Tech & Gaming
Audio Esoterica

Audio Esoterica Issue 1 2016

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

5 Min.
audio union döhmann helix 1

In the digital realm, multiples of DSD challenge ever higher-resolution PCM files, it’s USB versus SPDIF, local storage versus cloud-based audio — the variants of digital technology go on and on, the decisions and debates themselves upsampled into an arena where the goalposts seem in ever active motion. One relative constant remains. We’re approaching one-and-a-half centuries using the gramophone, the ‘phonograph’, with its crippling mechanical and inherent vibrational challenges, yet the turntable still holds so much… music. Perhaps not despite but because of the physical aspects and apparent limitations, and their interrelation as a music-playing system, the modern turntable can be tonally, spatially and dynamically accurate. Despite dissenting futurists, even if the digital universe’s pure mathematics may seem, on paper, to be superior to the mechanisms driving the needle and groove,…

6 Min.
going around with mark döhmann and ‘the force’.

Edgar Kramer:In terms of engineering, what were the goals and main challenges when designing the Döhmann Helix 1 turntable? Mark Dohmann: Audio Union is a think-tank for the development of new innovative solutions to audio engineering problems. Every generation of audio designs seeks to surpass those that preceded them. Challenges we faced included setting new benchmarks for performance against master tape sources – everyone who has heard master tape quickly realises the often immense gaps in fidelity between the master tape and LP playback. Our challenge was to close that gap by removing those elements that are common drawbacks in other LP playback systems. These elements include microscopic noise sources that when combined create signatures which hold back the LP signal recovery and delivery. One goal was to create direct drive-like speed…

3 Min.
showroom session

The Helix 1 was quite the sensation both at last and this year’s Munich High End show. This writer had the pleasure of auditioning the table at length in Munich in 2015 via a stupendous system from Rumen Artarski’s Thrax Audio which included the just-released and very promising Lyra speakers. I understand that the set-up resulted in several on-the-spot orders for the Helix 1, and other showcased components. More recently, further pleasures came via a visit to beautiful coastal Victoria where I spent several hours with the Helix 1 – this time within the context of Con Lucas’ (Telos Audio Distributors’ partner principal) magnificent all-Ypsilon electronics and German Physiks ‘The Borderland’ omni speakers (full system details below). Front and centre, the Helix 1 sat atop a mere roadcase, a strong testament…

6 Min.
naim audio nap 250 dr

As one of the longest running companies in the industry, Naim Audio not only off ers a very complete set of products – from source to speakers and everything in between – but has the resources to employ a well-staff ed R&D department (led by Steve Sells – see interview p18). This result is an ongoing schedule of products that continue to display the company’s reputation for individuality and, in recent years, an especial penchant for combining its traditional analogue strengths with intelligent digital features – as evidenced in the impressive multitasking app-empowered and Bluetoothequipped NAC-N 272 preamplifier/streamer/DAC supplied to pair the power amp under review here. And if further evidence of Naim’s ambitions were needed, what better proof than the recent project to produce an absolute ‘statement’ of the company’s…

5 Min.
amplifier statements

EDGAR KRAMER:It’s clear that serious trickle-down has come from the Statement amplifier to the NAP 250 DR. What have been the benefits compared with the pre-DR NAP 250? STEVE SELLS: It’s benefitted in two areas – the high current regulated power supply, and the new NA009 output transistors in the amplifier and DR power supply. The actual circuit of the power amplifier hasn’t changed, except for a little tuning to the new power supply and transistors. The result is incredible clarity throughout the audio band, and more perceived power. We think of amplifiers as having one input – the audio input signal. In fact they have many. They are susceptible to vibration, electromagnetic fields (RF), magnetic, temperature and power supply noise. Any noise on the power supply will ultimately appear at…

7 Min.
sennheiser he 1

They’re promoted as “the best headphones in the world”, handcrafted in Germany and priced at perhaps $75,000, not that you could currently walk into a shop and buy a pair at any price. And while press stories all over the world call them “the new Orpheus”, they’re actually “the HE 1, successor to the Orpheus”, not really Orpheuses themselves (despite the original headband design, left), though certainly born from a desire to deliver a new Orpheus, as Sennheiser’s Axel Grell explains in our interview overleaf. Several late prototype versions were created, one heading to the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January 2016, and one coming all too briefly to Australian shores several months later. Two of our writers were invited to experience separate solo sessions under the ear-cosseting delights of…