Premiere Design

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Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 30, 2009  |  50 comments

<I>Ne plus ultra</I>&#151;Latin meaning "no more beyond," often used to describe anything that is truly ultimate. I can think of no better way to describe the Ultimate speaker system from Swedish boutique manufacturer <A href="">Transmission Audio</A>. This massive, hand-made system is exactly what its name implies, at least in terms of cost&#151;a million bucks per channel, making it the most expensive speaker system in the world as far as I know.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 27, 2009  |  5 comments

I've known <A href="">Sennheiser</A> headphones for a long time. My first pair of studio 'phones was the HD 414 SL, a featherweight, open-back design that I still have 30 years later, albeit with new foam earpads. So it was with great interest that I read about the company's new flagship model, the HD 800.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 22, 2009  |  13 comments

When I first saw a photo of this speaker, it reminded me of a Mexican chiminea, a free-standing clay fireplace with a bulbous lower body and tall, thin smokestack. But the only heat generated by this bad boy is of the sonic variety. Born of a collaboration between Serbian ribbon-speaker specialist <A href="">RAAL</A> and American pro-audio designer <A href="">Requisite Audio</A>, the <A href="">RAAL Requisite Eternity</A> is the world's only speaker with a cast-bronze woofer enclosure.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 17, 2009  |  1 comments

For the last 30 years, Ken Ishiwata has served as European Brand Director for <A href="">Marantz</A> while designing some of the company's best high-end audio products. To celebrate this incredible legacy, Marantz has announced two limited-edition components designed by Ishiwata and dubbed the <A href="">KI Pearls</A>.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 14, 2009  |  16 comments

John Bowers founded British speaker giant <A href="">Bowers & Wilkins</A> in 1965, hand assembling speakers in the back of an electronics shop he ran with Roy Wilkins in Worthing, England. Nearly 45 years later, B&W has become one of the world's pre-eminent speaker companies, thanks in part to the spirit of innovation embodied in its flagship 800 series.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 06, 2009  |  11 comments

I've been waiting a long time for the SSP-800 surround preamp/processor from <A href="">Class&#233;</A>. Originally announced in May 2008 and scheduled for delivery in July of that year, this Canadian company's statement pre/pro is finally about to ship.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 02, 2009  |  10 comments

I know, I know&#151;this isn't exactly a home-theater product. But when I stumbled upon the CDM43 computer monitor from a company called <A href="">Ostendo Technologies</A>, I was intrigued by its potential to reinvigorate the rear-projection market.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 29, 2009  |  12 comments

Last year, I started hearing about front projectors that use LEDs for illumination instead of conventional lamps&#151;in fact, there were a couple of prototypes being demonstrated in back rooms and hotel suites at the 2008 CEDIA Expo. Then, at CES 2009, I saw another such a projector from Taiwan-based <A href="">Vivitek</A>. Six months later, the H9080FD is almost ready to become the world's first commercially available, LED-illuminated home-theater projector.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 26, 2009  |  13 comments

I'm always on the lookout for extreme A/V products, so when I came across a Dutch company called <A href="">Kharma</A>, I was intrigued by its Grand Enigma, one of the world's most expensive 2-channel speaker systems at a cool $1,000,000. I don't have enough info to profile that product just yet, but meanwhile, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the company's next-most-expensive Exquisite line, which offers a complete&#151;and still <I>very</I> pricey&#151;home-theater package.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 22, 2009  |  8 comments

Earbuds may be all the rage these days, but audio connoisseurs know that private listening sounds best with circumaural headphones, which cover the outer ear and offer larger drivers for deeper bass than most buds can produce. Among the finest headphones in the world come from Germany's <A href="">Ultrasone</A>, including the new top-dog <A href="">Edition 8</A>.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 19, 2009  |  0 comments

In 1975, Meir Mordechai had a dream&#151;to create the perfect speaker. Since then, his Israeli company, <A href="">Morel</A> (short for Mordechai Electronics), has developed a wide variety of innovative drivers as well as finished speakers. Its latest flagship is the Fat Lady, named in reference to the famous saying, "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings."

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 15, 2009  |  4 comments

As an avid sci-fi fan, <A href="">Krell</A> founder Dan D'Agostino decided to name his company after the race of beings that had wielded almost unlimited power in the classic movie <I>Forbidden Planet</I>. Since that day nearly 30 years ago, Krell's lineup has expanded from a single power amp to a panoply of ultra-high-end A/V products, including the flagship Evolution 707 preamp/processor.

uavKim Wilson  |  Jun 08, 2009  |  5 comments

I'm always casting about for interesting high-end products to feature in this blog, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually find the
FH001 speaker from a British company called <A href="">Ferguson Hill</A>. As soon as I saw a photo of this intriguing design, I knew I had to profile it here.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 05, 2009  |  6 comments

<A href="">MartinLogan</A>, well-known purveyor of high-end electrostatic speakers since 1983, recently introduced a new flagship to its lineup&#151;the CLX. After reading the press release, I thought it might be fun to devise the ultimate ML home-theater system.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 01, 2009  |  0 comments
In its ongoing effort to advance the state of the speaker art, British manufacturer KEF has created a one-of-a-kind tower dubbed the Concept Blade. And by "one-of-a-kind," I don't mean a unique product that you can buy—I mean a speaker built for the sole purpose of investigating and demonstrating various speaker-design principles. Only one pair exists, and it's not for sale at any price.