Show report: Bristol Sound & Vision 2011 pt3

March 03, 2011 — Article

Even more from the UK’s biggest and longest-running dedicated hi-fi and AV show.

Chord’s Chordette Google system £5,400
Not for sale to the public in quite this form, though the components are all available, this mini Chordette system is one of many that the British company has produced for Google (the Android development offices are very keen on the Chord way, apparently).
Designed to work with any source and any software, on top is the Prime preamp (£1,500) with DAC, ADC and optical bypass, sitting above a Toucan DAC (£800) which includes headphone amp, USB, XLR and phono inputs as well as a psycho acoustic filter (intended to make listening less fatiguing). Then there a Peach input expander (£800), essentially a DAC with Apt-X Bluetooth, USB, optical and coax digital inputs and at the bottom is a Scamp amp (£800) offering 2 x 40 watts. All four are held in the Chordette Carry rack which sells for £1,500.

Rega DAC £500
Rega showed off its first DAC, which promises 24/192 playback, the highest native resolution available via a pair of Toslink and coaxial outputs. Designed primarily to improve the sound from PCs as well as other sources, it has five inputs, including an isolated USB input. It’s on sale from April.

Canton Reference 9.2 DC loudspeaker £2,300
Following on from the appearance of the £4,500 floorstanding 7.2 last year, this latest 9.2 model marks the entry level point of Canton’s Reference range. The standmount includes a two-way bass reflex system with aluminium 7in woofer and aluminium 1in tweeter with a full frequency response of 25-40,000Hz. It has gold-plated bi-wiring/amping screwclamp terminals too.

Adam Audio ARTist speaker range £595-£1,195
High-end German speaker manufacturer Adam demonstrated its ARTist range of active loudspeakers. No amp required for these more affordable models beginning with the standmount 3 and 5 (pictured), which feature USB, mini jack, RCA and XLR inputs. There’s also the floorstanding 6, which has RCA and XLR inputs as well as a side-mounted centre channel and subwoofer for a full 5.1 system. All include Class A amplifiers (3: 2 x 25W, 5: 2 x 50W, 6: 3 x 35W) and are available in black or white.

Analysis Audio Omega speakers £14,500
Not new but still extremely striking were these full-range planar-ribbon speakers. With no conventional drivers, the Omega uses two aluminium membranes to deliver a frequency range of 22-2,000Hz. The Omega sits in the middle of the Greek company’s range and each 42kg speaker stands 1.68m high.

NAT “Single” valve amplifier £4,976
New from high-end Serbian manufacturer NAT, the “Single” is a valve-integrated, pure dual mono amplifier. It operates in single-ended, zero feedback pure Class A with a power output of 50 watts (15 watts in low power mode) into four or eight ohms. It has two toroidal transformers (one for each channel) plus a third for the separate digital control circuits.

Optoma 3D-XL projector adapter £249
Designed for use with its lower end projectors, Optoma’s 3D-XL converts standard 2D projector capability into 3D and claims to be the first of its kind. It uses passive lens glasses for watching 3D Blu-ray, TV and games material and there’s a choice of 16 models it’s compatible with, though it won’t work with non-Optoma projectors. It sounds like a compromise but the demo using an Optoma HD67N (£500) was very effective.

Spendor A3 loudspeaker £1,300
Spendor’s latest addition to its A range is the series’ smallest floorstander. The two-way design promises to keep the scale and power of the larger A5 in a reduced cabinet with the same wide range of positioning options and ease of drive. It has a 15cm mid-bass driver and 22mm wide-surround tweeter and is available in light oak, dark walnut, cherry and black ash veneers.

Spendor S3/5R speaker £850
The original LS3/5A mini-monitor originally used by the BBC in the seventies received an update from Spendor in 1997 and gets another revision this year with the S3/5R2. It’s a two-way design with infinite baffle standmount and a new 14cm Spendor mid/bass drive unit fitted with an ep39 polymer cone, and a 22mm wide-surround tweeter. The thin-walled damped cabinet panel includes controlled bracing but no rear port, which should make it more versatile with near-wall placement. It’s available in light oak, dark walnut, cherry and black ash natural veneer finishes.

Olive 06HD music server £4,600
Available from Henley Designs, the largest in the Olive range of music servers promises ease of use coupled with audiophile sonics. It includes a 2 terabyte hard drive with enough space for 6,000 hi-res CDs, a 10in screen as well as a differential DAC and a dedicated linear power supply for the analogue output stage. There’s a high-end headphone DAC on board too and there will be an iPhone remote control app too. It will be on sale from the end of March.

Show report: Bristol Sound & Vision 2011 pt2

Show report: Bristol Sound & Vision 2011 pt1

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Chord Electronics