QUAD Artera Solus and ATC Loudspeakers New H-Fi At Audio T Portsmouth

We have recently taken on the New Quad Solus from the Artrera range and ATC loudspeakers. We were hugely impressed by the Solus when first we heard it, and likewise with the ATCs.

When both products arrived on the same the same day we thought why not run them in together. One of the first speakers we received from ATC where the SCM11 and we thought they would be a good match for the Quad Solus. We think we were right.

QUAD and ATC System.JPG

The Solus features a CD player, Bluetooth, accessible DAC including 3 digital coax, 2 optical inputs and an Asynchronous USB. There are 2 analogue RCA inputs as well. You are also spoiled for choice when it comes down to outputs. There are 2 analogue pre-outputs, RCA's and Balanced allowing you to add the Artera Stereo power amp should you wish. Finlay there is also an optical out should you need. A very well spaced product for a one box solution offering some serious upgrade options.

SOLUS REAR.JPG
 ATC SCM 11

ATC SCM 11

Moving to the other end of the system, the ATC SCM11. A beautifully designed infinite baffle (closed box) two way speaker, offering 4 finish options. Black ash, Cherry (featured) Satin black and white.  Made in Britain I might add.  We mounted them on the Custom Design FS104 signature stands, as everything seems to work well on them, connected them with Chord Rumour speaker cable, popped in ''Long Road Out of Eden'' by the Eagles and pressed play. Straight out of the box the SCM11s sounded pretty good if not a little restrained as one might expect. We left them to it for a couple of hours and unboxed the rest of the ATC speakers that had arrived. Such as the SCM7 SCM19 and the SCM40.

ATC SCM11 no Grill.JPG

We sat down for a listen and even after a relatively short running in period they had already opened up and where starting to sound more engaging. As good as they sounded, we knew there was more to come, and to form an opinion then and there would be unfair so we left them running for the rest of the day and over night. Towards the end of the following day we sat down again and put them through their paces. By this time the Solus had plenty of time to sound at its best, and overall performance was vastly improved from the previous day, by that I mean almost a totally different sound. The bass extension was great, dynamic, tight and fun. To let the bottom end show off a little, we played Newton Faulkners version of Massive Attacks “Tear Drop”. Newton’s slightly gravelly vocal characteristic really came through, but the really fun bit happens right at the end. There is a huge bass tone that can sound either flat or overblown on a lot of systems. Not this one. A good test for clarity and separation for vocals is Blood Money by Tom Waits ''Misery is the river of the world'' specifically. With Waits distinctive vocal style, it is not always easy to understand what he is growling on about. Having said that even when every word is crystal clear one can still be left none the wiser. The lyrics were well defined and easy to make out. The overall sound from the system is well detailed without being analytical, well defined in the bottom but most importantly really good fun to listen to. As cliche' as it sounds the Solus SCM11 combo really brought the music to life, it gives spaciousness and real presence allowing you to fully immerse in whatever you are listening to.

ATC SCM11 rear.JPG

We had a quick play with the DAC side of things using the Sonos Connect. We used a Chord Company Clearway Digital coax interconnect  and Clearway Analogue so we could switch between them. We simply repeated what we had previously listened to through Spotify. The difference was quite clear. The Solus dac made a really good account of itself improving the Spotify source no end.

To conclude, the Quad Artera Solus is versatile, solid great build quality and is fun and engaging to listen to. A grate value product that punches above its price point. We can't wait to spend more time with the SCM11 and rest of the ATC range.  The SCM11 aloud the Solus to really stretch its wings, they are responsive, engaging, fun with great tonal balance. We can't find a bad word to say about them and are really looking forward with more electronics in the future.

Come and hear for yourself.

We look forward to seeing you at Audio T Portsmouth.

Nick Joe and James

ATC Loudspeakers are available at the following branches of Audio T:
Brighton, Bristol, Cheltenham, Portsmouth

 

 

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

Ophidian M Series Loudspeakers At Audio T Cheltenham

We now have the new Ophidian M series range of loudspeakers available for demonstration. The range comprises of the Minimo and Mojo mini monitors offering bass extension that truly belies their diminutive size. We also have the Mambo floor stander, again a very compact loudspeaker that will fill all but the largest rooms with a truly immersive sound.

Technology
A common practice in speaker design is to use the energy produced by the rear of the bass driver to boost the low frequency output of the loudspeaker by venting it out of the cabinet via a tuned port (Known as a reflex loudspeaker). This poses a significant problem as the velocity of the air in the port (Effectively a plastic tube) can limit the control of the bass driver cone movement. This can cause energy from the bass driver to be wasted and can make the port exhibit a problem known as chuffing (A sound caused by the airflow pushing through the port). Ophidian have overcome this with a technology known as AEROFLEX. This utilises much larger and longer port which massively reduces the air velocity. This has the benefit of allowing the the bass driver to work more efficiently and diminishing the possibility of chuffing from the port. An additional benefit is the internal structure of the port increases the stiffness of the cabinet. This allows the use of thinner side walls on the cabinet that require less damping reducing the amount of energy stored. This much improves the quality of the midrange. The crossovers in all Ophidian loudspeakers use audiophile grade capacitors, oxygen free copper cabling and metal oxide resistors. This ensures the signal is preserved from the amplifier to the drive units.

The Ophidian M-Series Range

Minimo - The Minimo is a ultra compact 2-way micro monitor for use on stands, bookshelves or wall mounting. They feature  a 90mm Bass/Mid driver with a deep rubber surround, aluminium diagram and large powerful Neodymium magnet. In connection with the AEROFLEX technology this speaker produces a deep extended bass response that truly belies its size. Complementing the bass driver is a 27mm Sonolex coated fabric tweeter offering seamless integration with the bass driver.

Specifications:

  1. Frequency Response  - 53Hz - 28kHz
  2. Sensitivity                   - 85dB
  3. Power Handling          - 30 to 60 Watt
  4. Impedance                  - 4 Ohm
  5. Dimensions                 178mm Height  / 122mm Width / 144mm Depth

Mojo - The Mojo is a two-way compact loudspeaker utilising two 90mm aluminium cone Bass/Mid drivers. Designed for stand or wall mounting these speakers offer a room filling sound with extended bass response you would not expect from a speaker of such diminutive dimensions. Again a 27mm Sonolex coated fabric dome tweeter is used. We have had these speakers on demonstration in the showroom next to a pair of speakers thirty times their size. Many customers have assumed that we have been playing the larger speakers due to the outstanding bass capabilities of the Ophidian Mojo's.

Specifications:

  1. Frequency Response  - 46Hz to 2kHz
  2. Sensitivity                   - 87.5 dB
  3. Power Handling          - 50 to 100 Watt
  4. Impedance                  - 4 Ohm
  5. Dimensions                 - 253mm Height / 142mm Width / 199mm Depth

Mambo - The Mambo is a powerful three-way compact floor standing loudspeaker. It utilises Dual 90mm aluminium coned Mid/Bass Divers in their own sealed enclosure coupled with 4 dedicated 90mm aluminium coned  bass drivers utilising the AEROFLEX technology. Complementing the Mid/Bass divers is a 27mm Sonoflex coated fabric dome tweeter. For such a small floor standing loudspeaker the output from use is truly outstanding. The will play music at realistic volumes in medium to large rooms with no sense of being overdriven.

Specification:

  1. Frequency Response  - 38Hz to 28kHz
  2. Sensitivity                   - 87.5dB
  3. Power Handling          - 50 to 150 Watts
  4. Impedance                  - 4 Ohms
  5. Dimensions                 - 791mm Height / 142mm Width / 171mm Depth (Excluding Plinth)

Listening
On listening to the range of Ophidian loudspeakers we have been truly impressed with the quality and extension of the bass response from speakers of such small dimensions. Couple this with a very open and uncoloured mid-range and a detailed and smooth high frequency response we would not hesitate to recommend these loudspeakers.

Finishes
The M Series range of loudspeakers are available in Satin White, Satin Black, Real wood Oak Veneer and real wood Walnut veneer.

Come and and have a listen! 

KEF, Project Audio & Unison Research Unite to Excite!

Join Myself and Jason along with the help from Nick - Henley Designs (Project Audio / Unison Research) & Nick - KEF this Thursday 26th November 4:00 - 8:00pm to hear the wonderful Unison Research tube amplifiers, Project Turntables & KEF speakers.

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Monitor Audio Gold 50's are worth their weight in Gold.

And a little bit of silver as well.

Ahh... that will be the Pureflow® Silver internal cabling.

The new Gold 50's from Monitor Audio.

Now on demonstration at  Audio T Manchester.

Here are some highlights from the Monitor Audio website.

  • C-CAM® (Ceramic-Coated Aluminium/Magnesium) ribbon transducer design – providing extension to a class leading 60KHz

  • HiVe®II port technology for better transient response and tighter bass

  • New C-CAM RST® (Rigid Surface Technology) bass/mid-range driver

  • Single bolt through driver fixings for improved bracing, rigidity and driver/baffle de-coupling

  • Die-cast alloy terminal panel arrangement with high quality bi-wire terminals and high end spade type link cables

  • Pureflow® Silver internal cabling

  • Selected premium quality wood veneer or high gloss lacquer finishes

  • Rigid 20mm MDF construction throughout, employing radial and cross-bracing techniques for high rigidity resulting in low cabinet colouration

  • Invisible magnetic grille fixing provides clean visual styling when used with the grille off.

 

Tel: 0161 839 8869

email: manchester@audio-t.co.uk web:

www.audio-t.co.uk

We are open Monday to Saturday 9:30 - 17:30 and Sunday 11:30 - 16:30 (closed on Sunday's throughout August 2015)

PMC Golden Ticket!! Your Chance To Win Back The Purchase Price Of PMC's Twenty Series Speakers

A Golden Ticket will be handed to each person who purchases any twenty series product from Audio T Manchester, between 1st June and 31st August.

Chromey's got his.

After registering your speakers online and entering the details of the store and sales person who served you, your name will go into a random draw for that month.  

Draws will take place in June, July and the end of September, with the lucky winners receiving the purchase price of their speakers from PMC.

Seriously?? Thats a cracking opportunity on offer from PMC , especially for those in the market for a pair of PMC speakers. 

Just remember to fill out your Golden Ticket. 

 

Call us on 0161 8398869 to arange a demonstration or email us at manchester@audio-t.co.uk

PMC Twenty series.

Evolutionary and Revolutionary, Q Acoustic's new 3000 series are coming soon!

The 3000 series sets new standards with its luxurious finishes, beautiful styling and amazing sound, all at an affordable price. So whether you're building a Hi-Fi or surround sound system the 3000 series is without a doubt one of the best places to start looking.

 

The new series starts with the ultra compact 3010 bookshelf speaker, shown below in the leather effect finish with 25mm concentric ring dome tweeter and 100mm Aramid fibre/paper bass driver.

The 3020 bookshelf / standmount speaker follows, again benefiting from the new concentric ring dome tweeter and Aramid fibre/paper bass driver, but now a 125mm drive unit is used allowing for a "full range" performance to be achieved. Shown in gloss black below.

The flagship speaker in the range is the 3050 floorstanders, shown in American Walnut. Twin 165mm bass drivers are used to deliver rich immersive bass weight & scale whilst improved cabinet construction means you hear a controlled & precise performance. The 3050's really are an audiophile bargain!

The fun doesn't stop there though, the 3090c centre channel & 3070s Subwoofer can be used to complete an explosive surround sound movie system.

 

Coming soon...

 

Thanks for reading

 

Audio T
159A Chase Side
Enfield
EN2 0PW
Tel: 0208 367 3132