PMC are expanding their distribution portfolio with German electronics brand AVM, the rack above has their CS 2.2 (165W, £3,870), CS 5.2 (330W, £5,750) and CS 8.2 (500W, £11,695) CD/amp/streamers. The company's owner was at Bristol to explain why this is such a good idea and demonstrated as much via PMC twenty5.21 standmounts, the smallest model in the range having no difficulty in a big room. The sound produced by this pairing was one of the best at the event, it had an openness and delicacy that made pretty much everything I heard sound beguiling. We will be getting one of AVM's one box CS models in at the earliest opportunity.
Rega brought a slew of new goodies to Bristol including Ania (above), the least expensive MC yet has a Fortron plastic body and semi elliptical stylus for £498. There is a matching Fono MC phono stage (£248) in new look casing that matches the new TT PSU power supply (£198) for the P2 and P3 (both decks are now available in red). Rega will soon launch a stylus gauge called Atlas (£175) and a limited edition unbraced RP3 with RB110 arm and Carbon cartridge for £250, 500 of these will be hidden in RP1 boxes to celebrate Record Store Day in April.
Melco has been busy upgrading its music servers to mk2 status. Changes include the addition of a Neutrik USB 2.0 port that supports the Ravenna protocol, dedicated audio from the front USB, component changes to reduce noise and copper earthing on the connections. The N1A has a new capacitor block on its PSU while N1Z also has PSU upgrades, SSD capacity is up to 2TB and there is a new 3.2.1 OS that allows library browsing and CD playbavck via the display. Alongside this Melco have commissioned a custom version of Songkong software that's designed to make classical music easier to manage in file streaming systems, it also sorts Naim rips to make them portable.
Sennheiser showed a wireless version of its Momentum in-ear earphones, these use Bluetooth 4.1 and aptX to provide serious (almost) wire free sound for £170.
Kudos were playing some belting Deadmau5 beats on the Titan 707 floorstanders. With isobaric bass and a very attractively styled cabinet the 707 is smaller, one box version of the active Titan 808 but incorporates many of the developments in that range topper for a £13,000 asking price.
Elipson's Omega 100 RIAA BT now comes in Carbon form for £699. Changes to the regular version are primarily the carbon skinned plinth but include the luxury of an arm lift and Ortofon 2M Red cartridge.
Spendor has a new A series headed up by the A4 above at £2,200. No wider than the main driver they are designed to be unfussy about placement and easy to drive, this system here was a Rega Brio integrated amp and an Auralic Aries Mini streamer yet sounded pretty convincing. The standmount A1 is £1,200 and the smaller A2 floorstander £1,600.
Technics have followed the decidedly upmarket versions of its iconic SL-1200 turntable with a (slightly) more affordable iteration. The SL-1210GR (SL-1200GR in silver) is £1,299 and has many of the features of the G model at over twice the price. These include a x2 pitch fader button, 78rpm, metal top plinth and wooden base and a single rather than dual rotor direct drive motor.
The S-Booster BOTW is a linear power supply that replaces switching wallwarts, thus reducing electrical noise. It's available in seven voltage outputs starting at 5-6V and rising to 24V with a £240 – £260 price, the so-called 'Best of Two Worlds' looks like a useful upgrade for many systems.
Music First showed the QSE version of its Classic Preamplifier, the Quad Special Edition (£2,040) is the same width as a Quad 405-2 power amp and sounded rather good with a Nagra IV tape recorder and Graham Audio LS6 speakers. The Nagra D was playing up so I have yet to hear the La La Land soundtrack that Jonathan Billington is so enamoured of.
The Majentix WARP is a wireless amplifier system that can be used one per speaker for minimal cabling. It has its own internal wireless comms with very low latency in order to achieve precision timing. Still pre production Majentix works with Bluetooth and wi-fi signals and has two class D power amps per unit, price is expected to be sub £1,600 for a pair.
The Quadraspire Soundstage is a new bamboo platform with phosphor bronze and bamboo feet, it comes in at £99.
Air Audio introduced the AC-2K balanced power supply for £1,400. With a display showing outgoing voltage it can be used to power a distribution block or a single device.
The Astin trew AT2-2100 is a relatively straightforward integrated amp with MOSFET output transistors and a 100 Watt power rating. The extras include balanced inputs, headphone output and a 'warm' button for a more tubey sound, price is £1,895.