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).

The Luck of the Irish. 6moons 2017 sale for the Irish. Email to inquire what's available: srajan @ 6moons.com
February 2017 - Happy birthday - For their 20th birthday in business, French cable house Esprit launch a new range called Lumina Signature which positions between the existing Lumina and Gaia product families. All assemblies are done by hand with top-quality parts like pure copper plugs plated with 40 microns of silver instead of the 0.5-3 microns common elsewhere. Kynar, Viton, silicone and air show up as dielectric and structural parts and all Lumina Signature models are polarized with a lithium battery. The motto accompanying this release is to forget all about cables and their technology to instead discover the full range of musical subtleties in all their wealth and simplicity.
February 2017 - XA25 - The latest class A Pass Labs amp does 25/50wpc into 8/4 ohms with a class A envelope of 50 watts peak into all loads down to 2 ohms. Bandwidth is DC-100kHz -2dB, damping factor is 500, slew rate 100V/us and input impedance 47kohm. "From input to output, its signal path has been simplified to fewer components. Degeneration, the other form of feedback, has been eliminated. The output stage consists of a single pair of 800-watt new generation output transistors operating push-pull Class A. We still use the same 'New Old Stock' of small-power Jfets and cascoded Mosfet in the classic 'CFA' voltage gain circuit. The amplifier is DC coupled and has no frequency compensation. The result is faster lower distortion, lower noise, higher damping and larger Class A operating envelope into low impedance loudspeakers, all in a simple 3-stage circuit with a total of three pair of push-pull gain transistors. In their ideal state, matched push-pull Fets give perfect 'square law' cancellation of distortion, an effect somewhat spoiled by degenerative source resistance used to constrain the 'personality' of the devices. The removal of this form of feedback is an important element in the performance of the XA25 and is accomplished by new approaches to stabilizing gain and bias of push-pull Fets. This gives a lower output impedance, more gain and lower spectral content of distortion, as evidenced by measurements but the more important factor is the difference it makes to the music. We observed this difference some years ago in listening tests. Degeneration removed some of the organic quality to the sound and so became the subject of further development work. The XA25 measures superbly but its subjective qualities are most special. In an industry where products with great specs are frequently found to be dry and boring, this amplifier breathes life into the music."
February 2017 - Metrum skunkworks - Those wondering what Cees Ruijtenberg of Metrum Acoustics has been up to, he's working on their first power amplifier to be called Forte. "They're an idea from two years ago. At the time I had hybrid amps for pleasure listening and critical evaluations. What I did not like was the fact that triodes suffer aging problems. In simulation software, I started to imitate triodes with fets. The good thing with triodes is their low gain at a lot of bandwidth without needing feedback. That was my goal. It took me a few weeks of simulations but I hit upon the desired result. It falls somewhere between a 12AU7 and 12AT7 on gain but with a bit more bandwidth. The disadvantage is that it runs on the same high 350V rails as real tubes would. From there we drive a class A/B output section (10 watts in class A, 50w/8Ω, 100w/4Ω, 170w/2Ω). Damping factor is 200. Compared to my old hybrids, there's no sonic difference, just less noise. Two years later, we've now turned this into a commercial product with a lot of added protection because during the startup process, we must charge up 176'000µF. And that, in a nutshell, is the Forte platform."
February 2017 - Feeling chipper? - Try Akiko Audio's new tuning chips with 14-day money-back guarantee. "We always aspire to create a natural sound; a realistic and relaxed rendering that is able to convey to the listener the specific emotions of a performance. Our tuning chips result from the knowledge and insight we gained by developing our other tuning products over the past years. The energetic process has been developed entirely by ourselves. These chips are able to harmonize energy currents in places that were previously inaccessible to our other tuning products."
February 2017 - The CIA's new phono - Channel Islands Audio announce the release of their new PEQ1 MKII MM/MC phono preamplifier [$995] whose key features include:
 ultra-low noise
 ultra-low harmonic & intermodulation distortion (THD/IMD)
 dual-mono Design for low crosstalk
 heavy steel faraday cage for high resistance to electromagnetic and radio frequency interference
 rear panel DIP switches for convenient configuration & adjustment
 5-year warranty
 handcrafted in USA
February 2017 - Stellar twins - PS Audio go down market with their new Stellar range which kicks off with an initial three models: a DAC [$1'499], a stereo amp [$1'499] and a mono amp [$2'998/pr]. The Stellar Gain Cell DAC "combines an updated version of our analog Gain Cell technology with a full-featured DAC that can play the DSD output from our new DirectStream Memory Player". The Stellar S300 amplifier "combines a Class A Analog Cell input stage with a high-power Class-D output stage for 300wpc into 4 ohms". The Stellar M700 ups that to 700 watts into 4 ohms. More products will be added to the Stellar line in due time. 
February 2017 - Horn of plenty? - TotalDAC bowed their first loudspeaker, the d150 horn with optional subwoofer [€38'000/pr + €6'000/ea.]. A two-way of 98dB sensitivity, this compact loads a small widebander into a 86cm diameter solid-wood front horn, then augments it with a 15-inch high-efficiency paper-cone woofer below 150Hz. Minimum impedance of 7.5 ohms welcomes low-power SET. An optional sub tower adds an 18-inch high-placed infrasonic driver.
February 2017 - Sharpen your needle - "CleanerVinyl was founded in 2016 by vinyl enthusiasts to bring ultrasonic record cleaning to vintage vinyl collectors and vendors at an affordable price. CleanerVinyl systems are designed to fit Vevor PS-30A/40A commercial-grade ultrasonic cleaners available in most countries. The entry-level CleanerVinyl One ultrasonic cleaner attachment ($189) can clean one record at a time and is very easy to use. Adding the CleanerVinyl Two adapter enables cleaning of two records at the same time. CleanerVinyl Pro ($379) steps up throughput to 12 records per run. The highest throughput is achieved with CleanerVinyl Max's ($499) 24 records in one batch. Pro and Max can be complemented with CleanerVinyl Dry fan attachments to speed up the drying process. This allows the processing of entire batches 'sleeve-to-sleeve' in less than one hour. All CleanerVinyl products are available internationally with a one-year warranty."
February 2017 - Voxativ Z Bass - Spied at Hamburg's Norddeutsche Hifi Tage before information has been added to their website, Voxativ just bowed a new small subwoofer unit to accompany their Hagen monitor and small Zeth tower.
February 2017 - Blu MkII gets USB - Chord Electronics have added a high-resolution USB Type-B input to their Blu MkII upscaling CD transport, taking the place of the optical output seen on the prototype at CES following dealer demand for Blu MkII’s upscaling technology to be available to a wider range of digital devices. The USB input is compatible with DSD and PCM data, with DSD upsampled to PCM using proprietary filtering for much better attenuation of DSD noise and distortion. The converted DSD data can then be output to Chord’s partnering Dave DAC/preamp at 705.6kHz using its galvanically isolated twin BNC outputs. The Blu MkII features auto-switching inputs with CD prioritised, followed by USB and finally S/PDIF.
February 2017 - Sonus faber intro - The new collection "Homage Tradition" includes the Amati Tradition [€20'500/pr], Serafino Tradition [€15'500/pr] and Guarneri Tradition [€11'700/pr incl. stand] all available in Red Walnut with black inlay or Wenge with Maple inlay. The Guarneri is a "para-aperiodically vented" 2-way monitor with 28mm silk-dome tweeter that's loaded into a real-wood acoustic labyrinth rear chamber; and a 150mm Neodymium-powered mid/woofer. Its Mundorf and Jantzen filter operates at 2'500Hz. Bandwidth is from 40-35'000Hz, nominal impedance is 87dB. Dimensions are 37.7x23.9x37.5cm HxWxD, weight is 16kg plus 16kg for the carbon-fibre stand.

The Serafino tower is a 3.5-way equivalent which adds two 180mm woofers for an F3 of 30Hz and 90dB sensitivity. Dimensions grow to 109x39.6x48.5cm and weight to 52kg. The Amati is a scaled-up 3.5-way with dual 220mm woofers for an F3 of 28Hz, 90dB sensitivity, dimensions of 117x41.1x51.2cm and weight of 61kg.
February 2017 - ABR'd Amphion - This Finnish catalogue's latest model to get auxiliary bass radiators and replace the ports of its predecessor is the new Argon 7LS compact tower [€4'500/pr for standard colours, add €300 for Walnut veneer].] This brings ABR tech first implemented in Amphion's pro-audio models to another home audio model.
February 2017 - B.M.C. CS3 - Berlin's firm anounce a new integrated [€5'998] with 2|3 XLR|RCA inputs and 200/350wpc into 8/4Ω from a 2kW power supply. Like the CS2 predecessor, the volume control adjusts the circuit's gain factor. For connection to B.M.C.'s own converters like the DAC1 or PureDAC, the optical DIGM connection turns the CS3 into a power amp by shifting volume control to the digital source for the shortest signal path.
January 2017 - 35th Japan show - The annual Tokyo International Audio Show aka TIAS will take place again from September 29th to October 1st this year, from 10:00 - 19.00 the first two days, 10:00 - 17:00 on the last.
January 2017 - Kroma turns gold - Spain's Kroma Audio present a new finish option for their two speaker models, a hand-applied 24K gold-leaf skin "to accompany the inimitable sound of Kroma Audio."
January 2017 - Russian phono - Next Sound present their new LX tube phono stage wherein "all the stages of RIAA correction are done without resistors and capacitors to avoid their negative effects on transparency and micro dynamics and deliver noticeably lower distortion. The novel solution is correction via inductive loading of the tube impedance. A special transformer performs correction of the bass and midrange while an inductor is responsible for the HF. The output transformer is equipped with a high quality core and specially selected windings. The external power supply has a 5U4G valve rectifier. The base version uses EL84 output with E188CC drivers but customized versions with other types are available." Output voltage is 0.7V, input sensitivity is 5mV, input impedance is 47kOhm, bandwidth ±1dB is 8-24'000Hz, RIAA bandwidth ±0.5dB is 20-20'000Hz, THD is <0.15% and the overload threshold is >30dB.
January 2017 - SET sound without tubes? - "The Audio Guild (TAG) and Electro Magnetic Amplifier Co. (EMAC) announce a new headphone amp/preamp created to improve upon the classic SET amplifier with a new circuit designed to reduce heat and distortion. The EMAC 535SE uses the highest-quality microphone transformers for passive gain and a single-ended Jfet/bipolar output buffer in a beautifully designed retro package built in the USA. It is available for pre-order now for a retail price of $1'795, with a discount of $200 for the first 25 units sold. Delivery of the first production units is expected in April of 2017. Core specs are zero global feedback, 14dB of gain, max voltage swing of 14V/250mA and 2wpc/32-ohm peak power with a 1-ohm output impedance, three inputs and headphone plus preamplifier outputs.
January 2017 - New DJ from CJ? - Conrad-Johnson announce the new Classic Sixty-Two and Classic One-Twenty amplifiers. "Borrowing heavily from the technology of our flagship ART amplifiers, the Classic amplifiers excel at preserving the tonal character of instruments and voices and clearly locating these individual sources within the acoustical environment. Our approach continues to be straightforward: best results come from simple circuits executed with quality parts. The Classic Sixty-Two achieves its magic with just seven vacuum tubes including one pair of EL34 output tubes per channel to produce 60 watts per side. The Classic One-Twenty adds a second pair of EL34 for 120 watts per channel. Following a long-standing tradition, we offer upgraded special edition (SE) versions of both models featuring strategic applications of CJD Teflon capacitors and ultra high-performance metal foil resistors. US suggested retail prices for the Classic Sixty-Two and Classic One-Twenty are $4'250 and $8'000 respectively. The SE models have US suggested retail prices of $5'750 and $10'000. All models are available for immediate delivery."
January 2017 - Exposed? - Exposure's new XM range starts with the XM5 integrated [£1'236] that combines a 24/192 DAC and phonostage, then a 200VA power toroid with bipolar Toshiba transistors for 60wpc into 8-ohm power. The matching XM3 phono stage [£660] offers 40dB MM and 60dB MC gain for claimed response of 30Hz - 20kHz ±0.25dB.
January 2017 - No limits - That's how Volya call their new speaker, an 88dB 11-inch 3-way with 5" ceramic midrange and 1" diamond tweeter measuring 120 x 120 x 70cm and weighing 190kg/ea. in its metal enclosure. Xover points are are 300Hz and 3kHz and the ceramic/kevlar sandwich woofer is loaded into a back-firing port.
January 2017 - Blumenhofer have fun - "After a long development and about one year from the last sale of the Fun 13, we introduce our new Fun 13 Mk2 [€2'700/pr]. The iterations during R&D were several and the main goal for the upgrade was a better mid/high range. Our goal was to keep the same friendly dimensions and design of the former Fun 13 for not a bigger but far better sounding speaker. The differences are a new 28mm silk dome tweeter and new Peek/carbon/peek membrane woofer loaded into a quarter-length bass horn."
January 2017 - Sir Andrew Jones the Third - After his two budget wonder ranges Debut and Uni-Fi, the celebrated designer now working for Kiel/Germany firm Elac bows their new Adante series which consists of the AS-61 monitor, AC-61 centre and AF-61 floorstanding model. They all benefit from new purpose-engineered drivers, a coaxial tweeter/midrange unit and a 6.5" woofer. Gloss finishes will include white, black and wood veneer and dedicated stands are available, too. Precise specs still remain forthcoming.
January 2017 - To the Furutech future - Their new FI-C15NFC slim-line IEC connectors support Linn, Devialet, McIntosh amp and other kit with difficult-to-reach power inlets whilst offering pure copper contacts with gold or Rhodium plating. The new 105-D NCF outlet cover combines carbon, NCF and a neo damper for "the final touch to a complete AC chain". Their new e-TP309 NCF power distributor too includes their NCF ultimate damping material based on a nano-crystal formula to convert thermal, mechanical and electrical energies; and outlets with axial locking screws for resonance control; and an aluminium top plate dressed in carbon fibre.

January 2017 - Sir Hugo the Second - Three years after the first, Chord's Hugo 2 [£1'800] "features a newly designed precision-machined aircraft-grade aluminium case with a sharper lower profile and four top-mounted spherical control buttons which illuminate with colour-coded information to control power, input, filtering and crossfeed functions. The top-mounted volume control sphere has been made larger for more intuitive operation. The new design and functionality anticipate greater indoor use within both desktop and conventional home audio systems, despite Hugo 2's obvious portability. The inclusion of a full-function remote control adds further flexibility as does the practical line-level output mode retained from the original. The latest FPGA and advanced WTA 49'195K tap filter bring a wide variety of performance improvements in timing accuracy, noise reduction, headphone amp power and dynamic range. Hugo 2's connections and switches now feature laser-ablated function lettering and include optical, coaxial, HD USB and extended-range Bluetooth with playback up to 768kHz and DSD512 via USB. Analogue outputs include 2 x RCA and 3.5mm/6.35mm headphone outputs."

Also new is the Blu MkII disc transport [£7'995] based on "the power of the new Xilinx XC7A200T FPGA with 740 DSP cores to develop sophisticated WTA filtering and upscaling algorithms which can output digital data at 705.6kHz (16 x CD's 44.1kHz native resolution). When partnered with the matching DAVE DAC/preamp with its 705.6kHz-capable digital inputs, the Blu MkII sets a new technical benchmark for CD performance."
January 2017 - Clean yer clock - SOtM's new sCLK-EX [$700-$850 depending on number of outputs] can supply up to four digital devices with discrete clocking at various frequencies like the system clock, LAN port clock and USB clock. The board can even be sync'd with an external Rubidium or similar clock via the Master clock option [$150 surcharge].

SOtM's second announcement is the addition of the Eunhasu music player to their sMS-10000SQ server. This builds in Roon-Ready/Server and MinimServer support, a DLNA audio renderer, OpenHome and Tidal/Qobuz support, Music Player Daemon, Logitech Media Server, Squeezelite, HQPlayer network audio adapater, Shairport and multi-zone network playback. The sMS-1000SQ Eunhasu starts at $3'000 and can be fitted from 64GB SSD memory up to 2TB SSD or 4TB HHD.
December 2016 - Tid for Tad - TAD's ME-1 [$12'495/pr] combines a coaxial 3.5" magnesium mid with 1" Beryllium tweeter and a 6.3" multi-layer composite Aramid woofer in a Birch Ply/MDF cabinet with 4mm steel side panels finished in piano gloss black. Claimed bandwidth is 36Hz-60kHz and 3-way xover hinges are at 420Hz and 2.5kHz. Sensitivity is 85dB, nominal impedance 4Ω, weight 44.09 pounds.
December 2016 - Déjà vu all over again - "Déjà vu Audio, one of the US's top high end retailers, is excited to announce the opening of the third store: Déjà vu Audio West at 7855 Herschel Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037. Phone 858-412-4023. Déjà vu Audio founded in 1995 has stores serving Miami Florida, McLean Virginia and now La Jolla. Déjà vu Audio West hours are Mon-Fri 10-7, Saturday 11-9, Sunday Noon-5. Special hours by appointment. The following brands will be offered: Aldo by Aldo D'Urso, Audience, Audio Note, Bel Canto, Cardas, Clearaudio, Conrad Johnson, Deja Vu Audio, Grado, Harbeth, Ortofon, Proac, Salamander Designs, Solidsteel amd Synthesis of Italy. We are also proud to offer expertly restored equipment from: Garrard, Otari, Thorens and Western Electric. Our web site dejuvuaudiowest.com will be operating shortly but feel free to visit our sister site in the meantime."
 
December 2016 - A Brystonian CD player - Bryston announce the introduction of their BCD-3 CD player [$3'495]. "The BCD-3 is engineered to play back Redbook CD and CDR discs using a premium transport/laser pickup assembly mated to two AKM 4490 384/32Bit DACs. The player utilizes a single master clock that syncs the transport to the DAC, eliminating one of the primary sources of an unwanted artifact called jitter. The DAC in the BCD-3 is based upon the BDA-3 platform and includes a fully discrete Bryston class A analog output stage and independent analog and digital power supplies. Users have the choice of balanced XLR or unbalanced RCA stereo outputs as well as transformer-coupled SPDIF/AES digital outputs. The BCD-3 is network connectable, enabling software upgrades via an Ethernet jack and there is a remote 12-volt trigger input as well. The front panel is available in black or silver aluminum."
December 2016 - A new order in sonic kaos - soundkaos of Switzerland announce an impending transition to direct sales. "Most of our sales over the last two years were direct because our dealer count was still low. Despite required very high margins, most dealers we approached invoked a weak market and permanent poverty. For smaller newer makers like us, it made little sense then to hold on to conventional high retail margins. So we decided to switch to a direct-sales model which retains a much reduced dealer margin for those sellers who wish to continue working with us. We think that the lower pricing which results from this change will be welcome by the buying public." A new website with revised pricing is due out soon.
December 2016 - YG racks it - The first rack series from this speaker house "was initially designed as a tool for internal use. The factory’s critical listening room needed a vibration free, solid platform to allow equipment to play under optimal conditions. In a challenging environment full of hostile vibration, other equipment racks couldn’t deliver the desired result. When designing Rack 1.3, 1.4 and 1.6, we adhered to our core values: straightforward, no nonsense precise science. Each shelf can be optimized in minutes for the weight of the specific component it supports. A video demonstrates the effectiveness of this rack." U.S. MSRP starts at $14'850.
December 2016 - A better Mæstro - Genesis Advanced Technologies announce their next generation 5-series loudspeaker. "Many of the greatly admired sonic characteristics and features of its Gen V, G500, G501 and G5.3 predecessors have been reincorporated into the new Mæstro updated with the latest technology. One of the features most requested were the quad woofers of the 1994 Genesis V. It's a bit overkill but we did it for the 2017 Mæstro." The Genesis Mæstro is a 5-way loudspeaker with two Genesis ring-radiator ribbon tweeters (front and back), a single 4.5" solid Titanium cone midrange, two 6.5" aluminum mid-bass couplers and four 8" woofers with an integrated 500-watt servo-controlled bass amplifier. The Mæstro features the Genesis acoustic suspension system so that it can be used on the many types of flooring encountered throughout the world – including uneven natural stone tiles, smooth granite, deep pile carpet and suspended wooden floors. Stainless steel spikes and a suspension frame hold the loudspeaker rigidly for best imaging and bass control. Neoprene decouplers act like shock absorbers, making sure that the cabinet is not affected by floor-borne vibrations. The three sections of the loudspeaker are housed in three separate cabinets with separate crossovers in each. The result is improved midrange clarity, a cleaner and tighter bass, more precise and pinpoint imaging and a holographic soundstage. "The original Genesis V was released at $14'500 in 1995. Time and inflation mean that the new Mæstro with 20 years of improvements and upgrades will retail at a recommended US$30'000 plus taxes."
December 2016 - On the lam - At $91'181, the new LessLoss Laminar Streamer won't have many in pursuit and on the most-wanted list even though its concept and execution promise absolutely state-of-the-art performance. What is it? A dedicated SD card reader with proprietary OS encased in a massive Panzerholz enclosure. It outputs digital data via S/PDIF on RCA, AES/EBU on XLR and I-squared-S via 5-pin connector. It's thus a digital transport which exploits the increased memory capacity of SD cards to become the 24/192 file carriers of choice.
December 2016 - Taga Harmony - Their new TAV-616F SE "is based on tech of the recently introduced TAV-616F and TAV-606 SE models with a few significant upgrades. The very rigid enclosure is built of 15mm walls with a 21mm baffle all of high-density MDF. The SE is available in 7-layer high gloss white lacquer. A 2nd-gen pure Titanium tweeter utilizes a differently shaped lighter dome with double-magnet structure for higher SPL, faster and more accurate movement, hence more detailed airy response. A 6.5" glass-fiber midrange driver delivers more information with even greater accuracy and definition. Dual 6.5" polypropylene woofers are very light and have high SPL which results in faster more accurate cone movement. Decorative pure aluminium trim rings and tweeter face plate enhance dispersion and appearance. The bass reflex port and terminal plate are rubber coated and a Special Edition badge adorns this model." Basic specs are a 4-driver 3-way configuration with frontal port, biwire terminals, 500/2'800Hz filter points, 36Hz - 25kHz bandwidth, 6-ohm nominal impedance and 91dB sensitivity. Dimensions are 98 x 23 x 28cm HxWxD and weight is 34.3kg/pr.
December 2016 - Burson "active" cable - The $149 Burson Cable+ comes in three versions: "3.5mm input/stereo RCA output perfect for connection between smartphone, tablet, laptop and stereo amplifier; stereo RCA input/output perfect for connection between sound card, CD player, DAC and stereo amplifier; 3.5mm input/output perfect for car audio between smartphone, tablet and car amplifier. There are two bottle necks preventing your smartphone, tablet and laptop from sounding high end. They are the low voltage output of these devices and the 1940 era audio cable connecting them to the audio amplifier. The Cable+ concept ensures perfect synergy by lowering the output impedance of the source signal and increasing its voltage."   
December 2016 - New magic - Magico's new S3MkII [starting at $28'000/pr] "nestles between the S1MkII and S5MkII and features all of their advanced tech. The tweeter is a 1" diamond-coated beryllium diaphragm with new aluminium housing for the magnet to minimize resonance and improve the isolation parameters for the dome. The long-throw voice coil enables lower distortion and optimal cutoff frequencies that enhance driver integration with the 6" midrange driver of multi-wall carbon fiber and a layer of XG Nanographene. Its purpose-built sub enclosure is made of a proprietary polymer. Twin 9-inch woofers with multi-wall carbon skins over a nanographene cone use a 5" Titanium voice coil for 0.5" of linear excursion. The monocoque enclosure is formed from a single piece of extruded aluminium 3/8" thick and 12 inches in diameter. The new aluminium top plate is machined into a 3D convex shape to minimize enclosure diffraction and break up vertical standing waves. A massive base plate incorporates a newly designed 4-point outrigger support system that lowers the speaker’s center of gravity. All four drivers are acoustically integrated using Magico’s exclusive Elliptical Symmetry Crossover topology with components from Mundorf of Germany."
December 2016 - More fulla schiit - The tireless team at Schiit season the Holiday season with their new $99 Fulla 2, "a complete desktop solution with analog and digital inputs as well as fixed DAC and variable preamp outputs and a power-only USB input that makes connecting to tablets, phones, and low-power USB ports a breeze. What’s more, Fulla 2 is significantly upgraded in terms of capability and quality. With up to 550mW output into 16 ohms and a full-sized headphone jack, it provides plenty of power for most headphones. A new top-line AKM AK4490 DAC offers improved performance and sound. And high-quality parts from Alps, TI, AMD, together with premium thin-film resistors and film capacitors, make for performance beyond Fulla 2's size and price."
December 2016 - Maestro's anniversary - Italian firm Audio Analogue now transfer last year's 20th anniversary makeover of the Puccini integrated to their prior Maestro flagship first sold in 2001 which then refined in the Maestro Settanta and its Rev 2.0 incarnation. "The basic design of the new Maestro Anniversary [£6,499] is very similar to that of the Puccini but with two important differences. First, the amplification chain is fully balanced from input to output, only becoming unbalanced to connect to the speakers. Second, whilst the Puccini uses feedback in the preamp stage, all Maestro stages are without global feedback. The dual-mono design include the power supply whose left and right channels not only have their own separate grounds but their own dedicated 600-watt mains transformers. The output stages rely on four pairs of power transistors per channel, enabling the amp to deliver 150 watts into 8 ohms, rising to 500 watts into 2 ohms. Immediately behind the input connectors' switching relays, the dual-mono internal preamplifier routes the signal to a discrete input buffer followed by a resistor ladder volume control and a 12dB gain stage."
December 2016 - A lift for cables - "Having sold our CanCans headphone stand to AURALiC, we have launched a new even more niche product in the Elevated Cable Riser which sells in packs of 4, 6 8 or 10." That was Michael Hollesen of Sweden's Klutz Design alerting us to what's coming in Q1 of next year.
December 2016 - Spirit season - From Sweden's XTZ comes the new Spirit range which includes the €850 Spirit 11 floorstander, Spirit 8C and 6C centres [€345 and €285 respectively], the Spirit 2 monitor [€390/pr] and the Sub 12 [€520].
December 2016 - XA25 - Soon coming to a theatre near you seems to be the Pass Labs XA25, a 25/50/100wpc into 8/4/2-ohm stereo amplifier that combines a NOS Fet front end with a pair of 700w/40A output transistors per channel. Basic specs are 200kHz bandwidth, 20dB of voltage gain, slew rate of 100V/uS, output noise of 100uV unweighted and class A idle power draw of 200 watts. Weight is 55lbs. Whilst not yet on the Pass website, it's previewed already by the linked Dutch dealer site.
December 2016 - Ghostwire - Chris Sommovigo's latest website dedicated to DIY and car audio enthusiasts bows with the intro of a $55/m [intro price €40/m] off-the-spool unterminated speaker cable called Silverheart which consists of a coax with cotton core using twin hollow tubes of braided silver-plated copper and bare copper respectively which are separated by a multi-filament nylon braid then sleeved in another outer nylon braid. There also will be a limited supply of terminated speaker cables for turnkey users.
November 2016 - Acoustic Preference - Sold at €11'490/pr direct in the EU, the Gracioso 2.0 ST from Slovenia is a 3-driver 2-way with downfiring port. Claimed response is 37Hz-35kHz with 89dB sensitivity and 150w power handling. An LE Limited Edition version of 99 pairs ups the efficiency rating by 2dB, pursues pricier Mundorf xover parts, goes silver for its hookup wiring, ceramic for its footers and includes a maintenance wax kit. Add €3'000 for the difference.
 
November 2016 - Not Tag Heuer but Taga - Their new HTA-2000B v2 is a 150wpc hybrid integrated with a 12AX line stage, 12AU7 SRPP buffer and zero-gain transistor current outputs which couple to the preceding tubes via MKP caps. Also on board is a 32/384 DAC, MM/MC phono stage, headphone jack and Bluetooth. Aside from the three analog inputs, there's also a pre-out for a subwoofer, powered speakers or additional amp.
November 2016 - Indigo not gogo - Black Cat Cable's Chris Sommovigo releases his new super cable. "This project runs counter to just about everything folks seem to think when it comes to what makes audiophile cable better, given that they are accustomed to big and heavy cables; as if sheer quantity or heft or girth somehow equated to increases in performance. That way is and always has been a recipe for madness." At ¥800'000 per 1.0m pair (+ ¥250'000 per 0.5mpr), Sommovigo knows that these won't be flying off the shelves. And that's just as well as far as he's concerned. "The final version of the Silverwave conductor is very difficult to make as I've got to process it in-house using strange tools that I've adapted for the purpose. Making a pair of these takes a tremendous amount of time, skill, and patience." The Indigo Silverwave interconnect uses RCA connectors designed by Mr. Sommovigo especially for this project developed under his sub-brand, XOX. It is not available on any other cable he makes.
November 2016 - Cary go Devialet - Sort of. Their new AiOS [$2'295] is a 21st century class AB "receiver" which replaces the vintage tuner with a full-featured digital section. That connects it "to your home network (WiFi or Ethernet) and streams digital music from networked computer(s) or NAS via UPnP, DLNA or SMB plus integrated internet streaming services like Spotify and Tidal. There's also a frontal SD card slot or a USB flash or hard drive may be connected to any of the three USB-A inputs. There's also the latest Qualcomm aptX© Bluetooth technology which can even send music to Bluetooth headphones or speakers. AiOS can change its backlit keys/buttons and center LCD display (together or individually) to six different preset colors including one custom color preset, or adjust any color as you see fit within the entire color spectrum. The aluminium gunmetal gray chassis' side panels are available in 5 optional colours."
November 2016: Singa Show - While the big shows in the US and Europe get the largest media coverage, a number of Asian shows are growing in popularity and overall importance. Many consider Hong Kong's High-End Audio-Visual Show the Asian flagship event but the International Sight & Sound Exhibition (ISSE for short) in Singapore is getting real traction in the global audio show calendar. Axis Loudspeakers have chosen this event to further their Asian brand profile with Singapore distributor AudioRev run by University of Singapore Physics professor Benjamin, an extremely knowledgeable, passionate audiophile and music lover. At the exhibit's room 734, Axis Loudspeakers will launch their new EBS (Extended Bass System) for the highly-acclaimed Axis VoiceBox S reviewed here.

The sealed box EBS adds full-range bandwidth to the VoiceBox where an embedded magnet system couples monitor to bass bin. The EBS's 10" high-excursion aluminium woofer is driven via a 150 watts Class-D plate amp with left/right RCA inputs, level control, constantly variable crossover from 40Hz to 200Hz, switchable phase (0 or 180°) and signal-sensing auto on/off. Axis Loudspeakers' John Reilly designed the EBS to perfectly compliment the VoiceBox S with a seamless blend while extending the small monitor's dynamic capabilities and low-end response down to 20Hz (the EBS's upper limit is 150Hz). The EBS is styled to match the high-quality piano finishes (black and white) of the VoiceBox S while presenting an elegantly curved cabinet that belies its large internal volume.

Also launching at the Singapore ISSE is the new Axis FLS, a speaker which mimics the VoiceBox S and EBS combination by placing the same tweeter and midrange drivers at seating height in a slim-line floorstander and adding an 8-inch powered bass driver on the lower third of the enclosure. The FLS's bass driver is also driven via a powerful in-built Class-D amplifier while the same high standards of finish apply. 

The Singapore International Sight & Sound Exhibition runs from November 25th to 27th 2016 at the Park Royal Hotel 181 Kitchener Road, Singapore.
November 2016 - Bench makes new marks - Benchmark Media Systems bow their new DAC3 "implementing the latest ESS Technologies ES9028PRO DAC chip. The DAC3 retains the form factor of the DAC2 including HGC, L and DX versions in silver or black but achieves some considerable performance improvements." RRP prices incl. VAT in the UK will be £2'099 without headphone amp; £2'199 without preamp but with pro features; £2'349 with headphone amp and preamp as shown.
November 2016 - Ennoble your ears - Noble Audio launched two new IEMs which both feature the company's new proprietary drive units. The newcomers, Kaiser Encore and Sage, join the recently launched Katana to provide three Noble-driver IEM options. "The new Sage [£520] is the most affordable way to experience Noble's new drivers whilst the Kaiser Encore [£1,699] with its 10 drivers becomes a co-flagship with the nine-driver Katana, each having their own individual sonic characteristics. Kaiser Encore and Sage directly replace their predecessors, the K10U and Savant."
November 2016 - Terra reborn - EBTB of Bulgaria release a Special Edition of their new Terra MkIV speaker with a solid wood baffle, brushed cast aluminium enclosure and tooled leather appliqué. This styled monitor combines a 4.5" Neodymium-powered Morel mid/woofer with 2.5" voice coil with a 25mm Neodymium ring radiator tweeter. A passive EQ on the tweeter is controlled with a rear-mounted dial. The front-firing horn is CNC-machined aluminium as is the tweeter waveguide, the footers and the spike protectors. The logo is cut from stainless steel. Specs are 59Hz - 25kHz bandwidth and 88dB sensitivity.
November 2016 - ex(a)ploration - Toronto-based exaSound Audio Design unveil their new flagship e32 DAC and multi channel e38 DAC.  "exaSound are amongst the first to release DACs based on the new enhanced ES9028PRO monolithic DAC chip from ESS Technologies. The new e32 and e38 D feature a unique asynchronous USB interface with error correction, galvanic isolation for ultimate external noise reduction, and quad-clock architecture with an 82 femto second master clock. exaSound devices offer zero-configuration comprehensive sample rate support up to native DSD 256 (quad DSD) and 32-bit PCM at 384kHz/DXD. With a truly balanced internal design, a high power high performance headphone amplifier and ultimate resolution volume control, the new exaSound DACs are designed and manufactured entirely in Canada."
November 2016 - Audio Engine(ers) - Audioengine® bow the HD3 [$399/pr], a pair of class A/B-powered desktop/console speakers with USB/S-PDIF DAC, headfi, Bluetooth with aptX, magnetized grills and Walnut, Cherry or satin black finishes. Wireless means streaming via Tidal, Spotify, Pandora and YouTube and there's even an analog input and a subwoofer output.
November 2016 - Bastanis split in twain - Kinda. As per Robert Bastani, "I changed our business policy to fully assembled-only models and the speakers received a lift in quality and price in turn.  To continue serving those customers who have an interest in low-priced exceptional sounding high-efficiency speakers, Mr. Bos in the Netherlands and I founded a new B.V. company named Club-27. Those new speakers are based on simpler drivers and parts than the Bastanis equivalents but they maintain the essential sound quality and will satisfy even experienced audiophiles who appreciate the general sonic aesthetics of my designs. The Club-27 speakers are available as kits and fully assembled, both at much lower prices than Bastanis."
November 2016 - Latvian EL84 - The DIMD PP10 [€3'250] is a class AB push/pull tube integrated whose quartet of EL84 is driven by a pair of ECC83 for 10wpc. There are four RCA input pairs. Input impedance is 100K, input sensitivity is 420mV. Dynamic range is rated at 90dB, output impedance is 2.8 ohms and global negative feedback is 6dB. The amp measures 43 x 16 x 28cm and weighs 9kg. Its circuitry is hand-wired point to point with polypropylene coupling caps, 1% tolerance metal film resistors, an Alps pot, silver-plated connectors and a solid oak casing.