Much Like Buses, You Wait Ages For A High End Blu-ray Player and...

Then two come along at once! Not only has the long awaited Panasonic DP-UB9000 arrived, but we also have the eagerly anticipated Pioneer UDP-LX500 too, and, the flagship UDP-LX800 is due in store any day now!

Both Panasonic and Pioneer disc players are beautifully built with elegant alloy front panels and a luxury feel befitting their price points.

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Panasonic’s DP-UB9000 is the slimmer of the two but still weighs in at a reassuring 7.8kg. Equal attention has been paid to video and audio performance with exceptionally detailed images and fluid motion on all material. Upscaling of 1080P discs is handled impressively too.

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Balanced outputs and separate analogue power supplies ensure that audio performance is up to the highest standards too. A mightily impressive machine easily justifying the asking price of £849.00.

And in the red corner… we have the Pioneer UDP-LX500. It’s more of a heavyweight, hitting the scales at 10.3kg and substantially chunkier than the Panasonic, albeit with an equally pretty face!

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The capacious casework allows for a double layered chassis incorporating a 3mm steel plate which provides an inert and stable platform for the disc drive, thus minimising errors. Power supply, drive, digital processing and analogue audio sections are partitioned to further eliminate mechanical and electrical interference. Every effort has been made to maximise both audio and video performance from all types of media. It’s a tremendous universal disc player for £999.00!

So ladies and gentlemen, all is not lost now that Oppo are no longer in the ring. We present two strong contenders from Panasonic and Pioneer. You are welcome to come and judge the winner for yourselves, or maybe you would like to wait for Pioneer’s top of the range UDP-LX800?

Watch this space. It will soon be here!

Alan, John and Wayne - Audio T Southampton

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

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

New Oppo UDP-203 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player

We  love home cinema because the sound and picture quality is getting better and better from year to year.  So what makes for a great home cinema experience?

Well, in addition to good sound quality, you definitely need a brilliant picture! Oh yes, no doubt about that. This is why we ordered the new Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player.

So what's in the box ?

The UDP-203 is supplied with a remote control , a power cable , a hdmi cable and a user manual.

In terms of connectivity , the Oppo has a lot to offer:

It has two HDMI outputs (one for audio only, just in case your av receiver doesn't pass through 4K) , an HDMI input (for passing another 4K source through, 2x USB-3 inputs on the back, 1x USB-2 input at the front , RS-232 , digital optical and coaxial outputs, trigger in and out ports and 7.1 channel analogue outputs.

We connected it up to our Panasonic TX-58DX902B 4K TV and we loved it straight away. In comparison to our shop Panasonic 4K Blu-ray player DMP-UB900, which is good, the Oppo's loading time is faster and once the movie is loaded and played, the picture quality is staggeringly good with better black levels and finer around the edges of objects.

Put in the 4K Blu-Ray with "The Revenant" and you see what I mean. This player draws you in when you look at the water in the beginning of the movie, it looks soooo realistic and cinematic like we haven't seen before.  This is also due to HDR. It means High Dynamic Range and through that, you see more levels of white and black (the contrast). Stunning!

We want to watch all our movies again in 4K! I know that some people might wonder, why you would want to do this, but do it and you'll see why. We are hooked by the quality of this player and even playback of your standard Blu-ray's won't disappoint. We have been waiting for a player like this one for some time and now it is here.

The supported disc formats are UHD (4K) Blu-ray, Blu-ray (2D & 3D), DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD and AVCHD.

Anything not to like? We can't think of anything...

So what about the support of online services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer and so on, that you get with so many Blu-ray players and 4K Blu-ray player these days? The answer is - No. This player has been designed to play movies to the highest standard, with the best possible picture and sound quality. Most of these online services are available through modern smart TVs and set top boxes these days.

The Oppo UDP-203 can also be used as a media streamer and set up either via ethernet or wirelessly. I connected a 500GB usb-drive with tons of music on it to one of its usb3 sockets on the back of the player and used the remote control to select music via the TV screen menu. There is also a free app for IOS and Android that turns your phone or tablet into a remote control.

The app allows you to browse and play from  NAS (Network Attached Storage) drives or usb drives with all your music or photos on. Tidal is shown on top of this screen shot but according to Oppo, it is not available on this player. 

We think this is a very good 4K Blu-ray player and should be on your short list.

Please come and see us here at the Swindon shop and we're sure you'll be blown away by its sound and picture quality.

Cheers and see you soon

Stefan and Andy

Bluetooth your system with an Arcam Mini Blink Wireless DAC

Upgrade any system and make it Bluetooth for less than £90

For less than £90 the Arcam Mini Blink allows you to stream wirelessly to any system be it vintage or contemporary.

If you have a bluetooth capable device and want to be able to hold your entire album collection in your hand, or stream from your music service such as Quobuz or Spotify for example, then this is the up grade to make.

Using the latest apt X CODEC the Mini Blink connects to your device in seconds and offers superb sound quality.

Although the Mini Blink comes with all the cables you require to get started an improvement can certainly be heard by upgrading the interconnects. We have found the Audioquest Evergreen 3.5mm to 2-RCA is a good pairing.

We are happy to demonstrate the mighty Mini Blink in store.

Dolby Atmos & REL 3D arrive at Audio T Enfield!

We've never heard our demonstration room sound quite like this before... Dolby Atmos really does take home cinema to a new level. We have opted for x4 in-ceiling B&W CCM665's with the matching BB6C back boxes for maximum performance.
Pioneer's new top of the range Blu-ray player the BDP-LX88 feeds perfect picture & sound into Pioneer's power house AV Receiver the SC-LX88.
Dolby Atmos isn't the only thing that's caught our attention... REL's Shotgun 3D set up really is a must for any hardcore movie lover, the following paragraph has been taken from REL's website.
"For ultimate spatial coherence, a minimum of 3 RELs (1-main L/R, 1-center, 1-surrounds) may be used to fully realize all the performance embedded in movie soundtracks. REL Shotgun unleashes the basic performance possible in a soundtrack. Shotgun 3D™ extends that benefit to all the building blocks of a theater. By extending the low bass performance of the center channel the entire front half of the theater Is opened up. No longer does the center channel struggle to keep up with the mains. By doing so for the rear channels, the theater is completed and the 3 dimensional reality of film soundtracks takes place as one’s theater is transformed into a sort of 3 dimensional aural holograph."
We liked the sound of this, so have decided to order a custom centre stand from our friends at Hi-Fi racks to sit over a T-Zero, T-5, T-7 or S2. Not only does this look right, it aids with the timing between the centre channel & sub, which accounts for seamless integration with each other. 
We're not sure whats more exciting, Dolby Atmos or REL's Shotgun 3D. What we are sure about, is that we've not heard better! We urge you to come down & have a listen to what we believe is the ultimate home cinema solution.
See and hear what you're missing today!
Please call or email us to arrange a demo
Best Wishes
Simon
Audio T
159a Chase Side
Enfield
EN2 0PW
Tel: 0208 367 3132
Email: enfield@audio-t.co.uk

Dolby Atmos arrives in Manchester.

Dolby Atmos arrives at our Audio-T store in Manchester...

...but first, here is a quick diary of our trip to Dolby Labs in Soho, London.

After a quick 2hr's and 9 min train journey from Manchester to Euston, I arrive at Dolby Europe in the heart of London. 

Spot the Chrome Trooper..??

The famous Ray Dolby even has a lounge named after him. Did you know Dolby was actually founded in London in 1965.

After tea and biscuits we enter Dolby's custom built cinema.

In all honesty, from personal point of view, I think its probably the best cinema sound I have ever heard.

Dolby Atmos creates an "atmosphere" around you that simply envelopes you and pulls you into what is happening on screen

as well as letting you know what is happening off screen. Truly convincing, Clever stuff!

More so than anything else out there, á la DSP modes found on most surround amplifiers.

The exclusive movie clips that were played to us demonstrates exactly why there is such excitement around this great new format.

 

Chromey actually got his own private viewing...show off!!

And now!! how to bring this wonderful format to the home, well...

...introducing the all new Pioneer SC-LX88 Dolby Atmos enabled surround receiver.

It's coming back with me, to Manchester.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and back in Manchester we are up and running with our KEF in ceiling CI160 QR.

We have 4 of these installed in the ceiling, giving us the true Dolby Atmos experience.

Our configuration is a true 7.1.4 or a 5.1.4 speaker setup. Click on the links to be directed to Dolby's website. 

Our ever faithful KEF R Series make up the fronts and rears in our set up.


The most excellent Sony VPL-HW55ES projetor takes care of our video duties.


Et voila!! The brand new Pioneer SC-LX88 and Pioneer BDP-LX58 now sit proudly in our demo room working their magic with Dolby Atmos.

Pioneer have gone back to their high end roots with the beautifully built BDP-LX58.


 

We were also given some dedicated and exclusive footage by Dolby for use in our Dolby Atmos demo room.

Dolby's Silent animated short was made exclusively for Dolby to demonstrate the new Dolby Atmos format.

It's great fun and it's definitely worth popping in to experience it.

There are several Dolby Atmos clips to get your teeth into.

And some informative shorts telling you about how the whole "object based software" helps the Dolby engineers

to get the mix just right.

This is how Dolby explain it on their website.

Here is a small excerpt.

"The limits of channel-based audio"

There’s no question that channel-based audio can produce great sound. But the format is fundamentally limited because it is created to play back on a specific type of speaker arrangement and doesn’t have the necessary information to deliver a fuller, richer sound if you expand your system.

If a movie is mixed in 5.1, for instance, it has just the information it needs to play back to five speakers, set in predefined locations, and one subwoofer. There’s no point in adding more speakers because the 5.1 mix doesn’t know what to do with them. If you don’t place your speakers in the “right” locations, your movies won’t sound quite right.

The fact that it’s object based makes Dolby Atmos much more adaptable because it’s not locked to a certain number of speakers. Instead, the object-based nature of Dolby Atmos gives the soundtrack a wealth of data about the sound in a scene.

In Dolby Atmos, each sound in a movie scene—a gunshot or a woman’s scream, for instance—can be an object. Filmmakers can precisely specify where those sound objects should originate and how they should move.

 

So there you have it, the rest, as they say, is down to you popping into Audio-T Manchester and trying it out for yourself.

Munir (me), Mike, Kevin and Dave will be on hand to give you a demonstration of Dolby Atmos,

in what we believe is the only store in Manchester to have true Dolby Atmos up and running.

See you soon.

 

New Arcam UDP411 Universal Disc Player arrives...

The eagerly awaited Arcam UDP411 Universal Disc Player arrived with us last week, and we have now had a chance to unbox it and give it a spin!

The first thing that hit us when we opened up the box was how big it was!

 

From Arcam's promotional material it is clear that they have made every effort to give this player the best reproduction in all areas. The power supplies in particular seem to be where Arcam have made some significant improvements even using discreet sub-regulated power supplies on the drive, audio and DAC boards not to mention using industry leading DACs on board.

So, what does all this mean? I have to say that I was already expecting a lot from this player as I was already a huge fan of the outgoing model BDP300.  As many of you are already aware I am a stickler for sound quality and not so fussy about picture quality. Well... the first thing that surprised me was the obvious improvement in picture quality over the BDP300, I wasn't really paying that much attention to the screen at the time but it stood out straight away that it was a big step up..... and then it came to cranking up the volume... WOW!!!!!

Let me stress... it was not a slight improvement in sound quality - it was a massive improvement! One of my least favourite tracks on the disc (Joe with Beth Hart singing Nutbush City Limits) now sounds incredible!. The punch and timing of the track is fabulous, it really has to be heard to be believed. The punch of the drum kit was rediculous and then when the brass section come in ... well...... amazing! Can you tell I liked it????

As you would expect from a universal player it has plenty of connectivity.

I also quicky set up the wireless network connection which was very fast indeed, and within a minute or so was playing FLAC files via our network which again amazed me. I have never heard music reproduction this good in our AV demo room before!

To be fair it is not the cheapest player around at £1200 but in my opinion worth every penny!

Here's a link to the product page on Arcam website: http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,FMJ,BD-Players,udp411.htm

You have to hear this player to believe it, so please feel free to call in the shop and bring along a favourite disc of yours and prepare to want one!