New Rega Planar 8 Turntable And Aria Version 2 Phono Stage Available At Audio T Swindon

The new Rega Planar 8 turntable and the Aria Version2 MM/MC phono stage have arrived here with us and we can’t wait to have a listen to them!

The Rega Planar 8 is the newest member of Rega’s turntable range and it is available without a fitted cartridge or with two factory-fitted cartridge options (with Ania or Apheta2).

Let’s take a closer look at the Planar 8.

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 A deconstructed Rega Planar 8

A deconstructed Rega Planar 8

The ultra lightweight plinth (Tancast 8 polyurethane foam - a material developed for the aerospace industry) with a double brace mounted between the tonearm and main hub bearing. It prevents energy absorption and unwanted resonance.

 Planar 8 plinth and new RB880 tonearm

Planar 8 plinth and new RB880 tonearm

 Rega Planar 8

Rega Planar 8

The super flywheel effect triple layer glass platter

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The Planar 8 is powered by the supplied Neo PSU . It offers a smooth power supply and electronic speed adjustment.

 NEO PSU

NEO PSU

 NEO PSU (Rear)

NEO PSU (Rear)

Our demonstration Planar 8 with the factory fitted Apheta 2 moving-coil cartridge.

 Rega Apheta 2 cartridge

Rega Apheta 2 cartridge

But there is one more thing!

What about a lid/cover? No problem. There is a nice lid in the box.

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Before we connect it up to our system, we have a look at the Rega Aria phono stage. This is the newer version that matches the design of the Rega Apollo-R CD player and Brio-R integrated amplifier.

The Aria has two entirely separate high performance phono stages, a fully adjustable moving coil and a moving magnet stage. Each stage has its own input sockets and input pre-amplifier circuitry.

The MC input allows to select resistive input loading of 70 ohms to 400ohms and capacitive loading of 1000pF to 4200pF. The input sensitivity can be changed by 6dB.

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 Rega Aria Phono Stage

Rega Aria Phono Stage

With both , the Planar 8 and the Aria, connected to the award winning Rega Elicit-R amplifier and a pair of Spendor A4 floor standing speakers we started listening to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memory.

Straight out of the box, the Planar 8 turntable sounds fantastic. The detail and rhythm are amazing, there is groove and it makes you want to listen to more vinyl.

Next on the list is Nirvana’s Album Unplugged in New York. I watched this concert live on MTV many years ago and listening to it on the Rega Planar 8 brings back memories. Voices and instruments stand out into the room with so much depth and space around them. Fantastic!

 Planar 8, Aria, Elicit-R, Neo PSU

Planar 8, Aria, Elicit-R, Neo PSU

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Come in and have a listen and bring some of your favorite records. We will provide tea and coffee. Thanks for reading Stefan & Andy - Audio T Swindon

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

An Aura of Sophistication - We Take A Closer Look At The Rega Aura MC Phono Stage

The new Rega Aura is the culmination of many years of research by Rega. As a reference MC phono stage, Rega have created a no compromise phono pre-amplifier that will deliver all the subtle nuances extracted by your prized moving coil cartridge.

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This truly is a heavy weight in every sense, weighing in at 14kg, it's a solid unit that exudes quality with its completely re-designed custom case. The slick front panel allows you to easily switch capacitance and load settings with minimal effort to ensure your MC Cartridge and the Rega Aura match perfectly. On the rear you get balanced outputs as well as RCA.

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In order put it through its paces. we put together a great sounding system consisting of Rega's fantastic RP10 turntable, fitted with their top of the line cartridge the Aphelion, hooked up to a Rega Osiris amplifier and Bowers and Wilkins 702 speakers. To make things more interesting and to give a comparison we first listened through Rega's Aria Phono stage.

Pumping up the volume on Massive Attack's Mezzanine album everything sounded great through the Aria but then switching to the Aura definitely took things to the next level. The bass we previously thought moved along very nicely suddenly became much more focused and fluid. The separation and detail improved exponentially, more than justifying the extra cost of the Aura! We carried on listening with some Pink Floyd and we instantly became Comfortably Numb whilst thinking the Aura was right on the Money.

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At £4000 it isn't cheap, but if you are lucky enough to own a cartridge from say £1000 upwards then the Rega Aura should definitely be on your short list.

Come and have a listen at Audio T Bristol

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

The New Rega Planar 1 Plus Offers A Better And Tidier Entry Level Record Player

One could be forgiven in asking the question; does the market really need another budget turntable, indeed, another Rega? Well, as it happens absolutely!

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With the amazing resurgence in all things vinyl, we are being continually asked for an affordable entry level record player. In particular for those who have a ‘now defunct’ turntable residing in the loft, or an antiquated that doesn't have a phono stage, we often get asked for a record deck that can be used with an all-in-one system or an amplified speaker.

The obvious answer would normally be the Rega Planar 1 with a Rega Mini Fono A2D phono stage - £249 + £90 plus an additional interconnect; a formidable combination indeed. However, in typical Rega style, they have both managed to surpass its performance and dispense with the separate phono stage which costs less.

Enter the new Rega Planar 1 Plus £329

The Planar 1 Plus is the exact same turntable as the venerable Planar 1 but with a higher quality phono stage built directly into the deck, which allows you to connect the deck to any line input (aux on many products) with the supplied phono to phono or phono to 3.5mm lead (upgrades are available).

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Removing both the USB interface and the 1.5m armlead (replaced with a short connection to the phono amp) and using the funds to further refine the circuit, Rega has managed to extract even more performance from the Planar 1 design and make for an altogether cosmetically tidier solution and for less money to boot, nice one Rega!

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The Rega Planar 1 Plus is available for demonstration at Audio T Reading and all other Audio T stores.

Project Tube Box DS2 Phono Stage Arrives at Enfield

We have just taken delivery of our new Pro-ject Tube Box DS2 phono stage. It features variable loading impedance 10-1000 ohms, variable capacitance and gain settings and it can drive two separate turntables!  It has a valve output stage (2X ECC 83/12AX7) and a dual mono design. It makes your music played on vinyl sound lovely!

After a few hours of running we connected this beauty up to our resident Rega Planar 6 (fitted with Rega Ania cartridge).

Sound
First impressions were of a very stable image, coupled with the unmistakable mid range clarity which is a signature trait of valve phono stages.

What make this different to other phono stages at the same price point?
Having a variable adjustment for impedance and gain means you can tailor the sound to your particular tastes and equipment. By using the controls on the front of the DS2 - which you can alter during use means can instantly hear the difference and arrive at the sound you like.

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Other phono stages do not provide these controls and limit the user to whatever the manufacturer believes to be right. So the Pro-ject DS2 phono stage can suit a wide variety of vinyl replay music systems at very different price points and ears!

Come in and have a listen at Audio T Enfield or borrow it and try it at home using our home loan service.

Pro-ject Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOnlineOxfordPortsmouth
PrestonReadingSwanseaSwindon

Rega Apollo CD Player and Brio Amplifier Two Compact Hi-Fi Wonders

We've been playing with the latest versions of the Rega Apollo CD player and Brio Amplifier and are loving the music they make.

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The new Rega Brio is an improved version of an old shop favourite. Not only has the casework been redesigned but the circuitry has been given a good going over and now includes a high quality headphone amp for all you can fans out there. Of course, being Rega, there is still the great moving magnet phono stage for your precious turntable!

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The Rega Apollo CD player is another tried and trusted favourite of the shop. It has also been re-housed in the new sleek casework. With its manual lid and push on CD mechanism it gives a little bit of the turntable experience to CD users.

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I could talk for ages about technical specs and improvement, but the thing about these little bricks is they just make great music sound great. Most of all they're fun to listen to. Partner them up with some good interconnects and speakers of your choice - we've been having fun using the new B&W 707, or the Dali Zensor 3, or of course Rega's own RX1 and they sing. Kraftwerk's wonderful "3D the Catalogue" is rich and full of texture whilst on the album "Haunted" by Poe her vocals come across with wonderful warmth and clarity. They'll handle any music that you throw at them with ease and aplomb. Another hit for British made Hi-Fi!

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So to sum up, with their sleek new styling and improved features the Rega Brio and Apollo continue to make music with a great sense of fun.

Come and have a look and listen we know you'll enjoy what you hear.

Paul, Francis, Jason and of course Boswell at Audio T Brentwood.

Rega Hi-Fi products are also available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrightonBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOxfordPortsmouthPrestonReading,SouthamptonSwanseaSwindon

Cyrus Audio British Hi-Fi Products From Vinyl Replay To Digital Streaming

I recently visited Cyrus Audio's headquarters in Huntingdon near Cambridge and it was quite an experience. The company is run by a very dedicated team and have been producing high quality Hi-Fi components for over 30 years.

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Their range now emcompasses everything from integrated amplifiers like the One pictured above, through pre-power combinations, DAC's, CD players and transports, and streaming solutions, plus the fantastic PSX-R2 power supply, which can be added to many of the units to further improve sound quality.

During the visit I watched the technicians build a Cyrus One and a Cyrus Signature Phono Stage (below) with meticulous care. This was followed by extensive quality control testing with a dedicated suite of computer programs.

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Everything about their operation showed the great amount of care taken by the people there and the pride they have in the Hi-Fi products they produce. Cyrus also offer extensive upgrade paths for existing owners, always offering attractive pricing to help you get to the latest level of equipment.

Having recently bought a Cyrus Phono Signature for myself I have to admit to being a fan!

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So all in all a Cyrus is a great British brand with a lot of solutions for the music lover. Their Signature (sic) half width casework makes them easy to accommodate and they make some very very beguiling music.

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Whether you are an existing owner looking to upgrade, or are completely new to Cyrus Audio brand, why not pop in and have a look, chat and a listen?

ARCAM's New rPhono Switchable Phono Stage Is The Latest Contribution To The Vinyl Revolution

In this months blog we take a closer look at Arcam's new rPhono switchable phono stage. We'll cover what it does, how to set it up and tell you which Hi-Fi system we tested it with.

Arcam have recently launched the rPhono. A potent switchable small case phono stage generously priced at £399. The rPhono is a compact and solidly built little unit satisfyingly heavy and well damped with a rubber base for extra isolation. A simple and subtle design that should blend well with most systems.

Being switchable means you can  either use a moving magnet or moving coil cartridge. Both inputs are adjustable allowing you maximize the performance of your favourite cartridge. As the rPhono supports both MM and MC you could (if you so desired) run two turntables, one of each, remembering of course to select the correct input when swapping from one to the other. The adjustment key in the bottom right of the picture resides in a little slot in the back of the unit making any setting adjustment a doddle.

On the back of the Phono stage are the switches to adjust the capacitance, load and gain to match the suggested specifications of the cartridge. Of course there is the input switch to choose between MM and MC on the far right and to its left is a rumble switch. What we found was when it was on it the sound was a little cleaner but not necessarily as musical. This may differ in different systems and racks. The settings are clearly mapped out on the back panel so no need to endlessly search through manuals to make sure you have got it right. On the whole we found it easy to set up, but of course we are happy to do this for you. 

SYSTEM
We ran the rPhono with a Rega RP8 and Exact cartridge and then a Rega Apheta 2 MC . Connecting the rPhono to the Rega Elicit stereo amplifier where a pair of Chord Company Epic phono leads and Chord Company Rumour speaker cable running to a pair of Spendor A5R's. The track used was Brose and Butter from Songs of Robert burns by Eddie Reader. It's a well recorded album with a lively quality and on a good system sounds open and fun. Although the system was quite highly specified compared to the price of the rPhono, we wanted to put it through its paces and on that level it did not disappoint.

If you would like to arrange your personal demonstration or home loan, including leads, please get in touch Nick, Joe or James at Audio T Portsmouth Tel: 02392 66360

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

Leema Essentials Phono Stage Review

In this months blog we are taking a look at Leema's High-Resolution 'Essential' phono stage. We have been mightily impressed with the clarity and definition it brings to a huge variety of vinyl setups. Let's take a closer look..

The Essential's technology has been trickled down from Welsh company Leema's top of the range and award winning Agena phono stage and it shows. The Phono stage is switchable between moving magnet and moving coil making it suitable for any cartridge which is a lovely feature at it's price point. The Essentials also provides a switchable low frequency filter which can help cut out noise under 20Hz that can come from warped records or noisy bearings.

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Innards

Some really impressive figures are thrown up by the Essentials.  The moving magnet gain of 36db and moving coil gain of 62db gives you plenty of headroom and a distortion of less than 0.02% (at 1Kh) really helps with the clarity you want from your vinyl.

We've been able to try a huge range of turntables in the shop and have not found a single one that does not shine when paired with the Leema, from Regas entry level Planar 1 with it's moving magnet Carbon cartridge right up to Project's Signature 10 with it's Ortofon Cadenza Red, which is a moving coil.

The setup we used for this review was a Project Classic with an Ortofon 2m black MM cartridge through the Leema into the Nytech CP202 and CPA402 pre and power combo and we used Spendor A6r loudspeakers. Our review vinyl of choice these days is the superb 'If You Wait' by London Grammar, a record we are all very familiar with, yet the Leema managed to reveal things we hadn't noticed before. Small things maybe, the reverb tail after vocalist Hannah Reid's line or the slight modulation in a bass line in album opener 'Hey Now' that before seemed to be one note. It's these small things that add up and only to serve to envelop you in the music and improve your experience.

'Revealing', can be seen as a negative word sometimes and yes if a poor recording is put through the system it can show up its faults, but in this case the Essentials brings the music to life,  showing all the intricacies and details that the artist and recording engineers included but maybe aren't always that easy to hear. It's not all about detail, the Leema has plenty of warmth as revealed by the opening verse of 'Strong' which instantly and totally involves you in the music experience. The phono stage brings plenty of excitement too, the big hooks of the choruses standing even larger than life than they usually do.

Leema's Essentials Phono stage has certainly caught the attention of us all here at Cardiff and is certainly worth a listen, so as always please give us a call to arrange a demonstration.

Leema products are available at the following branches of Audio T: Cardiff, Oxford

The Twelve Hi-Fi Gifts of Christmas!

We here at Audio T know how hard it can be to choose a gift for your music mad loved ones so this year we have you covered. Here are our top twelve suggestions to help you give the gift  and joy of music this Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Sonos Play:1!

This diminutive wireless speaker has a huge sound! Using the Sonos excellent free app, opens up a world of audio streaming from your own collection, Internet radio and streaming services such as Qobuz, Spotify and Tidal. Perfect for the person who loves streaming music from their phone or computer.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Chord Electronics Mojo!

This little headphone amp/DAC has made huge waves this year, winning numerous awards and accolades and for good reason! The Mojo is simply stunning, transforming your phone into a mini hi-fi! Also pictured is the very useful Mojo cable pack and durable carry case (both sold separately) Perfect for those who are listen to a lot of music on the go. At the moment you can buy a Mojo and get a FREE carry case (Offer ends 05-01-2017)

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Denon D-M40 and Q Acoustics 3010 speakers!

This little system is fantastic as a entry into HI-Fi or as an additional system in another room in your house. Capable of playing CD, DAB radio and music via USB, this is a gorgeous combination of amplifier and speaker. Perfect for a first audio system.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Sennheiser HD4.30i headphones!

This headphones are amazingly good value for money, strong defined bass and punchy mids combine for a lovely sound and the fact they are comfortable and foldable makes them great for wearing on the go. Perfect for anyone who listens to music when they are out and about.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Sennheiser HD 599 headphones!

The HD 599’s are brilliant headphones for home use. They have a gorgeous open sound which never gets fatiguing and are easy to listen to for hours. Perfect for those who like to listen through headphones at home.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Dynaudio Emit M10 Loudspeakers!

We have been very impressed with the Emit line by Dynaudio, they have a balanced sound yet are still exciting to listen to and the little M10’s are no exception. Perfect for someone who needs new speakers for a entry to mid level system.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Rega Planar 1 turntable!

Vinyl is all the rage at the moment but to take advantage of this you need a good turntable, which is where the Planar 1 comes in, offering superb looks, build and importantly sound quality….what more do you want? Perfect for someone who wants to get into vinyl.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Project Debut Carbon DC!

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The Debut Carbon is a large step above entry level. It comes with a fantastic cartridge in the Ortofon 2m Red and combined with the carbon fibre arm makes for a highly enjoyable combination. Perfect for those who want to take their basic setup up a gear.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Project VC-S vinyl record cleaner!

One of the best upgrades you can do in a turntable setup is clean your vinyl, the result is staggering. The VSC makes short work of this otherwise mundane task, using its powerful vacuum to suck up any dirt and excess liquid from the surface of your favourite record or LP. Also pictured is Project’s Brush it and Clean it (both sold separately), essential tools for any turntable owner. Perfect for those who are serious about their vinyl.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…an Arcam rHead headphone amp!

A lot of the time we just suffer with poor quality through headphones for convenience sake, however a good headphone amplifier can change that completely. The R-head is one of the best on the market at the price and can transform your headphone listening experience. Perfect for the person who wants better quality sound from their headphones.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a phono stage!

We couldn’t decide on just one phono stage so we thought we’d recommend a few, pictured are the Project Phonobox MM, Project tube box DS, Nytech Audio CDP122 and the Rega Fono MM. These boxes all have the capability to transform your setup, just let us know your system and we can recommend the best match! Perfect for someone who wants to either start or improve their vinyl setup.

On the twelth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Naim Mu-so QB!

This mini system has taken the market by storm and with very good reason! The Mu-so QB allows you to play your music via, Wi-Fi, Tidal, Spotify, internet radio, Bluetooth, usb and many more with stunning audio quality. It makes a great additional to an existing Naim setup in the form of multi-room or serves as an introduction to high quality audio. Perfect for just about anyone who wants to add high quality music streaming to a room in their house.

We hope this list has been useful for you, and as always we are always here to help you in store to make further recommendations and provide demonstrations of anything in the store. Many of the items listed are included in our winter Big Red Sale so please get in contact for more information.

From Hefin, Nick and Gareth, at Audio T Cardiff we wish all of you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The Cyrus One Amplifier The Reinvention Of A Classic!

Cyrus have just released a new amplifier, the Cyrus One, harking back to their groundbreaking first model from many years ago and we're very pleased to have it on demonstration.

As you can see it follows the basic Cyrus "shoebox" form factor with a new chassis and high gloss front panel, two rotary controls, one for volume and the other for input selection including both a built in moving magnet (mm) phono stage and bluetooth.

The Cyrus One is rated at 2 x 100W of class D amplification. It has 4 line level inputs, aptX© compatible Bluetooth, a moving magnet (mm) phono stage and a quality headphone amplifier. This makes it extremely flexible for use in modern systems. The LED indicators for volume and input are a stylish white. Overall it is a very attractive little amplifier.

Good quality 4mm binding posts are supplied for the speaker connections in twinned pairs for bi wiring.

Most importantly though this little Cyrus One amplifier sounds great! It drives speakers beautifully, creating an expansive soundstage that belies its price positioning at £699. We have been very impressed using a variety of speakers and sources, oh and the headphone amp isn't half bad either.

All in all a great package in a small, beautifully formed, case.

Come in and have a listen, or join us for our Cyrus and Chord Company event on the 4th and 5th of November.

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