33 Two-Channel Audio Discoveries from RMAF 2015

33 Two-Channel Audio Discoveries from RMAF 2015

Cambridge Audio

Many audiophiles are familiar with Cambridge Audio’s top-of-the-range Azur 851-series components, but for RMAF the firm was giving greater emphasis to its somewhat more affordable CX-series components. In particular, the focus was upon Cambridge’s CXN Network Player ($999) and on its new-for-RMAF CXU Universal Disc Player ($1,299). What I discovered at the show, though, is that the CXU Disc Player actually incorporates a large portion of the functionality of the CXN Network Player—something that isn’t immediately apparent at first glance. When you stop to think about it, then, the multifunction CXU seems like quite the bargain in that it can happily play just about any type of disc known to man, while also serving up DAC/network player functionality on demand. Cool, no?

Core Power Technologies

CPT is a new player on the stage in the world of high-performance power conditioning and the firm’s first three products, called the Equi=Core 50 ($499 and up), Equi=Core 150 ($599 and up), an Equi=Core 300 ($799 and up), are simply fascinating. CPT describes the Equi=Core models as ‘AC Balanced Power Sources’ that can be used wherever high quality power cords would normally be used. The only differences between the three Equi=Core models is the maximum power output they can sustain, and I was told that even larger Equi=Core models are already in the works.

What’s an AC Balanced Power Source? A company spokesman described the Equi=Core as a specialised type of AC power cord in the centre of which is fitted a rather large, ‘black box’ device that converts normal AC into balanced-mode AC, which in turn can be fed directly to audio components or to a high quality AC power strip. The advantage of this balanced-mode = AC approach, said the spokesman, is that it inherently cancels our any/all induced noise on the AC lines, yet without requiring complicated or expensive AC regeneration or filtration circuitry. As a result user can enjoy noise-free AC power and hi-fi systems that will benefit from very quiet backgrounds.


dCS joined forces with VTL (Vacuum Tube Logic) and Wilson Audio to assemble a demonstration system that, among other things, served as the US market rollout for the new dCS Rossini-series Player ($28,499), DAC (not included in the demo system, but priced at $23,999), and Master Clock ($7,499).  In a pre-show session held just for press members, dCS spokesman Martin Reynolds explained the many ways in which the Rossini components leverage design insights and technologies borrowed from the firm’s premier (and far more costly) Vivaldi components.

In the actual listening, the Rossini components performed beautifully, as we have come to expect from dCS, with a sound that was dead neutral in its overall balance with sumptuous amounts of inner detail and textural and dynamic nuances aplenty. What was particularly striking, I felt, was the Rossini components’ collective ability to delineate and differentiate between good, very good, excellent, excellent+, and downright superb recordings, which left me (and other listeners) with the sense that Rossini components can and do show precisely what’s going on in the recordings at hand.