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).

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 @"
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."
November 2017 - Crosby Stills and Manunta - Marco Manunta of M2Tech introduces their Crosby stereo amp which adopts a class D ICEpower module to deliver 60wpc in the case work of their Rock Star range. Bridge mode triples to 180 mono watts into 8 ohms.
November 2017 - Kiwilicious? - That's what New Zealand's Perreaux promise for their newest class AB integrated 255i which supercedes the earlier 250i. Its power rating still is the same 250wpc which doubles to 500wpc into 4 ohms but smoothing capacitance has increased from 5'600uF to 6'800uF. The biggest change is the DAC board's embrace of the latest high-spec ESS 9039Pro. Also, volume control adjustments now revert to full lettering for better visibility and the case work has undergone subtle cosmetic refinements.
November 2017 - URL overhaul - Richard Cesari of French cable house Esprit informs us that their new website just went live. Take a look.
November 2017 - Cube for magustrate - That would be Cube Audio's Grzegorz Rulka who announces their new F8 Magus widebander shown [€2'980/pr] and the matching quarter wave Voight pipe floorstanding Magus speaker [€7'990/pr]. "Our new driver has an enhanced even more powerful motor assembly. Additional new coatings for its membrane make the sound even richer and deeper. These Magus driver units are available in black or gold finishes."
November 2017 - Better sound carrier - Matija Krklec of Sound Carrier presents his Ultimate Phono two-box phono stage with parts from Mundorf, Sowter transformers, Audionote, Van DenHul, Cardas and Elna Cerafine. "Its unique features are three different MC plus one MM circuit all in one box to freely switch between Sowter MC transformers, MC op-amp, MC tube and MM tube."
November 2017 - Cloned oppo research - Funjoe of Hong Kong-based Clones Audio just introduced his Oppo UDP-205 drop-in linear power supply upgrades [ca. €320/480 for standard and deluxe versions respectively]. "Installation can easily be done by screw driver in 10 to 15 minutes."
November 2017 - Research your audio - Audio Research bow their new auto-biased VT80SE stereo power amplifier [$9'400 with tube cage, $500 less without]. It upgrades the predecessor's KT120 output tubes to the ovoid more powerful KT150 but is otherwise visually indistinguishable.
November 2017 - Polish your interface - Francisco J Vizcaya of QHW Audio in Spain introduces The Box, "a hifi enhancer device" whose description can be found here." It appears to be an active impedance coupler built around a discrete opamp which also adds 6dB of voltage gain.
November 2017 - Clamp down on cable jitters - Furutech's NCF Booster is promoted as a performance-enhancing connector and cable holder. This adjustable accessory is made from "ABS resin and NCF nylon resin to eliminate static charge whilst the top clamp is stainless steel."
November 2017 - Amp up your streaming... with quadral's Aurum A10S [€3'200]. Its 100/180wpc into 8/4-ohm class AB output stage marries to WiFi, Ethernet and USB-A via Aurum's iOS and Android app to integrate Tidal and internet radio. File support is for .wav. .flac, .alac., .wma, AAC, LPCM and MP3. A remote is included.
November 2017 - Cannery Row, Shinola - Detroit firm Shinola bow their Canfield Headphone Collection with four models - over-ear, on-ear and two in-ears. The Over-Ear Canfield [$595 - 650] uses a 50mm dynamic driver in a sealed ear cup for 102dB sensitivity and 41Ω impedance. The On-ear [$495 - $550] gets a 40mm driver for 105dB sensitivity and 32Ω impedance. The Pro In-Ear [$495] is a quad BA design at 102dB and 37Ω whilst the In-Ear [$195] gets an 8.5mm Beryllium dynamic for 104dB and 16.5Ω.
November 2017 - Dutch phono booster - Akiko Audio's little black box is meant to reduce the ultrasonic noise traveling down the fragile phono cable caused by power contamination. This applies the company's proven noise-attenuating addresses of AC and ground purifiers to vinyl playback by connecting the Phono Booster to a phono stage's or turntable's ground post.
November 2017 - Stereokonzept - Their new Model 2 MkII is "a sophisticated 2-way loudspeaker with outstanding performance, time alignment, an optimally behaved vented cabinet, Beryllium tweeter and a 15cm sandwich paper-cone mid/woofer with underhung neodymium motor for the lowest distortion and long linear stroke. The advanced xover uses only silver/gold/oil and copper capacitors, large-gauge flat copper coils and carbon resistors. The CNC machined monocoque aluminium cabinet results in one of the least audible and most rigid loudspeaker cabinets possible."
November 2017 - Nick does it all - For their 25th anniversary, Allnic Audio present new or revised models. Their new T-2000 25th Anniversary integrated is a push/pull triode/pentode machine which uses four KT-150 to produce 50/100wpc. There is a remote-controlled 41-step silver contact attenuator, a two-stage driver circuit, output transformers with large nickel/iron cores and bias metres for each output tube. The M-3000 Mk2 shown apply the same concept to a mono amp to deliver 90/200-watt in on-the-fly triode/pentode mode with a triode-connected E282F in the 2nd stage.

The L-7000 is a class A zero-feedback dual-mono line stage with a single voltage gain stage, transformer coupling, remote control, 300B voltage regulators and constant 150Ω output impedance. It too incorporates Allnic's oil-clutched precision motorized attenuator with discrete resistors.

The L-8000 transformer-coupled class A zero-feedback DHT preamplifier uses an exclusively direct-heated triode signal path from input to output and offers a constant 120Ω output impedance with tubed-based voltage regulation.

The H-7000V is a fully balanced transformer-coupled LCR phono stage with three inputs to support active gain, passive step-up gain and MM direct. The multi-curve LCR unit has four turnovers (250Hz, 400Hz, 500Hz RIAA and 700Hz) and four roll-offs (-16dB, -13.7dB RIAA, -11dB and -5dB). There are just two active gain stages. There is no negative feedback, no coupling capacitor and gain devices are four E810F pentodes.
November 2017 - 8mmaudiolabs - Donatas Tamošiūnas presents his new Lithuanian brand and its first two models - the 3-way Piu loudspeakers shown and the Piu Mini 2-way monitor. About the former, we learn that its "frame skeleton is crafted from select solid Lithuanian oak. 6-layer damped sidewalls and up to 10cm thick front panels keep vibrations to a minimum. The side walls are finished in an ecological multi layered composite which provides the highest scratch and heat resistance as well as highest gloss and reflection level." A vertical waveguide carved into the solid oak baffle "broadens the ideal listening area with improved 3D imaging and clarity. Reduced horizontal coverage minimises wall reflections." There also are custom silver connectors, custom copper inductors and a silver-trace PCB. The 3-way ported design is rated for 35-20'000Hz ±3dB, 92dB sensitivity and a minimum 5-ohm impedance. Filter hinges sit at 250Hz and 2'000Hz and the drivers are a 1" compression tweeter, 6.5" mid/woofer and 12" sidefiring woofer. DImensions are 130 x53 x22cm HxDxW and weight is 75kg/ea. Available finishes are gloss black and white.
November 2017 - Retro console - The+Record Player [starting at $999] designed by Alexander Åhnebrink comes in Maple or Walnut. Over a standard turntable, it adds Bluetooth, Toslink and a USB input/output to rip to a MAC or PC and stream files. A special auto-sensing line input and 5V power supply provide for seamless integration of Amazon Echo or Google Cast audio adaptors. The standard version features an aluminum tonearm and Ortofon OM10 cartridge. The $1'199 Carbon Edition adds a carbon fiber tonearm and upgrades the cartridge to an Ortofon 2M Red. A bi-amplified 100-watt built-in speaker system rounds out this all-in-one device.
November 2017 - Gryphon go pointy - As far back as 1989, Gryphon have offered resonance control accesories by way of the Black Spikes and Square One platform. 18 years later, we get their new Atlas Spikes [€1'490/4] which "employ effective mechanical earthing to divert resonances away from vibration-sensitive components (speakers, disc player, DAC, amplifier, turntable, cable/satellite TV box etc.) where they could do audible and visible harm. Assembled from carefully selected parts made of polyoxymethylene (POM), aluminium and tempered steel, Gryphon Atlas Spikes create an evacuation path between the equipment and outside world. By acting as mechanical diodes, they conduct energy in one direction only and block it the other way. They include M4 screw threads for easy mounting under loudspeakers and adhesive pads for carefully balanced placement under audio components regardless of total weight. The height of each Gryphon Atlas can be fine-tuned for perfect levelling."
November 2017 - Warsaw show - As in years past, Poland's annual very large hifi show takes place across a number of venues including the city's national stadium. Dates are November 17th - 19th and Marja & Henk will cover the event for us whilst Berlin correspondent John Darko will cover it for his site. This year there'll be 150 exhibitors across 165 rooms.
October 2017 - Final's planars - First teased at Munich HighEnd 2017, November will see the release of the D8000, the Japanese headphone specialist's first planarmagnetic model in what is expected to spawn an entire range. As explained by their engineers at the show, their special contribution to the breed is air-film damping, a technique to control diaphragm motion borrowed from certain microphones. Key specs for the D8000 are 60-ohm impedance and 98dB sensitivity.
October 2017 - Arcturus - George Lenz of directs out attention at "the newest amplifier from Arcturus Audio, the 801a. This follows the first 316a amplifier we released which also happens to feature bright emitters (thoriated tungsten filaments). We continue to build out our product portfolio and now have a passive transformer attenuator as well as a step-up transformer for low-output moving coil cartridges. The 801a features balanced and unbalanced headphone ports, a three-step gain switch for system matching, a preamp output, an 8 & 16 ohm speaker selector switch, 4 high-level inputs and manual tube biasing complete with a Yamamoto meter. Power output is 5wpc with remarkably low distortion. Pricing to be announced shortly."
October 2017 - Burning Amp Festival 2017 - It is coming to the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on Sunday, November 12th from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 PM. New this year are extended hours due to increased interest and popularity of DIY audio. Held in the fall since 2007, BAF has grown into a premier international event for DIY enthusiasts and professionals. DIY audio is the original maker movement dating back to the 1940s and 1950s when hifi was in its infancy and a lot of great-sounding equipment was assembled at home by enthusiastic amateurs.

BAF celebrates audio technology both new and old, tube and solid state, analog and digital. The festival has been held in the fall since October of 2007. Come listen to hand-built audio amplifiers, speakers and more. Bring your own gear: DIY amps, speakers, turntables, DACs, servers etc. Share ideas and learn to design and build your own equipment. By way of encouraging people to bring their own projects for show or demonstration, there will be free admission to anyone bringing a DIY project. There will be displays, demos, auction and raffle items, freebies plus well-attended lectures by prominent figures like Nelson Pass, Siegfried Linkwitz, Damian Martin and Wayne Colburn. And there are numerous DIY giveaways: Nelson Pass, as always, will generously contribute a big batch of Amp Camp amp circuit boards, parts and loudspeaker drivers. For more information or questions, follow the Burning Amp 2017 thread. When driving to the site, enter via the Gatehouse at Laguna Street and Marina Boulevard.
There are four talks throughout the day at the Firehouse. Unfortunately the room cannot accommodate more than about 110 people due to the Fire Code so some may have to stand outside or will not be able to attend a talk if they are late. No standing around the walls as this will violate code. Nelson Pass will be talking about his new amplifiers which diyAudio will sell as kits and should have them to demo along with tons of other stuff including the SAL speakers in his audition rooms. Siegfried Linkwitz will give a presentation on audio perception and demo his LX series open baffle speakers in his audition room.

Damian Martin will demonstrate the only existing US sample of a new precision measurement interface for computers which has unheard-of-performance per dollar; and a device designed by Jan Didden that automatically sets the input voltage to your computer interface to 1 volt to get the best measurements and not blow it up. He will have them on display at a table in the Firehouse and may do some tests of amps for people to demonstrate them

Wayne Colburn from Pass Labs will be about his new headphone amp design and the PCB he can supply for them and how he approaches some common circuit design issues. He ill also have a table in the Firehouse where you can listen to it. Bring your own headphones for the most meaningful experience.
October 2017 - Return of the AKG K-1000? - New and improved that is. The original two engineers responsible for this long discontinued headphone got back together to revisit the concept with new materials and other advances. One big advance is 96dB sensitivity. Impedance is 15 ohms, the driver is a 40mm square dynamic with 4mm of stroke. Approximate weight without cables is 330g. The pads attach magnetically and all frame adjustments are fluid not click-stopped. Pricing will start at $3'500 when shipping begins.
October 2017 - McInt - McIntosh announce their smallest MA5300 integrated amplifier [$5'000] whose direct-coupled circuit generates 100/160wpc into 8/4 ohms and includes MM phono, a comprehensive modular 384kHz/DSD256 DAC, a preout/main-in loop and a headphone amp with crossfeed circuitry.
October 2017 - Diamond cantilever? - Yes if you buy a Transfiguration Proteus D cartridge [£6'750]. "Production of a diamond cantilever is a unique challenge," explains designer and builder Seiji Yoshioka. "Of course it’s expensive but more than that, to craft it requires an extremely highly skilled technician." In most other respects, the design and specifications of the 'D' largely match those of the standard Proteus with its patented yokeless double ring-magnet design in which pure 99.9997% silver wire coils are positioned right at the focal point of the magnetic flux field. Multi-layered double dampers are made from different types of elastomer. Insensitive to temperature changes, they provide excellent stylus/coil alignment and control with highly precise tracking ability. The double dampers in the new limited edition Proteus D have been re-designed for the diamond cantilever."
October 2017 - Manhattan gets posher - Mytek's new Brooklyn DAC+ [$2'195] "features redesigned and enhanced conversion, analog and power supply circuits, the new Sabre 9028Pro chip for enhanced resolution and better filter options, upgraded headphone amplifier, better L/R separation, larger capacity power supply and new, very transparent analog attenuator circuit."
October 2017 - Acuhorn - Wojciech Unterschuetz of Polish audio house Acuhorn introduces their new Rate amp [€2'500] and matching R2R DAC/streamer [€3'600]. The stereo amp combines Lundahl input transformers with a Texas Instruments class D amplifier, Vicorpower SMPS and rear-mounted attenuator. The 28/384kHz DAC combines a 3.072MHz upsampling FPGA with a Soekris discrete R2R module and Raspberry Pi server again with a universal-range Vicorpower SMPS like the amp.
October 2017 - Gekko Cables - London-based Gekko Cables promote their Purple Haze interconnect as using "custom made one-piece connectors which use the core conductor to make contact with the equipment's RCA sockets."
October 2017 - Eureka - Richard Cesari of French cable house Esprit bows his new Eureka range which is positioned between their Lumina and Gaia models. " All models in the Eureka range are polarized and equipped with twin-material ferrites to eliminate ultrasonic frequencies and continue with our use of partial shields and air dielectric. A new pure copper conductor is clad in 40 microns of pure silver, then finished with new triboelectric surfacing to improve conductivity. All our cables are now available in black or white finish."