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Elise has been a classic in Progressive Audio’s catalogue which sold the two-way floorstander since 1997. The Elise II successor launched this January. Naturally Herr Schlicher (marketing manager, lower left) and Koenen (owner/engineer, right) were keen to dictate details to us scribblers. The carbon-fiber 8-inch mid/woofer with magnesium basket gets a new tweeter mate. That's Focal’s inverted Titanium oxide unit. This combo goes for  €8.800/pr. A ceramic tweeter very slightly raises the sticker to €9.000. New too is the crossover. The time-domain-critical 6dB affair supports perfect impulse response Koenen claimed and also achieves a very linear 7.6-ohm impedance +/- 0.2Ω. The enclosure material is new as well. Instead of wood it’s now 20mm Acrylic sheets bonded together in an oven. Particularly in high-gloss black Lady Elise cut quite an elegant figure.

Dynamikks’ Ulf Moning brought his top gun, the Monitor 12.18 in PCLS form (processor-controlled loudspeaker system). Its head module sports a 12-inch coax with aluminium tweeter horn. To avoid down-low leanness an 18-inch woofer gets aspirated by two generously dimensioned bass reflex ports. Cone surface rules. Dynamikks’ biggest speaker costs €23.000 in standard trim. What was shown in Munich included the Trinnov Audio Optimizer ST2 Hifi as streamer, preamp, D/A converter and DSP processor to become biggest and baddest and €30.000. Moning explained that this enables near perfect phase/amplitude response and allows for a more minimalist filter network.

Dynamikks models Monitor 10.15 und 8.12 as well as db8.2

‘PCLS’ also allows for semi-active drive since the Trinnov can (but need not) serve as electronic crossover. At the show four NuForce Reference 18 monos handled power, two for activated bass, two for the head units. The smaller 8.12 model—if small is the word for any of Dynamikks’ monitors—is currently in-house for a feature review on high efficiency, generous cone surface and coaxial drivers.

Munich had not only unusual speakers but equivalent electronics. Antelope Audio’s Erol Ergün proudly showed off their new Rubicon whose unusual Art Déco styling wasn’t the only thing of note. How about atomic AD/DA preamp.

Say what? Inside sits a Rubidium atomic clock, not your grandfather’s wind-up. Esoteric/Teac has atomic clocks and so does Antelope. Purportedly 100.000 times more precise than quartz oscillators, Rubicon simply integrates one inside a machine which in a broader sense really is a preamp.

The gold-plated trim detail is the clock’s heat sink and the Rubicon swallows pretty much any source material. Digital can arrive as S/PDIF, Toslink, AES/EBU, USB and Ethernet with an integral DLNA streaming module. Analog can be high-level and MM/MC low-level. Granted, purists will swallow hard as phono gets digitised to 384kHz before RIAA is applied via DSP. Outrage or progress? Good question. Pricing remained elusive still but five figures are expected.

Who hasn’t heard of the LS3/5 BBC? To celebrate their company’s 50th anniversary, KEF launched a special edition model inspired by the legendary mini monitor. Of course their LS50 diverges from the historical sample on a few points. First is the point-source Uni-Q driver, a 13cm aluminium/magnesium alloy cone with embedded 25mm tweeter behind a ‘Tangerine’ waveguide. The heavily curved baffle supports a homogenous wave launch and sports a grated inner surface to break up reflections inside the box. Trim is high-gloss black with a copper-colored driver. Pricing is €998/pr.

Another introduction of the Brits for this year was a high-gloss white finish for their R Series. This had our colleague who’s spent time with its tallest floorstander sigh melancholically. Finding the KEF R900 in white très chic, his reviewer loaner is … well, all in good time.

White could be spotted elsewhere too. And not only on speakers. Transrotor’s Zet3 goes that way as does Räke’s latest Crescendo turntable. But black too is slick we thought. The Crescendo lives atop a triangular sandwich plinth with a high-mass aluminium platter on Transrotor’s special TMD bearing. There’s the continuously adjustable tone arm support from the Rondino model to support wand lengths from 9 to—if you need it—15 inches. To achieve less tech-heavy cosmetics, the motor is concealed beneath the platter and driven and controlled by a ‘constant’ power supply. The sticker for the nude deck (sans arm and cart) is €4.700.

Italian speaker house Chario and Norwegian electronics maker Electrocompaniet collaborated again since Herren Mertens (Chario) and Roth (EC) are convinced that their products mate well together. The Norse coup for the show was the ECI 6DS, an integrated with D/A converter and streaming module. The amplification circuitry is based on the ECI 5MkII we recently reviewed, albeit improved and fitted with a 2 x coax, 2 x Toslink, 1 x async 24/192 USB, LAN and WLAN DAC. A docking station for iPod/iPhone is optional. The stock remote sports a display which shows album art and meta data. The ECI 6DS should be available by September and carry a tag of ca. €5.500 - €6.000.

Chario brought an entirely new speaker series called Syntar, short for synergetic target. 15 deep there are seven monitors, four towers, two centers and two active sub all available with sharp or bull-nosed edges (the latter adds the letter ‘R’ to the nomenclature). Left to right the photo shows the Syntar 530, 530R and 533R. The 530R not only has round edges but a broader baffle than the non-R version. The internal volume remains the same as the box isn’t as deep as the edgy variant. The 530 is a 3-way with down-firing woofer. The tweeter isn’t metallic by the way but aluminium-coated silk to exploit the advantages of either material. The Syntar models are shipping now and priced to also appeal to the hifi newbie. The 530 and 530R belong to the costlier models of the range and get €1.599 and €2.299/pr respectively.