Munich 2013

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Michael Lavorgna  |  May 16, 2013
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.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 16, 2013
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.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 16, 2013
This picture tells most of story (except the most important part) from the Genelec room. They hosted a wonderful demo where each of the four active speakers from their G-Series, the company's first "consumer range" destined for the home as opposed to the recording studio, plus their biggest brother 8260A ($5,639/each) were played for a few minutes and the sound went from good to bigger (right to left). I was actually surprised by how well the tiniest of the Genelec active speakers, the G One filled this large room. But as we went up in size, things got more and more involving and deeper (from a rated 73Hz in the G One all the way down to 45Hz in the G Four to 29Hz for the 8260A).
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 16, 2013
Nagra, makers of exquisite hi-fi gear, is coming out with a 24/384kHz PCM/DSD-capable DAC (pricing TBD and "whose official name will be revealed in the fall"). This prototype was on silent display but I did learn that the digital section was designed by Andreas Koch while Nagra handled the analog bits. "The new D/A Nagra converter is planned for autumn release."
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 16, 2013
The M2Tech battery-powered Vaughan DAC ($7,999) can handle up to 32/384kHz data and includes 1x USB, 1x I2S RJ45, 2x Coax S/PDIF (RCA), 2x Coax S/PDIF (BNC), 2x AES/EBU, 2x Toslink, 2x optical ST Fiber, and 1x external clock (BNC) inputs. Outputs include RCA and XLR pairs as well as a 6.35mm stereo jack for headphones.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 16, 2013
French company 3D Lab. was new to me but they offer a complete line of electronics from multi-format players, to Network Players, to DACs, to preamps, amps, and integrated amps. On display and in use was the Nano UPnP [Network] Player (€1,700), Millennium Preamplifier/DAC (€6,000) that offers 2x Coax S/PDIF, 2x Toslink, AES/EBU, and USB inputs that can handle up to 24/192 data. There are also 5 analog RCA inputs and RCA and XLR output pairs. A pair of the M Millenium monoblock amplifiers (€3,200/each) drove a pair of the Jean Marie Reynaud Concorde Supreme speakers ($14,000/pair).
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 16, 2013
If you're having a hard time seeing the Crystal Cable Arabesque speakers (€75,000/pair) I believe that's part of the point of their 3/4" glass enclosure. The Arabesque were driven by the three-piece Siltech Saga Amplification System ($37,500 per unit) which is light powered! and Crystal Cable's own Absolute Dream cables (€75,000 for the entire setup) tied everything together. And if you're having a hard time seeing the dCS Puccini ($18,000) with the dCS Puccini U-Clock ($5,000) its because they were sitting on the floor behind the Siltech gear. The sound in this room was relaxed yet finely detailed and its one of the rooms I could have easily camped out in.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 16, 2013
the Constellation Audio Cygnus II Digital file player/DAC

Constellation Audio teamed up with TAD (which is never a bad idea) for an impressively authoritative system. Handling front end duties was the Cygnus II Digital file player/DAC ($29,000), next in line was the Virgo II preamplifier ($27,000), then the Centaur monoblock amplifiers ($27,000/each) which drove the mighty TAD Reference One speakers ($80,000/pair). Tying everything together was cabling from Shunyata while Phoneon room treatments ($1,300/each) kept the room at bay.

Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
The Marantz NA-11S1 Network Audio Player and DAC ($3,499) is chock full O features and formats. This DSD-capable machine (via USB) can also handle up to 24/192 PCM files (WAV, WMA, MP3, MPEG-4 AAC, FLAC and ALAC) over your Ethernet Network, via its USB DAC, and lessor quality via AirPlay. There are user-selectable digital filters, an iOS or Android app, Coax S/PDIF and Toslink in/outputs, as well as single-ended and balanced outputs.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
Great name! The Marantz Consolette ($1,199) offers Airplay, DLNA audio streaming via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, a USB input for connecting to USB storage, an iOS dock, and 150 total watts of digital amp power driving 2x 2.6" BMR tweeters and 2x 4.3" woofers. The Consolette, I enjoy hearing that word, supports MP3, WMA, AAC, LPCM, WAV, and FLAC file formats, has an iOS and Android control app, and a highly polished walnut backside.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
The Focal XS Book active desktop speakers ($299/pair) were sitting pretty but silent in the Focal room. A 2-way bass-reflex active loudspeaker, the XS Book offer a pair of RCA inputs, 3.5mm input, and come in your choice of black or white. Frequency response is rated at 50Hz–22kHz (+or-3dB).
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
Naim was showing their new UnitiQute 2 (£1,150) which I failed to photograph (of course) but the new UnitiQute 2 adds 32bit/192kHz streaming capability, DAB+ support, as well as improved components which, "...has a significant effect on the digital audio performance, which reflects in improved sound quality." Pictured above is the Naim NDS Reference Network Player ($11,000) sporting a see-through top.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
Germany's AMI-HIFI was showing a number of music servers in the large Atrium 4 exhibition space. Pictured above is the Purist Musik-Server HDR 5D (starting at €7,995) which supports gapless playback, FLAC, WAV, WMA, MP3, ACC, AAC, and AIFF formats up to 24/192. There's a 64GB SSD, 2TB of hard disc storage, a Teac CD/DVD drive for ripping, Coax S/PDIF outputs, and a Purist control app for iOS devices. If you visit the AMI-HIFI website, you'll see there are many options including a model with an internal Burr Brown 1792A DAC (HDR 5DA €9,995), larger capacity Solid State Drives, a Blu-Ray drive, Wi-Fi, and much more.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
I admit to being more than intrigued by the Astel & Kern 24/192-capable AK120 HD portable music player ($1,400). The AK120 follows on the heels of their very successful model 100 and offers a number of improvements including dual Wolfson 8740 DACs, 64GB of internal storage and 2 micro SD card slots for a total of 192GB of music storage, and overall better specs and sound according to iRiver CEO Il Hwan (Henry) Park. Henry reminded me that iRiver developed one of the first MP3 players way back in 1999 to which he added, "MP3 has no heart, no soul. It is our job to bring this back." Amen.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
YBA had their Heritage Media Streamer ($1,999) on silent display which offers up to 24/192 playback of AIFF, WAV(LPCM), FLAC, MP3, WMA, AAC (local file), and MP3. D/A conversion is handled by the Wolfson WM8740 DAC and there's a 320 x 244mm TFT LCD display for showcasing your album cover art. Inputs include Ethernet, Toslink, and Coax S/PDIF, Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g), and outputs are the standard RCA and XLR pairs.

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