference between this speaker and the Avior is that the Atria uses a single 9” woofer per cabinet, whereas the Avior utilizes twin woofers which allows the Atria's cabinet volume to be about half that of the Avior's.
Magico S1. The S1 speakers are here and now that we've heard them in our soundrooms we are quite impressed. It is one thing to make a great sounding expensive speaker—but it is even harder to bring really top notch sound down to a much lower price range than Magico has ever done before. So we say kudos to Magico—the S1's are really great sounding! For more info see the Press Release plus here is a photo of them in a different color.
Spectral DMA-400 Reference Standard mono amplifiers. We now have a pair of the Spectral DMA-400 RS amplifiers here in the store for demo. After spending the requisite time needed in order to do a thorough listening evaluation we can definitely say that these are rather amazing to say the least! In fact we could so far as to say that these are a true breakthrough in amplifier design. From our factory training on Spectral system set-up, we have found that once the system is optimized that the results are incredibly real and natural sounding! This is the first really new power amplifier design from Spectral in 20 years—and now that we've experienced the results for ourselves we can say that it was worth the wait! Here is a photo of the rear panel for your further edification.
dCS Vivaldi. dCS was kind enough to bring us the full Vivaldi stack right after the January 2013 CES. After spending some time evaluating it here in the store we can now report that this is by far the best sounding digital componentry ever from dCS.
The new top-of-the-line digital Vivaldi stack from dCS consists of four component chassis:
They can be used either singly or in conjunction with some or all of the total component stack. In addition, like other dCS DAC's, you can use a transport as a source and/or a music server.
Rockport Avior speakers. We were at the Rockport factory in December 2011 and heard these new speakers and at the time they sounded quite impressive. Then again in January 2012 we heard them at the CES show and they were one of the standouts at that show. We finally have them here in the store and we can tell you that they have lived up to their promise! Bring in your favorite music and experience them for yourself!
Oppo Blu-Ray players. The new Oppo BDP-103 and the BDP-105 Blu-ray players have been released and we have already started delivering both models to some of our clients. These are multifunctional disc players that will play DVD, SACD, DVD-Audio, and CD. Plus they will decode HDCD-encoded CD's. These new models are very similar to the prior BDP-93 and BDP-95, but they both add 4K upscaling, supporting an Ultra HD 2160p image. The upscale BDP-105 will also feature a built-in headphone amp, better power supply, and two HDMI outputs. For some home theater system designs it can be nice to have one HDMI output be devoted to video and the other for audio.
Constellation Audio. We now have the Constellation Audio Virgo II preamp and the Centaur stereo power on display for your listening pleasure. For product info here is a link. See more cool Constellation photos here and here!
Dynaudio Xeo 3 & Xeo 5 wireless powered speakers. The Xeo 3 (shown below) and Xeo 5 are shipping—and we now have a pair of the Dynaudio Xeo 3 here in the store if you are curious to see what a good wireless audiophile grade speaker sounds like! At this point we have also installed several pairs of both models in customer's homes and they have performed well in the field too.
Silent Computer Music Server.
We have revamped the way that we suggest configuring a computer to act as a "silent" music server. For more information click here.
Hegel. We have just got in some Hegel electronics including DAC's, integrated amps, preamps and amps. Shown here is the H20.
Spectral SDR-4000SL. We finally have this new CD player in from Spectral. And our listening has proven that it was worth the wait! You are welcome to bring in a few of your favorite CD's and listen for yourself. We think that you'll be as impressed as we are—and we are very impressed! For some photos click here and for a technical overview click here.
The SuperUniti is an integrated wireless UPnP™ network stream
player, USB audio player, iPod and iPhone dock, internet radio,
DAB radio, FM radio, ten input digital and analogue
preamplifier, digital to analogue converter, and stereo 80 Watt
power amplifier which offers a surprisingly high level of
performance. You're welcome to come in and experience all that
it has to offer for yourself!
Magico Q1. We were suitably impressed when we heard this new speaker at the May 2011 Munich High End show where it was first introduced. Now that we have them here on demo we can tell you that these are amazingly good speakers! We have no doubt that you would love them as much as we do! More info here.
Berkeley Alpha DAC Series 2. We now have the new Alpha DAC Series 2 here for your listening pleasure. The Series 2 incorporates some new design aspects that were learned during the design of the Alpha USB.
Driven by either a music server and/or a CD drive, this D-A converter automatically switches between the various PCM sampling rates—thus making it very easy to switch between CD (Red Book) and high resolution files such at sampling rates such as 192/24 or 176.4/24. For more detailed information on the Alpha DAC Series 2 click here. For info on choosing a Music Server or configuring a computer to use as a music server, here is a link.
Berkeley Alpha USB. We now have the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB here! This is their new outboard audiophile quality USB to AES-EBU converter/reclocker. It has been designed so that you can use your laptop or desktop computer as a music server while still keeping the jitter (digital timing errors) extremely low—as well as isolating your outboard DAC from computer-generated electrical noise. It will output a digital signal via either AES-EBU (digital XLR) or SP-DIF which will then go into your external DAC (digital-to-analog converter). You can use any brand of DAC—including of course the Berkeley Alpha DAC Series 2 if you so choose. For more info along with a link to photos of the front and back panels on the Alpha USB click here.
MIT Oracle MA-X Digital Proline cable. We now have this AES-EBU digital XLR-XLR cable here for your listening pleasure!
WyWires LITESPD Digital USB cable. Now on demo!
dCS Puccini CD/SACD player, Puccini U-clock, & Debussy DAC.
We now have the Puccini, Puccini U-clock, and Debussy on demo. For more info click here.
We have received the first pair of Magico Q3 off the production line. When you actually see them in person you can immediately sense that they are beautifully designed and built. They just exude quality and elegance—and the finish on them has a certain visual softness that is very appealing.
Magico states that "with completely redesigned in-house 7” woofers, the Q3 is able to achieve a sensitivity rating of 90dB, making it compatible with high quality amplifiers of modest power." Press Release & Photo Link.
We have listened extensively to the Q3—and our considered opinion is that we think that you will be highly impressed with this new generation Magico speaker. You are of course welcome to come by in order to see and hear them for yourself! For more info click here.
Verity Amadis. This is the newest member of the Verity family of speakers. The Verity line of speakers has always been popular because they combine wonderful sound with relatively compact size and have a beautiful array of finishes—including some options of exotic hand-matched wood veneers. The Amadis continues this tradition, as it is especially compact considering its capabilities which makes it the obvious first choice for rooms where other fine speakers simply won't fit in. As always with any speaker, you really should audition this for yourself!
Magico Q5. The audio world awaited a Magico speaker positioned between the V3 and the M5. In January 2010 the new Q5 was introduced and filled that void. Only 47” H x 21” D x 11.75” W, this new speaker is a bit larger than the V3, but at just over 400 lbs it is dramatically heavier. For more technical info, here is the text of the pre-release announcement. We now have a fully broken in, production version of the Q5 on display. Fresh out of the crate it sounded amazing and it has only improved with time! You're welcome to bring in your favorite recordings and give them a listen. Please come hear for yourself what all the excitement is about!
The MartinLogan CLX is here and if you've never heard a 2-way full range electrostatic speaker here is your opportunity! Not only are they very transparent they are visually stunning as well. Available in a variety of finishes to complement any decor, we think you'll be as impressed with the design as you are with the sound. For more information here is a link.
NAD M2. The M2 has arrived and we have started to audition it. Not only is the M2 very interesting on paper in terms of its approach, but it is also aiming to be a high value product as it is a D-A, preamp, and power amp all-in-one. It will play all sampling rates including High Resolution files up to 192kHz / 24 bit.
A lot of interest has been generated because of the reviews that have recently come out—and we now have the M2 on demo. If you are interested in hearing it for yourself please give us a call. In the meantime here is a white paper so you can learn more—or see the December 2009 Absolute Sound article.
Wisdom Sage speakers. The new Wisdom Sage speakers are now setup and have been broken in. These are designed to be high performance in-wall or on-wall speakers and have a lot of adjustability so they can be tuned to different room environments. We have 3 different models on display in one of our home theaters so you can both see and hear them for yourself!
Nagra BPS Phono Preamp..This little phono preamp has immediately become very popular because it is so good sounding, and especially so considering how reasonably priced it is. Remove the lid and you see bipolar transistors driven by battery power, allowing complete separation of your highly sensitive phono preamplification from the dirty power grid. The result is nice, black silences between well-defined notes. And of course you have a choice between the new BPS and the VPS—which is their high end vacuum tube unit. You can see the inside of the VPS here. Stop by and you can see and hear them both for yourself!
Wolf Cinema DCX-500i. After a tremendous amount of research wherein we looked in-depth at all of the contenders, we have selected this as our reference video projector for our top high end home theater showroom. The picture quality from the best Blu-ray discs with this projector and our reference Stewart screen is really quite incredible. Seeing is believing, and you're invited to see for yourself! Here is some more info.
Spectral DMC-15SS. This new preamp is now here and it has got to be the best value in high end audio preamps today. Wonderful sound at a relative bargain price-wise! If you value pure performance over features such as remote control then this is the preamp for you. Alternatively if you need remote control Spectral has their DMC-30SS Series 2 reference preamp—it is always nice to have such great choices to choose between! For more info here is a link.
Silent Music Servers. If you would like to be able to play the new high resolution files that everyone is so excited about, exemplified by the stunning HRx files from Reference Recordings, you need a music server that is properly designed in order to do so. You can now get a computer-based completely silent music server just like the one that we are using here for demo. These computers are unlike anything you have ever seen, or in this case, heard. That is because they are built utilizing a special heatpipe-equipped chassis and use Solid State Drives which make them completely silent. No fan noise and no hard-drive spinning or clicking—no moving parts at all. That way they don't have to be hidden away in a separate room but can be right next to your D-A converter. Along with your collection of High Resolution files, your entire CD library can be ported as well so all of your digital music can be played from this server. Click HERE for more details.
Basis Inspiration. The new Basis Inspiration turntable has been introduced—and at 100 lbs it is certainly no lightweight! It comes as a complete package and includes the Vector 4 tonearm with VTA Micrometer, Synchro-Wave Power Supply, Cable Isolation System, Vacuum record hold-down system, and Microthin belt. Here is a link.
Performance Acoustics Labs. Modular Acoustic Room Treatment for the discerning music or home theater lover.
Your room can sound great and look beautiful too!
With a nice selection of attractive acoustic room treatment modules in different finishes available, a PAL room can be tailored to both your acoustic and aesthetic sensibilities. One of the outstanding benefits of this approach is the ability to fine tune the bass characteristics of the room acoustically in situ.
Naim Nait 5i-2. Introducing the Naim Series 5 components — including the acclaimed Nait 5i-2 which was recently honored in TAS. Robert Harley states, “What makes the 5i-2 so special is the amplifier’s ability to engage the listener musically.” We wholeheartedly agree with this quote as well as, “If there is a better value in high end audio than the Naim Nait 5i-2, I have yet to discover it”. What more can you ask for!
Basis Debut Diamond Signature Vacuum.
This is the latest incarnation of this wonderful turntable. Available either in clear or in black, it is beautiful to see, touch, and hear. We have this on display with the new Vector 4 tonearm. Definitely a must hear for the vinyl lover!
EAR. We now have some EAR tube components on display. If you've always wanted to hear some modern yet classic tube sound here it is!
Harmonic Resolution Systems. Both their MXR and their SXR equipment racks with their requisite shelves now grace our reference room. The folks at HRS have brought their wealth of knowledge gathered throughout years of work in the commercial and government aerospace industries. They offer products ranging from damping plates to isolation shelves and full racks. Out of all the ones that we have seen or tested over the past 30+ years, these are now our favorites.
Linn Sondek LP12 SE Transcription Turntable. Since the 1973 introduction of the original Sondek LP12, Linn’s goal has been to deliver us from the evils of bad sound. With a triumvirate of just-released upgrades, a new level of performance obliterates former perceived limitations of this decades old design. The new Trampolin base, the Keel subchassis/armboard and the Ekos SE tonearm seem to be the exact upgrades this ‘table wanted.
Crestron TPS-6X touchscreen is the latest from Crestron and they definitely have a winner here! Whether you wish to control a home theater or a whole house system, it can handle it all.
DeVore Fidelity has been quietly developing some very musical loudspeakers, culminating in the well-received Silverback Reference.
We now have a total of four models from them available for demo. Please come by for a listen and see why so many are acclaiming them as being such good values in the vast sea of speakerdom. After you hear them for yourself we think you will understand why!
From time to time components for evaluation arrive from manufacturers that are of possible interest. After we have spent some time with them then we will know if they are right for our store or not. What follows are of some of the components that we have gotten in for evaluation:
VAC. We are just starting our listening evaluation of the VAC Sigma 160iSE integrated amp, the Phi 200 power amp, and the Signature MkIIa preamp. Stay tuned...
Datasat RS20i surround sound processor. We recently received this surround sound processor for evaluation. For info see here. Stay tuned...
Jadis DA-88s integrated amp. We recently received this integrated amp for evaluation. For info see here. Stay tuned...
Aria Music Server. We have just received the this new music server for evaluation and will be carefully listening to it in terms of sound quality. In addition we will looking into the user interface, etc. Info here.
ReQuest Audio of Switzerland - The Beast. We just received this new high end music server for evaluation. From both a hardware and a software viewpoint The Beast is clearly a very sophisticated component. More info coming soon...
Aurender W20 Music Server.
We have just received the new Aurender W20 and will be doing some listening evaluations to it to see if it indeed lives up to our admittedly high expectations. While the DSD file playing capability has not been officially released yet, we have that in beta form to evaluate too. The W20 includes a high quality USB output as well as incorporates some other upgrades and changes from the previous Aurender models. Specifically of interest to some DAC owners, (such as certain dCS models including the new Vivaldi—as well as both the Pacific Microsonics Model One & Model Two), the W20 will also include dual-wire AES-EBU output. Hopefully this is the music server that we have been searching and waiting years for! Info here. Stay tuned...
Penaudio Cenya speaker. We now have a pair of these mini-monitors here for evaluation.
SOtM Music Server.
The new SOtM sMS-1000 Music Server has just arrived.
Aurender S10 Music Server.
Olive 04HD & 06HD Music Servers..
We have the 04HD and the 06HD Olive music servers here in the store. For more info here is a link.
MSB has arrived! We have their latest digital stack consisting of the Universal Media Transport, the Signature Platinum DAC IV, and the Diamond Power Base. As well as the M-202 Mono Block Class A power amps here in the store for you to audition. Info.
Zesto Andros PS-1 phono stage. We just received this new phono stage!
Sony SS-AR1 is here for your listening pleasure. With such a beautiful wood cabinet this would look wonderful in a variety of domestic environments.
We were asked by Sony to be the site for the US premiere of this speaker in August—and everyone was very pleasantly surprised at how good it sounded! The presenters included Yuki Sugiura and Gus Skinas which highlighted, respectively, the SS-AR1's development and the stories behind a number of outstanding music recordings. As Sony Music has a huge roster of major artists, this was definitely a real treat! Also in attendance were Marc Finer as well as John Atkinson, the esteemed editor of Stereophile. For more info please click here.
The 7T is here and we are starting to break them in and give them a listen. At 89db efficiency we have found them quite easy to drive. Available both in wood finishes as well as a gloss black, this floorstander will look nice in a variety of rooms.
Of course as with any speaker, we urge you to listen for yourself! And to that end you are invited to bring in your favorite music and audition them. Ultimately of course the choice of speakers are up to your personal preference! Info & Large Photo
Over the next year or two look for some new advanced music servers which can be linked to vast storage capacity for huge libraries of music coupled with outboard D-A converters that can play everything in your music collection including high resolution audio files!
More specific product announcements follow below:
Rockport Cygnus. We were recently up at the Rockport factory and heard the brand new Cygnus. We were quite impressed and think you will be too!
What follows is the press release from Rockport:
The main cabinet construction is similar to the Avior in that it
uses multiple layer, constrained-mode damped MDF panel
construction with comprehensive internal bracing to both stiffen
the enclosure and break up structure-born and acoustic resonant
modes. The Cygnus also
features our new Aluminum/MDF hybrid construction, whose baffle
is machined from two 3/4" thick, aircraft grade aluminum plates
that sandwich a viscoelastic polymer, forming a 1 1/2" thick,
constrained-mode damped composite sub-baffle. This aluminum
sub-baffle assembly is in turn bolted and bonded onto the
enclosure's 3 inch thick MDF inner baffle. All of the drive
units are mounted to the aluminum sub-baffle assembly, which
results in a lower noise floor, as well as greater dynamic
expression and resolution from the drive units themselves.
Berkeley Audio Design - Alpha DAC Reference. We received our new Alpha DAC Reference in late August 2014! The press release follows:
Berkeley Audio Design is extremely
pleased to announce the availability of the new Alpha DAC
Linn Majik DSM.
The Majik DSM is an all-in-one component comprising a music file streamer, DAC & stereo integrated amp with a 90 watt per channel Chakra amp section. In addition it contains a phono input. While the phono input comes stock as a moving magnet, there is a moving coil option available. This is a very flexible piece what with 15 inputs including 4 HDMI. Though please note that for the HDMI inputs, as there is no on-board decoding of Dolby Digital or DTS soundtracks, the output of the video source will need to be set to LPCM. Very shortly we will have this on demo so you can see and hear it for yourself. Product Info & Technical info
The Linn Kinsky is the app that controls the Linn digital streaming components. You can find info here. A screenshot of the interface is shown below:
Theta Casablanca V.
The Casablanca V surround sound processor is scheduled to be released in Summer 2015!
Aurender W20 Music Server.
We just received this—for more see above at the top of this page! Also check out the specs below:
Magico Ultimate 3 speaker system. As of October 2013 we expect that the first production run of the new Ultimate 3 will be completed by the end of this year. This is supposed to be a substantial update from the original Ultimate and we simply can't wait to hear it!
This is a massive speaker standing almost 8' tall. And as you can see its sculptural effect alone is simply stunning! Will it someday be on display at the Museum of Modern Art? Indeed it certainly deserves to be! For more info click here.
Spectral DMA-200S Series 2 Stereo Power amp. The DMA-200S Series 2 has been released! This is an updated version of Spectral's previous DMA-200S. Of course any product that has the Spectral name on it is a superior sounding audio component! Reasonably compact but surprising powerful, this amp is the least expensive amplifier in the Spectral range. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised when you hear how good it is!
Spectral Reference Standard Phono Preamp. About 5 years ago we had a brief look at an early R&D prototype of a Spectral phono section. (When we saw it, it was in the trunk of Keith Johnson's car, so obviously we didn't hear it at that time! In case you don't know, Keith is the lead designer at Spectral.) More recently we visited the Spectral factory in May 2012 and we can report that they are still in R&D mode—and that they have made some real progress as they are now listening to a prototype. We hope to see a new product released based upon all of this extensive R&D sometime in 2015—and hopefully it will be officially announced at the January CES Show.
Of course there is no definite timetable for the release of a particular product from Spectral as we've learned from our three decades-long experience of working with them. They keep working on products in R&D until they are satisfied that they've done as well as they can. And that can mean many iterations of design at the R&D stage—which can take any number of years!
NOTE: This would be an outboard phono section in a separate chassis which would, in terms of hook-up, be between the output of a turntable and the input of a preamp line section (like the Spectral DMC-30SV). For those that are curious about how big it was, the prototype that we saw was in a chassis that was similar in size to the DMC-30SV. Stay tuned for details.
Spectral SDR-5000 D-A converter. At the January 2009 CES show Spectral showed a prototype of their forthcoming SDR-5000 D-A converter. We expect that it will do all of the following sampling rates: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, & 192kHz at bit rates from 16 to 24. Although no shipping date has been announced, we're hoping to see it in production sooner rather than later—and at this point our best guess (and this is only a guess!) is that the earliest that we could see it would be sometime in 2016. Hopefully it will be announced at the 2016 or 2017 CES, but we will see if that actually transpires or not! All we really know though is that Spectral is still working on the design—plus they are waiting for some highly specialized custom parts to be made which have very long lead times. However no matter how long it takes, it promises to be worth waiting for! Check this space for more details as they are announced.
Whether you're listening to music or enjoying a movie at home, many people would say that the room itself is as important as the system if you wish to achieve the best possible results. That is why one of our absolute all-time favorites is a well-designed, wonderful sounding room. So if you already have a great system, and some day you have the opportunity to build or redo an existing room, you are welcome to call us to discuss your project. After you live with a really great room that is well-tailored to go with and do your system full justice you will understand how incredible it can be!
Tip: The ideal is to call us before you have the architect draw any plans. That way there will be the fewest possible constraints and compromises necessary with respect to your room design.
Goodwin's High End Custom Acoustic Room System
For the past decade we have been offering custom-built acoustic room treatment systems based upon sophisticated wood panel arrays and fabric-covered bass traps. We have implemented several different designs, each one unique according to the individual owner's requirements and predilections. Here is a Photo of one of the rooms that we designed and installed in San Francisco. Obviously because these are custom designs there is a vast array of possible design choices, so you and your architect can have a look that integrates well into the overall design of your home. Our Audio #3 room is fully treated in this way and you are welcome to come and experience it firsthand! In addition our Audio 2 room features this system on the front wall in a spectacular English Sycamore figured veneer, with handsome color-coordinated panels and tube traps from ASC. (see photo above right)
As a more affordable alternative to going the total custom route, we can do a PAL (Performance Acoustics Labs) modular acoustic room treatment for you. One aspect that is particularly appealing about this acoustic system is that the bass response of the room can be really fine-tuned acoustically (which is the only proper way to do it!) to that specific room in situ as the installation is being done. Many rooms make the music sound muddy because of the overwhelming presence of deleterious room bass modes. But this approach can really clean that problem up and the difference is not subtle. When you hear a room before and after it is treated it really is like night and day! In addition there are many colors and finishes available to complement any decor. Click on the link for more PAL information.
ARS stretched fabric acoustical wall treatments
This acoustic treatment system is completely stealth, because when you're in the room you don't see any of the acoustic treatment. The reason is that the acoustic treatment is hidden behind special cloth panels that are custom stretched on-site. And unlike other acoustic treatments which are deeper, this system is only 1.25" thick. More.
RPG Room Treatment
RPG was founded in 1983 by Peter D'Antonio. And shortly thereafter, around 1985 or so, we started working with Peter using his diffusers to treat rooms. RPG now has an extensive catalog of acoustic modules which you can see here. If you have a room project please call for details. The difference between a treated room and an untreated room is like night and day!
ASC Room Treatment
Back around 1985 we started working with Art Noxon and his then new company ASC using their Tube Traps. Since then the offerings from ASC have increased in number so that now there is a much larger palette of modular treatment from which to choose. Depending upon the size of your room and your budget, a treatment plan can vary from basic to pretty elaborate. Obviously for any given room there are a variety of ways to construct the walls, floors, and ceiling—as well a variety of ways to treat a room once it is built. Of course most of the rooms that we treat are existing rooms—so there is definitely an advantage in having a larger variety of sizes, shapes, and colors to choose from. You can see the variety of modules from ASC here. If you have a room project please call for details. There is no substitute for a great sounding room!
Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Series 2
Berkeley Audio Design manufactures the acclaimed Alpha DAC Series 2. Many people feel that this is the best value in high end D-A converters available today. It can also drive a power amp directly as it features remote control volume. It comes standard with a silver faceplate. Optionally a black faceplate is also available.
Berkeley was one of the early supporters of high resolution files, so of course this advanced digital-to-analog converter autosenses and plays all standard PCM formats (44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kHz at 16, 20 and 24 bits). It also decodes HDCD. Here are larger photos of the front and rear.
If you are using this with a music server then you should definitely check out the new Alpha USB which is a USB to AES-EBU converter/reclocker. The Alpha USB is designed to go between your music server and your D-A converter—and as such also acts to electrically isolate the computer from the DAC thus enhancing the level of sound quality produced.
Note: For more info on music servers that are completely silent so that you place one next to your Alpha DAC without being distracted by any fan or hard disk noise click here. Then click here for a list of links where you can obtain High Resolution files such as Reference Recordings HRx files, etc.
Spectral DMA-400RS Reference Standard mono power amplifier
These new Reference Standard monoblocks simply put is a breakthrough in amplifier design―effortless, pure, transparent, and with excellent transient response. The bass from this amp is powerful and yet totally resolved. Spectral's President, Rick Fryer, personally listens to each unit after it has received 500 hours of burn-in time. Details.
Spectral DMA-300RS Reference Standard stereo power amplifier
Alternatively there is the new DMA-300RS stereo power amp. This is an amazingly good sounding power amp that you simply have to hear to believe! Some have even proclaimed it to be the best value in high end power amps available today!
Spectral DMC-30SS Series 2 Preamplifier
Although the Spectral DMC-30SS Series 2 can be used with any power amp from any manufacturer—it is a natural mate for either their DMA-360 Series 2 monoblocks or the DMA-260 power amp.
Spectral SDR-4000SL CD Player
If CD is your source you can add the Spectral SDR-4000SL CD player which will allow you to hear CD's at their finest! Coupled with a Spectral preamp and power amp—everything then comes together to be a perfectly matched system, one that you'll be able to enjoy for many years to come!
Boulder 2100 Series Components
We are delighted that finally in the Fall of 2013 that the new Boulder 2100 series of components are now being introduced including the 2110 preamp and 2150 mono amplifiers.
Basis Work of Art turntable
This turntable simply defies description. You can see and understand how carefully it is designed from a technical point of view. You can measure how well it performs in various parameters. But it is impossible to convey through words what an incredible experience it is to hear your treasured vinyl being played on the Work of Art!
Magico Ultimate III
This speaker is capable of incredible dynamics yet is still is able to deliver a musical experience of the utmost delicacy. Standing close to 8 feet tall it makes a tremendous visual impact as you can see in the accompanying picture. It is an unabashed absolute all-out assault on the state-of-the-art in loudspeaker design. It is indeed a horn speaker, but not like one you have ever heard. Even if you have disliked the horn-style colorations in every other horn speaker you've ever heard, you won't have that experience when you sit down to audition these. There is much technical info that could be conveyed, but all that is forgotten when you close your eyes and simply listen.
What else can be said except that the Ultimate III truly lives up to its name!
Room design services for acoustics & viewing environments
In the picture above you can see the Magico Ultimate II in a room that we designed and installed in San Francisco. While this room was completely custom, we also offer a variety of acoustic room design services for listening rooms and home theaters that utilize modular acoustic treatments, as well as viewing environment design for video systems. This may include specifications for construction methods and materials, electrical power, HVAC, room dimensions, room boundaries, and acoustic treatments, as well as advice on the positioning of the listener/viewer, speakers, screen, and equipment. Please call for more details.
Once you have your home theater set up you will undoubtedly want to add some movies on DVD and Bluray to go with it.
Here are some preselected movie collections that come preloaded on NAS RAID hard disk arrays:
In addition here are some preselected movie collections that can be preloaded on to your movie server:
There are a variety of physical formats available with CD's and LP's being the most common. In addition there are of course downloads—and the exciting new development is that now you can get an ever-increasing number of High Resolution downloads!
Then there are variety of ways of playing music. You can select your CD or LP and play them one at a time. Or you can have all of your music accessible in a Music Server and make your own customized playlists.
We have a new section of our website devoted to Music Formats and Music Collections that we think you'll enjoy. For once your music system is in place, you'll both want to re-listen to your old collection as well as expand it with some new music. There is a lot of great music in this world—and there is always more to discover!
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July 06, 2015
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