Sounds and Visions – October ’20 Newsletter

By Newsletters

Specialty Sound and Vision

Happy Halloween, Specialty Sound & Vision Dealers!

Please enjoy our latest newsletter…..

 

Mikodam

Introducing….MIKODAM
SSV proudly announces our partnership with Mikodam. An established design firm specializing in room treatments and furniture, Mikodam’s extensive line of wall claddings combines extraordinary acoustical performance with stunning aesthetic beauty. Mikodam’s ability to deliver truly custom products and interiors offers a powerful tool for all Integrators and Retailers.
(For more information, please visit https://www.mikodam.com/category/wall-claddings/acoustics)

Cambridge Audio Promos

$250 OFF CXA61

For the month of November, Cambridge Audio is lowering MAP on their best-selling CXA61 Integrated Amplifier. With its high quality DAC, Bluetooth aptX HD and USB Audio Input accepting up to 32bit/384kHz & DSD 256 digital files, the CXA61 is THE BEST Integrated at $999.99. At $749.99 it’s an absolute steal! Orders accepted staring October 26, $749.99 MAP Pricing November 1-30 ONLY. Ask us!

 ALVA TT: NEW Lower MAP

Complete with Moving Coil cartridge, phono preamplifier, aptX HD Hi-Res Streaming and British-Made one-piece tonearm, Cambridge’s ALVA TT was a steal at $1,699. MAP has been lowered to $1,199 making the ALVA one of the best buys in Analog!

 

ALVA TT

 

JL Audio Sales Continue To Skyrocket!

Seems like every month we set a new JL Audio Sales Record. With 10 Days left in October, we’ve already surpassed last October’s Total Sales: a month which had been the strongest in SSV history.

Download the NEW JL Audio Brochure here: https://jlaudio.widen.net/s/0mzmsrvwiz

 

Marten Oscar Graces Stereophile Cover

Marten’s NEW entry-level Oscar Duo earned the cover of Stereophile’s November issue, along with a rave review form Senior Editor Michael Fremer.

Read the full review: https://www.stereophile.com/content/marten-oscar-duo-loudspeaker

Simaudio: Trade-Up And Training

“Reach for the Moon:” The Industry’s Best Trade-Up Program!

Simaudio offers original Moon owners 100% Trade-up credit up to one year of ownership, 75% up to two years. Please ask Anthony to explain High End’s BEST Trade-Up Program anthony@ssvreps.com

Training Webinars

Now’s the perfect time for you and your salespeople to refresh your Simaudio product knowledge. We can schedule webinars for your team: please contact us at office@ssvreps.com to schedule your training.

 

Thorens: Save $250 On Purchase Of TD103A/TAB1600 Combo!

Thorens NEW TD103A turntable ($1,299.99 MSRP) arrives at the end of this month and we’ve got a strong Introductory Promotion: for every TD103A you sell, a TAB1600 Isolation Base ($249.99) will be provided at NO COST! This program enables you to show a $250 Package Discount while maintaining your full margin! Conditions apply, so please contact us at office@ssvreps.com for details.

 

Torus “Key Benefits” Page

As I wrote in my last blog, Torus Power offers a level of protection and performance enhancement that no other line of Power Conditioners can match. Torus has just created a new page which explains their technology and benefits in a short, easy-to-read format:

https://www.toruspower.com/key-benefits-of-torus-power/

Please also check out our Torus Blog: http://www.ssvreps.com/torus-blog/

 

Trinnov: Back In Stock

Due to extraordinary sales increases, Trinnov has had “Out-of-stock” conditions on several of its best-selling Processors. We’re happy to report that all models are now back in stock and orders are arriving twice monthly! As of 15 October, we have a NEW Price Sheet, so please contact us at office@ssvreps.com

 

Wisdom Audio

Wisdom Audio: ICS3 And SUB1: Order Your Demos!!!

Arguably the two most exciting and universally saleable products in Wisdom history, the ICS3 Minimum Aperture” speaker and SUB1 “Snorkel Sub” have arrived at Wisdom and are being assembled and QC-ed NOW! Given incredible demand, please place your demo order NOW! First come, First served.

Wisdom’s NEW Full-Line Brochure is here! Get your digital copy:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ab80gks223j45as/Wisdom%20Full%20Line%20Brochure%20US%20hi-res%209-4-2020.pdf?dl=0 

As always, SSV is here to support you. Please let us know how we can help!

 

Specialty Sound & Vision

Email: office@ssvreps.com

Phone: (201) 690-9006

www.ssvreps.com

Torus Blog

By Anthony's Blog

“Did You Just Buy A New TV?”

…or, Why You Need A Torus Power Conditioner

 

Can a product actually be “…too good for its own good?” Sometimes, a component does its job so well, it’s possible to take it for granted. Case in point: Torus. Torus line conditioners are among the highest-performance brands SSV represents but, because they never call attention to themselves, it’s easy to forget about them.

I’m ashamed to admit that Torus has occasionally slipped my mind, even though I have FOUR of their units supplying perfect power to my various audio and theater systems, with never so much as a hiccup out of any of them. It took a visit to one of my dealers to remind me of just how much of a difference Torus Power products can make.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited Craig and Elena Abitz of Installation Specialties in Albertson, NY. Craig has been a long-time supporter of both SSV and Torus. He told me that, recently, he upgraded a loyal client’s system with a Torus unit. When the customer’s wife came home, he and Craig were watching a movie. She stopped, looked for a couple of minutes and asked: “Did you just buy a new TV?” He hadn’t. The simple act of plugging the television into a Torus Power product had profoundly improved its image quality. That story drove home just how impressive Torus Power Conditioners truly are.

More than a decade ago, when SSV represented another (now defunct) brand of power conditioners, one of my most technical—and skeptical—dealers proclaimed their product “…a black box filled with snake oil.” I have to agree that many power products offer dubious performance claims which cannot be supported, either by measurements or technical specifications. No one will ever accuse Torus of such pseudo-science: the company’s technology is both straightforward and unimpeachable.

It is also expensive. The lowest-priced Torus model—suitable for a couple of low-amperage source components—retails for $799, while Torus’ largest and most sophisticated units flirt with $28K. The reason they’re pricey? You can’t cheat physics. The “Core” (pun intended) of every Torus product is an oversized, over-spec-ed and overweight toroidal transformer engineered and manufactured by Torus, the most capable of which weighs over 600 pounds. These pricey transformers are the only universally accepted means of lowering noise, eliminating ground loops and protecting electronics from power surges, voltage spikes and more catastrophic power problems without introducing problems of their own. No snake oil here!

Further proof of their technical “Chops,” Torus is managed by a team of engineers who, upon request, often help design and specify power systems for their clients of whom are recording studios. These enterprises are notoriously frugal, yet they seek Torus’ engineering expertise for one reason: they deliver results.

Whether it’s cabling, resonance control or power conditioners, the “Accessory” category, more than any other, is rife with products and manufacturers whose performance claims can’t be proven; however, it would be unfortunate, as well as incorrect, to assume that all accessories are snake oil. Nothing could be further from the truth. HRS (Harmonic Resolution Systems) resonance control products and Straight Wire cables—both of which are proudly represented by SSV—deliver the goods in terms of manufacturing, materials and measurements. In the category of power conditioning, Torus reigns supreme. Let us show you why.

Anthony’s Blog – October 2020

By Anthony's Blog

Maybe it was the irresistibility of the Cambridge Azur 851W or maybe I struck a chord with tales of my “Forced March” into old age: in either case, my last blog generated an unusually high number of responses, the first of which came from my good friend—and oldest client—Jerry Willsie of Straight Wire. Jerry loved the blog and suggested that I try the amps with a pair of Straight Wire Pro Thunder Power Cords. Five days later, the cables arrived at my doorstep.

At $700 for a one-meter cable, Pro Thunder is, in absolute terms, expensive. In relative terms, however, it’s a downright bargain!  Straight Wire’s flagship AC Cable is actually less expensive than many companies’ entry-level product but its build quality is absolutely top-of-the-line, employing the superb WattGate connectors at either end with artistically accomplished terminations: shrink-wrapped, crimpled and encapsulated in silver solder. Eight Compressed, 14-gauge OFHC (Oxygen Free High Conductivity Copper) conductors—3 for each polarity and a pair for the ground path—add up to 9 AWG of ultra-pure copper for both positive and negative power paths: more than enough to handle 20 amps. (Interestingly, Straight Wire recommends their less expensive “Black Thunder II” Power Cord as the sonically superior choice for source components, where current draw isn’t an issue. Gotta admire this company’s downwardly-mobile honesty!) The white mesh “Tech-Flex” jacketing adds an upscale aesthetic.

Driving the Cambridge AZUR 851Ws, the Pro Thunders improved dynamics across the volume range, but especially at the highest output levels, where musical climaxes of all genres were at once more relaxed and composed. At the other extreme, silent passages seemed marginally more silent and backgrounds blacker which, in turn, seemed to render images with a touch more dimensionality.

The preceding description is an accurate assessment of my listening sessions. It is also cliché. Audiophiles expect High End power cords to lower noise and improve high-level dynamics and the Pro Thunder most certainly does. What was more impressive was the manner in which these cords added humanity to the music: inflection, breathiness, that silence in between the notes that is as important as the notes themselves.

At $700 each, the Pro Thunders are more than a third the cost of the ($1,699 MSRP) Azur 851W power amps with which they were used. So, the question becomes: are they worth the money? For me and, I believe, most audiophiles, the answer is obvious, as cabling has become a component in its own right and the Pro Thunders endowed the Cambridge amps with a greater degree of refinement than they—or any other high-power amps at this price range—otherwise exhibited. More importantly, in a world where Power Cords routinely cost over $10,000 (really), the Pro Thunder delivers a family-sized serving of the very best available for an insignificant fraction of the price.

I wonder what a system wired entirely with Straight Wire Power Cords—Black Thunder on the front end, Pro Thunder on the back—would sound like? Highly recommended.

Anthony’s Blog – September 2020

By Anthony's Blog

Cambridge Azur 851W: For Golden Ears In Their Golden Years

In less than 2 months I’ll turn 60 and, unlike the ageless Michael Fremer, I’ll need to start changing my lifestyle to reflect my years. I’ll contemplate clipping coupons, shopping on Wednesdays for the Senior Citizens Discount, joining AARP, moving to an “Over 55” community and referring to everyone as “Sonny” or “Kid.” And of course, the half-million-dollar stereo will have to go because at my age, I’ve been told I can no longer hear the difference.

I mention all of this because I recently purchased “Budget” amps for my shore house: not because I can’t hear, however, but because I CAN. The centerpiece of my shore house system is a Bespoke Audio passive preamp, which both Fremer and the dear departed Art Dudley reviewed—and loved—in Stereophile. Still, despite what Bespoke says about “Universal compatibility,” this passive didn’t like many of the amps, even some insanely expensive ones, with which I’ve partnered it. It’s worth the effort though, not just because this preamp has the potential to sound great—ultra pure and dead-nuts quiet—but because it is the single most beautiful high-end component I’ve ever owned. Visitors to my home routinely stare at it with lust and envy. I like that!

For the past couple of years, I’ve used the Bespoke with a few carefully chosen, very expensive amps and it sounded pretty damn fine, in part because I was driving an efficient pair of speakers. Recently, I changed to less sensitive loudspeakers and dynamics suffered, a point that was driven home when Tom Altobelli, President of Woodbridge Stereo, visited, looked admiringly at the preamp and asked about it. When I told him it was a passive he knowingly nodded “That explains it.” I immediately understood. And agreed.

So, here’s the part where my impending decrepitude comes in: I knew I needed a more compatible amp and if it were ten years ago, money wouldn’t have been an object but now, my miserly older self told me it was.  Which is how I wound up with a pair of Cambridge Audio Azur 851Ws.

Despite my newfound frugality, I actually hadn’t price-shopped the 851Ws, rather, I was searching for maximum input sensitivity and input impedance. At 0.775 mV and 38 kOhms (both figures for Bridged, Balanced Input) respectively, not to mention 500 Watts into 8 Ohms and 800 into 4, these are the most appropriately-spec-ed power amps in my rep portfolio. Then I looked at the price. At $1,699 MSRP each, they’re also the least expensive power amplifiers I sell, as well as the most versatile, offering both XLR and RCA inputs and outputs, two pairs of binding posts per channel, 12V triggers, remote control, switchable Stereo/Bridged/Biamped modes as well as switchable AC Voltage and a bunch of other goodies that make the 851W work in situations where most amps won’t.

I’m old enough to remember the hoopla surrounding the ADCOM GFA-555 when it debuted in the ‘80’s. Also 200 Watts Per Channel into 8 Ohms it became, for a decade, the benchmark for entry-level high end amplifiers. And yet, it couldn’t approach the 851W’s gorgeous aluminum casework, its connector complement and connection versatility, the discrete toroidal transformers for input and amplifier circuits…or its sound. The onset of old age has undoubtedly dulled my sonic memory but I don’t recall the 555 being nearly this refined, nor did it combine treble airiness and detail with a total lack of transistor grain the way the 851 does.

I spent much of last Friday installing the 851Ws, rebuilding my racks and rewiring my entire system to accommodate them. As I wrote earlier in this blog, these two amps—at under $3,400 MSRP per pair—replaced a vastly more expensive stereo amp (name withheld to protect the innocent) and outperformed it from the moment I turned them on. (Sensitivity and compatibility have something to do with this, but not everything.) When my girlfriend—a musically sensitive listener but not an audiophile (thank God!)—arrived in the afternoon, she had no idea that I’d changed gear but she immediately heard an improvement and asked why the system sounded so much better…why the little details that replicate reality were so much more present. She got it right away, without any coaching from me.

The next day, Tom Altobelli came over for dinner again and sitting at the table, back to the stereo, he noticed something different and asked me what had changed. Tom is a Cambridge Audio dealer and glancing at the 851Ws behind him, remarked “I just sold one to an old client and he loves it! Any idea why it’s so cheap?” Honestly, I have no idea how Cambridge does it but I’m happy they do and even happier I bought mine.

The Cambridge Azur 851W is certainly an ideal “Entry-level” amp for aspiring high-enders but, on a selfish note, it also seems the perfect amp for “Golden Ear” music lovers entering their Golden Years: they’re powerful enough to drive most any speaker, versatile enough to work in any system and, at $1,699 each, inexpensive enough to respect the retirement account. The only problem I can see is that, as these amps are built to last a lifetime, they’ll probably survive their aged owners. Choose your heirs wisely….