Monday, February 18, 2019

Core Power Tech under new ownership - Underwood HiFi purchases assets

Due to health challenges, owner of Core Power Tech, Mark Schifter, has decided to sell to Underwood. Best wishes to Mark as he deals with this and congrats to Walter at Underwood, a company I've dealt with for my own purchases more than once.  From the official announcement:
Underwood Hi Fi Purchases The Assets of Core Power Technologies, LLCpastedGraphic.pngpastedGraphic_1.pngLAHAINA, HAWAII (01/15/19) – Walter Liederman, President and Owner of Underwood Hifi, Inc is pleased to announce the Asset Sale Purchase of Core Power Technologies, LLC of Broomfield Colorado.  
Liederman comments - 'The EQUI=CORE, DEEP=CORE and GROUND=ZERO products have been designed and executed by some of the brightest minds in our industry. Manufactured solely in the USA, the CPT line will continue to expand over the next several years. There is a Product Plan in place that calls for several new offerings this year and next. Currently, all products will be shipped from our facility in Marietta, GA.' 
Core Power Technologies has been an industry leader in the Power Conditioning Segment since its inception in 2017. Liederman comments further – 'I decided to purchase this company as they already have a very good (product) market presence and they simply did not have the funds to operate the business and deliver the new and innovative products they had planned. It boiled down to creating my own brand or purchasing something existing. The opportunity to purchase Core Power really landed in my hands as three previous purchase attempts were unable to fund. I decided to buy this company as I had already sold over 100 of their products including 50 of the flagship EQUI=CORE 1800’s. It made perfect sense for me to buy the assets of this company as I know of nothing close in price that offers this level of performance.'
Winners of multiple Product of The Year Awards, the EQUI=CORE 1800 is the flagship product (pictured above) featuring 8 Hubbell Outlets and protected by a Fast Acting (audiophile approved) Circuit Breaker. Perfect for Audio or Video applications, the E=C1800 provides pure Balanced Power lowering the noise of your AC Mains to vanishing low levels. The 1800 is available in both 120 volt or 220/240 volt variants.  
The EQUI=CORE 1800 will be available in March at $1995 retail with special re-introductory pricing that has yet to be announced. Further product roll-out(s) are planned for later in the year. 
Underwood Hifi has factories working on their behalf in Newbury Park, CA as well as Iowa Park, TX. Underwood also owns companies making loudspeakers and electronics i.e. Emerald Physics and LSA.
Contact Walter Liederman
10am – 7pm West Coast Time

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Crutchfield offer remote listening test option

I was intrigued by the latest catalog I received from Crutchfield outlining a remote listening feature now available on site. As they explain, they've spent a few years developing a test facility that enables them to present sound samples of speakers tailored to the headphones you may have or might get from them as part of a listening kit. The idea being you pick a few speakers, select the headphone model, chose a music track (from metal to mellow) and then switch away to your hearts content as you listen.  Full credit here for trying to solve possibly the greatest obstacle to hi-fi purchasing for ordinary people, getting to listen before buying.

Now there's plenty of problems still to be solved here given the unknown parts of the chain involved but the general idea adds a lot more fun to browsing. I could not resist spending some time here so cued up a few comparisons, chose a pair of Sennheisers that I have for the listening, and gave speakers a run through some acoustic, modern jazz and metal.

My impression? It works better in theory than in practice. Since I am very familiar with Audioengine speakers I chose a pair of those first so as to calibrate my ears before adding various KEF and Focal into the mix. For the life of me, those Audioengines sounded nothing like I've heard from that brand before, and it was the Focals that sounded more like the pair on my desktop. Ok, maybe I need to try a couple of times, or maybe my rig, with it's Audient interface makes for a different response, though experience suggests not so much. Choosing floor standers which I don't own, I compared some $1500 speakers from Martin Logan, PSB and Monitor Audio. These all seemed slightly different and perhaps each slightly better suited to different genres (though it surprised me that I liked the PSB on metal the most).

The interface to all this is intuitive once you set it up, the changes between samples seem rapid though I am not convinced it always happens as you imagine - best to play a sample, pause it, then play another speaker rather than just hitting play on one speaker after another in rapid succession and assuming that a new 'play' just  stops the previous one and switches for you.  Doing just that on occasion gave me the impression nothing had changed (I know, I can hear the ABX arguments now but try it for yourself and see what you think).

Bravo for the attempt Crutchfield. I am sure this will only improve and it will be popular. Give it a try at

Friday, February 15, 2019

McIntosh slimming down and looking good.

Ok, not that slimmed down once you see the details (24" wide!) but there's no denying the new RS200 wears the leaner look well.  I've never quite warmed to McIntosh products. They always seemed too blue, too blingy and too concerned with the brand over the sound, even if I've admired their longevity, loyal following and apparent bullet-proof ability to be serviced and used for decades. Now that I say it, how did I not appreciate them more? Oh well, this still smacks of marketing the 'lifestyle' but as an all in one, (yep, there's speakers built in there) it sure beats Bose. $3000. More info here, no they won't send us one to review but am sure the usual suspects will be covering them soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Auris new headphone amp invokes the muse

Puffy PR piece but interesting looking design. New company (to me, they've received some reviews her), tubes, decent specs and a look that seems set domestic use.  This is not listed as of today on their website but it's coming. Priced at 1499, as of today in Europe but I only see two outlets in the US for them on their site so not sure what the price here will be.   See more of their designs here
Auris Audio presents you Euterpe, a new high end headphone amplifier. According to the Greek Mythology, Euterpe was one of the nine Muses, the Goddess of music and a ''giver of delight'' and that's exactly what Auris Audio Euterpe will bring to audiophile community, more happiness.
Designed in a single ended configuration, integreted audiophile asynchronous DAC xMos/ESS Sabre, it allows you to use digital sources such as PC or mobile devices. Integeted in a piece of art chassis, Euterpre ( Headphone amplifier/DAC/PreAmp/Stand ) gives you everything you've always dreamed of.
2 X PL 95 , 1 X ECC 81
Amplifier configuration
Single Ended
Power output
0.9 W RMS
Conversion rate
USB: DSD 64, DSD 128, PCM max 32bit/384kHz
Output Impedance
Low32–80Ohm / High>150Ohm
Power supply
115 / 230 V AC
1 x USB, 1 x RCA
6.3 mm Stereo / RCA Pre Out
Dimensions (WxLxH) mm
270 x 210 x 230
Weight (kg)
4.1/NET ( without PSU )
Weight (kg) PSU
Dimesions PSU (WxLxH) mm
95 x 185 x 55

Saturday, February 9, 2019

NYT Article explaining loudness war and music recording

Interesting op-ed from the Times today, dealing with a topic near and dear to the h(ear)ts of audiophiles. I like how it provides examples but the lack of real comparability (either by using the same tune or explaining what to listen for) meant that well-intentioned readers I shared it with seemed to find it less than clear. Oh well, full marks for effort.  Lively comments too.

Read piece here