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  • Jan 27 / 2015
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Blog

Why are acoustics so important in the work place?

Office Acoustics

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) found that 70% of office workers believed their productivity would be higher if their office was less noisy. They also found that 81% of managers were unconcerned about office noise.

When designing an office or workspace so many factors need to be considered, from the aesthetics and light to the ergonomics and temperature. There is a massive emphasis placed on all these factors to ensure that the workers in the office are able to do their job efficiently and comfortably.

Our predominant method of communication is through speech, so why is sound so often overlooked? Continue Reading

  • Nov 07 / 2014
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Blog

3D cinema sound – The future of cinema or a flash in the pan?

Dolby Atmos / Auro3d

There is a lot of talk at the moment about ‘3D’ audio for cinema. At first you’d be forgiven for thinking we already have 3D audio as we have speakers all around us. Although this is true, there is actually no component of height.

The question is, do we really need 3D sound? 3D picture hasn’t really worked, for instance Sky is discontinuing all its support of 3D sports programming. So does 3D audio actually offer something worth having? Continue Reading

  • Jun 23 / 2014
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Blog

To What Extent Does The Vertex AQ Systematic Approach Work In Practice?

Vertex Solfonn Interconnects

Vertex Solfonn Interconnects

It’s no secret, the high-end Hi-Fi industry has a lot of doubters. When I tell non-audiophiles about some of the equipment that I work with, they can seem very dubious as to whether it can possibly be worth the money. Why would you buy a £500 mains cable?

These are often the people who have never really sat down to listen to a truly high-end system. Normally, when someone takes the time to give a good listen to a proper audiophile set-up, they are slowing sucked in (whether they like it or not).

In our Clerkenwell showroom, there is one brand that we have on demo that can divide opinion, more than the others. Vertex AQ. Continue Reading

  • Jun 06 / 2014
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Blog

Why The ATC SIACD Distracted Me From My Blog About Phono Stages

ATC SIACD

This week I sat down to do a blog about phono stages and compare a couple of nice options, but to my surprise the more I tested them, the more I began to switch my attention from phono stages to how amazing the amplifier I was using actually was.

We have a south facing showroom and it gets a lot of light when the weather is nice. Our record player sits by the window and in the sunlight which beams in and looks glorious. It is no surprise to me why whenever the sun comes out, I put a record on.

As it happens, today is a very nice day and yes I have been listening to vinyl. I thought, seeing as it is not something I have really looked in to with my blogs, that I would focus on phono stages this week, in particular comparing the Micromega MyGroov to the higher-end valve-based Pro-Ject Tube Box DS. Continue Reading

  • Apr 17 / 2014
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Blog

Ruark Audio – The best sounding products in John Lewis and they don’t even know it

Ruark Audio

Seeing as it is Easter and spring has finally sprung, we thought what better products to write about this week than Ruark Audio. Their ‘serious small audio’ products are fantastic for this time of year, whether you are heading to a park with a R1 radio, cooking an Easter feast in your kitchen with an R2i stereo or just relaxing on your days off with some of your favourite CD’s on the R7 Radiogram.

Ruark products walk all over almost all their closest rivals, but what sets them apart from the others? Continue Reading

  • Mar 21 / 2014
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Blog

Audioquest’s Dragonfly DAC – makes your laptop headphone jack obsolete!

How can a little bit of electronics the size of a USB stick transform your listening experience so much? Question is: will computer manufacturers ever implement this technology?

When it comes to micro-components, the DragonFly DAC/headphone amp is about as micro as they come. It is 3cm by 1.5cm by 9mm with a USB jack on one end and a headphone input on the other. It has a sleek matte black finish and features a pretty dragonfly icon that lights up with a nice variety of colours when in use. Much nicer than those piercing blue LEDs you get on so much hi-fi these days. Continue Reading

  • Mar 14 / 2014
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Blog

Benchmark DAC2 HGC – One of the Best All-rounders Around

There are very few products that have been sat in our Clerkenwell showroom since the day we moved in back in September. In fact other than a vintage Roksan record player, the Benchmark DAC1 HDR was the only non-ATC product we had in our original set-up. Granted the doors weren’t open yet and we were not selling them (they were just listening for our own pleasure); but it shows you that Benchmark is a name that we trust and personally like to use.

Benchmark Media are a New York based company that has a big reputation in the hi-fi world for making studio quality DACs and ADCs. They have been building their renowned products for over 30 years and sell to a wide range of customers including broadcasters, recording studios and home audiophiles.

Benchmark are often seen as a company that knows what they are doing when it comes to digital music. With the current technological advances in this area, there are an ever-growing number of manufacturers producing DACs, digital amplifiers and streamers. Benchmark now see themselves having to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to their DACs.

As a big fan of the extremely versatile Benchmark DAC1 HDR, you can imagine my excitement when the demo unit of the new DAC2 HGC (HGC stands for Hybrid Gain Control) arrived this week. I got it straight out the box and had a play. Like the DAC1, this is a DAC, Pre-amp and headphone amp all in one. Unlike the DAC1 it can now play high-resolution 24/192 and DSD files, whereas the DAC1 can only manage 24/92. New features on the DAC2 also include the hybrid gain control, a home theatre bypass option, polarity control and a bi-directional 12V trigger. Oh, and it also comes with an IR remote control.

Continue Reading

  • Feb 21 / 2014
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Blog

Auro3D – The Next Generation of Home Cinema Sound

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last seven years you would have at least heard of 3D cinema, if not seen a film in 3D. However, despite the original hype, it must be said 3D didn’t really take off as people predicted. In my opinion, there are a few reasons people have been put off 3D movies. There’s the glasses, the price and some get a bit of a headache during a long 3D film.

Despite the negatives, there is one large positive that needs to be mentioned. There is no denying the immersivity of 3D. The idea of 3D cinema really is to make you feel as if you are actually in the film and everything is happening around you.

Luckily for all those like me who don’t get on with 3D screens in their current form, there is a new way to be immersed in film. Yes, I am talking about 3D sound. Continue Reading

  • Feb 10 / 2014
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Blog

The Rebirth of Micromega

Anyone who has been to our Adair Acoustic showroom will know that we are particularly interested in desktop Hi-Fi and all the little boxes on the market that can make your computer sound like a high-end system (or as close as is possible at the moment). We have ‘boxes’ byPro-JectMusical FidelityHiFiMAN and Lehmann Audio but there is one collection that doesn’t quite seem to fit in with the others. The Micromega ‘My’ range looks more like a wireless router or an Apple TV box than a headphone amp, DAC or phono stage. However, once I tried the ‘My’ range I could tell these were products that were going to get a lot of interest.

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  • Jan 10 / 2014
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Blog

What Makes ATC Loudspeakers So Special?

Since opening our showroom in December, there has been one brand we stock that has clearly drummed up the most interest; a brand that seems to be generating a big following amongst audiophiles, musicians (such as Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones) and the hi-fi press of late. You have probably guessed from the title of this blog post that yes, the brand I speak of is ATC Loudspeakers.

What Hi-FI? Magazine recently awarded the ATC SCM11 stand mount passive speakers the ‘Best standmounter £800-£1500’ prize  at their 2013 Awards show, claiming them to be ‘the most talented standmounters anywhere near this price’.

So, what is it that makes ATC Loudspeakers so impressive? Well, there was only one way to really find this out. A trip to the ATC headquarters and factory in Gloucestershire.

Continue Reading

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