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London HiFi Shows, impressions in brief

Just visited the two London HiFi shows at Heathrow today and even though they were 'competing' it felt like one big show bar the two entry fees. Good to see some old faces back like Russ Andrews and some new ones, AMR.

Some freebies given out, HiFi World magazine on the door with smart house mag too (amazingly with a six page article/advert on valve amps). HiFi plus stand are giving a free copy of Absolute sound or Perfect Vision with a copy of Plus so don't buy Absolute sound at the Renaissance (fool me.

Most impressive gear for me, looks wise was the huge Clearaudio turntable which is so beautiful and 'floats' when touched due to the pendulum below. Think Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black! Very impressive but would I rather have an Aston Martin?

The ARS Emitter II Blue with Battery power supply is again enormous. It just can't be appreciated from photos. Sounded good too with Manger speakers.

Ear Acute CD player with chrome and gold faceplate and orange lights matched the other Ear products well, however didn't get to hear it. Ear also showing some new speakers that look like Quads with a supertweeter on top (sorry Tim for the poor analogy) called primary drive speakers.

Very little AV and I didn't attend the HD DVD demo due to time constraints. However the Panasonic room with BluRay demo were having trouble with their player when I was there so maybe all is not well in the Bluray camp.

Lots of good sound at the show but very little music. By that I mean many rooms didn't give you that emotional impact to whatever they were playing.

Some notable failures were the Meridian setup in a very small room and played too loud. The Ferguson Hill room, I was hoping to hear the field coil versions but they had the Lowthers and I'm Lowther phobic. However their mini desktop system at just £599 with amp sounded terrific with a wide sounstage and depth to it. Very impressed and should be a winner for them Way cool. And the MBL room I just don't get. I've heard it twice, strangely in the same room at the previous show and the sound has a huge soundstage, sounds accurate and dynamic but also sounds thin to me. Some would say lack of coloration but it just sounds THIN. Doesn't do it for me.

Good sounds included the Metronome/Renaissance amp/ Wilson Benesch room, very listenable and easy on the ear. The Audiopax/Meitner room again sounding big and with great resolution.

Standout room for me and it's not often I get blown away and I've got a decent rig myself was the Abbingdon Music Research room with the CD77/AM77 and LS77 speakers. This is a complete system for about £12K and it was phenomenal. Huge soundstage and lifelike sized images with that presence factor you get with horns. I was amazed you could get all this for £12K. I'm tempted to say it beats my system in some ways and the CD player sounded, and I know this is first impressions, better than my Audio Aero Prestige. How can Thorsten do it for less than 5 grand. This is going to compete with the Esoterics, Meitner gear and dare I say it the Zanden players. When Srajan gets to hear this he'll be writing pages!

So overall better than last year and definately worth a visit.


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Topic - London HiFi Shows, impressions in brief - smart845 00:17:06 09/24/06 (2)

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