Sep 212015
 

NASWith great appreciation to Justin Anon (User211) I am delighted to be able to present a mostly photograph show report (I will add detail and discuss items of particular interest) of the National Audio Show (taking place as I write), held once again at Whittelbury Hall, in the beautiful Northhamptonshire countryside in England.

Its been a frustration of mine that in recent years life has kept me away from NAS, this year I had hoped to attend but once again it didn’t happen and based on the photos Justin took that looks to have been a real shame as there are some very interesting items in them.

Unlike previous NAS reports this one very much reflects Justin’s particular interests and as such is not a total show report.

Here is the NAS 2015 online Show Guide http://issuu.com/scotthumphrey4/docs/national-audio-show-programme-2015

So without further ado and in no particular order here are the highlights of NAS 2015

 

Neil 

 

Inspire HiFi – Ground Floor Monza Suite  

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Inspire Audio had their usual varied selection of their own original turntable designs on show plus their reworked Lenco (The Enigma) and the Monarch direct drive (which uses a Technics 1200 drive unit in conjunction with original Inspire parts, platter, bearing, PSU, control interface, chassis, and plinth) design. Also on display were a number of user installable turntable upgrades.

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The New Black Magic Si entry level turntable £600 (with Rega 202 tonearm, sans cartridge)

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New Inspire Elevation turntable £1550 (with Rega 202 tonearm/sans cartridge)

Inspire say this about it – ” The Elevation turntable is an extremely hi mass turntable that oozes class with its performance, looks and quality.

Together with its very high mass and careful use of materials such as the dense and inert platter. The sound stage, deep bass and precision timing combine to give the listener an altogether exhilarating musical experience.

Features:

• Deep 90mm Solid Birch Ply plinth (veneers available)

• 50mm solid hi spec machined acetyl platter (available in black and white)

• Precision sub platter • Aluminium bronze bearing housing • Sorobothane suspension feet • Hi spec smooth running AC motor • Dual 2 belt pulley • Speed Box Strobo with 33 and 45 plus fine speed control and quartz controlled circuitry”

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The Inspire Technics 1200 modifications, which include a beautifully made wood surround, platter modification, upgraded bearing, power-supply, and armboard.

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Inspire modification/upgrades for the Roksan Xerxes (Original Xerxes) and Linn LP12 (Vivid)

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Inspire Thorens TD160

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Amplification within the room was by Unison Research

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Inspire HiFi http://www.inspirehifi.co.uk/index.html

 

Origin Live – First Floor Room 103

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NAS 2015 saw the first showing of Origin Lives impressive looking new statement turntable The Voyager £12900 (excluding arm)

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Origin Live say this about the Voyager….

“The Voyager turntable is the culmination of over 25 years spent researching the art of turntable design. It’s awsome performance derives from many tried and tested techniques along with very innovative ideas. This is nothing less than you would expect from our track record of 17 Awards won through long experience in the control of micro-vibration.

The Voyager is also available in an “S” version where no expense is spared. Higher quality materials and expensive machining is necessitated along with numerous “under the bonnet” detail improvements. A 2nd drive motor is also included in the S-version. Every possible care has been taken with the usual conscientiousness of Origin Live, to produce an utterly exceptional performer.

Great attention has been devoted to the design of the platter and bearing assembly. The concept is, to transmit energy instantaneously out of the record, and at the same time prevent vibration from the motor, the bearing, and the environment, entering the record. This sounds simple but is very hard to achieve in practice.

The Voyager platter uses intricate (and little understood) mechanisms to create the equivalent of mechanical diodes. For non electrical readers, a diode allows electrical energy to flow only forwards but not backwards. Standard heavyweight platters are abysmal in achiving this requirement as they tend to reflect vibration in the record (produced by the cartridge), straight back into the record.  Felt mats only tend to transmit certain frequencies which cause timing problems and other issues.

The Voyager uses a multi part platter designed to transmit energy at all frequencies without the reflection problems encountered by many platter designs. The energy is controlled by a series of shock absorption mechanisms created from our long experience in controlling micro shock waves. Key components are made from well specified alloys to achieve highest energy transmission speed and low “ringing” effects. Material composition, profiling and the right damping methods are critical to accomplish this.”turntable-voyaver-front-2True expertise is the ability to know which details make all the difference. Some High End decks invest enormous sums in fancifull, ideas that don’t make a musicaly coherent product. You will notice that the Voyager has many seemingly insignificant details. For example, lightening hole profiles and part shapes are all carefully derived from experience of structural analysis – vital for the correct manangement of micro-vibration. This is not the brute force approach adopted by many spectacular decks where energy reflection seems to produce a lack musicality and subtle timing in the micro dynamics.

turntable-voyager-angle-frontThe Bearing in the standard Voyager possesses extremely low levels of friction and vibration. Features include, extreme precision, large diameters for rigidity, special oil and high mass.

The Voyager Motor is renowned for it’s reliability and smooth rotation.
Drive belt consists of a low stretch, high grip material which is now widely recognised (in the form of our “upgrade belt”) as a significant advance over normal belts, threads, tapes etc.

Plinth is constructed from high grade alloy and carefully damped to reduce ringing effects.

Up to 3 off, 9″ to 12 inch tonearms can be mounted at the same time. Armboards are easily changed and adjusted.”

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Also sharing Origin Lives room was Sugden Audio

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Origin Live – http://www.originlive.com/

Sugden Audio – http://www.sugdenaudio.com/

 

Sound Fowndations – Ground Floor Hungaroring

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Sound Fowndations – http://www.soundfowndations.co.uk/site/Home.html

 

Magnific Acoustics/The Missing Link  –  Ground Floor S25

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Magnific Acoustics – http://www.magnific-acoustics.co.uk/

The Missing Link/Vinyl Passions – http://www.the-missing-link.net/ http://www.vinylpassion.com/Products/index.html

 

Long Dog Audio – Ground Floor Room S10

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Long Dog Audio were running an interesting system using Passlabs XA100.5 mono amplifiers, a new to me turntable from Reed, the Muse C, and the Long Dog Audio designed Music First Audio Reference Phono stage, Classic Step Up, and the Baby Reference Pre.

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Music First say this about the Reference Phono Stage £ 9840 –

“The Music First Reference Phono Amplifier is an all valve moving magnet phone stage, employing innovative (possibly unique) circuit design, careful component selection and LCR RIAA equalisation.

Whilst on paper, the requirements for a phono amplifier are simple, in practice, they are far from it.

We start with a signal from the cartridge or step up transformer of only 1mv, then apply enough gain to convert that to a line level signal while at the same time applying a accurate RIAA equalisation curve. while at the same time providing a low impedance drive to the following system. Firstly, the 1mv signal. If we want to aim for the best signal to noise ratio, we need to look at at least 80dB S/N here. For a 1mv signal, then that means the noise needs to be below 100nv (0.0000001v). But it goes further that that, the RIAA curve means that the low frequencies will be 20dB (10 times) lower. That means we are looking for a input stage that can give us a 100dB S/N ratio, we are down to 10nV. But to prevent surface noise, clicks and pops from affecting the sound, we need a stage that will not be disturbed by these impulse signals. The reason why many phono stages seem to make records sound noisier than other is down to how well (or not) they handles these signals. This is one of the reasons why valve phono stages can often be better sounding than solid state ones, the power rails of a typical valve phono stage are in the 250v area, this gives far more headroom than the typical 18v supply in a solid state unit. So, we need to handle impulses which can be up to 40dB (100 times) above the normal level. So we need a front end that can handle signals from 100mv to below 10nv, a 140dB S/N ratio. Not a simple task.

To provide the huge dynamic range required of a signal from a cartridge we use an innovative circuit that makes use of the best of the valve and solid state world in conjunction. A ultra low noise pentode (D3a) from the last days of valve technology was at was at its peak, is used. This combined with an active load and output buffer with self adjusting stabilisation circuity means that super low noise, low distortion (good as most solid state design), wide bandwidth (DC to over 1Mhz), high slew rate (can swing 60v at 300kHz), stability from component aging and large overload margins makes it the ideal front end for any phono stage.

Once we have amplified the delicate signal from the cartridge, we now have to apply the RIAA equalisation. While many designs split this EQ over two or more stages, or use it as part of a feedback look. We believe that the best sounding RIAA is done in a single stage, using no overall feedback loops. Further to that we believe the best sounding RIAA can only be achived by the use of a LCR T-Network. Unlike most RIAA stages that employ just resistors and capacitors a LCR design adds carefully chosen inductors to the mix. By the addition of these inductors, it becomes possible to create a network that provides the accurate equalisation needed, while also (and most importantly) provide a fixed impedance load to the driving stage. It is this constant impedance characteristic that allows LCR based phono stages to produce the uniquely realistic and transparent midrange and detailed bass response that only they can achive.

While the LCR network provides an idea solution, driving it from the preceding stage has often been the problem area in previous designs. In the case, the innovative first stage we have already described, provides the ideal solution to driving the LCR network.

Once our precious signal has been through the LCR network, its up to 100 times smaller than before. So we again need to amplify it and make it ready to drive the following system. Now we use one of the best sounding 9 pin valves, the 6072a dual triode, we use this valve for the same reason many other top designers use it, it provides good gain, low noise, and good sounds. In this case its used in a active load (SRPP) configuration. This stage then feeds an output buffer. We use a 5687 triode for this job. This is just one of the best output buffers around, and we make no apologies in using it once more in this design.

So, that’s the amplification part of the design, but anyone who knows our previous award winning products will know that at least 50% of the sound of any design is down to the quality of the power supply (well, maybe 75%). So we have not skimped in this area. Each channel board in the phono stage contains two independent low noise high voltage shunt regulators to provide the cleanest, quietest power to the circuit. We don’t forget the heater supply either. Two stages of heater supply regulation is provided on each phono boards, each with a dedicated supply for the input valve.

Given that we are dealing with such minute signals, it would be foolish to put all this circuity next to the mains transformer (and the box would have to be huge, as it is, its full). So we have made this a two box design. Not wishing to allow any noise into the phono casework, the power supply contains first stage high voltage and heater regulation, reducing the power rail noise and ripple to the sort of levels that would normally be accepted for many traditional designs, but here is just the input to the primary regulators.

To connect the two boxes, we use industrial connectors designed for the purpose, with voltage and current ratings that exceed what is needed here, so will provide long lasting service. The casework of the two boxes are non magnetic to avoid interaction with the circuit, while providing shielding for the precious signal. All the components are chosen with their sonic characteristic as well as their electrical suitability. Charcroft Z Foil resistors provides the cartridge loading, and Takman carbon and metal film resistors are used through the signal circuity. Elna electrolytic and Mundorf film capacitors are used throughout the circuitry.

Two Box LCR Valve Reference Phono Amplifier:

Valve line up: D3a * 2   6072a * 2   5687 * 2

Input sensitiviny 1mv at 1kHz, Gain 52dB, Input impedance 47k + 75pF (designed for MM, high and medium output MC and low output MC with a stepup transformer), Overload margin 300mv at 1Khz, Power consumption 100W”

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The Reed Muse 3C turntable was in use in this room and a very imposing presence it made. This turntable can within minutes be user converted from belt drive to idler drive – possibly a world first.

Reed say this about their turntable…

“After more than three years idea-crunching and countless man hours of CADing, prototyping, programming and real-life testing, we built our first commercially available turntable – Reed Muse 3C. Is it somehow unique? Well, yes! Whether you are fan of friction-driven turntables (the famous Garrard is made that way), or if you think that the right way to build turntables is to use a pair of motors and a belt, Reed Muse 3C should catch your eye.

Thanks to its unique and innovative design, you can convert friction-driven turntable to a belt-driven machine in 5 minutes.

What is inside of our turntable?

After extensive prototyping and long-term experiments we came up to a solution of using a reverse sliding thrust ball bearing for a main axis. Bearing ball is made either from steel or ceramics and the lateral stability is achieved by using very durable and low-noise polymer sliding bearing. Symmetrical drive system is designed to avoid radial bearing load, hence minimizing possible mechanical noise and ensuring longevity of a master bearing.

Muse 3C is powered by two direct current motors and by design is friction-driven, however its major innovation is possibility to convert it to a belt-driven system in minutes by replacing traction rollers and putting on a belt (and, of course, setting a switch to a correct position). To prevent possible mechanical vibration, we use traction rollers (be it friction or belt) of different diameters, spinning at different velocities and having mathematically non-multiple diameters to driving disc diameter. Disc velocity is stabilized by quartz-based phase locked loop (PLL) system, so average speed deviation depends solely on the parameters of quartz crystal. Turntable drive is equipped with both mechanical and electronic protection systems.

Turntable also features electronic inclinometer (electronic level dedicated to measure turntable slope/tilt angle), which allows user to achieve perfect horizontal alignment without using additional tools.

Turntable can be equipped with one or two tonearms with effective length ranging from 9.5” to 12”. To ensure accurate tonearm mounting we include 500 EUR worth SMARTractor, made by Acoustical Systems (www.acoustical-systems.com).

Specifications

Drive Friction or belt (optional), two direct current (DC) motors
Speed 33 1/3 rpm, 45 rpm
Speed stabilizing system Quartz-based phase locked loop (PLL)
Max deviation of average speed 0.003 %
Supply voltage DC 12V, via 100 – 240V AC adapter
Inclinometer accuracy range 1 mm per meter
Product dimensions (L x W x H) 550 x 420 x 240 mm
Packaging dimensions (L x W x H) 650 x 520 x 350 mm
Product weight netto (unpacked) 25 kg
Product weight brutto (packed) 29 kg
Tonearms up to two, any standard mount; effective length from 9,5” to 12”

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Looking at these photos I wish I had been at the show to have heard this system and in particular the Reed turntable.
 .
Long Dog Audio – http://www.longdogaudio.com/

Music First Audio – http://www.mfaudio.co.uk/

Reed – http://www.reed.lt/

 

Art Audio – Ground Floor S7

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Art Audio – http://artaudio.co.uk/

 

Henley Designs – First Floor Melbourne, Catalunya, Magny Cours

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Along with Henely Designs usual brands – Roksan, Project, Ortofon, Lehman etc – they were also showing for the first time (having taken over distribution from UKD) Unison Reaserch and Opera

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The new (so new its not on Roksan’s website) matching turntable for the other Oxygene components, the 30, which will retail for in and around £2000 (not the finalised price). The 30 will come fitted with one of Project’s 9cc tonearm’s.

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Roksan’s new Blak range got its UK debut at NAS 2015 in the form of the Blak CD player £2250 and Blak integrated amplifier £2500 – again so new there is no information on Roksan’s website yet.

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Henely Designs – https://www.henleydesigns.co.uk/home-c1

Unison Research – http://www.unisonresearch.com/en/

Opera Loudspeakers – http://www.operaloudspeakers.com/en/

Project Audio – http://www.project-audio.com/

 

 

Teddy Pardo – First Floor S21

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Teddy Pardo – http://www.teddypardo.com/

 

Highend Cables – First Floor Room 104

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Highend Cables – http://www.highendcable.co.uk/

 

Audio Emotion – First Floor Becketts

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Zeta Zero a relatively new Polish company had their UK brand launch within the Audio Emotion room, and very interesting the Venus Picolla £1999o (speakers on the inside edge of the system in the photo above) looked too.

Zeta Zero say this about themselves and their speaker designs…..

” One of the very best high-end loudspeakers systems ever made in the opinion of many experienced audiophiles. Unique cutting edge new powerful TRUE ribbon transducer ultra wide-band  technology, extremely durable, with incredible sound parameters, and very advanced electronics, placed in beautiful 21st century new-age solid wood cabinets. Created for the exacting music lovers who want to transform their luxury living rooms into spectacular home theatres of wondrous sounds & visions, and sensations never known before.

ZETA ZERO is therefore a combination of ART & performance, custom cabinets hand-created from wood, combined with a large number of components for optimized sound. And everything brought together with an almost unlimited power reaching up into kilowatts, and unprecedented dynamics unheard of in domestic audio systems. This symbiosis of features is usually absent in the typical high-end offers, whose common complaint is that they offer weak power , low efficiency and very high sensitivity to any overloading in return for good bandwidth. Due to the advanced materials and innovative solutions, ZETA ZERO are able to combine these contradictory features , and effectively remove these known limitations and disadvantages.

As a result, ZETA ZERO speakers performance is the answer for all those looking for something outstanding in the sea of mass-produced audio equipment. At least that is the overwhelming opinion of our customers – in their view- incomparable sound. We have dedicated our construction to music connoisseurs who appreciate luxury and a new dimension in perfect sound- those biased against the normal, often imperfect offers of others’ audio sound, those ready to go that extra mile to hear good sound. Thus many years ago, with this in mind, we created an engineering research project – ZETA ZERO to overcome the contemporary sound barriers specific to the speakers currently on the market. In fact, according to some listeners ZETA ZERO is in effect the equivalent of a Formula 1 race car.”

Also on show was the new Orbitals omni speaker design from Zeta Zero, so new there is still no info on their website about the speaker.

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Audio Emotion – http://www.audioemotion.co.uk/

Zeta Zero – http://audio-high-end.com/9/home.htm

 

Devialet – First Floor S19

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NAS 2015 was the UK show launch of the latest product from French company Devilaet.

Devilaet say this about the Phantom (£1390 for the 750 watt version and £1690 for the 3000 watt version – price per unit) ….

“The Phantom is unique. More than a connected speaker, Phantom emits sound using a revolutionary and inherently superior process created by Devialet engineers: Patented Devialet inventions ADH and HBI. For more information.

Phantom’s ultra dense sound creates intense emotional experiences.

Uncover the richness of songs you have heard a thousand times in all their amplitude, from sub bass at 16hz to ultra sharp sound at 25kHz with no background noise, no saturation, no distortion, all that up to 3000 Watts and 105 Decibels of power.”

An interesting looking single or multi speaker solution, that can be used in home cinema, Hi-Fi and multiroom set ups.

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Devialet – http://en.devialet.com/home/#hot-news

 

Vivid Audio – First Floor S20

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Vivid Audio – http://www.vividaudio.co.uk/

 

DCS  – Ground Floor Monaco

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DCS were using Wilson Alexis speakers, Dan d Agostino’s beautiful Momentum mono block amplifiers and a Mac Book combined with their own Rossini transport £18000 DAC £15,500, and Rossini Master Clock.

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DCS – http://www.dcsltd.co.uk/

Dan D Agostino – http://dandagostino.com/

 

Leema Acoustics – Ground Floor Nurburgring

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Leema Acoustics – http://www.leema-acoustics.com/

 

Decent Audio – First Floor Woodcote

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Decent Audio – http://www.decentaudio.co.uk/

 

HiFi Hangar/Eminent Technology – Ground Floor S26

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HiFi Hangar – http://www.hifihangar.co.uk/

A and D Audio – http://www.eminenttechnology.co.uk/index.asp?upid=1

 

Kog Audio – First Floor S8

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Kog Audio – http://www.kogaudio.com/

 

The Right Note – First Floor S27

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The Right Note – http://www.rightnote.co.uk/

 

Audio Note – First Floor Room 102

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Audio Note UK – http://www.audionote.co.uk/

 

Mike Valentine – First Floor Stowe

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Mike Valentine once again returned to NAS to demonstrate his unique Chasing the Dragon recordings.

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Chasing the Dragon Recording – http://www.chasingthedragon.co.uk/

Art Loudspeakers – http://www.loudspeaker-art.com/

Solution Audio -http://www.soulution-audio.com/en/index.php

Systemdek – http://www.systemdek.co.uk/

 

RMB Loudspeakers – Ground Floor S7

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A fairly new name to the UK loudspeaker market, British company RMB exhibited a number of their unique designs.

RMB say this about themselves…..

“We hope it will lead to an enlightening audio experience. Many of the finer material things take a little time and effort to seek out. So it can be with audio equipment , and for the time being our speakers are only available from us direct, (at very advantageous prices).

How to reproduce a musically pleasing sound from a domestically acceptable cabinet? Something that has aspects of the extra – ordinary, that is demonstrably better than the “average”.

RMB loudspeakers may be considered to be minimum compromise designs in their respective price ranges. We strive to create products that provide the best sound at the most sensible prices they can be offered at.

Our key principle is minimum corruption of the musical signal , allied to very careful design employing superior grade components. Every aspect is engineered to deliver the optimum sound for people who just want to hear more of their music.

In simple terms, we aim to give you; Superior clarity of detail, speed, dynamic range, soundstage depth.

These qualities typically manifest themselves in the ways described below.

  • The tunefulness and tactile nature of the bass frequencies.
  • The ability to reproduce percussion sounds and speech without smearing and with minimal compression.
  • Fresh awareness of subtle details from familiar recordings – (this is a common observation voiced by our customers).
  • A sense of depth and height to the soundstaging. When partnered with suitably capable equipment, an impression of the speakers seeming to “disappear”. (this term is often used in audio reviews, but it is a pleasing illusion rarely enjoyed by most listeners).
  • Crescendos and sudden transients in the music should be exciting and cause for a smile! sadly, many “hifi” loudspeakers reduce them to something resembling a muffled sneeze from the audience.

RMB loudspeakers provide these essential dynamic contrasts even at low listening levels and invariably prove to be highly revealing of the partnering equipment.

We could go in to detail about only using drive units from specialist manufacturers; decades of R & D bear fruit in the sound characteristics and consistency.

We could tell you about the capacitors we insist on using in our crossovers that cost about five times as much as standard types.

We could explain why we only use a specific type of cable for the internal wiring.

We could tell you about the complex and over – engineered cabinet design.

However, such technical points are of little importance unless they contribute to a special and superior listening experience.”

RMB exhibited the Model 22/3 £1850, and the Model 40/4 £3000

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RMB Loudspeakers – http://www.rmb-loudspeakers.co.uk/

 

Kralk Audio – Ground Floor S24

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Kralk Audio – http://www.kralkaudio.com/index.html

 

Blue Aura – Ground Floor S7

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Blue Aura were showing their compact range of wireless audio speakers and the more conventional BlackLine V30i 20 watt valve/DAC integrated amplifier which was tied in with the passive V30i speakers both sell for £379 as a system.

Aura Blue say this about these products…….

“For music lovers who want to hear their compressed digital source devices in true analogue form, the v30i will not fail to deliver, courtesy of the high quality in-built DAC and audio valves. Just plug in the provided USB cable to your PC or laptop and listen to your favourite tracks in clear, natural sound.

The v30i system is ideal for the office, home study, bedroom and indeed the living room. Our designers at Blue Aura have worked hard to ensure that the loudspeakers and amplifier are both sonically and aesthetically matched. “

A wireless module – WAS1 – can be used which allows wireless connection of source components to the Blackline amplifier.

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Blue Aura – http://www.blueaura.co.uk/

 

Music First Audio – First Floor S23

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Music First Audio – http://www.mfaudio.co.uk/

 

Fanthorpes HiFi/Chord Electronics – First Floor S18

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Fanthorpe in conjunction with Chord Electronics premièred the new Dave DAC £ 7995 of this Chord say…..

“Chord Electronics has launched its most advanced DAC to date. Given the acronym DAVE, Chord’s latest-generation digital-to-analogue converter features the very best conversion technology available, using proprietary techniques never seen before.

DAVE is a highly advanced reference-grade DAC, digital preamp and headphone amplifier. Hand-made in Kent, DAVE is based around a proprietary FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) offering more than ten times the program capacity of its predecessor.

At its heart lies a new (and in electronics terms, huge) LX75 version of the Spartan 6 Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The FPGA’s extraordinary capability enables a number of key sonic benefits including significantly improved timing and the best noise-shaper performance of any known DAC. DAVE’s technology delivers music with unmatched reality and musicality, with an unrivalled timing response.

Inputs:
USB B-style: 44 kHz to 768 kHz – DXD and Quad DSD
2x optical: 44kHz to 192kHz
1 x AES: 44kHz to 192kHz
4 x Coax: 44kHz to 384kHz
Dual-data mode available

Outputs digital:
2x ultra-high-speed coax 768kHz dual-data mode for use with future-unannounced Chord Electronics products.

Maximum output voltage: 6 volts RMS
THD and noise at 2.5 volts: RMS 0.000015 %
THD and noise at 2.5 volts: 127dBA Awt (124dBA into 33 ohms)
Dynamic range at -60 dBFS 1kHz -127 dBA A wt
(No measurable noise floor modulation, no a harmonic distortion)
(Analogue distortion characteristic: no distortion for small signals)
Power requirements: mains power 80 volts to 260 volts; AC 20 watts”

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Fanthorpes HiFi – http://www.fanthorpes.co.uk/

Chord Electronics – http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/

 

The Clarity Alliance Showcase – First Floor Luffield Suite

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This room housed the launch of a new UK based audio company Kleio Audio and their first audio products, the K105 pre-amplifier and the K135 integrated amplifier.

Kleio Audio say this about themselves…..

“In June 2010, whilst researching headphone amplifiers, I was given the idea to build my very own having always had passion for both hi-fi and music since I was a teenager. Shortly after I began this process, I decided I wanted to go one step further and develop my very own range of hi-fi components. The opportunity to combine both my passion for music and my interest in UK based manufacturing has been hugely exciting.

Two years later Kleio was formed, with a simple concept to design and build high-end audio which makes music enjoyable.

Today we are pleased to announce the arrival of our first two products from our K1 series, the K105 and K135. Both products are crafted in the UK as a result of over 3 years research, development and engineering refinement. A high percentage of internal components are sourced from the UK and Europe.  We are also proud to be part of the official made in Great Britain campaign.

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The K1 series components are machined from a solid aluminium billet and will all be supplied with a 5 year warranty. The next few years will see the arrival of many more products to join the Kleio family and we look forward to sharing these with you as our journey continues.”

Kleio Audio say this about their K105 £3000 pre-amplifier…..

“The K105 is our first ever pre-amplifier. Built on the basis of solid engineering practices, which include the use of relay switching throughout and short signal paths. The K105 is built using carefully selected components before being hand soldered at our dedicated manufacturing facility in Kent.

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We understand the importance of connecting multiple audio sources, which is why we have supplied multiple inputs including 4 sets of RCA inputs, 2 sets of balanced inputs and a 3.5mm connection.  A selection of line level outputs are also provided, one set of which is balanced.

The minimalistic design is made possible by the use of a dual action volume control. The pre-amplifier can be switched on and off by pressing the volume control. The stylish design is completed with attractive white LED’s displaying your chosen listening level and selected input.”

The £3200 K135 integrated amplifier is……

“Based around the same solid engineering principles as used in the K105 pre-amplifier, including the use of relay switching throughout and short signal paths. The K135 is crafted from carefully selected components before being hand soldered at our dedicated manufacturing facility in Kent.

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We understand that an integrated amplifier should offer the convenience and quality of pre/power amplifier set-up.  With the K135 we have fitted 3 sets of outputs plus multiple inputs including 2 sets of balanced inputs and a 3.5mm connection. A high quality Class D power amplifier is used to provide 2x 65w (at 8 ohms) of power.

The minimalistic design is made possible by the use of a dual action volume control. The amplifier can be switched on and off by pressing the volume control. The stylish design is completed with attractive white LED’s displaying your chosen listening level and selected input.”

Both of these products look very interesting and a new UK based audio company is very much something to welcome. According to Garry Wise (Kleio Audio’s MD) in 2016 there will be a stereo power-amplifier K125 and a mono amplifier the K115.

I personally look forward to seeing how Kleio develop as a brand and perhaps at a future show having a listen.

The Clarity Alliance – http://www.clarityalliance.co.uk/

Kleio Audio – http://kleioaudio.com/

 

Sound Link Pro Audio – First Floor S22

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Sound Link Pro Audio – http://sound-link.co.uk/

 

Conclusions

As I didn’t attend this show I can offer no feed back in regard to sound quality in the varying rooms but having gone through the list of exhibitors, it appears to be marginally smaller to last year and quiet a bit smaller than in previous years.

Its obvious too how many and which audio companies are no longer exhibiting at NAS, that did in previous years but I guess that’s to be expected as priorities and budgets to do such things change but it is a sad reality that NAS is no longer what it once was.

In saying the above though it is nice that NAS still exists and that the show is to a degree moving with the times in that it has put HeadZones – the dedicated headphone aspect of the exhibition – into the Brookland Suite thus giving this healthy and growing sector of audio a much more prominent place in the show. Such a move is to be applauded and hopefully many getting into this aspect of enjoying music, who come to see this part of the show, will not only migrate into the more traditional side of things at the show, but also at a later stage purchase such to listen to their music on too.

Hopefully I will be at NAS next year.

 

Neil

 

© All Text Copyright 2015 Adventures in High Fidelity Audio, bar highlighted quotes, Copyright belongs with those companies quoted. All photos Copyright Justin Anon (User 211), except promotional  images sourced from manufacturers, Copyright belongs with them. 

NB No part or portion of this article may be reproduced or quoted without prior written permission. Failure to comply, may result in legal action.

 

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