Several Product Premiers at California Audio Show

Posted by: Jim Hannon at 2:02 pm, August 14th, 2012

Ayon Audio of Austria introduced several new products to these shores. Its new Triton III ($12,500) tube stereo integrated amplifier offers 125 watts/channel of pure Class A power and uses BT SK KT-88 tubes made by Ayon. The Ayon Audio S-3 ($8500) is a tube network media player that functions as a tube preamplifier, tube DAC, and tube output stage. It has a fully analog volume control that can be operated by an iPad, iPhone, or Android smart phone. The Ayon Audio CD-5s ($11,380) is a tube CD player/DAC that can also be used as a tube preamplifier with all digital inputs/outputs and a fully analog volume control. The Ayon combo sounded very natural and powerful, with explosive dynamics driving Lumenwhite loudspeakers ($25k), with an immediacy that I found quite engaging.

AVM Audio of Germany is increasing its footprint in North America, debuting the AVM PA8 ($10,000) tube stereo preamplifier that operates in pure class A, along with its 400 Watt/channel MA 3.2 mono amps that offer both balanced and RCA outputs ($5750/pair), an AVM CD 5.2 ($5,500) that can also function as a tube preamplifier, and a AVM PA 5.2 ($5,500) tube stereo preamplifier. The AVM electronics were used to drive the Legacy Whisper XD ($20,500), yielding a system that had awesome dynamics without overdriving the room. The secret is that the Legacy includes room correction as part of its solution, along with powered (sub)woofers in the Whisper XDs with a 500-watt internal amplifier for the bass.

Another German company, Audioblock Audio was debuting a relatively inexpensive CD player, the Audioblock C-100 ($795) that supports both Redbook CD and HD, mated with the Audioblock A-100 stereo amplifier ($1450) that puts out a reported 150 Watts/channel and the P-100 stereo preamplifier ($999) that includes a phono stage; and a combo unit, the Audioblock MHF-700 ($999) that includes a stereo amplifier, CD player, streamer, internet radio, FM radio, MP3 and comes with a pair of bookshelf speakers. That’s some entry level system! The Audioblock electronics were used in combination with Legacy Signature SE loudspeakers ($6,150/pair), but the room was configured for the Whisper XDs when I visited.

Several products from Raysonic Audio, a company based in Toronto Canada, made their US debuts, including the Raysonic SP-500 tube stereo integrated amplifier ($3100) that delivers 90 Watts/channel from 7591 output tubes and Tungsram NOS signal tubes running in Class A; the Raysonic CD-288 a two-piece, top-loading tube CD player with a separate tube power supply and XLR and single-ended inputs and outputs; and the CD-128 ($2400), a top-loading, tube CD player that also supports balanced and single ended connections. The Raysonic electronics were coupled with the Legacy Focus SE, but since the room was configured for the Legacy Whisper HD when I arrived, I did not get to hear that combo.

Soundscape was premiering the MartinLogan Motion 20 loudspeaker ($1500/pair) and the floorstanding Motion 40 loudspeaker ($1995/pair). Both use a terrific Air Motion Tweeter with the Motion 40 employing two 5-and-a-half inch woofers. It was mated with a Vincent K35 tube integrated amplifier ($3.3k) and C35 tube HDCD CD player ($2.3k) and Nordost cable. The larger system demonstrated quite a lot of impact and speed when Mark Silver played a Kodo drum selection, and I have to admit that I thought the companion subwoofer was in the system (It was not).

While Eficion used the amps in Newport, Plinius USA was premiering its SA-103 monoblocks driving Eficion F300 loudspeakers ($16,900). Whereas the SA-103 can operate as a 125 watt/channel stereo amplifier, two were used in fully-balanced mode as monoblocks producing a prodigious 400 watts/channel. This system had very good clarity, detail, and transient speed on guitar, and was very powerful on larger works.

In a show with so much gear, I may have missed a few US premiers, but hopefully will pick them up in my follow-up blog, where I plan to report on rooms that were particularly noteworthy (in addition to some of the ones mentioned here).

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