This is the final part of the London Hi-Fidelity Show report…..
Outside the EARHART ROOM company exhibiting Furutech.
Positioned just at the entrance to Sound Foundations room sat an impressive cabinet full of various products from Japanese company Furutech. Each shelf had various interconnects, mains cables, power cables and both mains and signal plugs. Audio jewelry indeed but in this case offering excellent build and visuals combined with sonic improvements over similar standard cabling products.
EARHART ROOM company exhibiting Sound Foundations.
The main system on use in the room consisted of an Inca designs Katana Cd player, Naim and Marantz integrated amplifiers and a pair of Amphion speakers. Mains supply was via a selection of Isotek mains units and all of this was housed in two Clearlight Audio Aspekt RDC racks.
Inside the Sound Foundations room I spotted and was surprised by a Furutech Dac amplifier, this is so new I can’t find it on their website. This mini system comprised of a Wadia I pod Doc and Amphion speakers.
At the time I visited this room no music was playing and as time was pressing, I had to leave before any was.
BLERIOT 1 ROOM company exhibiting Triangle Industries.
Waking into this room ones breath was taken away by the sheer scale of the system and the items that made it up. Two Emille Rapture amplifiers (using parallel pairs of 6550 valves) were being used per channel, with a Wadia 781 Cd/Sacd player, Dr Feickert Woodpecker turntable, Emmille Allure phonostage, Emmille Quintessence Pre-amplifier, and Triangle MAGELLAN Grand Concert Sw2 speakers.
Around the room various Triangle speakers were on static display including a Concerto speaker from the Magellan SW 2 range that was presented as a cut out, allowing a view of the internal structure and drive units of this speaker.
Sound quality, despite the size of the room, was quite good but would have been better in a smaller room. However I could hear what this system was trying to do but at times the music seemed lost in the massive space and thus suffered from a loss in weight and scale. Truly I was sad not to hear this set up at its best, as what a set up it was.
At a previous show at the Park Inn, Mcintosh had used this very same room for their £100000 system and the sound on that occasion was truly terrible. The sound quality this time round for Triangle was not in anyway shape or form terrible, just not as good as it could be and despite the room size issue music was still being made.
BLERIOT 2 ROOM company exhibiting Coherant Systems.
Tony Sallis was a very busy man playing music on this system, which was an Oracle CD2000 transport, Coherent Systems *PureMusic*server, Esoteric D-05 Coherent upgraded, Belles VT-01 Musical trio pre amplifier, Belles MB-500 stereo 500W mono power amplifier, Coherent Audio 6D cables and Mains Solution products, Black Ravioli Isolation plinths,Big feet, pads and dual risers and Townsend Audio VSS equipment, Amplifier stands & speaker platforms and Audio Physic Cardeas speakers.
Sound quality once again suffered because the room was way to big for the system. This was a real pity as I had been looking forward to hearing the Oracle Cd player and Belles amplification.
However the large size of the room did lend its self to the large static displays set up around in it. Coherant Systems had set out what looked like the complete range of Belles electronics, Audio Physic speakers, Cabasse and Vivid speakers.
GARROS ROOM company exhibiting Alium Audio.
It was great to see Ian Large and Peter Richards again and have a chat with them. During the course of that conversation they revealed to me their plans for developing and selling a home build flat pack high effeciency speaker. These plans are quite well developed as the speakers they were showing and using are a recent(though still prototype) example of what this speaker might be when finished. This semi-active open baffle loudspeakers was assisted by REL R-205 subwoofers and uses a Peerless tweeter and a Precision Devices midrange unit.
To my ear the Rel subwoofers, while very good were just not quite keeping up with the speed of the rest of the speaker. From time to time there was a slight lack of overall coherence and lack of lower midrange bass. This robbed some instruments of a touch of tonal richness and harmonic detail. However despite that, the sound was still very good and frankly I am quite excited for Ian and Peter as they have been seeking a speaker to match the Consonance (Opera) electronics they distribute for quite some time and to my ear they are nearly there and via their own design. Ian Large was talking about trying a BK subwoofer next, rather than Rel and I wish them all the best with their speaker’s.
The system being used was made up of Consonance (Opera) electronics with aMini-Droplet CDP3.1 CD player £2000, the new Cyber 2A3 single-ended monoblocks £5000, Reference 15 Pre-Amplifier £1100, and the afore mentioned Alium speakers and all signal cabling was Analysis Plus copper CU, with mains supply via Consonance mains cables.
Around the rear wall and part of the side wall Alium Audio had a nice display of valves and Consonance electronics including a USB Dac and a selection of interconnects, speaker cables and power leads.
I really enjoyed my time with Ian and Peter and listening to music in their room.
WRIGHT ROOM company exhibiting Audio Acoustics.
I had a very odd experience with this distributor/manufacturer. As I was about to take photos in his room (and asking was about to be part of this) I was told I could take no photos and was then asked to leave the room. Now three years ago, at a previous show at the Park Inn, he was more than happy to allow photos (I have had no contact with him since) but not now. Frankly I am at a loss to explain this change of attitude.
I do have to wonder if he treated more established magazines in the same way. Sadly because of this I am not able to offer any coverage of his room.
I really enjoyed my time at the London Hi-Fidelity March show and I look forward to covering the show again in the future. It was nice to catch up with those people I know well and make new contacts and some of these I hope will lead to products being submitted for review soon.
I would also like to thank Roy Bird and Justin from the Chester Group (show organisers) for their help before my visit.
The overall vibe at the show was very friendly to the new guy on the block and despite show attendance being down on previous years (this based on exhibitor comments and not the official Chester Group gate takings)and some were unhappy about this, in general most people I talked to were fairly up beat and some very happy that they had survived the economic down turn.
There were some interesting product premiers such as the MAD My Clapton Speakers and the David Weiner system but for me, the thing I enjoyed most about the show was the people that were part of it. I really enjoyed meeting both the visitors and the exhibitors and for those who took time out to chat, I thank you for your hospitality. At the end of the day it is human beings that listen to music and design the products that allow us to listen to it; so lets not forget that fact.
The rooms at the show with the best sound in” no particular order”, as they say on television, were, Hart Audio, Music First Audio with MAD My Clapton speakers, Townshend Audio, Sound HiFi, and ABC Audio with MSB electronics. Special mention also goes to Alium Audio, who in the fullness of development time will have an excellent speaker as part of their future portfolio.
See you all next time…..
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