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In the Forum: Audio Discussions
In the Thread: My feelings about new exciting audio products
Post Subject: Cessaro speakers and some other tidbitsPosted by morricab on: 6/25/2007
I recently heard the smallest Cessaro and while I felt that the bass was not adequate for long term satisfaction it was also not a total disaster. From the midbass on up; however, the speaker is simply superb and one of the very best horn designs on the market. There was a distinct lack of the usual horn colorations that are almost always present in most horn designs.
Other interesting horn/hybrid designs that I have heard recently that sparked a lot of interest for me:
1) Lansche Goa . This speaker is using a horn loaded plasma ion tweeter and a horn loaded compression driver midrange (sorry don't know exactly what driver it uses) along with a dual 12" isobaric powered subwoofer. For me this was the nicest sounding system in a somewhat compact format that I have heard in a long time.
2) Odeon No. 32 Hornloaded tweet and mid (in nice wooden spherical horns) with vented woofer system. Fast and uncolored sounding and quite dynamic as well.
Non horn speaker worth checking out:
Apogee Synergy. Apogee has been resurrected and now made in Australia. Their first fully new product is in the classic design of the Apogee Scintilla but with some major differences. First it uses lighter weight ribbons. Second it uses Nd magnets to achieve a sensitivity of 95db / watt. Third it is a less difficult 2.5 ohms (the original Scintilla was a punishing 1 ohm and unfortunately sparked the design of massive SS amps to drive them at all) , which while low is flat, meaning a decent tube amp can drive them no problem.
Amplifier brands that you should take notice of:
KR Audio Electronics
The KR Audio DX monoblocks were driving the Cessaros at the Munich show and these amps provide for extreme dynamics and an uncolored and transparent window into the music. Incredible control in the bass (never heard bass like this from a SET) even compared to many big SS amps. Decay and harmonic content of instruments seems to be about spot on. The same basic sonics can be had at all levels for KR audio products because the design philosophy is exactly the same for all products.
This company is making the closest I have found to the perfect preamp and has an especially good phono corrector built in. In fact this is basically a phonocorrector with provisions for line level sources. There is a a lot of very innovative thinking in this design about how to achieve linearity without negative feedback. Also very innovative is the voltage regulation scheme (it is a unique scheme designed by Allen Wright the companies founder).
Their amplifier design is also quite innovative as they have found a way to keep two tubes correctly biased even under dynamic conditions, thus eliminating most of the problems with push-pull amplifier design. The amp is using 2 300B tubes in what Allen calls a "differential" amplifier. It makes 18 watts.
Their recent release of the SE160 and SE250 hybrid monoblocks are interesting for two reasons: 1) The design is extremely simple with just one tube stage and then the MOSFET output stage. They are zero feedback and run Class A to 50 watts. They have a harmonic distortion spectrum that looks very similar to the better SET amps on the market. 2) They are CHEAP (as in $2000 a pair for the SE160s and $2500 a pair for the SE250s)
DAC that is great and doesn't cost much:
Monarchy Audio M24 DAC
Again very simple design. No opamps and no transistors only a tube output stage (SRPP) used in conjunction with some passive parts to make a low pass filter. However; it is not a non-oversampling design and it implements the Burr Brown DF1704 8x oversampling digital filter and interestingly uses the Burr Brown PCM63P K 20bit DAC chip. I/V conversion is done passively. This DAC has a very organic and smooth sound but is not lacking in detail or dynamics. Resolution is also extremely high. Cost? Can be had new for $1000.
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