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).

June 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.
June 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.