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October News
By Bes Nievera

October is here! The leaves are changing colors and offering great opportunities to get out (socially distanced, of course) and enjoy the beauty! Also on the horizon: The 2021 Music Direct Catalog. Think of it as the Big Book for music lovers and audiophiles! Let's just say that this year's catalog will be the largest in our decades-long legacy as a company. If you don't receive our catalog, what are you waiting for? Click here and get on the list. Easy peasy.

Denon began its 110th anniversary celebration with a roll-out of several new products, each badged and engineered to ultra-high standards that befit the iconic brand. Each model, cased with Silver Graphite faceplates and sporting a 110th Anniversary emblem, are unique, limited-edition runs. A five-year warranty along and certificate of authenticity come standard. Let's begin with the 13-channel AVR-A110 home-theater receiver. The 50-pound powerhouse belts out 150Wpc into eight ohms, and is a full-on tastemaker for the A/V lover with a critical eye on performance. Among its pluses: Native HDMI 8K video, plus 8K upscaling from your legacy devices for unsurpassed image detail on top of enhanced HDR format support – including HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and Dynamic HDR. Audio-centric users will love the next-gen decoding for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization. DTS performance with DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X, DTS:X Pro, IMAX Enhanced, and Auro-3D is also onboard. And lifestyle music lovers will appreciate the receiver's connectivity with popular music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. Moreover, high-resolution services like Amazon Music HD and TIDAL speak to AVR-A110's generous capabilities. Finally, a proprietary HEOS operating system lends additional flexibility when using its suite of wireless products.

Two-channel purists should take note of Denon's DCD-A110 SACD/CD player. With its Advanced S.V.H. Mechanism (a Denon original), patented Ultra AL32 Processing, and 32-bit/384kHz ability via a Quad PCM1795 DAC board and a pair of clock oscillators (to aid in sampling rates), the component engenders a classic Denon sonic footprint tuned for both new audiences and diehards. Similarly, the complementary PMA-A110 integrated amplifier gets Denon's latest iteration of the dual-stage amplifier platform. An Advanced UHC (Ultra High Current)-MOS Single Push-Pull circuit design brings ease with speakers with varying degrees of loads. Opposing dual transformers on a leakage-cancelling (LC) mount system eliminate magnetic flux, while Denon's new large-capacity electrolytic capacitors and Schottky barrier diodes supply the 160Wpc amp section sublime clarity. Electrically driven volume, tone, and balance knobs provide the impetus for a smooth output, while a Quad DAC with a Burr-Brown PCM1795 in a quadruple configuration acts as an ideal companion with streaming devices and music files via USB, coax, or optical connections.

Denon engineers also took the long-running DL-103 MC phono cartridge and rebranded it as the DL-A110 MC phono cartridge for the company's big anniversary. The 56-year old, continuously manufactured cartridge – claiming a heritage that began at Japan's NHK broadcasting service – is now offered with a silver-graphite bayonet-mount headshell. Per the recent press release, "True to the original headshell developed in the 1960s for radio broadcast, the DL-A110 silver-graphite headshell is an exact reproduction of the original design. Weighing only six grams, the lightweight DL-A110 headshell ensures the cartridge is held securely and perfectly aligned, preventing any unwanted vibrations and leading to a detailed and clean audio reproduction with extended low-frequency performance."

Have you heard? Bluesound is offering a price break on its hugely popular Node 2i network music player. For a limited time, save $100 on the acclaimed, customer-favorite component that The Absolute Sound's Paul Seydor raves about in his latest review, declaring, "I am pretty confident saying you would be hard-pressed to find a package that dovetails convenience, selection of music, trouble-free streaming, build-quality, flexibility, and true high-end performance as impressively as the Node 2i." See his review here.

Along with last month's launch of the Model 30 Series, Marantz's newly released 6007 Series puts audiophile-grade gear within the reach of practically all music lovers. At $699, the PM6007 integrated amplifier and $499 CD6007 CD player are the latest examples of how the world-class manufacturer keeps budget-minded audiophiles in its sights by creating components with remarkable engineering. Offering 45Wpc into eight ohms, PM6007 is generous enough to move your fave speakers, be it compact or tower types. (Hint: Toss in a subwoofer like REL's T/5i via its dedicated sub out, and you're really in for a treat.) The amp is given the same level of engineering afforded its expensive counterparts, right down to its onboard DAC with AK490 chipset, digital filtering, and HDAM circuitry. CD6007 gets a leg up from its predecessor with the inclusion of a USB-A port for playback of virtually all popular file formats up to DSD, while ensuring you can keep spinning your CD collection through latest-generation HDAM-SA2 circuitry.

Finally, in the arena of tweaks, Arthur Khoubesserian of Funk Firm rolled out an extremely attractive accessory for analog lovers. Dubbed Houdini, the specially engineered cartridge decoupler offers a solution for your phono cartridge and tonearm to stand out from the rest of the rig and get you so close to the music, it's crazy. Per the press release: "Funk claims that as much as a tuning fork couples its vibration when placed onto a guitar box, the very act of firmly bolting the cartridge to the arm similarly couples and superimposes its resonances directly onto the cartridge. Funk claims that to date all arms are responsible for this [phenomenon,], describing it as ‘The problem you never knew you had' and all turntables suffer from it. Decoupling the arm is akin to lifting the tuning fork and thereby reduces colorations by an order of magnitude. A fully isolated cartridge would be free to wobble, negating the benefits. Houdini deals with this by utilizing a new, patented suspension and torsion tether to create what Funk describes as an island of stability to achieve ‘The Record Cutter in Reverse.'" Shipping now, and available in two versions for popular headshell configurations.

Follow @besnieverajr on Twitter and Instagram

October 6, 2020

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