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THE MAJORS MOVE IN

America's big brand names get serious about hi-fi - By WALTER B. RIOS - Off Duty / Europe / October 1974 -Teil 3
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Die "Consumer Electronics Show" in Chicago - Teil 3

A MASSIVE SHAKE-UP in the audio industry may be in the making, judging by developments at this year's "Consumer Electronics Show" in Chicago. At the root of it is the change in consumer buying habits, causing many an industry big-wig to take a long, hard look at his market. Studies show that today it's a younger market buying stereo and 4-channel sets, and it's also a more quality-oriented market, demanding better performance and, despite inflation, prepared to pay the price.

While this is good news for manufacturers of high fidelity equipment, both American and Japanese, it spells trouble for the industry "majors", the mass merchandisers whose product lines are not geared to the demands of the audio component market.

Aus dem Consumer Markt ausgestiegen

The larger the manufacturer, the more difficult it is for him to change direction. So some have opted to get out of the consumer audio business altogether, among them RCA, Philco-Ford and Packard-Bell. Others are going the component route, where the approach can vary in a number of ways.

The most innovative is the all-out quest for a high fidelity image by introducing luxury-class equipment perhaps under a new brand name. When an electronics giant moves in this direction, look out because it has the money and the research facilities and if its engineers are given a mandate to shoot the works on a top-quality component line, there's every chance those fellows will come up with something spectacular.

Too expensive, perhaps, for the Marketing Department's liking. But fun, especially for journalists looking for interesting new products to write about.

Die Großen entwickeln im Mittelklassebereich

Most of the majors, however, keep tight reins on the Engineering Department so they will stick to a class of merchandise that normal customers can afford. Those most conservative in their approach make only slight changes from year to year, slowly phasing out tired old product lines and upgrading the new just a notch or two at a time. And there is a middle ground, too, where a manufacturer goes for broke with an all-new line that he hopes will move him, with a couple of skips and jumps, into the mainstream of the new audio market.

Viele haben die Sprache von High-Fidelity verstanden

Some manufacturers are seriously adopting the language of high fidelity, rating their products according to the strict standards of the IHF and competing spec-for-spec with long established manufacturers of quality audio.

Others, still convinced that mass-market customers can't be bothered with technical specifications, pick up only those words that have, in the view of the Advertising Department, a selling "ring" to them and use them like shiny tinsel to decorate "component" audio that's only marginally better than last year's package "stereos".

Where will it lead?

Some manufacturers known in the past for "package" audio will make their mark in the quality field. Others are due for a fall. The established brand names in high fidelity are in for a lot of competition. The market for quality audio will grow enormously and, for the consumer, there will be plenty of interesting new products to consider. Here are some more of them, as we conclude our survey of 1974's mammoth "Consumer Electronics Show".

General Electric

While giant GE moves slowly but steadily into 4-channel audio, its engineers are planning 'way ahead - they have a discrete quadraphonic broadcast system ready to go, needing only FCC approval to get it into production.

GE's system is one of four methods of broadcasting 4-channel now being field-tested under FCC sanction. An integrated circuit decoder, demonstrated at this year's CES, will be built into GE's 4-channel line as soon as the FCC sanctions one of the quadraphonic systems. The IC will replace the FM stereo decoder IC in current production units.

Along with GE's enormous line-up of digital clock-radios, portables with features such as an instant weather band or a TV-audio band, and miniature cassette recorders, there is a broad range of "component" styled music systems that have all but swept GE's long-popular stereo portables out of the audio picture.

Top of the new line is the SC4210 4-channel system with built-in cartridge tape player, AM-FM stereo receiver and four dual-cone speakers. Stateside price of the system is $319.95. Stereo systems in the line can be converted to discrete 4-channel with a decoder/amplifier accessory, and are wired for ambient 4-channel with a passive matrix that GE calls "QuadraFi" - add two more speakers to the system and you get a pseudo-quad effect. GE also plans to introduce individual components. Among the first will be a 3-way floor-standing speaker system, model SA80, featuring a front-panel brilliance control. Stateside price will be $129.95 each.

JVC-Nivico hat einen CD-4 Demodulator auf IC-Basis

Now that 4-channel decoders and demodulators are finally available in "chip" form, look for a rash of discrete quadraphonic equipment at budget prices to hit the market. Predictably, JVC's is the first, since they introduced CD-4 in the first place and have first crack at the IC demodulators now being delivered.

The basic CD-4 circuit board, utilizing two CD-4 chips, measures just 4.3" x 3.5" and can be built into lowest-priced 4-channel equipment. A larger board (6.3" x 3.5") containing 14 additional components is offered for high-performance systems. To demonstrate the production economy that these new ICs afford, JVC has put its first supplies of the chip into its lowest-priced 4-channel receiver, model 4VR-5426X.

With all channels driven from 20 to 20,000 Hz and THD of one per cent, RMS power is 13 watts per channel at 4 or 8 ohms. In addition to CD-4, the new receiver has decoder circuitry for SQ and QS matrix-encoded quadraphonic material. A special multiplex jack is provided for adding the decoder that will be needed for discrete 4-channel broadcasts when the FCC chooses a system.

KLH

In a departure from the acoustic suspension principle employed in its bookshelf designs, KLH now uses the reflex mode in three new models styled as slender columns with brown grill panels on three sides. The largest, model CS, stands 39 inches high and is a 3-way system, priced at $300, designed for placement on the floor. Two smaller columns, models CB (2-way) and CM (3-way), can be placed on shelves if desired. The KLH reflex columns are part of an all-new series of speakers called "Research X" that also includes four bookshelf models ranging in price from $90 to $150. The latter, Classic One to Classic Four, are all 2-way acoustic-suspension systems with one woofer and two high-frequency drivers each. The tweeters are mounted in an angled array to improve high-frequency dispersion, and a multi-position switch is provided for treble adjustment.

All four Classic models feature acoustically transparent sculptured grills.
Another departure for KLH is the introduction of a new single-play turntable, model M-60, with viscous damped cueing that is electronically actuated by means of a push button control panel.

At the end of a recording the tone arm lifts off and the turntable shuts itself off. The M-60's platter is belt driven by means of a 24-pole, low-speed synchronous motor. Rumble is -58 dB, wow and flutter 0.1 per cent.

Kensonic

Teac is now the Stateside distributor of Kensonic audio components and has two new models in the Accuphase series. Model E-202, an integrated stereo amplifier rated at 100 watts per channel from 20-20,000 Hz with both channels driven into an 8-ohm load, will be priced Stateside at about $750. The companion FM tuner is model T-101, featuring a variable selectivity IF circuit that can be switched to narrow the bandwidth and lock out strong adjacent stations from weaker signals. The tuner has three separate meters for signal strength, center tuning and multipath. Stateside price will be about $450.

Kenwood

While the introduction of a new top-of-the-line 4-channel receiver would usually grab the spotlight, it wasn't true at the Kenwood stand at this year's CES, because most of the new-product action was in stereo.

The 4-channel receiver, model KR-9940, is simply a higher powered version of the already available KR-9340. While the latter has a plug-in CD-4 demodulator, the new model is constructed with built-in demodulator, as well as regular matrix and an SQ decoder with wave-matching and variable-blend logic. Power is 50 watts per channel RMS, rated at 8 ohms with 0.5 per cent total harmonic distortion and all channels driven from 20 to 20,000 Hz. Styling is unchanged. Stateside price of the new all-systems receiver is $974.95. There is also a 40-watt-per-channel model, KR-8840, at $849.95.

On the stereo front, Kenwood has an entire new line of seven receivers, headed by the KR-7400, with 63 watts per channel RMS at 8 ohms, 0.3 per cent THD and both channels driven from 20-20,000 Hz. Refinements include direct-coupled output circuitry in the amplifier and a phase-lock-loop integrated circuit in the FM multiplex section. On the front panel, the tape monitor switch permits tape-to-tape dubbing while listening to the tuner or any other program source. Price of the KR-7400 in Stateside stores is $519.95.

The new features are also to be found in the "step-down" model, KR-6400, which offers 45 watts per channel (to the same RMS specifications), at $449.95. Lower priced models, with less power and fewer circuits, are the KR-5400, KR-4400, KR-3400, and KR-2400. Kenwood also has a new budget stereo receiver model KR-1400, offering ten watts per channel at 8 ohms measured at 1,000 Hz with THD of one per cent, its Stateside price $179.95.

Kenwood's line of stereo "separates" has also been updated with phase-lock-loop MPX in the tuners and direct-coupled amplifier outputs delivering higher power than last year's models.

The new amplifiers are models KA-8006, KA-6006 and KA-4006, the matching tuners KT-8007, KT-6007 and KT-4007. The top two tuner models have a new triple-function meter to measure signal strength, multipath distortion and stereo deviation on FM. With the latter circuit, the VU meter on a tape deck can be adjusted to match the FM transmitter's average modulation and thus maximize the signal-to-noise ratio of an off-the-air tape recording. The three amplifiers offer the same tape-to-tape dubbing feature added to Kenwood's latest stereo receivers, and the KT-8007 had the added fillip of a headphone amplifier with front-panel jack.

Topping the new Kenwood line is the 700 series of "super stereo" components. The 700T frequency synthesizing tuner, priced at $749.95, is styled along conventional lines with a linear tuning dial, but uses a crystal controlled oscillator. Kenwood claims its tuning accuracy to be 0.0024 per cent. A set of three light-emitting diodes provides center-tuning indication. The 700M power amplifier, also $749.95, delivers 170 watts per channel into 8 ohms at 0.1 per cent THD from 20-20,000 Hz, while the 700C pre-amplifier matches them in all-stops-out features and costs $649.95.

Koss

By means of circuitry built into the earcups, a new "Phase 2" dynamic headphone by Koss permits the acoustic ambience of the sound to be adjusted by the listener. On each earcup there is a "panoramic source control" with 0-10 range of adjustment, used in conjunction with a two-position "ambience expander" switch on the left earcup.

Put the switch in "N" position and the source control adjusts presence. In "E" position, the "ghost" center channel is expanded to enhance the wraparound effect of stereophonic headphone listening. There is also an A-B switch, on the right earcup, for comparing the adjusted sound with the original sound source, and the circuitry can be defeated for normal listening by rotating the source controls to "O" with the expander in "N" position. Frequency response of the Phase 2 stereophone is 10-20,000 Hz. It fits snugly around the ears, sealing off outside noise with fluid-filled ear cushions. Price Stateside is $75.

Koss also announces improvements in its lightweight high-velocity headphone design. These rest lightly on the ears and do not isolate the listener from the sounds around him. Latest models are the HV/1A and HV/ILC-lmproved, the latter with a level control in each earcup. Key to the design improvement, according to Koss, is a new low-mass driver element called "Decilite." Stateside prices of the new models are $54.95 for the HV/1LC-Improved and $49.95 for the HV/1A.

JBL

JBL's Decade L26, a two-way speaker system with 10" woofer and 1.4" tweeter introduced a year ago, now has two companion models. The Decade L16, with the same tweeter but a smaller, 8-in. woofer, will have a Stateside price of $135. And the Decade L36, priced at $1 98, adds a 5-in. midrange driver to the L26 components to fashion a three-way system. All three Decades utilize a ducted port enclosure, finished in natural oak with brightly colored grill.

Also new at JBL is a deluxe floor-standing speaker, the Jubal L65, priced Stateside at $398. It's a three-way system with 12-in. woofer and 5-in. midrange, topped by JBL's horn-loaded 077 tweeter which takes over at 6500 Hz. The woofer is specially damped, says JBL, with a die cast ring attached to the voice coil for greater cone rigidity so it will act as a piston. The enclosure is of the reflex type, finished in oiled walnut, while the grill is of stretch fabric over a 3-dimensional frame, with a choice of three colors.

Magnavox

In their first entry into the audio components field, the Magnavox people are playing the game strictly according to hi-fi industry rules, rating the equipment conservatively and building in plenty of high-performance circuitry. For openers, the MX line consists of four receivers of model 1570's 35 watts per channel moderate power, two stereo and two 4-channel. They range from the stereo model 1570's 35 watts per channel ($399.95) to the quadraphonic model 1630's 28 watts per channel ($599.95). Specifications of all four receivers are given as RMS with all channels driven simultaneously with 0.5 per cent harmonic distortion over a bandwidth of 20-20,000, Hz into 8 ohms. The amplifiers have an OCL direct-coupled output stage, which in the 4-channel models can be switched to stereo for double the per-channel power output.

The 4-channel models have both SQ and regular matrix decoders, while stereo models offer a passive speaker matrix for connecting four loudspeakers, if desired, to get a surround-sound effect from matrix-encoded material. Features of the quadraphonic models include four VU meters with independent level controls as well as a master volume control with switchable loudness compensation. The pre-amps are low-noise ICs, with signal-to-noise ratio 70 dB at the phono input, 80 dB at auxiliary and tape inputs. The tuner section of the MX receivers employs three dual-gate MOS-FETS and 4-gang tuning capacitor, its IHF sensitivity rated at 18 uV. The multiplex decoder is of the phase-lock-loop IC type, offering separation of 50 dB at 1,000 Hz. 40 dB at 10,000 Hz, with FM harmonic distortion less than 0.1 per cent in mono, 0.2 per cent in stereo.

The MX line offers three speaker systems, models 2810, 2820 and 2830, all acoustic-suspension designs in sealed enclosures finished in oiled walnut with black sculptured grill. They are three-way systems employing 2-in. dome midrange and 2-in. phenolic ring cone tweeter, with separate front-mounted controls. Stateside prices are $299.95 per pair for model 2810 (10-in. woofer), $399.95 per pair for model 2820 (1 2-in. woofer) and $499.95 per pair for model 2830 (15-in. woofer). Completing the lineup of MX components is an automatic turntable, complete with Shure M-75 cartridge, base and dust cover, priced at $1 49.50.

Marantz

Built-in Dolby noise reduction circuitry is featured in several new Marantz models, in line with a trend toward more widespread use of Dolby since the FCC's sanction of Dolby-ized FM stereo broadcasting. With Dolby capability included in the receiver or preamp console, it can be switched as necessary to the tape recorder or tuner.

The Dolby section provided by Marantz in the 4400 Quadradial receiver, 2325 stereo receiver and 3800 preamplifier includes a 400 Hz tone generator and controls for calibrating Dolby levels, features omitted for the sake of simplicity in many of today's cassette tape decks with Dolby. Marantz also provides the deemphasis switch, from 75 to 25 microseconds, needed for proper reception of the newly sanctioned FM-Dolby stereocasts.

The 4400, Marantz's new top-of-the-line 4-channel receiver, offers 50 watts per channel RMS. THD is rated at less than 0.15 per cent from 20 to 20,000 Hz. The built-in regular matrix decoder includes a vari-matrix synthesizer for surround-sound playback of stereo records.

In addition, there is a pocket in the underside of the receiver for an optional SQ decoder. The front panel features a built-in oscilloscope. Price of the Marantz 4400 is $1250.

New stereo components from Marantz include four receivers, two integrated amplifiers, two preamplifiers and a power amplifier. Heading the receivers is model 2325, with 125 watts RMS per channel at less than 0.15 THD from 20-20,000 Hz ($799.95), followed by models 2275 (75 watts RMS per channel at 0.25 per cent THD, $649.95), 2240 (40 watts RMS per channel at 0.3 per cent THD, $499.95), and 2220B (20 watts RMS per channel at 0.5 per cent THD, $349.95).

The 2325 has built-in Dolby, while the 2275 and 2240 have an FM deemphasis switch for use with an external Dolby noise reduction unit. All the new receivers feature phase-lock-loop FM demodulator circuitry.

The Marantz 1070 amplifier, priced Stateside at $269.95, is rated at 35 watts RMS per channel, with THD below 0.3 per cent from 20-20,000 Hz into 8 ohms. Model 1040 at $199.95 offers 20 watts per channel from 40 to 20,000 Hz. Both stereo amplifiers provide a switchable passive matrix permitting the remote speakers to be used for the rear channels in a pseudo-quadraphonic setup.

The latest in Marantz separates is the 400M power amplifier, with 200 watts RMS per channel from 20-20,000 Hz into 8 ohms with THD less than 0.1 per cent. Price of $699.95 includes two front-panel VU meters. Without the meters (model 400), price is $599.95 There is also a choice of two new preamplifier consoles, models 3800 ($649.95) and 3600 ($499.95). The 3800 has built-in Dolby, and another new feature is a tape EQ switch permitting tone controls to be applied to a signal before it is recorded.

Micro-Acoustics (MA)

The multiple-tweeter array featured in the Micro-Acoustics FRM-1 loudspeaker will shortly be offered in a lower-priced model, FRM-2. This smaller version has a three-tweeter array (the larger model has five) paired with a 10-in. acoustic suspension woofer. Dispersion of the trihedron array, according to M-A, is 160 degrees in both vertical and horizontal planes, measured at 15,000 Hz. Like the FRM-1, the speaker will have a polyester stretch knit cloth grill mounted on a shaped steel frame. Finish of the enclosure is walnut vinyl. Power rating of the FRM-2 is 10 watts RMS minimum, 60 watts maximum, at 8 ohms. The tweeters take over at a 1700-Hz crossover point, and are adjustable by means of a high frequency level control. Micro-Acoustics rates the system's frequency response as 40-16,000 Hz ±4dB.
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Miida

Latest compact stereo and 4-channel systems from Miida feature radial dispersion tower speakers with a circular grill on each face of the tower. The woofer is positioned on the front face, with a tuned port on the back and tweeters on the left and right sides, so that each tower disperses sound in four directions. The tower speakers are available with 6-in. or 8-in. woofer, in a choice of "butcher block" or black finish.

Nakamichi

Though it started a trend toward vertical styling in cassette equipment with the models 1000 and 700 introduced last year, Nakamichi Research opts for conventional sloped-console styling for its new lower priced model 500, a two-head cassette deck priced Stateside at $399.

Features include peak-reading meters with an attack time of 150 microseconds and release time of two seconds, the slow decay allowing more time to read the peaks during recording. The meters also cover a full 45-dB range, from -40 dB to + 5 dB. The Dolby noise reduction system includes a 400-Hz tone generator for setting levels, and Nakamichi says that its Dolby circuitry is calibrated to 0 dB (instead of the usual + 2 or +3 dB) for maximum signal-to-noise ratio. A selector is provided for bias and equalization of three types of tape including chromium dioxide, and as an extra fillip for on-location recording there are three microphone inputs, for a blend mike as well as the usual stereo pair. Wow and flutter of the Nakamichi 500 is rated at less than 0.08 per cent WRMS. With Cr02 tape, signal-to-noise ratio is better than 58 dB, and frequency response 40-16,000 Hz ±3 dB.

Nakamichi also announces that it will shortly introduce a battery powered portable, model 550, with specifications virtually identical to the 500, also to include the new 45-dB peak-reading meters.

Nikko

Four new stereo receivers from Nikko range from the budget-priced ($159.95) STA-1010 to model STA-6060 ($319.95) offering 32 watts RMS per channel with both channels driven into 8 ohms from 20 to 20,000 Hz. Distortion of the STA-6060 at rated output is 0.5 per cent, and the power amplifier is of the direct-coupled pure complementary symmetry type. Special terminals are provided on the rear panel for adding a rear-channel amplifier to convert the system to 4-channel. The tuner section has a rated sensitivity of 2.1 uV and phase-lock-loop FM multiplex decoder.

Nikko's intermediate models in the new series are the STA-5050 with 18 watts per channel RMS from 40-20,000 Hz into 8 ohms at 0.8 per cent rated distortion, priced Stateside at $249.95, and model STA-4030, offering 16 watts per channel RMS from 40-20,000 Hz into 8 ohms at one per cent THD and priced at $219.95.

Onkyo

There are two new loudspeakers from Onkyo. Model 8 is a two-way system with 8-in. woofer and 2-in. cone tweeter (crossing over at 6,000 Hz) in a reflex-type enclosure with tuned port. Stateside price is $89.95. Model 25A, priced at $249.95, is a 3-way system featuring a 14-in. woofer with a small port in the cone cap. The 2-in. midrange driver and 1 -in. tweeter are hemispheric dome radiators, with Duraluminum diaphragms. The Onkyo 25A's crossover frequencies are 700 and 7,000 Hz, and the system will handle up to 60 watts power.

Philips

The Philips GA-209 Electronic, a new fully automatic single-play turntable, features three separate motors for turntable drive, pickup arm and cueing. End-of-record switch-off is actuated photo-electronically when the moving tone arm interrupts a beam of light striking a cadmium sulphide cell - at this point, the turntable drive motor is automatically switched off and the motor controlling the pickup is switched on, returning the tone arm to its rest position.

The belt-drive turntable employs a DC motor that is electronically controlled by means of a tacho-generator whose frequency signal registers and corrects for any speed variations. Wow and flutter are rated at less than 0.08 per cent while rumble (weighted according to DIN specifications) is -65 dB. The turntable also has an electronic muting circuit that passes a signal to the amplifier only when the stylus is in the groove. Stateside price of the GA-209 Electronic is $349.50.

Pioneer

The new-product news at Pioneer's CES exhibit this year was strictly in stereo, except for a quadraphonic headphone, model SE-Q404. It's of the dynamic type with earcups that provide a tight seal around the ears, each cup having an independent volume control. Stateside price is $69.95. Another new Pioneer headphone, SE-700, is a piezoelectric design, its driver elements made of high-polymer film with a thin coating of aluminum.

Its tone, according to Pioneer, is similar to that of electrostatic headphones, though it requires no polarization voltage and can be plugged directly into a stereo receiver's headphone jack without an intermediate transformer. Price of the SE-700 is $79.95. There are also two open-air headphones from Pioneer, models SE-L401 and SE-L201, which rest lightly on the ears and are also lighter on the pocketbook, priced at $39.95 and $29.95 respectively.

Pioneer's four new stereo receivers are models SX-737, SX-636, SX-535 and SX-434. With all amplifier stages now of the direct-coupled OCL type, they have more power than last year's models. The SX-737 offers 35 watts per channel at 8 ohms with both channels driven from 20 to 20,000 Hz, THD less than 0.5 per cent, and its Stateside price is $399.95.

Model SX-636 ($349.95), rated the same way, offers 25 watts per channel. Model SX-535 ($299.95) is rated at 40-20,000 Hz with 0.8 per cent THD, both channels driven into 8 ohms, and yields 20 watts per channel, while the bottom-of-the-line SX-434 ($239.95), measured the same way, offers 15 watts per channel. The tuner portion of the top three models feature new phase-lock-loop circuitry in the FM multiplex decoder. The top two models have an improved phono equalizer, with the top-of-the-line SX-737 also featuring a recording selector switch that permits tape recording of one source while listening to another.

There are three new Pioneer turntables, headed by the PL-71 electronic model with brushless DC servo motor and direct drive, its wow and flutter less than 0.05 per cent WRMS and signal-to-noise ratio stated at 60 dB or better. The manual, single-play turntable features a new S-shaped tone arm with oil-damped cueing Price in the States is $299.95. There is also a semiautomatic model, PL A45D, with two motors and belt drive, priced at $169.95, while Pio neer's manual belt-drive model, PL 10, is priced at $99.95.

Aiming its new open-reel tape deck, model RT-1011L, at the hobbyist, who wants 10 1/2" reels and will pay $599.95 for a heavy-duty 3 motor, 3-head machine.

Pioneer also offers him an elaborate 6-channel mixing amplifier as an accessory. It accepts up to six low-impedance microphones, and two of the inputs feature "pan-pot" controls for cross-channel panning. The MA-62 mixer is priced Stateside at $249.95. Also on the tape scene is Pioneer's new Dolby cassette deck, model CT-F7171, styled like a component, with front-panel loading. Introduced earlier in the year in Pacific exchanges, it's newly available in the States, where it sports a $369.95 price tag.

SAE

Stepping down slightly from the esoteric heights of its Mark VIB digital readout FM tuner, SAE offers a new Mark VIII at a more down-to-earth price. It employs dual meters instead of an oscilloscope but retains as a feature the digital display of station frequency. Harmonic distortion in stereo is 0.2 per cent, while stereo separation is 45 dB at 1,000 Hz, 35 dB at 10,000 Hz and 30 dB at 15,000 Hz.

Sansui

Now that Sansui's QS Vario-Matrix decoder is available in IC chip form, it's being built into a new series of 4-channel receivers. First models to feature the new circuit are the QRX-7001 and QRX-6001, both also including built-in CD-4 demodulators.

The Vario-Matrix, a set of three ICs and a Field Effect Transistor (FET), handles SQ as well as QS regular matrix with what Sansui calls "independent control logic" (as-opposed to gain-riding logic) for left-right and front-rear separation, and its designers claim to have achieved a "square" sound field with 20 dB separation in each corner.

Also included in the circuit is a synthesizer for surround-sound playback of conventional stereo. The QRX-7001 4-channel receiver offers 35 watts RMS per channel with all channels driven into 8 ohms from 20 to 20,000 Hz with THD less than 0.4 per cent. The QRX-6001, rated at 0.5 per cent THD under the same conditions, has 25 RMS watts per channel.

Sansui is rapidly filling out the new line of stereo receivers begun with models 771 and 661. Now there is an 881 featuring triple tone controls (midrange as well as bass and treble) and a separate level control for the front-panel microphone input. Power is 60 watts RMS per channel at 8 ohms, with both channels driven from 20-20,000 Hz at rated THD of 0.3 per cent. Further down the price ladder is the new 551 offering 16 watts per channel at 8 ohms with both channels driven from 40-20,000 Hz at 0.8 per cent THD. The budget model is the 441, with 11 watts at 8 ohms with both channels driven from 40-18,000 Hz at one per cent THD.

The jet-black stereo separates in Sansui's line have been updated to incorporate new ICs. The TU-7700 tuner, with six ICs in the 4-gang front end and an 8-element ceramic filter, is rated at 1.8 uV IHF sensitivity, 40 dB stereo separation and less than 0.3 per cent distortion in stereo. Its companion amplifier, model AU-7700, is rated at less than 0.1 per cent THD, yielding 54 watts RMS per channel at 8 ohms from 20- 20,000 Hz, both channels driven. The triple tone controls offer a choice of three turnover frequencies.

The new series includes a lower-priced tuner, model TU-5500, and a choice of two less elaborate matching amplifiers. Model AU-6600 is rated at 0.15 per cent THD, with 42 watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms from 20-20,000 Hz, both channels driven, while model AU-5500, rated the same way, offers 32 watts RMS per channel.

Also new is a top-of-the-line electronic turntable, model SR-717, with direct-drive 20-pole servo-controlled DC motor. Wow and flutter are rated at less than 0.035 per cent, and signal-to-noise ratio better than 60 dB. The S-shaped tone arm features knife-edge one-point suspension. At lower cost, Sansui offers a new belt-drive turntable, model SR-313, with 0.06 per cent wow and flutter, and 50 dB S/N ratio.

Sanyo

With its eye on the growing mass-market appeal of audio components, Sanyo's new-product introductions this year are nearly all in convenient "packages" designed to help the non-specialist dealer sell components with minimum fuss.

Sanyo's System 5, for example, is a combination of the DCX-3000KA 4-channel receiver, BSR-260AX record changer and four Polyphase SX-165 3-way speaker systems, priced Stateside just under $400.

System 4, with four smaller SX-97 speakers, has a $349.95 package price. System 2, also $349.95, matches the same receiver and turntable with two of the larger 3-way speakers and, since the amplifier has matrix circuitry and a discrete 4-channel output, it can be converted to a quadraphonic system by simply adding two speakers.

System 3, priced at $299.95, is built around Sanyo's DCX-2700K receiver, also fully quadraphonic, and has four small speakers.

System 1 is the same receiver and record-changer combination with two larger 3-way speakers, at the same $299.95 package price. All five Sanyo systems feature Shure magnetic cartridges.

Sanyo also has two new 4-channel receivers offered separately, model DCX-3250 with SQ and regular matrix circuitry ($399.95) and model DCX-3450 ($499.95) with additional CD-4 demodulator circuitry built in. Featured in both receivers is a set of four front-panel meters with individual level controls for speaker balancing. Indicative, perhaps, of Sanyo's new thrust into the mass market is the fact that there's no mention of amplifier power.

Sherwood

While its S-7244 Stereoquad receiver offers full-logic SQ capability, with 20 watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms with all four channels driven from 20-20,000 Hz at 0.6 per cent THD, several of Sherwood's latest models are stereo with the added feature of Dynaquad circuitry, a passive matrix.

Actuated by a front-panel switch, the Dynaquad circuit allows remote speakers to pick up rear-channel ambience and much of the 4-channel effects in matrix-type quadraphonic recordings.

Sherwood's Dynaquad models can also be converted to discrete 4-channel by adding a rear-channel amplifier through one of the tape monitor circuits. The passive matrix is included in Sherwood's SEL-400 control amplifier rated at 85 watts per channel with both channels driven into an 8-ohm load from 20- 20,000 Hz at THD of less than 0.25 per cent. It's also in the S-7310 Stereo/Dynaquad receiver, with 38 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 0.5 per cent THD from 20-20,000 Hz with both channels driven. The S-7310 receiver's tuner section is rated at 1.8 uV FM sensitivity, with 70 dB signal-to-noise ratio and 1.2 dB capture ratio. Distortion in stereo is rated at 0.5 per cent, and stereo separation 40 dB at 1,000 Hz.

Shure

Lowest profile on 4-channel these days is at Shure Bros., where the engineers candidly (ehrlich, offen) admit, they are working on a CD-4 cartridge but aren't ready to release it. So the action at Shure's CES exhibit was in accessories for recording studios and musicians. For multi-mike situations, Shure has a new series of colored windscreens that fit its ball-shaped microphones. Matching each of the mod colors ("True Blue", "Well Red", "Mean Green," "Screaming Yellow," "Florida Orange" and "Sound Brown") is a set of self-adhesive colored dots for color coding cables, sockets and mixer controls, so the sound man can tell at a glance which microphone is which.

Also new is the Shure M-610 Feedback Controller, with a set of filters and roll-off switches to smooth out peaks and valleys in a system's frequency response. By cutting troublesome frequencies whose resonances cause ringing, boominess or feedback, the controller permits gain to be increased to much higher levels before reaching the feedback threshold. Another microphone accessory, the Shure M-625 Voicegate, acts as a voice-actuated on/off switch between the mike and the mixing panel. The Voicegate attenuates the microphone's output signal by 16 dB until triggered by a sufficiently loud signal. This permits a large number of microphones to be left on without picking up ambient noise, causing feedback or requiring continuous monitoring and gain control.

Sony

The Sony tape recorders marketed Stateside by Superscope now include a 3-head cassette portable, model TC-142, with off-the-tape monitoring during recording. The battery powered monaural recorder has a built-in condenser microphone, ferrite-and-ferrite heads, and servo-control drive mechanism with dual differential-balanced flywheels. An end-of-tape alarm mechanism lights an indicator three minutes before the tape runs out and emits an aural warning signal through the earphone circuit. At the end of the tape, the entire mechanism shuts off automatically. A bias switch for standard or chromium dioxide tape is provided. The battery portable, which also operates on AC power, is priced Stateside at $199.95.

Also new on the cassette scene is Sony's TC-203SD front-load tape deck with Dolby, already introduced overseas. Stateside price of the component-styled deck is $399.95. Superscope also features a new Sony car stereo cassette player, model TC-25F, with built-in FM stereo radio, priced at $159.95. Another battery portable, model TC-92, has a special telephone jack for recording phone conversations (with an optional adapter), and is priced at $139.95.

Soundcraftsmen

The 10-octave equalizer by Sound-craftsmen of Santa Ana, California, is now available in a new model featuring light emitting diodes for visual balancing of input to output signal ratios. The equalizer provides ±12 dB adjustment of each of ten octaves, with separate controls for left and right channels. It is suitable for equalization of tape recordings as well as standard program material, or adjusting a system's output to compensate for room environment. It connects to any stereo system through the tape monitor circuit. The equalizer provides its own tape monitor inputs and outputs, with front-panel pushbutton selection, so that the tape monitor feature is still available through the equalizer itself. In the new model, RP-2212, separate input/ output taps are provided for tape deck and amplifier, with a front-panel selector for switching the equalizer to the desired mode without changing rear-panel connections. Price of the RP-2212 Record-Playback Equalizer is $349.50.

Superex

Combining an electrostatic tweeter with a dynamic-type Mylar woofer, Superex has fashioned a new stereo headphone, model EP-5. The crossover and power components are housed in a separate energizer that connects to the amplifier or receiver. On the energizer is a speaker/headphone switch, and an overload protection circuit is built in. Frequency response of the new stereophone system is 10-25,000 Hz, with crossover between woofer and tweeter at 4,000 Hz. Stateside price of the Superex EP-5 is $80.00.

Superscope (Billliggeräte)

While it continues to market Sony tape recorders and its own line of Marantz (budget-)components (Billliggeräte unter dem gleichen Namen), Superscope is broadening its mass-market distribution with budget-priced equipment under the Superscope label. Latest is model QR-450, a discrete 4-channel receiver rated at 10 watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms. Switch the mode selector to stereo and its front and and rear channels are bridged to provide 25 watts per channel RMS in stereo. Harmonic distortion in both modes is below on percent.

SQ and regular-matrix decoder circuitry is built in, as well as jacks for connecting CD-4. The receiver's tuner section features phase-lock-loop circuitry. Stateside price of the QR-450 is $299.95. There is also a budget stereo receiver, model R-310, with "Quad-raphase" passive matrix that picks up rear-channel ambience when a second pair of speakers is connected. The receiver, which can be converted to discrete 4-channel by connecting an adapter through the tape monitor circuit, is priced at $149.95. Model RT-840 at $199.95 is similar, with the additional feature of a built-in 8-track cartridge tape player.

Superscope is also expanding its line of cassette tape equipment, the latest two miniature recorders, models C-106 and C-108, with built-in condenser microphones. The C-106 features a tripod mount for an optional grip with remote start/stop. Price is $99.95. Model C-108, in an all-aluminum case, is smaller and lighter and costs $139.95. A medium-size portable, model C-104, features variable-pitch speed control and costs $99.50, while Superscope's largest model is the CRS-152 radio/cassette music system with two detachable speakers that also contain built-in condenser microphones for stereo recording. Price is $199.95.

Sylvania

First of the American "majors" to enter the components field in earnest, Sylvania moved heavily into 4-channel last year with four quadraphonic receivers, leaving its stereo line trailing behind. This year, with stereo still very much in the picture, Sylvania adds two stereo receivers with higher power and improved circuitry.

Model RS4744 offers 60 watts RMS per channel from 20 to 20,000 Hz at 8 ohms, rated at 0.25 per cent total harmonic distortion with both channels driven. Its FM section, with IHF sensitivity of 1.8 uV and 67 dB signal-to-noise ratio, features phase locked loop circuitry and two ceramic IF filters, while the front panel has such extras as a separate midrange control and a microphone input. Stateside price of the RS4744 is $399.

Completing the line is the lower-powered model RS4743 (30 watts per channel RMS, to the same specifications), priced at $299.

Sylvania's loudspeaker line, ranging in price from $69.95 to $249.95, has a new entry at the $99.95 price point, model AS-210W. It's a 2-way system with 10" woofer and dome midrange/tweeter, crossing over at 1500 Hz, in a sealed air-suspension enclosure. The system has a 2-position level control for frequencies above 8,000 Hz and a 3-position midrange level control. Sylvania claims that power frequency response of the AS-210W is flat (±3 dB) from 33 to 35,000 Hz.

TDK

There is an all-new line of open-reel tape at TDK called Audua. Its low-noise, high-output formula uses a magnetic oxide power quite different from that used previously for open-reel tape, says the manufacturer. A dense coating of particles only 0.4 microns side, with length-to-width ratio of 10:1, is applied to the polyester base material in such a way as to orient the particles along their long axis instead of at random. This high density, combined with the tiny size of the oxide particles, gives the new tape better high-end response, claims TDK. Audua will be offered in three reel sizes - 1200, 1800 and 3600 feet, the latter on 10^-in. metal reels.

Tandberg

Dolby noise reduction circuitry is featured prominently in the latest Tandberg open-reel machines. It is built into the recently introduced 9200XD tape deck and the companion 10 1/2" reel model 10XD due later this year. Additionally, Tandberg announces a medium-priced deck with Dolby, model 3600XD. Like the others, it is designed around the Cross-Field recording system, employing a separate head, positioned opposite the regular recording head, to apply bias signal to the tape. Tandberg's specification for the new machine are a minimum signal-to-noise ratio of 59 dB with Dolby and low-noise tape. Wow and flutter are 0.1 per cent (DIN), and frequency response is 30-26,000 (DIN) or 30-22,000 Hz ±2 dB. The 3600XD is a 3-speed, 4-head (including Cross-Field head) model with full monitoring facilities. Its Stateside price is $599.50.

Teac

In both open reel and cassette, the latest Teac recorders are top-of-the-line models with more features and higher price tags. Now even the cassette is up in the $1,000 price class (Stateside).

Teac's vertical-styled model 850 boasting the same features as a fancy open-reel machine and commanding the same kind of price. With a 3-motor, dual-capstan drive system, it has a wow-and-flutter spec of less than 0.06 per cent and provides a front-panel speed control that can be adjusted ±4%. The 850 has three heads, off-the-tape monitoring capability, and separate Dolby noise reduction circuits for recording and playback. Dolby record and play calibration controls and 400-Hz test oscillator are included, as well as a Dolby FM/copy switch.
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TEAC 7340 Promotion Foto

Teac's equivalent all-stops-out model in open-reel is the 7300 tape transport, with direct capstan-drive servo-controlled motor. For ease of editing it offers separate cue and pause controls, and flip-up head covers.

The two-track version, model 7300-2T, has a special "edit" switch for exact splicing. Its four inputs are switchable to line or microphone. There are separate 3-position switches for bias and equalization, and a two-level meter switch.

The 7300 is available in 4-track stereo, 2-track stereo and in a 4-channel version (model 7340) with electronics housed in a separate carrying case. The latter's mixing panel includes Simul-Sync for synchronized overdubbing on any channel.


Teac also has a separate mixer, model AX-100, with six inputs and four outputs, suitable for use with any 4-channel machine. It has a built-in pan pot, high/low filters, overload indicator and slide level control on each input. The AX-100 mixer is battery or AC-powered. Stateside price will be about $200.

  • Anmerkung : Auch den Mixer AX-100 scheint es nie gegeben zu haben.


Teac also has four new electret condenser microphones. Model ME-120 is supplied with interchangeable cartridges for converting its pickup pattern to car-dioid or omnidirectional as desired, and it has a 2-position equalization switch. Model ME-80 is a cardioid type, with an omnidirectional element available as an option. Model M-50, also cardioid, can be switched internally to either high or low impedance, while model ME-40 is a low-impedance lavalier mike.
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Technics

Introduced by Panasonic strictly as an audio components line, Technics has moved upwards into super-stereo territory with separate preamp and power amp designed for rack mounting. The Technics SU-9600 features pushbutton input selectors, 4-stage direct coupling and 18 dB/octave high/low filters with selectable turnover frequency. Its two tape monitor circuits permit cross-dubbing, and the two phono inputs can be adjusted for cartridge sensitivity and impedance. Stateside list price of the SU-9600 is $629.95.

The matching power amplifier, the Technics SE-9600, offers 110 watts per channel at 8 ohms with direct-coupled OCL circuitry and two isolated power supplies. It, too, is styled for rack mounting, and it carries a $799.95 price tag.

Technics, which was one of the first to offer a direct-drive turntable, has a fourth single-play model in the series, the SL-1300, this one fully automatic. In this new model, the turntable platter is an integral part of the motor's rotor. Wow and flutter are given as 0.03 per cent WRMS, while rumble is -50dB according to DIN-A measurement standard, -70dB if weighted according to DIN-B. A feature of the SL-1300's tone arm is a Memo-Repeat mechanism for programming the number of times a record will be played - up to five times before automatic shut-off, or indefinitely. Stateside price of the new turntable is $299.95.

Latest Technics 4-channel receivers are models SA-7300X and SA-8500X, both featuring built-in CD-4 demodulator, as well as two kinds of matrix circuitry. Stateside prices are $529.95 for the SA-7300X, $739.95 for model SA-8500X.

Grabbing special attention at Technics' CES exhibit was the RS-676US cassette deck, a front-loading model in component styling already introduced with fanfare in the overseas military market. Among its special features is a 75/25 microsecond FM deemphasis switch that adapts an FM tuner for reception of new Dolbyized stereo broadcasts. The Dolby circuitry in the RS-676US cassette deck can be used for Dolby FM reception as well as for recording. The two-motor cassette deck has solenoid-assisted controls and boasts a wow and flutter spec of 0.063 per cent WRMS. Its VU meters can be switched to peak reading by means of a front-panel button.

Technics is also moving into the realm of high-price loudspeakers, with a 4-way floor-standing system, model T-500, priced at $429.95. Its seven drivers include two 10" woofers, a 5" midrange, two 1" tweeters and two angled supertweeters. A smaller floor-standing speaker, model T-400, is a 4-way system with five drivers, priced Stateside at $279.95. A 3-way bookshelf model, T-300, costs $179.95, while Technics' budget model is the T-200 bookshelf with 10-in. woofer and 1in. ring tweeter priced at $99.95. All four Technics speakers feature a sculptured removable grill available in blue or brown.

Toshiba

In its latest radio/recorder, popular hybrid of a portable transistor radio and cassette tape recorder, Toshiba features a multi-mix system for recording from radio and microphone at the same time. An IC condenser microphone is built in. Also provided is a "sleepswitch" that turns off the unit automatically, while an automatic play device can be set to replay a tape after it is rewound to the beginning. The tape mechanism also has provision for cueing and reviewing as the recorded sound remains audible if the fast forward or rewind button is pressed only half way down. Stateside price of the new Toshiba, model RT-333F, is $159.95.

Toshiba has a new cartridge tape deck, model PE-1150, that both plays and records in stereo on 8-track tape. Its controls include fast forward and pause, and there are separate VU meters for left and right channel recording level control. The cartridge deck is styled like a component, with all controls on the front, including microphone inputs and stereo headphone output. Stateside price $149.95.

Yamaha

After several years of marketing medium-priced audio equipment, giant Yamaha, of piano and electronic instrument fame, is starting to flex its technological muscles in order to make a mark in the components field.

Shown at CES were prototypes of a power amplifier and FM tuner in the super-stereo class. Yamaha's power amp is a single-ended, push-pull, output capacitorless amplifier, all stages direct-coupled and employing vertical type Field Effect Transistors. It delivers 150 watts RMS per channel in 8 ohms from 20 to 20,000 Hz, all channels driven, at a distortion level of 0.1 per cent or less. At 100 watts per channel, 20-20,000 Hz, THD remains below 0.03 per cent.

Frequency response is 5-100,000 Hz +0-1 dB. No price is quoted for the amplifier, but Yamaha's all-stops-out tuner, model CT-7000, is reportedly in the $1,200 class. As a design feature it employs negative feedback in the multiplex decoder circuitry that does away with SCA filters and achieves, according to Yamaha, a distortion spec in stereo of better than 0.02 per cent (at 400 Hz). On the front panel is an IF switch that changes the tuner's selectivity from 85 dB (in normal mode) to 18dB (in broad mode). The FM IF stage has 7-stage differential amplification, while the front end boasts a 7-gang tuning capacitor.

Yamaha's regular component line now includes four stereo receivers priced Stateside from $330 (CR-400) to $850 (CR-1000). There are also three integrated amplifiers and two tuners, the circuitry of these "separates" virtually identical to that of the equivalent receiver models.

The CA-800 amplifier ($470) offers 45 watts RMS per channel at 8 ohms from 20 to 20,000 Hz with both channels driven and THD less than 0.1 per cent. The front panel features an "operation" control that converts the output stage to Class A operation for use with high-efficiency speaker systems. In this mode, THD is reduced to less than 0.02 per cent with 10 watts output, both channels driven from 20 to 20,000 Hz into 8 ohms. Yamaha's matching tuner, model CT-800 ($370), offers an FM front end with dual-gated MOS FETs, three ceramic filters in the IF amplifier and negative-feedback circuitry in the multiplex section. The Yamaha CR-800 receiver, priced at $580, is a single-chassis combination of the two 800-series separates.

Zenith

Giant Zenith, whose traditional line of consoles and modular stereo remains popular while other Stateside "majors" drop out of the audio picture, is going 4-channel, with nearly 20 per cent of its 1975 models quadraphonic. In consoles, there's a choice of 4-channel models with all speakers up front, or two speakers up front and two in the rear. The all-in-one 4-channel console features a credenza-styled cabinet with sound for two of the channels emanating from the front, while the rear-channel sound is angled out to the sides. It's available in Early American or Mediterranean cabinet styling.

Zenith's 3-piece consoles have all audio components in the main cabinet but use remote speakers for the rear channels. In both console types, as well as in its modular systems, Zenith features the tuned-port Allegro speakers introduced a year ago. All Zenith's new consoles include an 8-track cartridge tape player, and deluxe models have decks with record as well as playback capability. Quadraphonic models have discrete 4-channel cartridge tape systems, as well as matrix decoders, built in.

Modular systems in the Allegro 2000 and 3000 series now have flywheel tuning. The sets also feature "Target Tuning", a set of three light-emitting diodes on the dial pointer. The LEDs are red, green and red, and if a red one lights up it's an indication that tuning isn't on target. Another innovation is Zenith's "Flight Deck" dust cover, with a special opening for inserting cartridges or cassettes in modular units without uncovering the record player.

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