The new £99 soundKey from Cyrus is a bold departure for the Cambridge-based company. The small digital converter/headphone amplifier is designed to run from portable and desktop audio alike (and is compatible with iOS device power output limitations). Made in the UK and not much larger than a couple of SD cards, this powerful little device was Kickstarter funded (raising £50,000 in its first day).
Once the initial Kickstarter angels have been supplied with their soundKeys, we look forward to investigating this UK-built, elegant little portable audio DAC, and see how it shapes up against stiff competition from the likes of AudioQuest’s DragonFly models. First impressions are very positive!
Even currently makes a pair of wired headphones and a pair of wired earphones, with a pair of wireless headphones expected soon. Prices are very competitive, with the in-ears retailing at £129, the H1 headphones priced at £199, and the Bluetooth headphones (expected in May) will cost £299. If you are at the ‘so what?’ stage, the Even EarPrint concept takes this headphone to new levels.
Press a button on the headset and you run through eight, low level pieces of music in the left ear, followed by eight in the right ear. Your job is to press the button when each piece of music is audible. Once the process is complete, the Even H1’s have taken a basic audiological profile of your hearing and applies it to music played through the headphones. This is a fascinating experience, and is especially useful for those who have hearing loss or damage. We hope to be looking at a pair of these clever headphones in a forthcoming issue of Hi-Fi+
A name perhaps best known among high-end audiophiles, the Swiss firm Goldmund has a commanding reputation for top-grade audio and its £9,500 Telos Headphone Amplifier 2 looks set to extend that reputation to the headphone space. This cost-no-object DAC/amplifier is capable of 32-bit, 384kHz or DSD playback through its USB input, high resolution through its optical or coaxial digital inputs, and includes a line input for analogue sources, which are digitised at input.
The main difference between the original and latest version of the Telos is the inclusion of a Binaural encoding option. With Chasing the Dragon actively releasing binaural recordings (among the first in a generation) and the original binaural discs now highly prized, this all-digital amplifier could prove a popular choice among the well-heeled cognoscenti.
On the same stand, Goldmund distributor and Simaudio dealer Sonata Hi-Fi was showing the first European outing for the £1,700 Moon NEO MiND network streamer, allowing the THA2 to gain full streaming services via the NEO MiND’s array of digital outputs.