Monthly Archives: November 2011


First Watt is a Nelson Pass, of Pass Labs fame, audio product company that focuses on amplification products.  First Watt’s aim is to provide high performance amplificaiton products that don’t fit into the traditional commercial product line-up, such as amplifiers with under 25 wpc output.  Two amplifiers have just recently been released – the SIT-2 and SIT-1.

The SIT-2 was shown this month at two audio shows in Japan. This stereo amplifier delivers audio with single-stage single-ended Class A operation with zero-feedback and zero-degeneration. The SIT-2 outputs up to 10 wpc / 8ohms or 8 wpc / 4 ohms.

The SIT-1 also made its first appearance in Japan this month. The SIT-1 is a mono-block version of the SIT-2, also employing a single-stage zero-feedback zero-degeneration design and having the same wpc rating as the SIT-2.

The SIT is the only semiconductor in the circuit, surrounded only by resistors and capacitors. It features a user adjustable operating point which helps to optimize the performance for individual loudspeaker characteristics.

Both the SIT-1 and SIT-2 are now in production and are expected to be available for purchase in January 2012. Pricing is yet to be announced.

Look for more details at:


Soundmatters, founded by former NASA engineer/audio legend Dr. Godehard Guenther, has just announced a holiday sale for the foxLv2 purist non-Bluetooth ultimate portable. The foxLv2 will be discounted from Cyber Monday, November 28 up to December 31, 2011. The foxLv2 is a very compact – pocket sized – portable stereo speaker that has been designed to provide quality sound. The foxLv2 can connect to portable devices via an included audio cable.

The foxLv2 Bluetooth was just reviewed by Canada HiFi – see the latest holiday edition:

The foxL’s utilize patented “Twoofers,” “BassBattery,” and other technologies that provide smoother deeper bass and an “open & airy” listening experience. The foxLv2 now offers up to 12 hours (or more) of battery life, using a lithium-ion USB rechargeable battery. The foxLv2 makes a great companion for Kindle Fire, iPad, or other portable devices, given its small size of 5.6” wide x 2.2” high x 1.4” deep. The foxLv2 provides audio output from 80Hz – 20kHz. In addition, there is an output to connect an optional subwoofer.

The foxLv2 comes with the portable speaker, re-chargeable built-in woofer/battery, universal AC power charger, four international charger adapters (for US, Japan, Europe/China, UK/HK, and AU/NZ), USB computer charging cable, stereo 3.5mm audio cable, wrist strap, travel pouch, anti-slip mat, and manual. An optional bike mount is also available.

The foxLv2 is priced at $149 U.S. from November 28 until December 31, 2011 (normally priced at $199 U.S.). A wireless Bluetooth version with speakerphone capability, the foxLv2 Bluetooth, is specially priced at $199 U.S. (normally $249 U.S.)

Look for more details at:


The Audioengine 5+ (A5+) active speakers promise to deliver audiophile-quality sound and features at a price that appeals to just about everyone.  The new A5+ incorporates the same award-winning design as the original A5 but includes customer-requested upgrades and features.

With custom Kevlar woofers, silk tweeters, and hand-built cabinets, the Audioengine 5+ includes a remote control, dual audio inputs and enhanced thermal management. You can charge your iDevice via the USB power port and add a subwoofer to the variable output. Connect Audioengine 5+ to your computer’s headphone jack or pair with a USB DAC to achieve an even higher level of sound quality. The Audioengine 5+ works with any computer and there’s no software to install or settings to change.

Built-in power amplifiers save space and eliminate the need to connect the Audioengine 5+ to a stereo receiver or external power amp. Simply plug the left speaker into an AC outlet and connect the included speaker wire from the left to right speaker. With superior stereo separation and incredible imaging, A5+ has a considerable sonic advantage over boomboxes.

• Built-in power amplifiers
• RCA and mini-jack audio inputs
• Remote control
• Front panel volume control
• USB power charge port
• Variable preamp audio output
• Gold-plated connectors
• Full-size 5-way speaker binding posts
• Custom Kevlar woofers and silk tweeters
• Hand-built MDF wood cabinets
• Magnetically shielded
• Cables included

General Specifications
Type: 2.0 Stereo Powered (Active) Speaker System
Power output: 150W peak power total (50W RMS/75W peak per channel)
Amplifier type: Dual Class A/B monolithic
Drivers: 5″ Kevlar woofers, 20mm silk dome tweeters
Inputs: 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, RCA L/R
Outputs: RCA L/R audio (full-range, adjustable), USB Type A (power/charging)
Finish options: Satin Black, Hi-Gloss White, and Solid Carbonized Bamboo

Pricing and Availability
The Audioengine 5+ Premium Powered Speaker System retails for US$399 and is available from over 200 authorized Audioengine resellers or online direct from

For more info, please visit


The digital edition of the December/January 2011/2012 issue is now online in the Digital Editions section!

Here’s what you’ll find inside this issue:
– Headphone Amplifier Buyer’s Guide + Suggested Portable/Desktop/Full-size Headphone Amps
– Holiday Gift Guide From the Editors!

Plus reviews of:
– Panasonic VIERA TC-P55VT30 55-inch Plasma TV
– Musical Fidelity Upsampling Digital-Analog Converter V-DAC II
– UCube Compact USB Digital Speakers
– soundmatters foxLv2 Pocket-sized Bluetooth Music System

Click HERE to jump to the Digital Editions page



Trends Audio has just introduced their new BA-10 Bi-amp Audio System. The BA-10 System combines their PA-10.1D Tube Pre-amplifier with two TA-10.2 SE Power Amplifiers. In the bi-amplifier configuration, each TA-10.2 amplifier is presented with a defined/limited frequency spectrum to amplifiy, allowing them to operate with somewhat more ease, lending to enhanced performance.

The BA-10 Bi-amp Audio System allows for three possible setups:

Monoblock setup – where each amplifier is dedicated to a single speaker (left/right) for full frequency amplification;

Horizontal setup – uses one amplifier to power bass drivers (woofers) and a different amplifier to power treble drivers (tweeter) or the midrange and treble drivers and;

Vertical setup – bi-amping uses a single amp per speaker, with a dedicated channel for the bass driver and a dedicated channel for the treble

The Trends BA-10 Bi-amp Audio System comes with:
2 x Trends TA-10.2P Class-T Power Amplifier
1 x Trends PA-10.1D Tube Headphone/Pre Amplifier
2 pair x Trends QB-773 Audiophile Audio Cable

The BA-10 is now available at the following MSRP:
$699 U.S. (with Russian 6H23n tube) SE version
$699 U.S. (with USA 12AU7 Tube) GE version

Look for more details at:


Velodyne, has just introduced its first product in a new line of high performance headphones – the vPulse in-ear headphone. The vPulse has been designed to provide high definition sound from portable media devices and audio/video products.

Given Velodyne’s experience and success with its subwoofer products – we can most likely expect that the new vPulse will bring noteworthy bass performance, utlizing its 10 mm driver and aluminum housing.

The in-ear headphones’ pressure-relief system reduces air pressure within the ear canal, ensuring a safer and more comfortable listening experience and its in-ear design will serve to reduce outside noise interference.

A flat tangle-resistant cable allows for connection of the vPulse in-ear headphones directly to the audio source device. The cable is available in Velodyne’s electric blue and black, and also features a built in control unit for convenient control of playback, volume, tracks and even a button to enable users to answer their phones.

– Frequency Response: 20-20 kHz
– Sensitivity: 98.8 dB/1 mW
– Noise Reduction: 15 dB at 1 kHz
– Impedance: 16 ohm
– Driver Unit: 10 mm
– Cable: 43.5” (1.1m)
– Plug: Gold-Plated 1/8” (3.5 mm)

The vPulse is currently available at a MSRP of $89.00 U.S. directly from Velodyne’s website and will be available at retailers shortly. Look for more information at:


Epson’s new MG-850HD projector aims to deliver both an entertainment and presentation experience.  This high-brightness projector is equipped with 10W stereo speakers and a built-in dock for iPod, iPhone and iPad, providing instant high quality sound and big screen images without wires.

The versatile MG-850HD is an easy-to-use and flexible multimedia system for family home users and professionals that fits comfortably into virtually any setting – whether in the family room for a movie-like experience, at the office in a conference room presentation, or even outdoors around a barbecue.

Watch movies, view presentations, share photos, or enjoy content saved on portable devices on a big screen, easily project and play content from an iPod, iPhone, or iPad (while charging), or share high quality imagery from a variety of other media devices, including smartphones, PCs, tablets, game consoles, and more.

The MG-850HD uses Epson’s 3LCD technology to deliver reliable performance, high brightness of 2800 lumens light output, contrast of 3000:1 and rich, vibrant colours at up to 1280×800 WXGA resolution.

The two built-in 10W stereo speakers allow the MG-850HD to be used as a stand-alone speaker dock with four optimized audio modes. And with the microphone input, users can narrate photo and business slideshow presentations, or sing karaoke.

It features USB Plug ‘n Play instant setup, enabling users to instantly project from a PC or Mac or show slideshows via USB. Set up is easy with automatic vertical keystone adjustment and a horizontal slide keystone correction allowing the projector to be offset from centre so players can stand in front of the screen when playing console games.

The MG-850HD also includes HDMI and VGA inputs for versatile connectivity and flexibility, and is compatible with Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation3 and Microsoft Xbox 360.

Available now for $819 CAD.

For more info, please visit


BenQ has just introduced a successor to its GP1 mini projector, called the BenQ Joybee GP2. The GP2 features the same elegant black and white housing while adding a number of enhancements including an intuitive user interface, 720p HD-ready video capability, short-throw projection, an integrated iPhone/iPod dock, an optional three-hour battery pack, and a multitude of connectivity options.

Based on high-efficiency 3LED illumination and DLP projection technology, the light and compact 565-gram palm-sized GP2 offers unparalleled A/V multimedia on the go. With the projector’s simple plug-and-play operation and 200 ANSI lumen brightness, users can share HD-quality presentations, videos, photos, and games on a brilliant 160-inch cinematic display. Dedicated iPhone/iPod controls on the GP2 Projector’s included remote control make it easy to play audio through the unit’s built-in 2-W speakers or through external speakers via the Audio Out port. Built to travel, the GP2 Projector comes with a new carrying case that features a dedicated pocket for the power adaptor.

The GP2 is packed with multimedia connectivity including USB and SD card viewers, a document viewer for Microsoft Office and PDF documents, and mini HDMI for tablets and smartphones. A USB display feature allows users to connect their computers to the mini projector using a USB cable — no driver required — while the USB file transfer function lets them transfer their multimedia files to the unit’s 2GB of on-board memory storage.

The highly efficient GP2 Projector is designed to produce exceptional picture quality, providing users with clearer, brighter, and more vivid images without relying on traditional projection lamps. This allows users to enjoy the mini projector without worrying about issues such as decreasing brightness, color fading, or the expense of lamp replacement.

The BenQ Joybee GP2 is available now at an MSRP of $549 US.

For more info please visit or


Energy, one of the audio product companies within the Klipsch Group, has just announced their new Energy Power Bar Elite, which is the second soundbar in the Energy Power Series. The new Power Bar Elite incorporates plug n’ play functionality, Dolby Digital Decoding, as well as, 3D Surround Mode. The Power Bar Elite is stated as being in keeping with Energy’s product principles i.e. flat on-axis frequency response and minimal distortion and resonance.

The Energy Power Bar Elite comes together with a matte black finish 10-inch wireless, side-firing subwoofer. The subwoofer automatically connects with the soundbar wirelessly once plugged in to the power socket and is compatible with many television remote controls. Included with the soundbar is a 1.5m Toslink/optical cable, one RCA interconnect cable, a credit card style remote, a pair of rubber feet and a wall-mounting template.

The Energy Power Bar Elite utilizes a true, two-way speaker driver design with a .78 inch tweeter and dual 3-inch mid-bass drivers. Unique to Energy speakers, the CSM technology places tweeters and mid-woofers in close proximity to act as a single source for coherent, seamless dispersion. A built-in Dolby Digital Decoder is claimed to help ensure detailed, high-quality sonics, even from a television source. The 3D Surround Mode can be engaged with a button to add spaciousness to the sound and simulate a 5.1 home theatre experience

The Energy Power Bar Elite has a MSRP of: $599.99 U.S. and is available this month, November 2011.

Look for more details at:


Onkyo has just release a new compact home music system for iPod/iPhone. The new system is the CS-345 CD Mini System. The CS-345 is very compact, allowing for it to be used in smaller rooms such as a bedroom or office. The system has a built-in dock for iPod/iPhone, an integrated amplifier, CD player (supporting CD, MP3 CD, CD-R, and CD-RW formats), AM/FM radio and two bookshelf sized loudspeakers.

The CS-345 uses a digital power amplifier to power the pair of two-way loudspeakers. Each loudspeaker utilizing a dome tweeter matched to a 4-inch woofer, within a bass-reflex enclosure. The power amplifier features ActiveBass Control, which automatically adjusts bass depending on the volume, while Super Bass boosts bass frequencies.

The CS-345?s dock supports iPod classic, iPod touch (Gen1-4), iPod nano (Gen2-6), and iPhone, iPhone 3G/3GS/4. A video output jack is included, allowing users to connect the system to a TV and view video that is played from an iPod/iPhone. The system’s stereo input jacks allow for playback from Android devices and other electronics. A subwoofer output and a front-panel headphone jack are also included.

The CS-345 is currently available at a MSRP of: $299 U.S. Look for more details at on the CS-345 at: