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).

Massimo Costa strikes again? – This time it's the Albedo Agadia with diamond or ceramic tweeter. Either option combines with a 5" ceramic midrange and three 7" ceramic woofers all from Accuton's Cell Concept range via 2nd-order acoustic filters for 86dB/4Ω sensitivity. At dimensions of 45 x 28 x 140cm DxWxH, the build remains reasonably compact but 140kg/ea. of raw mass shows unexpected seriousness of construction. These cabinets are naturally endowed with Massimo's trademark Helmoline resonators to cancel internal propagation effects, linearize the impedance and with it, optimize an amplifier's control over the woofers. The available finish is black leather with walnut as shown. Why the question mark? As Massimo corrected me after the fact, "I must point out that this is no design of mine or rather, that it started with an idea I never finished because in the meantime my job changed. Due to the 4-hour driving distance between me and Albedo and the fact that I'm getting older, I handed off all design work for Albedo to young designer Juan Loyaza now." I'd not known that but now the record has been set straight. Let's acknowledge Mr. Loyaza as Albedo's current lead designer!

Rack it – According to their latest teaser video, the Spanish Artesanía Audio company would seem to embrace hidden ball bearings for the first time as shown in this screen capture. The Munich show's reveal across multiple rooms in both the MOC and Marriott Hotel should shed more light shortly.

hARt Labs, Greece – From Club Med to your listening room, their gear promises "tube sound without the compromise of conventional tube amps due to our unique topology". The Reference line consists of the Tune Two shown, a tube preamp with streamer, DAC, MM/MC phono and headfi; and the Tune Three hybrid stereo power amp with driver tubes and Mosfet outputs. The Superior Line includes the Tune Four paralleled tube preamp and Tune Five hybrid monos. The company will exhibit in the MOC Hall 3 booth M13 and look forward to meeting you.

The Tune Two's tube complement is a pair of CV181 "light polarized without feedback" paired with a "Class A tracking buffer for a hybrid path". There's also an alternate tube-direct output. A battery-emulator power supply has 12 fully regulated voltage fees and the dual-.mono circuit is star grounded for immunity to mains noise and ground loops. The attenuator is a relay-based resistor ladder. There are 4 x RCA line-level inputs plus phono plus RJ45, wireless, 3 x USB, coax and optical. Outputs are hybrid, tube direct and 6.3mm headfi. Voltage gain is 21dB, bandwidth 5Hz – 120kHz and power consumptions 50W at idle. Many different finish and backlighting options are available and the side panels are hot-swappable.

The voice that is – In Munich that's Living Voice who this year will anchor their main system around OBX-RW4 speakers in Santos rosewood allied to a pair of OBX Cube subs with xover/amp modules. Also on site will be their retail arm Definitive Audio's SJS Model 5 300B amplifier Silver Enhanced, Model 7 preamplifier Premier Silver Enhanced and Model 3 phono amplifier Silver Enhanced. Vinyl will spin on an orange Kuzma R with CAR60 on a Safir arm. Alternate vinyl will spin on a Grand Prix Audio Monaco V2.0 record player with Kuzma 4P14 arm and CAR50 or VIV Labs RF7" arm with Ortofon SPU Royal G MKII or Classic GE, Living Voice step-up transformer or Consolidated Audio SUT of bespoke specifications. Also in attendance will be Living Voice G2 equipment tables, IBX-RW4 speakers in flat white, Living Voice's Pure Music battery power supply system for the lot and 300B by Takatsuki, Western Electric and Living Voice.  See and hear it all at Atrium 4, E220.

Viking raid in Munich – It's what Audio Group Denmark promise with their brands Aavik, Ansuz and Børresen. The latter will launch the M1 shown. It premiers new diaphragm tech of bonding a 0.04mm surface-treated titanium skin to Nomex honey comb surrounded on both sides by spread-tow carbon. The matching basket now is 3D-printed zirconium. The motor system's trademark copper rings become pure silver for still lower inductance. Børresen will also preview their new X Speaker Series with carbon-fiber reinforced cabs. Aavik will show the 200wpc class A 880 integrated with LDR volume control we covered in an earlier post. Cosmetics are now by Flemming Rasmussen. Ansuz will show a new D-TC Gold Signature cable range which, as the name indicates, features a silver/copper alloy with gold. To become part of this Viking raid and talk to the company principals, present yourself in Hall 4 room T04 and U03.

60-year old kefir? – That's KEF's new 30kg/ea. LS60 Wireless [€6'495/pr], kinda, by celebrating already 60 years of big business. It takes the LS50 Wireless II concept off the stand directly onto the floor so includes the W2 streaming platform with support for Bluetooth 4.2, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Google Chromecast Built-In and the service providers Qobuz, Amazon Music, Deezer and QQ Music. Roon Ready is coming. Looking like a squared-off KEF Blade, the LS60 gets a 12th-gen 4-inch Uni-Q coaxial main driver with stacked V-Twin woofers on each side. There's the company's meta material absorber behind the tweeter and each opposing woofer pair couples in the UniCore arrangement first seen in the KC62 subwoofer. That allows the super-narrow 13cm profile which scales to 104cm height and 32cm depth. DSP claims to achieve 26Hz at -6dB and three DACs feed three amplifiers so 500 watts class D to the four woofers and 100 watts class A/B each to the midrange and tweeter. Fanless cooling is via a small air intake above the plinth. Connectivity on the master speaker is line-level RCA, optical, coax, HDMI ARC, RJ45 plus a sub output. The slave gets its own sub output. There's a wired 24/192 capable link between both speaker or a 24/96 wireless option. As shown, available colors are royal blue, mineral white or titanium grey. Kefir. It's really good for ya. And what the photos don't drive home without any size reference is that a modern Samsung smartphone will be longer than the LS60 Wireless is wide. At just four hairs above one meter tall, it's also quite short. This is a surprisingly compact design for all the tech that's bundled inside. The balanced-force woofer array insures that the powers that be unleashed won't rock it all sideways. It's an ingenious packaging job.

Cut off at the knee – That's Grimm Audio's side table mod for their LS1 speaker called Nano Legs. A standard or large acoustic absorber mat becomes the interface with the support surface. Explains Eelco Grimm: "The LS1 with Nano legs is a development based upon a 'special edition' LS1 we designed for the Concertgebouw Amsterdam studio. Speakers in their small control room need to be placed atop a bass trap and the 'Nano Legs' version facilitated that." The Nano Legs are available for the same price as the standard and studio lengths.

Analogue A3 – It's Music Hall's new $1'199 MM/MC phono stage with up to 60dB of gain (6dB from the 12AU7 tubes) and a S/N ratio of -78/-80dB for MC/MM. i/o are on gold-plated RCA, the gain control is an Alps Blue Velvet pot and the enclosure a solid alloy construction.

Head huntingGruensch Audio from Mainhardt/Germany are by hoping that visitors to the HighEnd Munich show can be persuaded to visit their off-site showroom for by-appointment demonstrations of their reference system. Private listening sessions are available May 19/20/23 from 13:30 to 20:30. Here's the peppery detail: Mainhardt is a 275km drive from Munich so a +5-hour round trip without yet any listening. The Munich show drives lots of international visitors to town due to the promotion's efforts. Is trying to  syphon some of them off a solid business strategy or just poaching by a different name?

Swiss precision – It's what you get with CH Precision's C1.2 DAC/Controller [starting at €32'850], the partnering DAC to their D1.4 SA/CD transport. Amongst listed improvements over the predecessor are a four-fold increase in processing power; a revised algorithm with now fixed-point processing; new power-management software for reduced system noise levels; a new thermally compensated shunt-regulated master clock; discrete local regulation of DSP/FGPA chips; full MQA compliance for disc/file replay; and an improved by-passable hybrid digital/analog volume control. With modular inputs, the owner only buys the input boards needed and an upgrade path can end up in a three-box dual-mono DAC. The machine will be at Munich High End in Atrium 4.1 room F118.

 

Open aperture – It's what we see with Apertura's two new models Forté and Stela about which details remain sparse. We only know that Stela scales up the existing Sensa model while Forté has been groomed for low-power amplifiers. To learn more requires attending the Munich High End show and stopping by room F204 in the Atrium 4. Why do most manufacturers clam up with pre-show announcements? Give us more so we can help attendees better plan who they can't afford to miss. Marginal press releases are just so last century!

Batboy – To become him, RSVP here. sound|kaos auteur Martin Gateley promises to cover some introductory company background then preview his new Liber|8 and DSUB15 models which will formally drop at Munich's alternate HiFi Deluxe show in room #218 of the Marriott Hotel. After seeing the video, you can learn still more about the Liber|8 project; read our ongoing DSUB15 review; then cap off with our interview of Martin.

Michael & Flemming – Add Børresen & Rasmussen and arrive at Aavik's new 880 range as the company's first to benefit from the ex Gryphon designer's cosmetic input. My interview with Flemming and this Youtube video have more details. The 880 amplifiers and integrateds will all operate in pure class A thus differ from the Pascal-based class D models already in the line.

Utility company upgrade – That's Electrocompaniet's new AW 800M, a 300wpc stereo or 800W mono amplifier of colossal 1.1MHz bandwidth weighing a not inconsiderable 55kg. HighEnd Munich will have its unveiling in Halle 2 Stand J10. Expected pricing for a mono pair is ~€24K.

Thrice removed – That's Chord's Ultima Pre 3 [£6'000], "an entirely fresh design inside and out which takes advantage of the latest developments in low-distortion power supplies." There are 2:3 XLR:RCA inputs plus a separate AV bypass input individually buffered and filtered against RFI. Sealed microprocessor-triggered relays perform input switching. "The new fascia offers perfect symmetry centered on a circular on/off power sphere with the company’s polychromatic indicator lighting. That is flanked by a newly designed combined volume/input selector and balance/AV bypass control. The upper panel features a vented design enhanced with a dimmable LED light." Outputs are on XLR/RCA. There's also a 12V trigger and 5V/3A USB-A port for peripheral kit including the firm's own Qutest and Hugo 2. Finish options are black or silver.

Long sound – It's Switzerland's Lange Loudspeakers with their Yocto monitor [€8'900/pr] and matching Tera [€7'900/pr] sub. The turbine-shaped monitor in CNC'd aluminium runs an in-house designed/made CNC-machined flat-membrane widebander for no crossover between amp and voice coil. "Back-radiated energy from the diaphragm diffuses into five concentric channels milled around its area so rear-radiated energy flows into them and around a slug-type magnet instead of bouncing back and hitting the diaphragm". Yocto is meant to cross over at 100Hz via a 4th-order high-pass to leave bass to a subwoofer like its stablemate Tera in its 30cm aluminium cube with 2×10" woofers fronted by 600W built-in power. An RJ45 port communicates with the internal DSP for user adjustments. Inputs are on XLR, the power cord connects via Neutrik PowerCon.

New home – Rethm's new website dropped to introduce their four fully redesigned widebander models with active bass systems. While the names remain unchanged for continuity, they're very different from before and look it. Aarka sports 2 x 6" rear-firing woofers and includes a defeatable valve-hybrid amp for its 5" widebander. Trishna, Maarga and Saadhana move their now isobaric bass systems to the front so behind each visible pair sits another one inside the box. On top Jacob George's proprietary widebander scales from 5" to 6" to 7" as the speaker cabs grow in size. Built-in Hypex uCD noiseless power for the woofers scales up in tandem. For more details, visit the new site.

HEM OEM – The makers of the popular ferrum brand employ a team of 7-8 in-house engineers. It's an unusually big brain trust for a smaller company. During R&D of their ferrum Erco DAC/headfi machine, this team created a proprietary digital solution. It combines all digital receiving and signal routing on one board and codes USB HiD, DoP, full MQA, signal level functionality and 32/384PCM and DSD256 support onto an ARM Cortex M4 Core processor to avoid separate XMOS chips. The resultant 5 x 7cm red Serce [Polish for 'heart'] module supports board-to-board connections for USB 2.0, up to 4 x AES3-S/PDIF, I²S over HDMI, ARC with CEC controller, IR decoder and internal I²S for any extension. It aims at smaller hifi boutiques as a convenient OEM solution for advanced digital machines. Sales will happen through HEM since ferrum remains reserved for consumer machines.

State of the union – At Zu, it's final days for Omen II and Soul Supreme as those models phase out and the coaxial Union Bookshelf [$1'799/pr], Union [€2'899/pr] and Union Supreme [$3'899pr] roll in. The first two get a composite-dome tweeter, Supreme the ring radiator of Soul VI. Standard finishes for all are clear hickory and black satin, impedance is 8Ω and sensitivity 99dB.

Root beer float? Subtract the root beer and you've got Connected-Fidelity's Float, a ball-bearing isolation footer with top pimples or an add-on plate with M6/M8 bolt. The standard weight rating with POM spheres in chromium-steel races is 30kg. For heavier loads, the ball bearings turn chromium steel to not deform. A set of 3 or 4 standard Floats is £346/399. Additional speaker plates add £199.

Luminous – It's Lumin's U2, a transport-only streaming companion for standalone D/A converters. It's the company's first to feature a new faster processor which enables up/downsampling to/from 384kHz/DSD256 and playback of DSD512. It also includes Leedh's digital volume control. Digital outputs are on AES/EBU, BNC, coax, Toslink and USB. Inputs are USB and RJ45/network. Integration of streaming clients includes Spotify, Roon, Qobuz and Tidal. There's also support for MQA and multi-room streaming.

The luph life? It's no misspeller if we mean Luphonic Lab's new H2 [€2'490] turntable and K2 [€890] tonearm designed and built in Germany. This belt drive with micro-processor controlled synchronous motor uses a mineral-loaded composite for platter and plinth where the latter's sandwich construction adds a central cell-kautschuk layer. A separate puck placed on a plinth sensor sets 33rpm with one side down, 45rpm when its other side faces down. A built-in display shows 33 or 45. No puck, no unauthorized rotations. Zero manual switches. The 9.5" carbon-tube arm with gimbal suspension ends in a polyamid headshell injected with microscopic glass spheres for extra rigidity at low weight. There's also the H1 turntable [€1'690] with a low-mass chassis of special PU hard foam.

Private equity fund invests in Audio Group Denmark – Founders and majority shareholders Lars Kristensen and Michael Børresen sold 45% of their shares to Vækst-Invest and new CEO Kent Sørensen. Since their beginning in 2012, the group's companies have undergone profitable growth. Lars and Michael continue as CSO and CTO respectively. Kent held the position of CFO in Audio Group Denmark since 2020 and will now lead the companies as CEO. "We've had a lengthy dialogue with Vækst-Invest and look forward to their joining us," states founder Lars Kristensen. "For our choice chemistry was crucial. We hold common core values. With our companies on the cusp of a very exciting future with high growth, a change of CEO means that I can now dedicate my focus to the sales and marketing of our products". Founder and CTO Michael Børresen adds: "I look forward to working with Vækst-Invest. They have vast experience of companies in niches selling proprietary products to the global market. I also look forward to applying even greater focus to developing our range with new innovative products."

"Over a number of years, we enjoyed an extensive dialogue with Lars and Michael," states Vækst-Invest II partner Lars Bundgaard Sørensen. "We're extremely impressed by their development and the professional job done on all fronts. There are many aspects to be highlighted but their execution of product development in particular is unique whilst at the same time experiencing growth in all markets". Partner at Vækst-Invest II Jeppe Hoff Nyby adds: "We very much look forward to growing these companies even more. They built an excellent platform which we shall continue to develop and strengthen in the years ahead." As planned, Kent Sørensen assumes the role of CEO in the three companies whose headquarters remain in Aalborg. "Together with the new shareholders, Audio Group Denmark will be run in the same spirit as today, with dedicated and capable employees in all functions. The pursuit of the perfect sound experience will continue for the benefit of our customers and end users alike."

GaN PowerDAC – It's Peachtree's newest GaN1 [$1'999], a 200wpc switching power amp with single 24/192 S/PDIF input and zero negative feedback driven by a 450-watt regulated power supply. The output devices are gallium nitride for faster switching and lower dead times. Among others, switching GaN-based amplifiers are available from AGD and Merrill. It's a still developing sector currently dominated by models far costlier than Peachtree's. However, none of them are 'digital' amps like the GaN1. Peachtree contend they're first to offer one. Early birds can benefit from a beta-testing discount.

From blue to super – It's about moons and Campfire's new Super Moon [$1'500] in particular. It's Ken Ball's newest custom in-ear monitor using a single 14mm planarmagnetic driver with 2 micron thin diaphragm for 5Hz-20kHz bandwidth at 94dB sensitivity and 15.5Ω impedance.