CIRCUITS AND DEVICES
VINTAGE DESIGN, MODERN PERFORMANCE
Many of us who lived through the dawn of high fidelity still have fond memories of stand-alone stereo components from Harman/Kardon,
Marantz, Nakamichi, Acoustic Research, Crown, et. al. We're talking 25-lb
monsters with power supplies that could heat a small cottage, a pitiful
S/N ratio of maybe 50 dB, and a frequency range that barely made it up
to 15 kHz. But that four foot tall stack of equipment sure looked impressive!
As it turns out, Yamaha Electronics ( www.yamaha.com/yec/) remembers,
too, and they have a new line-up of receivers that resemble the dinosaurs of the 1970s and 1980s but offer modern
features and "absolute sonic purity." At the top of the receiver line-up is the R-S700 which delivers 100 W/channel ( 8 ohms),
THD of 0.015% to the speakers ( 20 Hz to 20 kHz, 50W), and a S/N ratio of 87 dB or more. It offers modern connectivity
via an iPod dock connection, and you can hook up a Bluetooth wireless audio receiver or Sirius radio. One interesting
feature is the CD Direct Amp. At the flip of a switch, the signal from a CD player is routed directly to a separate amplifier,
bypassing the input selector and the bass, treble, balance, and loudness controls, thus eliminating any alterations to the
CD signal and creating a purer sound. The bad news is that the MSRP is $549.95, but if Santa's on a budget this year,
you can always scale back to the R-S500 ( 75 W/channel, $399.95) or the R-S300 ( 50 W/channel, $329.95). On the
other hand, if you're a true classic audiophile who sneers at receivers in general, you can combine the A-S500 amplifier
(85 W/channel, $449.95) with the T-S500 AM/FM stereo tuner ($299.95) and maintain your lofty standards. ▲
■ Yamaha’s R-S700 receiver brings modern
features to a classic design.
READY TO SPLURGE?
If you just can't find that special gift for a special person, you might consider the iPhone 3GS Supreme Rose from the UK's
Stuart Hughes ( www.stuarthughes.com). Sure, it's just an iPhone
inside, but it has a hand-made platinum bezel with 130 0.75 ct
flawless diamonds. It also is set with four pink baguette diamonds,
each of which weighs 2. 5 ct. The rear section is formed with 112 g
of 18 ct rose gold, and the Apple logo is affixed with 53 diamonds.
The main navigation single-cut 7.1 ct diamond is set in 18 ct rose
gold, and the handset is (legally) unlocked for worldwide use.
Included is a hand-finished wallet made from a real ostrich foot. At
the current exchange rate, you can drop one in someone's stocking
for a mere $3,063,869.04. What? Out of your price range, you say?
Well, you lousy cheapskate, you can get a simple 22 ct gold version
for only $35,941.21, but don't expect the same level of excitement
and gratitude. With either choice, try not to leave it in your shirt
pocket when you're leaning over a handrail at Niagara Falls. ▲
■ The Stuart Hughes Supreme Rose, billed as
the world’s most expensive iPhone.
14 December 2010
It's a tragedy, of course, but you can't help but marvel at the irony that James Heselden, owner of the company that builds Segways
( www.segway.com), was found deceased after driving his scooter
over a 30 ft drop into the River Wharfe near Boston Spa, 140 miles
north of London. The 62 year old businessman bought control of the
company just a year ago. Heselden made his fortune with his
company, Hesco Bastion Ltd., which developed a system to replace
sandbags for protecting troops. According to Tom Riordan, chief
executive of the Leeds City Council, "Jimi was an amazing man who,
apart from being a wonderful success story for Leeds due to his
business acumen, was also remarkably selfless and generous, giving millions to local charities to help people in his home
city." If only he had bought the Phoenix-Fly wingsuit company ( www.phoenix-fly.com) as well ... NV
INDUSTRY AND THE PROFESSION
■ For safe Segwaying, don’t forget your wingsuit.