Richard Deyn of Ipswich Guitar School was giving short guitar lessons and recording the results which PMC sent out to each pupil after the event. He made it so simple that even the musically incompetent like myself managed to produce an almost tolerable if very straightforward blues rhythm line, who knows perhaps there’s hope yet!
Vertere took a big suite to give the nation a first taste of FM Acoustics XS-III loudspeakers driven by electronics from the same Swiss brand. The front end was a Vertere RG-1 turntable with brand new RG-1 drive electronics (below), this incorporates a signal regenerator, DSP and DAC to produce a highly accurate voltage for the motor system. Vertere also had two band’s playing through the system just to show that it could deliver the required SPLs for live music.
Dali were a bit miffed that the pre-production Callisto system was not working properly but explained that the combination of Callisto Hub (above) and wireless floorstanding 6 or standmount 2 active loudspeakers usually offers high sound quality with minimum cabling. The speakers (below) have ribbon super tweeters and the company’s wood fibre cones while the Hub has Bluetooth up to aptX-HD alongside digital and analogue inputs to connect most any source.
Dynaudio are very excited about the Music range of wireless multiroom products. These stealthily styled Dynaudio driver equipped speakers run software that allows them to actively adapt to the room, adjusting bass output to create an even balance, and adjust volume to suit environmental noise levels. The Music Now control App creates a profile for each user based on music choices they make, using streaming services and even internet radio it finds material that should appeal, which is very clever indeed. Prices start at £450 for the portable Music 1 and go up to the £875 Music 7 with twin 5 inch bass units, the Music 5 shown is £700.
Schiit Audio had the latest version of its entry level headphone amp in the £110 Magni 3, this has a constant feedback amp with preamp out and hi or low gain to suit different headphones.
Audiomods unveiled a world’s first in Mr Speakers’ Aeon Open headphones. This V-Planar design is the same £800 price as the closed version and incorporates the same airflow enhanced drive system, it also looks pretty cool.
Metaxas & Sins from Australia brought along the sculptural Sirens loudspeakers (£100,000). These are made of machined aluminium and weigh 80kg including their ceramic Accutron drive units, they were powered by the curvy Solitaire 150W amps in between. The eagle eyed will spot a Nagra reel2reel in the corner, they must know their stuff.
Acoustune from Japan showed a jewel like array of ear-phones including the new HS1551 CU, this combines aluminium and brass in a CNC machined £350 range topper.
I found the latest models from Mark Levinson on the AKG, JBL and Harman/Kardon headphone stand where the No.526 preamplifier (£23,000) was combined with a No.519 CD player/streamer (£20,000) to create the most impressive source in the Headroom part of the show.
Retailer Ultimate Stream has gathered some of the best digital sources in the business and took a big room to demonstrate them. They included Merging Technologies’ new power supply for the NADAC converter and Auralic’s fresh off the boat G2 series Vega DAC and Aries streamer, not to mention the Kii Three active loudspeakers.
CAAS showed its impressively put together Elysian preamplifier (£7,200) and monoblock power amps (£4,500 each), the former a balanced design with relay switched volume control and dual mono construction in its machined aluminium case. The Elysian 100 monoblocks offer 20W in class A and 100W in A/B and are biased for lower power consumption than regular class A designs.
Electronic Sound magazine were to be found on the ground floor opposite some rather popular massage machines. This Norwich based magazine is a beautifully designed, in depth guide to electronic music of the past and present with features on artists, equipment and new music. I grabbed a free copy of their Coldcut issue complete with Ninja Mix CD.
Chord Company demonstrated the upgrades available across its range of fine interconnects and speaker cables in a helpfully quiet room where the coffee was plentiful, it was a popular spot.
Chord Electronics showed that their kit works with a variety of loudspeakers, choosing a pair of Neat Momentum SX5i floorstanders to partner the Blu Mk.II CD transport, DAVE DAC/pre and matching Mezzo 75 power amplifier.
Wireonwire have a different take on cables, they offer a tuning system that involves varying the spacing between conductor strands which changes impedance and capacitance and in turn subtly alters the sound. It’s an interesting approach to the challenge of finding the best cable for a given system.