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Friday
Apr112014

Roxy Music said that Love is the Drug, but we say Music is….

Give life back to music, is the first track from Daft Punk's latest album, Random Access Memories and this title sums up in a nutshell what good Hi-Fi can do to your music collection.

This is even more obvious when you listen to the studio master of the recording on a music streaming service such as Qobuz. or a direct high resolution download (HRD) from Linn Records, Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound or Naim Label.

What does Hi-Fi or High Fidelity really mean these days? Well we believe it has always been to faithfully reproduce the likeness of the original sound, whether it be music, speech or noises using electronic home audio equipment, namely a combination of: amplifiers (digital or valve) sources: CD Players, Streamers, Record Players; Digital to Analogue Converters (DAC's) and loudspeakers: passive or *active (*amplifier built in) stand mount monitors or floorstanding.

While Hi-Fi alone won't usually improve the quality of a substandard recording - garbage in garbage out! - however, when good quality recordings are played using Hi-Fi equipment, it brings the listener closer to the music and more faithfully presents the music as the artist and producer intended it to sound when it was recorded, mixed and mastered.

On The Stage Stock Photo By George Stojkovic
Regardless of the format, CD, vinyl, tape, digital file, we know that hearing more of the music is a thrilling experience. Being able to hear vocals more clearly, individual instruments being played (separation) and the sound they make (timbre) revealing greater insight and depth into a recording can add hugely to the enjoyment and will often induce goosebumps! Listening to music is known to release serotonin, the brain's feel good drug, and as music lovers this is our drug of choice!

You see, at Audio T we are all first and foremost music enthusiasts. Two-channel stereo Hi-Fi is just a means of getting the most enjoyment from our hobby. Audiophiles, music lovers or music junkies, whatever the moniker, we get our highs from music!

Psychedelic Guitar Stock Photo By dan
If you are a music lover old or new, why not bring some of your music along - we're always interested in listening and learning about new artists and hearing their music replayed on some great sounding quality Hi-Fi. This is what we do and love. Locate your nearest store here.

We can guarantee that you will always remember the first time you hear your favourite music played on quality Hi-Fi, simply because it sounds better and it reveals more of the music! 

As Andrew Everard the Audio Editor for Gramophone says: "In the end it's all about the music", and we wholeheartedly agree with that!

Quick Quiz - Can you name the artists from these track and album?

1. Listen to the Music 
2. Pop Music
3. Thank you for the Music
4. Hyper Music
5. Lost in Music 
6. Play that Funky Music White Boy
7. Music for the Masses 

Tuesday
Mar182014

The Naim Unitiserve - A Ripping Good Yarn!

Over time we have all largely accepted that the most important part of the HiFi system is the source. If we fail to retrieve the musical information from the medium being played then it cannot be regained later in the Hi-Fi chain - The old Rubbish In - Rubbish Out saying applies here. This remains true across all sources including  Vinyl, Cd, Radio and of course the current crop of Streamers and dictates that we plough a significant proportion of our budget into the relevant player.

We are in the case of streamers however, overlooking the fact that if you are ripping your CD collection for the purposes of streaming then your lovely new shiny streamer is not really the source! In many cases you will be using a few hundred pounds worth of computer rammed with noisy power supplies etc etc to feed your streamer that may have cost thousands of pounds!

This is where the Naim Unitiserve below comes into play, fitted with a large 2Tb hard drive and engineered to simply get the most from your Compact Discs and more.

 

There are many people who say digital music is just ones and zeros and it will always sound the same! However after a weekend with the Unitiserve it is very apparent even on my £500 Marantz streamer that this is simply untrue. Having compared it to WAV format rips obtained using Exact Audio Copy and dbpoweramp programs for example the Naim was always better without exception, with the musical image better focussed with greater energy and for want of a better description more evenly "lit" with no one instrument or performer being highlighted or left in the shadows. My wife, a natural cynic by the way! prefered the Naim rip EVERY time without being able to see what was being played.

If you are a computer-phobe then it is good news as well! For the majority of the time it is simply a case of pop a CD in and wait for it to pop back out 5 or so minutes later. You can of course use the Desktop Client to rename discs, create regular backups and add other content to stream if you desire. There are some screen shots below showing just some of the myriad of options available. An iPad app is available to directly play from the Unitiserve's digital output or better still control one of the Naim streamers over your computer network.

 

 

 

 

To sum up you have the benefits of storing your CDs in the uncompressed (mathematically or otherwise) WAV format yet retaining Artist, Album and Track information not usually available with this format when streaming, ease of use especially if you dislike computers and quite possibly the best sounding rips I have heard. Nobody wants to have to re-rip their music when they upgrade their Hi-Fi systems so if your streamer is or is likely to be in the £500 or above category I would suggest a Naim Unitiserve is mandatory to get the best from your investment. You are better spending £2220 on the Unitiserve and £750 on a streamer than £3000 on a streamer to play from your computer in my view, plus upgrading the streamer eventually will not require your entire CD collection to be copied again.

I was contemplating upgrading my streamer shortly but now realise I must in fact upgrade my music collection first and purchase a Unitiserve!

Don't take my word for it though, why not contact one of our Branches Here and listen for yourself!

You can see more about the Unitiserve on our site Here and over at Naim Here

Friday
Aug092013

What Hi-Fi? Visit & Tour of £1M Test Facilities

Earlier this summer, we went to meet with the What Hi-FI? team to see their £1M state of the art test facilities, where they test and review the latest and greatest consumer Hi-Fi products.

 

What Hi-Fi? are extremely supportive and are the main media partner of the Audio T Sound & Vision Bristol Show, the UK's No1 Hi-FI show and the defacto place to be if you're a manufacturer or an enthusiast!

What H-Fi? give the Bristol show extensive coverage in the magazine and online in the run up to, during and after the event and are ever present at the show providing live demonstrations of cutting edge Hi-Fi technology as well as offering great prizes for the show competition. 

Jerry Lewin, Audio T's CFO and Hi-Fi industry veteran, film lover and serial gigger (tell us about the Stones at Glasto Jezza!) had never seen the test facilities before (*Ed. I already made the visit having been involved in a WHF reader test) so it was an opportunity to review the review facilities, so to speak and see where the plethora of equipment is put through its paces.  

There are six testing rooms, the main four being: Hi-Fi, Home Cinema/AV, TV and MP3, which is a small room for testing ermmmmmmm MP3 players, mini and all in one systems, headphones and phones etc. You can read more about the facilities here Though I have been reliably informed that this is due for a bit of makeover. 

Andy Clough Projecting himself in the Main AV Test Room

We will be running a competition in July and four lucky Audio T customers will win a trip to WHF to see the test facilities, and a three month FREE subscription to the electronic or print version of the magazine. 

Our visit was very informative and productive. The upshot of this is that we will be further raising our profile by making use of several What HiFi? services including the weekly e-mail service when we need to communicate major sales, special offers, promotions and events. We will also be joining the What Hi-Fi? Shop, so that anyone searching for products through What HiFI? will see the premium Hi-Fi products that are avialable in store and online. 

We look forward to our continued associatiion with What Hi-Fi? and continuing to bringing the best in Hi-Fi to Audio T customers old and new


Passing the test? Phil (Ed) and Andy talking HiFi

Friday
May242013

Introducing Libratone, Funky Sizzling Danish Portable Wireless Loudspeakers.......

We like the sound of these very quirky but extremely fine sounding wireless loudspeakers.

Sizes, shapes to fit in with your home furnishings. Works with airplay... and allows you to stream your tunes to the Zipp or any other Libratone speaker from your computer, mobile phone or tablet.

To quote a famous Danish beer commercial, probably the finest wireless loudspeakers in the world........

Libratone Product Family from Libratone on Vimeo.

 

Saturday
May182013

What's DAC All About?

At Audio T we are amazed at how much a decent digital to analogue converter (DAC) can make to the resulting sound quality of music and film.

The DAC is a clever micro chip that converts analogue signals such as speech or in this case a music recording or a film soundtrack into a digital signal that can be amplified and then sent to your loudspeakers.

Your CD player, in car players, iPod, and some extent newer digital amplifiers often have DAC's built in however these vary greatly and are often of low quality. 

An audiophile grade dedicated and purpose built DAC can make a huge difference to the resulting sonic output and overall sound quality! 

At Audio T we have a wide range of DAC's that suit different applications and are designed to enhance your listening pleasure. 

Why not come in and hear the difference it can make to your Hi-Fi or Home Cinema system.
 
Here are some of the Hi-Fi brands we have available in store for for you to listen to: Rega DAC, Audioquest Dragonfly DAC, Naim DAC's Arcam DAC's, Audiolab DAC's, Chord DAC's

We would always suggest you contact your local store and check availability before travelling. 

If you're interested in the technicalities then you can read more on Wikipedia 
*Image reproduced courtesy of Texas Instruments.