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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

TORONTO AUDIOPHILE 4 | Five High End Audio Products For March 2017

By Anthony Kershaw on March 21, 2017

Toronto's Audiophile brings you news of the most recent high end audio hardware and software, much of it available for audition in Toronto.
Toronto’s Audiophile brings you news of the most recent high end audio hardware and software, much of it available for audition in Toronto.

Today we have products to play and clean your records, relatively inexpensive powered loudspeakers, an audiophile computer and twelve thousand dollar speaker cables. As always, follow the links for more information. Where applicable, I’ve provided a Toronto link where you can audition the gear or music.

VPI HW 16.5 Record Cleaning Machine

For my debut column in these digital pages, I wrote about VPI’s magnificent magnum opus, the Titan Turntable, founder/owner Harry Weisfeld’s full court press on turntable design. Weisfeld’s first product, however, was a simple vacuum record cleaning machine called the HW 16.5.

Forty years after the introduction of the 16.5, Weisfeld’s son Mat has taken over running the business. He very kindly sent me a 16.5 to try. Wow! I’ve used inexpensive cleaning machines before and hand cleaners by Nitty Gritty and Last, but nothing prepared me for the static-free, clean, clean, clean experience of the VPI vacuum cleaning machine. A truly world class analogue product and indispensable if you are new to records or a collector.

Price: USD$ 600.00

Available at Audio Excellence

Pro-Ject Audio Systems – Debut Carbon Esprit SB Turntable (Beatles 1964 edition)

A few of columns ago, I wrote about the ‘George Harrison Turntable’, from Pro-ject Audio Systems. I guess Ringo and Paul were a little annoyed because now we have the Pro-Ject Audio Systems – Debut Carbon Esprit SB Turntable (Beatles 1964 edition).

The ‘table commemorates the 1964 U.S. tour by the Beatles. Copies of the ticket stubs from the tour cover the high gloss, laminated plinth. The Debut Carbon DC has an acrylic platter, carbon fibre tonearm and comes complete with a professionally installed Ortofon Red Cartridge.

Price: USD$ 649.00

Available at American Sound of Canada

Audioengine HD6 Premium Powered Speakers

I reviewed these wonderful little gems for Audiophilia last year. If you have a small listening room and want an all-in-one solution for digital and analogue replay, then these powered speakers are for you. And the best news, they are a relatively modest USD$ 749. For that, you get superbly crafted speakers in walnut or cherry finish, amplification (located in the left speaker) and all cables. You can even plug in a subwoofer.

I had TidalHiFi streaming via Bluetooth within minutes of opening the box.

Price: USD$ 749.00

Available at Audio Oasis

Tara Labs Muse Series Cables

Cables make a difference. Well matched cables are a component in your system. Many audiophiles I know disagree. ‘Put any old cable in the system’, they say. Same sound.

If you can’t hear the difference, I say good for you. Your wallet will be a lot heavier. But, if you can, smoothness, nuance and subtlety will add much to your listening experience.

Oregon’s Tara Labs has been making fine cables for over 30 years. The new ‘Muse Series’ are the latest. I’ve not heard them. I’m looking forward to reviewing them in my system. Now, I would never pay their asking price for cables (very high price cables definitely come under the law of diminishing returns), but it would be interesting to hear what USD$ 7,000 interconnects and 12K speaker cables add in sound quality to the system.

Price: USD$ 7000 for interconnects; USD$ 12,000 for speaker cable

Available at Tabangi Electronics

Dell Computer XPS 27 All-in-One

I received a pleasant email from Dell asking me to review its newest computer, the XPS 27 All-in-One. Why ask an audiophile to review a computer? Dell Corporate Communications assured me that this was the first ‘audiophile computer’. This, I couldn’t turn down.

Dell suggests that it is ‘The new standard in superior sound.’

It includes a ten speaker, integrated sound bar powered by onboard 50W per channel amplifiers. The two tweeters, Dell says ‘produce clean high notes and crystal clear voices with lively, yet accurate stereo imaging.’

The soundbar also includes four midrange drivers and two passive radiators to emphasize the bass.

To complete the musical picture, ‘The XPS 27 is the world’s first PC with two independent, down-firing full range speakers. These work to augment front-firing speakers for heightened sound ambiance and are tuned to work in conjunction with the stereo drivers to fill the room with immersive sound, so you feel like you’re in the recording studio with your favorite artist.’

That’s some claim. I’ll be reviewing it for Audiophilia this month.

For the computer geeks, the XPS 27 includes 6th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 and i7 processors.

Price: USD$ 1499.00

Available at Best Buy

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