National Audio Show 2015 pt.2

Roksan Oxygene 30 turntable
Details were still a bit scant at the show but the beautiful new Oxygene series turntable is apparently quite different from previous Roksan designs. The motor has a complete new housing and the platter and arm are decoupled from the lower plinth by O rings. It is apparently a four piece plinth with the same isolation cut out and platter as found on a Xerxes 20. Price will be in the region of £2,000.

Leema Xen Elite
Xen and the art of speaker cabinetry. Leema has built its ultimate compact speaker in the Xen Elite, this all metal boxed design has billet aluminium front and rear baffles that bolt directly to one another for maximum rigidity. It uses Wavecor drivers from Switzerland and has a four inch woofer allied to a soft dome tweeter. Price is likely to be £2,500 - £3,000 when it’s in production.

Pro-Ject RPM9 Carbon turntable
Pro-Ject decided to confuse matters by significantly changing one of its turntables but retaining the name. The RPM10 Carbon (not shown) now has a sandwich construction aluminium platter with sorbothane damping and magnetic isolation, its plinth has been carbon wrapped and it comes with a 9 inch carbon arm and sub-plinth for £2,300. The RPM9 Carbon (above) is smaller and has the same platter, arm and carbon fibre wrap but no sub-plinth for £1,500.

Panasonic AG-5250 VHS recorder
Vivid Audio took an old school approach to digital transport technology by employing a Panasonic VHS recorder of the pro variety to play hi resolution recordings, these included one it has released on DVD by Rachel Collis called Nightlights.

Roksan Blak CD player & amplifier
Roksan launched some chunky electronics at NAS. The Blak CD player has an isolated transport mechanism, “audiophile standard DAC”, digital in- and outputs with both balanced and singe ended analogue outputs, price is £2,250. The Blak integrated amplifier offers 140 Watts per channel, RCA and XLR inputs, MM phono and aptX Bluetooth, it clearly had plenty of power and will be available for £2,500.

Russell K. Red 150
Russell K. will be adding a floorstander to his range of well received standmount speakers. The Red 150 will be priced at around £4,000 and is said to include technologies not found in other speakers. If it exceeds the results achieved with the Red 100 he could be onto a winner.

Teddy Pardo LP12 turntable
Never one to let an opportunity slip by power supply specialist Teddy Pardo brought along this unusual variation on an Linn LP12 turntable. He says he built it out of the parts remaining when he upgraded his LP12 merely by adding a DC motor, power supply and some feet. He says he prefers it to the springy alternative, or is it just easier to set up?

Unison Research Unico 150
The Unico 150 replaces Unison Research’s Unico 100 with a more powerful integrated amplifier that continues the hybrid approach. The Unico 150 is fully balanced and dual mono in construction with MOSFET output devices and EC83 plus EH84 valves in the preamplifier. Price for this 150 Watt design is £4,250.

Zeta Zero Orbital 360
Polish manufacturer Zeta Zero had one of the most ambitious systems at the show fronted by its radical Orbital 360 speakers. These have treble and midrange ribbons in the top and a 15inch bass driver at either end of the tubular cabinet beneath. They have granite bases and claimed extension down to a building shaking 13Hz. Despite this and the circa £60k asking price they sounded remarkably civilised and revealing.

dCS Rossini
Rossini replaces the Debussy range from dCS and consists of two models; a player/DAC/streamer called Player (£18,000) and a streaming DAC at £15,500. It brings dCS into the Airplay and Spotify age and does DSD up to 126 via asynchronous USB. The Player itself does not spin SACDs.

Kronos Sparta 0.5 & Helena turntable
My first sighting of the more affordable Kronos turntable did little to undermine a generally favourable impression of the brand. Upgradeable to the full twin platter model 1 the 0.5 (£14,000) is a marvel of machined aluminium with a beauty of a 10 inch arm called Helena (£6,500) at its side.

Jason Kennedy