Gershman Acoustics was featuring their new Grand Avant Garde speakers driven by a Krell K-300I Integrated amplifier with source audio provided by exaSound S-88 Streaming DAC, all the components connected using Cardas cabling products.
I was greeted by factory representatives from each of the component brands and given a high-level breakdown of each featured item.
Mr. Walter Schofield led by telling me about the Krell K-300I integrated amplifier. This is a 150 Watt per channel amplifier in a surprisingly small package. It is offered in 2 configurations either with or without the digital module for DAC streaming at prices of $8,500 with and $7,500 without the module (all prices here are in U.S. dollars). Even with its small stature, it does still offer 150 Watts per channel of output with up to 90 Watts of this power produced in a pure Class A configuration. This is done using Krell’s proprietary iBias technology which provides the sonic benefits of Class A operation without the excessive heat and power consumption of traditional Class A design. The magic of this technology happens by looking at the relationship between the amplifier and the loudspeaker rather than the input signal. It monitors the impedance presented to the amplifier from the speaker, the power and current demands and then adjusts (floats) the bias accordingly to make sure it remains in Class-A configuration. While not listed in the nomenclature, it also offers Krell’s XD technology which simply lowers the output impedance of the amplifier to the point where it makes it much faster so that the signal that’s being received by the speakers allows the driver to operate up to 30 % to 35 % faster. The effect of the ID Technology is to deliver all of the harmonics inherent in the recording and deliver them to the loudspeakers so that they can then realize (reproduce) these harmonics more faithfully.
Next, exaSound Audio Design to talk about the S-88 Streaming Dac. exaSound is a Canadian company located out of Toronto and came to be about 10 years ago. They were the first company to make DSD 256 kHz DACs and they also make multi-channel DACs which are regarded as a special interest area. The S-88 8-channel streaming DAC (a Sterophile A-plus recommended product) is making its debut at the Toronto Audio Fest, and it can convert DSD at up to 512 kHz (2-channel, 256 kHz multi-channel) and PCM at up to 384 kHz. It is a Roon certified playing point and supports multiple ways of streaming and is available for just under $6,500 (U.S.) and the featured server connected to it can vary between $2 000 and $4 000 (again, U.S. dollars).
Interestingly, exaSound offers potential customers a 30-day risk free trial of this product in your own listening environment. They are confident that you will be pleasantly surprised by the discovery of a new level of sonic realism, dynamics and detail in your digital media. Along with state-of-the-art performance, easy operation, remote diagnostics, online updates, upgradable output stages, customers also get exaSound’s acclaimed customer support.
Also making a debut appearance at the show, Ofra Gershman, Director of International Sales and Marketing for Gershman Acoustics, detailed the new improvements of their Grand Avant Garde speakers.
Also a Canadian company located in Toronto, Ontario, Gershman Acoustics has been around for about 28 years offering a line of high-end speakers that are designed and built in-house.
The Avant Garde – which debuted about 25 years ago – has been completely overhauled with new crossovers and a new internal cabinet design. The addition of what they call a bass-trap which eliminates the standing waves inside the cabinet coming back from the driver’s cone, which would normally hit the backwall of the speaker and then go back through the cone taking away imaging clarity. What the bass-trap does is, it redirects that wave to the base of the speaker cabinet down to the bass-trap where it loses energy and cannot come back to interfere with the woofer. This produces much lower, tighter, and more refined bass response. The bass-trap also enlarges the cabinet giving it more volume. The Grand Avant Garde in available for $15,900.