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).

YouTube music link of Aliosha Generala's Orkestra Tangra Folk; link to Mohamad Aly's cover of 'Nehaya Wada'; link to the Rouh Trio's 'Mahla Alfusha'; link to Indialucia's 'Nagpur'; link to Pitingo's 'A puro dolor';
link to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Amjad Sabri; link to Vicente Amigo; link to Florin Nicolesu & Stochelo Rosenberg; link to New York All Stars 'Balkan Bollywood'; link to Juan Carmona's 'Perla de Oriente'; link to Borko's 'Bomba'; link to Nedim Nalbantoglu's 'Malaguena'; link to Lila Downs, Niña Pastori & Soledad; link to Taksim Trio's 'Lotus Feet'; link to Diego El Cigala's tango; link to Neshko Neshev's 'Ali Baba'; link to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan; link for Salif Keita & Cesaria Evora; link to El Lebrijano; and a link to Joscho's Stefan's 'After you've gone'. Enjoy!

December 2017 - To a new constellation - There are 350 seats on the starship Andromeda CK because that's the number of this limited edition IEM by Campfire Audio. "We wanted to offer something special and fun to finish out this year. So we made a very special edition of our Andromeda CK in a durable cobalt Cerakote™ finish with stainless steel spout, premium raw leather earphone case and detachable silver plated copper Litz cable."
December 2017 - Into the audio zone - Canada's George Tordai announces that they're launching "a new version of the Audio Zone AMP-D2 Class D stereo [$1'695] and mono versions [$2'695] for 2018. All new look with a 4x4x13" HxWxD aluminium extrusion chassis with all new class D modules pushing 250/400w into stereo or mono." Glen Wagenknecht will report on their sonics in the new year.
December 2017 - Amphion improve but don't raise price - The Finnish maker announces that their Helium410, Helium510, Argon0 and Argon1 monitors now come with "redesigned cabinets and the two Helium models utilize new higher-class parts. The major cabinet change of the smallest Helium and Argon models is the repositioning of the reflex tube now right behind the woofer to improve bass response and e midrange clarity. In addition, Helium410 and Helium510 employ a new tweeter that provides a cleaner and wider listening area compared to the old one."
December 2017 - Mac attack - The XRT2.1K [€130'000/pr] from McIntosh not only comes with a 2KW power rating into its 90dB sensitivity but its line array of 81 drivers breaks down to 6 x 8" Nanocarbon/Nomex honeycomb woofers, 2 x 6.5" midbass couplers, 28 x 2" aluminium/magnesium upper mids and 45 x ¾” metal tweeters. Bring on the SPL but leave driver envy at the door!
December 2017 - Fitter Fostex - "The T60RP [£300] is the latest culmination of the regular phase technology used in Fostex headphones since the mid 70s. Fostex RP models are the world's most modified headphone by headfi enthusiasts. The T60RP planarmagnetics have now been modified and tuned by Fostex with beautiful wooden cups and balanced connection options for portable players and dedicated headphone amplifiers. The main features are polyamide film diaphragms with copper foil etching; neodymium motors with up to 3W input tolerance; African mahogany cups; detachable connectors; new yoke panels with less than half the carbon content for more efficient magnetic transmission and better linearity; and a genuine leather headband and new around-the-ear ear pads for improved comfort."
December 2017 - Lilting Russians - S.A.Laboratories' Alexey Syomin announces his new Lilt range, "our new entry-level models using the same output transformer tech as our flagship Hercules and Samson projects. The Lilt Power delivers 12wpc into 4 ohms and has two 12AX7 drive four 6V6 in push-pull mode. Its volume control allows operation in integrated mode while activating direct mode converts it into a pure power amp. The power transformer is specified for 250 watts.

"The Lilt Preamplifier uses two transformer-coupled EL84 with the power transformer of the Lilt Power. Volume control is based on high-quality relay-switched resistors.

"The Lilt Phono uses one 12AX7 and two 12AY7 plus a 5AY3 rectifier for its power supply with a 100-watt line transformer. There are two MM inputs and MC cartridge users can add our step-up transformer. All the face panels in the Lilt range are polished Corian from a large colour selection."
December 2017 - Leema's pulse - The 80wpc Pulse IV amplifier [£2'295] integrates vinyl, streaming, headfi and Bluetooth connectivity to operate as a contemporary music hub. That means an MM/MC phono stage, aptX module and 32/384 USB DAC. There are also twin pairs of pre-outs and one fixed-level record out. Color options are black or silver.​
December 2017 - A class Magico - The new A3 [$9'800/pr] sets a new price low for the company but claims to do so without any compromises to their usual driver tech or robust build quality. As a result, the 50kg aluminium enclosure with aluminium bracing still contains a 1-inch Beryllium tweeter, 6" graphene-based Nanotec midrange and duel 7" matching woofers which use Magico's 'elliptical' 4th-order filter network with Mundorf parts. Specs are 88dB/4-ohm sensitivity with 22Hz-50kHz bandwidth and all of it fits into dimensions just 112 x 27 x 23cm HxDxW. Availability is first quarter 2018.
December 2017 - More Metrum - Announced for the new year are optional MQA modules; and a Roon end point called Ambre, "really a piece of art doing great stuff with the cool Roon software. And needless to say, our MQA modules remain optional as we continue to improve the non-oversampling principle which makes Metrum Acoustics unique in sound and which has created a very loyal client base."
December 2017 - Loudness wars go bust? - Music Streaming service Tidal has adopted the loudness recommendation of Eelco Grimm, HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and Grimm Audio. In Tidal's recent update of their iOS and Android apps, loudness normalization is now turned 'on' by default. With this move Tidal follow the trend towards automatic loudness normalization that was initiated by Spotify and Youtube. Eelco Grimm explains: "Tidal wanted to offer an optimal listening experience by adding loudness normalization but was concerned to interfere with the artistic intention of the producers. So I analyzed the loudness of 4.2 million albums from Tidal's database and found that even with recent releases quite large loudness differences exist between soft and loud tracks of the album. By normalizing all tracks to the same level, these differences are removed and the listener does not have the intended experience. A so-called 'album normalization' method, where all songs are adjusted with the same offset, solves this problem. The research question now was if these level differences between songs would still be appreciated when the tracks are mixed with songs from other albums in a playlist. The outcome of my subjective test was that the majority of users preferred album normalization always even when soft songs from one album are played next to loud songs from another album. The database analysis further suggested that on mobile devices the loudest track of the albums should be aligned to -14 LUFS.

"Tidal adopted album normalization at -14 LUFS and followed my recommendation to turn loudness normalization on by default. This is not only convenient for the listener but also helps to end the Loudness War since there is no longer any advantage to squashing the life out of a master. Such a track will just be attenuated more in the Music Streamer's app and make less impact than a dynamically mastered track. I am very excited about this development. The majority of music consumers worldwide now listens to loudness normalized music. I hope that the few remaining streaming companies that do not offer loudness normalization by default will follow soon." 
November 2017 - Tripath lives - Trends Audio of Hong Kong relaunch their TA.10.2 micro integrated with "a new 4mm front and bundled with a special 3A power adaptor to sell for US$149. The re-organized sockets make for easier connections and support bigger high-end cables." There's a higher-spec Alps pot and "the lowest LSR & highest ripple current Rubycon MCZ series tank capacitors for power filtering."
November 2017 - Crosby Stills and Manunta - Marco Manunta of M2Tech introduces their Crosby stereo amp which adopts a class D ICEpower module to deliver 60wpc in the case work of their Rock Star range. Bridge mode triples to 180 mono watts into 8 ohms.
November 2017 - Kiwilicious? - That's what New Zealand's Perreaux promise for their newest class AB integrated 255i which supercedes the earlier 250i. Its power rating still is the same 250wpc which doubles to 500wpc into 4 ohms but smoothing capacitance has increased from 5'600uF to 6'800uF. The biggest change is the DAC board's embrace of the latest high-spec ESS 9039Pro. Also, volume control adjustments now revert to full lettering for better visibility and the case work has undergone subtle cosmetic refinements.
November 2017 - URL overhaul - Richard Cesari of French cable house Esprit informs us that their new website just went live. Take a look.
November 2017 - Cube for magustrate - That would be Cube Audio's Grzegorz Rulka who announces their new F8 Magus widebander shown [€2'980/pr] and the matching quarter wave Voight pipe floorstanding Magus speaker [€7'990/pr]. "Our new driver has an enhanced even more powerful motor assembly. Additional new coatings for its membrane make the sound even richer and deeper. These Magus driver units are available in black or gold finishes."
November 2017 - Better sound carrier - Matija Krklec of Sound Carrier presents his Ultimate Phono two-box phono stage with parts from Mundorf, Sowter transformers, Audionote, Van DenHul, Cardas and Elna Cerafine. "Its unique features are three different MC plus one MM circuit all in one box to freely switch between Sowter MC transformers, MC op-amp, MC tube and MM tube."
November 2017 - Cloned oppo research - Funjoe of Hong Kong-based Clones Audio just introduced his Oppo UDP-205 drop-in linear power supply upgrades [ca. €320/480 for standard and deluxe versions respectively]. "Installation can easily be done by screw driver in 10 to 15 minutes."
November 2017 - Research your audio - Audio Research bow their new auto-biased VT80SE stereo power amplifier [$9'400 with tube cage, $500 less without]. It upgrades the predecessor's KT120 output tubes to the ovoid more powerful KT150 but is otherwise visually indistinguishable.
November 2017 - Polish your interface - Francisco J Vizcaya of QHW Audio in Spain introduces The Box, "a hifi enhancer device" whose description can be found here." It appears to be an active impedance coupler built around a discrete opamp which also adds 6dB of voltage gain.
November 2017 - Clamp down on cable jitters - Furutech's NCF Booster is promoted as a performance-enhancing connector and cable holder. This adjustable accessory is made from "ABS resin and NCF nylon resin to eliminate static charge whilst the top clamp is stainless steel."
November 2017 - Amp up your streaming... with quadral's Aurum A10S [€3'200]. Its 100/180wpc into 8/4-ohm class AB output stage marries to WiFi, Ethernet and USB-A via Aurum's iOS and Android app to integrate Tidal and internet radio. File support is for .wav. .flac, .alac., .wma, AAC, LPCM and MP3. A remote is included.
November 2017 - Cannery Row, Shinola - Detroit firm Shinola bow their Canfield Headphone Collection with four models - over-ear, on-ear and two in-ears. The Over-Ear Canfield [$595 - 650] uses a 50mm dynamic driver in a sealed ear cup for 102dB sensitivity and 41Ω impedance. The On-ear [$495 - $550] gets a 40mm driver for 105dB sensitivity and 32Ω impedance. The Pro In-Ear [$495] is a quad BA design at 102dB and 37Ω whilst the In-Ear [$195] gets an 8.5mm Beryllium dynamic for 104dB and 16.5Ω.
November 2017 - Dutch phono booster - Akiko Audio's little black box is meant to reduce the ultrasonic noise traveling down the fragile phono cable caused by power contamination. This applies the company's proven noise-attenuating addresses of AC and ground purifiers to vinyl playback by connecting the Phono Booster to a phono stage's or turntable's ground post.
November 2017 - Stereokonzept - Their new Model 2 MkII is "a sophisticated 2-way loudspeaker with outstanding performance, time alignment, an optimally behaved vented cabinet, Beryllium tweeter and a 15cm sandwich paper-cone mid/woofer with underhung neodymium motor for the lowest distortion and long linear stroke. The advanced xover uses only silver/gold/oil and copper capacitors, large-gauge flat copper coils and carbon resistors. The CNC machined monocoque aluminium cabinet results in one of the least audible and most rigid loudspeaker cabinets possible."
November 2017 - Nick does it all - For their 25th anniversary, Allnic Audio present new or revised models. Their new T-2000 25th Anniversary integrated is a push/pull triode/pentode machine which uses four KT-150 to produce 50/100wpc. There is a remote-controlled 41-step silver contact attenuator, a two-stage driver circuit, output transformers with large nickel/iron cores and bias metres for each output tube. The M-3000 Mk2 shown apply the same concept to a mono amp to deliver 90/200-watt in on-the-fly triode/pentode mode with a triode-connected E282F in the 2nd stage.

The L-7000 is a class A zero-feedback dual-mono line stage with a single voltage gain stage, transformer coupling, remote control, 300B voltage regulators and constant 150Ω output impedance. It too incorporates Allnic's oil-clutched precision motorized attenuator with discrete resistors.

The L-8000 transformer-coupled class A zero-feedback DHT preamplifier uses an exclusively direct-heated triode signal path from input to output and offers a constant 120Ω output impedance with tubed-based voltage regulation.

The H-7000V is a fully balanced transformer-coupled LCR phono stage with three inputs to support active gain, passive step-up gain and MM direct. The multi-curve LCR unit has four turnovers (250Hz, 400Hz, 500Hz RIAA and 700Hz) and four roll-offs (-16dB, -13.7dB RIAA, -11dB and -5dB). There are just two active gain stages. There is no negative feedback, no coupling capacitor and gain devices are four E810F pentodes.
November 2017 - 8mmaudiolabs - Donatas Tamošiūnas presents his new Lithuanian brand and its first two models - the 3-way Piu loudspeakers shown and the Piu Mini 2-way monitor. About the former, we learn that its "frame skeleton is crafted from select solid Lithuanian oak. 6-layer damped sidewalls and up to 10cm thick front panels keep vibrations to a minimum. The side walls are finished in an ecological multi layered composite which provides the highest scratch and heat resistance as well as highest gloss and reflection level." A vertical waveguide carved into the solid oak baffle "broadens the ideal listening area with improved 3D imaging and clarity. Reduced horizontal coverage minimises wall reflections." There also are custom silver connectors, custom copper inductors and a silver-trace PCB. The 3-way ported design is rated for 35-20'000Hz ±3dB, 92dB sensitivity and a minimum 5-ohm impedance. Filter hinges sit at 250Hz and 2'000Hz and the drivers are a 1" compression tweeter, 6.5" mid/woofer and 12" sidefiring woofer. DImensions are 130 x53 x22cm HxDxW and weight is 75kg/ea. Available finishes are gloss black and white.
November 2017 - Retro console - The+Record Player [starting at $999] designed by Alexander Åhnebrink comes in Maple or Walnut. Over a standard turntable, it adds Bluetooth, Toslink and a USB input/output to rip to a MAC or PC and stream files. A special auto-sensing line input and 5V power supply provide for seamless integration of Amazon Echo or Google Cast audio adaptors. The standard version features an aluminum tonearm and Ortofon OM10 cartridge. The $1'199 Carbon Edition adds a carbon fiber tonearm and upgrades the cartridge to an Ortofon 2M Red. A bi-amplified 100-watt built-in speaker system rounds out this all-in-one device.
November 2017 - Gryphon go pointy - As far back as 1989, Gryphon have offered resonance control accesories by way of the Black Spikes and Square One platform. 18 years later, we get their new Atlas Spikes [€1'490/4] which "employ effective mechanical earthing to divert resonances away from vibration-sensitive components (speakers, disc player, DAC, amplifier, turntable, cable/satellite TV box etc.) where they could do audible and visible harm. Assembled from carefully selected parts made of polyoxymethylene (POM), aluminium and tempered steel, Gryphon Atlas Spikes create an evacuation path between the equipment and outside world. By acting as mechanical diodes, they conduct energy in one direction only and block it the other way. They include M4 screw threads for easy mounting under loudspeakers and adhesive pads for carefully balanced placement under audio components regardless of total weight. The height of each Gryphon Atlas can be fine-tuned for perfect levelling."
November 2017 - Warsaw show - As in years past, Poland's annual very large hifi show takes place across a number of venues including the city's national stadium. Dates are November 17th - 19th and Marja & Henk will cover the event for us whilst Berlin correspondent John Darko will cover it for his site. This year there'll be 150 exhibitors across 165 rooms.
October 2017 - Final's planars - First teased at Munich HighEnd 2017, November will see the release of the D8000, the Japanese headphone specialist's first planarmagnetic model in what is expected to spawn an entire range. As explained by their engineers at the show, their special contribution to the breed is air-film damping, a technique to control diaphragm motion borrowed from certain microphones. Key specs for the D8000 are 60-ohm impedance and 98dB sensitivity.
October 2017 - Arcturus - George Lenz of TubesUSA.com directs out attention at "the newest amplifier from Arcturus Audio, the 801a. This follows the first 316a amplifier we released which also happens to feature bright emitters (thoriated tungsten filaments). We continue to build out our product portfolio and now have a passive transformer attenuator as well as a step-up transformer for low-output moving coil cartridges. The 801a features balanced and unbalanced headphone ports, a three-step gain switch for system matching, a preamp output, an 8 & 16 ohm speaker selector switch, 4 high-level inputs and manual tube biasing complete with a Yamamoto meter. Power output is 5wpc with remarkably low distortion. Pricing to be announced shortly."
October 2017 - Burning Amp Festival 2017 - It is coming to the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on Sunday, November 12th from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 PM. New this year are extended hours due to increased interest and popularity of DIY audio. Held in the fall since 2007, BAF has grown into a premier international event for DIY enthusiasts and professionals. DIY audio is the original maker movement dating back to the 1940s and 1950s when hifi was in its infancy and a lot of great-sounding equipment was assembled at home by enthusiastic amateurs.

BAF celebrates audio technology both new and old, tube and solid state, analog and digital. The festival has been held in the fall since October of 2007. Come listen to hand-built audio amplifiers, speakers and more. Bring your own gear: DIY amps, speakers, turntables, DACs, servers etc. Share ideas and learn to design and build your own equipment. By way of encouraging people to bring their own projects for show or demonstration, there will be free admission to anyone bringing a DIY project. There will be displays, demos, auction and raffle items, freebies plus well-attended lectures by prominent figures like Nelson Pass, Siegfried Linkwitz, Damian Martin and Wayne Colburn. And there are numerous DIY giveaways: Nelson Pass, as always, will generously contribute a big batch of Amp Camp amp circuit boards, parts and loudspeaker drivers. For more information or questions, follow the Burning Amp 2017 thread. When driving to the site, enter via the Gatehouse at Laguna Street and Marina Boulevard.
There are four talks throughout the day at the Firehouse. Unfortunately the room cannot accommodate more than about 110 people due to the Fire Code so some may have to stand outside or will not be able to attend a talk if they are late. No standing around the walls as this will violate code. Nelson Pass will be talking about his new amplifiers which diyAudio will sell as kits and should have them to demo along with tons of other stuff including the SAL speakers in his audition rooms. Siegfried Linkwitz will give a presentation on audio perception and demo his LX series open baffle speakers in his audition room.

Damian Martin will demonstrate the only existing US sample of a new precision measurement interface for computers which has unheard-of-performance per dollar; and a device designed by Jan Didden that automatically sets the input voltage to your computer interface to 1 volt to get the best measurements and not blow it up. He will have them on display at a table in the Firehouse and may do some tests of amps for people to demonstrate them

Wayne Colburn from Pass Labs will be about his new headphone amp design and the PCB he can supply for them and how he approaches some common circuit design issues. He ill also have a table in the Firehouse where you can listen to it. Bring your own headphones for the most meaningful experience.
October 2017 - Return of the AKG K-1000? - New and improved that is. The original two engineers responsible for this long discontinued headphone got back together to revisit the concept with new materials and other advances. One big advance is 96dB sensitivity. Impedance is 15 ohms, the driver is a 40mm square dynamic with 4mm of stroke. Approximate weight without cables is 330g. The pads attach magnetically and all frame adjustments are fluid not click-stopped. Pricing will start at $3'500 when shipping begins.
October 2017 - McInt - McIntosh announce their smallest MA5300 integrated amplifier [$5'000] whose direct-coupled circuit generates 100/160wpc into 8/4 ohms and includes MM phono, a comprehensive modular 384kHz/DSD256 DAC, a preout/main-in loop and a headphone amp with crossfeed circuitry.
October 2017 - Diamond cantilever? - Yes if you buy a Transfiguration Proteus D cartridge [£6'750]. "Production of a diamond cantilever is a unique challenge," explains designer and builder Seiji Yoshioka. "Of course it’s expensive but more than that, to craft it requires an extremely highly skilled technician." In most other respects, the design and specifications of the 'D' largely match those of the standard Proteus with its patented yokeless double ring-magnet design in which pure 99.9997% silver wire coils are positioned right at the focal point of the magnetic flux field. Multi-layered double dampers are made from different types of elastomer. Insensitive to temperature changes, they provide excellent stylus/coil alignment and control with highly precise tracking ability. The double dampers in the new limited edition Proteus D have been re-designed for the diamond cantilever."
October 2017 - Manhattan gets posher - Mytek's new Brooklyn DAC+ [$2'195] "features redesigned and enhanced conversion, analog and power supply circuits, the new Sabre 9028Pro chip for enhanced resolution and better filter options, upgraded headphone amplifier, better L/R separation, larger capacity power supply and new, very transparent analog attenuator circuit."
October 2017 - Acuhorn - Wojciech Unterschuetz of Polish audio house Acuhorn introduces their new Rate amp [€2'500] and matching R2R DAC/streamer [€3'600]. The stereo amp combines Lundahl input transformers with a Texas Instruments class D amplifier, Vicorpower SMPS and rear-mounted attenuator. The 28/384kHz DAC combines a 3.072MHz upsampling FPGA with a Soekris discrete R2R module and Raspberry Pi server again with a universal-range Vicorpower SMPS like the amp.
October 2017 - Gekko Cables - London-based Gekko Cables promote their Purple Haze interconnect as using "custom made one-piece connectors which use the core conductor to make contact with the equipment's RCA sockets."
October 2017 - Eureka - Richard Cesari of French cable house Esprit bows his new Eureka range which is positioned between their Lumina and Gaia models. " All models in the Eureka range are polarized and equipped with twin-material ferrites to eliminate ultrasonic frequencies and continue with our use of partial shields and air dielectric. A new pure copper conductor is clad in 40 microns of pure silver, then finished with new triboelectric surfacing to improve conductivity. All our cables are now available in black or white finish."
October 2017 - Auteur - Starting at $1'399, ZMF's forthcoming Auteur is billed as their first open-backed headphone with custom biocellulose 300-ohm driver. Standard trim is teak wood with black aluminium weighing 475g. Two different kinds of easily swappable ear pads are included to provide the user with different tuning options. Forthcoming editions will introduce other wood species with a choice of black or brass grille and rods.
October 2017 - Rad new Raidhos - The X-5 [starting at €26'900/pr] and XT-5 [starting at €39'600/pr] are the Danes' latest models which pair their ribbon tweeter with latest-gen Ceramix cones which "offer a step change in performance over previous versions to maximize power and power handling." To approach their own diamond membranes, the D-Series drivers exploit a new Titanium/ceramic sandwich which "starts with our existing three-layer aluminium/ceramic composite, then deposits on each side two layers of Titanium and Titanium Nitride particles in a high-temp sputter process for a seven-skin membrane of constrained layers." Refer to their website for more tech details.
September 2017 - New Metrums - Launching today at the Dutch XFi show are the Metrum Acoustics Onyx [€2'062 ex VAT] and Jade [€2'475 ex VAT] which slot into the expanding lineup between the Amethyst as the entry model; and the Adagio/Pavane at the top. Both run on two Transient Two ladder DACs per channel but the Jade adds precision volume control via variable reference voltage.
September 2017 - Bigger badder power plant - PS Audio announce their new P20 Power Plant, "our next step in power regeneration, offering lower distortion, lower output impedance, more output devices and greater current capacity than any product on the market. The P20 also features a unique new graphical user interface (GUI) which provides more information on both input and output signals than ever before."
September 2017 - Wyred's nextGEN class D - Here is a sneak peek at the guts of their proprietary new flagship amp with ground-up class D implementation, i.e. not any OEM module from ICEpower or other vendors. The big toroidal transformer and filter caps indicate a linear not switch-mode power supply. The fully dressed public premiere of it will be at the October RMAF show in two weeks.
September 2017 - Keep thy signal paths short - Ivo Linnenberg is getting his new reference monoblocks ready for their public unveiling at October's Westdeutsche Hifitage in Germany's city of Bonn. The Liszt will be high-power versions of his existing 55-watt Allegro monos. As this spy photo shows, the circuitry is again very tightly 3D packed to shorten the signal path for best bandwidth. The front third of the enclosure is taken up by the big power transformer whilst the output devices are mounted to the rear plate with its external heatsink. The obvious companion piece to the Liszt monos is LinnenberG's new Telemann DAC/pre with remote-controlled analog precision volume.
September 2017 - CAD USB - Computer Audio Design release their I and II cables. "A USB cable is made up of four conductors: two for power (+5V and ground), two for high speed differential data (data+ and data-). Unwanted high frequency noise is present on all. CAD’s patented filtering system carefully tackles all four. Since the +5V conductor carries particularly large amounts of HF noise, we use a separate highly-shielded cable for the +5V conductor. Also, our conductors for high-speed signals employ quite different materials and construction techniques to those that only operate at lower frequencies." Their new USB Cable I [£540] is an enhanced version of the original design. The USB Cable II [880] takes noise reduction considerably further with a whole different construction and insulation plus three independent CAD absorbers designed to further reduce unwanted high frequency electrical noise and mechanical vibration.
September 2017 - Aqua get even wetter - Aqua Hifi's Formula DAC gets the xHD makeover via new firmware for the main FPGA; and a new USB board with hybrid 2-stage XMOS xCore XE216+FPGA architecture. This means fully floating isolated USB decoding and clock generation via FPGA with proprietary code; and 768kHz PCM and DSD256 bit-perfect sample rates. The update involves a new plug-in USB module; hardware modification of board P1108 connected to the module; new firmware for the R2R ladder DAC FPGA; and new firmware for the STM32 main micro controller.
September 2017 - Hafler ship - Canada's Hafler, now a division of Radial Engineering Ltd, have begun shipping their $1'300 HA75-DAC, "an audiophile-quality 12AX7 based headphone amplifier and USB DAC with source impedance adjuster". 
September 2017 - SotM ready master clock - With their USB reclocker featuring an optional word-clock input, it was only a matter of time until the South Koreans would offer their own dedicated word clock. At right is a rendering of a prototype to be previewed at the upcoming RMAF show in Denver. It will have 4 x 50Ω BNC terminals (one 75Ω option), 10MHz operation and a 12V DC power input. Styling will copy their existing range of USB reclocker, mini server and linear power supply.
September 2017 - Japanese 3-2 combination - Chris Sommovigo's Black Cat Cable boutique have launched the new 3200 Series cable which begins shipping in mid November at $499.95/1m/pr (at $100 more by 2018). "The combination of Sommovigo’s Matrix-32 4-pole/32-element braid of individually insulated pure copper conductors and a processed Airwave twisted pair inside a thin-walled pure PTFE air-filled tube is simultaneously very complex and yet elegantly simple."
September 2017 - Go sutty not slutty - "Unlike most step-up transformers (SUT) customized to a specific cartridge with few adjustments, Zesto Audio's Allasso is the most versatile, with 40 mono adjustments and 40 for your stereo MC cartridge. All adjustments are easily accessible on the front and can be done on the fly without clicks or pops. The most prized features are the 4 gain settings of 17dB, 21dB, 23dB and 26dB and the stepup ratios of 1:4, 1:6, 1:8 and 1:12 with 10 load positions for each."
September 2017 - Nagra HD preamp - After 3 years of R&D with a 10-strong team of engineers, Swiss Nagra Audio are about to bow their new flagship tube preamp [€54'900] with outboard supercap power supply and integral mechanical decoupling system. There are 3/2 RCA/XLR inputs, one each RCA/XLR variable outputs, one fixed RCA output, a pair of XLR inputs which bypass the internal dual-mono transformer volume control, and selectable grounding for the main outputs. The two volume controls are clutched for normal operation, can be offset to dial in balance and, with a switch, can be reset to normal. Claimed specs are 160dB S/NR and 200kHz perfectly phase-linear bandwidth from a tube circuit. More information to come, with first public appearances planned for the upcoming hifi shows in Tokyo, Vietnam and Denver/US.
September 2017 - Meadowlark sings again - For those wondering what Pat McGinty has been up to since the original Meadowlark Audio closed its doors, their low-key new website shows a major shift of design approach: to 24/96 DSP-controlled fully active models in fact. The latest Kestrel now is a 2x250wpc twin 7" woofer affair in a 9 x 9 x 40" cab, with performance that "used to take a Heron level speaker with very good amps." With Pat's main business today being custom architectural wood trim for period homes, interest from custom installers knowing about his past had led to one-up speaker commissions. Those speakers had to be small yet potent. This led Pat to investigate the most current class D amps and DSP engines. Far more impressed with the result than he initially expected, he next applied the same thinking to the type speaker he'd designed before. The outcome is a small made-to-order boutique operation which he runs together with his daughter in parallel to their main architectural commissions.
September 2017 - Taga go hybrid - The HTA-1200 80wpc integrated combines a 12AX7 preamp and 12AU7 buffer stage to drive four Toshiba pure current-gain output transistors from a 300V transformer. Coupling caps are MKP issue and the potentiometer is an Alps. The built-in DAC features 24/192 specs and there is a headphone circuit and a pre-out for a subwoofer.
September 2017 - Mac integrate and receive - The McIntosh MA7200 export version of their integrated amplifier (not available in the US/Canada) combines 200wpc with 14 inputs including 5 x RCA, 1 x XLR, MM, MC, 2 x coax, 1 x Toslink, 1 x USB and 1 x proprietary for the company's SACD/CD transports. The modular DAC accepts up to 384kHz PCM and DSD256. The headphone output runs crossfeed technology. Available globally is the MAC7200 Receiver shown which adds to the integrated platform an AM/FM tuner [$7'000].
September 2017 - Gold Note integrate - The IS1000 is a 120wpc class A/B 'super' integrated with phono stage, DAC and streamer, Roon readiness, WiFi/LAN, MQA, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify/Connect, Deezer, iOS/Android app, 24/192 PCM, DSD native/DoP, 3 Toslink inputs, one coax, one USB, one XLR analog and two RCA (one can be MM/MC). There are even fixed and variable analog RCA outputs. Finish is black or silver.
September 2017 - Lio's new DAC - This modular DAC2 with its three circuit boards can replace the DAC1 in Vinnie Rossi's integrated Lio platform. The top PCB is the left channel, showing the discrete Class A output stage and linear voltage regulators for the output stage and converter chip. The middle board is identical but handles the right channel. The bottom PCB contains the digital inputs, Xilinx FPGA, oscillators, reclock circuit, control firmware and linear regulators for various voltages.
September 2017 - Vermeer - "It is a pleasure to announce that a new version of our Vermeer Audio Two is ready to launch as the TWO Universal Control Center LAN. This model has the same specs as the TWO but adds a LAN/network input to convert our DAC/preamp platform into a high-end music server that will process Internet radio as well as all files located on a LAN, NAS or personal computer. Remote control is via iOS/iPad app. Also, the Two in all its versions is now equipped with Black Path capacitors developed by our partners at Convergent Audio Technology."
September 2017 - B&W 700 - "This new 700 speaker series sees the implementation of technology first seen in the high-end 800 Series Diamond: the Continuum midrange driver, a bespoke version of the Aerofoil profile bass driver; plus improved tweeter-on-top housings for the two flagship models crafted from solid aluminium billet. Both were first seen on the 800 Series Diamond. More new tech comes in the shape of the carbon-braced tweeters. This delivers sweeter cleaner performance even further up the audible bandwidth. The new range comprises eight models, two with tweeter-on-top technology including the flagship 702 S2. There are three floorstanding models, three standmount speakers and two dedicated centre channels. All models are available in gloss black, satin white or rosenut finishes. Pricing starts with $1'200/pr for the smallest monitor and tops out at $4'500/pr for the biggest 3-way vented floorstander."
September 2017 - Cubism - Grzegorz Rulka introduces their Cube Audio company from Poland where they "manufacture widebanders and loudspeakers based on them. This means complete customisation of the parts, hybrid magnetic motors, ultra-linear suspensions and many more advanced in-house developed technologies." Two models each of drivers and speakers are available: the Fa8 [€490/ea.] and Fc8 [€790/ea.] 8-inch drivers; and the Bliss A and Bliss C back-loaded hornspeakers at €4'990/€5'990 per pair respectively.

For the Fc8 driver, the specs are:
Resonant frequency - Fs  = 42Hz 
Nominal impedance - Z = 8 Ohm
Mechanical quality factor - Qms = 14.3
Electrical quality factor - Qes = 0.39
Total quality factor - Qts = 0.38
Bl factor  = 8.6Tm
Xmax = ± 3mm
Xdamage = ± 6mm
Sensitivity @ 1kHz = 92dB
August 2017 - SAG - Simon Lee, formerly of April Music, is prepping the launch of his new portfolio. "Within two months, we expect samples of our small CD/DAC and integrated, our full-sized preamp and power amp and there are even two speaker models awaiting launch time." Given Mr. Lee's prior track record, one expects high-value product of unreasonably high sound quality. Those curious before the website launches can already reach Simon at simon55kr @ gmail.com.
August 2017 - ET wanna go home - conrad-johnson's new ET-7 preamp [$9'500] doesn't mean a remote star but your system. "It incorporates advances in regulated power supply design debuted in our GAT Series 2 line stage while closely following the GAT audio circuit. The ET7 boasts the same extreme quality parts. CJD Teflon capacitors are used throughout the audio circuit and for the regulated plate voltage power supply filter and storage capacitors. In the interest of bringing GAT-like performance to a more affordable price, the ET7 reduces the total capacitance in power supplies and output coupling. Like the GAT Series 2, the ET7 uses all Vishay resistors in the audio circuit and in the associated power supplies. The ET7 replaces the discontinued ET5. Deliveries have already begun."
August 2017 - Polish SET - Acuhorn introduce their new TT amplifier which works its 6C33C at 400mA in auto bias. The amp can be run in stereo [€4'800] or converted to mono [€9'600 for the pair]. "The switching 90-264V/AC power supply is by ultra state-of-the-art Vicorpower modules. The amplifier has only three parts in the signal path: the grid input transformer, the tube and the output transformer." Input sensitivity is 2V and output power is 6wc or 12-watt mono. Weight is 11kg and dimensions are 8.5 x 32 x 28cm WxDxH.
August 2017 - Flip yer lid - Returning to London Friday 29th September to Sunday 1st October is headroom@indulgence at the Novotel/Hammersmith. £15 tickets open the doors and key players like Sony, Pioneer, Astell&Kern, Focal and Chord Electronics will display their latest and greatest; or smallest if it's IEMs.
August 2017 - Moscow show - This year's MHES will be held in the capital's Holiday Inn Tagansky hotel from November 10-12.
August 2017 - Tell it, man - The Telemann [€4'400] is Ivo Linnenberg's latest DAC/pre. With Amanero USB, AES/EBU, 2 x coax and Toslink digital inputs and RCA/XLR outputs, there's even the option to convert the RCA output into an analog input via internal jumper. By keeping volume control in the analog domain, no A/D is involved. The user may select from one of seven digital filter options. Volume spans 76dB in 1.2dB increments. Max output voltage is 4/8V on RCA/XLR respectively. The red 14-segment display operates in noise-free DC mode and extinguishes 10 seconds after remote commands and 20 seconds after initial turn-on. Specs are 32/192 PCM, DSD128 DoP, DSD512 native via Asio, 82fs master-clock jitter, <0.0003% THD/N, 138dB dynamic range, 120db cross talk and output impedance of 300 ohms per phase. Dimensions are 12x17x26cm HxWxD and power consumption is 8W in operation, 0.5W in standby. A metal remote is standard.
August 2017 - Polarising - Campfire Audio's new Polaris IEM [$599] combines an 8.5mm dynamic driver loaded into 3D-printed chambers fore and aft with an auxiliary balanced armature inside a 3D-printed waveguide. This hybrid driver array sits inside a machined aluminium housing finished in blue Ceracote.
August 2017 - Superphile - No, that's not a new breed of listener. It's the release of a new Live at Bernie's audiophile recording featuring the Anne Bisson Trio's Four Seasons in Jazz in a collaboration between Gary Koh of Genesis Advanced Technologies and mastering legend Bernie Grundman. "Canadian jazz vocalist/pianist Anne Bisson and her musical collaborators were recorded direct to disk over two days by Bernie Grundman at his studio. Co-produced with Bisson, legendary sound engineer Michael C. Ross used a 100% analog recording chain directly to Grundman’s all-analog record cutting system to realistically capture every glorious moment."
August 2017 - Bryston pre - In their Cubed Series, the Canadians launch the BP-173 [$3'995] with $700/ea. optional DAC and phono boards and $375 BR-2 remote. "Our patented super-linear low noise input buffer jointly developed with the late Ph.D. engineer Dr. Ioan Alexandru Salomie significantly reduces noise and distortion. The machine also has improved RF and audio frequency noise filtering and expanded i/o including two pairs of XLR and RCA outputs, an RCA tape loop and one of the XLR outputs can be set for variable or fixed. There are two pairs of balanced inputs and five pair RCA inputs. The BP-173 is available in either black or silver, 17" or 19" wide face plates."
August 2017 - Monrio - Giovanni Gazzola informs us that the new MC207 is their "largest and most powerful integrated amplifier featuring the latest circuit topology and top-notch materials. The circuit now relies on a single big printed circuit board capable of receiving all the necessary updates, carrying the output stage and the power supply whilst the sub board carries the low-level audio stage. The power transistors are designed for audio applications with good current and HF characteristics. By connecting these NPN devices in a quasi-complementary configuration, the MC 207 delivers 140 watts into 8 ohms even for very low-impedance loads. It features one 500 VA power transformers and four large electrolytic capacitors rated for 10'000uF each, four line high level inputs, a dedicated unity gain A/V direct input, a tape output and pre-out. An optional USB module allows connection to an Internet network."