CES Scene: A Baker’s Dozen of new Amplification Components

Show report
Solid-state power amplifiers,
Tubed power amplifiers,
Solid-state preamplifiers,
Tubed preamplifiers,
Integrated amplifiers

Moon by Simaudio Neo ACE all-in-one streaming integrated amplifier, $3,500

Moon’s new Neo ACE (A Complete Experience) is a do-all integrated amplifier offering extraordinary versatility. To this end, the ACE provides three analogue inputs, eight digital inputs (one USB, two SPDIF, two optical, aptX Bluetooth inputs, and WiFi and Ethernet inputs), a moving magnet-type phonostage, a 50Wpc power amplifier section, plus full integration with Moon’s well thought out MiND app. In short, the ACE supports virtually any and every musical input source imaginable, and comes with a 32/384 and DSD256-capable DAC section to offer a good measure of future proofing.

Nagra HD Amps, $80,000/pair

If you have read Hi-Fi+ Editor Alan Sircom’s very enthusiastic review of the Nagra HD DAC you might have wondered exactly what sort of power amplifiers Nagra might propose that you use in conjunction with its world-class DAC. Now we know the answers and they are the exquisite Nagra HD monoblock amplifiers, priced at $80000/pair. The Nagra HD amp arrives in a tall, slender chassis inspired by the Nagra VPA. The amp puts out 30Wpc of pure Class A power, then up to 270 Wpc in Class A/B mode, and finally can deliver a stonking 1kW of power into a 2 Ohm load. We can’t wait to hear the big beauties in action.

Questyle R200i wireless (or wired) monoblock amplifiers, price TBD

Questyle had a slew of new product offerings at CES (honestly, too many to mention here), but one of the most fascinating was the firm’s new R200i next-gen ICEpower-driven, 200Wpc monoblock amplifier, which can be configured as either a 5GHz wireless amplifier or as a direct wired amp with XLR inputs.

If used wirelessly, the amp can be fed either via Questyle’s existing two-channel T2 wireless transmitter ($999) or the firm’s new eight-channel, surround sound-minded T8 transmitter.  The point is that listeners can enjoy high quality power amplification without having to worry about stringing lengthy analogue interconnects or speaker cables all over their listening rooms.

VTL TL-2.5i linestage preamplifier with optional phono stage, $5,000

Enthusiasts accustomed to reading about VTL components carrying dauntingly high price tags will be delighted to learn that the firm’s new TL-2.5i valve-powered linestage preamplifier starts at just $3000, or $5000 with VTL’s hybrid valve/JFET powered phonostage installed. In other words, for not much more money than a garden-variety preamp would cost, you could have a real VTL with what the firm terms’ “stiff power supplies for each gain stage”, high quality parts throughout, a remote control, precision volume and balance controls, user selectable gain and mono function switches and an analogue circuit based on dual 12AU7 and dual 12AT7 valves.

The optional phonostage section is no less interesting, in that it supports MM cartridges via a circuit based on dual 12AX7 valves and then supports MC cartridges, either via a gain stage based on a single 12AU7 valve or via an optional low-noise step-up transformer. 

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