Product-related news items of general interest should be accompanied by a formal press release with basic descriptions, finish options, pricing, a photo 604px 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).

Silver surfers – Coming soon to a Vinnie Rossi theater near you are silver versions of their L2 flagship models like the awarded DHT linestage with optional DAC and phono modules shown.

Feeling hedo? – Consider Nikola Nastasovic of Belgrade's Hedonist Audio whose portfolio of cables and power distributors spans price points from €200 – €2'000. He makes four different analog interconnects, four digital cables (S/PDIF and USB), two speaker cables, five power cords, two power distributors and three power conditioners. The Icon interconnect shown uses 0.2mm² silver-plated copper conductors with PTFE and polyethylene dielectric and gold-plated RCA or XLR connectors.

 

 

Audio Analogue renovate two classics – "In 2016, Italian brand Audio Analogue celebrated their 20th birthday by launching a line of Anniversary editions of earlier classic amplifiers. Now the Puccini and Maestro integrated models are joined by the new Bellini preamplifier and Donizetti power amplifier. Whilst those  share a name with the originals, in every other respect they feature completely new designs and technologies. A fully differential zero global feedback design from input to output, Bellini takes its inspiration from the preamp stage of the Maestro Anniversary integrated, then pushes further. Starting with the power supply, the Bellini features a bespoke inductive-capacitive filter to minimize mains interference. The dual-mono fully balanced gain stage features a single-stage transconductance amplifier to make the preamplifier even quieter. The complex four-layer circuit board positions each component to minimize noise as well as carefully routing the input, output and control signals so that any potential noise is eliminated. Only audiophile grade components are used throughout, relay-operated switches ensure linearity and internal wiring is 7N OCC copper. Rather than use a traditional potentiometer for volume control, the Bellini uses a ladder of carefully selected fixed-value resistors. A solid aluminium remote control completes the package.

"Also a zero global feedback fully balanced design, the Donizetti power amplifier delivers 250W into 8Ω stereo, with power doubling as impedance halves. The amplifier is dual mono down to two separate 1200VA toroidal power transformers. As in the Bellini, the circuit features the single gain stage transconductance amplifier plus 12 bipolar output transistors per channel. Again a four-layer printed circuit board positions sensitive components as far from the power transformers as possible and ensures that the input signal path never crosses that of the output signal. All components are of the highest level, from military-standard resistors to audio-grade capacitors, 7N OCC copper wiring and gold-plated connectors. Donizetti can also be operated in mono configuration. This delivers a staggering 1kW into 8 ohms."

Gato cheap out – 40% off. Across their catalogue. This is enabled with a new distribution policy which trims the fat. "From now on; there are two ways of buying Gato Audio products:
1. Through one of our passionate dealers: Here you get the benefits of local service, demonstration and support.
2. Direct on our website: Here you get free worldwide shipping, two weeks of home trial and online service and support.
No matter how you choose to buy, all Gato Audio products are still hand built to order and shipped directly from our factory in Copenhagen, to your dealer or directly to you as consumer – no middlemen in between. For existing customers who purchased Gato Audio products within the last 24 months at a higher price than we now offer, we have designed a special compensations program. Contact us directly for further information about this program."

1'536kHz PCM – That and DSD1'024 are some of the new specs of the DSP upgrade board for the discrete R2R Denafrips Terminator DAC enabled by a new FPGA with four sets of Linear Tech regulators. The machine also gets twin AES/EBU mode support; sharp/slow filter options; configurable I²S pin outs on HDMI; and a DSD over I²S channel swap configuration. "And yes, this is user upgradeable. Simply open the top cover, carefully unplug the old DSP board and plug in the new board. It's simpler than installing a PCI card in the computer."

Bob Marley the Second – That's M2Tech's new Marley MkII headfi/preamp with comprehensive featurization. Think 6.3mm and XLR4 headphone outputs, fixed and variable RCA line-level outputs, 2 RCA and 1 XLR inputs for three sources. Think balanced circuitry, 3-stage selectable output impedance, defeatable 3-band tone controls plus selectable cross feed. Think precision Muses 72320 volume controller. Think upgrade path via the firm's own Van der Graaf MkII outboard power supply which connects by 4-pin umbilical. Long live Reggae!

Western lights – The Aurora system by the UK's iFi is a €1'499 all-in-one wired/wireless system in bamboo suspended in a pyramidal aluminum frame based on a design concept by Julien Haziza. Eight drive units including two passive radiators are controlled by a hybrid 6N3P tube/class D amplifier of 320 watts whose 1.5MHz switching is sync'd with the 32/192 ESS Sabre D/A converter's master clock. Touch-sensitive controls and an Oled display add a modern interface. 4 x 12cm active widebanders fire out two in front and two to the sides augmented by one 28mm silk-dome tweeter per side. Two rectangular auxiliary bass radiators fire downward. The lot's interaction with your setup is measured with ultrasound via six built-in microphones to auto-adapt purely analog compensation for best response linearity without any DSP or feedback. Aside from WiFi and Bluetooth, Toslink, coax, USB and Ethernet cater to hardwired digital sources, a 3.5mm stereo to analog and a micro slot to SDHC cards. It all turns Aurora into a very hi-tech table-top proposition. Multiple units can even be linked for multi-room distribution. These are northern lights you can see from anywhere on the globe…

Liedtke Metalldesign – Dirk Liedtke's new LM-XTC stand is offered with two different top plates and columns from 40 to 100cm. It's finished in either a RAL 9005 matte black coat or as polished stainless steel. Pricing begins at €499/pr and unfilled, each stand weighs ~11kg/ea depending on overall height.

Definitive changes – Definitive Audio, the distribution and retail arm of Living Voice, are relinquishing their long-standing Kondo franchise for the UK. "We have always followed our heart because that’s where music communicates. It is fundamental that we feel a powerful connection to the brands we represent. Over the years we have enjoyed a good working relationship with Kondo and it is now time for us to move on and make way for someone who feels as passionate about their new designs as we do about their originals. We wish them well for the future. We, of course, continue to offer backup support and service on all of the Kondo equipment we have sold over the last 16 years."

INT-25 – The new Pass Labs integrated [€7'250] combines a simplified INT-60 front end with the XA-25 power amplifier for a purely single-ended class A machine with three inputs and metal remote.

Ondacustica – Shown in Munich, the Carla Reference II [€45'000/pr] is a 3-way speaker centred on a proprietary 8" bending-wave widebander with acoustic lens operated as a dipole which associates with an upfiring 8" mid/woofer for 360° dispersion augmented by an acoustic-suspension 10" front-firing woofer. The cabinet includes many bronze trim and elements embellished with bas-relief detailing to include sculptural artistic aspects like the  people scenes on the woofer trim ring.

Heddphone – Cunningly christened and expected to launch below €2'000, Klaus Heinz, founder of Hedd and Adam and collaborator with Oscar Heil on the famous air-motion transformer, has announced a new headphone based on a full-range custom ATM with patent-pending "new variable diaphragm geometry that replaces the fixed geometric structure of conventional AMT tweeters."

The mother of all widebanders? – At the Munich show, Cube Audio from Poland showed their new 15" widebander with four whizzer cones, a big multi-pleated fabric surround and three concentric cone breaks to act as a quasi triaxial driver, albeit one that is executed purely in the mechanical domain without any filter components. Also unusually, this driver now loads into a sealed no longer quarter-wave type cabinet. With a review booked already, expect the full details in due time.

Non-ethereal net – Wireworld Cable Technology release their second generation Ethernet patch cables. "Their patented flat design was developed through listening tests that compared network cables to a local USB stick. These new Series 8 cables utilize higher density triple-layer shields and quieter Composilex® 3 insulation to maximize audible and visible performance. People don't realize how much musical detail is being lost by their Ethernet connections until they compare their network sound to an internal drive or USB stick. These cables isolate network noise to minimize that loss and provide sound quality that approaches the clarity of a local solid-state drive."

"The official network cable categories (ie. Cat5/6/7/8) only include twisted pair cables so our non-twisted twinax cables cannot be rated by those test specifications. However, 100Gb/s (QSFP+) Ethernet cables used in internet server installations are also twinax designs. Our patented Tite-Shield™ design places the conductors in parallel, with each of the four pairs isolated from the others by dense triple-layer shields. This radical flat design is so effective at isolating noise that replacing only the final cable in the network can substantially improve sound quality. The Series 8 upgrades involve two critical areas of performance. The density of the triple-layer shields was increased which reduced crosstalk and external interference. However, controlled listening tests also revealed that internally generated triboelectric noise still masked too much quiet musical information. Upgrading our Composilex 2 insulation used in the original versions to the newly developed much quieter Composilex 3 enabled even finer musical details to be preserved. The three cable models differ only in their conductor materials. Chroma 8  [$15/m + termination] is yellow with oxygen-free copper conductors. Starlight 8 [$60/m + termination] is red with silver-clad OFC conductors and Platinum Starlight 8 [$600/m + termination] is silver with conductors made of the most conductive metal available, Ohno Continuous Cast solid silver of 7N (99.99999%) purity."

First Purifi licensee – No sooner had we reported on Bruno Putzeys' new Eigentakt amplifier topology that news of first adoption make the rounds. "NAD Electronics announce that it will be the first international brand to incorporate and launch Purifi's new patent-pending class D technology into its product family. The amplifier circuit known as Eigentakt (meaning 'self-clocking') is the result of years of research into the self-oscillation behaviours in class D amplifiers with algorithms that, when applied in control loops, improve existing designs by an order of magnitude or more. The agreement will see the two companies cooperate to adapt the Eigentakt circuit to NAD's signature design requirements, with the intent to create a new amplifier platform for future, yet-to-be-announced products from NAD."

"The Eigentakt technology is unique", explains Bruno Putzeys, co-founder at Purifi Audio. "Amplifiers with this technology will be exceedingly indifferent to speaker load, volume level and signal content, resulting in negligible THD and IMD levels and will feature exceptionally clean clipping."

Melco – Their Intelligent Music Library "for the first time combines a metadata engine (SongKong for Melco) and UPnP server (MinimServer with intelligent browsing) which are expertly tailored to each other's needs for far more effective search parameters which now result in precise, speedy and easy browsing, search and play even with large collections of varied genres."

Thaïs – As hinted at in our review of their Mimí range opener, Kroma Audio of Granada/Spain just introduced the Thaïs and Stella models which replace the monitor's stand with cabinetry and add one or two woofers to become compact floorstanders with the same footprint to occupy price points between Mimí and Julieta.

Amator Minimus the Second – The new Sonus faber Minima Amator II [€4'000/pr] re-interprets a classic first introduced in 1992. The material mix is solid Walnut, brass and leather. This two-way rear-ported design combines a 28mm silk dome tweeter with a 6" mid/woofer made of cellulose pulp and natural fibers. Natural supports for it are the company's Carrara or Unicum stands.

Totemic – The new V2 Metal [$15'500/pr] and Fire [$7'000/pr] speakers in Totem's Element Series are "the result of dramatic advancements to our 7" Torrent driver by applying many of the principles learned from the evolution of the 4" Torrent. The Element Metal V2 has substantially more mid bass, deeper bass extension, bass control, speed and precision. The driver facade is now a black anodized finish as is the skid plate at the bottom rear. Externally visible changes to the 7" woofer include a slightly larger dust cap with additional damping. Internally, the 7" Torrent driver magnet system has been increased from 16 to 17 individual magnets, resulting in slightly larger concavity of the magnet cradle, allowing for greater control of the voice coil. The driver is now a little shorter and more compact, with the result being a smoother midrange frequency and deeper bass response."

Flerovium – Symbolized by a fitting 'fi', flerovium is the 114th element in the periodic table. As Element 114 [$15'000), it's the newest stereo amplifier from Merrill Audio. It does 200wpc into 8Ω and keeps doubling down into 2Ω. Without any feedback and claimed zero dead time, it uses a proprietary class D circuit with gallium nitride output transistors. It also uses "a custom LLC resonant power supply with custom transformer as inductor. This ultra-low noise power supply gives the amplifier its seemingly limitless supply of power and ultra-low noise floor at full power. It comes in polished black nickel with rose gold fascia and accents. A 20A AC inlet provides a tighter connection. The Teflon XLR input has rhodium-plated silver pins. The speaker binding posts are pure copper. Gain is 26dB."

CansforEver – CanEver's ZeroUno DAC-HPA is an all solid-state class A direct-coupled fully discrete headphone amp with USB, coax, AES/EBU and Toslink inputs and 2 x RCA outputs. Optionally, one of those can become transformer-coupled XLR. Headphone outputs are on 6.3mm and XLR4. The remote controls volume, balance, phase, mute and inputs. A setup menu offers various configurations.

Lakmé – Verity Audio's newest combines a classic two-way array on its head section with a rear-firing woofer augmented by two passive radiators whilst a suspended tripod system includes floor isolation. This 3-way slots into the Canadian catalogue between the Finn and Otello models and is available in satin white or black with high-gloss white/black front panels.

A CDP for the Streaming Age – Leema's new Stream IV [£2'295] integrates Tidal, Spotify and Qobuz with CDs, vTuner Internet Radio, Deezer and playback of USB drives plus Dropbox/OneDrive accounts. "The Stream IV includes an advanced high-resolution 24/192 streaming module, a Stream Unlimited CD mechanism, ESS 9018 Sabre DAC and coaxial/optical outputs." There's remote control and general DLNA/UPnP playback via MConnect whose volume control enables the use of headless players and renderers. Finishes are black or silver.

Black hole or super nova? – Noise goes in but doesn't come out. That's IsoTek's new Ultimate Series power conditioner, the "most sophisticated (passive) front-end source component power cleaning system we have developed so far. It is designed for primary components that typically have a constant current draw, thus CD players, music servers, DACs, preamplifiers, phono stages etc. Each of the eight power outlets has its own dedicated cleaning system and each output over 100'000 Amps (1'840 joules) of protection or over 800'000 combined. Priced at £9'995, the Super Nova features ground filtering fully compliant with certification and safety standards. This is further clamped with an electronic protection circuit. Therefore, each connected component's functional lifetime will increase as well as being totally protected against dangerous power surges and voltage spikes. The Super Nova also includes a sophisticated new choke which allows a series connection that quadruples the inductance, giving a vast filtering increase at a constant 10 amperes if needed. This provides a typical load of 25-40W a massive power reserve. In addition, two specialized RF chokes combined with capacitances produce a high level of classical Pi filtration. Furthermore, there is our unique Nova adaptive gate system which produces the optimum resistance capacitance barrier, eliminating differential mode cross contamination."

AVC your TVC – With Nord's One PRE-TVC 1 [£1'995], you can have it both ways. This passive line stage does it balanced or single-ended, has a Nord-branded Apple remote, a 2.8" TFT display and balance control over 10dB. There's also a USB firmware update socket and microprocessor control for input naming, automatic input level matching and instant mute. Whether one runs in transformer or autoformer mode can be selected by remote.