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CES: Audio-Technica launches crystal-clear audio tech

The latest moving-coil phono cartridges from Audio-Technica’s OC9 range will be on show at CES 2020 in Las Vegas next week.

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At CES 2020, Audio-Technica will be exhibiting its AT-OC9X Series, the latest generation of a legendary range of cartridges that has been consistently improved upon for over 30 years.

“When the first AT-OC9 cartridge was introduced in 1987 it combined previously unavailable engineering innovations with carefully chosen materials to achieve a breakthrough in sound quality,” says Yosuke Koizumi, Chief Engineer of Cartridges at Audio-Technica Japan. “Since then, we have continued to improve the cartridges. Our latest AT-OC9X Series embodies the culmination of over 50 years of cartridge manufacturing experience to deliver new levels of record-playback quality and musical enjoyment.”

Each OC9X model features a Dual Moving Coil structure, which enables the audio information in the record grooves to be separated to the left and right channels with pinpoint accuracy. The improved channel separation results in a more precise stereo image and wider frequency response.

AT-OC9X Series cartridges are available with a choice of stylus types, including Special Line Contact (AT-OC9XSL), Shibata (AT-OC9XSH), microlinear (AT-OC9XML), nude elliptical (AT-OC9XEN) and bonded elliptical (AT-OC9XEB). The Special Line Contact, microlinear and Shibata stylus models have been upgraded with a boron cantilever, while the nude elliptical and bonded elliptical models feature an aluminum cantilever. These materials were selected to keep unwanted vibrations to a minimum, and to reduce internal resonances for clearer, more detailed audio reproduction.

The moving-coil wires in all OC9X Series cartridges are made from PCOCC (Pure Copper by Ohno Continuous Casting), for optimum signal purity. The Special Line Contact, microlinear and Shibata models utilise a neodymium magnet with a Permendur yoke, a configuration that provides high-saturation magnetic flux density and optimises the concentrated magnetic field of the coil gap, for improved reproduction of the delicate musical signals generated by the cartridges. The nude and bonded elliptical models employ a neodymium magnet and iron yoke, which provide increased output compared to previous designs.

For all OC9X Series cartridges, the transducer engine is mounted onto a rigid aluminium body to help reduce unwanted internal vibrations and maintain sonic clarity. The cartridge bodies are pre-threaded, enabling them to be easily mounted to a headshell or tonearm with two screws (no mounting nuts for the screws are required). Each OC9X Series cartridge is supplied with mounting hardware, a stylus brush and other accessories.

To complement the new cartridges, Audio-Technica is also introducing AT-LH headshells, made from hard-anodised aluminium for maximum rigidity and vibration isolation and are available in three different weights (13, 15 and 18 grams). All feature OFC (Oxygen-Free Copper) cartridge leads and are adjustable for precise setting of azimuth and overhang.

Pricing for the Audio-Technica AT-OC9X Series cartridges: AT-OC9XSL, US$729.00; AT-OC9XSH, US$649.00; AT-OC9XML, US$549.00; AT-OC9XEN, US$349.00; AT-OC9XEB, US$239.00. The AT-LH18H, AT-LH15H and AT-LH13H headshells are priced at US$89.00. All models are currently available.

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Samsung to release Galaxy Note10 Lite in SA

The Samsung Galaxy Note10 Lite, unveiled at CES 2020 two weeks ago, will be released in South Africa next month.

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Samsung has unveiled the new Galaxy Note10 Lite at a preview event in Johannesburg. Building on the legacy of the Galaxy Note series, this Lite model brings key premium features like the latest camera technology, signature S Pen, immersive display and a long-lasting battery, at a more accessible price point. The Galaxy Note Lite is positioned between the Galaxy A Series and Samsung’s flagship devices. It will be launched in South Africa in February, with a recommended retail price of R12,999.

What’s different from the Note10?

The Note10 Lite drops support for wireless charging, waterproofing, and a curved screen. Other than that, it’s a very capable device at a far lower price

“The Galaxy Note devices have met consumer demands around the world and has proven to be popular in South Africa,” said Justin Hume, director of integrated mobility at Samsung South Africa. “These devices represent our continuous effort to deliver industry leading innovations, from performance and power to intelligence and services. The Galaxy Note10 Lite will make the experience more accessible to South Africans.”

To read the full breakdown of device specifications, click here.

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Sony Xperia 5 scores high

The latest compact flagship from Sony, the Xperia 5, scores a high 95 in DxOMark.

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The Sony Xperia 5, announced in September 2019, is the latest compact flagship, intended as a more affordable, pocket-friendly alternative to the full-sized Xperia 1. Key features on the Xperia 5 include a 6.1-inch OLED display, as well as the high-end Snapdragon 855 chipset with 128GB of internal storage and 6GB RAM. Storage is expandable up to 1TB via micro SD.

The main camera boasts the same triple sensor and lens setup as on the Xperia 1. All three sensors offer 12MP resolution, with a large 1/2.55-inch sensor for the main camera, and a smaller 1/3.4-inch sensor for each of the ultra-wide and telephoto modules. The main sensor is coupled to a 26mm-equivalent f/1.6 aperture lens; there’s also a 16mm-equivalent f/2.4-aperture ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 52mm-equivalent f/2.4-aperture lens offering x2 optical zoom shots.

Other features include 5-axis optical image stabilization (OIS) and predictive Dual Pixel PDAF autofocus on the main and telephoto cameras, eye-tracking autofocus, HDR, and LED flash. 4K video is available for 2160p@24/30fps capture on the Xperia 5, but the Sony’s 5-axis gyroscope-enabled OIS only kicks in for HD video recording at 1080p@30fps.

Key camera specifications:

Triple camera

  • Primary: 12MP 1/2.55-inch sensor with 1.4µm pixels and 26mm f/1.6-aperture lens
  • Ultra-wide: 12MP 1/3.4-inch sensor with 1.0µm pixels and 16mm f/2.4-aperture lens
  • Telephoto: 12MP 1/3.4-inch sensor with 1.0µm pixels and 52mm f/2.4-aperture lens
  • Predictive Dual Pixel PDAF autofocus & 5-axis OIS (main & telephoto)
  • LED flash, HDR, eye-tracking
  • 4K 24/30fps video with HDR
  • Full HD 1080p@30fps video with 5-axis gyro-EIS
  • Although not officially launched in South Africa, it is available from some online outlets.

Click here to see samples of the photography on DxOMark’s website.

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