From Texas in black

First Bakoon then Enleum built a small empire around current-drive amplification. Whilst standard speakers expect a voltage-mode interface, single-driver headphones without a xover but linear Ω can benefit from a direct high-Ω current-mode connection. New brand Austin AudioWorks—obviously from Texas where everything is bigger and better—now add to that proven recipe a compact black chassis packed with class A bias, fully balanced operation and zero feedback. At $1'849, their no-frills Black Amp may not win selfie competitions for sex appeal but also doesn't demand €6K like Enleum's AMP-23R. Designer Barry Thornton apparently has gone into and come out of retirement a few times already. Hence his CV includes many pitstops with other recognizable hifi brands. Experience is very much on his side. His ideas on wide bandwidth and low noise also birthed the current-drive MM/MC phono stage called Black Swan which thoughtfully puts all necessary adjustments on the front. As homo digitalus totalus, vinly lives on a different moon than I but the Black Amp certainly whispers to me. Enleum make my favourite low-power loudspeaker slash high-power headfi amp. With its conceptual parallel, the new brick from Austin definitely has my undivided attention with its implied promise of 'my' kind of fully awake sound.

As it turns out, they're all sold out already and don't yet supply the EU. I gotta keep it zipped up? From the firm's Bill Leebens: "Regarding 230/240V, we have very heavy-duty CE-certified external power supplies in suitable voltages and are currently looking into the requirements for customs/shipping. We should be able to ship individual export orders shortly after Axpona next week. We’ve had a surprising level of interest from Europe perhaps due to your feature. Thanks!"