Audio News: 7-11-13
B&W's $4,000 mid-line flagship: The CM10 is the new top-of-the-line model in the company's mid-priced CM line. It's the only model in the CM line that features the same "tweeter on top" technology found in the company's higher-end 800 series. Moving the tweeter up on top of the enclosure, instead of mounting it flush, eliminates much of the diffraction (spurious reflection of sound waves) from the side edges of the cabinet, and also broadens the dispersion at high frequencies. What's all that mean to you? Probably an airier, more spacious sound.
The tweeter also uses a "dual dome" design, where a second dome diaphragm with the middle cut out is laminated onto the main dome, thus stiffening the edges and, according to B&W, pushing the dome's first breakup mode (diaphragm resonance) from 30 to 38 kHz. The 6-inch midrange driver is the same one used the CM9, but it's physically decoupled from the enclosure to help prevent its vibrations from being transferred to the rest of the speaker, and vice versa. The CM10 has three 6.5-inch woofers-one more than the CM9.
You can get it next month in rosenut veneer, wenge veneer, or white or black gloss for $4,000/pair.
Naztech's $89 Jambox clone: Don't blame Naztech-it's just one of a zillion "companies" "making" products "inspired by" the ultra-successful Jawbone Jambox. Actually, give 'em some credit. At $89, the Koncert is the least-expensive Jambox clone I've seen, and it's nicely executed-it feels like a high-quality unit.
The Koncert mostly follows the Jambox design concept: a 6-inch-long box with Bluetooth plus a 3.5mm analog input, two active drivers about 1.25 inches in diameter, rechargeable battery, available in white, black, and red. What's different is that instead of the Jambox's trick 2.25 x 1.25-inch rectangular, rear-mounted passive radiator, mass-loaded by the battery to give it a deeper resonant frequency, the Koncert has what looks like a generic, front-mounted 1.75 x 1-inch passive radiator.
The sample I have proves there's an upside and a downside to that. The Koncert sounds good for a small BT speaker, but doesn't have the full sound of the Jambox or the Soundmatters FoxL. But on the other hand, freed of the need to reproduce bass, the Koncert can play extremely loud for a little speaker: about 95 dB at 1 meter on my MCMäxxx™ volume test.
The Koncert also has a feature the Jambox lacks: a USB output that can be used to recharge your phone.
Mass Fidelity's $249 Bluetooth adapter: Speculating that lots of audiophiles would enjoy using Bluetooth to stream music but don't want to admit to using Bluetooth to stream music, Mass Fidelity has created the Relay, a $249 device designed to incorporate Bluetooth into a high-fidelity audio system.
Mass Fidelity did all sort of tricks inside the aluminum enclosure in an attempt to bring the Relay up to audiophile standards. The unit uses Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converters; separate grounds for digital audio, analog audio, and RF circuits; a low-noise internal power supply; and a tweaked-up system clock. Claimed specs are impressive, including S/N ratio of 112 dB and frequency response of ±0.02 dB.
Aperion Audio's $374 wireless speaker: This actually isn't a new product, just a much more reasonable price for a product S&V's Michael Berk really liked when he reviewed it last fall. Originally, the Aris cost $499 with a DLNA wireless card. Now it's just $374, or $297 without the wireless card. Read Mike's review to get the full story.
Polk's $99 "listening accessory": Otherwise known as in-ear headphones, Polk's Nue Era is targeted at fashion-conscious listeners. It's available in tortoise/gold and black/silver color schemes. According to Chief Design Officer Michael DiTullo, "In designing the Nue Era, we wanted to create an accessory that felt more like a classic pair of sunglasses, as easy as your favorite pair of jeans, and as well-crafted as a vintage timepiece." The $99 Nue Era includes a three-button inline remote, and the 90-degree plug on the end is said to provide a "deeper source connection."