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January 6, 2005 - Part 1

Music Direct, the US distributor of Avid turntables, demonstrated the full-on Acutus Chrome ($12,000), with SME V tonearm ($3995) and Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua cartridge ($2550). The Acutus sounded terrific -- rich and detailed -- playing a Mobile Fidelity 45rpm pressing of Patricia Barber's Cafe Blue.

Convergent Audio Technology JL3 monoblock amplifiers ($30,000 per pair) drove Ascendo System M loudspeakers ($36,000 per pair) to extremely good effect. We loved the very liquid midrange and were surprised by the deep, energetic bass that made an Ani DiFranco cut positively jump to life.

Denon debuted the new AVR-4806 audio/video receiver priced at $3500. The 7.1-enabled receiver supports all current audio and video formats, and has HDMI and DVI switching capability. As the pictures show, It's big and packed with inputs and outputs.

Silverline has new versions of its well-known Sonatina and Sonata speakers. Left is the Sonatina Mk III ($5000 per pair), while the Sonata Mk III ($7200 per pair) in grainy rosewood finish sits next to an Alan Yun-designed power amp, which was created "just for fun" and not for sale according to Alan.

The Audio Research PH5 phono stage ($1995) offers remote control of stereo/mono switching and cartridge-loading values. Expect a full review on SoundStage! later this year -- once ARC catches up with orders for this very popular product. []

Panamax, well known for its surge protectors, debuted the MAX 1500-UPS, which is described as a "home-cinema UPS/power conditioner." It has six outlets in total, two of which are "critical load" outputs that the company says are ideal for " like digital video recorders or components with volatile memory settings." The MAX 1500-UPS is priced at $999.


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