It’s that time of year again. Time to head for the grand
audiophile party in the desert we call the Consumer
The notable event leads us to the bright lights of Las Vegas
for a celebration of the best audio and video has to offer.
It’s sensory overload to the max. Guaranteed to have your
ears drooping and your eyes watering by the time you leave.
Doesn’t that sound tempting? What, you couldn’t go? No
worry, just read on and I’ll show you around.
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PHYSIC: I’ve heard Audio Physic speakers on many occasions over the years, and
each time been impressed with their speed, articulation,
refinement and soundstaging.
So, I’m very happy to welcome the outstanding speakers from Audio Physic into our family of quality products.
Founded over twenty years
ago, German manufacturer Audio Physic are known for their
unique and innovative designs and truly outstanding
performance. Add elegant appearance, solid construction and impeccable finish
quality, and you've got a speaker that is a feast for all the senses.
There are only a handful of speakers that image as well
as those from Audio Physic. When properly positioned, these speakers simply cease to exist, leaving
behind an almost holographic sound field. The sound is not just dimensional, it borders on enveloping. Quite addictive!
First introduced at the
Rocky Mountain audio show, the
all new Scorpio had folks lining up at the CES Audio
Physic Suite for a listen. You could see eyes light up and a
smile slowly creep across the faces of the enchanted
listeners. And with good reason, the Scorpio was a knockout!
The Scorpio features four 7” woofers (two
per side) arranged in a “push-push” configuration. Bass is
both extended and powerful (and is some of the fastest I’ve
heard), but never looses control. Twin 6” midrange drivers are married to an incredible 1” dome tweeter. Used throughout most of the line, this tweeter offers some of the most
exquisite highs I’ve heard from a cone driver. The tweeter never gets aggressive and isn’t overtly analytical, yet is
still super-fast and precise with excellent detail and air. There are very few speakers with a top end as refined as these.
Bottom line, these are
incredible loudspeakers and ones that should not be missed!
The Audio Physic range is broad. With offerings from $1250 to
$69995, there is a model to fit most every budget. Give me a ring with your questions.
JEFF ROWLAND: Rowland’s digital amplifiers (201 and 501) have, in a very short period
of time, become the best selling components in the company’s
history. Their popularity is well deserved. Clean, focused and grain free, the digital offerings have made a lot of
Continuing with the digital concept, Rowland bowed
the 102 basic amplifier. Like the other Rowland digital amps, the 102 is small.
Measuring just 2”H x 7”D x 14”W, it’s small enough to fit into
any system and at just $1400 you could say its price matches
its size – diminutive. Using two ICE modules and a switching
power supply, the little stereo amp produces 100 watts into 8
Ohms and makes 200 watts when driving 4 Ohm speakers.
All that power and yet the 102
idles at under 10 watts!
Deliver commences in late February or early March. Now would be a good time to
What, a new Rega CD player? Yes, and it’s a honey! A great
deal of effort poured into the
development of the Apollo,
and it shows. Though it looks very much like the Planet (the
machine it replaces)
on the outside, virtually nothing inside remains the same.
Apollo employs a totally new disc operating system (a
Rega exclusive) that
optimizes itself for each CD. Load a disc and the word
“initializing” appears in the readout.
During the procedure (which
takes about five seconds) the machine analyzes the CD,
optimizing various parameters for best performance. Exactly
what’s going on during this (interesting and potentially
revolutionary) process, I don’t know. But whatever it is, it
The Rega press release
explains it this way: “Development of (operating software
for CD players) was curtailed around eight to ten years ago.
was directed toward DVD and other formats.
Rega and other specialist
hi-fi manufacturers were totally reliant on companies like
Sony and Phillips to supply transports and their operating
chipsets. Two years ago Sony stopped supply and sent the
specialist hi-fi industry into a flurry of activity in search
of feasible alternatives. Many manufacturers were able to
resource their supply from the far east. Rega has been
incredibly fortunate in locating a small British company who
were finalizing the development of a totally new CD operating
Rega, along with its
partners, are the only manufacturers to develop a new CD
operating system within the last 10 years. Due to ever
increasing computer processing power it has been possible to
build an enormous increase in memory capacity which has
allowed the data retrieval to meet of the original Red Book
specifications without compromise to the musical performance.
All previous chipsets were unable to achieve this due to their
limited memory and signal processing capacity.”
The new British-designed chip
set contains over 20MB of memory along with 32 bit digital
signal processing capacity. The ultra high capacity memory
buffer means error correction need not affect sound quality.
DACs are the very latest Wolfson WM8740 24 Bit Delta Sigma in
a dual differential arrangement. The output is entirely new
and uses discreet components operating in 'Class A'.
The unique drive mechanism
incorporates a three-point mounting ball chuck (the disc
clicks into place on the spindle), an improvement over
magnetic puck designs. The new assembly insures that the disc
surface is precisely aligned with the laser for more accurate
data retrieval. Secondly, the mass of the puck is gone,
resulting in better acceleration and braking performance.
The Apollo plays both
MP3 and WMA files and the new remote features dedicated MP3
What does all this mean in
sonic terms? It sounds great! Frankly, the technical tidbits
are only interesting if what comes out the back is appealing.
But it wouldn’t be much of a narrative if all I said was: “It
sounds great, buy it.” But I should, because it does, so grab
your checkbook. $995 in silver or black.
SHUNYATA: I had a great time visiting with the Shunyata crew, Caelin, Matt and
Grant. In a
conversation with designer, Caelin Gabriel, I learned a great
deal about how the cables are constructed.
Each Shunyata product is
superb in its own right, but those cables employing the
Patented Helix braid are quite special indeed. It was an eye opener to learn how mind numbingly difficult the stuff is
to make. These cables
are completely hand braided – there is no machine
available that can weave the intricate matrix. Making the
process exponentially more difficult, each cable starts out
with identical length strands and must finish with all the
strands at the same length - there can be no trimming. In
other words, there is zero margin for error. Twenty feet is the maximum length available as longer runs simply aren’t
possible due to complexity of the process.
Understanding the amount of time, precision and effort poured into this product,
it’s easy to see why these cables cost what they do. Indeed it makes Shunyata cables seem very reasonably priced when
compared to other far less complex designs that are
See our Featured Product
section of this Newsletter for more detailed information and
listening impressions of the Orion speaker cable.