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Spring cleaning. Our publisher has sundry personal hifi components for sale. Interested parties can inquire as to what's available at srajan @

Denafrips strike again – This time it's Athena, a new fully-balanced preamplifier with two internal storeys – the fully encapsulated ground floor for a twin-toroid power supply, the upper for a CPU coupled to Darlington arrays which drive a fully balanced relay-based volume control with Dale mil-spec metal film resistors and upscale gain devices. Price is $2'698 Singaporean or €1'750. Vinshine Audio's global Denafrips distributor Alvin Chee added, "right, I asked Mr. Zhao about that too. He said that he wants to set a new price/performance standard for the high-end audio industry".

Big fun – Armin Bros of Live Fidelity in the Netherlands announces a discounted DIY speaker kit project to give home-bound audiophiles something fun to do for a second system.

Fire in the camp – That'll be three new or revised in-ear monitors from Camp Fire Audio as the Ara, Solaris 2020 and Andromeda. 93dB/8.5Ω Ara [$1'299] uses seven balanced armature drivers in solid-body chambers inside a grade 2 Titanium shell. Re-engineered 115dB/15.5Ω Solaris 2020 [$1'499] has shrunk by 20% but still contains its 3 balanced armatures plus 10mm dynamic driver. Updated 112dB/13Ω Andromeda [$1'099] has a new body containing five balanced armatures. All are available through their online shop.


Get Kinki 4 ways – That's mega kinki. Reports Kinki Studio's Ken Ng from Singapore: "We have released updates for our EX-M1, EX-M1+ and EX-B7 models. We don't call them new models but over the pre 2020 releases, they are essentially new. We've also introduced our first stereo power amp, the EX-M7. Specs include 72VDC 18A current supply with 2 x 400VA transformers, Exicon lateral Mosfets, 250wpc into 8Ω, bandwidth of 0-2.5MHz ±3dB and a slew rate of 200V/us." At 25kg, this is no class D lightweight either but class A/B with a 130dB A-weighted S/N ratio.

80 or 120mph? It's not the new speed limit discussion but the Denafrips Hyperion and Thallo stereo amplifiers of those power ratings. Think class A/B, true balanced, fully discrete and black or silver.

James Cameron's spinner – That'll be the Denafrips Avatar, a top-loading disc transport with comprehensive digital outputs and word-clock input. It can upsample up to 352.8kHz and output that over three different I²S ports (HDMI and 2 x RJ45). Coax, Toslink and AES/EBU outputs support up to 176.4kHz and a 75Ω BNC input accepts 22.4792Mhz and 45.1584MHz external clocks. The transport is a Philips CDM4/19 of which Denafrips stockpile 3000 pieces for long product support. There are 12 ultra low-noise precision linear voltage regulators and the digital data is buffered, then reclocked by femto oscillator for a low-jitter output of the digital signal. A full metal remote is included.

Shrink the bass – Velodyne's Microvee MkII sub [€1'100] combines digital drive control with a new DSP algorithm and the company's energy recovery system in the smallest possible enclosure. Power comes from 1'200-watt class D. The drivers are a 6.5" aluminium-cone long-throw woofer plus dual 6.5" passive radiators to hit -3dB at 38Hz. There's anti-clip overdrive protection and a direct function bypasses the internal filter to work with a home theater receiver's own. The adjustable low pass spans 50Hz -200Hz with from 12dB to 48dB slopes and inputs are on twin RCA or clip-style speaker level which also come as 120Hz outputs for looping. A 3.5mm thru-put allows daisy-chaining the input signal and an auto function goes into standby after 15 minutes of no signal. Finish options are black or white and the hermetically sealed aluminium enclosure measures just  22.9 x 22.9 x 24.4cm or 9 x 9 x 9.6".

Don't just park it; Parker it – That could be Mårten Design's slogan for their new three-deep Parker range epitomized by the Parker Duo model [€9'000/pr]. It combines a 1" ceramic tweeter with a 7.5" ceramic mid/woofer and rear-firing 9" aluminium passive radiator. The Parker Trio adds one mid/woofer and one passive, the Parker Quintet [€38'000/pr] another two of each. All can be upgraded to diamond tweeters and copper-foil capacitors. All are built from 35mm M-board, a proprietary constrained-layer composite. The Duo is rated for 36-40Hz/kHz bandwidth at -2dB, 88dB sensitivity and 6-ohm nominal impedance. Finish options in this range are gloss/matte walnut and piano gloss black. Isopuck decouplers and stands are optional.

Western and Eastern Electric, move over – Now it's the turn of English Electric, a new sub brand of Chord Company whose first product is the 8Switch [£450], an 8-port GbE Ethernet switch in an aluminium chassis. A customized temperature-compensated crystal oscillator claims superior 0.1ppm accuracy and the power supply and clock generation circuits use noise isolation and EMI absorbers. A frontal LED display shows power, alarm and status/speed for each port. Power comes from an external DC power adapter. According to English Electric, traditional linear supplies aren't fast enough for purpose. Hence they sourced a superior ultra low-noise medical-grade wall wart.

Mark the Second – That's Gold Note's next-gen P-1000 preamplifier in MkII guise starting at €6'500 [€7'500 Deluxe version with boutique parts]. Its class-A circuit dedicates four gain stages to balanced, two to single-ended operation. An optical Alps encoder controls relay-switched resistors for volume, three transformers drive the power supply. Four/ea. RCA/XLR inputs mirror in RCA/XLR outputs. A defeatable 3-stage circuit adds analog bass boost for smaller speakers. The P-1000 MkII is available in black, silver or gold. It can be further tweaked with the external PSU-1250/1000 power supplies and/or the 1012/1006 tube output stages.

Updated – Gold Note's compact PS-10 4-in-1 streamer, headphone amp, preamp and DAC gains the Plus version. Aside from replacing the Bluetooth antenna with a 3.5mm stereo analog input, it also beefs up its internal power supply. A further upgrade path is the new PSU-10 Evo external inductive power supply with dual chokes and multi-cascoded transformers which connects to the PS-10 and PS-10 Plus units via 8-pin Hirschmann DIN-terminated umbilical. "Instead of simply enlarging the internal power supply or making it dual mono, ours creates the ideal AC filter to enable the connected component to sound its very best."


Swöxx it – Whatever the name means, it's a sealed active 7" 2-way monitor [€2'400/pr] from SW Speakers in Austria which combines top-shelf Seas Prestige drivers with an nCore Fusion plate amplifier for full DSP control of its 1.8kHz filter and hard-coded compensation profiles. There's no USB for music data but a plethora of other digital/analog i/o. Digital volume control is by included Hypex remote and analog inputs are digitized by an AK 5554. Finish options are oak or hazelnut veneer.

Galactic power – The PS Audio Stellar M1200 monos [$5'998/pr] do 600/1'200w into 8/4Ω with a 12AU7 input and ICEpower Edge output stage. They come in frosty silver or terrestrial black. Fully balanced, there are RCA/XLR inputs and a low output impedance promises high damping. Biwire posts are solid copper. As Rogue Audio do, these stellar amps hybridize tubes with class D.

Focus your Iris on Gaia – The first two of three D/D converters from Denafrips have bowed, the entry-level Iris [~€436] and flagship Gaia [~€1'500]. Using optical decoupling for their inputs, incoming data is buffered, dejittered and reclocked on FPGA code allied to precision femto clocks. There are proprietary USB transceivers, word-clock inputs and up to 768kHz PCM outputs on I²S via HDMI and RJ45. Half-sized Iris is dedicated exclusively to USB sources, full-size Gaia adds S/PDIF, Toslink and AES/EBU inputs and upgrades its clock to a temperature-compensated super clock. Iris only comes in black, Gaia in black or silver. A middle model remains TBA.

Be a 3rd-kind playerLe Player 3 [€4'600] is Métronome's new 3rd-gen disc transport in their Classica range. Intended for those who already own a DAC they mean to keep, Le Player is a high-end disc transport with a built-in upsampler that can resample 44.1kHz Redbook up to DSD128. For signal beyond 192kHz where S/PDIF maxes out, there's an I²S over HDMI output.


Get an A or F score? – Swiss auteur Martin Gateley adds the 'a' version to his Vox 3 options. 'a' stands for his custom Armin Galm 11cm AlNiCo widebander with bronze basket and paper-cone membrane. Like the 'f' TangBand ferrite version, there are two 13cm carbon-fiber force-cancelling V-twin woofers on either side and an upfiring ambient Raal ribbon super tweeter on top. The solid wood cabs in Walnut or Cherry can be oiled/waxed or finished in high-gloss clear lacquer. Bandwidth from this compact 4-driver 3-way is 35-35 Hz/kHz and sensitivity is a very useful 92dB. The Vox 3a can be stand-mounted or sit on a small bracket for table tops.

Don't drive Über, go Ub – Milan's Ubsound bow their new 2-model Feel range built around an 8-inch coax and 45° curved front port. The FL38 [€2'500/pr]  is an 89dB compact tower with claimed 31Hz to 22'600Hz bandwidth. It weighs just 13kg and measures 90 x 24 x 30cm HxWxD. Available lacquers are gloss white, black, yellow and red. A matching monitor completes the range.

Maggie Carta – Now available in the UK is Magneplanar's LRS aka little ribbon speaker [£995/pr]. "While Magnepan's previous entry-level offerings were a sample taken from the lower end of what Magneplanars can do, the LRS is a sample taken from the upper end. The LRS is a full-range quasi-ribbon speaker created from the ground up to give a pretty good idea what to expect from the brand's flagship 20.7 or 30.7 models. It was designed using high-end electronics and monoblocks so while it still performs nicely with an integrated amp, it will really give you what you came for with some high-end high-current amplification." The LRS is a 14.5x48x1" WxHxD 4-ohm speaker of 86dB sensitivity and 50Hz-20kHz bandwidth in a 2-way planar format.


Wave flat not round – Chris Sommovigo of Black Cat Cable slips Flatwave into his Coppertone cable range without raising the pricing. "The new conductor is a small pure copper ribbon flattened in-house with a precision rolling machine. It then pulls through our Airwave tooling, shaping it into a sinusoidal form that remains substantially suspended in air once I hand place it within Coppertone's thin-walled PTFE tube to keep capacitance low and velocity high. Our Lovecraft Mini RCA terminate the interconnect, our XOX direct-plated copper bananas terminate the speaker cable." Pricing is $249/0.5m/pr for the interconnects (+$50/+0.5m/pr) and $399/2.5m/pr for the speaker cables (+$50/+0.5m/pr).

Capt'n Bluebeard strikes again – Actually, it's Jay Rein of Bluebird Music. His lethal strike is landing Udo Bessler's 34-year old German AVM brand for the US and Canada which joins Chord Electronics, Jadis, SME, Spendor and Vienna Acoustics in a portfolio where "taking on another brand is a serious undertaking. We feel that the quality of AVM products is equal to that of our other brands. We're certain that dealers, reviewers and customers will come to agree." The AVM product line includes separate preamplifiers, amplifiers, CD and streaming media players and three models of all-in-one streaming receivers.

Stay-at-home upgrade? – Lindemann offer full hardware/firmware conversions to their latest music:book source for all 1st/2nd-gen music:books so this offer is applicable to their older models 10, 15, 20 and 25 with/without DSD. "Of the unit you send us, only the display and remote continue to be used. All electronics replace. Units with a CD drive are equipped with a new CD-ROM drive. Models which didn't support streaming now have that function added. That way every upgraded device corresponds both technically and sonically 100% to the new music:book source. What benefits does the upgrade 2020 bring?
• New considerably more powerful streaming platform with Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, HighResAudio and Roon-ready support
• HighRes streaming up to 24/384 PCM and DSD256
•  Perfect wireless streaming with dual antenna and AC standard also of high-resolution tracks. A LAN cable is no longer required.
•  New convenient Lindemann app for Android and iOS with tablet support in landscape mode. Easy to use, very stable operation.
•  Newly developed digital/analog converter with new master clock with ultra-low jitter values over the entire audio bandwidth, next-gen AK4493 converters in mono mode. Our biggest step towards perfect digital playback so far.
•  Completely revised analog preamp now featuring a top-level phono MM input.
•  Improved headphone output with higher output current which can drive impedances down to 16Ω.
•  New CD-ROM drive with faster access time and lower noise emission.

Prices include 2-year new warranty. The music:book models 10/20 cost €1'490 to upgrade, the models 15/25 €1'690.

Chic ChiFi – Cayin's new CS-150A [€5'400] applies six layers of lacquer to a KT-150-based integrated amplifier with 6SN7 input/driver tubes and valve rectifier. Switches for triode/ultralinear, high/standard bias and high/low negative feedback add tuning options. Power delivery is 55wpc in triode, 100wpc in ultralinear. KT120 power tetrodes are plug'n'play alternatives. There are three RCA inputs and one XLR and a remote control is included. Finishing is black or silver.

Invasion – Kopenhagen's speaker brand Audiovector just signed on with Germany's in-akustik distribution house to begin invading Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Many of their models use custom drivers co-developed with ScanSpeak and their AMT tweeters are designed and built in-house.

Improved – Fram inform us that their team have used the current stay-in conditions to revisit their active speaker range. As a result, the former three EQ settings have been expanded to eight inside their proprietary firmware and are now accessible by remote no longer physical switch on the rear of the master speaker. The enclosure's mechanical structure was revisited too by adding a 12mm front panel to the 4mm all-aluminium case, "giving more interior space and even better low frequencies". Finally, the enclosure's color options have expanded. Shown is the Midi 120 on both its desktop plinth and tripod stand.

MayFly Audio – This small Canadian speaker company's top model MF-301 contains all of Trevor May's design solutions: dual-concentric main drivers, circular cabinet cross sections, stacked birch ply enclosures with internal diffusor surfacing and French finishing. For those who don't need ultimate bass extension, there are two 2-way monitor models, the bigger of which still promises 30Hz bass.