Nov 142010
 

Moving from the ground floor area of the Conference Centre to the lower ground floor we will visit Rooms CR6 to CR10.

Room CR6 Lyric

Room CR6 was where the show visitor would find one of Northern Ireland’s oldest dealers Lyric (formerly Lyric HiFi) Like many exhibitors at the show they were making the fullest possible use of the floor space in their room and had set up four working systems and a number of products sat on table tops on static display.

Sadly each time I visited the room no music was playing but a lot of selling was going on, so I can’t comment on the sound of any of the systems. However I did hear a number of visitors commenting in another room positively about the sound of the main system Lyric had in their room the Rega Isis CD player, Osiris integrated amplifier and Kef Reference 205/2 loudspeakers. Having heard the Rega pairing at Whittelbury Hall (with Magnepan MG 1.7 speakers) I can well believe that the sound would have been good.

The Rega Isis CD player is the first high-end CD player from this well established British company and is available with both a solid-state and valve output stage.

Here are some details that I have lifted from Rega’s website.

The Rega ISIS flagship CD player £5998 (valve output version£6998)

“We are very proud to introduce the 7th generation of Rega CD player .

A product manufactured to the highest achievable quality inside and out, Rega’s own unique CD technology, genuine black chrome lid and front facia, a custom solid anodised aluminium case weighing in at a notable 19kg ! We hope you enjoy this very special CD player; we have spent a very long time creating it, drawing on our many years of experience in specialist Hi-Fi manufacturing.

Technology behind the design of the Isis

One important design goal was to take the current output, with no internal amplification within the D to A converter, and convert this to an analogue voltage, using discrete class A operational amplifiers and filters. This circuit can then be optimised for sonic performance. (With most CD players the use of standard operational integrated circuits locks you into the sound of those particular integrated circuits, thus narrowing the scope for improvement).

The class A current to voltage conversion amplifier evolved out of the development of the first stage of the Rega IOS MC amplifier

It shares identical demands of low noise, high drive capability and gain bandwidth required of the voltage to current amplifier.

Careful choice has been made for every component in the digital and the analogue signal path to ensure the integrity of the signal.
The analogue and digital sections are bonded together using a substantial ground plane. It was found during the development of the player that adoption of RF ground plane techniques aided the sonic quality and therefore were included in the final design.

Careful design of the PCB’s ensures isolation of not just the digital and analogue sections, but also the motor, display and user interface processor.

All sonically critical electrolytic capacitors have been by-passed with polypropylene or polyester film capacitors.
In addition to this, large value electrolytic capacitors have also been by-passed with audio grade electrolytic capacitors.
Power supply impedances in the digital to analogue converter are kept very low by the use of solid polymer capacitors.

All power supplies utilise custom Rega K-Power smoothing capacitors, along with fast diodes which have been used throughout in power supply rectification.

The Isis uses enhanced and optimised control code for the control of the CD processor and user display.This speeds up the initialisation process by means of a tighter control interface between the user micro and CD processor.

Analogue section

The analogue section employs two Burr Brown PCM1794 digital to analogue converters, running in a parallel dual mono mode, driving ahigh performance discrete class A current to voltage amplifier.

This combination generates an exceptionally wide dynamic range, low distortion, and linear signal. This drives an enhanced discrete class A output amplifier. The circuit is fully balanced from the digital to analogue converters to the balanced analogue XLR outputs. The analogue stage has its own dedicated 50VA mains transformer which ensures galvanic isolation between the digital and analogue sections of the player. You will find 10 separate power supply regulators are used in the analogue circuit and each individual amplifier stage has its own dedicated low noise voltage reference.

Digital section

The digital section is blue printed and selected, with major improvements to the mechanism, optical amplifier, DSP core, PLL, master clock & motor power supplies. Another 10 separate power supply regulators are used in the digital circuit. The motor, user interface processor & display also have their own power supply. The digital stage also has its own 50VA transformer again ensuring galvanic isolation. The mechanism is graded and matched to the servo circuits, to ensure the servo and optical amplifiers are working at their optimum point, improving error correction and playability. The headroom of the optical amplifier has been improved by 10% by increasing the voltage in the power supply.

Digital

This revolutionary player has been five years in design. Rega, together with its design partners have pioneered a highly advanced servo controller that uses the latest signal processing techniques to ensure that the raw data that is recovered from the disc is of the very highest quality. Because our fully digital servo can use highly advanced algorithms the laser spot is kept in the optimum position for data recovery in terms of focus, size and tracking.

Extra Error Correction

Previous chip-sets always made compromises on error correction. Formerly it was possible to have good jog resistance or better musical performance.
The Rega chip-set allows optimum musical performance and optimised jog /vibration resistance.


Super-stable phase lock loop

The entire IC is clocked via a very special PLL of our own design. This allows better CD data recovery as well as a big improvement in the quality of the data delivered to the DAC.

Low noise digital design

In the design of our CPU IC we went to great lengths to ensure that the data and address bus noise was kept to an absolute minimum. This ensures the ground and signal connections to the DAC are as ‘clean’ as is possible.

USB Input

Allowing direct connection to a laptop or PC via a USB A-B lead to stream internet radio Mp3 or WMA files directly from your computer via the high quality ISIS internal DAC.
The USB input uses an isolated double-clocked USB interface, which permits the digital to analogue stage to be used with a computer USB interface and it’s own regulated power supply.
The USB benefits once again from galvanic isolation from the main circuitry of the ISIS player which eliminates the flow of earth currents between the CD and host computer, and eliminate computer power supply noise.

Disc Analysis
The ISIS will analyse each disc on an individual basis. During the initialising period (rather like the engine management system on a modern car which optimises the engine settings to temperature, fuel quality etc.) the ISIS will adjust itself to each disc in order to give optimal trouble free reading. For this reason the ISIS will often play discs with marks or scratches that other players cannot read.”

The Rega Osiris flagship integrated amplifier £5998

“The Osiris is the culmination of Rega engineers 32 years experience in solid-state amplifier development. A no compromise audio amplifier using state of the art surface mount technology and a fully symmetrical circuit.

Design

A super high performance, 162 Watts into 8 Ohms (250 Watt 4 Ohms) dual mono amplifier housed in a custom Rega CNC machined aluminium case with high thermal efficiency heat sinks. Designed around “minimalist” high gain power amplifier and “passive pre-amplifier” circuit topology, a passive volume control and a single stage of power amplification between the input and the speakers the Osiris offers unrivalled performance and build quality.

Technology

The Osiris uses a low distortion high linearity and bandwidth common base voltage amplifier driver stage. This type of symmetrical circuit topology will provide the necessary voltage swings to enable the Osiris to drive any speaker system with the minimum of distortion. Eight Sanken 200 Watt output transistors are used in a “triple” high current output stage enabling the Osiris to drive even the most awkward of speaker systems with ease.

The cascoded differential input amplifier uses two low noise LED referenced current generators. The open & closed loop feedback levels and gain bandwidth product components are optimised to give a tight and controlled sound stage, especially at the low frequency end of the audio range. Nichicon audio grade capacitors are used in bypass and decoupling positions.

Electrolytic capacitors have been bypassed with polyester capacitors where necessary improving on the HF performance. Low inductance film SM power resistors are used in the output stage.

Power Supply

The Osiris uses two low noise purpose designed 400VA toroidal transformers using high-grade fully bonded core material.

The transformers are mounted to the chassis using Rega’s innovative mounting technique, which eliminates noise being transferred from the transformer to the case when the transformers are operating under arduous mains (line) conditions with high levels of asymmetric mains (line) distortion.

These transformers combined with 40,000 Micro Farads of Rega K-Power smoothing capacitors per channel, provide more than enough current to drive the hardest of loads. All the power supplies utilise fast recovery rectifier diodes throughout. (Fast diodes generate less high frequency switching noise therefore giving rise to a cleaner DC).

The input and low-level driver stages are fed from a regulated symmetrical tracking power supply with a low noise voltage reference, which provides a fully stabilised low noise voltage, ensuring the highest level of sonic purity.

All the dedicated audio power supplies feed only the audio circuits. The input switching, display & micro controller and protection circuits have their own dedicated supplies, keeping the audio signal path as pure as possible.”

KEF REFERENCE 205/2

Whether you’re into Strads or Strats, Model 205/2 is an assertively musical performer when it comes to conveying the nuances of recorded sound – full-bodied, vigorous and sublimely expansive without ever compromising the unerring fidelity with which it reproduces intricate detail, however complex.

Uni-Q®

KEF’s latest Uni-Q driver array is the most natural-sounding yet. The tweeter at the centre of the midrange cone now has a vented three-magnet motor system and a unique new braced dome, creating a perfectly time-aligned point source whose directivity is optimised by the reprofiled cone. As a result, dispersion is wider than ever. Power response is more uniform. Multi-channel imaging is even more stable – and stunningly realistic.

Crossover

The Reference Series crossovers are computer modelled to optimise driver integration and response accuracy, and then fine-tuned by ear to ensure naturalness and a musically rewarding listening experience. Separate circuit boards are used wherever possible for the different frequency bands, with all components carefully laid out to minimise electro-magnetic interactions, and all boards are mechanically decoupled to isolate them from cabinet vibration. The quality of the signal path is maintained by taking advantage of the minimal losses in polypropylene capacitors and the linearity of air-cored inductors and the internal cabling is chosen for its accurate, neutral sonic character.

Cabinet

Precision engineered to eliminate every unwanted vibration, Reference Series cabinets are works of art in themselves. Massive internal bracing tailors the volume of each enclosure to the exact parameters of its drive unit. Extensive mechanical and acoustic damping, together with independent driver loading and KEF’s decoupling techniques, creates inert enclosures that eradicate any vestigial panel resonance, standing waves, stray reflections or box colourations.

Design Bass reflex three-way floorstanding loudspeaker, magnetically shielded
Drive Units 2 x 200mm (8in.) LF, 1 x 165mm (6.5in.) Uni-Q MF including a 25mm (1in.) titanium HF
Crossover Frequencies 400Hz, 2.3kHz
Sensitivity (2.83V/1m) 90dB
Frequency Response (+/-3dB) 45Hz – 60kHz
Maximum Output 115dB
Amplifier Requirements 50 – 300W
Magnetic Shielding Yes
Impedance 8 Ohms (3.2 Ohms min)
Bass Extension 35Hz (-6dB)
Weight 33Kg (72.6lbs)
Dimensions (H x W x D) 1105 x 285 x 433 mm (43.5 x 11.2 x 17 in.)
Finishes Piano Black, High Gloss American Walnut, High Gloss Cherry, Satin Black, Satin American Walnut, Satin Cherry and Satin Sycamore real wood veneers

The other items on show included the Rega Apollo, and Brio, Linn Majik DS.1, Linn Akurate DS, Kontrol, Akurate 342,  Sonus Multiroom system a focus of much attention each time I called into the room. There was also a collection of Rega turntables in various colours on static display.

Its a shame I was never in time to hear anything in this room….oh well such is life at audio shows.

CR7 Ardhowen HiFi

New start-up audio dealer Ardhowen HiFi (based in Enniskillen) had opted to set their systems up to fire across their room rather than down the length as many others had at the show.

Three Custom Design Icon tables housed the equipment with a pair of speakers at each end.

Their main system was an AMR CD-77 CD player £7295 hooked directly into an Airtight ATM-300 £7500, sitting on Ikea Lack table tops with large RDC Cones below and a SSC isolation platform under the Airtight valve amplifier. The cabling used to connect these up was Harmonix  HS 101 interconnect, HS 101 LS speaker cable and XDC-2 mains cables. These components (+ others) were fed electricity via a Vibex mains filter conditioner. The speakers these items were hooked up to were Verity Audio Finn speakers £5995.

Behind this system three Custom Design Icon 650 £350 (each) racks housed an Opera Audio/Consonance  Signature 10 2A3 £1700 valve integrated amplifier, Opera Audio/Consonance Mini Droplet 3.1 linear CD Player £2000.

The Signature 10 was hooked up to several phonostages, a Graham Slee Era Gold V+ Elevator XP active MC step-up amplifier (both using PSU-1 power supplies), Origin Live Ultra phonostage £1700, Croft RIAA valve phonostage £500 and on the Sunday a Hanns PA-30 phonostage.

Signal cabling used was a mixture of Audience AU24, Mark Grant G1000, Black Rhodium and True Colours Industries King Cobra speaker cable. Mains cables used included TCI Boa Constrictors, Harmonix RDC-2, AMR PC-777 (fitted with AMR Fuses). Some electrical power was given to these items via the Vibex £1700 and some from an Opera Audio/Consonance PW-1E.

Sitting on the top of the three stands were an Origin Live (here after OL) modified Technics 1210, fitted with an Origin Live OL1 fully upgraded arm £478, OL arm board, OL isolation feet, OL platter mat and OL Advanced Technics PSU£299. The cartridge was a Benz Micro Silver.

The next turntable along was the striking Hanns T-20 £2000, a new turntable to the UK market and getting its NI premier at the NIAS 2010. This motor unit has a ceramic  Clearaudio derived magnetic bearing with magnetic levitation isolation feet and separate outboard speed adjustable power supply. It comes as standard with two armboards one a Rega and one SME.

The T-20 was fitted with an Origin Live Illustrious Mk3 tonearm £1770 and Benz Micro Glider SL cartridge £745.  This turntable fed the Origin Live two box Ultra phonostage £1700 on the Saturday and the Hanns PA-30 (just below the T-20 in the photo below) phonostage on Sunday.

The PA-30 £1700 had arrived late and needed warming up throughout as its solid aluminium metal work was so cold it was suffering severe condensation problems. The internal MM and MC phonostages are housed in copper shielded sections with the phonostages mounted some distance from the also copper shielded power supply.

The third turntable was also a Technics, in this case a 1200 mk5 fitted with Origin Live mat £49, Jelco 750D tonearm, Benz Micro Gold cartridge £265, 4 Isonoe isolation feet £100 on instrument glass Isonoe coasters. The power supply was an Origin Live Ultra £450.

These items fed a pair of new Reference 3A De Capo i speakers £3025 which were sat on a pair of black Track Audio 600 £1300 speaker stands. These stands are from new company Track Audio who make a small range of products that include isolation spikes (on display), speaker stands and subwoofer/floor standing speakers platforms. The quality of engineering in these items had to be seen to be believed. The fit and finish + design was breathtaking.

Also housed in the Custom design racks were an Olive 4HD music server £2200 which was feeding a Reiymo DAP-999 DAC £7295. Also in use was a AMR CD-777 CD player and AMR AM-777 integrated amplifier £3200 each. A Firestone Spitfire DAC was also in use taking HD signals from the Olive 4HD.

Like a number of other exhibitors they had a mixture of items on static display, including an Acoustic Masterpiece AM-1 integrated valve amplifier, Croft Acoustics 7R power-amplifier, Micro 25R pre-amplifier, My Audio Design My Clapton Grand MM speakers, Track Audio Isolator feet, Isonoe feet and various cables from Black Rhodium + Origin Live mats and AMR fuses.

As you entered the room on the right wall there was a computer audio system (which was demoed regularly during the two days) with a Firestone Audio Big Joe 3 £345 digital amplifier feeding a pair of Reference 3A Dulcet speakers £1700. Sitting to either side of this table a pair of Usher Audio Be 718 speakers were on static display.

As I know the owner of Ardhowen HiFi quite well (he is a good friend of mine) I will refrain from commenting on the sound in this room myself, as I knew commenting on the sound would possibly/more than likely present a conflict of interest accusation; so a number of quotes were collected from visitors to the room during the duration of the show.

“Only sound I have heard so far that is right” George

“Best sound at the show” J Alexander

“In the top three” P Diamond

“Best sound at the show by a country mile” Steve

“Best sound” W Magill

These comments in the main are about the AMR CD-77, Airtight ATM-300 and Verity Audio Finn speakers system.

” Wow I didn’t think computer audio could be so good” F Clatton referring to the sound of the Firestone Big Joe 3.

Room CR8 Coherent Systems

During the course of the show amplification was changed around in this room and as I only heard the sound briefly on the Saturday my comments on sound will only refer to what I heard on the Sunday.

Coherent Systems had set up a sub-sat speaker system in this room but no ordinary one. In fact on walking into the room you could be forgiven for looking around for the aliens who had lost part of their spaceships weapon system. The Alien eye balls as I referred to them regularly or the Cabbase Baltic Evolution. Here is some info from the Coherent Website

Cabasse Baltic Evolution

“The fruit of Cabasse’s passion for music and acoustics, has created the Artis range of speakers which concentrates the very latest Cabasse innovations in coaxial technology. the mastery of vibratory phenomena.

The Artis models were created to ehance the acoustic qualities of the TC23 loudspeakers, and their sleek lines and style will add elegance and purity to your musical world.

The Baltic Evolution exists in three versions: a floorstanding speaker for optimal stereo reprocution, the Baltic Evolution Centrale shelf speaker, and, for customized set ups, the Baltic Evolution Murale for serious high end home cinema or multi channel music. The Baltic Evolution is one of a kind

The unbridled realism and stunning 3D soundstage characteristics are exclusive to Cabasse speakers designed using the their Spatially Coherent System.

For those discerning listeners seeking that ‘being there’ immersed experiance, then the Baltic Evolution and the all new room compensating sub-woofer the Santorin 30 will get you there closer than ever before.

Specification:

3 Way floor standing/center/wall mount, Power handling 220-1540W rms, Sensitivity 90db, Crossover freq 800/3.5KHz, Low freq point 50Hz,Minimal imped 3.2 ohms, Nominal Imped 8 ohms Freq Response 80Hz to 25khz, Size 1230mm x 320mm x 430mm, Weight 19Kg each, Available Wild cherry/black pearl/santos. Also in Black pearl/wenge/pearl. £4500.00 per column retail price. £2700 matching Santorin 30 sub-woofer”

This was the first time I have truly heard a Sub-Sat speaker system blend properly and produce music as well if not better than any conventional box system; this was a very impressive sounding room but I am getting ahead of myself.

As well as the Cabasse speakers the system comprised of an Oracle CD 2500, Belles Reference 22A pre-amplifier £2500, Belles Reference 150A power-amplifier £2300 and a size 5 Audiophile Base equipment table. All cabling both signal and mains were Coherent Cables.

Tony Sallis MD of Coherent Systems played a track I know very well Keith don’t Go by Nills Lofgren and to be honest it was stunning. The music was fast, open, detailed but not bright or forward. There was excellent coherence between the sub and the sats, the music flowed well and was very musical. There were some issues with low bass in the room but apart from that the quality of sound was very high indeed.

I was very impressed.

Room CR9 Living Space/Audio Space

Living Space/Audio Space are a new company who offer audio products in a new way (at least for Northern Ireland) in that they also provide all the furniture that you might use or need in your home. They view quality audio as part of the home and thus present their audio product ranges in a domestic setting within their premises.

I for one have no problem with this as anything which leads to more people being able to enjoy quality music in their homes is okay by me.

Not being aware of Living Space (Audio Space as an audio dealer) before seeing the exhibitors list for this show I visited their store, and I paid particular attention to how their exhibition room system was set up at the show. You may ask why ? Well I have read some very nasty comments about “that seller of kitchens who sells Naim” on a few audio forums. Well having spent time in their room and listening to the systems therein I think those who have posted those comments owe Living Space an apology, as frankly I saw nothing wrong or un-professional in their room or system set up.  I don’t normally make comments like this in show reports but praise were praise is due the systems were well set up.

The Living Space/Audio Space room system comprised the following electronics and speakers.

SME Model 10 turntable + SME 5 arm and Dynavector cartridge (not sure which one ?), Naim HDX, NAC 552, Superline, DAC, NAP 300, NAC 552PS, Super, CD 555PS, NAP 300 PS. All of these items were housed on Naim Frames. There was also an ATC SCA2 pre-amplifier in use too. Cabling was all nicely laid out Naim.

Main speakers at the front were ATC-50 Anniversary speakers (in a beautiful Burr Walnut finish) £15000, Neat Motive Se2 £1350 and Neat Momentum XL63 £799

Around the room various items of Naim electronics were on show + Neat speakers and a pair of stunning looking Epsilon planet speakers for only £700

Now its no secret that the Naim way of making music is not really for me, though some of the music I heard at the Whittlebury Hall show just past, played on Naim equipment has begun to change my views on this. I have not become a born again Naimee but I can now appreciate why so many chose Naim equipment to play music on; so I was particularly keen to hear how Living Space/Audio Space go about this.

While on one of my visits to this room during the course of the show the Living Space/Audio Space team were playing the Tain from the Horslips. The sound was open, detailed and very punchy with lots of bass and this from the tiny Neat Motive speakers.

While the sound was not fully for me it was still enjoyable and the Living Space team played some very nice music over the show weekend.

Well done.

Room CR10  Naim Ireland distributors Ainmav/ Living Space

This was a large room with a fairly simple system set up in it. The system comprised of Naim NDX+ DAC,  NAC 282 , NAP 200 and XPS power supply. The speakers in use were Naim Ovators s-400’s speakers.

The Naim website offers more info on the NDX and Ovator speakers; see below……

The Audiophile Network Player £2995

“The NDX is a network audio player with the potential to transform music in the home. It can play UPnP audio streams, internet radio, iPod or iPhone audio, and files stored on USB memory hardware. Three high resolution S/PDIF digital inputs complete its versatility.

NDX is however more than just a versatile network audio player. It embodies Naim’s unrivalled digital audio experience and knowhow to provide music reproduction quality equivalent to the best-in-class CDX2 CD player and HDX hard disk player. It makes music with vitality and clarity, rhythm and warmth. NDX defines a new class of high-end audio source equipment and brings to it genuine audiophile performance.

Streaming Versatility

Connected to an analogue or digital preamplifier input, NDX unlocks the potential of network audio. Its network connection can be either wireless or wired, and NDX can stream audio files, including iTunes libraries, stored on a computer or on network storage, via UPnP. It can play all common, and some not so common, audio file and stream formats at up to 24bit/96kHz resolution: WMA, MP3, MMS, AAC, Apple Lossless (from iPod), WAV, FLAC, AIFF and Ogg Vorbis. NDX also recognises M3U and PLS playlists formats and supports gap-less playback on all lossless formats.

NDX can play literally thousands of internet radio stations and an optional FM/DAB tuner module, that integrates seamlessly with the NDX control interface, is also available. NDX can play iPod or iPhone music via its front panel USB socket and, via the same socket, it can play audio files stored on USB memory sticks and drives. NDX is fully Apple Authenticated enabling playback of iPod/iPhone-stored digital media, bypassing the iPod/iPhone internal DAC for optimised performance.

Three independently selectable digital inputs enable S/PDIF audio signals from CD players, computers and other digital audio sources at up to 24 bit/192kHz resolution to be handled by the NDX. Each digital input comprises a different connection socket option; optical TosLink, coaxial phono and coaxial BNC, to provide yet greater versatility and optimised sound quality.

Choice of control

Versatility and audio quality is worth nothing without an intuitive user interface and the NDX has three. It can be operated from its front panel buttons, from its remote control handset or using the Naim n-Stream iPhone app. The app also allows input and volume control of Naim preamplifiers and DAC.In each case, NDX control is simple, intuitive and satisfying.

Connected to a world of music

Connect an NDX to your existing audio system, and the world of network audio opens for discovery. It’s a world of high resolution audio downloads, UPnP streaming, and the vast resource of internet radio. But thanks to Naim technology, it’s a world of very high quality reproduction also, where music doesn’t simply play in the background but lives, breathes and communicates.”

The Ovator S-400 loudspeakers £3600

“The Ovator S-400’s balanced mode radiator (BMR) constitutes its most visible technological advance, yet the performance of this loudspeaker is equally the result of painstaking refinement in numerous elements of design, construction, and material selection.

For example, there is so much more to the musical reproduction of bass than low frequency extension, so the Ovator S-400 LF driver is designed not simply to play bass, but to do so with faultless musical accuracy. It incorporates a multitude of electro-acoustic details aimed at minimising distortion and compression, and the result is extended bass with peerless timing, dynamics, and pitch accuracy. One vital element in the design of a high performance bass driver is its chassis. Great rigidity and an open structure are vital but potentially conflicting requirements, so the pressure die-cast bass driver chassis of the Ovator S-400 incorporates a triangulated framework, borne of finite-element analysis, that ensures both rigidity and unimpeded air passage.

The Ovator S-400 crossover network is housed within the plinth and divides the audio signal between bass drivers and BMR with fourth order acoustic slopes at 700Hz. Each component selection is the result of intense technical analysis and listening, and the component arrangement is fundamentally informed by the layout and earthing techniques developed for Naim power amplifiers. A crossover module suspension system and individual component decoupling ensures any chance of microphony is minimised. Conversion to either bi-amp or tri-amp active drive is easily achieved through removal of the crossover module*.

Just as much as it is BMR technology, it is the fine detail and the sum of the parts – the result of decades of speaker experience and development – that makes the Ovator S-400 so remarkable.

*Please note that the S-400 active crossover will not be available until late 2011.

Balanced Mode Radiator Explained

The Ovator S-400 Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) is the result of intense effort in both development and manufacture. Not only does the design of such a driver demand great intellectual understanding, but consistent manufacture requires extraordinarily fine specification and control of the physical characteristics of its components.

The underlying concept of the BMR is to engineer a practical implementation of the theoretically wide bandwidth and linear acoustic output of an unconstrained vibrating diaphragm. In practice, this is achieved by attaching balancing masses to a constrained diaphragm in carefully calculated locations. Such ‘mode balancing’ modifies the diaphragm’s vibrational behaviour so that it simultaneously operates in pistonic and vibrational modes to generate wide-bandwidth acoustic output with a flat frequency response, consistent dispersion and low distortion. Thanks both to the BMR’s exceptional inherent performance and to the absence of any mid/high frequency crossover discontinuity, it takes just a moment’s listening to appreciate the Ovator S-400’s breakthrough levels of musical coherence, timing and clarity.”

There were a few items on static display but most interesting were the open lid Supernait and Supercap. The internal build quality was as you can see from the photos very well done.

Sound quality in this room was a little less successful than the CR9 Room or perhaps it was more Naim and suited my ears less than the system in the other Living Space/Audio Space room.

There were definite bass issues and at times it was a little too forward and harsh to my ears. I suspect most of these problems were down to the room acoustics and a lack of acoustic panel use and not the equipment itself.

Neil

The End of Part Two

Part Three will be the final part and feature the First floor rooms such as Advanced Acoustics and Renaissance Audio.



©Text and all photos Copyright Adventures in High Fidelity Audio 2010 all rights reserved, except for the show logo NIAS/Gr8 Events copyright.

NB No part or portion of this article may be reproduced or quoted without written permission.


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