October 4, 2009: Part 2
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

Wadia was playing a prototype of their new 971 reference CD transport (estimated $10,000 to $15,000 when available at the end of 2009). According to Wadia's John Schaeffer, this flagship disc spinner features several important technical advances The 971 incorporates what Schaffer says is a "huge" buffer that stores the digital data after it is read from the disc. The DAC the 971 is connected to then controls the clocking of the data from the transport for what is reportedly very good jitter rejection. The 971 also features two user-selectable dither options and a power-factor-corrected power supply. [www.wadia.com]

The RC2000S preamplifier is the newest product from the Jaton Corporation. This full-featured linestage is notable for its internal digital-to-analog converter and unique method of signal processing: the RC2000S derives a dedicated subwoofer channel from incoming analog or digital signals and allows the listener to drive a powered subwoofer from the LFE output on the rear panel. The RC2000S also has two sets of main outputs making biamping loudspeakers possible without a splitter. Jaton estimates the price will be $1500 when available next month. [www.jatonhp.com]

Do you like your loudspeakers big or really big? France’s Focal displayed their flagship Grande Utopia EM right next to the Utopia III line’s newest member, the significantly smaller Maestro Utopia. Whereas the Grande Utopia EM costs $180,000 per pair, the Maestro is only $50,000 per pair. The Maestro is a three-and-half-way design featuring two "W" 11" woofers, a 6.5" "Power Flower" midrange, and a 1" pure-beryllium-dome tweeter. The Maestro is said to deliver bass down to 25Hz (+/-3dB) and is available now.

The Dynaudio Consequence loudspeaker was originally introduced back in 1984. The speaker was reborn in 2009 in a similar form factor but with wholly updated technology and design elements. This 2009 Consequence Ultimate Edition costs $70,000 per pair and is a five-way design that is configured a bit differently than most speakers. At the top of the multi-module cabinet structure are two compound-loaded 12" drivers (which is why you only see one woofer), and below them are the midbass, midrange, upper midrange, and tweeter drivers, in that order. It’s not everyday that you see a tweeter that close to the floor, but, then again, that's what helps to make the Consequence a truly unique design.

Germany’s Valvet introduced their compact monoblock power amplifiers, the A3.5s ($4990 per pair). These little "bricks," as the company calls them, are rated to produce 50W of class-A power. The power supply consists of a 300VA transformer and 100,000 microfarads of capacitance for plenty of headroom.

Synergistic Research’s new Galileo product line may well be the most expensive cables in the world and were the topic of several conversations around RMAF -- at these prices, they garner an opinion of one sort or another from just about everyone. One run of speaker cables consists of many individual cables and a couple components. Most obvious are the Galileo "boxes" that contain Synergistic's proprietary active-shielding technology, then there are the cables that run between the boxes that Synergistic calls "strings" and then more cables run from the amp to the first box, and then from the second box to the loudspeaker. These "actively shielded" cables are priced at $40,000 for a pair of speaker cables and $25,000 for a pair of interconnects. If you get one set of speaker cables and two sets of interconnects, which is the minimum number of cables for most systems, that's $90,000! Not for the feint of wallet, that’s for sure.