SoundStage!’s CES 2016 coverage has already begun on SoundStage! Global, our site specifically designed for show reporting, company tours, product debuts, and blogging. The main CES 2016 event runs from January 6 to 9 and is held in Las Vegas, but CES Unveiled, held on January 4, officially kicked it off. SoundStage! writer Brent Butterworth was there to cover it for us. In addition to Brent, SoundStage! writers Jeff Fritz, Roger Kanno, and Doug Schneider are also in Las Vegas to report on the event. Coverage during the official show days will include features on new products, extensive photo galleries, and the presentations for our annual Products of the Year awards. Visit SoundStage! Global now to learn the latest!
The SoundStage! Network is proud to announce our newest video series: SoundStage! Shorts. The SoundStage! Shorts series was conceived after finding success with SoundStage! InSight, our first video series, and realizing that we could produce topic-specific videos in a slightly different way.
With the SoundStage! InSight series, the goal with each episode is to tell a company’s story through a product, product line, or proprietary technology. Each InSight video is about five to seven minutes long. We have produced 11 so far. In contrast, the Shorts videos run about two minutes in length, with the purpose being to tell the story of just one product.
The first SoundStage! Shorts episode focuses on the Pryma, a new headphone brand designed and built by Italian speaker-maker Sonus Faber. It was filmed in New York City in November 2015. In it, industrial designer Livio Cucuzza talks about the design details for the 0|1, the company’s first headphone model.
Audio Research’s Reference series began in 1995, with the release of the Reference 1 preamplifier. The company has now announced the newest addition: the all-tube Reference 6 preamplifier. According to Audio Research’s October 16 press release: “The Reference 6 line stage preamplifier is housed in a single chassis paneled in custom-machined aluminum. The vacuum tube audio stage utilizes six 6H30 vacuum tubes (three per channel), and one 6H30 and a 6550WE provide regulation in the power supply. The large, vacuum fluorescent display on the front panel shows all functions and volume. Two rotary encoders provide input selection and volume control, and a row of five buttons control power, mute, invert, mono and menu controls. Menu functions include: input labeling, display brightness, processor input setup and tube hour reset. Four balanced and four single-ended inputs provide system connectivity. There are two main outputs providing both balanced and single-ended, as well as a record out. RS-232, IR input, and 12V trigger allow for additional control options. The Reference 6 ships with a full-function metal remote.”
The Reference 6’s world premiere was at the Son et Image show, held October 17-18 in Paris. It will carry a retail price of $14,000 in the United States when it begins shipping next month
The newest SoundStage! InSight episode, which debuted on YouTube today, explores KEF’s Blade Two loudspeaker. This is the 11th InSight episode and the second to feature KEF -- KEF’s history and Uni-Q driver technology were the subjects of the previous episode, which was released on YouTube last month.
This new episode features KEF’s Johan Coorg, the company’s head of brand development; Jack O’Clee-Brown, leader of the acoustics division; and Phil Gidley, one of the main design engineers on the Blade Two project. Both KEF episodes were filmed in July 2015, at the company’s headquarters in Maidstone, Kent, UK.
Anthem Electronics has just released the next generation of the company’s popular home-theater-electronics lineup, including their newest high-end preamplifier-processor, the AVM 60. According to the company's October 14 press release: "added features for the AVM 60 include Dolby Atmos immersive audio decoding and future upgrade for DTS:X immersive audio decoding, support for UHD Blu-ray and 4K60 through HDMI 2.0a with HDR, HDCP 2.2 and 18.2Gbps switching. Other AVM 60 improvements include any source downmix to Zone 2 and the fixed-level line outputs, as well as expanded menu options for convenience and ease of setup. The AVM 60 includes two subwoofer jacks and a front USB port for software updates. The front HDMI input supports MHL, as does one of the seven HDMI inputs on the back."
The natural partnering electronics for the AVM 60 are the new MCA-series amplifiers. The new models are the MCA 525, MCA 325, and MCA 225, in five-, three-, and two-channel configurations, respectively. The new MCAs have been "completely redesigned for improved audio performance and reliability, and cosmetic matching. Careful attention was paid to every area for the new series resulting in upgrades such as using eight bipolar output devices for less stress on each device, no relays in signal path to reduce the number of moving parts which can fail, much reduced in-rush current on power-up with less line disturbance and reduced stress on internal components, and higher-quality connectors. For audio quality improvements, damping factor is considerably higher to eliminate the effect of speaker impedance variations on frequency response, and distortion is lower thanks to many improvements throughout including higher current output which is suitable for demanding low-impedance speakers."
If separates aren't your thing, Anthem has also released brand-new versions of their MRX-series home-theater receivers. According to Anthem: "the new generation of MRX A/V receivers feature many improvements over previous generations, such as Dolby Atmos immersive audio decoding, DTS Play-Fi and readiness for DTS:X immersive audio decoding. Additional channels of processing and amplification are also supplementary as you move up the line. Just as the model names suggest, MRX 520 includes five channels of amplification, MRX 720 includes seven channels of amplification and MRX 1120 includes eleven channels of amplification."
Estimated availability for all seven products is January 2016. The prices are as follows:
AVM 60: $2999 USD
MCA 525: $3499
MCA 325: $2499
MCA 225: $1999
MRX 1120: $3499
MRX 720: $2499
MRX 520: $1399