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).

ABC…ZXRM – Parasound's new Zphono XRM phono preamplifier [$599] "bridges the price gap between our entry-level $200 Zphono and $1'495 Halo JC 3 Jr. The new model includes balanced XLR outputs, a switchable rumble filter, a mono/stereo switch plus continuously variable load adjustment for moving coil cartridges. Separate input jacks and independent circuitry for MC/MM cartridges accommodate two turntables. Each of these jacks has its own circuitry optimized for the cartridge type. This improves the signal-to-noise ratio and overall performance."

Le Dac – Métronome's new standalone D/A converter [€5'700] "joins Le Player to offer the same high quality as much more expensive products designed and made by us." This machine uses one AK4493 chip for 384kHz PCM and DSD512, offers USB and two each AES/ERBU, S/PDIF coax and Toslink inputs and RCA/XLR analog outputs whilst the power supply consists of three toroidal transformers with 10 independently regulated voltage lines. Le Dac weighs 15kg and measures 425 x 130 x 415mm WxHxD.

Mi, ma, Mimas – That's the new 150wpc Aesthetic Mimas integrated [£8'725, add £1'500/ea. for phono and DAC boards] with a 6922 valve input stage and solid-state outputs. "Borrowing from our Calypso preamplifier, it features Roederstein plate-load resistors from Germany, Reliable Capacitor coupling caps from California and a discrete solid-state current source. Valves are burned in for more than 100 hours before undergoing full FFT distortion analysis for gain matching to within 0.1dB, microphonics and noise levels. The Mimas also features the same 88 x 1dB stepped volume control as the Calypso, using individual switched 1% metal film resistors. The output section is a fully discrete, fully differential, zero-feedback, DC-coupled, balanced bridge design operating in Class AB."

More boom in your ceiling – JL Audio announce their new 8-inch version in-wall Fathom subwoofer with added enclosure option for in-ceiling use. "This model has a very small, low-profile grille that will please customers looking for a visually unobtrusive solution that delivers true JL Audio sub-bass performance." A unique port design vents through a slot located at the perimeter of the driver mount to enhance efficiency and low-bass output. Inside the enclosure is a long-excursion 8-inch thin-line woofer built by JL Audio for this product. Each 8-inch Fathom IWS and ICS system is driven by a rack-mountable amplifier with up to 600 watts of power programmed specifically for each system. A complete set of Fathom signal processing features include a powerful 18-band digital automatic room optimization system and high-pass crossover outputs all accessible via an easy-to-use, menu-driven interface and LCD display.

 

1+1=3 – All Engineering BV and M2Tech SRL form a new company "to leverage expertise in digital to analog conversion and to provide M2Tech with a global distribution, sales and marketing platform. The new company M2Tech Audio BV will bring the M2Tech SRL products to market, making sure that that consumers and outlets around the world are served timely and adequate. The product lines of both Metrum Acoustics™ and M2Tech SRL will remain separate and marketed under their own brand names yet with the improved and new company setup, the potential for cross engineering will be explored. Having both brands and their respective product lines under one roof provides clients of both companies with even more choices when finding the right D/A converter, power amplifier or digital streamer for enjoying digital music. With the formation of M2Tech Audio BV under the roof of All Engineering BV, the company has two of the leading authorities and visionaries in the field of D/A conversion in house, Cees Ruijtenberg of Metrum Acoustics™ and Marco Manunta of M2Tech SRL."

25Ω – Zu's new load resistors are easy bolt-on tweaks to reduce their speakers' 16Ω impedance to 8Ω as something many amplifiers are happier with. What's more, the dynamic impedance ratio shrinks from 5:1 to 3:1 to make impedance peaks much shallower, thus easier to drive particularly for SET-type amps including the FirstWatt SIT.  To install, simply unscrew the 5-way binding posts, slide over the posts, screw nuts back on. No tools, takes about a minute. The graph's improvements shown for Soul Superfly apply equally to Druid and Soul Supreme.

M2 – Magico expand their M range with the 4-driver 3-way M2 in a curved carbon-fiber layup of 3/8" thickness to be stronger yet lighter than equivalent aluminium. Drivers are a 28mm diamond-coated Beryllium dome tweeter, a 6" graphene midrange and twin multi-wall carbon-fiber/nanographene 7" woofers. The company's 'elliptical symmetrical' crossover includes top Mundorf parts. A 3-point Mpod support system completes the design. Basic specs are 88dB/4Ω, 26Hz-50kHz, 165lbs and 18×17.5×45". Pricing is $56'000/pr plus $7'600 for the optional support.

 

Aboriginal – From the Czech Republic comes the Deeptime Ltd. sat/sub lifestyle system to let you live in style. Organic shapes and hi-tech 3D printing build it up from sand a grain at a time. The 87dB passive Spirula fits a 3" bamboo-fibre widebander into an inert sealed enclosure for 75Hz-20kHz bandwidth. The matching Thunderstone sub packs a 5.75W downfiring woofer into a triple-ported enclosure plus 110 watts of class D for itself, 60 watts for the Spirula sats. This completes bandwidth to 40Hz. Add one 3.5" analog stereo, one 3.5" digital Toslink port, Bluetooth aptX and AAC. Spirula measures 208 x 117 x 222mm LxWxH. Thunderstone does 372 x 372 x 239mm. The monitors weigh 2.4kg, the powered sub 6.5kg. For added ambience, an amber light shines through the Thunderstone ports and increases lumen with volume. This becomes the Deeptime system's power indicator. The dual-concentric volume control rings on the Thunderstone are magnetic Hall Effect sensors for crackle-free longevity. The outer ring adjusts the bass, the inner wheel overall system output. Being made of anodized aluminium, this twin controller double-tasks as heat sink for the power modules to get comfortably warm to the touch. Only a limited number of these sets will be printed.

App your Vita – v3.0 of Nativ's app for their Vita music player available in the Apple App and Google Play stores adds multi-room streaming including Sonos, Denon Heos, B&O, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Samsung as well as speakers with Google Chromcast and Apple Airplay. v3.0 also supports Roon so customers can launch the Roon Remote app inside the Native apps. Software 1.5.0 further added new browsing performance inside the smartphone apps to increase browsing speeds by 70% or more.

Up your date with Gold Note's IS-1000 – The Italian super integrated gets a firmware shot in the arm. Free of charge, the update provides the following features: 1/ volume now displays as a 0-100 graphic; 2/ the volume itself now always works in the analog domain even when digitally streaming Roon, Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer et al. Gold Note's analog volume overrides the digital volume inside their iPhone/iPad app. That's possible because the new attenuation protocol is bi-directional. Digitally made volume changes trigger the analog attenuator matrix to guarantee the best sound quality.

Indigenum –  From Finland's Absolute Dimension comes this unusual speaker. Atop a faceted synthetic stone cab containing a front-firing 11" subwoofer and rear-firing passive radiator, it plants a tall, very narrow magnetostatic mid/tweeter of just 1.6g moving mass whose curvature promises 60° of horizontal dispersion.

Westend Audio SystemsLeo [€10'000] is a modern 300B integrated amplifier developed by AVM's transistor expert to produce 20wpc/4Ω in class A single-ended non-parallel mode without feedback. ECC81 triodes whose halves wire in parallel are the drivers which like the power triodes mount military-style inside the chassis. Small capacitor-coupled toroidal output transformers, a toroidal mains transformer, SMPS-powered heaters, electronic hum suppression, 4 high-level inputs plus MM/MC phono plus Bluetooth are further details.

 

Sweet voice – From Valencia, the Spanish Sottovoce Audio Stereo 3 is an active 4-driver three-way speaker. It combines a coaxial 165mm mid//horn-loaded compression tweeter on a narrow baffle with two horizontally opposed 200mm woofers. Those mount in a force-canceling sealed alignment to the side walls and low to the ground for intentional floor coupling. All of it is powered by 400-watt class D via analog XLR or digital AES/EBU inputs. Dimensions are 1050 x 195 x 517mm HxWxD. Weight is a reasonable 35kg/ea. Finishing is in black or white. Shipment is in a stout aluminium flight case, one per speaker. For those counting, this makes Sottovoce the second Spanish loudspeaker company we've mentioned in our pages (the other being Kroma Audio of Granada). Olé!

 

 

More is more – Gold Note launch their new PA-1175 Mk2 [€5'500/ea.], a 200wpc stereo or 520w mono amplifier which runs 4 matched pairs of bipolar output transistors in a bridge-tied-load configuration for easy bridging. The power supply builds around a big 640VA custom toroidal line transformer. A small 6VA transformer handles house keeping duties outside the signal path. A front-panel switch selects between a damping factor of 250 or 25. The business end features RCA and true balanced XLR inputs plus Gold Note's BP-02 Rhodium-plated speaker terminals. The output stage is calibrated with an optical bias controller and exhibits a slew rate of 20V/μs. Input impedance is 47kΩ, S/N ratio -110dB. The black, silver or champagne chassis measures 43 x 13.5 x 36cm WxHxD and weighs 22kg.

Fly that horse – Tube brand Pegaso launches under the AF Group SRL, owner of Audio Analogue. Their first product is the P50A [£5'750 incl. VAT], a 4xKT90 powered fully balanced 50wpc integrated with 6922 drivers. There's a volume control bypass for home theatre or to convert to pure power amp mode; four different volume tapers; a solid metal remote; and silver or black finishing. There are 4|2 RCA|XLR inputs, 100kΩ input impedance, 10Hz-100kHz -0.5dB bandwidth, S/N ratio of 83dBA, THD of 0.3% at 1W, weight of 26kg and dimensions of 455 x 175 x 472mm WxHxD. 

 

Get some Ayre – The Ayre Acoustics EX-8 integrated [from £5'750 – £7'750 depending on trim] is marketed as a fully balanced all-discrete zero feedback and modular 'hub amplifier' which combines a 100wpc/8Ω output stage with an Equilock gain stage, variable-gain volume control and the company's asynchronous digital interface. There's an optional Ethernet module, there's Roon-ready and Spotify, Qobuz and Tidal streaming. There's even a dedicated headphone amplifier.

Fight the static – Furutech's new ASB-1 anti-static brush aims at removing static charge from CDs, vinyl records, even camera lenses. Its patented  SK-III predecessor, we're told, "was a big hit not only for A/V applications. It was also employed by the Japanese Police Force in crime scene investigations thanks to its reliability and effectiveness at removing tiny dust particles and static interference." The fibres of the replacement model "feature Corebrid™ by Mitsubishi. The core of these fibres is formed from high-density, carbon-based, highly conductive particles. While conventional anti-static brushes attract static charge to cling to the fibres' surface where they can potentially be discharged back onto your media, the ASB-1 conducts static charge away through the core of the fibres for a more effective result. The static charge is trapped and forced to ground." Pricing is £140 incl. VAT

 

T-Rex cometh – That would be the Metaxas T-RX portable reel-to-reel deck. "After 35 years of serious recording work for Broadcast Television using Swiss portable and studio machines from Stellavox like the SM8 portables & TD9 Studio machines and over 40 years experience in the high-end industry, Kostas Metaxas has designed what he hopes will be the ultimate machine to capture unrivaled realism with analogue tape. Metaxas wanted to see how far the medium of tape could be pushed even though it is already considered as the absolute reference for current music recording and playback. His research into state-of-the-art machines from the 1960-80s showed that despite their high quality, they were still limited by technology of their time. When the tape machine producers all ceased operations in the late 1980s, the manufacturers of precision motors were still in their infancy. Today, motors are an order of magnitude more refined simply because of the improvement in manufacturing techniques, technology and computer-aided software controls. Metaxas combines the absolute cutting-edge in Swiss motors and technology from Maxon with the most inert chassis design to realize an order of magnitude improvement over past designs. First orders will be fulfilled in March 2019 and you'll be able to hear this for yourself at the world premiere during the Munich HighEnd Show in May 2019."

 

Esprit – With the Warsaw show just around the corner, Richard Cesari of French cable house Esprit wants you to know that his cables will be on active display in the Arkadia IV and V systems with APL Hifi electronics and Stellar Audio speakers.

Rapid wings – A.J. van den Hul releases the Colibri XGW Signature Stradivarius 1.1mV MC cartridge [£7'450] crafted from cross-grained lacquered Brazilian Pau wood. "The harder outer coating destroys the standing waves inside the softer wood body, reducing unwanted resonance." A coil assembly with matched six-layer 24-karat gold coils generates three times the output of standard two-layer coils. The cantilever is solid boron and uses the van den Hul type 1s, 2×85μm stylus.

Snowed inSnowmass is the sixth free OS upgrade for the PS Audio DirectStream DAC. "We rewrote the FPGA code that upsampled lower rates of PCM to 352.8/384kHz to get better control of the times at which things happen and thus, more control over FPGA-generated noise and jitter. In the old upsampler, we achieved about 144dB of S/NR. The new code gives us 156dB." Simultaneous with the launch of Snowmass, PS Audio also releases new code for the network Bridge II to "improve connectivity and stability of Spotify Connect and add a dimmer feature for the display."

Galling nitride – Merrill Audio's new Element 116 monos [$22'000] follow in the footsteps of the Element 118 models which pioneered the use of gallium nitride transistors for the company. These faster-switching devices allow for a zero feedback class D power stage with "zero dead time. A highly advanced custom PCB removes almost all parasitic inductance and capacitance for a superbly fast response. Unique pure copper heatsinks make for ultra-fast thermal transfer and stability, giving large power handling with very low parasitic impedances." The Element 116 deliver 300 watts into 8 ohms and keep doubling into 2. There are WBT biwire terminals, a 20A power inlet and Isoacoustics Gaia III footers.

Hail César – From the pen of Frank Tchang, acoustic resonator auteur, comes new brand Avantages Audio and the speaker model César. Like Duevel, it's an omni with a mirror-imaged dispersion lens on top and a refracting lens at the bottom. The upper array creates 360° radiation for two 5-inch Alnico widebanders whilst the lower one reflects a downfire 10" magnesium/alu alloy woofer in all directions. Together it nets 25Hz-20kHz response. Optional super tweeters adds output to 35kHz. Sensitivity for César is 90dB/4ohm. Dimensions are 126x57x35cm and weight is 40kg/ea. Pricing is €13'000/pr. Add €900/pr for the super tweeters.

Cary carry two – Cary Audio bow their DMS-550/600 digital hubs, the former with AK4493EQ DAC and discrete headphone amp, the latter with AK4497EQ DAC. There are aptX Bluetooth, MQA, 768kHz PCM, 5GHz WiFi, USB, SD card slots, S/PDIF i/o, true balanced architectures with RCA and XLR analog outputs, iOS/Android apps, Roon Ready and Qobuz streaming. The DMS-550 retails for $5'495, the DMS-600 for $6'995.

The other Wilson – Wilson Benesch launch their P3.0 floorstander in the Precision Series in conjunction with their 30th anniversary. The 25mm Leonardo silk dome tweeter features an "additive carbon fibre composite Fibonacci Element" for improved response. 3rd-gen 7" Tactic II mid/woofers use "isotactic polypropylene cones". The enclosure is described as a "hybridised multi-material construction deployed via two U-section aluminium elements used as anchor points, enabling high compressive forces to be applied to the members sandwiched between". Pricing for the P3 is £14'995/pr. Specs include 89dB sensitivity, 32Hz-24kHz bandwidth, weight of 65kg and dimensions of 128 x 27 x 47cm HxWxD.