Show Reports

Sound & Vision Show 2016 Report: 34 Companies Interviewed

Click each sound file to hear a ‘live’ report.

NEAT ACOUSTICS: Talking to Managing Director and co-designer, Bob Surgeoner about the 45cm high floor standing version of the company’s IOTA loudspeaker. At the time of this chat, Bob had yet to think of a name for the new design.

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MALVERN AUDIO RESEARCH: Better know to many as Ming Da UK or Audio Detail but this company handles a lot more than that as Mark Mainwaring-White will tell you, including a parallel tracking-armed turntable plus a limited-edition headphone amplifier that not only uses two car ignition coils from Lucas but also arrives with an ignition key in the front to start ‘er up!

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MICHELL ENGINEERING: For me, this was the story of the show and one I first introduced during my visit to the company but it has largely flown under the radar. Yes, there have been upgrades and accessories but the last major product from the company was its Orbe turntable in 1995 and now, almost 20 years later, Michell has announced a new cartridge, the Cusis. Granted, the core of the device is made by Benz but the chassis is pure Michell and is unique to the company. Such is the chassis’ effect on sound quality, this is a ‘new’ cartridge from Michell and is recommended to all Gyrodec users, in particular. Here Works Manager, Steve Rowlands, talks about that but also, in a seperate sound file, on-going development of a new tweak to the Orbe/GyroDec’s suspension which owners may be able to purchase in the future, after further tests have been completed.

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SOUND FOWNDATIONS: A unique entry because there is no interview (’twas a busy, busy room) but there are images for the Fututech Demag (with 20% extra demagentisation power to remove magnetism from your vinyl discs), the Destat III whose operation is all in the name (hold it over your vinyl, press the button and, 15 seconds later, you’re done) and turntable, Clearaudio Innovation Basic. <ore information to follow soon.

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ICON AUDIO: Talking to boss and designer, David Shaw on the new integrated valve amp, the Stereo 30 SE

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FLAMINGO AUDIO: Talking to Managing Director, Yannis Poutous, about a new set of Zellaton speakers, a new Greek valve amplifier from Tsakirdis and a new Serbian-built amplifier from Beyond Frontiers.

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DECENT AUDIO: Talking to boss, Simon Griffin, about Scansonic speakers and RIVA mobile Bluetooth speakers plus other forthcoming attractions (the room was quite dark and rather busy so I have used studio shots here).

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MISSION: Talking to Struan McKenzie about the new LX series of low cost speakers, starting with the LX-2.

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MUSICAL FIDELITY: Talking to Dave Waters about the new M6 Encore 225 all-in-one system that includes an amp, CD player and ripper, hard disk storage, streamer, internet radio et al.

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TECHNICS: Talking to Jonathan Danbury about the new range of SL-1200 turntables inluding the special edition, the differences between that and the standard version, differences between both and the original, price issues and more.

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AIR AUDIO: Talking to the founder of the company Michael Osborn about the Abis SA-1.2 arm, which he is distributing into the UK. (Successful photography was impossible due to room crowding so I’ve used studio shots here).

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OPHIDIAN: Once I rediscover the skill of talking properly, I eventually chat with Gareth James, founder of the company, about his range of speakers, notable for their slender cabinets and multiple driver use (successful photography was impossible due to room crowding so I’ve used studio shots here).

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LEEMA: Talking to Lee Taylor, co-founder of the company, about the all-in-one entertainment system, the Quasar, boasting 200W of power and a quite ginormous toroidal power supply. The show model was a prototype in a Pulse IV chassis that will be similar to the finished model.

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EPSILON & TANGENT: Talking to Ben Gough, director the the UK distributor, Avoke, about the Elipson range of low cost turntables plus the Tangent speakers (including an active design).

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MBL: Talking to Björn Rutz about the MBL 120 speakers plus the Noble Line integrated amplifier and CD deck with fully featured DAC.

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ROKSAN: Talking to Ralph Ward from UK distributor, Henley Designs, about the new Roksan products: The Radius 7 turntable (with Nima arm, £1,899);  K3 DAC (£1,250) and TR5 S2 speakers (£995)

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PRO-JECT ARM: A quick one, this time. Talking to Nick Fuller, Sales Director from UK distributor, Henley Designs, about the new implementation of the carbon arm on a Pro-Ject Debut turntable. This one is less about sonic performance and all about than aesthetics.

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PRO-JECT: Talking to Adam Thompson from UK distributor, Henley Designs, about the new budget Pro-Ject record cleaning machine, the VC-S…including the world’s first audio only demo! (Due to less than favourable photo conditions in the Pro-Ject room, I’ve included studio shots on this one.)

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UNION RESEARCH: Talking to Simon Powell (Technical & Marketing Services Manager at UK distributor, Henley Designs) about the new CD Due, a hybrid CD player that includes a DAC, streamer and a valve stage.

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ENTOTEM: Talking to Ian Grostate (Commercial Director) about the new version of Plato, the company’s media server which features an enhanced amplifier plus hi-res download support and other goodies. (NOTE: Psychologists amongst you will be fascinated at how difficult it is for this journalist to think and talk at the same time.)

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SCV: Talking to Matt Esau from this UK distributor on the Questyle range of ‘current-mode’ kit (including a high-end modular headphone amplifier, pre/dac/headphone amp combo box, Golden enhanced range and DAP).

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MUSIC FIRST AUDIO: Talking to boss Jonathan Billington, principally about the (relatively) new Classic and Reference Phono amps but also the MC Step Up that works alongside each. MFA also utilised a rather lovely (battery powered) Nara IV SJ as the music source and I couldn’t resist illustrating that too.

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KEITH MONKS: Talking to boss Jonathan Monks, principally about a new record cleaning machine called the discOvery microLight, a more lifestyle-oriented and certainly more compact machine than KM has previously handled.

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GOLDRING: Nothing new from the cartridge manufacturer but Goldring man, David Giffin, who was winding cartridge coils in a live demonstration to give a flavour of what it’s like to make a cartridge from scratch. Goldring, of course, makes all of its own cartridges.

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ATACAMA: Talking to Dennis Greenaway (UK/International Sales & Marketing Manager) about a range of new stands for both speakers and hi-fi components.

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MELCO: I make no apologies for the extended length of this one. Melco offers a series of digital music servers. This example is called the N1ZH, incidentally. It’s the company’s midrange model. What amazed me, though, was that I never realised that ‘Melco’ and the hard disc outfit, ‘Buffalo’ are one and the same company. In fact, Melco has created an internal storage unit specially designed for hi-fi use, as opposed to the usual bolt-on computer HD designs. Plus, I never realised that Melco has been around since 1975, initially making turntables! I couldn’t get behind this box but I thought a general image of the N1Z might serve as a general reference. Speaking here to Alan Ainslie, who knows a thing or two about hi-fi, he used to work for Naim.

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PURITAN: Normally seen in the Pro Audio world, this was the family-run company’s first time at the Bristol show with a host of mains conditioning products. The interview is with director, Mike Lester.

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SONY: I was delighted to see Sony getting in on the turntable act with its ‘High Resolution Turntable’ that ‘rips’ straight to WAV or, indeed DSD and comes with proprietry hardware and software. More details from Laura Bulander (Product Manager for Home/Audio/Video at Sony). The deck is priced at £450, incidentally.

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INNUOS: Speaking to Anthony Mills and, director, Amelia Santos about a new range of music servers featuring a variable range of capabilites and storage options plus HD and SSD storage. They also feature the Innu OS software that allows you to manipulate media information via phone and tablet.

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AUDIO TECHNICA: Speaking to the incomparable Clive Atkins (UK Hi-Fi Category Manager) about a range of new turnt ables and headphones including the Bluetooth fitted AT-LP60 turntable and the titanium, closed-backed headphones, the ATH-A2000Z.

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DYNAUDIO: Speaking to Roland Hoffmann (Product & Training Manager) at Dynaudio about a range of Emit, entry level, speakers for stand and floor use.

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Q ACOUSTICS: Speaking to Steve Reichert (PR Manager for Armour Homes, amongst his other talents) about a new Q Acoustics product called the Media 7000 2.1 system plus quick mentions of other new entries into the range, on display during the show. Due to the rather cramped room conditions and with the Media 7000 not being at its most photogenic, I’ve included studio shots here.

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ARCAM: Speaking to Nick Clarke (Director of Engineering for Arcam) and James Buckle (Area Sales Manager for the South West of England) about two new products, the Solo Movie (Blu-ray and network player, radio, 5.1 sound, etc) plus AVR-850 AV system. Both were being demoed in a very dark room (popular and subject to long queues from the public, I might add). Hence, attaining decent images was nigh on impossible. Please excuse the ‘studio’ images below, therefore. Oh, the noise of the airliner, heard half way through the interview and flying ‘low over our heads’ as we talked? That was the AV output from the Arcam room 🙂

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PIONEER: Speaking to Geoff Loveday, Product & Marketing Executive about two new products, the XDP-100R  Android-powered, MQA compatible DAP and the A-70DA balanced amplifier.

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ATLAS: Donal Cook (despite the fact that I desperately want to call him ‘Donald’: maybe he should consider a name change…might be a good career move) talks about the final release of the Zeno headphone cable and the Hyper DD interconnect.

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