Audio News for September 2, 2016

Rotel Introduces New 14 Series Integrated Amplifiers and CD Player – For listeners who appreciate the look and feel of retro high-quality separate components including serious loudspeakers,  as long as they can still plug in, Rotel is targeting you with its new 14 Series amplifiers and – courageously so – a CD player.

“Stereo playback is enjoying a renaissance, particularly among younger people,” Doug Henderson, president of Rotel’s distributor, the B&W Group, said. Connection options include Bluetooth with AptX, standard analog and phono inputs, two each of coaxial and optical inputs, USB for PC and iOS which supports high-resolution playback of 32-bit/384kHz PCM, as well as DSD and DSD 2X. The three new 14 Series models will debut in October. The A14 integrated amplifier (80 watts per channel and high resolution) will retail for $1,300, the A12 (60 watts) $900, and the CD14 CD $600.

Grado’s New Deluxe Cartridges an Audiophile’s Dream – After two years of research, development and a lot of listening, Brooklyn-based Grado is releasing its new Statement Series2 [sic] line of deluxe audiophile phono cartridges. Housed in Australian Jarrah wood, a eucalyptus species renowned for its versatility, durability and strength, and featuring “a fixed coil design with a low mass generating system that claims to be lower than that of any moving coil cartridge,” the new range also uses Grado’s own diamond-cut technology. Prices will range from $350 to $3,500.

The Berlin Philharmonic and Panasonic Expanding Live Music Experience – Two of the world’s entertainment giants have announced that they will collaboratively develop AV technologies, enhancing UHD/HDR video and hi-res audio platforms, that will enable them to “explore opportunities to bring a premium and authentic live concert hall experience to the home and in-car environment.”

The Berlin Philharmonic already uses cutting-edge technology for their live concerts, and it was seen as a logical step to upgrade the DCH technology to the next generation of UHD/HDR video in combination with hi-res audio recording and distribution. Starting in 2017, Panasonic will also provide UHD technology for the DCH video studio in the Berlin Philharmonie. The Berlin Philharmonic will also work with Technics, Panasonic’s high-end audio brand, enhancing digital formats and audio streaming while keeping up the tradition of high quality authentic analogue recordings by collaborating on recording technology projects.

And as high quality services such as DCH become increasingly relevant to the in-car environment, and not only in terms of audio quality, but also for visual content – think driverless cars – the Berlin Philharmonic and Panasonic will explore the possibilities of also turning the in-car listening space into “an optimum concert hall experience.”

Postscript from Reference Recordings – After we announced earlier this week the audiophile label’s newest release, music by Moritz Moszkowski, Reference Recordings spokesperson Jan Mancuso wrote back, “RR’s 40 years old this year! and sales are doing fine: CDs, hi-res downloads, and hi-res files on disc and LPs. We’re still close with the audiophile world but also with the classical and blues music lovers too.” The company’s distribution was recently buoyed, she added, by its move to Naxos.

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