I really ought to leave the Music Hall rooms for later in any given day. It’s not that I can’t take it first-thing. Not at all. The sound of a Music Hall system is almost always easy, fun, and very listenable. That’s not it.
It’s Leland. That guy is forever pouring some of the best Scotch I’ve never heard of. “Just a wee dram,” he says. “It’ll put hair on your chest,” he says. “Don’t be a wuss,” he says. “I know you want it, big boy!” he says.
I will admit it — pond scum though I am, I have a weakness for fine whiskey, and Music Hall VP Leland Leard knows it. Sneaky, that guy. Anyway, I unwisely hit Music Hall pretty much first thing that day, and the rest of the day was a sleepy mess. Oh well.
He and owner Roy Hall were showing off a variety of delicious audio morsels at this year’s CES, including some new speakers from Epos Audio. The $2,395/pair K3 is a 4Ω, 91dB floor stander with a stated frequency response of 40Hz – 30kHz. The design is a slot-port, and front-facing, which should make placement easier and distortion lower. Each K3 is upgradeable to an active version, which includes a Creek Audio-designed Class D amplifier — the rear of the each cabinet is fully removable to facilitate this upgrade.
Another interesting bit I saw — a $90 Music Hall “mini” phono preamp. There’s next to nothing to this little guy, but the “mini” is a moving-magnet design with 35dB of gain. Add this to an entry-level turntable (from Music Hall, for a random example) and you have a fully modular, upgradeable analog system. Did I mention how tiny it is?
From Creek Audio, I saw the all-new/updated 100A integrated amplifier ($2,195). Available with black or silver face plates and sporting an OLED display, the new 100A is a “Class G” design “which runs normally at a lower voltage for power levels up to 25 Watts into 8 Ohms. When required to produce more than 25 Watts, the amp automatically swings to a higher secondary voltage, to increase the output power capability to over 100 Watts into 8 Ohms.” The amp “has been equipped with 2 sets of high quality loudspeaker binding posts, with local and remote switching for A & B outputs. Optional extras include the ability to plug the Sequel mk2 Phono pre-amp inside and add the AMBIT FM/AM radio or RUBY DAC/Bluetooth/FM radio module to the expansion slot on the rear panel.”