Abyss Diana Phi

An impressive group of the latest high-end headphones have been transported direct from the recent Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest to be offered to the ears of visitors to the upcoming Australian Hi-fi & AV Show at the Como Melbourne in South Yarra, from 19-21 October.

In the dedicated Headzones part of the Show, Addicted to Audio will be showcasing the very latest high-end designs from MrSpeakers, Woo Audio, Meze and Abyss, among dozens of other possible headphone choices from Sennheiser to Bose.

The new Abyss Diana Phi (right) extends the Diana range launched in 2018, touted as the world’s thinnest boutique headphone and claiming to have “changed longstanding perceptions of headphone physics”.

Described as ‘bigger on the inside’, the new Phi is so named because it incorporates the Phi planar drivers from the company’s flagship AB-1266 Phi CC — 63mm patent-pending planar drivers with ultra-low mass. Sporty leathers, soft Alcantara earpads and a high-tech ceramic finish provide desirability on the outside as well as the inside.

MrSpeakers' Ether 2 top-of-the-line planar magnetic

At the Show you’ll be able to compare those planar headphones with another provider of repute, MrSpeakers, with the all-new top-of-the-line Ether 2 (above). At 90 grams lighter than the Ether Flow heapdhones, the Ether 2 is uses an all-new 71x45mm diaphragm and an entirely new motor designed around the concept of TrueFlow technology. “Instead of designing TrueFlow into the motor, we designed the motor around the TrueFlow technology to realize a major improvement in linearity, dynamics, and detail”, says MrSpeakers. There’s also a new VIVO flagship cable to make the connection, available in multiple terminations including XLR and 4mm balanced configuration.

Meze Empyrean

Meze’s Empyrean has been ‘teased’ for a while, but it’ll be there to hear at the Melbourne Show. The company’s first isodynamic hybrid array headphone featuring drivers from Rinaro, which originally started 30 years ago as a state-funded initiative in the former USSR but now encompasses an R&D team across multiple locations and a new cutting edge industrial facility in Lviv, Ukraine. Rinaro developed the the MZ3 driver exclusively for Meze’s Empyrean, the hybrid array claiming a new standard in planar magnetic audio – the first dual shaped voice coil array, one of the lightest and most advanced planar magnetic drivers on the market.

Woo Audio WA11 PASSPORT (centre)

The Woo Audio WA11 PASSPORT is an ultra-compact high-performance headphone amplifier and DAC packaging an ESS ES9018K2M Sabre DAC capable for PCM up to 24-bit/384kHz and up to DSD128. Weighing just 413g and 24mm thick, its amplification runs battery-operated, solid state Class-A topology, with claimed frequency response out to 200kHz (-3dB), and outputs via both balanced 4mm Pentaconn and unbalanced quarter-inch jack (for conveience, Woo notes). The data connection is made via USB-C, with a second USB-C socket allowing charging alongside.

There are also brand new offerings from Fostex with its TH909, the Focal Elegia, and Astell&Kern’s AKT5P which uses beyerdynamic drivers in a closed-back design.

And should you wish, you can even listen to a pair of Bose QC35 II wireless noise-cancellers!

It’s all at HEADZONES at the Australian Hi-Fi & AV Show, at the Como Melbourne in South Yarra, from 19-21 October. Show details and advance discount tickets online here.