STEREOMOJO SPECIAL REPORT
Clark Hertz & James Darby
JD: For our Senior Editor for Canada Clark Hertz who lives in Saskatoon, Saskatewan and many of you who live north of the Mason-Dixon in the US, these pictures probably invoke feelings of misery and annoyance. Snow is not your friend. But for this South Florida (where it never snows) boy who left temperatures of 90 degrees, the blizzard on the second day of the show was pure delight. I ran outside to see it, feel it and watch it. It was the most beautiful, puffy-flaked snow I'd ever seen. The locals had hoped their snow season was over as mountains of the stuff which had been ploughed to ten feet high along the roads were still very much in evidence all over the city.
JD: It was very interesting to see so many turntables at the show, and beyond that, so many new turntables. Take a look at this one called the Calibre Mk 101. This is a first ever table from Audio Excellence in Ontario. It weighs in at a hefty 50 lbs from the marble plinth and a 1.5" polished acrylic platter. It even comes with a Rega-type tonearm.
Now, can you guess how much this little beastie sells for? How about $4,000. No? $3,000 then. Still too much. It's $1995. And they said vinyl was dead...
Avid also debuted a new table dubbed the Diva II. Anyone notice the palindrome? Diva is Avid spelled backwards. It also is a low price leader at only $2,600 with arm but no cartridge.
The foundation of the Diva II is the same ultra rigid, one piece aluminum casting used for their other models. The arm and platter are mounted to this using the same sapphire bearing and clamping system as their other turntables. The vibration caused by the cartridge during replay is effectively channeled to this main chassis. Platter construction is MDF with the same mat as the Volvere and Sequel models, ensuring an impedance miss-match with the record and with the aid of the clamp reduces energy entering the platter avoiding sound colorations.
They have employed a triple elastomer layer system using a uniquely tailored sorbathane compound they call their Isolating Support Platform. The external power supply feeds a powerful motor to give excellent speed stability and dynamic sound. Looks like a lot of table for the money.
The McIntosh MT10 is not brand new as it was introduced last year, but we've never seen it in doing its fabulous glow in the dark trick like this. Just the fact that this venerable company chose now to make their first turntable adds a lot of credence to the fact that LPs are here to stay and is one bandwagon worth hopping on. If you have not yet discovered the joys of vinyl,you are missing something special.
Sporting McIntosh-like beautiful big blue meters (say that fast 3 times), this new Cayin integrated is a tube/mosfet hybrid design that puts out 80 wpc. This thing really looked impressive. They were offering a "show special" on this for only $1,600
Another exciting premiere was the new "The Music" speaker from Vienna Acoustics. The top is a separate enclosure that rotates to enable better room tuning and imaging. It also features their new flat concentric 7" midrange that reproduces 7 octaves in a single phase coherent time plane. What they say is revolutionary about this driver is that they have found a way to make a flat driver that is stiff enough so that it need not be the traditional cone shape to be rigid enough. Cones, they say, add mass which this new design reduces by using special polymers and radial ribs. The ribs also help dissipate standing waves, and because there is no horn loading, there is no throat coloration.
There is also a new soft domed tweeter and three 10" proprietary drivers that handle bass down to 18 cycles.
John Marks of Stereophile came in while I was there and played cuts from his new pipe organ recordings. Very impressive - the music and the speakers. I was honored that he gave me a copy.
He also introduced me to Danielle de Niese, a new operatic soprano.Well, not her in person, but her CD, which is a shame because JM had her press kit which featured several...um...alluring pictures of her. Let's just say she would have been a fine choice for the model in the KEF Muon ad. I found a picture of her for you. Are you liking us now?
Considering the technology and Vienna's always gorgeous cabinetry and craftsmanship, "The Music" seems well priced at $26,000/pr.
Clark: A prototype SACD player from Cary was at the show with interesting cut outs on the top.
JD: Yeah...too bad it was just sitting there and not hooked up.
Clark: Blue Circle audio were showing their DAR integrated amp and the BC709 phono stage.
Clark: The French Carat line looks promising with reasonable prices and a Hovland like look.
JD: These caught my eye too, Clark. The A57 integrated (left on top) is 80x80 watts and has 5 inputs on back plus MM/MC phono as well as a headphone jack in addition to an MP3 player input on the front. All that and smarts looks too for $1,495. Can you look up the Canadian distributor and see if you can get some of this gear for our readers?
Clark: The Norma Revo 50, 50 watt integrated amp from Cremona Italy for $3500 looks solid as a brick and will have a matching CD player to join it soon. Also in the line are a pair of stand up 250 watt monoblock amps.
JD: They make several lines with the Revo being the top. Those thick front plates do look impressive. I had never heard of this brand, Clark. Looks like they are right up Stereomojo's alley.
Clark: TubeMagic is a brand new line of tube electronics from Canada. The line includes a pair of single ended 300B pure class A monoblocks amps and preamps. Company president Eddie Wong is standing next to a picture of his passive hydraulic isolator system.
JD: I loved the substantial yet elegant look of these. Clark, we have to get some of these for review!
300B x 2 Pararell Single Ended 20W mono block
EL34 x 1 Driver / 6SN7GT x 1 Input
RCA input standard / optional with XLR Balanced input
High voltage transformer, Filament transformer and choke customed with M6 core,
Hammond classic output transformer
BHC, Rubycon electrolytic capacitors, Jenzen Copper Foil capacitors
D.H. Lab cables
MUCH MORE TO COME
from Montreal & Stereomojo