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Two Channel

At the real-world end of the SET economic ladder, Cary Audio put on a striking demo with its new $2,500 CAD-88 vacuum tube stereo power amp (at center in photo). The amp's switchable triode/ultralinear operating modes will output 20 or 40 watts per channel respectively. This highly transparent revealing system provided an excellent opportunity to appreciate the audible trade-offs in SET designs. In ultralinear mode, the CAD-88 drove these B&W Nautilus 801s with impressive authority; however, while the added liquid warmth in triode mode came at the price of notable flabbiness in the low end. I much preferred the ultralinear mode.

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Infused with new energy, funds, and direction following its acquisition by conrad-johnson, McCormack Audio will extend founder Steve McCormack's high-value audiophile solid-state designs to surround processing with its upcoming MAP-1 Music Analog Processor ($2,395, no firm release date as yet). Described by McCormack's new parent company co-founder Bill Conrad as a "music lover's system that makes a passable theater system," the MAP-1 keeps all inputs in the analog domain, enhancing each of its three two-channel inputs with a defeatable Hafler-type matrix ambience recovery surround mode. Two sets of 5.1 inputs support both SACD and DVD-Audio players, though the unit performs no bass management or time alignment-the intent is to use MAP-1 in conjunction with player-based capabilities.

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As the advent of multichannel audio formats poses new evolutionary challenges for high-end audio, creative responses continue to emerge. In use in the Thiel demo room was this prototype TL 2.5.1 preamp (top) from Vacuum Tube Logic's Luke Manley. Click for a Larger Image

Tube lovers can apply the honey kiss of valves to both 6 two-channel inputs and a 5.1 source, thanks to the unit's 6-channel input cluster. Volume is controlled from a master knob, with a separate knob for easy subwoofer volume adjustment. A 6-channel unity gain signal path is also supported. The TL 2.5.1 is scheduled to ship this Fall, with tentative pricing in the $3,000 range.

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Lamm Industries took the lid off its flagship L2 Reference preamplifier ($13,690), a class-A design with no negative feedback in any of its single-ended stages. A separate chassis houses the power supply, with its choke filter and vacuum tube-controlled voltage regulation. []

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Latest additons 1st February 2002:

Sherbourn Technologies P7/1000
Sherbourn Technologies 5/1500A
DTS In-Car Audio Demonstration
DTS Multimedia Demonstration
Philips Pronto Remote Controls
Philips DVD+RW Recorders
Simaudio Titan & W-5 Amplifiers
WAVAC Audio Lab Model HE-833
conrad-johnson PV-12L & 17LS
conrad-johnson GAT
Quad ESL-989 & Verity Audio Tamino
Avantgarde Acoustic Duo & Uno
NHT Evolution Loudspeakers
NHT Evolution Theory & Design
Joseph Audio Loudspeakers
PS Audio Ultimate Lab Power Cable
PS Audio Power Director & Juice Bar
PS Audio Classic 250 & HCA-1 Amps
Morel Applause & Octave
Anthony Gallo Acoustics Due
Miller & Kreisel Multi-Platform
Miller & Kreisel Column Surrounds
Lamm Industries L2 Reference
Vacuum Tube Logic TL 2.5.1
McCormack Audio MAP-1 Processor
Cary Audio CAD-88 Amplifier
Toshiba Blue Laser Prototype
Draper Revelation & Hi-Def Gray
NHT Evolution Subwoofers
Von Schweikert Audio dB-99

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Show report last updated: 1st February 2002 ~ 368 original images on-line.


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