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No. 78 November 2010
TOY STORY

I remember well the day, when my son saw – together with me of course – the Pixar movie, directed by John Lasseter Toy Story (1995) for the first time. This was about two years after the premiere, from the original VHS tape, but the film impressed us much. Of course we went to the cinema to see the sequel Toy Story 2 (1999, dir. John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Ash Brannon). We went there with blushed cheeks, and we got back having them even more blushed. That was it! It was something new, with fun, humor and clear rules, what is especially important with children. When information appeared about the third movie, the decision was already taken to see it. Years have passed since our first contact with the movie, and the person going to the cinema was my daughter, much younger than her brother. Everybody who saw Toy Story 3 (2010, dir. Bradley Raymond, Lee Unkrich) knows that it is a completely different story – dark, talking about more difficult topics. During the fifteen years between the first and third movie things have changed. Most of all their makers noticed one thing, that I mentioned in the first sentence – that children movies are being watched by adults. This is an obvious thing, but often neglected. And adults have different problems than children.

So modern fairytales have at least two layers – a “child” and an “adult” one. The parentheses are used on purpose – those layers impose on and interfere with each other. But they have clearly distinct starting points (defined by their creators) and different messages. This could of course be blamed on the director of the “three” (shown in 3D), who did not have anything in common with the first film, and was co-director of the second one, helping Joe Lasseter, who directed the first two features. But that would be too much of a simplification. Now because since 15 years I watch probably all the cartoons that are coming to the cinemas, I can say with a certain dose of certainty, that it is us who have changed, and the movie makers followed us. And the children grew up. Was it parallel to those cartoons, or due to them – it is hard to say. But the effect is easy to describe – the fairytales are now much deeper, more serious, they carry emotions, we encountered earlier only in “adult” movies, dramas, etc. It does not mean that all the story disappeared from the film. I would say, that something was added to the lightheartedness and trust of Disney fairytales, a kind of maturity, better understanding of the world. And even if a child understands only that, what was destined for it, still it catches this new sensibility, it becomes a new reference point.

In audio – those words had to come… - we can see a similar mechanism. Everybody, who owned a mini or midi-tower (not even mentioning a micro-tower), dreamed about owning a full size gear, with a 430-440mm front. This is the size of a classic audio component. I had such dreams. But in the world there was also another trend, to miniaturize, to minimize the size, and the Japanese had the lead – and not from the big companies, but from small ones, “boutique”, family enterprises. Just to name some examples - 47 Laboratory and Leben Hi-Fi Stereo Company. They think as follows: the bigger the size, the more difficult it is to control vibration of the enclosure, and the components inside. The bigger the device, the longer the sound path from the input to the output. And the heavier a device is, the more we pay for the looks and the less is to spend on the inside. Experience shows, that this is not completely true, because ultimate systems require big amplifiers and/or loudspeakers, but there is surely something true in those statements. Lately it can be clearly seen, that this philosophy penetrated mainstream audio, and when we do not talk about extreme hi-end, more and more companies propose units with external dimensions smaller than the classic ones, and there are a few which can be called miniature. In Europe we had that within our reach, this is exactly the path taken by companies like the British Cyrus Audio, Linn or Quad. But only recently a multitude of products appeared on the market, which are not there to kill with their sheer size, but – in contrast – are easy to fit in any interior. That is of course known for a long time, mostly in the “lifestyle” part of audio. Coming back to the cartoons and fairytales, lifestyle is the equivalent of the Barbiestories (to date there were 18 movies in this group, the first one appeared in 1987, the last one from 2010 is called Barbie. A Fashion Fairytale). My daughter watches them all the time, but they do not leave a lasting impression, except for some grimaces and love for the pink color. Devices in the midi and mini size, not related to the “barbarization” of the everyday life, are fully fledged, classy products. Their small dimensions are not an obstacle in getting good sound, and often they sound even better than their big counterparts. And usually the “minis” are better handcrafted. Just look at the products featured in this issue of “High Fidelity” – those are true pearls, beautiful and fondled while small. I had real fun during the tests, and I was often surprised with the sound. After this round of testing, I can state with clear conscience, that we can create some fantastic systems, brilliantly looking and well sounding, which will be a true gem in a listening room of an audiophile and music lover. Because mini has matured.

AUDIO SHOW 2010

Date: 6-7.11.2010 (sobota, niedziela)
Place: Hotel Jan III Sobieski, Hotel Kyriad, Hotel Bristol

Organized by: Adam Mokrzycki Services

WWW: Audio Show

The organizer of the Audio Show, the biggest show in this part of Europe, the company Adam Mokrzycki Services, sent some information about the newest edition of the show (the reportage from the 2009 edition HERE). And I am encouraging everybody to visit it, because experience shows, that this is one of the most interesting exhibitions in Europe.

New audio-video salon in Lower Silesia

We have also received information – below – about a new audio-video shop in Wroclaw – that was not hard, because its owner, the company Fusic, bought banners in “High Fidelity” to promote this event (I encourage you to support Fusic and us – please click on the banners, as they support our magazine, keeping it free for you to read – I will be grateful if you do that  )

“Since September 1st a new audio salon was opened by the company FUSIC www.fusic.pl in Wroclaw, which offers mostly a broad assortment of devices from the medium and high range. The owners emphasized on having a broad differentiation of their portfolio, to be able to adjust the sold systems to the needs of the clients. This is praiseworthy, first of all due to the scale of the endeavor, and secondly due to the cooperation with a broad spectrum of hi-fi and hi-end distributors in our country. According to Fusic bosses, in Wroclaw you will be able to see, touch and listen to flag achievements of hi-en companies like: Triangle, Naim, Monitor Audio, Accuphase, Ayon, MBL, Lavardin, Luxman, Dynaudio, Audio Physic, and medium range products like: Arcam, Dali, Roksan, Primare, Creek, Marantz, Denon. For the analog world lovers there is also a broad offer of turntables and accessories, and tube lovers will be satisfied by the choice of tube amplifiers and players. Listening sessions will be available in a room adapted professionally by the company 4Sound, which makes the necessary measurements and projects for acoustic adaptation. Except for the listening room there is also a special place for presentation of home cinema and multiroom systems. The owners and employees of Fusic promise, that this new audio salon will take part in various promotional and marketing related activities, also not directly related with hi-fi devices. Fusic staff”

ACOUSTIC REVIVE

It happened, that something that should have been the lead article turned into something like a blog. I cannot help it – I do not have time to run a blog, and here I have at least the date of publication as a Damocles sword…

This is the reason, that I show here the things I had a chance to look at, but for which the decision for publication has not yet been made, or at least the time of it. This time those are products from the Japanese company Acoustic Revive. We wrote about them some time ago (HERE and HERE), but those were only scratching the surface, rather than getting us acquainted with the products offered by this extremely interesting manufacturer. Distribution of AR was never satisfactory in Poland, this is the reason, that Mr. Yoshi Hontai, whom I mentioned many times already (always warmly), the representative for outside of Japan of Leben, Tri, Musica, Acrolink, Oyaide, fo.Q and Acoustic Revive, decided, together with the owner of that last company, Mr. Ken Ishiguro, that it is worthwhile to talk with “High Fidelity” directly. So we are aiming for a test of a complete AR system, with everything around it. Mr. Ishiguro understands a system as something coherent – hence the accumulation of changes is important, and not the changes on themselves. But to have things fit in their places, to let me know what the individual elements bring, the gentlemen send me first two power strips RTP-4 EU Ultimate with the power cords Power Reference. The strips are made from one block of milled duralumin and utilize the best Oyaide sockets. They have to filters, except for a special mixture placed inside, designed to dampen vibration and EMI interference. It is worth noticing, that Shunyata Research follows a similar path. The cables are made from PCOCC-A copper (the conductors supplied by Furukawa) and are equipped with Oyaide plugs. Because I had the opportunity I ordered 2m lengths, as those are usually better than their 1.5m counterparts. So I am standing in front of those with a blank page, because in fact this is my first contact with that gear (except for the digital cable). So I do not know what to expect from them. When I told about my fears to Mr. Hontai, he replied:

„Dear Mr. Pacula, Further to our email of today, we would like to inform you that myself is now an ardent enthusiast of Acoustic Revive.
When we started to export A/Revive products, I confessed Mr. Ken Ishiguro (the owner and designer of A/Revive) that I was very doubtful about an effect of A/Revive accessories. (He might be very angry to hear it).
Meanwhile, he came to our office last year with full line of his products and installed them into our demo system in our office. It was really a wonderful experience to hear the sound being improved actually in front of us drastically by adding every item step by step.
We attached hereto a photo of some part of our demo system with a/Revive accessories.
Yoshi Hontai”

So we’ll see… For now we can look at the pictures sent by Mr. Hontai, which show the changes made in his demo system.



PS
I also received USB AR cables – with 1m and 5m lengths – the fun begins!

PLANS

As usual, those are only plans. But I have already a finalized set of tests for the November issue, and an almost final one for December. So I list the most probable tests layout below.

December 2010

  • Lavardin LECONTOURE STABILE 210 + MODEL C62 + MODEL AP150 + cabling – system. It will be also on the cover, and the test will be also printed, like every year, and given with the catalog on the Audio Show 2010.
  • Emillé KI-40L – integrated amplifier (Polish premiere; there is no distributor in Poland)
  • Ramses-II Ramses IC + Ramses SC – loudspeaker cables (Polish premiere; there is no distributor in Poland)
  • Vipera – interconnects + loudspeaker cables (Polish premiere; there is no distributor in Poland)
  • Audio Show 2010 – coverage
  • Rega ISIS – CD player (Polish premiere)
  • Dynaudio SPECIAL TWENTY FIVE SIGNATURE EDITION – standmount loudspeakers
  • Acoustic Revive RTP-4 EU ULTIMATE + POWER REFERENCE – Power distributor + Power cord
January 2011
  • LINN Majik LP12 – turntable
  • Struss R500 – integrated amplifier
  • Solphonique DWARF – stand mount loudspeakers
  • Pro Audio Bono – anti-vibration platform
  • TW Raven One + TW10.5 (4800 euro + 4000 euro) - turntable + tonearm
  • Best of 2010 – awards
  • Accuphase C-3800 – preamplifier (100 000 zł; Polish premiere)
CWe shall see what comes true of that.

REFERENCE SYSTEM

I do not have it yet, but it is already paid for – my new reference amplifier. I already wrote about that – my Luxman M-800A, which I loved platonically, has found a new home. Since some time I used the amplifier Tenor Audio 175S, which I kept after the test. But I had to buy something. It was an extremely difficult decision, with many choices and compromises. Because the devices in the reference system have to fulfill more requirements, than in a standard system. Besides good sound, they have to be universal, ultimately transparent, they have to work with a wide range of loudspeakers and preamplifiers, not complain about any cabling, etc. And I have to be able to listen to them with pleasure – I spend a few hours in front of the speakers each day, so this is “to be or not to be” for me. And I have to be able to afford it. This all seems simple, but in reality – at least for me – it was almost impossible to achieve. This is the reason, that it took time before the transaction could be finalized. It will be the power amplifier Soulution 710. A true beast, 80kg of pure power, coming directly from Switzerland (Srajan Ebaen published a review from a trip to that factory in “6moons.com”, HERE). I hope that now, nobody will explain the less than ideal sound from a pair of loudspeakers with a “too weak amplifier”. And that did happen quite often… As soon as this unit reaches me, I will tell you my first impressions.

From all the other things it is worth to say a few words about the new version of the preamplifier Polaris from Ayon Audio, now in its third incarnation (Polaris III), which will be introduced to market soon. As you may know, I use in my system the Polaris II, now with the Re-generator power supply. Gerhard Hirt, the owner of Ayon, tells, that the changes were mostly in the phono preamplifier, but I have to think about that. I follow the rule, that in the reference system only devices should be used, which are currently in production, available for everyone (except for any “classic” units). Some improvements were also made to the RCM Audio phonostage I use. So I am sending mine to RCM to have it exchanged for the new version. And finally the Leben CS-300 X (SP) – after the article about it was published HERE Mr. Czyżewski, the owner of Linear Audio Research called me (I recently tested his amplifier IA-30T HERE). He got interested with the part about the hum, I wrote about. Because in his constructions this problem does not exist, he offered to have a look at the Leben and think about the problem. If it will be solved, then probably this will be interesting for all the owners of those fantastic amplifiers.

Wojciech Pacuła
Chief editor



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Our reviewers regularly contribute to  “Enjoy the Music.com”, “Positive-Feedback.com”“HiFiStatement.net”  and “Hi-Fi Choice & Home Cinema. Edycja Polska” .

"High Fidelity" is a monthly magazine dedicated to high quality sound. It has been published since May 1st, 2004. Up until October 2008, the magazine was called "High Fidelity OnLine", but since November 2008 it has been registered under the new title.

"High Fidelity" is an online magazine, i.e. it is only published on the web. For the last few years it has been published both in Polish and in English. Thanks to our English section, the magazine has now a worldwide reach - statistics show that we have readers from almost every country in the world.

Once a year, we prepare a printed edition of one of reviews published online. This unique, limited collector's edition is given to the visitors of the Audio Show in Warsaw, Poland, held in November of each year.

For years, "High Fidelity" has been cooperating with other audio magazines, including “Enjoy the Music.com” and “Positive-Feedback.com” in the U.S. and “HiFiStatement.net”  in Germany. Our reviews have also been published by “6moons.com”.

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