Naim ND555 Network Player. Welcome To A New Dimension!

Those fortunate enough to enjoy the extraordinary new ND555 network player at home will be rediscovering their music collection in a more profound and fundamental way than we had anticipated. So great is the advance that Naim have brought to this discipline of music replay, that we salute and thank them sincerely.

The coherence and authority are a joy to behold, with more of everything that makes music special and rewarding. The engagement is palpable and intoxicating.

The undeniable improvement in timing will improve your dancing; if you dance to your music at home that is! To say nothing of conducting skills or air guitar virtuosity...

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The ND555 is supplied with a HiLine interconnect and requires a 555PS power supply.  Upgrades to the standard configuration would be the Super Lumina interconnect and addition of a second 555PS power supply.

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Our in store demonstration system on Naim Fraim comprising on the left from top ND555, NDS for comparison, NAC252 pre amp, NAP300 power amp, and on the right from top, 555PS DR, NAP300 power supply, Supercap DR.

Comprehensively specified to play your music in many ways. Explore the ND555 here.

A true tour de force and labour of love, the ND555 delivers in spades.

Join us at our

NAIM ND 555 ROADSHOW

BRIGHTON: Jurys Inn - Brighton Waterfront

THU 13TH SEP, 2018 7:00pm click for tickets.

Call 01273 609431 or email brighton@audio-t.co.uk to arrange a listen to this fabulous player.

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How about that for attention to detail...

Naim Hi-Fi products are available from all branches of Audio T.

The King Is Dead, Long Live The King! We Welcome The New Naim ND 555 Network Streamer

The ND 555 is the first product launched in the 500 Series by Naim Audio in more than a decade and effectively replaces both the now discontinued CD 555 and NDS, as the source of choice.

The ND 555 has no internal power, requiring either one or two separate 555 PS DR power supplies. Like the rest of the 500 Series, it places great importance on PCB isolation and vibration control, with the circuit boards for conversion and amplification resting on high mass brass spring board platforms, to de-couple the PCBs from any vibration above 10Hz. Thirteen of Naim’s own DR voltage regulators feed the power supply! Add to this two laser-trimmed, selected PCM1704U-K resistor ladder DAC chips and a fourth generation SHARC chip for DSP, filtration, and buffer wrangling. A Naim Power Line mains lead and a Hi Line Din to Din is also included.

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Designed to perform to higher sampling rates than its predecessor; up to 32-bit, 384kHz PCM, and DSD 128. The ND555 is Roon ready, supports gapless playback, Tidal, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast. The ND 555 features a five-inch TFT colour display and four hard-buttons.

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So how does it sound?

In a word: Astonishing!

We have played numerous tracks, CD rips and 24 bit downloads from the Naim Core as well as Tidal CD quality streams. The Naim ND555 sounds so much better than ANY other streamer that we have ever heard. Scale, detail, dynamics, resolution, cohesion, it’s as near to perfect as you can imagine. Some streamers can struggle to convey the emotional content in music, not so the ND 555.

OK, so it will cost you £20,000 to own one, but for the performance it offers, it could just be considered a bargain! 

Come and have a listen and be prepared to be smitten!

Naim Hi-Fi products are available from all branches of Audio T.

Neat Iota Xplorer - Preston Explores The Latest Loudspeakers From Neat Acoustics

Brand new into the Preston store, we have the new Neat Acoustics Iota XPLORER, and we have to say we love them.

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The bigger brother of the award winning and ever popular Iota Alpha, the Xplorer's are twice the size but use the same basic configuration as the Alpha's. The top section is sealed off from the lower and acts as a two way infinite baffle loudspeaker.

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Situated in the base of the cabinet is an Iso-baric subwoofer to give this speaker some real depth with the lower frequencies.

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We have found them to be a well balanced speaker that works well with a wide variety of electronics and are equally as forgiving with placement in any room environment to get a stunning sound.

The offset tweeter enables you to place the speakers with the tweeters either further apart from each other for a wide open soundstage or for a more concentrated image you can place the speakers in the room with the tweeters situated closer together.

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We tried various types of music on them using the Naim  Nova , Rega Elicit and Quad Artera electronics and all worked well but all giving a different presentation. The Neat Iota Xplorer's give fast and accurate soundstage but the separation between instruments has to be heard to be believed, they certainly brought a smile to our faces.

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Supplied in the box are instructions, floor spikes, floor protection discs and a pair of magnetic grilles, we chose the American walnut finish but they are also available in Natural Oak, Black Oak and Satin White.

We look forward to playing them for you.

Ian, Gavin & Andy - Audio T Preston

Neat Acoustic loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrightonCheltenhamOxfordPortsmouthPrestonReading

JVC LX UH1 4K Projector Arrives At Audio T Enfield

Here at Audio T Enfield, we love our movies. No normal sized TV can beat the grand scale of watching films on a large projector screen at home. So, if you think your 65" TV is good, you really ought to see how films are meant to be experienced on the big screen

With the above in mind, we know that not everyone has deep pockets, so if you are looking for a fantastic value for money solution, we present to you the brand new JVC LX UH1 4K projector.

 NICE AND COMPACT JVC POWERED UP IN OUR DOLBY ATMOS DEMO SUITE

NICE AND COMPACT JVC POWERED UP IN OUR DOLBY ATMOS DEMO SUITE

This small and compact projector, has the power to bring your movie watching to life. It's a 4K compliant Home Cinema projector that accepts UHD sources such as 4K Blu-Ray and SKY Q. It is equally at home with HD sources such as Sky HD. 

The JVC LX UH1 is small enough and light enough to be installed anywhere. Shelf, ceiling or table top. Attach your HDMI lead into the HDMI input on the rear and you're in business. 

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 NICE COLOURS FROM THE JVC UH1 

NICE COLOURS FROM THE JVC UH1 

Having fantastic images is key on any display, however one of the most important features to look for when choosing a Projector is lens shift. Why is this important? Lens Shift allows you to position the JVC LX UH1 and gives you flexibility for where you position the unit. 

We have our JVC firing onto a 105" Grandview Screen and are very impressed with the results. Whilst it is not as good as our reference JVC DLA X595900BE projector, this dinky little unit will do nicely for people who want to watch movies on the big screen with a more modest budget.

 A BIT OF LENS FLARE - JJ ABRAMS STYLE......

A BIT OF LENS FLARE - JJ ABRAMS STYLE......

As with any home cinema equipment, proper set and calibration is key to get the JVC LX UH1 looking at its best. The combination price of the JVC LX UH1 and our Grandview Fixed Frame 106" 16:9 ratio screen is £3220. That is 50% of the price of a 77" OLED TV. 

  however you will be very surprised at what we have been able to achieve watching 1080p content. Just check out these screenshots!

however you will be very surprised at what we have been able to achieve watching 1080p content. Just check out these screenshots!

Naturally the best source for watching movies on the JVC LX UH1 is UHD Blu-Ray and 4K content

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So if you fancy seeing what your favourite films look like AND sound like in our Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 equipped cinema room, bring them into Audio T Enfield and we'll show you whilst you sip a nice cup of tea or coffee. No sales pressure, just good old fashioned service by people who love what they do.

 THe JVC UH1 IS 4K AND HDR COMPLIANT

THe JVC UH1 IS 4K AND HDR COMPLIANT

Cleaning Up Mains Noise With The Audioquest Niagara 1000

We have recently added the new Audioquest Niagara 1000 to our arsenal in store. Filtering noise out of mains supplies is no new thing and we have been championing it for years but this Niagara 1000 is one of the finest examples we have used.

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It is large and very shiny! The Niagara 1000 has 5 standard mains outlets and one high current output for hungry devices. An LED lets you know it is operational and there is a red warning LED for over voltage.

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Now there is a lot of technical jargon associated with mains filtering devices (and if you would like to read that have a look at the Audioquest website) but we tend to value our ears and put it to the test with a Rega system comprising Planar 6 with Ania cartridgeElicit-R, and a pair of B&W 705 speakers. The differences with the Niagara 1000  were marked. There was a much greater sensation of space, coupled with greater dynamics and "quieter quiets" Sarah McLachlan's voice just hovered in space in front of us, while Kraftwerk's staccato rhythms were very precise and forceful.

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As the Niagara 1000 is a 15 amp device we used it with one of Audioquest's Thunder 15A mains leads.

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Audioquest make a huge range of mains cables from the humble, but very effective, NRG range to the very high end Dragon.

We have really been very impressed with this range from Audioquest. Why not come in and see what some help with the mains could do for your Hi-Fi system? Try it in store and then perhaps try it for a few days in the comfort of your home using our home loan service.

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We hope to see you soon.

Paul, Francis, Jason and Boswell - Audio T Brentwood

Audioquest Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldOnlineOxfordPortsmouthPrestonSouthamptonSwansea

Award Winning KEF LS50 Wireless Speakers Have Arrived At Audio T Swindon

The KEF LS50 wireless speakers are based on the legendary KEF LS50 passive studio monitor speakers. The difference between them is that that the LS50 wireless are active speakers, which means that you don't need a separate amplifier as they have amplification built in.

Many people think of lots of separate boxes and cables when they think of Hi-Fi systems and many years ago this is exactly what is was - and many people still want that. However, what if we could combine speakers with built-in amplifiers, a music streamer and a pre-amplifier to plug in a turntable or a digital source like a TV or a set-top box? This is what the LS50 Wireless can offer, a complete, neat and most importantly an amazing sounding music system.

Lets have a look at them and see what is supplied in the box.

 KEF LS50 Wireless

KEF LS50 Wireless

 KEF LS50 Wireless

KEF LS50 Wireless

In the box you'll find a quick start guide, a remote control, 2 power leads, 2 Ethernet leads and a USV cable (USB A to USB B).

The LS50 Wireless loudspeakers are available in three finishes, gloss black with blue drive units, titanium grey with red drive units and gloss white with copper drive units .

The idea to call them wireless doesn't mean that you don't need wires to connect them mind you! The difference is that you don't need as many cables in a system with separate components. I will explain that now.

The speakers are arranged in a master and slave configuration. Your sources connect to the master speaker, which is then connected to the other speaker with a supplied ethernet cable. Connect a power cable to each of the speakers and for greater stability, we hardwired the master speaker to our network via another ethernet cable. There is also a wireless set-up option available.

There are controls on the back of the master speaker for different speaker placements, like close-to a wall or free space positioning, desk or stand support.

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Master Speaker

On the back there is one set of analogue inputs, a digital optical input, a USB B input and a subwoofer output. The Network socket allows you to connect the master speaker to your router/switch and the output socket to connect the master speaker to the second speaker.

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Slave Speaker

Music can be selected from services like Spotify, Tidal or Qobuz and any music stored on a NAS using the IOS/Android control app . Bluetooth support makes life easy if you want to play music directly from your phone or tablet.

Let's have a listen!

 KEF LS50 Wireless on Kef Stands

KEF LS50 Wireless on Kef Stands

We started streaming with electronic music from Tipper's Album "Forward Escape" and the LS50 Wireless offer impressive bass performance. This is not a big speaker but you will be surprised what they are sonically capable of. All clicks and pops are so clean and crisp, these speakers really draw you in.

We then listened to London Grammar's Album "If You Wait" and we were impressed by the big sound stage and clarity of the vocals.

Another great Album is Felix Laband's "Dark Days Exit". The track "Red Handed" is a good system tester and we were blown away again. Huge sound from such a small speaker.

As a bonus the LS50 wireless are Roon ready and can be selected from the Roon app as an endpoint (player).

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KEF's LS50 wireless are not only for enthusiasts of digital music. The set of analogue inputs allows you to connect a turntable via a separate phono stage (phono amplifier) - a very nice feature if you play your music on vinyl

Come in and have a listen and bring some of your favourite music on a USB stick, hard drive or vinyl. We will provide tea and coffee. Thanks for reading. Stefan and Andy - Audio T Swindon

KEF Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
Brentwood, Bristol, Cardiff, Enfield, Manchester, Online, Portsmouth, Preston, Southampton, Swansea, Swindon

We're At The Front Of The Q To Hear Quad II Forty Mono Block Valve Amplifiers

Over the last couple of weeks we've had the Quad QII-Forty mono block power amps up here in Manchester for our listening pleasure. Designed by Tim de Paravicini from EAR/Yoshino, they have a look which lets you know instantly that they have more than 50 years of heritage behind them, combined with a sound which is as modern as you like.
 

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Ok, so a quick potted history of Quad taken from their website. 

The history of Quad is one of technical achievement in the field of sound reproduction. It is a story that began with the Quad 1 amplifier, which brought the benefits of 15 years knowledge and experience in professional audio and industrial products to the task of making the most accurate domestic audio amplifier of its age.

A few years later, in 1953, the product which set the standard for amplifiers was the Quad II Power Amplifier, the time of Queen Elizabeth's Coronation and the year in which Mount Everest was finally conquered. This amplifier pioneered the principle of cathode coupling through the output transformer to reduce harmonic distortion to almost negligible levels. Such was its clear superiority that this model remained in production for 18 years. Three years later, in 1956, Quad demonstrated the first true full-range electrostatic loudspeaker. This remarkable product (known later as the ESL 57) used a virtually mass-less plastic film as a moving diaphragm between two charged plates. Compared with moving coil loudspeakers, the ESL 57 was free of unwanted colourations and distortions. This landmark product remained in production, virtually unchanged, for 28 years.

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The Quad II Series circuit design is the work of Tim de Paravicini, a man widely acknowledged to be the UK's foremost valve amp designer. His design is faithful to Peter Walker's philosophy of cathode loading onto the same output stage and fundamental simplicity of design, ensuring the amps deliver the same wealth of detail and exquisite tone as its famous predecessor.

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Ok so now the history lesson is out of the way, the first thing we noticed when we switched them on was the obvious bandwidth that the amplifiers have. We have them paired with the Dynaudio Contour 30s and the Quad's managed to unleash a bass extension I wasn't aware they were capable of and at the same time, there was an openness to the mid range and higher frequencies which made me appreciate how directly the speakers are connected to the source.

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The second thing you notice is just how much power and drive these things have. "Not usually something that I associate with valve amps, having used transistors nearly all my life, I fall into the trap of believing all valve amps are under powered and warm sounding." The whole Q range from Quad disproves that particular trope with a resounding musicality. 

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The speaker binding posts offer  4 and 8 Ohm taps for impedance matching. 

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With the whole QII series being developed as an homage to Peter Walker's original QII design, the valve choices have been no different. The QII Classic, which is a faithful reproduction, uses a pair of KT66 valves, this has been kept the same for the QII Classic integrated. With the need for more power as they go up the range, the QII-fortys that we have had the pleasure of listening to, uses a pair of KT88 for the power and the top of the range "Eighty" doubles that to use 4 KT88s in a dual push pull configuration. 

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The Quad II Forty mono amplifiers will be at the Manchester store for the next few weeks. Ours are running at the front of the store with a pair of Dynaudio Contour 30's,  and when we feel like it the Contour 60's get a work out too. (see pics below)

Lets hope Quad will forget about them and we can keep them for a few weeks more.

See you at the the store.

Ciao for now.

Mike, Munir, Haden, Dave and Simon - Audio T Manchester

QUAD Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBrightonCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOxfordPrestonSouthampton
Swindon

Cor! The PMC Integrated Amplifier Is Here and It's Awesome!

We are delighted to announce that our long awaited and much anticipated PMC Cor integrated amplifier has finally arrived!

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It is currently warming up (just what we need in this weather!) and running in nicely in our demonstration room.  The unlikely looking system we have set up for this purpose may not be the most harmonious visual match, but sounds absolutely stunning.

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Punching way above it's diminutive size, and very modest price, is the Auralic Aries Mini Wireless Streamer, supplying high resolution music from Qobuz Sublime and Tidal Masters.  The USB digital output is linked via a Chord Shawline USB cable to the magnificent Chord Electronics DAVE DAC.

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We have heard nothing that comes anywhere close to the sheer musicality of the Chord Electronics DAVE DAC.  Any digital signal input emerges sounding totally engaging and the high resolution music such as those from Qobuz Sublime sound, well, sublime.  Digital doubters really need to hear DAVE...

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DAVE is connected to our PMC Cor with a ChordMusic RCA analogue interconnect.  Well, we weren't going to take any chances, and you can't get anything better than ChordMusic to let the music flow, totally unimpeded, hence it's name.

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PMC Cor has sounded every bit as good as we remembered, even from new and cold, so can only get better and better as it runs in and components warm up.  It just sounds effortless and capable of dealing with the most demanding music into any speaker at any volume.  Fortunately it doesn't run hot, a definite bonus in the current climate!  

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To complete our Cor running in system we have a pair of our most popular speakers, the PMC Twenty5 23.  Compact and slim enough to guarantee domestic harmony they deliver enormous clarity and PMC's Advanced Transmission Line guarantees agile deep bass which belies the unimposing cabinet dimensions.

We are having a ball listening to this system.  Playing Diana Krall's album 'Turn up the Quiet' 192Khz/24bit from Qobuz Sublime, it's as if she is in the room and piano and double bass sound so solid and real. It really is magical!

Just give us a call if you would like to listen to any, or all, of the above.  

See you soon,

Alan, John and Wayne - Audio T Southampton

PMC Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBrightonBristolCardiffEnfieldManchesterPortsmouthSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon

Take The Snap Crackle and Pop Out Of Your Vinyl For Good - Sweet Vinyl SC-1 Part 2

As promised part 2 of the  Sweet Vinyl SC-1 (Sugar Cube) is here. For those of you who haven't read Part 1 the story is as follows. I needed to find a pretty trashed album to really show off the amazing capabilities of the SC-1. I could not find anything awful enough in the shop so I went hunting. I popped into a local charity shop and found what seemed to be a well used record of Bill Haley and the Comets. After a quick listen the album seemed in fairly reasonable condition. So I did this.....

 For what I am about to do, I am truly sorry!

For what I am about to do, I am truly sorry!

 I just want to say for the record (no pun intended) I have nothing against Bill or his Comets

I just want to say for the record (no pun intended) I have nothing against Bill or his Comets

I set up a simple system consisting of a Rega Planar 3, Rega MM Fono stage and of course the SC-1. With the help of one of my colleagues we rigged the out put of the SC-1 to a computer and recorded the following. There are three parts to this recording of the aforementioned group playing Cryin' Time. The first section is as you would hear it before the Sugar Cube has worked its magic. There will be a 4 second gap and then you will hear the same segment after it has been repaired. Point of note the filtration level is only on level 5 out 10. The repaired section is followed by the Snap Crackle and POP that has been removed by the SC-1.

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This is awesome. You might want to listen a couple times, you might not believe it first time around.

Well what did you think of that? 

I can, hand on heart state. ''There has been no extra filtration program used." I would also like to say that it is far more impressive live!

Well after that I don't think there is much more to add. I promise in the next blog I will focus more on the app and how to set it up.

We look forward to seeing you at Audio T Portsmouth and watching your jaws drop. Please bring in an old favourite album and we will give it a clean on our Project VC-S vinyl cleaner and show you first hand  what the Sweet Vinyl SC-1 noise remover can do.

Thanks for reading. James, Nick, Joe and thanks to Mark who helped with recording the sound clip.

New Acoustic Energy 309 Floor Standing Speakers Punch Well Above Their Weight

Acoustic Energy have been purveyors of top quality loudspeakers for over thirty years now and have got pretty good at the dark art of making pretty boxes that will make your music sound wonderful and lovely! The latest 300 series builds on the fabness that is the 100 series and the floor standing AE309 raises the performance bar for a £1000 speaker by a significant margin.

The Acoustic Energy AE309 build quality is up there with the best. With mass loading in the cabinet making a very heavy and inert cabinet which is just perfect for housing a 28mm aluminium dome tweeter featuring what AE have trademarked Wide Dispersion Technology or WDT for short. The bass/mid driver is a new design too and uses a ceramic aluminium sandwich cone and long throw motor system. The cabinet itself is seamless (so you cannot see the joins) and boasts a very chunky 18mm thick high density MDF material designed to control cabinet vibrations and reduce colouration in the music.

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Before listening properly to the AE309's we ran them in for about a hundred hours and yes this really does make a big difference. For the purposes of this blog we listened to them on the very lovely new Arcam CDS50 SACD/CD streamer and SA20 integrated amplifier (see last blog from the Swindon store for more info). The results are quite simply astonishing. Rarely have I heard a system costing this little sound this good! It is a real giant killer!

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They sounded sooooooo good that I decided to put them through their paces good and proper! I brought in my CD copy of Natural Selection by Land's End. Now to say this is nicely recorded is a bit of an understatement. It is quite possibly the best recording of a rock band (of the progressive variety) that there has ever been! Plenty of so called top quality recording studios and their engineers and producers should be made to sit down and listen to this .... they would be thoroughly ashamed of their miserable efforts! Why does the word Oasis spring to mind here I wonder(wall)! None of that compression rubbish on this one and it's all the more lovely for it! 

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Anyway ...... rant over ...... back to the task in hand. I started track five which is called My Home and was immediately struck by how accurate Acoustic Energy's marketing blurb was! Wide dispersion is bang on the button here. The soundstage created on the AE309's was huge. There was a real and tangible sense of width depth and height with the guitar on left coming from so far out of the box I had to open my eyes to see if he was actually there!! Then a drum rolls across the back all the way to the opposite side and a synthesiser explodes in the background - it is just WOW!! 

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In fact whatever this system was given to play always sounded clean open and superbly detailed. You get a proper insight into the mix and it becomes totally absorbing and engaging. They produce a sound that I don't believe I have ever heard from a floorstanding loudspeaker at this price before. I think that they could become a bit of a Hi-Fi classic. Leave them off your shortlist of speakers to demo at your peril 

To sum up .... I have heard systems costing way more than this sound a fraction this good. The Acoustic Energy AE309's are game changers and if you would like to arrange a no obligation demonstration to hear for yourself we would be more than happy for you to bring in some of your own favourite music we can supply the tea coffee and biscuits! 

Acoustic Energy loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBristolCheltenhamOnlinePortsmouthPrestonReadingSwindon