Trinnov Audio from France was showing off their Amethyst (€8,000) which is a preamplifier, MM phono preamp, digital media renderer, 24/192 DAC, room/speaker optimizer, 2-way active crossover, and Wi-Fi access point all wrapped in one sweet package. Inputs include 2x XLR, 1x RCA, 1x MM phono (RCA), 2x AES/EBU, 2x Coax S/PDIF, 2x Toslink, Word Clock in/out, and 1x DLNA/UPnP Ethernet (supports WAV, AIFF, OGG, FLAC, MP3 up to 24/192kHz).
I first listened to this system at the NY Show (read my more in-depth report here) and remain impressed. The system consists of the The Weiss MAN301 music server ($9,083 or $12,262 w/Internal DAC which is the Weiss DAC202) which was directly connected to a pair of Klangwerk Ella fully active speakers ($7,495.00/each). The German-made Integrita audiophile music server ($5,500 for 10TB total storage/6TB for music storage) which is really a NAS stored the tunes and this all adds up to another addition to our Trendspotting list.
Some things are nearly certain and one such reassuring event is the TAD room at hi-fi shows which consistently deliver great sound. "Effortless, dynamically scary, piano and cello sound like piano and cello..." so went my listening notes. Zoomed in on in the above picture is the TAD C2000 Preamplifier ($24,500) that also houses a 24/192-capable DAC.
I was first made aware of Dutch company Grimm Audio by Jared Sacks of Channel Classics Records who uses the Grimm AD1 on many of his wonderful DSD recordings. At the Munich show, Grimm was lighting up their room with the LS1s loudspeakers (€25,000/pair) which also house a DAC, preamp, amplifier, and subwoofer. So all you need to complete your computer audio system is a server and some music. The LS1s also have an analog input, which gets converted to digital prior to being amplified, so you can add a turntable if you so desire and there's also onboard DSP for equalization, crossover filtering, and time alignment for the two drivers (1” Seas dome tweeter and 8" Seas Excel bass-mid driver). The internal DAC can handle up to 24/192 and the 180W Class D Hypex NCore amplifier section designed by Bruno Putzeys of Mola Mola resides in one of the speaker's legs.
Burmester's components suggest (to me) that one needs to address them with a fair amount of reverence while being properly quaffed, properly attired, and with very good posture. The Burmester 111 Musiccenter ($50,000) combines a DAC, Preamplifier, CD drive for ripping, SSD system disk, mirrored 3TB (6TB total) of hard disk storage for music, UPnP Ethernet and WLAN connectivity, a 7" display, iPad app, 3x analog inputs, 6x digital inputs (3x Toslink and 3x Coax S/PDIF), supported file formats include "FLAC / wav / mp3 etc" and up to 24/192 playback. There's also a headphone jack and RCA and Tolsink output.
Emotiva Pro was showing their Stealth 6 ($499/each) and Stealth 8 ($669/each) powered studio monitors. The Stealth 6 feature a 60 x 32mm airmotiv™ high-frequency transducer and a 165mm (6.5 inch) airmotiv™ low-frequency transducer and each driver gets its own amplifier (100W up top and 110W for the woofer). The Stealth 8 ups the ante on the bass driver to 8" and power gets pushed to 200W for each driver. These are not small speakers but I'm sure they'd make your desktop rumble.
The mysterious AVM Tec (check out their website for an explanation) coupled their Alluxity Pre ONE preamplifier and Power ONE amplifier with the Aurender W20 music server (pictured at the bottom of the rack), and the Estelon Model XB speakers ($32,900/pair). AVM Tec is the brainchild of Alexander Vitus Mogensen, son of Vitus Audio founder Hans-Ole Vitus, and the company specializes in OEM and DIY markets.
Onix was showing the latest version of their DAC 25, the DAC 25B (£850) which adds 24/192 capabilities to the previous version. Inputs include Toslink, asynchronous USB, Coax S/PDIF, and a USB Type A input for connecting an iPod. Outputs include RCA and XLR pairs. There's also a headphone jack around front and the DAC section comes courtesy of the Burr Brown PCM1792 DAC.