If you didn’t get the chance to read the first part of my National Audio Show review on Wednesday you can read it HERE.
The next stop on my tour was to the room of Fife-based retailer Audio Emotion. I must say, this was probably the most enjoyable demonstration that I got the chance to listen to. Though there was not the awe of the dCS demo, you could tell that Audio Emotion had put a lot of thought into their music selection, choosing songs that were perfect to best show their setup. The system was really showcasing the emotion in the music, a lot of soulful vocals and deep dynamics could be heard.
The part of the system that drew my attention the most was the Audio Physic Avantera Plus loudspeakers (pictured above). Featuring an interestingly named ‘Hyper-Holographic midrange driver and tweeter’ the Avantera Plus speakers were not just good to look at, but also had a great dynamics and a very wide soundstage. At £13,700 for a pair, these are not on the lower end of the spectrum but the sound they give definitely makes them worth considering.
I must stop here to bring up a point that I noticed at this year’s show, an exciting point in my opinion. The amount of record players on display. I would say roughly 2/3’s of the rooms contained a turntable.
The variety was also very interesting. I saw players in all shapes and sizes, from the sleek and slender Pro-Ject Essential range (pictured above) to the more high-end expensive ranges like the Townshend Rock 7. Intriguingly it seemed like majority of the higher-end models at the show were the huge, heavy and beautiful beasts using the high mass principle which is in stark contrast to the principles of UK manufacturer Rega’s latest uber-light concept turntable ‘Naiad’. Is this a current trend I should know about? Which principle is going to be the most successful? London-based DAC manufacturer Computer Audio Design was the next stop on my tour. As I just mentioned, there was a large amount of turntables being spun this year, good news to most of us, but not so good if you are demonstrating your latest DAC. In CAD’s case it was the 1543 DAC. Having said that, CAD’s demonstration sounded extremely balanced and detailed, this is clearly a company that is truly dedicated to getting the emotion and musicality out of digital music and eliminating the ‘flat’ perception it can have. The 1543 was a hugely impressive converter, however as always, it does not come cheap. The 1543 currently retails at £6,900.
More headphones. Yes that’s right, I found more headphones in the Henley Designs room. They had a number of Audio-Technica phones to test. I got stuck in. My personal highlight of the collection was the AD900X open-backed dynamic headphones.
They had great depth with little loss of bass (which can be common for open-backed cans). The AD-900X’s were very clear and balanced with excellent trebles and mid-range. They currently retail at £315.00, a fair price if you ask me.
Unfortunately, 5pm snuck up on us rather quickly, and everybody began to pack away their equipment in time to get home to watch the X factor results (Just joking). We tried to sneak into a few more rooms to get a last glimpse as the products were being boxed but eventually it was decided that the show was over and we should probably head back ourselves.
I hear that the show broke Whittlebury Hall’s all-time attendance record. I felt that this was worth pointing out, especially to those who say that the audio industry is in decline.
All in all, the surroundings, the equipment and the people at this year’s show were brilliant. Two thumbs up to the National Audio Show, I am looking forward to coming back in 2014.
– Posted by Lewis
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