October 3, 2009: Part 1
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise noted.
April Musics Stello brand was
on display with the new Ai500 integrated amplifier ($3495) along with the cosmetically
similar CDA500 CD player ($2995). The build and finish quality of these components
was more typical of what you would expect to see at twice the price. For instance, the
Ai500s power supply
includes a massive toroidal transformer that would be right at home in some of the
largest, most powerful high-end amplifiers. The Ai500s rated power output is 150Wpc
into 8 ohms, which doubles to 300Wpc into 4 ohms. Also nestled within the Ai500s
circuitry is a built-in digital-to-analog converter that comes equipped with four digital
inputs. The CDA500 CD player is a top-loading design that upsamples to 24-bit/192kHz
resolution and has three digital inputs: coaxial, optical and USB.
Hailing from Norway, the Hegel brand made an auspicious
debut at RMAF. Here you see the H100 integrated amplifier ($3000) with built-in USB DAC.
The H100 has a power rating of 100Wpc into 8 ohms. If you want a Hegel DAC without the
amplifier section, fear not . . .
The Hegel HD10 DAC features S/PDIF and optical inputs that
will accept digital signals up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. There is also a USB input that
supports 24-bit/96kHz resolution. The HD10's price is $1200.
Harbeth's P3ESR is the successor to the company's very
popular PSES2 loudspeaker. The P3ESR features a brand-new 5" RADIAL2 mid-woofer,
something the company began work on in 2005. The PS3ESR retails for $1995 in the standard
cherry finish and $2195 in the rosewood veneer shown above. Harbeth calls the P3ESR
"the ultimate minimonitor" -- we'd like to get one in for review to test that
Japans Silicon Arts Designs president and CTO,
Masataka Tsuda, kneels with the companys Concert
Fidelity ZL200 solid-state monoblock power amplifier that sells for $40,000 per pair.
Also on display was the matching CF-080LSX
preamplifier that retails for $20,000. The CF-080LSX is termed a "hybrid"
linestage due to the "solid-state input selector and analog volume control"
mated to a 12AU7-based vacuum-tube gain stage.
Emotivas newest subwoofer has a price, $599, but no
name quite yet. When it begins shipping in December, this model will feature a 500W
amplifier mated to its 12" woofer. Emotiva is based in Franklin, Tennessee.