Audio T Swansea Celebrates The 10th Anniversary Of Record Store Day On 22nd April

Record Store Day is now less than a month away, and with it being the 10th Anniversary we will once again be teaming up with Derrick's Music of Swansea to make it the best event yet.

The 22nd April will be the day where we once again see hundreds of people descend on independent record shops across the country to snap up some very exclusive and rare recordings that have been published on vinyl just for this one day.

The master list of LPs, 12" and 7" singles that are being produced was published this week, yet again after browsing through it I realise that I am going to have to raid the piggy bank again!

To see the full list on the Record Store Day website click here.

World renowned manufacturer of turntables and Hi-Fi products Rega Research are once again producing a very limited edition version of their Planar 1 Turntable, which we will be giving away to one lucky customer at Derricks Music on the day in a FREE prize draw.

We will also be giving away a copy of the new book by Rega "The Vibration Measuring Machine"

As we get closer to Record Store Day we will be posting more about what goodies we will be playing etc, so keep an eye on the Audio T Swansea Facebook page.

Here's last years lucky winner receiving his new Rega RSD turntable.

Musical Fidelity M6 Encore 225 Streaming/CD System Has Arrived At Audio T Swindon

We have just received the Musical Fidelity M6 Encore 225 all-In-one music system and it is a brilliant Hi-Fi product. It has a built-in CD player that also acts as a CD ripper (recorder).

It comes shipped with either a 1TB (about 2500 CD's) or 2TB hard drive and if that's not enough storage space, you can fit your own 2,5" HDD or we can fit it for you. The M6 Encore 225 is available in black or silver .

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?

The M6 Encore 225 Music System is supplied with a remote control, power cable, a network cable and a start-up guide. There are many tutorials on Musical Fidelity's website about how to use it and what it can do.

All you have to do is connect the Encore 225 to your network via a network cable (ethernet cable), connect up your speakers and then power it on - that's it.

This is a standalone music system with a built-in amplifier of 225W per channel. It has a CD player, CD-ripper, Internet radio, and a built in streamer which can stream up to 32bit/384kHz. If you would like to play a CD, press the home button on the front. You can set the CD to copy the music to the built-in hard drive so that you can stream it.

Music is stored and played back from the Encore's own built in hard drive. Music is easily imported from a network drive, usb drive or a computer. It is very easy to use and we are happy to show you how it works. The reason why Musical Fidelity wants all music to be stored on the internal hard drive is for speed of playback. It also reduces the chance of common network drop-outs and it means that there are no delays when playing a track or an album - I mean access is superfast. You can skip through the songs or fast forward with no delays.

It has analogue inputs, so you can connect a turntable with an external phono stage/amplifier; digital optical and usb. It is really versatile and it very easy to use. An additional bonus is that the music stored on the M6 Encore 225 can be accessed from existing UPNP music players in the house.

The Musical Fidelity Encore has a control app is free to download for both Apple iOS and Android.

Also available is Internet radio and Tidal (music streaming service).

The Encore can be controlled via the supplied remote control, the front buttons or via iOS and Android app. All information is displayed on the front colour display. As with all network products there are software updates to deal with but again thanks to Musical Fidelity, this is be done automatically over the network.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE?
We think it sounds fantastic and it will certainly drive most speakers easily. We connected the Musical Fidelity M6 Encore 225 to our Martin Logan EM-ESL that we have recently received (more about them in our next blog) and we were blown away with the resulting sound.

There is absolutely nothing we don't like about this music system. Please come in and have a listen and you are more then welcome to bring your own CD's to listen to and you can then compare the CD transport with the sound of a ripped and streamed CD. 

We look forward to seeing you - Stefan & Andy.

Musical Fidelity home audio and Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T: 
BrentwoodBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOnlineSouthamptonSwansea

The Brilliant And Gorgeous Hana EL Cartridge

Audio T Manchester have just added a new range of Hana cartridges to our collection. This relatively new brand of cartridge from the land of the rising sun is causing quite a stir amongst people who have already heard them, and although first introduced in 2015 the company behind Hana, Excel Sound Corporation, have been producing cartridges for over 50 Years. We took in the Hana-EL and SL as our first foray into this new range.

Today's blog will take a quick look at the beautiful moss green Hana-EL MC cartridge and at the slick black Hana SL Shibata and maybe a few puns from a galaxy far far away.....

Hana in Japanese actually means "brilliant and gorgeous" which, for all intents and purposes is exactly how it sounds. Tested with our own Michell Gyro'SE' the Hana EL didn't let us down.  it gets you a lot of bang for your galaxy credits.

Stereophile magazine also took the Hana EL "low output" for a test drive and said "the EL's basic sonic character was highly musical and exceptionally non mechanical." (Vol.39 No.8 WWW)"

Excel Sound Corporation have being making cartridges for other manufacturers for over 50 years now and only recently have they decided to put their own name to a range of cartridges called Hana, which are hand made in Tokyo Japan.

All Hana cartridges have a highly rigid aluminium cantilever and a diamond stylus.

Ok, so our opinion on the Hana twins. Dave our manager and turntable jedi wanted to give the pair a whirl. He tested both the EL and SL Shibata on a Linn  LP12, Ekos arm with exceptional results. To begin with, the EL low output did an admiral job of sounding musical and detailed, certainly worth the admission fee.  

Then the Hana SL Shibata, is equally impressive, but is much more open, the extra height in the soundstage just lifts everything out and away of the speakers. What's more, the very low surface noise just adds to the detail, more than you would expect from just a Shibata upgrade, very good and again great value.

Hi-Fi Choice, Hifi World and Hifi Pig all gave the Hana cartridges glowing reviews.

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Headshell Chromey! Headshell!! Thats a half inch mount....not your headshell mate...ahh never mind, come on now move along, move along and put your helmet back on, there's nothing to see here. 

The Hana SL Shibata mounted on our Michell Gyro SE.

The Hana cartridges are both on demonstration at our Manchester store and we have the Michell and Rega turntables on standby ready to show off the Hana's capabilities.

So please do pop along to our store on Bridge Street in Manchester and just ask Munir, Dave, Mike, Simon or Haden (on a Sunday) if you're interested in listening to the Hana, they will be more than willing to help.

Oh, and may the vertical tracking force be with you, all 2 grams of it.

Hana products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodManchester and Reading

New Audioquest Nighthawk Carbon Headphones

Audioquest's Nighthawk headphones have been tweaked and enhanced...and have been reborn as the Carbon edition! We are going to take a closer look at the headphone and what you get as a package and give you some indication of the sound. Let your own ears be the judge!

Above shows the case with front cover. On the back shows main features and specifications. Full specifications can be found here. The travel case looks and feels well made.

Inside everything is kept safe and secure. Once opened you will find the user manual, pre-flight guide, cable (1.3m), 3.5mm adaptor, x2 ear pads and the headphones.

The pre-flight guide provides useful information like running in time (150 hrs), different tuning methods using either the leather (improved treble) or suede (enhanced bass impact) ear pads, cable button functions and best practice for looking after the silver plated plugs.

Above shows both the protein leather and ultra suede ear pads.

Here we have the 3.5mm to 1/4" adaptor & high performance long grain copper Audioquest cable (1.3m) with mic and smartphone control, terminated with silver plated plugs.

This picture shows the comfortable leather headband and deep ear pads which equates to long lasting comfort, you can even forget you're wearing them! The styling is beautiful.

The Audioquest Nighthawk Carbon headphones are exceptionally comfortable, with a more exciting sound when compared with the original Nighthawk's.

Bring some of your favourite music and come and have a listen!

Many Thanks

Simon, John, Claire & Mahmood

Audio T Enfield Tel: 0208 367 3132

Audioquest Headphones are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrightonBristolCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterPortsmouthPrestonReadingSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon.

Sound & Vision - The Bristol Show 2017 An Audio T Cardiff Perspective

It is the merry month of March and spring is in the air and last month was the 30th year of the Sound & Vision - The Bristol Show, organised by Audio T in association with What Hi-Fi? So this month we thought we would take take a look at a few of our favourites from the UK's largest and longest running Hi-Fi Show.

First up is Leema Acoustics, who were show casing their new 5 star award winning Tucana Anniversary Edition integrated amplifier. What a fantastic sounding amp.

In the same room we were also treated to our first listen of the soon to be available Quasar. The Quasar is the first product from the new Leema Stellar range. This is an integrated amplifier sporting many features such as DLNA and Bluetooth enabled streaming with a 24 Bit/192KHz DAC. If you would like to take a closer look at this amplifier it will be on demonstration in Cardiff Audio T in the next couple of weeks.

Next up on our list is the Japanese brand Esoteric. The system on show sells for nearly £72,000 and consists of the K-01x SACD/CD player, C-02 power amp, N-05 network player and the G-01 Master clock. What a superb sound we heard from this super system teamed with the ProAc Response K6 Loudspeakers.

The Bristol Show was also our first chance to listen to the partner for the Chord Electronics Mojo portable DAC, the Chord Poly. This piece of kit will turn your “on the go” DAC into a high quality wireless network music player, streamer and SD card playback device. What a great product!

Coming from a DJ background and remembering the days of lugging hundreds of records to gigs, I was very excited to see (and touch) the new Technics SL1200GR. This is the more affordable sibling to the previously released SL1200G.

Well, that's a round up of our personal favourites. The Bristol Show happens just once a year, but there are of course many Hi-Fi delights to be experienced all year round at Audio T Cardiff from Tuesday to Saturday 9:30-5:30!  029 2022 8565 and a warm welcome awaits all that visit. We look forward to seeing you. Hefin, Nick and Gareth.

New Dynaudio Contour Range Arrives At Audio T Oxford

The new Dynaudio Contour range has arrived in our Oxford Store. Consisting of four models Contour 25c Contour 20 Contour 30 and the mighty Contour 60In this blog I will be concentrating on the Contour 20's stand mount loudspeaker.

Dynaudio is a Danish loudspeaker maker, founded in 1977 with a pedigree. Dynaudio builds exceptional quality loudspeakers for home systems, professionals and cars. Products from its professional division are used as studio monitors in recording studios across the world.  

The Contour 20 speakers are a large rear-ported design stand mount speaker, with a solid machined aluminum front baffle set into a beautifully finished multi-layer cabinet. Each speaker has completely new woofers, designed especially for each model, while all the speakers use Dynaudio's Esotar 2 tweeter, previously found on the company's flagship speakers.

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In store we have tested the Contour range with multiple electronics brands. We found they really start to sing when partnered with high end, high current amplification. However you don't need to spend a fortune to get a great sound from them. We loved the sound the Contour 20's produced when partnered with the Quad Artera Pre/Poweramp combination. You can easily spend many times that amount on electronics and you will continue to release more detail, clarity and enjoyment from these amazing speakers.

The Contour 20 faces stiff competition at this price point from the likes of the Focal Electra 1008 BE  and the Kudus Super10. All three of these speakers are superb, however, in our opinion, the Contour 20's deliver class leading stereo imaging, substantially better depth, bass control and a fantastic mid-range that the competition cannot match. 

The Contour range are available in the following finishes: Walnut Satin, White Oak Satin, Piano Black, Piano White, Rosewood High Gloss and Bubinga High Gloss. Dynaudio offer a matching stand for the Contour 20's that are available in Black and silver.

As you can tell we love the speakers, and think you will too. If you would like to have a demo please call us on 01865 765 961 and talk to Jon, Dom or Paddy.

Dynaudio loudspeakers are available at the following branches of Audio T:
BrightonBristolManchesterOxfordPortsmouthReadingSouthamptonSwindon

ARCAM's New rPhono Switchable Phono Stage Is The Latest Contribution To The Vinyl Revolution

In this months blog we take a closer look at Arcam's new rPhono switchable phono stage. We'll cover what it does, how to set it up and tell you which Hi-Fi system we tested it with.

Arcam have recently launched the rPhono. A potent switchable small case phono stage generously priced at £399. The rPhono is a compact and solidly built little unit satisfyingly heavy and well damped with a rubber base for extra isolation. A simple and subtle design that should blend well with most systems.

Being switchable means you can  either use a moving magnet or moving coil cartridge. Both inputs are adjustable allowing you maximize the performance of your favourite cartridge. As the rPhono supports both MM and MC you could (if you so desired) run two turntables, one of each, remembering of course to select the correct input when swapping from one to the other. The adjustment key in the bottom right of the picture resides in a little slot in the back of the unit making any setting adjustment a doddle.

On the back of the Phono stage are the switches to adjust the capacitance, load and gain to match the suggested specifications of the cartridge. Of course there is the input switch to choose between MM and MC on the far right and to its left is a rumble switch. What we found was when it was on it the sound was a little cleaner but not necessarily as musical. This may differ in different systems and racks. The settings are clearly mapped out on the back panel so no need to endlessly search through manuals to make sure you have got it right. On the whole we found it easy to set up, but of course we are happy to do this for you. 

SYSTEM
We ran the rPhono with a Rega RP8 and Exact cartridge and then a Rega Apheta 2 MC . Connecting the rPhono to the Rega Elicit stereo amplifier where a pair of Chord Company Epic phono leads and Chord Company Rumour speaker cable running to a pair of Spendor A5R's. The track used was Brose and Butter from Songs of Robert burns by Eddie Reader. It's a well recorded album with a lively quality and on a good system sounds open and fun. Although the system was quite highly specified compared to the price of the rPhono, we wanted to put it through its paces and on that level it did not disappoint.

If you would like to arrange your personal demonstration or home loan, including leads, please get in touch Nick, Joe or James at Audio T Portsmouth Tel: 02392 66360

Arcam Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T: 
BrentwoodCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldOxfordPortsmouthPrestonReadingSouthampton
SwanseaSwindon

Tiger Paw Tranquility Linn LP12 Turntable Bearing Upgrade

As the saying goes good things often come in small packages and in this instance they are not wrong! Yesterday a small cardboard box measuring 20cm x13cm x7cm found its way into our shop from Tiger Paw.  It was with some excitement, after reading lots of good things about it, that we opened it to reveal two metal discs with a unique array of rare earth magnets in them.

Tiger Paw Tranquility LP12 Turntable Upgrade Kit

Tiger Paw Tranquility LP12 Turntable Upgrade Kit

There is nothing new about about magnetic levitation in fact it is used by some other small exotic turntable manufacturers and has been on the news recently showing a floating platter, in fact we can remember this technology dating back to the Pickering Gyropoise from the early 1960s'.In this instance, though, it doesn't actually raise the inner platter from its thrust pad but it does dramatically reduce the force and friction between the two surfaces by up to 90%.

Disc 1 friction fit around Linn LP12 inner platter

Disc 1 friction fit around Linn LP12 inner platter

Another major advantage of this upgrade is the fact that no changes to the original turntable are required and the 2 sections fit around the existing bearing spindle and inner platter with no screws or bolts required. It is also fully backwards compatible with pre Cirkus bearings and standard sub chassis, so no matter what level of LP12 you have everyone can benefit.

Disc 2 fitted around the Linn LP12 bearing

Disc 2 fitted around the Linn LP12 bearing

We started our listening test with Bjorks' early Gling Glow album, a close miked and slightly forward recording, and straight from the off the differences weren't small, in fact, it was dramatic, the control on the bass, unveiling of the top end and the drop of the noise floor all contributing to an overall spatial effect creating a more natural feel to the tracks, less like a record more of an experience. Record after record went on everything from the newly re-issued Paul Weller Wild Wood all the way back to lesser well recorded albums such as the The Allman Brothers live A&R studios recording from 1971. Whilst it can't make a bad recording great, they can become a whole lot more believable meaning you can just relax and listen to the music rather than getting hung up with the limitations of the recording.

Full spec Linn Klimax LP12 with Ekos tonearm, Kandid cartridge and Radical power supply. MC Billy Blaster can't wait to jump in, spin some discs and throw some shapes!

Full spec Linn Klimax LP12 with Ekos tonearm, Kandid cartridge and Radical power supply. MC Billy Blaster can't wait to jump in, spin some discs and throw some shapes!

This is a must have for those treasured vinyl discs, it is  easy to hear to why and in our opinion a big upgrade for a small investment. So don't delay, bring in one of your favourite LP's and have a listen for yourself.

Join Julian, Paul and John in the Tiger Paw Tranquility of vinyl replay and give us a call on 01273 609431 to arrange your personal demonstration.

Tiger Paw Hi-Fi products are available in our BrightonReading and Oxford stores.

RNLI Music And Hi-Fi Evening - A Big Thank You!

A big thank you to all who attended the RNLI Hi-Fi and Music Evening at The White Horse Hotel, Romsey on 28th February.  We are delighted to report that the evening was very well attended and a great success, raising over £1300 for the RNLI from ticket sales and the raffle.

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Many thanks to all from Naim Audio, Dynaudio and The Chord Company for their enthusiastic support of this event, and to The White Horse for generously providing such a superb venue to showcase a stunning hi-fi system.  

It would have been impossible to set up this system in the limited time available without the skill (and muscle!) of all involved.  The Dynaudio Evidence Platinum speakers are over 6 feet tall and weigh nearly 150kg each!  Naim's Statement amplification is no lightweight either!  The multiple lengths of all ChordMusic cable variants was a significant contribution to the great sound, not to mention the £250,000 system value!

Thanks for all the positive feedback since the event.  It was always going to be an impossible task to cater for everyone's musical tastes but we hope we were able to give a flavour of what is possible with such an aspirational system, truly bringing music to life with realism and scale.

Nearly £500 was raised from the raffle, mainly due to the high quality of the prizes generously donated by Naim, Dynaudio and Chord.  Congratulations to the lucky winners of a Naim Mu-so QB, Dynaudio Xeo 2 and Chord Shawline especially!

We would also like to thank Mark Wills from Hundred Records, Romsey, for his enthusiastic support and donation of all record sale profits on the night to the RNLI.  Thanks Mark.  (Watch this space for details of our Record Store Day 2017 link up with Mark coming very soon!)

One of our customers commented afterwards: 

"Thank you for the excellent demo on 28th Feb. It was the best set up I have heard and it was good of you both to give up your time - the contributions from Dynaudio , Chord and Naim were much appreciated".

Finally here's a list of key contributors to the success of the RNLI event on the day, with apologies to anyone overlooked:

Chris Green (RNLI Romsey and District Chairman and event organiser) and RNLI volunteers

Daniel and Mark Raggett (Naim Audio)

Bill Livingston and Kala Lingham (Dynaudio)

Alan Gibb, and daughter Angela, Matt Peddle (The Chord Company)

Staff of The White Horse Hotel

and us at Audio T Southampton (Chandlers Ford).... Alan and John, plus John's brother in law, Mike

Thank you

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How To Take Care Of Your Precious Records In The New Age of Vinyl

With vinyl sales soaring and turntables becoming ever more popular it's important to care for your records and record playing equipment so here's a few tips and products that we'd recommend for seasoned vinyl addicts and newbies alike.

The Bear essentials for great sounding vinyl replay!

The Bear essentials for great sounding vinyl replay!

KEEP IT CLEAN!
There are many products out there to help with this but first and foremost is a humble duster! If you keep the area around your turntable free from dust there will be less to build up around your stylus and on your records, remember records tend to generate static so they'll attract dust. This is where the humble anti-static brush comes in very handy like the one from Audioquest in the picture above. There is also a similar product for cleaning your stylus (also pictured above) It's not uncommon to have a major build up on a stylus which can make it sound like the cartridge is failing.

For cleaning records with a heavier level of grime Pro-ject make two great products. The Spin Clean is a manual "wet cleaning" system for only £90 and if you want your records restored to sparkling brilliance try the fantastic Project VCS machine, which removes dirt and grime brilliantly. Then store your records in anti-static sleeves to help maintain their condition.

Boswell is the original vinyl care bear and says that "Vinyl hygiene is imperative for the best sound reproduction".

Boswell is the original vinyl care bear and says that "Vinyl hygiene is imperative for the best sound reproduction".

CAREFUL SET UP
This is where we come in. Getting the set up of your turntable right will give the most rewarding musical experience, whether you're a Dire Straits or Ed Sheeran fan. We can adjust and set up almost any turntable here in store and are always happy to help you do this.

For those of you who like to tweak and play, and there are many opportunities for this with turntables, we have a wide range of mats, stylus force measures, and pucks and clamps available.

One other essential accessory to keep your precious vinyl safe in transit, is our wonderful limited edition Audio T 50th Anniversary record bag and teddy bear carrier modelled here by Boswell.

It's available from all our Stores (bear not included!)

It's available from all our Stores (bear not included!)

THERE'S ALWAYS AN UPGRADE PATH
No matter what turntable, as long as it's working and of a decent standard, it is always possible to improve its performance. You can change the cartridge, sometimes the cables, and the phono stage as well. At Audio T we have always prided ourselves on our knowledge of turntables and getting the best performance out of them. Why not come in and see us, or give us a ring and have a chat about how we can do that for you.

We look forward to seeing you. 

Paul, Francis and Jason