2013 ROCKY MOUNTAIN AUDIOFEST
Here's some big news. Burmester, famous for megabuck components, has come out with a new
Integrated Amp, model 101, for a mere $12,000. No, that's not exactly Cheap Bastard territory (or name for stuff under $1,000),
but still - it's Burmester. It's pictured on the top shelf and was very difficult to photograph because the front panel is a highly polished, mirror-like finish, it's reflecting the rug.
Here's a pic from their website. Still doesn't capture the elegant look.
It uses a combination of efficient class D power sections and an analogue power supply. It's described as being "warm and well-balanced" There's a switchable "Smooth“ function that produces a rounded and detailed sound image even with low volume levels. It features a balanced circuit layout and is DC-coupled, meaning it dispenses entirely with distorting coupling capacitors in the signal path. It's rated at 120 wpc, but at 4 Ohms, cut that in half for 8. There's 3 XLR and two RCA inputs. However, it it said to be stable at any load over the entire frequency range. That's big. Even has a front headphone jack and remote. CEO Rob Niemann said he would send us one for review. We'll see.
Incidently, in the McIntosh room, I asked what their least inexpensive integrated was. Product Manager Ron Cornelius said "$4,500".
Wow! A Mac integrated for under 5 grand? Model MA5200. 100wpc with built in DAC. Did he have one at the show and could we review it?
"No", he said, "We really don't want to sell it. There's not enough money in it." I actually wrote that quote down.
Instead, he showed me this:
It's the MA8000 at $10,000. 300 wpc and tons of inputs, digital and analog. MC/MM phono.
And just look at that 8-band equalizer. (?) All solid state, though. "We don't offer and tube products in our integrated line at this time", Ron smiled.
BEL CANTO GOES UPTOWN
Here is something really special making their US debut, at least from what we could hear.
It's the new "Black" from Bel Canto. A lot of rooms were using TAD speakers for demos, so a comparison is a little more germane.
There are three boxes and just two connections.
The main box is the C1 Controller, a digital to digital device, offering input selection of digital sources, and a digital output in AES/EBU or ST-Fiber format.
・Free running Ultra-Low Phase Noise Master Clock core: Less than 30 Femtoseconds RMS phase noise from 100 Hz to 1MHz: 30fS = 0.03 Picoseconds
・Asynchronous Interfaces for USB, UPNP Ethernet and Standard Digital inputs
・Custom Optimized, 64 bit Modular Audio Processor Core-DSD (there's that word again) processing and Multiple FIR filters
・32 bit digital Volume Control
・Dual Ultra Low Phase Noise Clocks
・25fS Phase Noise from 100Hz-1MHz1.0G Operations Per Second Custom DSP core with
・Proprietary FIR Apodising filters for optimum time domain response
・DSD 64 DoP support
In total there are 8 digital inputs on offer:
・2 x SPDIF
・2 x ST Fiber
・USB 2.0 Asynchronous Interface
・UPNP/DLNA Asynchronous Ethernet Network Player
The good news is that it's state of the art. Bad news, it's $20,000.
Then you need two Powerstream nCore modules with 1200 watts of power per channel into 2 ohms Mono Blocks at $15k EACH.
So we're looking at $50,000.
Again though, even using the smallish TAD CR-1's,
this was one of the best sounds at the show!
Let's get back to earth a little bit. A lot of new stuff from Coincident.
Speakers are the new Super Victory II, Natural Ash finish $9,999 pair.
See the little amp on top right? That's what was driving the Super Vics to enormous levels.
(They're very sensitive/efficient) It's called the Dynamo 34SE Stereo integrated with 8 watts per channel $999.
Here's a closer look:
For $11,000, you can have an outstanding, extremely musical system. Just add a source.
But make sure it does DSD....
This is the new Turbo 845SE at only $5,999. Notice the same mirror polished finish that graces all Coincident amps, even the little tyke.
This is said to be a state of the art stereo integrated single ended triode amplifier. It is constructed as true dual mono. The only shared component between the two channels is the chassis. The Turbo was created for those who do not want to compromise quality or performance but are limited to space which preclude mono amps and a separate preamp. The Turbo also serves as a state of the art headphone amp. A convenient front panel headphone jack is included. Output impedance is a standard 300 ohms.
The Turbo has an enormous power supply and generates 28 watts per channel which means it can power optimally most sensibly designed speakers. Ultimate transparency, purity and flat frequency response are the sonic result.
Single Ended 845 Output-
28 watts per channel
Pure Dual Mono
All hard wired
6N copper Japanese Steel proprietary power and output transformers
6EM7 input tube,
3 RCA inputs
Discrete Resistor volume control
Voltage selectable 115V/230V
AC ground lift
Remote control volume- mute.
Frequency response: 20 hz- 20khz - flat
Sensitivity: 1V for full output
Input impedance: 100 K ohms
S/N Ratio- 90 db
Weight; 100 lbs
And look folks:
It comes with a remote! This was always a disappointment to me, the lack of a remote.
But here it is! Yay.
Ever hear of Bogdan Audio? You should, we reviewed their $2,000/pr, made-in-Ohio Art Deco model (inside speakers) last year and it was quite nice.
The amps are Hans Audio 300 B SE 12.5 watts per side, $1,800 a pair mono blocks. With a name like "Hans", you might think they are made in Germany, but no, made in Taiwan. Sounded good though.