Oct 032010

Just next door from the Creek/Epos room, UK high-end distributor Absolute Sounds had block booked four large suites in which to conduct ticketed demonstrations. They had taken over the Nurburgring Suite, Magny Cours Suite, Catalunya Suite and the Imola Suite.

This approach to exhibiting (something Absolute Sounds is well known for doing) meant that I literally had to rush around the Suites taking photos as quickly as I could;  sadly this means I can offer no opinions on sound quality.

It was a great frustration to me over the Saturday that every time I tried to get into these rooms the doors were locked. However on Sunday morning a window of opportunity presented itself to me so I took it and I just managed to get photos in the three main rooms before the scheduled demonstrations began.

Audio Research who were exhibiting in the Imola Suite, sadly had closed their doors and locked them on the Sunday morning just after I had finished taking photos in the other suites ( there being next door to each other helped in this task ) therefore I can offer nothing on what was in this room….sorry.

I will dedicate this part of the show report in its totality to Absolute Sounds in the form mostly as a gallery of images;  adding text to those products that I think will be of most interest to AIHFA readers.

Absolute Sounds at the National Audio Show 2010

The Catalunya Suite

To the right side of this room Absolute Sounds had various items on display including a new Dan D’Agostino (ex-Krell) mono amplifier called the Momentum. It is a monoblock  and the first in a new line of products being sold under the Dan D’Agostino Inc name. A pre-amplifier is to follow at some undisclosed time in the future.

His website (http://www.dagostinoinc.com/) has this to say about the new company and the Momentum…..

“Achieving what was once thought impossible: incredible power and incomparable finesse in a compact chassis.

Creating an amplifier that could meet all the demands of today’s audiophiles required two things: one of the world’s most talented and experienced designers, and a clean slate.

The Momentum is the first amplifier offered by Dan D’Agostino under his own name. As, cofounder and former Chief Engineer of Krell Industries, D’Agostino has earned a reputation for building the world’s best high-end amplifiers.

With the Momentum, he begins anew, using all the experience he gained in 40 years of designing amplifiers but starting entirely fresh, with no need to adhere to past concepts.

No other amplifier looks like the Momentum. No other amplifier sounds like the Momentum.

Revolutionary Cooling

The Momentum is the first production amplifier to use copper for its heat sinks. The thermal conductivity of copper is 91% greater than that of aluminum, allowing the Momentum to use a much smaller heat sink.

To further enhance cooling capacity, the heat sink uses venturis instead of fins. The mouths of the venturis measure 0.75 in / 1.9 cm, and they narrow to 0.5 in / 1.2 cm in the middle. As the air in the top of the venturi heats and expands, the shape of the venturi forces it to the top and draws more air in from the bottom.

The venturi-equipped copper heat sinks make the Momentum’s compact, 4-inch-high chassis possible.

High-Speed Transistors

The 28 output transistors used on the Momentum are among the fastest high-output transistors available. They run at a blistering 69 MHz, permitting D’Agostino to achieve incredible bandwidth. Each transistor mounts with two stainless steel fasteners—a rarity among flat-package transistors—for maximum thermal transfer to the copper heat sinks. A capacitor/resistor network connected to the base of each transistor ensures stability even at high frequencies and with low-impedance speakers.

Extremely high-quality construction

Every Momentum is hand-built and hand-tested in the United States. Momentum’s chassis is machined from solid aluminum billet, not stamped from sheet metal, so it is non-resonant and provides superior shielding from radio-frequency and electromagnetic interference (RFI/EMI).

The circuit board is assembled using through-hole construction, which resists heat (and stands the test of time) far better than the usual surface-mount boards can. Using through-hole construction also allows the use of higher-quality capacitors in the circuit. All resistors are 1% metal-film units. There are no capacitors in the signal path—the amplifier is DC-coupled from input to output.

Distinctive Design

The Momentum stands out in today’s field of look-alike high-end amplifiers. The warm glow of its polished copper heat sinks complements the visual focus of the amp: Its illuminated front power meter, which is based on the design of a Breguet watch face and features Dan D’Agostino’s signature. Inspired by the clean, no-fasteners look of the iPhone and iPad, the entire amplifier is assembled from the bottom, so there are no visible screws on the sides, top, front, and back.


8Ω 300 watts
4Ω 600 watts
2Ω 1,200 watts

Frequency Response

1 Hz to 200 kHz, -1 dB
20Hz to 20 kHz, ±0 dB

(@ 300 watts / 8Ω)
<.01 dB at 1 kHz
<.05 dB at 20 kHz

Signal-to-Noise Ratio
105 dB, A-weighted

26.5 dB

Power Consumption at Standby
<1 watt

1 balanced XLR
1 unbalanced RCA

High-quality binding posts

90 lbs / 40.8 kg

4 x 12.5 x 18 inches (hwd) / 10 x 31.5 x 45.4 cm (hwd)

Also along the right hand wall on static display were items from the Ricardo’s Studio selection. These included the Mimetism 20.1 CD Player and the 15.2 integrated amplifier as well as a Metronome CD 1 and Dartzeel CTH 8550 integrated amplifier.

The stunningly beautiful Metronome Technologie Kalistra Reference integrated CD player.

The Magny Cours Suite

A wall of Krell products.

Wilson Audio Sophia 3s with a Krell Evolution 402e power-amplifier.

Wilson Audio Sasha speakers £28000

The Nurburgring Suite

In the Nurburgring Suite Absolute Sounds had the very limited edition (only 30 pairs world wide) flagship Sonus Faber Fenice speakers. These had their world wide launch back in June at the Palazzo Grassi museum of modern art in Venice Italy….cost a mere $180000 (no UK price as of my writing this report)

Within this Suite Absolute Sounds also had on display the new speakers from Crystal Cables the Arabesques.

The main system in use in this room was the stunningly beautiful Devialet D-Premier integrated amplifier and a pair of Sonus Faber speakers.

Along the right wall there was a large selection of Prima Luna valve amplifiers which Pistol a spin off from Absolute Sounds, which focuses on less ultra high-end products for distribution.

A pair of glass cases full of EAT valves, Crystal Cables and accessories.

The Absolute Sounds rooms represent probably my biggest frustration at the NAS show bar the layout of the show its self, in that I was unable to sit down and listen to any of this amazing looking kit. The amount of time I had to try and cover everything, even over the course of the two days just would not allow me to give up the time to sit within a closed room demonstration.


The End of Part Three

In Part Four we will visit the last two ground floor Suites and make our way towards the truly massive Brooklands Suite market stalls area; which we will cover in Part Five.

©Text and all photos Copyright Adventures in High Fidelity Audio 2010 all rights reserved.
NB No part or portion of this article may be reproduced or quoted without written permission.

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