Product Announcements

Questyle Audio

In a further move into the arena of high quality headphone listening and as our first venture into portable audio, Ultra Fidelis is pleased to announce the addition of Questyle Audio.  Arriving later this week will be two dynamite pieces- The QP1R High Res Portable DAP (Digital Audio Player), $899 and the CMA 800i DAC with Headphone Amplifier, $2499.

Both feature Current Mode Amplification and all discrete components which add up, based on our initial auditions, to the foundation of a line that is out to slay giants.  Jon has already heard the QP1R DAP handily outdo the heretofore Anointed King of this category, and that model is virtually twice the money!  You’ve got to hear this pocket size powerhouse, made in the iPhone factory, with a pair of AudioQuest NightHawks.  It’s a marriage made in music heaven!

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The AQ Nighthawk Has Arrived

Nighthawk

I remember Bill Low telling me years ago that they were working on a headphone that would rewrite the price/performance ratio laws that had heretofore seemed set in stone. At the time, it meant that a serious set of cans had to cost at least a grand and theirs would be coming in at around $300! Well, time has marched on and it now seems as if the price point for a headphone to be taken seriously is closer to $2000, and there are several offerings that make even those seem, um, “affordable.” So the fact that the new NightHawks are now $600 still has them able to change the rules of cost to performance relationships if they can rival the big dollar jobbies sonically. And from everything we have heard about them, including my brief audition of a very pre-production pair at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last October, they seem poised to do just that.

We will have our first demo pair on July 1 and the first lucky folks to sign up back when they were vapor will be enjoying theirs, too. They trickle in after that so stop by, grab a listen through the incredible new Moon 430HA headphone amp and then anxiously await the arrival of your very own pair. We have plenty on order; it’s just a matter of AudioQuest filling the pipeline.

 

AudioQuest Jitterbug

JitterBug

When Steve Silberman gave me a sneak preview of this odd little device last October at Rocky Mountain, I was blown away by the improvements wrought by putting a tiny thing he pulled from his pocket in series with the USB output of the Mac laptop they were using to feed the DAC to demo music files at the Show. Simply put, everything about the sound got better- the singer sounded much more human and less automaton, the strings exploded when plucked and stopped instantly when damped, and all of this took place in a much more vividly three dimensional space that swamped the hotel room’s own acoustic contribution to the point that I was transported to the recording venue, a nice sounding studio in this case, quite convincingly. He then added a second of the same things to an adjacent, unused USB port on the laptop and, to a somewhat lesser degree, but in all the same ways, the sound got better still. Amazing!

Steve swore me to secrecy about the new Jitterbug and then asked how much I thought it would cost. Figuring that the Dragonfly USB DAC was $149, I took a stab at $129, a bargain given the improvements I had just witnessed. “Nope. Fifty bucks!” What!? Insane.

I’ve been listening to my digital music through a late prototype for a few months now, originating from both computers and dedicated servers, and if you are doing anything with computer audio, even Sonos from an NAS drive or computer, you will want, no, you’ll NEED at least one of these, and at the price you’ll probably want to plug every USB port in your life with one. We have a ton on order and they should start trickling in in early July. I urge you to get your orders in now.

 

We’ve Landed On The (Simaudio) MOON…

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Ultra Fidelis is proud to introduce MOON.  A perfect combination of performance, aesthetics and value, the MOON Neo series has certainly earned its way into our showroom.  We invite you to come to the store and give these beautiful new products a look and a listen.  

From our perspective- the folks at MOON are music lovers first, and equipment manufactures second.  Their passion is evident in all they do as a company.  This is something that we at Ultra Fidelis search for in our manufacture partners.  All it takes is one listen, and you know these guys care about how their products sound.

On top of that, it never hurts to look the part too…  Fit, finish and feel are all fantastic.   The MOON Neo lineup is readily available in all black, and in a two-tone black and silver with a slight custom order lead time.

Here are a few standout products from the Moon Neo lineup:

220i – Integrated Amp (40w) w/ Headphone Output $1850
310LP – Fully Balanced Phono Preamplifier, RCA & XLR Out $1900
260D – CD Player w/ DAC (USB/Coax/Optical) $3000
380D DSD – Highly Anticipated DSD Version Of The Stunning 380D $4900
340i D2PX – Integrated Amp (100w) w/ XLR input, Phono & DAC $5400

To learn more about MOON, please be sure to visit their website:

www.simaudio.com

 

Attention All Sonos Owners

boost_angle_bigThink of Sonos Boost as a $100 “Super Bridge.”  It essentially performs the same functions (acting as a dedicated, wired connection to your router to enable your Sonos players to be wireless or, placed remotely and un-wired, to act as a fortifier of your Sonos wireless network).

Why do you want one?  Well, if life is utterly groovy in your Sonos world right now, maybe you don’t.  But I will tell you that my Sonos life had been virtually glitch free for years, but that changed recently.  I can’t say for sure if it coincided with switching to a larger NAS to store more music or not, but around that time, I began having frequent messages from Sonos that it could not find music selections on my hard drive.  Sonos would play online music fine at these times, but not hard drive based music.

Yesterday, I replaced my Bridge as the connection to the router and NAS drive with a Boost, and placed the Bridge at the farthest forward outpost of my house, just in case.  I am now enjoying glitch-free listening again!  From the moment I had reconfigured my system, it was immediately able to play the very same tracks in the playlist that had, just moments ago, elicited a “Sonos cannot play…” message.

The network and RF environment in and around our homes is getting more complex all the time, usually without our knowledge.  Sometimes this becomes evident in ways we don’t understand.  In my case, when it interrupts my music listening, it is hard to think about anything else.  It seems as if Sonos understands, and has designed a device that makes everything right again.  For a hundred bucks, this seems like a phenomenal bargain.

 

 

Audio Research Reference CD9: A Dream Machine

AUDIO_RESEARCH_CD9Just in- impression made and ready to show you what is possible when Audio Research puts their mind to improving digital playback.  If you own a DAC8 and a decent CD transport, or are serious about Hi-Res Computer Audio, you need to stop by the store and give the REF CD9 a listen.   This is a true improvement over the DAC8, adding much of the design and circuitry from the Audio Research REF DAC at a more affordable pricepoint.

Digital inputs include USB, RCA, AES/EBU and Toslink and the CD9 features a world class CD transport.  Digital inputs allow you to replace both your current CD player and DAC with the CD9.  Like the Audio Research REF DAC, the analog output section features four 6H30 tubes and the power supply contains a 6550 and a 6H30 tube.

We love Trade-Ins… If you have a DAC8 or a CD8 and dreamed of what’s next- stop dreaming and come by the store to experience the REF CD9 in person.

 

Cambridge Audio’s 851C DAC/CD Player

Following the fantastic first impression the Cambridge Audio 851A delivered, we now have the matching Cambridge Audio 851C DAC/CD Player on display and paired to the 851A.

Our initial listening demo’s, while paired with Vandersteen 2 Ce Sig II’s and Vandersteen VLR Wood speakers, have been quite enjoyable… Plenty of detail, power, pace, balance and decay.  Not only does the 851C provide beautiful CD playback, we love the inclusion of 4 digital inputs (AES/EBU, Coaxial, Optical and USB) that allow you to use the 851C as the main DAC in your system.

The 851C has really impressed us at first listen and we certainly encourage you to stop in and give it a listen for yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodsong Audio Plinths for your Linn LP12

We are now offering LP12 plinth upgrades from Woodsong Audio.  These plinths look utterly amazing.

Many people have experienced significant sonic improvements with the upgrade to a Woodsong LP12 plinth, and aesthetically, a new plinth will take your LP12 to the next level.

REFERENCE SERIES (retail $650)

The Reference Series of Woodsong plinths is the standard line of finishes, including most species of wood.  Finish and construction details are done to the highest degree of quality.  Some of the woods included in the Reference Series are:

Bubinga, Wenge, Movingui, Makore, Curly Maple/Toasted Maple, Afromosia, European Beach, White Oak, Sapele, Curly Claro Walnut/Black Walnut, Honduras Mahogany and European Beech.

Numerous Rosewood varities are also available (retail $1000)

 

ARTIST SERIES (retail $1400)

The Artist Series plinths represent the highest level of the art of the LP12 plinth. These are made from very special boards which are more difficult to find, expensive, and often require special techniques in the process of creating an LP12 plinth.  These woods commonly take more time to create your plinth from.  Some Artist Series woods are:

Ebony Macassar, Cocobolo, Nigerian/African Ebony, Satinwood, Ancient Kauri, Madagascar Ebony, Bolivian Rosewood, Myrtlewood (pictured), Bocote, Hawaiian Koa and Jacaranda.

 

Each plinth is hand made to the absolute tightest of tolerances, offering a better fit than the stock LP12 plinths in many cases.  These plinths look and sound fantastic- and are a worthwhile upgrade if you own an LP12!

 

 

 

 

 

The New Vandersteen Treo Speakers

$5995 pair

Vandersteen has done it again.  The Treo has broken the rules for what is possible at its price point (and also established a shop record for excuses to not return a speaker after Jon took the demo pair home for break-in).  At $5995, it competes with speakers nearly twice its price and has already motivated a few of our customers to jump ship from their existing speakers and join the Vandersteen owners club for the first time.  Richard Vandersteen has taken the best parts of his Quatro, removed the built-in subwoofers, and lowered the price and size to a more manageable level for many hi-fi enthusiasts.  If you have Vandersteen 1’s, 2’s or 3’s, you must give these a listen, the added refinement is intoxicating.  Combined with a pair of Vandersteen 2Wq subwoofers, you have reference level performance for less than ever imaginable.

Stay tuned for an in-depth review, and keep an eye out for a few customer testimonials… This is a must listen.

 

 

Cambridge Audio’s 851A Integrated Amp

We have just unboxed the new Cambridge Audio 851A and must say we are impressed with the build quality and look of this integrated amplifier.

The brushed aluminum front panel and newly designed chassis look fantastic on this 120 watts per channel integrated.  Plus- the new display is much easier to read than the previous 840 series.

Other important features include 2 sets of balanced XLR inputs alongside 6 single ended RCA inputs, tone control with bypass, headphone jack, RS232 port, and a 3yr warranty.  All inputs can be custom titled on the display as an added convenience.

We are letting the 851A break-in for the next few days and will be giving it a critical listening shortly.  Hopes are high for this reasonably priced integrated.

 

*UPDATE*

We now also have the matching Cambridge Audio 851C DAC/CD Player on display and paired with the Cambridge Audio 851A.  The combo has really impressed us at first listen and we certainly encourage you to stop in and give it a listen for yourself!  Our initial listening demo’s, when paired with Vandersteen 2 Ce Sig II’s or Vandersteen VLR Wood speakers have been quite enjoyable.