Audio Research Announces Trade-In to Trade-Up Program

Audio Research is pleased to announce a special program to US owners of older Audio Research amplifiers, preamplifiers, or phono preamplifiers to Trade Up! to current models.  The 2017 Trade Up! Program runs for a limited time so act quickly.

The Program offers US owners of qualified Audio Research models Trade In values up to 75% of the original MSRP* of their Audio Research amplifier, preamplifier, or phono preamplifier when it is traded in toward the purchase of a new Audio Research amplifier, preamplifier, or phono preamplifier. All Trade In units must be in working order and be in reasonable physical condition.

The Program offer is limited to select amplifiers, preamplifiers, and phono preamplifiers. Select monoblock amplifiers are eligible but only when traded in and sold in pairs.  Current models may also be traded in. See your participating authorized US Audio Research Dealer for program details and the complete list of eligible units.

Offer good June 15 - July 31, 2017. Valid only to US customers who trade-in a qualified Audio Research product and purchase new qualified Audio Research product(s) from a participating US authorized dealer. (source)

*Limitations and restrictions apply.  Eligible Audio Research Models can be downloaded here.

HiFiMAN Introduces RE2000 and RE800 In-Ear Monitors

HIFIMAN, a leading designer/manufacturer of high-performance headphones and portable audio products, announced the introduction of two new In-Ear Monitors (IEM) that utilize breakthrough nanotechnology called Topology Drivers. The RE2000 ($2000) and RE800 ($699) deliver smoother, more extended response with reduced distortion for an improved soundstage and more realistic listening experience.

RE2000 is the finest IEM ever produced by HiFIMAN and is the company’s first IEM with removable cables. The Topology diaphragm, combined with extensive testing, allows the sound waves to encounter the listener’s ear precisely as the recording engineer intended. Housed in brass, the unique shape of the RE2000 provides remarkable comfort and isolation allowing the listener to enjoy them for hours on end. 

Using a 9.2mm dynamic driver in a rigid gold-plated, brass housing, RE2000 has a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, sensitivity of 103dB and impedance of 60 ohms. The detachable cable is comprised of silver coated crystalline copper wire. (source)

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RE800 shares much of the same technology as its larger sibling but in a lighter more compact housing of gold-plated brass. Using a 9.2mm dynamic driver, RE800 has a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, sensitivity of 105dB and impedance of 60 ohms. The cable is silver coated crystalline copper wire.

According to HIFIMAN Founder and President, Dr. Fang Bian, “Our new IEMs, with the Topology driver, have substantially improved performance that is readily audible. In fact, the idea behind the new Topology Diaphragm was actually inspired by my Ph.D. thesis that different nano materials have differing structures and each of those materials has their own properties. Therefore, by carefully controlling the diaphragm surface structure we can yield different results in acoustic performance to a degree previously unobtainable.” (source)

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The RE2000 and RE800 are available now for immediate shipment.

HiFiMAN will be exhibiting at the upcoming LA Audio Show June 2-4 at the Sheraton Gateway LAX. HiFiMAN will be in the Xtreme Room as part of Head-Gear. Company founder Dr. Fang Bian, along with company personnel, will be on hand to demonstrate and answer questions about SUSVARA as well as the new Shangri-La electrostatic headphone. 

Questyle Audio Announces QP2R Flagship Digital Audio Player

QP2R, the second generation of Questyle DAP, inherits Questyle’s quest and style. It keeps challenging the conventional concept by combining outstanding audio performance with unchanged size, doubled driving power with un-increased power consumption, fine craft with reasonable price, which is seemingly contradictory, but solved perfectly by Questyle. Meanwhile,  Questyle sticks to their mission of taking audio performance and listening experience as their core values and achieving perfection in design and operation. In shot, QP2R has preserved and inherited the typical and professional genes of Questyle which are becoming perfect over time. For the operating system, QP2R still uses Linux. Linux has the inherent advantages on performance and stability over Android .

Performance

On the QP2R PCB, the audio section covers about 70% of the whole that is comparable to the engine in the super sports car. There is no doubt that all this is for the performance. QP2R inherits Qustyle’s new design of Current Mode Amplifier built with all discrete circuit and pure Class A working state. Due to the full-balanced output, the amplifier circuits are upgraded to four groups from the original two, which is just like a car of two-wheel drive upgrades to four-wheel drive. Four groups of Current Mode Amplifier circuits are located on both front and back of the PCB, which significantly shortens the distance that signals bypass on the PCB. Thus the audio performance is improved, which gives QP2R 0.0005% ultra-low distortion and less than 0.1Ω output impedance. Besides, based on Current Mode Amplifier, QP2R is the first portable DAP in the world which uses pure Class A BIAS control system. Questyle Audio makes use of the Pure Class A BIAS Control System to ensure that Current Mode Amplifiers operate only in the state of pure Class A when driving different loads (headphones or speakers), especially heavy loads, which achieves perfect listening experience and outstanding technical performance,  which is like driving a super sport car, just imaging the car is set to “RACE” mode (Sport Plus or Sport Response mode), and its engine is running at the ultra-high speed, and the rapid shift together with a strong grip is enough to conquer you and give you great satisfaction.

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Craft

QP2R basically maintains the style of QP1R, the iF Industrial Design Award winner, and keeps the impressive design of tucked waist derived from a curvaceous woman's body. The curvilinear machining of Gorilla Glass for the front and rear panels of the player is extraordinarily demanding on CNC processing. QP2R uses a new patented technology of plane bearing on the mechanical steering wheel and the volume knob.The accuracy of this mechanical and electronic operation has a special attraction, and QP2R makes it more appealing.

The Type C port for charging and data transfer costs much to make a special equipment and a precise mold, and its inner bushing made of stainless steel is lustrous and scratch-proof.

Operation

The more complicated the world is, the more concise we are. Just as a sports car stresses accurate shifting gears and a sense of ritual, or a DSLR camera values rapid view of pictures among a huge number of files, most professional devices are mechanical and electronic control rather than touch screen operation.

QP2R uses a new patented technology of plane bearing on the mechanical steering wheel and the volume knob, which completely separates the electronic detecting and the sophisticated rotary bearings, thus the entire operation of the player becomes extremely accurate. The accuracy of this mechanical and electronic operation has a special attraction, and QP2R makes it more appealing.

There are over 30 components in the structure of mechanical steering wheel and the volume knob. Questyle’s engineers and Foxconn’ s R&D team have tested over hundred structures and materials.  It takes over 14 months to develop and they apply for over 30 patents for technology. The accuracy of this mechanical and electronic operation has a special attraction, and QP2R makes it more appealing.

MSRP: $1200 USD, Avaliblity: TBA (source)

McIntosh Announces New Integrated Amplifier and SACD/CD Player

McIntosh, the global leader in prestigious home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for over 65 years, is proud to announce two new products at this year’s HIGH END Show in Munich: the MA8900 Integrated Amplifier and the MCD350 SACD/CD Player. Each product combines the best-in-class audio performance of the legendary McIntosh Reference System with the latest in technological development.

MA8900 Integrated Amplifier:

The first of our next generation line of integrated amplifiers, the MA8900 Integrated Amplifier offers 200 Watts per channel and combines many new features with our legendary amplification prowess and preamplifier capabilities into one all-encompassing unit.
The MA8900 is the first product to feature our new McIntosh Monogrammed Heatsinks™. They are made from high quality materials with excellent thermal conductivity properties and are so efficient at dissipating heat that they warrant bearing the McIntosh “Mc” logo. Besides helping the MA8900 run cool, they’ll also help it look cool thanks to our new finishing process that results in a higher quality appearance. They are connected to advanced high current output transistors that eliminate thermal equilibrium lag time so that the first musical note played sounds just as good as songs played later in the listening session.
To keep up with the ever-changing world of digital audio, all the digital inputs are housed in our new DA1 Digital Audio Module. The DA1 can be replaced by future modules to easily keep the MA8900 current with all the latest digital audio formats and technologies. The DA1 comes with an upgraded 8-channel, 32-bit DAC used in Quad Balanced mode and has 6 digital inputs. The USB input accepts signals up to 32-bit/384kHz and supports up to DSD256 and DXD 384kHz. Analog stereo inputs include 1 balanced and 6 unbalanced plus 1 each of Moving Coil and Moving Magnet. All inputs can be given custom names for user-friendly system control and configuration. 
The MA8900 includes many other updates including new, more powerful control microprocessors to improve overall system operation and some of the latest audio-grade circuit components to allow the MA8900 to deliver the best sound possible. Other McIntosh features and technologies included in the MA8900 include: our renowned Autoformers; Power Guard®; Sentry Monitor™; Home Theater PassThru; High Drive headphone amplifier with Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD®); 5-band analog tone controls; and gold-plated speaker binding posts. The entire unit is wrapped in the timeless McIntosh aesthetic with blue watt meters, a black glass front panel, control knobs, illuminated logo, aluminum end caps and a beautiful polished stainless steel chassis.

MCD350 SACD/CD Player:

The MCD350 SACD/CD Player delivers a pure playback experience from SACDs and CDs. It features a balanced 2-channel, 32-bit/192kHz DAC. Fixed analog stereo outputs are available in both balanced and unbalanced offerings; a coax and optical output are also available. All analog outputs plus the digital coax outputs are gold plated or superior corrosion resistance. The MCD350 features 2x read speed so that all discs placed in its rigid aluminum die-cast tray are read at higher speeds, allowing their data to be stored in a buffer memory for a better error correction and tracking. A twin laser optical pickup uses a single objective lens with two laser units each employing different wavelengths that are optimized for SACD and CD playback. The classic McIntosh black glass front panel with an illuminated logo and aluminum end caps complete the unit.

Pricing* and AvailabilityOrders are now being accepted for both products with shipping anticipated in June for MA8900 and July for MCD350. Target retail price for each (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded): MA8900: $7,500 USDMCD350: $4,500 USD (source)

*Pricing subject to change.

RHA Introduces Two Wireless In-Ear Headphones

Sound creates personal, emotive experiences that can transport you to new places anywhere, at any time. Inspired by these experiences, we are excited to introduce two new RHA products that combine the freedom and convenience of Bluetooth® technology, with our commitment to design, build quality and audio excellence – the MA750 Wireless and MA650 Wireless.

The MA750 Wireless and MA650 Wireless in-ear headphones will join our acclaimed product range in Summer 2017. Both products will be available for preview at High End 2017 in Munich which we will be attending from 18-21 May. (source)

MA650 Wireless

The MA650 Wireless pairs a 380.1 dynamic driver with Bluetooth technology and AAC & aptX™ streaming for immersive wireless listening experiences with 12 hours playback. Using high grade aluminium housings and a noise isolating design with a flexible, contoured neckband and a universal remote, the MA650 Wireless combines wireless listening with lasting comfort, performance and quality.

The MA650 Wireless will be available for £99.95 / €99.95 / $99.95.

MA750 Wireless

Combining the handmade 560.1 dynamic driver from the acclaimed MA750 with Bluetooth and aptX™ & AAC technology, the MA750 Wireless delivers high quality wireless listening anywhere. A durable stainless steel construction and our signature Aerophonic™ design ensure distortion-free, immersive audio that can be enjoyed for up to 12 hours.

The MA750 Wireless also features a contoured, ergonomic neckband, flexible over-ear hooks and a universal multifunction remote for premium wireless listening with convenience and comfort.

The MA750 Wireless will be available for £149.95 / €149.95 / $169.95.

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Astell&Kern Announces New Flagship Digital Audio Player

IRIVER, the parent company of Astell&Kern, announced a new high-end audio player called the A&ultima SP1000 at the High End 2017 in Munich, Germany held from May 18 – 21, 2017. The SP1000 is the first model in the new A&ultima line of Astell&Kern players. The A&ultima line of players by Astell&Kern features the latest technology and high-end audio performance available in a portable player.

 

James Lee, CEO of IRIVER, said, “Astell&Kern is always looking to provide the latest and greatest music experience to our customers. With the launch of the A&ultima SP1000, Astell&Kern has once again created a true high-end audio player that provides music lovers the best possible listening experience.”

A&ultima SP1000 Highlights

  • Ultimate music playback with the latest dual AK4497EQ DAC
  • Equipped with Octa-Core CPU to optimize system performance
  • Sound designed with high output power with low distortion
  • 5 inch LCD screen, new GUI, USB 3.0, and multifunction wheel

A&ultima SP1000 is a new high-end player from Astell&Kern. The A&uItima SP1000 features a new, upgraded DAC chipset and new, faster octa-core CPU order to provide listeners with the ultimate sound experience.

The A&ultima SP1000 is equipped with the latest DAC chipset from Japan’s Asahi Kasei, the AK4497EQ. A separate DAC is dedicated to each independent left and right audio channel, producing a wider soundstage and better stereo separation. With the addition of an Octa-Core CPU, the A&ultima SP1000 not only boots faster but is able to process digital audio playback without lag or compromise in sound. This will provide the ultimate sound experience of any player currently on the market. Astell&Kern’s advanced audio design and signal management technologies used in the A&ultima SP1000 brings more power output with less noise and minimal distortion.

User experience has been greatly improved with the A&ultima SP1000. Equipped with a bezel-less design, the 5 inch, HD-resolution screen, provides more screen space to display music playback and player information. A redesigned GUI has an intuitive menu that is centered on music playback. USB Type-C 3.0 support allows data transfers that are twice as fast as other Astell&Kern players. The A&ultima SP1000 also provides 12 hours of music playback and with support for fast charging.

The inspiration for the design of the A&ultima SP1000 is based on precious gemstones that are finely cut and polished to perfection. A new multi-function wheel spins to adjust volume or pushes to power the A&ultima SP1000 on or off.

The A&ultima SP1000 will be available in stainless steel and copper versions. The stainless steel model will be available at the end of May for $3,499.

At High-End 2017, Astell&Kern will also announce a new cable line co-branded with Dutch cable specialist Crystal Cable. Four different headphone/IEM cable types will be available including MMCX cables and 2-pin cables, available in both 3.5mm unbalanced and 2.5mm balanced termination. (source)

The new Astell&Kern branded Crystal Cable line will be available in July 2017.

Nordost Introduces The QKORE: Ground Unit

A great deal of the electrical noise in hifi systems iscaused by imperfections in the power domain. These imperfections may be generated by airborne pollutionon the AC line that are induced, in part, by increasingamounts of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular signals. Airborne pollution can take the form of high frequency interference, noise, and stray magnetic fields, which lead to AC line contamination. A poor, or “unclean”, ground causes more performance imperfections than most people realize. Without an effective ground point, the entire foundation of your sound system becomes jeopardized—and unfortunately, most listening rooms simply do not have access to a designated line, attached to a ground rod. In these instances, a simple, effective, and internal option is needed: Nordost’s QKORE Ground Unit.

The QKORE is a parallel grounding device, which provides an artificial, “clean” earth for hifi audio systems using both an electrical and mechanical approach. This unique product combines Nordost’s patented Mono-Filament technology with purpose-built, Low-Voltage Attractor Plates (LVAPs), constructed with a proprietary metal alloy and a passive electronic circuit, in order to draw stray high frequency noise and voltage-generated magnetic fields to a manufactured earth point, leaving a clean reference behind. This passive system is contained in a mechanically tuned housing, and outfitted with gold-plated, WBT binding posts, which easily connect each component to an artificial ground. By providing for a balanced and very “clean” ground point, by-products of electrical balance imperfections between voltage and ground are no longer added to other pollutants, dramatically increasing high quality audio circuit performances.

Nordost’s QKORE is available in three distinct models. The QKORE1 is specifically designed to serve as a parallel ground for use with Nordost’s distribution block, the QBASE. By connecting the QBASE to the QKORE1’s singular binding post, it provides an effective, alternative ground on the primary side of the power supply. The QKORE3 is named for its three available binding posts, which can be used to ground any component in your system on the secondary side of a power supply, where the audio circuit is. For audiophiles who have monoblocks in their system, or are searching for an all-in-one unit solution, Nordost offers The QKORE6, making it possible to ground all elements of your sound system on its 6 binding posts, including one ground for your distribution block, two grounds for the left and right channels of your monoblocks, and three grounds for additional audio components.

In order to complete this comprehensive grounding system, Nordost has also designed a designated QKORE Wire, which is constructed to provide the path of least resistance to ground, for the stray, high-frequency, low-voltage potentials that can affect the performance of your sound system. The QKORE Wire is a mechanically tuned cable that utilizes Nordost’s patented Micro Mono-Filament technology, combined with extruded FEP insulation, and constructed with a 16 AWG, silver-plated OFC, solid core conductor. The QKORE Wire can be terminated with the following connectors: spade, banana, male-XLR, female-XLR, BNC and RCA (further termination options available). Source

  • QKORE 1 : $2,499.99
  • QKORE 3 : $3,499.99
  • QKORE 6 : $4999.99
  • QKORE WIRE : $360.00 ($150.00 per additional 1 meter length) 

QKORE1: Provided with a 2M Banana to Banana QKORE Wire.    Furnished with one “QBASE Ground” binding post to ground your distribution block. Offers an effective ground on the primary side of the power supply.

QKORE3: Provided with a  2M RCA to Banana QKORE Wire.     Furnished with three multi-use binding posts to ground your audio circuitry. Grounds system components on the secondary side of the power supply, where the audio circuit is.

QKORE6:  Provided with a 2M Banana to Banana QKORE wire and a 2M RCA to Banana QKORE Wire.    Furnished with three multi-use binding posts for audio circuitry, two binding posts for left and right monoblocks, and one “QBASE Ground” binding post to ground your distribution block. Offers an effective ground on the primary side of the power supply, for a distribution block, as well as on the secondary side of the power supply, for system components, including those with separate left and right chassis.

The QKORE grounding system is the most effective, comprehensive grounding solution in the consumer electronics market. When introduced to a hifi audio system, the results are immediate and dramatic— the noise floor drops, the increase in harmonic accuracy and clarity is unmistakable, and the overall musicality in system performance is elevated. Every aspect of Nordost’s QKORE grounding system is thoughtfully designed and manufactured in the USA to the highest standards in the industry, in order to ensure product quality and customer satisfaction.