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).

S class D – That's SOtM's new sPA-1000, a 100wpc fully balanced class D power amp [$3'500] based on their own BTL circuit, thus not an OEM module. Available in silver or black, SOtM claim proprietary advances in power-supply design which mitigate the influence of speaker back EMF on their voltage stability.

Smarten up your hubby – That would be your USB/Ethernet hub for which Waversa from South Korea suggest their WSmartHub [€1'850]. It offers 4 x Ethernet, 2 x USB A and 1 x USB B. A 9V/2A  DC inlet feeds the power-cycling 4Ah batteries.

Swedish tributary – The Moonriver Audio 404 integrated is a remote-controlled 50wpc machine with 5 x RCA inputs and one RCA tape loop. Optional are an MM/MC phono stage with 40/50dB of gain and a USB DAC with XMOS/AKM 4490 parts which may be installed at any time. Standard is a balance control, stereo/mono switch and dual pre-outs.

XL – Aurelia's new Graphica from Finland carries the suffix XL for obvious reasons. As a 2-way line source with six 6.5" mid/woofers bracketing a 1.5kHz+ triple-tweeter center, it's a tall construct of 175cm with a foot print of 42 x 17.5cm. Paralleling that many drivers pushes sensitivity up to 94dB and bandwidth to 26Hz – 20kHz.

Thalia – Erzetich Audio bow their new Thalia headphone [€449 until December 15th]  "tuned to provide superior quality sound for portable devices including DAP, phone, portable DAC and tablet." These dynamic cans weigh just 270g to remain comfy on the go, present a 32Ω impedance and use a 40mm titanium driver in an open-backed wooden cup with metal frame and detachable silver-plated OFC cable.

Get your ions – Japanese optical cartridge pioneer DS Audio launch their Ion-001 vinyl ionizer [£1'500]. "Vinyl records are known to build up static electric charge. Friction from stylus drag during playback is the reason. The degree of friction hence strength of charge varies according to stylus tip shape, the record’s specific component materials and room temperature and humidity. The Ion-001 emits a combination of positive and negative ions in a controlled process from its dual outlets to effectively neutralize and remove static electricity from a record’s surface. The tower design allows for placement next to your turntable. Fanless means silent operation for continuous use while playing records. The specialized power supply suppresses excess ozone, preventing unwanted oxidation. All you need do is switch it on at the beginning of a listening session and off at the end. The device can also be used to remove the static electric charge from CD and DVD."

Allegri allegretto – Townshend bow their new purely single-ended Allegri Rerence [£6'667 ex VAT], an autoformer passive with RCA/XLR i/o, Apple remote, seismic isolation, 129 x 0.5dB volume steps and programmable menu options for input-specific levels, home-theater bypass, display off and numerical step or attenuation-in-dB readout. A linear 12V/0.5W external supply powers the display and remote functions. "This is a microprocessor-controlled AVC preamp with clear LED display and easy interface, five RCA inputs and two XLR. The XLR are in parallel with inputs 1 and 2 and not true balanced. There is a 3.5mm stereo input on the front parallel to input five. Outputs are on two RCA and one XLR. The case and isolating feet are anodised aluminium in either natural silver or black anodize." Published bandwidth is 8Hz-80kHz ± 0.1dB.

Stick-up – Akiko have revised their popular Tuning Sticks. "Six years after introducing the originals, the series has been redesigned. The surprising improvements to your audio system still remain but the special mineral mix used inside the sticks has been enriched with materials also found in our top models. The carbon outer shell has been updated to a silky smooth anodized aluminium housing. This makes the Tuning Sticks a little bit heavier but the price of the MkIII series remains the same. ‘Especially when combined, these tuning sticks prove that tweaking a beautiful music system doesn't have to be expensive!' says Sander van Berlo. 'Reducing background noise is always our goal and these tuning sticks definitely help to achieve that.'"

Bouldering – The new 866 integrated from Boulder Amplifiers is available all analog [$12'250] or analog+digital [$14'450]. Either way it's a 200wpc machine with 3 x XLR inputs and a customizable 7" touch-screen display. Digital adds USB, RJ45, Toslink, S/PDIF and Airplay.

3 x as conductive? – Burson's new Conductor 3X could suggest as much. At $2'200 but currently on a $1'649 limited pre-order special, it's a fully balanced DAC/headfi/preamp affair with dual-mono ESS9038 DACs, XMOS transceiver, 32/786 PCM, DSD512, Bluetooth 5.0 and 7.5/3.75wpc XLR/RCA power to drive any headphone made. There are 2 XLR inputs, DAC-direct and pre-out on XLR plus headfi on XLR, 6.3mm and 3.5mm. The display will even switch orientation when the unit is used upright.

Consolidated – Swiss cable brand Vovox announce that "with effect from October 1st 2019, the company presents a revised product portfolio. The most important change includes the consolidation of the previously separated home audio and professional audio divisions with the accompanying streamlining of the current product lineup. At the same time, we announce the market launch of our new reference line Vovox excelsus."

Super Valentine's – JansZen have developed their next generation of compact floorstanding electrostat. The passive Valentina Reference P8 had its prior 7" woofers updated to "improved 8" woofers to substantially extend bass response, naturalness and impulses. Improvements to the crossovers work together with the upgraded woofers to sharpen the already impressive imaging detail and soundstage width. The nuance and subtlety remain but now these speakers also rock."

2 meters of gloss – That's the upcoming 8mm audiolab Linga, a narrow but tall 5-driver 3-way from Lithuania. It combines a vertical wave-guide 1" compression tweeter with two 6.5" midranges and dual 12" woofers for true 96dB sensitivity with two rear ports. Mundorf filter parts at 180 and 3'000Hz, net weight of 250kg/pr, dimensions of 2m tall by 23cm wide and 58cm deep and an ultra-flexible tweeter contour knob complete the basic specs. Finish is a mirror-black coat with silver, bronze or black accents. The public reveal will be at the November hifi show in Warsaw.

Maple leaf network player – From Canada's Eden Acoustique comes the $995 Lyra music player to "access and organize all of your music in one versatile central library. Lyra can stream from subscription-based services like Tidal/Qobuz, from its large internet radio library or connect to any local network-attached storage or read from an attached USB 2.0 drive/SSD. Lyra’s UI is a slick responsive web app for easy and intuitive control through your smartphone, tablet or any PC." The Lyra sports a small 7" IPS display and internal 24/384 DAC. Alternately, it can output digital audio via USB. There's Bluetooth 4.2, UPnP, parametric and graphic EQ, Apple Siri voice control and auto-discovery NAS mounting.

Network envy – That's what Melco's new S100 data switch counts on [£1'999]. It's been developed in collaboration with parent company Buffalo Technoloy. "It features advanced architecture unlike any other data switch with an audio-specific main board, 1.5MB packet buffer, powerful processor plus audio-grade capacitor bank. Its low-noise design coupled with highly precise data handling gives the S100 uncompromising sound quality when used with Ethernet audio devices. The internal packet-traffic settings have been optimized for use with IT NAS drives, IT routers for streaming services, Roon Core processor devices, Roon Bridges and of course Melco's N1, N10, N100 digital music libraries. The S100 features the same vibration-isolating aluminium chassis n and form factor as seen in Melco's N10 series." The device has 4 x 100MbE RJ45 ports, 4 x 1GbE RJ45 and 2 x SFP fiber optic.

Jared's ultra brother – Say hello to Leto Ultra [$9'995] Zesto Audio's new flagship tube linestage with unique 6-pole presence control. Unlike classic tone controls, this one applies no boost and doesn't work in the bass at all. It only trims the HF and starts with -3dB/10kHz and ends with -3dB/1kHz in the maximum setting. In bypass, it's entirely out of the circuit. Over the standard Leto model, Ultra uses upgraded circuitry for enhanced dynamic range, a new 12DW7/ECC832 tube selection, new 3-stage gain for 3/6/9dB of selectable voltage gain, 3/ea. RCA and true balanced XLR inputs, new front-panel LED indicators and a new 9-button remote with controls for input, volume, presence, mute, mono and gain.

 

Towering Maxwell – That would be M8audio's new Maxwell floorstander with 28mm SB Acoustics beryllium tweeter, matching 165mm papyrus midrange and 250mm force-cancelling woofers. Sold direct from the Australian maker in West Footscray Victoria for $23'000 Australian, the Tower Maxwell follows up on the success of its earlier monitor sibling reviewed in these pages.

 

 

MHES returns – That would be Moscow's annual fall hifi show scheduled for November 8th-10th in the same Holiday Inn Tagansky hotel as before. "The show focuses on high-end audio equipment including portable audio and vinyl. The novelty this year is circular listening to audio systems by Russian manufacturers in the Donskoy Hall."

Neo does 8 – That would be Cube Audio's new 8" driver with massive Neodymium motor for 2.1 Tesla in a 12mm gap. The TS parameters include a self resonance at 39Hz and 10Ω impedance, Xmax of ±3mm and sensitivity of 91dB. Two new speaker models called Nenuphar Mini and Nenuphar Mini Monitor exploit this driver and, respectively, are meant for 20m² and 30m² rooms.

Go Platinum – That's Taga Harmony's new Platinum F-90 SL v.2 described as "technology and sound derived from our higher Platinum v.3 series embedded in a slimmer enclosure. It shares only a few components with the previous edition like the bass reflex port, tweeter plate and speaker terminals. All other components are new or significantly upgraded." The enclosure has thicker internal braces and a new transverse brace, a 3mm thicker front baffle and increased cubic volume by growing 5.5cm in depth. The 2nd-gen 25mm titanium tweeter is reshaped and lighter for broader off-axis response and lower distortion. The 5.25" aluminium midrange, matching woofer and passive radiators too are next-gen develpments with a new reverse-profile surround. The overall design is a 4-driver 3-way with 620Hz and 3.7kHz filter hinges, 31Hz-40kHz bandwidth and 4Ω nominal impedance which measures 101x17x31cm HxWxD and weighs 16kg. Available finishes are gloss white paint or vinyl veneers in black, wenge, oak or walnut. Internal wiring is by XLO.

Upstaging César – Franck Tchang's new omnipolar flagship from Paris is called the Philharmonic [€58'000/pr]. It combines his two custom 5" widebanders with Indian rosewood bullet phase plugs with a now 15" downfiring woofer and upfiring 1" true not plated diamond super tweeter. The lot slots into a 95kg enclosure with aluminium base plate and maple, cherry or walnut high-gloss veneer. Claimed bandwidth is 20Hz-75kHz. Dimensions remain a manageable 145x68x55cm. Also new is the add-on diamond/magnesium super tweeter with selectable 15/18kHz hi-pass and extension to 45kHz [€2'800/pr]. That slots between the existing magnesium alloy and pure diamond versions.

 

 

Serene Cerene – The new collapsible sealed circumaural Cerene dB headphone from CEntrance [$179] has 180° rotation to fold up, a synthetic leather headband, a 1.5m cable with 3.5mm plug and 364g of weight. Claimed response is 10Hz – 26kHz from 45mm neodymium-powered dynamic drivers of 96dB sensitivity.

 

Coaxially yours – Wireworld Cable Technology announce four new 75Ω coaxial cables for digital applications. These use the company's DNA Helix conductor geometry and ultra-quiet Composilex 3 insulation. These cables cover a wide range of prices that vary according to the gauge and quality of their conductor materials and plugs. The $30 Chroma 8 has 25-gauge oxygen-free copper conductors. The $45 Ultraviolet 8 is the same design upgraded to silver-plated OFC conductors. The $250 Silver Starlight 8 features patented Silver-Tube™ plugs and 24-gauge Ohno continuous cast silver-clad copper conductors. The $500 Gold Starlight 8 also utilizes the patented Silver-Tube plugs with 24-gauge conductors made of solid silver. The cables are available in both standard and custom lengths with any combination of RCA and BNC plugs. "Wireworld's controlled listening tests led to the discovery that the audible masking and coloration caused by digital audio cables is mostly the result of a high inductive Q factor, eddy current resistance and internally generated triboelectric noise. Replacing the conventional coaxial conductor geometry with their patented DNA Helix structure reduced the inductive Q, while effectively eliminating non-linear eddy current losses. The cables also utilize Wireworld's proprietary Composilex 3 insulation to minimize triboelectric noise. These innovations substantially improve the preservation of musical detail, dynamics and dimensionality."

 

Coming up for Ayre – Colorado-based Ayre Acoustics’ QB-9 DAC launched in 2009, became 24/192 capable in 2011 and added DSD in 2014. The latest 'Twenty' update "draws from the new 8 series of products. Features and improvements include a new diamond output circuit; a new Jfet differential stage for lower noise; AyreLock power supply regulation; a new AC noise filter; custom Ayre async USB; a new ESS DAC chip; a 6-layer circuit board; proprietary reclocking to eliminate USB jitter; 384kHz compatibility and DSD256 plus HDCD decoding." These upgrades are priced at £1'590 incl. VAT.

 

Burn yer amp – The 12th annual Burning Amp Festival returns to the Firehouse and Building C of the historic Fort Mason Center on the San Francisco waterfront Saturday, November 9th (workshop day) and Sunday, November 10th (main event). The Saturday workshop (pre-registration required) will include an amplifier build and a measurement workshop. In the former, participants will assemble a preamp/headphone amp, an all-new design from long-term patron Nelson Pass. The measurement workshop led by Bob Cordell and Demian Martin will explore measurements of both amplifiers and loudspeakers. The Sunday main event offers amateur DIY audio projects on display and for audition. Burning Amp keynote speakers are always standing-room only, subject to Fire Dept. regulations. This year’s speakers are Sean Casey, founder of Zu Audio and Nelson Pass, audio industry legend and DIY icon. Sunday morning’s Shorter Takes session has three amplifier designers presenting and is also the day Burning Amp participants display and audition their DIY projects. Hours are Saturday by pre-registration only; Sunday 9:00 – 20:00. A catered Indian buffet lunch will be available on Sunday. Coffee and snacks will be provided both days. Admission is $30 and $20 for those bringing their own DIY audio projects.