When you think about home-theater gear, what usually comes to mind are things like displays, source devices, processors, amplifiers, and speakers. But these are nothing more than very expensive boat anchors without AC powerand that power had better be clean if they are going to perform at their best. This is where PS Audio comes in with its new PerfectWave Power Plant 5 and 10 AC Power Regenerators.
Based in Berkeley, California, Magico made a splash at CES with its new Q3 speaker, which is a slightly scaled-down version of the well-establishedand more expensiveQ5. But what makes the Q5 so special?
Bowers & Wilkins is well known for its superb high-end speakers, so it's really no surprise that this British company would enter the headphone market. However, I'm a bit surprised that its first offering in this arenadubbed the P5is a set of portable headphones intended for the iPod and other MP3 players.
MBL has its fingers in just about every audiophile pie there is, from CD players and DACs to preamps and integrated amps to power amps and speakers to cables, racks, and speaker stands. In terms of source devices, the company's ne plus ultra is the 1621A CD transport and 1611F digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
If bigger is better, Boulder's new 3050 monoblock power amp is clearly among the best. This behemoth was unveiled at CES before being completely finishedthe company is waiting for the transformers to arrivebut the specs are enough to make any audiophile drool.
One of the biggest audio sensations at CES wasn't a megabucks speakerit was the Triton Two tower from GoldenEar Technology. The company was recently started by Sandy Gross and Don Givogue, who had been partners at Definitive Technology (Gross also co-founded Polk), to raise the bar on speaker performance and value. They seem to have hit a home run with the Triton Two, which is available in a stereo pair or as part of the TritonCinema multichannel system for a price that will surprise you.
Among the standout gems at CES this year was the D-Premier integrated amp/DAC from French newcomer Devialet. Distributed in the US by Audio Plus Services, the D-Premier serves as the stylish hub of a high-performance 2-channel audio system.
It seems that many high-end optical-disc players these days also serve as processors for digital-audio files from a computer via USBfor example, the recently profiled Ayre DX-5. Another new entrant in this emerging product category is the S7i from American digital-audio stalwart Wadia.
With a dream team of audio engineers and designers, the newly formed Constellation Audio is bound to make some serious waves. Along with the Hercules monoblock power amp, which I profiled a few weeks ago here, the company's first offerings include the Altair 2-channel preamp, which sports one of the coolest-looking industrial designs I've ever seen.
The title of this Ultimate Gear entry identifies the DX-5 as a "universal disc player"the better to snag search-engine hits withbut American manufacturer Ayre Acoustics calls it a "universal A/V engine." Why? In addition to playing every available audio and video optical-disc format, this box also provides a USB port that allows it to act as a portal for the music files on a computer.
When Italian speaker maker Book of Music refers to its Teti floorstander as a "no conventional enclosure system," it's not kidding. Standing nearly five feet tall, this 2-way design looks sort of like a twisted stack of books about to topple over.
Departing from the spherical-enclosure paradigm as embodied in its La Sphère and L'Océan powered speakers, Cabasse this week announced the availability of a new floorstanding design, the Pacific 3SA. However, this speaker does incorporate the SCS (Spatially Coherent System) coaxial-driver design found in those models.