Tech & Gaming
Audio Esoterica

Audio Esoterica Issue 1 2019

Audio Esoterica is a spectacular new high quality publication for the discerning audiophile. Only the very best high-end components are featured, in dramatic photographic layouts that emphasise product design and engineering excellence while the industry’s leaders provide insider insights to Australia’s most experienced audio journalists. Audio Esoterica is all about the very best that the high-end audio world has to offer.

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in dieser ausgabe

1 Min.
the stradivarius of vinyl

The Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius is van den Hul’s latest flagship phono cartridge, priced at $10,499, made from cross-grained Brazilian Pau wood (a high density wood often used in instrument bows), coated with a ‘Stradivarius’ lacquer, named after the famous violin maker, and fitted with a solid boron cantilever tipped with a proprietary Type 1s, 2×85μm stylus. Each one is hand-built to order by A.J. van den Hul personally, and the build process can even be tailored according to the user’s preference. For more information: audioactive.com.au…

10 Min.
mcintosh ma252

The McIntosh MA252 integrated amplifier is the first hybrid integrated amplifier this world-famous American company has ever built. That’s an important statement given that McIntosh has been building amplifiers for 60 years. So the McIntosh MA252 has been 60 years coming… was it worth the wait? But first, what is a hybrid integrated amplifier? Basically it’s a component where one of the two amplifying stages uses valves — or ‘tubes’ as our US friends like to call them — to amplify the audio signal, while the other amplifier stage uses transistors. Any integrated amplifier has two amplifying stages — usually called the ‘pre’ and ‘power’ stages — so this means there are two ways to build a hybrid audio amplifier. One way is to use valves for the ‘pre’ section and…

17 Min.
linn selekt dsm

Generational change occurs in technology, as it does in populations. Linn, once described as “Scotland’s only leading cool brand”, provides examples of both. The company’s founder, Ivor Tiefenbrun, leveraged his father’s precision engineering company to set Linn in motion with a precision-designed turntable notable for a new patented point bearing. And with it, he began the conversion of the hi-fi world to the crucial concept that the quality of the source in an audio system is critical to the system’s overall quality. This ‘source-first’ philosophy sounds smackyourself-in-the-face obvious today, but was most definitely not the mode of thought back in 1973 (see Linn, The Origin Story, p30-31). Thirty years later, another change in the generations saw Ivor’s son Gilad Tiefenbrun taking the reins as Linn’s Managing Director in 2009, having previously…

5 Min.
linn the origin story

“the spindle is rotatably mounted in the sleeve, and a plate in said sleeve, the spindle being formed with a bearing portion which has point contact with said plate to support said spindle…” It’s hard to believe today, but in the early days of hi-fi, there was little recognition of the ‘garbage in, garbage out’ philosophy. The signal was the signal, amplifiers just made it bigger, and it was your loudspeakers that made all the difference between good sound and bad sound. No matter that the art of LP reproduction had remained substantially unchanged since 1948 when Peter Goldmark, head of research at CBS-Columbia in the US, had delivered a lightweight tone-arm and sapphire needle to play his new 12-inch 33⅓rpm vinylite LP with microgrooves (the 45rpm 7-incher arrived the following…

12 Min.
naim nd 555

As we lugged three boxes — two large heavy ones, and a medium lighter one — from the car up the many steps to the music room, we couldn’t help thinking that this seemed a lot of weight for a streaming source. The heavier boxes contained not one but two required components — Naim’s new top-of-the-heap ND 555 network player itself, and then the CD 555 PS, a unit for which the suffix is more descriptive than the prefix, it being the required standalone power supply as supplied for review (this was the DR version, now redesignated the 555 PS DR). The third and lighter box contained two black accessories boxes, one of which yielded a pair of finger-thick cables terminated in large multi-pin Burndy ring-locking connectors, and the other opening…

6 Min.

AUDIO ESOTERICA: So the ND 555 — could you possibly make it any heavier? STEVE SELLS: There’s another trillion kg of copper in the ground waiting to be made into Naim brass suspension systems… so we could have! Such self-control… AE: In a nutshell then, what are you most proud of, regarding the ND 555? SS: For me it’s the sound performance and hearing the evangelical feedback from customers. They have been patiently waiting for the 555 to add 500 series quality streaming to their 500 series systems. During development it was seeing the new ideas come to life from ‘sketch books dreams’ to reality, such as the master clocking, the nested faraday cage and the DR regulators directly below the DAC. AE: The master clock arrangement applies only to network sources, rather than SPDIF/USB…