Tag Archives: Amplifiers

Building the Burmester 159 Mono Power Amplifier | Burmester Factory Tour Part 1 of 2

In November of 2022 The Absolute Sound team had the opportunity to visit Burmester Audiosysteme in Berlin, Germany. We caught a glimpse of Burmester’s factory processes, the construction of the 159, and more. Part 2 of our Factory Tour, with a look at the BC350 Loudspeaker, is coming soon.

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The AGD Productions Gran Vivace Monoblock Amplifier

Classy Operation A class-D amplifier, or switching amplifier, all too often mistakenly referred to as a "digital" amplifier, differs from the much more traditional and popular linear amplifier classes. In a switching amplifier, its transistors, usually MOSFETs (Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistors), rather than directly providing gain to the sourced signal, operate as electronic switches. The audio... Read More »

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Articles Archive – The Absolute Sound 2023-02-04 00:50:59

In November of 2022 The Absolute Sound team had the opportunity to visit Burmester Audiosysteme in Berlin, Germany. We caught a glimpse of the 159 Mono Power Amplifier build process, the Burmester factory, and more.

The second part of our factory tour, with a look at Burmester’s acclaimed BC350 Loudspeaker, is coming soon.

The post appeared first on The Absolute Sound.

Original Resource is Articles Archive - The Absolute Sound https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/50771/ CHISTO Premium Vinyl Record Cleaners

Articles Archive – The Absolute Sound 2023-02-04 00:50:59

In November of 2022 The Absolute Sound team had the opportunity to visit Burmester Audiosysteme in Berlin, Germany. We caught a glimpse of the 159 Mono Power Amplifier build process, the Burmester factory, and more.

The second part of our factory tour, with a look at Burmester’s acclaimed BC350 Loudspeaker, is coming soon.

The post appeared first on The Absolute Sound.

Original Resource is Articles Archive - The Absolute Sound https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/50771/ CHISTO Premium Vinyl Record Cleaners

Roksan Attessa Streaming Amplifier

Rok’san Roll, Baby

Not long ago, the appeal of integrated amps was, shall we say, low. The segment had become “same old, same old,” lacking innovation and the latest features. Part of its decline in popularity was the lure of home theater, 4K streaming video, and multichannel, which moved buyers into the AV receiver/processor wing of electronics. But as the expression goes, what goes around comes around. Ultimately the high end found its way. Demographics were changing; empty nesters were downsizing into smaller homes, as well as smaller-footprint audio systems. The very definition of the integrated amplifier was also evolving. And once high-resolution streaming went from novelty to mainstream, a new segment of integrated was born. DACs, often bundled with network/streaming capability, found their way into the chassis. That, coupled with vinyl’s comeback and the explosion in personal listening, have made today’s integrated amps cooler and more practical than ever. They are one-box solutions like never before.

Which brings me to the Roksan Attessa streaming amplifier—an 80Wpc amp that fully embodies where today’s marketplace lives and, at $3199, is almost thrifty by today’s inflationary standards. Attessa is an all-new in-house design, Roksan’s first with integrated DAC plus network/streaming capability. Handsome but discreetly so, its low-slung front panel makes it an easy fit in even modestly sized dens. It features robust plate-steel and aluminum construction, and a machined anodized-aluminum front panel. A large circular volume/input control dominates the center of that front panel, where there are no obvious pushbuttons. For those who long for the old-timey, analog feel of knobs, toggles, and rocker switches, well, you’re out of luck. In their place is an illuminated, horizontal, orange LED strip (reminiscent of a MacBook Pro’s touchbar) that runs across the center of the panel and indicates input sources on the left and volume increments on the right. Personally, given a choice, I’d have preferred an illuminated numerical scale to indicate volume rather than a fader-style graphic, but I’m probably in the minority. At the right end of the facia is a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack headphone socket, whose 7.5Vrms output is suitable for all but the most finicky headgear.

Stepping around to the back panel, there’s a sufficient variety of digital and analog connections, with two optical and two coaxial digital inputs, provisions for two USB thumb drives, a pair of analog inputs, plus a moving-magnet phonostage. The phono setting is a standard 47k ohm/56pf, and there are three gain settings to accommodate cartridges with outputs from 3–12mV. The in-house designed DAC section resolves to 24-bit/192kHz for the coax inputs and 24-bit/96kHz for optical. The SPDIF inputs will decode MQA-encoded PCM streams, including MQA CDs played back by the optional companion Attessa CD transport. It supports most of the familiar high-res streaming-audio formats and services.

Embrace the App

Setup was just a free and downloadable app away—in this case, MaestroUnite, a set-up app that partners with Roksan’s other components, connects to the local Wi-Fi network, and allows the owner to configure the amp with its companion CD transport to operate as a single unit. Further, there’s on-the-fly control of Roksan’s built-in features like input configuration, headphone sensitivity, analog input gain, balance, and low-power standby (as well as over-the-air updates).

For day-to-day use the recommended smartphone-based, BluOS controller app was, indeed, the way to go, especially if you do a lot of streaming from any one of the major high-resolution streaming services. (I’m looking at you Tidal and Qobuz.) That includes a shared music library, USB drives, Internet radio stations, and podcasts. It’s an easy app to navigate, and fairly intuitive after a few minutes of familiarization. Guided by its graphical interface and haptic feedback, selecting my listening volume and input source soon became second nature. Conveniently, there are three BluOS presets directly available from the inputs list for easy accessibility. As a streaming jukebox, the BluOS app was more than up to the task. However, I was still glad to have the handheld remote control near at hand for common functions like raising or lowering volume and mute.

In an amplifier segment where three-figure power ratings are more often the norm, Attessa’s 80Wpc rating is not an especially high number. But tell that to my 83dB sensitive ATC SCM20s. They couldn’t have been happier being driven by Attessa. Believe me, they are known to get a bit cranky when not fed sufficient high-quality power. But wattage ratings, as many of us know, are really only part of the story. Amps with significantly higher ratings than Attessa will not necessarily sound better or even as good—they only “read” more powerful on the page. Like the line goes, not all watts are created equal.


This is all a roundabout way of saying that Attessa is one rocking amp with high capabilities. Throughout this evaluation it was a fully formed performer and a glitch-free workhorse in my system, with no new-amp “teething” problems to speak of, especially commendable in a freshly minted design. In sonic performance, it registered high scores across all genres of music with most every recording it encountered. It was grain-free and non-edgy and wasn’t apt to shade or spotlight particular frequency bands or overcook harmonics or treble information. Baritone or soprano, each sounded exactly the way nature intended. It maintained a ripe and natural midrange, a firm and controlled bass, and a smooth if slightly drier treble. I wouldn’t characterize the sound of Attessa as laid-back, nor was it overly cool or clinical. There was a spotless clarity to every note. Listen to Mary Travers’ wistful vocal during “500 Miles” from PP&M’s eponymous album Peter, Paul & Mary, and you’ll know what I mean. There was orchestral warmth, sometimes in abundance, but only when it was present on the recording. I’m particularly sensitive to the presence of low-level noise clinging like contrails to delicate and decaying piano notes and harmonics. Attessa was remarkably free of this artifact. What it couldn’t fully convey was the rosy blush of harmonic detail and air of an upper tier, tube-hybrid integrated like Aesthetix’s Mimas.

The Attessa was especially impressive imparting dynamic energy in both the macro and micro senses; transient information never grew weak-kneed in the face of large dynamic swings. A less noteworthy amp will flatten and smooth these transitions, as if acting like a recording-studio compressor and limiter. This doesn’t happen in the acoustic of the concert hall; every instrument from the triangle to the tuba is reproduced in full voice, as it should be.

Given that my LP rig was “offline” for most of this evaluation period due to a factory restoration of my SME Series V tonearm, I didn’t have a much time to spend with the Attessa’s phonostage input, but the time I did spend was more than worthwhile. It has selectable gain and performed quietly and with balance and conviction. The Clearaudio Charisma V2 I was using has a fairly easing going 3.6mV output, so noise was not a problem. But the familiar Charisma sound was reproduced in abundance. On a track like “Someone in a Tree” from Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures, there were the familiar hints of warmth, zero etch or grain, and superior imaging and placement of the singers arrayed across the stage. Channel separation was very good, too. Imaging was not especially dimensional, however. On a track like Rutter’s “Lux Aeterna,” there’s not a lot of depth on the soprano, and the depth and acoustic of the hall seemed a bit shortened—a generalized soundstage compared with a top-notch reference integrated like the Aesthetix.

For digital performance, I threw one Tidal playlist after another at the Attessa, waiting to trip it up, to find its weakness. I even sent the digital signal from my dCS Puccini to let the Attessa’s DAC take the reins. That trip-up never happened. The Roksan’s DAC section is uh, Rok-solid. Comparing my reference Lumin S1 media player to the Attessa DAC, there was little in the way of a sonic letdown. The Lumin owned the soundstage and three-dimensionality from the outset. Its warmer, analog-like character contrasted with Attessa’s drier, less airy personality. But when it came down to imaging precision, tonal balance, and textural complexity, the contest was a lot closer. With the Lumin more than triple the price of an entire Attessa kaboodle, this close competition should make any Roksan owner satisfied with a savvy buying decision.

An interesting side note. Roksan was founded in 1985 and acquired by British loudspeaker manufacturer Monitor Audio Ltd in 2016. The Attessa Series components are post-acquisition developments, and Roksan has stated that it will be revising and refining current products and developing new products. These developments, along with Monitor Audio’s fine reputation in loudspeakers, should augur well for forthcoming system-wide synergy that audiophiles can truly look forward to. Indeed, the Roksan Attessa turned out to be a real sleeper. Looks, ergonomics, and performance—a lot of pieces must fall into place to successfully bring together digital and analog sections, sophisticated software, plus Wi-Fi and network capability. It’s no small task, but with Attessa Roksan has fully met the challenge and then some. At $3199 all-in, the Attessa is likely the one to beat in a hotly competitive division. Highly recommended.

Specs & Pricing

Power: 80Wpc into 8 ohms, 130Wpc into 4 ohms
Digital inputs: 2 optical, up to 96kHz/24bit; 2 coax SPDIF up to 32-bit/192kHz
Analog inputs: 2 RCA, MM phono
Outputs: 1pr RCA analogue (Pre-out/SUB)
Supported audio formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, ALAC, OPUS
MQA, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, Supports converted DSD playback via the BluOS desktop app (only) up to 24 bit/192kHz
Dimensions: 17** x 3** x 14.75**
Weight: 23 lbs.
Price: $3199

KEVRO INTERNATIONAL
902 McKay Road, Unit #4
Pickering, ON L1W 3X8
(800) 667-6065
kevro.com

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2022 Golden Ear: Bluesound Powernode Gen 3 Streaming DAC and Integrated Amplifier

Bluesound Powernode Gen 3 Streaming DAC and Integrated Amplifier

$949

The Bluesound Powernode Gen 3 is an all-in-one stereo (or multi-room) system for modern times, incorporating wired and wireless streaming, DAC, analog inputs, and power amp, with full control from the BluOS app, which can be run on (almost) any computing or mobile platform. It includes everything you might need except for phono preamplifier, speaker cables, or speakers, in a compact and unobtrusive chassis. The real story here is the surprisingly good sound for the price. The Powernode Gen 3 easily fits into systems that include other components (even cables) that cost as much or more than the Bluesound unit itself without embarrassing itself sonically. Slightly on the mellow and forgiving side of neutral, it should pair well with a wide variety of speakers and rooms; yet it still provides plenty of detail and microdynamics for a surprising amount of satisfaction from all genres of music. Also surprising is the amount of power available—130W (8 ohms) and 220W (4 ohms) of IHF dynamic power for musical peaks.

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PS Audio Stellar S300 Power Amplifier

When it appeared in Issue 313, I read colleague Jacob Heilbrunn’s review of the PS Audio M1200 monoblocks with interest and more than a little curiosity. Are you kidding me? Class D monoblocks driving Jacob’s $850k Wilson WAMM mega-system? And highly successfully, to boot? In the article’s conclusion, JH didn’t mince words, either. “Of the amplifiers that I’ve auditioned in this price range, the Stellar M1200 is by far the best, a gangbuster piece of gear that upends many old verities about switching amplification. I could live with it for a very long time. Stellar, indeed.” The cost for the amps? A piddling $6598 (gulp) a pair.

So, when I found myself in sudden need of a reasonably priced, 100Wpc stereo amplifier to review some recently received compact loudspeakers, I sought out PS Audio. Its team came up with the Stellar S300, the smaller stereo cousin to the mighty M1200 and also designed by PS Audio’s resident-wiz Darren Myers.

The $1649 Stellar S300 stereo power amplifier is a dual-mono design (separate power supplies and amp stages for each channel). It’s rated at 140 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 300Wpc into 4 ohms, and it’s based on a modern Class D ICE module, designed in Denmark. Like the M1200, it has a high damping factor for bass control and plenty of headroom for the difficult loads and lower sensitivities of some loudspeakers. As PS Audio points out, “Class D output stages provide near-perfect linearity, low distortion, and high efficiency. Because Class D amplifiers require an output filter to remove their switching noise, they do not have frequency extremes into the many hundreds of thousands of Hertz…modern Class D amplifiers, like the type used in Stellar, extend high frequencies to about 50kHz.” The input stage topology is known as the Analog Cell—a proprietary, fully differential, zero-feedback, discrete Class A MOSFET circuit. PS Audio makes no bones of the fact that it considers this hybrid design to be the best of both worlds. Note: S300’s Analog Cell input stage stands in contrast to the M1200 monoblocks, which have their own discrete tube input stage—a potentially significant difference.

PS Audio Stellar S300 Power Amplifier rear

The sleek, low-profile design of the S300 is matched by first-rate construction quality—a solidly assembled chassis with smooth rolled aluminum edges. The back panel features RCA and XLR inputs and a dual pair of high-quality nickel-over-copper speaker terminals. I listened to the S300 in a couple of system configurations. In one, it was driven by a Pass Labs XP-12 preamp and powered Vivid Audio Kaya 12 compact speakers. In another system, I enlisted the preamp section of the formidable Aesthetix Mimas integrated with the S300 driving the ATC SCM20SL compacts (with their low 84dB sensitivity). Power conditioning was from Audience and Shunyata. Cabling was Audience front- Row. Source components were by Lumin and dCS.

Like many audiophiles I’ve become accustomed to amplifiers of imposing girth and weight—the time-honored visual cues that signal power, dynamic headroom, stability, and (of course) heat. If you count yourself among this crowd, prepare for a little culture shock. With the S300 tipping the scales at a mere 13 pounds and its compact chassis rising to all of three inches in height, you may not be ready to contend with the high level of performance, power, and finesse that the S300 is capable of.

The S300’s tonal balance is essentially neutral and colorless, in the best senses of those words. Rather than making itself the center of attention within the system, the S300 became a chameleon—a virtually invisible part of the chain of source components in front of it. In sonic performance, the word that immediately came to mind was contrasts—dynamic contrasts from the micro level to the macro. Music simply snapped into focus in full harmonic bloom. This amp was as fast and as explosive off the mark as any I’ve heard. This speed and power were combined with a bass-range grip that could send most other amps back to the gym. When the thundering kettle drums enter during Copland’s Fanfare, the S300 reproduced their tactile energy with an intensity that jolts the listener to attention. Remember, I said this amp was neutral, not boring.

As for timbral contrasts, the amp’s ability to define with certainty the character and personality of each musical element was in full-color display. Instrumental and vocal texture and timbre were reproduced with purity and clarity. The amp vividly portrayed the woody resonance of cello and bass violin, the crackle of a snare, the sharp song of a piccolo trumpet, the rattles of a tambourine, the grit of rosin from a cello bow, the clatter of a flat pick, a singer drawing a breath. In addition to its astonishing grip, the S300 had a sensitivity to low-level information like backing vocal harmonies or microdynamic shifts, right down to the duration of held-note sustains and reverberant decays from piano soundboards. It’s these contrasts that I would argue constitute a large portion of the live experience (and why the stone quiet of this amp is not only important but paramount). A favorite example is Ricki Lee Jones’ “I’ll Be Seeing You” [Pop Pop]. Here on full display was the eerie and airy naturalism of the clarinet, the soft resonance of the nylon-string guitar—the S300 seemed to hang on to the edges of every note and extend each decay. Prolonged sustain and decay was also handily evidenced during Laurel Masse’s brilliant a capella performances in the vast acoustic space of the Troy Savings Bank.

The S300’s entire sonic picture came into even sharper focus when I cued up David Bowie’s smash hit “Let’s Dance.” This explosive and complex multi-track is all about transient speed, rhythm section focus, dynamic impact, and heavy, intense drumbeats, extending right down to the drummer’s foot pedal. The S300 wore its speed and rhythmic integrity like a badge of honor, making this cut leap forward, as if a nano-second ahead of the beat. Even if you never listened to the lengthier Euro 45rpm remix as I do, you’ll find the streaming version is also a stunning production. Co-produced with Nile Rodgers at the Power Station in New York, it offers the bonus of a blistering guitar solo by a youthful Stevie Ray Vaughn. And most of all, Bowie’s riveting, sensual, throaty vocal. “Under the serious moonlight,” indeed.

Toward the conclusion of this evaluation, I challenged the S300 a final time. Thanks to the generosity of MBL’s North American distributor (for which I’m forever grateful) I still had the remarkable MBL 126 compact Radialstrahlers on hand. And if there was an octave range where the S300 might show a little temperament, it would be through one of the most transparent midrange/tweeter combinations I’ve ever experienced. Few loudspeakers are more revealing of timbre and texture or as transparent and sensitive to low-level detail as these marvelous omnidirectional three-way compacts. However, they are sensitive to electronics, demanding accurate, reliable. and generous amounts of power. I typically drive them with MBL’s own Cadenza C51 180Wpc integrated ($9800), a Jürgen Reis-designed Linear Analog Switching Amplifier (LASA). The Stellar S300 put forth an excellent effort driving the Radialstrahlers. On larger-scale brass and wind pieces like the sweeping Liberty Fanfare [Wilson Audio], they demonstrated superb command and control over the barrage of heavy percussion. But in direct comparison, the S300 lacked the epic bass extension and hard-core slam of the MBL C51, a trademark of Reis designs. The top end might have been a little drier, too, lacking the effortless harmonic bloom of the MBL amp. Nonetheless, the S300 put on an impressive show, to say the least.

A final word on Class D, if I may. Digital artifacts and colorations (the early rap was flat mids, brittle, snappish treble, deep but stiffly controlled bass) of an earlier era have been largely expunged from today’s top crop of Class D amps. Candidly, I don’t even know anymore what it means to describe a contemporary amp’s sonic signature as “Class D.” Yet, many of us still have a negative knee-jerk reaction to the “D” word. It’s rather like acknowledging a superb recording on vinyl, and then finding out the transfer wasn’t pure AAA and deciding it wasn’t up to snuff, after all. This is a long-winded way of saying, listen first before you judge. The era of apologizing for Class D is over.

To describe the PS Audio Stellar S300 as a “good” value is an understatement. And with a retail price of $1649, I’m not joking when I initially thought this must be a typo. If you can’t get excited over an amp like the S300, you might reconsider your own high-end bona-fides. Enthusiastically recommended without reservation.

Specs & Pricing

Type: Stereo, dual-mono Class D power amplifier
Power output: 140Wpc 8 ohms, 300Wpc into 4 ohms
Inputs: RCA and XLR
Dimensions: 17″ x 3″ x 12″
Weight: 13 lbs.
Price: $1649

PS AUDIO
4865 Sterling Drive
Boulder, CO 80301
(720) 406-8946
psaudio.com

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NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers Join The Cinema Designer

Cloud-based design tool TCD allows NAD and PSB custom installers to generate powerful, all-in-one cinema room designs

ISE, Barcelona, SPAIN, JANUARY 26, 2023 – Canadian manufacturer and distributor, Lenbrook International, is delighted to announce that their award winning line of AV Receivers, processors and power amplifiers by NAD Electronics, alongside a range of Custom Install Solutions by PSB Speakers are now available on The Cinema Designer’s (TCD) online database.

“NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers are brands with a long history of providing great sound to our end customers, but the environment in which they are placed can have a huge impact on the end result, particularly in an immersive audio system. The Cinema Designer takes the guess work out of the design stage and calculates all of the requirements to generate a detailed design. TCD optimises the AV performance in a media room or home cinema, getting the very best out of the components and giving the client the best experience.” says Peter Gibb, CI Business Development for Europe at Lenbrook.

“TCD is delighted to add NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers to our database of products. These brands have great heritage in the audio industry and have a proven track record of performance and reliability,” says TCD inventor, Guy Singleton. “NAD’s philosophy of Full Disclosure Power on their amplifiers fits perfectly with our ethos of having accurate specifications for products so that TCD’s end result matches the design it creates.”

TCD is a cloud-based design tool that allows AV professionals to design any dedicated cinema or media room in minutes. Users can create technically impeccable dedicated cinema or media room designs, support documents, and aesthetic renders that reflect the way the finished room will look, calculating and producing in minutes what would take an experienced cinema designer weeks to complete. TCD can also create a 3D CAD drawing for any cinema or media room in under 30 seconds and produces comprehensive documentation that meets the minimum standard required to enter the CEDIA Awards in its cinema and media room design categories.

Available to users anywhere in the world, TCD integrates with D-Tools’ SI 2017 software, offering installers and dealers a powerful all-in-one cinema room design tool that allows users to export a TCD design into D-Tools via a CSV file, calculate local area pricing, TAX, required labour and associated costs, in addition to importing TCD’s 3D CAD drawings into Visio.

For more information visit www.thecinemadesigner.com

ABOUT NAD ELECTRONICS 

Founded in 1972 and now sold in over 80 countries, NAD Electronics is renowned for its award-winning line of high quality components for audio, home theatre and custom 

installation applications. Since the beginning, NAD’s commitment to four core values – 

innovation, simplicity, performance, and value – have earned it a cult-like 

following that catapulted it to becoming a household name amongst audiophiles and 

music lovers alike. To this day, the brand continues to design and manufacture some of 

the most acclaimed and affordable hi-fi components that include modern features and 

technologies meant to appeal to a new generation of audiophiles. 

About PSB Speakers

Since 1972, Founder and Chief Designer, Paul Barton, has been cementing his legacy as an expert in designing and building high-fidelity speakers that incorporate scientific principles in psychoacoustics. Over 50 years later and now a strategic part of Lenbrook International’s global portfolio, PSB Speakers’ products are sold in more than 70 markets where the brand sets the standard for “True to Nature” sound and is critically acclaimed for its value-driven and non-fatiguing speaker design. With an expansive suite of products that include audiophile speakers, ANC headphones, powerful and musical subwoofers, and a family of installed speaker solutions, PSB Speakers is designed and built to bring life to recorded music at world class levels.

For more information on NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers’ product solutions for CI or to find a local distributor please visit:

www.NADElectronics.com

www.PSBSpeakers.com

The post NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers Join The Cinema Designer appeared first on Headphone Guru.

Original Resource is Headphone Guru https://headphone.guru/nad-electronics-and-psb-speakers-join-the-cinema-designer/ CHISTO Premium Vinyl Record Cleaners

NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers Join The Cinema Designer

Cloud-based design tool TCD allows NAD and PSB custom installers to generate powerful, all-in-one cinema room designs

ISE, Barcelona, SPAIN, JANUARY 26, 2023 – Canadian manufacturer and distributor, Lenbrook International, is delighted to announce that their award winning line of AV Receivers, processors and power amplifiers by NAD Electronics, alongside a range of Custom Install Solutions by PSB Speakers are now available on The Cinema Designer’s (TCD) online database.

“NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers are brands with a long history of providing great sound to our end customers, but the environment in which they are placed can have a huge impact on the end result, particularly in an immersive audio system. The Cinema Designer takes the guess work out of the design stage and calculates all of the requirements to generate a detailed design. TCD optimises the AV performance in a media room or home cinema, getting the very best out of the components and giving the client the best experience.” says Peter Gibb, CI Business Development for Europe at Lenbrook.

“TCD is delighted to add NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers to our database of products. These brands have great heritage in the audio industry and have a proven track record of performance and reliability,” says TCD inventor, Guy Singleton. “NAD’s philosophy of Full Disclosure Power on their amplifiers fits perfectly with our ethos of having accurate specifications for products so that TCD’s end result matches the design it creates.”

TCD is a cloud-based design tool that allows AV professionals to design any dedicated cinema or media room in minutes. Users can create technically impeccable dedicated cinema or media room designs, support documents, and aesthetic renders that reflect the way the finished room will look, calculating and producing in minutes what would take an experienced cinema designer weeks to complete. TCD can also create a 3D CAD drawing for any cinema or media room in under 30 seconds and produces comprehensive documentation that meets the minimum standard required to enter the CEDIA Awards in its cinema and media room design categories.

Available to users anywhere in the world, TCD integrates with D-Tools’ SI 2017 software, offering installers and dealers a powerful all-in-one cinema room design tool that allows users to export a TCD design into D-Tools via a CSV file, calculate local area pricing, TAX, required labour and associated costs, in addition to importing TCD’s 3D CAD drawings into Visio.

For more information visit www.thecinemadesigner.com

ABOUT NAD ELECTRONICS 

Founded in 1972 and now sold in over 80 countries, NAD Electronics is renowned for its award-winning line of high quality components for audio, home theatre and custom 

installation applications. Since the beginning, NAD’s commitment to four core values – 

innovation, simplicity, performance, and value – have earned it a cult-like 

following that catapulted it to becoming a household name amongst audiophiles and 

music lovers alike. To this day, the brand continues to design and manufacture some of 

the most acclaimed and affordable hi-fi components that include modern features and 

technologies meant to appeal to a new generation of audiophiles. 

About PSB Speakers

Since 1972, Founder and Chief Designer, Paul Barton, has been cementing his legacy as an expert in designing and building high-fidelity speakers that incorporate scientific principles in psychoacoustics. Over 50 years later and now a strategic part of Lenbrook International’s global portfolio, PSB Speakers’ products are sold in more than 70 markets where the brand sets the standard for “True to Nature” sound and is critically acclaimed for its value-driven and non-fatiguing speaker design. With an expansive suite of products that include audiophile speakers, ANC headphones, powerful and musical subwoofers, and a family of installed speaker solutions, PSB Speakers is designed and built to bring life to recorded music at world class levels.

For more information on NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers’ product solutions for CI or to find a local distributor please visit:

www.NADElectronics.com

www.PSBSpeakers.com

The post NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers Join The Cinema Designer appeared first on Headphone Guru.

Original Resource is Headphone Guru https://headphone.guru/nad-electronics-and-psb-speakers-join-the-cinema-designer/ CHISTO Premium Vinyl Record Cleaners

On the Road Again: Featuring Greg Weaver’s Home Audio System – REVIEW BY ENJOY THE MUSIC.COM

January 2023

enjoy_the_music_logo

On the Road Again: Featuring Greg Weaver’s Home Audio System

The New Apartment Lounge’s Maurice Jeffries visits the Audio Analyst at home for the third time.

Report By Maurice Jeffries

What would we do without the much beloved road trip? The promise of exploring parts known, and better yet completely unknown, especially in the wake of the Covid Pandemic, strikes many like as perfect balm to months of virus-driven isolation. So, when my dear friend and fellow audio miscreant, Greg Weaver (known to many of you as the audio analyst, famous for his scrupulously detailed show reports and recent highly informative and entertaining foray into the fractious world of YouTube audio reporting), teased with the promise to hear a tantalizing array of new gear, to tussle with a new puppy (a 100 lbs. Great Dane named Stella), and most importantly, to reconnect face-to-face, I leapt into action.

Since Greg lives in Northern Indiana and I call Central Florida home (and have a day job to boot, unlike the recently retired Mr. Weaver), my latest road trip involved a flight from Orlando to connection central Chicago and thence to South Bend. No two days of driving for yours truly! Over a long Fall weekend (which gifted stunning fall weather), I got to hear just how much better Greg’s system sounds over its previous iteration.

The differences were not subtle.

Prior to this outing, my last visit to Goshen, Indiana, Greg’s hometown, took place in late January 2019 over the MLK holiday weekend.  Readers who have followed my two previous visits will recall that earlier iterations of Dr. Weaver’s system included the stellar Audionet’s Max mono block amps and matching preamp (still his permanent references), Valve Amplification Company’s (VAC) Statement 450i iQ integrated amplifier, the superb Kronos Sparta turntable with Helena arm, Etsuro Urushi Gold cartridge, a loom of Stealth Audio cables, and the stunning Von Schweikert Audio ULTRA 9 loudspeakers (plus a gaggle of carefully selected accessories). Essentially scaled-down versions of the company’s vaunted ULTRA 11 flagships, the 9s tip the scales at a back-breaking 600 pounds per side and cost a retirement-bursting $250,000 the pair.

In a musically compelling upmarket move, the remarkable Kronos Pro turntable and new Discovery RS tonearm combo (but same cartridge) headlines the latest system, these tonier stalwarts replacing the humbler (but still outstanding) Sparta/Helena pairing. For this latest trip, I also had the good fortune to hear VAC’s reference Statement Line and Statement Phono Stage packages (each $80,000 two-box affairs boasting separate power supplies) plus the truly over-the-topStatement 452 iQ Musicbloc all-tubed mono amps ($75K each), also a VAC design. A loom of top-level MasterBuilt Audio interconnects and power cables (but Stealth Audio phono cables), a new Lampizator BALTIC 3 tubed DAC, and a gorgeous hand-built audio rack from Timbernation rounded out a system still built around the magnificent ULTRA 9 towers.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

For a detailed summary of all the wonderful gear in Greg’s system, I suggest a visit to his audio analyst webpage. The webpage provides an up-to-date listing of all the main gear and accessories in his system and some great listening room and system photos to boot. At the end of this report, you can find a detailed price breakdown for every component in Greg’s magnificent system.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The first thing one notices about the audio analyst’s main system (a dedicated home theatre system occupies the back fifth or so of Greg’s 13 x 46 listening space), apart from the almost cartoonish dimensions of the ULTRA 9 towers, is the obsessive attention to set-up details and protocols that he follows. Cables never, ever cross one another. Speaker cables appear to float on Audionet Gauss Cable Elevators, better to minimize the frequency suppressing, phase disrupting, detail robbing distortions that arise when the cable materials interact undesirably with materials of varying magnetic permeability like air (highly permeable) and ground (highly impermeable). The higher the permeability number, the easier an electrical signal can pass through that material unperturbed. The Elevators effectively limit speaker cable interaction to the ambient air alone. Low-frequency damping panels and room tuning accessories are spaced discreetly around the room to maximum sonic effect.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

And just like my VSA Endeavor SEs, Greg’s ULTRA 9s fire into the room with minimal toe-in, an arrangement that maximizes tweeter dispersion, improves inter-driver phase coherence, and noticeably enhances soundstage scaling and image focus. In the same vein, one look at the Kronos table/arm setup suggests a similar obsessive-compulsive attention to detail. Clusters of Critical Mass Systems component footers sonically decouple source electronics form the resonant-induced vibrational ravages of the listening room environment.

Like I said, Dr. Weaver leaves no sonic weirding stones uncovered in his singular alchemical quest for sonic perfection.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

Why go through the hassle of tweaking a nearly million-dollar system (I know I know, we’re talking silly do-re-mi here) to such extremes, with the corresponding manpower inputs to pull all this off measured not in minutes or hours, but days and weeks? A routine spin of any well-recorded LP will answer that question in a manner of minutes. Simply stated, each tweak that the audio analyst employs, both minor and major, elevates the system’s overall performance envelope to levels that few in our tribe ever obtain, let alone get the chance to hear.

So, on Acoustic Sounds’ stellar reissue of trumpeter and music auteur Miles Davis’s modern classic Kind of Blue (Acoustic Sounds/UHQR 0004-45), Greg’s system highlights not only the superior bass precision, top end extension, imaging focus, and transparency of this latest UHQR masterwork, but also the ever-so-slightly superior tonality of the earlier and still outstanding Classic reissue from 1995.

Detail-wise, the Kronos /VAC fronted system unearths the tonal footprints of individual recordings with such utter and convincing naturalness and precision that hearing your favorite tracks may very well leave you breathless and slack-jawed at just how real and lifelike they sound. Equally impressive, this preternaturally revealing combination renders the sonic differences between alternate versions of the same recordings as truthfully and unambiguously as any system in my experience. Supertramp’s Dreamer, from the 1974 art rock classic Crime of the Century (the British band’s big commercial breakthrough), features lovely vocal harmonization throughout, with lead vocalist Roger Hodgson’s crystal-clear falsetto commanding center stage.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

On the 2014 U.K. A&M Records 40th Anniversary Edition Back to Black version of Crime of the Century [0600753547441], this a beautifully packaged, remastered 180-gram gatefold LP reissue, Hodgson’s disarmingly boyish falsetto soars sweetly and with remarkable purity. Unfortunately, the sonic illusion cast by the A&M Records 40th Anniversary Back to Black edition collapses entirely when compared to the far superior 1981 U.S. Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UHQR [MFQR 1-005] reissue release, a 200-gram LP. This gorgeously remastered, limited edition boxed set (numbered #4222 of 5000) highlights the shortcomings of the A&M Records reissue in overall transparency, soundstage layering, tonal expressiveness, and sheer frequency extension.

After listening to the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UHQR release, I turned to Greg and commented that Hodgson’s voice sounded totally different now. The UHQR release added at least an octave in lower end foundational content to his voice, and far more convincing tonality.

In short, MoFi’s UHQR release sounded so clearly superior in all meaningful ways to the now merely serviceable A&M Records 40th Anniversary Back to Black version, one could be forgiven for thinking after a side-by-side comparison that they had just listened to two different recordings of the same song, not two different remastered versions of the same album.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

The Music Between The Half Notes

This remarkable resolving power derives no doubt from the superb musical qualities of each system component, meaning the beautifully designed and constructed (and affordable) Timbernation racks and Critical Mass footers, the state-of-the-art LP replay front end, the tomb-like quietude of the multi-layered speaker cabinets, the striking holography and transparency of the amps, not to mention the seemingly preternatural synergy that each component shares with every other in the system.

To my ears, the system (particularly when powered by the Statement level VAC electronics) excels in sound-staging breadth and scale, imaging focus, low end performance that delivers cavernous extension, marmoreal impact, and the precision of a laser guided missile tracking system, along with an almost (but not quite) ruthless transparency to sources and upstream electronics. Add to these qualities a difficult to define but also unforgettable ability to project instruments and voices into the listening with all-but unparalleled power and presence and you have the makings of a system that facilitates the suspension of disbelief in the electro-acoustic origins of the music not just for a few seconds or stray moments, but for repeated moments and even hours at a time.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

Let’s start with sound-staging and imaging. As one would expect given the Herculean proportions of the speakers and partnering amplification (tubes, baby, tubes), the system scales with a seemingly room-obliterating dimensionality that originates well behind the rear listening room wall and projects well beyond the front plane of the speakers. Imagine a system that images and stages with the focus, precision, and transparency of a great mini monitor, but that simultaneously projects and scales with sufficient weight to approach the power and impact of a top-flight symphony blasting at full-tilt and you have an idea of what GW’s system can deliver.

It seems axiomatic that a speaker that weighs more than 500 lbs. and which boasts the ability to generate spectacularly clean bass (down to around 16 Hz) should literally shake the rafters when asked to do so. The VSA ULTRA 9 does this with relative ease (and with an absence of audible distortion that puts most transducers to shame). More impressively, certainly for a small-space listener like me who values bass quality over sheer bass quantity, these $250,000-the-pair behemoths amalgamate the speed, dynamic weight, and impact of a great full-range horn with the transient precision, tautness, and tonal focus of a great sealed-box design. On recordings with genuine deep bass content, the sonic rewards are utterly sublime. Kudos here go to the decision to mate a traditional sealed-box architecture to the 9’s powered 15-inch sub.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

Above and beyond its impressive quantitative abilities, the 9s (and the system overall) do what only a few truly great speakers can: project instruments and voices into the listening with such disarming naturalness, speed, transparency, and urgency, as to suggest the real thing.

Did You Hear That?

I should note that when it comes to what we hear in qualitative terms, Greg and I are of a single mind 95% of the time. Indeed, I marvel every time I describe to him the sound of a component that we have both heard, only to have him echo (down to the micro level) a nearly identical set of sonic impressions. Any points of sonic discord (a rarity) typically boil down to our different listening preferences, not to wholesale disagreements about what we have or haven’t heard objectively.

By the same token, Greg and I differ greatly over the kinds of music we use to evaluate systems and components, or for sheer enjoyment. Dr. Weaver inhabits a musical universe where the likes of Carlos Satana, David Bowie, Supertramp, Alan Parsons, and Papa Ludwig hold court. I live in the post-bob jazz multiverse, with a healthy dose of Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Bill Evans, and Charlie Mingus thrown in for good measure.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

I mention these points to highlight the fact that time and again, Greg and I were in unison about what we heard over the weekend in sound quality terms, while freely admitting (and accepting) any aesthetic differences between us. More importantly, the side-by-side comparisons discussed above reveal that the very best audio systems (and Greg’s system clearly ranks amongst the very best that I have heard) can render fine sonic details not merely as audio spectacle, but as genuine “added musical value” propositions. The better recorded Miles and Supertramp discs did not (and do not) just sound better; they also allowed me to connect with the music and the performers in a more immersive and emotionally engaging way.

Undeniably, the addition of the remarkable Kronos Pro turntable and Discovery RS tonearm to Greg’s system delivered the same overall “obliterated room boundaries” listening sessions that I enjoyed at GTT Audio & Video when I head the then new Kronos Discovery turntable and now discontinued Kronoscope tonearm (here) (the original Kronoscope has been replaced by the new Kronoscope RS tonearm that I soon hope to have in my system). Not to mention the relatively short-lived but equally transformative addition of the stellar VAC Statement Line and Statement Phono Stages andgorgeous Statement 452 iQ Musicbloc all-tubed mono amps (units that Greg sadly had to return not long after my departure).

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

So! Where does nearly a million bucks worth of glass, aluminum, copper, experimental alloys, rubber belts, mineral-loaded speaker cabinets, ceramic drivers and all the rest leave music lovers who, on average, spend a “mere” $18,000 to $20,000 on their admittedly still very good systems overall? In the same place hearing the audio analyst’s system leaves me: wishing I had the space, do-re-mi, and patience to put together a system as compelling as his, but, but, grateful for my far humbler and still musically engaging smaller system.

When all is said and done, hearing a truly great reference system like Greg’s should be seen as an educational exercise. As I expressed recently to an online “Doubting Thomas” who essentially deemed Greg and me crazy for waxing enthusiastic over the musical benefits of the Kronos Pro/Discovery RS / Etsuro Gold system, regardless of one’s personal like (or dislike) of digital or vinyl, open-minded listeners owe it to themselves to seek out a friend or dealer who can demonstrate competently a truly reference-caliber setup.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

Doing so will recalibrate your understanding of what a top-flight system can do sonically, and what value it can deliver musically. You will find yourself in a far better position to decide what musical and sonic values move you, and which components at your chosen price point best approximate the performance of the corresponding benchmark gear.

Greg Weaver's Home Audio System

So, what are you waiting for? Get off your fat audiophile asses, get vaccinated (or boosted), and go hear music with other human beings. You won’t be sorry!

Excelsior!!!!!

Greg Weaver’s Home Audio System

Analog Front End
KRONOS Pro Limited-Edition Turntable – $51,000
KRONOS Super Capacitor Power Supply 1 – $15,000
KRONOS Discovery Resonance Suppression Tonearm – $24,000
Etsuro Gold Moving Coil Cartridge – $20,999
STEALTH phono cable – $9,000

Valve Amplification Company Electronics Statement Phono Stage – $80,000
Valve Amplification Company Electronics Statement Line Stage – $80,000

A pair of Statement 452iQ Musicbloc mono amplifiers – $150,000/pr.

Music Servers
Ideon Absolute Stream – $20,000
Lenovo ThinkStation P320 CAD Workstation – $1,200
Intel Xeon 3.50GHz quad core CPU running 8 Logical Processors, with 32 GB RAM, and I use a Samsung EVO Plus solid-state drive for the OS

Streaming Software – Roon v2.0; J River Media Center 29; Fidelizer Pro v8.8

Networking
NAS and all Network Devices/Streamers/Roon Endpoints connected with
Audience Hidden Treasure CAT7 Ethernet and Serial ATA cables

DACs
LampizatOr Baltic 3 (rolled with Shuguang 12au7-Treasure Series outputs and VERY RARE 1953 Soviet Military NOS MELZ 6H8C Metalbase inputs) – $7,000
iFi iDSD Pro with Linear Power Supply – $3,000

Power Conditioning
Audience adeptResponse 12-T4 – $11,400 (with frontRow powerChord – $6,700)

Quantum Symphony Pro AC Conditioners – $1,200

Other Cables
1.5M STEALTH Śakra v16 Balanced IC – $24,000
1.5M STEALTH Śakra v17 limited edition Balanced cable run – $36,000
Misc Audience frontRow powerChords and frontRow ICs

Master-Built ULTRA Cables
2M balanced interconnect – from Statement Phono stage to Line Stage ~ $22,000
9M balanced interconnect – from Statement Line to Statement 542 iQ Music Bloc ~ $50,000
2.5M biwire speaker cables – one bi-wire cable from each Statement 542 iQ Musicbloc to each Ultra 9 ~ $35,000
Audionet GAUSS Cable Risers (6 units) ~$2,000
1.5M AC Power cords – Statement Line Stage/Statement Phono Stage ~ $17,000 ea. ($34,000 total)
2M AC Power cords – Statement 542 iQ Musicbloc ~ $21,000 ea. ($42,000 total)
2.5M AC Power cords – Ultra 9 ~ $23,000 ea. ($46,000 total) 
Master-Built Cable total = $229,000

Support
TimberNation – 2-inch-thick maple, four shelf, double wide equipment stand.

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