Time To Selekt. Audio T Bristol Takes A Look At The New Linn Selekt DSM Network Streaming System

Linn have always be renowned for creating innovative and superb sounding 'source’ components. The newest addition is the Linn Selekt DSM, which is a dedicated all-in-one network streaming and upgradeble Hi-Fi system, that can improve and modernise an existing stereo system and offer multi-channel surround sound as well.

The built in space optimisation software feature allows the system to be configured for different types of loudspeaker, which ensures you always get the optimum sound quality for your speakers and listening space. It does this by having a wide range of speaker configurations to choose from, but It doesn't stop there…

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Space optimisation has its own room builder, so you can replicate your listening environment within the easy to use Linn app. The app includes a wide range of variables and settings, such as the build of the room, wall types, windows, doors, height, depth and much more. Space optimisation has been designed to allow you to improve your entire system and get the sound tailored to your preference, no matter what speakers you have or where they are positioned in the room.

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The Linn Selekt DSM is a modular and an upgradeable Hi-Fi system. It has the Linn family trait running through it – a design that can be completely and easily upgraded from the base model to the top spec amplifier with Katalyst DAC.

The base model includes a pre-amplifier, enabling you to connect all your sources, including turntable (MM / MC inputs). Like all Linn products there is always an upgrade option, whether that’s adding the Katalyst DAC to further enhance the sound quality or offering multi-channel surround sound or higher output amplifiers.

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The sleek design is complete with customisable smart buttons to provide immediate access with just one touch. Accessing your favourite playlist has never been easier! Sources range from; the normal streaming services (24bit 192 Khz) from local hardrives or music , internet radio, podcasts, your turntable or Blu-Ray player. This is a fantatstic sounding all-in-one with great flexibility, brilliant design and providing an upgrade path to ensure long term enjoyment of your music collection.

But don’t take our word for it, give us a call or email us to arrange your personal demonstration - Audio T Bristol.

Linn Hi-Fi products are available at the following branches of Audio T: Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Oxford, Preston, Swindon

Linn Selekt DSM Streaming Hi-Fi System Has Arrived At Audio T Manchester.

Not since the original Linn Classik from the nineties has there been so much excitement about a high end one box Hi-Fi system. For those of you who insist on not having multiple boxes on a hi-fi shelf the appeal is even greater, especially if the need for high quality music is a must.

We introduce the Linn Selekt DSM.

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Designed as a lifetime product and perfect partner to the Sondek LP12, the Linn Selekt DSM has a variety of modules and upgrades to allow you to increase the joy and performance of the system over time.

It has launched with four options.

Source (to cater for the addition of CD, Record Player, Music Server)

Source with Katalyst DAC

Amplified

Amplified with Katalyst DAC.

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Linn have also recently added a surround sound module options that add HDMI switching and either line level outputs or power amplifiers for all 5 channels of a home cinema system.

Don't be surprised to see other options available in the future

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The Linn Selekt DSM has all of the usual control options, phone/tablet app, desktop app, remote control, as well as full front panel control. So if you ever find yourself without your phone and unable to find the remote, which happens to me far too regularly, then you can still get your favourite music playing.

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The front panel controls consist of two parts, a multi function dial and six, two position, switches.

The dial primarily works as a volume control but can be pressed in 5 positions too, which allows full access to the menus of the Selekt. This mean tast you can change settings, access all inputs and even choose tracks and playlists.

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There are even some proximity sensors which mean the screen comes to life as your hand approaches the dial.

The six switches can be programmed through the Linn Kazoo app to be quick links to playlists, tracks, inputs. When pressed half way, the screen will show you what is assigned to the button, when fully pressed it takes you where you want to go. These six switch functions are mimicked by the 6 buttons around the dial on the remote control unit.

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Having listened to the unit in our demo room, we can honestly say that we were impressed at how well the Linn Selekt DSM worked with different brands of speakers. Dynaudio to Bowers and Wilkins, Neat and Acoustic Energy all worked well with the Linn.

Our unit was space optimised, which is a software feature of the Linn Selekt. This function allows for the sound to be optiimised for the listening space it is operating in, which made a big difference to the overall sound quality in our demo room. However, on that note, the space optimisation is something we will need a little more time and space to talk about. So we'll save it for another blog.

All the superlatives are there, great soundstage, 3D depth to the sound, oodles and oodles of detail.

So, as we usually advise all our customers, the proof of the pudding is in the listening, so come on over and have a talk to Mike, Munir, Dave or Haden at our Manchester store.

LInn Hi-Fi is available from the following branches of Audio T: Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Oxford, Preston, Swindon

Audiolab 6000CDT CD Transport & 6000A Integrated Amplifier - The Sound Of Science

Going back in time to 1983 (!) Audiolab gifted the audiophile world the rather lovely amp that was the original 8000A. It was an iconic design way ahead of its time and sound for pound was not equalled anywhere else. It also cemented Audiolab’s reputation as a maker of great sounding, well built products at affordable prices.

Thirty five (!) years on we have more lovely gifts for modern day music lovers in the shape of the new 6000 series. Here in the Cheltenham branch we have just taken delivery of the 6000CDT and the 6000A.

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The 6000CDT is a dedicated compact disc transport with a slot loading mechanism designed to be robust and reliable. It uses a very clever method of reading the disc ahead and buffering it. This way it can very cleverly play scratched and damaged discs that a lot of other players would not be able to.

The 6000A is not only an amp, it also has a built in digital to analogue converter with three filter settings, four digital inputs (two optical and two coaxial). It also sports three line level inputs and a rather good phono input for turntables, a built in headphone amp and it does Bluetooth too!

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Of course all of this looks great on paper but the really important bit is how they perform. Do they make sweet music or are they just another hi-fi system!? After a jolly good running in period, we connected the CDT to the A with a good quality optical cable from Audioquest and hooked up a pair of Neat Acoustics SE2 floorstanding loudspeakers.

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We sat down with a cup of tea and some cake (as you do) to have a critical listen. First to play through the system was Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead from the great album that is Kid A. A very dense piece of music with multi layered vocals but the Audiolab pair made it sound open and detailed with a big airy soundstage that flows way to the far left and right of the speaker cabinets. This is often a very difficult trick to pull off with this particularly wonderful piece of Radiohead weirdness!

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Next we played the title track from Bright Size Life by Pat Metheny. Always a good tester for revealing how good a system is at with all that pitch and timing stuff. Once again they passed with flying colours! Jaco Pastorius sounding soooooooo delicate and nimble amongst Pat Metheny’s guitar cascades. I only intended playing the one track but this system was sounding so good that the whole album passed by really quickly and sounded gorgeous.

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After that I fancied something a little different and alighted on the title track of an album called Fossil Scale by Georgia Ruth. Georgia is one of that new breed of folkies who is not afraid to mix in a bit of modern electronicness and distorty guitar to her sound. The track Fossil Scale features a delicate soaring vocal performance with a fascinating and floaty bass line that at times really plumbs the lower depths (you should look her up …she’s good!).

The Audiolab combination was both fast and bulbous (thanks Don) and in combination with the Neat speakers really laid bare the mix and presented the music in a big and open soundstage.

This is one of those combinations that brings true meaning to that phrase “system synergy” It can cope with whatever you play through it and is superbly detailed in its presentation bringing out lots of subtle nuances in the music that you would normally only expect from much more expensive systems.

For what it costs this is one of those set ups that you just have to audition. It will really surprise you and have you going through your music collection so you can hear all those details revealed that you never even knew were there!

For the boring techy stuff it’s probably a good idea to have a look on the Audiolab website……. for the fun stuff come to us at Audio T Cheltenham. There may even be some cake left!

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Buy this album now …..its wonderful!

Audiolab Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
Brentwood, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Enfield, Manchester, Portsmouth, Southampton

Neat Acoustics loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T:
Brighton, Cheltenham, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading

Audiolab 6000 Series Integrated Amplifier And CD Transport Arrives At Audio T Enfield

We have always been fans of Audiolab electronics. With that in mind we are very happy to announce we have the Audiolab 6000A Integrated amp and Audiolab 6000CDT CD Transport on permanent demonstration for your aural pleasure.

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Starting with the Audiolab 6000CDT CD transport first, you will notice that this now sports a slot loading mechanism instead of the standard tray loading mech. This ensures almost silent operation, together with excellent disc reading accuracy. The large front display can be switched off to further enhance not only the signal purity but also the sleek styling.

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Moving on to the Audiolab 6000A integrated amplifier, this pays homage to the classic Audiolab styling but brought bang up to date. It now has an inbuilt phono stage (Moving Magnet only), Bluetooth receiver, onboard DAC (4 Digital inputs) and a headphone input.

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Moving to rear of these beauties, the CD Transport has both optical and co-axial outputs. The amp has the aforementioned 4 digital inputs and an additional 3 analogue inputs along the MM Phono stage.

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Finally, we connected these up to a variety of loudspeakers and have had excellent results with brands such as Acoustic Energy and B&W among others. We found an ideal partner for vinyl replay in the shape of the Rega Planar 3 / Elys combination.

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

Brentwood, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Enfield, Manchester, Portsmouth, Southampton

Big Sound, Small Package! Rega Brio Stereo Amplifier & Apollo CD Player Made In England

These two award winning Rega Research products, the Brio amplifier and the Apollo CD player make a very nice sounding music system and all you have to add is a pair of loudspeakers. Let’s have a look at the two.

On the front of the Brio you find the on/off switch, input selector, volume control knob and a headphone socket designed to avoid interference with the main audio circuit.

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On the rear you find 4 sets of input sockets, a dedicated input ( No.1 ) for turntables with moving magnet cartridges and a set of record output sockets.

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The Rega Apollo CD Player, similar in size , is a perfect partner for the Brio. The unique top loading mechanism stands out

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On the back there is a set of analogue outputs and two digital outputs, optical and coaxial.

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Both the Rega Brio R and the Apollo are supplied with a remote control.

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These two together are a musical combination with a nice crisp top-end and plenty of detail.

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The Rega Brio and Apollo are on demonstration here in the shop. Please feel free to come in for a listen . Coffee and tea will be provided.

Rega Research products are available from all branches of Audio T

Audio Note UK Level 2 System

Our Audio Note UK brand launch back in November 2018 at the Roseate Hotel here in Reading, where we demonstrated their flagship £800K system proved to be an overwhelming success. Equally the response we have had from those who have visited our store and heard a more affordable system in our all new dedicated Audio Note UK demo room has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Level 2 system in our new dedicated Audio Note UK room

Level 2 system in our new dedicated Audio Note UK room

In this demo room we have in permanent readiness, two full systems of vastly different costs to showcase the Audio Note UK sound; it is the lower cost system I would like to describe in this post.

 This system, all hand built in Hove, Sussex, comprises of a choice of source components in the form of a CD player and/or a turntable, an integrated amplifier and a pair of loudspeakers.

 At this point I would suggest reading Audio Note UK’s philosophy to better understand the designs and choices they make. (Saves me from a lot of typing too).

 The CD Player.

Audio Note UK CD3.1x/II

A Red Book integrated CD player designed specifically for sonic performance rather than specifications, it features a vacuum tube output stage being driven by an Analogue Devices AD1865 18bit chip set with no over sampling or digital filters whatsoever. Typically for Audio Note UK, their own in-house wound copper foil capacitors and tantalum resistors are used when commercially made components that meet their exacting demands are not available.

The Turntable.

Audio Note UK TT2 Deluxe

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The TT2 origins are founded in the highly acclaimed Dunlop Systemdek of the 1990s but completely re-engineered to meet today’s exacting standards and expectations.

At the heart of the TT2 is a two motor drive system designed to take full control of the lightweight acrylic platter by means of high torque enabling this deck to have superb speed control and pitch; essential for accurate reproduction of music, especially acoustic, be it piano, orchestral or jazz.

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The cartridge, their IQ3 is the top of a three model MM (moving magnet) range. It features their very own stylus profile mounted to a unique tapered titanium cantilever as found on their £3k and £6k moving coils. This in turn is mounted onto the top of their three arm range; Audio Note UK Arm 3. A highly rigid, in-house build tonearm featuring pure silver wiring throughout. Arms 1 and 2 differ by use of two grades of copper wiring to reduce costs but the mechanicals remain identical.

 The Amplifier.

 Audio Note UK Oto Phono SE Signature

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Representing something of a sweet spot in the middle of the Oto range of amplifiers, the SE (single ended) Signature features an all vacuum tube phonostage, a perfect match to the IQ3, and an 10wpc output stage comprising of 4 matched EL84 pentode tubes in pure class A single ended configuration with in-house custom designed and built iHib output transformers. Four inputs plus tape monitor, balance and volume controls complete the classic uncluttered aesthetic.

 The Loudspeakers

 Audio Note UK AN-E Spe HE Hemp

The AN-E is the top and largest of a three model series constructed not from MDF but Russian birch ply. These speakers feature a minimum of damping and bracing to allow the the cabinets to enhance the drivers performance to the maximum ensuring the highest level of musical performance possible rather than the usual totally inert designs of their competitors.

 Another sweet spot in a vast range of AN-E options, the Spe HE Hemp feature all silver internal wiring and voice coils. Paper bass/mid cones are replaced with stiffer and lighter HE (high efficiency; 98dB ) Hemp bass/mid drivers and horn loaded silk dome tweeters. The key to the design is high efficiency, full range bandwidth (18Hz -23kHz) and high dynamic range making them perfect partners to low powered, high quality tube amps such as the Oto.

The speakers sit atop a 10” mass filled custom designed stands and are available in 20+ high quality exotic veneers at no extra cost unless one specifies high gloss lacquer. They are designed to be placed close to a wall, indeed preferably in the corners whereby they pressurize the room for maximum efficiency and an optimal tonal balance.

 The Cables

 Audio Note UK ISIS LX Reference

Isis LX Reference  interconnects  and  speaker cables

Isis LX Reference interconnects and speaker cables

Finally, the system is wired with a complete loom of Audio Note UK’s own custom designed cables. Isis Reference represents their flagship in copper and only topped by their ranges of all silver cables at considerable cost too.

All cables are copper litz in configuration and hand built to order.

 The Sound

Rather than attempt to dissect this into describing the sound of the individual components I shall allude to the system as a whole, indeed, as good as any Audio Note UK components are, it’s when they are assessed as a collective then their true magic shines.

 The first thing that strikes you is the sheer sense of scale, that an event is taking place before you.

Instruments, singers, indeed the whole ensemble is present in the room, or rather, when the recording allows, you are present in the recording space; often almost life size.

The second, is the dynamics. No one expects the sudden change in volume this system can muster, from the tiny sound of a triangle to full blown orchestra in an instant, (Scheherazade, Living Stereo, Analogue Productions AAPC 2446). With such high efficiency speakers this comes easily and without any trace of distortion or strain promoting the desire to increase not decrease the volume; low volume listening is equally rewarding though. 

What grabs next is timbre accuracy. Instruments sound like they are supposed to, not Hi-Fi caricatures; each and every one in its own space with its own correct scale.

PRaT (pace rhythm and timing) come so naturally that you don’t even think about it leaving your grey matter to concentrate on the composition or the musicians’ virtuosity whilst the dense harmonics course through each piece with ease; it all adds up to a natural, unforced sense of completeness and above all in a totally coherent fashion; in a word, effortless.

Think not that a valve based system necessarily sound overly warm and soft, many do but not Audio Note UK; this system astounds in it’s ability to rock when required; John Bonham’s drums pound, Jimmy’s guitar soars as if his amp is in the room (‘Heartbreaker’ LED Zeppelin II, Atlantic 588198) or play some dub-step such as Noisia’s ‘Split The Atom’ (Maustrap MAU5CD010P) and the sheer force almost bowls you over; the bass shakes both you and the room.

 Music should surprise and be unpredictable, be immediate and involving otherwise the killer of all killers, boredom sets in. At any volume this Audio Note UK system delivers in spades and at the cost offers supreme value for money and promotes long term satisfaction.

Our most recent Audio Note UK customer commented when first hearing the above system “my God, I’ve wasted the last 20 years faffing about with HiFi”. Says it all really. Needless to say, he bought it.

Audio Note UK components are categorised by levels 1-5, 1 being entry and 5 being state of the art, albeit that there are many products of different performance and cost within each level. They recommend not mixing between levels beyond one above or one below so as to maintain system performance. The above system falls within level 2 with the exception of the speakers, which are level 3 in this instance.

So why not pop in anytime, no need to book a demo, and have a listen. Bring an LP or CD you like and maybe make a new discovery?

 We’re thrilled to be in partnership with Audio Note UK and hope you’ll enjoy it too.

 The cost

 TT based system £24,400

CD based system £23,400

TT&CD based system £30,300

Each includes 3.5 Isis single run bi-wire speaker cables and Isis cabled mains block.

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PMC Cor Integrated Amplifier - The Heart Of A Hi-Fi System

PMC’s integrated amplifier, named Cor ( which means heart in latin ) has arrived here with us in Swindon. PMC, known as a speaker manufacturer of many award winning speakers , launched the Cor last year as their first stand-alone domestic amplifier.

Designed and hand-built in the UK, the Cor is an analogue Class A/B amplifier that produces 95W per channel (which rises to 140W into a 4ohm load ) and it is very well built indeed.

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On the front panel it has a large volume control knob, a headphone socket and buttons for input selection . There are controls for bass, trable and balance and these are operated by motorised slider switches. Each of the switches has a led in the middle and they turn white when dead centre or red when adjustments have been made. You press the bypass switch if you don’t want to use tone controls.

A nice metal remote control is supplied with the Cor.

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There is an on/off switch on the back and when switched on, the PMC logo on the front panel turns red, meaning it is in stand-by. Touch the logo to turn the amp on and it turns white.

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On the back, there are 5 line-level inputs and a single balanced XLR input. A pre-amp output if you want to connect the Cor to a power amplifier of your choice and direct in sockets for integration into a home cinema, leaving the Cor to power the two front speakers.

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This Cor is a neutral sounding amplifier that doesn’t add or take away anything from your music. This heart of a music system offers control and it is pure fun to listen to.

We have connected various speakers and sources here in the shop and it sounded superb.

Please bring some of your music and come in for a listen. Coffee and tea will be provided.

For more specification please click this link —> PMC Cor

PMC Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T: Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Enfield, Manchester, Portsmouth, Southampton, Swindon

Rega, QUAD and Spendor Hi-Fi System Focusing On Vinyl And CD!

We realise that not everyone wants to stream their music, some people like to keep it simple with CD and Vinyl. With this in mind we put together a quality mid range system (Under £4000 excluding cables) for a small to medium room that sounds great and focuses on more traditional formats.

Quad Solus, Rega Planar 3 & Fono MM

Quad Solus, Rega Planar 3 & Fono MM

The honest shot showing the connecting cables!

The honest shot showing the connecting cables!

Starting with the hub of the system, we have the Quad Artera Solus. The Solus is an amplifier / CD combo in the very high quality Artera casework giving it a really solid, hefty feel.

Quad Artera Solus

Quad Artera Solus

For our record spinner we chose the latest version of the iconic Rega Planar 3 with Elys cartridge and the Rega Fono MM phono stage. The Planar 3 is available in Black or White as well as the Red finish shown below, and without cartridge if you would prefer to choose your own.

Rega Planar 3 with Elys

Rega Planar 3 with Elys

Rega Fono MM

Rega Fono MM

And last but not least, one of the most compact floorstanding speakers we have, the Spendor A2 in black. The Spendor’s are also available in Dark Walnut and Natural Oak. White is available at a premium. Grills are available as an optional extra.

We tried several pairs of speakers with the system and liked the Spendor’s the most. Although they struggle to fill a big room, the combination of subtlety and a very natural musical presentation won us over against some of their bigger rivals.

Spendor A2

Spendor A2

Although this system is excellent with CD and Vinyl it does have potential to expand. The Quad Solus does have Bluetooth if you want to dip your toe into the streaming world. It also has digital inputs, and analogue outputs for the Quad Artera Power amplifier for a bigger room / speakers.

Quad Artera Solus Rear

Quad Artera Solus Rear

Feel free to come in and have a listen. Thanks for reading Nick, Joe & James - Audio T Portsmouth.

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

QUAD Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T: Brentwood, Brighton, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Enfield, Manchester, Oxford, Portsmouth, Preston, Southampton, Swansea, Swindon

Spendor Loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T: Cardiff, Cheltenham, Portsmouth, Swindon

Don't Be Afraid to Catch Feels (Again): The Arcam SA20 Amplifier

Those of you who read our previous blog post about the Arcam SA20, mostly with regard to its performance with a Rega Planar 3 turntable, I’d hinted at the SA20's DAC but postponed elucidation to a later blog; this one!

To recap, the Arcam SA20 has two co-axial and one optical digital input, with a sophisticated 7-step filter selection which is fun to experiment with. I left it in position 3, Arcam’s default.

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A long-standing customer of ours (he knows who he is), brought his Bryston BDP-3 network audio player in for me to update and set-up. It has no DAC of it's own, so to check its function (and get a sneaky audition), I connected it to the SA20 that was warmed up in the dem suite with a Black Rhodium Rondo coaxial digital interconnect. (One of our favourites.) The speakers were the Monitor Audio Silver 200s I had connected for the Rega Planar 3 turntable demo earlier.

Our Mr K remembered how fond I am of Norah Jones, so he brought in a 24-bit download from HDTracks of 'Come Away with Me', plus Diana Krall's 'Turn Up The Quiet' for good measure. (What a nice man.) All in all, about £6k for the system, with an unusually high 2/3rds of the budget given up to the front end.

Wow!

What initially grabbed our attention was the soundstage. Just before Lee Alexander starts playing bass on "Cold, Cold Heart", it pops out, almost holographic. Norah's delicate piano playing and delicious, breathy vocals (steady now - ed) firmly held in their own space, the swing of the bass washed over, melted us into the sofa and had me longing for a glass of something restorative.

This Arcam SA20 amplifier continues to impress...

Thanks for reading. - Audio T Swansea.

Arcam Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T: Brentwood, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Enfield, Oxford, Preston, Southampton, Swansea, Swindon

Primare And The Wonderful Prisma Technology Arrives At Audio T Brentwood

We’ve just received our new stock of Primare equipment and we’re mightily impressed! This Swedish company has been making exceptional Hi-Fi products for over thirty years and always with a beauty of style and sound. They have now launched a new “connectivity and control technology” called Prisma which can be incorporated in their new modular range of separates.

Firstly they’re beautiful!

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And the fit and finish is exceptional.

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The first two models to show are the 35 range comprising I35 integrated amp and CD35 integrated CD player or DD35 CD transport. They sound gorgeous. Appropriately we put a CD of Eivor into the player, the album Slor, and the sense of scale and imagery through the Bowers and Wilkins 805 speakers was breathtaking. The addition of the Prisma technology takes them to another level adding app control, Bluetooth, Airplay, and Spotify Connect. Prisma also has Chromecast built in allowing you to cast from your phone or tablet direct to the Prisma module.

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The I35 has analogue (balanced and single ended) and digital inputs as well making it a truly versatile and comprehensive performer.

Down from that is the 15 range comprising the I15 integrated amp and DD15 CD transport

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These are equally beautifully built and can also be equipped with the same Prisma technology as their bigger siblings.

Sticking with the Scandinavian theme, we put some of Bjork’s most recent Utopia album on playing through the equally Scandi Dali Oberon 5 speakers. This album has an incredibly wide dynamic range which just sang through the speakers being driven by the little I15 (they’re only about 2/3 width).

We are really looking forward to getting to know these lovely components better, why not come in and try them for yourself.

We would like to thank all of our customers this year and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Paul, Francis, Jason and Boswell

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Primare Hi-Fi products are available at the following branches of Audio T:
Brentwood, Bristol, Cheltenham, Manchester