:: KUZMA STABI R
It has been a while since KUZMA had a new turntable design to show to the world. Last few years were more dedicated to tonearms, multiple variants of the magnificent 4POINT design and concept coming in regular intervals. A couple of years ago, Franc Kuzma started toying with the idea of a (long overdue?) replacement for the STABI REFERENCE 2 model, a great performer, Kuzma’s second oldest design and the last one with the floating suspension. As it happens, the end result of this thought was something else. In April 2018 a new model STABI R has been announced. It is a unique design concept with a price point that allows the retention of the Stabi Ref 2, still in good global demand.
Stabi R is, once again, a heavy mass, low resonance creation, belt driven, high torque/low noise DC motor turntable. It has a built-in electronic power supply with all usual functions and facilities. It is quite compact and can allow for up to four (yes, 4!) tonearms of all and sundry effective lengths to be installed in many different positions around the main drive chassis (somewhat resembling the old Technics SP-10 when without any of the tonearm platforms). Standard finish is black and silver, but one can have it in any colour from the Pantone scale if so desired. Not only, it can be ordered in a beautiful natural wood plinth, as well with a choice of finishes.
We are in no doubt the new Kuzma Stabi R will establish itself as quickly as all other models have done, once it starts shipping in September 2018. The expected UK price of the standard Stabi R turntable (drive chassis + one arm mounting platform) is to be £6995 inc VAT.
:: ZANDEN MODEL 9600Mk2 VALVE MONO AMPLIFIER
Zanden Audio Systems (Japan) launched the Mk2 version of their Model 9600 valve mono power amplifiers some time ago. However, we feel we must return to this product for two reasons. Firstly, the fact that we are in possession of a physical MY2018 pair of the Model 9600Mk2 amplifiers and they have been making music with our reference audio system for some months now. And secondly…well, that is something very much else and a first we have ever done on one of our web news pages. So here it goes:
Whether on their own, or (even more so) when partnered with the new Zanden Model 3000Mk2 valve remote line preamplifier, the overall sound quality of the Model 9600Mk2 in every imaginable aspect is so convincingly superior to anything else we have experienced over the past 30+ years in the area of power amplification, that they have become our new reference! Yes, they may develop “just” 100W of pure, unadulterated (valve power supply, valve input stage, a pair of KR845s in the output stage) power, but the degree of musical reality, ability to resolve without effort, uncompressed micro and macro dynamics, very tangible and palpable three dimensional soundstaging, deep controlled bass, almost electrostatic quality of midrange and silky, open, but never bright or aggressive treble – all this and so much more comngregates into an overall musical experience beyond words. All, but most difficult to drive and largest loudspeaker systems will be served to ample levels (even in large rooms) by the unforced stamina of the Model 9600Mk2. A fully differential (balanced) design. it also redefines the standards of lowest audible audio circuit noise being utterly and totally silent through any of the loudspeakers we use. A truly remarkable achievement and our warmest congratulations to Kazutoshi Yamada on another masterful product!!!
:: CARDAS AUDIO NEWS
George Cardas does not seem to slow down even after 30+ years of his company and an uninterrupted well of ideas, designs, cables and many other things! Over the past few months a number of new products have surfaced, so let’s mention a few that already had or might have an impact in the very near future.
To start with, the Cardas portfolio of power cords (mains cables) has two new additions. The extremely well received CLEAR CYGNUS range of cables now also has a CYGNUS POWER CORD which, as all other Cardas mains cables for the UK, comes with the high quality Furutech rhodium plated UK mains connector on one, and the Cardas proprietary 15A IEC on the other end. The standard, 1.5m set costs £599 incl. VAT.
We now also have a new flagship among the Clear mains cables called BEYOND POWER XL. As the suffix XL suggests, it is considerably more substantial than the Beyond Power it dethroness, but it is still very compliant. A new conductor geometry combined with effective RF filtering gave the Beyond Power XL a huge improvement in dynamic ability, while further reducing the presence of all unwanted by-products from the mains supply into our components. A true leader of the range, the XL is not inexpensive, but still keenly priced compared to other exotic competitors. A 1.5m set with the Furutech UK mains plug and the Cardas 15A IEC connector has a retail cost of £2499 inc VAT. In order to facilitate this essential upgrade, we invite existing owners of Cardas Clear (and other) power cords to trade-in their sets towards the Beyond Power XL (detailed information on request via telephone or email).
Last, but by no means least, a brief mention of a new variant of the broadly acclaimed Clear USB cable. With the emergence of the latest generation of Apple laptops incorporating the USB-C interface, a necessity for a suitable Clear USB cable became apparent. And, here it is. The cost of a standard 1m set remains at £159 incl. VAT just as for the standard configuration. Lengths up to 5m are available just as with other interface options. A High Speed version is expected to join in within the next few months.
:: RECENT REVIEWS OF AUDIOFREAKS PRODUCTS IN THE UK AND INTERNATIONAL MEDIA
|conrad-johnson TEA-1 S2 phono preamplifier||Tone Audio (USA) April 2017
|conrad-johnson ART 150 stereo power amplifier||Tone Audio (USA) December 2017
|Kuzma 4Point9 tonearm||Hifi+ (UK) January 2018
|conrad-johnson ET7 line preamplifier||Hifi+ (UK) February 2018
|Cardas A8 30th Anniversary Edition ear speakers||Hifi+ (UK) March 2018
|Kuzma 4Point9 tonearm||Stereophile (US) June 2018