Premiere Design

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Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 01, 2010  |  11 comments

There are power amps, and there are power amps&#151;and then there's the Pivetta Opera One. Standing six feet tall and weighing over half a ton, this monster is designed by Pivetta Andrea (pictured here with his creation), built by the Italian company bearing his given name, and distributed worldwide exclusively by <A href="">HigherFi</A>.

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 26, 2010  |  First Published: May 27, 2010  |  4 comments

Most CD players and transports are relatively featureless, boring rectangular boxes, but not the Kalista from French boutique maker <A href="">Metronome Technologie</A>. Distributed in the US by <A href="">TMH Audio</A>, the Kalista looks more like a modern sculpture, though it offers plenty of substance in addition to some serious style.

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 24, 2010  |  1 comments

I don't typically cover so-called multimedia speakers in this blog, but when I came across an ad for the GLA-55 from <A href="">Harman Kardon</A> in an upscale magazine, I was intrigued. The cabinet looks like it was chiseled from rock crystal, and its beauty turns out to extend well below the surface.

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 20, 2010  |  7 comments
If the Greek gods had been audiophiles, they might well have used something like the Olympus Sound System (OSS) from Adam Audio, a German high-end maker of products for the professional and consumer markets. This behemoth stands seven feet tall and weighs over 350 pounds with separate enclosures for each set of drivers.
Scott Wilkinson  |  May 18, 2010  |  9 comments

As you may have surmised by now, the Ultimate Gear blog is dedicated to A/V products that are extreme in terms of performance, design, and/or price. I normally try to find items that embody all three elements, but sometimes, one of them takes center stage. So it is with the PrestigeHD Signature Rose LCD TV from British luxury purveyor <A href="">Stuart Hughes</A>, which can be yours for only &#163;1.5 million, or about $2.2 million as of this writing.

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 13, 2010  |  First Published: May 14, 2010  |  24 comments

I had not heard of California-based <A href="">NttAudiolab</A> before coming across its flagship Model 101 MkII speaker. Judging strictly by the specs, this is one awesome music box.

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 11, 2010  |  16 comments

As an A/V enthusiast, you might well be familiar with <A href="">Kaleidescape</A>, a California-based maker of high-end movie servers. <I>UAV</I> hasn't covered its products lately because we are dedicated to high def, and they have been limited to serving DVDs&#151;until now. The company today announced the introduction of full support for Blu-ray with its new M-Class architecture.

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 10, 2010  |  2 comments

The transition from monaural to two-channel stereo in the 1930s is undoubtedly one of the most important innovations in the history of recorded and reproduced sound. The idea first came to Alan Blumlein when he went to the movies, which had only recently been enhanced with synchronized audio.

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 06, 2010  |  5 comments

Audiophiles know well the name <A href="">Musical Fidelity</A>, a high-end British manufacturer for more than 30 years. The self-proclaimed culmination of all that experience is the Titan 2-channel power amp.

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 03, 2010  |  0 comments

Audiophiles who want to impress their friends&#151;and I seriously doubt there are any who don't&#151;would be hard pressed to do better than a pair of Sph&#228;ron Excalibur speakers from German horn specialist <A href="">Acapella</A>. But you'd better have a pretty big room to comfortably house these beautiful beasts, which stand over seven feet tall and weigh 1364 pounds each.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 29, 2010  |  7 comments

I've written about line-array speakers in this blog several times, and for good reason&#151;tall stacks of drivers deliver smooth horizontal dispersion and sound levels that fall off more gradually than point-source speakers, creating a coherent, open soundstage. That's the idea behind the so-called iso-linear speakers from American maker <A href="">Scaena</A>, whose name is Latin for "stage."

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 27, 2010  |  2 comments

If you've ever seen photos of the 1939 New York World's Fair, you might recognize the inspiration for these Art Deco-esque speakers from American boutique maker <A href="">Studio Electric</A>. With a design based on the Trylon and Perisphere, two signature buildings at the fair, the Type Two is handcrafted from stainless steel and aluminum by master metalsmith <A href="">Josh Stippich</A>.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 22, 2010  |  3 comments

Ever since its founding in 1926, German speaker maker <A href="">Elac</A>&#151;short for Electroacustic&#151;has never been one to rest on its laurels. Its engineers continue to improve the company's already well-regarded speakers with refinements and innovations that push the performance envelope. Take, for example, the FS 609 CE, Elac's flagship tower speaker that packs a lot of advanced technology into a slender form factor.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 19, 2010  |  13 comments

If $100,000 for the <A href=" One DLP projector</A> is too rich for your blood and/or you don't need to light up a 50-foot screen, <A href="">Cineversum</A> offers an attractive alternative&#151;the new BlackWing Four LCoS projector.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 15, 2010  |  4 comments

When <A href="">Bang & Olufsen</A> hosts a press event, it doesn't mess around. Last week, the king of Danish A/V design unveiled a new member of its flat-panel lineup at the Kopeikin art gallery in Los Angeles, and journalists got to see the BeoVision 10 in action as we sipped Dom Perignon and nibbled on gouda-apple pizza and other delicacies.