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Vol. 4, No. 1 Spring/Summer, 2000

Hello, and welcome to our latest newsletter. This issue has a lot of news about exciting new products and brands that have arrived at Audio Nexus since the last newsletter. For those who have not seen our previous newsletters, we also announce current events such as seminars at the store, sales, and other interesting events we hear about. In addition, we post frequent updates as often as possible, so check back often to make sure you don't miss anything. Furthermore, we have a special page for late-breaking news, so check out IMPORTANT BULLETINS to find out the latest about what's happening at Audio Nexus. If you have any suggestions about items you'd like to see posted here, please call, write, or use the web page E-mail link to let us know. If you would like more information on any of the products mentioned here, please feel free to call and/or go to the BRANDS link on our web page for direct links to the relevant manufacturer's web site.

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Where did you hear about us?


ARCAM Audio Physic Audio Research Balanced
Bryston California
Conrad Johnson Enlightened
JM Lab Lyra McCormack Meadowlark
NAD Rotel Runco Tannoy



All too often, we tend to think of the high end as being comprised only of wonderful but very unaffordable, multi-kilobuck offerings. It takes companies like ARCAM to prove that you, too, can afford a nice, juicy slice of the high end pie. This British company has long been known for producing a large selection of excellent sounding but sanely-priced components. They have power amps starting at $499, a preamp at $799, integrated amps starting at $399, CD players starting at $699, and tuners starting at $449, all offering a high degree of musicality. There are convenience features on some of these models such as remote control and the ability to run a multi-room configuration, but, fortunately, most of the money goes towards excellent sound quality.

It's worth taking a few moments to discuss some of the special features of some of the products. There are three CD players which list at $699, $999, and $1,599. All three of these models use the same chassis and transport, the differences between them being much more sophisticated and better sounding electronics in the more expensive products. One can purchase either of the two less expensive models and then upgrade it to one of the better models at any time for the price difference between the two. This allows the user on a limited budget to upgrade later without having to take a loss on a trade-in. The Alpha 10 integrated amp also has some very unusual capabilities. Although this product starts life as a standard, stereo amp, it allows the owner to turn it into a home theater processor for 5-channel, surround sound. This lets the user buy stereo now and convert to home theater later, if desired. Alternatively, the Alpha 10 can be converted into a multi-zone controller that allows the user to control sound in several rooms simultaneously. Again, one can start out in stereo but move into a more complex mode with no trade in losses.

Please come down and check out these very stylish and excellent sounding components. We expect you'll be as delighted with their looks and sound as we are.


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Audio Physic

Tempo IIILast issue we introduced these exquisite sounding and beautifully-crafted speakers which represent the pinnacle of German acoustic engineering. We told you that the combination of wonderfully clear detail and layer upon layer of image depth presented by these slim, attractive music reproducers presents a musical experience so compelling that it was hard to imagine how it could be improved. Well, guess what? They did improve it in two of their most affordable models, the Tempo and Spark. Both models have been totally redesigned to give better sound all across their range. Also, each has been given a second woofer so that bass response is deeper, tighter, and more powerful than it was before. And, best of all, not only did the prices not go up, they went down significantly! Both models came down $500 because of the strength of the dollar vs. European currencies. The Tempo III is now $3,000 per pair, and the Spark III is $2,000 per pair. Getting such a performance improvement along with a price reduction is something that doesn't happen very often, so please don't miss this opportunity to get true audiophile sound at a previously-unavailable price level.

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Audio Research

Last issue we reported that Audio Research had just released two new tube preamps, the LS-8 Mk II and the LS-16. This time the news is in the solid state genre. This new unit is called the LS-12, and it's the best sounding solid state preamp that Audio Research has ever released. For those of you who like technical jargon, we could tell you that it's a fully-balanced, Class A, double differential design utilizing all FET circuits and that it has unity gain buffers between all stages and double buffered outputs. But, unless you're an engineer, none of that will mean as much as knowing that the sound is incredibly dynamic, lacks any solid state artifacts, and really bridges the gap between tube and solid state preamps. Finally, they've taken all of these advances and put them into the same chassis as the LS-16, so one gets all of this sonic excellence along with the convenience of remote control and computer-controlled volume and source switching. The price is a very affordable $2,495. There's also some great news about the 100.2 solid state amplifier. This 100 watt/channel product, formerly selling for $3,495, has been reduced in price to $2,995! (And you thought high end audio prices only went up.) Of course, the sound hasn't changed; it's as open, smooth, and dimensional as ever. So, you could couple this amp with the new LS-12 and have some of the finest high end electronics available for under $5,500! We'd be delighted to talk with you more about these or any other ARC products.

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Balanced Audio Technology

VK-D5SETIn our last issue we introduced you to a new product from BAT which is such a sonic blockbuster of a breakthrough that all of the conventional norms we use to judge audio quality had to be thrown out the window the first time we heard it. This was the VK-50SE preamp which uses the 6H30 super tube. The sound of this preamp is so vibrant, so clear, so spacious, so immediate, so beautifully-balanced, and so vitally-compelling that we had never experienced anything remotely comparable before. Our enthusiasm has since been mirrored in two unbelievably favorable reviews which appeared in the magazines Stereophile and Ultimate Audio. Now BAT has brought this same technology to a new CD player, the VK-D5SE, and a lower cost preamp, the VK-30SE. These are signature versions of their excellent VK-D5 and VK-30 models. Those of you who are familiar with the VK-D5 and who have heard the VK-50SE can well imagine how superb sounding CD's are when played through the VK-D5SE. This upgrade takes the wonderful performance of the VK-D5 and imbues it with all of the vibrancy, dynamics, and jaw dropping imaging that the 6H30 tube can deliver. It is truly the best CD reproduction we have ever heard. And the VK-30SE brings that same 6H30 performance to a preamp that's much less costly than the VK-50SE. Both of these new models are already in production, and those of you who have already purchased a non-signature version can easily get it upgraded for a modest price.

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SP-1 ProcessorBryston has two new products, one for home theater and one for stereo. The home theater offering is the SP-1 processor/preamp, a product designed to give state-of-the-art performance in both the analog and digital domains. It can be used either as a surround sound digital processor which supports Dolby AC-3 and DTS decoding of DVD's or as a purist, stereo preamp. In the stereo mode, all digital circuitry can be bypassed to yield audiophile purist performance. The SP-1 has some very advanced features including the latest 24 bit D/A converters from Crystal Semiconductors, separate power supplies for the analog and digital circuitry, and easy upgrades to future formats via plug-in chips. This unit, selling for $3,795, is the perfect companion for Bryston's highly-regarded 9BST 5-channel power amp. The stereo offering is the 14BST amp, a 500 watt/channel behemoth selling for $5,500. This amp is essentially a single chassis version of the famous 7BST mono blocks and offers the same level of performance with the convenience and space saving of a single chassis design. This amp contains two enormous 760 volt-amp transformers, one for each channel, and 108,000 microFarads of storage capacitance per channel. This is twice the energy storage capability of a pair of 7B's! As usual, the power rating is very conservative, and this amp will produce over 650 watt/channel into an 8 ohm load. So, if your system layout permits you to place a mono block directly behind each speaker and, thus, use very short speaker cables, you'll probably still want a pair of 7B's. But, if space is precious, and you can't place an amp behind each speaker, the 14BST will probably be your best option. Either way, you'll get the best sound quality Bryston can produce.

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California Audio Labs

CL-2500 MCACAL, long known for impeccable sounding CD and DVD players, has just started shipping three new and very exciting home theater products. These are a surround sound processor, the CL-2500 SSP at $5400, a 5-channel power amplifier, the CL-2500 MCA at $7500, and a video switcher, the CL-2500 VSW at $2100. These can be used individually or as part of a complete home theater system. The CL-2500 SSP provides control of all digital and analog audio sources. The SSP comes with the Pronto touch screen remote, a sophisticated remote control which has a visual touch screen display of the icons representing the components that you want to control. The heart of the SSP's control center is a Motorola 'Coldfire' 32-bit RISC processor which controls your components, automatically decoding the sources and making all the necessary adjustments without user intervention. Both the Pronto remote and the CL-2500 SSP can be completely customized via a Windows-based computer to set and lock in preferences. The CL-2500 VSW is an HDTV-ready video switcher. Packed with the video bandwidth (measured at 100MHz), needed to switch all present and proposed high definition video standards, this switcher is fully isolated in its own chassis to prevent any video interference with the audio in the rest of your system. It features dual power supplies, independent transformers, and filtered IEC and AC line connectors. When the SSP and VSW are used together, they control all audio and video sources, including CD, DVD, VCR and digital set top boxes. All available sources, from the visual to the audible, become a virtual network with the CL-2500 as the mainframe. Finally, the system can act as a multi-zone controller that delivers each source signal to one of three independent zones throughout the home. The CL-2500 MCA provides 500 watts RMS to each of five channels, making this unit the most powerful home theater amplifier on the market today. While this amp contains many advanced features, including the ability to put out 50 watts of Class A power per channel, the heart of the design is a digital switching power supply with the unbelievably fast refresh rate of 150,000 Hz! This maintains the power supply in the highest possible charged condition, irrespective of the demands being placed on the amp. This refresh rate is 1,250 times faster than conventional power supplies and is very efficient at removing noise and distortion that contaminate the AC power coming out of the wall. The result is tremendous clarity and essentially limitless dynamics that will blow you away whether you're listening to your favorite music or watching the forces of the universe fighting to the death with planet-sized starships! When the MCA is combined with the SSP and VSW, RS-232 connectors are used to provide 2-way communication among all three components. This forms a totally-integrated and centrally-controlled home theater/multi-zone system which is so sophisticated and advanced that it will be capable of handling the needs of the most demanding user into the foreseeable future.

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Conrad Johnson

Premier 17LSThose of you who read our last newsletter may recall our announcement of the new Premier 17LS preamp which was supposed to be released last fall. Unfortunately, as with so many new high end products, production was delayed. However, this unit has just started shipping, and it is a real beauty. This unit is based on CJ's absolutely state-of-the-art preamps, the ART at $14,995 and the Premier 16 (ART Junior) at $7,995. Fortunately, this product sells for the much more affordable price of $4,495. This preamp, like the Premier 16LS, is based directly on the circuit topology and sound technology of the ART and brings much of its sonic mastery to a much more affordable price range. In addition to having a sound quality very close to its bigger brothers, the 17LS's styling is also based on those units. For example, there is a clear section to the front panel which allows the tubes inside to be seen. And, of course, it's completely remote controllable. We are very impressed with the open, spacious, detailed, and musically-involving sound this product can produce, and we'd love to have you come down and give it a listen.

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Enlightened Audio Designs

PowerMaster1000Well, after also experiencing some delays, EAD has finally started shipping their two newest 5-channel amps, the PowerMaster 1000 and the PowerMaster 500. These products make fine additions to the larger PowerMaster 2000, a product which has received accolades in the magazines. Born of EAD's purist, high-end audio heritage, these amps combine proprietary innovations such as AccuLinear circuitry and Dynamic Energy Steering. These two features minimize distortion and maximize rapid delivery of power to the channel that needs it most at any given instant. The PowerMaster 500 puts out 100 watts/channel and sells for $1,595 while the PowerMaster 1000 comes in at 200 watts/channel and is available at $2,750. Since amps which are sonically competitive with these two products are selling for $3,500 to $5,000, these amps are bargains, indeed. They share all of the sonic excellence of the PowerMaster 2000 at a much lower price and are excellent companion pieces for a TheaterMaster or any other fine home theater processor. The cosmetics are up to EAD's very high standards, and the PowerMaster 500 is compact enough to fit into any home theater installation while still providing plenty of power for those dramatic movie sound effects. We hope you'll consider a PowerMaster and/or TheaterMaster for your high end, home theater installation.

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JM Lab

Any of you who have been following the audio press for the last couple of years will probably be aware of the JM Lab Utopia speaker series and how well it's been received. These no-holds-barred designs elicit virtually every possible nuance and quality from your musical recordings. Now, JM Lab has added a number of new models which bring this quality level to speakers that are designed for smaller rooms and for home theater systems. The new Micro Utopia is about two thirds the size of the Mini Utopia and brings you that same level of performance at a lower price of $5,000 per pair. A center channel has also been added, the Center Utopia, which is designed to work with any of the Utopia series, from the Micro Utopia all the way to the Grand utopia. A new subwoofer is also in the lineup, the Sub Utopia 2 at $6,500. This is JM Lab's ultimate subwoofer statement, and you can certainly expect it to give a very impressive level of bass performance that will add tremendous authority to the other models mentioned here. Finally, there are models meant for surround use, the Side Utopia, coming in at $5000 per pair and for in-wall use, the Mini In-Wall at $3000 each. This latter model is based directly on the Mini Utopia and uses much the same drivers and crossover. It is, therefore, now possible to achieve the spectacular sound quality of the Utopia series in rooms or decors where minimum speaker visibility is a must.

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While CD sound has been getting progressively better over the years, the folks at Lyra, who make some of the world's finest phono cartridges, haven't been resting on their laurels. They've taken the acclaimed Clavis Da Capo cartridge and improved it significantly in three important areas to create the brand new Helicon. First, the Helicon uses an improved version of the Clavis' disc magnet technology which employs larger, matched disc magnets fore and aft of the coils. It was necessary to redesign the body shape of the cartridge to accommodate these larger magnets. These larger, matched magnets allow for higher output and more linearity. Second, the windings in the coil, are now made with a finer wire that allows more turns to be made without increasing the size of the coil or adding a second layer, either of which would increase mass and reduce performance. The larger number of turns also increases the cartridge's output. Third, there is a new and improved method for tuning the cartridge suspension which results in a more neutral tonal balance. All of these changes result in incredible resolution and air around the instruments from deep down in the bass all the way up to the extreme highs. While other cartridges may have a wide frequency response, they often have their best resolution and air only in the midrange. The Helicon, however, performs equally well in these areas all across the frequency range. Also, the Helicon has almost double the output of the Clavis Da Capo. For those of you who are familiar with the rave review received by the Evolve 99, another Lyra cartridge, in The Absolute Sound, the Helicon is improved even over that magnificent model. The Evolve 99 had some of the advancements of the Helicon, but because it used the same body as the Clavis, it could not accommodate the matched disc magnets used in the Helicon. If you're still as much in love with the sound of LP's as we are, this is a great way to take yourself to the next level of performance.

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Some things are worth waiting for, and the sound and cosmetic quality of Steve McCormack's two newest amp designs more than bear that out. The DNA-125 and DNA-225 both provide the same high quality performance Steve is famous for, with the two products providing 125 and 225 watts/channel, respectively. These products represent Steve's absolutely latest thoughts in amp design and embody all of the advancements and upgrades he has conceived of since the DNA-1 and DNA-0.5. In fact, these new products provide superior performance to the deluxe additions of those earlier products and the DNA-125 does so at a lower price than the DNA-0.5! The power and authority of solid state designs are complemented by smooth and listenable midrange and highs that make it enjoyable to listen for hours. At $1,695 and $2,795, these amps offer tremendous quality that you will find it hard to match elsewhere. Both are on display, and we'd really enjoy playing them for you.

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Heron i speakerThis company produces an entire line of speakers for stereo and home theater use, and they have models starting under $1000 per pair. The news in this issue is about a product in the middle of their range. Both the Heron and the Heron Hot Rod have now been replaced by a single model which gives superior performance to either. This is the new Heron i speaker, and it sells for the same price as the Hot Rod version did, $5000 per pair. Designer Pat McGinty has made numerous improvements to this model, including a redesigned transmission line for deeper and tighter bass performance, improved internal parts quality, and extra binding posts on the back. These extra posts allow the user to hook up the speaker in different ways that allow for changes in the high frequency response. This means that the user can tailor the speaker's high frequency performance to the needs of the listening room acoustics without the degradations that can be caused by the contour controls used by other manufacturers. We were so pleased by the sound of this new version at the 2000 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that we ordered our pair as soon as production began. If you're looking for a truly musical speaker with very attractive cosmetics, please come hear this or any of the other models in the Meadowlark line.

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T-550 DVD playerThe most exciting new product from NAD is an affordable DVD player, the T550, coming in at $799. Some features of this unit include built-in Dolby decoders, Dolby 5.1 analog outputs, DTS compatibility, S-video and component video outputs, and 24 bit/96 KHz processing. Furthermore, this unit uses the same D/A converter and analog circuitry to process CD's as the new C-540 CD player, NAD's best CD model. This means that CD audio played through the T-550 does not suffer in quality as it does with most DVD players. There's also one special feature that will interest those with older home theater processors or receivers that don't have Dolby digital AC-3 capability. This machine has internal AC-3 processing and discrete outputs for all channels. So, if your older processor or receiver has discrete inputs for all channels, you can get an instant upgrade to the latest home theater standard without having to replace it. The T-550 is an affordable, superior sounding DVD player from a well-respected manufacturer which offers a real alternative to all of those mediocre, mass market DVD players. Other recently-released products from NAD include two new CD players, the C520 at $299 and the C540 (with 24 bit D/A converters) at $499. There is also a very affordable home theater receiver, the T760 at $999, sporting 5 channels at 60 watts/channel, full Dolby Ac-3 and DTS support, and an on-screen display. We'll be glad to show you how excellent stereo and home theater can be at the modest prices of these new products.

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RDV-985 DVD playerNot to be outdone by the competition, Rotel has also released their own low cost, high quality DVD player. This model is called the RDV-985, and it's asking price is $700. Of course, this unit has many advanced features including 24 bit, 96 KHz processing, Dolby AC-3, DTS, and component video and S-video outputs. A 10-bit, 27MHz video D/A converter, augmented by "Video Fine" capability, processes disc data for maximum resolution. "Zoom" and "Strobe" functions increase enjoyment with a wide variety of source materials, and a front panel shuttle knob allows for fast and easy disk scanning. If you've been waiting for a DVD player that performs as well as Rotel's audio components, you don't have to wait any longer. On the stereo front, there are two new integrated amplifiers, the RA-932 (35 watts/channel) and RA-972 (60 watts/channel), selling for $350 and $600, respectively. These two amps are, essentially, remote control versions of their predecessors, the RA-931 and RA-971. These are both high current designs and use the kinds of audiophile parts (e.g., Rubycon capacitors) that are normally found in only the most expensive gear. So, as you'd expect, they give you the kind of superb sound quality you've come to expect from Rotel.

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VX-1C DLPThere have been numerous exciting, new developments at Runco, including new products in the Plasma, rear projector, and Digital Light Projector (DLP) categories. DLP's, for those not familiar with this relatively new technology, use the Texas Instruments Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) to create a video display of the caliber of 3 gun, RGB projectors but only employ a single beam of light. This allows the projector to be smaller, lighter, easier to set up, and more reliable than a 3 gun model. DLP's also have one other very important advantage over other projectors. They are much brighter and can, therefore, easily project a very viewable picture in a bright room. The two new DLP's from Runco are the VX-101C ($9,995) and the VX-1C ($16,995). Both of these projectors come with external aspect ratio controllers/video switchers that allow the user to choose the video input and allow the user easily to adjust the projector for the different picture formats/sizes that are prevalent today. These controllers also contain a brand new type of circuitry called "3:2 pulldown technology" which is used to eliminate or greatly reduce motion artifacts that can result from the video compression used to store and transmit images. These DLP's are so compact and light weight that they can easily be used on a table top or hung from a ceiling. We recently installed a VX-1C from our suspended ceiling with no additional bracing required since it only weighs about 20 lbs. The picture quality is nothing short of startling, with fabulous clarity, resolution, and color presentation. It is easily viewable in our brightly-lit showroom. The VX-101 has a native resolution of 848 by 600 pixels while the VX-1C has a native resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. This means that the VX-1C can project a picture of 760 lines of vertical resolution. This makes it capable of accepting all of the current and proposed high definition video formats. If you'd really like to comprehend what state-of-the-art video can look like, please drop by and take a look at this picture. In the rear projector area, Runco has released an aspect ratio controller for use with their DTV-5801 model. This controller also has the 3:2 pulldown technology for elimination of digital artifacts, as well as a 2.5 times doubler for improved resolution. Thus, the best rear projector in the world can now be made better by pairing it with this controller. The projector itself continues to sell at $9,995, and with the controller, it's $11,995. In the plasma area, the incredible PL-42 plasma has just become the PL-42C by virtue of the addition of its own controller. This controller has the same types of features as the other units discussed above. The PL-42C goes for $14,995. And, finally, there's a new plasma called the PL-50C, also with a controller. This 50-inch diagonal display, the best looking plasma in the world, goes for $26,995.

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MX-2 speakerFor the past couple of years we've been selling the Tannoy Mercury series with much pleasure, mainly because of the excellent level of sound quality these speakers provided for very affordable prices. As we've said many times before, it's easy to find components with killer sound when price is not a limiting factor, but the real challenge is to find the best sounding components at lower prices. Now that job has become a little easier because the entire Mercury M series has been upgraded in terms of both sound and cosmetics to the MX series. We have two new bookshelf speakers and two new floor standing models ranging in price from $270 to $730 per pair. There are also a center channel, and, believe it or not, even an in-wall version, for those who have space limitations or simply want to hide their speakers as much as possible. We have most of these on display and can tell you that Tannoy has achieved a significant improvement in performance and looks with practically no increase in price over the previous models. We have especially noticed a major upgrade in the midrange performance where the sound is as full and natural as we've ever heard in speakers of such modest cost. Now it's easy to configure a very affordable stereo or home theater setup that's quite compact and yet gives excellent sonic performance. Please come hear these models, and you'll see what kind of music quality you can expect from one of the oldest speaker companies in the world.

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Well, that's about it for this issue. Remember to check the IMPORTANT BULLETINS page on our web site regularly for timely updates and important announcements. See you next time.

Audio Nexus, LLC
33 Union Place
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   (908) 277-0333

Store Hours Mon-Sat 10:30 AM to 6 PM, Thursday til 9PM

We are authorized dealers for
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