January 9, 2009 - Series 2
The Audio Research CD8 ($9995) replaces the well-known and
great-sounding CD7 in the company's Reference line. The CD8 features 24-bit/192kHz DACs
and the same power-supply regulation used in the Reference 3 preamp. This replaces two
6H30 triode tubes with a single 6550C, which is most often an output tube for a power
amplifier. Unlike the CD7's display, the CD8's is dimmable. Like its predecessor, the CD8
is fully balanced and packed with circuitry.
Germanys Adam Audio showed the Column Mk 3 ($9798 per
pair powered, $7398 passive) and Compact Mk 3 loudspeakers ($3998 per pair powered, $2798
passive). Adam is a big proponent of active loudspeakers and offers all of its products in
active as well as passive form. Each driver has its own dedicated amplifier, and the
speaker has a control panel on the back. The modest increase to go
from passive to active, particularly when you consider the cost of a good-quality separate
amplifier, makes an economic case for going active over passive.
Lafleuraudio hails from Quebec, Canada, and was showing the
new X2 loudspeaker priced at $17,000 without stands. This two-way, three-driver speaker
features two 5" woofers and a 1.5" ring-radiator tweeter. The striking cabinets
are made of what the company calls "wild Russian cherry wood" and are finished
to a very high standard.
The Acoustic Energy Radiance 3 from Britain appears to
offer very high value for money -- $3000 per pair. These three-way floorstanders feature
dual-voice-coil aluminum-cone midranges and woofers, and a 1" ring-radiator tweeter
built into a custom waveguide. The wood shown in the photo is natural ash.
Calyx's The Integrated ($1995) marries a USB
DAC to a class-D integrated amplifier. It weighs a mere six pounds, but it outputs 200Wpc,
accepting digital input up to 24 bits and 48kHz.
Montanas J-Corder is an interesting company. Company
CEO Jeff Jacobs specializes in restoring reel-to-reel tape machines and vintage
electronics. But the company also has on hand for sale some really cool vintage
loudspeakers. Case in point: the Technics SST-25Hz subwoofer and SST-1
two-way horn speakers (above). These beauties came out of an abandoned theater and are
from the late 1970s. Contact J-Corder for pricing.