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).

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.

April 2015 - USB the Sablon way - "Sablon Audio are delighted to announce the launch of their new Panatela USB cable. Drawing from the development programme for the forthcoming Panatela Reserva interconnect, it is hand wound from an exquisite sounding high-purity copper conductor to the requisite 90ohm specification. Featuring extensive shielding with laboratory-grade materials, the power line is additionally separated for superior noise isolation. Finally, a sonically transparent silky outer cover is used. Offered in 1.2m lengths with gold-plated A/B connectors for $900, this price is inclusive of worldwide shipping."
April 2015 - Not adamant but Adamante - The difference a letter makes. Here we see Apertura Audio's newest model [ca. €16'000/pr] which will make its global debut at the upcoming Munich HighEnd show. The Adamante is a 3-driver 2-way with 91dB efficiency, two 6.5" "isotactic" woven polypropylene mid/woofers and one 5" long 88mg aluminium ribbon tweeter. The loading is a hybrid down-firing port with transmission-line elements. The enclosure is Apertura's signature asymmetrical construction with curved cheeks and a slanted front baffle. The hinge frequency of the elliptical crossover is 1.8kHz. Dimensions are 22 x 35.3 x 115cm WxDxH, weight is 52kg.
April 2015 - Swingin' racks - Based on Sven Boenicke's SwingBase which decouples speakers from the floor with wire-suspended footers, the new Swing Rack exploits the same concept for your hifi equipment, using 3cm thick solid hardwood shelves isolated from the ground by the same wire suspensions. Each rack system is made to order to accommodate a client's precise needs relative to shelf size, number of shelves and overall rack height.
April 2015 - Amped-up JansZen - The zA2.1A-HP active is a 34" tall monopole hybrid electrostat with a -3dB point of 20Hz. It looks the same as the plain version but "has long-throw woofers that use spare power and EQ from the built-in amplification system to push the bass to 20Hz. Due to the sealed enclosure, even at 10Hz output is only down ca. 8dB. The experience is like running subs placed coincidentally with the mains, which is basically what this is." Pricing ranges from $14'365 - $15'345/pair depending on finish.

April 2015 - Yggy - Schiit Audio's new Yggdrasil statement DAC [$2'299] is a 24/192 true multi-bit converter working at 21-bit precision. It is built on proprietary DSP-based digital filtering which samples at 352.8/384kHz; and four AD5791 ladder DACs run differential into a discrete Jfet output buffer. Analog outputs are on XLR and RCA. Inputs are on USB, AES/EBU, BNC, coax and Toslink.

April 2015 - Swiss castle in its 10th hifi edition - On May 2 & 3, Klangschloss Greifensee opens its doors to the public again for "a good mix of modern and vintage hifi plus nice specials like the Sonic Chair." Tickets are CHF 10,- including one free drink.

April 2015 - Dan Clark does a Dan Wright - Mrspeakers® have gone from mod men and rebuilders to from-scratch makers with their latest Ether [$1'499], a planar-magnetic headphone not based on Fostex drivers but their very own. Those are based on a collaborate adaptation of Bruce Thigpen's knurling tech for Eminent Technology. This is said to create more linear and bigger driver excursions. The end result is a 2.75" x 1.75" single-ended planar-magnetic membrane with V-Planar™ surface processing, a precision-machined aluminium baffle with pivots and gimbals, a Nitinol 'memory metal' head band with micro suede cover, lamb-leather pads, 370g weight, 96dB efficiency and 23-ohm impedance. Different wiring harnesses both standard and balanced are available.

April 2015 - Revised concept - That'll be the Clearaudio Concept turntable. "In 2012, one Concept became two as Clearaudio added an MC version featuring the Concept moving coil cartridge in addition to the existing moving magnet package. The Concept’s frictionless magnetic bearing arm ensured optimal performance of either cartridge. Now the new Concept ‘Wood’ option takes the range further. Its fine wood construction in multi-layered Baltic birch is not only visually attractive, it provides more harmonious resonance control resulting in a more natural timbre and improved transparency. At the same time, all versions of the Concept have received a number of upgrades including a brand new tone arm and one or two enhancements to the turntable itself. The arm is now Clearaudio’s Verify Direct Wire Plus, a new edition of the earlier Verify. The ‘Direct Wire’ in question is a higher quality pure oxygen-free copper in a pseudo-balanced cable with perfectly symmetrical construction, running in an unbroken length from cartridge tags to phono plugs. The arm cables have been re-routed to pass through a redesigned arm bearing assembly and arm pillar, giving a cleaner and sleeker external finish. The turntable also now sports new adjustable and lockable rubber-tipped feet, providing superior stability and grip over the earlier brass feet."

April 2015 - Air out your amp stand - Artesania Audio's new Aire stand migrates the dual-decoupled technology from their flagship Exoteryc racks to the amplifier domain. As a shelf-less concept, the amplifier rests on inverted Nylon footers with upfacing Neoprene pads. The position of these footers is adjustable to accommodate any amp footprint that fits between the side rails.
April 2015 - German Physiks at Munich - The first of the annual show announcements kicks of. "German Physiks will demonstrate their new HRS-130 loudspeaker in room F210. This sports their proprietary omnidirectional wide-band DDD driver in an octagonal cross-section cabinet with a 10" downfiring woofer in the base. The standard finish is black or white high-polish polyester.  The HRS-130’s crossover has been developed from the new design in their Borderland MkIV. HRS 130 prices start at €13'500. Also on demonstration will be a luxury version of their Unlimited Mk II called the Unlimited Mk II Ultimate where the acoustic vinyl finish has been replaced with a luxurious all-over high-polish polyester available in black, white, yellow and red. Unlimited Mk II prices start at €9'450. Renowned German pianist and composer Martin Vatter will be giving his popular presentations again in the German Physiks room this year.  Electronics will be provided by Esoteric and cabling by Audioquest.

April 2015 - More exa sonics - In the wake of an announcement 2 weeks ago, exaSound now push their e22 [$3'499] and e28 [$3'299] in gen 2 versions with "firmware and hardware improvements". Both Sabre-based converters are DSD256/PCM384 capable. The improvements are "auto–power up after sleep and adjustable power down after inactivity, a maximum volume limiter when the output of either DAC is used to directly drive a power amplifier, and MP3Safe™ software protection against clipping caused by faulty or erroneous signal processing and data manipulation. For new hardware there is a more substantial and deeply sculpted front escutcheon, the ability to extinguish the display light via the included IR remote and a 12V trigger output for the e28."

April 2015 - TheVinylPress.com - Bill Hart describes himself as a former "NYC copyright lawyer for 34 years who was outside counsel on a considerable number of high-profile music business matters over the years, including a number of large publishing catalog transactions. I decided to retire early and now spend time in Austin and teach part-time at the law school and do other things to keep myself amused. One of those is TheVinylPress launched in February 2015 with a visit to the U.S. Library of Congress' audio-visual restoration facilities. In March I featured an interview with Olav Wyper, the creator of the legendary Vertigo Swirl label in the UK. He cleared up some misconceptions about the label and gave some insight into why the records sound so good. The site is music-centric. I'm avoiding gear altogether because though I love it, I don't want to write or argue about it. Nor am I addressing reissues for the most part. My focus is on older forgotten records that deserve renewed attention. In addition, I'm writing a little about the history of the labels, producers and am devoting attention to record cleaning, buying and other subjects that may appeal to those just wading into the vinyl waters as well as more seasoned vinyl collectors."

April 2015 - Raise 'em - Arteluthe introduce their new Stabilo custom loudspeaker and equipment stands which were expressively designed for "classic box-style loudspeakers such as JBL, Altec, Harbeth, Spendor, Westlake, Exclusive and others which sit too low for proper imaging yet are too large for regular speaker stands. Made in Canada, each Stabilo is made from four 5 x 5" pillars and 5" connecting braces. Ships assembled with no visible screws or fasteners. Made to measure and offered in a variety of veneers and solid hardwood. Prices start at $300 each."

April 2015 - Geneva erects new Goldmund Towers - As the press release puts it, Goldmund "are known for building ultimate speakers like the huge Apologue Anniversary, extremely powerful amplifiers such as the Telos 5000, or impressively refined and luxurious players like the Eidos Reference Blue. But not everybody is an audiophile wishing to have a dedicated listening room for heavy audio equipment. For most of us, music is part of our lives, but we are not willing to organize our lives around our audio system." The company's new anodized aluminium Logos and Metis Towers with gold-plated tops pay homage to that statement. Both models are active and wireless, the 86.5dB efficient Metis exclusively so whilst the 100dB Logos adds a coaxial S/PDIF input. Internal amplification is based on the company's proven Telos circuitry whilst advanced DSP performs time/phase correction and response tailoring.

 

 

April 2015 - Cary DAC - The DAC-200ts [$3'995] is "packed with features like TruBit™ upsampling and a 128-bit engine that expands native bit depths to 32 bits and upsamples with one of seven selectable sample rates up to 768kHz.. Whether upsampled or native, the signal is clocked several times with our OSO™ reclocking, then sent to 4 independent DACs for 8 channels of processing. Our analog topology utilizes a separate solid-state and vacuum-tube output stage which are switchable on the fly. Not only is the DAC-200ts a reference digital source, it can also be used as a digital preamplifier using its 3V variable output. A clock input allows for the use of an external master clock whilst the clock output allows the DAC-200ts to function as a master clock for other digital sources. Via USB, the DAC-200ts supports PCM up to 32/384 as well as native DSD256. Additionally there is CSR aptX® lossless Bluetooth, SPDIF coaxial and Toslink, AES/EBU and fully balanced XLR and RCA outputs, a large VFD display, remote control and Ethernet and W-Fi for control systems."

April 2015 - Rack it in Krion - Cliff Orman of Vibex teases us with early photos of their new Krion equipment rack with optional Alhambra/Granada AC/DC filters built into the bottom shelf. "Each shelf has internal damping and the resonant frequency is tuned by ear using a pure Titanium tube. This allows me to remove any unwanted resonances and fine-tune the sound of the whole rack."

Krion is a synthetic stone similar to Corian and Avonite trademarked by the Spanish Porcelanosa company. Its main constituent is aluminium trihydrate suspended in polymer resin. All of the current Vibex powerline filters are housed in Krion enclosures for resonance control. "I think the idea of incorporating the power block and filtering is a logical way to go and avoids additional pieces of equipment on the floor or taking up space in the rack. The power block/filter is removable in the unlikely case that it needs repair or an upgrade. I will also make made-to-order power cables so that you don’t have to cables longer than necessary, making the typical rat’s nest we are used to. The rack is totally modular and additional shelves can be added or removed as and when necessary. The carbon fibre tubes are available in 50, 100, 200 and 350mm lengths as standard separations between shelves. Custom lengths will also be catered to. The rack will be delivered to the customer completely set up and will only need the titanium feet adjusted to be level."

March 2015 - EVO3 the sequel - Isotek's EVO3 Sequel power cord [£199.95] "offers increased performance over the entry-level EVO3 Premier by featuring optimised conductor strand geometry and active shielding." The Sequel comes in a standard length of 2m, uses silver-plated 6N oxygen-free copper conductors twisted together to aid EMI/RFI rejection but with optimised thickness of the individual strands. The Sequel also incorporates more advanced active shielding under its outer PVC sheath, similar to that used in IsoTek’s more costly cables."

March 2015 - Take your meds - ALO Audio launch their new Rx [$349, $299 intro price]. It wais "optimized for IEMs with a wideband integrated amplifier and push/pull power supply. Improved power filtering provides an extremely quiet supply and ultra low noise floor. Huge dynamics are the result of our new 15-volt amplifier design which give plenty of headroom for the loudest passages to be reproduced wide open and without distortion The new Rx  has super low output impedance to deliver superb audio performance to earphones and more specifically, low impedance In Ear Monitors. Convenience is king when it comes to charging. That is why the new Rx is rechargeable from any normal USB charger. It will automatically vary its charging current to match the charger used." The housing is a limited-edition nickel-plated aluminium, the volume control a conductive plastic type. I/o are 3.5mm stereo. The USB input is of the micro sort.

March 2015 - Colour your own Sonus faber - "With the Chameleon speaker collection, Sonus faber bring their iconic elements to a wider contemporary audience whilst offering a level of customization previously unattainable in this market segment. The entire cabinet is covered in leather; driver flanges are embellished with aluminum trim; the side walls house exchangeable panels via a system of pins to allow for their simple removal and replacement. For the Chameleon collection, our designers have developed cabinet shapes and proportions that guarantee exceptional control of internal resonance, perfect acoustics, excellent driver stability and easy integration into rooms. All the driver components are built exclusively for Sonus faber by the foremost manufacturers in the field. Other special treatments during assembly put the finishing touches on the drivers before being sent to the production line. The three speakers that make up the Sonus faber Chameleon collection offer optimal solutions for both stereo music lovers as well as for those who want to create a multichannel home theater system. A floorstanding model, a bookshelf speaker and a center channel provide a range of combinations that are well-suited to any environment, from the largest living room to the most intimate listening room."

Sonus faber Chameleon side panels are available in 6 different finishes: white, black, metallic blue, metallic gray, orange and red. The Chameleon B is a 2-way ported monitor with 29mm soft-dome tweeter and 150mm PP-cone woofer (87dB, F3 at 50Hz). The Chameleon T adds two 180mm PP-cone woofers to become a 3-way vented box (90dB, F3 at 38Hz). The Chameleon C is a sealed B with 150mm passive radiator. Pricing is €750/pr, €1'750/pr and €450/ea. respectively. Replacement side panels in sets of four are €150 and €350 for the B and T and, for the C in a set of two, €45.

March 2015 - Noblesse obliges - From Noble Audio come a number of product announcements. "The Noble One is the first of a series of special projects and serves as a case study for the field of studio monitors. It measures 10¾ inches wide, 22 inches tall and 17 inches deep. Photographed in a signature Noble deep metallic blue, the cabinet  is long in the face and the front baffle has been anodized gunmetal grey to further accent the front. Its screws are user removable and the baffle can be rotated 90° in either direction so that the speaker may be laid on its side. This allows it to be more readily used in a tight working environment whilst keeping the tweeter and midrange drivers appropriately aligned. Around back, the crossover network is neatly displayed behind half-inch plexiglass with a large three-inch port and mounting posts located immediately above.

"Slightly larger than most studio monitors, the additional interior volume in combination with the 8" Scanspeak Revelator woofer results in superior low end uncharacteristic of monitors in this category. The casing of the 1" Scanspeak Illuminator Beryllium tweeter has been redesigned, allowing the tweeter to be recessed and mounted onto the custom-machined aluminium baffle. By recessing the tweeter, physical time alignment is achieved and with a redesigned casing, we are able to position it significantly closer to the 4½" Illuminator midrange driver. This results in a coherency characteristic of the Noble name. In line with our aesthetic sensibilities, the Noble One is available in both standard ($16'995) and bespoke ($17'995) options. The possibilities are truly endless with countless colors, veneers and anodizing options to choose from."

The speaker ships in a 1630 Pelican case with custom fittings. It weighs 67lbs, sports 90dB efficiency and a 3-way filter with 4th-order 24dB/octave slopes at 200/2'200Hz. Response is given as 35Hz -40kHz, impedance is 3.2 ohms min, 10.4 ohms max.

There is also the BTS Noble Bluetooth System which "instantly enables our entire product line. Weighing in at only 10 grams, the BTS offers at least seven hours of continuous use. It features the latest Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX technologies and an omnidirectional microphone with push button controls plus a detachable cable. The BTS will be priced at $99."

Finally, "we have focused on enhancing our customer experience. This week we'll debut a digital lookbook on our website where customers can view and sort though hundreds of Noble custom in-ear monitor designs." Shazam!