As editor and publisher of Audiophilia (a leading online magazine since 1997 for high end audio and music), I have a front seat for all the exciting news in high end audio. The news is delivered directly to my desk via Audiophilia’s social media outlets, press releases, emails and even old school phone calls. Rarely is there an embargo. I’d like to bring you the news that will be of interest to Toronto readers. Much of the equipment discussed may be auditioned in Toronto. I’ll add appropriate links as we continue.
Master Quality Authenticated [MQA]
Let’s begin with the biggest news in high end audio this year. And unlike much of the fad, failed technology of the past [SACD, DVD-Audio, Mini Disc, Digital Audio Tape, and many more] this one seems to have traction. MQA. Master Quality Authenticated. From the mind of Bob Stuart and Meridian. Stuart describes his format as:
“With MQA, we go all the way back to the original master recording and capture the missing timing detail. We then use advanced digital processing to deliver it in a form that’s small enough to download or stream.”
“The result is astonishing. Every nuance and subtlety of the artist’s performance — every tiny drop of emotion — is authentically reproduced. When you listen, you’ll be transported right into the very moment of creation. You’re there.”
Until last week, you needed a special DAC to play these files, but this week streaming giant Tidal announced that MQA files would be available on its website (no mobile or smartphone support yet). No special DAC needed. Repertoire is limited, but the files do sound splendid. I’ll report more about this exciting technology as it comes in. I expect the delivery systems to be added quickly. More MQA news next month.
Quad VA-One Integrated Amplifier
Venerable manufacturer Quad, makers of the first great loudspeaker, the ESL , is celebrating the North American debut of the VA-One EL-84-based integrated amplifier at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. Any new Quad product is cause for celebration. And how fantastic does it look constructed in Quad’s ‘Lancaster Grey’? It even comes with an onboard DAC. It may be the last piece of amplification you’ll ever need.
Audition in Toronto at Planet of Sound.
Shinola Runwell Turntable
Whither Detroit? It’s on its way back with a revitalized central core and lots of new businesses. Shinola central among them. A success story in bicycle and watch manufacture, Shinola just produced a turntable with the help of American turntable giant, VPI. And as heard by some close friends, it sounds great.
Since the rebirth of vinyl, there are now hundreds of high end turntable manufacturers. Quality turntables from a few hundred dollars to a hundred thousand.
Every component and element of the Shinola Runwell Turntable was carefully sourced from manufacturers across the globe, then built at our new Shinola Audio factory within our flagship Detroit store.
Price: USD $2500.00
Further information: Shinola
Pro-Ject launches George Harrison turntable to celebrate the late musician’s 74th birthday.
A special collaboration between Pro-Ject Audio Systems and Universal Music Group celebrates the 74th birthday of George Harrison. They have created a very limited edition [2500 units] of the Pro-Ject Essential III Turntable.
The George Harrison Record player will come with a box set with all of Harrison’s studio albums and a live album reprinted on 180g heavy weight vinyl.
The artwork was created graphic street artist Shepard Fairey.
Wonderwall Music (1968) | 1 LP
Electronic Sound (1969) | 1 LP
All Things Must Pass (1970) | 3 LP *Limited Edition
Living In The Material World (1973) | 1 LP
Dark Horse (1974) | 1 LP
Extra Texture (1975) | 1 LP
Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976) | 1LP
George Harrison (1979) | 1 LP
Somewhere in England (1981) | 1 LP
Gone Troppo (1982) | 1 LP
Cloud Nine (1987) | 1 LP
Live In Japan (1992) | 2 LP
Brainwashed (2002) | 1 LP
12” Picture Disc Singles of When We Was Fab and Got My Mind Set On You (only available as part of the box set).
Audition at American Sound of Canada
KEF LS50 Wireless Loudspeaker
Finally, the release of the KEF LS50 Wireless Loudspeaker [onbard preamp, amplifier, DAC, etc]. A wireless, one stop fits all version of the award-winning LS50 Loudspeaker.
Not only is the LS50 Wireless Loudspeaker a unique design, you can connect a huge range of devices with LS50 Wireless’ broad range of connectivity options, including 2.4GHz/5GHz Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 with the aptX codec, Asynchronous USB Type B, TOSLINK Optical, and RCA Analog. Connect up to 12 devices in total, including a maximum of eight Bluetooth devices and switch between audio inputs.
As a pure plug and play device, the LS50 Wireless is a combination of simplicity and elegance. It is easy to set up and use, and offers sophisticated audiophile sound through its inspired Uni-Q driver.
Audition in Toronto at Planet of Sound.
Until next time, enjoy and explore the Toronto world of high end audio. Toronto has many friendly high end stores in which to audition equipment and all the latest CDs and LPs.