Micromega: from the best of analogue to HD Audio digital
Micromega became famous in the 80s for being the umbrella for some of the most amazing products of the time, namely the LEEDH speakers by Gilles Milot, and the Epure turntable, designed by Pierre Riffaud and still in production.
Gilles Milot is now the brains behind Acoustical Beauty, with some very innovative new speakers - see further article.
Didier Hamdi, the new owner of Micromedia has stirred the ship towards more digital products (but still making amps and an FM Tuner, a rarity in today's market) and was beautifully demonstrating his new wifi streamer and D/A converter: the Aria AirStream. He was also using one of the most amazing speakers: The AvantGarde acoustic Duos
But the most important part of his demos was the fact that he was very convincingly proving that a native 16bit/44.1kHz file - whether streamed or out of a Red Book CD - was actually a better sounding proposition than an up sampled version of it (24/96 0r 24/192), as there is no way to extract more information from that format, whichever clever electronic trick you put out of your D/A converter hat!
I am planning to write an in depth article on this subject in the New Year, so stay tuned.
Micromegaa is promising to get you the best out of your iTunes library by carefully designing power supplies, sampling clock(s), and analog circuitry with a choice of XLR balanced outputs or Cinch unbalanced ones.
Metronome Technologie: the best CD player on the planet?
After working on CD players and their related electronics since 1987, Metronome Technologie believe they have the best machine on the market in the shape of their money is no object Kalista and Kalista Reference, both using a Philips Pro CD transport and external electronics. You could a weekly dinner for 18 months at Guy Savoy , or once a year for the rest of your natural life for the price of one of these futuristic acrylic and metal contraption. But if your are more of an HiFi freak than a gourmet, the Kalista will provide you with hours of unadulterated sonic pleasures. If you still want to afford Guy Savoy some time, then Metronome has released some more affordable versions of their player. This year, they were introducing the CD8, a one box solution based on the same transport and a simplified set of valve and solid state electronics and a more reasonable price ( 7700 euros/11000$).
It comes with an USB input into the 24/192 D/A converter.
Martin Logan - less expensive as the years go by...
You probably know that I have a sweet tooth for the brand and specially for the Ethos released 18 months ago. (photo)
Well, it seems they really want each and every one of us to own a pair of these fabulous electrostatic panels, as they just introduced the new Electromotion series at a fraction of the price of the Ethos (about 1000$ on Amazon...)
I have not have a chance to listen to them, but it is certainly something to investigate!
And yes, they still look stunning with their very high WAF index!
Magnepan - the electrodynamic cousin of the Martin Logans
Introducing a quasi ribbon technology speaker, Magnepan is competing directly with Martin Logan and in the same price range (2000$ a pair in the US of A). The breakthrough is that the ribbon is now backed by a mylar film giving a strength to the ribbon, improving power handling and probably reducing distortion.
It is to be noted that due to the large emissive surface of the speaker, it does not need an extra subwoofer and claims to go down to 40Hz on its own.
It was only on static display, so I cannot confirm if these claims are legitimate.
However, Magnepan has been in business for 41 years: it speaks volumes (sic!)
McIntosh: the Rolls Royce of the amplifiers world?
What an impressive display of power!
You need to be very confident of your position in the marketplace to dare having only a static display - albeit of epic proportions!
I am happy to report that I will be covering the show officially this year for the Australian Hifi Magazine,
I feel very honoured to be the chosen one!
Here are two links to the show's website for those of you that are keen to visit:
Dates are October 1st & 2nd at the Pullman Rive Gauche Hotel.
One scoop: Ken Kessler will launch his new book on the history of KEF,
who will be celebrating their 50 years of designing beautiful speakers and will introduce the "Blade"
Some of the French brands already registered to exhibit:
See you there!
Or stay tuned for more news on this blog...
In terms of turntables, all the usual suspects were present( Pro-Ject, Rega, Michell, Linn, Roksan...) but these are gadgets compared with the MASSIVE "Heritage" from Pierre Riffaud!
Some may recall PR was the designer of the famous "Epure" 20 odd years ago.
Epure was sold to Micromega and is still availble today for a mere 12,900 euros...
The new "Heritage" is based on some of the same principles, the main one by Pierre's own admission being MASS
The Epure weights 85Kgs, the Heritage even more...
Pierre has also invented a new 12" unipivot arm customised to suit your cartridge. It is a curious piece of mechanical engineering which looks like a cross between a Russian Church and a minaret (All this doesn't sound very catholic...does it?- Hopefully my French speaking readers will enjoy the punt - apologies to all the other ones).
These two products combined are supposed to be the ultimate vynil reading machine, available on Pierre's money and time (undisclosed...) terms.
Once you engage PR to deliver your ultimate vynil experience, you are in the same realm as when engaging star Australian Architect Glen Murcutt to design your house; You know it is going to be your own and very special possession, but you can't tell when it will be ready to enjoy and how much it is going to cost you, although I suspect it is cheaper to build a Glen Murcut designed house than a Pierre Riffaud turntable ( I am lucky enough to work with Glen - and his son Nicholas - in my professional life...so hopefully Glen will forgive me for this comment...)
Now, if you can't afford the time and money for this "Haute Couture" vynil machine, then maybe you have an old Garrard 401 in need of TLC. PR just happen to have a surgery to bring these oldies to a modern standard, keeping all their original qualities, and getting rid of their original sin(s), and in between fits the more mundane "Classique" turntable, more or less for the price of a Bryston 3B!
Unfortunately, PR had only a static display at the Show and one would have to travel 60kms north of Paris chez Jean-Jacques Capello of "Point Musiques" a very private showroom in a very private "demeure bourgeoise".
The location is way past CDG Airport, so I didn't get a chance of a listen, and it is a shame as JJC has assembled electronics and speakers of French design and very much "outside the square" the main brand being Ocellia.
I will certainly pay Jean-Jacques a visit over my next trip to France (sorry, but you will probaly have to wait until July 2011 for this review...)
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.