Welcome to the June 2021 news.

This regular (ish) journal malarkey doesn’t half focus the mind on the passage of time. It’s also making me confront the reality that our world might actually not be all that exciting 🙂

What’s new? In truth, not an awful lot. Even at the best of times, summer is not the busiest time for new product launches. Add the extraordinary effect of material and parts shortages and the lack of new toys makes sense. Droning on about lack of supply might not bring the most positive of ‘vibes’, but it is proving to be the defining characteristic of 2021. We almost feel scared to sell products because there won’t be any to replace them! Note there was an ‘almost’ back there 🙂

What’s arrived?’ is probably the better question and there have been some notable arrivals.

Renewed Majik

Our longest awaited product at almost 6 months, is our new demonstration Linn Majik LP12 turntable. Rather unexpectedly, it has also proved to be a minor revelation. Andy has fitted dozens of Karousel bearings over the past year or so, but the Majik is possibly the most basic in terms of power supply, arm and cartridge on which we’ve heard it.

With the new arm and the Karousel bearing, the standard Majik deck is noticeably more accomplished than before. For a start it’s extremely quiet, with the lack of background ‘mush’ being instantly evident. So too is the sense of ‘ease’ and grace. We could well be being unfair in attaching the ‘basic’ epithet to the Krane arm. Whatever you make of the aesthetics, this is a very lovely thing with which to play music.

Rega still flying

Back in February we announced the imminent arrival of Rega’s Kyte loudspeakers. In the end, they proved to be just a tad less imminent than anticipated. A solitary pair finally arrived without fanfare in April. They were played to one customer who was instantly head over heels. It would have been mean not to let him buy them. . . . cue another supply gap!

We now have fresh demonstration examples and, for now at least, some stock too. Priced at £499, they are great value. Clean, clear, full range, agile and musically engaging. Naturally, they suit the Rega Io, Brio and Elex-R but they’re excellent with Naim and other brands too. Bass is far better in weight and quality than expected. The physically light cabinets set false expectations. We gather that a lot of work has gone into them and they are far better than the pre-production samples played at the Bristol Show in 2020.

In line with the preamble, here’s a little heads up on the Rega supply front: Amplification from Io to Elex-R is massively back-ordered (up to four months for new Elex orders). Turntables are now fairly free-flowing but there is an issue on the manufacture of Elys 2 cartridges. A £70 saving is currently being offered on a Planar 3 pre-fitted with the higher end Exact cartridge to help offset this.

The RX series of speakers are felt to have run their course. Stratospheric manufacturing costs for the UK sourced wood veneered cabinets have made continued production untenable in Rega’s view. Truth is that Rega were always best at making relatively low cost dynamic and ‘fun’ speakers. We felt that this characteristic waned somewhat with the RX series but it has reappeared in the Phenolic Resin enclosed Kyte. The future could be interesting!

Altair G2.1

The next arrival is the new Auralic Altair G2.1 mentioned last month. This £4599 preamp-cum-streamer / DAC is magnificent news for the increasing band of people keen to find a really good way of driving either an existing power amplifier or active loudspeakers with minimum box count. It’s their best all in one product to date and they’ve already set the bar very high indeed.

Straight into our ATC SCM 50 Actives, it makes a very good case for itself. It can play any file format that we’ve been able to lay our hands on, including some incredibly large high resolution DSD ones that it handles natively. It does a great job with Flac on Qobuz and can decode the high resolution MQA encoded Tidal masters.

Adding to the sense of having a swiss army knife feature set, it can connect directly to either an internally fitted hard drive or to a USB drive (this is the recommended route). You can connect CD drive and ‘rip’ directly to this storage. Ultimately, a high quality local music server, such as Melco or Innuos can still make sense. Thank goodness.

Beyond a limited number of inputs, the analogue preamp is well featured with AV pass-through and a supposedly ‘basic’ MM phono stage that actually sounds like a pretty decent one. To give some sense of context, as a player it actually manages to outclass the more expensive Vega G2.1 DAC that comes with a very basic in-built streamer but utterly blooms when fed via a streamer transport. The Auralic range is fairly baffling and I was on the cusp of writing a ‘rough guide’ when I spotted Auralic’s own descriptions linked here.

Sometimes you can just tell that the people behind a brand have a particularly good grasp of both the technology and how to make musical products. We’ve now got just about every product that Auralic make, which must say something. We are therefore in a very good place to let you hear their version of musical nirvana.

Naim supply update

Email received from Naim today gives current anticipated lead times:

Uniti Range

Uniti Atom: 10 WeeksUniti Atom Headphone Edition: 12 Weeks

Uniti Star: 12 Weeks

Uniti Nova: 12 Weeks


NDX 2: 16 Weeks

ND5 XS 2: 20 Weeks

Other Notable Products

CD5 si: 8 Weeks

NAP 500DR: 18 Weeks

SuperCap DR: 12 Weeks

All other products

6 Weeks

Mitigating this somewhat, we have some new boxed stock of all Uniti products, NAP 250, 300 and 500, Supernait 3, HiCap and ND5XS. More NDX2s, Supercaps and some preamps were ordered some weeks ago, so should be closer than you might think. If you want to look at some upgrading, we might be able to move reasonably quickly, therefore.

Accuphase news

This brand continues to win new friends. Supply has always been limited but, subjectively, this has been curiously OK. Occasionally we’ve run into bleak supply news, such as the zero availability until July of the new DP-570 CD/SACD player. As a result of introducing one of our £10200 DP-570 buying customers to the £18500 DP-750 (it’s improbably better) we now have the DP-570 on demonstration and a very happy customer bedding in the DP-750. Whilst playing with various options, we established that the DC-37 DAC sounds even better on ‘pure’ DAC duties with our Melco kit than even the DP-750, so we’ve ordered the DAC too.

Unusually, Accuphase SACD players can connect to their DACs via ‘HS Link’, an RJ45 (ethernet) connection, which gets around the copy protect paraphernalia. This will make for interesting listening. Beyond DP-750 level, all Accuphase disc players are two box affairs in any case. Welcome to the time warp!

Beyond selling the occasional ‘posh’ CD player, we’ve also managed to run out of available £8k E-480 integrated amplifiers. It’s our fault, we sold a whole two in the past month! The next shipment from Japan will be in September so our demo unit will soon have to disappear. As far as we can glean, the other amplifiers are still free-flowing but it becomes ever more tempting to make speculative stock purchases even with the certainty that you can only buy the wrong thing. Perhaps a ‘spare’ E-650? I could find a use for one of those at home!

and finally . . . 2yu

If the Chord 2Go makes sense to you, then you might be ready to handle this. Failing that, perhaps we just leave it here!

2yu is an advanced designed-for-2go digital interface enabling 2go as a fully-fledged standalone streamer, ready to be used with external DACs and devices, including the 768-kHz upscaling Hugo M Scaler. 2yu connects directly to 2go to add TOSLINK optical S/PDIF, coaxial and BNC (both 75 ohms) digital outputs, plus a cleverly integrated USB-A output.

2yu boasts 2,000 MIPS (million instructions per second) of processing power, an integrated sample rate converter, plus a low-jitter audio phase lock loop. Highly flexible in its potential applications, 2go with 2yu is also ideal for installers wishing to create a discreet remote Roon streaming solution: the duo can be wired into an Ethernet port to provide streaming to a system in any room. 2yu alone can also be used with PCs and Macs via USB to create a high-quality USB-to-digital-audio convertor for audio.

No, of course I didn’t actually write any of that! We have 2yu in stock (in black) and on demonstration. If Chord’s spiel piques your interest, pop on by or give us a call. It’s £449, dead clever and, with the matching 2go makes for a very effective and very compact £1440 stand alone music streamer that can store music on two SD cards.