Oct 202010

In this the penultimate part of the NAS show report we will make our way from the Audiofreaks room to the last Suite Interlagos and then to room 307 Audionote before visiting a few more exhibitors in one of the side corridors.

Interlagos Suite  The Right Note/KOG/VTL

At the very farthest reaches of the show, at the end of a very confusing maze of corridors lay two rooms that you might have missed and the last of these was being used by VTL and The Right Note of Bath.

When we arrived Jeremy Baldwin of The Right Note was engaged in a Vertex AQ demonstration which we got involved in by being asked to offer comments on what we heard during this demonstration.

The secret to many of these big rooms, to get a decent chance of hearing the sound at its best (believe me this room was trying to muck things up) was to sit at the back rather than the front. Frankly in most cases sitting in the first few rows would result in a sound that lacked coherence, so by sitting further back the sound field had a chance to integrate fully.

As I sat there and Jeremy removed various bits of Vertex AQ the sound changed quite obviously both for the positive (when Vertex AQ was added) and to the negative (when it was taken away). The differences from where we were sat was pretty obvious each time but based on comments from other visitors they felt it was not and sounded worse.

I can’t really comment on what these other visitors heard or not but for me the music improved each time a Vertex AQ product was in use.

Jeremy was adding and taking away Vertex mains products and a set of vibration absorbers which had been sitting on top of the speakers. Now being honest here I pretty much felt that some Vertex AQ products were and I hate this term but that they were Foo ! I would not have credited a large improvement in sound quality to the presence on top of a speaker of a metal box (obviously there is more to it than that but as I can’t see what is in side, it is outwardly still just a metal box) sat on top of the very well made Focal speakers.

The presence of a mains filter or not is less of a surprise as I have heard these make a big difference to the sound of a system both for good and ill over the years. However in the case of this demonstration the sound improved quite a bit and without these products in place the negative effect of the room was more obvious. With them in place the negatives of the room, while still there were less of an issue as the sound improvement made up for them. This is what I said when Jeremy asked me what I was hearing.

I must say that he remained cool under a barrage of less than positive listening opinions, most being fairly negative.

The system in use was as follows:

Focal Scala speakers flanking the VTL MB-450 monoblock amplifiers and the S400 stereo (in Silver), with the dCS Paganini four-box system and the VTL 7.5 preamp (hidden) on the racks behind

Equipment used in the system:

  • dCS Paganini CD/SACD upsampling transport, Upsampler with USB input, DAC and Clock (Note: it’s possible to start with just the transport and DAC and to drive the power amp direct, without a separate preamp)
  • VTL TL-7.5 new Series III two-box preamp
  • VTL MB-450 new Series III 450W monoblock amplifiers – or
  • VTL S400 stereo 400W amplifier
  • Focal Scala Utopia loudspeakers
  • Vertex AQ mains cleaning, support platforms and (mainly) HiRez cabling, including the new HiRez Moncayo speaker cables

There were a number of new products on show from VTL in mk 3 guise, the TL7.5 pre-amplifier and the MB-450 power-amplifiers. These 450 watt mono power-amplifiers retail for £175000 the pair.

The mk3 improvements mainly lie in ‘the power supplies, a major feature of VTL’s design strength, and one of the main reasons for the stability and reliability of their amplifiers.’

Around the room there where a number of static displays comprising VTL products and a cabinet of Tellurium Q cabling.

The sound in this room was very good (despite the room) and frankly similar kit in other rooms did not sound as good as this.

Well done Jeremy Baldwin and The Right Note

Room 307 Audio Note

On the way back to the main show areas on the first floor you would have to pass the Audionote room and if you ventured within you would have been rewarded with a very good sound. Audionote always manage to have a good sound in their rooms at shows and NAS 2010 was no exception.

First visual impressions were not good that there would be a good sound here but after sitting down the music being played sounded excellent. The piece of Reggae music being played (sorry I don’t know what it was) had deep well controlled bass, very good pace and timing and the soundstage had very good depth and width. There were no negatives to the sound when I was in the room.

Well done Audionote.

Room 110 High End Cable/Dantax Radio

Having heard the Raidho C1.o speakers at the March London show (MV Audio were using them with TAC electronics) I was looking forward to hearing them again in a better room but sadly the sound in this room was off; being shouty, forward and with pronounced bass issues.

The system components were good, all the elements were there to have a great system but the room speaker interface was I suspect off. As I am familiar with most of what High End Cable were using this must be the reason for the poor sound. Sad to say but at a show as in your home the room will have the final say.

The system in use consisted of a Bel Canto CD2, Bel Canto S3001 integrated amplifier, the aforementioned Raidho speakers, Audience AU24 cabling + an Audience Adapt aR8 power conditioner and several items from Quantum, including a QX4 mains purifier.

Room 109 Select Audio/Abbingdon Music Research (AMR)

Having already given Select Audio their own setting up feature (The Show Exhibitors Prologue) as a prequel to this show report I will keep this brief.

Stephen Riddick and Vincent Luke managed to create a very musical sound in this room. At first glance you might have felt that the Verity speakers would be too big for the room but the AMR CD-77.1 CD Player, Luxman C-600 pre-amplifier, M-600 power-amplifier and Verity Audio Amatis speakers + Basis and Harmonix cabling worked very well together to create a very nice sound indeed.

In the room also there was a cut away of an AMR CD-77.1 CD player, it was fascinating to see inside this beast of a player.

Room 108 WiFi HiFi

I was not going to cover AV and did not realise when I entered this dealers room that that was what it was. However I will break my rule here as they were showing/using Waterfall speakers which are very good for HiFi use as well.

I was somewhat cynical about how speakers with a glass cabinet would sound until I heard some Waterfalls a few years ago and these speakers are very good, being a little like Triangle speakers (Waterfall use Triangle sourced drive units hence the similarity)

Sadly there was no music playing in the room, just a movie so I wont comment on the sound.

Room 107 Storm Audio/Kog Audio

Storm Audio of France had more or less the same system on show as they had back at the March London Hi-Fidelity show at the Park Inn. As my report there goes into all the details I wont comment further except to say, like then the sound quality in the room was very good.

To the left of the main system they had their amplifiers set out in a row so visitors could get a better look at the fronts and rear of these interesting solid-state designs.

While there, they were playing music from the Movie Braveheart and very nice it was too. The sound was open and detailed with a very nice sweet treble and excellent bass control.

Well done Storm Audio.


The End of Part Eight.

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