The Numbers Game
Enjoying music should be a simple pleasure. Easily said, you may be thinking with one eyebrow raised - and we'd agree with you. There are so many things that can get in the way, especially in the world of hifi. Complication, a plethora of choices, formats and standards. Allow us to show you the way through to simplicity and quality.
The quantification of audio is difficult to avoid - it’s so very easy to pin a number on something as a measure of its worth - be it size. power or price. Amplifiers are a case in point. An amplifiers job is actually very simple - all it has to do, by definition, is amplify - in other words turn a small sound into a bigger one. Wattage is the conventional yardstick of amplifier performance yet it actually has almost no bearing on the quality, value or sound of amplifiers. It’s just a number. It’s the conversion of voltage and current by speaker systems into decibels that you hear. So you’ll find it obvious that how an amplifier works with speakers, and the qualities of the sound that is produced are what really matters.
The just introduced NuForce Dia is proof of this - the ultra-compact Dia is a completely modern take on amplification. It’s our first all-digital amplifier - there are 3 inputs (2 optical and one coaxial), connections for a pair of speakers, a single on/off selector and volume control plus a small remote. And that’s it. Given that you can easily hold the Dia in one hand, it would be easy to underestimate both the significance and performance of this amplifier. Even the price sends contradictory signals - at just NZ$450 too many will just not take the Dia seriously. If on the other hand, you’re after great sound and value you’ll find the NuForce Dia just the ticket.
While the Dia redefines value, the new Pure Audio amplifiers re-write the book on absolute performance, New Zealand made and all round musical goodness.
The culmination of a lifetime in amplifier design by Gary Morrison, in collaboration with our foremost industrial and product designers Ross Stevens, the new Pure Audio range are our flagship models - high end in every sense but endlessly rewarding for the most demanding listeners. Not to mention a whole truckload of fun - find out more here.
From America, to New Zealand and now Italy. if you look you’ll find music lovers in every country. Audio Analogue are our long time favorites, producing a range of Integrated amplifiers (and matching CD players) that are finding their way into the systems and hearts of many of our more canny clients.
If one thing defines the sound of these beautifully hand-built Italian products it’s character - each model is distinctive and individual. From the new entry level Crescendo range to the awesome Maestro, there are 6 models. While it has been suggested you can’t have too many shoes, we tend to live with fewer amplifiers.
We’re very definitely keeping Audio Analogue as a mainstay in our range, but we couldn’t go past some fantastic specials from the Australasian distributors for Primo, Verdi and Rossinni models.
The arrival of the Pure Audio amplifiers has, with no small irony, resulted in a timely upgrade of our digital sources. In contrast to Pure Audio digital is, by definition, all about numbers.
If there are two heavy hitters in the digital world, it’s Meridian and Wadia - both design and build systems which can be considered luxuriously appointed with costings to match, but each has just introduced new products which are far more accessible.
Let’s start with the Wadia 121 - it’s a DAC - or decoding computer in their prefered nomenclature. At just on NZ$2200 it’s around $10,000 less than their previous entry level which immediately throws things into perspective. While we’re putting big numbers in there let’s also include 32bit/1.4MHz upsampling and acceptance of up to 192Khz/24bit material on all inputs. Now we’ve got that out of the the way we can talk about what will actually impress you - the sound.
What actually makes the Wadia special is not the numbers, but what it does with them - the output is analogue and it’s the conversion between these two domains that Wadia’s area of expertise. Up until now, there seemed to be a plethora of great value DACs such as NuForce, HRT (and new models just in stock from both Cambridge Audio and Rotel) all clustered under $1000 but surprisingly little worthwhile choice above that. The Wadia takes all the virtues of these entry level models and goes further in every regard - it is immediately obvious that there is much more going on in a musical sense from the first moment you get it playing. Investigate all the features and abilities of this rather clever little box here.
Meridian come at things from a completely different angle. While the Wadia connects either directly to other devices as sources (your computer, streaming devices, disc player or iPod via dock) the Meridian Media Core 200 is the source - it’s a hard-drive. If you think about it, this has a lot of virtues - a computer is an exceedingly busy device and while we can get great results with the likes of the Wadia and Nuforce connected directly or via network, there is room for further improvement.
The Media Core 200 is, in it’s simplest implementation, a direct replacement for a CD player - the key difference being that rather than playing one CD at a time, it has all your music on hand. Meridian’s CD players gained their reputation simply because they sounded much better than lower cost units - a bigger, more tangible sound coupled with high resolution and detail. The Media Core 200 is essentially the next generation, replacing the esteemed G08.2 model CD player.
So which is the right digital solution for you? What will work best in your system and will it be the best value? These are all good questions that we’re here to answer for you. Drop us a line and we’ll look at the context of your system, where and what you want to listen to and your expectations. We’re constantly exploring options, critically listening and researching - let’s see if we can find the perfect choice for you.
|This e-mail was sent to you because your e-mail address is on the Totally Wired mailing list. We care about your privacy so if you would prefer not to get these e mail updates just click here to unsubscribe. If you do want to hear from us, we want to make sure that we have your details correct and that your e mail program doesn't inadvertently block us - so add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contact list and let us know if we need to update your details.|