February 2018 New Gear Part 1

McIntosh MHA50 Portable Amp/DAC
McIntosh has applied its deep knowledge of amplifiers to a compact amp you can take with you. About the size of a smartphone but twice as thick, the battery-powered MHA50 is a bit too small to accommodate Mac’s signature VU meters but boasts a 32-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that supports 192-kilohertz/32-bit hi-res audio, DSD256 and DXD384 files, and asynchronous USB audio.
Welcome Ohm: Two gain settings ensure compatibility with most headphones (between 8 and 600 ohms), and the amp supports aptX-enabled Bluetooth for on-the-fly streaming. The battery is good for up to 6 hours when connected via Bluetooth and longer when using a wired connection. Mac even throws in three USB adapter cables, a leather carrying case, and a wall-mount charger. Price: $700

McIntosh Labs • (800) 538-6576 • mcintoshlabs.com


Triad DS4-FR In-Ceiling Speaker
Looking for high-performance sound from a speaker you can hide in the ceiling? Unlike your typical open-frame in-ceiling speaker, the DS4-FR teams two 3 x 6-inch woofers with a 2.5-inch wide-dispersion tweeter in a 16-pound enclosure measuring 8.5 x 16 x 8.9 inches. The tweeter is designed to disperse sound over a 150-degree arc to ensure consistent coverage.
How Low Can You Go: The DS4-FR is rated down to 55 hertz but can be supplemented with Triad’s DS4-SUB for those who crave deep bass. The subwoofer is the same size as the FR but has three 3 x 6-inch woofers and plays down to 28 Hz. Covered by a 10-year warranty, both models can be ported through a 4-inch round or square grille that mounts flush to the ceiling and serviced without having to be removed. Price: $1,400 (DS4-FR or DS4-SUB)

Triad • (800) 666-6316 • triadspeakers.com


Integra DRX-3.1 A/V Receiver
If the DRX-3.1 had a mantra, it would be: Bring on the 4K! The 7.2-channel A/V receiver supports passthrough of HDCP-2.2, 4K/60 Hz and wide color gamut video, and all three high dynamic range (HDR) formats: HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), and Dolby Vision. On the audio side, you get 7 x 100 watts of power plus processing for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based soundtracks with up to 5.2.2 channels as well as support for hi-res audio and direct streaming from Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, Deezer, and Tidal.
Multiroom Made Easy: The DRX-3.1 supports three wireless streaming platforms—FireConnect, DTS Play-Fi, and Google Chromecast (the latter two via a firmware update)—and can be controlled by voice through a Google Home smart speaker or the Google Home app. Connections include a phono jack and eight HDMI inputs. Price: $1,000

Integra • (800) 225-1946 • integrahometheater.com


Periodic Audio Nickel Portable Headphone Amplifier
Periodic aims to improve your listening experience with the matchbox-size Nickel headphone amp, no matter where you are. Optimized for use with smartphones and suitable for “nearly any set of headphones on the market,” the amp has a fixed 3-dB gain to ensure plenty of headroom and a two-stage power-supply/charging system designed to significantly reduce USB switching noise.
Smart Power: Periodic’s patent-pending SmartSwitch signal sensing automatically turns the amp on whenever a signal is present and off when you unplug your headphones. Connections include 3.5mm input and output jacks and a micro-USB port for charging the battery, which is rated to last up to 8 hours and can be fully charged in about 20 minutes. A USB B charging cable and a 6-inch audio cable are included. Price: $300

Periodic Audio • (855) 724-4367 • periodicaudio.com


Amazon Echo Spot Smart Speaker
Arguably the sexiest of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled smart speakers, the Echo Spot is actually more screen than speaker with a 2.5-inch display made for video calling, viewing photos and video, scrolling through playlists and album art—you name it. The 4-inch orb incorporates Amazon’s latest far-field voice recognition technology and supports streaming via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (to other Echos) with direct access to (surprise!) Amazon Music, Audible, Pandora, NPR News, Uber, and other apps.
Smarty Pants: The size and viewing angle of the screen make the Spot perfect for use in the kitchen or on a nightstand or desk where it can display to-do lists and recipes or function as a smart alarm clock and voice command center for lights, door cams, and other smart-home devices. Available in black or white. Price: $130

Amazon • amazon.com