summer news outburst

First of all, huge thanks to all who came along to our long-delayed Audio Show East event in Trinity Park at the end of April. Attendance was up significantly over previous years and the overall ‘vibe’ was reassuringly positive.

Prizes were dished out unusually liberally this year too, possibly something to do with us being on the cusp of our 31st year in business. Details of winners and links to pictures, videos and a very well written show review are linked from the button below.

We were initially disappointed that some of the promised new product launches from our various suppliers did not materialise. In the end, the joy of simply having a busy and upbeat audio show became a reward in itself.

My comment on arrival for set-up was ‘never again’ and numerous exhibitors were muttering that ‘we’re getting too old for this’ by the end.

What do you reckon? Next year again maybe?

ASE 23 information

Nait 50

Most of the UK’s serious audio manufacturers are celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year. I suspect the actual starting date for a lot of businesses is a little vague. Naim may have actually been around since 1969 but they’ve chosen their date of incorporation as a limited company in 1973 as the start date.

To celebrate this, they have launched a limited edition run (1973 units) of the Nait 50 integrated amplifier. Output power may be modest but Salisbury watts kick harder than most. Externally, it looks like the original Nait from 1983. Internally, it carries much of designer Steve Sell’s current thinking and is completely new.

We gather that, fed by a ND555 and driving some exceedingly expensive Focal loudspeakers it sounds genuinely remarkable. We hope to have our own examples here in the next few weeks. Several orders have been placed with us but we’ve ordered more stock than we’ve sold, so if you are harbouring thoughts of a funky compact Naim black box purchase, feel free to share them with us!

Fairly hard on the heels of the new 200 series comes the new Naim 300 range of components. Replacing NAC 282 and 252 preamps, there is a single model, the NAC 332. Its self-powered and upgrade to this comes via the the NPX 300 external PSU with which we are already familiar. There will be a single new, fairly high end music streamer, called NSS 333. Again, this is a stand-alone unit that can be upgraded with an NPX 300. Finally, some mono block power amplifiers, NAP 350 replace the NAP 300 DR.

We should have our demonstration stock by September and retail products should be arriving in October. We aim to arrange a proper listen sooner than this. As soon as we can give a realistic guarantee of having the units here, we will arrange and publicise some open days.

We have seriously high hopes, here. The existing 200 and 300 series components have exceeded expectations by a significant margin.

Rega Planar 3 – 50

Next on our 50th celebration list comes Rega. Their celebratory product is characteristically modest: The special limited edition Planar 3 – 50. Finished in simulated walnut, equipped with Exact Cartridge, NEO PSU and tinted cover, it’s priced at £899.

This comes at a time when Planars 8 and 10 and the very high end Aphelion cartridge seem to be hitting the spot with increasing regularity. The new Elex 4 and Elicit 5 are proving popular too and both now incorporate high quality DACs as well as a creditable phono stage. The high end Aura stand-alone phono stage is magnificent.

Rega is a very accomplished audio manufacturer with a burgeoning range and we can’t wait to see when happens over the coming months and years. We know that a fair amount is planned.

Chord Ultima

Chord had fun at our recent show demonstrating the new Ultima 3 preamplifier with Ultima 6 and 5 stereo power amps into both Kudos Titan 707 and ATC SCM 50 passive loudspeakers. Kudos themselves used Ultima 3 with Ultima 3 mono block power amps with the Titan 808s to great effect.

Due late summer is the new Ultima integrated amplifier that was released at the recent Munich show.

Chord’s Summer Sunshine Promo 2023

From 12/6/23 until 31/8/23 Mojo2 and Poly are priced £395 each – save £100!!

We’ve been drizzling on about this stuff for some time. As part of our normal data wiring here we have an ADOT system segregating our audio network from the noisy office equipment.

Interesting discovery by Mick and Kevin today is that, even with this background arrangement in place, adding a fresh ADOT device between the player and network still brought a transformation to even the fairly lowly (but not that lowly!) Bluesound Node.

News from Bluesound is that the new Node X is now with us. I often joke about certain products being inconveniently good and this is a case in point. It’s an absolute corker. Far, far too cheap at £699!
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At the affordable end of the spectrum, Q Acoustics’ new 5000 series is now in stock for demonstration. The £599 5020 stand-mounts impressed us particularly so we have these along with the agreeably slim 5040 floor-standers, which are priced at £999. Theoretically, there is also a 5050 floor-stander but they almost seem to be a secret. Perhaps they’re stuck in the hold of the Ever Given . . .

Finishes are black, white, ‘holm oak’ and ‘santos rosewood’. The (simulated) wood finishes are a step up from previous generations. We decided to take one for the team and bought some in oak 🙂

Sonically, they are far more like the outgoing Concept 40s than the 3050i’s. Both 5020 and 5040 seem very easy to site (and to drive). They are surprisingly clean and dynamic too with reassuringly extended bass. They are a little brighter and more ’sparkling’ than the 3000i series.

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And finally . . . PMC’s new Prodigy series of sensibly priced loudspeakers are due with us very soon.

Colour choice is simple – satin black. They actually look extremely dapper in the ‘flesh’ and we were surprised at how big, deep, clean and extended they sounded. They really did seem to enlarge the listening space.

They are also seriously compact. Far smaller than the images suggest.

And people tend to like small. . .

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Until next time, enjoy the heat!

All the best from Alastair (the supposedly retired one), Andy, Mick and Kevin.