Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Signature and the 805 D4 Signature Loudspeakers
B&W has chosen its 801 D4 and 805 D4 models from its flagship 800 Series Diamond range for Signature designation. This follows the precedent set by its last 800 Series Signature models (released in 2001). These models feature innovative new high-performance technologies that build on the specification of the standard models: They have improvements to the mechanical behavior of their cabinets, to the performance of their drive units, and to their crossover designs. The two Signature models are available in two exclusive new finishes: Midnight Blue Metallic (finished with the same paint as B&W’s iconic Nautilus) and California Burl, a highly figured wood finish. Importantly, neither Signature model replaces the existing D4 standard-quality production models. As with all Signature loudspeakers, both 800 Series Signature models are the perfect embodiments of the company’s thinking and proud additions to its heritage in this category. The 800 Series Signature models are the next step in the journey towards these goals.
Price: 801 D4 Signature, $50,000/pr.; 805 D4 Signature, $12,000/pr. bowerswilkins.com
Dynaudio Confidence 20 Loudspeaker
Dynaudio engineers spent years in design labs (their state-of-the-art Jupiter measuring facility) and, of course, in listening rooms to develop the most advanced and best-sounding loudspeakers in the company’s history. Like the rest of the Confidence range, compact and stand-mounted, the Confidence 20 is packed with new technology: a new 1.2″ Esotar3 soft-dome tweeter featuring a large and critically-damped rear chamber, neodymium magnet, and resonance-stabilizing Hexis rear-wave diffuser; a new 7″ NeoTec MSP woofer, featuring a new motor system composed of an aluminum voice coil wound on a glass-fiber former and an innovative venting system machined directly into its neodymium magnet; a new down-firing bass port whose output is optimized by its integral stand; and a composite foam Compex front baffle. The Confidence 20 makes the performance, the passion, and the power of the range’s larger speakers available to listeners with smaller listening spaces.
Price: $13,000/pr. with integral stands. dynaudiousa.com
PS Audio Aspen FR20 Loudspeaker
The PS Audio Aspen FR20 is a full-range floorstanding loudspeaker that utilizes much of the technology of the flagship FR30 in a smaller size that’s able to work well in a wider range of rooms. Measuring 50.5″ tall, Aspen FR20 features a phase-correct crossover, a cabinet designed to minimize colorations, and a near-flat impedance curve for compatibility with any power amplifier. All the drivers in the FR20 are custom designed. The FR20 utilizes planar-magnetic midrange and high-frequency drivers with Teonex film diaphragms, along with two 8″ long-throw foam-core woofers with carbon-fiber skins on each side, and two 10″ passive radiators. The front baffle is made from a fiberglass resin composite material with integrated waveguides. The enclosures, in Sable Black or Pearl White, are finished with twenty coats of piano-gloss lacquer. For ease of setup and transportation, FR20 is shipped in two pieces that couple together by means of a sliding system. Included is a set-up guide and a CD to walk users through achieving optimum setup. (See this issue’s Loudspeaker Designer Roundtable for an interview with the designer, Chris Brunhaver.)
Price: $18,999/pr. psaudio.com
Shunyata Gemini Model-4 Power Distributor/Ground-Plane Noise-Reduction System
The Gemini Model-4 is a one-of-a-kind power distributor that delivers two critical forms of noise-reduction in one compact, four-outlet chassis. Don’t be fooled by its diminutive size. Gemini delivers dramatic noise reduction and high-current capability to any four-component system and also acts as an advanced ground-plane noise-reduction hub. Gemini features Shunyata Research’s patented NIC™ noise-isolation-chamber technology—proven to be effective at reducing noise in critical medical applications. It features a common grounding point for all components, extending its noise-reduction capabilities. This significantly reduces AC noise and voltage differences between component chassis that can affect the perceived noise floor. Although it has a small footprint, it is a purpose-built high-current device capable of powering 200+ watt amps. The Gemini Model-4 is the perfect solution for simpler high-end, headphone, or network systems. For a limited time, Gemini Model 4 will be provided with Shunyata Research’s high-current Venom HCv2 power cord.
Price: $1998. shunyata.com
Crystal Cable Minissimo Forte Loudspeaker
When Crystal Cable launched the Arabesque floorstanding loudspeaker in 2009, the design delivered world-class sound thanks to its combination of innovative materials and a computer-optimized shape. Its glass cabinet and unique internal profiling delivered exceptional resonance control. And thanks to the complete elimination of parallel surfaces, internal standing waves were reduced. The absence of internal damping materials further lowered energy storage, allowing for ultra-fast decay and crystal-clear sound. Now, the new Minissimo Forte takes things to an even higher level. Crystal Cable’s goal was to further refine the performance from a stand-mount loudspeaker while maintaining its predecessor’s beauty and compactness. An advanced new passive-active crossover has been added, alongside special fully balanced filter technology. The company’s unique MAD™ (Multiple Absorption and Dispersion) system and the new stable and decoupled stand further reduce cavity resonances and improve sound quality. Together, this suite of engineering improvements delivers superb sonic performance.
Price: $23,000/pr. (estimated) crystalcable.com
Tidal Contriva G3 Loudspeaker
After a decade in production and worldwide praise and awards, Tidal’s three-way Contriva makes way for a new generation. The 53″-tall, floorstanding Contriva G3 has new Contriva G3-exclusive drivers—a pair of 9″ carbon-fiber/aluminum long-excursion woofers, a 7″ Gen4 black ceramic midrange with neodymium underhung motor, and 1.2″ tweeter with neodymium motor, and diaphragms of diamond, black ceramic, and carbon fiber. Its uno-pulse crossover is composed of ultra-low-tolerance components, microphonically and hermetically isolated in a separated chamber. Tidal’s TIRALIT multi-chamber cabinet is covered in the company’s equally unique piano finish and embedded with polished stainless-steel elements. Not a single part has been left untouched to elevate quality and raise sonic performance to a new level. Sensitivity is 89dB, weight 246 pounds.
Legacy Audio Focus XD Loudspeaker
The Focus XD is a versatile mastering-grade speaker system. It’s an internally powered six-driver, 4-way tower, which delivers tremendous clarity and impact with 750 watts of ICEpower® internal amplification and three powering configurations. The treble region sports Legacy’s Dual AMT tweeter configuration. The air displacement and acceleration of the 1″ and 4″ pleated diaphragms is four times greater than that of conventional tweeters, providing greater air and detail. A pair of Legacy’s recently developed 7″ graphene-filled carbon-fiber midrange drivers employ a massive magnetic structure and a copper phase-plug and shorting ring. The driver layout and crossover design greatly reduce the floor-bounce dip that affects imaging. The low end of the spectrum emerges from dual 12″ subwoofers, each employing a rigid aluminum diaphragm, high-temp voice coil, and optimized suspension. The Focus XD can be driven full range via its balanced XLR input or bi-amped with an external amp, such as the iV2, using the rear binding posts. Adding the Legacy Wavelet II processor and bypassing the internal passive bass crossover empowers the system advantages of DSP and Bohmer Room Correction. (See this issue’s Loudspeaker Designer Roundtable for an interview with designer Bill Dudleston.)
Price: $15,200/pr. legacyaudio.com
AudioQuest Black Beauty and Pegasus ZERO-Tech Analog Interconnects
AudioQuest’s Mythical Horses, Black Beauty and Pegasus, bring the proven advantages of ZERO-Tech to a much wider audience. Most of the obvious sonic advantages of ZERO-Tech and the other refinements built into the Mythical Creatures (ThunderBird, FireBird, and Dragon) are just as obvious when listening through the Mythical Horses. To keep the very complicated construction flexible, the upper Mythicals have two or three externally visible separate constructions. While also necessarily complex, Black Beauty and Pegasus package all that ZERO-Tech technology in single round cables (smaller for the two-conductor RCA versions, a bit larger for the three-conductor XLR versions).
Price: Black Beauty: $795/1m pr. RCA; $995/1m pr. XLR; Pegasus: $1595/1m pair RCA; $1995/1m pr. XLR. audioquest.com
GoldenEar T66 Floorstanding Loudspeaker with Powered Bass
The T66 is the first model in GoldenEar’s new T Series. While it boasts several significant refinements of the company’s time-tested design concepts, the T66 is undeniably a GoldenEar loudspeaker, placing beautiful sound and music before all else. The T66 honors the critically acclaimed Triton Series, sharing a similarly tall, slender profile, built-in DSP-controlled subwoofer amplification, and a driver complement comprising GoldenEar’s High-Velocity Folded Ribbon AMT tweeter, cast-basket mid/bass units, quadratic planar radiators, and long-throw, powered sub-bass section. Several important cosmetic and sonic refinements distinguish the new T66 from previous Golden- Ear speakers. These include a dramatically improved crossover, high-quality internal wiring, a new cast-aluminum base and metal grille, and, in addition to GoldenEar’s high-gloss piano-black lacquer, a vibrant red cabinet finish.
Price: $6900/pr. (Piano Black); $7200/pr. (Red) goldenear.com
MoFi SourcePoint 8 Loudspeaker
MoFi SourcePoint 8 offers the same exceptional sound quality as its larger sibling, the SourcePoint 10, but in a more compact package. Created by Chief Speaker Designer Andrew Jones, SourcePoint 8 sports a custom-made eight-inch concentric driver and MoFi’s innovative Twin-Drive high-flux magnet structure. The paper-pulp-mix cone with its new corrugated surround is optimized for low-resonant behavior and tweeter waveguide requirements. The 1.25″ soft dome tweeter with large-diameter voice coil and wide surround extends both the low- and high-frequency response of the tweeter. Combined with the loading of the waveguide which increases low-end efficiency, the tweeter is able to work optimally down to the low 1.6kHz crossover frequency. The SourcePoint 8’s cabinet is made of ¾”-thick MDF panels for the sides, top, bottom, and back and boasts a sculpted, multi-faceted, 1.5″-thick baffle that reduces diffraction. Available in real wood veneer of satin walnut or black ash or a painted satin white.
Price: $2750, or $2999 per pair with matching stands. mofielectronics.com/sourcepoint8.
T+A Solitaire Reference Range Loudspeakers
All Solitaire loudspeakers from Germany’s T+A feature a solid and massive aluminum baffle machined from a solid billet. Enormously strong, this design provides an organic base for each individual driver’s waveguide, resulting in uniform dispersion characteristics. Solitaire’s gently curved enclosure creates a harmonious link between the Bauhaus-style front panel and a cabinet design inspired by Art Deco. Each of the new Solitaire series (S540 pictured) is equipped with T+A’s unique magnetostatic treble drive units. The results are enormous dynamic range and high peak sound pressures, combined with impressive linearity and freedom from distortion. The cones of the midrange and bass drivers are made of embossed aluminum, making them particularly stiff and light in weight. The solid cabinets are manufactured from a combination of high-density MDF and HDF, with multiple braces and stiffening elements, making them resonance-free. The Solitaire range embodies everything that T+A engineers have learned from a legacy of more than 45 years of speaker design.
Price: S430/pr., $29,900/pr.; S530, $44,900/pr.; S540, $54,900/pr. (Watch for Robert Harley’s review of the S540 in an upcoming issue as well as his video preview on The Absolute Sound’s YouTube channel.) ta-hifi.com
Grimm LS1be Loudspeaker
The LS1be is a fully integrated music playback loudspeaker system that offers supreme transparency, detail, neutrality, and dynamics in a remarkably compact chassis. This level of performance can only be achieved by integrating all components of the playback chain into one system. Only then do designers have full control over the interaction of electronics, loudspeaker units, and the acoustic behavior of the cabinet. The result is very low distortion and an extremely linear amplitude and phase response. At the same time the LS1be offers a very elegant appearance that complements any interior space. Because DSP control, D/A converters, amplifiers, drive units, and motion-feedback subwoofers are fully integrated, one need only add a source to start enjoying music. Both analog and digital sources are accepted by the LS1be. As a reference digital source, Grimm Audio recommends its MU1 media player for a pre-engineered level of audio performance with full integration of all control functions.
Price: $38,000–$44,150 depending on finish. grimmaudio.com
Magico S3 Loudspeaker
The S3 loudspeaker is the first Magico product to benefit from trickle-down technology derived from the flagship Magico M9. The 44″-tall, three-way, four-driver, sealed-box S3 features an all-new driver complement: a 5″ midrange and two 9″ woofers, each with Gen 8 Nano-Tec cones composed of honeycomb-aluminum cores sandwiched by graphene/carbon-fiber skins. The high frequencies are reproduced by a 28mm diamond-coated beryllium tweeter with an advanced motor system for virtually unmeasurable distortion. The cabinet is constructed of extruded- and machined-aluminum panels. The new enclosure was developed with the use of Magico’s scanning laser vibrometer and is a full 30% quieter than the S3’s predecessor. The S3 also features the latest version of the company’s Elliptical Symmetry Crossover (ESXO). The S3 was designed by the Magico engineering team led by company Founder and CEO Alon Wolf and leverages the finest research-and-development tools in the industry. Weight 222 pounds each.
Price: $45,500/pr. in M-Cast finish ($52,500 in M-Coat finish). magico.net
Monitor Audio Hyphn Loudspeaker
Hyphn is Monitor Audio’s new flagship loudspeaker and the sum of the team’s collective experience and expertise. At the heart of Hyphn is the “M-Array.” This configuration, developed in-house by Monitor’s Audio engineers, comprises the new third-generation Micro Pleated Diaphragm III (MPD III) transducer surrounded by six 2″ midrange drivers that feature Monitor Audio’s Rigid Diaphragm Technology III (RDT III) cones. The result is exceptional soundstage clarity. The cabinet is constructed in thermo-formed, precision-milled mineral and acrylic stone to create a totally rigid structure. The cabinet features built-in formed port tubes, strengthened ribs and bracing, and an internal and external wall thickness from ½” up to 1″ for bracing around the force-canceling bass drivers. This minimizes physical distortion and resonance, ensuring optimum sound clarity and accuracy from the drive units. Hyphn has been engineered to deliver enhanced bass control, response, and dynamics, plus exceptional detail through the treble and upper midrange. It’s the most powerful loudspeaker Monitor Audio has ever produced.
Price: $90,000/pr. monitoraudio.com
Stratton Acoustics Elypsis 1512 Loudspeaker
The new UK-based high-end loudspeaker manufacturer takes inspiration from the iconic large-scale big-driver studio monitors like the JBL 4350 and the Tannoy Buckingham, legends that shaped recording in the 1970s and 1980s. The Elypsis 1512 is a three-way built around twin 15″ bass drivers, a single 12″ midrange driver, and a mechanically decoupled 1.1″ soft dome tweeter with a precision waveguide. The drivers are in an asymmetric array, which results in similarly asymmetric horizontal dispersion. The phase relationship through the crossover region between the midrange driver and tweeter ensures that the off-axis frequency response on the midrange side of the speaker remains linear. The passive crossover integrates the drivers at 350Hz and 2.5kHz via asymmetric 2nd and 3rd-order filter slopes. EQ controls on the front baffle offer ±2dB adjustment on the midrange and tweeter drivers. Manufactured from 24mm and 18mm precision CNC-routed birch-ply panels, the Elypsis1512 enclosure also includes a 46mm front baffle capped with a solid CNC machined acrylic outer baffle.
Price: $89,000/pr. strattonacoustics.com
Nordost QBASE Mark III AC Distribution Unit
Like its highly regarded predecessors, the QBASE Mark III is a passive distribution block that addresses the noise-inducing conflicting flows of signal and ground paths by using a unique method called “star-earth topology.” However, the significant upgrades made in the QBASE Mark III will amplify the benefits it brings to any hi-fi system. Mark III upgrades include a newly designed dual PC-board configuration, increased separation of all ground connections from the line and neutral traces, minimized interference/crosstalk between live/neutral and ground currents, and a revised resistance “sink” to add protection and effectively damp eddy currents. Additionally, the construction and trace geometry of each PC-board has been optimized to include enhanced trace sizes, further maximizing current flow and reducing crosstalk. Each QBASE Mark III is internally wired with Nordost Mono-Filament wire.
Price: QB8, $2299–$2599; QB4, $1399. nordost.com
Falcon Acoustics M10 Loudspeaker
The design goal of the two-way, vented M10—the entry-level model in the new M series—was to create something similar to the LS3/5a BBC mini-monitor with its own unique character. This was achieved in part through the careful selection of drivers: The 5″ Falcon B110 bass driver is a precise replica of the legendary KEF B110 painstakingly recreated using modern technology, as well as a 1″ soft dome tweeter that is manufactured by SEAS to Falcon’s exacting specifications. The result is a stunningly beautiful 12.4″-tall stand-mount loudspeaker housed in a gorgeous cabinet that comes from the same factory in Italy that is responsible for the company’s pricier Gold Badge LS3/5a model. Consequently, the Falcon Acoustics M10 sounds as superb as it looks, possessing the uncanny ability to fully immerse the listener in the music. Sensitivity is 86dB. Natural wood veneer finishes are walnut and optional rosewood. Weight: 31 lbs./pr.
Price: $2295/pr. falconspeakers.com
Wharfedale Dovedale Loudspeaker
Dovedale is the 90th-anniversary “Top Of The Line” model of the Heritage series and represents the reintroduction of key British manufacturing processes to the Wharfedale brand. Compared to the original Dovedale from 1969, which was in a sealed enclosure, the new Heritage series Dovedale is a bass-reflex enclosure. The 26″-tall, three-way design includes a new 10″ woofer design that allows for vertical alignment of all three drivers, resulting in a much better off-axis response. The bass is now tuned down to 25Hz at full power, eliminating any need for a subwoofer. The enclosure mimics a transmission line due to its long length, allowing system resonances to reach down to 120Hz, thus broadening the capable range of the 5″ mid-driver, making it behave with more linearity in its range, and contributing to a simplified crossover design. The 1″ soft dome tweeter’s range is extended by lowering its resonant frequency by heavily dampening its chamber. The result is wider dynamics, better detail, and a far less complex crossover. Sensitivity is 89dB. Weight: 57.8 lbs.
Price: $6995/pr. mofidistribution.com
Tributaries Series 8 MK II Cables
Gordon J. Gow Technologies Inc., parent company of Tributaries A/V cables, announced its Series 8 MKII audio cables, a collection featuring upgraded components. Series 8 MK II includes several connector upgrades to the original design. Gold-plated TE copper was chosen for the Series 8 RCA, XLR, banana plugs, and spade lugs because TE copper is highly conductive and the gold-plating protects contacts from oxidation and corrosion when exposed to the elements. Spade lugs and locking banana plugs are now silver soldered for demonstrably improved signal transfer compared to the previous version’s screw terminal. The new Series 8 selection of power cables features a multi-gauge design that effectively insulates conductors. The large conductors are insulated with polyethylene, while the smaller cables are coated with enamel to aid flexibility.
Price: Balanced, $728/2m; RCA, $604/2m; phono, $716/2m; loudspeaker, $930/6 ft. (bi-wire, $1150/6 ft.), digital, $230/2m subwoofer, $304/2m; power cables, $527/6ft. tributariescable.com
Estelon Aura Loudspeaker
A key feature of Estelon’s Aura is its advanced thermoformed proprietary composite surface geometry, which not only adds to its aesthetic appeal but also allows for a three-dimensional soundscape. The 1″ Scan-Speak “Illuminator” Textile Dome tweeter has a symmetrical drive motor for outstanding sound quality and linearity. The soft curves of the cabinet, along with the elliptically shaped tweeter waveguide, eliminate the negative reflective impact from the driver output, thus the directivity of the speaker is homogenous and wide. The 5″ mid/woofer by Satori uses a proprietary Egyptian Papyrus cone and sports a vented aerodynamic cast-aluminum chassis and a soft, low-dampening rubber surround for optimum transient response. Its neodymium motor system is optimized for low distortion. Aura’s design allows the incorporation of a powerful semi-pressed paper-cone 10″ Faital woofer in the base of the loudspeaker for a rich and smooth bass reproduction. 90dB sensitivity. Available in white and black finish, with a provided magnetic grille
Focal Vestia Loudspeakers
The new Vestia line—its name inspired by the goddesses of hearth and home, Vesta and Hestia—comprises five models and has been designed for high-quality music enjoyment and home cinema experiences. The Vestia loudspeakers are equipped with Slatefiber cone speaker drivers and the “M”-shaped inverted dome TAM tweeter—both exclusive Focal innovations. Developed and made in France in Focal’s workshops, the Vestia line boasts five products: Vestia N°2 ($2798/pr.), Vestia N°3 ($3598/pr.) and Vestia N°4 ($4398/pr.) are floorstanding models; Vestia N°1 ($1198/pr.) is a bookshelf loudspeaker for small spaces; and Vestia Center ($699) is a center loudspeaker for a home-theater configuration. These products can be combined with the Focal SUB 600P subwoofer for deep and encompassing bass. In addition, stands are tilted to provide an optimal and natural soundstage, more focused on the listener for an even more immersive listening experience. Available in three finishes that blend seamlessly into any living space. Their front panels boast a black or white leather-effect finish with a fine grain to sensitively complement the side panels in Black High Gloss, Dark Wood, or Light Wood shades.
Focal Theva Loudspeakers
The Theva is a six-model range including the Theva N°1 ($998/pr.) compact bookshelf loudspeaker; the Theva N°2 ($1798/pr.) three-way floorstanding loudspeaker with an ultra-slim profile and 5″ speaker drivers—a first for Focal’s home floorstanding loudspeakers; the Theva N°3 ($2398/pr.) three-way floorstanding loudspeaker; the Theva N°3-D ($2998/pr.), a loudspeaker that incorporates a speaker driver to facilitate sensational Dolby Atmos® sound; and the 2-way Theva Center ($649) and Theva Surround ($649) loudspeakers for spatialized audio. Made in France, the speaker drivers incorporate Slatefiber technology, an exclusive cone known for reproducing a dynamic, rich, and balanced sound. Also made by Focal, the TNF tweeter delivers a mellow, clear treble frequency. The loudspeakers feature tilted stands for optimum time alignment, creating a soundstage focused purely on the listener. The Black, Dark Wood, and Light Wood finishes bring sleek charm to wherever the loudspeakers are installed.
Furutech Project V1-T Series Tonearm Cable
The Furutech Project V1-T achieves a remarkably quiet soundstage and transparent presentation using specially developed silver-hybrid OCC conductors along with four-layer shielding and an external ground wire. The cable also includes a special feature of the grounding wires—both cable shield and turntable/AMP ground connections are independent, and the cable shield wire is detachable for your preferred setting. An engineered cable clamp reduces mechanical and electrically induced distortion. All metal parts on the V1-T undergo Furutech’s Alpha process, which includes a proprietary cryogenic process and a demagnetizing treatment. Features include: (Alpha Process) Silver-Hybrid OCC conductors; four-way grounding and external ground wire; and insulation/dielectric of audio-grade SR-PVC and nitrogen-injected skin-foam-skin polyethylene. Connectors are Furutech-engineered rhodium-plated carbon and stainless steel-finished CF-DIN NCF-RCA connectors (or L-DIN connectors), CF-102NCF(R) (Alpha) OCC RCA connectors, or CF-601M NCF(R)-XLR connectors.
Price: $4500/1.5m. eliteavdist.com
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