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).

August 2016 - H1 - The COS Engineering H1 [€2'500] is a 3-in-1 DAC, headphone amp and preamp with paired 6.3mm/XLR combo jacks, 384PCM/DSD128 USB 2.0 and 192/DSD64 Toslink, coax and AES/EBU digital inputs plus one single-ended line output. Digital processing is based on a proprietary algorithm which upsamples all data to either 176.4kHz or 129kHz, applies a 1s buffer, a sub 1ps crystal oscillator with reclocker circuitry and a 4'096-tap 32-bit filter array with a linear-phase FIR delay embedded on a 3'648 MMAC/sec capable DSP. The onboard switch-mode power supply accepts universal power input from 100-240VAC. Analog volume spans 96dB in 0.5dB steps and is executed with a resistor ladder and solid-state switches. The combo jacks can either drive two unbalanced headphones simultaneously or one balanced headphone. Max voltage swing is 12Vrms balanced, 6Vrms unbalanced. The line-out is defeatable as is the buffer and USB 2.0 may be switched to USB 1.0 to eliminate the need for drivers on Windows. The white Oled display has 128x64 pixel resolution. Weight for the machine is 3.5kg, dimensions are 26 x 25 x 6cm WxDxH (feet excluded).
August 2016 - Do schiit where you work - "Our new Jotunheim [$399] is the first modular headphone amplifier and preamp. Add the DAC module [$100] and it’s a DAC/amp. Or, add the phono [$100] and it’s a phono preamp/amp. Or, use it as just an amp. Jotunheim offers balanced and single-ended inputs and outputs for both preamp and headphone amp. The amp is our unique, fully discrete, differential current-feedback “Pivot Point” topology, delivering up to 5W into 32 ohms with vanishingly low noise floor. The DAC uses two top-tier AK4490 chips in a hardware-balanced passively filtered configuration. The phono card uses precision film capacitors and resistors in a passive RIAA section that is entirely DC-coupled."
August 2016 - Multi-channel DAC? Jawohl! - Parasound introduce the ZoneMaster® 4 DAX [$995], "the first four-zone DAC with crossovers for the custom installation industry. In a single chassis unit it uses four premium 192kHz ESS Sabre DACs, four Parasound-designed analog crossovers with multiple configuration options and four 12V outputs each triggered when analog audio is present in that zone."
August 2016 - dot za - We obviously knew of Vivid Audio speakers in South Africa but not yet Furniture Design Lab of Johannisburg. "We are in the business of designing and producing luxury quality audiophile support furniture with high decorator approval since 1982 and offer a wide variety of concepts which we then customize to suit exact requirements." The Omega stand shown for example can be made with shelves of Perspex, glass, solid wood, MDF or concrete.
August 2016 - The BDP of Pi - Bryston intro the Roon-ready BDP-π digital music player [$1295] which is built upon the Raspberry Pi and HifiBerry platforms in a chassis a third the width of Bryston’s full-sized player. It plays from MP3 to lossless 24/192 high-resolution files and connects to a DAC via S/PDIF, Toslink, USB or HDMI. Inputs are on 4 x USB 2.0 and 1 x 10/100Mbps Ethernet. Control is via infrared or TCP/IP including iOS, Android and Desktop. There's support of Tidal, Internet radio and custom URL and the unit comes with a silver or black face plate.
August 2016 - Fortschritt - It's German for progress—literally stepping forwardand Joachim Gerhard's newest member in the Suesskind catalogue. "It's a miniature tower just 12cm wide, 33cm deep and less than a meter high. It has a push-push bass system which I pioneered in 1989 with the Audio Physic Avanti. The woofers are very shallow domes to allow such a slim shape. The speakers are 8 ohms nominal and can stand 120 watts of power. They have a sensitivity of 88dB so don't need a big amplifier. A pair costs €3'600 in rubberized paint or €4'000 in high-gloss piano lacquer."
August 2016 - Not Tatiana Maslany - This news is about the other clones club, in Hong Kong and about hifi. In short, Clones Audio just revamped their website and want you to go for an extended look see.
August 2016 - The tanks roll in - Panzerholz that is. "Borrowing technology from the three members of the Innovation family—the Innovation, Innovation Compact and Master Innovation—the new Clearaudio Basic [starting at £3,400] packs a raft of features into its bijou form and delivers top performance at a more accessible price. The resonance-optimised chassis features Clearaudio's iconic three-point design with its sandwich construction of Panzerholz (a solid bullet-proof wood) and aluminium, a combination known to deliver an enviable balance of transparency and natural tonality.

"Like all models in the Innovation range, the Innovation Basic delivers exceptional speed stability thanks to a combination of Clearaudio's decoupled custom-built high-torque DC motor with their patented ceramic magnetic bearing and optical speed control. CMB allows the dynamically balanced platter to magnetically levitate on an inverted and polished ceramic bearing shaft with polished sintered bronze insert. Meanwhile an infrared sensor reads a microscopically etched strobe ring and sends signals to the OSC mechanism which auto-corrects in real time, consistently maintaining perfect speed. Two tonearm mounting bases make the Innovation Basic dual tonearm capable while fine height adjustment allows for precise leveling of the turntable on any surface. The Innovation Basic is available with a choice of finish options. The chassis' Panzerholz wood layer can be natural or black-lacquered, while its aluminium layer can be silver or black. The platter is available in either clear acrylic or black high-density POM."

 

August 2016 - Groovy - Furutech's new SK-Filter [£350] is said to remove build-up of unwanted static from the surface of spinning records. "It's an unfortunate fact that as vinyl spins on turntables, air friction causes it to gain a static charge. A record's level of frictional static electricity can reach from 3'000V to 20'000V, causing electrostatic noise. The SK-Filter uses the patented Thunderon® material which consists of a very fine acrylic fibre chemically bonded with copper sulfide. This conductive filament discharges static electricity into the air whenever a static-charged material approaches so the SK-Filter's fibres do not need to touch the record. Rather, they are positioned a millimetre or two above."
August 2016 - rHead - Arcam's new $600 class A headphone amplifier sports an "ultra-linear resistive-ladder analogue volume control taken from Arcam's $6000+ flagship A49 amplifier" and direct-coupled circuitry thereafter. Power delivery into 16Ω is 2 watts. Input socketry is on RCA and XLR, <0.5Ω outputs are on 3.5mm and 6.25mm. Frequency response is 10Hz - 20kHz  +/- 0.1dB, THD+N 0.001% for a 2V/32Ω load output, allowable input levels may be up to 4/8V for RCA/XLR. Dimensions are 194x44x135mm WxHxD and weight is 0.71kg. The 12V/1.5A power supply is external.
August 2016 - Not formulaic - Aqua Hifi's new statement DAC Formula is in production. This 32/384kHz deck goes beyond the firm's established filter-less R2R conversion scheme demonstrated in their LaScala MkII and Voce MkII decks by no longer executing it with NOS chips but by discrete resistor ladders instead. The front-to-back balanced Formula also adds optocoupler isolation for perfect symmetry between its signal's phase halves. A plethora of inputs (one user-configurable) are standard as is the choice of silver or black face plate with Nextel-grey cover.
July 2016 - 101D preamplifier - George Lenz of Arcturus Audio announces their new 2-chassis preamp with WE 101D DHT. There are 4 line-level inputs. The power supply has its own separate chassis. "The preamp section uses left/right milliamperes meters for measuring the compatibility of tubes and the power supply meter measures the voltage. All transformers and parts are of the highest quality and real vintage hardwood that has been painstakingly crafted to complete the look. The line amplifier uses a unique damping and isolation system to help the signal tube perform without microphony. Tubes from that period are known for their noise issues. The line amplifier uses a 10k primary and 600-ohm secondary output transformer. The plate chokes are massive 600 henry units. This provides an extremely quiet signal transfer. The power supply is bulletproof. It uses one 6AX4 half wave rectifier and two 816 half wave mercury vapor rectifier tubes. A VR-150 regulator tube completes the the circuit, The power supply is a slow start device allowing the mercury tubes to slowly dissipate their 'mercury cloud' before switching to operating mode. This results in an efficient and safe start up for the unit."
July 2016 - Acronymia and a new high - YG Acoustics's new Sonja XV, a 20-driver 4-way 4-tower affair, introduces a very fat price ($265'900/pr in the US) and even more acronyms of which the company is so fond. "The bass, midbass and midrange units are made in house using our proprietary BilletCore technology where drivers are machined from slabs of aircraft-grade aluminium. A pair of Sonja XV utilizes a total of 18 BilletCore drivers. The new BilletDome tweeter is a resonance-free soft dome supported by a stiff, light air frame machined from aluminium billet. The air frame weighs a mere 30 milligrams (a thousandth of an ounce) but its critical sections are up to 14 times thicker than a typical hard dome so its structural strength is vastly superior even to domes made of the most exotic hard materials. The tweeter's motor is our new ForgeCore where in-house CNC cutting introduces 3D geometries to the magnet system. The DualCoherent crossover at 65Hz, 337Hz and 1.75kHz provides the best frequency response and relative phase and the bass filter uses the new ViseCoil inductors which are CNC wound in house, then encased in a milled structure to eliminate vibration and tighten tolerances. Residual loss is reduced by 24% and linearity is improved by 60%. The mid and tweeter crossovers use ToroAir in-house CNC-wound toroidal aircore inductors. The cabinet of precision-machined aluminium creates a pressurized assembly free of vibrations. Further so-called FocusedElimination anti-resonance technology keeps mechanical losses to a minimum." Specifications promise deviation of just ±1dB in the audible band with ±5° relative phase throughout the entire overlap. Usable output extends from below 20Hz to above 40kHz. Dimensions for each towers is 179 x 43 x 72cm HxWxD and combined ship weight is 1.3 tons.
July 2016 - Fostex upstage Massdrop - This summer sees the arrival of the TH610 alongside the HP-A4BL and entry-level PC100USB2-HR. "We are especially excited about the TH610 as it is our closest model yet to the Fostex-made Denon D5000. Since its discontinuation, the D5000 has remained popular and sought after on the second hand market. The TH610 also comes against the backdrop of success for the lower spec TH-X00 created exclusively for US-based group-buying site Massdrop. Over 4000 TH-X00 will have been sold by the end of the latest 'drop', proof that whilst perhaps not so well known on the high street yet, Fostex have been quietly developing a huge following within the enthusiast headphone community."

The PC100USB-HR2 is a small £85 24/96 USB-powered desktop DAC with 3.5mm headphone socket. The £375 HP-A4BL builds on the HP-A4 by adding a 4-pin XLR output and external power supply where the HP-A4 was USB powered only. The HP-A4BL has over 3 x more power with a +10dB high/low gain switch for better matching. It also implements the Burr-Brown PCM1792A DAC, increasing file support to 24/192 PCM and DSD256. The £569 TH610 headphones give a subtle nod to the Fostex-made Denon D5000 with their matte walnut cups. The TH610 feature a detachable cable allowing easy upgrade to a balanced 4-pin XLR cable (ET-H3.0N7BL). The company's bio-dynamic 50mm diaphragm with 1 tesla magnetic circuit "offers wide dynamic range, low distortion and high levels of detail".
July 2016 - Goldmund expand ... by launching a support centre in Taiwan and restructuring their Chinese distribution. "Swiss company Goldmund have been present in Asia for more than three decades. The high demand for Goldmund products and the brand's excellent reputation there are easily explained by the first strategic plan of the company. Issued in 1982 at a time when most audio brands were trying to conquer the USA, the clear objective was to serve Asian customers first. Since then, Asia has continuously been Goldmund's preferred market and first in sales. It is not surprising then that Goldmund are opening this summer a new sales and technical support center in Taipei to provide quicker technical services to its regional distributors and customers. It is also a demonstration center where the latest products of the brand can be experienced in a private home environment that includes a dedicated room with Logos home cinema. The showroom will be at the disposal of Goldmund's professional partners and welcomes end users for private listening sessions by appointment. The grand opening of the Goldmund Asia Center will take place on August 9th with a first event reserved for the media. The company will let journalists report their impressions to the public and do not wish to spoil the surprise by disclosing more on the new facility at this time. Dr. T.I. Lin, Goldmund Asia General Manager, will also take advantage of the opening to announce how the company will restructure its distribution in China. In an effort to fight the grey market that is wide-spread there, it is foreseen that Goldmund Asia will be the sole distributor of Goldmund lifestyle and home theater products for China and will directly take care of all retailers who wish to continue or start working seriously with the brand."
July 2016 - Budding meze platter - Meze Headphones announce the Meze 11 Neo earbuds in gun metal or iridium finish to "elegantly stand out from the crowd. Besides the looks, the 11 Neo's ergonomic shape makes it easy to handle and comfortable to wear. Sturdily built, the aluminium housings hold the titanium-coated dynamic neodymium drivers that deliver the crisp and fun Meze signature sound."
July 2016 - Flexi compliance - Dong-Chan Son of Korea's Nasotec announces their upgraded Swing head shell [$360 - 390] which, whilst previously only using the elasticity of the lead wire, now "uses springs to improve elasticity and be easier to install. The new Swing head shell has more stable accurate tracking and the strength of the spring suppresses the vibration of the swing head for better sound."
July 2016 - Doing the multikulti for $249 - Actually it's multibit in Schiit's Modi Multibit, "the lowest-cost advanced multibit DAC by any manufacturer, from any country on the planet. It comes with our proprietary closed-form digital filter and definitely not with a modern (not NOS or 'pull') DAC. It runs a version of our own filter on a powerful Analog Devices SHARC DSP and couples it with an Analog Devices AD5547 D/A converter that's spec'd down to 1/2 LSB. Together with three inputs—asynchronous USB 2.0, optical, and coax—it's an extremely versatile DAC and an extremely affordable way to try this whole multibit thing for yourself."
July 2016 - Seven x F - First Watt's 25wpc F7 [$3'000] is "a very unique power amplifier, a two-stage push-pull Jfet input/Mosfet output with fewer parts than any other First Watt amp to date. The F7 has been created as an updated version of the earlier F5. Conceived in 2007, the F5 was a push-pull Class A amplifier employing eight semiconductors and 23 resistors to achieve 25 watts with good specifications and good sound.  According to Nelson Pass: "The F7 bests the earlier F5, comprising even better sound and even simpler circuitry." Like all First Watt designs, it is a relatively low power simple Class A circuit designed with an unusually low parts count. It is the 19th product from First Watt since its founding in 1998 as Nelson Pass' "personal laboratory"." With Nelson Pass retiring from assembly to focus solely on design, First Watt products are now being manufactured by Pass Labs.
July 2016 - Convert to the LAN - PS Audio's forthcoming LANRover [$599] is a two-box USB-to-Ethernet-to-USB converter to not only break the 5-metre limit of USB audio transmission but to improve sonics because LAN packets are fundamentally different to USB packets; and because the Ethernet standard includes galvanic isolation as part of the protocol. PS Audio claim that with this approach, costly USB cables are a thing of the past as they no longer make a sonic difference. Their send box is powered by the computer USB line whilst the receive box gets a wall wart. Allowable data density is PCM up to 352.8kHz and DSD up to 256.
July 2016 - Nine drivers per ear - That's Noble's new Katana IEM inside the firm's now trademark aluminium housing. The Katana configuration is also available as a custom fit using alternative materials from the Noble range including acrylics and exotic solid woods (Prestige range). A 3D-printed option à la SLA range is also available. "The new Katana follows the success of Noble's 10-driver model, the Kaiser 10(which remains in the portfolio. It features a top half in gun-metal grey anodize and a bottom half in satin-black anodize. Further features include a detachable two-pin cable and supplied accessories include a Pelican 1010 case (crush-proof carrying case); a black velvet soft pouch; 12 pairs of ear tips (four kinds in three sizes); two Noble Audio bands or amp bands; a cleaning tool; a Noble cable and an ownership card." Pricing for universal/custom-fit is $1'850 and $2'850 for a Prestige-level custom fit. The 3-D printed SLA version is $1'650.
July 2016 - Cary integrated - The SI-300.2d integrated [$5'995] packs 300wpc of class A/B power and a class A preamp stage. Digital inputs include 32/384PCM 256DSD USB, 2 x coax, Toslink, AES/EBU and aptX® Bluetooth. "All S/PDIF and Bluetooth sources offer 10 selectable upsampling or PCM-to-DSD conversion options. On the analog side, there are 4 analog inputs (2 x XLR, 2 x RCA), with one each offering true Cinema Bypass. Additional features include a pre/subwoofer output, coaxial and optical digital outputs, IR remote, trigger out, IR sensor input and Ethernet and WiFi for controlling the SI-300.2d with free iOS and Android apps." The machine weighs 52lbs and measures 6 x 17.25 x 18" HxWxD.
July 2016 - Alien walk-ins? - Not. The new Clones Audio Host is a digital music server with the company's Shaar USB gateway and USB class 3.0 output; a Gigabit Ethernet port; SSD for music storage; and linear power supply with super-low-noise regulators. The operating system is a customized Linux platform with Roon server but Daphile is an option. Twin PSU of the company's Power Station type power the SSD/USB and main processor boards. SSD options range from 256GB - 2TB for internal storage. The enclosure is repurposed from the company's Asher DAC. Pricing starts at €1'377. SSD and Roon license are extra.
July 2016 - Flow on the go - The MrSpeaker Ether and Ether C planarmagnetic headphones in open and closed models have become available in new Flow iterations which incorporate changes to their motor structures which were instigated by Dan Clark's development of his first electrostatic design whilst comparing sonic performance between orthos and stats. Visit the website for more details on the TrueFlow Technology.
July 2016 - EBTB - The Bulgarians' second entry into their boXXer range is the SM 0.5 which promises 50Hz - 20kHz response at 88dB sensitivity from an Italian 1" silk-dome tweeter and 5" Italian pro mid/woofer with paper cone, rubber surround, die-cast aluminium basket and 1.5" voice coil. Dimensions of the box are 27 x 16.4 x 28cm HxWxD, weight is 5.7kg. The enclosure combines leather-wrapped Birch Ply for the top, bottom and sides, 1cm aluminium alloy for the front and rear baffles. The basic version eliminates the outrigger footers and cable management bag on the back
July 2016 - Andromeda - Camp Fire Audio's lineup of IEMs grows with this in-ear general fit design [$1'099] that places five balanced armature drivers and a tubeless resonator inside a green-anodized aluminium enclosure. Specs are 10Hz-28kHz bandwidth, 115dB sensitivity, 12.8-ohm impedance and the 3.5mm terminated cable is a detachable kind with MMCX connectors. Accessories include a dark leather case, replaceable ear tips in foam, Comply or silicon and a cleaning brush.
July 2016 - Stenheim at Montreux Jazz - To celebrate the annual festival, Stenheim are "producing a limited edition of our Alumine Two speakers in 25 pairs delivered with a certificate of authenticity as well as a numbered identification plate stating 'Montreux Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary Special Edition'."