It’s been a while since my last post. A house move coupled with an extremely busy work schedule have pushed Hi-Fi to the side for the past few months. However I have tried to monitor industry news for interesting product developments and hope to bring some fresh commentary to myhifilife.com soon.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which takes place in Las Vegas every January, is always an interesting event to monitor for any keen audio enthusiast. Taking place at the beginning of the year, it’s become a popular event for High-End audio manufacturers to introduce new products to the industry.
I’ve never been able to attend the event down in Las Vegas. CES’s early January dates clash terribly with my work schedule as I am usually deep into the television season. This year both Season III of Vikings and Season II of Penny Dreadful were occupying my time in early January as the producers and networks worked diligently to get the episodes to completion for the spring series premieres. Though I am not able to attend, I enjoy monitoring CES for news and try to connect with as many manufacturers as I can about new product announcements.
It’s a bit late to be discussing it, but this year’s event, CES 2015, was no different, highlighted by some exciting new developments for one of my favourite audio brands, Nagra Audio. Those who’ve read though this blog will be aware of my affinity for Nagra. I’ve spent the better part of two years enjoying the Nagra Jazz preamplifier and VPS phono amplifier. I’m sure the folks at Nagra’s parent company Audio Technology Switzerland are looking to get the samples back, however they have been such a joy to use I have delayed their departure as long as possible. Great products like these are hard to replace.
With a strong interest in the brand I try to stay in regular contact with Marketing Manager Matthieu Latour over in Switzerland, and during CES 2015 Latour forwarded both press releases and a series of videos recorded each day that documented different aspects of the Nagra Audio suite.
Sharing a room with Wilson Audio, Transparent Audio and Harmonic Resolution Systems, the 5 videos document different aspects of the Nagra suite, including the introduction of two exciting new amplifiers, while providing each of the other manufacturers an opportunity to discuss the products they have on display. After watching the video from Day 1, I recommended to Latour that they indicated via a graphic display who the people in the video are, and thankfully the production team took the time to add the information for the subsequent videos. The videos offer insight into the CES 2015 experience for those who like me, are not able to attend. All 5 are available on youtube.com, and can also be found at the following links (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 & Day 5).
During CES 2015 Nagra announced two new amplifiers along with a new brand structure for upcoming product releases called the Classic Line and the High Definition Line. The aforementioned Jazz and VPS fall into the Classic Line and will soon be joined by a new 120 watt MOSFET amplifier that will eventually replace Nagra’s current 60 watt MSA amplifier. Though you can see the new Classic Amplifier here, production images of the new amplifiers have not yet been released. However I’ve included some design images were forward by Latour.
The High Definition line, which already includes the HD DAC, (amagnificent looking digital preamplifier and converter I had hoped to present the HD DAC at TAVES 2014 but samples were not available), will soon include a new statement design from Nagra in the form of a massive monobloc amplifier, presented is a prototype at CES 2015. Stereophile.com provided coverage of the new Nagra releases in their 2015 CES show report, which includes a picture of prototypes of both the Classic Amplifier and the new HD Amplifier.
Over the past few years, under their new ownership at Audio Technology Switzerland, Nagra Audio has been slowly re-defining their place in High-End audio industry. These amplifiers, which join the extremely good Jazz, VPS and HD DAC preamplifier products, reveal a strength of focus from Nagra’s design room in Switzerland. They look to be clean, simple and uniquely engineered and are powerful additions to the Nagra Audio series of products. I’m looking forward to the release of both amplifiers, and to see how they are received by the High-End audio community.
Nagra’s full press release introducing the Classic Line and High Definition Line of products from Nagra Audio, as well as information on the new amplifiers is included below:
Nagra offers a preview of its future product ranges
Las Vegas, USA – January 6th 2015. Up until now, the audio devices made by the
legendary Swiss brand Nagra have formed a single product line, but that is all set to
change from today as a second line has been created to reflect the increasingly specific
requirements of high-end audiophile fans. The two ranges are labelled “Classic Line” and
“HD – High Definition”. The launch of the Nagra HD DAC in 2014 was the first finished
product to result from the new strategy. The prototypes presented at the Las Vegas show
will soon reinforce this measure.
First amplifier in the extreme HD range
The appearance of the Nagra HD DAC last year was a vivid demonstration of what the
manufacturer means by “high definition sound”. This range has been created with the ambition of
getting as close as possible to total sound fidelity through extreme engineering employing the
most innovative solutions. For the HD DAC, for example, Nagra has pushed digital/analogue
conversion technologies so far that the richness and natural quality of the master recording tapes
can be found on a simple CD.
In Las Vegas, Nagra engineers will reveal the prototype of their second creation in the HD range:
a powerful monobloc amplifier with quite exceptional performance in terms of musicality and
expressiveness. In order to achieve this result, the amp’s circuits have been designed with a view
to obtaining total precision and running stability. Built around MOSFET transistors capable of
delivering more than a constant 1’000 W RMS at low impedance and displaying a 1 MHz DC
bandwidth at -5 dB, the amp is completely exceptional in every area: respect of the phase under
all conditions, reaction time, distortion and residual noise reduced to negligible levels (THD + N
< 0.003 %). With a 1’600 VA transformer which alone weighs in at 18 kg, each Nagra monobloc
HD amp is supremely capable of managing the most difficult and complex loads. If it contributes
to the lightning-speed dynamics of the amplifier, the massive power is nonetheless handled with
complete control, without a hint of brutality and always preserving the subtlety of the musical
content. Visitors to the show will be able to experience the benefits afforded by this nocompromise
approach. This exceptional amplifier will be launched in September 2015.
A successor to the Nagra MSA amplifier in the “Classic Line” range
The second prototype which will be presented by Nagra in Las Vegas as a preview showing will
be a stereo amplifier which is destined to replace the current MSA model. With power increased
to 120 W RMS per channel under 8 Ohms, approximately double that of the MSA, and boasting a
deeper case, this MOSFET transistor machine has been entirely revisited. It benefits from
Nagra’s latest developments in sound control. Typical of the “Classic” line, it is destined for
timeless hi-fi systems where the overriding consideration is the best value in terms of
performance and longevity.
The prototype of the amplifier, whose designation “Classic AMP” is still subject to confirmation,
will also be presented as a world premiere in Las Vegas and will be officially launched in April
30A, chemin de l’Orio, 1032 Romanel-sur-Lausanne, Suisse
Tel + 41 21 643 72 40 Fax + 41 21 641 75 32 firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthieu Latour, Marketing Director, email@example.com
About Audio Technology Switzerland
Nagra equipment is designed and manufactured by Audio Technology Switzerland at Romanelsur-
Lausanne in Switzerland. The company comprises two market sectors – professional
recorders and Hi-Fi equipment – perpetuating the values of excellence which have contributed to
the prestige of the Nagra brand since 1951.