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Aussie Conductor the Third – Burson's latest "took over three years to design" and is a 7.5wpc class A DAC, headphone amp and preamp in one chassis [$1'800 US, introductory price $1'399 incl. shipping). Digital-to-analog conversion is via dual ESS9038 chips preceded by an XMOS USB transceiver with German Thesycon driver. File acceptance is up to 32/786 PCM and DSD 512. Bluetooth is version 5.0. The power supply with 170kHz switching frequency shows up 5 times to independently feed the display, housekeeping chores, DAC and left/right analog outputs. There's an OLED display and metal remote control. Four V6 discrete Burson op-amps in the output stage can be rolled for other Burson versions to change sonic flavor to taste. The display layout can be adjusted from horizontal to vertical as shown. "The C3 Reference drives any headphone under the sun."


Gryphon essentials – With their new Essence preamplifier/amplifier set, Gryphon extend class A bias all the way to the loudspeakers. The Essence fully balanced dual-mono line stage with 0.1Hz–1MHz bandwidth -3dB offers 2:3 XLR/RCA inputs, an RCA tape out and XLR main plus RCA subwoofer outputs. There's Gryphon's usual plethora of menu-driven user settings including green bias and AV throughput. Green bias allows the matching Gryphon amp/s to be set to 50, 75 or 100% class A bias. One may optionally install an MM/MC or 32/384 DAC module. Volume control is by 43-step fully balanced relay-switched resistor array. The Essence amplifier with 20A IEC offers 0.5Hz-350kHz -3dB bandwidth with 50/100/190 watts into 8/4/2Ω in stereo or mono modes. A massive 1'350VA toroidal power transformer becomes power station central either way. There is no global feedback and DC coupling relies on a DC servo to correct offset. Pricing ex VAT is €12'800 for the Essence preamplifier and €16'800 for the Essence stereo amplifier.


Interstellar phonons – $2'495 gets you PS Audio's new all-discrete Stellar range phono stage with a Fet-based DC-coupled class A circuit. There's passive RIAA equalization and remote-controlled variable loading. Up to 70dB of low-noise voltage gain supports even 0.15mV low-output MC cartridges. Up to 20Vrms out promises unlimited headroom and dynamics. Two tone arms can be accommodated simultaneously.

Acelec – For those wondering what Dutch designer Cees Rujitenberg has been up to since his former company Metrum Acoustics was acquired last year, Acelec is the answer. Under this brand, Cees is designing a range of pro/consumer speakers beginning with the passive Model One [€5'400/pr] and forthcoming active Model Two. Key features for both are 15mm thick bitumen-lined aluminium cabinets bonded with rubberized glue to eliminate ringing which are then fitted with a Mundorf AMT tweeter and 15cm mid/woofer in a rear-ported alignment. A review of the Model One is already planned.

W5 in concrete? – Whilst Concrete Audio's B1 [€3'490/pr] bears a superficial resemblance to the Boenicke W5, it goes its own way by being sealed not ported, active not passive and using horizontally opposed woofers, not just one. And rather than a wooden clam shell, its casing is monolithic concrete so altogether different. 56-bit DSP runs the filter at 50MHz whilst A/D and D/A operate at 24 bits. Internal power is in class D and i/o are 3.5mm analog stereo in, 3.5mm sub out and Bluetooth V3.0 wireless in. There's IR remote control and bandwidth of 45Hz – 20kHz. Weight is 18kg and dimensions are a compact 39x16x29.5cm HxWxD. Various finishes are available.


Deals – Actually, dealERs. "Vinnie Rossi has officially transitioned from direct sales to a dealer network in the USA and is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Sossa of Well Pleased Audio Video as the company’s sales representative for North America, effective July 22, 2019. Commenting on the new partnership, Rossi said, "Over the last five years, Mark has demonstrated a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm towards the brands that he represents – at various trade shows and working with a strong and growing dealer network that he has established and maintained. His good character, approachability and long-term vision are exactly what I have been looking for to make the switch from direct sales to a vibrant dealer network, exclusively. We are looking forward to working together."

"Sossa adds, "I've been keenly watching Vinnie Rossi products evolve over the last 15 years. He continues to reach higher levels of performance with every product and each one delivers an innovative design approach, top performance in its price class and high value. They also garner numerous awards from the press, glowing coverage at trade shows and a loyal following from his customers. As his company continues to grow, I am excited to be part of his team and bring his designs to a much larger audience."

L2-in-1 – The Vinnie Rossi range expands with the 100-watt L2i [$12'995] and L2i Signature Edition [$18'995] integrated amplifiers. The former hybrid combines a 6SN7 grounded-grid linestage with an ultra-wide bandwidth class AB Mosfet current buffer and 64-step discrete resistor-ladder volume control with silent Pickering/England relays. The latter hybrid inherits the DHT grounded-grid voltage gain stage and adaptable bias voltage switch of the L2 Signature Preamplifier to accept 2.5V, 4V and 5V direct-heated triodes, then combines those with the Mosfet outputs. Both models have a tube bypass mode which inserts a class A Jfet stage instead of the tubes. Both have RCA/XLR pre-outs and both can be optionally fitted with the L2 DAC and phono modules [$3'495/ea.]. They also ship with ball-bearing vibration attenuating footers and a full-function metal remote wand all in a custom hard travel case.

November Hifi Show – As organizer Tonyboy de Leon explains, "this has been the premier Hifi and Video show in the Philippines since 2004. This year we will have 50+ rooms to display the latest audio and video entertainment systems."

A perfect 10? Gold Note bow their DS-10 [€2'495] teased at the Munich HighEnd show, "an innovative 32/384 D/A converter + streamer with headphone amplifier and analogue preamplifier stage plus dedicated control app, TFT colour display and multi-function control knob. The DS-10 is compatible with almost all Internet streaming services like Roon, Tidal, Qobuz, Airplay, Spotify, Deezer and V-Tuner and with DSD, PCM and MQA. With the analogue preamp stage activated, the digital volume of web players is automatically bypassed since the remote controls including the computer app synchronize the unit to all functions for best performance." The modular design enables upgrading with the external inductive PSU-10 power supply. The 6.3mm headphone output has selectable sensitivity to drive almost any kind of headphones on the market. Analog outputs are on RCA and XLR. Finish options are black, silver or gold.

Raidho + Nordost. The Danish speaker company announces that their TD Series now ships with Nordost Norse-range internal wiring derived from the Valhalla series. By special order, even Nordost Odin reference wiring is available.

R&R – It's rest + relaxation with R2R or reel-to-reel tape when using Merrill Audio's new Element Pure tape head preamp [$9'000]. "Finally there's a good alternative for the purist of such playback. Our machine brings out the full dynamics of reel-to-reel tape with the detail and immediacy of the live recording. This is the first in a series of three tape head preamps. The Pure features minimal adjustments to focus on the purist audiophile demanding the most accurate sound signature with the least amount of artifacts. This makes an ideal addition to the Ampex ATR 100, 102 and 104 series decks. Merrill Audio can provide the plug-in card to access their tape heads directly and replace their on-board preamp cards. The Pure takes its cues from the Jens phono stage and its circuit designer Jens Waale. It has six speed and EQ settings of 3.75 NAB, 7.5 NAB, 15 NAB, 7.5 IEC, 15 IEC and 30 IEC2. The gain is selectable at 71dB or 65dB. All settings are saved. The display brightness can be dimmed, delayed dimmed or delay blanked. All settings can be made by remote. The low-noise Merrill Audio Kratos external power supply provides the first level of power filtering. The Element Pure Tape Head Preamp is built with ultra-tight tolerance components, silver-plated Teflon-sleeved wire, fully balanced inputs and outputs and custom XLR connectors."

From mono to stereo – Originally available as just mono blocks, the revised LinnenberG Audio Liszt has become bridgeable to allow use as a 55wpc/8Ω stereo amplifier. It's still a 1.2MHz DC-coupled class A/B circuit with just 40μV of A-weighted noise for true 20-bit resolution using  a pair of lateral Mosfets per channel in the push/pull output stage. Bridge mode converts to 200w/8Ω



Rosson Audio – Alex Rosson, co-founder and CEO of Audeze, now has his own company with the Rad-O, a 26Ω planarmagnetic over-ear open-backed headphone with 66mm diaphragm.and 11 x N52 magnet array that's available in a variety of different finishes.

Jobless – From Goldmund's page: "Dear customers and followers, we have made the difficult decision to stop the production activity of JOB Electronics after we have finished to deliver our last batches this month. Faced with competition, volume and pricing issues, we made the choice to concentrate on other activities. We will continue to guarantee the repair side of the business. So for all of you who own a JOB 225, JOB INT or JOB Pre2, we will still be here to answer your questions and help you with your technical issues. On the practical side of things, the website will probably be unreachable by the end of the month but you will still be able to communicate with us through the Facebook page which will remain open. Do not hesitate to contact us on the page or at the usual address: service @"

£2'595 Ncore integrated – Nord launch their computer-controlled TVC/AVC NC500 integrated amplifier with branded Apple remote and a choice of NC500-based power stages. 2 x XLR + 4 x RCA inputs, RCA/XLR pre-outs and menu-driven functions like input alias, automatic input level matching, start/max volumes, display & power button brightness and night mode meet a 2.8" TFT display, balance control and two sound profiles via TVC or AVC mode all updatable in software. A ball-bearing rotary optical encoder handles volume with three different menu response settings and separate selection button.

Silver surfers – Coming soon to a Vinnie Rossi theater near you are silver versions of their L2 flagship models like the awarded DHT linestage with optional DAC and phono modules shown.

Feeling hedo? – Consider Nikola Nastasovic of Belgrade's Hedonist Audio whose portfolio of cables and power distributors spans price points from €200 – €2'000. He makes four different analog interconnects, four digital cables (S/PDIF and USB), two speaker cables, five power cords, two power distributors and three power conditioners. The Icon interconnect shown uses 0.2mm² silver-plated copper conductors with PTFE and polyethylene dielectric and gold-plated RCA or XLR connectors.



Audio Analogue renovate two classics – "In 2016, Italian brand Audio Analogue celebrated their 20th birthday by launching a line of Anniversary editions of earlier classic amplifiers. Now the Puccini and Maestro integrated models are joined by the new Bellini preamplifier and Donizetti power amplifier. Whilst those  share a name with the originals, in every other respect they feature completely new designs and technologies. A fully differential zero global feedback design from input to output, Bellini takes its inspiration from the preamp stage of the Maestro Anniversary integrated, then pushes further. Starting with the power supply, the Bellini features a bespoke inductive-capacitive filter to minimize mains interference. The dual-mono fully balanced gain stage features a single-stage transconductance amplifier to make the preamplifier even quieter. The complex four-layer circuit board positions each component to minimize noise as well as carefully routing the input, output and control signals so that any potential noise is eliminated. Only audiophile grade components are used throughout, relay-operated switches ensure linearity and internal wiring is 7N OCC copper. Rather than use a traditional potentiometer for volume control, the Bellini uses a ladder of carefully selected fixed-value resistors. A solid aluminium remote control completes the package.

"Also a zero global feedback fully balanced design, the Donizetti power amplifier delivers 250W into 8Ω stereo, with power doubling as impedance halves. The amplifier is dual mono down to two separate 1200VA toroidal power transformers. As in the Bellini, the circuit features the single gain stage transconductance amplifier plus 12 bipolar output transistors per channel. Again a four-layer printed circuit board positions sensitive components as far from the power transformers as possible and ensures that the input signal path never crosses that of the output signal. All components are of the highest level, from military-standard resistors to audio-grade capacitors, 7N OCC copper wiring and gold-plated connectors. Donizetti can also be operated in mono configuration. This delivers a staggering 1kW into 8 ohms."

Gato cheap out – 40% off. Across their catalogue. This is enabled with a new distribution policy which trims the fat. "From now on; there are two ways of buying Gato Audio products:
1. Through one of our passionate dealers: Here you get the benefits of local service, demonstration and support.
2. Direct on our website: Here you get free worldwide shipping, two weeks of home trial and online service and support.
No matter how you choose to buy, all Gato Audio products are still hand built to order and shipped directly from our factory in Copenhagen, to your dealer or directly to you as consumer – no middlemen in between. For existing customers who purchased Gato Audio products within the last 24 months at a higher price than we now offer, we have designed a special compensations program. Contact us directly for further information about this program."

1'536kHz PCM – That and DSD1'024 are some of the new specs of the DSP upgrade board for the discrete R2R Denafrips Terminator DAC enabled by a new FPGA with four sets of Linear Tech regulators. The machine also gets twin AES/EBU mode support; sharp/slow filter options; configurable I²S pin outs on HDMI; and a DSD over I²S channel swap configuration. "And yes, this is user upgradeable. Simply open the top cover, carefully unplug the old DSP board and plug in the new board. It's simpler than installing a PCI card in the computer."

Bob Marley the Second – That's M2Tech's new Marley MkII headfi/preamp with comprehensive featurization. Think 6.3mm and XLR4 headphone outputs, fixed and variable RCA line-level outputs, 2 RCA and 1 XLR inputs for three sources. Think balanced circuitry, 3-stage selectable output impedance, defeatable 3-band tone controls plus selectable cross feed. Think precision Muses 72320 volume controller. Think upgrade path via the firm's own Van der Graaf MkII outboard power supply which connects by 4-pin umbilical. Long live Reggae!

Western lights – The Aurora system by the UK's iFi is a €1'499 all-in-one wired/wireless system in bamboo suspended in a pyramidal aluminum frame based on a design concept by Julien Haziza. Eight drive units including two passive radiators are controlled by a hybrid 6N3P tube/class D amplifier of 320 watts whose 1.5MHz switching is sync'd with the 32/192 ESS Sabre D/A converter's master clock. Touch-sensitive controls and an Oled display add a modern interface. 4 x 12cm active widebanders fire out two in front and two to the sides augmented by one 28mm silk-dome tweeter per side. Two rectangular auxiliary bass radiators fire downward. The lot's interaction with your setup is measured with ultrasound via six built-in microphones to auto-adapt purely analog compensation for best response linearity without any DSP or feedback. Aside from WiFi and Bluetooth, Toslink, coax, USB and Ethernet cater to hardwired digital sources, a 3.5mm stereo to analog and a micro slot to SDHC cards. It all turns Aurora into a very hi-tech table-top proposition. Multiple units can even be linked for multi-room distribution. These are northern lights you can see from anywhere on the globe…

Liedtke Metalldesign – Dirk Liedtke's new LM-XTC stand is offered with two different top plates and columns from 40 to 100cm. It's finished in either a RAL 9005 matte black coat or as polished stainless steel. Pricing begins at €499/pr and unfilled, each stand weighs ~11kg/ea depending on overall height.

Definitive changes – Definitive Audio, the distribution and retail arm of Living Voice, are relinquishing their long-standing Kondo franchise for the UK. "We have always followed our heart because that’s where music communicates. It is fundamental that we feel a powerful connection to the brands we represent. Over the years we have enjoyed a good working relationship with Kondo and it is now time for us to move on and make way for someone who feels as passionate about their new designs as we do about their originals. We wish them well for the future. We, of course, continue to offer backup support and service on all of the Kondo equipment we have sold over the last 16 years."

INT-25 – The new Pass Labs integrated [€7'250] combines a simplified INT-60 front end with the XA-25 power amplifier for a purely single-ended class A machine with three inputs and metal remote.