Product-related news items of general interest should be accompanied by a formal press release with basic descriptions, finish options, pricing, a photo 598px 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).

Nimble Niimbus – As a brand separate from Violelectric launched in late 2018, Niimbus gear is built by the same pro-audio firm Lake People in Germany. Their latest creations are the US 5 and US 5 Pro headphone amps [€4'999 / €5'499]. They share a 10mm fascia behind which a dual-mono circuit with 50V rails drives four gain stages for 7 watts into 50Ω augmented by 50'000µF of filter capacitance. Headfi outputs are on 6.3mm, XLR4 and 4.4mm balanced. In the back are two RCA inputs, 1 XLR input and 1/ea. pre-out plus dip switches to set gain. Where the two models diverge is in their attenuators. The US 5 uses a motorized potentiometer, the Pro a reed-relay-switched MCU-controlled resistor ladder for 256 x 0.4dB steps. Common to both again is the metal remote and Men in Black dress code. In Lake People's hierarchy, Niimbus sits above Violectric for their consumer models.

Tidalier connections – Lumin's firmware v14 brings Tidal Connect to the X1, T2, U1 and U1 Mini streamers. The update also includes improved MQA decoding plus new front-panel text from subscription services while streaming them. For how to install this latest update manually, click on the earlier link.

How low can you go? With Definitive Technology's DN8 [€499] and DN12 [€999] subs, probably low enough. These are front-firing 8" and 12" cubes with dual sidefiring passive radiators and 200/500w of class H power, "intelligent phase" which auto-adapts to the chosen low-pass filter and 'loud', 'deep' and 'flat' EQ presets. Those adjustments and the sub's level can be set from the seat via the included remote control.

48Gbps – That ain't British horse power but the Chord Company's upgraded Shawline HDMI AOC 21 cable's super-fast transfer rate over active glass fiber. It's capable of "full 8K at 60Hz or 4K at 120Hz" and available in 1m [£250], 2m, 3m, 5m, 8m, 10m, 15m and 20m standard lengths. Custom lengths up to 50m are available by special order. "Unlike Toslink which carries the entire signal on optical fibres, our HDMI AOC is an advanced hybrid of seven copper cables and four optical fibres. The advantage of optical fibre is that it doesn't pick up HF noise. This potential weakness coupled with longer cable lengths means that HF noise on the signal earth is inevitable. Even though this is a digital 'optical' cable, Chord Company's engineers have ensured that the copper elements are fully protected from external HF noise pollution. Therefore beneath the external PVC jacket sits a double aluminium foil shielding system for even greater performance."

Extraterrestrial – Denafrips' new Terra [S$1'698 or ~€1'060] hopes to be. This master clock offers 2/ea. 45.1548 and 49.152MHz fixed outputs plus 2/ea. outputs adjustable to 44.1 or 48kHz, 11.2896, 12.288, 22.45792 or 24.576MHz. All outputs are on 75Ω BNC. The oven-controlled crystal oscillators generating these clock signals are powered by a "high-current multi-stage power supply with oversized toroidal transformer".

Yammy Bluetooth cans – Yamaha's YH-L700A  [€549] not only promises active noise canceling but immersive 'home theater' simulation via DSP. That makes it the new flagship. Ambient mode disables noise cancelling. The 'Listening Care System' exploits an automatic 4-band EQ to protect against extreme SPL without impacting perceived loudness. The 40mm dynamic driver's wing span is given as 8Hz-40kHz. There's aptX, Bluetooth 5.0, SBC, AAC and voice command via Google Assistant or Siri. A freeware app allows for further fine-tuning. Battery life is claimed to be up to 34 hours on one charge.

Have it both ways – With the new Line Magnetic LM-32DAC [€2'499], that means 2 x 12AU7 or transistors in the signal path. You chose by frontal switch. Otherwise there's an ESS9028Pro converter for 32/384 PCM and DSD252 with USB-B, Toslink, AES/EBU, coax and BNC inputs. The digital circuitry runs off an RL transformer with solid-state rectifier, the analog half off a toroidal transformer with tube rectifier. A dot-matrix display shows connected source and sample rate. For outputs there are RCA and XLR:

Stuff yer drains – With Chord Company's GroundARAY [£550], you can. These parallel noise traps are available in six terminations including USB A, HDMI, RJ45, BNC, RCA and XLR. They plug into unused connectors and present a very low-impedance high-bandwidth route for HF noise in the circuit to pool into them where they dissipate as heat. Here is a YouTube video. The insides of these thin cylinders fill with undisclosed UHF noise-absorptive material to exceed standard shorting plugs.

Trickier trickster – Schii't new Lokius [$299] expands upon Loki with a total of six EQ points and added XLR i/o. So it's still a purist all-analog tone control but now offers hinges at 20Hz, 120Hz, 400Hz, 2kHz, 6kHz and 16kHz. A bypass switch offers instant A/B and a 16VAC wall wart provides power. Lokius will pass up to 10Vrms signal single-ended and twice that balanced.

Call to Valhalla? – With Rögnir [€2'850], you might just hear it. From Russia with love, it's Kennerton's first closed-back planarmagnetic headphone. As such it has their own 80mm kapton membrane driver behind carbon plates set into solid-wood bodies from whose species the customer chooses between beech, bog oak, bubinga, purple heart, walnut or teak. The detachable cable uses vintage Litz wiring. It terminates in mini XLR and XLR4. An XLR4-to-6.3mm cable adapter is included. So is an eco-leather case. Specs are 10-55'000Hz bandwidth, 100dB/1mW sensitivity and 42Ω impedance. Weight is 436g.

Sonic chronometer – Hello Chronos [€199] from Germany's Violelectric. It's a mobile DAC cum headamp with USB-C, mico USB and Lightning umbilicals to mate to sundry smartphones or tablets. Measuring 44.5 x 24 x 10mm, it houses a 32/384 PCM and DSD256 DAC plus headphone driver capable of dispatching 30mW/32Ω or 5mW/600Ω. Over iOS, Android and WIndows 10, no driver install is required and a max 200mA consumption promises civilized power draw from the host device's battery.

Better than ultrasound? – You bet. Ultrasound you wouldn't be able to hear. But the Ultrasone Signature Master [€949] you can. Like the firm's Signature Natural [€649] and Signature Pulse [€549], this over-ear headphone exploits their new S-Logic-3 tech which deals with driver orientation relative to the ear canal and includes special deflectors. Aimed at mastering engineers, the Signature Master uses a 40mm titanium/mylar membrane in a sealed composite housing.

JC's 2nd coming – Parasound's 450-watt Halo JC1+ monos bowed in 2020 but didn't enjoy a public premiere due to lock down. The upcoming RMAF show will rectify that. The redesign of John Curl's 2003 original does a whopping 850w into 4Ω, 1'300w into 2Ω and peak current of 180 amperes. Class A bias covers up to 25 watts so many listeners will never enter the class AB envelope. There's 198'000µF of filter capacitance and a 2.1kVA power transformer leading to a weight of 83lbs. For more details, visit their website.

Pocket rocket? – Roksan's new Atessa range breaks out into a €1'250 turntable, €625 CD player, €1'250 integrated and €1'875 streaming integrated. The latter packs 80/130wpc into 8/4Ω of class A/B speaker power, 7.5Vrms headfi on 3.5mm, MM phono, pairs of Toslink and coax for the 24/192 Burr-Brown DAC, LAN, Bluetooth and a BluOS streamer. There's even a pre-out. A single master knob controls all the functions from the front panel whilst the BluOS app puts remote control on a smartphone or tablet should the included IR remote be too pedestrian. Finish options are black or silver.

Amps on fire – The 13th Burning Amp Festival returns to San Francisco's Fort Mason Center on October 16th and 17th. DIYers unite. Saturday will feature seminars by Bob Cordell and Demian Martin plus a Build Camp for a new amplifier design by Nelson Pass featuring "unique devices and a super-simple circuit". Sunday is the main event with DIYers showing off their projects in Building C and presentations in the Firehouse capped off by an auction and raffle for donated items. Confirmed for Sunday presentations are Steven Dear on the science behind audio perception and Nelson Pass updating the Greedy Boyz on his latest designs for the DIY community.

Clear your chords – Chord Company just released their Clearway Streaming cable to step up from their entry-level C-stream. The new network cable uses four "high-speed 26-gauge" twisted conductors plus optimized shield in the outer jacket with latest-gen gold-plated RJ45 connectors. Available lengths span 0.75m/£80 to 20m/£400.

GMT – "At the close of 2020, Wilson Benesch brought together a consortium which successfully won £327'000 of Innovate U.K. funding. The group is comprised of Sheffield Hallam University's Dr F. Al-Naemi, Dr J. Travis and Professor G. Cockerham. These scientists enabled the most nuanced sophisticated modelling using state-of-the-art 3D software critical to the project's success. We also teamed up with CAAS Audio's Dr C. Broomfield and N. Broomfield to pioneer a novel motor and dedicated poly-phase motor power supply system. The Omega Drive is a patent-applied-for system with multiple design registrations. All GMT® systems will be manufactured and assembled within the very same building within which the product was designed and developed. This applies to the electronic systems supplied by developers Dr Broomfield and Neil Broomfield. Poly-phase drive signals are synthesized by a sophisticated microprocessor-controlled DAC module whose control software and algorithms were developed in tandem with CAAS Audio. These advanced systems monitor the drive technologies in real time while pure analogue linear amplifiers handle the transfer of the synthesized signals. The GMT® System was designed to meet the needs of the archivist. Its primary goal is to preserve valuable recordings and minimize transcription errors. To achieve this, we provide unprecedented levels of control. For the first time each and every parameter can be controlled to extremely high precision. Significantly, transcription parameters for motor and tonearm can be dialed in remotely."

The Ice Age cometh – That's if you live in Portland/OR and follow the latest goings on at Campfire Audio where they're currently roasting the Mammoth [$549] over a Holocene fire [$649]. The former is a hybrid IEM of one balanced armature each for treble and mids plus a new 10mm bio-celllulose dynamic encased in a machined blue-anodized aluminium body with glow-in-the-dark elements. The latter is an equivalent triple BA affair with 3D-printed acoustic chamber set inside an umber-finished aluminium body also enhanced with luminous bits. Headfi just became radioactive by going way back into the past.

3A booster – JCat's Initio 3 linear power supply is meant to give DC-powered smaller kit a power shot in the arm up to 3 amperes of current. Like the Optimo 3 Duo, it uses JCat's linear voltage regular board with ultra-fast low noise rectifier plus epoxy-sealed transformer. Outputs can be 5V or 12VDC and one 1.2m DC cable with 0.8mm² cross section is included whose termination plug will be fitted to the client's device requirement at no extra charge.

 

Manic phobia? – If you must decide between the new Erzetich dynamic Mania [€1'199] and planar Phobos headphones [€1'999], perhaps so. "In the modern world, a quality pair of headphones is considered an essential part of our lifestyle and a lot of people spend considerable time looking for their perfect set. With their distinctive octagonal design and superior sound, the Mania and Phobos quickly achieved a cult following and the new updates are sure to please. Founder Blaz Erzetic says, 'due to their popularity, we decided to tune them for an even more controlled clear sound, added new height settings, switched to a carbon-fiber headband, cups from now Beech wood and CNC'd aluminum and both models are also a bit lighter now.'"

 

Thiele not Accuton – Helmut Thiele's new twosome is the TA01 zero-tracking-error arm [€9'500] and matching TT01 turntable [€10'000 without arm]. The arm endeavors to combine the best of uni pivot and tangential geometries for minimal tracking error. Two parallel carbon-fiber tubes decouple by gel spacer, the custom arm board is aluminium and available for different tables. Thiele's own table's plinth is a triple-layer constrained affair, the motor electronics are a collab with Volpe Audio's Walther Fuchs. First availability is September.

Swiss. Holton. – The new NXL 101 is both plus a 100w/4Ω class A mono fully balanced Mosfet amplifier of 400'000µF filter capacitance. Further details TBA.

Charismatically ecological? – More like economically tickety boo if you're Bernard Lee's new $795 Eco cartridge under his Canadian Charisma Audio banner. It combines an aluminium body, white ceramic cantilever and super-elliptical nude diamond for 0.38mV signal with an 8Ω impedance, recommended 100-1KΩ loading and 0.1-1.9g tracking force on medium-mass tone arms.

Sir Ferrum the 2nd – The Oor fully balanced fully discrete headphone amplifier with class AB power stage [€1'995] is the second product from Ferrum Audio. They'd introduced themselves on the scene with the hybrid Hypsos universal power supply. Naturally that can now be added to maximize Oor's performance. Connectivity consists of RCA/XLR inputs, a 2.5mm DC port and a 4-pin power port when used with Hypsos. Outputs are balanced XLR4 and unbalanced 6.3mm plus RCA/XLR line level. Output power into a 300Ω headphone driven single-ended is 400mW, 1.6W balanced. Input impedance is 94kΩ, Z-out on the RCA/XLR 22/44Ω. Headphones see sub 0.3Ω. Balanced gain can be -4/+6/+16dB or -10/0/+10dB single-ended. Oor measures 21.7 x 20.6 x5cm WxDxH, weighs 1.8kg and the brightness of its back-lit 'Fe' logo can be adjusted. Naturally Oor and Hypsos stack perfectly with identical casings which are sized like a Mytek Brooklyn Bridge.

Voilà, Violelectric – Say hello to the PPA V790 [€3'990], a full-function phono stage with 3/ea. RCA and XLR inputs, 7 x switchable impedances, 8 x switchable capacitances, 7 x gain levels and 3 x compensation curves. If there's something this deck can't do, it's probably not worth doing.