Yesterday we received the latest generation of “affordable” FOCAL speakers called the Aria 900. Focal is a French company who always pushes the envelope to find even better ways of making their speakers. France just happens to be Europe’s main supplier of flax. Flax is used to make top-quality linen fabric which is prized by the clothing industry worldwide. For the last ten years, Focal has been working to develop high-quality drive units to fit between their Polyglass drivers and the expensive ‘W’ sandwich cones used in their high-end utopia speakers. Flax has provided the solution Focal has long been seeking, giving low mass, rigidity and self-damping properties.
Here is a little video filmed at october’s CEDIA show explaining why flax is such a perfect material for this purpose:
They are also using a redesigned tweeter in this series which is supposed to maintain an even more linear response than their previous models.
The cabinets are truly beautiful with hand rubbed lacquer or wood finishes. And the leather wrapped baffle plate is a nice touch. The new magnetic grill, which covers all the speaker components, gives it a very subtle and sleek appearance. As Adam and I were un-crating a pair in our showroom one of our favorite customers remarked that these will definitely be her next speakers.
So how do they sound? We are in the process of breaking them in and we plan to put them through their paces this weekend. Anyone interested in a new pair of speakers are welcome to join us.
Today the long awaited JL Audio e112 arrived and we just fired it up in one of our display rooms. We are proud to be the first dealer in the country to be able to audition this beautiful new component. Tomorrow, JL Audio plans to debut this at CEDIA. JL Audio’s goal for this design was to incorporate much of the technology found in their famous Gotham and Fathom series products and bring to market a more affordable device that will kick butt on anything even close to this range.
We invite you to stop in a feel it for yourself. We are sure this will be one of the best selling subwoofers in the history of high end audio.
This wonderfully unique turntable mat is made with original Cow Hide which is then laminated to vibration absorbing cork. It naturally neutralizes static electricity and is dust and lint repellent. It will instantly improve the sound quality of your records.
It is also important to note that no cattle were harmed during the manufacturing process. They were already dead.
Music Hall MMF 2.2 – $449.00 – complete with cartridge
This year we have helped more customers buy turntables than I can ever remember, Including the late 1970’s. It’s interesting to see our customers in all age groups returning to this format. Now with the availability of new-release, exceptional quality recordings, a nice sounding turntable can maximize the presentation of any good audio system. One of our customers commented recently that when she pops on one of her older favorite albums it makes her feel like she is a kid again. There is definitely a warm musical feeling from vinyl that’s difficult to get from digital recordings.
So in the end is vinyl really better? Let me give you another quick example and you can decide:
Another one of our customers who has seriously gone back into vinyl now owns a Clearaudio Master Innovation with 2 tone arms, one for mono recordings and the other for stereo. He uses an Aesthetix Rhea Signature phono preamp to feed his system. When I asked him which format he prefers he said, “Let me put it this way, when I go to treat myself to a wonderful meal, like say an excellent steak, I cook it on my gas stove and pay close attention to how it simmers. But when I’m just hungry for a quick bite, I usually just pop something in the microwave because its fast and simple. This is how I feel about vinyl verses my digital music server. My phono system is my gas cooktop,and my music server is my microwave.” And this is from a guy who only a couple of years ago told me he would never own another turntable.
So if you have been thinking about recapturing your childhood or treating yourself to a good meal, come in and give this a listen.
Today we fired up a complete Aesthetix System in our main listening room. It included the Romulus CD / DAC, the Calypso Signature preamp and the Rhea Signature Phono Preamp, along with a pair of Atlas mono block amplifiers. We have been going between the Focal Diablo Utopia and one of our favorites the Stella Utopia. The Calypso is a new addition and we’re just breaking it in. However already I think this is one of the most 3 dimensional sounds we have experienced in our showroom. I recently installed the same system for a client in Canada and felt the same sense of dimension while listening in his room. I just wanted to invite whoever wants a wonderful listening experience to come on in to hear it with your own ears. You won’t believe how good it sounds.
A big heartfelt thanks to our friend and colleague, Mr. Jim White of Aesthetix, for paying very close attention to what can be sometimes overlooked in our industry: musicality and detail but also a wonderfully rich presentation of the physical space sometimes seemingly hidden and often lost inside the recordings.