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 Zus 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 VTLs 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
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 speakers reproduction of depth and ambience.
Germanys 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 companys 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
Germanys Octave showed a new phono stage called the
Phono Module. Although details about it are scarce, the price is expected to be 3700