If the number of product introductions is any indication of demand, then the high-end audio market is doing quite well for itself. Here we look at some of the more recent additions to this luxurious product category.
McIntosh MC2.1KW Monoblock Power Amplifier
McIntosh began its 75th anniversary with the launch of the MC2.1KW monoblock power amplifier — one of the brand’s most powerful amplifiers to date. The tri-chassis marvel possesses the ability to deliver 2000 watts of pristine power, offering a best-in-class user experience and setting a new industry standard for power and amplification.
Leveraging three separate modules — one Output Module that houses McIntosh’s bi-filar wound Autoformer and two Power Modules that each contain a 1000-watt amplifier — the MC2.1KW’s engineering delivers unmatched sound quality. Thanks to the brand’s Autoformer and its ability to output full power at three separate impedances, the full 2000 watts of power can be delivered into a speaker no matter if its impedance is 2, 4, or 8 ohms. It is ideally suited for audio systems that have power-hungry loudspeakers, systems located in extremely large rooms, or for audio enthusiasts who simply demand the latest and best in state-of-the-art home audio amplification.
Sonus faber Suprema Speakers
Sonus faber has launched Suprema, a loudspeaker system the company says is “rooted in luxury, unparalleled audio excellence, and meticulous craftsmanship.” Marking the brand’s 40th anniversary, the Suprema system — featuring two main columns, two subwoofers, and one electronic crossover — represents the future of the audio brand and Sonus faber’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of audio excellence.
Priced at $750,000 for the full loudspeaker system, Suprema embodies the peak of luxury and the ultimate experience for audio and design enthusiasts. It is now available to order worldwide and will be produced upon request.
Suprema’s four columns were designed as a callback to the brand’s genuine heritage. The two main columns feature a lute shape as a nod back to the first Guarneri, which ensures seamless integration and the ability to disappear from the virtual soundstage, while the two subwoofers feature an elliptical shape, pulled from the Stradivari, which allows the two pieces to host large transducers and energy impact.
PS Audio StellarGold Preamplifier
Like all Stellar Series components, the PS Audio StellarGold preamplifier (SRP: $3999) has a sleek design with a new twist — both the preamp and StellarGold DAC feature a new real-gold-plated accent line across the front panel. Available in silver or black, the StellarGold preamplifier is a flexible audio system control center with multiple balanced and single-ended inputs and outputs, all accessible via the preamp’s front-panel menu system and included remote control.
Designed by engineer Darren Myers, the preamp is fully balanced from input to output and utilizes pure Class A analog amplification. The StellarGold preamp employs high-slew-rate, high-bandwidth JFET and BJT devices, and hand-selected internal components. Its two discrete audio amplification stages are based on a minimal global feedback design. The high-current Class A output stage can drive long cable lengths with ease. Great care and attention have been paid to the preamp’s power supply design, with an oversized transformer, multiple stage regulation, and other refinements.
Trinnov Adds HDMI 2.1
Trinnov is now shipping all Altitude surround preamp/processors with HDMI 2.1 boards, manufactured by Cypress Technology. Due to HDMI 2.1’s significant upgrades compared to HDMI 2.0, Trinnov has taken its time and care to implement HDMI 2.1. Upgrade kits for those looking to upgrade their existing Altitude units become available in late January 2024. For upgrading Altitude16 processors, certified dealers can field-upgrade units that currently have a Cypress HDMI 2.0 board installed. All Altitude32 and Altitude16 processors with older MDS HDMI 2.0 boards must be sent to Trinnov for the upgrade. These upgrades are expected to take approximately two weeks to complete.
A firmware upgrade, version 4.3.2, enables the HDMI 2.1 board’s feature set. Note that this new VMX-H8K-8201 board provides two HDMI 2.1 outputs with identical capacity and the EDID priority set to output 2. All features available on the current Cypress HDMI 2.0 board are also included, except the downscaling feature on HDMI output 1.
StormAudio ISR Fusion 20 AV Receiver
Built upon the ISP Elite MK3 platform, the StormAudio Immersive Sound Receiver Fusion 20 is a 20-channel processor that incorporates 16 channels of the latest Edge amplification technology developed by Danish-based ICE Power. The receiver showcases low levels of noise and distortion, delivering 150 watts (8-ohm) per channel and 500 watts (8-ohm) when bridged.
This receiver has the DSP power to decode all the latest immersive formats up to 11.1.8 (Auro-3D, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X Pro, and IMAX Enhanced), and enable post-processing to optimize any speaker to any room straight out of the box.
Based on the ISP Elite MK3 design, it delivers the same audio performance thanks to StormAudio’s proprietary analog/digital hybrid volume adjustment that maximizes the dynamic range for a more accurate, detailed, and dynamic reproduction of your movie soundtrack or your music playlists, perfectly rendered by the ICE Power amplification.
JBL DA Series Distribution Amplifiers
Harman Luxury Audio Group’s JBL DA Series Distribution Amplifiers are engineered to work with any existing JBL architectural loudspeaker. The 8-channel DA850 and 16-channel DA1650 provide four and eight zones of audio, respectively, in a compact 1U design, while offering bridgeable outputs to meet high-power requirements.
Both the DA850 and DA1650 offer 50 watts for each of their Class D channels into 8-ohm loads and 110 watts into 4-ohm loads. By bridging their outputs, rated power increases to 185 watts into 8-ohm loads. For additional flexibility, each audio zone can feature an independent source or a single source can be shared across all zones using the global audio input. In addition, zones sharing an audio source can be expanded across multiple amplifiers using the global audio output.
The DA amplifiers offer three power mode control options — 12V trigger, audio-sensing inputs, and always-on — plus overcurrent and thermal protection to prevent potential speaker damage. The amplifiers feature local and bus inputs and channel output level controls.
Luxman L-509Z Integrated Amplifier
The Luxman L-509Z is the first component to incorporate the Luxman Integrated Feedback Engine System (LIFES1.0) in both the power amp and preamp sections. It’s also the first with the Luxman Electronically Controlled Ultimate Attenuator-EX (LECUA-EX).
The L-509Z replaces the L-509X and joins the L-507Z of 2022 in Luxman’s Z Series. Compared to its predecessor, the new integrated amp also offers a new phono preamp with switchable gain to accommodate both low-output and high-output moving coil cartridges. Other upgrades include completely redesigned tone controls with separate bands for bass, midrange, and treble; 12-volt triggers; 7-segment LED volume level display; and a front-panel mute switch. The L-509Z integrated amplifier is available immediately at a suggested retail price of $12,495.
Bryston BP-19 Preamplifier
The Bryston BP-19 analog preamplifier leverages years of R&D and many design innovations that were achieved during the development of the BR-20 preamplifier. The BP-19 is handcrafted in Canada and comes with Bryston’s 20-year warranty.
The Bryston BP-19 preamplifier reproduces music effortlessly thanks to an oversized toroidal power transformer and hand-selected premium components. The optimized discrete operational amplifier delivers a low THD+N measurement at or below 0.0006%. The signal path features a fully balanced design from input to output, using an array of very tightly matched components and a compact circuit architecture, achieving the lowest possible noise and superior common mode rejection. The BP-19 also employs an advanced volume attenuator, ensuring long-lasting, quiet, linear performance.
The input array includes two pairs of balanced XLR input jacks and four pairs of RCA input connectors. There are two pairs of RCA (phono) outputs (one pair fixed, one pair variable), and two pair of balanced XLR outputs (one pair fixed, one pair variable).
KEF LS60 Wireless Lotus Edition Speakers
Following the success of the KEF in-car audio system for Lotus, these two iconic British brands teamed up again to introduce a collection of KEF x Lotus products for the home. The first installment is the LS60 Wireless Lotus Edition, a floorstanding system that pushes the boundaries of technological innovation for emotionally enchanting audio.
The KEF and Lotus journey began with the introduction of natural and pristine sound within the Lotus Emira sportscar and Lotus Eletre Hyper-SUV. The next step in this venture is to create the ultimate all-in-one Hi-Fi speaker system for the home. From this intention, the LS60 Wireless Lotus Edition was born; a versatile speaker that combines the latest technologies with excellent sound, inspired by Lotus heritage color — British Racing Green.
With an ultra-slim and contemporary design combined with a classically sleek finish, the LS60 Wireless Lotus Edition fits into a wide range of living spaces.
Launched as part of KEF’s 60th anniversary year, the LS60 Wireless is the world’s first Single Apparent Source wireless system, and it is supported by a specially designed 12th Generation Uni-Q driver array, the Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), Uni-Core bass drivers, and much more. This exclusive configuration provides a purer and more impactful sound, vanishingly low distortion, and maximizes bass performance in a single unit.