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T+A Announces The New Series 200

The following is a press release issued by T+A elektroakustik.

September 17, 2021 – Germany’s leading High-End specialist, T+A elektroakustik, presents a new, compact High-End series of equipment. The Series 200 picks up the external design features of the HA 200 reference-standard headphone pre-amplifier, and the whole series consists of the MP 200 multi-source player, the DAC 200 D/A converter / pre-amplifier, and the A 200 output stage.

“Our first headphone pre-amplifier – the HA 200 – is an exclusive and uncompromising device whose D/A converter has inherited the genes of our reference DAC, the SDV 3100 HV, so its great success in the marketplace wasn´t a surprise for us. This triumph confirmed our view that the time was right to develop a new series of highly specialised devices based on the HA 200,” as Oliver John – T+A International Sales Director – explains on the occasion of the introduction of the new Series 200.

In reality, the new Series 200 reaches far back into the past, as its external design leans heavily on the legendary M-system dating from the year 1993. However, the Herford designers replaced the characteristic chrome of the 1990’s with timeless aluminium in a matte black or silver finish.

The front panel of the DAC 200 echoes specific details of the HA 200, thereby integrating it into the series. Lothar Wiemann, Director of Development, considered it a logical step to build a range around the HA 200. “From the outset the devices of the Series 200 were intended to be specialist products, allowing a mix-and-match eco-system to develop.”

The new MP 200 assumes the role of the classic multi-source player, while the DAC 200 was conceived as a dedicated digital / analogue converter and pre-amplifier. The A 200 output stage forms the final link in the chain.

The advantage of this group of units lies in their strength as individual High-End reference devices, and as a team when used in combination. “We have designed all the units in such a way that they fulfill superbly their task as separate devices, but become even better when combined within a system,” as Lothar Wiemann explains. In this way the Series 200 devices function both as individual complements to existing systems and together as a combined system.

In technical terms the Herford company is exploiting its Modular High-End Architecture (MHA), which is an in-house development. In the case of the DAC 200 this includes the capability to convert DSD 1024 and PCM 768 files as well as including amplifier sections utilising Class A and HV technology. The result is that the DAC 200 is the perfect choice for customers using active loudspeakers as well as audiophile converter enthusiasts. The MP 200 provides access to services such as Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz and Roon (currently undergoing certification) as well as convenient system control using the T+A MusicNavigator app. For loudspeaker customers the system is completed with the A 200 and its output of 250 Watt per channel, whereas headphone users can either connect the HA 200 reference headphone Amplifier, or use the DAC 200’s 4.4mm Pentaconn output.

All the Series 200 devices can be ordered immediately, and will be delivered to authorised specialist dealers starting in October 2021.

Dr. Lonnie Smith: Breathe

For the perfect combination of sheer soul and swing with the dualism of grease and mysticism, you can’t beat Dr. Lonnie Smith, who debuted as a leader Blue Note in 1968, eventually returning to the label nearly half a century later with 2016’s Evolution. A bona fide burner, incomparable soloist, ethereal vocalist, and genuine man of mystery, the 78-year-old B-3 master is still playing with the energy and drive of a man half his age. But did we really need to hear him backing the godfather of punk, Iggy Pop, on Timmy Thomas’ 1973 hippie anthem “Why Can’t We Live Together” and Donovan’s 1966 hit “Sunshine Superman”? Feels a bit kitschy. Elsewhere, Smith wails in signature stratospheric fashion on the shuffling “Too Damn Hot” and on an off-kilter funk version of Monk’s “Epistrophy.” He gets knee-deep in the molasses-slow funk of “Track 9,” which turns into a romping feature for his four-piece horn section, then plumbs the depths of darkness on his funereal dirge “World Weeps” and goes to church on the uplifting “Pilgrimage,” featuring a star turn from regal mezzo-soprano vocalist Alicia Olatuja. That’s where this doctor really operates. 

The Format Ambassador

I remember the time I was in secondary school in England, back when I had a very good friend who was the resident hi-fi buff. For months, he would be telling me about how he was upgrading his amplifier, his record deck, his speakers—just about everything in his system. Finally, he invited me over to his house—at which time I found out he only had three records! He had Making Movies by Dire Straits, Time by ELO, and a Steely Dan album, which was probably Gaucho. All of them are great-sounding albums, I grant you, but he was constantly listening to only those three records in regular rotation with just miniscule, incremental differences in the reproduction. In the meantime, I had my own crappy record deck, but every time I got money, I would go buy another ten records! 

The point is, the music itself is just as important as the gear you listen to it on, if not more so. I know there are always going to be those people who only have Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, and that’s the only thing they’ll ever listen to. There’s nothing you can do about that. 

I do hope I got my message across to everyone I talked to and listened to in Munich in 2019. It’s very flattering to be thought of as someone who’s a champion for high-resolution audio, and I’m happy to be that person. I’m always happy to be that person. 

Steven Wilson is a prolific guitarist, singer, songwriter, and Dolby Atmos and 5.1 original music producer and remixer of high accord. The Blu-ray edition of his 2021 solo release, The Future Bites, includes the first of his many Dolby Atmos mixes to come. In addition to his own work, Wilson has been the man behind the board for hi-res 5.1 mixes for the likes of his previous band Porcupine Tree, Yes, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, XTC, Gentle Giant, Hawkwind, Tears for Fears, and Simple Minds (to name but a few).

HRS VXR Stand, Vortex and Helix Footers, and DPII Damping Plate

But using the HRS chassis noise-reduction system—the Vortex feet and the DPX Damping Plates—also provided musical benefits. They seemed to have a further calming effect when I listened to a variety of music. On a Hyperion recording of Stephen Hough titled The Final Piano Pieces, I found that the piano emerged with even greater clarity and, above all, gravitas. On the Intermezzo No. 1, the isolation system appeared to fortify the richness of the piano overtones, creating a sense of serenity and beauty. The solidity of the deepest bass notes had to be heard to be believed. The sense of calm, which the HRS products seem to impart, was well-nigh overwhelming.

What about the lesser-priced Helix footers? Their small size means that they are simplicity itself to deploy. One nifty aspect of the Helix is that it contains an adjustable screw to allow height adjustment to ensure optimal and equal pressure against the component seated above the three or four Helix pucks. While they might not play quite in the same sonic league as the Vortex feet, I discovered that the difference between not having them at all and inserting them was appreciable. On Chick Corea’s album, Trilogy 2, my sense on songs such as “All Blues” and “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs,” was that the increase in resolution manifested itself as more powerful drum whacks and better focused piano chords.

HRS DPII Damping Plate

I can only give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the superb products that HRS is manufacturing. Latvis’ consummate devotion to his craft has resulted in a range of devices that is more than worth auditioning. His HRS products offer a useful reminder that the task of isolating audio equipment cannot be dismissed as an ancillary consideration. It’s essential.

Specs & Pricing

Price: $24,475 (three-component VXR Stand); $52,000 (custom VXR Zero stand as reviewed)

HARMONIC RESOLUTION SYSTEMS
2495 Main St # 227
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 873-1437
avisolation.com

Hana Umami Red Phono Cartridge

Playing “What’ll I Do” from Linda Ronstadt’s What’s New album [Asylum Records/Elektra 9 60260] reveals how well the Umami Red stays in the groove. The vocal crescendos on this track can get edgy and bright if the stylus has trouble remaining in the groove or if the phonostage overloads. The Umami Red glided through the cut with relative ease, while allowing the macro-dynamic vocal peaks to come through with no noticeable compression. The orchestral soundstaging delivered musical ebb and flow, while the imaging of the band instruments remained distinct, yet part of the whole of the performance.

The Milt Jackson Quartet manages to cover a tasty portion of the audio spectrum on the track titled “Sittin’ in the Sandtrap” from the album Soul Route [Pablo Records 2310-900]. The track starts with Ray Brown laying down the bassline above Mickey Roker’s drums and cymbals. The Umami Red readily exposed the division between the bass and drums but kept the rhythm completely intact. You heard Brown’s forceful fingering of the bass with every note. The feathery decay of the cymbals, preceded by the quick transient strike from the drumstick, was traced with ease, while the occasional rim shot completed the cadence. The combined bass and drum sound was unmistakably timed and easy to latch onto. Next, Gene Harris on electric piano and Milt Jackson on vibes make their entrance together. The electric piano and vibes playing the same notes were individually distinguishable with the Umami Red, yet well timed to the point where I could hear Harris’ piano come in ahead of Jackson’s vibes on individual notes. Across the entire frequency range of the electric piano and the vibes, the Umami Red captured the full spectrum of each instrument’s sound. The way Harris and Jackson filled the soundstage with their instruments was mesmerizing, as the system played back the track significantly more realistically than any digital version of this album I’ve listened to. The Umami Red kept its poise, displayed excellent dynamic acuity, and effortlessly maintained the contagious toe-tapping rhythm of this bop tune.

Before I conclude, I’d like to mention that I compared the Umami Red with 15ips tape playback of Reiner and the CSO’s Scheherazade [Analog Productions Ultra Tape RRAP 0007 and LP RCA LSC-2446] and was pleasantly entertained by how well the cartridge (with supporting analog front-end) acquitted itself. The Umami Red preserved a respectable amount of the delicacy and detail of the tape setup, capturing a healthy portion of the vast imaging, and holding onto nearly all the instrumental micro- and macro-dynamics (including the reedless woodwind fortes that seemingly upswing out of nowhere, above the orchestra) that the 15ips reel-to-reel tape provides, which made the listening experience highly enjoyable.

Threading the sonic needle nearly perfectly, the Umami Red is, as noted, exceptionally balanced, with upper-tier dynamics, instrumental separation, soundstaging, and realism. If this cartridge is set up properly in a capable system on a quality tonearm and phonostage, many listeners will surrender to its allure. 

The word “umami” is said to be a fifth element of taste (beyond sweet, sour, salty, and bitter) that results from a perfect combination of the right ingredients—a form of savory deliciousness. The Umami Red is deliciously enjoyable. Color me impressed.

Specs & Pricing

Type: Moving-coil cartridge
Output level at 1kHz: 0.4mV
Channel balance at 1kHz: 0.5dB
Channel separation at 1kHz: >28dB
Frequency response: 15Hz–50kHz
Tracking ability at 2 grams: 70µm
Stylus type: Microline nude diamond
Cantilever material: Solid boron
Tracking force, recommended: 2.0 grams
Internal impedance: 6 ohms
Recommended load impedance: >60 ohms
Cartridge body material: A7075 duralumin
Cartridge weight: 10.5 grams
Price: $3950 

MUSICAL SURROUNDINGS (U.S. Distributor)
5662 Shattuck Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 547-5006
musicalsurroundings.com
hanacartridges.com

Associated Equipment
Analog tape: Otari MTR-10 Studio Mastering (¼” 2-track) tape deck with custom Flux Magnetic Mastering Series repro head and secondary custom tube output stage, Studer A820 Studio Mastering (¼” 2-track) tape deck (x2), Studer A80VU MKII Studio Mastering (¼” 2-track) tape deck, Stellavox SP7 (¼” 2-track) tape deck with ABR large reel adapter, ReVox G-36 (¼” 4-track) tape deck
Analog vinyl: Basis Audio Debut Vacuum with Synchro-Wave Power Supply, Basis Audio 2800 Vacuum ‘tables; Basis Audio SuperArm 9, Basis Audio Vector IV (x2), Graham Phantom III tonearms; Lyra Atlas, Lyra Atlas SL, Lyra Etna, Lyra Etna SL, Lyra Titan-i, van den Hul Colibri XGP, Hana SL cartridges
Phonostage: The Raptor (Custom), Ayre P-5xe, Musical Surroundings Phonomena II+ w/Linear Charging Power Supply
Preamp: Dual Placette Audio active linestage
Amp: Custom/modified solid-state monoblocks
Speaker: Vandersteen Model 3a Signature with dual 2Wq subwoofers and dual SUB THREE subwoofers using M5-HPB high-pass filter, Vimberg Tonda D
Cables: Assortment of AudioQuest, Shunyata, Tara Labs, Acoustic Research, Cardas, and custom cables
Racks/Accessories: Minus-K BM-1, Neuance shelf, Maple wood shelf, Symposium Ultra, Aurios Pro, Pneuance Audio, Walker Audio, Klaudio RCM, Kirmuss RCM, VPI RCM, Clearaudio Double Matrix Professional Sonic RCM

Valerie June: The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers

Memphis-based singer and songwriter Valerie June includes a track on this album in which R&B legend Carla Thomas quotes an African proverb: “Only the fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.” That warning doesn’t stop June, known for her 2013 solo-acoustic country-folk breakthrough Pushin’ Against a Stone, from diving head first into her latest excursion into experimental dream pop. This 14-track follow-up to 2017’s The Order of Time, which the New Yorker lauded for its “almost psychedelic wandering,” is built around a three-song 2020 digital EP and showcases one of the most riveting young artists in American pop. The Moon and Stars finds her quirky vocals reigned in (mostly), surrounded by a blend of acoustic and electronic music and sound effects, and at times backed by a horn section on such alluring songs as “Stardust Scattering,” on which June contemplates the nature of consciousness—think Joanna Newsom’s freak folk-meets-the Afro-futurism of Janelle Monae. June’s songs often display an otherworldly quality, but one exception is the Stax-inspired soul duet with Thomas, “Call Me a Fool,” which is downright swampy. So many surprises.

NuPrime AMG STA Power Amplifier and AMG PRA Preamplifier

After trying the Zu DWs, I gave the Polk L600s a shot in the single AMG STA configuration. The Polk speakers are much more difficult to drive than the Zu DWs, but the STA still had plenty of space and headroom to blast through those fiery Ray Charles licks. I decided to try the Analogue Productions vinyl reissue of the RCA release Witches’ Brew to see how it handled something dynamic that might stress its capabilities a bit. Even at its loudest, biggest moments, when the orchestra swells and cymbals crash, I never felt as though the AMG STA was lagging behind, even powering the difficult L600s. The low end was deep and slammed—not quite razor-sharp but not flabby, either. The midrange had an ease to it, a nice, relaxed presentation. Horns were sharp and evenly spaced, and their upper registers had a bit of sparkle. Of the two speaker pairs I tried out, I’d say the single AMG STA worked best with the Zu DWs, likely because they’re easier to drive, but also because they share a similar sound profile—relaxed, with a delightful midrange, a decently solid lower end, and a shimmery treble.

I switched over to the dual-mono setup next, which gave me a solid 300Wpc into 8 ohms. That’s way more than enough for the Zu Omen DWs, since they’re easy to drive, but I liked the limitless-feeling headroom that the dual-mono combination bought me. I didn’t find it necessarily sounded better, just more centered and solid, with no straining or restraint. Where this dual-mono configuration really worked was with the Polk L600s, the more difficult pair of speakers to drive. The AMG STA retained its signature relaxed and easy sound, but with that much power on tap really opened up the full potential of the Polks. The backgrounds were shockingly black, and it almost felt as if the AMG PRA preamp was nearly transparent, if you’ll forgive a reviewing cliché. That deep noise floor allowed the music to shine with a crispness and dynamism that I absolutely loved.

Sticking with the dual-mono setup and the L600s, I put on the Tone Poets vinyl reissue of My Point of View by Herbie Hancock. The tune “King Cobra” opens the B-side, and it features Tony Williams at only 17 years old showing off all his incredible potential, with dancing cymbals that really sparkled through the STA/PRA combo. Williams’ fills sounded exuberant and rhythmically complex, and the system never compromised or slowed down his fascinating drumming. In the midrange, the piano and horns were smooth and silky with a hint of nice, heavy warmth down in their lower regions. Hancock’s solo was quick and slithering, like the song’s namesake, and each note was clearly delineated. Attacks and decays were on point, which added to the whole rhythmic picture building throughout the song. When the horns massed for the theme, each instrument remained wholly itself and focused, creating a wide sense of soundstage. The STA/PRA dual-mono combo worked very well with the L600s, since the speakers have a very solid and deep lower end, and the amp/preamp shines in the lower registers. It was that deep heft that really brought a difficult song like “King Cobra” to life, and leant the entire ensemble a massive sound.

 

Next up, I listened to Iceage’s most recent album Seek Shelter, streamed via Tidal. On the opening track, “Shelter Song,” the fuzzy guitar had a solid growl, while the deep kick drum slammed. The choir added depth and texture without ever straying into chaos. There was a surprisingly strong sense of place and positioning. Despite the sheer number of sounds occurring at the same time, I could still pinpoint each voice and instrument, and I think the monoblocks’ massive amount of headroom went a long way to allowing the weight of the song to shine through. Later on the record, on the hard-rocking banger “Saint Cecilia,” the heavy guitars and screaming solos and choral shouts built into really epic, room-encompassing crescendos. The low end felt solid and intense, while the upper range of the twanging guitar had genuine dazzle. Overall, I felt the PRA/STA combo played very nicely with some serious rock and roll.

I really enjoyed the NuPrime AMG PRA preamplifier and the AMG STA power amplifier. I didn’t waste any time hand-wringing over Class D, and barely even mention it in my review—for good reason. The STA/PRA combination sounded great, with a heavy low end, a relaxed and pleasant midrange, and just enough sparkle in the upper end to make cymbals shimmer. The interesting loudness function on the PRA and the very nicely made remote control were the kind of simple but useful upgrades over a standard preamp that made this combination feel premium. For many folks, I suspect a single STA will provide enough power, but for those who have more difficult-to-drive speakers, or those who want a massive amount of power on tap and ready to go, the monoblock setup is fantastic. This is a system worth trying and comes highly recommended.

Specs & Pricing

AMG PRA Preamplifier
Frequency response: 10Hz to 200kHz; +-0 to -0.1dB
THD: 0.008 %
Input impedance: 1M ohm @10Hz–200kHz
S/N: 95dB
Loudness compensation: 2.2dB (125Hz)/4.5dB (100Hz)/5.3dB (75Hz)
Gain: 3.2(High)/2.1(Low)
Inputs: 3x RCA, 1x balanced
Dimensions: 9.25″ x 11.8″ x 2.1″
Weight: 5.5 lbs.
Price: $1795

AMG STA Power Amplifier
Stereo power: 2x 130W at 8 ohms & 2x 200W at 4 ohms
Mono power: 300W at 8 ohms & 320W at 4 ohms
Peak current: 10A/15A
Gain: 26 (stereo) & 52 (mono)
SNR: 100dB at 10W
THD+N: 0.006
Frequency response: 10Hz–50kHz ±0.2dB at 8 ohms
Input impedance: 1M ohm
Sensitivity: 1.2Vrms stereo; 0.95Vrms mono
Dimensions: 9.25″ x 11.3″ x 2.1″
Weight: 8.8 lbs.
Price: $1695

NUPRIME AUDIO
1440 State Hwy 248 Ste Q-189
Branson, MO 65616
nuprime.com

Bowers & Wilkins Introduces Upgraded 800-Series Diamond Line

Venerable British loudspeaker company Bowers & Wilkins has spent the past six years researching and developing technologies to improve the performance of its already outstanding 800-Series speakers. The result is the new Diamond D4 line, which consists of five stereo models, ranging from the two-way stand-mount 805 D4 at $8000 to the flagship 801 D4 at $35,000 (all prices per pair). The company has reintroduced the iconic 801 moniker for the top model, replacing the 800 D3. Two center-channel speakers are also included in the new series, for a total of seven new products.

The line has been substantially reengineered, starting with a new cabinet design that is reportedly stiffer and quieter than those in the previous generation. Controlling enclosure resonances has always been an important design goal in the 800 Series—B&W’s Matrix internal-bracing structure (see photo) has been in continuous use for more than 30 years, for example. The top panel is now made from cast aluminum, rather than wood, for greater rigidity. The “reverse wrap” cabinet structure, previously reserved for the three top models in the line, is now employed on every model, including the stand-mount 805 D4 (the 805 D3 was built as a conventional box, albeit with curved side panels). I visited the Bowers & Wilkins factory in 2019 and watched how cabinets are made using the “reverse wrap” technique. The cabinet starts as thin layers of wood stacked with an alternating grain pattern and an industrial adhesive between each layer. The assembly is put in a press that bends the wood into the rounded cabinet shape and held in that position until the adhesive cures. An aluminum “spine” is mounted in the opening at the back of the cabinet, adding rigidity. This construction method also results in a smaller and rounded front baffle, reducing diffraction. For the new D4 series, each model’s baffle is reinforced by an aluminum plate, which is also braced to reduce resonances. The classic Matrix bracing structure is now made from thicker panels of plywood rather than MDF, with strategically placed aluminum supporting braces, again to stiffen the cabinet. The midrange drivers are mechanically decoupled from the cabinet, and are fitted with Tuned Mass Dampers (TMD) to further reduce unwanted resonances. Finally, the top 801 D4 features a solid-steel bottom plate around the downward-firing port.

The 804 D4 (the lowest-priced floorstander) is now mounted on a plinth made from steel sheets in a constrained-layer damping structure (the 804 D3 lacked the plinth and downward-firing port of the 803 D3 and 800 D3). The 804 D4 also features much larger spikes.

The new cabinets also benefit from cosmetic upgrades. The aluminum top plate is clad in black or light grey leather, and a fourth cabinet finish has been added, with satin walnut joining gloss black, white, and satin rosenut.

 

Bowers & Wilkins made big strides when it replaced the Kevlar cones with its Continuum Cone combined with its Fixed Suspension Transducer (FST) technology, the latter a novel surround that reduces the surround’s effect on the sound. In researching sources of driver colorations, Bowers & Wilkins discovered, surprisingly, that the fabric spider behind every cone introduces distortion simply by its own movement. In essence, the spider acts like a second diaphragm, producing unwanted sound. The spider is a doughnut-shaped ring that attaches to the speaker basket at the spider’s outside diameter, and around the voice coil at its inner diameter. The spider’s job is to prevent the cone from moving in any direction other than back and forth. Bowers & Wilkins has reimagined the spider as a minimalist open structure made from a stiff composite material that keeps the voice coil and cone in proper alignment, yet doesn’t generate any sound of its own. The company claims that this development, called Biometric Suspension, dramatically increases midrange transparency and realism. The new suspension is used on the midrange drivers throughout the 800 D4 Series.

The bass drivers have also been redesigned, with revised motor systems along with the Aerofoil Cone, a diaphragm made from carbon-fiber skins around a light foam core. The core thickness varies to deliver maximum stiffness where it’s needed, while keeping mass low.

Given the performance and value of the previous generation 800 Series, we’re eager to put this new line through its paces. Watch for our reviews of the 805 D4 and the flagship 801 D4 in upcoming issues.

 

801 D4: $35,000. Three-way, four-driver floorstander

802 D4: $26,000. Three-way, four driver floorstander

803 D4: $20,000. Three-way, four-driver floorstander

804 D4: $12,500. Three-way, four driver floorstander

805 D4: $8000. Two-way, two-driver stand-mount

HTM81 D4. $7500. Center-channel speaker

HTM82 D4. $5500. Center-channel speaker

 

 

McIntosh Announces 8K Upgrade to MX123 A/V Processor

The following is a press release issued by McIntosh.

Binghamton, NY | September 8, 2021 McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for over 70 years, is proud to announce an 8K compatibility upgrade for the MX123 A/V Processor.

Since it was launched in October 2019, the MX123 has become a must have audio and video processor for countless home theaters. It launched with 4K/60Hz compatibility, but as technology has progressed and as McIntosh adheres to its philosophy of continuous product improvement, all new MX123 A/V Processors shipping from the McIntosh factory starting in September 2021 will support 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video resolutions and refresh rates. The MX123 will also be able to upscale lower resolutions to 8K.

Of its 10 HDMI inputs and outputs, one of the inputs and two of the outputs will have 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz support (all 10 will continue to support 4K/60Hz). The three HDMI ports that are 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz compatible will also offer many other advanced features including Quick Media Switching (QMS); Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM); Quick Frame Transport (QFT); and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR).

All 10 of the HDMI ports support HDCP 2.3; Rec. 2020; 4:4:4 color spacing; Dynamic Lip-sync; and 3D Video pass-through. And all 10 will also now support a myriad of high dynamic range formats such as HDR (static HDR); Dynamic HDR; HDR10+; HLG; and Dolby Vision (including low latency).

In addition to these exciting video upgrades, the MX123 will continue to offer an impressive list of audio capabilities: 13.2 audio channels; Dolby Atmos (including Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer); DTS:X Pro; Auro-3D; Sony’s 360 Reality Audio; MPEG-H Audio; IMAX Enhanced; eARC/ARC; Apple AirPlay 2; Bluetooth; Spotify Connect; and Audyssey MultEQ XT32. To facilitate integration into home automation systems, it also has Connects with Control4 Certification from Control4 and Works with Crestron Home certification from Crestron.

Pricing and Availability
MX123 8K units will start shipping from the McIntosh factory to their global dealer network beginning in September 2021. Orders can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers. The 4K version of the MX123 is no longer available from McIntosh.

Suggested retail price (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded): $8,500 USD.

Who Built New Sonic Worlds?

I happen to be a fan of both bluegrass and 19th century classical music. If you think about it for a minute, you’d probably agree that change in these genres is mostly incremental. And yet, new music in bluegrass is exciting and new interpretations of classical standards are welcome.

At the same time, there are some artists who have created new sonic worlds. Philosophically, I don’t see this as “better” than incrementalism, but I do see it as healthy. And I think that health sometime extends to the listener who, when exposed to a new sonic world, is encouraged to examine assumptions and perhaps train his or her ear to savor the new.

I remember when I went to hear The Philip Glass Ensemble in London for the first time. My wife and I turned to each other about 10 seconds into the performance, mouths agape. We were experiencing a new sonic world.

But, partially for fun, which artists have been responsible for new sonic worlds? This is not just an intellectual exercise, but in my view attempting an answer and sharing it can lead each of us to discover new artists and new works that may be treasured for life.

Here is an interesting casual list of artists fomenting new worlds, created by Tyler Cowen, polymath (assisted by his readers in comments).

Enjoy!

BMW iX x Bowers & Wilkins

The following is a press release issued by Bowers & Wilkins.

September 7, 2021 – Bowers & Wilkins, the British loudspeaker company famed for bringing its knowledge and experience of acoustic excellence to the automotive industry, has extended its successful partnership with BMW, with the launch of the iX, the new luxury electric SAV from BMW.

The Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System in the iX features the most advanced sound quality found in a car, with the aim of delivering an audio experience that feels as though you are there with the artist in the studio, a concept that Bowers & Wilkins refer to as ‘True Sound’.  This can only be achieved through close collaboration between the engineering teams from both BMW and Bowers & Wilkins, and by using proven technologies from Bowers & Wilkins’ core range of passive loudspeakers.

The BMW iX is the first fully electric vehicle to feature Diamond Dome tweeters, as found in Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond loudspeakers, the monitor loudspeaker of choice in Abbey Road Studios. The exceptionally accurate, low-distortion tweeters feature Nautilus™ swirls, spiralling channels behind the tweeter domes that dissipate reflected sound waves that emanate from the rear of the drive unit and limit distortion.  In keeping with the minimalist interior of the BMW iX, the tweeters are covered with brushed stainless-steel covers with a laser-etched logo and a discreet lighting effect, and the door speakers are discretely hidden behind acoustically optimized fabric.

In total, there are two Diamond Dome tweeters, three Aluminium Dome tweeters and five Aramid Fibre midrange speakers mounted as high as possible within the light, spacious cabin. A further eight speakers are integrated into the front and rear headrests, which can be individually adjusted to create a truly personalised audio experience for each passenger.  For the first time, four bass speakers are joined by 4D Shakers that are strategically positioned within the interior to produce a rich bass experience even at low volumes.

Passengers can engage with the sound system through four different sound modes, according to preference.

The result is sound that’s superbly detailed and free from coloration, seamlessly integrated within the car design.

For additional information on Bowers & Wilkins, please visit www.Bowerswilkins.com

Polk Audio Reserve Series R200

Polk’s R200 is an example of the positive effects of “trickle-down” technology.

The R200 is a sleeper in the best sense of the word—not showy, not expensive, but a real, no-nonsense, high-end player. My first foray into Polk Audio’s Reserve Series couldn’t have been more promising or positive. Did Polk put a little too much Legend into the Reserve Series, specifically the R200? I know what my answer is, but I’ll let your own audition of the R200 be your guide—something I highly advise, BTW. To summarize, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the R200. Fittingly, for a speaker series named Reserve, I have no reservations about it whatsoever.

Specs & Pricing

Design: Two-way, bass-reflex monitor
Drivers: 1″ ring-radiator, 6.5″ turbine cone woofer
Frequency response: 51Hz–38kHz (–3dB)
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms (3.8 ohms min.)
Sensitivity: 86dB
Dimensions: 7.5″ x 14.1″ x 13.9″
Weight: 19.1 lbs.
Price: $699/pr. 

SOUND UNITED, LLC
541 Fermi Court
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(800) 377-7655
polkaudio.com