Chromey Takes A Trip Along The i35 With Primare.

For those of you that may already know of the Swedish Hi-Fi manufacturer Primare, you will know that they have been around for over thirty years and have produced some of the best looking Hi-Fi to come out of the Scandinavia.

So when we got introduced to the new i35 integrated streamer amplifier from Primare, it wasn't a surprise to see a stunning looking piece of Hi-Fi. The only question was, will it sound as good as it looks.

So without further ado, here it is and it doesn’t disappoint…

Primare i35-4.jpg

Interestingly our favourite bespoke men’s clothing retailer also stock one of the best Swedish tie and shirt designers in Sweden, Eton. So, for our blog we needed some pictures and we thought why not take the photographs over at Doherty Evans & Stott and keep the Swedish theme going.

Primare i35-5.jpg

Right then, to the sound quality, 150 watts into 8 Ohms of class D amplification, delivered through ultra-short signal paths. Primare have built their theories into metal and circuity, utilising ultra-short signal paths thus reducing the signal to noise ratio, lowering the noise floor and giving way to cleaner sounding musica. So the result is an impressive open sound that doesn’t disappoint.

To give you an example, we have the i35 running on the our ground floor at Manchester store. A gentleman popped in and asked to listen to the Naim CD5si CD player. Our demonstration room was busy upstairs, so we connected it to the Primare i35 on the shop floor, which was driving a pair of Dynaudio Contour 60’s. The results were stunning, we played Solid Air from John Martyn via the standard RCA output from the CD5si into one of the analogue inputs on the i35. All we can say is that as a regular Hi-Fi amplifier with analogue inputs the i35 is more than capable of holding its own against other £3k+ amplifiers. (and the customer purchased the CD player!).

Primare i35 display-4.jpg

But that’s not all, remember the Primare i35 is also a very capable network streamer and DAC, and as good as it is with the RCA inputs it’s even better with its digital streaming duties. Using the slick looking Prisma app we directed the i35 to our ever-burgeoning collection of hi-res music files and pow!!. The i35 takes another leap forward in sound quality. With insane amounts of detail the Primare just plays music with aplomb.

Primare i35.jpg

Around the back we have an array of inputs. Multiple optical and electrical co-axial inputs with USB. 2 balanced XLR analogue inputs for those high end sources. Throw in a few RCA inputs and outputs and even network LAN in and out and you have a full compliment of connections.

For those of with a keen eye you may have noticed the gold plated threads for attaching a Bluetooth and wireless aerials. (we didn’t have those connected in as we had our unit wired via an ethernet connection). So you can cast your music straight from an Apple or Android device, be it a tablet or PC or phone.

Primare i35-11.jpg

Now, as we mentioned earlier, we took the photographs at Doherty Evans & Stott in order to snap a few shots with other products from Sweden. In this case beautifully crafted ties and shirts from Eton. And it looks like Chromey is keen on those lovely ties too, but at 43mm tall his only option is to tuck himself in…

…ah well. (bless him)

Primare i35-8.jpg
  Primare have the finest selector switches, the impeccably polished chrome selector switch offers such a satisfying clunk as you change inputs, just oozing quality. “yes my selecta”

Primare have the finest selector switches, the impeccably polished chrome selector switch offers such a satisfying clunk as you change inputs, just oozing quality. “yes my selecta”

 Everything in this picture is designed in Sweden, the shirt, the ties, the Primare i35. However, Chromey was hewn out of solid steel somewhere in the Empire.

Everything in this picture is designed in Sweden, the shirt, the ties, the Primare i35. However, Chromey was hewn out of solid steel somewhere in the Empire.

 The Prisma app running on our Ipad.

The Prisma app running on our Ipad.

 The front display on the Primare i35.

The front display on the Primare i35.

Right then, that just about covers it. The rest is up to you, does the Primare i35 streaming amplifier tickle your fancy? If it does, why don’t you arrange for Audio T Manchester to demonstrate it to you.

Our demo model is up and running on the shop floor at the moment.

Munir, Dave, Simon, Mike and Haden are waiting on standby and ready to help!.

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

Audio T Bristol Welcomes Primare Prisma Range

Primare have been making quality Hi-Fi for over 30 years and their equipment is incredibly well engineered which isn’t just for appearance as it sounds great. The move to streaming has not passed the guys at Primare  by. Their streaming system, called Prisma, is a very capable media solution offering Airplay, Bluetooth, Spotify and Chromecast built in. This allows a seamless solution for all your streaming and multi-room needs.

Primare i35 Range


The Primare i35 streaming amplifier is a cleverly thought out piece of audio engineering. It’s modular design means it can function in any which way you want. So you could buy it as a standard Hi-Fi amplifier which provides ample power, 150w per channel, just add the matching high quality Primare CD 35 CD player. If you already have a streamer you can buy the amp with a card installed for high quality digital playback. If you don’t have a streamer all is not lost as you can buy the i35 with the previously mentioned Prisma solution. If you have an amplifier and need a CD player but you also want to delve into the world of streaming you can buy the i35 CD with Prisma and away you go. I think Primare have all combinations covered here.

Primare i15 Range


The Primare i15 amplifier and DD15 CD player s is similar to the i35 range but in a small package. The amplifier is only available with prisma installed so you could buy that for a complete streaming solution or as part of a muiti-room system. It will drive most speakers with its 60 watts per channel output. If you need CD playback there is a matching CD transport and if you just need a CD player come streamer then it is available with Prisma built in.

We have tried all the above with different speaker combinations and genres of music. We think they perform admirably in terms of the sound they produce and functionality they offer. The streaming side of things is a pleasure to use, which means you can simply get on with listening to music.

As always we say don’t take our word for how good the Primare is, come along and have a listen and judge for yourself. Martin, Max and James - Audio T Bristol.

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

Bristol, Cheltenham, Manchester

Legendary Hi-Fi Brand Linn, Is Now Available For Audition At Audio T Swindon

We are proud and extremely excited to announce that we are now an official Linn dealer at Audio T Swindon. In this blog we will introduce you to some of their fantastic Hi-Fi products and we hope it will encourage you to come in and have a listen.

Linn, based in Glasgow, Scotland, is one of the oldest and most revered British manufacturers of Hi-Fi equipment. They make turntables (the legendary Linn Sondek), loudspeakers, amplifiers and digital network music players. They’ve always been an innovator and were the first Hi-Fi company to stop CD players in 2009, so they could focus on the development of their digital music streaming and network players.

Let’s start with the range of turntables, the iconic Sondek LP12. Every person who has bought a Sondek LP12 from 1973 onwards has been able to fully upgrade their turntable to the very latest specification and every single Sondek LP12 is made by hand and signed by the person who builds it.

The three ranges are Majik LP12, Akurate LP12 and Klimax LP12.

The choice of plinth finishes are oak, cherry, black ash, rosenut and walnut. The Majik LP12 includes the Majik sub-chassis, Solid Base base board, Majik power supply, a Pro-Ject 9CC carbon tonearm and the Adikt moving-magnet cartridge.

  Majik LP12 in oak

Majik LP12 in oak

  Majik LP12 with Adikt Cartridge

Majik LP12 with Adikt Cartridge

  Majik LP12

Majik LP12

We also have an Akurate LP12 ready for demonstration.

This LP12 comes with an external Lingo 4 power supply, Kore upgraded sub-chassis, Trampolin suspended aluminium base board, Akito tonearm and the Krystal moving-coil cartridge.

 Akurate LP12 in walnut

Akurate LP12 in walnut

  Akurate LP12 with Akito Tonearm and Krystal Cartridge

Akurate LP12 with Akito Tonearm and Krystal Cartridge

  Linn Krystal Moving-Coil Cartridge

Linn Krystal Moving-Coil Cartridge

 Lingo Power Supply

Lingo Power Supply

Linn Network Music Systems:

There is a range of four systems and we would like to show you the entry level Linn Majik DSM.

It is a true one-box two-channel music system (available in black or silver) with a powerful 90W per channel amplifier, 15 digital (HDMI, coaxial, optical ) & analogue inputs, a built-in phono stage (MM) for connecting a turntable, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, streaming form a NAS, Internet radio and much more.

 Linn Majik DSM

Linn Majik DSM

 Linn Majik DSM

Linn Majik DSM

The system can be controlled via iOS/Android app and a computer desktop option is available, too. A remote control for convenience is supplied.

The Linn Majik DSM is a very versatile system that allows you to connect a turntable, TV, set-top box or a games console - No problem. There are 3 optical, 3 coaxial, 4 HDMI and 4 analogue inputs (one of them for a turntable).

The Linn Kazoo control app is well designed and works really well. Choose your source, select your music and turn it up - That’s it.

Here is a screen shot of the Linn Kazoo App and what you can choose to listen to.


But there’s one more thing.…

To complete the system we have added a pair of Linn Majik 140 loudspeakers.

This is a 4-way floorstanding loudspeaker and only one out of 3 in the range. There is a pair a bookshelf speakers (Majik 109) and a centre speaker (Majik 112 for a home theatre system) as well.

 Linn Majik 140 speakers

Linn Majik 140 speakers

  Linn Majik 140 speakers

Linn Majik 140 speakers

 Linn Majik 140 speaker terminal

Linn Majik 140 speaker terminal

The Linn system in one of our demonstration rooms:


This is a great music system, with plenty of detail, rhythm and groove and it makes us want to listen to more music. Whether you want to play your favourite records or stream your music digitally it’s fantastic! So come on in and have a listen to one of the best British Hi-Fi brands around!

Thank you for reading. Andy & Stefan Audio T Swindon

Linn products are available at the following branches of Audio T:

Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Swindon

Naim Audio Heavy Weight Music Network Players ND5 XS 2 And NDX 2

The new Naim streamers have landed! We have been extremely excited about the arrival of the ND5 XS 2 network player and we have been enjoying our initial listening while running-in this neat little box.

 Naim ND5XS2 with control app displayed on a smart tablet.

Naim ND5XS2 with control app displayed on a smart tablet.

This is the entry level network player from Naim and has a perfect partner in the Naim NAIT XS 2 amplifier. This 2 box power house is a sublime introduction into the streaming world.

Built in, is the new Naim streaming platform with an expanded feature set to the previous model. These features include high-res UPnP streaming, Airplay, Chromecast built-in, Bluetooth aptX HD, Spotify Connect, TIDAL, Roon compatibility, internet radio and multi-room streaming. That’s a lot of streaming features!

 Naim ND5 XS 2 rear panel

Naim ND5 XS 2 rear panel

Whether you are running a NAIT 5Si entry level amplifier or the more powerful NAIT XS 2 the new ND5 XS 2 is a must when looking for a new digital music source for your system. When partnered with the NAIT XS 2 a control cable can be run between streamer and amplifier allowing full control over the volume from the app, so no need to pick up that remote control when you need to adjust your listening levels.

This entry level network player does not have a large colour screen like its slightly older sibling the NDX 2 so all functions are controlled from a smart device such as a smart phone or tablet using the Naim Audio app available for free download from the app store.

 Naim NDX2 front panel.

Naim NDX2 front panel.

Part of the Classic series, the Naim NDX 2 is an upgradable network player offering you all that the ND 5 XS 2 offers and more. This unit incorporates a large 5” colour display, first seen on the new Uniti range including the Nova, Star and Atom.

 Naim NDX2 5” colour display on front panel.

Naim NDX2 5” colour display on front panel.

Now this beast has really had a leap forward in its performance over its predecessor the NDX. You can pair the NDX 2 with an XPS DR Power supply for upgraded performance and if you’re feeling really flush why not add the 555PS but we will touch on that another day.

 Naim NDX2 back panel.

Naim NDX2 back panel.

We think the ND X 2 is highly immersive and will get your foot tapping. Its output is lively and energetic with bags of detail to draw you into the stereo image.

 Naim NDX2 bi-directional ZigBEE remote control.

Naim NDX2 bi-directional ZigBEE remote control.

If you are looking for a simple yet powerful and sophisticated system, then maybe consider partnering with the Supernait 2 for a two box power house.

If you would like to have a listen we’d be pleased to set up a demonstration for you.

Hefin, Nick and Kerrin - Audio T Cardiff.

Naim Audio Hi-Fi equipment is available at all our Audio T shops.

We Compare The Naim NDX 2 To The NDX - Is It Worth The Extra?

We were very excited when the eagerly awaited Naim NDX 2 arrived a couple of weeks ago in Portsmouth. Despite our enthusiasm we took our time after unboxing and let the it run in the background before sitting down for a serious listen. We set it up with a NAC202 NAP250 DR and FlatCap with a pair of PMC Twenty5 24 speakers.

 From top - NAC202, NDX2, Flatcap, NAP250DR, and NDX

From top - NAC202, NDX2, Flatcap, NAP250DR, and NDX

On the third day we turned it up. As Naim fans we were expecting to like it, but we were unprepared for just how good it sounds. It is AWESOME, even considering the near £5000 price, tag approximately £1200 more than the NDX! But how much better is than the already fabulous NDX it replaces?

 Naim System with PMC Twenty5 24 speakers

Naim System with PMC Twenty5 24 speakers

The short answer is the NDX 2 is easily worth the extra money over the NDX. It is not a subtle improvement. In a back to back comparison using Tidal as our source, the difference is immediate. It’s startling that so much more detail and realism can be extracted from the music streamed straight from the internet. Using one of our favourite demo tracks - Uncle Lucius - Keep The Wolves Away - the clarity of the guitar and the way the sound projects into the room makes it feel far more like watching a live act, not listening to a hi-fi system, which is exactly what any music fan is trying to achieve.

 Naim NDX 2 Rear

Naim NDX 2 Rear

After listening to the NDX 2 it’s easy to see why customers and manufacturers are moving away from CD and towards a streaming option - it sounds fantastic, setting up the NDX 2 to work with Tidal or Spotify is easy, and at £10-20 a month it’s not super expensive for a constantly updated record collection. Of course the NDX 2 can also be used with a UPNP source like the Naim UnitiCore, and has internet radio built in, but I suspect many will find the simplicity of a streamed service the most attractive option.

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

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...


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.


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


BRIGHTON: Jurys Inn - Brighton Waterfront

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

We are planning to compare the ND555 with the outgoing NDS, using the NAC552 pre amp, NAP500 power amp and ATC SCM50 loudspeakers.

Call 01273 609431 or email to arrange a listen to this fabulous player.

Engineering Design Banners (1920x919) - V1.jpg

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.


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.


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 or join us at our exclusive launch event at the Shillingford Bridge Hotel on 27th September at 7pm. Click here to read more and reserve your place.

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

New Arcam HDA Range SA10, SA20 And CDS50 Arrives At Audio T Swindon

The new Arcam HDA range has arrived! HDA stands for High Definition Audio and the range comprises the new SA10 and SA20 integrated amplifiers as well as the new CDS50 CD/ SACD player which also boasts network streaming.

The new Arcam SA10 (replaces the Arcam A19) integrated amplifier and delivers 50 watts per channel. The new Arcam SA20 (replaces the Arcam A29) and delivers 80 watts per channel.


Both integrated amplifiers offer analog and digital inputs. There are 3 sets of analogue inputs, a MM phono input for a turntable and 3 digital inputs (2x coaxial and 1x optical). Pre-out sockets on both amplifiers which will allow and upgrade path should you want to add a power amplifier in the future.


The new Arcam CDS50 player supports playback of both formats, CD and SACD and offers network streaming via the Arcam Music Life app, which we will show you more about later.


On the back of the CDS50 you will find 2 sets of analogue outputs (phono & XLR), 2x digital outputs and even 2 digital inputs (1x coaxial & 1x optical) . The digital inputs allow you to connect a TV or a set-top box to the CD player. You can select the inputs via the supplied remote control.

 Analog and digital in and outputs

Analog and digital in and outputs

The Arcam CDS50 offers network streaming. You can se it up wirelessly via the supplied aerial or hard-wired via the ethernet socket on the back. Once connected to your network you use the Arcam Music Life App to control, select and play music. There is a lot of choice of what you can play. Let's have look.

  Arcam CDS50 connected to the network

Arcam CDS50 connected to the network

You can access your own CD collection that you ripped (saved) to a network hard drive (NAS), Internet radio (thousands of stations for free) and podcasts. Available music steaming services (provided you are a subscriber) are Tidal, Napster, Deezer, Qobuz and Highresaudio. There's lots of choice and fantastic if you like the highest available audio quality!


Let's set it all up and have a listen!

 Arcam HDA set up with HiFi Racks Podium Slimline

Arcam HDA set up with HiFi Racks Podium Slimline

 The new Arcam HDA range with Spendor A2 speakers

The new Arcam HDA range with Spendor A2 speakers

We connected a pair of Spendor A2 speakers and the results were very nice indeed. We listened to Amy MacDonald's Album "This Is The Life" through the Arcam SA10 and CDS50 combination and the sound is very clean and open, her voice and the instruments sound very rich. We changed the amplifier to the SA20 and we can hear the extra control the SA20 offers at low and higher volume levels. There is more separation between the instruments, Amy MacDonald's voice stands out more in the room and the bass sounds tighter.

Please come in for a listen and bring your own CD's, usb stick or hard drive. We will provide tea and coffee. Thanks for reading.

Stefan and Andy - Audio T Swindon

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

An Amazing Brighton Customer Hi-Fi Journey With Linn And Naim

For this months blog we have chosen to highlight a long standing customer who epitomises the old adage of buying well and upgrading over time.

With an original purchase in the 1980’s of a Linn Sondek LP12 turntable and Naim amplifier combination, this customer improved and expanded his system over many years with us, and has taken advantage of rejuvenating original equipment with servicing, as Naim recommend for their electronics at 8 to 10 year intervals.

 Waiting for the  ND555  &  PS555 DR  that are due in July.

Waiting for the ND555 & PS555 DR that are due in July.

Building to a classic system with Linn LP12, Naim CDSII, NAC52 pre amp and Naim SBL loudspeakers driven actively with a four pack of NAP135 power amps this was a formidable combination, providing many years of superb performance and great enjoyment.

In 2007 we returned his Naim equipment for servicing, and his Linn LP12 was left with us to service and add an internal Naim Prefix phono stage. He added a Naim Hi-Line interconnect for the CDS2 and upgraded his equipment racks to Quadraspire Q4.

Once again with the LP12’s modular design, meant in 2009 he was able to upgrade to the Linn Keel, introduced in 2006. A machined one piece aluminium sub chassis and arm board for his Naim Aro tonearm. A rigid support for the bearing and arm that reduces unwanted vibrations and improves mechanical integrity, meaning less distortion and more music.

Moving on to April 2018 and he embarked on bringing the system up to date. We returned the amplification to Naim for servicing once more. This time he is trading in the Naim CDSII and XPS combo for the new top of the range Naim ND555 network player with Naim 555DR power supply, and a Naim Core CD ripping music server. The Quadraspire racks have been changed for a combination of Naim Fraim and Fraimlite stands, and all of the interconnects to Naim Super Lumina and mains leads to Naim Powerlines. This is another big commitment towards continued and improved musical enjoyment.

It was also time to look at what Linn had been up to since his last visit with the turntable. First produced in 1973, Linn have strived to keep the LP12 at the forefront of many a Hi-Fi system. Always looking to advance performance, in 2009 they introduced the Linn Radikal and Urika. This has replaced the customers Naim Armageddon turntable power supply with the Radikal, a power supply and DC motor, significantly improving performance, along with the Urika inbuilt phono stage replacing the Naim Prefix. This is connected to his pre amp using a Naim Super Lumina 5 pin Din interconnect along with a new cartridge to replace his dearly loved Linn Troika. 

The Linn Kandid cartridge introduced in 2013 is the best cartridge Linn have ever made and is designed to extract as much musical information from your records as possible. All those still holding on to old or well loved cartridges such as the Troika should really hear how things have come on in the world of cartridge development.

And to add a little spice to the occasion, the Tiger-Paw Tranquillity has been included as a final touch to the proceedings. This clever addition is a two piece magnetic combination fitted to the bearing housing and opposing section to the underside of the inner platter, reducing the force between bearing and thrust plate. Pop in and borrow one for the weekend to see how you like it.

What could be next you may ask? Well, having addressed obtaining the best input to the system, the hierarchy moves to the pre-amplifier. The next upgrade may very well be from the NAC52 pre- amp and Supercap to the legendary Naim NAC552 and 552PS and adding a Supercap DR  to power the active crossover and get another leap in performance. There is generally more to be had!

Of course this is a system of real magnitude, but if you have a Linn LP12 turntable or a Naim Amplifier of any vintage, yours can be given a new lease of life by being serviced and upgraded as appropriate.

So, purchase high quality components and they can remain at the heart of a marvellous  Hi-Fi system for many years, giving exceptional value for your original investment. When you next want to upgrade your Hi-Fi system, buy the best you can!

Our sincere thanks and very best wishes go to this special customer for his tremendous loyalty over many years. We wish you many more years of musical joy!

A comment from the customer himself...

I’d just like to add that none of this would have have happened without the incredible support of Julian, John and Paul at Audio-T in Brighton. The depth of knowledge that they have accumulated between them over the years is amazing and they have been able to advise wisely every step of the way.

Buying a music system is a very personal thing and in many ways it grows and adapts with you over your life. We all know where we were when certain tunes are played, but imagine hearing that tune again many years later but this time Kate Bush is in your room singing it! It’s like a time machine.

 As they say a 1000 mile journey begins with a single step!

Contact Julian, Paul and John at Audio T Brighton T: 01273 609431 E:

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

Linn Hi-Fi products are available at the following branches of Audio T:

Audio T Swansea Staff Systems - Bluesound Powernode 2 & Bowers & Wilkins 686

Something of a personal blog today. I'm going talk about the Bluesound Powernode 2 and B&W 686 system I use in my kitchen diner. Most of the cooking in our home is done by me and I have to share a lounge with my significant other and the home cinema system. Therefore, most of my home music listening is done whilst I'm slaving away in the galley, so it makes sense to have something enjoyable to use which lets me whistle while I work. I also work in the toy shop, so, ya know...

Bluesound Powernode 2 and B&W 686 System


I originally used a Sonos Connect (£349) and an old Rega Brio amplifier to drive my Bowers & Wilkins 686S2s (£349) - which sounded great – and lived happily on top of the fridge freezer. Then the packed up; boo!

We bought a shiny new fridge freezer which turned out to be somewhat taller than the old one. Sadly for my diminutive darling honeybun, we discovered she could no longer reach the amplifier controls – cue Grumpyface Emoji.

Something had to be done...


We've had the Bluesound brand for a little while now in a number of Audio T's, but we hadn't evaluated it here in Swansea, that's until young Kris from Anatech Distribution came down with a few toys for us to play with just before Christmas.

Appraised in our reference system, we immediately thought that the Bluesound Node 2 streamer (£499) was a winner and sonically superior to the Sonos Connect, even when by-passing the on-board DAC and using our favourite* one by Chord Electronics. With 16-bit (CD quality) files the Node 2 was quite a lot better, much less grain, a far more open and solid sound. Switching to 24-bit and MQA (Meridian Quality Assured) files via Tidal Masters and it ate the Connect for breakfast.


Historically a strong product for us has been the Sonos Connect Amp (£499). Essentially a Connect with on-board amplification, we've used it in a number of multi-room installations to good effect, the only caveat being it's inability to drive large rooms, or zones with outdoor speakers, (it just hasn't got the horsepower) so I was interested to see how the Bluesound Powernode 2 (£799) would perform.


We connected it up to a pair of B&W 684S2s (compact floorstanding speakers at £799) and let her rip. Wow! You can tell NAD designed the amplifier section – solid, clean, musical, exciting, tons of power and a lovely sense of scale, way more grip than the Sonos Connect Amp and loads more meat on the bone. We like it, we like it very much indeed.

The control interface is similar to Sonos is logical and is easy to use. Volume, Pause Play and Track Forward Back are placed on the top of the unit for convenience, plus analogue and digital inputs appear on the rear, which is very handy for those wishing to squirt the audio from a telly into it. Also you can if you want add a subwoofer. Fortunately m'darlinghoneybun doesn't read Hi-Fi blogs, so I can confirm that I'm planning to sneak a wireless-equipped REL T5i into the system soon. (There's space behind the cat basket, she'll never know...)


Six months later, Adrian's fridge breaks down...

" I don't have to stretch up to turn the amp on any more?"

"No dear."

Cue Smileyface Emoji.

Bluesound Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
ManchesterOnlinePortsmouth, SwanseaSwindon