themagazine - Audio Reference

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themagazine - Audio Reference
ALCHEMY
V O L U M E
T H E
M
A
G
A
Z
I
N
E
E I G H T
LIFESTYLE
Christmas is coming, so Ken Kessler goes in search of some...
Boys’ Toys
It’s that time of year when we give and receive, and it seems as if
there’s never been a wider selection of goodies to tempt both the
benefactor and the recipient. New ‘supercars’, more complicated and
desirable watches, limited edition pens, digital cameras to rival
analogue – and alongside an ever-increasing selection of luxury goods
has been an explosion in new electronic devices, from the serious to
the silly, from the practical to the purely pleasurable.
With so much on offer, what’s left for traditional distractions? An
Italian GT versus a slick notebook? A fine Swiss watch or a cell
phone? Depends on your age, taste and attention span. What follows
is a selection that, we hope, offers something for anyone.
Leica M8 Digital Camera
After years of whispers that Leica would deliver a digital camera able to use M-series lenses from
its film cameras, the wait is over. With great fanfare, and hundreds of thousands of sighs of relief,
the M8 has arrived, and it promises to be the subject of a seriously long waiting list.
Aside from the lack of a winder, it will be familiar to the legions of photographers who feel
that Leica rangefinders are simply the most comfortable, ergonomically delightful picturetakers in the world. Best of all, the M8 can accept virtually every M-mount lens
ever made. Older lenses can even be updated by the factory to activate
automatic settings.
Leica has installed an image sensor with a
resolution of 10.3 megapixels, specifically
matched to the extreme
requirements of the highresolution M lenses. Operation
will prove familiar to Leica
rangefinder users, the main culture
shock being the presence of the
bright 2.5in. display on the back,
while they’ll welcome flash
synchronization times down to 1/250
second. It is, to the great relief of Leica
fans the world over, exactly what they
hoped an M-series digital camera would be.
Price: circa £3000
http://www.leica-camera.com
46
ALCHEMY VOLUME 8
The Gryphon Mirage Control Amplifier
It took the Danes – well-known for their ability to
make consumer electronics aesthetically
acceptable – to re-think the way the most
‘accessed’ part of a hi-fi system is presented: the
pre-amplifier. All sources – CD player, tuner,
record deck – feed into a pre-amplifier, which
then allows the user to choose between them, to
control the volume and other operations.
Ordinarily, it’s a rectangular box, the space inside
containing all of the circuitry.
Gryphon’s Mirage Control Amplifier – a more
meaningful name than pre-amplifier – is a more
user- and room-friendly ‘three-piece’ solution
consisting of a solid aluminium ‘magic wand’
remote control, the detachable control/display
section on sexy ‘legs’, and the box full of
electronics. You can simply hook the box on to
the back of the control section display if you
wish, but that defeats the object;
communication between the main chassis and
the control display is wireless so you can hide it
out of view. And to ensure that the Mirage will
work with the vast majority of custom
installations, Gryphon can supply dedicated
software for easy integration with market
leaders AMX or Crestron home automation
systems. If it sounds even half as good as it
looks, the Gryphon Mirage is the must-have
audio component of the year.
Price: 16,900 euros plus sales tax
www.gryphon-audio.com
Dunhill Tradition Touring Games for Christmas
If you need a break from the electronic –
surely there must be some point at which
electronic gamers suffer RSI from their
joysticks? – Dunhill has an offering that you
might call ‘retro-gaming’. And that doesn’t
mean Space Invaders.
Their exquisitely appointed and eclectic
collection of games is believed by Dunhill to
have the charm to ‘inspire the most forlorn of
shoppers and satisfy the man who thinks he
has it all.’ The Tradition Touring Poker and
Roulette Compendium is a comprehensive
and authentic poker and roulette set, ‘which
allows you to perfectly recreate the addictive
adrenalin and tension of the casino.’
Dunhill’s Compendium features a solid
aluminium roulette wheel on a walnut wood
bass, an aluminium chip shoe, with a
unique locking mechanism to keep the
chips in place whilst travelling, aluminium
dunhill branded chips, a chip sweeper
and a printed leather playing mat. For the
poker devotee, the compendium also
includes Dunhill Motorities playing cards
and a set of poker dice. Housed in a
cylindrical case made of bridle leather
and lined in red goat skin, the
Compendium appears to sniff haughtily at
anything purporting to be a game that has
to plug into a mains outlet.
Price: £5000
www.dunhill.com
ALCHEMY VOLUME 8
47
LIFESTYLE
Nokia 8800 Scirocco Edition
So volatile is the market for mobile phones and
PDAs that the ‘king of the hill’ model changes
monthly. And nobody wants to spend £500£5000 for a phone that’s less competent than
next week’s pay-as-you-talk freebie. But then
there’s the iconic Nokia 8800.
Familiar to a lucky 250 customers in AstonMartin guise, the 8800 earned plaudits because
of its elegance and perceived value rather than
sheer performance. Seemingly sculpted from a
solid metal block, the 8800’s lid slides on ball
bearings, its screen is sapphire glass (like a fine
watch) and it is simply the most pleasant-tohandle mobile ever released – enough to make
you overlook decidedly average battery life and a
limited list of features. Or that it’s a target for the
sticky-fingered.
For this season, Nokia will be upgrading the
8800 to a jet-black or misty silver limited edition
called the Scirocco. It’s not just a facelift: the
camera will be uprated, the keypad is revised,
internal memory has doubled to 128MB, and it
boasts the usual web-browsing and
Bluetooth facilities. And it remains the
slickest looking of them all.
Price: depending on contract and supplier,
estimated at £500-£800
www.nokia.com
Strut Car Accessories
Road life doesn’t get much better than a Bentley
Continental GT or a Flying Spur, but their deserved
success has rendered them almost, well, familiar.
So why not personalise yours? Tastefully, of course,
with the elegant handcrafted, triple-chromed
grilles, wheels and accessories designed for luxury
automobiles by Strut. They’ve just announced two
new ranges – the Greenwich Collection designed
exclusively for the Bentley Continental GT and the
Oxford Collection for the Bentley Flying Spur –
and they will certainly distinguish
yours from another’s.
For the Continental GT, the Greenwich
Collection includes a woven crimped mesh
front grille and three-piece lower air intake
vent for a price of US $10,000, while the
Oxford Collection for the Flying Spur
includes a woven crimped mesh front grille,
three-piece lower air intake vent and rear
lower air dam escape grille for US $12,000.
Optional side vents are available at a $1500,
and all items bear the Strut shield.
Strut also produces triple-chromed
316L stainless steel, hand-polished car
jewellery for the BMW-6 and 7 Series,
Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac XLR, Hummer
H2, Chrysler 300C, Dodge Magnum, Lincoln
Navigator, Mercedes CLS 500 and Range
Rover. Their new Icon Wheel Collection is a
3-piece design is made from forged
aluminium while the inside 5 spokes and
centre cap, with the distinctive Strut shield,
are offered in chrome, satin or colour
matched to the vehicle. Available in either
20- or 22-inches, the Icon Collection retails
for US $10,000 for a set of four.
www.strutwear.com
48
ALCHEMY VOLUME 8
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