The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) is the largest consumer-based high-end-audio show in the United States. It takes place annually at the Denver Marriott Tech Center in Denver, CO, USA. RMAF 2013 runs October 11-13 and the SoundStage! Network is currently there covering it. All coverage appears on SoundStage! Global, the SoundStage! Network's special site devoted exclusively to event coverage and company tours.
SoundStage! Network senior editor Hans Wetzel visited the headquarters of Arcam on September 17 and 18, which is located in Cambridge, UK. While there, Hans met with founder John Dawson (shown in photo, right), managing director Charlie Brennan, and product manager Andy Moore, in order to learn more about what the company is doing right now and what we can expect from them in the future. Hans’s six-part feature about that trip is now online at SoundStage! Global, the SoundStage! Network site that was specially built for company tours and show reports.
Copland, which is based in Denmark and is distributed in North America by Divergent Technologies, has announced the release of the CTA405A integrated amplifier, which retails for $5990 USD. The CTA405A is similar overall to the CTA405 it replaces, but now uses KT120 tubes in its output stage. These tubes allow for increased current capability, in turn making the CTA405A more suitable for lower-impedance speaker designs than the CTA405 was. The CTA405A’s power rating is 50Wpc (8 or 4 ohms).
The CTA405A’s linestage section, which is said to be based on the company’s standalone CTA305 linestage, has five analog inputs, as well as a phono stage suitable for moving-magnet and high-output moving-coil cartridges. The CTA405A is available with either a black or silver faceplate and will be unveiled for the first time in North America at the TAVES 2013 event, which will be held November 1-3 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The SoundStage! Network’s coverage of CEDIA Expo 2013 has begun. This year’s event runs from September 26-28 in Denver, Colorado, USA.
Typically, CEDIA Expo is a showcase for custom-installation products, but many manufacturers of stereo, home-theater, and personal-electronics products also show there. So, to ensure that these manufacturers’ products are seen by our readership, the SoundStage! Network "up close and personal” coverage of CEDIA Expo 2013 has begun!
The Network team has taken an “up close and personal” approach to covering this event -- less products covered overall, but higher focus on the products that our core audience will want to see, with much greater photographic detail. As a result, you can expect between five and 15 high-quality photos of each product, as well as photos of the person or persons responsible for the creation of the products if they’re available.
Some of the coverage is already online and will continue throughout the show, so check it out now at SoundStage! Global, the SoundStage! Network’s site specially created for show reports and company tours.
Bowers & Wilkins has announced the release of the P7 headphones, the first over-the-ear design from the UK-based company. The headphones fold up and come with a carrying case. The P7 headphones feature “speaker inspired” drivers and dual-cavity ear pads. Moving parts and back plates are constructed from brushed and stainless steel, as is the folding system. The logo plates are crafted from brushed aluminum, and the headband and ear pads are encased in soft leather.
The headphone cable comes with a remote/microphone attachment so it will work seamlessly with Apple products. With a cable swap out, it is also compatible with other smartphones and MP3 players. Bowers & Wilkins claims a frequency range of 10Hz to 20kHz for the P7, as well as 0.3 percent (1kHz/10mW) distortion and a sensitivity of 111dB/V at 1kHz.
The P7 headphones retail for $399.99 USD.
Premium high-end audio manufacturers like Meridian Audio have shifted focus in recent years to the world of luxury high-performance automobiles and yachts. Consumers with the financial means to spend more than $80,000 on a car have proven to be unfazed by expensive options such as navigation, communication, and entertainment packages that often add an additional $4000 to the final sticker price of an automobile. The results so far for Meridian, with its partners at McLaren, Jaguar, and Land Rover, have been quite rewarding.
Land Rover’s entry-level 2014 Range Rover starts at $83,545 in the United States and includes a 12-channel Meridian audio system with 13 drivers and 380W of power. Meridian has recently launched the Signature Trifield-3D Reference system, however, which comes standard on the brand-new Range Rover Autobiography, which is now available for $140,000.
With a little help from our friends at Meridian, and the generosity of the Classic Car Club in New York City, we were given the opportunity to take the 2014 Range Rover Autobiography for an extended test drive and to have a listen to Meridian’s most innovative automotive stereo system so far.
The Autobiography may look like Range Rover’s HSE model, but this supercharged 5.0-liter V8 SUV comes standard with 510 horsepower and rockets from 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds; this becomes even more impressive when you realize that it weighs more than 5000 pounds. With a top speed of over 155mph, it’s rather obvious why the Autobiography is selling rather well in Asia, Europe, and the Gulf states to wealthy customers who desire performance and the ultimate in luxury interiors. The cabin of the Range Rover is incredibly well-insulated from outside noise.
The Signature Trifield-3D Reference system offers 1700W of power, and 29 loudspeakers, including a 10” subwoofer, and front height loudspeakers that are positioned above the driver's and front passenger’s heads.
The system also includes support for Bluetooth, a ten-disc memory vault, and the option to connect an USB memory stick. Meridian utilizes active DSP-based crossovers, cabin-correction software, and digital dither shaping, which also includes 24-bit/96kHz DACs, to reproduce a three-dimensional-sounding soundstage within the confines of the cabin regardless of where the passenger is seated.
UK-based Bowers & Wilkins announced that their popular P3 headphones are now available in a striking bright-red-colored finish. The standard black-, white-, and blue-colored finishes are still available. S. Andrea Sundaram reviewed the P3 headphones for SoundStage! Xperience in September 2012. According the company’s press release issued on September 14: “This bold new color joins the three existing P3 options of blue, white, and black, providing anyone who demands great sound on the move -- from a headphone renowned for its rugged yet lightweight construction, foldable design, and detailed, natural sound -- with four options for matching his or her personal style.” The price for the P3s in any of the colors is $199.99 USD.
Jabra has announced the expansion of the company’s speaker line with a new ultra-portable version of the Jabra Solemate Bluetooth speaker -- the Jabra Solemate Mini. Jabra touts the new speaker as “compact in size but delivering surprisingly big sound, the Jabra Solemate Mini is a perfect travel companion, providing music for any setting whether at home or on the road, and will be available in red, yellow, blue, or black.” In addition, Jabra announced an enhanced version of the original Solemate, including four new colors -- red, blue, yellow, and grey -- enhanced Dolby sound performance, instant pairing, and offline streaming.
Smaller than a soda can, the Jabra Solemate Mini delivers big sound in an ultra-portable-sized unit. “The secret lies in two powerful, front-facing speakers in an acoustically designed enclosure, providing optimal performance with super bass response.”
The newly enhanced original Jabra Solemate provides an enriched sound experience and usability, while adding fresh new colors. With super-fast Near Field Communication (NFC) pairing, users simply tap an NFC-enabled device to the Solemate and it’s instantly connected. To disconnect, just tap them together again.
Another addition to the Solemate is the Jabra Sound App with Dolby Digital Plus sound. Dolby Digital Plus delivers a sound space enhancer providing extra depth and dimension to the sound emerging from the Solemate. In addition, the Jabra Sound App 2.0 allows streaming of YouTube music videos as well as existing on-device stored content while using the offline feature for playback -- all in Dolby Digital Plus stereo.
Jabra Solemate Mini will be available in Q4 for $99.00 USD. The enhanced Jabra Solemate will retail for $149.99 and will also be at retail outlets in Q4.