The SoundStage! InSight video series began in March 2014, with the goal to give an inside look at hi-fi companies and products they make. The newest video, which was released on February 27 on YouTube and is the sixth in the series, features MartinLogan’s Neolith loudspeaker, the company’s newest statement-level speaker, which retails for $80,000 USD per pair and features the largest electrostatic panel that the company has ever made. The video was shot on location at MartinLogan’s manufacturing facility and shows how the speaker is made, as well as the people who make it.
Bryston, which initially established itself as an electronics manufacturer, first entered the loudspeaker market almost three years ago with the floorstanding Model T, which was a tremendous success. Since then, the company has expanded their loudspeaker offerings to include numerous main-speaker models, as well as subwoofers. The newest addition to their line is the Mini A, a 15”-tall, three-way, stand-mounted design that features a 6.5” aluminum-cone woofer, 3” aluminum-cone midrange, and 1” titanium-dome tweeter. Priced at $1200 USD/pair, the Mini A is the company’s most affordable loudspeaker so far, yet it incorporates technologies featured in their more costlier models. According to Bryston’s February 26 press release: “The Mini A design has benefited from extensive enclosure vibration analysis, crossover network refinement and anechoic chamber testing in order to deliver true high fidelity at an affordable price. Like all Bryston loudspeakers, the Mini A is capable of high output levels without introducing distortion or compression into the listening experience. Each pair is unit-to-unit matched to ensure uniform response.”
According to Bryston’s supplied specifications, the Mini A boasts a frequency response of 60Hz to 20Khz (+/-3dB), a nominal impedance of 8 ohms, and an anechoic sensitivity of 87dB (2.83V/m). Standard finishes for the Mini A include Natural Cherry, Boston Cherry, and Black Ash, but it is also available in custom finishes for an additional charge. The Mini A is available through Bryston’s dealers now.
Naim Audio has introduced the NAC-N 272, which boasts a high-quality preamplifier, digital streamer, and headphone amplifier. According to the company’s press release on February 15: “The 272 is a high-quality Naim preamplifier. Its fundamental electronic design is inspired by the NAC 552 preamplifier, which is bettered only by Statement in the Naim performance hierarrchy. The volume control design is derived from the flagship Statement NAC S1 preamplifier. The preamp uses quality, hand-matched components and great care has been taken to protect the sensitive analogue parts from the power supply and digital circuitry.
“Alongside this performance, the 272 boasts an impressive array of inputs. This includes high-resolution (up to 24-bit/192kHz) UPnP streaming, Spotify Connect, iRadio, Bluetooth (aptX), USB, multiroom and an optional DAB/FM module. Six digital and three analogue inputs cover integration with a wide range of sources from CD and games consoles to phono stages. It’s also performance upgradable with the addition of a Naim XP5 XS, XPS or 555 PS power supply.”
Like Naim’s other products, the NAC-N 272 is hand built in the company’s factory, located in Salisbury, England. According to information on Naim’s website: “All analogue input sockets on the 272 are individually hand wired to the main board to enhance mechanical decoupling. The board itself is mounted on a system of shoulder bolts which releases any tension which can adversely affect sound quality. The sound-critical resistors used arrive at Naim matched to within 5%. This already high tolerance is improved before assembly by hand-matching to within a margin of just 1%. We then go even further by introducing a slight mechanically compliant bend in the legs of each one during assembly. We take this care and attention because we know it can help to make the difference in producing the incredible sound on which we’ve built our reputation.”
The NAC-N 272 is priced at £3300 (without optional DAB/FM tuner). It will make its public debut at Sound & Vision (The Bristol Show), held February 20-22 at the Marriott City Centre Hotel, located in Bristol, Scotland.
Magico has announced the new Q7 Mk II loudspeaker. In addition, Magico is also making available an upgrade path for current Q7 owners. According to the company's press release on February 2, "The new Q7 Mk II loudspeaker was inspired by some of the new features we unveiled in the limited-edition M-Project. Key elements of the M-Project design will now be incorporated into the new Q7 Mk II, which results in significant improvements to the overall sound performance. Notable changes are found in the tweeter, midrange, and crossover. These improvements will ensure the Q7 Mk II remains Magico’s supreme accomplishment, and the company's flagship model."
The Q7 Mk II incorporates a new, more efficient version of the 28mm tweeter found in the M-Project speaker, which uses a diamond-coated beryllium diaphragm. The company claims that "optimized geometry, created using state-of-the-art finite-element-analysis modeling tools" brings the Q7 Mk II's high-frequency reproduction "one step closer to perfection" and results in the "lowest distortion measurements possible today in a high-frequency transducer." The new 6"-diameter midrange driver features a Graphene-based cone material that is said to be 30% lighter and 300% stiffer than its predecessor. The Q7 Mk II will also include MCap Supreme Evo capacitors from Mundorf of Germany.
The press release concludes by stating, "The Q7 Mk II is our finest achievement, a technical triumph that fully expresses the ultimate passion and capabilities of Magico. We believe that the Q7 Mk II defines our commitment to technically and artistically redefining the genre, and will provide music lovers with an unlimited and unedited space within which to experience sound like never before."
The price of the Q7 Mk II is $229,000 per pair. The upgrade for existing owners of the original Q7 is $44,000/pr., which must be done at the Magico factory.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held annually in Las Vegas, is the world’s largest showcase for consumer-based electronics, including high-end-audio products, which are primarily shown at the Venetian Hotel. CES 2015 runs from January 6-9.
The SoundStage! Network team is already there covering the event, with feature articles and new-product coverage already appearing on SoundStage! Global, our site specifically designed for event coverage, factory tours, and product debuts. Regular updates will continue as CES progresses, and will conclude as the event closes. Our team members include Jeff Fritz, Doug Schneider, Ken Kessler, Roger Kanno, and Brent Butterworth. Visit SoundStage! Global now to see what’s going on.
SoundStage! Insight’s fifth episode showcases Paradigm Loudspeakers through their new Prestige-series speaker line. The Prestige series is comprised of three floorstanders, one bookshelf model, two center-channels, and one surround.
The footage for this episode was shot earlier this month at Paradigm’s manufacturing headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, which is where all of the Prestige-series speakers are made. One of focuses of Paradigm’s current marketing efforts with this series is the fact that all the models are made in Canada.
Speaking on behalf of Paradigm are Scott Bagby (Founding Partner), Oleg Bobdanov (Director of Engineering), and Brian Smith (US Eastern Regional Sales Manager). This episode, along with the previous four, are available on YouTube now.
Last week, SoundStage!’s Doug Schneider traveled to Devialet’s headquarters, in Paris, France, for an exclusive sneak peak at the company’s two new loudspeaker models: Phantom and Silver Phantom, which will retail in the United States for $1990 and $2390, respectively. Both are fully powered, four-driver, three-way designs capable of receiving digital music signals via Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and powerline Ethernet simultaneously. There is also a TosLink connector for use with a Blu-ray player or similar.
By combining the company’s existing technologies, such as ADH and SAM, with new developments created specifically for this project, Devialet has introduced compact speaker systems that are now on the cutting edge technically, visually, and sonically. The company claims bass extension to 16Hz for both. Devialet also claims that the Phantom can deliver SPLs of 99dB, while the more powerful Silver Phantom can reach 105dB. Doug’s report on the Phantoms, which appears on SoundStage! Global now, describes the speakers in detail and contains his listening impressions.
According to the company's December 11 press release, the upcoming Denon PMA-50 stereo amplifier has been created "for serious hi-fi listeners looking for a compact and high-quality design that meets their lifestyle." The PMA-50 offers a wide array of digital inputs: optical, coaxial, USB, and Bluetooth.
The amplifier's output stage has discrete construction, which realizes "higher signal-to-noise ratio and lower distortion compared to conventional class-D amplifiers." Denon claims this amplifier topology delivers high amplifier efficiency and an output rating of 50Wpc into 4 ohms. A pre-out is at hand for adding a subwoofer.
The PMA-50 features multiple digital inputs for compatibility with digital audio sources, along with an analog stereo input for legacy sources. Notably, the PMA-50 also has a USB Type-B connection for a PC or Mac to play high-resolution PCM (up to 24-bit/192kHz) and DSD (2.8MHz and 5.6MHz) digital music files. To eliminate computer-induced digital noise via the USB input, the PMA-50 features a dedicated noise isolation block prior to the digital amplifier.
The PMA-50 is equipped with a dedicated headphone amplifier that includes a high-speed, ultra-low-distortion wideband op amp that's paired with a fully discrete final output stage. In order to accommodate the widest range of headphone types, the PMA-50 features an adjustable headphone impedance control with three settings: Low, Medium, and High.
The compact chassis features deluxe finishes, including soft aluminum matte with bright silver-tone accents, and glossy- and matte-black surfaces. The PMA-50 can be positioned horizontally or vertically, and is sized to fit just about anywhere, including home and office desktops, as well as home studios. Removable feet and screw caps make reconfiguring easy. For total convenience, the supplied remote control features an ergonomically designed layout that includes a cursor keypad for Source Select, Volume, Setup, Back, Bluetooth, and Display Dimmer.
The PMA-50 ($599 USD) is expected to be available in January.