Trinity Park, Ipswich, 3rd & 4th November 2017
elcome to Audio Show East. Oh yes, the Signals annual summer bash is running just a wee bit late this year! The following pages outline what we have lined up for you. There is a site plan of the two buildings on the back page. The rooms are colour coded in line with the colour tabs on the pages. In the bar area, indeed, loitering right by the bar, Chris Harris will be manning the Theme One Records stand. Nearby and offering a certain level of competition for him, we have a stand raising funds for St Elizabeth’s Hospice. We agonised about simply raising an entry fee and passing this along to the Hospice but, rightly or wrongly, have opted to make any contributions discretionary. Also lurking in the bar area are Alan Ainslie and Tim Lawson representing Melco Audio. Their products will also be in a number of the listening rooms. To celebrate Audio Show East, you can get significant amounts of free HD music if you buy a Melco server / player / ripper / storer. The show is spread over two buildings. To access the other side, I’m afraid that you need to engage with the local climate! Over in the Bucklesham Rooms, we have demonstrations of Russell K, Mark Levinson, Primare, Emotiva, Revel and JBL. There is also a substantial headphone zone and a quiet discussion area. We have the first public showings of Focal Clear and Grado GS200E too. This has the potential to be our most informative show ever.
You are invited to a special event at Signals’ HQ St Cecilia’s House Trimley Thursday 16th November The new Katalyst DAC technology has now become available for the Akurate Akudorik and Akubarik loudspeakers and we would very much like you to hear what these systems can do. Full registration details are at : linn.co.uk/signals Or use the QR Code
St Cecilia’s House, 188 High Road, Trimley St Mary, IP11 0SS
01393 672464 / 5 www. signals.uk.com
Just in case we’ve failed to keep you in the loop, quite a lot has been happening at Signals over the past year or so. After 24 years of running the business as a sort of guilty secret from my home in Bucklesham, Signals finally has it’s own ‘pad’. St Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church came on the market a couple of summers ago. As a 1992 building, it lent itself rather better than you might expect to being re-purposed as our new HQ. After some delays at both the purchase and the planning stages, local builders A C Harding were underway 9th January 2017. On May the 4th we opened in our new ‘facility’, Saint Cecilia’s House, in Trimley St Mary.
The builders did us proud. Beyond an office, workshop and store, we have four listening rooms. The largest, the central hall, is 7m tall, the rest are normally dimensioned ‘domestic’ rooms. Two of those are dedicated to music systems and one is predominately for home cinema. Somehow, it has ended up quite warm and homely. The kitchen probably helps!
Andy and I are still pinching ourselves that we have such an excellent workplace. Rhea, my wife is having a similar reaction to the business finally being evicted from the family home. The plan is to have an increasing number of open events at St Cecilia’s, so you will hopefully come to know it well. It’s still not quite large enough for the Audio Show, mind you, so here we are back at Trinity Park.
Rega & Quadraspire
Rega Research with Quadraspire
An awful lot has been going on at Rega this year:
* The new Brio amplifier * Revised matching new Apollo CD player * New phono stages * Neo turntable PSU that comes alone or bundled with the Planar 6 *And of course the very impressive Planar 6 itself with the very affordable Ania MC cartridge
Paul Darwin, Regaâ€™s sales manager, is there to present the products. With him this year is Al Kells, product designer at Quadraspire. After all, every performance needs a stage!
Beyond his design expertise, Al knows his music and the Rega hifi products intimately. More to the point, he clearly knows what makes a good support system work. We have been very impressed by the performance of both the SVT rack pictured here and the X Reference, an example of which is next door in the Chord Electronics room. Back at St Ceciliaâ€™s House, we have a collection of Quadraspire racks, incluiding X Reference, on demonstration.
You might not be aware of Stockton-on-Tees based Decent Audio, but at least some of the brands that they distribute will probably be more familiar. Chris Fayers is your guide. Star of the room, perhaps of the show, is the Canadian made Kronos Sparta 0.5 turntable with the Helena tonearm. It’s pictured top right. Priced at almost £25,000 excluding cartridge, this is the entry product of a range that extends to £65,000. The cartridge is the new Mk II version of the Japanese made Transfiguration Phoenix S. Mid point in the range, this costs £2795. It’s always of special interest when a Transfiguration cartridge is heard, especially set up in an exceptional Turntable.
Electronics for the system are manufactured in Italy by Audio Analogue. Their Puccini Anniversary integrated amplifier is in its latest upgraded guise (pictured left) and the phono stage is the newly released AA Phono. Chris is using the Fortissimo CD player for the, and I quote, “odd occasions” when he is not playing records. Alegedly, there is “fat chance” of this scenario. I wonder why he brought it? The loudspeakers being deployed are the Magnepan MG 1.7i ribbons. One notch up from the entry level full range panels, these are by some margin the best sellers in the range in the UK. Cabling is by van den Hul and mains distribution by Musicworks with Equipment racking by Quadraspire. Chris has a history of making some very fine sounds at our events. With a ‘killer’ front end to play with, expectation is sky high.
Decent Audio Distribution
Decent Audio Distribution
Have these guys got news for you?! At our last show, it was mainly about Dave (the DAC). This time Chord have Hugo 2 on demonstration in the headphone zone, along with Mojo and October 2017s arrival, Poly. If you need to ask . . :) Playing on home turf with various combinations, we were utterly blown away by the sound quality from the Dave, at the time fed by a Melco N1ZH, running into the CPA 5000 preamplifier and SPM 1200 Mk II power amplifier driving the Kudos Titan 808s. In our 7m tall central ‘hall’. The key to this sounding quite so magical seemed to be the combination of Quadraspire X Reference stand and QED Supremus loudspeaker cables. With the Supremus interconnects still to reach production, we been using their relatively inexpensive QED Reference XLR interconnects. We thought this was pure dead brilliant until we added the Blu MkII CD transport-cum-digital-upscaler. We don’t understand why it works, but work it sure as hell does. For the show, Chord are using our own system but with the Innuous Zenith SE server. Maurice will be running the main dem room and Mitch looking after the headphone area. We are proud and honoured to have digital electronics designer / guru Rob Watts (pictured inset right) on site for the two days of the show so he can answer the really difficult questions.
County Durham based Kudos Audio make stunning loudspeakers and, at our St Cecilia’s House base, we have the entire range on demonstration. The flagship T808 speakers are in the Chord Electronics room and, in Kudos’ own room, and powered by a Naim system, we have the smaller T707s. Company owner Derek Gilligan is a keen advocate of active operation. This is where the drivers are connected directly to the power amplifiers and the signal is divided at the preamplifier stage. Until now, running active has required electronics by Linn or Devialet, both of which perform the crossover functions in the digital domain. To do this with Naim a special analogue line level crossover has to be manufactured. Getting Naim to make a version of the SNAXO active crossover was no mean feat. I would say ‘Kudos to Derek’ but . . . Here you can listen to NDS streamer and Tiger Paw modified Linn LP12 though Naim NAC 552 preamplifier and two NAP 300DR power amplifiers. Derek, Toby, Dave and Roger from Tiger Paw have a track record of making great sounds. Here you will also be able to hear the difference that active operation brings. In addition to what the Kudos guys have to offer, we are led to expect some interesting developments from Tiger Paw too. Ask Roger to hear what Tranquility does for the LP12!
PMC PMC celebrated their 25th year in 2016 with the new twenty5 series of speakers. A significant step forward over the twenty series, these have been extremely well received. So was 2017 a year for consolidation and revelling in more and ever more kindly twenty5 series reviews? Apparently not. This summer they released the Cor, their first integrated amplifier. It’s not their first amplifier, though. Right from their inception, PMC have been building power amps and active crossovers for their (active) loudspeakers. Cor, pictured below, is sort of retro-radical. It has tone controls which, other than the, possibly welcome, adjustment they bring, seem to have so little impact on the sound that you probably won’t bother with the defeat switch.
Cor is compact but powerful. It’s intended to have negligable sonic signature yet also be fun and musical. It’s also hand built in Luton. The first production batch are all silver, but it will also come in black. It really is rather special. We’ve had our demo unit for a few weeks now and it is every bit as well matched to their loudspeakers as you would hope. Tom Barron and Keith Tonge are on site armed with a very interesting collection of music, some familliar, and much of it taken direct from the mixing desk, so you will hear things as never before. Keith will be giving talks at times indicated on site. They have the entire Twenty5 and fact series’ of loudspeakers to hand. It’s a large room to fill but we know from experience that they will be able to achieve their own fine and interesting show. Please, take your seats!
Naim Audio & Focal
Naim Audio & Focal
Here, we have the first public showing of the new Focal Kanta loudspeakers. The Naim guys are genuinely excited about these new arrivals which suit the Star and Nova to a tee. The room should also be well stocked with the new Naim Uniti products. Itâ€™s hardly a secret that the roll-out and subsequent supply situation of uniti has been very tight. A price rise was issued at the beginning of October 2017. At the time of writing, we have a small number of of Atom, Star and Novas on hand. These, plus some more stock, due in January 2018, were ordered prior to the October 2017 price rise and can be supplied at 2017 prices. Talk to Andy or Alastair. Weâ€™ve been very impressed by the quality and performance of all the new-breed Unitis. Here is your opportunity to get some hands-on exposure. You are in the very capable hands of Jason Gould, Mike Heath and Phil Harris.
Karma AV York, based Karma AV can be found in the Bucklesham Rooms (the second building). They are Importers / distributors of Emotiva, Golden Ear, JBL, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, Primare, Revel, Torus and much, much more. This room will be showcasing three systems and one of them just might include the Mark Levinson 515 turntable pictured top right. With only one of these in Europe at the moment, it is more than possible that it will have been called elsewhere. Still, fingers crossed. Other than this, system one is Mark Levinson 519 streamer, ML526 preamp, ML534 power amp, Torus AVR16 power conditioner and JBL4367 loudspeakers. Primare have just refreshed the range to the 35 series which now comes with the optional Prisma streaming tech and we are apparently the first dealer show to have the I35 and CD35. System two is: Primare i35 Prisma, Primare CD35 Prisma, Torus TotAVR and Revel F35 loudspeakers. For system three, Karma are using high value brand Emotiva. Emotiva Ref CD, Emotiva Ref Pre-amp, Emotiva Monoblocks and Torus TotMax. For loudspeakers, the suggestion is the JBL4312s, which are relatively inexpensive. Your hosts are Mark Alcock and Tom Severs. Iâ€™m sure thereâ€™s a joke lurking in there somewhere . . . nope, beats me :)
player and Rotel amplifier found renewed purpose. If you are looking to make a Naim Uniti Atom really sing, these are ideal partners. Finish options include gloss black or real wood veneer in mahogany, walnut or oak. The whole range is manufactured in Poland to Russell’s design and uses content drawn from the EU. Styling is simple and ‘classic’, build quality good. There are now two stand-mounts and two floor-standers. The compact Red 120 floor-stander being the latest addition. We carry them all on demonstration and all will be in the Russell K room using the Naim Nac-N272, XPS DR and NAP 250DR power amplifier. The music server is by Melco. Russell and his colleague, John Sessions are your guides. Their music library is considerable. Indulge youself!
Back in the early days of signals, we dealt with Morel in Ipswich. For us, Russell Kauffman was ‘the man’. Even then, Mr K was working on a number of loudspeaker designs and an abiding principle was that there should be no internal damping whatsoever “It just blurs information, stores energy and slows things down”. It was no surprise, then, to find that, twenty odd years later, with his own company up and running, that the Red 50, 100, 150 and new Red 120 speakers are all unencumbered by internal damping. And they’re good too. The smallest and cheapest speaker, the Red 50, is superb. Quite probably the best available for under £1000. These compact rear-ported speakers reward careful set-up and system matching but are actually remarkably easy going. Witness a dem where the customers elderly Arcam CD
Melco Audio is part of Maki Engineering Laboratory Company which commenced trading in 1975. Melco was one of the original ultra-high-end boutique Japanese Hi-Fi manufacturers. They branched out into making print buffers and called these Buffalo., a name possibly more familiar to you. We have known their General Manager, Alan Ainslie, for virtually all the time we’ve been in business. His CV is impressive and the knowledge that he has brought to this has been crucial. Mind you when he mentioned to us that he was working on this new project, we were as baffled as anyone else. This is a range of three high end music data storage devices designed purely for music replay and their brilliance has got us quite fired-up. These can work as UPnP music servers, running various music server software options, or as combined storage / renderers, outputting the audio via USB into a suitably equipped DAC. If you connect a USB3 CD drive, you can import CDs in WAV or FLAC format straight to the drive. Or even play a CD in real-time without importing! Providing the Melco is sitting on an Ethernet network, control can be via Apple or Android devices running a plethora of alternative control ‘apps’. As a UPnP server, it offers some intriguing benefits over even the most accomplished servers that we’ve tried. All the products are now in their Mk II versions. This has brought meaningful improvements over their predecessors, particularly in the handling of USB outputs.
We have some offers: Buy any of the current Mk II range and receive free HD download music either from Quobuz or HighResAudio.com. £100 worth with the N1A / 2, £200 with the N1Zh / 2 and, can you guess?, £300 worth with the N1Zs / 2. We also have a small number of, predominately silver, N1A and N1Zh units available at very keen prices. For owners of the older units, competitive upgrades will be offered. Have a chat with Andy or Alastair from Signals or with Alan or Tim from Melco. They will be located in the bar area.
QED Supremus Grado PS 2000e In the headphone zone, we have ‘phones by Audeze, Focal, Grado and Sennheiser. And this includes the new Grado PS2000E which are making their UK debut at our event. Simon Morice from UK importers, Armour, will be on site Friday 3rd to talk you through them.
QED / Grado
This high end cable has really impressed us. Sure enough, it’s not for everything, no cable is, but we’ve found it stunning with Chord, Mark Levinson, T+A and Naim. It’s also rather chunky, but let’s not talk about that! It’s on the Chord system in the Chord Electronics room with the very accomplished, QED Reference interconnects.
‘phones and accessories
Focal, Questyle & IsoAcoustics SCV Distribution will be in attendance this year giving you the opportunity to experience Focal’s highly regarded range of high-end headphones, through some serious headphone amplification courtesy of newcomer, Questyle Audio Engineering. Pairing up the Utopia in fully balanced operation with the award winning Questyle ‘Golden Stack’, you will hear Focal’s flagship high-end headphone at its full potential. Also on show will be the brand new Focal Clear, this being its first UK appearance! For those wishing to dip a more moderately priced toe in the water, Focal’s Elear model will be on hand powered by Questyles new entry-level combination DAC/amplifier, the CMA400i. The combination of Focal’s ‘loudspeaker’ headphone design and Questyle’s patented ‘current mode’ amplification circuit represents the closest headphone listening has ever been to sitting in front of a real pair of speakers. SCV’s Matt Esau will also be on hand to answer any questions you might have about their range of astounding speaker isolation products from IsoAcoustics.
Wire on Wire
In the headphone zone, Chris Bell from Wire on Wire will be demonstrating and selling his novel tunable cables. “Basically you are able to change the geometry to change the cable’s characteristics to suit you and your system. I have to say that I was somewhat sceptical but Chris Bell’s demo [at NW Audio Show] was a bit of an ear opener with clear differ-ences being apparent with different geometries being used.” Stuart Smith, HifiPig, July 2017. “To put it mildly, I was stunned at how good the ‘naked’ Wire On Wire cable sounded when put head-to-head against my resident interconnect cable which has a price tag of £2,000.” Dominic Marsh, HifiPig, December 2017
We are excited to have Paul Taylor designer of SongKong, a very effective music tagging application, on hand to explain something that is of particular interest to listeners who have classical music on ther music servers. We are setting aside a quiet area adjacent to the headphone zone in the Bucklesham Rooms and Paul will be explaining the importance of meta data and, more importantly, showing how you can make your music libraries easier to navigate. The schedule for the various talks over the two days of the show will be available from the information desk.
This has been a signals production:
Signals UK Ltd St Ceciliaâ€™s House 188 High Road Trimley St Mary IP11 0SS
01394 672464 / 5 www.signals.uk.com Follow the QR code for special offers
Published on Oct 28, 2017
Published on Oct 28, 2017
The show guide for our Audio show, held at Trinity Park Ipswich on 3rd and 4th November 2017 Hard copies will be handed out at the event