Now that we’re moving into the fourth quarter of the year, and simultaneously sliding into the holiday season, the new product announcements are coming in hot and heavy! Today, we have a list detailing some of the hottest new budget audiophile gear we’ve seen this week, including a value priced set of powered bookshelf speakers from ELAC, and the first Dynamic Open-Back headphone from Meze Audio, which is a real looker. Read on for more info on these products and more!
1. Meze’s First Dynamic Open-Back Headphone Is A Beauty!
It’s hard for me to believe that Meze Audio is just coming out with their first Dynamic Open-Back cans, but here they are. Dubbed the 109 PRO ($799), they’re made from a carefully curated combination of walnut wood, zinc, manganese steel, and vegan leather; plus, they have the alluring design the company is well-known for. The look is reminiscent of Meze’s iconic 99 Classics Closed-Back headphones.
Inside the cups resides a new Dual-Composite diaphragm with an outside ring (or torus) made up of a Beryllium-coated semicrystalline polymer with a cellulose-carbon fiber composite dome in the center. This forms the heart of a 50mm driver, designed to provide a “neutral, vivid, and transparent experience.” Available now at mezeaudio.com.
2. Buchardt Audio Has A New, More Affordable Version Of Their Celebrated S400 Speaker!
Buchardt Audio has made quite the name for themselves with their direct-to-consumer speakers, especially their S400 bookshelf ($2000), now in its second official rendition.
Well, if that speaker is a little too rich for your blood, you can now purchase their new P300 speaker ($1450), which is designed to capture much of the S400’s magic at a lower price point. In actuality, the P300 is almost the exact same speaker as the S400, with the exception of the Woofer, Crossover and Binding posts. Buchardt admits those components are of lesser quality compared to the versions installed in the S400, but they also say they are better than what the competition uses in their speakers.
Additionally, the P300 comes in some vibrant new colors including a eye-catching new Peach color, and a handsome Olive Green color. The P300 is currently available for pre-order at buchardtaudio.com, and if you purchase one of the first 100 pairs prior to November 15th, you will save €150, which is about $150 at today’s exchange rate.
3. ELAC Drops New Debut ConneX Powered Speakers At $599 A Pair!
ELAC is well known for affordable passive speakers, but now they’re looking to make some noise with affordable powered speakers as well!
Their new Debut ConneX DCB41 powered bookshelf speakers ($599) promise to deliver a premium audio experience for both movies and music, utilizing a 4 1/2″ long excursion woofer along with a 3/4″ soft dome tweeter per speaker. All are driven by a 50w x 2 built-in class-D amplifier. The Debut ConneX also has an S-shaped bass reflex port combined with X-Bass bass boost for enhanced low-frequency extension.
Additionally, the Debut ConneX boasts a wide variety of inputs (HDMI ARC, Analog/Phono, Optical, 24-bit USB and aptX Bluetooth), so you can play music from just about any source including TVs and Turntables.
Add to that a sub output for use with a powered sub, along with a remote control to command everything from your chair, and you have a flexible system you can use in many different ways, including a 2-channel living room setup, or a nearfield desktop setup.
The Debut ConneX DCB41 powered speakers are available right now at Elac.com
4. Dan Clark Audio’s New Open-Back Flagship Headphone Has Some Wicked Tech!
At $3999 a pair, the new Dan Clark Audio EXPANSE headphones may not be what you call Budget Audiophile gear, but they’re so cool, I had to put them on the list.
Dan Clark Audio headphones are known for their detail and neutrality, and this new headphone takes that to the max with an all-new 4th generation planar-magnetic driver and DCA’s Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System (first used in their closed-back flagship, the STEALTH). With this complement of technology, DAC promises “a stunningly smooth presentation to bring new depth and breadth to all your favorite music.” They also say that EXPANSE “sets a new standard in open-back headphone musicality, soundstage, detail retrieval, and comfort.”
I’ve listened to the EXPANSE’s Closed-Back brother, the STEALTH, and it was remarkably smooth and transparent, as well as very open sounding for a closed back headphone. I would really like to hear what an actual open-back version of that headphone would sound like, which is what the EXPANSE seems to be.
Dan Clark Audio EXPANSE is currently available at headphones.com.
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I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My hunger for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.