2013 ROCKY MOUNTAIN AUDIOFEST

PART 4

 


 

LEGACY

 

Did you read our world's first review of the Legacy Aeris speaker?

You should. It describes what to look for in a real high-end speaker, even though this one can be had for $18,000

Like this one. The Aeris is our new Reference Speaker. Here is it pictured in a dazzling Pearl Black finish.

It sparkles. It glows. And it's the best sounding speaker we've heard in a long time.

It uses highly modified Air Motion Transformers for the top - fast, air, accurate with no sense of edginess or grain. Not a bit mechanical or academic. Musical as can be.

All the top end speakers are open baffle for a near perfect soundstage. And the bottom uses two subs, each powered with their own 500 watt amps for 1,000 per speaker.

The low end rattled my room without a hint of boominess - again, exquisite detail with no Hi-fi sounding, unnatural blast. Again, musical - natural.

Let me put it this way: I head nothing at the show at any price that made me want to trade these. Can't say more than that.

I might trade for the black pearl, but....

 

AYON

Ayon is one of our favorite companies. Made in Austria and way overbuilt, outstanding consistent quality.

The distributors stand behind their product, too.

This is the new Ayon Crossfire. It's their most powerful SE-triode integrated amplifier featuring single-ended triode circuitry with the exceptional Ayon 62B power tube.
Zero dB feedback, pure class A operation for the most natural fast and authentic 3D holographic sound.

Features
Full-featured single-ended vacuum tube stereo integrated amplifier
SE - pure Class-A triode vacuum tube-circuit design
AA62B Power output tubes high peak current & high voltage delivery
Timer warm up circuit for all tubes, extends tube life
Ideal also for more difficult loudspeaker loads
Dual choke filtered power supply for AA62B
Single choke for pre and driver stage (6H30)
Automatic power tube protection circuit system
0dB Negative feedback
2 separate power transformers (anode - high voltage and filament - low voltage)
Power transformers are encased, excellent damped and RFI/EMI shielded
Innovative power supply provides a high speed energy delivery on transients
All transformers are sealed with an anti-resonance compound material
Selected, premium quality passive components used in all applications
High speed capacitors
MKP signal caps
Teflon tube sockets with beryllium- copper spring pins, custom made by Ayon Audio
Shortest possible signal paths
Gold-plated industrial grade PCB
Teflon isolated - internal wiring
Silver matrix - internal signal cable
Central one-point star earth grounding
External static bias adjustment – rear panel
Fully hand assembled to insure the highest level of craftsmanship
Alu-brushed anodized anti-vibration-resonance and non-magnetic chassis
4 line inputs & 1 direct input - for pure power amp operation
DC-Power filter
AC phase polarity control indicator
Ground switch
Mute function - RC
WBT/Germany – binding posts
WBT/Germany – input jack
Bias analog-instrument with mV scale
Metal remote commander

See what we mean by "over built"?

This is their S5 Music Server with separate tube supply. Yum. Again, look at the features:

Full-featured Network Music Player/DAC/Preamp
Class-A triode vacuum-tube output stage for single-ended & balanced operation
User interface on QVGA 3.5” TFT display
Internet radio (vTuner)
UPnP streaming from PC via 100base-T Ethernet /
Streaming audio from USB HS (mass storage device)
WAV (lpcm) - up to 192khz/24bit
FLAC - up to 192khz/24bit
AIFF
AAC, HE-AAC (up to 24bit 96 kHz)
LPCM (up to 24bit 192 kHz on wired LAN and up to 24bit 96 kHz on wireless LAN)
NetAPI with Ayon app for iPad, iPhone/iPod and Android
Logical sequenced soft-start power up for extended tube life
Warm up function
0dB negative feedback (of any kind )
Ultra short signal path
Simplest direct circuit path for purest musical sound and high reliability
Low output impedance for driving long runs interconnect to an amplifier, and any tube or solid state power amp
No solid state devices in the analog tube output (signal path )
Minimal discrete wiring for optimum signal propagation
No followers or buffers in the signal path
No DC servo that degrades the signal
High quality parts throughout
Separate analog output stage for left and right channel
Burr Brown D/A converter
Upsampling 24bit/192kHz and on/off switchable
Ethernet ( RJ45 )
Memory stick or USB drive
WIFI
BB A/D converter 24/192
Digital input - S/PDIF (RCA), I2S , AES/EBU, BNC & TosLink
2 x USB type “A” inputs for Memory stick or USB drives
Digital output - S/PDIF (RCA)
Dual Electrical-Analog Volume control system
2 pair analog line input ( RCA)
1 pair analog line input ( XLR)
1 pair Tape out ( RCA )
Separate Display for Network-Player and Volume/ Inputs
Power Supply
The power supplies have been further refined with new components and enhanced AC line noise filtration. Separate power transformer windings and filters provide total isolation between the input and output stage which makes this a pure power source and it is a critical attribute for a 6H30 output stage. We also use electrolytic capacitors with much larger storage capacity to make up for the loss in filtering when using resistors in lieu of inductors.
Dual R-Core / Low noise – insulated power transformers for digital & analog separated
Innovative power supply provides a high speed energy delivery on transients
Separate and isolated power supplies over each stage of amplificationAC power line filter to avoid noise and hash from entering into the unit.
Four times tube rectification for 6H30 analog output stage
Choke with Film caps
10 separate voltage regulators

This is another one of the few things I saw at the show that I WANT!

 

FRITZ AUDIO

 

We have a review ready to publish of these Fritz LS 7/R speakers $3500 pair

Outstanding small speaker for a great price.

 

SALK

Here's another great speaker builder, Jim Salk, and his lovely wife Mary.

There are 26 models on his price list.

New Soundscape 8 with RAAL ribbon, Accuton mid, dual customs 8' woofers and dual passive radiators.

Freq. Response: 25Hz-60kHz. 88 db sensitivity

$7,995/pr

Veracity ST's - 2-way transmissions line with RAAL ribbon & dual Seas W16 Woofers

FR: 34 HZ - 60 kHz - 88db sensitivity.

$4,195/pr

In addition to outstanding sound, Salk cabinets, especially in exotic woods, are works of art. Book matched veneers, flawless craftsmanship.

 

We also listened to a new experimental high efficiency stand mount called the Exotica.

FR: 50Hz - 20kHz, but 91 db sensitive.

KRONOS TABLE

The Spartan (hardly looks "Spartan" does it?) is $16,000, coming out in January 2014.

Very notably, designer Louis Desjardins will come to your home and set it up!

Price without arm or cart.

Like to use more than one arm? His design allows you to quickly take off one arm and replace it with another in a preset spot.

He showed us. Takes just a few seconds.

This is a very unique design with TWO identical platters rotating in opposite directions!

If you're a turntable guy you will want to read this! Here's what they say:

 

All turntables currently on the market are constructed either with or without a suspension system. Suspended turntables are better isolated from both mechanical and sound vibrations emitted from the speakers. these turntables are often preferred to rigid ones as they deliver a more organic sound and a softer presentation. However, the suspended platter and tone arm present a significant downside – a pronounced blurring of the musical signal. this is caused by torsional forces, a natural tendency of the sub-platter frame to rotate in sync with the platter. Although this rotation is controlled by springs, or other elastic parts found in the suspension, the slightest vibration coming from the stylus reading the groove is echoed back to the stylus, out of phase. the result: the stereo image produced is blurred and distorted. Critical musical information is permanently lost. To solve the problem of torsional forces, some manufacturers build a rigid turntable and completely eliminate the suspension. But vibrations produced naturally by mechanical components and the environment are fed back to the platter and tone arm, causing yet another type of blurring and distortion of the music signal. The resulting sound is often described as harsh, aggressive and glassy. While endless research into alternate materials has been beneficial in improving the sound of rigid turntables, because the platter and the tone arm are not isolated, vibrations can only be controlled, not eliminated. Additionally, the proposed design solutions create expensive, heavy and complicated turntables.

Well, that much we know is true. His solution?

The Kronos employs two identical high mass platters, one above the other rotating in opposite directions and moving at precisely the same speed. This engineering completely eliminates torsional forces. Since the turntable is protected from mechanical and environmental vibrations, it can therefore be suspended without any negative outcomes. Finally, the judicious use of materials helps minimize the transfer of remaining mechanical vibrations emitted from the bearings and stylus friction. The result is a turntable platform with unparalleled stability. A solution so innovative that two separate patents applications are presently pending with more to come.

When designing and building the two bearings of KRONOS, our objective was to provide the most quiet operation possible while maximizing service life. Our in-depth design process included extensive research of base metal alloys and vapour deposit coatings within the aerospace industry. We also inverted the bearing design to place contact in the rotational plane, successfully reducing torque induced drag. We also included double hydraulic insulation to provide the ideal dampening properties. The result - The lowest noise floor we have yet encountered in an audio turntable.

And, like we said, HE will come and set it up for you!

By the way, have you ever seen a show report with the number of pictures and level of descriptive detail we provide?

Just askin'...

 

 

This was the Ayre room. Have to give them credit for creating an atmosphere in the room with a vibe from a 1970's records shop. Very cool.

The problem is that is SOUNDED like a 1970's record store with the Ayre stuff running through a pair of

modified JBL 9800's, I think. My nominee for worst sound at show. Best atmosphere, worst sound.

I had a very pleasant conversation with Charles Hansen of Ayre. I don't know, I used to have a lot of respect for the man,

but as everybody now knows, a couple of years ago he bought a bunch of leftover stock $400 Oppo universal players,

changed a few things (including the case) and tried to sell it for $10,000 with NO mention of the Oppo origin.

Seems he got around paying some taxes and/or royalties by using the Oppo. Who knows, but he makes fine products without having to resort to those tactics. Life is too short.

According to Audioholics which did a great job with pictures and measurements, Lexicon did a similar thing with an Oppo BD-83.

NO changes except the case and sold it for $3,000+.

Mark Levinson did the same thing years ago with a cheap Chinese sub $200 amp that he rebadged and sold as a Mark Levinson "Red Rose Company" amp for $2,000.

What's more is that there is a lot of that type of things going on, some legal, some pretty gray. It happens throughout society. How many times have you seen a "boy meets girl/boy loses girl/boy gets girl back" movie? Artists "borrow" from each other a lot. Hundreds of Blues tunes and rock tunes use the same chord changes under different lyrics. But a lot of them gave credit to the original composer and sometimes Hollywood will admit to a "remake" of an older movie, mostly because they use the same title, but I've seen the same movie, same plot, almost same dialog with no credits. I'm one of those crazy guys who watches movies credits roll because I know a few people in the industry and I wait to see their names. And I like to see where they are actually made, who did the music, etc.

I know. Some people will say "That's just good business". That's a valid opinion.

Great pictures and descriptions!

Take me to Part 5!

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