Dali Loudspeakers Arrive At Audio T Cardiff!

It's surreal! We’re very excited here as we’ve just started stocking Dali products! To get us started we have a quartet of new products, namely: the Katch portable Bluetooth speaker; the Zensor Pico, Zensor 1 and Zensor 3 Loudspeakers.

A Dali family shot. 

A Dali family shot. 

Dali Katch Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Dali Katch Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The Dali Katch is a portable Bluetooth speaker with a few very clever tricks up its sleeve. Capable of a very impressive 24 hour battery life and a full charge after just 2 hours, this is a perfect companion for travelling or just sitting out in the garden. The Katch has two listening modes ‘clear’ is the best for most situations while ‘warm’ pushes out a bit extra bass, more suited for playing in a large room. The Katch connects via Bluetooth AptX and has the option of NFC, it can also be set up as a stereo pair if you have a second Katch. Our favourite feature though is that it has a USB charge out. This opens up a whole new world of streaming as the Katch can power a device like a Google Chromecast or even a player like the Astel and Kern AK70 (pictured below). Send the signal from that device in through the Katchs mini jack auxiliary input and you have yourself a streamer! Most importantly as well as looking incredible the Katch has a fantastic clear presentation through its two 21mm soft dome tweeter and pair of 9cm aluminium drivers. It seemed to handle everything we threw at it with aplomb and left us very impressed.

Dali Katch Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Dali Katch Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Dali Zensor Pico

Dali Zensor Pico

The Pico is the first entry in the Zensor range of loudspeakers and the first thing to say about it as they are tiny! Each speaker stands at just 23cm high, however where it lacks in size it most certainly doesn’t lack in sound!  The Pico features the same soft dome tweeter that appears in the rest of the range and the same, albeit smaller, wood fibre woofer all contained in a very classy looking cabinet for the price. When tested we couldn’t believe the sound quality coming from such a small pair of speakers,  the Pico’s have a considerable impact at the low end considering the size and give a great presentation in a small to medium size rooms. We found that the Pico’s had a great energy and presence in the room that made them very addictive to listen to. These will be great in a small to medium room but also fantastic in a compact surround sound system as fronts, back or both!

Dali Zensor 1

Dali Zensor 1

The middle brother of the Zensor bookshelf speakers is the Zensor 1.  At 30% bigger than the Pico the Zensor 1 still has a fairly small footprint but defiantly has more of a presence in the room. Using the same tweeter but a slightly larger 5.25” woofer the Zensor 1 shares all the same characteristics of the Pico but you get more of it, a stronger sound stage more focussed, stronger bass and overall a more detailed sound. Like the other speakers in the range it is available in black, white and walnut finishes.

Dali Zensor 3

Dali Zensor 3

The newest member of the family is the slightly bigger again Zensor 3. The 3 follows all the same design aspects of the two smaller models and again uses the same tweeter but ups the size of the bass driver to a 7”. The 3’s have an infectious energy about them while still staying balanced with a tight top end and a surprisingly punchy bass for the size of cabinet, we found ourselves sitting back and listening to whole albums when we were meant to be reviewing them!

The Zensor range really has a speaker for many different situations and locations, so please do come and have a listen to them!

Dali loudspeakers are available in the following Audio T Stores: Cardiff Brentwood

The Rega Ania MC Cartridge, Hand Made By Rega In Southend-on-Sea

The new Rega Ania has just arrived here at Manchester, seen as the baby brother of the wonderful Apheta 2, the £498 moving coil cartridge could well a be winner in the making.

Officially the third in the range of moving coil cartridges from Rega, this is a much needed price point (in our opinion) and bridges the gap nicely between the Rega Exact and Apheta 2.

Can you spot the Rega Ania?

Can you spot the Rega Ania?

Hand made completely at Rega headquarters in Southend-On-Sea the Rega Ania is hand wound by the bods at Rega. Amazingly, but not surprisingly the build quality of the Ania is on par with our Japanese cousins, who as you know, can make a mean cartridge.

Rega Ania (2 of 11).jpg

The neodymium magnet is housed in the high quality and unique rigid plastic body, using the same technique Rega use for the Apheta 2 and the Aphelion but at half the cost of the Apheta 2 because of the materials used. With meticulously wound finer than fine copper wire (as seen below), it requires an infinite amount of patience during the process. This task is not for the coffee drinkers.

The Ania uses Rega's 3 point “tried and tested” mounting to remove any tracking errors. Rega have said it will be factory fitted as an option on some of the turntables. The RP6 and RP8 come to mind straight away, but what a great upgrade it would be to the ever popular Planar 3

The Rega Ania will make a great upgrade for the Planar 3. Watch this space for an update on how it sounds. 

The Rega Ania will make a great upgrade for the Planar 3. Watch this space for an update on how it sounds. 

You may have noticed the words “Hand Made In” in our blog. This is something we try and get across every once in a while just to remind  people that we still make great products "by hand" in good old Blighty. The beautiful pocket squares used in the photographs with the Rega Ania are sold by Doherty Evans & Stott, a high end bespoke tailors just up the road from us.

These colourful squares were a collaboration between the Manchester School of Art, silk weavers based in Macclesfield and DE&S. The winning designs were chosen by Andy, Matt and Tom at DE&S. So well done to Jazmine Darson, Kauser Farhan and Maya Elbourki. I'm going to be buying one.

So, in a nutshell if you want to add a bit of pizzaz and and splash of musical colour to your vinyl, why not take a look the Rega Ania. And if your suit needs a splash of summer to brighten your day try one of the colourful pocket squares from DE&S. Simple.

The Rega Ania will be on demonstration at our Manchester store and at our up and coming secret Rega product launch event on the 15th July.

Mike, Dave, Simon, Haden and Munir are usually loitering somewhere in the store. So feel free to ask any questions you may have. 

Hope to see you soon.

Dreaming About Music Streaming? What Does It All Mean?

There are a raft of new products available that allow you to stream your music and the idea behind this blog, is to highlight one or two products and explain the basics of how to incorporate a "streamer" into your existing Hi-Fi system.

Streamers - Clockwise from top left: Bluesound Node 2 £499, Yamaha WXAD-10 £149, Sonos Connect £349, Naim ND5XS £2430, and Yamaha WXC-50 £329

Streamers - Clockwise from top left: Bluesound Node 2 £499, Yamaha WXAD-10 £149, Sonos Connect £349, Naim ND5XS £2430, and Yamaha WXC-50 £329

Firstly perhaps I should explain what we mean by "streaming". There are two forms of streaming:

1. Directly from the Internet via a service like Spotify, Qobuz or Tidal. These services are a little like SKY, you pay a subscription every month and get access to their massive, and constantly updated, music library. Prices are usually £10-20 a month. The streamer needs to support the service you are interested in and not all streamers support all streaming services.

2. Music stored locally on a computer or network hard drive (NAS drive). Usually these are CD's that have been copied onto a computer / NAS drive, or music downloaded from the internet.

Bluetooth or Airplay could also be considered "streaming" but neither are a particularly high quality method so I'm not going to cover those. However a number of streaming products do include them.

Our Apple iPad Mini with the Tidal App. 9 out of 10 Streamers use an App as a remote control so you will need an iPad / iPhone or Andriod phone or tablet (like a Samsung)

Our Apple iPad Mini with the Tidal App. 9 out of 10 Streamers use an App as a remote control so you will need an iPad / iPhone or Andriod phone or tablet (like a Samsung)

So why bother with streaming?

The two main reasons are:

1. Easy access to your entire record collection without having to go looking for the CD.

2. By adding more streamers you can get music all around your house, easily controlled by a tablet or smart phone

You can make playlists, or you can just play a random selection from your whole collection, it's great to hear some of the older stuff that got buried at the back of your CD rack and forgotten about. If you subscribe to a streaming service you have access to millions of tracks and never need to buy a CD again!

What about quality?

Typically streamed music is around the same quality as CD. You can make it better if you get the more expensive kit but most of the time it's roughly comparable to CD quality. Tidal and Qobuz are better quality than Spotify if you are using a streaming service but are more expensive, but do allow you to stream (Qobuz / Tidal) and download (Qobuz) 24bit Hi-Res music. 

However copying (ripping) your CD's is where it can seem complicated because there are so many different file types used to store music. Pretty much everyone has heard of MP3, but that's the lowest quality 'lossy' format which in the process of conversion removes some of the information to allow it be compressed down to the smallest possible file size.

You could start with Apple Lossless, it's better than MP3, Itunes is easy to use and it's widely supported - it's a proprietary format and will only work with Itunes and the Apple ecosystem. However, we would recommend FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), it's the next step up in quality it's an open (not hardware dependent) lossless (No data is removed from the converted file) format and is widely supported. WAV is the original CD source file but it's uncompressed, so it takes up a lot more hard drive space and there can be problems with track information (meta data) being transferred correctly, so unless you are going for high end quality we would suggest using FLAC or ALAC if you're an Itunes user - FLAC will not play on ITunes. If this seems really daunting then there are several products that will rip and store your CD's, making the process as simple as possible. e.g. Innuos Zen Mini or Naim Uniticore

Time to look at kit.

If you want to dip your toe into the "streaming" water, Yamaha have just realised a new product, and at £149 it's very affordable.

Yamaha WXAD-10

Yamaha WXAD-10

The Yamaha WXDA-10 uses Yamaha's MusicCast technology which is also incorporated in a good number of other Yamaha products including most of their recent Home Cinema Amps. The MusicCast app is pretty good with all the normal streaming services like Spotify etc.

Yamaha MusicCast app

Yamaha MusicCast app

The WXDA-10 only has analogue connections so plug it into an aux input on your amplifier and follow the instructions on the app to set it up in 5 mins.

Another recent addition to our collection of streamers is the Bluesound Node 2 £499

Bluesound node 2

Bluesound node 2

The Node 2 can be connected with normal analogue interconnects, but also has digital outputs.

bluesound node 2 back panel

bluesound node 2 back panel

It's an obvious sonic improvement over the cheaper Yamaha. The Bluesound boasts MQA (Master Quality Authenticated)  compatibility (yet another new high resolution music file format!) along with all the other usual features, and a decent app better used on a larger ipad.

Bluesound App

Bluesound App

All the streamers mentioned or pictured are available for demonstration in store, where you can try the apps for yourself. We will always try to answer any questions you have.

Yamaha Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBristolCardiffEnfieldManchesterOnlineOxfordPortsmouthPreston
SouthamptonSwansea

Bluesound Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
ManchesterOnlinePortsmouthSwindon

New Denon DM41 Micro System With Bluetooth

Denon have come up trumps once again with the new DM41 Micro System. It has long been a Denon strength and the new model proves to be a winner as we would expect.

Now with Bluetooth connectivity as well as CD replay, DAB/DAB+ and FM radio, analogue and two optical digital inputs, which can be connected up to improve the sound of your TV!

Matched with suitable speakers from Rega, Dynaudio, B&W or Q Acoustics etc. it offers quite surprising results.

Available in black or sliver, this little system does a grand job when space or cost is a particular issue and if you are looking for a compact but great sounding all in one system for another room.

Denon products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBrightonBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOnlineOxford
PortsmouthPrestonSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon

New Rega Ania Moving Coil Cartridge

Building on the success of the Apheta 2 and Aphelion moving coil cartridges Rega have introduced the new Rega Ania.

Rega's design approach is unique for moving coil cartridges using an undamped ultra low mass generator with a rhomboid pivot for the cantilever coupled with an exclusively designed neodymium magnet system. This approach requires a cartridge body that has virtually zero tolerances to allow exact positioning of the magnet system relative to the pivot mounting hole. This is achieved in the Apheta and Aphelion models by machining ultra high grade aluminium to achieve the tolerance levels required (Within one thousandth of a millimetre).

Rega Ania

Rega Ania

The process of machining aluminium to this tolerance level is exceptionally expensive so when Rega decided to design the Ania moving coil cartridge their solution was to use a moulding process using an unusual poly/glass combination called 'Polyphenylene Sulphide (PPS-Forton). The special attributes of this material are its hardness and stability in shape and dimension after the moulding process. Rega have designed and built a new production mould tool to enable this extremely complex body shape to be achieved to the exacting specifications required.

To achieve the performance of the Ania cartridge they have combined the PPS body with an elliptical tipped diamond stylus and cantilever with an iron cross and micro coil assembly (one of the smallest MC generators). Special three point stainless steel inserts have been used for secure three point coupling to the tone arm.

Three Point Mounting System

Three Point Mounting System

Sound Quality:

With the Ania MC cartridge firmly fixed to a Rega Planar 3 my first impression was that it shouldn't be able to do that for the money. It wasn't just good, it was astonishing. I first played Crazy Love by Poco off the album Legend and even though I thought I knew this one inside out the Rega combination laid out the harmony vocals and acoustic guitars within a huge soundstage ....one of those "shivers down your spine" moments! To make sure this wasn't a fluke, on went another demo fave in the shape of Faron Young by the rather wonderful Prefab Sprout and sure enough everything was bigger more open and more detailed than I have ever heard a Planar 3 before. The Thomas Dolby production work really coming alive with great deep but tight and fast bass allied to a wide open mid-range and a sweet top end.

Appetite whetted we then decided to put the Ania in the RB808 arm on the Rega RP8 turntable where it really excelled. The Poco and Prefab Sprout tracks opening up to reveal yet more detail. This really is one of those items of Hi-Fi that makes music fun to listen to and that will have you rooting through your record collection to hear what delights it will reveal next. In fact we were so impressed that Jon has ordered one for himself and I am thinking that my Rega P7 turntable may be paired up with one when my Dynavector wears out!!

The unique design concept of the new Rega Ania MC cartridge has produced a market leading cartridge with exceptional musicality, speed, clarity and detail retrieval not before achieved at this price point (£499.00 Inc VAT).

We have fitted our demonstration Ania to the Rega RP8 and have coupled it with phono stages from the Rega Fono MC, Arcam R-Phono and Rega Aria with outstanding results. If you are looking for a new moving coil cartridge that does not cost the earth a demonstration of the new Rega Ania is highly recommended. 

Almost forgot Kung Foo Hamster

Almost forgot Kung Foo Hamster

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Farid, Andy and Jon - Audio T Cheltenham

Rega Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBrightonBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOxfordPortsmouth
PrestonReadingSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon

New Russell K RED 120 Floorstanding Speakers Available

Discover a new world of music with Russell K RED 120 floorstanding speakers. They bring a fresh new sound to music that we thought we already knew!

The RED 120 join an already strong family of loudspeakers, the RED 50 bookshelf, RED 100 standmounts and RED 150 floorstanders.

The Russell K RED 120's are a compact floorstander which are closely related to the RED 50 as they share the same drivers and crossover. Despite the RED 50 and RED 120's shared components, extended low frequencies have been achieved by a carefully calculated cabinet design over the RED 50 bookshelf speakers, that deliver amazing results. 

High quality speaker binding posts are used to ensure performance isn't lost. 

The spikes to level the speaker is a solid straight forward design, which are adjustable from above. Also you may see that you can't see internal wool to dampen the inside of the cabinet... don't worry this is a very deliberate design decision. Russell K speakers don't follow many other designs, very simple crossovers, no internal damping and bitumen damped thin cabinet walls are just a few things that are done differently. 

We love them!

But come down and hear the difference for yourself

Many Thanks

Simon, John, Claire & Mahmood

Audio T Enfield - 0208 367 3132


Russell K loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T:
EnfieldPortsmouthReading

Musical Fidelity And Dali Making Beautiful Music Together

We have two Hi-Fi brands which are new to the shop this month Musical Fidelity electronics and Dali loudspeakers. As we have found, they are capable of making beautiful music together.

An array of Dali speakers and Musical Fidelity electronics.

An array of Dali speakers and Musical Fidelity electronics.

Musical Fidelity is a well established British Hi-Fi company who have been exciting and innovating for many years.

Shown here are the M3si integrated amp, the M3s CD player and the M6si integrated. The M6s CD player will follow soon. All of these components follow the Musical Fidelity ethos of making accurate, but exciting music.

We're also having a lot of fun exploring the M6 Encore 225

Encore 225

Encore 225

This amazing one box system is a music store, CD player, streamer, and amplifier all in one incredibly intuitive and easy to use package. It sounds wonderful too!

Dali are a Danish loudspeaker manufacturer who have been going for over 30 years producing everything from budget to high end speakers. We're still discovering what these can do but we have representatives from the Spektor, Zensor and Opticon ranges plus the beautiful little Menuets and the rather stylish Katch portable bluetooth speaker.

So far we've been throwing all sorts of music at the various pairings, the M3 components with the Opticons loved the new Anathema album "The Optimist" (check it out if you like intelligent melodic rock) 

Both brands seem to major on creating large believable soundstages; a recording of the Tallis Scholars singing Tallis anthems filled the room with the sense of a cathedral, while the perennial "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd was huge!

We'll report more as we get to know these components, but suffice to say we're excited and looking forward to the discovery. Why not come and have a listen yourself?

And finally all components in this blog have the Boswell seal of approval!

Musical Fidelity Hi-Fi products are also available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrentwoodBristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOnlineSouthamptonSwansea
Swindon

The Wonders Of Room Correction With Arcam And Dirac

If you love music and film but have a strange shaped room or are suffering from a disappointing home cinema experience due to poor room acoustics, then we may have a solution for you.

The new Arcam AVR550 and AVR850 amplifiers have been out in the market for a while, but what you may not know is they have a secret weapon. Arcam's Home Cinema products also include the very latest room correction technology from Dirac Research.

dirac-live.jpg

Dirac Research was founded in 2001 from Uppsala University, Sweden, where the founders have been conducting research in signal processing, automatic control, systems modelling and acoustics for many years.

“Dirac Live for Arcam will provide users with world class precision room correction with amazingly transparent results.”, says Charlie Brennan from Arcam.

Using the latest is computer wizardry and a high quality microphone Dirac seeks to compensate for frequency and EQ issues reproduced within the room. A great deal of which are very difficult or impossible to remove with traditional EQ setups. If unresolved this can affect the quality of the sound output which impacts negatively on the listening experience. The advanced Dirac software analyses the speakers as well as the room and corrects these issues with the aim of achieving a much more immersive experience.

Using a microphone, laptop and network access, each of the speakers are measured from 9 different test microphone positions. This way, a clear map of the room and the speaker's acoustic behaviour is built up.  The whole process can take a while dependent on the complexity of your system. After these measurements are taken, the results are processed very quickly and remotely (via the web to Dirac HQ in Sweden) and received back ready to be applied. This file is then uploaded to the Arcam  AVR550 or AVR850 and you're ready to listen. 

Arcam have put together a video on Dirac:

In tests in store using the Arcam AVR550 with a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos setup we switched between the standard room EQ method and Dirac. The results were amazing Dirac Live brought the whole sound together, tightened the bass response and focused the imaging. Dirac makes the entire system faster, more dynamic and much more fluid. The most amazing effect was how it seemed to make the walls disappear and propel you into the film.

While watching Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation we were transported into the atmosphere of the opera house scene. During Gravity we were there with the astronauts in space, physically ducking to avoid space debris. Then in the insanity of Mad Max Fury Road we found ourselves totally immersed in the massive sand and lightning tornado that whistled and roared around the room.

If you want improve your home cinema experience, I would strongly recommend getting an Arcam AVR550 or AVR850 amplifier and exploring the benefits of Dirac. So call us, ask about the Arcam products and let us show you the benefits of such an amazing technology suite. Don't give up on your system we can help.

Arcam products are available at the following branches of Audio T:
BristolCardiffCheltenhamEnfieldManchesterOxfordPortsmouthPrestonSouthampton
SwanseaSwindon

Neat And Tidy Loudspeakers

We're are delighted to announce the arrival of Neat Acoustics loudspeakers, which are now in store for demonstration or available for home loan.

The Iota Alpha is a small floor standing speaker with a height of only 45cm with a down firing bass driver. We have found this such an easy speaker to work with as far as positioning goes and doesn't disappoint with timing and imaging, giving a very well balanced presentation. This is a small speaker that offers a big room filling sound.

Neat IOTA Alpha

Neat IOTA Alpha

Also in the range we have the Neat Motive SX2 at 76cm high a slightly taller floor standing speaker but still very compact and easy to place, we tried these with various electronics and they performed well with all, a very open sound with a controlled bass.

Neat Motive SX2

Neat Motive SX2

The last, but no means least the tiny Neat Iota, a very flexible in terms of positioning, measuring just 13cm high the Iota's can be placed almost anywhere, although a dedicated stand can be purchased for them if needed. We were very impressed with the imaging they gave, and the tight controlled bass gives this tiny speaker a room filling sound.

Neat IotA

Neat IotA

If you're in the market for new loudspeakers why not come and have a listen. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Ian, Gavin & Andy

Neat Acoustics loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T: 
BrightonCheltenhamOxfordPortsmouthPrestonReading

New Speakers From Dynaudio Are Sure To Excite!

We have recently taken on the new Dynaudio Excite X14  and Excite X18 stand mounted speakers. They may look like stand mount speakers, but in a blind test you would never guess it by the big room filling sound.

The X14 are centre with their big brothers the X18 either side

The X14 are centre with their big brothers the X18 either side

There are four pairs of speakers in the Excite range comprising of two floor standing and two stand mount speakers. There are also two centre speakers to choose between. The floor standers are the X34 and the X38, the stand mounted speakers (shown above) are the X14 and X18, and the two centre speakers being the X24 and the X28.

We have had a lot fun trying the X14 and X18 on various systems. They are fairly easy to drive so the entry level Rega Apollo-R and Brio could be used, but they really benefit from higher quality electronics like the Naim CD5XS and Nait XS2 or even higher. On each system they had a really fun and musical presentation with clean, refined high frequency and a surprising amount of bass wallop.

Rear View. X14 (Walnut) and X18 (Rosewood) Satin Black and White also available.

Rear View. X14 (Walnut) and X18 (Rosewood) Satin Black and White also available.

We use a number of demo tracks, The King Singers - Good vibrations sounded brilliant giving a phenomenal impression that the sextet was playing in the room with you. Steve Vai - Warm Regards really shows the bass capability, it can sound a little confused on some speakers but the Excites held it together perfectly. With more commercial recordings like Snow Patrol they let you know it's a rougher recording but not so much that it spoiled the music, it sounded fun and kept toes tapping.

Come down to the Portsmouth Audio T and join in the EXCITEment!

Home trials are also available.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Nick, Joe and James

Dynaudio Loudspeakers are available from the following branches of Audio T:
BrightonBristolManchesterOnlineOxfordPortsmouth
ReadingSouthamptonSwindon