October 3, 2009: Part 1
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

April Music’s 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 Ai500’s power supply includes a massive toroidal transformer that would be right at home in some of the largest, most powerful high-end amplifiers. The Ai500’s rated power output is 150Wpc into 8 ohms, which doubles to 300Wpc into 4 ohms. Also nestled within the Ai500’s 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 claim.

Japan’s Silicon Arts Design’s president and CTO, Masataka Tsuda, kneels with the company’s 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.

Emotiva’s 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.