Pono is Here (Posted on: 12/18/2014 12:00:00 AM)
We are pleased to announce that we have the long awaited Pono portable music player in stock at all of our stores. Essentially an iPod for audio lovers, Neil Young's Pono will play all the music files you have for your iPod as well as High Resolution files that the iPod can't handle.
With audio circuitry designed by Ayre Acoustics, the Pono can work with virtually any headphone on the market and will let your current portable headphones sound much better than you thought possible.
The Pono is also designed to hook up to your home stereo and provide a simple, moderately priced gateway to the world of Hi Res audio
An Evening with the Beatles in Mono (Posted on: 9/5/2014 12:08:06 PM)
Join us at Hansa Coffee Roasters in Libertyville as we play cuts from the first Beatles mono albums available in over 30 years. Hansa Coffee Roasters is located at 755 N. Milwaukee Ave, just behind our store.
Special Events (Posted on: 4/16/2014 12:00:00 AM)
Special Events: Record Store Day and Boulder/Transparent/Critical Mass Systems.
April 19th: To celebrate Record Store Day, receive 25% off the price of all used LP records. While you are browsing through our collection of used and new LPs, you might also take a look at our comprehensive selection of vinyl-related products, including cleaning supplies, cleaning machines, needles, cartridges, phono preamps and, of course, turntables.
April 25th and 26th: Rich Maez, Boulder's Director of Sales and Marketing, will be here to introduce and demonstrate the new 2100 series of amplifiers and preamplifiers. He will be joined by Bill Peugh of Transparent Audio and Joseph Lavrencik of Critical Mass Systems.To register, please click here or call the Evanston store at 847 864-9565 to reserve a time.
Boulder Seminar Postponed (Posted on: 10/11/2013 12:00:00 AM)
Due to production delays in the new 2100 series, the Boulder Seminars scheduled for October 22nd and October 23rd have been postponed. We will be rescheduling Rich Maez's visit as soon as we get updated information from Boulder.
Thank you and Congratulations! (Posted on: 8/16/2013 11:28:19 AM)
Thank you and Congratulations!
In celebration of the Hinsdale store's 30th anniversary, we held a contest to see who could bring in the oldest Hinsdale invoice. The customers with the three oldest invoices would receive a prize from some of our top manufacturers.
Well, after two months of searching your homes for old Audio Consultants invoices, we have our winners.
The oldest invoice, first prize and a pair of Magnepan speakers was won with an invoice from August of 1983, just a few months after the store opened its doors. Second prize and a pair of Transparent Audio cables went to a customer with an invoice from January of 1984. Third prize and a pair of Sennheiser headphones went to a customer, also with an invoice from January, 1984.
Thank you for all your well wishes and to everyone who called, wrote and came in to reminisce.
The Importance of Genuine Products (Posted on: 8/6/2013 12:00:00 AM)
Manufacturers are constantly monitoring the marketplace for counterfeit products. Sennheiser's program, which you can read about here, represents a good example of how manufacturers keenly survey the marketplace for non-genuine products.
The Wilson Alexias Have Arrived (Posted on: 7/9/2013 10:16:17 AM)
The Wilson Audio Alexias can now be heard at our LIbertyville store. While listening in Libertyville you can also browse through our extensive used record inventory. The rest of the WIlson Audio lineup can be heard at our other locations: Maxx 3 and Duettes in Evanston, Sophia 3 in Chicago and Sashas in Hinsdale.
Thiel Closeouts (Posted on: 6/20/2013 1:20:23 PM)
We have several models of discontinued Thiel speakers - demos, b-stock and factory closeouts. Please call any of our stores for more information.
September 2011 Newsletter (Posted on: 9/27/2011 1:34:30 PM)
Our September Newsletter features the Amarra Music Player sofware. Click here to find out more about Amarra and to find out what is happening in our stores.
August 2011 Newsletter (Posted on: 9/27/2011 1:30:03 PM)
Our August 2011 Newsletter sets out our Seminar Series lineup. Click here to read about our 2011 Seminar Series and to sign up for the seminars of your choice.
The THIEL 1989 Trade-Up Program (Posted on: 8/12/2011 12:00:00 AM)
We are happy to announce the THIEL 1989 Trade-Up Program. When you trade in your THIEL CS1.2s, CS1.5s or CS.5s, you will receive $1090 (the purchase price of a pair of THIEL CS1.2s in 1989) towards the purchase of a pair, or more, of new THIELs with a retail value of $5900. For more information on the THIEL1989 Trade-Up Program please click here or call any of our stores.
July 2011 Newsletter (Posted on: 7/22/2011 12:00:00 AM)
Our July Newsletter features the CEntrance DACport and DACmini. Click here to learn more about these products and to find out what is happening in our stores.
June 2011 Newsletter (Posted on: 7/18/2011 12:00:00 AM)
Our June Newsletter features the Universal MX-5000 Remote Control. Click here to learn more about the MX-5000 and what is happening in our stores.
New Monday Hours in Evanston (Posted on: 6/27/2011 12:00:00 AM)
Beginning Monday, July 11th, our Monday hours will be 10:00-6:00.
Ayre in the News (Posted on: 4/13/2011 12:00:00 AM)
Nearly every Ayre product can be found in Stereophile Magazine’s annual list of recommended components. The list, featured in theApril 2011 issue, includes the DX-5 Universal Media Player, the C-5xe MP Universal Audio Player, the QB-9 DAC, the MX-R Monoblock Amplifier, the KX-R Preamplifier, the CX-7eMP CD player, the AX-7e Integrated Amplifier and the DPS Turntable, just to name a few. Call any of our stores to arrange for a demonstration of the Ayre line of products.
New Products on Display (Posted on: 11/1/2010 12:00:00 AM)
Amphion Helium 520 floor standing speakers – Libertyville
Amphion Helium Bookshelf speakers - Evanston
Arcam BDP1000 blu-ray player - Libertyville
Ayre D5 universal player - Evanston
Boulder 1021 Player - Hinsdale
Clear Audio Concept turntable – Evanston, Libertyville, Hinsdale and Chicago
dCS Debussy – Hinsdale
dCS Sacarlatti- Evanston, limited time only
Gallo Reference 3.5 – Evanston, Libertyville,
Grado GR10 Headphones- Evanston
Project Tube Box SE II phono preamplifier - Libertyville
Wilson Audio Sophia 3- Libertyville
Wilson Audio Sasha - Evanston
Coming Soon: Arcam icube, Bryston BDP1
Please call us to verify the location of a particular model as we regularly rotate our equipment between stores.
A Special Offer from Audio Consultants and Transparent Audio (Posted on: 8/13/2010 12:00:00 AM)
Audio Consultants and Transparent Audio invite you to take advantage of a special upgrade offer towards Transparent Audio power products.
Transparent Audio manufactures some of the finest power conditioners on the market. Noise-free with no current limiting, Transparent Audio power conditioners will help the sound and picture of your home entertainment system achieve a whole new level of vitality while providing fail-safe, lightening-fast surge protection circuitry that never wears out.
In order to participate, simply trade in your existing power conditioner, regardless of manufacturer, towards the purchase of a new Transparent Isolator, PowerWave or PowerBank 6.
You will receive a trade-in allowance of up to 70% of the original retail value of your power conditioner and be able to take advantage of Transparent's power conditioner upgrade program at any time in the future.
This is a limited-time offer valid until October 31, 2010.
B&W Headphones and Computer Speakers Have Arrived (Posted on: 5/27/2010 12:00:00 AM)
We have just received the B&W P5 Headphones and MM-1 Computer Speakers. Please call any of our stores or click here for more information.
New Products from Boulder and B&W (Posted on: 3/25/2010 12:00:00 AM)
We are excited to have the newly updated Boulder 1021 CD player on display in at our Evanston location. Click here to read more. We are also eagerly anticipating the arrival of B&W headphones and computer speakers sometime in May.
New Products on Display (Posted on: 2/4/2010 12:00:00 AM)
We recently added several new products to our already comprehensive display from Micromega, NAD, Peachtree, B&W and Sonos. Please call any of our stores to inquire about any of our new arrivals.
800 Series Diamond (Posted on: 1/18/2010 12:00:00 AM)
B&W will soon begin shipping the 800 Series Diamond. Introduced at the 2010 CES Show in January, the 800 Series now features an all-diamond lineup along with other enhancements. Please call any of our stores to learn more about the 800 Series Diamond and to inquire about available current 800 series demos for sale. To learn more, click here.
Ayre QB-9 (Posted on: 12/14/2009 12:00:00 AM)
The Ayre QB9 was recently named product of the year in Stereophile magazine. The QB9 is a USB only DAC that when used in conjunction with a properly set up computer rivals the sound of many all-in-one cd players. We currently have a QB9 set up with a mac in our Evanston location and with a pc in our Libertyville location. Please call any of our stores to find out more about the QB9 and to arrange for an audition.
Headphone Update (Posted on: 11/14/2009 12:00:00 AM)
We have just added several new models to our already extensive headphone selection: two flagship models, the Grado PS1000 and the Sennheiser HD800 and the Shure SRH440 and Shure SRH240 sound blocking headphones. The new arrivals are currently in our Evanston location. In each of our stores you will find a dedicated area for headphone listening and a selection that includes full size and in-ear models, noise canceling headphones and wireless headphones. We also carry headphone amplifiers, adaptors and extension cables. Please call or visit any of our stores to listen to and learn more about our headphone selection.
The Beatles and the Chicago Tribune at Audio Consultants (Posted on: 9/5/2009 12:00:00 AM)
On September 1st, Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune and a select group of guests spent an evening in our Evanston store listening to the newly remastered Beatles CDs. Our very own Scott Soloway hosted the group who auditioned the new CDs on a system consisting of the new Wilson Sashas, Ayre MXR amplifiers, the Ayre KXR preamplifer, the DCS Puccini CD player with uclock and Transparent Audio cables. To read more about the evening, click here.
Classé Improves the SSP-800 Processor (Posted on: 8/28/2009 12:00:00 AM)
The Classe SSP-800, the best sounding processor we know of, is being updated with a new Dual DSP processing engine. For those customers who have already purchased a new SSP 800 containing the original DSP module, Classe will will provide a free upgrade kit. All current production SSP-800s are being built with the Dual DSP processing engine. As of October 1, 2009, the price of the SSP 800 will increase from $8000 to $9000. Please call or visit any of our stores to listen to and learn more about the SSP 800.
The Last of the Elites (Posted on: 8/3/2009 12:00:00 AM)
As you may know, Pioneer is leaving the television business and is winding down production. Several Elite models are already unavailable, with others becoming more and more difficult to come by. If you are thinking about a new Pioneer television or monitor, please call any of our stores for availability.
The Wilson Sashas Have Arrived (Posted on: 7/11/2009 12:00:00 AM)
We are pleased to announce that we have just received a pair of Wilson Sasha WP at our Evanston store. We think you will be quite impressed with them. Their arrival also means that our Watt Puppy 8 demo pair is for sale. Please call for details. For more information on the Wilson Sasha WP or Watt Puppy 8, click here.
2009 Seminar Series (Posted on: 6/15/2009 12:00:00 AM)
The lineup for our 2009 Seminar Series has been confirmed. This year we will be welcoming representatives from Rives Audio, Boulder and Crestron as well as our own Scott Soloway. And of course, we will have our yearly tour of the WFMT studios led by Rich Warren.
Click here to sign up for the 2009 Seminar Series.
Audio Consultants, Sound Opinions and WBEZ (Posted on: 6/5/2009 12:00:00 AM)
Audio Consultants is proud to be part of a WBEZ dinner hosted by Sound Opinions co-hosts Jim DeRogatis, pop music critic for the Chicago Sun Times, and Greg Kot, music critic for the Chicago Tribune.
Audio Consultants has donated the use of the sound system that includes B&W loudspeakers, Classe and Byrston electronics and a Crestron control system.
Click here to learn more about the dinner.
Rotel Introduces New Models (Posted on: 5/11/2009 12:00:00 AM)
Rotel introduces the new 15 series receivers, amplifiers, and surround processor.
Click here to learn more about the new 15 series.
The 2008 Seminar Series (Posted on: 7/8/2008 12:00:00 AM)
The lineup for our 2008 Seminar Series is set. As usual, there will be a tour of the WFMT studios guided by Rich Warren. We will also be welcoming Steve Silberman, Adam Center and Ariel Brown from Ayre Acoustics, Peter McGrath from Wilson Audio, Brad O'Toole from Transparent Cable and our own Scott Soloway. Click Here to register for the seminars of your choice.
The B&W Zeppelin Continues to Soar (Posted on: 6/26/2008 12:00:00 AM)
Since its introduction last year the B&W Zeppelin continues to be far and away the best iPod docking mini system we have heard. Shaped like the famous airship and very compact, the Zeppelin will impress you with its ease of operation and its musical performance truly worthy of the B&W legacy. Bring in your iPod and take the Zeppelin for a test spin.
Pro-Ject Price Increases (Posted on: 6/21/2008 12:00:00 AM)
Pro-Ject, has been our favorite supplier of high value turntables, phono preamps and headphone amps for some time and has always strived to keep their prices down. With the lowering value of the dollar and cost increases for parts, energy and shipping, something had to give; so on July 1st they will be raising prices between 10 and 20 percent depending on the model. The good news is that you can get the old price on any order placed by June 30th
Bryston and Grammy Awards-- Coincidence? (Posted on: 6/13/2008 12:00:00 AM)
Bryston has good reason to be proud. The following 2008 Grammy Award winning artists all utilize Bryston electronics in their professional/personal audio systems:
Album of the Year
Best Male R&B Vocal Performance
Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
Best R&B Song
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Mary J. Blige
Best Gospel Performance
See the proof with PS Audio's Noise Harvester (Posted on: 5/15/2008 12:00:00 AM)
We at Audio Consultants have never considered ourselves to be a "tweak boutique", but every now and then a product comes along that leaves us all scratching our heads. One such device is the Noise Harvester from PS Audio. At first, the little device screamed "gimmick", but as soon as we plugged it into the wall and watched its blue light start flickering, we were all shocked at the noticeable reduction in noise. The claim is simple: the Noise Harvester converts line noise to light and "drains" it through a small bulb, removing noise from the audio system. We experimented with it in many different circuits, with a few different levels of systems, and the result was always a dramatic lowering of the noise floor. Performance improvement for the dollar, the Noise Harvester is an amazing value. Learn more here:
PS Audio Noise Harvester
AudioConsultants welcomes Sonos and Audioengine (Posted on: 4/1/2008 12:00:00 AM)
We are pleased to announce that we are now dealers for two new brands of products optimized for use with music on your computer. The Sonos Multi-Room Music System products allow you to network your digital music collection and internet radio wirelessly throughout your home. Their bundled systems are surprisingly inexpensive, straightforward to configure, and use a delightful hand-held controller that will be intuitive to anyone familiar with an iPod.
At long last, we have found a solution for small, inexpensive powered monitors to connect to your computer... but not sound like computer speakers! The Audioengine A2 and A5 speakers surprised us with their musicality, ease of use, and value. Bring in your laptop or portable player and try them yourself, we think you will be amazed!
The B&W Loudspeaker Factory Tour (Posted on: 3/30/2008 12:00:00 AM)
If there's one thing we fight over around here at Audio Consultants, it's who among us gets to attend the B&W factory tour in England. Unlike most other loudspeaker companies, B&W actually manufacturers both the enclosures and drivers in their designs (two other such companies are Thiel and Magnepan). And as you may already know, B&W makes a lot of speakers! They are famous for their two-pronged approach to speaker design and construction: they have a research and development facility in Steyning where engineers are given free reign to experiment and innovate, and they have a state-of-the-art factory just far enough away in Worthing. By keeping these two facilities separate, B&W allows their engineers and designers the freedom to focus purely on optimum performance, regardless of manufacturing challenges. Having such a versatile factory filled with highly capable and devoted employees makes this luxury possible.
It's one thing to know this about B&W, but it's another thing entirely to see their crews in action. Normally, you the customer would just have to take our word for it. But recently, in honor of B&W's 40th anniversary, Home Theater magazine took a tour of the B&W facilities and took extensive photographs behind the scenes. For a rare glimpse into perhaps the most impressive loudspeaker manufacturing facilities in the world, click here.
May 8-13, Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Haitink conducts Shostakovich, Haydn (Posted on: 2/28/2008 12:00:00 AM)
Bernard Haitink leads the CSO through Shostakovich's Symphony No.4 and Haydn's Symphony No.101 (The Clock) at Symphony Center.
Video refresh rate wars (Posted on: 2/28/2008 12:00:00 AM)
Many customers shopping for flat panel displays are asking us about the “refresh rate” or “frame rate” specifications. Some LCD sets specify 120Hz or even 240Hz frame rates, while even the best plasmas operate at no higher than 72Hz. Can we conclude that plasmas are at a technological disadvantage?
Well, not really. Movies and video programs have frame rates (i.e. frames per second) ranging from 24Hz to 60Hz, so a perfect television would have no need for anything higher. The high refresh rates used by LCD panels can be helpful because LCDs can suffer from blurring during image motion. This is because LCDs are "sample-and-hold" devices where the pixels are on for the entire time until the next frame comes up. Because of our persistence of vision we still “see” an old frame while a new one is being displayed, creating a blurred image. Plasma panels do not use sample-and-hold and therefore do not have this problem.
The seminal research on the effects of frame rate on motion perception was done by Douglas Trumbull in his development of the Showscan film projection system. His research showed that with non-sample-and-hold systems there was no meaningful benefit to rates above 60 frames per second. So, for display types that do not have a motion blur problem, such as plasmas, there is no reason for ultra-high frame rates. When watching movies, which are shot at 24 frames per second, a 72Hz rate does have an advantage over 60Hz because it is an even multiple of 24 and therefore minimizes motion judder (which is a fun topic for another day.)
The conclusion, as usual, is that paying attention to buzzwords and numbers is not likely to help you find the best product; but, we humbly claim, talking to our sales people will.
Now playing at an Audio Consultants near you (Posted on: 2/12/2008 12:00:00 AM)
Even with multiple listening rooms in each of our four stores, we still don't have enough room to display all of our finest speaker offerings at each location. So we like to juggle things around a bit, ensuring that your closest Audio Consultants always has examples from our diverse range of high-end (and heavy!) speakers. For example, here are the current coordinates for some of our most talked about favorites:
Evanston: B&W 800D and 802D, Magnepan 20.1, Thiel CS3.7
Libertyville: B&W 802D, Thiel CS3.7, Wilson Audio Sophia
Hinsdale: B&W 802D, Magnepan 20.1
Chicago: B&W Signature Diamond and 802D, Wilson Audio Duette and Watt Puppy 8
Additionally, all four stores now have models from one of our favorite new lines of high-end bookshelf speakers, a Finnish brand called Amphion. Please give any of our stores a call to discover what state-of-the-art speakers are available for demonstration near you.
The Classe Delta Series continues to receive rave reviews (Posted on: 1/29/2008 12:00:00 AM)
2007 was another banner year for Classe, with an abundance of outstanding press from around the world. Among other awards, the CDP-102 CD player and the CP-500 preamplifier received Editor's Choice Awards from The Absolute Sound. Below are links to recent reviews:
Classe CDP-202 review at AVrev.com
A collection of Classe reviews in PDF
Behold! The new Paganini System from dCS is on display in Evanston. (Posted on: 1/21/2008 12:00:00 AM)
Just when many of us are contemplating the place of MP3 and .wav files in our audio systems, dCS has released a CD/SACD player that has redefined our expectations of how musical and involving CD playback can be. The Paganini System consists of three exquisitely machined components: the PTT is a CD/SACD transport that upsamples PCM audio to DSD; the PDC performs stereo digital to analog conversion; and the PCK is the master clock for all connected devices. Come visit our Evanston store and we think you'll agree-- you simply have not heard 5-inch plastic discs sound this good. And if the $45,000 price tag doesn't make you flinch, rest assured that the Paganini is merely the middle model in the dCS line! For more info, click here.
Our ambassadors return from CES 2008 (Posted on: 1/12/2008 12:00:00 AM)
Thin was in this year in Las Vegas. Pioneer, Sony, and Hitachi were all showing prototype TVs less than an inch thick, likely to be available in the next year or two. Another theme we noticed, to our surprise and delight, was that good ol' high fidelity stereo was back at CES with renewed enthusiasm. Turntables in particular, from countless different manufacturers, were enjoying the spotlights. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD continue to battle on.
Some specific highlights... Arcam showed us an impressive new all-in-one mini system that will be selling for around $1000. As if to prove how difficult and complex it is to do wireless speakers well, B&W introduced a simple and sleek wireless surround sound system for $15,000. Phase Tech demonstrated a great sounding speaker system that incorporates custom calibration electronics. As usual, the Magnepan speaker demonstration was some of the best sound at the show. Wilson Audio premiered a subwoofer the size of a refrigerator, appropriately named Thor's Hammer. Boulder is bringing their prowess to CD player design: they unveiled their first model, priced at $24,000.
Finally, there will be many price increases in the American hi-fi market in 2008. For example, prices on models from Ayre Acoustics, B&W, Classe, Thiel, and Wilson Audio either have gone up already, or will do so very soon. Please contact any of our stores for more of the latest info.
The End of Analog Television? (Posted on: 1/10/2008 12:00:00 AM)
Many people are aware that February 17, 2009 will be a watershed date in the history of television, but few know what that date really means. Congress has mandated that after that date (a Sunday), television stations must stop broadcasting analog signals. There is no mention of signal content, so the rule does not require anyone to broadcast in High Definition or even in color for that matter. The only requirement is that the transmissions be digital, regardless of content. The rule also has nothing to say about how your cable or satellite company sends you TV signals; they can use any system they want.
You may have heard that this change will make old TVs useless, but this is not the case. If your TV does not have a digital (ATSC) tuner built in, you will be able to buy an inexpensive outboard tuner box which will work just like a cable box for over-the-air signals. Starting in January 2008 you will be able to request up to two $40 vouchers from the government to help defray the cost. You will have to replace your VCR, however, if you use it for timer recording.
While there is no mandate for cable changing to all digital, Comcast Cable has already started making the conversion. They went all digital in Chicago on July 1, 2007, and plan to convert the suburbs by the end of 2008. The consequence is that if you have Comcast cable and want to receive more than local stations, you will need either a cable box for every TV in the house or TVs with cable card capability.
What is HD Radio and should I get it? (Posted on: 1/5/2008 12:00:00 AM)
HD Radio is a trademark of Ibiquity Digital and has nothing to do with high definition. It is a compressed digital audio format that is broadcast alongside traditional AM and FM transmissions. As with all digital broadcast systems, reception is essentially immune from interference and low signal strength degradation. Additionally, most FM broadcasters are using HD Radio to send two channels on the same frequency. Typically, one channel is a simulcast of the analog signal and the second provides more adventurous programming with fewer or no commercials. Some stations may also use the system for weather and traffic data. In Chicago, virtually all major radio stations are broadcasting in HD. The most significant exception is WFMT, which has no plans to transmit in this format.
Ibiquity claims that their system results in FM signals that sound as good as CDs and AM that sounds as good as analog FM. In our listening tests we found that this was not true. In fact, when played through a high quality sound system we preferred cleanly received analog FM to HD Radio. Given that the data rate on HD radio is lower than even basic quality MP3, this is not really surprising. Nevertheless, with the possibility of better reception and the extra free programming, adding HD Radio capability to your system may be a reasonable choice.
B&W's new 600 Series receives international acclaim (Posted on: 1/5/2008 12:00:00 AM)
Once again, B&W has discovered ways to “trickle down” advanced technologies from their high-end speaker lines into their entry level line, the newly redesigned 600 Series. Here we share with you a couple of recent reviews for speakers that will surely become benchmarks in their price range:
B&W 685 Review - The Absolute Sound Magazine
B&W 683 - Product of the Year, Electronic House Magazine