The Future of Audio?
Masimo has big plans for Marantz
This brand has a special place in Kevin's heart.
Upscale Audio's founder and president, Kevin Deal, has been a collector of vintage Marantz pieces all of his adult life. "The brand has a special place in my heart," he says.
So he was excited recently to be at an event in New York City where he was afforded a view of the future of Saul Marantz's legacy, and quite possibly, the future of audio and home integration.
Last year, Marantz was acquired by Masimo Consumer Audio, which took over all of Sound United's brands, the others being B&W, Denon, Polk, Definitive Technology, Classe, HEOS, and Boston Acoustics. Masimo, the parent company, makes a range of monitoring products in the professional and consumer healthcare space. Far from the conglomerate diluting the brand, Kevin was excited to see how much emphasis Masimo is putting on high-performance audio. "They have a dedicated engineering team only for Marantz to ensure that products stay true to the Marantz sound," says Kevin. "They are going so far as to manufacture many of their upper-line products at their factory in Japan."
Kevin believes that HEOS is going to be "all-encompassing", and was pleased to see how Masimo is looking at high-quality music playback as being a part of healthcare. He was given a glimpse of future products that we can't talk about, but was able to observe that "they're pulling out the stops," describing how, for example, Marantz needed a seamless speaker grille for a certain rounded product, and bought a special machine just to achieve that artistic vision.
We often talk about music being healing, maybe we will soon be in a world where it's not strange for high-end audio and health monitors to share the same space.
What is HEOS?
HEOS, or the Home Entertainment Operating System, is a wireless networking feature built into Denon and Marantz products, allowing them to be controlled through a single app, as a group, or separately.
HEOS allows you to use your phone to stream to compatible devices anywhere on your Wi-Fi network or via Bluetooth. It can stream from Amazon Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, SoundCloud, Spotify, and TIDAL.
HEOS can stream stereo music to any group of speakers, allowing you to designate left and right channels. It can also stream surround sound, so a HEOS-enabled soundbar or HT receiver can join your group of devices.
We're Superstars, Thanks to You!
We've worked with so many of you who had never heard of Qobuz, but now it's your favorite streaming service and a huge part of your daily life. We love Qobuz at Upscale, where it provides the soundtrack to our customer demos, and, for most of us, to our home lives too.
So, we were happy to find we've been named a Qobuz Society Superstar for 2023, recognizing our support of Qobuz and high-resolution audio.
"Upscale Is about the Music"
David Solomon, vice president business development/chief hi-res music evangelist, Qobuz, said, "We’ve only given this award a few times in the past five years. The Qobuz Superstar Awards are reserved for companies that understand the benefits of marketing with music, not just gear. Upscale is about the music."
Founded as a classical music streaming platform in France, Qobuz has always been an audiophile platform, and many of us at Upscale agree that it sounds better than the leading competitors. David says, "I'd love to tell you that we have a secret sauce", but does say that Qobuz takes pains to natively stream bit-perfect. Talking about the sound, he says, "There’s a definition in the edge on Qobuz that the others do not have. Everything has an edge. Finger snaps, guitar, drums, your voice; everything."
"We Are Music Lovers First"
Unlike the other streaming services, Qobuz is very much a part of the high-end audio community, with David attending most audio shows and generally keeping himself easily accessible for dealer support.
"We are music lovers first," says David. "All of the others are multibillion-dollar conglomerates. Lossless streaming is a very small part of what they all do and they seem to miss some vital areas."
"We are music lovers first," says David Solomon, VP business development/ chief hi-res music evangelist, Qobuz.
One area of Qobuz that David is rightly proud of is the download store. Selling music lets them advocate for artists. "People still love owning music, and artists are paid on scale."
Qobuz's curated list of the newest additions to the platform remains our favorite way of discovering great new music. If you've ever said, "There's no good music anymore," you are probably not a Qobuz subscriber. This doesn't happen by accident. David says that a large part of the Qobuz staff are music writers and continually expound upon their passion. "We never stop listening and writing to give our subscribers a deeper understanding of the music they love."
The Qobuz magazine is now accessible directly from the app, allowing you, as David says, "to explore artists, stories, reviews, and panoramas while you’re listening to Qobuz."
Qobuz's latest exciting news is that it will soon be available in Japan. "They have been very discouraging about any streaming services being there, but Qobuz made the grade, and soon Japan will have something more than physical lossless media."
Apart from this news assuring you that Qobuz is going places, not going away, maybe, just maybe, this means more Japanese pressings on the used market as some Japanese audiophiles switch from vinyl to 96/24? Either way, at Upscale, we don't see our world as analog versus digital. It's analog and digital, and it's up to us to figure out what mix works best for our lives.
"It’s about the music," stresses David, and we totally agree!
Music So Good, The Sun Stands Still
We are down to the last couple of the Naim Solstice Special Edition, a complete analog source system that is limited to just 500 units worldwide. It is one of the best turnkey turntable bundles we've ever had.
If you're in the market for a high-end analog source and are at all worried about the exact match among cartridge and tonearm and table and phonostage, the Naim Solstice Special Edition takes away all this concern in one fell swoop. The only question you have to ask yourself is, Do I like a sound that is (as our resident analog expert put it) "Forward, tight, stable as hell"?
Moreover, our expert observes, "It ships ready to go, no fuss, no noise floor, no worries."
Naim Audio, historically not a turntable manufacturer, has partnered with Clearaudio for the table and paired it with Naim's cult ARO arm, which has been in development for over 30 years. And, of course, the electronics is where Naim's experience can really shine, and they have used lessons learned in making the flagship Satement series to handcraft a killer matched phonostage and power supply.
As our analog expert says, "The eponymous event with the sun comes twice a year, but this particular Solstice is one time only. Get yours now!"
New Video: Ray Delago of Klipsch Talks about the Jubilee with Kevin
The massive Jubillee will disappear even in a small room!
Kevin Deal talks to Klipsch's principal engineer, Roy Delgado, about the mind-blowing Klipsch Jubilee, a fully horn-loaded two-way loudspeaker.
Top Sales and Deals!
Here are the noteworthy sales and offers we have going right now. Note: there are further terms and conditions; this is just a summary. To get all the details, contact our sales crew on website chat, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or call 909-931-9686.
Going On Right Now:
Until August 15: GoldenEar's 'Two Subs Are Better than One' offer. Buy a pair of subs at a significant discount.
Until August 31: JBL L100 on sale.
Until September 4 Wharfedale Linton stands are included with the purchase of the speakers.
Until September 4: JBL L82 on sale.
Until September 21: Arcam summer sale. 20% and more off the SA10, SA20, SA30, and PA410.
Until September 30: Balanced Audio Technology is offering a full original retail price trade-in on your old stereo electronics for any new BAT product.