Product-related news items of general interest should be accompanied by a formal press release with basic descriptions, finish options, pricing, a photo 598px or wider and a valid web link. Event news should have venue, date, ticket and registration information plus a logo and website link. We only publish products news on items you can actually buy now. We won't publish product news about items a manufacturer promises to build if enough people pre-pay (crowd funding).

April 2015 - Rack it in Krion - Cliff Ormand of Vibex teases us with early photos of their new Krion equipment rack with optional Alhambra/Granada AC/DC filters built into the bottom shelf. "Each shelf has internal damping and the resonant frequency is tuned by ear using a pure Titanium tube. This allows me to remove any unwanted resonances and fine-tune the sound of the whole rack."

Krion is a synthetic stone similar to Corian and Avonite trademarked by the Spanish Porcelanosa company. Its main constituent is aluminium trihydrate suspended in polymer resin. All of the current Vibex powerline filters are housed in Krion enclosures for resonance control. Expanding the concept to equipment racks is the next logical step.

March 2015 - EVO3 the sequel - Isotek's EVO3 Sequel power cord [£199.95] "offers increased performance over the entry-level EVO3 Premier by featuring optimised conductor strand geometry and active shielding." The Sequel comes in a standard length of 2m, uses silver-plated 6N oxygen-free copper conductors twisted together to aid EMI/RFI rejection but with optimised thickness of the individual strands. The Sequel also incorporates more advanced active shielding under its outer PVC sheath, similar to that used in IsoTek’s more costly cables."

March 2015 - Take your meds - ALO Audio launch their new Rx [$349, $299 intro price]. It wais "optimized for IEMs with a wideband integrated amplifier and push/pull power supply. Improved power filtering provides an extremely quiet supply and ultra low noise floor. Huge dynamics are the result of our new 15-volt amplifier design which give plenty of headroom for the loudest passages to be reproduced wide open and without distortion The new Rx  has super low output impedance to deliver superb audio performance to earphones and more specifically, low impedance In Ear Monitors. Convenience is king when it comes to charging. That is why the new Rx is rechargeable from any normal USB charger. It will automatically vary its charging current to match the charger used." The housing is a limited-edition nickel-plated aluminium, the volume control a conductive plastic type. I/o are 3.5mm stereo. The USB input is of the micro sort.

March 2015 - Colour your own Sonus faber - "With the Chameleon speaker collection, Sonus faber bring their iconic elements to a wider contemporary audience whilst offering a level of customization previously unattainable in this market segment. The entire cabinet is covered in leather; driver flanges are embellished with aluminum trim; the side walls house exchangeable panels via a system of pins to allow for their simple removal and replacement. For the Chameleon collection, our designers have developed cabinet shapes and proportions that guarantee exceptional control of internal resonance, perfect acoustics, excellent driver stability and easy integration into rooms. All the driver components are built exclusively for Sonus faber by the foremost manufacturers in the field. Other special treatments during assembly put the finishing touches on the drivers before being sent to the production line. The three speakers that make up the Sonus faber Chameleon collection offer optimal solutions for both stereo music lovers as well as for those who want to create a multichannel home theater system. A floorstanding model, a bookshelf speaker and a center channel provide a range of combinations that are well-suited to any environment, from the largest living room to the most intimate listening room."

Sonus faber Chameleon side panels are available in 6 different finishes: white, black, metallic blue, metallic gray, orange and red. The Chameleon B is a 2-way ported monitor with 29mm soft-dome tweeter and 150mm PP-cone woofer (87dB, F3 at 50Hz). The Chameleon T adds two 180mm PP-cone woofers to become a 3-way vented box (90dB, F3 at 38Hz). The Chameleon C is a sealed B with 150mm passive radiator. Pricing is €750/pr, €1'750/pr and €450/ea. respectively. Replacement side panels in sets of four are €150 and €350 for the B and T and, for the C in a set of two, €45.

March 2015 - Noblesse obliges - From Noble Audio come a number of product announcements. "The Noble One is the first of a series of special projects and serves as a case study for the field of studio monitors. It measures 10¾ inches wide, 22 inches tall and 17 inches deep. Photographed in a signature Noble deep metallic blue, the cabinet  is long in the face and the front baffle has been anodized gunmetal grey to further accent the front. Its screws are user removable and the baffle can be rotated 90° in either direction so that the speaker may be laid on its side. This allows it to be more readily used in a tight working environment whilst keeping the tweeter and midrange drivers appropriately aligned. Around back, the crossover network is neatly displayed behind half-inch plexiglass with a large three-inch port and mounting posts located immediately above.

"Slightly larger than most studio monitors, the additional interior volume in combination with the 8" Scanspeak Revelator woofer results in superior low end uncharacteristic of monitors in this category. The casing of the 1" Scanspeak Illuminator Beryllium tweeter has been redesigned, allowing the tweeter to be recessed and mounted onto the custom-machined aluminium baffle. By recessing the tweeter, physical time alignment is achieved and with a redesigned casing, we are able to position it significantly closer to the 4½" Illuminator midrange driver. This results in a coherency characteristic of the Noble name. In line with our aesthetic sensibilities, the Noble One is available in both standard ($16'995) and bespoke ($17'995) options. The possibilities are truly endless with countless colors, veneers and anodizing options to choose from."

The speaker ships in a 1630 Pelican case with custom fittings. It weighs 67lbs, sports 90dB efficiency and a 3-way filter with 4th-order 24dB/octave slopes at 200/2'200Hz. Response is given as 35Hz -40kHz, impedance is 3.2 ohms min, 10.4 ohms max.

There is also the BTS Noble Bluetooth System which "instantly enables our entire product line. Weighing in at only 10 grams, the BTS offers at least seven hours of continuous use. It features the latest Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX technologies and an omnidirectional microphone with push button controls plus a detachable cable. The BTS will be priced at $99."

Finally, "we have focused on enhancing our customer experience. This week we'll debut a digital lookbook on our website where customers can view and sort though hundreds of Noble custom in-ear monitor designs." Shazam!

 

 



March 2015 - A fresh spin on the Greek economy - Think vinyl! George Daras operates the Delta Audio Company and introduces us to their Titan 1 turntable. "We started in 2001 with premises of 200sqm. Our main object of manufacturing then were machines for packaging and automation. Since 2008 we extended work into audio. By mid 2014 and after having secured the highest standards of manufacturing, production quality and reliability, we launched the 30kg aluminium Titan 1 with a 3-layer chassis, aluminium platter, external AC to DC power supply, power control board with automatic or manual speed adjustment for 33 and 45RPM, magnetic bearing with ceramic ball, heavy clamp with built-in spirit level,  adjustable feet with locking cylinder, belt drive with sound trap for the motor and acceptance of any up to 10.5" arm but delivered with the Jelco SA-250 arm and Nagaoka MP 150 cartridge."

March 2015 - Better app - Chord Electronics’ DSX 1000 streamer (£7,500) and the Choral Series CodeX (£4,500) have been given a new free control app called Chord 2 HD. Available for both the iPad and iPhone, it will initially be available on iOS 8.0 and above, with an Android version to follow. Chord 2HD brings a number of improvements over Chord’s debut control app which remains available for older devices. "The new Chord 2 HD is a slicker more ergonomic control app designed with a strong graphical focus and album art featured throughout. A wide range of functionality was added, including a comprehensive search function plus improved internet radio and media browsing. Further features include volume control, playlist composition, editing and a cue-in function. The app also allows users to ‘push’ local content stored on devices to Chord’s streamers over a network, enabling the playback of visitors’ audio content for example."
March 2015 - Greenless - "Look ma, no meters!" The new McIntosh Labs C22 stereophonic preamplifier picks up where the 1960's original left off. There are 10 inputs total, 6 x RCA, 2 x XLR plus MM/MC phono with selectable impedance and capacitance; plus 1 x XLR and 3 x RCA outputs. There are also bypassable treble and bass controls and remote control. Not visible are the 6 x 12AX7a small-signal triodes inside. The C22 weighs 12.25kg and measures 44.45 x 15.24 x 45.72cm WxHxD.

March 2015 - Not that tonsil - 70-year old Polish Tonsil are a company producing hifi and home-theatre speakers. But they also manufacture raw drive units. Andrzej Zalega points us in particular at their APT compression driver range which "is globally known under the brand names Eminence or Adam Hall but produced by us on an OEM basis. These drivers are amongst the most popular semi-professional units in the world. We offer them in 50,80 and 150-watt versions as shown."

March 2015 - exact your sound - exaSound Audio Design announce the model e12 stereo DAC [$1'999] as the fifth in their family of converter products. Based on ESS Technology’s premium ES9018S SABRE32 Reference chip configured to stereo with four internal DAC channels per side, the e12 supports DSD256 and 32/384 PCM. "Custom ASIO drivers developed in–house for highest performance offer complete control from Windows and Mac. New driver features include auto–power down and a maximum volume limiter to allow amp-direct drive whilst protecting loudspeakers from damaging overloads." A total of seven linear power conditioning stages, tightly controlled 0.13ps master clock and triple oscillators "minimize time–smearing jitter artifacts."

March 2015 - CanCan goes woodie - The popular headphone support from Klutz Design previously available only in gloss lacquers or limited edition leather wrap now is available in stained wood. "This is a regular addition to our lineup and the result of customers wanting a wooden version (once they learn that the body of the CanCans is wood already) but also the wish for a slightly cheaper option. As always with our meticulously crafted products, price is relative. Within Europe the stained wood is priced at €345 and €275 for export outside Europe, so about €125 less than the lacquer. The actual stain treatment of the wooden body is done by hand in a semi-matt lacquer to give the CanCans a subdued 'gloss'. This version is available only with the chromed knobs to complement the aluminium base."

March 2015 - Tidal + 5 - Tidal/WiMP full-resolution streaming at 1411kbps Redbook density has just been made available in these five new countries: Austria, France, Hungary, Switzerland and Turkey. If forerunner Qobuz remained elusive in your own country; and if Spotify+ at 320kbps hasn't fulfilled your requirements... perhaps now you can begin streaming off an enormous library cached elsewhere for the monthly fee of about two hard-copy CDs.

March 2015 - ARC goes SE - The current Audio Research reference amplifiers have undergone upgrades. "After announcing that the GS150 amplifier would feature the new KT150 output tube, we were asked whether we would incorporate them in our Reference amplifiers. Not satisfied with merely changing output tubes, we decided to also include substantial performance upgrades in the Reference amplifiers to coincide with the changeover to the KT150. In addition to changing from the KT120 to the KT150 output tube, there are a number of active and passive parts changes in the SE amplifiers that result in dramatic sonic improvements. Simply put, they are better in every way: purity and lack of grain, resolution, micro- and macro-dynamics, separation and instrumental focus, phase and time coherence, and greatly improved bass weight, authority and control Reference 75, 150 and 250 amplifiers can be fully upgraded to include all SE enhancements. Upgrades for the U.S. and Canada will be performed as a factory service. Customers abroad will contact their regional distributors."

March 2015 - Ready for your coronation? - "Sablon Audio are delighted to announce an update to their award-winning Gran Corona power cord, with no increase to $1050 price shipped worldwide. These upgrades see the cryo-treated Oyaide P-004 platinum/beryllium AC plug and shielded grounding line trickle down from the Quantum model together with the addition of an exotic new Japanese noise reduction treatment. These enhancements help release an even more intensely musical experience with lower noise, greater definition and more extended frequency response. As the changes are retrofittable, an update service with concessionary pricing is available for older Gran Corona cords."

March 2015 - DAC it with tubes - Sang-Woo Lee aka Colbern, CEO of Fore Audio from South Korea, pointed us at their new DAISy1 DAC which combines dual Sabre chips with 6922/E88C tube buffers. File happiness extends to native DSD256 and 32/384 PCM. Drivers for OSX and Windows perform automatic sample-rate switching. Digital inputs are on USB, AES/EBU, coax and Toslink, analogue outputs are on 2.3Vrms RCA and 4.6Vrms XLR as shown.

 

 

March 2015 - Cadenza - Arteluthe introduce the Cadenza which is "entirely built by hand in Canada with select exotic veneers, solid and engineered woods. Loaded with TAD Pro components (TL1601a and TD2001), the two-way hornloaded system has an efficiency rating of 96dB@2.83V, a 36Hz to 24-000Hz (24Hz@-6dB) response, 90° horizontal and vertical dispersion and 8 ohms nominal impedance. Each diffraction horn is made from 15 individual parts hand-finished prior to assembly. The system comes complete with matching base, bass cabinet, horn assembly, high quality 4th-order crossover and pure silver wiring. Retail price starts at $24'000CDN and the speaker is available on special order in a variety of exotic veneers."

March 2015 - Drink up - Even though Pure Vinyl is also a trademark of Channel D, there now is this 500ml Pure Vinyl record-cleaning solution from Robert Gaboury. He describes it as "a soap formulated to aggressively dissolve and trap oil and water soluble contaminants from audio record surfaces". The fluid is non ionic to protect against static build-up. It can be used with record cleaners from SpinClean, Nitty Gritty and others and must be rinsed off with distilled water afterwards. One bottle with spray dispenser is $19.95.
March 2015 - Whammerdyne, not dine on a whammy - From Portland/Oregon comes this 4.5wpc 2A3 single-ended stereo power amplifier with single 6DJ8 driver called Truth. There are dual-mono autoformer volume controls in coarse and fine adjustments. There's a multi-purpose system status meter and dual power meters. Specs include -3dB response points of 6Hz and 140kHz, noise of <25uV, 1.7Vrms input sensitivity, 30K input impedance, 22dB voltage gain, dimensions of 11.8 x 18 x 18" WxHxD and 69lbs of weight.

March 2015 - Hello Halo - Parasound are shipping their 2.1-channel integrated amplifier and digital audio converter. "The Halo [$2'495] combines a 160wpc John Curl designed amp with a sophisticated analog preamp and DAC. These capabilities are further enhanced with a home-theater bypass, 2.1-channel analog bass management, a dedicated high-current headfi amplifier and state-of-the-art integration technologies. The latest ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC decodes a wide range of digital music files via optical, coaxial and USB inputs. The asynchronous USB 2.0 input supports PCM up to 384 kHz/32-bit, native DSD256 and DoP DSD bit streams. The coax and optical inputs accept PCM up to 192 kHz/24-bit. The Halo is available in black or silver finish."

March 2015 - Not anorexia but KingRexia - Known for its petite components which we've referred to as Bonsai Audio in the past, KingRex's FaceBook page now teases a standard-size component which could be a preamp or integrated. Our bet is on the latter as that would streamline more with the company's focus on high value.
February 2015 - Compact Bryston 3-way - The new Mini A [$1'200/pr] is billed as "a high-performance bookshelf engineered for superb resolution and balanced off-axis response. At just over 15 inches tall, the Mini A made from ¾-inch MDF utilizes a premium 6.5-inch aluminium woofer, 3-inch aluminium midrange and 1-inch Titanium dome tweeter all purpose-built for it. The Mini A is available in Natural Cherry, Boston Cherry and Black Ash. Custom finishes are available for an upcharge. The Mini A features premium binding posts along with padded feet, spikes and a black fabric grille. Like all Bryston loudspeakers, the warranty is 20 years. Basic specs include response of 60Hz to 20Khz (+/-3dB), impedance of 8 ohms nominal, sensitivity of 87dB, dimensions of 15.5" H x 8.5" W x 8.25" D and a weight of 11Ibs."

February 2015 - Not nada - Swiss company Merging Technologies of Pyramix audio workstation fame are readying their NADAC consumer DAC in 2/8/16-channel versions. One of the inputs will be Ethernet and based on the 1ns-precise Ravenna protocol to support up to DSD256 at 11.2MHz and 384kHZ PCM. For socketry there's also dual AES/EBU, coax, optical and a word clock input whilst analog outputs are on RCA and XLR plus 6.3mm headfi. Expected pricing is ~$7'500 for the 2-channel version.

With companies like Antelope Audio, Benchmark Media, dCS, Lavry, Mytek and Weiss having bridged the digital pro-to-consumer gap already, Merging Technologies will be merely the latest to add to this embarassment of riches which today's audiophile has when it comes to selecting a DAC from the professional mastering arena.

February 2015 - A classic returns - WLM's original coaxial Diva monitor has launched in MkIV guise which adds a second 8-inch mid/woofer for a claimed 95dB sensitivity and 30Hz reach without the original optional Diva Control analog EQ box.

February 2015 - Bespoke - Reading like a more customizable Music First Audio TVC linestage also coming out of the UK, The Bespoke Audio Company's first product can be detailed in gold, chrome or black nickel plate, with the source selector knob's engraving reflecting your sources. The lid can match the casing's aluminium, go clear perspex or a range of burr veneers. Inside attenuation transformers perform 46 x 1.5dB steps over a 67.5dB range. Remote control is standard as are WBT Nextgen RCA and Neutrik XLR sockets, Jupiter caps and cotton-insulated 4N copper hookup wiring. But socket options include CMC, Cardas, Eichmann, Furutech and Switchcraft whilst the transformer winding wire, even the range and increments of the transformer taps can be specified. Ditto for the 6:2 inputs/outputs. They may be any combination of XLR and RCA including HT bypass. In short, make this passive linestage anything you want.

February 2015 - Take an integrated flight - Audia Flight's Three S integrated [€2'600] combines a 24/192 USB converter and MM/MC stage (both optional) with a headphone jack, 4:1 RCA:XLR inputs, home-theatre bypass, fixed/variable outputs, dual-mono topology, current feedback, a 600VA power toroid, eight stabilized power supplies, 72'000µF storage capacitance for the output stage, 132'000µF filter banks for the power supply, an Alps Blue pot and 100Wrms power per channel.

February 2015 - Two big woofers - HifiAkademie's DiPol 2x15-8 [starting at €6'000/pr] combines a 93dB efficient 8-inch whizzer-cone widebander with two long-throw 15-inch woofers in an open baffle with active DSP bass filtering.

 

 

February 2015 - MoonTails split off - Belgium's Jade Audio announce a website change. "The MoonTails interconnects with Furutech gold-plated RCA connectors and BNC connectors (several options available) have received lots of praises but Jade Audio wanted to raise the bar by introducing the Ultimate MoonTails with Bocchino Tech B-11 RCA connectors. We now have created a sub website entirely dedicated to the MoonTails range of interconnects."

February 2015 - New home for Jensen - The Chatsworth/CA company launched a new web presence. "The new website has been a long time coming and represents a phenomenal resource for our customers. Jensen Transformers has a profile on the world stage and our new website will greatly support our brand in the future. About 25% of our web traffic is from mobile phone users. It was important to ensure the user interface served those clients well. For instance, it allows the system tech to go onto the site to get solutions using his or her mobile device."

February 2015 - Alpha not omega - Alpha Design Lab, a subsidiary brand of Furutech, release their H128 headphone [£295], " a dynamic closed-back circumaural design whose new tailor-made diaphragms offer both high noise attenuation and low distortion and feature a high-quality Peek film with a specially designed surface. Furutech technologies abound: 40mm high-resolution extra-large high-flux neodymium drivers magnets; an aligning ring engineered to ensure phase coherence in ultra-high frequencies; rhodium-plated mini XLR sockets; all-OCC internal wiring; and excellent transient response from extremely lightweight coils made with copper-coated special aluminium alloy wire. Basic specs are 98dB sensitivity, 68Ω impedance and 280/320g weight without/with cable. Available colour schemes are silver/black, silver/brown and dark blue.

February 2015 - 100 Celsius degrees? - Celsus Sound is the new mobile arm of NuPrime which itself is the high-end spin-off from NuForce after that brand focused more on entry-level products. As Jason Lim explains, "each Celsus Sound device is to be cherished for its build quality, unique features and exemplary performance. For example, solely in terms of build, the $595 Companion One, a high-performance DAC, is milled from a single ingot of aluminium, with top and bottom covers of Corning Gorilla glass. The Companion One is a portable USB DAC (PCM384, DSD128) & headphone amp with 24/192 Wifii audio streaming which supports Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices."

February 2015 - More kudos - Kudos Audio ready the Titan 808 to replace their current Titan 88 flagship. "The Titan 88 was the embodiment of all our design ideals combined into one package but for the 808, only the two isobaric woofers remain unchanged. The mid-bass driver, tweeter and crossover have all been advanced and refined whilst the all-new even more complex cabinet features a stunningly avant-garde design." The Titan 808 can be fitted with the Linn Exactbox to bypass the original analog crossover for a digital variant with software configurations to enhance in-room performance.

February 2015 - Czech show - This annual event takes place again March 27th and 28th from 10:00 - 18:00 at the Dorint hotel Don Giovanni in Prague. Visit the link for more details.

February 2015 - Danish cats channel more - Gato Audio add channels, i.e. 6x250w for their new DPA-2506 and 4x400w for the DPA-4004. Like the DIA-250/400 stereo integrateds, these multi-channel amplifiers run on modified Pascal class D power modules. There are XLR and RCA inputs and each pair of channels is bridgeable via simple rear switches.

February 2015 - Oppo amp goes portable - The leather-wrapped HA-2 DAC/headfi deck [$299] includes micro USB and USB type A sockets, a switchable 3.5mm stereo i/o plus Toslink in and does its number crunching with an ESS Sabre 9018-K2M chip for 32/384PCM and DSD256. There's also hi/lo gain, switchable bass boost, battery status and a 5A rapid charger that claims to top off 75% of the 3000mAh rechargeable battery in half an hour. Playtime is given as 7 hours. Power delivery is 220mW into 32 ohms and 30mW into 300 ohms.

February 2015 - HRS-120 gets ten more - The German Physiks HRS-130 replaces the predecessor's 8-inch downfiring woofer with a 10" variant and adds a bit of height to install a larger Helmholtz resonator. The model also gains biwire WBT NextGen terminals, a restyled DDD driver mount and a high-polish polyester coat in black or white which now includes the top and transition plates. The carbon-fibre omnipolar widebander remains unchanged. Pricing starts at £11'900/pr.

 

February 2015 - Chord integrate Hugo - Chord Electronics’ 120wpc CPM 2800 MkII [£6'690] updates this integrated amplifier with Hugo/2Qute FPGA-based converter tech for 32/384PCM and DSD128 file support. There's also Bluetooth for 30 meters of wireless reception. Connectivity includes 5:2 RCA:XLR analog inputs; BNC, Toslink and USB digital inputs; wireless Bluetooth aptX and A2DP; and one line-level AV bypass.

February 2015 - Wadia server - Wadia Digital bow the m330 media server [$6'000] with Autonomic-based OS, a small 1TB internal drive and USB/eSata expansion ports. Plug-ins for Pandora, Sirius, Spotify, Rhapsody, Tidal and Tuneln are integrated. File compatibility is PCM up to 24/192. DSD isn't mentioned. The GUI is on an iPhone/iPad or Android app and web browser via HDMI but a standard remote control is included. Analog outputs on RCA and XLR deliver up to 4.2Vrms.

 

 

February 2015 - Leema'd out to the max - Run by two ex-BBC sound engineers, Leema Acoustics now launch the Libra DAC/preamp [£5'995] as the latest member of their flagship Constellation range. The Libra 3-in-1 handles DSD128 and PCM384 via USB and I²S over RJ45; and DSD64/PCM192 via its coax, Toslink and AES/EBU inputs. The fully balanced dual-mono DAC modules are field-replaceable for future proofiness. Analog preamplitude is handled via 3 line-level inputs configurable as RCA or XLR. Volume control is in the analog domain. There's also Bluetooth and headfi for comprehensive utility.

 

 

February 2015 - Bryston LF brawn - Bryston introduce the Model A subwoofer [$2'000] with two opposing long-throw 10" woofers driven from a 400-watt internal amplifier. The control panel offers access to crossover, phase and level adjustments. The ¾" MDF cabinet with internal bracing features dual rear-facing ports that "deliver extended low frequencies without unwanted chuff even under high-output conditions". The Model A is available in Boston Cherry, Natural Cherry and Black Ash. Special order finishes are available for an upcharge. Rubberized aluminium leveling feet and a heavy gauge AC line cord are included.

February 2015 - ALOha - ALO Audio bow the International+ Optical Edition [$599], a super-compact portable DAC/headfi amp with new optical input option, single-ended and balanced headphone drive and a high-resolution Sabre Reference DAC. The amp can deliver 10Vp-p with an output impedance below 1Ω. This translates as 70mW into 32Ω and 80mW into 600Ω balanced. A Sanyo 3400mAh Lithium-Ion battery is good for 7-15 hours of playtime before needing 3 hours for a full recharge.

 

 

 

 

February 2015 - Good headfi cause - COS Engineering ready their H1, a 3-in-1 DAC, headfi amp and preamp with their proprietary algorithm with linear-phase delay FIR filter, buffer and reclocking, a line output, USB 1.0/2.0, Toslink, Coax and two headphone outputs to enable balanced drive. An external SMPS is standard but an optional linear power supply is available too.

February 2015 - Enhanced PureMusic - Channel D have released a significant update to their Pure Music® software. "Pure Music 2.0.3 available for download now brings enhancements to its Streamthrough technology which permits conveniently playing and enhancing other computer audio sources with full access to Pure Music's dithered volume control, 64-bit crossover, audio EQ plug-ins, NetSend streaming, metering etc., all without needing to quit Pure Music. Streamthrough was included with Pure Music for the last 4 years. However, Streamthrough has been enhanced even further in Pure Music 2.0.3. It is fully integrated and there is no need to purchase or launch a separate application. Even better, switching to Streamthrough is automatic. If you play an Internet radio station in iTunes, TIDAL, Qobuz, Spotify, YouTube etc., the audio is 'automagically' detected and switches Pure Music from file play to Streamthrough mode. In addition, Pure Music 2.0.3 includes improvements to address performance issues with iTunes 12.1, which was released by Apple last week. Pure Music 2.0.3 still retails for its original 2010 price of $129. Upgrades are free for Pure Music 2 users."

February 2015 - Magico face lifter - "The Q7 MkII incorporates a more efficient version of the M-Project tweeter as a 28mm diamond-coated beryllium diaphragm. The Mark II also gets a new 6" midrange with a new Graphene-based cone material to be 30% lighter and 300% stiffer than its predecessor. It also includes the latest parts from Mundorf including the new MCap Supreme Evo capacitors in a revised crossover. The face plate of the speaker required re-machining to accommodate the new larger tweeter." The suggested retail price of the Magico Q7 Mk II is $229'000 and $44'000 for the upgrade kit to convert an original Q7 to MkII status.

February 2015 - Clones pre gets remote - Hong Kong's budget brand adds infrared to their AP2 preamplifier with a metal wand capable of learning functions. This continues the conversion to remote convenience first started with the company's gain-clone integrated.

January 2015 - Care Orchestra subwoofer - This Italian brand releases their Celestial Earthquake sub in 175-watt and 400-watt Hypex versions. The front-firing design is of the bass reflex sort and offers 46dB of gain on its RCA line-level input with a 0.13Vrms input sensitivity. The high-level input handles 4Vrms. There is a 0°/180° phase control, a 30-120Hz low-pass with 18dB/octave filter slope and up to 6dB of bass boost. The finish is leather and lacquered wood, dimensions are 35 x 37 x 35cm WxHxD and weight is 22kg.

January 2015 - IsoTek fill out down-market models - IsoTek's Venus [£325] is a mains conditioner with a "delta filter topology against common and differential mode noise plus 30dB RFI reduction. Each of the five outlets is independently isolated to prevent cross contamination. In addition, sequential and repeatable protection provides 13'500A of instantaneous safety against electrical spikes and surges." Available with UK, EU, US, AU or CH sockets, the Venus is 16 x 4.5 x 22.5cm WxHxD, weighs 1.5kg and comes in a white finish.

January 2015 - Greek cables - With the promise to end Greek austerity by just elected opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, Audio4soul follow suit with their new  OCC iT! Reference speaker cables. "Employing the finest single-crystal pure OCC copper made with the famous Ohno casting method, our OCC cable digs deeper into the musical truth of your collection. As with all our products, these are completely hand-mad and come with real-world pricing."

January 2015 - Genelec active 3-way - Finnish pro company Genelec who have also been romancing the home user launch the 8351A monitor [€6'600/pr] in their signature cast-aluminium clam-shell housing with rear port and with plenty of owner adjustments. Set centrally in the baffle is a wave-guided 5.75" coax bracketed by two invisible oval 4 x 8.5" woofers. This 19kg tri-amped speaker (150/120-watt class D for the woofers and mid, 90-watt class A/B for the tweeter) claims stout 32Hz-40kHz bandwidth and 110dB SPL potential. Inputs are on XLR analog and AES/EBU digital. Finish options are white and anthracite.

January 2015 - Is it hi-rez or not? Lars Inger points at their new MusicScope software which allows users to analyze and play their audio files including DSD64/128. There's now AIFF support and a new graphical representation of the loudness range. Apparently both 2L Recordings and Pioneer use MusicScope to look at their own files. If you suspect that not all of your high-resolution files are what they're cracked up to be and were sold as... this software will show you what they're made of whilst also giving you all manner of other data.

January 2015 - Horny Greeks - With Arcadian Audio's giant Pnoe horns and Tune Audio's multi-way horns, one might not have expected another hornspeaker company from the land of Plato but the Sonus Aeterna firm is just such a one. We'd reported on their smaller two-way horns in various show reports but the 106dB Zeus scales things up to a 4-way. It combines an 18" down-firing sealed subwoofer topped by a 100Hz 1st-order circular Tractrix horn with 8" compression paper driver. Above that comes another circular Tractrix horn with a 220Hz cut-off that loads a 2" compression driver whilst the top horn has a 1" ring radiator behind it. The entire affair measures 230x105x115cm HxWxD and weighs in at a breathless €180'000/pr.

 

 

January 2015 - Amplific exposé - "The 3010S2-D [£1'700] is the 4th incarnation of Exposure’s top integrated amp. Like its predecessor, it comes with six line level inputs. However, one of these is now a direct AV input to enable integration with a surround system. There is also the option to fit a £240 MM or MC phono stage or a plug-in £325 DAC board capable of up to 192/24 bit PCM and DSD 64 with auto-switching USB and BNC inputs. A pre-out allows for a separate power amplifier to bi-amp. The linestage sports a new PCB with all discrete components rather than ICs whilst the power amp features a fast bipolar output stage. A new power supply adds extra stages of regulation. The amp delivers a solid 110wpc with better than 100dB SNR and THD below 0.03% for its full rated output. The deck weighs 12kg and comes in silver or black."
January 2015 - Questyle DAPs - Chinese Questyle had announced 2015 as a big year for their brand in a December email. This rendering of the forthcoming QP1 [$600] and QP1 Pro [$900] models explains why. These will be portable music players with current-mode headphone outputs and true DSD compatibility, with the dearer unit featuring costlier parts. Two 128GB MicroSD card slots allow storage beyond the built-in 8GB flash memory. Reportedly being assembled in the same Foxconn plant which builds Apple's iPhone 6, Questyle's champagne and Titanium finishes should be perfect matches. D/A conversion is via CS4398 to support DSD128. The OS is Linux. The 3.5mm line-out jack is a combo Toslink affair. A Li-on 3'000mAH battery is claimed good for 8-10 hours of play time. Could this be the hi-rez replacement for Apple's discontinued 160GB iPod Classic?

January 2015 - EOS integrates - Trafomatic Audio's most powerful EOS push-pull amplifier has spawned an integrated version with headphone output and remote control. The output tubes of choice remain KT-120.

January 2015 - Gyro your gear - From South Korea comes the Gyrotension Vega vibration isolator from Hifi Stay which is distributed worldwide by DC Son of Highend city.com and Nasotec. The device is described as a floating type isolator with a radial silicone ring and adjustable tension plus 3-point support on ceramic balls all tucked into a duralumin body with hard-anodized tope plate which offers a 20mm height adjustment. The stretched rings come in 4 layers with 48 rings; or 6 layers with 72 rings. A Vega triplet of the first kind will support up to 36kg/79lbs, the second kind will handle 54kg/119lbs. Tension is matched to each component by removing or adding ring layers by means of a weight chart for proper compliance.

January 2015 - Meitner upgrades - Starting with the freebie of the new lot, MDAT2 is Meitner's FPGA-coded DSP engine which "takes all PCM and DSD and does real-time transient filtering and up-conversion to 2xDSD (5.6Mhz/6.1Mhz) before being sent to our custom 2xDSD MDAC modules. With MDAT2 we have improved sonic detail from all digital audio streams with new high-resolution algorithms; greatly optimized time and frequency response filters; a new signal processing engine built for very high-precision audio upsampling; and a new more accurate 2xDSD up-sampling algorithm."

Meitner also are readying a new flagship DAC tentatively called DA2 for Q2/Q3 with all new MDAT2, MFAST and MCLOCK components, 384kHz PCM and optional network and streaming support in a new chassis with luxurious ultra-fine CNC finish. Pricing will start at $25'000 in the Titanium finish. Shipping already are the MTRX flagship amps rated at 750 watts into 8 ohms and 1.5kW into 4 ohms.

January 2015 - Deliver the power - Fono Acustica  from Spain announce their new Allegro power distributor which is "based on high-quality pure silver and copper alloy conductors thermo-treated and blended in proprietary ratios in Teflon-insulated dielectrics with ultra-effective shielding and top Oyaide connectors." Pricing is €2'800 for the 6P Schuko version. A 10P version is available by special request.

January 2015 - Good dharma karma - As teased already on their Facebook page, EnigmAcoustics of Sopranino super tweeter and Mythology M1 super monitor fame are readying their new Dharma headphones [$1'200] which they announce as a unique 2-way hybrid. This presumably means that they've adapted their self-biased electrostatic technology for headphone use and augment it in the bass with a dynamic driver. The Athena A1 triode hybrid amplifier [$1'500] in what looks like a repurposed Sopranino glass casing becomes its designated driver. And Sopranino gets a new super tweeter mate called Veleno whose cylindrical concept rendering we'd already run in December and whose width naturally matches the M1. "Veleno employs the same self-polarizing electrostatic design/concept and second-order external crossover control as our flagship Sopranino but in a lower profile with aluminium enclosure. The transducer is not curved and operates with a similar pattern of dispersion despite a rather different look. Veleno is also designed for easier integration into any left, center, right environment (it may be purchased in set of 3s), whereas Sopranino is strictly designed for a 2-channel application. Nevertheless, even without Sopranino’s attenuation control, Veleno can still be effectively and effortlessly integrated into any stereo system. Its sensitivity (1M/2.83V) is 90dB but users should not fixate solely on sensitivity matching but more on the concept and importance of spectral energy and utilize the 3-step crossover frequency adjustment accordingly. Traditional 1" dome tweeters suffer inherent limitations of narrow dispersion and rapid signal decay. Possessing close to 30 x the surface area of a 1" dome tweeter, Veleno acts as an effective ambience restoration device which allows ambience recovery for multiple listeners over a much larger/wider sweet spot."


January 2015 - Get serenaded - "Serenade DSD [$299] is the world's first hybrid DAC and headphone amp with cutting-edge DSP which controls different effects and software control panel settings. Serenade DSD i the first hybrid hardware/software solution for audiophiles. Developed based on our Serenade Workstation, the portable DSD/DXD music production workstation, Serenade DSD provides the same sound quality as the recording and mixing engineer hear in the studio. We use a reference-grade 32/384 DAC with 123dB of dynamic range and THD+N of -105d plus native DSD 512 support. Our virtual preamp software compensates for dynamic losses based on volume setting and can inject the sonics of vintage analog gear. Our headphone mix tech includes an environmental simulation system, frequency compensation and HRTF tech to make the experience closer to speaker listening. The portable Serenade DSD measures 12x12x3cm and is powered directly from a USB port. It drives headphones with 300mV and crosstalk better than -120dB."
January 2015 - Sabre grow more teeth - ESS Technology, provider of high performance audio/video solutions, today announce the Sabre9018Q2C, a 32-bit stereo DAC with headphone amplifier and ultra-low THD output switch in a compact 5mm x 5mm package for mobile applications. "The SABRE9018Q2C chip delivers 121dB SNR, -115dB THD+N and up to 49mW into 32Ω headphones. Using an internal charge pump, it operates from a single +3.3V supply to produce ground-referenced headphone outputs, eliminating pops and clicks as well as the need for large DC blocking capacitors. The ultra-low THD output switch connects headphones directly to the headphone amplifier or to auxiliary inputs for either voice communications or an alternate music source. The on-board DAC uses ESS’s 32-Bit HyperStream® architecture to handle up to 32-Bit 384kHz PCM data via SLIMBus, I2S or DSD-11.2MHz data." Also new is the Sabre9602 headamp on a chip with integrated output switch, 122dB SNR and -123dB THD whilst driving 49mW into 32ohm headphones.
 
January 2015 - Roguish - Rogue Audio's new RP-5 preamplifier "utilizes 4 x 12AU7 tubes in a mu-follower configuration with computer-optimized circuitry for outstanding sonics as well as industry-leading technical specs. The feature-rich design includes both a tube-based headphone amp and an MM/MC phono with user-adjustable gain and loading.  The RP-5 also features a VFD display that provides input, volume and L/R balance information. A high-quality ten button remote controls volume, balance, on/off, input select, a processor loop and mute and mono functions. And best of all, in keeping with Rogue Audio’s tradition of  providing high value, the RP-5 sells at $3'500."

January 2015 - Aussie virtuosity - After quietly bowing their Conductor Virtuoso a few months back, Australia's Burson apply the makeover to their Timekeeper power amp now also in Virtuoso guise. "Key features of the Timekeeper Virtuoso stereo power amplifier include class-AB operation with a specially tailored transformer making 100Wpc into 8 ohms and 200 into 4 ohms, 300 bridged into 8 ohms and an incredible 600Wpc bridged into 4 ohms using one amp per channel. MSRP is a projected $3'450 when released in the first quarter of this year. Due to its small size and huge performance, the Timekeeper Virtuoso is suitable for any listening environment small or large. It looks and sounds great on a desktop and is ideal for high-end home theater or commercial environments where equipment is often hidden. CES will also show a prototype of the upcoming Timekeeper Virtuoso integrated amplifier."

January 2015 - New Audeze models drive BMW - Audeze introduce the EL-8 planarmagnetic headphones [$699] in open- and closed-back versions plus the Deckard headphone amp. "With industrial design by the BMW Group Designworks USA, the EL-8 is a refined and contemporary addition that personifies modern luxury. With fine wood accents and exceptional build quality, the lightweight EL-8 features the world’s most advanced planarmagnetic technology with Fluxor™ magnetic tech and a Uniforce™ diaphragm material that was originally developed by NASA for lightweight electronics to withstand the rigors of space. Audeze reengineered this super strong material to work as a planar magnetic driver. The slim-chassis Deckard [$699] also designed by the BMW Group Designworks USA is a class-A circuit whose internal DAC handles 16 to 32-bit signal with sampling rates from 44.1kHz to 384kHz. There are front-panel switches for three gain settings and input (USB and Analog) as well as a volume control. The headphone output is standard quarter-inch."
January 2015 - HifiMan hit 1000 - Given their naming conventions, HifiMan's headphones just broke the glass barrier with the new HE-1000 model whose number separates it from what has come before to a higher extent than any other model in this catalogue. The web is inundated already with photos of it in all black, with red detailing and in silver/wood detailing as shown. Little else is known yet other than the obvious - it's another open-backed planarmagnetic design and the new flagship in Fang Bian's line.

January 2015 - Aries goes quad - AURALiC have added quad-rate DSD streaming over WiFi to their Aries high-resolution streaming bridge.

January 2015 - Nagra news - Announcing a split of their catalogue into two lines called High Definition and Classic, Nagra's HD DAC released last year was the first of the new extreme products. The second is a new monaural power amp built around Mosfets capable of more than a constant kilowatt RMS power into low impedance whilst displaying a 1MHz DC bandwidth at -5dB and residual noise at <0.003%. With a 1'600VA power transformer weighing 18kg, Nagra's HD amp is designed to handle all speaker loads unconditionally. A successor to the MSA amp is the new Classic Amp which doubles the MSA's output rating to 120Wrms into 8 ohms and reimagines the original's case work for a new look by internalizing the massive heat sink. Formal launch dates are April 2015 for the Classic Amp and September 2015 for the HD monos.

January 2015 - PS Audio hybrid amp - At CES 2015, PS Audio will show the final pre-production prototypes of the Bascom H. King Signature 250 amplifier. First sighted in prototype form at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in October, the BHK Signature 250 stereo power amplifier features a triode front end followed by all-Mosfet circuitry including the output stage. Power ratings are 250wpcl into 8 ohms and 400wpc into 4. The amplifier will also be available as a monoblock in the Bascom H. King Signature 300. The BHK is the first product in PS’ history to feature vacuum tubes. It is expected to be in full production by May, 2015 MSRP in the US market is projected at $7'499 for the stereo and monoblock versions.

January 2015 - Hugo grows - With more than 10'000 units sold, Chord Electronics' Hugo was a very successful 2014 product. With the new Hugo TT [£2'995], the same circuit now goes on the desktop with enhanced connectivity (RCA and fully balanced XLR outputs), an alphanumeric display, remote control and a USB B digital input. Battery power has been doubled and a 10'000'000uF bank of super-capacitor backup was added. Otherwise the Chord still supports 32/384 PCM and DSD128 plus advanced headfi with 2 x ¼" and 1 x 3.5mm outputs, a crossfeed filter, Bluetooth over A2DP and proprietary D/A decoding via a custom-coded Spartan 6 FPGA. The Hugo TT comes in silver or black and its size versus the portable Hugo is shown in the top photo.

January 2015 - Aurender systems - The X-PAC and N-PAC 2somes combine two different server front ends with the company's new X725 DAC/stereo amplifier. The X-PAC gets the X100 server with SSD-cached playback from a large up to 12TB internal HD whilst the N-PAC's source streams from a NAS instead. The control point for both is Aurender's own app which includes full Tidal integration.

 

January 2015 - Pass integrates - Following up the point-8 range of amplifiers introduced in 2014, the company now spreads the same luv to its two integrateds which become the INT-60 [$9'000] and INT-250 [$12'000] respectively whose nomenclatures mirrors their 8-ohm power ratings per channel. The power supplies, output stages and glow meters carry over directly from the point-8 amp range. The integrated models add direct-access input buttons on the face plate, a digital volume display, volume knob and mute button.

January 2015 - 50 new amps - Actually, it's two new 50 amps, one stereo, one mono called Time Bandit. As George Lenz of TubesUSA explains, "we are releasing two new type 50 amplifiers for 2015. Both are cathode biased so no adjustments are necessary. Both use point-to-point wiring and transformer coupling throughout. The power output is 5wpc from the Emission Labs type 50 triode. It will work very well with a variety of speakers from 92dB and up. All parts were chosen for their sonic attributes as well as their reliability: Hashimoto output transformers, Lundahl interstage transformers, tube sockets and meters from Yamamoto Soundcraft. Both amplifiers can be utilized with or without preamp as they feature volume controls of their own. Pricing for the stereo version is $7'495 while the 'mirror imaged' monoblocs are 9'995/pr."

January 2015 - Clones add R - The new Clones Audio 25iR finally gets the (all metal) remote control with learning function which many shoppers were waiting for. This well-liked 3-input 'gainclone' integrated from Hong Kong otherwise still is a 25wpc into 8-ohm affair with a high 30dB of voltage gain, i.e. a simple circuit with opamp outputs based on the original 47lab Gaincard idea.