STEREOMOJO SPECIAL DUAL REPORT

Part 4

 

 

 

 

Vincent is another company that makes high value/moderate priced stereo gear. They do a lot of advertising - the model in the picture is the same one in the ad in the upper right corner.

They are a mass marketer with products sold through online retailers Audio Advisor. Still, our readers have told they like our unbiased take on Vincent products since the mass market audio press gives them rather ravish reviews. We want to know if they are that good, too. They make a very broad line of products from solid state to tube amps to speakers and, of course, cables.

The CD player on top represents one of Vincent's world premiers at CES 2010. It has switchable tube/transistor outputs that can be toggled via the remote control.

Funny....thier brochure says to use the transistor outputs if you want "a bit more edge".  It also features balanced outs and weighs 24 pounds. Price is $4,495.

Underneath the CD player is the Vincent V60 tube integrated. The brochure shouts that it is "Absolute Sound's integrated Amp of the Year!".  The power stage uses 8 Russian 6CA7 tubes. Auto bias.

Retails for $4,995.

 

Lower line preamp $1,399 & CD player. Player is $2,995

The "peek-a-boo" tube window is very cool, though.

 

Vincent's MC/MM phono stage. No tubes and preset for 47 &100 ohms at $359.

We must admit that Vincent's "Designed in Germany, Made in China" is very good looking product and from what we could tell at the show, sounds pretty good, too.

Solidly built and well designed. we're intrigued and are going to pursue future reviews with company rep Tom Myers.

 

This was our first listen to Teresonics speakers - all single horn. We must say the large model sounded very impressive running through the Fosgate preamp and a one-off custom made amp.

Regular price is $9,975, but designer Mike Zivkevic was running a show special for $8,980. We listened to several cuts from the Stereomojo Ultimate Evaluation CD and were very impressed.

Mike said he'd send us the smaller Magus model for review which is the first commercially available speaker to use the new Lowther DX65. We can't wait.

Our head guy ran into Clement Perry, head guy at Stereotimes. They talked about the perils of reviewing and running a review publication, shared some personal philosophies and Clement even invited James up to his place for some listening sessions. Clement said he reads Stereomojo regularly and even tells his new reviewers to read James' reviews for an example of how to write a good one. That was very flattering considering that Clement is one of the best writers out there. What is much more important is that Clement did not come off as a jerk, or diva, or arrogant at all. He was just a great guy who expressed clearly that his heart and soul was in love with music. "Music has always come first with me", he said. Amen. He also said that he's not looking to be the biggest publication. It seems Stereotimes and Stereomojo have some things in common. James is looking forward to taking Mr. Perry up on his invite. The audio press needs more people who do not view each other as enemies. We believe that we should all be pursuing the same thing and sharing our knowledge and experience with people who have the same passions and need some honest help to assist them in navigating high-end audio and its attendant audio marketing and hype which can be a very daunting

Ironically, as James walked into the next room, he ran into a reviewer from Stereophile, Jason Victor Serinius. Darby asked him if he was having a good show, to which Jason looked at him over his reading glasses and replied, "Why shouldn't I be having a good show...we're at the top of the food chain here".

And there, in a nutshell, is the difference between Stereophile and "the rest of us". Arrogant, condescending and power hungry. Just the opposite of Clement and several other reviewers from other publications we always run into, and we must say, some of the reviewers who write for Stereophile and TAS. They are not all jerks. It's a shame that some are, really. But we guess it takes all kinds...

 

We've reviewed 2 of the 3 Benchmark products seen here, though they have added an "HDR" designation to the models which stands for "High Dynamic Range" by virtue of the Alps volume controller, but the one on the right is the ADC1, now with USB for $1,775. It works at 24/192 rather than the 24/96 of the others.

Peaking of DAC's, here's a hot items HRt Music Streamers are small, relatively inexpensive USB DAC designed mainly for use with home computers. The HRT's provide a completely isolated path from computer to audio system. They are said to derive its power from USB, but completely regenerate it which removes are the sonic noise and garbage from computers. "We've sold 7,000 of them worldwide", grinned Scott Markwell who distributes them. There are three versions at  $149, $349 and the new "pro" at $499. which has a lower noise floor and higher S/N ratio. They all only do 24/96 though. Still, they're plug and play for MAC and Windoze, they install themselves when you plug 'em in.

 

For the first time, we actively sought out the Onkyo room. It was full of mostly surround processing receivers, but buried in a corner we spied these 2-channel only models; an amp and CD players. Several of our readers have told us how good some of these "midfi" components sound now, especially at their bargain basement prices. The problem is, every time we talk to a rep, they seem to know about as much as the salesmen at Best Buy - which is very little. For example, the rep told me that the SACD/CD player pictured  (C-55VL $600) uses a 24/192 DAC. When we asked him if that meant it actually would play back 24/192 music files natively, he looked bewildered. We asked if the DAC downsampled music at higher bitrates. He didn't know. I asked him if the amp (A5VL $600) was Class D. Blank stare. He said I could look it up online. Sigh...

That has been the case with Sony, Kenwood, JVC and Panasonic. These guys don't know much about 2-channel products.

Well...here's what the Onkyo site says about the A-5VL amp: Beneath the A-5VL’s slim and elegant exterior lies a surprising amount of amplification muscle. You might wonder how Onkyo managed to incorporate the functionality of a pre- and power amp into such a slender integrated package. The key is the A-5VL’s extremely energy-efficient design. Because it produces much less heat than a typical amplifier, the A-5VL requires only a small heat sink. This leaves

ample space for a range of precision-crafted audiophile-grade parts, such as specially audio-tuned capacitors and thick, low-impedance copper bus plates. The A-5VL employs Onkyo’s exclusive VLSC™ technology to ensure a smooth, pulse noise-free signal during conversion from digital to analog. You’ll enjoy precise and faithful reproduction of any audio source, whether it’s a CD, a tuner, or a turntable. As the A-5VL is also compatible with Onkyo’s optional RI (remote interactive) Docks for the iPod®, you also have the convenience of controlling playback of your iPod via the amplifier’s remote controller.

Hmmm...sounds like a Class D or some sort of switching amp, don't you think? Still, if our readers want us to review an Onkyo, we'll try to get one.  If there's something YOU want us to review, just write us.

Now ehre's a guy who knows about his products. He builds them by hand himself. We always enjoy talking to Ty Lashbrook because he's knowledgable, smart, knows his stuff, loves music and is a lot of fun to boot. Now if he'd just follow through with his promises to send us some of his speakers! He assures us he will this time. we hope. He makes good stuff at pretty good prices,too. He was showing off his big daddy Decade D1 that were huge at $13,500/pr. He makes lots of smaller speakers though and he says he's working on a brand new model he promises to send us.

 

 

You might have noticed the Bel Canto gear in Ty's system above. Bel Canto showed a new e.One REF150s amp which at $1495 is a fully balanced dual-mono amplifier making 150Wpc into 8 ohms. How do they get that much power out of something so small?

They also showed 3 new DACs: the e.One DAC1.5 at $1,395, e.One DAC2.5 at $1,995, and the e.One DAC3.5VB at $3,495. They all employ the new "virtual battery" system that eliminates AC grunge (very important in Class D amps particularly) and their Two-Stage Master Reference UltraClock.

 

 

Pretty cool pictures and descriptions.

Show me more!

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