Displaying items by tag: phonostage - StereoLife Magazine

Over a century of spinning - A history of Dual

Dual is one of the brands highly regarded by audiophiles, vinyl enthusiasts in particular. And there's a good reason for that. The German manufacturer has produced so many outstanding turntables that it's hard to count them all. A well-preserved or restored Dual can be connected to any stereo system, even an expensive one, and not only will it look great, but with an appropriate cartridge, it should also sound so good that new, mid-range turntables will hide under the sofa with shame. Until recently, if you wanted to buy a Dual product, you would have to be patient, search through popular auction services and find a professional who could bring old electronics to factory condition. Fortunately, today Dual's products are not only museum pieces, decorations in trendy cafes, or turntables for connoisseurs who can appreciate the quality of their craft and sound. After the reactivation of the company, you can now purchase them again in audio stores. How did it come about? Is it something more than a short, one-time spurt? And why did so many vinyl fans get goosebumps just hearing that Dual was back in business? To find out, we decided to look at the company's history and find out what makes it so unique.

Dual CS 429

Dual has recently made a spectacular comeback. The legendary turntable manufacturer, which not long ago we used to associate only with vintage gear, suddenly came back into the game. First, a high-end model Primus Maximus was presented to the world, which can be interpreted as a kind of manifesto, a showcase of technical capabilities, and perhaps an announcement of the following models, which will be its simpler and cheaper counterparts. However, if we are looking for a budget turntable, we should instead not look at the devices occupying top positions in the catalog. I know, at first glance, all the inexpensive models available on the market seem similar. Still, it is enough to look at a few key components such as a cartridge, tonearm, drive, and rear panel equipment to already have an idea of which one is built solidly and which one just looks nice in pictures. If you take the time to do this, you will realize that Dual is not only a company with a history dating back to 1900 and an object of sigh for audiophiles who remember the 1970s, but also a company that offers some of the most interesting and best-equipped budget turntables. Will the automatic CS 429 be further proof of this thesis?

Copland CSA70

Created for the dedicated music lover, the new integrated amplifier by Copland is designed to provide exceptional audio performance that belies its power rating and price. The CSA70 provides four digital inputs, three analog inputs, a line-out function, as well as a pre-out terminal, a front-facing 6.3mm headphone output, and a 70 Watts per channel power amplifier that will surprise users who thought their speakers were power-hungry. For the vinyl enthusiast, we have included an excellent phono preamplifier.

Steve Shade - MoFi Electronics

During one of the few press conferences organized recently as a classic live meeting, not a video chat, I was particularly interested in a presentation of MoFi Electronics - manufacturer of turntables and accessories related to vinyl records playback, which stormed onto the market a few years ago, almost immediately winning many important awards. For many music lovers, this equipment is already well known but the history of its creation and the people responsible for it are not. I quickly concluded that a meeting in the real world is a perfect opportunity to find out all about it. Steve Shade, the representative of the American company, shared many interesting facts with me during a short conversation over coffee. It was not only a story of MoFi Electronics. During this meeting, I felt like I was listening to the latest news from a world that included other well-known brands - Balanced Audio Technology, Spiral Groove, EAR Yoshino, Harmonic Resolution Systems, and Fender. And that was just the beginning.

Linn Klimax LP12

Linn announces the latest iteration of their flagship turntable. Klimax LP12 now features new Radikal, comprising hyper-accurate speed management technology, a whisper-quiet power supply, and state-of-the-art motor design. Additionally, this turntable scales new heights of fidelity thanks to extensive experimentation in material science - culminating in the breakthrough that is the all-new flagship cartridge, Ekstatik. This marks the conquest of a new summit of performance, at the top of the industry-leading Sondek LP12 range. With the new Klimax LP12, listeners will experience their favorite albums - both cherished classics and those freshly unwrapped - as if it were for the first time.

Dual CS 418

Dual is one of the brands most respected by audiophiles. It has produced so many great turntables that it's hard to count them all and a well-preserved Dual turntable, especially if we are talking about high-end models, is an excellent investment. After a restoration, such a source can be connected to any stereo system, even an expensive one, without complexes. Not only will it look great, but with the correct cartridge, it should also sound so good that owners of new turntables will feel embarrassed. Until recently, Dual's turntables could only be purchased on the second-hand market, but fortunately, the company has risen like a phoenix from the ashes, releasing several interesting and affordable turntables. I was most interested in the CS 418, a classic manual turntable with a built-in phono stage, belt drive, easy-to-use tonearm, and Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. And the price - €499 for a brand new Dual? I had to see what's what.

Bryston BR-20

Bryston is one of the companies that use a very logical naming scheme for their products. Thus, amplifier symbols usually contain the letter "B", DACs start with "BDA", network players - "BDP", home theater processors - "SP" and preamplifiers - "BP". They are supplemented with numbers, which may indicate their output power (the B135² integrated amplifier delivers 135W per channel into 8 ohms) or inform us which generation of a given model we are dealing with (the BHA-1 is the first headphone amplifier from the Canadian factory, and the BDP-3 already had two predecessors - BDP-1 and BDP-2). Devices that cannot be assigned to any of the existing categories are scarce. So when Bryston decided to break the current pattern and release a preamplifier that should have been called the BP-18³ (because it is the successor to the BP-17³) but was given the BR-20 symbol, it was clear that this was no accident. The reason for this sudden change turned out to be, unfortunately, very sad. The Canadians wanted to honor their colleague and long-time company president, Brian Russel, who died in his sleep of a heart attack last year. At the time, Bryston's team was putting the finishing touches on the device, which was to be named BP-18³. Members of the design team and executives knew that this model could be a real revelation to many audiophiles - even those using very elaborate, expensive stereo systems. Thus, at the end of 2020, Bryston revealed the new two-channel preamplifier - BR-20.

Norma Audio Revo IPA-140

The history of Norma Audio began in 1987 in Cremona - the hometown of famous composers, such as Ponchielli and Monteverdi, and great violin masters - Stradivari, Amati, and Guarneri. It was a man with an equally Italian-sounding name - Enrico Rossi - who created the apparatus on which you can listen to such wonderful music in the comfort of your living room. The first device manufactured under the Norma Audio brand was the NS 123 amplifier. It was not a spectacular commercial success, but nobody expected that. A completely new chapter in the company's history began when it was acquired by Opal Electronics, a manufacturer of electronic measuring devices. In 1991, Norma's owner started a research project to understand how audio equipment can degrade sound and how this can be avoided. Seven years later, he found what he was looking for. It was certainly not one brilliant solution but rather a collection of rules and general guidelines. Unlike manufacturers who have built their reputation on a particular technical solution, Norma doesn't base its entire business on a single patent. But if you would like to know what you can expect from this gear, Enrico Rossi makes it clear - the sound should be natural, dynamic, and succinct with a very realistic midrange.

Naim Solstice Special Edition

Vinyl lovers can now finally enjoy the full Naim Audio experience with the launch of Solstice, the first turntable in the British brand's almost 50-year history. It comes partnered with a next-generation version of the iconic Naim Aro tonearm, an Equinox MC cartridge, Solstice Series Phono Stage, Power Supply, and bespoke accessories set. Naim will create just 500 units of this Solstice Special Edition package. "Solstice Special Edition offers an exceptional all-around experience. If you love the organic, authenticity of vinyl, now you can enjoy it with the musical purity and passion only a Naim system can deliver." - says Naim Audio Research & Development Director, Paul Neville.

Hegel V10

Music comes in many forms and there are now more available audio formats than ever before. Hegel's focus since the start has been to push the envelope trying to achieve better and more natural sound with less distortion in all products. In recent years digital audio has been in constant development and Hegel has implemented new and innovative technologies to improve the sound quality from digital media. With the revival of vinyl, many of Hegel's customers, dealers, and distributors have also wanted something for the opposite end of the audiophile world and encouraged Norwegians to make a phono preamplifier.