May 22, 2009 - Part 2
All prices in euros (€) unless otherwise noted.
At time of report, 1 € is approximately 1.37 US dollars.

Zu Audio makes striking-looking speakers. The new Essence is a floorstanding design (5700 € per pair) that features Zu’s proprietary full-range G4 10” driver mated to a ribbon super tweeter operating from 10kHz up. Multiple finishes are available for this uniquely styled speaker.

VTL treated us to a comparison of the TL-6.5 line-stage preamplifier, which is a hybrid tube/solid-state design, with the company's newest product, the TL-5.5 Series II all-tube preamp ($6000 USD). When VTL’s Luke Manley made the switch to the tubed unit, the midrange gained a bit of body and the midbass became a touch rounder. The TL-6.5 was tighter on the bottom end and had incredible detail. As they say, horses for courses.

Audio Aero showed the new LaSource DAC, which features a USB 2.0 digital input, analog inputs (with accompanying analog-to-digital converter), and a preamplifier section for direct connection to your power amplifier. The cost is 20,000 €. We were quite intrigued by the LaSource's shape. When you crouch and shoot a photo from below, the LaSource DAC looks like it's ready for takeoff. Probably not surprising given the company's name.

Pathos introduced the unique Frontieres Grand loudspeaker at High End 2009 (21,000 € per pair.). A distinctive design feature of this speaker is that the tweeter/midrange enclosure can be aimed at the appropriate listening position, something the company dubs the "Soundfield Shaper" principle. The rear of the Frontieres Grand houses an additional tweeter/midrange array that is said to improve the speaker’s reproduction of depth and ambience.

Germany’s Seta Audio demonstrated its line of speakers, but there appeared to be "holes" in the theory. Or, at least, holes as part of the theory -- the holes in the cabinet are key elements to the company’s proprietary venting method. Seen here are the Besa LS (outer, 16,000 € per pair.) and the Besa CS (8500 € per pair.), which feature ribbon tweeters for the upper frequencies and Mundorf capacitors in their crossovers.

Germany’s Octave showed a new phono stage called the Phono Module. Although details about it are scarce, the price is expected to be 3700 €.