Devialet 110, 170, 240 & 500
The Devialet range of software driven digital amplifiers has exploded from one model to four. The original D-Premier has become the Devialet 240 (240 watts, €12,900) and has been joined by a 500 watt dual mono range topper, Devialet 500, as well as two entry level models in slimmer casework. The 110 (€4,990) and 170 (€6,990) sit in a simpler and slimmer case that is nonetheless hewn from solid aluminium and polished to a mirror shine. All four models have Devialet’s AIR universal wi-fi streaming capability which supports services like Spotify and YouTube as well as USB and Ethernet connectivity. The 110 adds an MM phono stage, the 170 adds MC plus AES/EBU, configurable digital out and a subwoofer, and the 240 can be daisy chained and has a hand polished chassis. The Devialet 500 offers active bi-amplification.
Final Audio Pandora SE
These beauties are a special version of Final Audio’s Pandora X headphones, the standard model costs Ä3,000 this one will be between eight and ten big European ones. It combines 50mm dynamic drivers with balanced armature units, this from a company that has been in the game since 1974 making cartridges and turntables. It could just sound as good as it looks.
Nagra will shortly be finalising MPS, a power supply upgrade for its range of sources and preamplifiers. This sits in a full size Nagra case and replaces up to four of the separate PSUs supplied with products like the Jazz tube preamp. It has a power transformer that galvanically isolates each output with separate windings plus a battery supply for one of them. It provides superior grounding to the standard supplies and has a meter which can display the voltage of in and outgoing power. Price will be Ä4,500 plus cables.
Nagra also showed a prototype of a new DAC, its first for some time. This will run at up to 384kHz and cater for both DXD and DSD2 (two DSD connections a la dCS). It has a tube output stage and is expected to launch in the autumn.
McIntosh Wall of Sound
McIntosh decided to do things a little different this year and built an homage to the Grateful Dead’s wall of sound concert rig. That massive array of speakers was erected in the San Francisco Cow Palace in 1974 and it used 48 McIntosh MC2300 power amps with 28.8 kilowatts on tap. The system seen at Munich was mercifully not so big but it couldn’t be ignored either. It consisted of an MVP891 Blu-ray player, MX151 processor and three 600 watt MC601 power amps driving ten Sonus faber Venere Center speakers and four Cremona M subs. Apparently McIntosh plans to build a full scale wall of sound system for professional applications but with a bit of Kraftwerk’s Man Machine this one was powerful enough for my needs.
At first glance Dynaudio’s Excite range doesn’t exactly er, excite, but apparently it brings ease of drive to a brand that has not always considered this a key quality. Excite consists of the X14 bookshelf at Ä990, the X34 two-way floorstander at Ä2,190 and the three-ay X38 at Ä2,990. All have an easy impedance and are strong on imaging according to the blurb, this because they are designed to be phase linear and throw the sounds upwards. The floorstanders have cast bases that are adjustable from above with spike or rubber feet and all three come in a satin finish with four colours to choose from.
Only the Italians could come up with a speaker range like the Varios. With styling that will appeal to children of all ages these cheeky speakers appear to have been built for sound quality as well as novelty. The mouths for instance are reflex ports and construction is in solid plywood and the drivers have neodymium magnet systems. Carrying names like Lola and Vincent (above) and range from 175mm (7inches) to 365mm (15inches) high for the Roy subwoofer (below), and yes the penguin is a tweeter…