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 products 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 2015 - Dream team - Markaudio Sota is a new brand of Sota Acoustics Ltd. of Hong Kong. It combines the engineering talents of Mark Fenlon (Alpair drivers), Italian designer Andrea Ponti, system tuner Dr. Scott Lindgren (Woden Design) and Steve Cheng (CEO, electronics engineering). Their first product is called Viotti One, a two-way monitor combining the Sota 5 and Sota 11 high-frequency and mid/bass drivers with a 2nd-order filter located in the base of the stand. System efficiency is 88.5dB. Dimensions of the speaker/stand assemblage are 1006mm high, 268mm deep and 153mm wide.
August 2015 - Tara 30A - From Trafomatic Audio's custom division comes this new remote-controlled DHT linestage exploiting Emission Labs' high-gain 30A triode. It sports an output power supply, a 47-step Bent Audio attenuator and full-metal wand, 18dB of voltage gain, a 600-ohm output impedance and one RCA and three XLR inputs to suit the needs of the client writing this commission.
August 2015 - Ultrafi? - "Ultra Fi are pleased to announce the availability of the new Continuous Contact Damping cable line. Endorsed by industry professionals and music mavens alike, Continuous Contact Damping cables quickly become the missing component in any audio system, leading to the utmost in musical enjoyment. Visit  today and delve into what makes each and every one of these cables unique and take advantage of one of the special introductory offers in making the necessary selections for your system."
August 2015 - Chorded - Billing themselves "the UK’s leading high-performance A/V cable manufacturer, The Chord Company have launched Clearway, a high-performance, low-cost speaker cable that replaces their critically acclaimed Carnival SilverScreen and introduces a raft of advanced features. Clearway speaker cable borrows key ideas from recent development projects at The Chord Company’s Wiltshire headquarters.  Clearway refines 30 years of Chord know-how into a ground-breaking, highly affordable new speaker cable."
August 2015 - Ingratiate integration -  Lindemann Audiotechnik announced that their Musicbook 20 and 25 network music players will now support the popular music streaming services Tidal and Deezer. As of November 2015, existing Lindemann customers will be able to download a free firmware update and then use Tidal and Deezer, both of which offer FLAC 44.1/16 (CD quality) service. Additional services are expected to be added shortly thereafter. Customers and interested parties are also invited to suggest additional services.
August 2015 - Whaddya wand? - "The Wand 10.3in tone arm is explicitly designed to be the longest arm which one may fit on a Linn Sondek LP12 or Technics SL1200 family turntable without major modifications. After a positive response to the 12" version of The Wand Unipivot tone arm, Design Build Listen Ltd. are releasing a 10.3" version which promises 2/3rds of the benefits of a 12" arm in a format that fits many existing turntables. While 12" arms may improve tracing distortion performance by around 30% compared to standard 9" arms, a 10.3" arm achieves close to 20% i in a format achievable for many users." Designer Simon Brown of Design Build Listen described himself as a 12" arm convert "but has found that many people are unable to fit 12" arms to their treasured turntables. The Wand 10.3in remains a medium-mass 14g arm to be used with a wide range of cartridges. Dedicated mounting kits are available for both Linn LP12 and Technics SL1200 family turntables. The Wand 10.3in is available as the full-spec 'Plus' model for £845. At the same time Design Build Listen have made improvements to The Wand Tonearm culminating in Series 2 status. This includes a new Tungsten Carbide cup bearing, laser-sintered 3D-printedTitanium head shell and a change to brass as the base material for most of the arm parts. These combine to improve both sound quality and finish."
August 2015 - Omni it - Eric Cross of Vintage Audio World is leaking the first photo of their new Omuni Mini before it goes to the paint shop. "These 10-inch cubes will fill a room with full range sound using our unique bass loading design. Drivers are SB Acoustics 5.5" mid/woofer with a Fountek 3" fullrange. As usual with our designs, two crossover components only. No matching resistors."
August 2015 - Burson divide to conquer - "Burson Audio, manufacturer of fine USB DAC/headphone amplifier/preamplifiers, headphone amplifiers and stereo amplifiers, is pleased to announce a new division, Supreme Sound Audio. While built to the same exacting standards as all Burson Audio products, Supreme Sound Audio focuses on providing components for DIYers and OEMs. Burson’s all-discrete op-amps are the first products shifted to the SSA site. Marking the launch of SSA, we’re offering for sale the Lycan. As a headphone amp it delivers over 2wpc @16ohm driving any headphone with ease. It is also the perfect preamp for any power amplifier and active speakers. Furthermore, the Lycan Test Bench includes an input section allowing you to roll op-amps! Try our SSA op-amps as well as other brands. The Lycan is a stethoscope into the actual sound of op-amps and discrete circuits that are easily auditioned right in your own components.  SSA will continue development of the Lycan and add-ons will be released in the future. The Lycan op-amp headphone amp and preamp is shipping early September at $249USD with a basic dual IC op-amp and $299USD with SSA op-amps.  If you preorder and place a deposit, Supreme Sound Audio will take $50USD off when the unit is ready to ship. The offer ends the 1st of September, 2015."
August 2015 - TAVC - In our strange hifi lingo, an AVC is an autoformer volume control and it's been available as an option in the Vinnie Rossi LIO. Alternately, one could configure it with a resistor/relay matrix volume control and add a separate tube stage. What one couldn't do was combine the AVC and the tubes. Until now. The new $2'195 combo board combines dual-mono Slageformers with their 1dB x 64 attenuation steps from -54dB to +7dB (with passive step-up gain) which are controllable via remote and double as balance control; and an E88CC-based tube follower. All tubes in the 6922 family are rollable including 7308, 7DJ8, 6N23, 6N11 and 6GM8. Output impedance of this module is <200 ohms and bandwidth at +/- 0.5dB is 10Hz - 110kHz. Current AVC module owners get a $1'395 trade-in credit, $890 for the RVC/tube combo and $295 for the RVC.
August 2015 - Beryllium + ceramic = ? - That'd be Campfire's Lyra IEM [$749] which mates a custom 8.5mm Neodymium-powered Beryllium driver to a "tuned high-density ceramic" enclosure and "high-grade Japanese copper-clad aluminium voice coil". The 0.0004" thin Lyra driver has its Beryllium vapor-deposited onto a 9 micrometre PET substrate in a copper basket. It comes with three differently tuned ear tips and 4-conductor silver-plated copper wiring.

 

 

August 2015 - Sustain it, bro! - The new Cypherlabs Sustain84 [$1'200] is billed as a desktop headfi amp running EL84 bottles and Japanese Z11 output transformers with Nichicon electrolytic capacitors and Cardas RCA sockets. Max output swing is given as 14V peak to peak, response as 30Hz-30kHz +/-1dB, power consumption as 20 watts. Actual drive power is 0.08W into 600 ohms, 0.16W into 300 ohms, 0.36W into 100 ohms and 1W into 32 ohms. Selectable voltage gain is 2dB in the low setting, 17dB in the high setting. The tube shields are removable.
August 2015 - B by - Bassocontinuo the whole thing is called. It's a range of Italian hifi racks which, via a configurator page, can be turned out "in the finest leather, limited edition veneers, technological materials like carbon fiber or alutex and complete with four different kind of legs included real solid copper. More than 4'000 different combinations are available to create your personal rack. What will be your choice?"
July 2015 - A walker for less - No, not a moving help but turntable. The Procession [$38K with manual VTA, $45K with remote-controlled VTA] is billed as "the world’s first turntable with wireless remote control over vertical tracking and stylus rake angles". There also are "a 12-inch low-friction tri-bearing pivoting arm, a 30-pound balanced-checked platter, four-inch aircraft-grade aluminium plinth, solid brass spindle with zirconia bearing and a rock-steady motor with push button speed change. Adjustments for all critical parameters include overhang, azimuth, tracking force and VTA/SRA. At about one-third the cost of  our air-bearing turntable, the Procession is super-easy to use and a joy to play". The intended mate is the Procession Phono Amp [$12'500] "with dual mono continuously-adjustable cartridge loading which selects the perfect loading for each channel instead of choosing between limited pre-determined settings."
July 2015 - Dutchie goes French - Cees Ruijtenberg of Metrum Acoustics bows their newest DAC. "We are proud to finally present the newest member in the Metrum line-up: the Musette. To improve upon the Octave, we stopped looking at our secret industrial chip and instead implemented our new Transient technology as used in our flagship Pavane. The Musette is designed for the same basic frame as the Octave but to add flexibility, front and back panels are changed for one more coaxial input. Like her predecessor, the Musette is available in silver or black. The Musette runs  two Transient R2R ladder DAC modules. These handle extremely high sampling rates but are limited to current industry standards at 384kHz max on USB. The result of our Transient process is extremely fast accurate behavior. Despite the fact that both DAC modules are built on the same board, we have extremely high channel separation of 100dB. This contributes to flawless positioning of instruments in the soundstage.

Working principle
Average power consumption
Digital inputs


Analog outputs
Channel separation
Total harmonic distortion
Dimensions & weight
Non-oversampling
5 watts, standby below 1 watt
2x S/PDIF coaxial 192kHz
1x Optical Toslink 96kHz
1x USB (option) 384kHz
Single-ended 2Volts RMS
100dB  (20-20kHz)
0.007%
WxHxD 190 x 60 x 245 mm, 1'900 grams

The Musette will have the same price tag as its predecessor and be available by the end of September.
July 2015 - Fostex IEMs - Fostex are expanding their product offering for the earphone and headphone user "with a range fast approaching over 30 models across professional studio and hifi by the end of the year. The latest models in the TE series are the £49 TE-03, £119 TE-05 and £219 TE-07 earphones. The TE-03 are an all-round earphone to upgrade the standard offering supplied with a smartphone or DAP. The red or black TE03 features a tangle-free flat cable with integrated microphone and smart phone control. The TE-05 is an upgraded dynamic IEM with deep bass, crystal clear highs and ear pieces with 'MMX' sockets so the high-purity 6N copper cable can be upgraded or replaced easily. The TE-07 is the first ever balanced armature earphone from Fostex. Highly recommended for all vocal and acoustic music. As with the TE-05, it too uses 'MMX' sockets."
July 2015 - An MBA for MBA - Not a masters of business admin degree, MBA Co. are Modern British Audio and their €6'500/pr Progression 2-way tower speaker shown exploits an extruded aluminium enclosure à la Magico S range. Founded by Darren Hollands, MBA Co. currently have the Progression, the €4'275/pr Pulse monitor and the dual-mono 180wpc configurable Status integrated in their catalogue [from €7'300 to €8'400 depending on MM/MC and DAC modules]. Still coming are the small sealed Spur monitor and coaxial Centrice centre channel. “Everything we manufacture is built right here in the UK". This statement distinguishes our newcomer from those established British brands whose manufacture or assembly has long since been moved offshore to Asia. MBA Co. take pride in doing it at home. With a name like that, they better.
July 2015 - enCore the 2nd - Bel Canto Design follow up their very expensive NC1200-based Black system with the REF600 monos [$4'500/pr] which combine an nCore NC500 module with an NC1200/700 switch-mode power supply, 27/33dB gain switch, XLR/RCA inputs and 300/600W into 8/4 ohms. There is a high input impedance of 200K, peak output current of 27A and John Stronczer's custom fully balanced input/driver stage that provides very low output impedance to the class D Hypex power module.
July 2015 - Enter the dragon - "The Genesis 2.3 is the result of nearly 25 years of development of the line-source loudspeaker by Genesis Advanced Technologies. The new Genesis ring radiator ribbon tweeter (R3T) has lower distortion and wider dispersion up to 40kHz. The structure of the 48-inch ribbon midrange unit has been strengthened and improved to further reduce distortion. As most rooms are acoustically asymmetric, separate left and right servo-controlled bass amplifiers (SCAmps) are provided with two channels per woofer tower. Improved power supplies from the development of the Genesis Reference Amplifier Series II have been incorporated in the SCAmp resulting in more impactful bass. Structurally, the constrained-layer-damped composite sandwich that was designed during the development of the G-Force loudspeaker now reduces resonance in the cabinets. The Genesis 2.3 loudspeaker system comprises a pair of midrange/tweeter 'wings', a pair of woofer towers, a pair of servo-controlled bass amplifiers, and connecting cables and accessories. It is custom built in any finish including carbon-fiber, rosewood and high-gloss black. Price on application."
July 2015 - Qualia Physic - The s922 sdr is a serial data reclocker with one XLR/BNC i/o each. It will reclock up to 24/192 digital signal with a specified jitter of less than 0.005UI/pp. It comes in an aluminium alloy enclosure with a 2-pin Lemo power umbilical for the external s521 power supply. Impedance/format adaptors (XLR to BNC) are available separately.
July 2015 - Roll it up - As some might know, Metrum Acoustics supply their Transient products to other manufacturers. "To give them a kind of exclusivity, all modules are available only to them not DIY but we now have made an exception for the EVA module. DIYers can order this module for €395 ex VAT including the DAC One modules as used in the Pavane. The EVA was made for OEMs to evaluate the DAC One modules. After supplying several EVA boards to the Dutch DIY community, we got a lot of enthusiastic responses as the sound of this board is far beyond the old Philips TDA 1541 and 1543 NOS designs. Despite the lack of flexibility, this board can be used as an upgrade for old CD players but also as an add-on for affordable or DIY streamers to upgrade their sound. The board can handle 192kHz sampling using the S/PDIF input but can also be used (by removing three jumpers) for IsquaredS which can handle 384kHz. Just connecting the board to a transformer having two 10–12 VAC output windings makes it ready for use (or a DC power supply having at least 2 x 10 Volts). In the past this board was delivered with soldered connectors but these will be supplied now separately so the owner can choose their own type of connectors."
July 2015 - Souped-up Venere - The new all Italian-built Venere S [€4'100 - €4'300/pr] tops out the Sonus faber Venere range as a 5-driver three-way with triple 18cm aluminium woofers, a thermoformed 15cm poly midrange and 29mm soft-dome tweeter. These drivers tie together with a "progressive slope" elliptical crossover with 250 and 2'500Hz hinges for a 40Hz to 25'000Hz bandwidth at 90dB sensitivity. The S measures 1'236 x 391 x 477mm HxWxD, weighs 39kg, comes in white/black gloss or wood veneer and sports a new metal plinth. The 'S' stands for 'signature' and the model is intended to bridge the Venere and Olympica ranges.
July 2015 - 7th moon? - At $1'500, Moon by Simaudio's new Neo 230HAD clearly is no 5th wheel, combining 3-in-1 headfi, DAC and linestage functionality in a black casing. "Based heavily on the reference 430HA headphone amp, the 230 offers an internal DSD256 32/384 PCM DAC, a transconductance gain stage, RCA and 3.5mm stereo inputs, fixed/variable RCA outputs, a 6.3mm TRS combo headfi jack, 2 x S/PDIF, 1 x Toslink and 1 x USB digital inputs." A full-function CRM-2 remote control is included.
July 2015 - Go wood - Response Audio NY's Musica Bella tube product line "has now gone full custom with handcrafted hardwood enclosures. All LeAnna preamplifiers, Segue tube buffers and RH Design Custom tube amplifiers are available in custom designed and built wood enclosures with the consumer choosing what options and features they want. All Musica Bella products are 100% designed and built in Upstate New York and sold direct to the consumer."
July 2015 - Twilight magic - As digital media's penetration and popularity shrink, their format enjoys final glory moments. Take Soulution's new 746+ SACD player. "The 746+ unites a top quality optical drive, a super-precise master clock generator, an intelligent digital signal processor with oversampling, analogue output stages of the utmost quality and a new highly precise and ultra-powerful power supply. Together they ensure nothing in the music is lost on its way from disc to output connection. Apart from the top class Esoteric drive, the 746+ provides four digital inputs (AES/EBU, coax, BNC and optical). All digital sources get synchronised to the ultra-precise internal master clock which ensures optimal read-out of discs as well as perfect reception of all digital music formats up to 24/192 PCM and 2.82MHz DSD. The polynom-based upsampling algorithm which converts all digital formats to DXD, digital filters with apodizing characteristics combined with our innovative Zero-Phase technology ensure perfect treatment of the digital data."
July 2015 - Not ubiquitous - The Ubiq Audio Model One from Slovenia [ca. €12'000/pr depending on VAT] looks back at classic acoustic suspension 12-inch three-ways from the likes of Acoustic Research and Altec to combine a sealed 12" paper-cone woofer with 76mm voice coil, an aperiodically loaded 8-inch midrange with 54mm voice coil and waveguide-loaded soft dome tweeter with 38mm voice coil. Claimed in-room response is 30-30'000Hz +/-3dB, efficiency is 88dB. Dimensions are 42 x 37 x 118cm WxDxH, weight is 42kg and the enclosure is made of Okoume wood. Standard colors are white, black and black with veneered or red cheeks.
July 2015 - Chord up - The Chord Company have launched their "most advanced analogue interconnect, Sarum Super Aray using micro-polished silver-plated conductors with a gas-foamed PTFE dielectric and unusually high-density foil and braid combination shielding. The key improvements however include the move from Tuned Aray to Super Aray technology and with it the introduction of a second Aray. The tuning process is very different and the end result a big step forward in performance." These RCA, XLR and DIN interconnects are available in standard 1 metre lengths. Custom lengths can be made to order.
July 2015 - Europe gets its MITs on - "Need a MIT Cable? Don't make do with a used one! Check our offers and find out the incredible ex-demo and discounted prices we offer. You will receive your cables directly from MIT with the official warranty. MITcables Europe  is our brand-new website for European customers! Buy the MIT Cable of your choice with a discount that ranges from 30% to 50%. Subscribe to our mailing list and receive all the new offers of the legendary MIT Cables."
July 2015 - The new Clones Asher - At €2'050, Funjoe's Asher DAC from Hong Kong is their first component to herald the arrival of a higher-performance range in this catalogue. Going beyond the existing Sheva DAC despite using the same ESS9018 engine in quad-paralleled mode per channel are new regulator and output stages plus a new Femto clock with its own regulator. A new remote selects between fixed/variable output, phase and display brightness. Analog outputs are exclusively on RCA.
July 2015 - Focal enter the inner ear - Focal's new Sphear [€129] is their first in-ear headphone based on 2 years of development. "With its innovative concept of shape, Sphear redefines the approach towards the ear canal which has dominated the in-ear market: memory foam tips on the front adapt naturally to the ear; an extended housing at the back shifts weight to the inferior auricle of the ear. This relieves the ear canal from excessive volume and weight which generally resulted in temporary discomfort. Sphear’s rounded shape makes it possible to have a larger driver than usual which measures 10.8mm in diameter." Supplied accessories include 3 pairs of silicone tips (sizes S/M/L); 3 pairs of memory foam tips (sizes S/M/L); an airplane adapter; and a carrying case.
July 2015 - ReNaim - "From today on the Naim ND5 XS, NDX and NAC-N 172 XS network players will be shipped with Bluetooth aptX compatibility. Naim also release firmware version 4.3, enabling DSD playback for existing owners of Naim streaming products equipped with their highest spec SHARC DSP hardware (ND5 XS, NDX, NDS, SuperUniti, NAC-N 272). The flagship NDS network player gets multi-room capability for the first time and all players now support the higher resolution BBC Radio HLS format, can use Spotify Connect in multi-room mode and benefit from a host of minor bug fixes. The new firmware is free to download from the Naim website here."
June 2015 - NuWave DSD - PS Audio announce the $1'299 NuWave DSD DAC offering 24/192 PCM and DSD128. Operating in native mode without upsampling, it uses a CPLD complex programmable logic device which identifies the incoming sample rate and format, reclocks, applies jitter reduction and wave shaping before handing over to the 32-bit ESS Sabre chip. The power supply runs seven regulators and 15'000mF of filter capacitance. The output stage operates in fully balanced direct-coupled class A using both discrete and integrated parts.
June 2015 - ZMF go open-backed - The ZMF Omni inserts five small slot ports per side into the sealed headphone recipe of the Blackwood and X vibro models to become an open/sealed hybrid still utilizing this planar Fostex modifier's wooden cups available in Cherry, Walnut or African Blackwood with either a rustic or elegant ZMF pewter emblem inlay. By using 37 times the open air space of the companion models, the Omni is claimed to combine the soundstaging and air of open designs with the weight and impact of sealed variants.
June 2015 - QuadFest 2015 - "In September music friends from all over Europe will meet in the German highlands of Eifel. On the 19th and 20th the next QuadFest will take place at Quad Musikwiedergabe in Gering. Visitors can listen to the classical Quad electrostatics powered by the electronic they also produce here. As they did with the electrostatics, Quad Musikwiedergabe remembers an old concept for a tube amplifier as a perfect solution to drive both the electrostatics and the Jecklin headphone. Vinyl lovers can expect a good collection of perfectly restored Garrard turntables. Just in case your living room is not prepared to make a home for a pair of Quads, you should consider the Jecklin Float QA electrostatic headphones. Float QA means small electrostatics close to your ears without any of the cons of usual headphones. Enjoy your day in the German highlands listening to good music reproduction; or watch Mr. Jürgen Jecklin when he lectures about concert halls. And we will have experts around to answer your questions about room acoustics. Learn about easy ways to better the acoustics of your living room. Feel free to bring us a drawing of your room when you visit the QuadFest."
June 2015 - Power in a cord - Akiko Audio replace their previous best power cable with the new Aerostar FI50. "The importance of a good power supply cannot be stressed enough. That’s why we took another critical look at and where possible improved the top range of our power cables: the Aerostar," said Marc van Berlo, co-owner of this Dutch company. According to him, the quality of the silver plating has been improved together with a filament system, which is used, amongst others, by Nordost, to achieve maximum isolation. In this process each conductor is hung up in a tube to reach as much as 90% air isolation. The biggest improvement are the Furutech FI-50 connectors which minimize interfering micro vibrations through their construction. This cable is available with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
June 2015 - Less exclusive Audio Exklusiv - "The E12 [€1'999] is the first product of the new Eco Line which enables a less expensive entry into the world of High End than our previous models of the Classic Line did. In addition to a fancy new design, for the first time we decided on completely solid-state technology. Nevertheless we almost realised the typical sound of the Audio Exklusiv family. The E12 produces 140wpc into 4 ohms from a 500W transformer. For tonal reasons we have chosen just weak negative feedback. In the basic version the E12 has 4 high-level inputs. Optional are either the phono plate of the P 0.2 or the DAC plate of the new DAC P 0.8. Source switching is by relays. The volume control is a high-end potentiometer from Alps. The standard design will use a front plate in acrylic black with silver printing and control elements in a matt-black anodized aluminium casing. Other special options on demand."
June 2015 - Joint Goldmund/NuForce project - The 80wpc Nuforce STA200 was jointly developed with luxury Swiss brand Goldmund. Its class A/B dual-mono circuitry is encased in a resonance-optimized enclosure. Basic specs are 51K input impedance, <0.03% THD, 30m Ohm output impedance, 34.8dB gain, 0.6V input sensitivity, 100dB S/N and 20Hz-80kHz bandwidth. Weight is 6kg, dimensions are 355 x 224 x 87mm, finish is silver as shown. Whilst some specs suggest a less powerful Goldmund Job 225 circuit, others do not.
June 2015 - Bongiorno rises again - "Spread Spectrum Technologies (SST for short), pioneered by the late visionary James Bongiorno, officially launches anew with passion and vigor. The renewed SST has new leadership, a new website, social media presence and a comprehensive high-end product lineup designed and produced in the USA. Over decades in the audio business, Jim Bongiorno became legendary for his innovative designs like the Ampzilla amplifier and his engineering contributions to well-known audio companies like Marantz, Dynaco, SAE, Sumo Electric, The GAS (Great American Sound) Company and Spread Spectrum Technologies (the latter three founded by him). Due to mutual colleagues, proximity and respect, the early 2000s saw Jim and like-minded audio trailblazer EJ Sarmento of Wyred4Sound fame collaborating extensively. During this time, SST products were made more stable, further refined and ultimately produced at Wyred4Sound’s state-of-the-art facilities in California. As Jim’s health began to wane, this would also be a period of passing the torch to the talented EJ. Today’s SST retains the same spirit of bold thinking and innovation as it did when it first began. "Jim was a real pioneer in the industry and we’re committed to not only continue his vision but to expand on it," said Mr. Sarmento. With a product lineup that includes the famous (but improved) Ampzilla amplifier and all-new products like the Son of Ampzilla II amplifier and Thoebe II preamplifier shown, today’s SST is committed to producing the best made American audio products that money can buy."
June 2015 - Resonate with Schumann, not Schubert - From Clones Audio comes the SG1 [ca. $181], a Schumann resonator which generates a 7.83Hz Schumann frequency pulse to shield electronics and your listening room from radio frequency interference. "It improves the S/N ratio to let the electronics perform better. The SG1 is not in electrical contact with any audio/video equipment. Simply place it anywhere in the listening area at 5ft or higher."
June 2015 - Anatta - The new Goldmund Anatta active speaker revisits a a 25-year old industrial design concept first introduced by Italian artist Claudio Rotta Loria in the Goldmund Apologue Anniversary Limited Edition. As the press release puts it, "modern and cubic, we wanted the Anatta to stand out as being different, special yet timeless. Its design is adapted to contemporary styles and creates an interesting contrast in classical decors. Its traditional Goldmund aluminium finish and black frames make it easy to use in interiors of any color. The Logos Anatta is quite a sophisticated construction and photos may not transmit that its 1.6 metres (5'6") height make it quite impressive and majestic. We use the best quality steel, ultra-rigid brass, aluminium, rhodium and gold."

The Logos Anatta is a wireless-ready speaker that can be used with the provided USB dongle to establish a direct wireless uplink to a computer. To accommodate several sources including TV, there is the wireless Mimesis 11 hub or the Talisman node. There's also a coaxial digital input adjacent to the AC power connector. Part of each purchase is installation by trained Goldmund professionals who customize the internal digital configurator based on a mathematical model of the customer's room to account for individual acoustics and how the speaker interfaces with them.
June 2015 - Apple Music - The just-announced 9.99/month streaming service from Apple, according to TechCrunch, will deliver just 256kbps quality. That's below the 320kbps Spotify+ have and far below what Qobuz and Tidal/WiMP do at true (lossless) 1'411kbps CD resolution. Unless you care about sound quality, you'll view this news item as entirely ho-hum. Hence no accompanying graphic.
 
June 2015 - Romulus lands on Pandora - This isn't James Cameron going Roman on us. It's Aesthetix throwing a minor kitchen sink at their DAC/transport and DAC in "enhanced Signature editions. The Pandora is a valve-based DAC with 1 x USB and 3 x S/PDIF inputs plus another optional USB. The Romulus includes the same features and construction but adds a CD transport. Whilst many DACs use the same off-the-shelf filters and DAC chips, Aesthetix use proprietary DSP running on a Motorola DSP56362 chip. The filter’s outputs are converted to analogue by a Burr-Brown PCM 1792A running in pure differential mode with custom-manufactured crystal oscillators to deliver radically lower jitter and noise than any standard part."

The new additions are "native DSD64/128 compatibility via a Xilinx gate array which routes DSD data directly into the DAC, bypassing Burr-Brown's DSP section for pure DSD operation. Critical coupling capacitors are replaced with Dynamicaps from Peter Moncrief for increased resolution, less grain, greater HF extension and improved bass definition, drive and dynamics. In addition to the new DSP section, a new analogue board is fitted with extremely low-noise high-linearity Vishay Z-Foil resistors in the critical current-to-voltage conversion. The four standard rubber feet are replaced with Harmonic Resolutions Systems Nimbus couplers specially made for Aesthetix."

These upgrades raise the Pandora base price of £5'600 to £8'300; and the Romulus from £6'500 to £9'300. An optional high-resolution volume control is £950.
June 2015 - Pimp out your field coil - From Jonathan Weiss, "the Oswalds Mill Audio TS-1 Tungar [$12'000] is our new low voltage DC power supply (10V -14V DC) designed to run field coil drivers like those we use in our top of the line Imperia loudspeaker. Features huge custom wound transformers and mil spec components housed in our classic hand built, dovetailed Pennsylvania black walnut casework, the TS-1 will last more than a lifetime. The sonic improvement using DC generated by NOS Tungar bulbs over solid state rectification or even large batteries is remarkable, and harks back to the golden age of cinema sound systems in the 1920’s and 1930’s. They got it right back then, we strive to do the same today."
June 2015 - Brit act - The A.C.T. One Evolution [$36'950/pr] adds itself to the Wilson Benesch Geometry line as "a 4-way acoustical 2.5-way electrical floorstander in an advanced composite tech (A.C.T.) 26-litre enclosure using specialized carbon fibre. The drive units combine a hybrid carbon/silk tweeter, 7" midrange, 7" lower mid and 7" woofer. Basic specs are 89dB sensitivity, 34Hz-30kHz bandwidth, dimensions of 119x22.5x40xm HxWxD and 46kg weight."
June 2015 - Bassocontinuo - The Italian rack company expands its Revolution Line carbon-fibre product with the Eos amp stand and Argo A/V double rack. During Munich and as shown, a special version replaced the standard uprights with solid copper protected by transparent polyester to show off matching two-tone styling with Dan d'Agostino gear.
June 2015 - Special reserve - Sablon Audio have launched their new Panatela Reserva interconnect [$1'750], the first item from the premium Reserva range which will shortly include speaker cables and a power cord. "Featuring an evolved low capacitance geometry and several times the wire area of the original Panatela creates dramatic gains in clarity and dynamics. Sonically transparent natural silk has now been specified for the outer cover and more advanced noise reduction techniques were applied. Offered in 1m lengths with Klei pure silver RCA plugs, the price includes worldwide shipping."
June 2015 - Groundbreaking! - audiodharma introduce the Ground Breaker power cable adaptor set $399] for the audiodharma Cable Cooker "which fully conditions the ground conductors and contacts along with the hot & neutral as never before!"

The adaptor features double-cryogenic treatment of all parts & wiring; non-magnetic screws; advanced damping materials from fo.Q Japan on key vibration nodes; high-mass Deltron gold-plated banana plug; Deltron silver-plated banana jack; stabilant 22 contact enhancer on all contact surfaces; universal female wall plug which fits Oyaide US-style connectors; and compatibility with all Cable Cooker models from version 2.0 through 3.5.
May 2015 - Andrew Jones at Elac - As hinted at in our show report, Andrew Jones previously of Pioneer/TAD, KEF and Infinity, has migrated to German speaker house Elac where he has already drawn up their new 8-model Debut range including monitor, tower, centre-channel and Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers plus three powered subwoofers. "My design objective was to achieve the most accurate sound possible in speakers that deliver performance far exceeding their cost," said Jones. "I have employed materials and design specifications not found in speakers in this price range. From cone materials to driver geometry to subwoofer amplification, we built serious value into the Debut series."
May 2015 - Robocable - The press release: "On their way to perfect insulation, German cable manufacturer in-akustik have realized the ideal of pure air insulation as closely as never before. A special clip inside the cable is arranged in sequence to form a helical support holding two symmetrically arranged conductors freely in the air while maintaining the exact distance to the shield. The structure is highly flexible thanks to two crosspieces that do not only interconnect the clips but also ensure highly accurate spacing. in-akustik refer to this design as the Air Helix."
May 2015 - SMc - That's short for Steve McCormack Audio who launched two new products whose parts lists read like a who's who of boutique components. The first is the HiFi One AC Nexus power enhancer [$16'000]. It features "cost no-object engineering, component selection and execution without the current limiting of coils and transformers; proprietary enhanced grounding configuration with ultra-hi-purity copper bus and Cardas unplated copper grounding posts; Duelund silver capacitors and silver wire with ultra-pure copper wiring throughout; Bocchino Mariner 10 IEC connector for maximum power transfer and unlimited current capability; Stillpoints vibration technology throughout including Ultra SS isolator feet and standoffs; Furutech GTX AC receptacles, back plate and carbon fiber cover plates; rigid, inert, unibody construction; passive operation, unrivaled transparency and neutrality with incredible dynamic expression."

The second new product is the Reference Linestage [$50'000] with "remote 100-step volume control; discrete wide-bandwidth JFET circuit without feedback; Duelund CAST Silver and CAST Copper capacitors; Duelund silver wiring throughout including the umbilical cords for the outboard power supply; Furutech balanced XLR and WBT unbalanced RCA i/o; Bocchino Mariner 10 IEC is utilized for ultimate power coupling; Lundahl silver and Jensen coupling transformers; Stillpoints Ultra SS isolator feet and circuit board standoffs; no DC leakage, no ground loops and no RFI issues; and an external choke-filtered external power supply."
May 2015 - Taxing the 3D renderer - Planned for late 2015 and thus still vapor ware at present, the Metaxas Solitaire & Soliloquy 30th anniversary edition amps are bound for a relaunch. "The Solitaire still offers 150wRMS of ultra-high 500kHz bandwidth whereas the more expensive Soliloquy trades off the extra power [only 100W] for precision discrete transistor voltage regulation of both input and high-current output stages. The new dual-printed circuit board construction places the delicate small-signal circuitry on the upper board and uses high-current ultra-high-frequency 'wave-guide' design for the power delivery lower board. Custom designed driver and power transistors made to Metaxas specification are all individually computer batch selected, matched and load tested."
May 2015 - Go Dutch & DIY - "Eltim Audio started work on an amplifier project in 1996. In the intervening 20 years, a lot happened to prevent me from upscaling this project into a saleable product. After we left behind our Morel adventure last year, i finally found the time to do it right, using the most current and best components available like Exicon Mosfets. We are happy to announce that we successfully finalized our test sessions. Our prototype has worked for 1.5 years without any problems. First pilot customers built models already. One of our improvements is the total lack of wiring except for the transformer leads."
May 2015 - Life of Pi squared - As introduced in Munich last week, Voxativ have added the 9.87 system to their catalogue. That's math shorthand for Pi x Pi, meaning the existing wideband maxi monitor Pi has gained an H-frame open-baffle subwoofer companion, all of which operates at 99dB system efficiency. The woofer bases are driven by a 250-watt class A/B plate amp to invite 2wpc 45 SET amps & Co. to the party. Price for the 4-some is €20'000. Also new was the Voxativ integrated, a 12wpc 211 affair with Tamura output transformer and a chassis milled from a 63kg block of solid aluminium stock.

 

May 2015 - ALOha! - Built to be epic. That's the headline for ALO Audio's newest Continental headphone amp [$1'495 pre-order]. "When we started work on our new generation Continental, we examined each element of the amplifier (6111 tubes, Wolfson DAC, power supply, pot, battery, capacitors) to find the best components. As we put everything together, we had the Continental Dual Mono. Dedicated linear regulators to each stage provide optimally clean power, less crosstalk and better isolation of the analog/digital sections. At the center of the new amp are a pair of NOS 6111. Each tube is individually soldered to a custom PCB. This provides mechanical isolation against unwanted microphonics and a quick easy solution for tube-rolling. Directly following the volume pot, the tubes provide current gain. Running in Class A, the dual valve implementation provides improved stereo separation and an expanded soundstage. The tubes are auto-biased. But the Continental Dual Mono is really a hybrid. It delivers the low output impedance, tight bass and sonic precision of a solid-stage amp with that added midrange richness, expanded staging and spaciousness of a tube amp. The Class AB transistor output stage is designed and laid out with short path lengths and a low parts count. A Wolfson WM8741 chip occupies the heart of the digital engine for high-rez PCM and DSD. The CNC aluminium deck with gorilla-glass window is anodized in black or silver, sports single-ended 3.5mm i/o, 2.5mm 4-pole balanced i/o, a user-replaceable rechargeable Panasonic 18650 3-cell battery and 2Vrms analog output voltage." 
May 2015 - Zesto add zest - "The Leto 1.5 preamp upgrade includes two important features: a built-in headphone amp and a unity gain identifier on the volume control for home theater. This upgrade is designed for audiophiles who enjoy a great 2-channel system as well as headphones and surround sound for home theater." George Counnas, president of Zesto Audio says, "it makes a lot of sense to take advantage of the tube circuit design and the sonic qualities of the Leto to really drive headphones and be the 2 main channels for your surround." George continues, "I really like the added benefit that I can sit in my favorite listening position and use headphones with a remote volume control."
May 2015 - Red Dragon change their colours - Boss Ryan Tew announces the S500 stereo amp based no longer on ICEpower but Pascal. He promises a proprietary XLR/RCA input buffer, 250/500wpc into 8/4Ω with bridge power of 1000-watt mono into 8/4Ω, 30A max current, 121dB of dynamic range, 26dB of voltage gain and comprehensive protection, with universal mains operation for one global mode.

 

May 2015 - Pimp yer voice - Actually, your LaVoce S2 Aqua Hifi DAC. New modules allow retrofitting of a 24/192 AES/EBU card, 24/192 AT&T glass-fibre port, 24/192 S/PDIF and 24/96 Toslink. The set goes by AQ-i modular.
May 2015 - Classic - Nagra Audio's transistor Classic Amp has launched, replacing the earlier MSA. "The unit operates in pure class A over a very large power band and beyond in class AB. Each of the output stages is based on tandem Mosfets filtered by a total of 300'000uF capacitance." Power is 100/200w into 8 ohms stereo or bridged, input sensitivity an adjustable 1/2Vrms, bandwidth 10Hz - 80kHz -3dB, S/NR typically 110dB A weighted, power consumption 400W max but less than 1W in standby. Weight is 18kg, dimensions are 227 x 395 x 174mm.
May 2015 - Pies de résistance - Cliff Orman of Vibex reports that "recently I have been investigating the way specifically designed feet interact with components. I have for many years used different models with success. My tests have involved listening to a multitude of shapes and materials and how they integrate with each other. To cut a long story short, I have designed a foot that employs Krion, Zebrawood and an internally damped labyrinth in exact proportions. The results are stunning. I really think this might be my pièce de résistance. The word pies in Spanish means feet and is pronounce like pièce in French. These will be available as part of a signature series of products under my own name. The price will be €330 per foot."
May 2015 - Have an affair - A Swiss one, including chocolate kisses. At HighEnd Munich, soundkaos will showcase their Wave 40 and SK16 Skiny speakers with supporting appearances by their companion D12 and D8 subwoofer units. Nagra Audio will contribute their brand-new Classic amp plus HD DAC, Jazz preamp, CD player and MPS power supply. Vovox will handle all cabling and power distribution by way of Vocalis models from the Textura range. All three makers will conduct 30-min. demos of their gear.
May 2015 - Aries goes DSD - AURALiC's Lightning DS V2 for iPad "is a completely new design based on a new structure with much faster running speed and new functions such as vTuner integration, portrait view, mixed local and online playing queue and more". The long-awaited Lightning DSD for Android is the cell phone app version optimized for smartphones. Finally both Aries and Vega get new firmware for DSD256 playback support. This enhancement is free to existing customers.
May 2015 - Sir Coltrane the Third - Mårten Design launch the Coltrane 3 which "benefits from the same research and cutting-edge tech which went into the €390'000 Coltrane Supreme 2 flagship". Hence first-order fitlers, Accuton Cell concept drivers and carbon-fibre enclosures with ultra-rigid baffles. Full details will be revealed in Munich.
May 2015 - The credo is new - Swiss Credo Audio will introduce their new electronics at the Munich show. The Pre will make a preview, The Amp its international premiere. The CS 125 Ref loudspeakers too will have their first showing and subsequent to the show, Credo Audio will open their new Swiss show rooom.
May 2015 - NordOst pushes Odin north of the wall - The company's new "Supreme Reference Series" is called Odin 2 and will bow in Munich spanning analog, digital and tonearm interconnects, loudspeaker, biwire jumper and power cables. "Each uses our patented dual mono-filament process, total signal ground control and proprietary Holo:Plug connectors."

Pricing is $16'999 for a 1.25m Odin 2 power cord; $19'999 for a 0.6m/pr of analog interconnects; 11'999 for a 1.25m phono cable; $10'999 for a 1.25m digital cable (coax or AES/EBU); and $29'999 for a 1m/pr of speaker cables.
May 2015 - Return to Eden - The Eden Acoustics Air speakers are a four-piece system consisting of a pair of most unusually styled open-baffle two-way monitors, an open-baffle subwoofer and an amplifier/DSP control unit with "new-gen class D amps and DACs for each driver (more than 2'000 watts of total power ) and a 40-bit/192kHz electronic crossover". Manufacture of the acrylic/Walnut system happens in Canada near Montreal.
May 2015 - Timekeeper Virtuoso - Burson's new stereo amp [$3,450] doubles in height over the original Timekeeper [$2'450] to house a 1'500-watt transformer five times the size of the smaller amp. As a result, the power rating now is 100wpc into 8 ohms, 200 into 4 and 350 into 2. Bridged, the stereo amp makes 300 watts into 8 and 600 into 4. The input stage is FET based, the outputs are biased in class A/B. Shazam!
May 2015 - WIM electronics - Wiener Lautsprecher Manufaktur under Hannes Schützenauer is about to launch its first electronics, the Anton linestage and Johann monos. Anton sports a phono stage, Bluetooth receiver, RCA and XLR inputs, a headphone output and an LF contour facility plus HF phase adjustment. As a teaser announcement, the full Monty reveal remains for the Munich show.
May 2015 - Stratosphonic - The new ADL Stratos combines an MM/MC phono with the XMOS U8 high-speed 480mbps USB chip for PCM 32/384 DSD256 compatibility, a SABRE ES9018K2M converter, a CS5340 A/D chip to digitize analog and import vinyl to hard disc and a TPA6120A2 headphone driver all in one box. Of course there's full preamp functionality as well with analog line-level i/o.
May 2015 - Half a Kronos - The new Sparta 0.5 [$15'000] is Louis Desjardins' starter model whose single platter can be retrofitted to his dual counter-rotating scheme for $7'500 at a later time.
May 2015 - Less iconic - Icon Audio's new CDX2 replaces the earlier CDX1 disc player for less coin [£995]. The CDX2 "features the latest 24/192 upsampler tech and an all-triode class A output stage using special quality TJ Full Music or NOS Mullard valves. The digital and analogue circuitry is hand-wired using full-sized high-quality components. A top-loading mechanism avoids the usual slide-out drawer to improve rigidity. A heavier alloy clamp acts as flywheel to increase rotational stability during playback."
May 2015 - Costly Swiss novelties - The new Soulution 760 DAC [CHF 47'000] offers AES/EBU, S/PDIF, Optical, USB and LAN. The DSP-based USB and LAN inputs get synchronised on an ultra-precise internal master. There is PCM support for 24/192 and DSD support for 5.62MHz. "The polynom-based upsampling algorithm, digital filters with apodizing characteristics combined with our innovative Zero-Phase-Technology ensure perfect treatment of the digital data. The 760's anti-aliasing filter (passive 3rd order Bessel with a cut-off frequency of 120kHz) shows a phase shift of up to 15° in the audio band but with our added Zero-Phase tech, this remains below 1° from 20Hz - 100kHz!" The new 755 phono stage [CHF 47'000] provides more than 60dB of gain and supports 2 x MC and 1 x MM inputs all with user-definable gain and loading.

May 2015 - Three new Greeks - Stratos Vichos of Greece's Lab12 premieres three new models. The Integre4 is a 45wpc integrated using pairs of 6550 per channel but can take EL34, KT88 or KT120 instead. There's remote control, a large OLED display, a motorized Blue Velvet Alps pot, adjustable bias, modularity with various i/o boards, no feedback, 15Hz - 60kHz bandwidth, 50K input impedance, five line-level inputs and 4 x 6n1p input/drivers.

The Gordian not knot is a power distributor with "a well-designed adaptive network of inductors and MKP capacitors, conductors of very large cross section, high-quality tight sockets and industrial-grade power analyzer to show metrics like line-frequency accuracy to within 0.0005%, total THD, RMS voltage/current, power consumption, power factor, FFT and DC voltage." The noise filters are configurable to respond to specific conditions as first determined with the built-in analyzer. There's also a parallel capacitor bank to improve the power factor.

Finally, the suono is a single-ended KT-150 power amp with a triode/UL switch to deliver 25 watts per channel. Two 6n2p dual triodes act as drivers.

 

 

May 2015 - Half price - Essence announce that they will sell their line of electrostatic speakers, DACs and class D power amps exclusively online to bypass the traditional dealer channel. This eliminates the standard 50% dealer profit and brings the prices for Essence products "down to disruptive new levels." For the Model 1200 shown, this now means a sell price of $1'999/pr rather than the $3'999/pr it was introduced at two years ago.

May 2015 - kii Audio - Combine Bruno Putzeys, Bart van der Laan, Wim Weijers, Chris Reichhardt and Thomas Jansen and arrive at new company Kii Audio. Their first project is the kii three active loudspeaker. "We offer linear frequency response, a perfect impulse response plus phase coherence and pack 1'500 watts per speaker divided across six drivers into a compact and lightweight enclosure. Bruno Putzeys invented the Active Wave Focusing™ technology to control dispersion and direct the sound pressure where we need it to be: in the sweet spot! Intelligent DSP processing provides the kii three with a cardioid dispersion pattern down to the low-mid and bass frequencies, which otherwise can only be achieved by very wide baffles, big cabinets or soffit mounting speakers (infinite baffle design). The controlled sound dispersion is the only reason why a big main monitor system in a good room offers the special feel and impact it does."

The kii three uses 4 x 6.5" woofers, a 5" midrange and a 1" wave-guided tweeter each driven by a custom 250-watt nCore amp. Response is given as 20Hz - 25kHz ±0.5dB and long-term SPL as 105dB (115dB peak). All this comes packaged in a 20x40x40cm enclosure of 15kg. Inputs are analog, AES/EBU and WISA.

May 2015 - Pro merger - Swiss firm Merging Technologies launch NADAC, a 24/384 PCM slash DSD256 converter in 2- and 8-channel variants with ¼” and mini-jack headphone outputs which can be configured to carry a different signal than the main outputs on XLR/RCA. AES/EBU and SPDIF digital inputs accommodate CD players, CD transports or other devices up to 192kHz.  An Ethernet interface is provided for computer-based digital audio systems via ASIO on Windows and CoreAudio with DoP on MacOS.  This uses the Ravenna protocol which Merging helped develop for high sample rate applications. It allows very robust and accurate transfer of digital audio data stored in a large buffer memory in the NADAC, then clocked out by the unit’s precision internal clock. The NADAC’s line outputs are driven by an ESS9008S.  In the stereo version each channel uses 4 D/A converters whose outputs are summed to provide improved linearity, greater dynamic range and a lower noise floor.  The 8-channel version may be switched to work as a stereo unit configured in the same way. The headphone output uses the same type ESS converter configured similarly. A digital volume control and a web browser for remote convenience complete the features.

May 2015 - Flexible spades? - It's pre-show time and ultra-sparse teasers of photos with nary any descriptions trickle in. Here we see a photo from Felix Avalos of Fono Acustica, of their new Virtuoso cable line which will premiere in Munich. "A truly unique design and sound performance, the first-ever flexible spade speaker connector patent pending." Got it?

May 2015 - Intimo - Wyred4Sound go X-rated with their new class A DAC slash headphone amp [final pricing TBA but $995 expected] which offers standard and balanced headphone outputs, a low/medium/high gain switch, a 3-band EQ, an ESS Sabre engine for 32/384 PCM and DSD128, 5 digital inputs (2 x coax, 2 x Toslink, USB), a large alphanumeric display and a casing completely new for the company. The Intimo is said to merely be the first in a range of new models following this design.

May 2015 - Not grinch but Gruensch Audiotechnik- Father and son Eckhardt and Oliver Gruensch will bow their Reference Linestage Gruensch MSL and Reference Phonostage Gruensch MCSII+ at the upcoming Munich HighEnd. "The purist linestage uses pure JFet zero feedback technology in pure class A bias with an innovative volume control and our constant current power supply. The phono stage features a variable equalization curve." For more details, visit their website.