Premiere Design

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Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 05, 2010  |  4 comments

Great Britain has long been home to many excellent high-end audio companies, including <A href="http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk">Chord Electronics</A>. One of its newest offerings is the uncompromising CPA8000, Chord's ultimate 2-channel preamp.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 02, 2010  |  4 comments

When I ran across the Ultimate II speaker from <A href="http://www.magico.net">Magico</A>, I knew I had to profile it here&#151;hey, the name says it all! This 5-way, horn-loaded monster stands 7.5 feet tall and weighs 800 pounds, and from all reports I've read, it sounds just as impressive as it looks.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 01, 2010  |  5 comments

One of the hallmarks of twentieth-century physics is the development of quantum mechanics, which describes the properties of matter and energy at very small scales. At its heart, this highly abstruse and esoteric branch of physics is actually quite simple: all matter and energy ultimately consists of discrete units or "packets" called quanta.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 01, 2010  |  3 comments

What is it with glass speaker enclosures? I've profiled several such speakers here, but I remain puzzled by this choice of cabinet material. Is glass really that much better than MDF, wood, carbon fiber, or other materials? <A href="http://www.crystalcable.com">Crystal Cable</A> seems to think so&#151;this Dutch high-end cable company recently got into the speaker business with the striking Arabesque.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 29, 2010  |  3 comments

According to <A href="http://www.pure-vox.com">Purevox</A>, the company is "a new brand, a new guy in the hi-fi industry." If so, it's initial offerings are mighty impressive, at least in terms of design and price. Take, for example, the PV-Flagship turntable, which employs magnetic suspension to levitate the belt-driven main platter 2 centimeters above the subplatter, eliminating any friction between them.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 26, 2010  |  6 comments

The Moon brand from Canadian high-end stalwart <A href="http://www.simaudio.com">Simaudio</A> is well known among audiophiles, but I didn't realize that its premium Moon Evolution line also includes some multichannel home-theater products. Submitted for your consideration are the CP-8 preamp/processor, HDS-8 HDMI switcher, and MC-8 modular multichannel power amp.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 25, 2010  |  4 comments

The debate over the sound of vacuum tubes versus solid-state audio electronics has endured since the invention of the transistor, and it's not likely to be settled any time soon. With the new C-60 CD player from Australian boutique maker <A href="http://www.vincentaudio.com.au">Vincent Audio</A>, there's no need to decide&#151;you can switch between its tube-based and solid-state output stages as desired.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 22, 2010  |  28 comments

In my never-ending quest for the best performing, most beautiful, and/or most expensive A/V gear, I recently happened upon the Signature Titan speaker from <A href="http://www.moonaudio.com">Moon Audio</A>. Said to be the first in a series of "ultra-limited-edition functional-acoustic artworks," only three pairs will ever be made.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 19, 2010  |  1 comments

When Lars Engstr&#246;m built his first first amplifier at age 12 in his native Sweden, he could hardly have foreseen where it would take him. But his passion and talent for audio engineering eventually led him to found <A href="http://www.thelars.se">Engstr&#246;m & Engstr&#246;m</A> in 2009 with his nephew Timo, an industrial designer whose skills complement those of Lars perfectly.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 18, 2010  |  7 comments

Among the myriad speakers introduced at CES 2010 was the Grand Master, the new flagship of Canadian maker <A href="http://www.hansenaudio.com">Hansen Audio</A>. A behemoth standing over six feet tall and weighing 650 pounds, it's packed with proprietary technology that promises exquisite sound.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 16, 2010  |  9 comments

The human hearing system is exquisitely sensitive to directional cues that let us instantly determine where a sound is coming from. This was critical for our survival in prehistory when the snap of a twig or a low growl might be the only harbinger of impending doom in the jaws of a hungry predator.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 15, 2010  |  5 comments

When it comes to hotbeds of high-end audio, South Africa is not the first place that comes to mind. Yet this is the home of <A href="http://www.vividaudio.com">Vivid Audio</A>, maker of beautifully curvaceous speakers, including the flagship Giya, which is available in two versions&#151;the original G1 and the new, smaller G2 introduced at CES 2010.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 12, 2010  |  45 comments

Reader K. Reid asked for a profile of ultra-high-end cables from <A href="http://www.nordost.com">Nordost</A>, and I'm only too happy to oblige. At the pinnacle of the company's extensive product range is the Odin line, which includes power cords, tonearm cables, analog and digital interconnects, and speaker cables.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 11, 2010  |  0 comments

North American distributor <A href="http://www.aaudioimports.com">Aaudio Imports</A> was quite busy at CES last January, introducing many audiophile products to the US market. Among them was the 882 integrated amplifier from German boutique maker <A href="http://www.lindemann-audiotechnik.de/en/">Lindemann</A>.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 08, 2010  |  2 comments

Horn-based speakers have been around since the earliest days of audio reproduction, and they continue to find favor among audiophiles today. Germany's <A href="http://www.avantgarde-acoustic.de/hornlautsprecher.php?lang=en">Avantgarde Acoustic</A> is no stranger to horn speakers, basing its business on them since 1991. At the top of the company's considerable lineup is the Trio, shown above in the Classico configuration with a massive Basshorn subwoofer.

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