Sound & Vision The Bristol Show 2010 (Part 3)

March 01, 2010 — Article

Sound & Vision The Bristol Show 2010: Part 3…

Adam Audio Classic Mk3

At the high end of the speaker scale, Berlin-based Adam Audio is continuing its move from the pro to consumer markets with the new passive versions of its Classic Mk3 active speakers (the company made its name with high-end active speakers for the pro market).

Essentially, they’re the same as their predecessors but with the amplifiers taken out, and costing about £500 less as a result. So the Column floorstander (£4,800) is top of the range with its pair of 7in Hexacone woofers, X-ART midrange driver and ribbon tweeter. Next is the slightly smaller Pencil (£3,400) which loses the midrange driver and the standmount Compact (£2,000) with a single 7in bass/mid driver and X-ART ribbon tweeter. There’s also a centre channel and sub available for 5.1 home cinema sound.

SP Acoustics SP1

New to the Bristol Show, SP Acoustics is the brainchild of Steve Phillips, former head of R&D for 14 years at Acoustic Energy. Hit by redundancy he set up his own firm and developed his dream product – the SP1. He’s gone back to basics with what is essentially a 1970s design (“Because it works,” he says) using modern components.

There’s a 3/4in selected fabric dome tweeter atop a 4in paper pulp cone midrange driver and a pair of 6.5in aluminium cone woofers. They’re all made in his own studio in Stroud, Gloucestershire – only the lacquering (in any style you wish) is outsourced – and it takes around four to five weeks to make each pair to order.
The SP1 costs £14,950 though there’s also a pro-audio version available for £11,950, which basically dispenses with the fancy finishes.

Tom Evans Audio Design Model 1

Another speaker with a distinctly old-school look is the Model 1 from amplifier innovator Tom Evans.

The Model 1 is a two-way floorstanding speaker designed around the Jordan JX925 driver which is supported by a custom-made 8in bass driver with its own inductor, so there’s no need for a crossover. It promises virtually flat impedance with a minimum of six and a maximum of 6.5 ohms. Cost is estimated at around £6,000.

Rega Isis and Osiris

British audio firm Rega was demonstrating its flagship Isis CD player and Osiris integrated amplifier. The Isis is the seventh generation of Rega’s solid state CD player and features a Burr-Brown PCM1794 DAC, separate power supplies for digital and analogue sections and a USB input for direct ripping to a computer.

The matching Osiris dual/mono amp offers 160 watts into eight ohms (250W into 4ohms) and is encased in a custom-made aluminium case with high thermal efficiency heatsinks.
The Isis and Osiris are available now for £5,998 each or £10,998 the pair.

Denon Cara

Denon launched its all-in-one Blu-ray system at the Bristol Show. The name means ‘friendly’, apparently, and it’s certainly got a lot of engaging features (even if its black-clad bulk has something of the Death Star about it), including Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player, FM tuner, 5.1-channel 75wpc amp (with parallel drive delivering 150wpc in stereo).

A door opens at each side to reveal connections including USB, SD memory card and HDMI, while there’s a further two HDMI 1.3 inputs and a single HDMI 1.4 output on the back for audio return as well an Ethernet port. It can supply two separate zones but needs Denon’s ASD-3W iPod dock to be able to supply internet radio. It will be in the shops from the end of March for £2,000.

PMC Fact 3

Brit speaker manufacturer PMC debuted its new Fact 3 standmount speaker. It’s effectively a cut-down version of the well-received Fact 8 with the same 2 x 5.5in bass drivers and 19mm Sonomex soft-dome ferro-fluid cooled tweeter as the Fact 8 and includes a pair of switches on the back that allow you to control the high and low frequency roll-offs to suit your room.

It will be available in a choice of oak, walnut, graphite poplar and tiger ebony wood veneers with extremely smooth finishes. PMC had some matching stands on show too, but these haven’t been finalised yet. The Fact 3 will be available in April for £3,995.

Russ Andrews Superkord

Accessories king Russ Andrews showed off the Superkord power cable designed to reduce mains-borne RFI to source components.

Typically, the company hasn’t revealed the details of how it works, except to say that includes a new form of damping and a higher level of filtering than previous designs, with most of the technical gubbins contained in its distinctive wooden blocks. It costs £350 for a 1m length.

Monitor Audio Apex

Monitor Audio was demonstrating its new Apex surround speaker package. The sub/sat system features aluminium cases and trickle-down tech from the company’s higher end Gold GS series. The A10 satellites (£275 each) come with dual purpose stand/wall mounts which can be angled to suit your listening position or tall stands (£250 per pair) with a built-in cable management system.

The A40 centre channel can be tilted through 45 degrees and features two 5.5in mid/bass drivers in front and a single 5.5in woofer behind, with a 25mm gold dome tweeter (the A10s have one each of the mid/bass and tweeter). The accompanying AW-12 subwoofer (£900) meanwhile offers a 12in long-throw driver and Class D amplification churning out 500 watts of power. The system is available now in black or white gloss finishes.

Dali Mentor Menuet

Danish speaker manufacturer Dali debuted its mini Mentor Menuet bookshelf speaker. It has a single 4.5in bass/mid driver with a wood fibre cone topped by a dome tweeter with a new diaphragm which Dali claims is 30 per cent lighter than the company’s previous high-frequency drivers.

It’s available now in black, white or cherry for £900.

Tannoy DC10

Scots-based speaker firm Tannoy was showing off its DC10 monster floorstander, which received a soft launch last year. It features a 10in dual concentric full-range driver and tweeter with a 10in woofer and is distinctive for having put its entire crossover through DCT (Deep Cryogenic Treatment), the sort of procedure normally reserved for high-end cables to reduce potential stresses in the metal.

The treatment is also applied to the DC10’s smaller sister speaker, the DC8 (8in speakers) as is the real birch ply cabinets which originally featured on Tannoy’s top-end Prestige range. Both speakers are available now with the DC10 costing £5,000, the DC8 £4,000 and the DC8 standmount £2,500.

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Monitor Audio
Russ Andrews