:: KUZMA STABI M
After some years of development and refinements leading towards production, the new Kuzma Stabi M turntable is finally here! And, we are so pleased to say, it was worth the wait!! Franc Kuzma's new design is a complete success offering sonic performance that will be hard to beat if utterly natural "master tape" sound is one's main expectation or desire from an analogue LP playback system. Truly remarkable.
Stabi M is a "one piece" solution, which accommodates for a turntable, tonearm and cartridge in, predominantly, traditional manner. As always, Kuzma maintains that high mass and sufficient damping are pre-requisites for a minimum of vibrations and resonances emanating as a consequence of the cartridge stylus/record interaction. This turntable weighs over 60kgs without the tonearm and has an 'almost suspended' subchassis, heavy platter driven by a very powerful, but quiet DC motor and an innovative drive belt solution. The whole ensemble is confined within a solid metal plinth and a masterpiece of a dust cover. An ideal partner for the already established Kuzma 4Point tonearm (and soon other very best arm designs, too), the new Stabi M will soon become a true reference with the intent to remain at the pinnacle of vinyl replay systems for many years to come.
Kuzma Stabi M turntable is shipping now and the UK retail price has been set at £12,495 incl. VAT.
:: HRT MUSIC STREAMER HD
Kevin Halverson is never in a rush to create and manufacture products just for the sake of having something others may also have on offer. But, once ready, he regularly provides a solution, which will satisfy and meet the strictest musical and technical criteria imposed on any such creation. A textbook example of this philosophy is the new Music Streamer HD, first ever 24/192 digital-to-analogue processor from High Resolution Technologies. New flagship of the HRT Music Streamer range is, once again, a true differential (balanced) design, and no cost has been spared in populating the circuit boards with passive and active components of highest possible quality. Situated in an attractive chassis design, Music Streamer HD now also has full size XLR (balanced) and RCA (single-ended) output interface options. First impressions suggest a true high-end performance in every respect; a performance that equals and surpasses that of similar products with a much higher price tag.
HRT Music Streamer HD is now available with the UK retail price of £439 incl. VAT.
:: CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW 2013
Another CES is behind us and quite a few of our long-standing manufacturing suppliers presented new products for 2013.
Rogue Audio launched two very interesting hybrid integrated amplifier designs called Sphinx (100wpc) and Pharaoh (175wpc). Both include a high quality mm/mc phono stage, as well as a remote control facility. The "little" Sphinx is an intriguing proposition, as it should have a UK retail price of only £1,495 incl. VAT once we get our first shipment within the next few weeks. Mark O'Brien of Rogue Audio showed also the new ST-100 amplifier following in the footsteps of the highly acclaimed ST-90 design - one of Rogue Audio's past decade's bestsellers.
High Resolution Technologies used CES2013 to launch what may, arguably, become the product of this year, equally so for high-end minded music lovers and advanced consumers of computer music replay and home entertainment systems. STAGE is the name of a unique complete music system concept consisting of a central unit (amplifier, Music Streamer DAC, Bluetooth, wireless and remote control) and a pair of compact, but mind-blowingly sounding, loudspeakers, which can be used on a desktop or speaker stands in free space. Driven and controlled by the proprietary GUI (graphic user interface) application from any computer, STAGE delivers an unbelievably natural and musical sound with any type of music and in any acoustic set of conditions. The secret lies (mainly) within the speaker design of extremely low distortion, correct harmonic structure, dynamic capability surpassing passive loudspeaker designs of much bigger size, beautiful three-dimensional sound staging ability, proprietary drive unit design and a sturdy fine-tuned enclosure (cabinet) moulded out of advanced plastic materials. Projected retail price of the complete STAGE system for our market is £999 incl. VAT and we hope to have our first delivery some time towards the end of June. Stay tuned; this is going to be something very, very special... (oh, and that is the actual product we teased you about a couple of months ago on this page).
Zanden Audio Systems is a well-known quantity in the world of very best high-end audio creations, led by one of the last true artisans of audio, Kazutoshi Yamada. For this year, Yamada-san has given us a new valve, remote controlled, line preamplifier Model 3100 and his most affordable phono preamplifier so far, Model 120 (solid-state design with multiple equalisation curve settings). Pricing and shipping dates will be confirmed very soon.
Cardas Audio showed the very latest refinement of the long-awaited 5813 EarSpeakers (in ear headphones) and we hope to see some coming to these shores real soon. Being an incurable perfectionist (and for a good reason, dare we say), George Cardas allowed himself whole of 2012 to make the 5813 as best as they could possibly be. Many others and we are very much looking forward to hear and see the fruit of such a great effort. On show were also new proprietary power cord connectors (mains and IEC), which will soon become a standard feature of all Cardas power cords. We hope to see UK and Schuko variants of the mains plugs made available in a not too distant future.
:: AUDIOFREAKS PRODUCTS IN THE PRESS
Late 2012 and early 2013 brought some very pleasing write-ups of our products in the UK audio press. Hifi+ felt very positive about the conrad-johnson ARTsa stereo power amplifier (issue 95) and Kuzma Stabi M turntable (issue 96), while What Hi-Fi? Sound And Vision rated HRT's microStreamer USB DAC as "another winner" in most unequivocal terms in the March 2013 issue.