The Latest in High-End Audio
One of the big lessons of 2020 seems to be that, if you are going to be stuck at home, it may as well be with a fantastic-sounding system! High-end audio continues its resurgence with customers updating their home theaters and 2-channel listening environments. To help bring those sounds to life, here are some new additions to the high-end audio product category.
Vincent Audio SV-737 Integrated Amplifier
Vincent Audio’s SV-737 hybrid integrated amplifier (MSRP: $3499.95) combines the benefits of both tube and solid-state designs with powerful output, numerous analog and digital inputs, wireless connectivity, and overall flexibility. Two amplifier sections — pre-amplifier and power amplifier — are matched for maximum transparency. However, the listener can bypass the pre-amp/amp connection by removing external jumpers, allowing for an external digital signal processor (DSP) for room correction. Options for wired connections include six pairs of analog RCA inputs, two optical inputs, two coaxial inputs, and one stereo main input, making it future-resistant as users’ systems evolve over time. Vincent Audio’s SV-737 integrated amplifier’s hybrid design offers the natural-sounding audio associated with vacuum tubes while providing the power and control of solid-state electronics. The SV-737 is up to date with a DAC that handles the latest high-resolution streaming formats, including WAV, FLAC, AIFF, APE, and more.
Atlantic Technology AT-3 Tower Speaker
Atlantic Technology is now shipping its next generation AT-Series tower speaker, the AT-3. This 2-way speaker is the improved successor to the AT-1. Like the AT-1, it incorporates Atlantic Technology’s H-PAS technology for enhanced bass performance, yet its cabinet size is 25 percent smaller. The AT-3 is available at $3000 a pair (MSRP). In 2011 Atlantic Technology introduced its patented bass system called H-PAS (Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System), breaking the conventional “Iron Law” of speaker acoustics that you can’t have deep bass and good sensitivity in a reasonably sized enclosure. H-PAS has a proprietary cabinet design that directs the woofer’s back wave through an internal inverse horn structure for a continuous compression of the back wave and couples it to an acoustic bass trap chamber. The chamber expands the effective enclosure volume at low frequencies, filtering out parasitic resonances and distortion to clarify bass exiting the front cabinet port. As a result, the AT-3 delivers extended deep bass at high output levels with low harmonic distortion.
Meridian High-Power Array
Meridian has launched the High-Power Array (HPA), which is a technology upgrade that optimizes the output and coverage of sound when three Meridian architectural loudspeakers are arranged in a close-proximity array configuration. When designing large home cinemas, integrators aim to achieve high SPL targets across the entire listening region, without distortion. CEDIA guidelines recommend a THX Reference level 105 dB for the main listening position. This can be challenge that typically requires the need to move to compression drivers that lack the required high frequency extension, resolution, and clarity; a deeper installation depth for larger high SPL speakers; and a greater number of larger power amps in the rack that generate more heat.
Meridian is providing the solution to this challenge with the newly developed HPA technology enabling integrators to install three identical DSP loudspeakers in a stack or array configuration. The HPA configuration ensures minimal interference and spectral variation between speakers, resulting in an even response. This installation method also enables the integrator to maintain the 100mm mounting depth and the additional channels don’t require any extra equipment in the rack. Available for use with Meridian’s architectural range — including the DSP520.2, DSP640.2, DSP750, and DSP730 — the three loudspeakers are installed with the center speaker assigned as the ‘primary’ product and the outer two speakers classed as the ‘secondary’ products. This is the same whether installed vertically or horizontally.
Sonus faber Maxima Amator Speaker
Sonus faber has announced the Maxima Amator, a two-way design speaker that merges two drivers to achieve what the company calls “a unique emotion with the maximum representation of natural sound.” The two-way concept has been a strong piece of brand identity for Sonus faber products, and the Maxima Amator aims to pay homage to this tradition and to music itself.
The latest addition to the Heritage collection is completely made in Italy, with a solid walnut wood cabinet, which has been designed thanks to modern wood working methods that allowed Sonus faber the ability to develop a reliable floorstanding cabinet and overcome the structural limits of the solid wood. Great care was taken to create the cabinet’s internal volumes definition — with the cabinet divided into three separate chambers designed to increase the rigidity of the structure, minimizing resonances and shielding the crossover, hosted in a dedicated chamber visible from the back of the cabinet. The same drivers are utilized as in the Electa Amator III, the 28 mm D.A.D. – Damped Apex Dome tweeter with Neodymium magnetic motor system and solid spruce wood acoustic labyrinth rear chamber, and the 180mm mid-woofer with air-dried membrane made of cellulose pulp and natural fibers, mounted on the Sonus faber original design die-cast aluminum basket.
Wolf Audio Systems Luna R Audio Server
Wolf Audio Systems has introduced the Luna R Audio Server. Leveraging technology and infrastructure developed for the company’s Alpha 3 SX class of audio servers, Wolf has refined the second generation of the Luna to achieve audio quality levels previously found only in Wolf’s full-sized server lines. The Wolf Luna R is, first and foremost, engineered to deliver high-end audio performance. Utilizing the same silicon architecture found in the Alpha 3 SX, Wolf’s second-generation Luna brings the Luna line much closer to Alpha and Red Wolf-level sound quality. The redesigned Flux Capacitor master clock is an optional upgrade; by operating at a high 24 MHz clock rate, the Flux Capacitor ensures more accurate reconstruction and transmission of digital audio. Depending on the option chosen, the Luna R features either an audio-modified Windows 10 Pro or new, proprietary Linux-based WolfOS operating system. The Luna R offers 2 TB storage capacity (expandable to 32 TB), 24-bit and DSD playback capability, an upgraded Flux Capacitor 24 MHz master clock, and additional improvements. The Flux Capacitor creates stable USB audio signals with less jitter and better accuracy.
Trinnov Updates Warranty Policy
In 2018, Trinnov updated its warranty policy for its entire High-End Product line by extending the Warranty period from three to five years, retroactively. Now, with the first Altitude32 processors leaving their warranty period, the company has announced a Warranty Extension Program, available to all Altitude32 owners that have owned their processor for more than five years. The program consists of an additional five-year warranty that begins on the date the owner purchases the program. At a Trinnov facility, the Altitude receives a complete check-up and refresh, including full inspection and thorough testing. If necessary, internal hardware is replaced to restore the unit to new condition.
McIntosh MA12000 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier
McIntosh has introduced the MA12000 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier. The MA12000 offers 350 watts per channel of high-performance power. The MA12000 provides the nuances of a vacuum tube preamplifier combined with the speed and power of a solid-state amplifier, state-of-the-art digital audio capabilities, and enough analog audio connections for virtually any home music system. The MA12000 is a hybrid design with the preamplifier section powered by four 12AX7A vacuum tubes (two tubes per audio channel), while the 350-watt power amplifier section employs a solid-state design. McIntosh’s Autoformer technology guarantees the speakers will always be capable of receiving that full 350 watts whether they have 2-, 4-, or 8-Ohm impedance. There are 10 analog inputs on the MA12000 consisting of 2 balanced and 6 unbalanced inputs, plus 1 Moving Coil and 1 Moving Magnet input. Both phono inputs feature adjustable loading for fine tuning the MA12000 to a specific turntable configuration. All the unbalanced analog connectors are constructed from premium gold-plated solid brass. The MA12000 also has 1 balanced and 1 unbalanced output to connect to an additional amplifier that’s used in a different part of the house.
B&W 700 Series Signature Versions
Two new Signature versions of premium loudspeakers have been introduced to the Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series range: the stand-mount 705 Signature and floor-standing 702 Signature. The new 705 Signature and 702 Signature models have upgraded crossover design and new cabinet finish. Launched in 2017, the Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series range of speakers features the Solid Body Tweeter-on-Top assembly, Continuum cone drivers, and Aerofoil profile bass drivers that are used in combination with the Carbon Dome tweeter and rigid cabinets. Both models now feature specially treated and upgraded bypass capacitors sourced from Mundorf, larger heatsinking and, in the case of the 702, an upgraded LF capacitor on the bass section of the crossover.
The 705 and 702 Signature boast a new Datuk Gloss ebony-colored veneer with a distinctive grain. Each pair of speakers is unique, with no two models sharing the same grain pattern or figuring. To further accentuate and highlight the quality of finish on each model, both Signature speakers have bright metal trim rings around the mid/bass and midrange cones plus bright, silver- finished tweeter grilles. Finally, both models have a Signature identity plate on their rear panel, turning each speaker into a genuine and unique piece of art.
The 702 Signature and 705 Signature are priced at $6499.99 a pair and $3999.99 a pair, respectively.