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Component Audio: A Shopping List


Dealers looking for new componentaudio
products to sell into a market showing renwed
growth might want to consider products from the following

BMC Audio:

Germany-based Balanced Music Concept
(BMC) Audio, which has been marketing high-end
component-audio electronics in the U.S. since early 2011,
is entering the speaker market here at International CES.

Through North American importer Aaudio Imports,
BMC plans March availability of the Arcadia bipolar tower
speaker, which features ceramic-acrylic cabinet in piano
black and pearl white finishes at less than $40,000/
pair. The speaker is the first is a series of three speakers
planned for the U.S.

Bob Carver LLC:

The new partnership between electronics
designer Bon Carver and former Elen executive
Bob Farinelli will show their first two products, a pair of
monoblock vacuum-tube amps. The $3,7000-suggested
VTA 180M is rated at 180 watts into 8 ohms, and the
$6,450 VTA 305M is rated at 305 watts into 8 ohms.
They’re stable to 2 ohms.

Dan D’Agostino Master Audio Systems:

The company
is coming to CES with an expanded high-end audio
selection that adds a new $25,000-suggested stereo
amplifier and a new $28,000 preamp.

The startup, founded by Krell co-founder Dan
D’Agostino, shipped its first product in late 2010. It was
the $45,000/pair Momentum monoblock amplifier.

Definitive Technology:

The company will unveil its
first active soundbar, which will deliver a virtual 5.1-channel
soundfield and come with wireless subwoofer. A new
SuperCube powered subwoofer will also be displayed.
Details were unavailable.

JBL Synthesis:

The brand is launching three highend
speakers, including a $20,000/pair S4700 tower
positioned as a more affordable version of the $44,000/
pair K2-S9900.


The brand’s 2012 lineup will include three
new components and three new speakers that make it
possible to build a McIntosh-based home-theater system
at a lower price than before while still delivering Mc-
Intosh quality.

The products include the company’s first 3D Blu-ray
player and a home-theater preamp/processor, both of
which will be the company’s first DLNA-certified devices
to stream content from a PC. The preamp/processor will
be among the brand’s first AirPlay-enabled products.
McIntosh’s other planned AirPlay product, a tabletop
speaker system, might be available before or after the

Mark Levinson:

Four new products are the No. 52
reference stereo preamp, No. 585 integrated stereo
amp, No. 519 CD/SACD player/DAC, and No. 560 DAC.
Three will be the brand’s first products with USB ports to play music from PCs and USB sticks, USB connections
to Apple mobile devices, and HDMI ports.


The new flagship of the curvy Imagine series
of speakers is the T2 floorstanding tower, which
will join a current Imagine T tower and will feature
three 5.25-inch woofers to deepen bass response to
34Hz and increase maximum power handling by 50
percent to 300 watts.

The T2, which borrows
technology from the company’s
Synchrony flagship
series, ships in January at a
suggested $3,500/pair in
real-wood veneers of dark
cherry, walnut and black ash
and at $3,850/pair for highgloss
black or white.

Imagine speakers are positioned
as offering clear
midrange presence, “uncluttered”
bass, smooth extended
highs, and high-power
handling in cabinets with
seamless surfaces and compound
curves on every vertical
face, the company said.

Each speaker’s driver
complement includes the
three 5.25-inch woofers,
each in its own sealed chamber;
a 4-inch midrange with
clay/ceramic-filled polypropylene
cone; and 1-inch Ferrofluid-
cooled titanium dome
tweeter. The speaker can be
biamped or biwired.


The Harman brand
will replace its entire Performa
series of bookshelf and
tower speakers with the Performa3
series, which sports
upgraded performance via
advances in driver design.
The price points will also
drop slightly to “get more aggressive in the market,” a
spokesman said.


The 7.1-channel RSX-1562 A/V receiver,
shipping in January at a suggested $2,699 in black
and silver, builds upon the predecessor RSX-1560
but adds 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 inputs and output
and expands the number of HDMI inputs to six.

It also features two HDMI outputs, one of which
features audio return channel.

The AVR’s Faroudja Torino video processor includes
an integrated 3D video decoder that supports
3D video signals from Blu-ray players and set-top

A front-panel USB input for iPod/iPhone/iPad or
for other MP3 player captures iPod audio in digital
PCM form, and an optional Bluetooth dongle enables
wireless stereo streaming from smartphones and
other portable devices.

Output is rated at 7×100 watts into 8 ohms 20Hz
to 20kHz, doubling at 4 ohms because of the use of
ICE Class D design.

Other features include
Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital
Plus, dts-HD Master Audio,
10-band parametric EQ,
advanced bass management,
24-bit/ 192kHz audio
DACs, assignable 12-volt
triggers, video transcoding
to HDMI, bi-directional RS-
232 interface, rear-panel IR
control ports, and four-zone
audio and composite-video

Video signals are handled
by the latest-generation Faroudja Torino
FLI30336 Cortez Advanced Platform.

Thiel Audio:

The company is unveiling
its next generation of SmartSub powered
subwoofers, which work with a companion
PX05 passive crossover module to integrate
with a variety of Thiel speakers in
home theater and stereo system. The USS
retails for $3,490, and the 1,000-watt
SS2.2 retails for $6,390.

Wisdom Audio:

The company will demonstrate
the first two models in a new planar-
magnetic in-wall speaker series called
Insight. Other models will be displayed in
static form.

Insight is designed to reduce the opening
price points for the company’s planar-magnetic
architectural speakers to less than
$1,500 each from a current $2,250 each.
Four in-wall models, one in-ceiling model
and two subwoofer options will initially be offered
in the first quarter, followed by on-wall
versions later in the year.

The speakers will use a new planar magnetic design
said to allow for greater efficiency and power
handling. The company’s current selection of planarmagnetic
in-wall speakers range in price from $2,250
to $40,000 each and will remain in the company’s