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New in the Sound Rooms at Ultra Systems and The Cable Company

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Customer email newsletter dated: September 1, 2011.


New in the Sound Rooms at Ultra Systems and The Cable Company
September 1, 2011
Everyone reading this mailing thinks of us when they think of cables, but sometimes forget that we are into components too! Here are a few of the latest dream components offered by ourselves and/or our Ultra Systems affiliate. Please note that not all products are available for sale to all locations, but these are all products that you should know about.

Table of Contents (linked).
Ultra Systems welcomes Berkeley Audio Designs to our demo rooms!
The World's Best Headphones?
The World's Best Headphone Amp?

Stein Music Harmonizer Rave!
Sutherland Engineering 20/20: Class "A" rating in Recommended Components
Kuzma 4Point Tonearm, the Best in the World?

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Ultra Systems welcomes Berkeley Audio Designs to our demo rooms!
Over the past couple of years, the DAC that has won the most critical acclaim, and has been used by more audio reviewers than any other, is the Berkeley Audio Alpha DAC. The Alpha DAC handles digital data from "redbook cd" (16/44.1) all the way to 24/192kB . It will even decode HDCD (some of these guys helped develop HDCD!) both at 16 bit cd level and at 24 bit levels. With inputs for RCA, AES/EBU, or toslink, the Alpha DAC now adds the capability of using USB with their optional USB converter which handles full 24/192 output from either an Apple or Windows computer thru the USB interface.

Just how good is the Alpha Dac? One of many of the favorable reviews was from Robert Harley of TAS, who said:
"The Alpha DAC is a spectacular bargain. It is my outboard converter of choice for both CD and high-resolution sources-regardless of price."
-Robert Harley, The Absolute Sound, Issue 189

At $4995 (plus $100 if you want it in black), which is obviously not inexpensive, the Alpha DAC nonetheless competes with, and outperforms, even more expensive converters.

Berkeley Audio Designs has also recently released their "Alpha USB interface" ($1695). The Alpha USB features a High Speed USB 2.0 input data connection and switch-selected audio output signal type - either coaxial SPDIF using a BNC connector or balanced AES using an XLR connector. Sampling rates up to 192 kHz and word lengths up to 24 bit are supported. There are other USB converters available - we sell the M2Tech, HRT, and Bel Canto products, among others - but nothing else approaches the success of this Alpha USB product. If you want the best audio interface from your USB output, this is it.

"The Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is a breakthrough product that not only overcomes the limitations of the USB interface, but provides a state-of-the-art method of getting audio out of a computer."
-Robert Harley, The Absolute Sound, Issue 214

Ultra Systems is proud to add Berkeley Audio Designs to our showroom and our roster of components so that we can continue to offer the very best, state of the art digital products to our customers.

The World's Best Headphones?
Audeze is another company that is receiving critical acclaim for their newest LCD2 to planar driver headphones. The Audeze LCD-2 uses a proprietary thin film diaphragm that is housed between a super efficient push-pull magnetic structure. Audeze's manufacturing process, combined with their advanced materials and technology, produce extremely accurate and incredible sounding headphones. The LCD-2 comes complete with their ADZ-5 premium headphone cable and your choice of a wooden presentation case, or a nice travel case, to protect the fine rosewood and lambskin of the headphones.

One cool thing about headphones: very few people can afford (or even have a chance to listen to) the world's best loudspeakers, which cost megabucks. What all of us in this hobby can do, however, is to enjoy one of the world's best private listening experiences for the starting price of these excellent headphones ($945)!
The World's Best Headphone Amp?

To max out the Audeze LCD-2 or YOUR headphones (we are also Grado, Ultrasone, and Sennheiser dealers- all great companies) get your hands on one of the coolest of all headphone amps, the Cavalli Audio Liquid Fire!

Stein Music Harmonizer Rave!
In our May 5, 2011 Newsletter, we introduced the Stein Music Harmonizers to our customers as a very effective, though admittedly unorthodox room treatment product. Since that time, the Harmonizers have made an major impact at T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach this past summer, and have now received a rave review in the latest Stereophile magazine (September 2011) by none other than Mr. Audio Skeptic, Sam Tellig.

According to his article, the "Harmonizers, Magic Stones, and Magic Diamonds helped make the room boundaries disappear and the venue of each recording matter more. It was as if sound flowed more freely through the air". This is the same experience our customers that tried these products have had, and that we have been able to achieve in the sound rooms here and at home.

Highly recommended and available for your in-home audition through the Library.

Sutherland Engineering 20/20: Class "A" rating in Recommended Components
We briefly mentioned all of the Sutherland Engineering phono stages in our recent Analog newsletter. The new Sutherland 20/20 phono stage has now been recognized by the writers of Stereophile magazine as being one of the very best phono stages available, and has been given a "Class A" rating in the recommended components listing.

The 20/20 is literally two identical mono phono stages. Each channel is on its own circuit board, has its own shielded compartment, power indicator, and its own power supply. It is the ultimate in channel separation.

Unlike some of the other Sutherland designs, this one plugs into the wall rather than running on batteries. Both approaches work, but if your budget is in the area of the $2200 model 20/20, this is the phono stage sets the bar at a very high level!

Kuzma 4Point Tonearm, the Best in the World?
Also in the latest Stereophile (September 2011) was an in-depth, rave review of the new Kuzma 4Point tonearm ($6500) by Michael Fremer. (This review is well-worth reading as a primer on bearing design and implementation across a wide range of tonearms including other of our house favorites: Graham and TriPlanar.) Those of us who regularly read Mr. Fremer's reviews know that this is a reviewer who always speaks (and writes) his mind, and also that he has had the opportunity to try all of the very best analog components.

Keeping that in mind, when he writes that the Kuzma 4Point may be the best arm he has ever used, producing the best tracking, tonal balance, imaging, soundstaging, and the cleans vocals in his system, that is indeed high praise from an analog guru!

The Kuzma 4Point features damping in both the vertical and horizontal planes, allows easy changing of cartridges, and comes standard with a true bi-wired set of output cables that terminate in both a Cardas RCA box for fitting of custom RCA interconnects and a full length of hard-wired Crystal Cable silver-wired cables that terminate in Eichmann Silver Bullet RCA plugs.

Ask us about special termination options which can help us get your cost under $6k without compromising the ultimate performance of this excellent tonearm one iota!

For additional information on these offers and frequent updates speak with your Cable Company consultant, or visit our websites: and For hundreds of specials on used and demo cables, visit

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