hi-fi news show

THE HI-FI SHOW 2016: Lancaster Suites



Based in Kilmarnock, Scotland, Atlas Cables create and engineer its range of specialist audio cable solutions for performance, based on extensive research and testing. At this year’s Hi-Fi Show Live, Atlas will be demonstrating the effectiveness of its Eos mains cable range. The presentation will feature a high-end headphone listening station (featuring the Atlas Zeno replacement headphone cable), which Atlas will upgrade with its Eos power cables, demonstrating the effectiveness of the company’s fully-screened philosophy. This affordable upgrade dramatically reduces the effects of electrical, RF and electromagnetic noise pollution that floods our homes due to the increase in wireless devices.

Atlas will also use the Hi-Fi Show Live to launch its new range of turntable replacement cables.  Based on its analogue interconnect designs, the new turntable range means that customers can now feature Atlas Cables throughout their systems.  Atlas will also have a working build station, demonstrating the attention to detail that goes into the hand-building of its products.

The company will also be showing its entire range of analogue and digital interconnects, speaker cables and power cables. On hand will be Atlas representatives, who are looking forward to discussing your system connections, answer any questions and educate visitors about Atlas Cables’ approach in its quest for better audio fidelity.



Lancaster Suite 1 – Computer Audio Design

Computer Audio Design (CAD) is an innovative UK manufacturer dedicated to creating the finest computer audio components. The company is led by founder and designer Scott Berry, an American electrical engineer with a passion for audio.


CAD is one of just a handful of digital audio companies offering resistor-ladder DAC technology, along with no oversampling and no filtering, which Berry believes offers a distinctively different sound than most digital audio products on the market today – a sound that is tangibly closer to the original musical performance.


In Lancaster 1, prepare to reset your expectations of how good – how real – computer-based audio can sound, thanks to CAD’s suite of digital source components. The new 1543 MkII DAC is a no-compromise USB DAC, optimised for computer audio and boasting independent power supplies and extensive mains conditioning. This will be paired with CAD's CAT (CAD Audio Transport), a single chassis device that also serves as a combined CD-ripper, music storage device, streamer and NAS drive. Hand-built to order, it offers bespoke data storage solutions tailored to your needs.


CAD will also showcase its new Ground Control units, CG1 and CG3. Singled out as a ‘Hot Product’ at Munich High End 2016, Ground Control tackles noise reduction on a whole different level – that of the signal ground plane – with remarkable results. Discover too CAD’s hand-made USB cable, designed as a high-end link between a computer and external DAC.


Partnering with CAD at the Hi-Fi Show Live year is Danish GamuT (also featuring in Windsor Suite 3). A passion for superlative timing and phase coherence led GamuT to take a radically different approach to amplifier design, resulting in an award-winning balance of phenomenal power and refined delicacy. Here, the wonderfully articulate D3i dual mono preamp will be paired with erudite punch-packer, the D200i stereo power amp. A pair of GamuT’s RSi loudspeakers will further reveal that same obsession with epic timing, delivering vivid dynamics, spectacular resolution and the kind of room-filling freedom your music dreams of.



Lancaster Suite 2 – Icon Audio

Icon Audio UK is now in its 17th year and strives hard to maintain its four cornerstones of 'Value, Performance, Reliability and Service' and instilling confidence in product purchases that give excellent service for many years. With arguably the most comprehensive range of award-winning valve amplifiers in the UK, Icon Audio has models to suits all budgets and tastes. So if you are new or curious about what valves can do for you, then Icon Audio is a very good place to start, having several wallet-friendly models alongside innovative amplifiers of all types up to 250W for the serious enthusiast. Push-pull, single-ended, triode and Ultralinear. If you don’t know what these terms mean come to Lancaster Suite 2 and find out!

Alongside its highly regarded Stereo 40 integrated amplifier, Icon Audio will also be showing its new Stereo 30SE single-ended integrated amplifier, released last year, and offering a winning formula of good power, silky smooth presentation and affordability. For 2016, Icon Audio is also showing its new 95W single-ended triode design using the big Russian GU81 transmitter valve – with its deliciously silky sound delivered with tsunami force if required, and at a very down-to-earth price, it's a 'must see' for any valve fan.

Also new for this year Icon Audio has upgraded the performance of its MFV3 loudspeakers even further with a re-designed driver (manufactured in-house), improved crossover and better cabinet damping. Other award winning models will be on show – best sellers that have stood the test of time!



Lancaster Suite 4 – Sound Design Distribution

In a UK premiere event, Sound Design Distribution is uniting the talents of Mola-Mola’s much vaunted Makua pre and Kaluga power amplifiers with Vivid Audio’s loudspeakers. Celebrating the UK launch of Mola-Mola, the combination of Bruno Putzeys’ truly esoteric separates with Vivid’s extraordinary Giya G4 and B1D speaker designs is sure to be a feast for all the senses.

Mola-Mola is the brainchild of Bruno Putzeys, the wunderkind of Class D technology, originator of Universal Class D (UcD) in 2001 while at Phillips and as chief tech guru at Hypex, responsible for the development of its game-changing NCore Class D amplifier technology.


Presented in strikingly distinctive rippled all-aluminium enclosures (imagine the swelling ocean) the Makua preamplifier, complete with modular DAC and phono options, and Kaluga monoblock power amplifiers achieve high dynamic drive with astonishingly low levels of distortion and as such present the perfect platform for Vivid’s fabled musical transparency.


The reference Vivid Giya G4 is a 4-way/5-driver system housed in a glass-reinforced and balsa-cored sandwich composite cabinet finished in a high gloss lacquer. All five alloy drivers are taper tube loaded. The Limited Edition B1 Decade is a 3.5-way/4 driver vented system housed in a balsa-cored ’quadraxial’ glass composite sandwich cabinet. As visitors will experience, Vivid’s distinctive cabinet shape minimises diffraction and reduces internal standing waves for a clearer sound while the composite enclosures help eliminate structural resonances.



Lancaster Suite 5 – Audio Note 

Audio Note UK is marking its debut at the Hi-Fi Show Live with a silver-wired system valued at £60k! 

Pride of place goes to its TT2 Deluxe turntable, a suspended, low-mass, two motor design with an acrylic platter that promises a clean and fast sound with minimal blur or coloration. The partnering Arm 3 features a three-point bearing and hard-anodised armtube machined from a single piece and wired with Audio Note ANVx 31 silver cabling. The accompanying IO I MC cartridge, boasting a stiff titanium cantilever, uses AN silver coils that are wound in-house together with heat-treated poles for optimum signal transfer. Audio Note's S9 step-up transformer is also fully silver wound while the M3 phono stage utilises the latest Audio Note Kasai capacitors, non-magnetic tantalum resistors and AN copper foil capacitors.


This analogue front-end is joined by Audio Note's CD 4 CD player and the Tomei integrated amplifier – a 211 tube-based amplifier with a circuit inspired by the legendary Ongaku. Its output transformers are half copper/half silver wired with a nickel-enriched core that ensures its performance is uniquely beguiling. Delivering sweet music will be the HE (High Efficiency) versions of Audio Note's E Spe loudspeaker, rated at a full 97dB sensitivity and equipped with 19-strand Silver Spe internal cabling plus silver wire voice coils on both the woofer and tweeter. The drive units in every pair of AN E Spe HE loudspeakers are matched back to a reference pair and the crossover adjusted on test.




Lancaster Suite 6 – Elite Audio Distribution  

Elite Audio is excited to announce a series of UK premieres in time for the Hi-Fi Show Live 2016. Included among the exclusives is the new Gato PWR-222 monoblock amplifier. The PWR-222 is the culmination of development work that began with the AMP-150 integrated back in 2008, culminating in this new model that's rated at a staggering 250W/8ohm and offers sufficient current reserve to drive even the most power-hungry loudspeakers. It features a 'super low noise' 700W torodial power transformer, a single pair of 500A MOSFETS in its 'TwinFET' output stage and WBT NextGen 4mm speaker cable terminals.


Also premiered will be the incredible Aqua Formula Optologic DAC. In common with earlier outboard DACs from Aqua, including the La Voce and La Scala, the Formula DAC eschews any form of over/upsampling or digital filtering. However, this Optologic NOS DAC is the first from Aqua to feature a proprietary, discrete R2R ladder-style converter rather than an off-the-shelf part like the Burr Brown PCM1704. 


Equally exciting is the UK premier of the Swiss Boenicke W8 and W11 loudspeakers – never before been or heard at a UK audio show. Elite Audio will also be demonstrating new products from Triangle (loudspeakers), Acoustic Signature (turntables), Densen (amplifiers), SoundSmith (including the new MIMC Star pick-up), Perreaux (digital and amplifiers), Emme Speakers (including the new Beta) and the amazing Swiss Vovox Cables. We are also unveiling the Crayon Audio CFA-1.2 integrated amplifier which will no doubt raise a few eyebrows! Please come and say hello to Connie, Mark, Steve and Gordon for a very warm welcome to the comprehensive Elite Audio exhibit in the spacious Lancaster Suite 6.