Show Reports

Bristol Hi-Fi Show report 2024 pt.1

The Bristol Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net

The Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2024

The annual industry shindig and the country’s most popular hi-fi show proved to be as lively as ever over last weekend. With new kit from a variety of companies and some interesting showings from brands not normally found at the event, 2024 was a good year for Audio T at the Bristol Marriott.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
PMC twenty5i Active

PMC

PMC launched the Active twenty5i range of powered loudspeakers, these are variants on the existing twenty5.21, 22, 23 and 24 models, so all the twenty5s except the 26i three-way. The empowerment consists of an active crossover and a 100W ICEpower amplifier for each driver and results in prices starting at £3,975 for the twenty5.21i to £7,975 for the 24i. PMC have also finally delivered on the promise of the large metal backplates that have graced their twenty5 series loudspeakers since their inception. The passive versions of the same two-way models can be upgraded to active operation by replacing the existing back panel and crossover with the active one, the active upgrade costs £1,795 per pair.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Elliott Whyte with the twenty5i active electronics
The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Rega Nd7

Rega

Rega have been working on a new design for moving magnet cartridges that aims to deliver the high frequency extension that is normally the domain of MC designs. The Nd7 with fineline stylus will be in the region of £450-500 and incorporates a larger gap around the moving neodymium magnet which results in a better channel balance than conventional MMs. This is accompanied by much smaller coils which lift the high frequency performance in a design that Rega has applied to patent. Engineer James Hammond developed this design and is shown holding a six times scale model of the Nd7.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
James Hammond with model of Nd7

Rega also showed prototypes of the Mercury preamplifier and Solis power amp, the first such components to be seen in the Rega range for decades. Mercury will have digital and analogue inputs while Solis offers 165W per channel, pricing will be around £6,000 per piece but no date has been set for production.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Rega Mercury
The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Rega Solis
The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Chord Company BurndyX

Chord Company

Chord Company unveiled an entry level power bar in the Powerhaus P6 at £600. This has an aluminium case with plastic end caps alongside wired rather than busbar connections inside. It incorporates their Aray tech and uses heavy gauge cables alongside high quality sockets. The aim is as with all of Chord’s power products, to reduce noise pollution on the power supply. The P6 demonstrated very well, doing the usual Chord trick of improving leading edge definition and timing. Chord also have a more affordable version of their Burndy power supply cable for Naim amplifiers, BurndyX uses XLPE insulation and shielding to, you guessed it, reduce noise. Price is from £1,772.50.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Chord Company Powerhaus P6
The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Tannoy Stirling III LZ Special Edition

Tannoy

Tannoy turned out in force to make the point that their range of loudspeakers are still made in Scotland and demonstrated the new Stirling III LZ Special Edition (£11,995). Originally built in 1967 this has a 10 inch dual concentric driver with a Pepperpot waveguide on the aluminium/magnesium compression tweeter and an alnico magnet system. It sounded very sweet with an Auralic Altair G1.1 streamer and Western Electric WE91 tube amp.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Kudos Sigao Drive

Kudos

Kudos founder Derek Gilligan has come up with a solution for anyone wanting to drive Titan loudspeakers actively. The new Sigao Drive crossover allows any amplifiers to actively power Titan models, controversially this is not an active crossover but a passive design that uses loading plugs to accommodate different amplifiers and appears to be the first example of its kind. Created to fill the gap left by the Naim SNAXO active crossover the Sigao Drive was created by former Naim demi god Roy George and ex Naim MD Trevor Wilson, so it is not short on credentials. Price looks like being the region of £6,000 when its officially launched in May.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Kudos Sigao Drive rear
The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Karl-Heinz Fink with Epos ES-7n

Epos

Speaker guru Karl-Heinz Fink was on hand to demonstrate his new baby the Epos ES-7n. This is a compact two-way that incorporates a tuning switch to suit bookshelf or free space positioning. Karl-Heinz explained that there are very few serious loudspeakers that really work in the confines of a bookshelf so he created the ES-7n using a 5.25inch woofer and the same aluminium tweeter as found in the ES-14n, and put them in a compact cabinet with an £1,890 price point.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Epos ES-7n
The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Wilson benesch IGx Infrasonic Generator cutaway

Wilson benesch

Wilson benesch have a new Infrasonic Generator called IGx which replaces the Torus. This mega subwoofer has an 18inch custom made carbon fibre cone that’s controlled by a dual magnet, push pull motor system with one magnet seen on top and one hidden underneath. It’s powered by a 500W Class D amplifier and offers  phase, filter and gain controls for £23,995.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Wilson benesch IGx Infrasonic Generator
The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Pearl Acoustics 170

Pearl Acoustics

Pearl Acoustics have unveiled the 170 valve amplifier (£8,500) that they have been developing for several years. Designed to match their Sibelius loudspeakers this uses KT170 output tubes running in single ended mode at 70% power for longevity yet still providing a decent 18W per channel. Not being an electronics specialist Pearl founder Harley Lovegrove employed the talents of Peter Farrow, Adam Rosner and Tim Mellow at English Acoustics to design and build the 170.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Silence Alpha TT-1

Silence

Newcomer Silence is the pet project of established turntable designer Marko Borovac, his Alpha TT-1 looks far too good for its £999 price point and one can only surmise that it was created as an advertisement for his Optimum Processing OEM business. The Alpha 1 has a damped birch ply plinth with aluminium top and base plate, the 120 degree wing shape was chosen for the ability to minimise resonance. It features a coreless synchronous AC motor with sinewave drive for non pulsing operation using a linear power supply that generates the sinewave with an R2R DAC. The cast silicone belt is 8mm wide for minimal slip and creep and drives an aluminium platter by its periphery. The 10 inch carbon fibre arm is a unipivot with magnetic stabilisation and widely spaced compact counterweights to reduce resonance at this point. If it had a strong brand the Alpha TT-1 without arm would be at least £5,000, get one while/if you can.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Silence Alpha TT-1 parts
The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Anthos Acoustics System

Anthos Acoustics

Anthos Acoustics’s James Boyd has created a complete horn loudspeaker system with some pretty radical thinking. The mid/HF horn is made from 17 leaves of plywood and shaped for controlled dispersion according to a design by ATH in the Czech Republic. This is combined with an upper bass horn that produces a lozenge shaped sound wave down to 120Hz where a subwoofer that wraps around the horn delivers the lowest frequencies. Sold as a system with a 2A3 or 300B single ended valve amplifier on the mid/HF and Class D amps for the bass drivers Anthos uses a DSP crossover which can be tuned to the room. A key part of the £100,000 asking price is that Boyd will install and tune the system to the buyer’s requirements.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
English Acoustics Downton

English Acoustics

English Acoustics who updated the Leak Stereo 20 in their Stereo 21C amplifier now have a matching preamplifier in the Downton (£5,760). This has three line inputs and a “really good” MM phono stage where effort has been made to give it perfect RIAA linearity. Volume is controlled by an Alps Blue Velvet motorised pot and inputs are selected with a Bournes optical encoder. It has separate power supplies for high and low tension sides with the former being tube derived, the Downton (not named after the TV series) runs two ECC82s and four ECC83 valves alongside the rectifier.

The Bristol hi-fi Show 2024 show report https://the-ear.net
Orange Valve Tester MkII

Orange

Guitar amplifier (and BT speaker) maker Orange from Durham have brought out the Valve Tester MkII. This can test a wide range of valves and has the option of adding expansion modules to suit types not accommodated by the standard bases for EL84, octal power valves and preamp valves. Expansion modules for rectifier valves and triodes etc are available. It uses a microprocessor to assess whether a valve is good, worn or failed and comes with an £850 price tag.

Jason Kennedy

See part 2 of our Bristol coverage here

Location:

Bristol, England

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