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Component Audio: A Shopping List

LAS VEGAS — A digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with atomic clock, DACs with USB inputs, subwoofers with digital room-correction technology, and speakers ranging from the entry level to the stratospheric level in price represent just a few of the new audio components on display at International CES.

Here’s a sampling of what dealers will find from A to W:

Adam Audio: The Berlin-based company is launching the new Tensor MK2 series of passive speakers.

When completed, the passive Tensor MK2 line will consist of seven pieces, but for now, the company is showing the Gamma MK2, Beta MK2 and the Alpha MK2 at suggested retails of $20,000/pair, $35,000/pair and $50,000/pair, respectively. The other pieces in the line will be Epsilon and Delta monitors, a center channel and a sub with prices to be determined.

Antelope Audio: The company is targeting a price of about $40,000 for its Rubicon 384kHz digital audio preamplifier/ USB DAC, said to be the first DAC to integrate the 10M Rubidium atomic clock.

The product, achieving what Antelope called called a “breakthrough in jitter management,” will ship at the end of the first quarter or beginning of the second.

Cary Audio: The company is making its largest product debut in its 24-year history. The lineup includes the company’s first two DACs, a stereo integrated amplifier with stereo Bluetooth, a 7.3-channel surround processor, a hybrid tube/solid-state headphone amp, and a digital music center that combines DAC, USB inputs for PCs, stereo Bluetooth, coaxial and optical digital inputs, and a CD transport.

GoldenEar Technology: The company is launching its most affordable Triton tower speaker to date and adding two more narrow speakers for use with flat-screen TVs.

The new tower is the three-way $699-each Triton Seven, due in the spring to join the $999-each three-way Triton Three Tower and the $1,499-each Triton Two. The Seven is the most compact of the trio and the first Triton tower without built-in powered subwoofer.

Despite lack of built-in powered sub, the Seven achieves deep bass performance via advanced-technology drivers and the company’s bass-loading technologies, the company said.

The new narrow speakers are the $799-each 2.5-way SuperSat 60 and its center-channel counterpart, the SuperSat 60C.

Jamo: Under the Jamo brand, Klipsch Group is showing an upgraded Studio 600 series of midline component speakers that feature “vastly improved” sound staging and appearance, the company said.

The current line, which includes surround and centerchannel speakers, can be used to create a five-speaker system up to about $1,200. Pricing on the new models was unavailable.

The speakers improve sound staging via aluminized woofer cones and silk-dome tweeters. The appearance has been upgraded through the use of a soft-touch rubberized top and baffle and choice of wood-look or black vinyl finish.

MartinLogan: The supplier of speakers incorporating electrostatic and Folded Motion driver technology is bringing its first subwoofer with room-correction technology to CES.

The 650-watt (1,300-watt peak) New Dynamo 1500X subwoofer is available for $1,595 in matte black and $1,895 in gloss black. The optional add-on MartinLogan Perfect Bass Kit (PBK) room-correction hardware is $99.

The 15-inch sealed-cabinet sub can be configured to position the driver for front- or down-firing operation. It is also compatible with the company’s new optional SWT- 2 transmitter/receiver system for wireless operation.

Mark Levinson: Harman’s Luxury Audio Group has targeted $30,000 as the suggested retail of Mark Levinson’s 40th Anniversary 52 Reference dual- monaural preamplifier, positioned as the brand’s best-ever preamp.

The preamp’s all-analog, dual-monaural design features two-chassis configuration that separates the analog audio circuitry from the control section to maintain the purest possible signal paths, the company said.

Morel: The Israeli company will unveil the threeway $12,000/pair Sopran, which brings elements from the company’s flagship fat lady reference line to a lower price point. It ships in January.

Designed as no-compromise speaker, Sopran features a cosmetic design with rounded, flowing lines to appeal to a broader audience as well. Borrowed attributes include carbon-fiber composite cabinet that has no internal damping.

Morel’s Lotus grille, inspired by the lotus flower, is designed to minimize high-frequency energy loss and considerably reduce distortion levels usually created by other protective covers.

Paradigm Electronics: The company is launching its limited-edition 30th anniversary speakers, shipping at the end of January.

They are special editions of the company’s floorstanding Tribute and bookshelf/stand-mounted Inspiration speakers, and they will be available in dark-garnet gloss finish.

The three-way, five-driver 30th Anniversary Tribute, priced at $2,999 each, and the two-driver two-way 30th Anniversary Inspiration, priced at $1,249 each, feature 1-inch pure-beryllium dome tweeter.

Paradigm said it is the only brand offering pure-beryllium dome tweeters in this price range, delivering high-frequency response that it said “is truly instantaneous” and “the most uniform to date” with extended high-frequency response.

Parasound: New products are turning up in the high-end Halo line and Z-Series half-width line. The company is also expanding its selection of black-finish models in the previously all-silver Halo line.

The $4,500-suggested Halo CD 1 compact disc player features a ROM drive that spins at four times a normal CD drive’s speeds, re-reading content “until every bit is reproduced faithfully,” a spokesperson said. Other features include selectable op-amp or discrete output stage, remote control 0- to 180-degree polarity selection, very low jitter, three separate power supplies for analog and digital circuits, unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR outputs, digital audio outputs via AES3 75-ohm BNC, and coaxial and optical S/PDIF connections. It’s available in black or silver in January.

In the half-width Z series, the Zamp Quattro is a four-channel version of Parasound’s stereo Zamp. The Class D amp packs four channels into the same size chassis as its two-channel predecessor and is rated at 4×50 watts into 8 ohms and 4×90 watts into 4 ohms. It features speaker-level input for integration with receivers lacking pre-outs, a buss for looping Zone 1 to Zone 2, and ultra-sensitive audio-signal turn-on in addition to a 12-volt trigger.

To its Halo series, the company is adding more Halo models in silver and the new black finish.

Polk Audio: The company plans February shipments of its new TSx series of opening-price component speakers, which replace the TSi range and offers deeper bass, improved high-frequency response, and new organic curved styling instead of hard angles at similar or identical price points as their predecessors.

The lineup starts at $199/pair for bookshelf speakers, $199 for center channels, and $499/pair for towers.

Wharfedale: The 80-year-old speaker brand is showing a full lineup of products through U.S. distributor Sound Import, including the new Ultra Power Cube subwoofers. The subs ship after CES.

The $1,599-suggested UPC-10 and $1,199 UPC- 8 feature dual woofers mounted opposite from each other to mechanically reinforce their movement to maximize bass output and improve efficiency.

The UPC-10 features dual 10-inch woofers and built-in 500-watt amplifier. The UPC-8 features dual 8-inch drivers and a 350-watt amp. Both feature volume control, variable low-pass crossover, crossover slope and phase adjustments, and stereo and mono line-in and speaker-level inputs.

Wilson Benesch: The Cardinal speaker is promoted as the company’s most advanced speaker ever, featuring carbon-fiber curved enclosure with massive internal air volume. It is available at $100,300 in Black Silk, Regal Silver and Titanium finishes and an additional $5,220 in wood finish and white gloss. It features 18 drive units and delivers 25Hz to 35KHz bandwidth.