June 23rd: Technics tables for all
Is vinyl coming back into fashion, or what? Bryston has a turntable of its own, and now Technics has brought back one of its legendary direct-drive turntables, the SL1200.
We first saw it at CES in January. Back then it was a collectors'item, with only 1200 of them to be produced. The launch must have been successful, because Panasonic has put the table into full production.
These Technics tables have been especially sought after by deejays, because the platter gets to full speed in less than a quarter turn, something you can't achieve with belt-drive.
The relaunch has led to a call for Panasonic to bring back its one-time flagship, the Technics SP10. No word on that yet, but Technics, a long dormant brand, now has a range of two-channel audio products, from amplifiers to loudspeakers.
June 10th: Bryston spins records
It's not as though Bryston has ignored vinyl all these years. It makes a number of preamplifiers with phono stages. It used to make, and has now brought back, its MC-cartridge stepup transformer—in fact we own one. But perhaps it's a sign of the times that it now has its own turntable, the BLP-1.
It's a belt-driven turntable, with the motor driven by Bryston's own pulse width modulation power supply. The platter is made of Delrin, a Dupont polymer chosen for its ability to damp out vibrations. The record mat is part of the platter.
The BLP-1 has its own tone arm, made from titanium, with tungsten steel bearings. The headshell is not removable, to enhance rigidity. On the other hand, the tone arm cable is removable, which means you can use whatever cable you want.
With the release of this $4000 table, Bryston can boast a complete branded system...but for one detail. No cartridge is included. The one shown in Bryston's photo appears to be a Benz Micro Glider. Bryston says it will work to identify the available cartridges that will best match its table, tone arm and phono preamplifiers.
Will there be a Bryston-branded cartridge? We'd be surprised if the company isn't thinking about it.
May 12th: The Vancouver show lives on?
Notice the question mark. 2015 was the first year that the Chester Group attempted to run a high-end show in Vancouver...well, actually way out of town. We are surprised to see the Chester Group try its hand again. Why?
This is the Vancouver show's second successful year, says the press release. Successful? The few exhibitors who attended were delighted, because visitors had little else to see. But there's more. The Chester Group had run the wildly successful Montreal Salon into the ground, cancelling it with less than 10 days notice. It was saved by its previous owners, Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay. With only a few days to get their act together, they recruited exhibitors who didn't ever want to see the people from the Chester Group, and put together one of the best shows ever.
So has the Chester Group learned its hard-won lesson?
We're betting not. The phone number for booking a room is in the UK! The press release includes instructions on dialing overseas calls.
May 11th: The return of Dynaco
This famous hi-fi name dates from the late 1950's. The Dynaco MkIII monoblock and the Stereo 70 amp were among some of the most famous affordable power amps of their day. Now a Canadian company, Radial Engineering, is bringing back the Stereo 70 under its new name, the ST70.
It's still a tube amp, of course, using one of our favorite output tubes, the EL34. The rest of the tube lineup has been rejigged, since some of the old tubes are no longer available. We note the presence of the EF86 pentode, often a better choice than the usual twin triodes. The rectifiers are all solid state now, the power transformer is all new, and biasing is simplified: adjust until two diodes are the same brightness.
If you're old enough to have built a Stereo 70 from a kit, we must report that no kit version is likely to be available. We don't yet know the price either. The new Dynaco will arrive in July.
BY THE WAY: An extended version of our Flash Sale is under way, running through next Wednesday. Look for an eye-popping deal on Moon CD plater/DACs, and a 20% sale on BIS cables.
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