October 2, 2009: Part 1
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

Bel Canto Design demonstrated their latest digital-to-analog converter, the DAC3.1 (left), that's priced at $3000 and is said to have more features and better performance than the DAC3 it replaces. The DAC3.1 features a display with sampling-frequency readout (handy), better jitter rejection, an analog-to-digital converter that operates at 24-bit/192kHz, RS232 connectivity, and a glass-fiber connection that will interface with the company’s USB Link 24/96. Current DAC3 owners can have their units upgraded to 3.1 spec when it's released in November. [www.belcantodesign.com]

The $2500 Kismet phono stage from Odyssey Audio features a master variable gain control for both the moving-coil and moving-magnet sections. The moving-coil section is powered by a 9V battery, which is said to reduce noise considerably. The Kismet also sports zero feedback in the circuit design, a class-A gain stage, and "bipolar and vacuum-tube single-ended stages." The Kismet is feature-rich and well built, with a rock-solid chassis that's milled from solid aluminum. [www.odysseyaudio.com]

Anthony Gallo Acoustics showed the production version of the Reference Strada loudspeaker, which is priced at $899 each until November 1 ($999 afterwards). The Reference Strada features the company’s patented Cylindrical Diaphragm Transducer (CDT) tweeter and two 4" carbon-fiber woofers. The Strada comes with stand- and wall-mount brackets at no extra charge. [www.roundsound.com]

Atma-Sphere's M-60 Mark III.1 OTL mono amplifiers are priced at $6800 per pair. According to Ralph Karsten, the company's owner and designer, the M-60 Mark III.1 has half the distortion of the previous version. The new III.1 also comes with an aluminum faceplate that can be ordered in an array of colors at no extra charge. [www.atma-sphere.com]

The Arion Audio MK 1000 amplifiers ($3900 per pair) are rated to deliver 500W into 8 ohms and 1000W into 4 ohms. These class-D monoblocks will purportedly deliver 35 amps of current and have a signal-to-noise ratio of 116dB.

Debuting at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest was the Gingko Audio CalaraVu 7 loudspeaker. This two-way design is fitted with a 1" soft-dome tweeter and two 6.5" woofers mated together in an isobaric configuration (meaning one woofer is inside the cabinet, so you can’t see it). The ClaraVu 7s are priced at $2995 per pair. Optional stands are available for $500 per pair.