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  • Nov 29 / 2013
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One Man’s Journey Through The Stax Range (part.2.)

Welcome, if you didn’t read part.1 of my journey last week, you can catch up HERE.

Right, let’s get started. Last week’s look at the entry level Stax models was just the warm up, now we can get stuck into the really high performance versions.

I must admit, almost the whole time I was listening to the SR-207s I secretly had my eyes across the room on the reference SR-009s sat in the corner. Their metallic shine was glistening from the rare bit of winter sun streaming in through our beloved south facing window. That’s not to say I wasn’t enjoying the SR-207s, as you read last week, I loved them.

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  • Nov 15 / 2013
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One Man’s Journey Through The Stax Range (part.1.)

It was around 2 pm (everyone’s least favourite time of the day) on Tuesday (everyone’s least favourite day of the week) and the intercom began to buzz, I had a hunch what it was so I rushed down the stairs to the door where I was greeted by the courier “5 boxes for Adair Acoustic Design” he announced. My suspicion was right; it was the package that I had been waiting for. I got the boxes upstairs and opened them up.

Over the last month or so, whilst we have been setting up our showroom, I have tried and tested countless headphones but there was one name that I hadn’t managed to get my hands on to properly try and it was the ones that have the biggest reputation. These were the ones that I really wanted to give a good test.

Inside was a selection of Stax systems from the entry-level SRS-2170 combination up to the reference SR-009 earspeakers and SRM-007tII energizer.

Tuesday was now a good day. Continue Reading

  • Nov 01 / 2013
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HiFiMAN – Pushing Digital Sound Forward by Going Backwards

Many of you reading this will know that we will be opening our Hi-Fi showroom in Clerkenwell, London at the end of November. For those who didn’t know, the cat is out of the bag.

When you are setting up a showroom, the most important (and best) task to do is testing out potential products. Often a rep or distributor will come in with one or two models from the range and let you test them against some similar products you have lying around, they then give you a pricelist and they’re gone. This is not as helpful (or as fun) as it should be.

This week we had Mark from Electromod in to AAD headquarters to try out HiFiMAN headphones. Anyone who read last week’s review of the Head-Fi show will know how much I liked the HiFiMAN HE-6 headphones, so I was looking forward to this visit quite a lot and boy, it didn’t disappoint.

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  • Oct 25 / 2013
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Head-Fi London Meet – October 2013

When I wrote about my last visit to an audio show / meet, I started by praising the beautiful sunny autumn weekend, well, move forward a month or so to the Head-Fi London Meet last weekend and this was definitely not the case. It was tipping it down. However, it would take more than a bit of rain to stop me from getting my hands on the amazing array of headphones available to demo. Let’s not dwell on that though, whatever the weather London’s Hotel Russell was a great setting for a fantastic meeting of ‘headphiles’.

I must admit I do have a bit of a preconception about exhibitions and events, they are usually a bit dull and ‘networky’, however as soon as I walked through the lobby and into the head-fi suite, I was very surprised, pleasantly surprised in fact. I could immediately tell that there was a great, friendly atmosphere to this meet. It wasn’t an exhibition, or a show; meet was definitely the correct terminology to use. A meeting of headphone enthusiasts. There was no sales patter, no-one forcing you to try something you didn’t want to and there weren’t hundreds or flyers and free pens on offer.

There must have been around 20-30 tables set up, all stacked full of equipment, not just headphones as you might have expected but also amps, portable players and DACs. Continue Reading

  • Oct 18 / 2013
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Stax – ‘In a League of Their Own’

As mentioned a few weeks ago I recently visited the National Audio Show at Whittlebury Hall, there were many loudspeakers, headphones, amps and record players on display at the show but no sound has stuck with me more than that from the Stax headphones.

The Stax 4170 system that I listened to gave what is known as the classic ‘Stax Lambda Sound’. Beautifully defined and clear. They delicately revealed every nuance of the tracks, a really musical sound . Unfortunately the headphones were hooked up to a shared system so I couldn’t choose the music but Aerosmith sounded better than it perhaps should of. The Stax sounded spectacular.

Readers of this blog might have realised already that when I like something, I don’t leave it there, I must know everything!

So here we go again. Upon researching Stax, I discovered this intriguing factoid that got me thinking ‘In December 2011, Chinese manufacturer Edifer bought 100% of Stax Ltd. for just £987,441.77’.

Ask any audiophile what the best headphones they have used are and I’d bet the majority of them would name Stax. So why was a company that sells some of the best headphones in the world, all over the world, sold for less than £1 million? It seems crazy, right? Continue Reading

  • Oct 02 / 2013
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Grado Labs – ‘From the Kitchen Table to the World’

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Last week I came across a black and white photo of a telephone operator taken during the war. Not a particularly interesting photo to most people I know, but being a headphone enthusiast I took a strangely keen interest in the young lady’s headphones.  Are they Grados? To me, they look like they could be an original pair of Grado headphones. Have they really been around since the 30’s? I decided it was time for me to swot up on the history of Grado and put my mind at rest. Continue Reading

  • Sep 27 / 2013
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AAD At The National Audio Show 2013 pt.2

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. Continue Reading

  • Sep 25 / 2013
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AAD At The National Audio Show 2013 pt.1

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It was the first Sunday of autumn, and as we arrived, the sun was shining bright on the beautiful surroundings of Northamptonshire’s Whittlebury Hall. Immediately I got the sense that this was not going to be your run of the mill trade exhibition. It seemed a little friendlier, a little more unique, and just in general a bit more fun.

What made Whittlebury house different from other venues I have been to in the past was its layout. Rather than big halls crammed pack with exhibitors, Whittlebury had around 50 separate rooms, mostly occupied by a single company. Obviously, this is important for an Audio Show as it meant there were dem-rooms galore. That said, I must admit I did find it a little maze-like. I got lost more than once. Continue Reading

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