Team Fink Borg Episode 2

After listening to Team Fink’s Kim speakers for two years now, and purchasing the review pair, it’s provided the ability to get very familiar with their sound. The quick, spacious, and tonally accurate sound of these 2-ways with their AMT/Heil based tweeter have become a favorite, leaving a number of more expensive speakers collecting dust.

In the midst of waiting for a shot at the larger Borg model, Mr. Karl-Heinz Fink has made updates to the cabinet, crossover, and a slight change to the tweeter, but the woofer remains the same. Not having the chance to hear the originals, a total comparison is not possible, but this speaker is fantastic on so many levels.

With a 10 ohm average (6.5 ohm nominal) impedance, the Borg 2s work equally well with tubes or transistors, and like the Kims, have controls on the rear panel to adjust the extreme low and high frequencies to taste. The LF control is more of a damping control to optimize for tube or solid state amplification which is incredibly handy.

There are six standard cabinet finishes, and our review pair has arrived in the white matte and Nextel steel grey. They all look great and the level of execution is outstanding.

Fink mentions the design challenge of using a 10.25 inch mid/bass driver, crossed over to their AMT tweeter at 1600 Hz, but says the bigger driver is “difficult to forget.” He’s not kidding. These speakers have a tonal body and saturation that offers a unique, musical, and very involving sound. Straight out of the crates they sound fantastic. We’ll have a lot more to report in the April issue, where the Borg 2s will be our cover feature. However, if you’re on the fence, don’t wait for our review. They are worth every bit of the $36,490 asking price. Tell them I sent you.

www.matterhornaudio.com       (US Distributor)

www.finkteam.com/products/borg   (Manufacturer)

Welcome to Distilled!

Hello and welcome to our new section – Distilled.

We are not abandoning our standard reviews, but for those of you that would like a little more than the canned press releases everyone else is posting, but not sure if you want to make the time investment in a full review, we present the distilled column.

A quick overview of components that will be 200-300 words. No space for blather, pontification, or a lot of “I, Me, Mine” stuff.

We’ll do our best to present a couple of good pics, a link to the full review (if it’s done and you’re so intrigued) and a link to the manufacturer. On occasion, we will even post a purchase link if it makes sense. Please NOTE: we are doing this for your convenience, and these are not sponsored or affiliate links.

Thank you for reading!

Meze Elite Aluminum Headphones

Unboxing the Meze Elite Aluminum headphones while reading all of the design and technical information on their website felt more like I was going over the design brief for this year’s F1 engine package.

No other segment of the audio industry has advanced at the pace of the world’s finest headphone manufacturers. The level of materials selection, machining, and electronics expertise incorporated is beyond incredible, and these top Meze phones are as beautiful to look at as they are to listen to, but by all means go straight for one of your favorite tracks and you’ll be in love.

We’ll have a full review in issue 121, but between the two cables offered (silver and copper) and two different styles of ear cushions (Alcantara or a hybrid Alcantara and leather version) you’ve got four different ways to custom tune the final result. Thanks to their dual coil array, they sound like no other planar headphone. The level of sheer transparency and natural tonality might even have you re-thinking whether you even want speakers anymore. Bass is extended, defined and has just the right amount of damping and control to sound real. Everything from the mids on up to the highest highs is crystal clear, with a stereo image that feels more like your sitting about 10 feet from a pair of huge speakers, than that bowl-like feeling often accompanying the headphone experience.

Finally, the patent-pending suspension wings support system distributes the weight of the Elite phones so well, you can wear them all day with no discomfort. These are definitely one of, if not the most comfortable high-performance phones to come our way. After about an hour, be careful when you get up – it’s so easy to forget you have headphones on, I don’t want you to pull the cord!

There’s so much more we need to tell you about these exciting headphones, but if you just can’t wait – buy a pair. Right now. And be ready for an experience you might not have thought possible with a pair of headphones. (Though we must give some credit to our reference dCS LINA stack.)

A true triumph of technology and aestheticism.

$4,000

Mezeaudio.com

FOCAL Launches the refreshed Aria EVO X Series

Focal presents Aria Evo X, a line of high-fidelity loudspeakers for the home to follow in the footsteps of the Aria 900 range, which has enjoyed a decade of success. With revamped technologies and a brand-new finish, the Aria Evo X loudspeakers step it up another notch in terms of both sound and design. The French brand has developed this new range as a continuation of the Aria philosophy: to deliver a pure listening experience by providing the best loudspeakers in their category.

LISTENING PLEASURE FOR MUSIC AND HOME CINEMA

Aria Evo X pays homage to traditional hi-fi with its collection of five products: one compact bookshelf model (Aria Evo X N°1); three slender floorstanding loudspeakers (N°2, N°3, N°4) and one additional model for an impressive soundstage in a Home Cinema configuration (Aria Evo X Center). Much like the Aria 900 loudspeaker line launched in 2013, Aria Evo X exists to provide high-fidelity audio that is expressive while accessible in relation to the performance it delivers. The line promises sensational listening pleasure, with the brand’s signature immersive experience.

INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY

With the benefit of Focal’s sound know-how, the loudspeakers boast outstanding technological innovations that are exclusive to the brand. The ‘M’-shaped inverted dome TAM tweeter, successor of the TNF tweeter. This innovative feature reproduces the treble more faithfully by going further into the high and low ends of the spectrum. The surround on the midrange is equipped with TMD® (Tuned Mass Damper) technology to stabilize how the surround behaves, reducing distortion and delivering perfectly balanced dynamics. The ‘M’ shape of the dome is another Focal innovation, capable of reproducing high frequencies up to 30kHz. In the woofers, meanwhile, the magnet has been revamped to deliver more impact in the bass. Focal’s engineers have also reworked the crossovers with better components to improve loudspeaker balance. Innovation is never just about the technology at Focal. The brand is also offering a new finish: Moss Green High Gloss. With its deep green shade and high gloss varnish, it lends a bright and modern appearance to the loudspeakers. It is joined by the Black High Gloss and Prime Walnut finishes, in all their timeless elegance. Each finish is combined with leather-effect front panels.

THE ICONIC FLAX CONE

The Aria Evo X opens a new chapter for a signature Aria feature, with the iconic flax cone appearing in the line’s midrange and bass speaker drivers. An innovation Focal first unveiled with the Aria 900 line in 2013, this cone made from French flax fiber is used to produce a very natural sound, free of coloration while boasting rich midrange reproduction and clear bass strokes. Manufactured in the Focal workshops, it offers an immersive and dynamic listening experience, reproducing vocals with exquisite clarity and definition. This technology is recognized every year for its remarkable qualities in terms of sound reproduction, and is now a feature in many Focal products, from integrated loudspeakers to car audio kits, and even monitors for sound professionals.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

Aria Evo X pricing below with availability February 2024.

  • Aria Evo X N°1 – $2,398 pair
  • Aria Evo X N°2 – $4,798 pair
  • Aria Evo X N°3 – $5,198 pair
  • Aria Evo X N°4 – $5,998 pair
  • Aria Evo X Center – $999

For more information, visit: https://www.focal.com/en/home-audio/high-fidelity-speakers/aria-evo-x.

Roon Labs and Harman Unveil Nucleus Titan

A bigger, better, faster, cooler (albeit more expensive) Nucleus. I want one.

Nucleus Titan is Roon’s new flagship server. It fuses precision manufacturing and hardware customization with unsurpassed design. Customers choose from three customizable shell material options – metal, stone, and wood – to create a one-of-a-kind server/streamer statement piece perfectly matched to their tastes and listening space. Nucleus Titan, starting at $3,699.00 (U.S.), is the only choice for those seeking a premium Roon server that promises a superlative Roon experience paired with breathtaking visual appeal.

Nucleus Titan features include:

○ Precision-machined billet aluminum enclosure crafted from a solid block of premium metal.

○ Stunning aesthetics, designed for display and admiration.

○ Available in three elemental shell finishes: metal, stone* (composite), and wood.

○ Elegant self-cooling design with silent, fan-less operation.

○ Customizable internal solid state storage: 2, 4, or 8 TB options. 

○ Upgraded connectivity: two USB-C, two USB-A, and two audio-only HDMI ports.

○ Accommodates the most voluminous music libraries and multi-zone audio configurations.

○ Exterior design echoes Roon’s music discovery features and the eclectic nature of music collections. 

○ Nucleus Titan is the only premium server/streamer designed specifically for Roon by the team that created Roon.

“Nucleus Titan continues our long-standing goal of providing customers with Roon server options that correspond with their specific needs and desires. CPU and SSD technology has evolved significantly since we first released Nucleus, and we’ve taken advantage of those innovations. With Titan, we’ve created a high-performance device that fuses precision manufacturing with aesthetics that evoke the interwoven nature of our music collections and Roon’s finesse for music exploration. We’re very excited with the results and our ability to provide our customers with the ultimate Roon software platform,” said Enno Vandermeer, Roon CEO & Co-Founder.