amplifiers

Orb PC audio system pairs tiny speakers & audiophile amp

Orb PC audio system pairs tiny speakers & audiophile amp

Home entertainment manufacturer Orb have been producing their hand-crafted, bubble-like speakers since 2002, but the company have just got around to pushing out a system intended for computer use.  Equally at home as a stereo (or 2.1) TV speaker system (or pumping out music from your iPhone), the system pairs two Orb Mod1 or Mod2 speakers with a compact 15W Class T Amplifier by OPI Audio.

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Pass Labs X260.5 Power Amp promises even less distortion

Pass Labs X260.5 Power Amp promises even less distortion

It can be hard getting your product to stand out at CES, so one good way of doing so is pretending it's January 7th and pushing out a press release prematurely.  Pass Labs are bringing their new X260.5 Power Amplifier to the show, a 260W mono-block amp which boasts the company's Super-Symmetry circuit that - as far as we can tell - promises to more accurately synchronize a stereo pair of the units.

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Victor JVC super-skinny surround sound system announced

Victor JVC super-skinny surround sound system announced

Victor JVC in Japan have pushed out a new home theater speaker system, and unlike most such such setups it doesn't look like it will intrude too significantly on your living room.  The Victor JVC AX-FT1/FT2 amplifier and SP-FT1/FT2 speakers are 31mm and 30.8mm deep, respectively, but the amp still manages to output four channels of 20W apiece.

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Fiio E1 iPod headphone amp spotted

Fiio E1 iPod headphone amp spotted

There's a compact band of loyal headphone-amp users who swear by the audio-tastic qualities of some external amplification, so it comes as no great surprise that manufacturer Fiio are attempting to jump onto the iPod gravy-train.  The Fiio E1 plugs directly into the docking connector of an iPod or iPhone and not only offers in-line remote controls but the sort of headphone boost that can drive high-end cans or simply help more mainstream models shine.

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Knoll Systems GSZ67 and GSZ44 eco-friendly multiroom amps

Knoll Systems GSZ67 and GSZ44 eco-friendly multiroom amps

The "earth friendly" juggernaut continues, with even high-end home automation specialists feeling the need to slap some green on their spec sheets.  You'd find it pretty hard to fault the range of amps and control panels from Knoll Systems generally, but if the one factor stopping you was concern for the livelihood of the Crested Grebe then their new GSZ44 and GSZ67 controller-amplifiers should salve your conscience.

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Crestron Procise PSPHD 7.3 surround sound processor previewed

Crestron Procise PSPHD 7.3 surround sound processor previewed

Details are more than scarce right now, but whole-house A/V specialists Crestron have been showing off their latest surround-sound processor that promises what CEO and founder George Feldstein describes as "the absolutely latest killer surround sound processor and equalization."  The Crestron Procise PSPHD 7.3 surround sound system with video processor incorporates a 400W-per-channel amp and two "giant" transformers.

In a demonstration for Electronic House, a Crestron engineer played classic track "Hotel California" through the Procise PSPHD and a $50 set of Radio Shack speakers, enough for article author Julie Jacobson to be "in heaven".  When they switched to "real" speakers the audio reportedly "made the guitars come to life."

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WooAudio WES Electrostatic AMP reviewed: superlative sound

WooAudio WES Electrostatic AMP reviewed: superlative sound

So far, most of the headphone amplifiers that have graced these pages have been portable, budget items; the same very definitely can't be said for this brushed-steel behemoth, the WooAudio WES Electrostatic Headphone Amp and, dangling insouciantly next to it, Stax's SR-008 Mk2 Electrostatic headphones.  According to audiophile reviewer Steve Guttenberg, you're looking at "state of the art sound for a tiny fraction of the cost of a system built around speakers."

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Radiopaq iPod Sound Jacket: claims to put the “mmm” back in MP3

Radiopaq iPod Sound Jacket: claims to put the “mmm” back in MP3

Do you like your music loud and garnished with vaguely nonsensical statistics?  Then step right up, as Radiopaq are offering both with their new iPod Sound Jacket.  Intended for the fourth-gen iPod nano, the Sound Jacket is billed as an automatic graphic equalizer and - according to Radiopaq - improves sound quality "by up to 60-percent."

 

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Yamaha neoHD Media Controllers promise simple AV control

Yamaha neoHD Media Controllers promise simple AV control

Hot on the heels of their Sonos-rivaling MediaCAST2 system, Yamaha have announced their neoHD Media Controllers.  Pulling together multiple AV components with a simple, HTPC-style "Watch/Listen/Play" UI, two models are on offer: the entry-level YMC-500, which includes remote IR control, and the YMC-700 which adds WiFi for networked content streaming, Rhapsody online music, internet radio and iTunes AAC support thanks to an included license for TwonkyMedia Server. 

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StyleAudio Carat-Topaz DAC and headphone amp

StyleAudio Carat-Topaz DAC and headphone amp

Japanese firm StyleAudio have announced their latest headphone amplifier and DAC, the StyleAudio Carat-Topaz.  Bizarre name aside, the packs not only USB but optical inputs, together with a high-end Burr-Brown 127dB DAC, all in an anti-vibration chassis with copper spikes.

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iBasso Cobra D10 portable amplifier and DAC

iBasso Cobra D10 portable amplifier and DAC

iBasso have announced another compact amplifier and DAC, the Cobra D10.  Capable of operating simultaneously as both an amp and a DAC, or alternatively in just one mode or the other, the D10 boasts 20hrs runtime from its rechargeable 470mAh Li-ion battery (30hrs if the DAC is turned off) and has optical, coax and USB inputs, among others.

More photos and detailed specs of the iBasso Cobra D10 after the cut

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DIY Vacuum Tube iPod Amplifier and Speakers

DIY Vacuum Tube iPod Amplifier and Speakers

There are great presents, and then there are truly awesome presents: this home-built vacuum tube iPod amplifier and speakers falls most definitely into the latter category.  Given to Peter Redmer by his engineer father, the setup consists of a quad-tube custom amp in a hand-made wood and copper chassis, together with a pair of custom black lacquer speakers.

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