Tomasz Karasiński

Tomasz Karasiński

Trained as an aviation engineer, working as a professional journalist with a passion for good music. In his free time, he's designing websites and taking photos of airplanes. Loves mathematical harmony in music. Likes both cheap and expensive gear, tube and solid state amps, large and small speakers, digital and analogue sources. Doesn't like crap.

Linn Klimax LP12

Linn announces the latest iteration of their flagship turntable. Klimax LP12 now features new Radikal, comprising hyper-accurate speed management technology, a whisper-quiet power supply, and state-of-the-art motor design. Additionally, this turntable scales new heights of fidelity thanks to extensive experimentation in material science - culminating in the breakthrough that is the all-new flagship cartridge, Ekstatik. This marks the conquest of a new summit of performance, at the top of the industry-leading Sondek LP12 range. With the new Klimax LP12, listeners will experience their favorite albums - both cherished classics and those freshly unwrapped - as if it were for the first time.

NAD C700

NAD Electronics continues its expansion in the "just add speakers" category with the introduction of the C700 BluOS Streaming Amplifier. Housed in a compact and modern design, the C700 was designed with a listener in mind who seeks an uncompromised listening experience with a focus on value. Inside the solid aluminum housing is a powerful HybridDigital UcD amplifier and BluOS Enabled network streamer. Using the intuitive BluOS app, the ability to cue music from a digital library, or stream from internet radio and online services like Spotify, Amazon Music HD, Tidal, and Qobuz could not be easier. The C700 delivers an experience similar to the award-winning Masters Series M10 BluOS Music Streaming Amplifier.

Dual CS 418

Dual is one of the brands most respected by audiophiles. It has produced so many great turntables that it's hard to count them all and a well-preserved Dual turntable, especially if we are talking about high-end models, is an excellent investment. After a restoration, such a source can be connected to any stereo system, even an expensive one, without complexes. Not only will it look great, but with the correct cartridge, it should also sound so good that owners of new turntables will feel embarrassed. Until recently, Dual's turntables could only be purchased on the second-hand market, but fortunately, the company has risen like a phoenix from the ashes, releasing several interesting and affordable turntables. I was most interested in the CS 418, a classic manual turntable with a built-in phono stage, belt drive, easy-to-use tonearm, and Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. And the price - €499 for a brand new Dual? I had to see what's what.

Astell&Kern AK ZERO1

Astell&Kern introduces its latest in-ear monitor, the AK ZERO1, featuring three different types of drivers to deliver a ground-breaking hybrid sound. Composed of a micro planar dynamic driver, dual balanced armature drivers, and a dynamic driver, this unique design combines the sonic characteristics of each driver to produce unprecedented natural audio. Astell&Kern has set new standards in IEM engineering to get the music fan closer to the original studio sound.

The Micro Rectangular Planar Dynamic Driver is a specially developed, highly advanced driver that allows a planar driver design, normally difficult to scale down for headphones, to be applied to in-ear monitors. Adopting a sturdy and lightweight planar membrane to minimize frequency loss, this is combined with a vibration panel boasting a high-polymer and thin metal film to create crystal clear and dynamic high frequencies. The AK ZERO1's driver system also features dual BA drivers, using custom-designed coils to deliver transparent vocals with super-low distortion. Couple this with the single 5.6 mm dynamic driver to ensure rich, controlled and deep low frequencies, and the AK ZERO1 is poised to deliver its pioneering hybrid sound.

To realize this new sound through the ideal frequency response, a Crossover Network design was generated based on a thorough understanding of each driver's parameters. Once established, each driver is carefully placed in the optimal position, enclosed in specifically designed acoustic chambers manufactured with 3D printing technology. These precision enclosures cleverly eliminate unnecessary movement and resonance from the drivers to ensure stable performance. Lastly, the main precision-tooled housing reduces internal and external vibrations to deliver the most focused and accurate sound possible.

To further maximize the audio performance the AK ZERO1 arrives equipped with a pure silver-coated OFC cable. Exquisitely crafted with high-purity silver plating and copper, alongside aluminum plugs, this design strives to maintain the transparency of the audio signal. Elsewhere, the MMCX connectors ensure a prime-quality connection between the ear housing and cable, offering long-lasting and stable performance. For discerning audiophiles looking to experience the highest quality audio possible from their AK ZERO1 IEMs or any other MMCX-connector compatible headphones, Astell&Kern is launching an optional 4.4mm cable. The PEP11 sports larger aluminum-machined 4.4mm plugs and features the same top-quality high-purity silver plating and copper cable.

Astell&Kern's recognizable bold diagonal design language continues on the AK ZERO1, with the premium cut metal surface brilliantly reflecting the light. The shape of the housing and the slender ear nozzles have been carefully designed and refined to not only provide a secure and comfortable fit but to deliver the sound efficiently and accurately through your ears. To further provide a snug fit, five different-sized pairs of silicone ear tips and one set of foam tips are supplied, along with a carry case to keep your IEMs pristine during transit. The Astell&Kern AK ZERO1 is priced at £649/$699/€749 and the PEP11 is priced at £119/$130/€139. Info and photos by Astell&Kern via Armour Home.

Astell&Kern AK ZERO1

Astell&Kern AK ZERO1

Astell&Kern AK ZERO1

Astell&Kern AK ZERO1

Meze Audio Elite

Meze Audio, a high-end audio company based in Romania, continues its collaboration with Rinaro Isodynamics for the release of the new Elite Isodynamic Hybrid Array headphone, their most advanced planar magnetic headphone to date. A blend of innovative technology and acoustic engineering with outstanding mechanical design and ergonomics, Elite is the result of 3 years of research and development which opened the path for creating a powerful, lifelike sound experience.

A huge expansion of Roon

The cadence of new Roon Ready certifications has increased tenfold since the start of the pandemic. In 2020, just a handful of new products were certified each month, and in the first half of this year Roon Labs is already announcing over 100 new Roon Ready and Roon Tested devices. Forty new brands have submitted products for certification in that timeframe. This includes key product ranges and new launches from notable audio manufacturers, including Arcam, Astell & Kern, Cambridge Audio, and JBL.

Luxman L-595A Special Edition

The new Luxman L-595A Special Edition is a premium Class A integrated amplifier built to commemorate Luxman's 95th anniversary. The unique industrial design reimagines the highly regarded L-570 series inaugurated in 1989. "Not many consumer electronics companies can point to a 95-year heritage. The Luxman L-595ASE validates our ongoing commitment to sonic excellence, superb build quality, and timeless design." - said Jeff Sigmund, president of Luxman America.

Josef Zellner - Dual

Dual's beginnings can be traced back to 1900 when brothers Christian and Joseph Steidinger began manufacturing watches and turntable parts. Ten years later, the Gebrüder Steidinger company began manufacturing power supplies to allow turntables to operate using mains electricity. It was not long before Dual started making their turntables. After the war, they became the largest manufacturer of this type of equipment in Europe, employing over 3,000 people in several factories. Later the brand expanded to offer customers complete hi-fi systems with amplifiers, tuners, cassette players, and speakers.

Bryston BR-20

Bryston is one of the companies that use a very logical naming scheme for their products. Thus, amplifier symbols usually contain the letter "B", DACs start with "BDA", network players - "BDP", home theater processors - "SP" and preamplifiers - "BP". They are supplemented with numbers, which may indicate their output power (the B135² integrated amplifier delivers 135W per channel into 8 ohms) or inform us which generation of a given model we are dealing with (the BHA-1 is the first headphone amplifier from the Canadian factory, and the BDP-3 already had two predecessors - BDP-1 and BDP-2). Devices that cannot be assigned to any of the existing categories are scarce. So when Bryston decided to break the current pattern and release a preamplifier that should have been called the BP-18³ (because it is the successor to the BP-17³) but was given the BR-20 symbol, it was clear that this was no accident. The reason for this sudden change turned out to be, unfortunately, very sad. The Canadians wanted to honor their colleague and long-time company president, Brian Russel, who died in his sleep of a heart attack last year. At the time, Bryston's team was putting the finishing touches on the device, which was to be named BP-18³. Members of the design team and executives knew that this model could be a real revelation to many audiophiles - even those using very elaborate, expensive stereo systems. Thus, at the end of 2020, Bryston revealed the new two-channel preamplifier - BR-20.

Norma Audio Revo IPA-140

The history of Norma Audio began in 1987 in Cremona - the hometown of famous composers, such as Ponchielli and Monteverdi, and great violin masters - Stradivari, Amati, and Guarneri. It was a man with an equally Italian-sounding name - Enrico Rossi - who created the apparatus on which you can listen to such wonderful music in the comfort of your living room. The first device manufactured under the Norma Audio brand was the NS 123 amplifier. It was not a spectacular commercial success, but nobody expected that. A completely new chapter in the company's history began when it was acquired by Opal Electronics, a manufacturer of electronic measuring devices. In 1991, Norma's owner started a research project to understand how audio equipment can degrade sound and how this can be avoided. Seven years later, he found what he was looking for. It was certainly not one brilliant solution but rather a collection of rules and general guidelines. Unlike manufacturers who have built their reputation on a particular technical solution, Norma doesn't base its entire business on a single patent. But if you would like to know what you can expect from this gear, Enrico Rossi makes it clear - the sound should be natural, dynamic, and succinct with a very realistic midrange.