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).

PI to the ears – B&W's new wireless ear buds might be your personal private investigator of sound. They are called Pi7 S2 [$399] and Pi5 S2 [$299] and follow up the firm's 2021 originals. "The 2nd-gen units maintain the hi-resolution sound of their predecessor while upgrading connectivity, battery life, user experience and finishes. Both feature upgraded wireless via re-engineered antenna with increased Bluetooth range up to 25m; and 5 hours of listening time. Quick charge adds two more hours in just 15 minutes. The charging cases for each model provide additional battery life so a further 16 hours for the Pi7 S2, 19 hours for the Pi5 S2. The Pi7 S2 is available in satin black, canvas white and midnight blue. The Pi5 S2 comes in cloud grey, storm grey, spring lilac and sage green. Both are fully integrated with the B&W Music App and support hi-res streaming direct from mobile device via Qobuz, Tidal and Deezer. The Pi7 S2 then features 9.2mm drive units joined by a high-frequency balanced armature driver, with each of the four drives actively driven by its own amplifier. There's also adaptive noise cancellation. That ANC system is paired with six microphones, three per earbud."

More posh for less dosh? – That might be Sivga's new SV023 [€449], an open-backed dynamic headphone with real Walnut housings. Coming from the people behind Sendy Audio, this design sports a 50mm liquid-crystal-polymer driver with Beryllium-coated centre for 105dB sensitivity and 300Ω. There's memory foam, protein leather, stainless steel, aluminium alloy, goat skin and bandwidth to 40kHz. At 318g, this is no heavyweight and standard trim includes a 4.4mm balanced 2m cable, 3.5mm and 6.3mm adapters, a leather carrying case and a hemp bag.

Triple genes – It's gen 3 of the Ansuz approach to AC conditioning now available across their Mainz8 range of 8-outlet power distributors. "Our analog dither tech has its origin in radar where it provides stronger signal so longer range. Active Tesla coils send pulsating signals with precisely defined frequencies in antiphase. In audio this significantly amplifies the music signal and eliminates background noise. Our third generation noise-suppression tech also integrates in the top-line loudspeaker series, Børresen M1 and Aavik’s flagship 880 amplifier model." Inside the HDF/metal Mainz8 boxes there's also star grounding, successively more involved resonance control and an active zirconium anti-aerial resonance coil.

New vistas – From Austria's Audio Tuning who operate the Pro-Ject and Musical Fidelity brands comes a trifecta of Nu-Vista models under the latter so a stereo preamp, stereo amp and mono amps dubbed Nu-Vista PRE [€22K], 300-watt Nu-Vista PAS [€24K] and 600-watt Nu-vista PAM [€44K/pr]. 1950's era Nuvistor sub miniature tubes in metal sleeves provide voltage gain while classic transistors populate the current buffers. Black or silver trim covers the exteriors and outboard power supplies add to the lbs-vs.-€ appeal.

Svanar – It's 'swan' in Danish. It's also the name of HifiMan's new $2K in-ear flagship, apparently an upgrade over their RE2000 in a new housing of lower mass.

To the 't' – In Astell&Kern's new CA1000T [€2'599], the 't' signifies two twin-triode Korg Nutubes in a fully balanced circuit that allows operation in tube, opamp or mixed mode. One ES9038MPro chip per channel handles D/A conversion. Four frontal headphone sockets for balanced and single-ended in two sizes each face on the rear mini XLR and standard RCA outputs, 4.4mm analog in, coax/optical inputs, one USB C each for charging and data/audio respectively plus a microSD input. Another 256GB of internal flash memory stand by. 4-stage gain selection with up to 15Vrms supports efficient IEM and challenging full-size headfi loads. Battery protection mode only charges to 85% of capacity then reloads below 80%. Bluetooth 5.0 supports aptX-HD and LDAC, the internal DAC 32/768 PCM, native DSD512 and MQA.

Mera's N°2 son – It's the Merason DAC1 MkII [€8K] from CH whose upgrade package can retrofit to original units. A new PCB layout with predominantly SMD rather than thru-hole parts promises less loss and the low-pass caps now use poylstyrene dielectric. The transistor-to-radiator mounting has been updated to disc-spring tension for optimal thermal coupling. As a result, Merason promises improved S/NR ratio and more expansive soundstaging.

K-05XD – Behind this mouthful sits Esoteric's new heavy-duty 20.7kg  SACD/CD player with new transport dubbed VRDS-Atlas 05. Aside from mechanical advances, this machine also packs an in-house developed 64-bit Delta-Sigma converter, a new master clock and current-transmission outputs whose buffer claims a slew rate of 2'000V/µs. Even the power supply scaled up to two big toroidal transformers for analog and digital respectively plus an EI transformer for the control logic. A 10MHz clock link supports external master-clock generation, there's support for MQA files including MQA discs and the USB input supports 22.5MHz DSD. Long live support for physical and virtual media.

Italian aria in Czechia – It's Xavian's new Aria [€3K/pr], a compact 2-way from Prague with designer Roberto Barletto's Italian DNA. This latest member of his Armonia range combines a 26mm soft-dome tweeter with an 18.1cm Kevlar mid/woofer both from ScanSpeak. Inner bitumen liners, Jantzen/Mundorf filter parts, 10kg mass, 89dB sensitivity and 50-30'000Hz bandwidth are the basic specs. Finish options span veneers in zebrano, rosewood, walnut and oak while  lacquers add high-gloss black and white. €150 buys magnetically attached grills.

More total DACs – French maker TotalDAC announce three new machines dubbed the d1-unity [€12.5K], d1-triunity [€24K] and d1-sublime [€50K]. Still based on naked Vishay discrete R2R ladders from 100 to 600 resistors, the new output stage has been beefed up to now deliver 3.5/7V RCA/XLR with lower impedance for superior direct drive of amplifiers; plus lower jitter and superior clock distribution. A network streamer module remains optional and all prior d1-series machines can be upgraded to 'unity' status. Sample-rate support remains limited to 24/192. DSD is supported via a DoP option. For more details including bass boost and multi-way xovers, refer to their website.

Corundum version – "Since its 2016 launch, the Akiko Audio Corelli power conditioner has been our best product to provide clean power to your hifi/video set without placing electronic components or active power filters in the AC path. Internally Corelli is equipped with anodized aluminum barrels whose HF-absorptive fill is specifically designed for its task. Neutral, phase and earth are each treated separately. The improved successor [€1'895] derives its still more powerful effect in part from the complex triagonal crystal lattices of the minerals of the corundum group which positively influence the operation of the new Corelli." Corundum is also known as sapphire and in synthetic form appears in watch mechanisms as 'jewels' to protect hard-wearing interfaces.

Happy New Year to all our readers and participating manufacturers. You keep our little business ticking. Without you we'd not exist or have any reason to do what we do. So thank you kindly; and keep coming back on a regular basis. We'll continue to bring you more entertaining hifi content across 2023. We've done this now since June 2002 and plan on doing it for a good while longer. When global realities slow down hardware loaner deliveries as they have across 2022 and are likely to continue, we compensate by publishing more industry features. So be sure to check out those pages as well.

Stoned spell – It's what you get with the SWX-200 [€2'240/pr] from new German firm Stonespell. It's their maiden model, a 6" rear-ported two-way in a cast concrete enclosure for a claimed F3 of 48Hz. Filter components include Audyn caps and air-core inductors. A 30-day home trial takes the sting out of a misjudged fling. The one available finish is white as shown. Design and production take place in Germany whereby Stonespell join BetonArt Audio and Concrete Audio as Teutonic purveyors of loudspeakers set in concrete.

16-watt 300B – Parallel single-ended that is; in mono for two amps and two external power supplies. It's Ancient Audio's new Silver Grand Mono II [€40K], a refinement on 2005's originals. "Those weren't just our flagship but in many reviewers' opinion one of the best amplifiers ever made. So there was no reason to change a good design, just refine certain details. Mechanically all four enclosures now mill from solid at Champion H&C of Taiwan. Then we take advantage of the huge progress made in parts like much faster semiconductors and superior electrolytic capacitors. We also upgraded the silver ribbon wiring to a multi-wire Litz that's still solid silver in Teflon dielectric. Finally we use the very best V-Cap CuTf coupling capacitors. Voilà, our second generation of statement valve amps."

€398 CD player – With I²S over HDMI, coax and analog RCA outputs, Sanyo slot drive, ES9018K2M DAC, VFD display, remote-controlled upsampling to 352.8kHz and 9V/1.3A power adapter, it's the Cayin Mini-CD MkII which until the last day of the year is available for a €50 discount so €348. Go ahead, say no.

Sir Victor the 2nd – It's Schiit's new $849 Vidar 2 stereo/mono amp, a current-feedback class A/B direct-coupled design of 100/200wpc into 8/4Ω whose power quadruples when driven by a true balanced signal. 6 x 15A bipolar transistors per channel make it so. Bandwidth without input filter is 1MHz; and still 500kHz with it. A 32-bit microprocessor oversees safety housekeeping, a standby switch throttles power draw down to 1-2W. The power supply is linear and heatsinking is purely via metal fins, no fan. The silver finish gets $50 more than black. Voltage gain is a standard 26dB.

Plug a leak – You can with Leak's Stereo 130 integrated [$995 as shown, add $100 for wood enclosure]. It renews a classic with an ES9018 Sabre DAC, still includes an MM phono stage and still isn't a power lifter with a 45/65wpc 8/4Ω spec. As the antenna shows, aptX/AAC Bluetooth too is on board. So is 6.3mm headfi. Who needs more?

Lasso in your lusso – You can with Eryc Smolski's new flagship monitor called Lusso. It combines a ribbon tweeter with a 6½" ceramic mid/woofer ported through lateral vents styled in automotive fashion. Claimed response is an ambitious 25Hz-30kHz, efficiency 89dB. As a limited edition luxury product, learning more requires emailing the designer for finish options and pricing.

SOtM dCBL-CAT8M – Behind this alphabet soup sits the South Korean company's top Ethernet cable which has "been tested and verified in a dedicated system using three sets of sNH-10G network switches, a PC with our sMB-Q370 motherboard, sNI-1G, tX-USBhubIN and sCLK-EX plus two sets of tX-USBultra all synced by our sCLK-OCX10 master clock. The dCBL-CAT8M cable [$1'200/1.5m] articulates these sound improvement clearly. It supports signal bandwidth of 2'000MHz and its structure actually supports Cat8.2 so it and the shield are most optimized for Ethernet signal transmission among existing network cables. The connectors support Cat8.1. M stands for Master represented by filter blocks at each end of the cable." The limited edition red Christmas Edition shown currently sells for $1'000.

La belle epoque – It's Meze's new Elite Epoque [€5K], a limited edition looker with a swirly grey frame finish applied by hand over a full day. Sonics remain identical to the original Elite. Standard issue are two sets of earpads for acoustic tuning; and a silver-plated premium cable with your termination of choice. If that's beyond your budget, the €799 109 Pro winks at you. If that's still out of bounds, the 99 Classic at €309 could be your huckleberry. It's how the brand covers a broad potential audience.

Stream across Melco – You'll do if you use their new C100 Ethernet cable [€149/1m], a 600MHz design available up to 10m long which uses a floating shield, gold-plated connectors and thicker conductors than the C1AE predecessor.

The other EJ – In the US it's EJ Sarmento of Wyred4Sound. In the UK it's EJ Jordan of the eponymous speaker company. Their new Greenwich monitor [£4'950/pr in walnut, add £200 for tamo ash] "is made from 9mm Baltic birch ply heavily damped and tuned according to the BBC's research in the 1970s. It features two identical Jordan Eikona alloy-cone full-range drivers. Adding a second Eikona over the Marlow monitor with a careful amount of response shaping greatly increased dynamic range." Custom open frame stands 510mm or 610mm high cost £420 and £450 respectively, ex VAT.

Don't be a cow. Be a bison. – It's Totem's new 3-deep Bison range of $2.5K/pr monitor, $3.5K tower and $4.5K twin tower. "All three employ a new 1.3" neodymium tweeter with laser-etched soft dome. The VDF cabinets feature lock mitres and full cross bracing and come in white oak, black ash or satin white with matching magnetic grills and biwire terminals." Moo.

 

For the 'phile who already has everything? – It could be Clearaudio's new Balance Reference MM/MC phono stage with integral remote-controlled volume, external PSU and two discrete inputs to accommodate dual tonearms selectable by remote. Belly dipswitches set input impedance and capacitive loading. There's stereo/mono, a subsonic filter with 18dB/oct. attenuation below 20Hz. There are even two 6.3mm headfi ports. €7'999 puts one underneath the tree.

Switched on and up – You can be with Melco's new S100/2 network switch [£2'099]. "When conceptualizing the gen2 version, Melco's engineers identified increasing demands placed on networks and data switches in the home where in addition to audio devices, extra bandwidth loads come from TVs, set-top boxes and games consoles. So the new S100/2 benefits from an upgrade to 6x1GB Ethernet ports coupled with 2x100MB ports for audio. The configuration retains the speed-mix advantages of the original S100 but adds greater speeds to bandwidth-hungry devices. Internally it gains an improved power circuit board with a carefully selected AC adapter. The S100/2 also retains the small-form-factor pluggable connections of the original model which allow upgrades to optical fiber connections. Finally an LED indicator on/off button allows users to switch off the flashing effect as data transfers."