A Little Bear from Brentwood Explores Sound & Vision, The Bristol Show

Every year at the Marriott City Centre Hotel, in Bristol, Audio T organises the Sound & Vision - The Bristol Show in association with What Hi-Fi?

Now in it's 31st year, the Bristol Show is the largest and longest running consumer Hi-Fi and home audio show in the UK and continues to go from strength to strength showcasing the latest and greatest Hi-Fi from the UK and from around the world. This year there were well over 200 brands exhibiting!

This year Boswell our intrepid teddy bear (from Brentwood not Peru!) took a short tour and stopped for a few selfies along the way. 

 Boswell looking regal in the Rega room!

Boswell looking regal in the Rega room!

It's a very busy show so he had to sneak photo opportunities wherever he could without getting in the way of the eager and enthusiastic listeners in every room, but he was most impressed with the breadth of equipment available and the great energy from both exhibitors and attendees alike.

 The sound from the Exposure room was enticing, plus Boswell couldn't resist the lighting!

The sound from the Exposure room was enticing, plus Boswell couldn't resist the lighting!

A lot of the rooms were dark spaces full of sound, not the best for photographs, but Naim and Dynaudio were making some great sounds. Still more exhibitors choose to have timed and structured demonstrations like KEF and B&W both showing off their technological advances in the world of loudspeakers.

 Boswell did have a chance to perch on the new Monitor Audio Studio speakers which were rather wonderful.

Boswell did have a chance to perch on the new Monitor Audio Studio speakers which were rather wonderful.

 Revel are now being handled in the UK by Arcam alongside Mark Levinson as part of Harman Luxury Audio.

Revel are now being handled in the UK by Arcam alongside Mark Levinson as part of Harman Luxury Audio.

 Quadraspire were so take with Boswell they even let him hold one of their new Q Plus isolation devices which are used when a rack is impossible or to further enhance performance on a rack

Quadraspire were so take with Boswell they even let him hold one of their new Q Plus isolation devices which are used when a rack is impossible or to further enhance performance on a rack

 Rega turntables have always been popular with the little bear and this years Record Store Day limited edition promises to be a corker!

Rega turntables have always been popular with the little bear and this years Record Store Day limited edition promises to be a corker!

Needless to say there was so much to see and hear that it is impossible to do it justice in a short blog. Let's just say the Sound & Vision - The Bristol Show should be on every enthusiasts list of must-attend events. There are some gems in every bedroom and you will often be left impressed and amazed by what you see and hear.

 Not only was Boswell very impressed by the Quad equipment on display especially the new Solus but he also had a chance to catch up with his old friend Paddington who travels with the lovely people from IAG. Now where did I put those marmalade sandwiches.

Not only was Boswell very impressed by the Quad equipment on display especially the new Solus but he also had a chance to catch up with his old friend Paddington who travels with the lovely people from IAG. Now where did I put those marmalade sandwiches.

The 2019 Sound & Vision - The Bristol Show is held from the 22nd to the 24th of February. You really should come along for a look, a listen, and possibly even purchase b(e)argain! Trust the bear from Brentwood he thoroughly recommends it. Hope to see you next year!

Pro-Ject Jukebox All In One Vinyl Replay System with Bluetooth Music Streaming

If you are interested in vinyl but do not have the space for a big system, have a look at a fresh release from Pro-Ject. This isn't just a turntable but comes complete with an amplifier built in so all you need to do is add a pair of speakers and some of your favourite records.

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The Pro-Ject Jukebox doesn't stop there though, this clever device also has a Bluetooth receiver built in so that you can stream music to it from a mobile device that gives you access to a streaming service music or a network storage device if you use one.

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The amplifier in this turntable system solution is rated at 50 watts per channel and comes with a remote control allowing you to control not only the volume and switching between inputs but also the bass, treble, loudness and even mute features with ease. There is an illuminated display on the turntable also for those times that you might not be able to find the remote quickly.


It also has an analogue RCA input so you can connect other devices such as a CD player if you so choose.


The arm is already set up and balanced ready for use with the Ortofon OM5E cartridge that is supplied and fitted as standard.

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This Pro-ject Juke Box record player system is available in 3 different finishes, Black, White and Red all of which are high gloss finishes.

Come and have a listen and bring a few of your favourite records.

Pro-ject Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T: 

Audio T Cardiff Visit the Bowers & Wilkins Factory in Worthing, Sussex

Hefin, Nick and Gareth were lucky enough to be invited to visit the Bowers and Wilkins factory in Worthing this month and it was an incredible experience! We were able to see how the stunning 800 series diamond loudspeakers are produced as well as having demonstrations. During our visit, we were able to take some photos on the way round and thought we would share them with you.


We were greeted in the entrance by this magnificent one of a kind Nautilus and just had to take a picture!


The 800 D3 Diamond family proudly on display.


The cabinets of the 800 series consist of 22 layers of ply, which are glued and then put under intense pressure using the machinery above to bind them together.


The sections of ply are then bent into shape using the machines above and below, again by applying huge amounts of pressure. There is one of these machines for each shape that needs to be made through the whole range.


Pictured above are 804 cabinets being clamped together. They are left like this for some time to ensure the solidity of the overall cabinet.


With the bottom section taken off this 804 cabinet you can see some of the internal bracing, or matrix which gives the speaker a huge amount of stability, reducing vibration. You can also see a large section of metal, this is very heavy and helps give the speakers a low centre of gravity, again improving stability.


This robot is cutting out grooves on the inside of a cabinet for the matrix and drivers to fit into. This way allows for absolute precision on every speaker. You can see the results in the image below. This 800 series has B&W's best Matrix system yet, thicker plywood replaces the MDF that has been used in the past with metal reinforcing the most crtitcal areas for the ultimate in rigidity.


Here another robot is spray painting a production line of cabinets, which results in the cleanest and most even paint job possible. Despite this a lot of the finishing work on the cabinets is still done by human hands. Fun fact! Some may recognise this robot as the same used in Marvel's Ironman films, it is actually the same model!


Here you can see the crossover from  a pair of 800's. In the research and development of the series every single component was rigrously tested by ear to make sure it is the very best available as the crossover has a huge bearing on the character of a speaker.


It's not just robots who work on the finish of the speakers!


These images show the speakers ready to have the Continuum cones installed. B&W thought that their previous Kevlar drivers couldn't be beaten for years but their passion for continuous improvement proved themselves wrong! This new composite material which avoids abrupt transitions that can impair performance make these the best cones they have ever produced.


These images show the final assembley area where the drivers are installed into the cabinets and then packaged for shipping.


One of the most astounding facts we learned during the tour was that a staggering eight hundred and sixty eight changes have been made from the last generation of the 800 series. B&W's drive to constantly strive to create the best loudspeakers they can, was something that really came through during our trip.


We finished the day with some demonstrations by B&W staff on various speakers, focusing mostly on the 800 series. We had an absolutely fantastic day and would like to give our sincere thanks to B&W for the opportunity.

The main learning point had to be seeing the true value of these sensational speakers. The amount of work and dedication, raw materials and technology that go into these is staggering and of course most importantly they deliver an exceptional performance. We are lucky enough to have the entire Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 diamond series in our shop in Cardiff to demonstrate and can happily pass on what we learnt at B&W to anyone who want to know more information

We also have a B&W 800 D3 Diamond series event on the 14th of March at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff bay, where experts from B&W will be demonstrating the 805, 803 and 800 D3 loudspeakers partnered with Chord electronics amplifiers. As anyone who has been to one of our events will know they are both informative and enjoyable. Tickets are free but there are limited spaces and the tickets are running out fast! You can reserve your place here. 

The Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 Diamond series are only available for demonstration at Audio T Cardiff.

Even in The Qutest Moment - Chord Electronics Qutest DAC

The Chord Electronics Qutest is the latest in an exceptional run of class leading DAC’s that are fast becoming the industry standard that all other DACs are measured against.

 This is where it starts.

This is where it starts.

The Chord Electronics Qutest, having evolved from its predecessor the 2Qute itself having not long won the 2017 What Hi-Fi? best DAC £500 - £1000, is already turning heads having being a star of  The Big US Technology Consumer Show CES 2018.

The Qutest is designed as a stand alone DAC to be used in home audio and desktop hi-fi systems and once again has that unmistakable John Franks design about it.

 Stunning finish and build quality as ever from  Chord Electronics

Stunning finish and build quality as ever from Chord Electronics

It’s fair to say Chord Electronics stand out from the competition in looks alone. Precision milled from a solid aluminium billet the Qutest is no different, whilst it retains the circular porthole where you can peep into the workings of the circuit board and confirm through a range of colours the sample rate you are using, the actual functionality of the DAC has been improved enormously by the addition of colour changing fascia control spheres as used in the latest award winning incarnation of the Hugo 2 . These allow input and filter changing at the push of a button. No more tiny pin head buttons that my fingers always seemed to struggle with.

 Lights showing filter, input and sample rate at a glance.

Lights showing filter, input and sample rate at a glance.

On the rear inputs include:

1 X Galvinically isolated USB-B input 32-bit/768kHz and DSD512 capable.

1 X Optical TOSlink 24-bit/192kHz capable

2 X BNC coaxial input 24-bit/348kHz capable

Outputs are:
1 X Pair of stereo RCA sockets that can be set to output at switchable voltages of  1,2 and 3V RMS to match other sources plugged into your system.

Power is via a Micro USB power supply that is permanently plugged in as unlike the Hugo 2 and Mojo portables has no battery on board. 

Whereas the other mains powered Hugo TT and Dave double up as digital pre and headphone amplifiers the Qutest has concentrated on the one job of decoding your digital sources be they from a streamer, CD transport or indeed being used to improve your television’s audio performance. 

Using technology from the latest Award winning Hugo 2 DAC and losing the headphone output and recharging capability has allowed substantial cost saving giving a performance and build quality unmatched in this price area,  indeed if this is a permanently placed DAC in your system why pay for extras that are not required.  

 The Ins And Outs of a Qutest.

The Ins And Outs of a Qutest.

So what are they putting in the water in Kent that makes Chord Electronics DACs continually win award after award? Well, it has to be something to do with the Rob Watts FPGA (field programmable gate array) custom chip set.

Unlike almost all the competition who buy off the shelf OEM Chips then apply in house technology to make them work in their DACs Chord use their own custom coded chips that somehow sound different to any other in the market place.

Whether you think Chord DACs are better than the competition is probably personal taste but they do sound different. The best way I think I can describe them is to me they don’t sound digital, forget how much treble or how much bass they may or may not have or whether they are forward or analytical all words when describing other DACs.

This DAC gives the impression of having an insight into the music without the digital hash that is often present with other DACs. We can use words like detail, clarity, coherence, dynamic range, timing as many customers and reviewers alike have when eulogising about Chord DACs but there is more to it than that.

We used our tried and tested dem track Duke’s Place from the Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington album The Great Summit a recommendation incidentally.

This track is testing in that Louis sings close to the mic and can exaggerate sibilance in a forward sounding system and the Double bass can appear overblown in an over exuberant bass heavy system, not with the Qutest though, even when playing with the filters which whilst can subtly change the tonal balance was never caught out.

I also tried it connected directly to the digital output of a Naim Uniti Core over many hours and no matter the type of music from the Latin Rock rhythm of Los Lobos, Colossal Head to the Chilled Out beats of Bent The Everstanding Blink and through Tori Amos Night Of the Hunters showing all the subtleties her vast vocal range, it just sounded right and not once drew attention to itself.

 Packed in the Qutest of boxes 

Packed in the Qutest of boxes 

Chord Electronics products are available from the following stores


Visit Julian, Paul and John at Audio T Brighton store and hear it for yourself. 

Ahhhh....Oh...Woah! The Qutest Thing.

The new Chord Electronics Qutest DAC, marketed by Chord Electronics as a HUGO2 minus the headphone amp and battery, the dinky Qutest also manages to shed £600 from it's price tag. This has proven very popular indeed with us Audio T staffers.

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Such an animal was suggested when the original HUGO was released, so I'm claiming full credit here! This means we can now enthuse about the Chord Electronics HUGO2 headphone amplifier and DAC performance to those customers who think that £1800 is too hefty a price tag and had no intention to take a DAC out into the wild - so why should they pay for stuff they'll never use anyway?

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I'm happy to report that you don't have to. The Chord Electronics Qutest DAC is terrific.

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Used in between an Arcam rPlay streamer and an Arcam A39 integrated amplifier, with Dynaudio Special 40 speakers, the presentation is wildly improved. AC/DC's Malcolm Young's repetitive rhythm guitar riff on "Thunderstruck" is way more thrilling (I want to turn it up!), deadmau5's synth bass on the track "SeeYah" is faster, tighter and forms a 3D solid roller of sound across the stage. Any digital hardness entirely gone. Initially the presentation appears quieter, then one realises that it's the absence of amplified noise. Norah Jones' voice on "Cold, Cold, Heart" is soft, dusky and alluring. It's no longer a voice in space, it's etched in place and sounds as if it's issuing from a human face (if that isn't too weird). Jones' piano playing is shown to be remarkably gentle; you can feel her just touching the keys rather than striking them. Glorious.  The spacial information in the Scream Team Remix of Massive Attack's "Teardrop", rather than being out to the sides and above the speakers a bit, now envelopes you in sound. Music behind you from just the two speakers? Oh yes. I've only encountered that before in some very serious kit indeed.

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On demonstration right now at Audio T Swansea.

Chord Electronics Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:

And Now for Something Special... Dynaudio Special 40 Stand Mount Loudspeaker

40 years have passed since Dynaudio set up shop in their HQ in Skanberg. 2017 marked their 40th anniversary and they have only gone and progressed to one of the finest manufacturers of music reproduction in the world.  Progression through technology, manufacturing techniques, research and development has allowed Dynaudio to take the mantle of the best selling speakers of 2017. Here in our Manchester branch anyway.


Instead of reeling of some recycled tech specs from the website, it would be better to give a true, honest opinion of the 40th anniversary Special Forty's, they are impeccable. 6 months on, nothing has changed, they are still regarded one of the most formidable stand mount bookshelves to be considered if you are in the market for a pair. 


Fast, agile, dynamic and driven are some of the adjectives that come to mind, with the added bonus of such a distinct premium finish leaving other competitors in the dust.


The Special Forty's have a Trapezium shaped cabinet, primarily for strength and to reduce standing waves. Layered MDF then cross cut to give a layered look to the cabinet.


The new Esotar Forty tweeter has been refined and remastered featuring improvements with DSR, new tweaked air flow within the tweeter, 3000 HZ roll to have ample rollover between the tweeter and the woofer leaves a lovely sweeping roll off between the mids and highs. A new refined dampening material has been used, DSR coating applied to the tweeter to give their tweeters the signature sound. Dynaudio have redesigned the cavity behind the tweeter, by having a refined port for the tweeter has reduced unwanted pressure build up behind the tweeter.


Here at Manchester and Cardiff we have come to the conclusion that Dynaudio have done something “special”. Created an amazing sounding speaker, using hand crafted techniques, with an exquisite look and finish, all at a very respectable price point. Even somebody not into “Hi-Fi” cannot fault what Dynaudio have achieved, and just to enforce that opinion, (such are the hardships of a hi-fi salesman) all the staff at Audio T Manchester always look forward to the next demo in our dem room just so that we sit in with the customers and enjoy the Dynaudio "very" Special Forty. 

Feel free to watch the short promotional video below on the Special Forty's shot right here in our Manchester branch. 

Hopefully we will see you enthusiasts in store soon, where you can hear these incredible standmounts.

Bye for now from Dave, Munir, Mike, Simon and Haden.

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

Hear The Benefits Of Mains Conditioning With IsoTek At Audio T Cheltenham

Visit us at Audio T Cheltenham on Friday the 6th April  (4.00pm - 7:30pm) and Saturday 7th (10am - 5:30pm) and come and hear for yourself how the benefits of mains conditioning in conjunction with IsoTek can give you more enjoyment from your music.

The quality of the electricity we feed into our Hi-Fi and Home Cinema systems has a profound effect on how our music and films sound. As the electronic devices we use at home grow and the demand for electrical power increases, the quality of the electricity we feed our systems continues to degrade from RF interference and mains noise.


IsoTek is a leading brand of power management products for Hi-Fi and Home Cinema use. Its product range includes high-performance mains cables and connectors, plus a range of performance enhancing power conditioners focused on the specific requirements of individual systems. IsoTek have earned numerous accolades from specialist audio and AV publications worldwide. The product ranges comprise of the following solutions:

Mains Cables and Blocks:
The standard black mains leads supplied with your Audio and AV components are designed to do a basic job, no more. They lack the quality of materials and construction needed to protect the integrity of the electricity they feed your system, thereby degrading performance. The first rung on the IsoTek ladder is to replace these leads with EVO3 Premier power cables. We will have the following on demonstration:

The  Evo3 Initium , PremierElite and Optimum mains cables

The IsoTek Aquarius and Sigmas mains conditioners, plus the new Genesis One and Mosaic mains regeneration units.

Mains Conditioners:
These are designed to remove noise contamination from both Differential noise that is created by the power supplies in all electronic devices and Common Mode noise in introduced by RFI and the wireless communications.

These are state of the art hybrid power cleaning systems. They effectively take the mains and regenerate it having taken out all the noise.

Prize Draw
We will put the names of all attendees into a prize draw giving you the opportunity of winning 3 IsoTek Initium 1.5m mains leads with a value of each £75. The draw will be made at the end of the event day on Saturday.

This is a great opportunity to hear how much you can improve the sound quality of your system and an affordable and worthwhile Hi-Fi upgrade.

Refreshments and snacks will be served over two days and of course we will be more than happy to answer any questions you have. 

Exclusive offers will be available for attendees on the day.

We look forward to seeing you in Audio T Cheltenham!

Click here to reserve your place.

Jon, Farid and Andy.

Marantz Premium Hi-Fi System lives up to its name

The Marantz Premium System comprising the PM8006 amp, ND8006 CD/Streamer, and TT15SI Turntable has been setting our dem room alight.


Starting with the PM8006 amp, although it has the same visual styling as Marantz' less expensive offerings it shows a major step up in build quality with battleship construction and outrageous speaker terminals! 


The PM8006 has all the Marantz trademark tech and features designed to get the best sound quality possible from the design, including HDAM amp modules, a very high quality volume control, and a newly designed phono stage.


The second unit in the system is the ND8006 CD player and Streamer.


The ND8006 is a complete digital music hub offering a CD player, access to a multitude of streaming services, multiple DAC inputs, Apple Airplay and Bluetooth! Add to that a high quality headphone amp with its own volume control and you have a complete system hub.


The ND8006 also has a high res DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) and so can cope with all file formats.

Last but not least is the superb TT15SI turntable

This beauty has a large acrylic chassis with special isolating feet, a separate motor, and a very high quality tonearm and mm (moving magnet)cartridge fitted. It is gorgeous to look at and listen to!


This is a serious system from Marantz. We've been listening with the very capable KEF R500 speakers and whether it's the electronica of Goldfrapp's Silver Eye, the complex production and rhythms of Steven Wilson's To the Bone, or the delicacy of Jane Siberry's voice on The Walking, the system remains unphased and in control at all times. Each component is very very good in its own right (and they are all available individually) but put the PM8006, ND8006 and TT15 together and you have a stonkingly good music system.

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We know you'll be impressed when you come along for a listen at Audio T Brentwood.

Marantz Hi-Fi products are available at the following branches of Audio T: 

Bluesound Offers a Simple and Effective High Quality Multi-room Music Streaming System

In this months Blog we are focussing on Bluesound multi-room music streaming products and will show you how easy they are to set up and tell you why it is so good.

Bluesound is an award winning wireless, multi-room system that supports Hi-Res audio replay and has been designed to fill your home with high quality sound. It has a sophisticated but easy to use operating system (BluOS) which we will talk more about later.

Music streaming services like Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music, Internet Radio and many more are supported and the system supports up to 64 players to fill your rooms with high quality sound.

In addition you can play music from your NAS drive (network attached storage) USB drive or via Bluetooth from your phones, tablets and PC's.

The Bluesound system connects via your home's Wifi network (your broadband router) or hard-wired via ethernet cable to the same router. You can control it with the BluOS Controller App for iOS, Android, Kindle (phones or tablets) and there are desktop apps available for Windows (PC) and OS X (Mac). Supported file formats are MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, ALAC and OPUS as well as Hi-Res formats FLAC, MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), WAV and AIFF from 16Bit (CD Quality) to 24Bit (Hi-Res Audio).

Let's take a closer look at the products.

Bluesound Vault 2 - Storage and the possible heart of your music streaming system
The Vault comes shipped with 2TB hard drive and allows you to rip your CD collection to the streaming formats FLAC (lossless smaller file with no degradation in quality) or WAV (original copy - large file which takes up more space on a hard drive). It is very user friendly and requires no computer for the initial set-up. Like every NAS (Network Attached Storage), just plug it into your router via ethernet cable, get the app for your control device and you can start setting up the Vault 2. The Bluesound Vault can be used as storage/server and as a player. You can use the analogue or digital outputs on the back and connect the Vault 2 directly to your music system and away you go. 

All Bluesound players or speakers can access the music stored on the Vault 2 .

 Vault 2

Vault 2

 Vault 2

Vault 2

 Wireless Bluesound Speakers: Pulse Flex, Pulse Mini and Pulse 2

The Pulse Flex can be used as a single speaker or you can buy two and set them up as a wireless speaker pair. Attach a rechargeable Battery Pack and you can take wherever you go.

The Pulse Mini and Pulse 2 are bigger and more powerful. Great if you want more bass and a bigger sound. There are sound controls for bass and treble adjustment if you need them. All 3 speakers support Bluetooth, have an analogue and optical input -  plus a headphone socket.

 Pulse Flex

Pulse Flex

 Pulse Flex

Pulse Flex

 Pulse Mini

Pulse Mini

 Pulse Mini

Pulse Mini

 Pulse 2

Pulse 2

 Pulse 2 on the left and Pulse Mini on the right (available in black or white)

Pulse 2 on the left and Pulse Mini on the right (available in black or white)

Bluesound Music Players: Node 2 and Powernode 2

Node 2 The Node 2 connects to your existing stereo or home cinema system via analogue connection (with fixed output option) or digital coaxial outputs. It is compact and sounds fantastic. I have (Stefan) got one myself and I all I can say is - It sounds stunning, really stunning.

Powernode 2 -  The Powernode 2 does everything the Node 2 can do, plus it can drive a pair of stereo loudspeakers. This is great and gives you various options for use in-ceiling, outdoors or to use as streamer and amplifier connected to an existing set of speakers. With 60W per channel you can choose from a wide range of speakers for your home or office set-up.

 Powernode 2 on the left and the Node 2 on the right

Powernode 2 on the left and the Node 2 on the right

 Powernode 2 on the left and Node 2 on the right

Powernode 2 on the left and Node 2 on the right

Pulse Soundbar and Pulse Subwoofer
Both work wirelessly and that is also how they connect to each other. You can play all the music that I mentioned above through the Pulse soundbar with or without the Pulse subwoofer. Our suggestion is to use a subwoofer and you can even use one from a different brand, such as a REL.

Now add two Pulse Flex speakers as wireless surround sound speakers and you have a 5.1 home cinema system - very flexible!

 Pulse Soundbar

Pulse Soundbar

 Pulse Soundbar under our 55" Panasonic OLED TV

Pulse Soundbar under our 55" Panasonic OLED TV

 Pulse Subwoofer

Pulse Subwoofer


Controlling Your Bluesound streaming music system
Open the BluOS app and bring in your speakers or components. This is very easy. You can see them in a list on the right hand side. Select one and play your music or group some of them and play your music in several rooms at the same time.


On the left hand side you see your players inputs, music streaming subscriptions and access to the player settings.

 Supported Music Streaming Services

Supported Music Streaming Services

 Music playing from Tidal

Music playing from Tidal

All Bluesound players and speakers are compatible with Roon if you want to take streaming music control and sound quality to the next level.

There is so much more we can show you about streaming music via Bluesound, however as always your ears and eyes need to be the judge, so please feel free to email us or call us on 01793 538222 or if you're live locally just come into the Audio T Swindon shop.

Stefan and Andy

Bluesound music streaming products are available from the following branches of Audio T: