The Umami Blue fills a big space in the Hana line-up
The Hana Umami Blue's lustrous finish doesn't just look good, it also reduces cartridge body resonance.
Classic Japanese moving coil design meets modern engineering.
"This could really be the 'end-all be-all' for those Hana customers that didn't think they could reach THAT point, the one set by the $4,000 Umami Red."
Kat Ourlian, our analog manager, owns a Hana Umami Red, and she is delighted that Hana is bringing the Umami experience to a more accessible $2,500 price point.
Listening to the Umami Blue, she was pleased to hear the same tight, left-right separation and highly focused sound that the Umami Red gave her on the first listen. After comparing back and forth on the same setup, she found that while the Blue is certainly all Umami, the Red offers greater bottom-end separation and several other refinements. So for the ultimate Umami experience, Red is still very much the place to be.
The Blue Gem
The Umami Blue shines as a significant upgrade for Hana M and S customers who know they may never buy a $4,000 cartridge but want to take the pure and palpable Hana sound as far as possible. "It's like Fiji Water," says Kat of the sound of the Blue. "Untouched by a human until opened. It's fresh."
watch Kat's video, where she unboxes a Hana Umami Blue and goes over the features of this amazing new cartridge in detail. Find out where and why it's shaped like a human ear, and learn a little about the best settings once you get one.
Like the Red, the Umami Blue has a body CNC'd from Duralumin. The brilliant color comes from melamine thermosetting, which uses vapor deposition and baking to create a hard glossy finish that's not just for looks but also resonance control. This means the lustrous finish brings increased clarity, better imaging, and bass definition.
The Blue has a precision-cut Microline diamond stylus, boron cantilever, and high-purity copper wiring, combined with the Alnico magnet-based generator found on the Hana ML.
"The Umami Blue is gorgeous in both look and sound," says Kat. "I'm stoked."
Klipsch La Scala: "It May Just Sustain You for Life"
In the April issue ofStereophile, Alex Halberstadt has written an excellent review of the Klipsch La Scala loudspeaker. It has a wealth of information about what makes a speaker like this so relevant and precious. Make sure you buy a copy.
"What the La Scalas do well is so rare in today's audio scene, and so fun, that everyone should experience it at least once."
In "today's audio scene," speakers use exotic materials and spaceship-worthy manufacturing processes, and you may wonder why a classic horn-loaded design has any relevance. Alex opens his review with a story of a Japanese audiophile that contextualizes what a speaker such as the La Scala can do for you.
And while La Scala's form does seem intimidating, Alex found its appearance "delightful." He wrote that the finish, especially the quality of the book-matched veneer, made the speakers "appear more heirloom-worthy and furniture-like than many pricier alternatives."
Sensitive horn-loaded loudspeakers reproduce dynamics like nothing else. You have to hear it to experience, for example, how a snare sounds just as snappy and quick as it does in real life, making you blink at the suddenness of the sound. The La Scala did not disappoint Alex. "Their ability to (re)produce lifelike dynamic contrasts and scale is unmatched by any speaker I've had in my home and matched by few speakers I've heard anywhere (all of which were larger)."
He found he had a "practically limitless" ability to set volume, "from Mozart-trio moderate to Mastodon-concert loud with no audible penalty."
The La Scala also created sonic images that Alex described as eerily, entirely life-sized, and were placed on as large a soundstage as the recording and the room allowed. He acknowledged that $13,198 is certainly an investment for a pair of speakers but wrote that "it will buy you one of the world's most sonically irrepressible and musically communicative speakers. It may just sustain you for life."
We have the La Scala in stock in walnut and black. Call us to see if they would be as good a fit for you as for Alex Halberstadt.
Apart from Klipsch, a few Upscale brands were featured in Alex Halberstadt'sStereophilereview of the La Scala.
PrimaLuna was a mainstay for Alex's listening sessions. He tried the La Scala with five amps, running the power amps through the "superbly transparent and neutral"PrimaLuna EVO 400preamp.
Out of the power amps, Alex found theManley Mahi Mahi(above) to be a "goosebump-inducing match" as it "succeeded in squeezing maximum dynamics from the La Scalas while imbuing records with gorgeous color, pace, and all the detail you might wish for." The Mahi Mahi lost that last bit of liquidity to some of the others but were the best match for those all-important dynamics.
Another choice, theWestern Electric 91Eintegrated amp, "resolved scads of detail and sounded both liquid and well-controlled," but Alex noted that dynamics were better served by other amps.
New Video: Feliks Audio Euforia EVO
The Feliks Audio Euforia EVO proves that output-transformer-less is so much more. Kevin explains OTL design and what makes the Poland-made Euforia EVO a totally bad-ass, top-end headphone amp.
Grover Neville, our personal audio manager, joins Kevin and covers a whole selection of excellent headphone pairings. Don't miss this!
Don't Forget, We're Open Again on Saturdays!
The Upscale Audio store at 2058 Wright Avenue in La Verne is partying again on Saturdays from 9 to 5. We will be running with a smaller crew, and there are a couple of important things to note:
1) As with all other days, you'll need tocall ahead and set up an appointment for a specific demo. If you decide to drop by, you won't be turned away, but your auditions will be limited to our headphone station and—only if the rooms are free—whatever systems we already have set up.
2)The warehouse will be closed, so if you need to pick up something, please call ahead, and we'll ensure we bring it over by Friday. If you buy something while you're here, it might be cheaper to ship it! After all, shipping is free above $49, and you'll save a little on La Verne city tax. Unless you live in La Verne...
Please call 909.931.9686 to make a demo appointment.