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Tech Showcase: The Latest in High-End Audio

Some recent additions to the product category that will bring music and more to your clients’ ears.

Here are some recent additions to the high-end audio product category that will bring music and more to your clients’ ears.

High-End Audio – Totem Acoustic Bison Series Speakers

Totem Acoustic Bison Series

The new Totem Acoustic Bison Series comprises of three models that will grow organically over time. The Bison Monitor redefines the luxury bookshelf category, defying visual expectations with its impactful sonic performance that is rarely associated with such a small enclosure. The Bison Tower and Bison Twin Tower are aimed at those who want a loudspeaker that’s equally proficient with all sources and mediums.

The Bison Monitor has exceptional width and depth of image. The newly developed woofer is the result of four generations of development that provide a greater dynamic capability and, when combined with a 43 percent increase in the cabinet volume versus the Totem Acoustic SKY Monitor, yields a true “plug-and-play” Monitor that is both easy to drive and flexible with regards to placement.

The lateral soundstaging abilities of the Bison Monitor were applied to both the Bison Tower and Bison Twin Tower, resulting in wide and deep characteristics with great centerfill, whereby musical information hits you from all sides. Both Bison Towers are easier to drive and offer up a more flexible setup than the SKY Tower and will exceed the performance of the Totem Hawk, especially in terms of midrange and harmonics.

All three Bison Series models employ a new neodymium-activated tweeter that is 1.3-inch laser etched, textile, soft dome, and modified especially for the Towers. It extends up to 30 kHz, and also low enough to contribute to the midrange band.

High-End Audio – Alta Audio’s new Reference Titanium Hestia II Speakers

Alta Audio Reference Titanium Hestia II

Alta Audio’s new Reference Titanium Hestia II is a significant step up from the original model. The Titanium Hestia II (SRP: $37,500 in piano black; additional finishes available at moderately higher prices), is, like its namesake, a three-way tower speaker with drivers arranged in an open-back D’Appolito configuration, in which midrange drivers are placed above and below the tweeter — creating a unified wideband pulse response that most closely mimics the original sound pulse.

Alta Audio’s founder, CEO, and product designer, Michael Levy, improves upon the original Hestia by updating the crossover with a design like that of the Adam floorstanding speaker. The updated design features new 7-inch midrange drivers, updates to the amorphous core transformer in the tweeter, new silver-coated, deoxygenated, copper, multi-strand, variable-diameter Teflon-insulated internal cabling, and updated crossover components, including silver foil capacitors.

High-End Audio – Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series Speakers

Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series

The Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series is empowered with many of the same technologies found in the brand’s flagship range, the 800 Series Diamond. The 700 Series continues to be Bowers & Wilkins’ most comprehensive range, featuring eight models, including three floor-standing speakers and three stand-mount speakers, plus two dedicated center channels for home theater use.

In a first for the 700 Series, the new range introduces slimmer cabinets featuring a curved front baffle and drive units mounted in external “pods” that form a direct visual and technical link to the 800 Series Diamond range. This revised form dramatically reduces the impact of the loudspeaker baffle on sound quality by minimizing the “cabinet diffraction” effect, and, as a result, the new range is better than ever at “disappearing” acoustically, so you can just concentrate on the music, rather than the sound of the loudspeaker cabinet.

High-End Audio – GoldenEar’s ForceField Series subwoofers

GoldenEar ForceField Series Subwoofers

GoldenEar’s ForceField Series subwoofers are engineered from the ground up to deliver subtle musical detail, well-extended bass, high-impact slam, and the solid foundation for an expansive soundstage — all from compact enclosures that fit into any environment. Compared to previous models, the new ForceField 30 and 40 boast several significant sonic and cosmetic refinements.

The ForceField Series features a GoldenEar BRX model-inspired curved top panel to better minimize cabinet resonances and increased wall thickness that prevents the absorbing and smearing of important bass transient information and impact. It has an upgraded electronics platform based on the GoldenEar SuperSub X/XXL, including an Analog Devices DSP that affords flatter, more extended frequency response for cleaner, deeper bass with lower distortion.

High-End Audio – SB Speakers Passif 50 Anniversary Edition standmount loudspeaker

PSB Speakers Passif 50 Anniversary Edition

The PSB Speakers Passif 50 Anniversary Edition standmount loudspeaker leverages five decades of dedicated research and pay homage to the early Passif II model first released in 1974. The Passif 50 retails at USD $2499. The Passif 50 features 1970s-inspired elements like an open-grained walnut veneer cabinet, magnetically attached woven cloth grilles, and dedicated stands. The loudspeaker evokes a sense of nostalgia with its retro details while being constructed with modern materials that align to current tastes. Other unique embellishments include a pull tab on the front grille, which sports the retro PSB logo — originally hand drawn by Paul in his high school geography class — and a rear-panel plaque adorned by a maple leaf with an inscription that reads, “Passif 50 – 1972-2022.”

High-End Audio – Ascendo CCM10-P passive monitor

Ascendo CCM10-P

Ascendo’s Time-coherent Coax One-Point-Source CCM10-P passive monitor boasts 97 dB /1w/m efficiency, 500 watts power handling, and 120 dB continuous output capability in a shallow cabinet only 5.7 inches deep. The CCM10-P features a 1-inch compression driver in the center of its 10-inch woofer, delivering the technological benefits of a coaxial design loudspeaker, including perfect transient response and highest intelligibility. The drivers are on the same axis, providing a single point source for a consistent acoustic center.

High-End Audio – Focal and Naim Aria K2 926 loudspeaker and the Uniti Star all-in-one player

Focal and Naim All-in-One System

Focal and Naim have teamed up with the Aria K2 926 loudspeaker and the Uniti Star all-in-one player, Ash Grey finish.

Made in France, the new Aria K2 926 loudspeaker is equipped with Focal’s K2 Power cone. This aramid fiber cone provides dynamic sound and high-power handling, as well as giving the loudspeaker lots of character.

Made in England, the Uniti Star all-in-one player makes the most of the loudspeakers’ performance qualities and lets you manage your music simply and smartly across its multiple sources — streaming platforms, CD player, TV, turntable, etc. Stream your music in high-resolution, listen to your CDs and favorite radio stations, access numerous streaming services, improve the sound quality of your television, and all with deep, immersive sound.

The Aria K2 926 and Uniti Star Ash Grey finish bundle is $10,999.

High-End Audio – KEF LS60 Wireless active streaming audio system

KEF LS60 Wireless Active Streaming Audio System

KEF’s LS60 Wireless active streaming audio system is crafted to celebrate KEF’s 60 years of acoustic innovation and showcase the company’s vision of high-fidelity sound for the future. The LS60 Wireless system comprises two floorstanding speakers measuring 43 inches tall, 5.1 inches wide, and 12.6 inches deep (base plinth not included in width and depth measurements), weighing in at 70 lbs. per speaker. Inside, each speaker cabinet houses a combined 1400 watts of audiophile-worthy power with dedicated amplifiers for the high, middle, and low frequencies. The central, newly designed 4-inch Uni-Q driver featuring a host of bespoke refinements delivers a super-wide, natural field of sound with low distortion. Two pairs of KEF Uni-Core drivers flank the sides of each cabinet to maximize bass response within the system’s footprint. The combined driver placement within the speaker cabinet is adapted from KEF’s Blade Series ($27k-$35k/pair) and is the first streaming all-in-one audio system to be a true point source configuration, according to KEF.

High-End Audio – McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD player

McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD Player

The McIntosh MCD12000 SACD/CD player, while classified as a CD player, serves as a reference-level digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that includes reference-level SACD/CD playback capabilities. Music played through MCD12000’s digital inputs or compact discs is processed by professional-grade 8-channel DACs, designed for premium audiophile performance. The MCD12000 offers both balanced and unbalanced fixed analog outputs in both solid-state and vacuum tube configurations. Separate digital and analog power supplies keep power and audio signals free from cross contamination. All outputs are driven by discrete amplifiers or a blend of vacuum tubes and discrete amplifiers.

JBL 4329P Studio Monitor Powered Loudspeaker System

JBL 4329P Studio Monitor Powered Loudspeaker System

Harman Luxury Audio Group’s new JBL 4329P Studio Monitor Powered Loudspeaker System is a completely self-contained, amplified loudspeaker system, combining hi-res streaming audio with extensive wired and wireless connectivity options, while patented JBL acoustic technologies render sound with incredible accuracy and powerful dynamics.

The 4329P includes two speakers, each featuring a patented JBL 2409H 1-inch compression driver, High-Definition Imaging (HDI) horn, and JW200P-4 8-inch pure-pulp black paper cone woofer with a cast frame. Each speaker is powered by a 300W amplifier, with 250W delivered to the woofer and 50W to the compression driver. Both are accurately controlled by a sophisticated digital signal processor (DSP) that assures each driver blends seamlessly to create a dynamic and immersive listening experience.

The speaker system’s integrated streaming engine provides both wired and wireless network audio capabilities via built-in Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth 5.3 aptX Adaptive audio. A 24-bit/192 kHz high-resolution DAC ensures music comes across with the highest fidelity, while MQA technology enables playback of MQA audio files with the sound of the original master recording. For those with extensive music libraries, the 4329P will be certified as a Roon-ready product.

In addition to premium wireless audio, the 4329P provides extensive connections for analog and digital physical sources, including USB, optical, and 3.5mm stereo inputs, as well as a professional-grade combination XLR/1/4-inch TRS phono input for use with balanced or unbalanced signals. The 4329P is available in natural walnut or black walnut furniture-grade wood veneer finish options.