Wired for Sound! Choosing The Right Cable Can Make All The Difference!

The interconnect cable is very often an afterthought when buying a Hi-Fi system. Sometimes taken for granted or even forgotten about altogether! A good interconnect can make a system sound fantastic, just as easily as a ropey one can ruin the sound completely!

This overlooked gem in the Rega range is quite possibly one of the world's best kept secrets along with the Hapsburg Napkin Fold, the Worcester Sauce recipe and the answer to Fermat's Last Theorem!! Well I think it's time that one of these secrets was revealed and the only one I know anything about is the Rega Couple phono to phone analogue interconnect, so here goes as we attempt to tell the whole world (well the Audio T Blog readers) what this cable can do.

Here at Audio T Cheltenham we have been trying, testing and listening to phono to phono leads for rather longer than it took for life to crawl up the beaches from the primordial oceans in the days before even the dinosaurs had ancestors. We have tried the good the bad and the ugly and have learned how to recognise a gem when we hear it and this one really is flawless.

Obviously it works wonderfully in a Rega system. Whether it is being used with a Rega Apollo CD player and Rega Brio integrated amplifier or going further up the range with the Rega Saturn CD Player + DAC or the Rega Elicit R integrated amplifier, it always sounds great. So a very flexible (in both senses) cable then!

We always keep coming back to the Rega  Couple as the phono lead of choice to use in our main demo systems in store and to those doubters who say that cables do not make any difference we say come and try this one and you will be converted.

Build quality is excellent and even has locking phono plugs for a better connection and to make it less likely that the plugs will be accidentally knocked out. Conductors are full of top notch copper of the high purity type and it also uses Rega's own design of gold plated plugs the signal pin and screening clamp of which are joint free which helps to keep the music signal pure.

Choose a well recorded album, (preferably on vinyl of course) such as Radiohead's latest wonderful thing, A Moon shaped Pool - this one happens to be a white vinyl copy.....pick a track....could be any of them because they are all great!

 Kung Fu Hamster Highly Recommends The Rega Couple 2

Kung Fu Hamster Highly Recommends The Rega Couple 2

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When played using a lower prices cable (better not say which) and then comparing the same track using the Rega couple the immediate impression is that the sound stage now has much greater depth and width. Sounds now come from further left and right of the soundstage and the loudspeaker cabinets just disappear! Rhythms have a greater propulsion, bass is tighter and deeper and it is now much easier to follow all the music and the vocals at the same time. The vocals have also now become more distinct and all the tiny inflections in Thom Yorke's voice now come through....... spine tingling stuff!!

If you are of the Green persuasion you may be pleased to know that the packing is 100% recyclable.

Remember though ...... a phono cable will not improve the signal, it just makes certain that you do not lose information between components! Yes there are better phono to phono leads out there in the big wide wacky wonderful world but that next jump up takes you up to about £200 and that's a whole other blog!

The price of the Rega Couple is £126 for a one metre pair, but remember if you are buying a new system, not only will we make you a cup of tea or coffee, we will do you a bit of a deal on that price too!!

Now it's time to blog off!

Rega Hi-Fi products are available from all branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBrightonBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOxfordPortsmouthPrestonReadingSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon

Bowers & Wilkins PX Wireless Bluetooth Headphones Ooze Audiophile Style

It's been a while since our last blog, so we thought we would do something a little different this month. We asked Matt and Tom from our local bespoke tailors Doherty Evans & Stott to let us photo bomb their photo shoot with the B&W PX headphones.

We also made a little video showcasing the B&W PX headphones in all their glory, using DE & S as a back drop. So keep an eye out for Matt looking sharp in a pair of PX headphones.

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Bowers & Wilkins have always been regarded as a powerhouse Hi-Fi speaker manufacturer, from mid to entry level loudspeakers to their Nautilus flagship, their products always reflect their drive as a company to deliver accurate sound to their customers. So in an ever expanding age of digital music being available to us, manufacturers have to work hard to keep up with tech in our world.

B&W launched their PX series wireless headphones, ticking all the right boxes with APTX Bluetooth, adaptive active noise cancellation, software which combines an application available for your mobile device for control and customisation. 

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The PX's aren't the priciest headphone in the world yet they do feel reasuringly expensive, they simply ooze quality from the offset, the box to the carry case, everything has been crafted to reflect the price point of a £500+ headphone yet they only cost £330. From the leather/metal headband, the earcups, to the reassuring click of the buttons. Compared to the competition at the price point they are great value and punch way above their weight. Infusing metal with a soft touch leather has paid off to perfection, when you pause and actually look at the design of the headphones, they are truly unique. The way the metal is folded and curved to accomodate the braided cable, this in turn gives the ear cup a solid connection to the headband with little risk of breaking or bending, they look exceptional.

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Oh, and kudos to B&W for making the high wear parts replaceable i.e. the ear cups and cable. 

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How do they sound and work?
Soundstage, for a closed back set of cans the PX's are pleasantly surprising. Stereo imaging is accurate and encapsulating, they not only isolate you from the outside noise pollution but also deliver punchy and satisfying sound on your commute. 

The ease of wireless is not to be overlooked either, the range on the headphones in tests at our Manchester shop were up to 10 metres, meaning having your music source in your pocket or bag will be like the using a hot knife to cut through butter when connecting your mobile device to the headphones. Happy days.

 Matt from  Doherty Evans & Stott,  purveor of fine clothing and beautifully fitted suits, noted how comfortable the B&W PX's were. 

Matt from Doherty Evans & Stott, purveor of fine clothing and beautifully fitted suits, noted how comfortable the B&W PX's were. 

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Matt seen here looking very dapper wearing PX headphones by Bowers & Wilkins

Shirt by Eton

Jacket is Made to Measure by Doherty Evans & Stott.

Pocket Square by Doherty Evans & Stott

Right then, as you can see, a lovely set of PX headphones from Bowers & Wilkins.

If you want try them out, we have ours on demonstration at Audio T Manchester.

In the meantime you can see what the world wide web is saying about them here.

Audio T Customers

Trusted Reviews

What Hi-Fi?

Happy reading, see you at the store.

Words, pictures and video by Munir & Simon.

Bowers & Wilkins PX Headphones are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBrightonBristolCardiffEnfieldManchesterOxfordPortsmouthPrestonSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon

New Linn Lingo 4 Motor And Power Supply For Linn Sondek LP12 Turntable.

Linn recently introduced the Lingo 4 motor and power supply as an upgrade over the previous Lingo 3 for the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable. There are three power supply options for the LP12. Majik, Lingo and Radikal power supplies are modular and can be fitted as upgrades.

Follow the LP12 upgrade hierarchy of bearing, motor and power supply, sub chassis, tonearm, then cartridge for best performance.

The Lingo is the first improvement to make on a Majik LP12, providing a clear upgrade from the internal Majik power supply and previous Lingo models.

The Akurate LP12 is the middle of three standard LP12 configurations and comes complete with Lingo, Kore sub chassis, Akito tonearm and Krystal cartridge.

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The new Lingo is a major upgrade to deliver even better sound from your vinyl, thanks to the addition of ground-breaking technology derived from the extraordinary Radikal power supply that is standard on the best LP12 Klimax configuration.

New Lingo incorporates a motor speed management system and uses digital processing technology to make the platter spin more accurately and more consistently. What’s more, it auto-calibrates the motor when the Sondek LP12 is powered on to ensure this accuracy and consistency every time. That’s crucial for music, of course: even the slightest speed variation affects the pitch, and a turntable that isn’t accurate is like a musical instrument that hasn’t been tuned properly.

Join Julian, Paul and John in the Brighton store to explore the Linn Lingo in detail. Please contact us to arrange a demonstration. 

Tel: 01273 609 431
Email: brighton@audio-t.co.uk

Linn Hi-Fi products are available at the following branches of Audio T:
BrightonBristolManchester

Record Store Day 2018 Was A Blast!

Record Store Day just gets bigger and better every year, and as is now the tradition, we team up with Derricks Music on Oxford Street for the day.

Derricks kindly give us some floor space to play some of our Rega turntables and let me play my music all day, and once again we were giving away one of the RSD Rega Turntables to one of the lucky RSD customers in a FREE prize draw.

On the day it was once again an early start for the staff at Derricks, in at the crack of dawn to get all the stock ready and prepare for the customers. But - the customers themselves were far keener to get to Derricks and be at the front of the queue with the first customer being outside at 1.30am!

I arrived a while before the store was due to open and the queue was already heading down the street

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9am sharp and the doors opened, shortly after the day turned into a blur.... the atmosphere in the shop was fantastic, all sorts of people buying all sorts of records. I was doing my usual job of playing a variety of my own records and winding up Christos the boss by refusing to play any prog (like taking a dummy off a baby!) Time was just flying by but the queue just seemed to stay half way down Oxford Street well into late morning.

We also gave away a few of our Audio T record bags which went down very well..

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Dome customers were lucky and managed to get a lot of what they wanted..

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Still lots of rummaging going on until later on in the afternoon....

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As close of play approached it was time to draw the winning ticket for our prize draw, I always enjoy making the phone call to the winner and this time it was even better as the reaction I got from the winner was hilarious. I can't repeat what he said when I told him, but let's just say he was very pleased!

One happy prize winner....

 Nic Forbes on the left, our lucky winner David Mayes and Christos on the right.

Nic Forbes on the left, our lucky winner David Mayes and Christos on the right.

Once again we have to say a huge thank you to all at Derricks for such a great day and already looking forward to 2019.

Derricks is celebrating its 50th year this year so no doubt we will get involved in whatever Christos has planned.

Thank you to all that took the time to stop and have a chat and enter our competition.

When you're looking for you next record player or Hi-Fi upgrade to enhance your music listening pleasure, then why not pop in and have a chat with us at Audio T Swansea.

Exclusive Interview And Review Of The New Nytech CA352 Integrated Amplifier.

Modern day Hi-Fi is often jam packed with features, wireless streaming, integrated DACs and digital processing abound and that is truly fantastic. However none of these things come close to the importance of the quality of sound itself and if anything can prove this it’s the new Nytech CA352.

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We’ve waxed lyrical in the past about Nytech’s fantastic Pre and Power combination the CP202 and CPA402, in fact over the last few years they have barely left our demonstration room, becoming our point of reference when reviewing new loudspeakers and other components. However there is certainly a trend recently of setups having fewer boxes and taking up less space, reducing those two boxes down to one in the form of an integrated amplifier was the next logical step.

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The CA352 is not officially released until the 24th of May (more on the launch event later) however as it is developed and built right here in Cardiff we have been lucky enough to hear it a few times through its development and have had it in the demonstration room before its release.

Build quality is excellent with the CA252. It keeps the same brushed black aluminium front panel and simple nicely laid out controls including a motorised volume control. Buyers are treated to some customisation as well, as Nytech offer you a variety of choices when it comes to their signature wooden side checks, which gives a real sense of ownership and uniqueness to your amplifier.

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We sat down with Phil Balaam, the designer and engineer behind all of the modern Nytech creations and asked him a few questions about his new product:

When did you first get interested in Hi-Fi and how did you get involved in the industry?

I was interested in Music from about the age of six and I built my first amplifier when I was 12, but it wasn't until I joined Nytech Audio in 1978 and met Richard Hay for the first time that I started to get interested into what makes electronic equipment sound the way it does. I learned an awful lot from Richard about why HiFi sounds the way it does and what factors can influence the sound in what way.

What is your philosophy when it comes to the sound and design of your products?

Music first! - No matter how good your equipment is on paper, it’s not until you start listening to music emotionally on it that you appreciate the difference between equipment. Music is a collection of mathematically related sounds designed to produce an emotional response in the listener. If the emotion disappears in the recording and reproduction of the music then its meaning is lost!

Value for money - Anyone who knows the HiFi business knows there are some very high priced items out there! Some justify their high price but many do not! One of the things I learned from Richard Hay was how to make music without spending a fortune and passing that onto the customer.

Nytech amplifiers are by no means "cheap" but they offer very high musical ability without the astronomically high price tag of some of the more "esoteric" alternatives. It’s up to the customer can decide if they are getting value for money.


Talk us through the new integrated, what was your reasoning behind releasing this product?

The first requirement of the integrated was that we deliver the emotion, detail and focus as would be expected of a modern amplifier but make sure that we kept the distinctive musical sound of the classic originals.

The second requirement was to concentrate every single penny of cost into musical performance.

The whole point about HiFi separates is that you choose the components you want to give you the most enjoyable musical performance

The Integrated amplifier has one job. To amplify and control analogue audio signals. Doing anything else in the box would either have compromised the sound, or made the integrated far more expensive adding features that the customer may not want.

That’s why there are no "add ons" like Phono stages, DACs, Bluetooth streaming or any other gadgets. To add these either the price had to be increased and customers may not want them or we sacrifice the quality of the amplifier to pay for the "extras." We also felt that putting a phono stage inside the box with all the interference and noise from the power electronics would reduce the quality of the music so we decided not to do it.

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We set up a system in our demonstration room we felt was appropriate for the price point and function of the CA352. This consisted of a Cyrus Stream X signature into Chord Electronics new (and marvellous) Qutest DAC for our streaming alongside a Rega Planar 6 with Ania MC cartridge through Rega’s Fono MC phono stage as our sources. For our loudspeakers we employed Spendor’s brand new A7 floorstanders (more on those in the coming months) which the CA352 modestly rated 35 watts drove effortlessly.

We spent a lot of time and listened to a huge variety of music through this setup and could provide an essay on our findings but we thought we’d share a few of our highlights. One of the surprising moments came from the intro to Queen’s classic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the harmonies at the start of the song are of course instantly recognisable but we were blown away by the separation the SA352 provided. On a song we have between us heard hundreds of times before we could recognise each individual voice as if there were a choir stood right in front of us, it really was staggering detail.

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Another standout was Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the realism with which the orchestra portrayed was incredible with all instruments presented in their proper positions and sounding as close to how they would in a concert hall, and of course when the cannons go off it makes you want to run for cover! The CA352 really showing how it can access that extra power that is needed instantaneously to give you that kind of impact. We know from previous experience that Nytech excel in providing the dynamics and soundstage needed to reproduce classical and jazz but what was surprising about this little amp is how well it well…rocks! Listening to ‘Take the Power Back’ by Rage Against the Machine provided all the muscle the song demands, the slap bass thundered, the drum kit hit you full on the chest and the vocals felt rhythmic and snappy just as they should but quite often don’t.

You don’t just have to believe our opinion though as on the 24th of May at 7pm there will be a great chance to hear the CA352 at our event at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay. This fantastic building has hosted plenty of our events in the past and this time we will be showing off the CA352 playing through Spendor’s new A7 loudspeakers. There will be talks from both companies on their new products as well as a live performance from Cardiff based Jazz trio ‘Cool Soup’. This will be recorded and then played back through the system so we can compare between the live and recorded experience.

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The bar will be open as we listen to a range of music to really show you what this amazing equipment can do. Entry is free and tickets can be reserved here . All are welcome and we hope to you there, if you can’t make it of course you are always welcome to have a demonstration in the shop any time after the day of the event.

Nytech products are currently only available at the Cardiff store

Refurbishment Sale at Audio T Brentwood Now On!

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We are doing some refurbishment work on the Shop which has two benefits for you.

A) You will have a fresher brighter shop to visit

B) Bargains!!

Whether you are after speakers

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Or electronics

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We are sure to have something that will pique your interest.

We have some bargains in almost all categories of HiFi, so please pop in and look for the yellow price tickets like this:

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We are sure we will see you soon and stay tuned for exciting new products in store soon!

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Unboxing ProAc Response DT8 Floorstanding Speakers

When we first heard the ProAc Response DT8 speakers we all were blown away by the performance and all agreed that these floorstanding speakers were needed in our product line up...so here they are being unboxed in store.

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Supplied with 2x black acoustically transparent crimplene speaker grills and 8 silver spikes. Our demo pair are in the natural oak finish and look fantastic.

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The speakers themselves stand at 978mm (on spikes) 193mm wide and 229mm deep, so a nice neat option for a floorstanding speaker.

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At 26 kg each they are not the lightest of speakers but when in position the soundstage has to be heard to be believed, with the downward firing bass reflex port they are a joy to position in any room.

 The downward firing bass reflex port.

The downward firing bass reflex port.

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Using the silk dome tweeter the higher frequences have the smoothness you expect from the classic ProAc delivery, being that of a sound you can happily listen to all day long.

The 2x 165mm bass/mid drivers work in tandem together to deliver a bottom end that is tight and quick.

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Available in black ash/mahogany/cherry/maple/oak..also available in ebony & rosenut at a slightly extra cost as these are premium finishes.

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Coming in at £1950.00 the ProAc Response D8 will be a great addition to any system.

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Available to hear now in store at Audio T Preston.

Ian, Gavin & Andy

ProAc loudspeakers are available at Audio T Brighton.

New Spendor A7 Floorstanding Speakers Paired With Naim's NAC -N272 and NAP250 DR Amplifiers

Over the past week we have been putting the new Spendor A7 speakers through their paces, and we are impressed.

Visually they are still in keeping with the traditional design Spendor are known for and come in a range of pleasing finishes such as Black Ash, Dark Walnut, Natural Oak and now for a little extra Satin white.

 Classically beautiful A7

Classically beautiful A7

The new A7 is a major revision for the award winning A6R, a tough act to follow. With more dynamic range and resolution with elements of D7 technology and changes to the cross over making the A7s a real step up. For full specifications click here

 The A2 looking up to its big brother the A7

The A2 looking up to its big brother the A7

One element of the new A range that is worth mentioning, is that none of the speakers come with grilles. They are now an optional extra at differing prices depending on the model. The A7 is the biggest in the A-line range but is by no means a particularly big speaker. There are two other floorstanders in the range, in decreasing order of size they are the A4 and A2, which is a very compact and competent floor stander indeed. Last but not least is the A1 stand mounted speaker (A-line range).

 Spendor A7 rear

Spendor A7 rear

After 5 days of playing the A7s day and night we sat down for good listen. We paired them with a very popular Naim combination, The NAC-N272 streaming pre-amplifier and the NAP 250 DR power amplifier.

  A briliant combination

 A briliant combination

We started of with Nils Lofgren ''Keith Don't Go'' from the brilliant Acoustic Live album. The A7s really brought the performance to life. We were all tapping out feet and would have been singing along but we didn't want to ruin the experience. The bottom end was big, warm and controlled allowing the vocals to soar creating loads of space around Lofgren which brought all of the emotion out of the track. After a few more tracks we changed to ''The Sound of Silence'' by Disturbed from the Immortalised album. An amazing version of the well known Simon and Garfunkel song. The powerful, rich vocals were clean and well nuanced and again with beautifully controlled bass. After a few more snippets of various tracks we were all in agreement that these are a serious competitor at the price and are very much in our top selection of favourite speakers. In short, the A7s like the rest of the A-line range have managed to retain the familiar sound of Spendor, but added so much more giving them greater dynamics and intricacies, a much more spacious and involving performance able to to cope with all kinds of music comfortably.

We love them and we think you will too. Call Nick Joe and James at Audio T Portsmouth to arrange a demonstration or home loan

We look forward to seeing you soon,

Spendor Loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T: 
CardiffCheltenhamPortsmouthSwindon

Huge Sonic Rewards Await With REL Acoustics Sub-bass Systems In Stereo And Home Cinema Systems

REL products are not traditional subwoofers, but true Sub-Bass Systems. A REL is designed to augment the performance of full range speaker systems in order to provide, in certain cases, linear response below 15Hz.

A REL will take advantage of the physical room acoustics to provide deep pressurization as no traditional subwoofer can. For optimum results REL's should be placed in one of the corners behind the speakers if possible. Low bass pressurization below 40Hz is best derived from corner placement, where the most linear and efficient bass can be produced because the subwoofer is able to take advantage of the tangential (corner to corner) axis which is typically the longest distance in a room.

 REL subwoofers come in different sizes and most are available in a piano white or piano black.

REL subwoofers come in different sizes and most are available in a piano white or piano black.

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It is not just about bass, as one might think when the word subwoofer pops up. REL's were originally designed for music based stereo Hi-Fi systems which could improve the overall sound quality improving the treble and mid range as well as offering more realistic bass performance. The way it works with either stereo or home cinema system is very clever. Supplied with every REL product is The High Level 'Neutrik' Cable, which is a very special cable and this makes all the difference!

 REL High Level Cable

REL High Level Cable

Here is how it works: Connect the red cable to the right-plus speaker terminal, the yellow cable to the left-plus speaker terminal and the black cable to either the left or right minus-speaker terminal on your amplifier.

Now connect the blue end to the REL subwoofer. Please have a look at the photos below

 High Level Cable connected to Amplifier

High Level Cable connected to Amplifier

 High Level Cable connected to REL

High Level Cable connected to REL

Now the REL subwoofer receives exactly the same signal as the two front loudspeakers, connected to the same speaker terminals. Position the subwoofer in one of the front corners of the room and start setting it up.

There are numerous set-up guides and set-up videos on the REL website and they  are nicely done and easy to understand and of course we can give you a demonstration and show you how to do this first hand when you visit us or any Audio T store.

The first song I listened to was the song Boogie Man of AC/DC's studio album Ballbreaker and the difference is huge. The kick drum and bass guitar sound rich and real, connecting you to the music. I then disconnected the cable from the REL subwoofer and started the song again. This time there wasn't the same depth and richness that I heard before. It is not only about the bass as I mentioned before, a REL sub also improves the vocals and imaging and integrates so well with the main system.

The set-up process is the same for stereo and multi-channel home cinema systems. First complete the high-level set-up then connect the single phono cable from your subwoofer output on your AV receiver to the LOW .1/LFE input on the REL subwoofer.

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With both cables connected, this set-up is called REL Theatre Reference. I personally prefer to set the .1/LFE level at around 10 o'clock position, play a scene of a movie with a good punch and then adjust the level to my liking. There are too many good movies to name but I always use the first chapter of a movie called 9. The first 10 minutes will give you everything you need to find the right LFE level. It is also great to help you adjust the level for your rear speakers. Try it and you will be impressed.

 Visually impressive too.

Visually impressive too.

There are also wireless options (zero compression) available just in case you don't want to run the cables across the floor. Arrow Wireless (compatible with Serie T/i , except T Zero) and Longbow Wireless (compatible with No.25 and Serie S).

 Arrow Wireless Kit for a neat set-up

Arrow Wireless Kit for a neat set-up

I recently replaced a 12'' subwoofer (massive cabinet) in my system with a physically smaller REL T9i and I have to say  that his has transformed my system into something that has left me speechless* (*Not possible - Ed). A movie like Bladerunner 2049 makes me want to watch it over and over again. Stunning!

We hope that you have enjoyed our blog and hopefully we will see you in store soon. Stefan and Andy - Audio T Swindon.

REL Sub Bass Systems are available at the following branches of Audio T: 
BrentwoodBrightonBristolCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOxford
PortsmouthReadingSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon