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 product 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 2018 - Racier Rossi - Vinnie Rossi is about to up the ante with two new Signature products, the LS Signature preamplifier [$14'995] and the matching LS2 mono amps [$14'995/pr]. The former will be "a Class A direct-heated triode design where one switch on the rear panel sets the filament voltage for 2A3/45, 300B, PX4, 101-D/205-D and 811 as well as internal switches to bypass the tubestage and use a Class A Jfet stage instead plus change gain settings. It will have true balanced i/o as well as single-ended i/o and dual 12V trigger outputs for the amps. The tubes will have attractive mesh covers to keep hum to a minimum no matter what accepted tube is used. The power supply will be all linear with numerous Belleson super regulators for each stage as well as have dual internal toroidal transformers."

"The 75/140W into 8/4-ohm class AB Mosfet monos will have bandwidth beyond 250kHz, 500VA toroidal transformers and over 100'000uF of rail capacitance." ETA is summer 2018.
April 2018 - 75Ω digital - Black Cat Cable's Silver! 75 leash gets a MkII upgrade to "incorporate a 'lite' variant of the RF rejection materials I employed in both the Digit-75 and, to a greater degree, the Trøn Super-Reference SPDIF cable. With an additional pure-copper shield all braided under a multifilament nylon yarn jacket, these updates elevate the Silverstar! 75 without breaking the $300/m threshold."
April 2018 - Twisty roads ahead? - Continuing with their lineup of well-dressed speakers, Davone's Twist [€3'300-€3'700/pr] is the latest rear-ported 7" 2-way with 4th-order filter to join this Danish party. "Let's twist again like we did last summer?"
April 2018 - Hartvig TT Evolution - Soeren Hartvig announces his new flagship turntable with battery power supply which will have its formal premiere at the upcoming Munich show.
April 2018 - Sound Carrier - Matija Krklec announces his new 140W EL34 monos which weigh 24kg/ea. and come in at 44 x 33 x 21cm.
April 2018 - Hercules integrates - S.A.Lab's Hercules range grows with this latest 75wpc integrated which packs 6072, 6V6 and 6N36C tubes plus 800W transformers into 60kg of chassis measuring 48 x 31 x 50.5cm WxHxD. There are 4 x RCA and 1 x XLR intputs, 4/8-ohm terminals and a front panel of polished Corian available in almost any colour of the client's choosing.
April 2018 - LaScala - CanEVER's new power amp combines class A, a symmetrical circuit and and an outboard power supply with zero NFB and zero signal-path coupling capacitors. A push/pull 6N6P tubed voltage gain stage couples to a push/pull Mosfet current buffer with output transformers via 75% nickel double C-core interstage transformer. Power output is 50/90wpc depending on a rear-panel setting. The LaScala is described as a "current source amplifier" with micro-processor driven bias control circuits. Two 900VA power transformers, a CLC filter with 40mH inductor, a shunt filter and 470'000uF of filter capacitance make for a 25kg power supply. To avoid unsightly lateral heat sinks, the LaSCala uses four heat pipes with temperature-controlled fans on the underside to leave only the small top-mounted chimney heat sinks visible.
April 2018 - Play your point to make it - exaSound introduce their Mark II PlayPoint network player/server with a "major hardware performance boost. Two-fold sample rate increase brings support for DSD512 and 764kHz PCM whilst doubled CPU power improves performance of the Roon Core. Doubled RAM supports up to 8TB Roon libraries. SSD storage delivers a two-time increase of access speed and capacity. Two upgraded USB 3.0 ports enhance connectivity. PlayPoint also embraces AirPlay, HQplayer, UPnP, OpenHome and TIdal."
April 2018 - New ARC - The Audio Research Ref160M monos [$30'000/pr] combine a quad of pentodes switchable between triode and ultralinar with auto bias mode and a white-lit adjustable power meter that's superimposed on a transparent window. The cover incorporates a cooling fan for the 4 x KT150 and 2 x 6H30 and the power supply sports a "high-energy capacity" transformer and a "bulky storage-capacity network". The motherboard is a four-layer affair previously reserved for the firm's preamps. The auto bias circuitry also accommodates 6550, KT88 and KT120. Status indicators on the front panel show if a particular power tube blew a fuse. Power output is 75/150w in triode/ultralinear mode. Inputs are on both RCA and XLR. Available finishes are black or silver.


April 2018 - Zen is - That would be the ZENith Statement by Innuos, a two-enclosure streamer "with new power supply architecture designed in partnership with Dr. Sean Jacobs; separately enclosed AC/DC conversion stage to isolate transformer vibration and EMI emissions; regulation stage within main system enclosure to shorten the clean DC power path; eight independent power rails; an individual dedicated power supply for each critical component; custom designed components; an Innuos-designed USB board with dedicated 5V power line; independently powered 3ppb  OCXO clock for higher precision and lower phase noise; custom motherboard exclusively designed for Innuos."
April 2018 - Clarus power - Clarus, sister brand of Tributaries A/V cables, introduce their power conditioners Duet, Sextet, Octet and Clarus Power. These models "result in part from development and application of advanced filtering circuits to include proprietary common- and differential-mode filters and ferrite beads." Pricing will range from ca. $600 - $2'500.
April 2018 - Hello halo - Parasound's new DC-coupled Halo JC5 stereo power amplifier [$5'995] packs 400 watts into 8 ohms and can be bridged to thrice that. "Its output stage employs 24 beta-matched 15 ampere 60MHz bipolar transistors to deliver peak current of 90A. The 1.7kVA shielded toroid power transformer sports premium H18 grade steel for its core. It has independent secondary windings for a dual-mono power supply. The input stage B+/B- rails run 10V above the output stage rails to eliminate any distortion caused by voltage sagging when the amp is under load. Independent power supplies for the left and right channel's input stages employ filter caps totaling 8'880µF. Driver and output stages employ massive Rubycon filter caps totaling 132'000µFt." This model is Parasound's attempt to deliver JC1-type mono-block performance in a single chassis.
April 2018 - Hi-mass arm - Timestep's T-609, T-610 and T-612 tonearms in 9, 10, and 12" lengths [£1'450] counter the trend of mating moving-coil cartridges to low-to-medium mass tonearms. "Many of the high quality low compliance moving coil models need to be partnered with a high mass tonearm to perform best. So we created a modern cutting edge high mass tonearm specifically to excel with moving coil cartridges by taking some essential DNA from the legendary Japanese Fidelity Research FR64S tonearm. The armtube is crafted from titanium and a low resonance design. Bearing friction is lowered thanks to a combination of a stainless steel bearing block fitted with ultra-fine tolerance ABEC7 ceramic bearings which are washed and retreated with a high quality lubricant. Internal wiring is pure silver while the tonearm connector is a bespoke PTFE and gold design. Frictionless magnetic anti skating allows effortless fine-tuning and the headshell (not supplied) is fully detachable and interchangeable, with many possible options."
April 2018 - Go figure - Chord Electronics launch Gofigure, a free Apple/iOS app which adds features to their Poly streamer. "Gofigure is a configuration companion complementing existing third-party control point apps like Glider and 8 Player commonly used to control music playback through Poly and Mojo. Gofigure simplifies many of Poly’s advanced processes and adds intuitive navigation through the various setup options, all with smartphone/device control. Gofigure also supports QuickPlay, enabling playback of MPD-generated playlists on micro SD cards via Poly’s built-in card reader. Any number of playlists can be created, including the entire card, with all lists visible within the app. A General Settings page offers system data including SD card capacity, available space and song number plus software version and model number information. WiFi and Bluetooth MAC address is visible along with the number of configured networks and available MPD playlists. A DLNA database refresh button allows simple indexing/re-indexing of the SD card when new music is added to the card. Further app features include manually viewing/removing of saved networks, country-specific WiFi config, BitPerfect playback for DSD and Bluetooth/Hotspot password management."
April 2018 - Murmurs - Muraudio's new SP1 [$14'700/pr] follows their Domain Omni range of curved electrostatic speakers and incorporates "many of the same components in a smaller lighter contemporary design with luxurious finishing. Each SP1 integrates our continuous curve ESL panel with four custom-designed 6" aluminium cone drivers to create an immersive panoramic soundstage. With a full-fidelity 120° horizontal listening window and projected point-source imaging, the SP1 delivers our signature 'Sound is Everywhere®' listening experience."
April 2018 - More whammies - Whammerdyne's Pat Hickman announces that their Truth 2A3 amplifier has spawned three offspring now featured on their site. Take a look.
April 2018 - Mark that bench - Benchmark Media System's new HPA4 [$2'995] uses the same THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier technology as their AHB2 amplifier because "it reduces harmonic, intermodulation and crossover distortion by 20 to 40dB." As a headfi + preamp device, there is a quad of 256 x 0.5dB-step attenuators, two each for the line outputs and the paralleled 6.3mm TRS/4-pin XLR headfi ports. The HPA4 delivers 11.9Vrms into 300 ohms and 6 watts into 16 ohms. Bandwidth is 0.01Hz to over 500kHz. There are two each RCA and XLR inputs and XLR and RCA stereo outputs plus one mono-summed XLR output. The optional remote may be used which then also controls a matching Benchmark DAC. The touch screen provides access to balance control, input level offsets, input names, screen dimming, remote control and function locking. Help screens explain the special functions. The HPA1 is available in black or silver.
April 2018 - AA - In 2016, Audio Analogue celebrated their 20th with Anniversary editions of the Puccini and Maestro integrateds. Now they have launched the PureAA line of products, "drawing key ideas from the Anniversary amps and adding further features. Following the AAcento amplifier is the new AAphono [£1'599 incl. VAT] fully configurable for MM and MC including gain and loading for MC cartridges but also the less common MM input capacitance and resistance. Three separate toroidal transformers service each channel monaurally plus the control circuitry. Amplification is split between two separate gain stages with a subsonic filter between them. Following the second gain stage is a special DC blocker. Technical specifications are 40/65dB gain and 89/72dB S/NR for MM/MC and weight of 5.8kg." Available finishes are black or silver.
April 2018 - Cozy up around the campfire - Campfire Audio announce their $199 Comet [left] and $1'299 Atlas [right] earphones with stainless steel bodies. Those are "drop forged then CNC machined, then hand polished to a mirror finish". For drivers, the Comet gets a "custom-designed vented full-range balanced armature." the Atlas "expands our ADLC driver to 10mm." Both models also get Campfire's 3D-modeled acoustic tuning which discards "a traditional tube+damper tuning system for acoustic tuning without compression." For the Atlas model, this tuning expands to what the firm call their polarity-tuned chamber. Its amorphous diamond-like carbon driver is a hybrid of diamond and graphite carbon, hence a non-crystalline diamond with low density but high rigidity. This driver scales up the 8.5mm unit used in the Vega model.
April 2018 - New horizons - That's what Italian firm New Horizon promise with their domestically manufactured range of turntables. From the press release: "New Horizon is a new Italian brand born in 2016. The first products appeared in October 2017 and now we offer a full line of turntables and accessories in the entry-level (model GD 1 at €399) to mid-priced range. All turntables take advantage of an exclusive spring suspension system which isolates motor from plinth. Even our original inverted bearing is designed from scratch, composed of four elements and a massive central spindle of 16mm diameter. The top model GD 3 uses 3 plinths whereby motor, bearing and tonearm stand each on their own plinth for optimal decoupling."
April 2018 - Newcomer's corner - At the May Munich show, that's where you'll find the LittleZoe integrated amp which, "apart from its ultra-modern design, stands out thanks to an unconventional chassis architecture for ultimate performance and a solid body made from a new-age resin that uses revolutionary tech."

For specs, this class AB1 ultralinear push/pull circuit with a modified Williamson topology produces 45wpc from 4 x EL34 or 6550 with 2 x ECC82 input and 2 x ECC81 driver tubes. There are four RCA inputs and a stepped attenuator. Tube bias is manual.
March 2018 - Prince of Amber - Metrum Acoustic's Roon end point Ambre model [€995 ex VAT] is readying to ship. "Outputs are AES/EBU, coax, optical and I²S. I²S can be used for all kind of products but will match our new I²S interface which can be installed in our converters instead of USB. Just an UTP cable is needed to connect both products to get best performance. I²S is an internal protocal never intended for external use. However we made it 'bomb proof 'and during our tests used 20-metre CAT5 without any problem. Further we have used femto clocks to get the lowest jitter specs."
March 2018 - AQ trickle-down - Now Aqua Hifi's La Voce DAC fulfills its modularity promise by being fitted with designer Cristian Anelli's discrete R2R tech via the launch of the S3 boards/mods which can be retrofitted to existing units. Those boards are the P608 FPGA/decoder for up to 384kHz PCM and DSD128; the P607 R2R ladder; the P901 USB recoded with new firmware; hardware mods to the main P601 board; and hardware mods to the I² S/USB Board P603. The La Voce S3 is available now, making it the firm's third and last converter model to integrate discrete resistor-ladder tech from in-house not OEM solutions.
March 2018 - Scansonic's baby - Sister brand to Raidho, this Danish marque have released their MK-5 which marries a petite 4.5" Kevlar mid/bass with a 20μm thin kapton-aluminium ribbon tweeter. Claimed bandwidth is 60Hz-25kHz with 88dB sensitivity at 4 ohms. Dimensions are 15 x 27.5 x 21cm WxHxD and each speaker weighs 7.9kg. Finish options are white or black gloss.
March 2018 - Riccardo Kron rides again - Sorta. A special range of KR Audio tubes is the result of a collaboration between the best300b e-shop, the heavy DHT users at Polish LampizatOr tube audio brand and Czechia's valve manufacturer. "Engineers at KR Audio proposed a number of changes to the current tube lineup and these modifications were critically evaluated by LampizatOr in the process of creating their reference Pacific DAC. The 300B and 5UG4 feature Zirconium coating of their inner structure plus all other Riccardo Kron series aspects of improved structural support in the least vibrating glass points with double mica; ceramic bases; gold-plated base pins; triple thickness glass that moves the ringing frequency out of the midrange; doubled surface for improved anode cooling; barium heaters that run colder and have better emission; closer tolerance matching; and 9th degree vacuum for extended longevity." The PX4 and 300B in this range sell for €999/pr, the 5UG4 at €399/ea.
March 2018 - TotalDAC system - Listeners curious to hear Vincent Brient's reference system who cannot fly into the Rennes, Dinard or Nantes airports to visit his factory can still hear it at the upcoming Munich HighEnd show. With a front end of top TotalDAC digital and Vincent's matching horn speakers with external tower subs, his reference tube amplifiers are by Absolare.
March 2018 - The nuance in the pneumatics - The NP-1 Pneupod by Pneuance Audio is "a product which uses air compression as its major isolation method. The rubber diaphragm contains the air and allows it to isolate in all planes." Measuring 3" in diameter and 1.5" in height when inflated, each footer's load capacity is up to 9kg. A set of 4 priced at $1'195 can thus support up to 36kg or 80lbs.
March 2018 - Get furious! - Kaiser Acoustic's new Furioso line unveils its Mini model at this weekend's Prague and Mumbai audio shows, with Thrax electronics at the former, AMR/Octave at the latter. Explains designer Rainer Weber, "the front panel is Panzerholz, the rest of the cabinet Beech plywood with an additional damping sheet of Kawero Classic (also used on old Mercedes cars). We have our own matching stand but don't include it for people who prefer 3rd-party stands they already own. The drivers are a Russian Viawave ribbon tweeter, SB Acoustics Satori papyrus mid/woofer and two horizontally opposed ScanSpeak Illuminator aluminium passive radiators, one per cheek. The crossover uses 12-gauge Jantzen wax coils and a Jantzen Alumen cap on the tweeter. There's also a Mundorf Mresist Supreme resistor on the tweeter and a Duelund silver-cast carbon resistor on the midrange. The idea was to build a Chiara on steroids, then bring it in at a lower price. I built in more headroom by moving from the Chiara's 5" Illuminator mid/woofer to the 7.5" Satori. That required more surface area for the auxiliary radiators so we now have two in a force-cancelling array. For the tweeter we wanted more resolution like the Raal ribbon in our Classic. This meant a transition from the Chiara's Mundorf AMT to the Viawave ribbon. Nominal impedance is 8 ohms which never dips below 7.3 ohms. Sensitivity is 89dB, bandwidth 37Hz - 30kHz. Depending on market, retail should be between €10'000 - €12'000/pr."
March 2018 - aria piccolo + - DigiBit introduce their new 3rd-gen small server with 6mm aluminium chassis, 3TB HHD (1TB/2TB SSD optional), new all-in-one PCB, built-in DAC plus coax and AES/EBU digital outputs. "This is the only music server to support extended metadata fields for any music genre. This allows users to sort and view their music collection in multiple ways such as albums from the romantic (Period) for piano (Instrument), played by Maurizio Pollini (Soloist). There are 18 predefined fields automatically matching the tagging structure of our proprietary classical music database, SonataDB. You can delete or add missing fields at will. For any other music genre, all fields can be manually created and tagged. Our state-of-the-art software includes: 1) fully automatic (insert & rip) error-free CD ripper 2) best in class metadata retrieval results from five databases, 3) bit-perfect playback, 4) multi-zone support, 5) multi- channel PCM and DSD support; 6) remote access to your music over the internet and 7) Airplay, Googlecast and DLNA." The aria piccolo+ starts at €2'090 ex VAT.
March 2018 - Baby wolf - Black Cat Cable bow Lupino, "a more affordable version of our Lupo interconnect. Where that uses 2 x 99.999% pure annealed silver conductors in a 0.25" diameter air/Teflon tube terminated with Lovecraft Reference RCA, Lupino uses a single such conductor in a 0.15" tube terminated with Lovecraft Mini RCA. The conductor/s in both are wave processed but Lupino uses a shallower wave due to its smaller diameter tube. Lupino sells for $399.95/m and is also available in 0.5m sets at $274.95.
March 2018 - Audio Engine model gets a plus - The A5+ Wireless ]$499 - 569/pr] is a powered master-slave speaker system with wireless antenna, 3.5mm stereo analog input, one pair each RCA i/o, a Bluetooth pairing button and a voltage selector on the back and a power indicator, remote receiver and volumr control on front of the left master unit. All inputs are live simultaneously to avoid a selector. The variable pre-out can connect to a subwoofer. An add-on wireless adaptor can stream to other systems. Threaded 1/4" brass inserts at the bottom of each speaker can secure them to stands. Built-in amplification is via 50wpc class A/B. The drivers are a 3/4" silk dome tweeter in a waveguide and a 5" Kevlar mid/woofer in a rear slot port loading. Claimed bandwidth is 50Hz-22kHz ±1.5dB. Finish options are natural Bamboo and gloss black or white.
March 2018 - XOX - Under their connector sub-brand XOX, Black Cat Cable have released two banana-to-spade adaptors to convert banana-terminated loudspeaker cables for use with a variety of binding posts that do not otherwise allow for banana terminations. The Reference adaptor is precision machined from pure copper, highly polished and Rhodium plated. A set of four pieces retails for $224.95. The Studio is precision machined from non-magnetic brass, highly polished and gold plated. A set of four pieces retails for $79.95.
Feburary 2018 - Inauguration - Alsyvox announcs the opening of a demo facility in Valencia March 24th where they'll show their Tintoretto speaker with the new Omega Audio Concepts Essenziale, "a breakthrough music server machined from a solid 60kg of aluminum containing 2x50W amplifiers, 24/192 DACs and a microcomputer to manage high resolution files stored in external HD or pen drives or coming via WiFi or USB from PC, smartphone, tablet or separate music servers. Everything is remote controlled via a tablet. The room is a normal living room of about 30 sqm with no acoustical treatment. Renato Filippini, designer of Omega Audio Concepts, and Daniele Coen, designer of Alsyvox, will be present to answer your questions.Confirm your attendance by email to info @ alsyvox.com."
February 2018 - Underestimate not - That's what Meadowlark Audio say about their new Kite/Predator combo [$20'000/pr] which places an active two-way monitor atop a dual-woofer active subwoofer stand. The head unit sports Mundorf's AMT tweeter also championed by Gryphon and Kaiser and SB Acoustics' Satori 7.5" mid/woofer in a sealed enclosure measuring all of 10 x 14 x 16" WxDxH yet containing twin 250-watt class D amps and dual 24/96kHz digital processors for parametric digital EQ with four presets. The Predator continues with the same 10 x 14" foot print but adds 29.5" of height to the equation. It runs two 8-inch flat-cone woofers with a colossal 3.2cm stroke peak to peak in a sealed alignment which is powered by dual 250-watt amps also addressable by user-configurable DSP.

Or as designer Pat McGinty put it, "total power per pair is 8 x 250W = 2KW. Mega bass system thanks to a brand-new 8" woofer. Makes for a very energetic combo from top to bottom. And that Satori mid/bass has taken the place of the ScanSpeak Revelator as my idea vocal range transducer."
February 2018 - Chord plugs - The Chord Company have launched ChordOhmic, "a revolutionary new silver-plated loudspeaker plug developed from the flagship ChordMusic and Sarum T speaker plug, that offers the proven conductivity and signal-preservation benefits of silver backed up by the UK leader’s build quality. The new plugs will be available on all Chord Company cables going forward, as well as being separately available, enabling Chord’s new plug to improve other brands of cable. The ChordOhmic plug body is constructed from high-quality ABS. The plugs themselves are machined from a high-quality brass alloy sourced from Germany. The metal contact pin (4mm banana) is machined in the UK on precision lathes more commonly employed in machining watch parts and high-tech Formula 1 components. The silver-plated spade connectors are constructed from pure copper bar which is heavily plated with silver to give the optimum contact."
February 2018 - Vox Palladian to come to Bonn - From March 13-18th, Bonn dealer Hifi Linzbach are hosting Living Voice auteur Kevin Scott for demonstrations of a custom pair of Palladian & Palladian Basso horns and subs "in an absolutely scrumptious New Forest grown American Walnut". Teamed with Kondo Japan electronics, these 1-hour guided sessions will be a rare opportunity to hear one of the world's truly spectacular hifi systems and interact with the designer. Follow the link for event times and to book your attendance.
February 2018 - Universal spinner? - Not quite. The MCT500 [£5'995] from McIntosh supports CD, SACD, DVD-R and CD-R/RW plus it reads AAC, AIFF, ALAC, DSD128, FLAC, MPW, WMA and WAV via its USB input. "For SACD playback, the transport features McIntosh’s proprietary MCT output which offers a secure digital connection with the included cable to a McIntosh product with an MCT input." Outputs are AES/EBU, coaxial and Toslink plus MCT.
February 2018 - Revitalized Vita - Michael Li, CEO and co-founder of Nativ Sound, reports that their Vita Music Server just added 3rd-party smartphone control apps like Bubble IPnP and 8Player as well as a design update for key UI screens.
February 2018 - Clock your SOtM - The sCLK-OCX10 [$3'500] is a master-clock generator working at 10MHz to produce a sinusoidal analog clock signal rather than the noisier angled square wave. The component offers 4 x 50Ω BNC outputs (75Ω optional).
February 2018 - Another Mytek - The new black Liberty [$995] is an MQA-enabled PCM384/DSD256 DAC with digital volume control, a 3-watt headphone amplifier with 0.1-ohm impedance and unbalanced as well as balanced TRS audio outputs. There's also an optional 12VDC battery power input. Dimensions of the Liberty are 14 x 21.6 x 4.4cm WxDxH and weight is 1.5kg.
February 2018 - Lithuanian figaro - AudioSolutions introduces "the replacement of the Rhapsody range with the new Figaro line. After six years of development, we can now offer far more efficient production and better sound quality due to our self-locking cabinets, mini horn tweeter and other unique features trickled down from our flagship Vantage model." The Figaro drivers are from SB Acoustics' ER range. Cabinet wall thickness varies from 18mm to 50mm in a sandwich construction. Except for the center and bookshelf models, all other Figaros are three-ways. Finish options are 17 deep. Pricing ranges from €1'300 to €7'500.
February 2018 - Trafomatic flagship headphone amp - The Primavera develops 9 watts into 50 ohms with Svetlana 811-10 direct-heated power triodes driven by 6s45p triodes.
February 2018 - Soulution adopt Leedh - Soulution are the first high-end electronics manufacturer who was allowed to license Leedh Processing for its D/A converters 560 and 760. "Leedh Processing is a highly innovative algorithm for increasing or decreasing the volume level of a digital music signal. The patented algorithm does this without adding any artefacts to the digital signal. No information is lost while adjusting the volume. This results in even the thinnest details being audible and a tremendous wealth of micro dynamics that is otherwise unavailable. Existing units of 760 and 560 can be upgraded for the new volume control feature. Leedh Processing was invented by Gilles Millot of Acoustical Beauty, a French niche manufacturer of high-end loudspeaker systems who already holds several patents for innovative designs and technologies. The innovative Leedh Processing algorithm is not limited to applications in high end audio. It will also do its magic in lower quality, mass market products or even in applications outside audio."
February 2018 - Campfire's first over-ear - Ken Ball and elves have released their Cascade [$799], a folding sealed full-size headphone in aluminium and stainless with 42mm Beryllium PVD drivers and detachable sheepskin pads. With 100dB sensitivity and 38-ohm impedance, this is definitely portable friendly. Weight is a benign 383g. Included accessories are a zippered carrying case; cloth-covered silver-plated copper Litz cable with circular push/pull connectors and 3.5mm plug; and various custom acoustic dampers for personalized voicing.
February 2018 - Aurender go Ravenna - Aurender's X100 Music Server will show at the Hamburger Hifi Tage connected directly to a Ravenna AoIP network to demo the advantages of Ethernet data distribution without USB's length restrictions. Merging Technologies' Ravenna protocol supports up to DSD256 and 32/384 PCM. This update will feature on Aurender's A10, N10, N100 (N100C, N100H), X100L (X100S) and W20.
January 2018 - Gryphon's Sonett - In the words of founder Flemming E. Rasmussen, "the LP holds a very special place in our hearts here at Gryphon, having been the inspiration for our very first product, the now legendary Gryphon Head Amp. For many people, the LP remains the finest high fidelity medium ever offered for home use, with a catalogue of titles that will never be rivaled by the compact disc, let alone download music. In a concerted effort to bring the performance of the reference Gryphon Legato Legacy phonostage to more affordable price points, Gryphon designed the phono module for installation in the Gryphon Diablo 300 and Diablo 120 integrated amplifiers. This proven module is now significantly improved with its own cabinet and dedicated dual mono power supply, making the Sonett standalone phono stage [€5'990] the ideal companion for a Gryphon Diablo 300 or Diablo 120 when the amp already has the Gryphon DAC module installed."
January 2018 - Nativ go Sonos - Michael Li reports that his team have added support of multi-room streaming to Sonos speakers from their Nativ Vita™ high-resolution music player. In addition to streaming music from the Vita’s built-in hard disk drives, customers can now play music directly to their Sonos system from the integrated Spotify, Tidal and Pandora Radio music services. The Vita can also connect to your amplifier, receiver or audiophile DAC via its digital output stage, including multiple outputs for AES/EBU and S/PDIF.
January 2018 - Aussie speakers - "New Australian speaker brand M8audio is a privately owned factory-direct maker of high performance loudspeakers whose 86dB Sweet Maxwell [$5'100/pr] uses a honeycomb-braced enclosure fully damped with a proprietary viscoelastic and decoupling feet plus natural sheep's wool filler. There's a pure beryllium tweeter with 29mm voice coil, 7.5" Egyptian papyrus cone mid/woofer with neodymium motor and a no-compromise 1.5kHz xover with Alumen-Z capacitors and edge-wound baked air coils. Finish is satin white or Tasmanian Blackwood. There's also the Rocket 5.1 SuperResolution [$2'200/pr] with 0.75" alu/magnesium tweeter and 5" Papyrus cone mid/woofer and the Sub One Ten active subwoofer [$1'900/ea.] with 10" woofer and 300-watt class D amp in a sealed enclosure.
January 2018 - Dansk merger - Dantax Radio AS, an umbrella company already owning the Scansonic and Raidho brands, have now acquired Gamut Audio. This makes former CEO & chief engineer Benno Baun Melgaard from Gamut Audio the new chief Designer for Raidho, Scansonic and Gamut.
January 2018 - Axiom ditch the wires - Axiom announce a new wireless speaker line based "on the best-selling models in the existing line, offering built-in driver-matched gain and an app/web interface for streaming audio and preamp controls. Consumers can connect the small transmitter module TRP-1 to existing peripherals via the analog input, optical input or WiFi. They can also stream music from their networks or web radio and control it all from any device using Airplay (Apple), UPnP (Android, Windows) or the AxiomAir interface. Grouping two or more pairs (or adding a pair to one of the company's existing wireless AxiomAir N3) makes the entire system multi-room capable. Users can play the same song in every room or different songs in different rooms and control playback and volume from the UI. Each wireless model (two bookshelf and 3 tower models) contains a receiver module to wirelessly receive the audio signal; and a power amplifier. The speakers plug into a standard household outlet and deliver from 60 to 600 watts. Unlike other speakers that send the audio signal over a user's WiFi network, taxing the router and potentially leading to dropouts, the Axiom Wireless speakers use a dedicated closed system that runs on the 2.4Gz band but won't interfere with WiFi traffic. For even fuller sound, customers can add one of Axiom's three new wireless subwoofers."
January 2018 - ATC rewrite their ABC - Actually, their CDA 2 Mk2 CD/DAC/preamp [£2'950] which "represents a re-think of its predecessor in all key performance areas. It combines 384kHz PCM/DSD256 USB access to high-resolution music with an upgraded TEAC transport and 32-bit AKM DAC board, dedicated headphone amplification, wider input selection and analogue circuits redesigned for extremely wide and flat response with very low distortion. In another refinement, both input and output gain stages have been improved by an arrangement of discrete op amps comprising six common gain blocks: two for left and right input buffering and four to provide a true differential output for the left and right channels."
January 2018 - Soviet SUT - Alexey Syomin of S.A.Lab releases his completely redesigned stepup transformer for 2-8ohm low-impedance cartridges. "Among the new features are a new ultra high-quality core material and pure silver windings."
January 2018 - Headfi exposed - Part of their XM range, Exposure just added the HP headphone amp, "a variation of the XM7 preamp specifically honed for the headphone listener. It includes a built-in MM phono stage with 2 inputs and a DAC with five digital inputs plus a 60VA linear not switching power supply. The discrete output stage with sub 5Ω impedance delivers 1.5W into 32Ω. The Exposure XM HP headphone integrated amplifier is available now with a black or titanium finish and a 3-year warranty. Price is £1'299 incl. VAT."
January 2018 - Bryston activate a threesome - Bryston announce introduction of their Model T Active, Middle T Active and Mini T Active which mate to "a sophisticated DSP crossover (BAX-1) and Cubed Series Bryston amplifiers. Two new amplifier models, the 3-channel 21B3 and 6-channel 24B3 have been created especially for the Bryston active systems which have been optimized in an anechoic chamber with over 300 measurements within the system’s software. The BAX-1 crossover is a state-of-the-art digital filter containing proprietary software for each active loudspeaker model. The BAX-1 receives a full-range analog audio signal from the preamplifier and performs the three-way crossover functionality and driver correction for each channel, also applying any user-selected filters for tailoring the bass response. Most active speakers utilize an amplifier built into the speaker enclosure, however the Bryston Active solution utilizes full-size zero-compromise outboard amplifiers engineered to deliver best performance. The Bryston Model T Active system, comprised of the BAX-1, a pair of 21B3 amplifiers and a pair of Model T Active loudspeakers has an MSRP of $33'770 and will be available Q1, 2018. The Bryston Middle T Active system, including the BAX-1, a 24B3 amplifier and a pair of Middle T Active loudspeakers has an MSRP of $20'230 nd will be available Q2, 2018. The Bryston Mini T Active system, featuring the BAX-1, a 24B3 amplifier and a pair of Mini T Active loudspeakers, has an MSRP of $17'690 and will also become available Q2, 2018."
January 2018 - Fostex Blues - "In late 2012, Fostex launched their flagship audiophile headphone, the TH-900. A closed-back headphone with a biocellulose driver and 1.5 tesla magnetic circuit, the TH-900 pushed boundaries. For 2018, Fostex celebrate the 5th anniversary of the TH-900 series with a limited-edition TH-900Mk2. Finished with the same Urushi lacquer but in a deep Sapphire Blue, this anniversary edition has also been specially tuned for an enhanced listening experience. As a Mk2 version, it features a new detachable connector that conveniently fits standard unbalanced connections and may be upgraded for balanced connections with a variety of different cables. This anniversary version will also include a limited-edition headphone stand."
January 2018 - Polish monitors - Amare Musica's Diamond Firefly loudspeakers enclose 18.5 litres of net volume with 21-38mm walls damped with bitumen and aramid fibre. Xover parts include Jantzen air coils, Mundorf Evo Oil caps and m-resist resistors. Hookup wiring is Chord Rumor 4, terminals are WBT and finish options are Ebony or Indian Apple in a semi-matte varnish. The 2-way filter hinge sits at 2'200Hz and claimed bandwidth is 35Hz -35kHz. Sensitivity is 86dB, nominal impedance 6 ohms with a 4.5ohm minimum. Dimensions are 38 x 22 x 38cm. The drivers are by Audio Technology.
January 2018 - Nordost USB - Nordost intro a Red Dawn USB Cable with USB C plug compatibility. It uses silver-plated 99.9999% OFC signal conductors and Nordost’s proprietary FEP micro mono-filament technology. The conductors are then shielded with a dual layer of braid and foil. This cable is available in lengths from 0.3 meters to 2 meters. Suggested retail price starts at $275.
December 2017 - French buds bid high - Aëdle CMO Lucas Dosso introduces their new ODS-D [€220] which "houses a single 10mm dynamic driver which we specifically developed along with its dedicated acoustic chamber. Its visible vents were added to enhance the impact of the lows while keeping an elegantly balanced response across the mid and upper ranges to deliver a warm and powerful sound. The design follows the timeless line and material choices we made for our ODS-1 in-ear hybrid headphones to ensure the same light weight, durability and comfortable wear. Handcrafted in our Paris workshop, the ODS-D comes with our signature machined aluminium housing and the finest calf leather from Venetia. Its earpieces connect to an MMCX detachable cable featuring a remote and microphone."
December 2017 - To a new constellation - There are 350 seats on the starship Andromeda CK because that's the number of this limited edition IEM by Campfire Audio. "We wanted to offer something special and fun to finish out this year. So we made a very special edition of our Andromeda CK in a durable cobalt Cerakote™ finish with stainless steel spout, premium raw leather earphone case and detachable silver plated copper Litz cable."
December 2017 - Into the audio zone - Canada's George Tordai announces that they're launching "a new version of the Audio Zone AMP-D2 Class D stereo [$1'695] and mono versions [$2'695] for 2018. All new look with a 4x4x13" HxWxD aluminium extrusion chassis with all new class D modules pushing 250/400w into stereo or mono." Glen Wagenknecht will report on their sonics in the new year.
December 2017 - Amphion improve but don't raise price - The Finnish maker announces that their Helium410, Helium510, Argon0 and Argon1 monitors now come with "redesigned cabinets and the two Helium models utilize new higher-class parts. The major cabinet change of the smallest Helium and Argon models is the repositioning of the reflex tube now right behind the woofer to improve bass response and e midrange clarity. In addition, Helium410 and Helium510 employ a new tweeter that provides a cleaner and wider listening area compared to the old one."
December 2017 - Mac attack - The XRT2.1K [€130'000/pr] from McIntosh not only comes with a 2KW power rating into its 90dB sensitivity but its line array of 81 drivers breaks down to 6 x 8" Nanocarbon/Nomex honeycomb woofers, 2 x 6.5" midbass couplers, 28 x 2" aluminium/magnesium upper mids and 45 x ¾” metal tweeters. Bring on the SPL but leave driver envy at the door!
December 2017 - Fitter Fostex - "The T60RP [£300] is the latest culmination of the regular phase technology used in Fostex headphones since the mid 70s. Fostex RP models are the world's most modified headphone by headfi enthusiasts. The T60RP planarmagnetics have now been modified and tuned by Fostex with beautiful wooden cups and balanced connection options for portable players and dedicated headphone amplifiers. The main features are polyamide film diaphragms with copper foil etching; neodymium motors with up to 3W input tolerance; African mahogany cups; detachable connectors; new yoke panels with less than half the carbon content for more efficient magnetic transmission and better linearity; and a genuine leather headband and new around-the-ear ear pads for improved comfort."
December 2017 - Lilting Russians - S.A.Laboratories' Alexey Syomin announces his new Lilt range, "our new entry-level models using the same output transformer tech as our flagship Hercules and Samson projects. The Lilt Power delivers 12wpc into 4 ohms and has two 12AX7 drive four 6V6 in push-pull mode. Its volume control allows operation in integrated mode while activating direct mode converts it into a pure power amp. The power transformer is specified for 250 watts.

"The Lilt Preamplifier uses two transformer-coupled EL84 with the power transformer of the Lilt Power. Volume control is based on high-quality relay-switched resistors.

"The Lilt Phono uses one 12AX7 and two 12AY7 plus a 5AY3 rectifier for its power supply with a 100-watt line transformer. There are two MM inputs and MC cartridge users can add our step-up transformer. All the face panels in the Lilt range are polished Corian from a large colour selection."
December 2017 - Leema's pulse - The 80wpc Pulse IV amplifier [£2'295] integrates vinyl, streaming, headfi and Bluetooth connectivity to operate as a contemporary music hub. That means an MM/MC phono stage, aptX module and 32/384 USB DAC. There are also twin pairs of pre-outs and one fixed-level record out. Color options are black or silver.​
December 2017 - A class Magico - The new A3 [$9'800/pr] sets a new price low for the company but claims to do so without any compromises to their usual driver tech or robust build quality. As a result, the 50kg aluminium enclosure with aluminium bracing still contains a 1-inch Beryllium tweeter, 6" graphene-based Nanotec midrange and duel 7" matching woofers which use Magico's 'elliptical' 4th-order filter network with Mundorf parts. Specs are 88dB/4-ohm sensitivity with 22Hz-50kHz bandwidth and all of it fits into dimensions just 112 x 27 x 23cm HxDxW. Availability is first quarter 2018.
December 2017 - More Metrum - Announced for the new year are optional MQA modules; and a Roon end point called Ambre, "really a piece of art doing great stuff with the cool Roon software. And needless to say, our MQA modules remain optional as we continue to improve the non-oversampling principle which makes Metrum Acoustics unique in sound and which has created a very loyal client base."
December 2017 - Loudness wars go bust? - Music Streaming service Tidal has adopted the loudness recommendation of Eelco Grimm, HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and Grimm Audio. In Tidal's recent update of their iOS and Android apps, loudness normalization is now turned 'on' by default. With this move Tidal follow the trend towards automatic loudness normalization that was initiated by Spotify and Youtube. Eelco Grimm explains: "Tidal wanted to offer an optimal listening experience by adding loudness normalization but was concerned to interfere with the artistic intention of the producers. So I analyzed the loudness of 4.2 million albums from Tidal's database and found that even with recent releases quite large loudness differences exist between soft and loud tracks of the album. By normalizing all tracks to the same level, these differences are removed and the listener does not have the intended experience. A so-called 'album normalization' method, where all songs are adjusted with the same offset, solves this problem. The research question now was if these level differences between songs would still be appreciated when the tracks are mixed with songs from other albums in a playlist. The outcome of my subjective test was that the majority of users preferred album normalization always even when soft songs from one album are played next to loud songs from another album. The database analysis further suggested that on mobile devices the loudest track of the albums should be aligned to -14 LUFS.

"Tidal adopted album normalization at -14 LUFS and followed my recommendation to turn loudness normalization on by default. This is not only convenient for the listener but also helps to end the Loudness War since there is no longer any advantage to squashing the life out of a master. Such a track will just be attenuated more in the Music Streamer's app and make less impact than a dynamically mastered track. I am very excited about this development. The majority of music consumers worldwide now listens to loudness normalized music. I hope that the few remaining streaming companies that do not offer loudness normalization by default will follow soon." 
November 2017 - Tripath lives - Trends Audio of Hong Kong relaunch their TA.10.2 micro integrated with "a new 4mm front and bundled with a special 3A power adaptor to sell for US$149. The re-organized sockets make for easier connections and support bigger high-end cables." There's a higher-spec Alps pot and "the lowest LSR & highest ripple current Rubycon MCZ series tank capacitors for power filtering."
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