Who would have thought that Estonia, a tiny republic on the Baltic Sea in the far northeast corner of the European continent, is home to a high-end speaker maker? Estelon was founded in 2006 to bring the vision of designer Alfred Vassllkov to life. His first productthe Model XAis still the company's flagship.
Since 2005, the mission of NuForce has been to "thrill the ear, delight the eye, and please the pocket." I've not heard the company's flagship Reference 18 monoblock power amp, but it does have a delightful appearance and a pleasing priceat least as far as high-end power amps go.
Wolf Cinema is known for its extremely high-end home-theater projectors, several of which I've profiled in this blog. Now, the company has announced its latest offering, the SDC-15also known as "the Cub"a 1080p projector with full 3D capabilities and a surprisingly affordable price, at least for Wolf.
According to the brochure for the Hiato 2-channel integrated amplifier from Plinius Audio, "Benefiting from our tranquil location in the inspirational natural environment of New Zealand, the Plinius design team brings you products that faithfully reproduce the emotional touchstones of your favourite music. The holistic integrity of nature's designs inspire Plinius to combine wonderful sound, superb finishes, and technical excellence to delight the senses." Sounds good to me.
Even though hotel rooms are not the best environment to show off high-end audio products, some companies managed to achieve a mighty impressive sound at T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach, CA. Among them was MBL, which set up two systems in adjoining rooms. My first stop was the room with the flagship Reference system, including two 101E MkII speakers ($70,500/pair, profiled here) and two 9011 monoblock power amps, which generate 750 watts per channel and cost a staggering $53,000 each.
Last week at T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach, CA, I heard the G2 Giya speaker from Vivid Audio for the first time. This is the newer, smaller sibling to the original G1 Giya, both of which I profiled here.
Video demos were mighty scarce at T.H.E. Show last week. One notable exception was located in a ballroom hosted by Digital Ear, a high-end dealer in Tustin, CA. The centerpiece of the demo system was the 810 4K D-ILA projector from Meridian (profiled here) in its first public showing.
With the rise of digital-audio servers, the role of digital-to-analog converters (DACs) is becoming ever more important. Those who want the very best DAC might do well to consider the DaVinci from Light Harmonic.
As I was researching my response to Xavier Beard's question about speakers from Aerial Acoustics, I came across the company's System 1 TheaterWall. This artfully designed, decidedly high-end speaker system surrounds a screen of just about any size with speakers for the left, right, center, and subwoofer channels.
One of the coolest demos at CES this year was in the Sharp booth, where the company had set up a "video cube" with 64 thin-bezel, 60-inch LCD panels tiled together, forming five faces of a cube. One side was left open for showgoers to stand at a railing and stare in amazement at the shifting images in front, to the sides, and above and below them. Now, the company has installed a larger version of this system at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo City, near Nagasaki, Japan.
Since 1985, Danish Gryphon Audio Designs has been well-regarded for its high-end audio electronics. But in the last decade, the company has expanded its portfolio to include speakers as well, foremost among which is the mighty Poseidon.
When I came across the Organic Harmony speaker from Shape Audio, I was astounded, not only by the gorgeous design, but also by the staggering pricewhich, of course, I'll reveal at the end of this blog.
Founded in 1978, German maker T+A is well-known for high-performance, high-value audio products. New to the company's E-Series is the Music Receiver, which combines the other two products in that seriesthe Power Plant integrated amp and Music Player CD/digital-file sourceinto one chassis.