This Week’s Top 5 Hi-Fi News Ads (September 22)


The most interesting hi-fi (and head-fi) news of week 38, 2022.

Meze Audio teased the 109 Pro ($799), a fully modular, open-back, on-ear headphone that looks like a 99 Classics on steroids to everyone: the flexible frame is aluminum, the ear cups are walnut, and the cushions velvet. And the driver? A 5cm dual-diaphragm diaphragm that combines beryllium-coated polymer, cellulose, carbon fiber composite and copper-zinc alloy, all designed in-house and surrounded in the 109 Pro by an external D-shaped frame. spider on the outside and a skillfully machined aluminum grille on the inside.

From the mind of Paul Barton PSB comes a pint-sized streaming active speaker called Alpha iQ in which a 4″ polypropylene mid/bass driver benefits from 60 watts of internal amplification and is crossed using DSP to a 0.75″ aluminum dome tweeter powered by 30 watts of internal power amp. The result is two DACs per speaker that would each support PCM up to 24-bit/192kHz. The main speaker transmits the signal to the secondary speaker via a low-latency wireless connection, but the business end of the Alpha iQ’s streaming functionality is an internal BluOS card: say hello to Bluetooth, Roon Readiness , Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay. 2 and the 20+ streaming services supported by the BluOS platform. It doesn’t stop there. This new PSB mini monitor also loads in line-level analog input, MM phono, HDMI eARC and TOSLINK more a subwoofer output, all for US$1499 / £1299 / €1499. Shipping begins in November.

France Focal has released a new version of its flagship headset, Utopia. However, this new model is not called Utopia 2 or Utopia 2nd Gen. It is called, again, Utopia. Focal’s reasoning? This is how luxury brands manage the naming of their products. We’ll call it Utopia 2022 when we reflect on Utopia’s new updated feature set: improved M-shaped beryllium driver; improved M-shaped integrated grille; new voice coil combining aluminum and copper; carbon fiber inserts to reduce weight; plus a reworked visual style. Focal’s Utopia 20022 is yours for a tempting price of €4999 / US$4999 / £4699. Shipping now.

The French connection continues with Cambridge Audio which has updated its StreamMagic app to v2.9.0 which includes support for France’s most popular streaming service, Deezer. Evo 75 and 150 users can get their hands on this update now with v2.9.0 expected to roll out to the UK company’s other streaming products over the coming weeks.

Dan ClarkAudio announced a flagship “twin” to last year’s closed Stealth in the form of the open-back Expanse. The new model features Clark’s 4th generation planar magnetic speaker, which is said to be 20% larger than the one used in the previous open-back flagship, Ether 2. combination of waveguides, diffusers and Helmholtz resonators to reduce high-frequency standing waves for smoother treble response. Think Lighthouse Planarians are too heavy? Think again. Expanse’s frame is constructed from a combination of aluminum and titanium to put just 418g on the scale. In return, Dan Clark wants to squeeze $3,999 out of your pocket.


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