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Lindemann Musicbook Source II and Power II

From the Lindemann press release

Following the recently announced Musicbook POWER II, the Musicbook SOURCE is now available from LINDEMANN in its second generation as well. Both models have been carefully revised and now, as a team, offer even more musical information together with an amazing sense for timing and interplay. Sound quality at the limits of technical feasibility! 

Important to know: despite considerable bottlenecks of the electronics market LINDEMANN continues to manufacture the musicbooks in series. The production is secured for the upcoming years! This works not least owing to 100% made in Germany. 

POWER II 

In its current version, the Musicbook POWER II has become some kind of hybrid amplifier: The voltage amplification is largely provided by an ultra quality analogue J-FET gain stage; the adaptation to the speakers is handled by proven N-Core circuit technology which is used as a power buffer. The result is impressive: sparkling verve and a wealth of detail, combined with total control over the loudspeaker. 

Prices: Musicbook POWER II 500 = EUR 2,690.– / Musicbook POWER II 1000 = 3,590.– 

SOURCE II 

Likewise, the Musicbook SOURCE II has been systematically developed further – with a focus on the analogue preamp. The headphone output sounds even better now and can also drive 16-ohm headphones. 

Even more effort was put by LINDEMANN into the further development of the firmware where initial bug fixes and patches have finally turned into a completely new stack. The most important novelties are the implementation of Spotify Connect and TIDAL Connect. Moreover, there are minor and major new features such as the elimination of the lipsync problem when connecting a TV set, network standby, fixed-level line output with analogue volume control bypass, dB-linear volume control in 80 incremental steps, sampling rate display for the digital inputs, Spotify selection via remote control without using the app and many others. 

Lindemann Musicbook Source II
Lindemann’s latest preamplifier in the Musicbook line: Source II

Owing to 1-bit re-sampling, the great-sounding AKM converter modules and the upgraded preamp, the new Musicbook SOURCE II once again raises the sound benchmark for the best streaming DACs. By the way: despite worldwide supply shortages LINDEMANN will also in the future relies on the probably best converter modules from AKM and the already legendary 1-bit re-sampling process for the SOURCE II! 

Prices: Musicbook SOURCE II = EUR 3,590.– / Musicbook SOURCE II CD = 3,890.— 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST 

As you may well expect from LINDEMANN, “ancient“ models – as far as possible – can always be kept up to date. Since early November existing users of the Limetree BRIDGE, Limetree NETWORK and Musicbook SOURCE I models can also enjoy almost all features of the SOURCE II with a general and, as usual, free firmware update (if not already present)! 

For more information see www.lindemann-audio.com 

 

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Rogers LS3/5A SE stand-mount loudspeakers

The Rogers LS3/5A SE maintains the BBC legacy while adding to it just enough to make the speaker that bit more exciting sounding, yet not so much as to undermine what makes the speaker so beloved. Meanwhile the stand will make a group that often dismisses such things sit up and take notice. And the combination of the two makes a LS3/5A sound that I always wanted to hear, but never quite worked out in the real-world.

 

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Two-way infinite baffle stand-mount loudspeaker

  • Frequency response: 80Hz–20KHz +/-3dB
  • Nominal Impedance: 15 Ohms
  • Bass/midrange: 110mm Bextrene cone
  • Tweeter: 19mm Mylar dome
  • Crossover frequency: 3KHz
  • Sensitivity: 82.5dB/W/M
  • Recommended amplifier range:
    30-80 Watts
  • Finish: Amazaque (other finishes on request)
  • Grille: Black Tygan
  • Dimensions (H×W×D): 305 × 190 × 165mm
  • Weight: 4.9Kg (per speaker)
  • Price: £3,499 per pair

Type: dedicated loudspeaker stands

  • Base plate: 210mm (W) × 290mm (D)
  • Top plate: 190mm (W) × 160mm (D)
  • Height: including base and top plate 610mm excluding spikes
  • Weight: 4.3 Kg each, excluding spikes
  • Construction: Panzerholz wood
  • Finish/: Black
  • Price: £1,499 per pair

 

Manufactured by: Rogers International UK Ltd

Tel: +44(0)333 533 0135

URL: rogers-hifi.uk

Reproduced from Issue 195

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Line Magnetic LM-512 CA preamp/LM-845 Premium integrated/power amp

The balance here was more mid-forward, which meant that voices and brass were more prominent but not to the detriment of the musical whole. The quiet atmospherics at the start of Michael Chapman’s ‘Aviator’ [Fully Qualified Survivor, Harvest] seemed so natural and intriguing with lots of depth in the violin and bass, the amp raising this song up and revealing its sad beauty in full effect.

Good tube amplification puts back what the recording, mastering and pressing process leaves out. It may do this thanks to what are in essence subtle colorations to the sound that can be picked up on the test bench, but they are not perceived as distortions by the ear, and the effect is more of an enhancement. This Line Magnetic pairing is a lot of amplifier for the money, even at the official price, definitely one to hear if you want to get to the heart and soul of your music collection.

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

LM-512 CA

  • Type: Valve-driven line-stage preamplifier
  • Valve complement: Two RCA 22DE4, two 6922, two Mullard 6KZ8 valves
  • Analogue inputs: Three pairs of single-ended inputs (via RCA jacks), one pair of balanced inputs (via XLR connectors)
  • Analogue outputs: One pair of balanced outputs (via XLR connectors), one pair of single-ended outputs (via RCA jacks)
  • Input impedance: 600kOhms (RCA)
  • Output impedance: Not specified
  • Bandwidth: 17Hz–100kHz (–3dB, RCA)
  • Gain: 24dB
  • Distortion: 0.5dB (1kHz)
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 90dB
  • Dimensions (H×W×D): 196 × 430 × 383mm
  • Weight: 20kg
  • Price: £8,499

LM-845 Premium

  • Type: Valve-driven stereo integrated/power amplifier
  • Valve complement: Two 12AX7, two 310A, two 300B, two 845 valves
  • Analogue inputs: Three pairs single ended (via RCA jacks), one pair balanced (via XLR), one preamplifier input (via RCA jacks)
  • Analogue outputs: Two sets of speaker taps for 4, 8, and 16 Ohm loads (via 5-way binding posts)
  • Power output: 30Wpc
  • Bandwidth: 15Hz–35kHz (-1.5dB)
  • Sensitivity: Line 250mV, pre in 1V
  • Distortion: 1% THD
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 87dB
  • Dimensions (H×W×D):
    Control Chassis: 460 × 435 × 456 mm
    Output Chassis: 165 × 435 × 410 mm
  • Weight: 40kg + 20kg
  • Price: £9,999

Manufacturer: Line Magnetic Audio Co. Ltd

URL: line-magnetic.eu

UK Distributor: VAL HiFi

Tel: 0333 577 2005

URL: valhifi.co.uk

 

Reproduced from Issue 195

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Amphion Argon 3S stand-mount loudspeaker

And it’s not like the Argon 3S lacks heart. They will make very good use of lots of high quality power. Patricia Barber, ‘Mourning Grace’ from Café Blue UN-mastered [Premonition] went antisocially loud without getting hard or shouty, retaining all the important nuance and the interplay between what are very obviously superlative musicians. ‘The Moon’ from Mythologies [Blue Note] shows her very much at the top of her game; atmospheric, driving, urgent and compelling, Barber’s piano is agile, tuneful and the subtleties of her phrasing very apparent; this is a convincing and involving musical event.

So if there’s a tradeoff, it is perhaps on the continuum between speed and agility, or scale and ultimate depth, but in reality, in normal sized rooms, this represents a relatively small shifting in one direction or the other. And the other strengths both loudspeakers have, in terms of an overall coherence, an ability to get out of the way and let the music speak for itself, the easy, natural way they draw you in to the performance, that was there in bucketloads in both designs. Don’t dismiss the Amphion Argon 3S, and don’t assume it can’t make sense in a high end system. It has reminded me that enough of all the important things is actually plenty.

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Type: Two way, standmount loudspeaker with passive bass radiator
  • Driver complement: 1 × 1” titanium tweeter; 1 × 6.5” aluminium woofer
  • Crossover frequencies: 1600 Hz
  • Frequency response: 38 Hz–25,000 Hz (-6dB)
  • Impedance: 8Ω
  • Sensitivity: 87 dB
  • Power handling: 50–150 W (recommended)
  • Dimensions (H×W×D): 380 × 191 × 305 mm
  • Weight: 12Kg
  • Finishes: white (accent colour options available for driver grilles); black; walnut
  • Price: £2,000 (white/black); £2,200 (walnut)

 

Manufacturer: Amphion Loudspeakers Ltd

Tel: +358 17 2882 100

URL: amphion.fi

 

UK sales: Auden Distribution

Tel: +44 (0) 7917 685759

URL: audendistribution.co.uk

Reproduced from Issue 195

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Young Shakespeare by Neil Young

Young’s latest release in the Neil Young Archives Performance Series is Young Shakespeare, a live solo acoustic performance recorded on January 22, 1971 at the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut. It was a part of the Journey Through The Past tour, recorded just three days after the Toronto, Canada concert released in 2007 as Live At Massey Hall 1971 and only a couple of months after release of Young’s third album After The Gold Rush. This concert was recorded on film for German television broadcast and is being release simultaneously as a single LP and a package with the LP, a CD and a DVD of the concert film. This is the first official release of the music, little of which has found its way to bootlegs. A short while ago, in advance of the release, Young posted to his blog that in his opinion the concert was superior to the Massey Hall recording, “I say this is the best ever. Young Shakespeare is the performance of that era. Personal and emotional, for me, it defines that time.”

The 12-song set list is shorter than Massey Hall’s 17 songs, and eleven of the songs overlap. Half the songs were new to the audience, having not yet been released on an album. And what a song list! Twelve songs drawn from Young’s most creative period. ‘Tell Me Why’, ‘Old Man’, ‘The Needle And The Damage Done’, ‘A Man Needs a Maid/Heart Of Gold (Medley)’ – you get the picture. A collection of greatest hits performed before anyone had ever heard most of them. And when they were officially released, they were built up with a band, produced in a studio with most of the warts burned off. Here, the songs are stripped down both acoustically and sometimes lyrically. Even more than in the Massey Hall concert, this is a more intimate Neil Young, more fragile and introspective. Part of that effect is the way the two recordings document the crowd noise—Massey Hall’s audience response up front and loud compared to the distant and more muted crowd noise in the barn like Shakespeare Theatre. Part of that fragile impression comes from the more out of tune piano used in Connecticut and the greater number of wrong notes struck there, as though Young was searching for a sound he had not quite identified. Notwithstanding these more technical explanations, Young seems to have shifted his approach and squeezed more angst from the lyrics. The biggest surprise is ‘A Man Needs A Maid’. The song, first appearing as a studio release on Harvest previously left me cold, with Young coming off a bit of a misogynist, a lazy bastard unable to pick up after himself. With slightly expanded lyrics and a more contemplative mood here, he presents as a likeable guy struggling with insecurity. On ‘The Needle And The Damage Done’ Young’s stage banter has been refined and his sincerity carries over into the diffident performance. In ‘Old Man’ Young seems to have wiped the earlier sneer off his face referring to the 70-year-old caretaker of his ranch, a sentiment he probably feels more comfortable with now that he is past that mark.

The recording was made by a German television crew, and the recording engineer was Dutch counterculture photographer and film and television director Wim van der Linden. It is a very well recorded concert, but not the equal of the Massey Hall concert. Or even the UCLA concert eight days later, used to pull ‘Needle And The Damage Done’ for Harvest. Much of the blame goes to the venue, with a Shakespeare Theatre being an inferior place for recording music. The voice is a little thin by comparison. The guitar lacks the three dimensional ‘you are there’ fullness found on the Massey Hall recording, but that is a tough comparison.

Unlike so much of Young’s output, this is not all analogue. Chris Bellman of Bernie Grundman used 192/24 bit Plangent-processed masters, a fact refreshingly disclosed on the back cover and record label. The 150‑gram pressing from Record Industry in The Netherlands was flat and quiet. This is an essential part of any Neil Young collection. Even if you have the Massey Hall LP set, this concert packs a more distilled punch. If it falls short of the Massey Hall acoustics, it shows Young growing up quick over just three days!

Børresen Acoustics 01 Silver Supreme Edition stand‑mount loudspeaker

In use, however, I found they are so good at soundstaging, you tend to want to accent that. I found myself repositioning the speakers so that they fire across the room rather than down. This meant they were wider than usual with a sharp toe-in. In so doing, I created a very wide, but incredibly detailed, soundstage. The worry here with most loudspeakers is that added space comes at the expense of some energy and rhythmic pace, but here that was never a problem. The 01 Silver Supreme Edition just does everything right.

I started this review with a cinematic joke about trailers, so it’s fitting I end this review with a line from a cinematic joke: The Godfather Part III, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” But that’s a different Michael speaking; Corleone not Børresen. Just when I thought the two-way stand-mount loudspeaker had reached its peak, Børresen comes along and pulls me back in by re-drawing the landscape with the 01 Silver Supreme Edition. While the notion of a two-way stand-mount loudspeaker hitting this price point is going to raise some eyebrows, those of us who can only dream of products at the lofty price point should think of this review as a ‘proof of concept’; the reduction of induction made by the ironless motor system, increased still further by swapping copper for silver in the pole ring, has significant benefits for the listener, and those benefits must be capable of filtering down to more attainably priced products in the future. In listening to the Børresen 01 Silver Supreme Edition, I think we are actually listening to the sound of audio’s tomorrow being forged.

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Type: Two-way bass reflex stand-mount loudspeaker
  • Drivers: Børresen planar ribbon tweeter, Børresen 114mm iron-free bass/midrange driver
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz–50kHz
  • Sensitivity: 86dB/1W
  • Impedance: >6Ω
  • Amplifier recommendations: >50W
  • Finish: Walnut
  • Dimensions (incl stand, W×H×D):
    25.8 × 110.3 × 25.8cm
  • Weight (incl stands): 18kg per loudspeaker
  • Price: €43,000 per pair

 

Manufacturer: Børresen Acoustics

URL: borresen-acoustics.com

 

UK Distributor: Auditorium Hi-Fi

URL: auditoriumhifi.co.uk

Tel: +44(0)7539 499449

Reproduced from Issue 195

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Linn Klimax DSM network streaming preamplifier

Another way of looking at this is it takes what the already excellent Linn Klimax DSM did and tears up that product’s rules of musical engagement in a very positive way. The older Klimax DSM got out of the way of the music better than most, but the new model makes that performance sound intrusive, arch, and overly mechanical by comparison. It’s still a world-class streamer, but the new model pushes those boundaries way further than ever.

The Linn Klimax DSM is one of those ultra-rare products that resets what you thought possible from a component, in this case streaming. If you are already down the top-tier Linn rabbit hole then this is a ‘must include’ on your wish list. But even those with absolutely nothing from the Scottish brand should put this on their ‘must hear’ list, simply because it gives you an insight into what streaming is truly capable of. Let’s not mince words; this is the best streaming audio component I’ve ever reviewed.

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Digital Inputs: Toslink: × 1, RCA S/PDIF: × 2 (1 configurable as an output), USB Type: B × 1, HDMI: × 4, HDMI ARC × 1 (via HDMI out), Ethernet: × 1 (1000BASE-T RJ45), Optical Ethernet: × 1 (SFP socket), Wi-Fi (802.11ac), Bluetooth (4.2)
  • Analogue inputs: RCA Phono: × 2 pairs, Balanced: XLR × 1 pair
    Digital Outputs: HDMI: × 1
  • Analogue Outputs: RCA Phono: x 1 pair, Balanced XLR: × 1 pair
  • Exakt Link: × 2
  • HDMI Specification: HDMI 2.0
    HDMI support: 4K res @60Hz 4:4:4; HDCP 2.2; HDR; eARC; CEC
  • Formats supported: FLAC, ALAC, WAV, DSD (64/128/256), MP3, WMA (except lossless), AIFF, AAC, OGG
  • Integrated Services supported: Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify Connect, Airplay, Roon, TuneIn, Calm Radio
  • Resolution: Up to 24-bit 384 kHz
  • Screen Type: 1600 × 480 TFT display
  • Dimensions (W×H×D): 35 × 13 × 35cm
  • Weight: 16.4 kg
  • Price: £30,000

 

Manufacturer: Linn Products Ltd

URL: linn.co.uk

Tel: +44(0)141 307 7777

Reproduced from Issue 195

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Audience Au24SE and Au24SX headphone cables

John McDonald has been designing and building top-quality high end audio components and cables for many years. His zeal for innovation and passion for music have garnered praise from industry peers and audiophiles alike. McDonald met the late Richard Smith (fellow designer and music lover) in 1972, and the two formed Sidereal Akustic Audio Systems in 1979. In 1997 they teamed up with design engineer Roger Sheker and founded Audience. McDonald has also gained a reputation for bucking trends and resisting features serving only as marketing fodder, opting instead for highly researched scientific methodologies.

The Au24SE is the upgrade to Audience’s acclaimed Au24e cable series. The cable uses continuous cast high-purity OCC copper and Audience’s proprietary geometry configuration, which seemingly aides in its remarkable detail retrieval capabilities. Au24SX offers further advancements over SE, and, “represents the biggest transformation in cable performance ever achieved by Audience.” These are strong words, which SX’s sonic performance backs up with gusto.

SX incorporates purer OCC copper, “now six nines” according to Audience, as well as higher quality insulation, via an XLPE dielectric. Additionally, SX is cryogenically treated in Audience’s in-house cryo lab. Both cables are fantastically resolving and fast. Transients ping across the soundstage with speed and precision. Their handling of harmonic subtleties and sense of finesse is exquisite. SX outshines SE in this regard, producing a level of transparency that is absolutely window-like (and large windows at that).

Musical details, both micro and macro, are clearly rendered and colourful. SE and SX both reproduce natural, believable timbres and tonalities, with SX going a step further, offering an even more organic presentation. There’s warmth here, but not so much that it masks or overly shades the audio signal. Audience has two winners on its hands with its Au24SE and SX headphone cables. Bravo.

Price: From £1,300/1.5m (Au24SE), from £1,699/1.5m (Au24SX)

audience-av.com

Reproduced from Issue 166

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Moon by Simaudio 680D streaming DAC

Moon’s goal for the 680D was to provide as much of the capability of the flagship 780Dv2 for a lot less money, which – given the 780Dv2’s reputation for high performance – is no small achievement. However, Moon’s 680D more than delivers the goods. The 680D is also an expensive piece of audio equipment and the engineering team is very aware of the investment being made by their customers. Their goal was to give the end user many years of high-end sound with low maintenance or fuss. I like the idea of years of set it and forget it. I would heartily agree that they accomplished their mission. The 680D is certainly not inexpensive, yet after spending time with it you wonder how much farther could you go for better sound and at what price? Add to that the now required function of streaming and a ten-year warranty with an essentially obsolescence proof upgrade path and you have the beating heart of a modern high-end system. Do yourself a favour and seek out a Moon dealer for an audition. This one should go home with you and stay there for a long time.

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Type: Streaming digital converter
  • Digital inputs: USB, AES/EBU, SPDIF, Optical, Ethernet,
    Wi-Fi and aptX audio for Bluetooth
  • Music providers supported: Spotify Connect, Tidal Masters, Deezer Hi-Fi and Qobuz Sublime+ Music Services, HighResAudio (where available)
  • AirPlay 2: compatible
  • Roon: Roon Ready
  • PCM Bit-depth range: 16 – 32 bits
  • PCM sampling frequency rates: 44.1 – 384 kHz
  • DSD sample rates: DSD64, DSD128 & DSD256, DSD and MQA decoding from all digital inputs
  • Multi-room synchronized playback
  • Power supply: MOON Hybrid Power (MHP) DC output, 12 stage DC voltage regulation with two stages of M-LoVo (MOON Low Voltage Regulation) and 4 stages of i2DCf (Independent Inductive DC Filtering)
  • Frequency response (full range): 2Hz–100kHz +0/-3dB
  • THD @ 1kHz, 0dBFS (A-weighted) 0.0005 %
  • Intermodulation distortion 0.0003 %
  • Dynamic Range: 123 dB
  • Signal-to-noise Ratio: 123 dB @ full output
  • Channel Separation: 120 dB
  • Intrinsic Jitter: 1 Pico seconds RMS
  • Analog Output @ 0dBFS: 2.0 V
  • Analog output impedance: 100 Ω
  • Shipping weight: 18 kg.
  • Dimensions (W×H×D): 47.6 × 10.2 × 42.7 cm
  • Price: £8,900

 

Manufacturer: Simaudio

URL: simaudio.com

 

UK Distributor: Renaissance Audio

URL: renaissanceaudio.co.uk

Tel: +44(0)131 555 3922

Reproduced from Issue 195

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Atlas Element achromatic RCA analogue interconnect cable

Attempting to identify your system’s ideal interconnects is a valid, if not entirely mainstream, pastime. Yes, there’s a hint of ‘tinkering’ to it, and it’s all too possible to get stuck in a loop of chopping and changing. But if you’re judicious, and if you accept that sounding ‘different’ isn’t automatically the same as sounding ‘better’, it’s possible to wring every penny’s-worth of performance from your set-up. There’s no doubt the new Atlas Element can help you hear where your money has gone.

 

Price and Contact Details

  • Atlas Element Acromatic: £80/1m pair

Manufacturer: Atlas Cables

URL: atlascables.com

Tel: 0800 023 7370 (UK only)

Tel: +44(0)1563 572666

Reproduced from Issue 193

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Gryphon StandArt Rack System

Place a component you know well on or in the StandArt, and it simply sounds more like itself. Of course, that might be good or bad, but it’s hard to ignore the simple truth that the Gryphon rack is letting you hear more of (or more about) the products it supports than it intrudes itself. Install your whole system, and the StandArt goes a long way towards reminding you just why you bought each of those components and the system as a whole. The sound comes up fresh and direct, expressive and communicative – just like somebody opened the musical taps. The combination of unforced clarity and musical organisation, rhythmic flexibility and dynamic shading combine to free the music from the system producing it. The stand also eliminates the thickened low-frequency fog belts or etched transparency, smeared harmonics and collapsed tonality that seems to afflict all but the best equipment supports. Instead, the Gryphon rack succeeds in eradicating its contribution, both on a macro and equipment interface. It’s effective at draining away energy generated within your components, and it achieves that without falling prey to an overall resonant signature of its own.

Practically speaking, at 498 × 448mm the StandArt’s shelves might be considered small, although they’re large enough for most purposes, even the deep chassis dimensions of CH Precision components. Overall I’d describe them as nicely judged, with a depth dimension that helps maintain an overall compact footprint. Gryphon offers a couple of larger shelves for bigger units to suit either their Antileon Evo or Mephisto amps, so one of those should suffice. Meanwhile, even a fully loaded four-shelf unit over a metre tall retains the outstanding, planted rigidity characterising the range.

For once, the simple solution is also the one that works. If the perfect rack is one that can be seen but not heard, then the Gryphon StandArt is getting pretty darned close to that ideal. Add to that it’s practicality, sound engineering, robust construction and resilient materials and you’ve got the promise of serious longevity, both in terms of its adaptability and its overall appearance. If you want a rack that’s truly fit and forget, then look no further. If you want a rack that’ll make the most of your system, then this is it. And if you want a rack that does all that and looks great doing it, the Gryphon StandArt does exactly what it says on the tin: It comes from Gryphon, it’s a stand, and it’s a work of art, functionally and musically!

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Type: High-mass component stand
  • Shelf Construction: Kerrock/HDF constrained layer
  • Uprights: Double cell aluminium, sand filled
  • Shelf Dimensions (W×D): 498 x 448mm
  • Heights: 548mm, 800mm or 1124mm
  • Finish: Graphite/Black
  • Prices: Amp stand £3,350-£3,850
    StandArt Racks £5,900 (two shelf 548)-£18,750 (twin four shelf 1024)

Manufacturer: Gryphon Audio Designs

URL: gryphon-audio.com

Tel: +45 8689 1200

Reproduced from Issue 193

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Astell&Kern announce ACRO BE100 Bluetooth wireless loudspeaker

From the Astell&Kern UK press release

 

Astell&Kern, the global leader in premium high-resolution audio devices debuts the ACRO BE100 Bluetooth wireless speaker. The result of Astell&Kern’s advances in audio technology evolved over decades, this speaker delivers superior room-filling, hi-fi calibre stereo sound that belies it compact profile. Boasting a dedicated 32-bit DAC and support for the latest 24-bit hi-res quality wireless streaming codecs, the ACRO BE100 is the Bluetooth speaker of choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike.

Astell&Kern ACRO BE100 key features include:

  • Unique light and shadow effect design.
  • Dedicated 32-bit hi-fi grade DAC.
  • Support for 24-bit hi-res codecs aptX™HD and LDAC.
  • Superior stereo sound from a custom 4″ Kevlar woofer and 1.5″ silk dome tweeters.
  • Onboard Class-D amplifier with 55W of total power.
  • Ability to adjust treble and bass sound settings.
  • Arrives in stylish white or black finishes to fit into any interior space.

Design for life

Sporting Astell&Kern’s recognisable signature angled design, influenced by the reflective interplay of shadow and light, the ACRO BE100 makes a striking design statement that can seamlessly fit into any living space. The triangular shapes on front metal-grille mesh compliments the premium faux leather finish of main unit, while the top aluminium-hewn knurling-patterned knob allows accurate fine tuning of the volume, level-by-level, with a gentle touch.

The area below the volume control illuminates and acts as an indicator, flashing different colours for each mode or volume level, helping users to easily identify the speaker status and control it intuitively.

Dedicated DAC

Declaring its hi-fi sound credentials, the BE100 arrives with an onboard 32-bit high-quality DAC (digital-to-analogue converter). Where most common Bluetooth speakers rely on the limited DAC embedded into the Bluetooth chipset, the BE100’s dedicated DAC is based on the technology from Astell&Kern award-winning portable digital audio players. The separate internal circuitry ensures it has the capabilities to deliver a superior and detailed audio performance beyond its rivals.

Stereo sound

To help realise this class-leading sonic performance, the mid/bass driver and 2x tweeters have been custom-built. The 4-inch mid-bass cone is made from ultra-durable yet lightweight Kevlar fabric to improve response speed and timing and provide a more accurate bass sound. Furthermore, the rear port is installed to extend the speaker’s bass response. The two silk dome tweeters produce crystal clear high-frequencies, while sound-absorbing material inside the wooden cabinet reduces resonance by completely sealing the interior, enabling a full, rich fidelity.

Classy amp

Poorly designed amplifiers can produce clipping sounds at maximum volume. Employing its renowned expertise in amp design technology, Astell&Kern has developed a Class-D amplifier that guarantees consistent sound quality without distortion even at top volume.

The amp’s onboard digital crossover also ensures a clear and precisely timed sound by splitting the audio signal into different frequency range. In addition, dynamic range control (DRC) is used to protect the speaker unit as it hits maximum output power. To minimise jitter – the undesired deviation in time from the transmitted signal – the Bluetooth chipset is equipped with a 50ps clock to enable incredibly accurate sound.

High-definition connectivity

The latest high-definition wireless connectivity options are covered with the ACRO BE100 boasting Bluetooth® 5.0, providing greater range and a more stable wireless connection when streaming from a compatible device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Support for 24-bit aptX™ HD (48khz) and LDAC (96khz) codecs, offers the best possible wireless sound quality.

Elsewhere, music fans can tweak the sound with the onboard five-level treble and bass settings, while a 3.5mm AUX input allows the connection of Astell&Kern’s portable digital audio players and similar devices.

Please note a version of the ACRO BE100 featuring FM radio is available in selected countries.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Mid/Bass driver: 1x 4-inch

Tweeter: 2x 1.5-inch

Amplifier output: 55W (1x 25W + 2x 15W)

Frequency response: 50 – 20kHz

Maximum sound level: 94dB [email protected]

Bluetooth version: 5.0

Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX™HD, LDAC

Power input: 19V / 3,43A

AUX: 3.5mm stereo

Dimensions: 261 x 164 x 171mm

Weight: about 3.2kg

Price: £449 / €529 / $380

URL: astellkern.co.uk

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