revised and expanded
Yet Another Best of Boston Award!
Boston Magazine has
honored us yet again with the Best of Boston 2014 in
the High End Audio category!
This is the third
category in which we have been so awarded. As we have also been
awarded Best of Boston in the categories of
Theater as well as Best Audio-Visual Equipment!
TiVo Mega 24TB DVR announced!
The TiVo Mega DVT has 24 terabytes of recording space which
translates to 26,000 hours of SDTV or 4000 hours of HDTV. Along
with the massive storage, the whole home capable TiVo Mega
offers an all-in-one approach to live, recorded, on-demand,
streaming services and web-based TV. It features six
tuners that can record a multitude of content simultaneously and
support for the TiVo Mini for a comprehensive whole-home
solution. Users can stream live TV or recordings to their
smartphones and tablets and even download programming to enjoy
for offline playback. Availability is scheduled for Q1 2015. If
you would like one installed in your home please let us know!
Magico "M Project" Speaker!
Magico has just
announced a new speaker called the M Project. It has been
designed for the person who wishes to have an absolutely top
level performing speaker but who doesn't want to have something
as large and heavy as their Q7. While most clients who want
an ultra high end speaker actually prefer a larger speaker,
there have been a number of clients worldwide that have
requested something more moderate in size and weight—and here is Magico's answer!
The M Concept is 30% smaller by volume and at 400lbs each about
half the weight. As only 50 pairs will be
manufactured, if you are potentially interested we would
recommend that you call us sooner rather than later because as
of August 16, 2014 there is only 1 pair left that hasn't
already been spoken for. For more
This is the new Movie & TV Series
download site for those
who have a Kaleidescape movie server. Already there are 1000's
of titles available in either Blu-Ray or DVD quality—including
classics such as Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, and
Casablanca—with many more forthcoming. But what makes these
offerings stand out is that they are true bit-for-bit copies of
the discs without any further compression. This means for
that the image quality of a Blu-Ray is not compromised in any
way! For more information click
Or if you are interested in obtaining a
Kaleidescape movie server so that you too can enjoy these
downloads please give us a call.
LG OLED. For 2014 LG
has five new OLED TV models. The top model is the curved 77"
77EC9800 Ultra HD 2160P. Others include a 55" and a 65"
curved UHD 2160P screen plus a curved 55" 1080P display.
In addition there is the flat 55-inch EA8800 55" 1080P (see image below).
It is nice to finally see a flat
OLED screen being offered—as a curved screen can be
more problematic in
terms of reflections unless the room lighting is optimized for
viewing. Some of these models are available for order now and
some will be available in the 2nd quarter.
Panasonic To Cease Plasma Production.
If you are considering
getting a Panasonic plasma flatscreen you should know that they
will soon cease to be available. The recommended models are the
60" & 65" ZT models which are the best—as well as the 55", 60",
& 65" VT models which are very close second bests. From a
videophile picture quality perspective we feel that these represent the best
values in these screen sizes available today.
Pure Audio Blu-Ray.
This is a new audio-only disc
format that, while it
in the planning stage for years, has
finally been released. Titles from major artists in classical,
jazz, and popular genres have already been announced and some
available. Labels releasing titles in this format include
Deutsche Grammophon, Verve), Sony,
Warner, Gimell, Tacet, Naxos, Crystal, Camerata, 2L, Sono
Luminus, etc. Note that Universal, Sony, and Warner are the
Three Labels in terms of market share. It will be interesting to
see how many titles get released over the next few years as
compared to high resolution file downloads which are also
A Pure Audio Blu-Ray
disc can be played in any Blu-Ray player, the analog output of
which can be hooked up to any preamp. Or to output to an
outboard DAC or surround processor an HDMI input
is necessary in order to hear the uncompressed LPCM soundtrack. In addition there can also be surround options contained on a disk. So, like the SACD and
DVD-Audio formats which came before, here is another disc format
which will provide an alternative for listening to high
resolution music. Typical stereo PCM sampling/bit rates for a
Pure Audio disc are 96/24 or 192/24. The nice thing about
this format is that you can use it without having a Blu-Ray
player hooked up to a video screen by using the color-coding on
the disc packaging and the four color buttons which are on every
Blu-ray player remote control.
ProStudioMasters - High Resolution Download Site.
Covering a variety of
genres including rock/pop, jazz, and classical,
ProStudioMasters offers high resolution downloads, including
those of major artists, from a variety of labels. Available in
the US & Canada, they offer sampling/bit rates at 88.2, 96,
176.4 & 192/24 in both FLAC & AIFF formats—as well as some DSD
DFF 2822.4kHz 1bit files. In addition they offer very high
quality cover art. To see for yourself just click on the cover
art below to view a larger version. (And if necessary then click
on the larger one to expand it.) It would be nice if all sites were as
conscientious about providing high quality cover art. If you
have a properly calibrated high quality monitor then these
images will speak for themselves!
HGST Ultrastar He6 6TB hard drive announced.
you looking to store a lot of music or movies on a server you
might be interested to know that 6TB hard drives have finally
been introduced! These are hermetically sealed drives which are
helium-filled in order to reduce both power consumption and
heat. More info and specifications
New dCS Section on our Website.
You might be
interested to know that we just added a new section with lots of
information on the full line of
dCS digital components. It
encompasses a full complement of Owner's Manuals along with
photos of all the current models. Manuals
for past models are included as well.
In addition our
Library page has been
expanded and the various articles in it, such as the ones
related to music servers, have been updated. Plus our
Rockport pages have been updated so as to reflect their new model introductions.
CEA Announces Expanded Support of High-Resolution Audio!
Electronics Association (CEA) has made a major announcement—that they are now offering expanded support for and promotion of
high-resolution audio (HRA). "Music labels are expanding their
HRA catalogues online with tens of thousands of HRA albums
already available for download across every music genre. Every
major music label has expressed support for HRA, including Sony
Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music
Group, in addition to leading independent labels. HRA digital
music stores are already online, with more being added each
day." Read the
press release in its entirety.
This development is a
major milestone towards the goal of having high resolution files
available of all of the great albums by all of the major artists
that are under contract to the Big Three music labels, i.e.
Universal, Sony, and Warner. In addition having smaller labels
also participating will mean that many more artist's music will
be available as high-resolution audio files too!
A Golden Age of CD Box Sets!
It seems as if we are
living in a Golden Age of CD Box Sets! Whether your interest is
Rock, Jazz, or Classical there are some sets, either large and
small, to suit most everyone's taste. And each month more are
Back in 2009 of course
The Beatles made headline news with both their
Stereo CD box sets of all of their classic albums. Then they
went even further by releasing their 24 bit
USB Drive containing all of their albums in the lossless
In addition there was
vinyl box set, so there was a format for most everyone. In
fact we have a vinyl box set in stock and if you are interested
give us a call.
Obviously a classic in the truest sense of the word!
In terms of Jazz of
course there are many box sets available. One example released
in 2012 was:
The Complete Stan Getz Columbia Albums Collection which is an 8 CD box set.
This was remastered with the
Pacific Microsonics A-D
which is acknowledged by many cognescenti as the finest sounding
Analog-Digital Converter ever made. Hence it isn't so surprising
to find that the sound quality of this release is surprisingly
good! To see a sampling of some more Jazz Box Sets see our
With regard to Classical
music there has been an avalanche of large box sets which have
been released. In fact there was an
article from The New York Times on this very theme. Examples
of some popular ones are:
In addition over the past few years comprehensive box sets of
other renowned artists such as
Horowitz have been released. If you are interested in seeing
some of what else is available we have compiled a larger listing
of some box sets in our
Library. After all it's all about the music!
And of course if you
want to hear how great all of this wonderful music can really
sound we have a wide range of CD Players from rather modest right on
up to the truly high end Spectral
SDR-4000SL. Or if you would like to listen from a music
server driving a high end DAC such as a
we have those too. Just give us a call and we'll let you hear
some sublime sounding music played through one of our fine
digital or analog front ends!
Acoustic Sounds - Super HiRez Downloads.
Sounds has high resolution downloads in FLAC
and ALAC lossless formats at up to 192 /24
sampling rate /bit depth—as well as
files in the DSD format. In addition, since
Acoustic Sounds licensed many of the commercial label titles,
accessed the master tapes, and exercised complete control of the
mastering process—at least with those titles, it should not
experience HDTracks' "start up" issue of getting pre-mastered
files that were on occasion not true high resolution files, but
rather "up sampled" from CD resolution files or from actual CDs.
of late 2013 their Super HiRez catalog of high resolution files is not as
large as that of
HDTracks, they will definitely be expanding their offerings
going forward. You can see their
here. A few of their stellar classic titles
- Ella Fitzgerald -
Sings The Harold Arlen Songbook
- Stan Getz & Joao
Gilberto - Getz and Gilberto
- John Coltrane - A
ClassicsOnline announces FLAC files.
At present Classics Online is slowly rolling out
FLAC files. At first they will only be available as CD
quality 44.1kHz /16 bit files. However they have also announced
that they intend to add high resolution files as
Sony Announces Support for High Resolution Music Files!
Sony Electronics has publicly declared a renewed interest in
supporting high resolution audio files. You can see the now logo
here just to the right. Their new tagline for this is: "Get
closer to the original master sound".
To this end they recently introduced a line of high-resolution
compatible hardware. Plus they now have websites
here to explain high resolution audio in simple terms. This
new initiative includes a commitment to making high resolution
audio "a more convenient, compelling, and cost-effective
listening experience for digital music enthusiasts everywhere.
To support this, select Sony products will come preinstalled
with high-resolution tracks from Universal Music Group, Warner
Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment."
This is a very
important development in the area of high resolution music files
as Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music
Entertainment are the Big Three music labels. As these three
combined comprise about 70% of music sales worldwide and 85% of
US music sales.
For those who are
technically-inclined you will be interested to know that Sony is
touting the following high resolution file types with sampling
and bit depths up to the following maximums:
DSD: DSF; DFF —
2.8 & 5.6MHz /1bit
PCM: WAV; AIFF; FLAC; ALAC —
up to 192KHz /24bit
MIT "Show Demo" Cables For Sale!
always wanted a pair of high end MIT cables but felt you
couldn't afford them we have some great news! We have obtained a
small stock of some of the latest and greatest MIT cables from a recent
trade show where they were only used for less than a week. These
cables are in excellent condition and come with a full warranty.
At present we have
interconnect cables, and
digital cables. You can see
our pre-owned and demo cables and components in our
In addition, if you
don't see a particular model that you are seeking you are
welcome to contact us and inquire about it as we may have access
to a few more cables that aren't presently listed. We also will
have some more show demo cables coming in soon from the January
2014 CES Show. Either way, if you're interested please call us and
ask about the very attractive "show demo" pricing.
sections—including sources for the new high-resolution audio
Remastered Beatles Box Set on Vinyl Premiere!
On December 4, 2012 we
will be hosting a special event from 6-8pm for the release of
The Beatles Album Box Set on Vinyl. This set has been remastered,
and after being delayed for several years in production, is
finally seeing the light of day! Join us for this premiere event
featuring some of The Beatles classic cuts which will be
introduced by a special guest from EMI.
We also expect to also
have some vinyl box sets here for sale—and if you are interested
in a box set for yourself please give us a call at 781-893-900
so we can reserve one in your name.
Aurender Music Servers: WideaLab merges with TVLogic.
In the realm
of music servers, some interesting news was just announced.
Widealab, the company which produces Aurender music servers, has
merged with TVLogic Company Limited, a
leading professional broadcast monitor manufacturer listed on
the Korea Stock Exchange (121800.KQ).
Also in 2013 TV Logic
was named one of Asia’s Best 200 Companies Under A Billion by
Amazon unveils new "Never Before On DVD" store.
looking for an obscure video or movie, Amazon now has the new
Never Before On DVD store. Using their "CreateSpace DVD on
Demand" service, many titles including some relatively obscure ones
are available now with more forthcoming.
Onkyo To Offer US Music Download Service.
2012 Onkyo Entertainment Technology Corp will start offering
both stereo and surround (5.1) lossless and uncompressed music
files at up to 192/24 here in the U.S. File formats available
will include WAV, FLAC, and DSD. As of April 2012, the service's
catalog stood at about 60,000 songs, with 1500 of them featuring
more than 96kHz/24-bit quality. Though at this time the link is
only in Japanese, for info here is a link:
Don Was becomes President of Blue Note Records.
As of January 2012 Don Was is now president of Blue Note Records.
The big news is that he has initiated a partnership between Blue Note and HDtracks.com, which specializes in high resolution digital
Blue Note is known for
recordings of classic jazz artists such as: John Coltrane,
Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Fats Navarro, Horace
Silver, Art Blakey, Sonny Clark, Herbie Hancock, Hank Mobley,
Sonny Rollins, Lee Morgan, Kenny Dorham, Andrew Hill, and
Don Was, the Grammy
Award-winning producer, has a clear recollection of his first
encounter with Blue Note Records. He was a teenager, listening
to the car radio in his hometown, Detroit, when he heard the
title track of a 1966 album by Joe Henderson. “I heard this
saxophone playing, and it was riveting,” he said recently. “I
didn’t know anything about jazz. But this thing jumped out and
grabbed me. It was ‘Mode for Joe.’ ”
Describing the process of high-definition remastering, he
reflected on the philosophical question of the original
intentions of musicians in the studio. “I asked for the tapes
for ‘Mode for Joe,’ ” he said, referring to the album from his
teenage epiphany. “We went into a mastering room and listened to
them. And I got really choked up, because it sounds different.
No one has ever heard the tapes in their unmastered form.”
The above two
paragraphs are an excerpt
from a New York Times
Apple iPad with Retina Display as a Remote Control.
If you've been
here to the store you know that we have been using the iPad as
either a primary or secondary wireless remote control interface
to control some of our music systems and music servers. After
receiving and setting up the new third generation iPad which
has the high resolution "retina" screen we can report that the latest
versions of the apps that we installed all seem to be working
fine. 2014 UPDATE: All of the subsequent iPads through to the
iPad Air 2 work fine too!
Finally Apple TV is 1080p.
After years of
being behind the industry in terms of full-HD resolution, Apple
will now be able to provide content for HDTVs in their natural
resolution. Apple's 1080p content will be limited to a 8Mb/s
bitrate—which is better than Vudu's 1080p offering at 4.5Mb/s
and in-line with Netflix's offering at 8Mb/s. Of course none of
those are any match for a Blu-ray disc which sports a 36Mb/s
bitrate and thus provides significantly higher picture quality.
[Note that specs
change as technology moves forward but as of when this was
written these were the specs being reported.]
Another Best of Boston Award!
Boston magazine has
honored us with the Best of Boston 2011 in
the Home Theater category! If you are interested in having a
theater installed in your home, ranging anywhere from something
modest all the way up to the state-of-the-art, you are welcome
to call us at 781-893-9000 to find out what we can do for you.
Spectral Seminar: Saturday, November 12, 2011.
President of Spectral Audio, was here to introduce the new
SDR-4000SL CD Player—as well as talk about their other fine
components. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn more
about how Spectral designs and builds each of their components
to such a high level of refinement.
Craig Kallman, CEO of Atlantic Records: Two Interviews.
has been the subject of two interesting interviews in
Songwriter Universe &
It turns out that it is
not just business for him—as he owns a collection of 500,000
vinyl albums and over 75,000 CD's. And he has a high end audio
system, which includes
Spectral electronics coupled with MIT
cables, to play them on. An excerpt from the Songwriter Universe
Kallman: I love vinyl
albums. When CDs first came out, I was horrified how they
sounded versus vinyl. So I wanted to discover all new music on
vinyl instead of CD. I've tried to get almost every important
album made on vinyl, so I can enjoy the music as the artist
intended it to be heard. In my childhood years, I would make
lists of every album in many genres, from Miles Davis to Fela
Kuti to Parliament/Funkadelic; I would scour the earth for their
entire discographies. I did that in every genre -- jazz, folk,
blues, rock, reggae, etc.
DK: Where do you store this massive album collection?
Kallman: I've got about 12 or 13 rooms at a warehouse where
Sotheby's and Christie's store a lot of art. And next to my
apartment, I've built a recording studio which has a listening
room, and I've put about 25,000 of my favorite albums there that
I kind of rotate. It's fun for the Atlantic artists to come to
the house and hang out in the listening room, where they check
out the collection.
MartinLogan Seminar: Thursday, October 27, 2011.
was here to talk about their line of electrostatic hybrid
speakers. It was certainly interesting—and a good time was had
We were featured on the Chronicle TV program!
Airing on July 27th at
7:30pm, we were featured on Chronicle HD which is the on-air
news magazine covering New England. The broadcast was on WCVB (Channel 5) which is the Boston area
To see the clip on their website click
here. (Note our segment starts around the 4 minute
mark.) Alternatively for the Chronicle website
Music Group releases High Resolution files.
Downloads of high resolution files of some major artists from Warner
Records are now available on
HDTracks. Initially these are available at either 96kHz and/or
192kHz sampling rates and are 24 bit. In addition they expect to be adding to
their roster of high resolution files on a regular basis.
Even bigger news is
that on May 12, 2011, Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman stated
that Warner would make a formal announcement about releasing
high resolution files in January at the 2012 CES. And further
that Warner's commitment to high resolution files would be
"active and aggressive".
This could be a really amazing as Warner (a Big Three Label
along with Universal and Sony) owns the following
labels: Asylum, Atlantic, Cordless, East West, Elektra,
Nonesuch, Reprise, Rhino, Roadrunner, Rykodisc, Sire, Warner
Bros., Warner Music Nashville, and Word.
UPDATE: Plus in 2013
they bought Parlophone as well as EMI Classics which is being
rebadged as Warner Classics.
In addition, once a major label like Warner Records (who along
with Universal and Sony comprise the Big Three Labels) starts
releasing a significant number of high resolution files of the
most popular albums from high profile artists, the other major
labels could well follow suit!
Sony SS-AR1 Event: Saturday, August 6, 2011.
Given our focus on high
resolution music, the event included a series of
demonstrations conducted by 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 who played some of his wonderful
high resolution recordings. Certainly a
good time was had by all.
Stones high resolution files.
HDTracks has announced downloads for Rolling Stones albums
in two 24 bit formats: 176.4 and 88.2 kHz sampling rates. Album
titles include Beggar's Banquet & Let It Bleed. Given
a choice of course we would always recommend the higher sampling
rate as long as it is native and not merely upsampled. These
albums are from the remastered DSD transfers done by top
mastering engineer Bob Ludwig.
Apple to offer high resolution files?
article on CNN it states that Apple is in talks with some
record companies about the possibility of offering higher
resolution 24 bit files as downloads. If this ever becomes true
it would be a real gamer changer!
Beatles 24 bit files.
You can now get "The Beatles USB" which contains 44.1kHz 24 bit
FLAC files. This is the best digital format that you can hear the Beatles
this point. More info
Casablanca III HD & HD upgrade is now available.
Theta has finally released their
HDMI 1.4 version of the Casablanca surround sound processor. In
addition owners of earlier versions of the Casablanca have the
opportunity to upgrade if they have a Casablanca III—or
a factory-sponsored trade-in program if they have a Casablanca I
or II. For details please call us at 781-893-9000.
Sound article: "Audio's Renaissance Man"
In the February 2011 issue
starting on page 12 is an article about Keith Johnson. If you
don't know who he is you should read this article. And if
you do know who he is then you will definitely want to
read this article! For some more info on him click
Dynaudio Excite X-12
“Budget Component of the Year”.
Stereophile Magazine has announced that this speaker has earned
the Budget Component of the Year award. One of the most
challenging things can be to find a pair of speakers that offers
good fidelity yet is still quite affordable. At $1200 per pair
for most finishes, this speaker certainly is a tremendous
Classical Music FLAC Downloads.
has announced that they will soon start making downloads
available on their website.
Deutsche Grammophon already has a substantial portion of
available in FLAC. These top classical labels are all owned by
Universal Music Group. Finally the major
labels are starting to issue the great artists in a format
more suited to music servers without any lossy
The Absolute Sound Magazine.
In the March 2010 issue, on
74, the PC-based silent music server that we designed is featured
The last two sentences read: "When you play 176.4
kHz/24-bit Reference Recordings HRX files through a Berkeley
Alpha DAC, the sound is nothing short of spectacular. Robert
Harley (editor-in-chief) bought the review sample (to use as a
source for his main system that he uses for doing reviews)."
If you would like to hear one for yourself we of course have it
here on display.
Apple iPad For Remote Control.
If you are using either JRiver Media Center or Media Monkey software on a music server and you
wish to have wireless wifi remote control—the iPad, just like the
iPhone and iPod Touch, can be used as a remote control.
For JRiver we recommend
JRemote which you can find in the Apple App Store. This is what
we are presently using here in our demo rooms.
For Media Monkey there
are two iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch apps available from Melloware:
MonkeyTunes. MonkeyTunes which is one that we have used here in the
store and it connects to the iPad using the Apple app
Remote 2.0 (or higher) at full iPad screen resolution. Also
starting with version 2.0 there is "retina display" support for
the current iPod Touch & iPhone in the Remote app.
In addition the
Crestron Mobile Pro G app turns the iPad into a customizable
user interface for a Crestron controlled home theater or whole
house system. And the
Crestron Mobile Pro app can be used for an iPhone or iPod
Touch. Note that to use these apps you need Crestron programming
to make them function.
including Naim and Netstreams have announced apps
that allow you to use the iPad,
as well as the iPhone and iPod Touch, as a wireless remote
controller. More info is available
Of course anytime you
are using wireless there can be wireless reception problems.
Wired is always the safest approach—and we
suggest that you consider having a wired panel in addition to
your wireless controller as a belt and suspenders approach.
Regardless, if you are going to utilize a Wi-Fi network we
suggest upgrading your network design and components to ensure
that your network is more robust. For information regarding
superior performing wireless networks click
Rolling Stone Magazine.
"Universal Announces Plan to Lower CD Prices to $10 or Less".
Their reasoning is that by lowering their pricing to $6-10 for
new releases that this will stimulate more CD sales. The
"Velocity" program will be instituted Q2 2010 and the article is
here. In case you don't know Universal is the largest record
company in the world, so this is an important development.
Vinyl Sales Are Up!
According to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales, in
both 2006 and 2007 new vinyl sales increased about 14 percent.
2008 saw another increase with approx. 1.9 million records sold.
And 2009 saw the highest number of record sales since 1991 with
sales increasing to 2.5 million.
The Absolute Sound Magazine. We received another
in the December 2009 issue. The article is a
review of the new NAD M2 by Robert Harley (the Editor) in which
he again mentions utilizing the music server that he bought from
year as his source for playing
High Resolution files in
evaluating the M2. For more
on the M2 click here.
For more on the silent music server that Robert Harley is
utilizing here is a
Linn Announcement: No More CD Players.
2009 Linn announced that they were ceasing the production of CD
players. Henceforth they will concentrate on their digital file
players which perform D-A (digital to analog) conversion for
High Resolution files, CD quality files,
and lower quality files like mp3, etc. They will also
continue to manufacture turntables. For more click
Home Theater Magazine Features a Room Designed by Us!
An article about a room that
we designed and for which we provided the acoustic treatment was featured in the Design section of
the May 2009 issue. What you can't see in the above photo
is that the door on the far wall opens into a second smaller room
wherein the Spectral-based high end audio system is housed in a
rack. In addition that same room contains a nice library of albums
and CD's on custom-sized
shelves. The article spans pages
41-45. The closing sentence reads, "The
best part of all for the homeowner is when life gets hectic and
he needs time to relax and slow down, he escapes inside the
enchanting sounds of Monteverdi, Bartok, or Mahler, in the music
room of his dreams."
If you'd like a beautiful room
designed and acoustically treated you're welcome to call us to discuss your
We were given very high praise
from Ultra Audio in
a March 1, 2009 feature article entitled
"Goodwin's High End — A Wonderland". Here is a brief excerpt, "...the acoustic nature of the
listening room was simply extraordinary. As far as I’m
concerned, this facility is the place to audition
high-end audio gear."
To read the article in its entirety
Boston Home Magazine: Best of Boston
In the Winter 2009 issue we were named as
the winner in the Audio-Visual Equipment category. See
page 73 for the full write-up on us! Also on their website they
have a mini-review of us
The Absolute Sound magazine.
the February 2009 issue of The Absolute Sound for an in-depth
Spectral system review plus an extensive interview with chief
engineer Keith Johnson and company President Rick Fryer. For those of you that don't know, we are the oldest Spectral
dealer in the US, having recently celebrated the 25th
anniversary of our long partnership with them. For many
Spectral has been our most popular line—as not only can it
world class sound quality, but it is also in our view the best
value in high end audio componentry available today.
Absolute Sound magazine.
For quite a while we have assiduously been working behind the
scenes to promote the idea of computer/music server-based high
resolution audio files. And lately the world has started to take
notice. In the January 2009 issue there is a review of the
new HRx files from Reference Recordings which were played on a
silent music server co-designed by Goodwin's High End—along with another
review of the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC. We have
been selling Reference Recordings in their various formats for
many years, and the new
HRx files at 176.4/24 are the best
format ever! In addition we have been a dealer for the
Alpha DAC from the day it was introduced. (It was
actually beta tested here in the summer of 2007 before it was
in early 2008.)
read the review you will see that Robert Harley, the editor of
The Absolute Sound, was rather impressed with the sound quality
from the music server
that we designed, especially when playing
Resolution files! So much so that after he completed the
review, rather than return the music server that we had loaned
to him for those reviews, he said that he wanted to purchase it
for himself. The stated reason being that he didn't wish to do
future component reviews without it as it was the best source he
had ever heard!
You're invited to call for more detailed information about
this exciting new development. And if you're in the area please stop by and hear it for
yourself, as hearing is believing.
Design New England Magazine.
The July/August 2008 issue has a four page article which details
a very high end custom acoustical room treatment which was
designed and installed by us. In addition we installed a
high end stereo/home theater system with Crestron control for
the system—as well as for the Imagecrafters lighting system
with energy efficient and very quiet LED lighting which we also
provided. See the link
here and then click "Pages" and see pages 48-51. Here are some more photos of this custom room:
Home Theater installation.
Here are some snapshots of a home theater installation that we
completed in 2008. This theater is equipped
with a Runco 1080P 3-chip DLP projector situated in a separate
projection room featuring a projection port of special
cinema-grade optical glass of which you can see some details of in
Time Magazine. An article
entitled "Vinyl Gets Its Groove Back" on the resurgence of vinyl
here. The good news is that record sales are up! And that
the number of new titles, as well as remastered classics from
yesteryear, has been increasing!
Once again we were acknowledged as being a leader in our field. I guess if
you've been passionately involved with high end audio for over
30 years, always striving to take things to a higher level, it
December 24, 2007 issue features an article on high end music
servers based upon another extensive
interview with Alan Goodwin and a listening session here.
Again we are prominently featured—plus they spelled our name
correctly multiple times! You can see a link
here or a pdf of the
Status Magazine. The
Fall 2007 issue features a rather extensive article based upon a
few hours of their reporter interviewing us about various
aspects of putting together a really high end home theater. The
four page article which is entitled "Best Seat in the House" quotes
us extensively and starts on page 90. It features top products
from Magico, Runco, Theta, Kaleidescape, Crestron, etc.
A few months ago a reporter
from Forbes magazine spent several
hours interviewing us and listening to three different turntable
setups here. An article published in the June 4, 2007 issue
(starting on page 64), talks about high end turntables and
Goodwin's High End is prominently featured throughout. In
it we are recognized as "one of the nation's foremost retailers
of top-end audio gear". Although of course we have enjoyed
an excellent and longstanding reputation in audiophile circles,
it is always gratifying for us to be so acknowledged in the
general press! Here is a
2007 New York Home Entertainment Show. We
premiered two brand new speakers in our room at the Grand
Hyatt in Manhattan May 11-13th. Both the new Magico
V3 and the
speakers greatly impressed the many
The Absolute Sound
article in the
March 2006 issue, the Magico Ultimate speakers were featured in
a custom acoustic room that we designed and installed in a client's home in
San Francisco. The article spans pages 82-91 and you can see
pictures of the Ultimates installed in our custom acoustic room.
Here is a photo:
Magico Ultimate III in our custom acoustic room
A Unique Opportunity!
At the request of one of our clients, in January 2007 we made special arrangements to bring in some
new and highly touted top-end
speakers for audition. So along with our usual array
of fine loudspeakers including the Wilson X-2, we gathered
together the Magico
Model 6, the Rockport
Altair, and the Verity
Lohengrin II here in the store. At that time this was the only place in the US that this array
could be heard all in one room—and no one has done it
since either! If you'd like to arrange your own listening
session to our current crop of top-end speakers you're invited to call
us for an
New England Home Magazine.
For the December 2006
issue, Alan Goodwin was interviewed
rather extensively on his thoughts regarding music for the home. In the article he was
quoted a number of times on a variety of aspects in his field of
expertise, specifically on quality residential audio systems and
of the systems we installed in Boston was photographed for an
article in the November 2006 issue.
The living room system of this fabulous Back Bay condo
features a Spectral Reference system driving X-2's—and the
Family Room utilizes another separate Spectral Reference system. In addition, among other things, this home also features a home
theater, a roof deck system, and a video screen behind a mirror
in the guest bathroom—all controlled by a Crestron system with
Here are some more snapshots:
Main Room ,
This Old House on PBS!
are very pleased to have been selected as the audio,
video, and automation specialist for the This
Old House project in Cambridge, MA.
The contemporary home features an extensive audio
system with speakers in most rooms and high-end Dynaudio
Confidence C2 speakers in the living room. Behind the
speakers, stealthy CinemaTech Acoustic Room Systems
fabric walls tame the lively acoustics.
speakers a trick Auton lift lowers a portion of a
wooden wall (right; click picture to enlarge)
into the basement (!) to reveal a glorious
61" Runco plasma. A REL Studio subwoofer will supply
"ample" bass. Here are 3 photos showing
how the plasma is automatically hidden by a motorized
portion of the wall when not being watched:
Living Room front wall open ,
wall half-closed ,
wall fully closed
In the reading nook, Crestron controlled background music is
available at the touch of a key.
In the master bedroom, a 43" Runco plasma rises from
a custom cabinet. With 8 color touchpanels, 22 keypads,
4 video cameras, 8 Crestron-controlled thermostats,
nearly 80 Crestron-controlled lighting loads, 3 miles of
audio, video, and control wiring, and a huge 10kVA
Equi=Tech balanced power conditioner, this is the most
extensive and comprehensive automation package ever
installed in a This Old House project. It even has a
superb turntable for you vinyl lovers: Clearaudio
Ambient with an Audio Research PH5 phono section!
The three episodes
premiered in January and February 2006 on PBS as well as on the
Also here is a link to the ASC
website that explains how the walls were built with
Plasma's superiority verified.
An independent IDC report shows that plasma televisions are
superior to the competing LCD and DLP rear projection television
and that concerns about burn-in, lifespan, viewing angle,
brightness, black level, and color accuracy are unfounded.
Videophiles and other consumers who value a high-quality
image should really appreciate these results [of superior
plasma video performance]. Š2005
Inside This Old House. Early in 2004, a This Old House
camera crew visited our showroom. Show host Kevin O'Connor
chatted with us about video display devices and room
acoustics, including Goodwin's High End's
own acoustic baffle system.
We enjoyed the experience and found the cast, crew, and
director a pleasure to work with. It was fascinating to see how
unscripted, improvised educational programming is shot and
produced. Watch for re-runs on
2004 - Ning An classical piano CD released. In
Alan Goodwin recorded
Ning An playing Haydn,
Mendelssohn, Berg, and Rachmaninoff at Jordan Hall in Boston.
Here is a
link with a bit more info.
Please note: though the link
indicates the recording was done at 96kHz—it is actually a 24
bit recording done at 176.4kHz. The reason this is important is
that 176.4kHz decimates perfectly to 44.1 kHz which is the
sampling rate used for the CD release—and that is important for
sound quality reasons. Simply put, 176.4 kHz divided by 4
exactly equals 44.1 kHz which is perfect decimation.
HDCD CD of this recording session is now available—and if you
would like to obtain a CD of this performance just give us a
Even More! To see even more of
what has been written about us please click
We have one remaining demonstration Zoethecus rack available.
Please call for details and
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
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!
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
Devialet. We now have the
Devialet line on display! Click for
Naim NDS with
the 555 PS Power Supply. We recently received this music server
For info see
here. Stay tuned...
Music Server. We now have this music server in for
For info see
here. Stay tuned...
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!
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
Magnetic Headphones. These headphones have really
started to catch on! Stop in and hear why for yourself! More
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!
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!
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
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
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
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.
We now have this new
subwoofer on demo. This looks like it represents a very good
value in the world of quality subwoofers!
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.
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
Release plus here is a
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
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
photo of the rear panel for your further edification.
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.
top-of-the-line digital Vivaldi stack from dCS consists of four
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.
And with the DAC you
can play both files types: PCM files (transferred
from your CD library or
High Resolution downloads) and
information on the Vivaldi click
HERE. In addition there are the
Technical Highlights as well as more photos:
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
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
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.
Magico S5 speakers.
The S5 speakers are now here in the store on demo! There are different finishes
available in a variety of colors including
dark blue and
Constellation Audio. We now have
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
Magico Q7 speakers.
We finally have the new Q7 from Magico.
This is truly an awesome speaker and we think you'll be as
impressed as we are. What else can we say—hearing is believing!
For some more info here is the
Dynaudio Xeo 3 & Xeo 5 wireless powered speakers.
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
We have just got in some Hegel electronics including DAC's,
integrated amps, preamps and amps. Shown here is the H20.
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
and for a technical overview click
Plus click here
to see what else is coming sooner—or later!
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
Berkeley Alpha DAC Series 2.
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
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)
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
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
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
if you so choose. For more info
along with a link to photos of the front and back panels on the Alpha USB
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!
Spectral DMC-30SS Series 2 preamplifier.
We now have the
DMC-30SS Series 2 on display for your listening pleasure. Now
that we have listened to it for a while, we can say with great
assurance that this is one truly great sounding preamp! Once you
hear it for yourself you will understand why we are so
impressed! (Note: A factory update for DMC-30SS Series 1 owners
Info and photo
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
received the first pair of Magico
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 &
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
Amadis. This is
the newest member of the Verity
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
Q5. The audio
world awaited a Magico speaker positioned between the V3 and the
M5. In January 2010 the
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Performance Acoustics Labs. Modular Acoustic Room Treatment for the discerning music
or home theater
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
photo4 so you can see what
a room treated this way looks
Click here for more info. Then
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
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!
Audio subwoofers. We have both the
JL Fathom F113 and
subwoofers here on demo!
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
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
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:
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...
surround sound processor. We recently received this
surround sound processor
For info see
here. Stay tuned...
integrated amp. We recently received this integrated
For info see
here. Stay tuned...
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.
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
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
Aurender S10 Music Server.
The Aurender S10 music
server is here. For more info here
is a link.
Also see the
Aurender S10 Owner's Manual.
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
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.
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
Aerial Acoustics 7T.
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!
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
More specific product
announcements follow below:
Berkeley Audio Design - Alpha DAC Reference. We
received our new Alpha DAC Reference in late
The press release follows:
Berkeley Audio Design is extremely
pleased to announce the availability of the new Alpha DAC
The Alpha DAC Reference Series embodies
everything we know about digital to analogue conversion taken to
an unprecedented level – a level that requires new design
concepts & new components at the edge of what is possible. The
result is an immediacy and presence of music reproduction that
is simply real.
We literally designed the Reference
Series before is was possible to built it. Almost three years in
development, the Alpha DAC Reference Series uses components
designed to our specifications that were not commercially
available. Several suppliers were not able to meet our
requirements which delayed the release of the Reference Series
by more than one year. But those obstacles were overcome and now
the Alpha DAC Reference Series is a reality.
& sonic reality of the Reference Series is the result of digital
to analogue conversion at a new level of accuracy made possible
by tremendous electrical & mechanical noise isolation coupled
with extreme time domain stability. Ceramic circuit board
materials are used in all critical areas and the enclosure is
carefully engineered to minimize electrical noise while
maximizing mechanical stability. The Reference Series weighs
over 40 pounds and the entire enclosure is precision machined
from a a solid billet of 6061 – T aluminum alloy.
high output, all metal IR remote control with direct input
source selection is provided with the Reference Series.
Careful consideration was given to providing the highest
possible reproduction of DSD files by the Alpha DAC Reference
Series. 99% of modern DAC’s, including the Alpha Reference
Series use mult-bit D/A converters because they provide better
performance than 1-bit converters – even those who advertise
“native” DSD compatibility. So, at some point, the 1-bit DSD
stream must be converted to multi-bit for all of those DAC’s.
We could, like many other manufacturers, convert 1-bit DSD
to multi-bit within the Alpha DAC Reference Series and show
“DSD” in the front panel display. That would be the easiest
approach from a marketing perspective. But that would also mean
increasing the amount of processing in the DAC during playback
which would degrade audio quality, and audio quality is the
reason the Alpha Reference Series exists.
virtually all reproduction of DSD files using external DAC’s
occurs with a computer based music server as the source. If the
1-bit DSD to multi-bit conversion is done first in the computer
it can be performed with extremely high precision and superior
filtering that preserves all of the content of the DSD file.
Computer DSD to multi-bit conversion can be at least as good as
that performed in a DAC and without adding processing noise near
or in the D/A converter chip. Another advantage of computer
based DSD to PCM conversion is that if higher performance DSD
versions such as DSD 4x appear in the future they can easily be
supported with a software upgrade.
For all of those
reasons, DSD capability for the Alpha DAC Reference Series is
provided by an included state of the art software application
that provides either real time conversion of DSD 1x and DSD 2x
to 176.4 kHz 24 bit PCM during playback or conversion to 176.4
kHz 24 bit AIFF or WAV files. The software application is
included in the price of the Alpha DAC Reference Series and is
compatible with either Windows OS or Mac OS based music servers.
The Alpha DAC Reference Series supports 32 kHz to 192 kHz
24-bit PCM through four input; Balanced AES, Coaxial SPDIF 1,
Coaxial SPDIF 2 and Toslink Optical. Independent, single-ended
and true balanced analog outputs are provided. Dimensions are
17.5 inches wide X 12.5 inches deep X 3.5 inches high.
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 &
The Linn Kinsky is the app
that controls the Linn digital streaming components. You can
here. A screenshot of the interface is shown below:
Theta Casablanca IV.
The Casablanca IV adds
Dirac LiveŽ 96K digital room correction and optimization,
Theta’s proprietary Jitter Jail™ II and new post-processing
capabilities designed to allow the addition of new features to
the platform as technological advancements warrant. The
Casablanca IV also has new metalwork and a new display window.
The key to these new features is the development of a new
expandable post-processing card: the PR-3. The new card
quadruples the DSP power of the platform, increases the audio
bandwidth, consolidates all digital inputs onto a single input
slot, frees another slot for future expansion, has space to add
additional processing power and uses multiple FPGA devices to
allow the addition of new instruction sets to accommodate new
technology as it arises.
According to Dave Reich, Theta Digital’s chief engineer, “We had
two goals with this project, to make a significant improvement
in the Casablanca user’ experience and to ready the Casablanca
platform for the next decade of audio innovation. Dirac LiveŽ
96K and Jitter Jail™ II fix real sonic issues caused by the
listening room and source material while the innovative
expandable PR-3 card leaves the door open for new sources and
new DSP solutions.”
Pricing for the Casablanca IV starts at $16,245.
Theta Digital also announced new programs designed to allow
owners of previous generations of the Casablanca
preamp/processor to keep their components up-to-date.
Owners of the current Casablanca III HD, for example, can
upgrade their unit to full Casablanca IV status for $3,995.00.
This extensive upgrade adds the new, expandable PR-3 post
processing card with Dirac LiveŽ 96K and Jitter Jail™ II, a new
display window, new metal “Theta Digital” tower, new firmware
and new software.
According to Theta, “In our opinion, this is the best $4k a Casablanca
III HD owner can spend. Nothing else you can do to your system
will have as much sonic return as adding Dirac LiveŽ 96K and
Jitter Jail™ II.”
Owner’s of earlier versions of Theta Digital’s Casablanca can
also upgrade their unit to the Casablanca IV. While the pricing
varies, in every case the upgrade will be thousands less than
purchasing a new unit.
According to Theta, “the upgrade program continues our
commitment to protect the value of the Theta owner’s investment
while keeping his components at the edge of the art.”
If you would like more details on the new model or the upgrade
program please give us a call.
Aurender W20 Music Server.
We just received
this—for more see above at the top of this page! Also check out the
- 6TB hard drive storage - (Note: actual formatted storage
space may be about 10% less) & 240GB SSD solid state buffer
- Music is transferred to, automatically cached, and then
played from the Solid State Drive (SSD) which has no moving parts.
An SSD is
used to avoid mechanical noise, vibrations, electromagnetic interference, and
latency found in hard disk drives. The use of solid-state
drives also means significantly lower access times. During
playback, selections are automatically cached using
proprietary technology from the hard disk to the Solid State
Drive. The hard disk then falls asleep and the music is
played back using only the solid state drive. This design
eliminates problems with sonic and electromagnetic noise
from spinning hard disk drives.
- Hard drives are switched off when playing music
- Battery-powered audio section to eliminate AC jitter
- Two banks of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries
that alternate charging cycles and require zero user
intervention. This eliminates the need for filters and
isolates the audio circuits from ground noise coming from
the electrical mains.
- A third bank of LiFePO4 batteries act as an
un-interruptible power supply. In case of any sudden
electrical power failures, the Aurender W20 will power down
and turn off safely without any damage.
- Single and Dual-Wire AES/EBU output
- Word clock input - (Note: It is important that the word
clock of the music server be slaved to that of the DAC—so
that it rather than the music server can be the master word
clock. The reason is that this allows the DAC, which by
definition is doing the actual digital to analog conversion,
to operate at the lowest level of jitter thus ensuring
superior sound quality.
- RS232 communication link that can control the sample
rate of external word clocks (such as the dCS Vivaldi Clock,
- Display can switched off entirely
- OCXO (oven-controlled) oscillators, which are known to
more accurate and stable than ordinary crystal oscillators
used in computers and most soundcards. That combined with a FPGA-based
Phase-Locked Loop system thus ensures virtually jitter-free
- Silent fanless design which thus eliminates vibrations,
unwanted electromagnetic fields and noise emanating from the
- AMOLED displays
- Customized Linux OS for best audio performance
- Up to 24-bit and 192 kHz sampling rates
- Digital outputs (Coaxial, 2x AES/EBU, BNC and Optical)
plus a dedicated asynchronous high quality USB audio port
- Power is provided by both switching mode and linear
power supplies. The switching mode power supply is isolated
from critical components using thick aluminum walls and the
linear power supply is used for sensitive critical
components. Thick aluminum is also used to isolate physical
and electromagnetic noise from CPU's and hard disk drives
- Designed be connected to a wireless router in order for
the iPad to function as a wireless master control
Remote Control via free iPad application from the Apple App Store:
- Intuitive search function for fast easy selection
- Make and edit playlists with just a touch of a
- All details of song, album, playlist and queue are
viewable on a large iPad display. The current app includes support for
resolution. However as of early 2013 the software app does
not yet make full use of the high resolution
- Automatic or custom categorization of songs
- CD album front and back covers can be stored and
displayed along with music selection
- Web search function to search for information on
selected artist or song is not yet implemented as of early
2013 as it has been deemed as a lower priority but this is
planned for the future
- Zoom-in function
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
Verity Monsalvat speaker system. This
new flagship speaker system from Verity is in the works.
Click for info -
Photo #1 -
Photo #2 -
Rockport Alya speaker. Rockport has
introduced a new speaker called the Alya. We were at the
Rockport factory in December 2011 in order to hear them. Stay tuned for details.
Spectral DMA-200S Series 2 Stereo Power amp.
The DMA-200S Series 2 has
just 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
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-30SS
Series 2). 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-30SS Series 2. Stay tuned for details.
Spectral SDR-5000 D-A converter. At the January 2009
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 2015.
Hopefully it will be announced at the 2015 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
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.