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.

 Master Speaker

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.

 Slave Speaker

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

Naim Multi-room Firmware Update For Uniti And Mu-so Also Improves Sound Quality

This latest firmware update from Naim, not only improves functionality, but also offers a noticeable improvement in sound quality.

The new Uniti and Mu-so are updated Over-the-Air so just update via the Naim app. Please ensure you read the information below before carrying out the update on manually updated products.

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The firmware updates will enable you to seamlessly play music between Naim streaming products. This update also includes known bug fixes.  For Mu-so and the new Uniti ranges, the Naim app will notify users that an update is available.

N.B. For legacy streaming products that don't have the over-the-air update feature, Naim will publish the download links as usual on the Naim website and Forum.

Products to be Updated

Over-the-air (App prompted)

Mu-so
Mu-so Qb
Uniti Nova
Uniti Star
Uniti Atom

Manual Product Update
Except for Mu-so and the new Uniti ranges that will update over-the-air, all other products will require a manual update. To update the unit you will need a PC or Mac and a USB to mini-b or USB to RS232 cable, depending on the age of the product. A simple step-by-step video on how to update a unit manually can be watched below.

Manual update - IMPORTANT - In order for the unit to perform the update it MUST be 24bit/192kHz capable).

NDS
NDX
ND5 XS
• SuperUniti
• NaimUniti
• NaimUniti 2
• UnitiLite
• UnitiQute
• UnitiQute 2
• NAC-N 172 XS
NAC-N 272

To identify if the unit is a 24bit/192kHz variant, follow these instructions:

1. Press the ‘Settings’ button on the remote control
2. Scroll and select ‘Factory Settings’
3. Scroll and select ‘System Status’
4. Scroll to ‘BC SW’. If the code starts with ‘3D’ you have the latest hardware and the update can be made. If it displays anything else then the update cannot be made. 

If you have any questions regarding the update or are experiencing any issues installing the new firmware please contact the Naim Technical Support team.

Join Julian, Paul and John in the Brighton store to explore Naim in depth.

Naim Hi-Fi products are Available at the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBrightonBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOxfordPortsmouthPrestonReadingSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon

Acoustic Energy AE1 Active Loudspeakers Just Add Music!

Taking advantage of their pedigree of designing loudspeakers for the domestic and professional markets Acoustic Energy have now released the AE1 active monitor loudspeaker.

The AE1 active is a two way reflex enclosure utilising an aluminium dome tweeter with a unique WDT wave guide for seamless integration into the room. This is coupled with a pure piston ceramic aluminium cone bass driver developed from the original and legendary AE1 studio monitor. Both drivers are driven by two internal 50W class A/B amplifiers via a fully active filter networks per loudspeaker.

Taking advantage of many products now available on the market the AE1 active can be coupled with any equipment that has a variable pre amplifier output. One of the major benefits is you no longer need multiple Hi-Fi components to achieve high end sound quality. In the age of network streaming, Bluetooth and music streaming services, a fine sounding music system can be achieved of diminutive size. As an active (speaker with an amplifier built in) monitor the AE1 Active can also be used as a loudspeaker connected directly to you computer offering sound quality rarely heard from computer loudspeakers. They are also ideal for improving the sound of from your TV (In fact I don't think there is a soundbar on the market that will come close to achieving the sound quality you can get when using the AE1s).

Below we set up a few different music streaming systems with the AE1 actives.

Arcam rBlink - AE1 Active:

The Arcam rBlink is a Bluetooth receiver that can be connected directly to the the AE1 Actives via the audio out of the rBlink. Any product that is Bluetooth enabled such as a mobile phone, IPad or tablet can then be used to play directly to the AE1 Active.

Sonos Connect - AE1 Active:

Connect the Sonos Connect via its variable pre-amplifier output to the RCA input of the AE1 and you have a system capable of network streaming (music files from a computer / external hard drive), Internet radio and music streaming services such as Spotify Premium, Tidal and Qobuz.

Auralic Altair Pre-amplifier - AE1 Active:

The Auralic Altair is an exceptionally high quality network streamer. This can be connected via the balanced XLR outputs on the Altair to the Balanced XLR inputs on the AE1 Active. This will provide with a system of diminutive size that produces exceptionally high sound quality.

Each AE1 Active is equipped with an independent volume control and +/- 2dB adjustment for both bass and treble. They are available in Piano Black, Piano White and high Gloss Real wood cherry finishes.

Sound Quality:
We connected the AE1 Active to the Auralic Altair music streamer. Playing files recorded in FLAC (44.1 kHz) via an Innuos Zen Mini hard drive and the sound quality achieved was outstanding. Playing Mike Oldfield 'Not of this Earth' the sound stage was expansive with great sense of depth. The high frequencies were detailed with no sense of hardness, mid range detail was excellent and the bass went down to depths you really wouldn't expect from a speaker of this size. We then played 'Fast Cars' by Tracy Chapman. Vocals were extremely clear with a great sense of emotion. All the instruments were clearly defined with great power and attack.

All in all the AE1 offer superb value for the sound quality achieved at the price and is available now for demonstration.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Farid, Andy and Jon - Audio T Cheltenham

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

The New Ruark MR1 MK2 Speakers Have Landed In Oxford.

Over the last couple of years if a customer asked for inexpensive desktop speakers, our recommendation had always been the brilliant Ruark MR1 speakers. These compact speakers were fantastic value for money and could not be bettered for the price. The MR1 desktop Bluetooth speakers are now four years old, so Ruark has decided to update them and here we will review the new MR1 MKII.

The drivers are the same as before, but Ruark has made changes to the crossover to help give the MK2 version a bigger more open sound.  Style wise Ruark have done away with the removable grilles of the MK1s and in their place is a fixed version. There is no denying that the appearance and quality of finish is a marked improvement over the Mk1s.

The MR1 Mk2 are a two-way bass reflex speaker system utilising a 20mm treated textile dome tweeter and a 75mm long throw bass driver, with a powerful neodymium magnet. The MR1s have a built in 20W Class A-B linear amplifier incorporating a high quality switch mode power supply.  

The MR1 Mk2s now have an optical input so you can connect external devices such as  your TV or Chromecast Audio etc, to improve the sound. They also offer apt-X Bluetooth for CD-quality streaming from compatible devices (Laptops, Phones, some TVs etc) and an analogue input for connecting a turntable.

To complete the package and to offer a great upgrade path they also have a subwoofer output for connection to an active subwoofer.

The Mk2 Speakers provide a sound quality and scale that belies their price and size. We listened to a variety of music from Ella and Louie singing “Summertime” to more testing music from the likes of M83s “Hurry up we're dreaming” and the Mk2s never skipped a beat. The performance was superb without any hint of boxiness and the bass extension was deeper than expected for such a compact design. These speakers may not be able to fill a large room but if required you could partner them with an external powered subwoofer to provide a great compact speaker solution.

The MR1 Mk2s are available in Rich Walnut and Soft Grey Lacquer finishes. An optional BackPack II power pack is available to free the MR1 Mk2 from the shackles of mains power (the slave speaker can be removed completely for ease of portability).

We have them on active demonstration in store, so please come by and have a listen.

Ruark Audio products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBrightonBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOnlineOxford
PortsmouthPrestonSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon

A Compact Entry Level Desktop Vinyl Based Hi-Fi System

If you don't have space for a full size separates Hi-Fi system but you want to dust off your record collection or to experience the wonderful world of music on vinyl the answer is here...

Lets start with the TEAC TN-300 record player.

It has a removeable headshell allowing experimentation with various cartridges so there is an immediate upgrade path available to those who like experimenting; a speed control switch making swapping from 33 to 45 simple and it comes in a wide range of finishes. The most important element in relation to this set up is the integrated phono stage, which means you can plug it straight into an amplifier and away you go. The USB port also gives you the option to digitise your vinyl collection if you wanted to.

 TEAC TN-300 rear view

TEAC TN-300 rear view

From the red and white audio output we used an Audioquest Evergreen 2RCA to3.5m Jack interconect to connect to the amazing, and i do mean amazing, Ruak MR1 MK2. We will take a quick look at the main features of the MR1s then we'll get to the sound.

 MR1 Rear view

MR1 Rear view

A hugely versatile pair of active (amplified) desktop size Bluetooth speakers with an optical input, so you could plug your television into them or any other device that has an optical output. In this system it is the Aux input we used, which is next to the Subwoofer output, a nice touch if you want to upgrade the sound with the addition of a subwoofer. The far right connection is the output to the left hand speaker, a quality 1.5m lead is supplied. There is also a battery pack available making them portable, for use in the garden on a fine summer's day or at least if mains power is not available you can still listen to music. Operation is straightforward, using either the multifunction button on the right speaker or the simple remote.  Linking your phone via Bluetooth is fast and easy.

Performance! For a system that comes in at £660 including the interconnect it is really quite remarkable. We used Georgia Ruth "Fossil Scale" as our dem disc, a great album, well produced and will give your system a good workout, with plenty of bass. How did we hear this you may ask, as the speakers are so small. Don't let that fool you, what these little speakers can do is quite astonishing. So much detail and control, every nuance and internation was revealed a really well balanced sound and thorough delight to listen to. One might expect them to get a little fatiguing after one side but this was not the case. In fact the only reason we didn't keep going after the first listen was it was home time.

The TEAC TN-300 and Ruark Audio MR1 MKII are a perfect combination to create a compact and great sounding vinyl system. They are on demonstration in our main showroom, so just pop in, bring an album with you or we can put Ruth back on.

We look forward to seeing you at Audio T Portsmouth.

Nick, Joe and James

New Ruark MR1 MKII At Audio T Cheltenham

Updated in 2017, the Ruark MR1 MKII are a compact active high fidelity loudspeaker designed and can be used in different ways.

The MR1 MKII are a two-way bass reflex speaker system utilising a 20mm treated textile dome tweeter and a 75mm long throw bass driver with a powerful neodymium magnet. Power is provided by a 20W Class A-B linear amplifier incorporating a high quality switch mode power supply. Most compact active loudspeakers available today use digital amplifiers, which in many cases give an artificial sound when compared to the Class A-B amplifier used in the Ruark MR1 MKII.

 Ruark MR1 MKII

Ruark MR1 MKII

The Ruark MR1 MKII offers a Line audio input and a digital optical input. They also incorporate Bluetooth APTx for wireless CD quality playback from Bluetooth enabled devices (Phones, Laptops, etc) They also offer a subwoofer output for connection to an active subwoofer enabling increased bass response.

 Rear of MR1 MKII Master Loudspeaker

Rear of MR1 MKII Master Loudspeaker

The MRI MKII is capable of providing great sound throughout your home and can be used in several different ways:

TV
Connect the MR1 to the audio out (Line or Optical) to provide HiFi quality sound far beyond the capability of the built in TV loudspeakers. Attach a subwoofer and get true movie sound from your chosen movie. (We have found that the MR1 will outperform most reasonably priced TV sounders / Sound bases on the market).

Turntable
Connect a turntable to the line input via a phono stage and experience the outstanding quality of vinyl through a truly compact system.

Sound On The Move
Add a BP2 battery pack (Optional Accessory) to the master loudspeaker and you have a truly portable HiFi system. Get graeter sounds when you are having a Barbecue or take it on holiday to provide a true HIFi system in your Caravan. If you travelling you can disconnect the stereo loudspeaker and the Master will revert to an active mono loudspeaker which you can take with you when you travel.

Other features provided include a compact remote control for source, volume and function selection. Auto standby is also built in (Ideal when using with a TV as the MR1 will turn on when the TV is switched on and turn off when the TV is switched off).

Sound Quality
Christopher Frank - Latano Mystery (Pacific Coast Highway) - Playing via Bluetooth the high end detail is very impressive and is coupled with a very open and expansive midrange. For such a compact loudspeaker there was no hint of boxiness and the bass extension was extended and tight. We then added a REL T-Zero Subwoofer to the sub out socket and were amazed at the results. We now had a compact system that was performing as well as a well integrated full size Hi-Fi system.

Sade - Hang On To Your Love (Diamond Life) - Sade's vocal was extremely realistic and lifelike. Again detail retrieval was extremely impressive and the MR1 offered a very good sound stage. The bass was extended and very tuneful. (We then added the REL T-Zero we again got outstanding results.)

 KungFu Hamster listening to Sade... he's a smooth operator!

KungFu Hamster listening to Sade... he's a smooth operator!

The MR1 MKII are available in Rich Walnut and Soft Grey Lacquer finishes. If you are looking for a affordable compact active (doesn't require an amplifier) loudspeaker system the Ruark MR1 MKII really should be on your audition list. 

Ruark Audio lifestyle and portable Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:

BrentwoodBrightonBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOnlineOxford
PortsmouthPrestonSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon