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September 2008


SOUNDINGS

Dear Sound by Singer family member:

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since our last newsletter in November of 2007. Please don’t think we have been idle or forgotten about you. Quite the contrary. Over the last 11 months we have created and launched what I believe to be the most detailed, informative and easy to use high end audio website of any dealer out there: SOUND BY SINGER.com. And, should you wish to buy one of our component selections, the website includes a vastly improved online store with a large selection of the products we carry.

THE WEBSITE is intended to be a reference source for us as well as our customers! So do not be surprised if we look it up to answer one of your questions when you visit us in the store! But  for today have a look over the extensive newsletter we have put together which includes a run down on all of the new products from existing SBS companies and a synopsis on the lines we have brought in since our last newsletter.


AUDIO/VIDEO: ISSUES AND ANSWERS
 

Blu-ray or DVD, That seems to be the burning question on most A/V people’s minds.

The most frequently asked question we get these days in home theater is Should I do Blu-ray instead of DVD?
The short answer is No, not until the format is fully shaken out and better manufacturers have introduced high quality Blu-ray players.

Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc is the name of the dominant next-generation optical disc format. The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc.

The name Blu-ray is derived from the underlying technology, which utilizes a blue-violet laser to read and write data. The name is a combination of “Blue” (blue-violet laser) and “Ray” (optical ray).

The Blu-ray Disc format was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers, with more than 180 member companies from all over the world. 

The theoretical advantage of Blu-ray is its ability to play high definition video up to 1080p in resolution. In theory 1080p resolution offers up to 5 times the detail as standard DVD at 480p. At present there are hundreds of Blu-ray discs available with hundreds more on the way, as opposed to hundreds of  thousands of DVDs.

In practice, Blu-ray can look better than DVD and often does, depending upon what Blu-ray player and what DVD player and which Blu-ray disc vs. which DVD are being compared.

On the other hand, with many of the better DVD players out there like the Arcam and Esoteric models which upsample DVD’s 480p output to 1080p, the DVD actually appears more lifelike playing a DVD than the Blu-ray player does playing a Blu Ray Disc. THE BETTER DVD PLAYERS ALWAYS LOOK BETTER THAN THE BLU RAY PLAYER DOES PLAYING A  DVD because even though Blu-ray is backwards compatible, the Blu-ray machines out there at present really are optimized to play Blu-ray, leaving DVD as a poor cousin.

At present none of the really quality AV companies make Blu-ray players, in no small part because they are still working on the problem of making one player equally adept at playing all formats. So, until they succeed ,buy a Blu-ray player if you wish, (the Denon DVD -3800BDCI  at $1,995.00 is the best one out there at present) but not at the expense of  first investing in an outstanding DVD player.

UPGRADES AND OFFERS YOU CAN’T REFUSE

 

KRELL


 

Development of the Krell Evolution 707 A/V preamp inspired so many new ideas for improving their S-1000 that Krell decided to turn them into a new model, in fact two new models. The S-1200 and the S-1200U will be added to the S-Series lineup. Derived from the Evolution 707, the S-1200 and S-1200U feature even greater sound quality than the S-1000. New analog output
stages are dramatically more revealing and take full advantage of Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio lossless surround formats. Both models will include video transcoding – all signals coming in can be outputted via HDMI. The S-1200U adds video upconversion to 1080p/60Hz via HDMI and 1080p/30Hz to the component video outputs. The new models and upgrades are scheduled to be available late 4th quarter 2008. But, for you staunch Krell afficianodos, Through the month of September 2008, Krell has set up TWO outstanding programs …

For those of you considering the purchase of a Krell S-1000:
Today buy it @ 20% off retail ($5,200) and stop there. OR you can also pre-purchase an S-1200U upgrade for $4,500 ($1,000 off retail). The net effect of taking advantage of both upgrades: you get S-1200U for $9,700. A $2,300 savings off retail and get to use the S-1000 until the upgrades are ready.

For existing Krell S-1000 Customers:
Simply pre-purchase an S-1200U upgrade for $4,500 ($1,000 savings) from us  now and we will notify you when to return your unit for the upgrade!

 

NEW AND NOTEWORTHY


Focal JM LAB

In 2002, Focal JM LAB introduced the Grand Utopia Be which was the most technologically advanced mega speaker of its time, and the only transducer using a 100% pure beryllium tweeter. Now, 6 years later, Focal JM

Labs has created a new world reference loudspeaker, the GRAND UTOPIA EMtm, the only speaker in the world to employ an electromagnetic (EM) woofer.  Reintroducing a concept first pioneered in the 1930’s by Bell Labs, Focal has replaced the limited magnetic force available from a conventional woofer with the virtually unlimited and completely flexible force which electromagnetism affords. Until the Grand Utopia EM, this “ancient” technology was seen as being too complex to employ in home audio speakers; too complex, that is, until Focal figured out how to do it!

The external electromagnetic power supply uses a signal recognition system and offers 6 electrical adjustment levels for a delivered power to the  15 ¾ “ woofer of 9 watts to 90 watts permitting virtually unlimited control of the speaker/listening room coupling. As a result, the bass is as close to perfect as can be achieved in any environment; big room, small room, live room, dead room, or a completely acoustically neutral setting!

In addition to solving bass/room coupling issues, Focal extended the frequency response and efficiency of their now famous Beryllium tweeter ensuring seamless blending between drivers and extraordinary focus.

To ensure further that the Grand Utopia EM would be equally at home in rooms of any size and acoustic properties, Focal has incorporated a simply employed system of adjustments for infrabass, bass, midrange and treble  which permits the user to achieve the refined personalization of sound required by the specific listening environment. Though its 1,458 possible adjustments may seem daunting, in fact, the Focal Grand Utopia EM can be optimized for room acoustics in a few minutes by following the computer generated table of settings supplied with the speakers which describes which adjustments are to be used in a given acoustical setting.


 

The Grand Utopia EM’s spinal column hints at its ability to be easily mechanically adjusted by turning the supplied handle so that the tweeter and midrange drivers can be set precisely for any distance between listener and speakers. Turn the handle and the upper 4 enclosures spread out or contract as required to achieve perfect focal distance between you and the sound.

What do you get when you combine an electromagnetic woofer, a wide bandwidth high power handling extremely efficient Beryllium tweeter, 1,458 frequency/phase adjustments and perfect listener to speaker focal length? The most compelling, musically involving, transcendental moment you have ever experienced in front of a pair of speakers, that’s what! A sound which emanates from the stage in front of you as if there were no speakers -- only the music. Grand Utopia EM, a giant leap forward for audio which takes you beyond “speakers“ altogether.

SCALA UTOPIA
All Utopia in a 3-way floorstanding loudspeaker with moderate size, that's Scala Utopia. Endowed with superlative performance, Scala Utopia delivers incredible musicality. Everything is easy for this loudspeaker, everything becomes obvious, music is naturally flowing. Scala Utopia is not even difficult to set up or install! Like the Grand Utopia EM, the Scala Utopia affords the user considerable latitude in personalizing the speaker to the listening environment through its on board Treble and Bass adjustment controls. Of course The Scala incorporates

Focal’s  now legendary Utopia technologies including Beryllium tweeters, IAL2TM, Focus TimeTM, OPC+TM, WTM, Power FlowerTM,. An amazing
and fascinating loudspeaker; very high-end, without the common drawbacks.



DIABLO UTOPIA 
Compact, distinguished and captivating, Diablo Utopia is the ultimate vision of the reference bookshelf loudspeaker in the purest Focal tradition. Largely inspired from the Grande Utopia EM, it sets new milestones in the bass thanks
to its new patented 61/2" (16.5cm) Power Flower, with almost no saturation, and an integrated resonator. Fixed on a dedicated stand, Diablo Utopia enchants the midrange and the treble with its definition and demonizes the bass with a
density and a power handling never reached thus far.


KRELL INDUSTRIES

Krell Evolution 707
A surround sound preamplifier with no equal in sound quality and every one of the latest A/V bells and whistles, the Krell Evolution 707 is an audio/video tour de force which delivers unparalleled music and cinema soundtrack reproduction through the use of a full complement of advanced Krell technologies, including: Krell Current Mode, Evolution CAST, Class A, Evolution CAST and balanced outputs, user-configurable input assignment and system macros, main and remote zone control capability and broadcast-quality video circuitry.

Krell Evolution 707 features include:
8.4 channels of audio output features two center channel outputs and four subwoofer outputs for maximum flexibility in system design.

Two digital signal processors (DSPs), the Crystal CS49623 and CS49302 are employed to perform all surround mode processing.

Supports Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS6.1 ES, DTS5.1, DTS NEO:6, Dolby Pro Logic II processing as well as Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio lossless surround formats, plus nine proprietary Krell Music Surround modes.

Digital processing circuitry runs in double precision mode at a word length of 48-bits for the most precise division of frequencies and optimization of the system’s speaker/subwoofer combination.

12 output stages are fully balanced and feature Krell Current Mode topology with 1.5 MHz of bandwidth for accurate reproduction of today’s demanding movie soundtracks. Current audio signal transfer (CAST) outputs are supported for all 12 channels.

Evolution CAST, which stands for current audio signal transmission, is a proprietary method of sending the audio signal between components in the current domain, from a high impedance transmitter to a low impedance receiver. Krell components connected in Evolution CAST act together as an electrically unified whole, free from the deleterious effects normally imposed by the connecting cables.

Preamp mode bypasses all digital circuitry and routes the analog input, stereo or 7.1 multi-channel directly to the volume control for the purest path possible.

Separate power supplies for digital and analog circuit paths are linear design and feature custom made low-noise transformers and robust regulation.

All-discrete video circuitry bandwidth is greater than 350 MHz and provides pristine pass-through of all progressive and wideband high definition signals, including HDMI.

Faroudja DCDi Cinema (Directional Correlational Deinterlacing):
- A per-pixel video format converter – a unique algorithm identifies all the moving edges in a scene and adjusts the angle of interpolation at each pixel
- Eliminates staircasing or jagged edge artifacts
- Film mode detection features bad edit correction
- Emmy award winning

Faroudja Truelife Video Enhancer:
Identifies transitions considered to be the details in an image such as skin texture, freckles or hair for artifact free image enhancement.

 

MUSICAL FIDELITY


 

Musical Fidelity is hi-fi for music-lovers in the real world.

Musical Fidelity's philosophy is different from most manufacturers: make top-performing audio equipment at real-world prices. From the very beginning, they have pursued the twin ideals of performance and value.

The first Musical Fidelity product was created back in 1982. Today, they feature a full line of products, from the affordable A-series to the top-of-the-line KW-550 dual mono super integrated amplifier. We have been boosters for Musical Fidelity’s high value performance philosophy for years.
Recently, Musical Fidelity re-introduced a 21st century version of their classic A1 Class A integrated amp. You have to hear this one!

The new A1 is designed to give superlative sound. All aspects of its circuitry and layout

have been designed to this end. Conceptually, the circuit elements are similar to the revered kW Series. The only difference is that the A1 has less power and is a compact package. Within its power range the sound quality of the A1 is equal to anything from anywhere.

 

The matching A1 CD Pro is a top quality CD player. As everybody knows, sound quality starts at the beginning with the information gathering system.
The A1 CD Pro uses the Philips CD Pro 2 mechanism. This is an outstanding CD mechanism normally used in very expensive CD players such as the Nagra. And that's the starting point for the A1 CD Pro! Following on from the Philips CD Pro 2 mechanism we have a 24-bit 192K upsampling DAC, state-of-the-art filter and output technology as used in their X-DACv8 (rated by John Atkinson, Editor of Stereophile, as state-of-the-art).

All-in-all the A1 CD Pro is the synthesis of a series of simple ideas.
1.Take an outstanding CD mechanism.
2. Take a superb DAC.
3. Put them together in a beautiful package.
4. Beat up the suppliers to get killer prices on all parts.
5. Make large quantities.
6. Make a fair profit margin.

Sounds pretty obvious, doesn't it? That's what Musical Fidelity has done and the result is one of the best, if not the best, CD players in the world for its
price.

In Musical Fidelity's opinion, almost all hi-fi amplifiers available are underpowered. With speakers less than 92db sensitivity, Musical Fidelity believes that amplifiers with less than 200wpc are clipping frequently (and that means distortion and non-linearities).
The A5.5 integrated amplifier has 250 watts per channel and is capable of reproducing proper dynamic range. It has fabulous technical performance and a delicate neutral sound which belies its great muscle power potential. The A5.5 sounds rather like a super-quality tube amplifier but with guts and proper dynamic range.

Coupled with the A5.5 CD we reckon there isn't much available, at their price, which offers better performance than this pair.

 

The A5.5 tube hybrid CD player employs the best DAC's, filters and componentry to ensure technical performance which is close to the most expensive available.
Check up on their technical performance from the proper measurements made in magazines like Hi-Fi News or Stereophile and compare with the A5.5 CD. You won't see much difference because, in reality, there isn't much.
One thing for sure, within its price range, the A5.5 CD is pretty well as good as it gets. And far better than much of the competition which wants you to be fooled by the outrageous prices they're charging. While the top CD players justify their price tag and then some, it is not true that the more expensive it is, than the better it must be. Sometimes less is more!
The A5.5 CD offers superlative technical performance, great design and build quality and a subtle musical sonic performance. Great value for money.

The new Musical Fidelity 550K Supercharger increases the power of any 50 watt plus amplifier to over 550 watts RMS.
Musical Fidelity believes that most hi-fi amplifiers do not have nearly enough power to deliver musical realism. Until now the music lover either had to put up with inaccurate musical reproduction or fork out huge amounts of money for a physically massive amplifier to get that concert hall magic in their living room.

The new Musical Fidelity 550K Supercharger is a conceptual breakthrough and has never been done before in hi-fi. The 550K Supercharger is installed between the existing amplifier and loudspeakers. Nothing else has to be changed or touched. It increases the power of the existing amplifier from 50 watts to more than 550 watts which gives any existing system sufficient power to give realistic concert hall dynamics in the home.

The 550K Supercharger gives a new lease on life to existing hi-fi systems and allows the music lover to rediscover the passion and joy of music. Installing the 550K Supercharger is very easy. It fits between the existing amplifier and the loudspeakers. After it has been connected to your AC power outlet, nothing else needs to be done as the 550K Supercharger has a sophisticated turn on/turn off music sensing circuit. The audible effect of using the Supercharger is dramatic and has to be heard to be believed.


The 550K Supercharger is housed in a modern sleek package with a small footprint and can easily be positioned next to or behind the existing loudspeaker.

Musical Fidelity has a plan for anyone who ever wanted to start small and build up to a major hi-fi without the ruinous process of trading in your excellent amplifier for peanuts!
Step One: Get an A1 and have beautiful, exquisite sound.
Step Two: Add a Supercharger. Now you have a system which makes the most exquisite sound and has no limits in dynamic range.


  ... Sounds good to us and, hopefully, good for you.
 

SOULUTION


Like most rabid audiophiles, I have always believed that the sound of tube electronics were superior to solid state. My experience was that given a compatible speaker load and short cable lengths tubes seem to reproduce music with greater harmonic accuracy than transistors or FETs (Field Effect Transistors).
All of the assumptions based on this experience have been blown out of the water since I first heard the astonishing solid state electronics by Soulution! Soulution makes two preamplifiers, the Soulution 720 with phonostage and the Soulution 721 which is the same as the 720 but a linestage only; a stereo power amplifier, the Soulution 710 and a pair of monoblocks, the Soulution 700s.
Made in Switzerland and fabricated like a Patek Philippe, Soulution components produce about the most honest and engaging sound of any equipment I have ever heard on any speakers you mate them with. Soulution draws you into the music with the timing, transparency and harmonic richness of the best single ended triode (SET) amplifier but without any of their limitations or eccentricities. The sound is so captivating it is hard to analyze it; one just wants to sit and listen to what is

With an astonishing amount of power, it is no surprise that the Model 710 stereo amplifier (not to mention the Model 700 mono power amplifiers) demonstrates an exceptional ability to unleash explosive dynamics while preserving timing to perfection.

With these attributes it is entirely predictable that the Soulution amplifiers can thrill you with large orchestral works where their superb transparency brings order and clarity into a widely spreading acoustical image. What is interesting is how well they handle small groupings of instruments and human voices easily as well as any tube amplifier I have ever heard. 

Listening to a fine speaker system over the Soulution  preamp and power amp conveys the illusion that you are sitting right in front of the musician or musicians who are playing, neither close nor far away in a large open and tonally neutral hall. Soulution does not color the music either warm or cold. Its tonal colors are simply neutral. It does not embellish nor withhold anything.

If you are searching for the best electronics in the world, not just the best solid state electronics, but the best electronics period, you need to audition Soulution. Compare it to the best tube equipment by Zanden, VTL Reference, VAC, or Audio Note, and, who knows, even a rabid audiophile like you might go home with a solid state preamp and power amp.

 

J.C. Verdier


An elusive presence, more talked about than actually seen or heard, the legendary J.C. Verdier turntables have finally found a home at Sound By singer. One listen and you will agree that this turtntable is in the top 2 or 3 transcription decks in the world. A perfect platform to exploit the exceptional capabilities of the superb new Graham Phantom II tonearm, “Le Platine Verdier “ is a technological  tour de force.

The Platine Verdier employs a truly unique magnetic bearing/suspension system whereby its 18 kg platter is held in suspension by the repulsion of two magnetic fields allowing it to turn on an axis of only 20 mm of diameter! A coat of oil is then injected between the axle and the bearing of the platter to eliminate virtually all noise.

Constantly imitated but never equaled, the Platine Verdier with its amazing technology has been around for more than twenty years, during which time this marvel of engineering has become a transcription legend all over the world. Although a big part of the story, Verdier's magnetic bearing system is only one attribute of many that make the Verdier Platine one of the finest turntables in the world. Another is Le Verdier Platine's independent outboard motor which prevents even the tiniest vibrations from being transmitted into the platter. 33, 45 and 78 rpm speeds are available and the motor provides easily accessed controls for the precise adjustment of the rotational speed.

A belt or a simple linen thread pulls the platter. The inertial force thus produced (thanks to the weight of the platter) ensures extreme regularity of rotation. The Platine is provided with two arm rests, one of them especially adapted for SME tone arms.

As a well known reviewer recently wrote, "Only a few turntables are deserving of the epithet transcription; i.e. are able to accurately transcribe the received signal and produce a facsimile of the original. The Verdier does just that."
 
That is why Audiophiles all over the world have come to believe that It is an indispensable element for the reading of our dear vinyl records.

 

 

ROCKPORT TECHNOLOGIES


Sound By singer is extremely pleased to welcome Rockport Technologies to our Roster of fine components. The reason is simple. At a time when many American manufacturers are seeking ways of cutting costs to produce cheaper and cheaper products,  Rockport Technologies of Maine continues a tradition of designing and producing hand-crafted loudspeakers of exceptional quality which capture the essence and majesty of music. From their bookshelf sized Mira Monitor to the mighty Arrakis, Rockport Technologies’ speakers emphasize truth to the music.

It is easy to understand how Rockport can put ultimate quality into a pair of speakers which sells for $165,000 (Arrakis).
What is harder to understand is how Rockport is able to get so much out of their moderately priced models such as the

Mira Monitor, the Mira and the Ankaa, all of which can be had for less than $30,000 per pair. 

Mira Monitor
 
Mira
Mira Grand II

But Rockport speakers have always delivered more sound for the money than competing brands, Now days, with the shrunken dollar, there are no European speakers that  even come close in this regard, and only one other US brand (also available at Sound By Singer) which matches them.

Of course, Rockport is front and center when you don’t want to let cost prevent you from wringing the last note of inner detail from a full range orchestra. Rockport has created two of the best SUPER speakers of all time: the Arrakis and the Altair. From small and wonderful to awesome and astonishing Rockport Speakers are all about bringing all of the music to all who are willing to listen.

 

LUXMAN


Combining 80 years of innovation with passion and emotion, Luxman represents the embodiment of the very best in Japanese high end audio sensibility. Think Zanden, Kondo/Audio Note and Esoteric and you will know what I mean.

Since 1925 (no misprint!), Luxman has manufactured tube and solid state electronics of exceptional quality and performance delighting generations of audiophiles. Their current line up of preamplifiers, power amplifiers, integrated amplifiers and other electronics range in price from $2,000 to $48,000 per unit and express a level of sheer musicality we have come to expect from only the finest and most revered audio designers.

Luxman's build quality is like a Swiss watch. The grade of parts and circuit boards that they use in even their less expensive components are better than those employed by competing manufacturers in their most sophisticated models.

Luxman's build quality is like a Swiss watch. The grade of parts and circuit boards that they use in even their less expensive components are better than those employed by competing manufacturers in their most sophisticated models.

 

The range of luxman components is too vast to consider here in its entirety. A complete and thorough description of each one is available at: http://www.onahighernote.com/luxman/. However, we would be remiss if we failed to make a brief mention of a few of our favorite Luxman components.

 Consider their amazing integrated amplifiers, including the L-505u, L-550A and L-590A

The L-505u has been in continuous production for over thirty years and has quite often been Luxman's best selling single product. Of course it has been updated refined many times over the past thirty years.

The L-505f was introduced in 2001 and was remarkably successful as many proud Luxman owners will happily testify. Its successor, the L-505u, now has Luxman's unique noise & distortion canceling technology as well as the electronic input selector (trickle-down technology from the flagship C-1000f), which has lowered channel crosstalk and increased channel separation.

The L-505u is a fully featured integrated amplifier, with a wonderful phono stage, multiple inputs (including one balanced), tone controls (easily defeated at the touch of a button), enough power to drive most speakers in just about any room in your home and a remote control to add convenience to a remarkably comprehensive integrated amplifier. It is a wonderful entrance to the world of Luxman.

The L-505f was introduced in 2001 and was remarkably successful as many proud Luxman owners will happily testify. Its successor, the L-505u, now has Luxman's unique noise & distortion canceling technology as well as the electronic input selector (trickle-down technology from the flagship C-1000f), which has lowered channel crosstalk and increased channel separation.

The L-505u is a fully featured integrated amplifier, with a wonderful phono stage, multiple inputs (including one balanced), tone controls (easily defeated at the touch of a button), enough power to drive most speakers in just about any room in your home and a remote control to add convenience to a remarkably comprehensive integrated amplifier. It is a wonderful entrance to the world of Luxman.

Chassis bases have superb vibration absorption in order to supress noise levels. The power transformer, electrolytic capacitors and amplifier output stage are laid out so as not to interfere with each other. To reduce interference further, the block construction isolates each section using shielding panels, and extensive internal filtering to reject magnetic flux interference

Luxman produced the world's first Class A integrated amplifier in 1981 , the L-550.

Luxman introduced the L-550A and L-590A in 2005.  Since then they have celebrated their 80th anniversary with commemorative components that have reaffirmed Luxman's status at the pinnacle of high-end audio.

In these latest integrated models, the gorgeous texture and three-dimensional performance of their original Class A amplifiers has been retained and further refined. For example, the amplifiers feature a new electronic selector switch, adopted from the input section of the C-1000f control amplifier; the internal circuitry has been revised to include customized OFC wiring and a high-speed Schottky barrier diode has been selected for the power source section; improvements that have notably enhanced the sound quality for greater musical enjoyment.

Luxman holds many patents for audio engineering; among them is the application of  Global Negative Feedback to the output stage, which while widely used throughout the audio industry, they no longer use themselves.

Luxman nowadays use a distortion reduction circuit called Only Distortion Negative Feedback (ODNF). This system works by isolating amp noise distortion at the output from the music signal and sparingly applying negative feedback to suppress them. Conventional negative feedback systems can have an adverse effect on the music, introducing phase distortion. The circuit features such an ultra-wide range, ultra-high slew rate and ultra-low distortion that it does not use phase compensation for the music signal amplifying circuits. This new technology also ensures that need for a DC servo circuit is alleviated, again improving sound qualityBoth the L-590AII and L-550AII, feature the new high quality electronic selector switch, which is the heart of the C-1000f pre-amp (one of Luxman’s 80th anniversary commemoration models). The sound quality deterioration using the new electronic input switch is now minimal, while channel separation and crosstalk efficiency were raised substantially in comparison with the previous L-550A / L-590A. While both the 550II AND THE 590A II provide simply superb sound reproduction,

The 590A II is the real master at delivering the ultimate in musical signal regardless of the load.While the power rating improvement of the 590AII, vis-a-vis the L-550A, might not seem like a lot at first glance: 30W versus 20W into 8 ohms; power is not the only consideration. The power supply is a lot more robust and capable of driving much more difficult speaker loads at lower impedances. The L-590A has a lot more finesse and reproduces music exquisitely. Notes are delivered against a blacker background, as the noise floor is lowered, so too are dynamics enhanced. The texture of the music is further improved, as is the soundstage definition; close your eyes and you will want to reach out to touch the musicians.

Many Luxman parts are custom made for them, which makes these designs truly special. Apart from the shared power supply, most amplifier designs are dual mono. Even the transformers are made according their exact specification. Luxman select the color paint used on the resistors (to identify value and tolerance) based on extensive listening tests. The chassis are carefully tuned and both vibration and resonance are carefully controlled; they perform like a musical instrument.

Final assembly and testing is all carried on-premises. The attention to detail is fantastic: Luxman amplifiers come wrapped in a cloth shroud with elastic underneath; all of the RCA and XLR sockets are protected from oxidation with individual plastic sleeves. Even the power cord is a cut above the normal give-away and actually sounds good. No wonder Luxman achieves a superior sound

Luxman has a long tradition of producing some of the finest vacuum tube preamps and amplifiers in the world.

Luxman's stereo vacuum tube control amplifier the CL-88 sports a precision brass four gang volume control featuring an in-built mute function. By touching the center of the volume control, the sound mutes at once.

Signal switching is performed by a golden switch immersed in a nitrogen container, located near the input terminals in order to maintain a low S/N Ratio

Also available are the MT-88 moving coil step-up transformer and EQ-88 moving magnet phono stage

The MT-88 step-up transformer
The EQ-88 MM phono stage

 

The MQ-88 has taken the Luxman tradition of excellence and incorporated some recent innovations in resonance and vibration control to raise the ante even higher. This is a classic tetrode design, where low distortion and linear output were chosen in favor of maximum power from the KT88 output tubes. The lower output from the output tubes will also help in a longer useful life of the tubes. There are two sets of outputs on the MQ-88: variable, so that a single input (e.g. a CD player) can be connected directly) and then the output to the loudspeakers can be adjusted. Or fixed, so that a separate preamplifier (such as the partnering preamplifier the CL-88) can be using for switching between inputs as well as controlling the volume.

Bias is adjusted on the top panel, the bias meter is a convenient way to monitor each individual output tubes bias setting, to maintain optimum performance. 

Sound By Singer is thrilled to be the exclusive dealer in New York for Luxman. If you have $7,500 or more to spend on an audio system, consider a Luxman amplifier for its engine.

 

Zanden


After introducing simply the most musical one box red book only CD player extant, the CD 2500,

Zanden set about to improve its awesome  model 9500,dual 845 output triode mono amps. This seemed like a fool’s errand to me at the time since, as an owner of the 9500’s myself, I could not imagine how they could be improved. Boy was I wrong! The Zanden 9500II has much better dynamics and bottom end punch; is faster; has more extended frequency response, is more transparent and more detailed than the 9500 while maintaining every bit of nuance and harmonic structure the 9500’s have always displayed. It shows you what can happen when a genius like Yamada San decides to upgrade the input stage and output transformers of his statement amplifiers.


Model 9500 Amplifier

 

Arcam


Arcam has just introduced the best line of two channel audio components they have ever made! Comprised of the A18, A28 and A38 integrated amplifiers and the new CD17 and CD37 disc players,

Arcam’s dedication to making music can not be questioned! Check out our website descriptions for more detail!  While each of its new two channel offerings provide exceptional price/performance, special note should be taken of Arcam’s superb CD37 SACD/CD player which at $2,199.00 is not only the best sounding SACD/CD player under $3,000.00, it is as good or better than most units of its kind selling for $3,500.00 and more.

Insofar as home theater is concerned, Arcam leads the way in advanced home theater receivers, being the first high end company to introduce a piece, the AVR 600, which not only  incorporates all of the latest High Definition audio formats but does so while maintaining the superb audio quality Arcam home theater products have become famous for.

 
Berkeley Audio

The Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DACTm    is the work of three design  alumni of  Pacific Microsonics, Inc.,the developers of the HDCD process and themselves the creators of  the Pacific Microsonics Model Two, widely considered the highest quality professional  DAC ever produced. Berkeley Audio Design was formed to realize their goal of creating a consumer DAC which could decode the 24 bit lpcm recordings made with the model two at its native

sampling rates of 176.4kHz and 192kHz. These 3 wise audiophiles knew what  Few outside of Model Two users in the recording industry knew:that nothing matched the fidelity of recordings made and played back through this system.a system which lets you hear    music reproduced with that level of detail, ease and verisimilitude - a level of fidelity “closer to the microphone feed” than even first generation open-reel analog tapes. To their ears it was a new paradigm of audio fidelity
This new paradigm is incorporated into the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DACTm   
 

Which  permits you to process all sampling rates from 16 bit 44k to 24 bit 192k In their native form. It should go without saying that The Alpha DAC , which automatically upsamples any digital feed it receives to 24 bit/176 khz is an exceptional DtoA for conventional purposes Like replacing the DAC for any digital device you have which puts out anything in its range(cd,DAT,computer feed etc) .But , utilizing the new recordings available from companies like Reference Recordings and HRX which  are now selling  high resolution LPCM, non-DRM digital media   on  both optical disk and by download The result is audio nirvana :For the first time audiophiles can listen to recordings that are identical to the original 24-bit masters..