Category Archives: Released in 2015

B&O Changing Your Room Again

beolab-90-bang-olufsen-form-follows-function-4B&O just put a big fat squiggly line under their room correction abilities introduced with their space traveller’s speaker, Beolab 5. With the new Beolab 90 we can now more or less refurnish our living rooms and always sound good in the process. Each speaker houses 18 drivers and two massive D-Class amplifiers. Inputs range from your usual line-in over balanced XLR to all the digital ins under the sun. This one’s going to be interesting to hear.

Sonos Turning The Decks

sonosplay5Sonos are turning the decks yet again and reissues the Play:5 in a new guise. This time with the long anticipated TruePlay room correction. With it comes TruePlay support on all other units except the PlayBar. When high rollers [and brothers in dissimilarity] B&O, Lyngdorff and Bose, to name a couple, use room correction and today almost all surround sound receivers offer the same, it is odd to leave the PlayBar out of the game. But there you have it.

sonosnew52The Play:5 is completely redesigned and should be a refreshing whiff both visually and sonically. It shows a glimpse of what we have coming down the road. The speaker has an accelerometer driven orientation detection, automatically disabling speaker elements in horisontal dual speaker mode. Layout of speaker drivers has been optimised as has the actual cabinet construction. No word yet as to whether there are changes in the amplifier but it would be a natural move.

Yamaha MusicCast

Yamaha Restio ISX-80Boasting compatibility with Bluetooth Audio, Apple Airplay and the prevalent streaming services, there is no shortage on Yamaha MusicCast on the connection side of things. At the other end of the cable, the system permeates almost the entire audio infrastructure of Yamaha, covering A/V receivers, active network speakers, stereos and soundbars. You can play music from a CD and stream it anywhere, as well as, of course, ubiquitous network stored bits and pieces. It appears to even support Dolby Atmos. Now, that’s a first. Supported file types include Flac, Aiff and DSD (on A/V receivers and audio equipment that can read the discs), in resolutions up to 192KHz/24-bit.

What Hi-fi? just released an almost painfully happy mini review of the system. Do go and have a look. What they zoom in on, are things like being able to not only feed all MusicCast components from a Bluetooth source separately, you can even attach Bluetooth players to them, for instance a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Finally someone who stands up to B&O and their decades old and wonderfully future proven Beolink. Sonos and their comrades (you know who you are) could definitely learn something here. Definitely.

Geneva Labs AeroSphère

areospherebase01For those who have the rooms to suit a bit of soft, round fluffiness, Geneva Labs, known for their cubistic iPhone docks, have a streaming audio setup slightly out of the ordinary and certainly not a cubistic one. The system consists of an optional base station that receives FM and DAB radio as well as plays audio CDs, and two sizes of speakers, which placed on their polished steel stands, look quite the piece.areospherelred_b All components are nicely rounded and might as well be leftover props of Lost in Space. The speakers on their own will play AirTunes, Bluetooth audio and DLNA streams. When connected to a base station, it will play audio from there as well. The base station will feed up to 4 speakers, Platini the same ting simultanously. The output effect is not mentioned. Both speakers and base station have a line input for analogue sources. Unfortunately the base station isn’t capable of acting as a DLNA server. Otherwise it would have been a nifty add-on to many streaming systems that don’t have a CD player.

Sooloos On The Loose

Roon, the software that drives Meridian Sooloos, is being detached from the dedicated Meridian hardware and will be available to run on any computer soon. Jeff Dorgay of Tone Audio magazine has authored an in-depth review of Roon which you really should read.

Astell & Kern AK500N

Astell & Kern AK500N

Moniked… can you say moniked? Well, I did… moniked The Ultimate MQS Network Audio Player this beast pulls on attitude not only in its looks. Outgrowing its older portable siblings, this one rips to lossless Wav or Flac. It replays high resolution files up to a 24-bit/384KHz through its Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC. The power supply consists of a lithium battery which is being charged when the player is not in action, or if it really needs to. This makes the job of filtering out noise from the grid much easier effectively conditioning power to avoid hum and spike induced artifacts.

Astell & Kern AK500N

The AK500N is operated either through the built-in flipable touch panel, from the comfort of your PC, or from your phone or tablet. It boasts balanced outputs, both fixed and variable, and 4 digital in- and outputs + USB. In terms of file formats there is nothing you can’t throw at it.

Denon PMA-50

denpma50ps_2Denon is releasing their version of a bookshelf class-D amp with an abundance of digital inputs. The PMA-50 supports digital audio of up to 24bit/192KHz via USB, coaxial or two optical inputs. Additionally it sports a single analog audio input. On the output side of things, numbers reach 50W at 4Ω. The frontpanel comes in two flavors, allowing you to position the amplifier flat or upright.

Blue Sonos

Blue Note PLAY:1Commemorating 75 years since the inception of Blue Note Records, Sonos have released 4,100 blue airbrushed PLAY:1 at a +25% price tag. With it comes three TuneIn channels with Blue Note music. These channels are available on any Sonos system, in fact, for the next year. The stock of blue PLAY:1 will probably not last that long.

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