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).

Autumn house cleaning. Our publisher has sundry personal hifi components for sale. Interested parties can ask for the list as to what's available at srajan @

Reference recordings not by Reference Recordings – German speaker house Canton have released, in €25 CD and €33 LP version, a squeaky-clean dozen of tracks selected for premium recorded quality. The genres covered include Blues, Jazz, electronica and classical and names like Charlie Antolini, Miles Davis, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Trentemøller. If you're in search of tracks to show off your system's abilities, Canton's Volume 1 ought to do it.

Meta but not data – KEF's fortcoming LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless II implement the company's new labyrinthine energy absorbers behind their coaxially mounted tweeters, claiming 99% absorption efficiency. The trademark Uni-Q driver sees 12th-gen revisions with a new 'cone neck decoupler' and motor system plus the R range's 'tweeter gap damper'. Inside the enclosure is stronger bracing with constrained-layer damping. As shown, the new colors for LS50 Meta [€1'199/pr] are black, grey, white and blue. The fully active Wireless II [€2'495/pr] gets a new 280-watt class D power module for the mid/woofer and 100-watt class A/B tweeter driver. It also gets all new DSP, high-rate PCM/DSD support, Roon Ready and more. Wired data from master-to-slave speaker propagates at 192kHz, wireless downsamples to 96kHz. The Wireless II's colors are black, grey, white and red. Matching S2 stands [€450/pr] are available for either model.

8K optical – That's Wireworld's new Stellar 8K optical HDMI 2.1 cable. "The next-gen 8K/120 video standard of HDMI2.1 created a cable requirement to support 48 Gigabits per second. Conventional copper HDMI cables can only do so over a few meters. Fiber optics are required to support 48Gbps over longer lengths. Stellar utilizes world-class parts, materials and construction techniques. The laser modules are from US company II-VI, a leading supplier of laser devices. The driver chipset is from Germany's Silicon-Line, a leader in microchip technology. The cable’s four optical fibers are superior OM3 laser-optimized grade. The cable structure features double-thickness shields and several high-strength Kevlar fiber bundles for increased durability and freedom from interference. Stellar supports all HDMI2.1 capabilities including HDR10+, HDCP2.3, Ethernet, Enhanced ARC, Deep Color etc. Durable die-cast zinc plugs feature the extremely narrow width of 18mm/0.7" so they can be pulled through common electrical conduit. Stellar is also UL-CMP/FT6 plenum rated for residential and commercial installations." Pricing is $450/5m, $500/10m, $550/15m, $600/20m, $700/30m.

Crèmonese Il Cremonese ex3me to be precise. It's the $58'000/pr Sonus faber overhaul of their 2015 model limited to 50 pairs.  "It embodies a speaker system coming to life by combining elements of the original project like the midrange and woofers with solutions derived from the 30th Anniversary concept  model Ex3ma. The overall aesthetics don't stray from the original except for the tweeter detail which diverges from the arch of the D.A.D. system in favor of a protective grille in front of the beryllium D.L.C. dome. The 5-sided cabinet breaks with the classic lute shape. Taking inspiration from the shape of Sonus faber’s Lilium Collection, Il Cremonese has cleaner lines with a more edgy design aesthetic. Maintaining the absence of parallel walls ensures that the acoustic characteristics are not compromised. This cabinet is further strengthened by two Dampshelves machined from solid aluminum forming the top and bottom of the cabinet."

Doing a 180°… away from integration into full separation again are Aavik Acoustics with their new 180 range. Shown are the RCA 5:1 i/o I-180 integrated with 300wpc of Pascal-based class D; and the D-180 DAC for PCM and DSD with 1 x USB and 2 x BNC/Toslink each plus analog RCA outs. This new series also includes the R-180 MC phono stage and S-180 streamer with Aavik Stream control app which integrates playback from Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, NAS, USB storage, One-Drive, Dropbox, iCloud and more.

Each 180 model is priced at €5'999 and built from wood-composite panels to avoid metal-based hysteresis effects.

Also new is the 280 range which upgrades the parts pedigree and unique Aavik/Ansuz noise-attenuating solutions built into the 180 models.

The 580 equivalents use an inner chassis of pure copper with an outer titanium-reinforced composite enclosure, titanium Darkz footers and other pure titanium parts. Like the Ansuz catalogue did already, the new Aavik approach shares the same chassis dimensions, look and features across its models but upgrades core parts/tech across three discrete good-better-best tiers.

Ground control – Lector Strumenti Audio's €4'900 Model One is a grounding box built around a massive anamorphic capacitor with large copper plate. This capacitor is encased in an aluminium sub chassis filled with silica pills to control moisture. Five terminals with passive circuitry to minimize ground loops connect via 2m RCA-terminated Litz cables or other terminations to your equipment. The Grounding Box Model One measures 30 x 35 x 16cm WxDxH.

J.S. rises – That'll be Johann Sebastian Bach, Ivo Linnenberg's newest dual-mono phono stage [€12'900] suitable for MM and MC, the latter with 5 selectable input Ω values. Paralleled FET handle the inputs to avoid magnetizing the cartridge, RIAA compensation within 0.2dB tracking is passive, a sub 7Hz rumble filter uses a 12dB/oct. high-pass and a resistor network of ultra-precise 0.05% parts with differential gain handles DC suppression.

Zestier power – Zesto Audio introduce a power supply upgrade for their Andros II/Deluxe II phono stages and Leto Ultra II preamplifier called ESP for energy source power supply. It swaps the original EI transformer for a toroid to lower noise and increase high voltage capacity by 20%. Concomitant improvements for the three models are said to be higher dynamic range and stiffer current.

Golden oldie? – This one's new: Sennheiser's HD800S Anniversary Edition [€1'599] in matte gold limited to just 750 samples worldwide. The familiar 56mm driver still claims 4-51'000Hz bandwidth and the ear cups are glass-fiber reinforced composite with velours pads and stainless steel mesh. Availability of the golden newbie kicks off September 22nd at the firm's online shop and with select dealers.

Hybrid – Taga's HTA-1000B is a 105/144wpc into 8/4Ω hybrid with 1 x ECC83 and 2 x ECC82 Psvane triodes plus 4 x Toshiba transistors in the output. An Alps pot handles volume. For inputs we get MM phono, RCA analog, optical/coaxial digital plus an RCA pre-out and a 400mW/300Ω headphone port.

BMW's new headphones – Not. These are B&W's new PX7 Carbon Edition. "Over the past 12 months, Bowers & Wilkins have enjoyed outstanding success with their flagship PX7 over-ear wireless adaptive noise-cancelling headphones. 2020 also marks the 10th anniversary of their first-ever headphone design, the iconic P5. Now the PX 7 Carbon Edition highlights the PX7’s pioneering use of carbon-fiber composite reinforcement with a high-quality carbon black finish with diamond-cut detailing on each ear cup for an even more premium look. The performance specs remain unchanged."


Empire not umpire – That's Mytek's new 20lbs DAC/streamer/preamp though as flagship of the new Empire range, it'll be the umpire over the catalogue's remaining digital. At €20'000, it occupies the 'cost no object' realm as a first for the firm. "The streamer portion is powered by RoonOS with internal Roon Core to drive either the ultra-high performance dual-mono ESS 9038Pro DAC portion or external Roon endpoints. A dual-mono fully balanced analog preamplifier with an ultra-quiet MM/MC phono goes one step further with a high-current dual-mono fully balanced headphone amplifier. Both the DAC and preamplifier functions are controlled by the new MytekOS to offer new functionality via easy software upgrades." Black or silver livery packs into 17 x 3.5 x 14" WxHxD. Shipping begins in December.

Grip the power – Powergrip propose two ways to deliver AC to your A/V systems: their €900 YG-2 and bigger €1'450 YG-1 with 6 and 11 power outlets respectively. Their sockets group for kit with high-current and standard linear power supplies; and for components with switch-mode supplies. Programming features allow sequential turn-on of connected gear. The multi-function display can be dimmed, there are trigger ports for Control4, Crestron and AMX interfacing and the bigger unit adds 2 x USB charging ports and 3 x coaxial jacks to protect the cable feeds of for example satellite TV. The total power rating for both devices is the same 3'680 watts at 16A/230V.

Melco over the roon – Melco’s 5-strong EX Series of digital music libraries now enjoys Roon compatibility. After introducing Melco's Intelligent Music Library (MIML) software, vTuner Internet radio and web control at the start of 2020, the addition of Roon Ready follows firmware roll-out 4.04. A further over-the-air update 4.10 is expected later in the year. EX Series Melco owners can update to 4.10 firmware from the front panel display. Legacy Melco owners can access the new firmware with an EX Series update. Melco’s Roon implementation introduces Roon streaming in addition to Melco’s SongKong and MinimServer installs. Melco now integrate customised Roon RAAT directly into their devices. The new firmware goes live Monday, September 14th.

UK/Eire go Italian – Compliments of Airt Audio Ltd that is who just became the exclusive Gold Note distributor for Great Britain and Ireland. "Over the last 3 years, we have been lucky enough to get the support of the hifi press, the sales network and all the audiophiles that have welcomed us in the UK and we are now glad to be entering a new stage with our business partner Airt Audio."

Not toucan but three can? – Kinda. The new Alpha [$1'099] is the third in Astell&Kern's KANN range of mobile players and delivers a high 12Vrms from its 2.5/4.5mm balanced outputs. Meanwhile lo/mid/hi gain accommodates headphones of varying sensitivities. A redesigned power supply suppresses noise for a claimed cross-talk spec of -141dB. A quad-core processor runs on an optimized Android 9.0 OS and there's WiFi, UPnP, DLNA, aptX HD and LDAC Bluetooth 5.0. Built-in storage of 64GB can be augmented by up to 1TB via microSD socket. The user may install Android apps for popular streaming services. D/A conversion occurs by dual-mono Sabre ES9068 chips for 384PCM, DSD256 and full MQA support. The fast-charging 5.6A battery promises up to 14½ hours of play time.

Not blasé but Blaz… Erzetich of the eponymous hifi house. Their octagonal Thalia headphone optimized for mobile use is now available as "part of the Art and Limited Edition series. Although Thalia typically featured linden wood, the new Limited Edition offers them in walnut for the same rich, super-detailed flawless audio quality but only 20 pairs of these will be manufactured." So if you're wondering what the blazes you should get for taking tunes on the road on "smartphones and tablets", think of Blaz Erzetich's Thalia.

110th anniversary – Celebrating it, Denon have issued a quartet of new decks in 'silver graphite' livery: the PMA-A110 80wpc integrated with 4 x PCM1795 converter chips and built-in MM/MC phono [€3'500]; the DCD-A110 SACD player [€3'000] with optical/coax outputs and analog RCA; the DL-A110 cartridge [€599] and the AVC-A110 AV receiver [€5'500] all with 5-year warranty.

Out to pasture with greener pricing  – Metrum Acoustics are offering remaining inventories of their Forte amplifier at 30% off while stock lasts. These are factory-new units with a 5-year warranty and free global shipping. That's €3'429 delivered for 50 watts into 8Ω, 100 watts into 4Ω and 170 watts into 2Ω where a Fet gain stage was deliberately modeled to emulate triodes in a hybrid circuit.

Refreshed – Beyerdynamic's T1 and T5 headphones are freshly retuned from the day spa. The former received a "careful bass lift" and the T5 was tweaked to be even more realistic in the upper midrange. Both models use the firm's Tesla drivers whose motors produce more than one tesla of magnetic flux for high efficiency. In these models they now mount into the ear cups angled for optimized directivity with the ear canal. The T5 is the sealed version, the T1 the open-backed variant. Either demands €999.

Iluminati – That'll be the new Sonus faber Lumina models consisting of the floorstanding Lumina III [$2'199], a 3-way with dual 6" woofers matching a 6" midrange; the Lumina I 4.7" 2-way monitor [$899] and the Lumina Center I [$699] with twin 4.7" mid/woofers. Available finishes are walnut, wenge and gloss black. Multi-layer wood baffles and black leather surfacing join chrome driver trim rings, nickel-plated biwire terminals and Sonus-branded filter capacitors. All three models feature the Sonetto range 29mm silk-dome tweeter by Kurtmueller and then either a new 4.7" paper-pulp mid/woofer or the 6" Sonetto midrange whereas the 6" paper-pulp woofer is new for the range. The monitor and center feature front-firing ports whilst the tower gets a down-firing version. To complete the range, "there are the Gravis I and II subwoofers".

Fire your wall – If you're a sound|kaos customer, that's your right. Order their speakers with or without a LessLoss Firewall mechanical HF filter installed. As one of their clients recently put it who runs a successful hifi cable company, "these really make sense from a physics perspective. What LessLoss have done is to exploit the order-of-magnitude difference in frequency between the usual sources of noise and the analog music signal which is almost direct current by comparison. By tremendously increasing the surface area of a portion of their conductor, the high-frequency noise experiences an enormously higher resistance than the 'DC' signal and simply dissipates into heat. Clever indeed!" So perhaps you shouldn't fire but hire your protective wall and have Martin Gateley install it inside your Swiss speaker? If you're a Sven Boenicke customer instead, the same option applies.

University speakers – With 'uni' Germany's short form of university, Elac's new Uni-Fi 2.0 models could seem tailor-made for students. And with prices of €598/pr – €1'198/pr (€349 for the center), they might just be. Uni-Fi itself more likely stands for the firm's coaxial main driver whose aluminium ring-radiator tweeter sits in the throat of the midrange. The woofer too uses an aluminium diaphragm. With ports relocated to the front, this 2nd gen crop is said to integrate easier into rooms and their crossovers have been revisited as well. Finish is black ash vinyl over braced MDF.

Venus squared – The new Denafrips Venus II gets its own temperature-compensated crystal oscillator to nip closer on the Terminator's heels. It also gets a premium encapsulated power supply on a lower storey than the main circuit, an adaptive reclocking buffer and of course supports DSD1024 and PCM1536 on its USB and I²S inputs. There are new Evox MMK and Wima caps and the DSP board has been upgraded as well.

Get lost! – This geometry resembling a medieval labyrinth garden is KEF's newest energy absorption tech slated to appear in a range of future products. Rather than rely on wool/foam-type stuffing and filler to deal with driver rear waves otherwise running amok inside a box, this mathematically derived geometry claims to capture 99% of a driver's rear energy. If so, that's far more efficient than existing solutions. Of course Boenicke speakers have been doing something similar for years simply executed in solid wood across their entire cabinets.