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The Newsletter of Len Wallis Audio

IN THIS ISSUE Musical Fidelity’s M6 500i Super Integrated amp Peachtree iNova & iDAC B&W Zeppelin Air Asynchronous DACs Velodyne subwoofers Panasonic’s Smart VIErA TVs and much more...

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lenwallisaudio.com.au

Winter 2011


All New The New 2011 range is available at your authorised 800 Series Diamond dealer. For more information visit www.bowers-wilkins.com.au or call 02 9700 0111


EDITED BY GEOFF FORGIE

CONTENTS LEN WALLIS AUDIO TURNS 33 & 1/3 IN SEPTEMBER!

YES

– we are about to celebrate our 33.33rd birthday! To mark the occasion we are offering for the entire month of September a free check-up of your turntable – tracking weight, stylus wear, belt, and anything else we notice and can fix on the spot (although we will need to charge for any replacement parts). The celebrations don’t end there. Bring your turntable for a free check-up and you will also go into the draw to win a free Music Hall 2.2LE Turntable, valued at $799!

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Musical Fidelity’s Super Integrated

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“The latest and best of the breed” says Musical Fidelity of its M6 500i Super Integrated amplifier. We also look at the company’s M1 CLiC Universal Media Controller

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Utopia Viva!

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The ‘i’ has it Marantz power & precision Meet the seven-channel SR5005 surround receiver, a true Universal Disc Player in the the UD5005, and the neat CR6023 ‘Melody Media’ CD receiver

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IPTV is here!

Custom Installation – ‘Tech & Style’ The plan was to design a home automated system that would stretch into every corner of this structure, and the Len Wallis Audio team used the latest fibre-optic backbone technology to deliver these award-winning results

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Zeppelin Airborne If you like B&W’s original Zeppelin iPhone/iPod speaker dock, you’ll love the new AirPlay-enabled ‘Air’ version

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Cabinet meeting

And the winner is... We were delighted to have the work of our custom installation team recognised by three wins at the recent CEDIA Electronic Lifestyle Awards 2011

Stax Earspeakers New earspeakers and a new driver unit – but beware, these are highly addictive headphones!

Asynchronous DACs This type of DAC is shaping up to be an affordable and highly effective upgrade for computer-based music

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Sydneyside’s extensive range of crafted AV furniture

The new generation of Panasonic plasma TVs bring ‘Smart VIErA IPTV to the lounge, in addition to 3D

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NAD’s media gateway NAD embraces new media sources with the C446 Media Tuner, “a gateway to your digital music sources”

Peachtree Audio’s iNova amplifier does more than just add an iPhone dock to the original; it’s an upgrade too

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Velodyne subwoofers Velodyne’s subwoofers go wireless... plus the impressive new advanced Digital Drive Plus range

Focal’s stunning speaker range is joined by the Viva Utopia LCR range... plus big news on new Focal pricing

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Specials Don’t miss these special offers – including three special packages built around JVC’s brilliant DLA-X9 projector, plus deals on Plessis and Musical Fidelity

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Pure DAB+ radios Three new models from the digital radio pioneers

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News briefs Updates from WADIA, Thor and DanA

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The Zoning Oppo-tunist Oppo’s latest Blu-ray player cracks the region coding, in addition to playing a whole host of disc formats

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LP cleaning An old friend – the Milty Pro Duopad – returns to assist with the essential task of degritting your grooves...

64 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove NSW 2066 Telephone 02 9427 6755 sales@lenwallisaudio.com.au TRADING HOURS Monday Tuesday Wednesday Friday: 9 to 5.30 Thursday: 9 to 8; Saturday: 9 to 5; Sunday: 10 to 4 www.lenwallisaudio.com.au

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MUSICAL FIDELITY

Newsletter Winter 2011

MUSICAL FIDELITY M6 500i

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usical Fidelity just love to make substantial integrated amplifiers. As the company says themselves: “In 1990, Musical Fidelity made the first ever Super Integrated amplifier: the A1000. This received a rapturous welcome and, even today, is selling at high prices second hand. The A1000 was the first of a long line of Super Integrateds from Musical Fidelity. The New Vista M3, Tri Vista 300 and kW500, all were well received. The M6 500i is the latest and the best of the breed.” The M6 500i ($7999) consists of a preamp (with its own separate power supply windings) with two monobloc power amps sharing a common chassis. Each channel has its own heat sink and separate transformer, so can be termed “dual mono

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construction”. The preamp input sockets are connected directly to the main preamp PCB. There are no wire connections from the inputs to the preamp. Consequently, PCB tracks are very short. This elegant idea ensures that both channels’ signals are ultra-low impedance from the instant they get into the amplifier. Six large bipolar transistors per channel would normally be regarded as substantial build quality. Each power channel of the M6 500i has twelve big bipolar transistors. 200 amps peak to peak is easily available. The metal casework is also high quality, the front panel a custom-made fine line extrusion of milspec aluminium. The custom-made heatsinks have outstanding dissipation characteristics and finish. The M6 500i has a precision digital volume control, with perfect tracking to very low levels ensured by laser-trimmed substrate resistors. And when the M6 500i is switched off, it will remember the previous volume control setting for your next session.

TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE The M6 500i delivers 500 + 500 wpc into 8 ohms. It is extremely stable and very linear. The distortion is low too, about 0.008% @ 1kHz and @ 20kHz it is 0.015%. More significant, perhaps, is the very low distortion at ultra-high frequencies: @ 30kHz, it is 0.02% and @ 50kHz it is 0.02%. The M6 500i’s distortion hardly changes from 10kHz to 50kHz, an outstanding achievement and validation of the circuit design and PCB layout. An amplifier must be able to maintain its voltage virtually, regardless of loading. The M6 500i has remarkable linearity and consistency. Almost all loudspeakers have complex impedance and loading curves. It is unconditionally stable and will drive any loudspeaker in existence easily with ample power reserves.

lenwallisaudio.com.au


MUSICAL FIDELITY

CLiC FOR MORE ACCESS

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usical Fidelity have also joined the new wave of media streamers with their M1 CLiC Universal Media Controller ($1999). It’s based around their excellent M1 DAC and is capable of streaming highresolution music up to 24-bit/192kHz from a computer, or accessing other digital and analogue sources. While this sort of device is commonly thought of more as a convenience item, it is increasingly being recognised as potentially delivering better sound than CD. Once it is set up and linked into your local home network (by wireless or Ethernet cable), the CLiC becomes simple to operate via a small LCD screen on the front panel, and remote control. Apart from your music in hard-drive storage, you can access Internet Radio, Front USB, iPod (rear connection), Coaxial Digital 1 & 2, USB DAC, and analogue AUX 1, 2, 3. While there are various ways of getting your media streamed around the house, doing it while maintaining very high audio quality is the trick. The CLiC does this so well that Paul Miller of HiFi News found it excellent on all

sources, even the WAV files played from his iPod Classic: “Bit-perfect, non-compressed 16-bit/ 44.1kHz WAV files ripped from CDs and stored in a 160G iPod were replayed by the CLiC with the kind of unsullied freshness normally associated with a very good CD player replay – or better. Frankly, I was astonished!” Playing high resolution files via the network sounded “pretty darn’ good”, but playing them directly from his USB sounded even better:

“Surprisingly, I was treated to an even fresher, more open and stimulating reproduction.” It improved harmonies and ambience as well as lifelike presence. The CLiC is a versatile, easy-to-use and very capable addition to any system. The possibilities for utilising both storage of high-quality music as well as Internet sources are, or should be, on all of our to-do lists these days. Stock is due into Australia in August 2011, but check with us re availability of demo items in the meantime.

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FOCAL

Newsletter Winter 2011

FOCAL SPEAKERS – PRICING

UTOPIA VIVA!

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he kind people at Focal realised that building up a home theatre system using Utopia III models could be a bit daunting for some, and the new Viva Utopia LCR range ($30k/pair) is here to show how it can be done. This model opens up so many possible configurations, either as a set (pictured above) or in combination with other Utopia III series speakers. Even if you only use them as the front three, with something pretty good as rears (Diablos!), you’ll be doing very well. From the Grande Utopia EM (right) to the smaller Scala (left) and Diablo (centre), the Utopias are the ultimate reference of the Focal brand and its ‘Spirit of Sound’

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The Viva speakers are a genuine three-way design in a tower form, made up of three separate enclosures. They are not small! There are two 8”/200mm woofers, a 6.5”/165mm midrange and of course the 1”/25mm Beryllium tweeter. The speaker cabinet dimensions overall are 942 x 322 x 510mm (hwd), which goes out to 1342 x 394 x 670mm with the optional floor stand. Being 92dB efficient and nominally 8-ohm impedance, they are not that hard to drive. The frequency response is 39Hz to 40kHz, and the weight of the speaker is 57kg. Recommended power is anywhere in the range 50w through to 600w, which once again illustrates that this is a flexible figure, not the hard and fast one so many people assume. In every way the components, cabinets, construction and finish of these speakers is of the same calibre as the larger Utopia III series, from the W-sandwich cones and beryllium tweeter through the cabinet designs and the beautiful finish. The central section housing the tweeter and midrange can be rotated to suit the centre-speaker role.

We get asked all the time whether prices are going to come down due to exchange rate movements, usually the day after the rate improves! These things take time to work through the supply pipeline, as the wholesalers’ existing stocks were bought at the previous exchange rate – perhaps months ago – not at this week’s one. The good news, however, is that the Focal importer issued new price lists as of 1/5/2011, and there are quite a few savings there for anyone looking to buy some new speakers. As usual, we will refund the difference if you’ve bought speakers from us within the last month at a higher price. There are too many reductions to list here, so we’ve put some examples below. But if you check the prices on our website for the Chorus 700V, 800V, Profile, Electra 1000 Series and the Utopia III series, you’ll find that all of them have shed dollars and become even better value. It will not be a fixed percentage across the whole range – some things will decrease by more than others. The bottom line is that there has never been a better time to buy Focal! Some examples: Model

Was

Now

Chorus 726V

$2999

$2799

Chorus SW700

$1499

$1399

Chorus 826V

$3299

$2999

Profile 918

$6499

$5999

1028 Beryllium

$11,999

$9999

Scala Utopia

$45,000

$39,000

Note: Colours are also changing. The ‘Amati’ timber look in the 700V range is finished, and there is now a new light coloured ‘Natural’ and dark brown ‘Wenge’. In the 800V series the dark brown Moca is finished; there is a new lighter ‘Natural’ colour.

lenwallisaudio.com.au


Big Sound Small Space

Dock for iPod/iPhone with Digital, FM and Internet Radio and Video Out A powerful iPod/iPhone dock with best-in-class audio, Contour brings your iTunes library to life with an open soundstage that’s both dynamic and detailed. There’s also digital, internet and FM radio so you’ll never be at a loss for listening. 1800 781 114 www.pure.com/au www.thelounge.com


PEACHTREE AUDIO

Newsletter Winter 2011

THE ‘i’ HAS IT T he Peachtree Nova is the amplifier that forged a new path in the stereo amplifier market, having mostly digital inputs (coaxial and optical) and operating an onboard Sabre DAC to achieve great audio performance while aligning with modern digital audio methods of storage and retrieval. Having a valve in the pre-amp stage was also a novel approach, and it doubled as a valve headphone amplifier to good effect. So when Peachtree’s iNova ($1999) appeared with an inbuilt iPod/iPhone dock, it would be easy to think this was just a Nova with the dock added. Wrong! The iNova contains a higher resolution DAC chip than the original Nova. After extensive testing Peachtree elected to use

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the ESS 9016 Sabre32 Ultra DAC. This re-clocks the incoming digital audio before processing this signal, although it is not an ‘asynchronous’ design. Even so, according to Peachtree this reduces jitter to less than three picoseconds. In addition to better specs, the new ESS 9016 enables the iNova to handle incoming digital audio from 16-bit/44.1kHz CD quality up through 24-bit/192kHz high resolution via its coaxial (electrical) S/PDIF input. The original Nova could not accept audio in excess of 24/96 via any input. The iNova also introduces the capability to handle 32, 44.1, 48, and 96kHz via its USB input. It also has excellent isolation from computer-induced noises!

The iNova, like the Nova, includes a vacuum-valve buffer that can be turned off and on with the press of a button on the remote control. The original Nova used a 6922 valve (or ‘tube’ if you prefer the American term), whereas the new iNova buffer contains a Russian 6N1P valve. Some Nova owners have said that they feel the 6922 valve does not provide enough warmth or valve “bloom” to notice much of a difference when the valve is on. In a direct comparison between the Nova and iNova with its new Russian 6N1P valve, the difference is clearly audible. The other clearly audible improvement over the original Nova is the beefedup capacitors. These add strength and stamina to the amplifier and make the bass more solid. All of the above, plus the fact that the iPod dock extracts the music digitally, means that the iNova is a very exciting new amplifier aimed at achieving audiophile-standard results and helping you to tap into a range of digital sources with a minimum of fuss.

lenwallisaudio.com.au


PEACHTREE AUDIO Here’s an early response from one of our customers who bought the iNova: “On Sunday I purchased from you a Peachtree Audio iNova. Now I can understand your confidence in your two-week no obligations home trial — I will not be returning the amplifier! Quite simply put, this amplifier has granted me a musical revolution (and revelation) even when matched with my current JPW bookshelf speakers and Philips CD player. Both CD player and speakers are upwards of eight years old, but they have received a new lease of life due to this amp... I’m hearing tracks that I have listened to hundreds of times before and listening to audio (sometimes entire instruments) that I never knew were there. The sound is crisp and precise, and important to my partner, the amp looks great! And I have got over “losing control” of my much beloved Treble and Bass…” While Peachtree have re-aligned their products to suit the new age of digital sources, at the same time they have not forgotten those people who want a very compact solution. The MusicBox from Peachtree ($899) takes the approach of their full-size products and applies it to a micro-system. You can connect an iPod/ iPhone/iTouch directly via the full digital dock – or connect other sources via USB, Coaxial Digital or Optical Digital. There’s an analogue input too, even a Pre-Out. You can send iPod video or pictures to a screen via Component Video. As with the other Peachtree amplifiers, the MusicBox has a valve in the preamp section, which also helps to power the headphone amplifier, so you can get superb sound via headphones. The speakers mute when you plug headphones in. What speakers? Well, we’d recommend something like the Era Sat 3 ($599) if you want very small but genuine hi-fi clarity, or the Sat 4 ($699) for a bit more bottom end. A slightly cheaper speaker would be the Tantra Ones ($498) in black or silver.

NEW PEACHTREE iDAC

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he new iDac ($1399) from Peachtree is housed in a similar chassis to their digital amplifiers, with a cosmetically similar faceplate, and high-gloss timber finishes. Inputs include 2 x coaxial digital inputs, 2 x Toslink optical digital, USB in, and the iPod/iPhone dock on top. The onboard DAC is a Sabre 9016 (24-bit/192kHz) with full resolution via the coaxial inputs and 96kHz via the USB or optical inputs. This is the perfect upgrade to any stereo system, enabling you to remotely SPECIFICATIONS

Frequency response: 5Hz-100kHz DAC: ESS 9016 32-bit Sabre 24/96 USB, 24/192 SPDIF capability S/N at the analog output: 118dB “A” weighted Output voltage: 2V RMS Output impedance: 10 ohms

switch between the various digital sources while upgrading the digitalto-analogue performance of all of them. There’s an analogue Line Out (L+R) to connect to your stereo amplifier, so this unit can be used as an upgrade to any brand of system. While most DACs are optimised for high-quality CD transports, the Peachtree iDac has been designed as a more robust device which can cope with the less-than-perfect signals from computers, with all their attendant “noisiness”. Jitter measured at the master clock of the DAC: <3 picoseconds Max. power consumption: 20W USB: Galvanically isolated to reduce ground noise from computer’s switching power supply Power supply: internal linear SPDIF digital inputs: transformer-coupled Dimensions (HWD): 3.5 x 9 x 10 inches Weight: 8 lbs

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MARANTZ

POWER AND PRECISION

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he Marantz SR5005 surround receiver ($1699) provides 7 x 100 Watts rms, has decoders for all the standard surround sound formats as well as Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, and comes with four HDMI 1.4a inputs — making it immediately ready for 3D video. It easily handles the most demanding of scenes in action films, as well as offering excellent-quality music playback, thanks to

the advanced Marantz audio technologies. And to ensure you get the best possible audio from compressed files on iPod via USB, the SR5005 incorporates the M-DAX2 – Marantz Dynamic Expander version2. This neat little addition also optimises the quality of MP3 files from either CD or the optional Bluetooth receiver RX101. Everything sounds clearer, more detailed, and more alive.

To finish off, the SR5005 comes with a whole host of convenience features such as “auto set-up” with Audyssey MultiEQ and Dynamic Volume, multiroom with multisource flexibility, and “video-off” mode to ensure you enjoy your movies and music in true dynamic Marantz style. What’s more all analogue and HDMI video sources can be up-scaled to 1080p via the Anchor Bay ABT1030 processor.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

COMPACT SURROUND RECEIVER There are some people who recoil from the bulk of the better surround receivers! If you are after a slimline surround receiver, and don’t mind a lower power rating, Marantz do make some. The NR1501 ($1199) is a 7 x 50 watts receiver with 4 x HDMI inputs, and measures just 105mm high by 440 wide and 367 deep. For an extra $200 you can get the NR1601 ($1399) which is 3D capable, with the same power and only 9mm deeper. It also has the USB input on the front panel.

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• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

7x 100 watts 8 ohms RMS Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Dolby Pro-Logic IIz M-DAX2 Audyssey MultEQ, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume Video scaling up to 1080p 4in / 1out HDMI 1.4a (3D) iPod/iPhone compatible USB input Marantz M-XPort Multi room/Multi source Marantz remote bus RS232C port Learnable Remote Control Available in Black & Silver/Gold

lenwallisaudio.com.au


MARANTZ

Newsletter Winter 2011

MARANTZ UD5005 UNIVERSAL PLAYER Marantz are rightly famous for making magnificent disc players of all sorts. Whether it’s a dedicated CD/SACD player, or now a “one player does it all” you’re after, they’ll have the market covered at several levels. In the UD5005 Universal Player ($799), you can now have the legendary Marantz quality in an exceptional value-for-money Blu-ray Disc player. Not only does it reproduce all the delicate audio details from SACDs, its superb 24fps Blu-ray quality comes with BD-Live and DLNA1.5 specifications. You can also enjoy your latest music and video downloads from your PC from your couch. The quick-response mechanism will play Blu-ray, DVD, DVD-A, SACD, CD and is compatible with MP3, WMA, DivX

HD and lots, lots more. In addition, the UD5005 includes a stereo output for analogue signals from CDs or down-mixed DVD and Blu-ray sound, while the HD

audio sound is streamed via the HDMI 1.4a output – which also makes the player 3D-ready (software update required) for software yet to come on Blu-ray discs.

MARANTZ CR603 ‘MELODY MEDIA’ MAIN FEATURES • • • • • • • • • • The CR603 ‘Melody Media’ CD receiver ($1299) is not only a goodlooking and sounding CD receiver, it also gives you effortless access to a myriad of different music sources. Firstly, it gives you high-quality playback of CD content, as well as MP3 and WMA files from CD-R/RW. And as a receiver, a radio is built in: you can select analogue FM radio or take advantage of digital radio broadcasting (DAB+), which offers superior sound quality and supplementary information. The USB port is iPod-digital-compatible and is iPhone certified.

But it doesn’t stop there: you can also connect the Melody Media to the Internet or your PC via the Ethernet input on the back. The DLNA 1.5-certified Melody Media plays thousands of free-of-charge Internet radio stations from all over the world via vTuner. You can even access your own music library on your PC. Whatever you want, the powerful 60W RMS x 2 plays music loud and clear… and effortlessly, because the large display makes operation easy. Download the Marantz Wizz App to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, and you have control in the palm of your hand. A

Stylish and solid metal cabinet 2 x 60 watts RMS 6 ohm DAB+ and Stereo FM/AM Tuners vTuner internet radio Streaming music from PC Plays CD, CD-R/RW, MP3, WMA iPod / iPhone compatible USB input AUX input Tone controls Remote

beautifully-designed GUI combines with intuitive layout – this is a superbly easy way to control your Marantz products via a home network. The optional Airplay feature ($60) allows you to easily stream music from your iTunes collections to the CR603 with just the tap of a finger. With the incorporation of AirPlay on Marantz products, you can now open up iTunes to a whole new experience, enjoying not only the ability to stream iTunes music from a PC or Mac on your home network, but access to artist information, album art and elapsed and remaining time.

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PANASONIC

Newsletter Winter 2011

IPTV IS HERE!

AND PANASONIC ARE RIGHT INTO IT!

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rush up your acronyms – start quoting them now! So, which of these does not belong? — IPTV, HDMI, IMDB, DNLA, or UPnP? Answer: IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. All the others relate to hardware, which is increasingly able to connect to your LAN (local area network) in order to view or listen to things. But then again, when you’re confronted with a choice of lots of movies you can view on demand, you might want to go to the IMDB to check which one to watch.

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Over the last year or two, and increasingly from now on, you’ll be offered TV sets which have an Ethernet connection and a greater or lesser suite of applications that use it. Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is the general term for all this, but just what is on offer? It’s an exciting new development that all the manufacturers are talking about, and which you’ll probably want to investigate. Panasonic recently announced new 2011 models, and IPTV is right in there along with 3D as the thing to have. They summarise VIErA Connect as follows…

Smart VIErA keeps you connected to the world “Internet connectivity is a huge part of our daily lives and Panasonic is dedicated to improving the functionality and applications available within the VIErA range. With that focus in mind, we have introduced the outstanding VIErA Connect feature, giving you more access to family, friends and online content than ever before. Enjoy the latest TV shows from Yahoo7, clips from YouTube, and music from around the world with SHOUTcast internet radio. You also can keep up

lenwallisaudio.com.au


PANASONIC

to date with the weather and financial reports and enjoy a range of gaming and exercise features. Connecting to your friends takes on a whole new element with Twitter and Facebook applications, plus the ability to make full-screen video calls with the exciting Skype feature.” What is on offer partly depends on what their service providers have, so it’s not unlimited. But you can also add access to renting online movies via other devices such as TiVo and Apple TV, or use Boxee to aggregate and organise your own stored library of movies and shows. There are a lot of things available as add-ons these days, and gradually their functions will be absorbed into the TV set itself. What people might expect to find but is not there yet is a full-on browsing experience, just like you get at your computer. But there’s no doubt that the IPTV aspect has now achieved a critical mass that will see most people wanting it as part of their next TV set. But let’s have a closer look at the Panasonic range for 2011. The stars of the show will be the Panasonic VT30A series, all having not just extra features but improved picture quality over last year’s as well. They are in three sizes: 50”/127cm, 55”/140cm and 60”/150cm, and have all the following features in addition to Smart VIErA (above): Superb 2D or 3D performance with 600Hz and 5,000,000:1 contrast: Amazingly clear, Full-HD 3D images are produced by combining high-speed 3D Drive, improved Crosstalk Reduction, and high-speed Moving Picture Processing. Each of these features combines to reduce overlapping images while increasing moving picture resolution. 2D to 3D Conversion Technology: It’s easy to watch ordinary 2D images in 3D, thanks to the latest conversion technology. Content from image sources such as digital TV, Blu-ray disc, DVD or your photo

and video collection can now be viewed in vivid 3D. You can even calibrate the amount of 3D you want to see, making it a feature everyone can enjoy at their own comfort level. Record Direct To USB or SD Card: USB HDD Recording lets you easily record your favourite shows, films and other content onto an external USB HDD, connected to your TV with one simple cable. Use Rewind Live TV to replay scenes on live TV programmes. Register up to eight external USB HDDs to create a personal library for each family member.

VIErA Link: With VIErA Link you can operate your VIErA TV, Blu-ray, DVD and Full HD Camcorder with a single remote. Simply connect your Panasonic devices to your VIErA TV via HDMI cables to experience the ultimate in easy-to-use home entertainment. Combine all this with Panasonic’s ongoing commitment to Plasma, which they say and we agree still has the best picture quality, and your choice of your next big screen should be one of the Panasonic VT30A models. Contact us for details of all the latest models.

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DACS

Newsletter Winter 2011

THE GUERILLA IN THE ROOM

COMPUTER MUSIC WITH AN ASYNCHRONOUS DAC...

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ike asynchronous warfare, where a small force mounts an effective campaign against a superior one, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a move underway that will change your perception of music quality when played back from computers via USB. Some of these new items are small and inexpensive, but the effect they have is quite dramatic. Without getting too technical about it, asynchronous DACs improve the way the data stream is buffered and re-clocked on its way out of the USB socket of the computer and before it hits the main DAC stage, and the result is sound quality that can rival other sources. The really good news is that these asynchronous devices are not all expensive, starting at an unbelievable $199 for the Musical Fidelity V-Link (below right) which can be added to any existing DAC

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to improve its USB/computer source performance. Arcamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rDAC (bottom left) is a complete asynchronous DAC for $598. Of course there are still going to be higher-end products such as the PD1 from Electrocompaniet (above, $2499), and the forthcoming add-on Alpha USB interface from Berkeley (left, below), expected to be around $2000. Computers are electronically very noisy, with all sorts of digital processes causing radiation, and stray voltages skating around the physical environment too. There are also variations in the rate at which data is spat out via the USB, and this is a critical area, as jitter is increased by these speed variations. Asynchronous DACs overcome this by regulating the data flow using their own clock and large buffer, thereby keeping jitter to an absolute minimum.

Given the move towards storing music on large hard drives and playback via DACs into your stereo or multi-room system, this development will be popular with music lovers at all levels of hi-fi aspiration and expenditure! Those who have heard these DACs operating at the higher levels of quality say they produce sound which is the equal of any type of source, and better than most. It is fair to say, however, that whatever level you are operating at, this development will be excellent value in terms of improvement for the dollars spent. Len Wallis Audio is known for stocking some pretty classy high-end gear, but from the beginning (now over 30 years ago) we have also been big fans of affordable, effective improvements to your sound system. The asynchronous DAC is shaping up to be one of those for the brave new world of digital storage/replay.

lenwallisaudio.com.au


True 2.1 audio system: ultra compact, integrated subwoofer, wireless transmission... Simple and stunning.

www.focal.com Focal is distributed by Audio Marketing – T: 02 9882 3877 – F: 02 9882 3944 – E: info@audiomarketing.com.au – W: www.audiomarketing.com.au

Photos L’Atelier Sylvain Madelon - Saint-Etienne.

Focal creates Bird, a new line of loudspeakers and 2.1 systems, a new concept that comes up to music lovers’ expectations and perfectly matches modern devices. A line that was imagined for people who want to go back to the essence of music, the simplicity of use, the sound quality, without forgetting modernity thanks to wireless transmission with iPhone®, iPod®, iPad®. Bird, "the Freedom of Sound"!


CUSTOM INSTALLATION

Newsletter Winter 2011

TECH & STYLE “The plan was to design a home automated system that would stretch into every corner of this structure.” 16

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he brief handed to Len Wallis Audio for this house project was uncompromising — the owners wanted the place to be full of technology, they wanted to make provision for the future by planning and documenting

everything now. With five bedrooms, a formal dining and living space, family room, steam room, theatre room, large backyard and swimming pool, this project was an opportunity for the company to stretch its tech wings and go for it.

lenwallisaudio.com.au


CUSTOM INSTALLATION

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CUSTOM INSTALLATION

“A fibreoptic network distributes audio and video to any zone...”

The plan was to design a home automated system that would stretch into every corner of this structure. Security, access control, lighting, pool control, air-conditioning control and audio visual control have been incorporated onto a single platform in the form of a Crestron control system. This design takes the guess-work out for the owners and is an added convenience, as they can use any of the seven fixed in-wall touch screens to control all facets of the house. The Creston Digital Media system is the backbone of the distribution system for HD entertainment. It utilises a fibre-optic network to distribute audio and video to any of the eight video zones and 22 audio zones throughout the home. The theatre room is one zone that defines the beauty of this project. It’s an entertainer’s dream hub that includes a 103-inch Panasonic Plasma that’s built into a joinery unit, along with Krell and Velodyne speakers. It’s the ultimate in entertainment and includes 24 audio and video sources to choose from, with a Kaleidescape HD Blu-ray movie server and Sooloos HD Music system. A big picture has to have big sound! Krell Resolution floorstanding speakers along with centre-channel and two Velodyne 12-inch subwoofers are driven from the Marantz Flagship processor and seven-channel power amplifier. Electronic doors open up from this theatre room onto the large terrace

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lenwallisaudio.com.au


CUSTOM INSTALLATION

“Every square centimetre of space was discreetly used to bring the vision to life...”

area with one simple touch on the Creston screen. They’re motorised and controlled by the Creston, so they can be easily retracted. No space was left untouched with this tech-driven job. When the entertainment moves from the indoors to the outdoors there’s an exciting collection of audio features to get any party started. The backyard and pool areas also incorporate a James Audio sound system with two underground subs and 16 satellite speakers all controlled with a waterproof Crestron remote. Fifteen fixed cameras and one Panasonic PTZ camera make up the intelligent security system. Any camera can be viewed at any time via the Creston touch screens and plasma/ LCD displays. The touch screens are also utilised here again to monitor internal PIR status which changes state when movement is detected. You can also keep an eye on any windows, doors and gates from this same portal. The project was a great success, but it didn’t come without its challenges. One of the main issues Len Wallis Audio faced was creating a technological hub with little space to work with. Every square centimetre of space was discreetly utilised to bring this vision to life. Getting the 103-inch plasma in its room was a challenge in itself. But with some careful thinking and the experience that comes along with a highly-qualified audio visual company like Len Wallis Audio, these were easy fixes.

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AWARDS

Newsletter Winter 2011

“AND THE WINNER IS…” CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Awards 2011

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very year CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) judges professional custom installation jobs and gives awards in a number of categories. This year Len Wallis Audio won awards in three categories.

Best Integrated Home Installation: $250,000 to $500,000 The essential element of this job was to have audio in 13 areas and video in 8 areas of the home. All areas had to be able to access multiple sources for program material. Two major theatres were included, one with an 85” Panasonic plasma screen which had to be concealed beneath the floor on a motorised lifter, to emerge and be raised to 700mm above floor level whenever a video source is selected. The lifter alone weighed 250kg. The other theatre had a 65” screen,

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while a more modest 50” screen went to the Master Bedroom. Control systems were Crestron/C-Bus, with speakers used being mainly flushmount types from Focal and SpeakerCraft, and subwoofers by Velodyne. The surround sound amplifiers used were by Yamaha.

Best Integrated Home Installation over $500,000 This project won both in this category and as Best Media Room (you can see images in our installation story p16-19). The owners’ wish for plentiful technology was fulfilled. They also wanted to make provision for future developments, so extra effort went into the design and documentation aspects with this in mind. There were five bedrooms, a formal dining and living space, family room, steam room, theatre room, large backyard and swimming pool. The plan, eventually

accomplished, was to reach into every corner and encompass Security, Access Control, Lighting, Pool Control, Airconditioning, and Audio-Visual control.

Best Media Room The theatre room is often the zone that attracts the most attention, even in a whole-house project. In this case it features a huge 103”/260cm Panasonic Plasma that’s built into a joinery unit along with full-sized Krell speakers and Velodyne subwoofers. It has 24 audio and video sources to choose from, including a Kaleidescape HD Blu-ray movie server and Sooloos HD Music system. The sound is on a suitably grand scale! Krell Resolution floorstanding speakers along with centre channel and two Velodyne 12”/30cm subwoofers are driven from the Marantz flagship processor and seven-channel power amplifier.

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SPECIALS

SPECIALS JVC DLA-X9 PROJECTOR Three packages – save $$$

As we’ve mentioned before, the JVC DLA-X3, X7 and X9 projectors offer the very best of HD projection, with high contrast and 3D capability. Full details are on the website. The D-ILA technology has proved to be superior to any of the others on the market. The DLA-X9 has the best of everything, including 100,000:1 contrast, which is amazing to see in a projector. To make it even more attractive we have some packages on offer at very special prices (not including installation) as follows: 1. JVC DLA-X9, with 2 pairs of 3D glasses and 1 emitter: $7,999. Save $2,507 2. JVC DLA-X9, with above, plus 110” fixed Screen Technics CinemaSnap screen, plus Vogel ceiling support: $8,999. Save $2,790 3. JVC DLA-X9, with all above, plus Yamaha RX-A1000, BD-A1000, Focal 716/CC700/SR700 speakers and wireless Velodyne sub, with 2 x 1-metre and 1 x 7-metre HDMI cables plus up to 30 metres of QED Silver Anniversary speaker cable: $15,699. Save $4,174

PLESSIS S1

Reduced from $1599 to $999 The Plessis S1 integrated amplifier has had very favourable reviews, appealing to music lovers as a specialist stereo amp that concentrates on musical quality rather

than features. It has four line-level inputs, a volume control, source selector, and precious little else, unless you count the equally minimalist remote. What it does have in spades is good honest audio quality. This is an amplifier that you would put with any reasonably efficient pair of hi-fi speakers in order to get lively and truthful sound – the sort of sound we are all after, but don’t necessarily have unlimited funds to expend to get it. Now reduced from $1599 to $999 – at this price the S1 is an affordable boutique audio amplifier, and an audition is strongly recommended. Peter Familari in the Melbourne Herald-Sun, wrote “While it may look like a plain vanilla stereo integrated amplifier, without even a couple of meters on the facia, it’s filled with audiophilequality military-grade components. Good housekeeping is evident throughout the circuit and extends to the hefty ceramicencased power supply that is kept separate from the printed circuit board and preamp stages to prevent interference. It has plenty of grunt and is said to put out 80 watts a channel into speakers presenting a nominal 8 ohm load and 130 watts a channel for those that average 4 ohms.”

MUSICAL FIDELITY XT-100 SYSTEM

Reduced from $5499 to $2999

Lots of people want a compact system, but also require it to be of high quality. Musical Fidelity delivered just the right thing with their XT-100 (50w x 2) amplifier and X-RayV8 CD player. Together with the Triple-X Power Supply these make an awesome hi-fi without the bulkiness of full-size components. Sadly, we have only one of these left, but the good news is that you can buy it for a reduced price – down from $5499 to just $2999. Add a pair of compact speakers like the Era Design 5, also now on special for $999, down from $1299, for a superb system. For details of all our latest special offers, as well as events and all the latest product news, visit the shop or find us online at: www.lenwallisaudio.com.au

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VELODYNE

Newsletter Winter 2011

VELODYNE SUBWOOFERS

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e don’t recommend wireless technology for everything, but this is one that should go well. Velodyne have a new subwoofer, the WICONNECT10 at $899, which doesn’t need the usual lead to connect it to the surround amplifier. It connects wirelessly, which makes it easy to place it anywhere that you have power available. It stands to reason that the amount of information

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you have to send in order to define the bass line is quite a bit less than that required to describe an entire piece of music, so the wireless method should be more than adequate. This overcomes one of the biggest issues that we have with sub placement. All rooms treat bass differently, and due to the large waveforms involved (and their subsequent reflection off the walls, ceilings, etc), you will inevitably end up with bass nodes and nulls in the room. For example, if a low frequency wave bounces from the wall and superimposes itself perfectly on another waveform, you will end up with a bass note approaching twice the loudness of the initial (intended) note. If the reflected wave is half a wavelength out it will effectively delete the initial waveform, leaving you with very little or no bass at that particular part of the room. If you want to test this yourself simply walk around the room while some solid bass material is playing. Chances are you will find very noticeable variations in the loudness of the bass as you do so.

There are two ways around this. Firstly, use two (or more) subwoofers. Secondly you can physically move the sub, so you move the nodes and nulls around the room, picking a spot where you get the best results while in your listening position. This is where the problem starts. Try moving the sub from its existing spot and invariably you will find that the cable between the sub and the receiver is not long enough, needs to drape across a doorway etc. While you still need to get power to the WICONNECT10, removing the signal cables certainly makes moving it a lot easier. The WICONNECT10 is a downwardfiring 10’’/254mm woofer (with about 75% of that being the effective piston area) with a 125w amplifier. The WICONNECT10 is a great and very convenient subwoofer, within the restrictions imposed by its price of $899 (there are not many ‘wired’ subwoofers out there at this price which would better it).

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NAD

Digital Drive Plus On the other hand, if you are looking at a no-holds barred, hang the cost solution, have a look at Velodyne’s new Digital Drive (DD) “Plus” series, which are priced from $4999 for the 10’’/254mm model up to $7999 for the 18’’/455mm model. With these advanced subwoofers you are getting not just superior amplifiers, extra-heavy cabinets and super-strength woofers, but very smart electronics which allow the subwoofer’s EQ to be fine-tuned to suit the acoustics of the room. The analysis and correction tools are inbuilt, allowing either Auto or Manual adjustment to specific frequency bands, with the results graphed in real time on your computer or big screen. Simple to use, and very effective, this technology will help equalize the sub to the particular position, taking into account your room’s responses and the output of the other loudspeakers in the system. Couple this with copious amounts of power (1,250 watts RMS), dual tandem voice coils, massive magnet structures (the total weight of the DD18 is 54kg), and reinforced cones – and you have a very fight, fast, dynamic, low (the DD18 boasts a low frequency response of 14Hz +/- 3Db) impressive product. Home Entertainment magazine stated that the DD15 “…improves bass reproduction as much as the jet engine improved air travel”, and Home Cinema Choice stated “The DD-18 is loud, deep, scary, and above all, bloody lovely”. If you’ve not experienced the incredibly solid bass these subs deliver, we strongly recommend an audition.

NAD’S MEDIA ‘GATEWAY’

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AD describe their latest offering as “a gateway to your digital music sources and to the world’s best radio”. They’re not claiming that the C446 Media Tuner ($899) is the world’s best radio in itself, but through it you can access thousands of internet radio stations and get the sort of music programs you want to hear. What’s on offer that way now is amazing. So many different style and sub-genres are there now, that everyone is catered for. It has the usual FM/AM and also DAB+ digital radio. It can stream your own music collection from its hard-drive storage on your network via either wireless or wired network connection. It is compliant with the modern standards for digital networking like DLNA and UPnP. You can even play from a USB input. The processing onboard is an audiophile-quality 24-bit/ 192kHz DAC feeding into high performance analogue circuits, to give you maximum realism in playback. The radio circuits are of a standard above broadcast quality, ensuring the best from those AM and FM sections as well. AM/FM can even be output as a digital signal. You can browse and select music on the Media Tuner via iPhone, iPad, Android devices or PCs using Windows 7. And it supports all the popular digital formats: MP3, FLAC, WMA, WAV, and AAC. On the back panel you’ll find connections for AM and FM antennas, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, analogue audio out, digital out, RS232 and 12v trigger for custom controls. The appearance of this device at $899 is very competitive, some $600 under the nearest equivalent at the time of writing. It is a type of tuner that we expect to see more of in the coming years, but for now it has an open road to scoop up lots of sales!

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B&W

ZEPPELIN AIRBORNE

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owers & Wilkins’ Zeppelin re-wrote the rules for iPod speaker docks. Now Zeppelin Air ($799) provides another seismic shift in audio performance. It retains the original’s classic shape, but internally Zeppelin Air has been completely redesigned, and the result is the bestsounding iPod speaker ever produced. Compared to the original multiaward-winning Zeppelin, the new Air has improved dynamics, punchier bass, and a more open, lifelike presentation with a highly detailed, room-filling sound. The AirPlay function, when activated, will allow multiple units to be used in a multi-room scenario. The original Zeppelin’s unique shape was designed to help sound dispersion. Zeppelin Air retains that shape, but now features smaller mid-range drive units to help sound dispersion even further. This produces a more open, natural sound than has yet been heard on a dedicated iPod speaker. Now using the same tweeters as the award-winning MM-1 computer speakers, Zeppelin Air delivers an incredibly detailed, wide, room-filling performance.

Zeppelin Air’s proprietary Bowers & Wilkins Digital Signal Processing (DSP) optimises drive unit controusing doubleprecision processing and in-house algorithms. Simply put, this means Zeppelin Air performs like a considerably larger loudspeaker and produces roomfilling, controlled bass no matter how loud you like your music. In the digital world, good digital-toanalogue converters (DACs) are vital for getting the best from high-quality drive units. On Zeppelin Air all inputs are

up-sampled through the audiophile-quality Analogue Devices 96kHz/24bit DAC, including wireless music using AirPlay. This has the effect of lowering distortion, creating a smoother sound. There’s also the option for studio quality 24-bit audio via the optical input. The list of inputs (apart from the obvious dock) is as follows: • Ethernet, • 3.5mm stereo/optical, • USB, and • AirPlay. iPod and AirPlay are trademarks of Apple Inc.

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SYDNEYSIDE

Newsletter Winter 2011

CUTTING-EDGE CABINETS FOR AV AFICIONADOS

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V storage is all about organisation and multi-functionality, and SydneySide Media Furniture’s range of entertainment units have been designed to truly address the changing needs of AV home entertainment systems in today’s continually evolving scene of digital living. Their extensive range incorporates carefully-crafted features into a uniquely flexible system, catering for the functional and aesthetic storage demands of today’s modern AV equipment. Models are available in both freestanding and wall-mounted solutions where a myriad of compartment sizes and configurations have been carefully

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STAX

STAX EARSPEAKERS designed to accommodate audiovisual set-ups of all calibres. Serious AV enthusiasts will warm to features such as oversize rear cut-outs and ventilation slots to mention a few – but the build quality and sleek styling is what will distinguish these cabinets to the discerning. SydneySide carry over 300 unique models, including low line and sideboard configurations concealing sensible compartment sizing generously designed to cater for AV equipment from the majority of today’s market leaders. Manufactured to order in their own facility right here in Sydney, the Lifetime Guarantee attests to their commitment to innovation and a devotion to excellence in the field of serious entertainment units. Visit one of their showrooms and you will immediately see that the level of service on offer is rare. To view the complete range of entertainment units available from SydneySide, visit one of their four showrooms or www.sydneyside.net.au

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tax have released a new Earspeaker, the SR507, and a new ‘Limited’ driver unit, the SRM600 Limited. They have also taken the opportunity to combine the two models in a Limited Edition special offer. The two sell for $3999 as a set, a saving of $500. There are a number of new advancements with the SR507. The electrostatic element has been upgraded and enclosed in a tough resin casing. The new thin-film material is almost free from stretch through temperature or humidity. The result has been improvements in both low and high frequency response. The headband has been upgraded with a new 10-click slider; once adjusted it will not be necessary to re-adjust. This new mechanism also softens the side pressure on the ears. All of the cable, both internal and external, has been upgraded, as have the sheepskin leather earpads. The SRM-600 driver unit features a valve output, utilising ECC99 high-

power dual triode – designed for superb dynamism and vividness of sound. The ECC99 is one of the best and most advanced devices available today; they are manufactured with the assembly accuracy of ±0.02mm or less and up to 5,000 hours of lifetime test. The input stage features low-noise, high impedance discrete FETs. The power supply is the largest that Stax uses across its range. The SRM-600 incorporates one XLR and two RCA inputs. The combination of these two models results in a headphone experience rivalled by very few products (most notable being the larger Stax offerings.) If you are a headphone aficionado (and the recent success of the Sennheiser HD800 headphones indicates that there is a sizeable number of you) treat yourself to a listen. However, a word of warning: experience has shown that many Stax owners purchased a pair following what was only going to be a “curiosity” listening session.

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PURE

Newsletter Winter 2011

PURE DAB+ RADIOS

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igital Audio Broadcast Plus (DAB+) has been on the air officially now for nearly two years in the state capital cities. Canberra and Darwin have been hearing test transmissions and will soon be permanently on air. Expansion of broadcasts to regional centres may take some years yet, but eventually… Pure have been in the thick of it since the outset, and being one of the biggest brands in Europe gave them a head-start. Their R&D division develops chipsets used by a number of manufacturers around the world. Although they have a large range of radios already, Pure have announced some new models with lots of attractive features. The Pure Contour (pictured above) is a DAB+ and FM radio which has a retractable iPod/iPhone dock (which also houses the display panel) and wireless streaming (they call it ‘Flow’) for internet radio and other network sourcing options.

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The Contour features Pure Clearsound, a proprietary end-to-end digital audio solution using high-quality Class D amplifiers and digital audio shaping technology to deliver taut, punchy, dynamic audio, matched with custom, full-range 3.5” speakers and dual bass ports for 36W RMS of room-filling sound. Pure Contour features: • 30 digital and FM favourites and unlimited internet favourites • Retractable dock with smooth damped movement • Component, S-Video and composite video outputs for viewing iPod/iPhone video on your TV • Full-function remote control • Stereo headphone socket • Alarms and timers • Upgradable via Wi-Fi, Ethernet or USB

Pure’s Twilight model (pictured below) has been designed to be a soothing companion, particularly for young children, capable of soothing lullabies or ambient sounds from its inbuilt memory, together with DAB+ and FM radio. It has a range of lighting effects from a bank of lowwattage LEDs, with a self adjusting sensor to match light levels to the room. The lights can be used for reading, a nightlight, or a progressively changing sequence of different colours. You can connect an iPod dock, and the Pure Powerport USB allows charging of accessories. There’s also an alarm clock with up to four alarms. The Pure One Flow (below left) is a breakthrough in compact, affordable DAB+ and Internet radios. It’s easy to use, with an intuitive interface and context-sensitive buttons, and like all Pure products with Flow technology, One Flow combines digital radio and FM reception with a Wi-Fi connection to provide you with a world of listening. Enjoy internet radio, ‘listen again’ programmes, podcasts, Pure Sounds and music streaming when you’re in range of your wireless network, and digital and FM radio wherever you are. One Flow features two alarms, sleep and kitchen timers, an aux-in so you can connect an iPod/MP3 player, and a headphone socket, plus an optional Pure ChargePak E1 rechargeable battery pack for complete go-anywhere listening.

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NEWS BRIEFS

WADIA POWERDAC MINI 151 Wadia have taken their iPod-oriented gear a step further now and added a lovely complementary digital amplifier to the line-up – a perfect match for the 170i digital output dock. It’s called the 151 PowerDAC Mini (costing $1499), since it is part DAC and part amplifier, and you can stack the dock on the amplifier – they have

the same dimensions and cosmetics. Wadia are highly respected in the field of high-end replay, and they have incorporated technologies like the Wadia DigiMaster reconstruction filter system for pristine reproduction. They upsample to 384kHz in order to maximise the resolution of the signal after it has

THOR POWER STATION REVISED

Thor have updated the look of their very successful PS10 Power Station ($1699). The PS10 Smart Power Station combines Voltage Regulation, Filtering and Surge protection. The package includes the state-of-the-art (8-outlet) Smart Board. When attached to the Smart Power

Station it delivers double the protection and double the filtration, incorporating Dynamic Active Tracking Technology. In addition to this there are three isolated banks on the Smart Board, ensuring there is no ‘cross talk’ or interference between components connected after the Smart Station. This configuration can be argued as being the best combination available for providing pure and precise 240 volts to your valuable electrical equipment, ensuring you get maximum performance and enjoyment for many years. Further details are on our website under Accessories – Power Management.

been through various digital processes – including digital volume control. If you’re feeding this amp from a computer, you can use Master Audio files at 192kHz/ 24bit and get superb results too. The sound quality of the amplifier is excellent and more powerful than you’d expect from its diminutive size.

DANA POWER FILTERS For a more straightforward noise filter that does not clamp the power, DanA digital have come up with the single outlet F20 Filter ($3200), and will add other variants with more outlets in the near future. For the time being we are running one of these filters on each of our Krell 600 monoblocks. Needless to say the noise floor of this system is way down!

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OPPO

Newsletter Winter 2011

THE ZONING OPPO-TUNIST

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ack in the 1990s when DVD was introduced, the zoning of discs and players presented a problem for retailers and consumers alike. Lots of people wanted to source discs from the USA (Zone 1) or Europe (Zone 2), but our first DVD players were all locked to Australia (Zone 4). Some of the early “fixes” involved creating a solder trail linking two points on the main PCB! Later it became possible to do a zone change using a key combination on the remote control. Some players still require this today; many others are sold with the Zone 0 setting done, so they can play DVDs from all zones.

With the advent of Blu-ray players, zone changes became virtually impossible, and it is still true to say that most brands of player cannot be altered to play other-zoned Blu-ray discs. Now the Oppo BDP-93 ($975) has this aspect sorted. This will be most welcome news for all those who buy mail-order discs from overseas sources or bring them back from trips away. But that’s not all. The BDP-93 is also capable of playing a whole host of disc formats: BD-Video, Blu-ray 3D, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, AVCHD, SACD, CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE, BD-R/RE DL.

It has Qdeo Video Processing by Marvell, 3D capability (2 x 1.4a HDMI outs), 2 x USB, Coaxial and Optical audio out, Wireless and Ethernet connections. An eSATA connection allows hard-drive content to be played back via the Oppo! You also get onboard HD soundtrack decoding, with analogue multi-channel or stereo audio outputs in addition to the digital ones. As you’d expect, other features like 24Hz frame rate, BD-Live, and Bonus View are there too. The universal switchable voltage power supply means that this is indeed a player you can take anywhere. Since it is a Universal Player, it is probably the only player you’ll need!

LP CLEANING – THE PERFECT DUO by Geoff Forgie

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hink of cleaning an LP, and the chances are you’re going to think of a cleaning fluid of some sort being used. Is this really necessary? As someone who started out as a secondhand LP dealer, I have cleaned a lot of LPs, and perhaps my experiences will help those of you who

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still enjoy vinyl, or are getting into it for the first time. Without a doubt, the best cleaning devices are large, expensive cleaning machines like Nitty Gritty and VPI – and yes, they do use fluids. They literally wet, scrub and vacuum dry the LPs to get them

really clean. If you have a lot of LPs and don’t mind spending up to $1000 or more,

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ViNYL CARE then go for one of these. But if you don’t have a lot of LPs needing cleaning, and can’t justify that sort of outlay, you need a small-scale, cost-effective method instead. That’s what I’ll try to outline in this article. There are a lot of cleaning cloths and pads you could use. Everyone has had a go at this over the years. The best thing I’ve ever used is the Duopad, which used to be sold by Milty along with a sprayon cleaner called Permaclean. For years I thought they’d disappeared off the market, but the good news is that they are back now, in a new blue colour, still called the Milty Pro Duopad but marketed by the British Armour group. In my opinion, this is the best $20 you can spend, but I’d buy a stack of them, just in case! It is a double-sided pad using layers of velvet over a stiff sponge layer. One side is red, the other black. This is useful, as I’ll explain.

The Method If a record looks free of fingerprints and grunge, the dry method may be all you need. Lay the LP down on its inner sleeve or a lint-free cloth so it doesn’t get scratched during the process. Using the black side of your Duopad and a fair bit of downward pressure, go right around the LP, and then lift it off, after bringing the leading edge up then stopping. If there’s a line of dust collected by this, do it again, and stop a bit short, creating a second line of dust. A really dusty LP might yield six or more lines of dust. Now, how to get it off the LP. Slightly moisten the red side of the pad (not damp enough to leave any visible moisture on the record) and use it with one edge slightly raised to pick up the lines of dust. Wipe the dust off on a cloth – you’ll be amazed how dirty this cloth gets after a number of LPs. Go back to your Dry side and repeat the process, to see if you get more lines of dust. Eventually you won’t. If dust was the only problem, you’ll find that this helps a lot. If it makes no difference at all, there may be some damage to the grooves as well. Static may build up during this

process, so you might need to earth the record – I usually lightly touch the record surface with a carbon fibre brush and the centre spindle with the other hand, at the same time. (The deluxe anti-static treatment is of course the Zerostat antistatic gun at $135, which has also reappeared.) For records with fingerprints or other stains and muck, you’ll need to use the slightly more wet process. Damp one side of the Duopad with a mixture of 10-15% surgical spirit in distilled water. Not too damp, but this time you should see a trail of wetness (not so wet that it runs off the record in drips!). Keep a supply of this fluid on hand; it’s cheap. Use the wet side to scrub the fingerprints etc. off, then quickly return to the dry side and sponge all the visible liquid off the LP surface in smooth 360degree runs. Hopefully this will take all the embedded dirt with it. Removing the liquid is the critical part, otherwise you’ve just put the grunge into solution and spread it around! Note: when your record “backtracks” (repeats the same bit over and over) or “ticks” a couple of times but does not backtrack, this is more likely a dot of

something (don’t ask) which has adhered to that spot. These are often called scratches, but are really “adhesions” that you can usually remove by a bit of careful, localised cleaning. Finding them can be tricky, as they are often quite small. Take a careful note of where they are by watching and listening – for example “3mm in from the beginning of track three, at about 3 o’clock relative to the label”. I’ve even removed these with a careful application of my fingernail, but using the Duopad is much safer!

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DAB+ Digital Radio Internet Radio Media Streaming Bluetooth connectivity Direct iPhone/iPod connection iTunes playback via Airplay

T H E P E R F ECT A D D - O N TO Y O U R EXIST IN G H O ME T HE AT R E O R ST E R EO S Y ST EM Extra USB input for uncompressed files

Optical and Coaxial inputs

The NA7004 is armed with an extensive list of cutting-edge features including Network Streaming, Internet Radio, a high-end Tuner with DAB+ Digital Radio (as well as AM/FM), a USB input with high-quality D/A conversion, iPhone/iPod direct access … all reflecting the same 57-year musical heritage as a Marantz’s award-winning stable of CD players. This is a no-compromise audio component with extensive use of audiophilegrade components, including high-speed voltage HDAMSA2 circuitry, a doublelayered bottom plate for extra chassis strength … and the fabulous CS4398 stereo DAC found in the $5,000 SA-KI Pearl SACD Player. Get the best from your music … whatever the format … and wherever it is … with the new Marantz NA7004.

RX101

FM / AM Radio

For more product information, please visit: www.marantz.com.au/product/NA7004 Distributed in Australia by QualiFi Pty Ltd (03) 8542 1111 • info@marantz.com.au • www.marantz.com.au

Available from QLF520


Len Wallis Headlines Winter 2011