THE HI-FI SHOW 2017: Lancaster Suites
Atlas Cables, the engineering-led cable specialist based in Kilmarnock, will be showcasing a wide range of its products at the Hi-Fi Show Live, from its latest flagship Grun grounding system, designed specifically for its range-topping Asimi and Mavros cables, through to its brand new entry-level Element Superior analogue interconnect. Utilising its proprietary cold-weld termination technique for both the signal and return conductors, the Element Superior delivers a consistently better performance than any other cable at the price and is the perfect first step upgrade for any audiophile.
Headphone users are invited to audition the Atlas Zeno headphone cable, which offers a significant upgrade over the standard leads that come with many high-end headphones. Offering solutions for both headphones and in-ear monitors, the Zeno series covers a wide range of connectivity options and caters for the world’s favourite headphone brands. Visitors will be able to try A/B tests via a high-end headphone system so they can experience the improved performance for themselves.
Any discerning audiophile knows that the performance of a system is influenced by the quality of the mains supply and that a clean, quality power supply requires cables resistant to external interference, including spurious Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals. Atlas will be showing its full range of screened Eos mains cables along with its latest Modular 4.0 Power Distribution Block, which combines sockets for higher power amplifiers alongside sophisticated filtered variants for equipment processing delicate low-level signals (including CD players, DACs and phono stages).
Atlas production engineers will be hand-building cables throughout the weekend, showing the level of skill and craftsmanship that goes into the manufacture of every Atlas cable, while representatives will happily talk you through the whole cable and accessory range based on your individual system requirements.
Lancaster Suite 1 – Computer Audio Design with Kudos Audio, Trilogy Audio and Quadraspire
Prepare to adjust your expectations of how good digital audio can sound. Computer Audio Design’s (CAD) 1543 MkII DAC uses a raft of intelligent innovations to enable an astonishingly natural sound. The DAC will be paired with the CAD Audio Transport, a single chassis device that also serves as a combined CD-ripper, music storage device, streamer and NAS drive.
Discover too CAD’s brand new USB Cables I & II, expertly developed to eliminate the unwanted noise generated by digital source components before it reaches the DAC. CAD will also showcase its superb and unique Ground Control units, the CG1 and CG3, which tackle noise reduction on a whole different level with remarkable results.
Partnering with CAD at Hi-Fi Show Live are Kudos Audio, Trilogy Audio and Quadraspire. Kudos’ new Titan 707 loudspeaker is a smaller, more affordable version of the brand’s flagship Titan 808 and features world-class drive units exclusive to Kudos. The units are seamlessly matched to enable Kudos’ trademark minimalist, low order crossover, which can also be by-passed to run the Titan 707 in active mode with selected systems including Linn, Devialet and Naim.
In the driving seat, the excellent 925 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier from London-based Trilogy Audio promises to deliver a memorably involving musical performance thanks to its fully balanced, hybrid valve/transistor design. Holding everything together will be Quadraspire’s superb Xreference rack, tuned to deliver the best performance from any hi-fi system.
Lancaster Suite 2 – Icon Audio
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.
Icon Audio is a small, bespoke UK company formed in 2000 by David Shaw and strives hard to maintain its four cornerstones of 'Value, Performance, Reliability and Service' while instilling confidence in product purchases that give excellent service for many years. It offers a fabulous series of designs that honour some of the audio innovators of the past and embraces a sound that is warm, pure and non-fatiguing – a simple valve amplifier can offer amazing performance in terms of musical presentation. Valves are inherently musical and bring a purity and smoothness to all kinds of music in contrast to complex 'high tech' solutions which can often sound clinical and harsh, giving listening fatigue after extended periods.
Icon Audio UK uses tried and tested 'point-to-point' construction techniques in its amplifiers plus in-house manufactured transformers. While this gives Icon Audio complete control over the sonic signature of its products it also enables a wide range of different tube designs to be offered. This includes push-pull, single-ended, triode and Ultralinear. So if you don’t know what these terms mean come to Lancaster Suite 2 and find out!
In addition to showing its ranges of award-winning preamplifiers, power amplifiers, headphone amplifiers and matching loudspeakers, Icon Audio's lively demonstrations will also include its superb phono stages, new Stereo 30SE integrated amplifier and its new MFV15 horn speakers with 15in bass driver.
Lancaster Suite 4 – Sound Design Distribution
Sound Design Distribution returns to the Hi-Fi Show Live with the incomparable Mola-Mola Makua pre and Kaluga power amplifiers. Recently lauded by Hi-Fi News as a ‘brilliant do-it-all high-end design’ this extraordinary system is a tribute to the genius of Bruno Putzeys, the acknowledged wunderkind of Class D amplifier technology. The Makua is a modular design incorporating DAC and phono options within a distinctively rippled all-aluminium enclosure. Its matching Kaluga monoblocks are based on a refined version of Bruno’s game-changing NCore technology. Together they create the conditions for optimal reproduction: extremely low distortion, ultra-wide frequency response and exceptional dynamic drive - the perfect audio chemistry for Vivid’s astonishingly transparent Giya G3 loudspeakers.
Supporting the main system and enjoying their UK show premiere are two further SDD brands. GPS Audio turntables are engineered and hand-made in Germany. Three models: 1, 2 and 3 share a 9in unipivot tonearm and a three-layer chassis construction of steel plate, acrylic LED diffusion plate and MDF top plate. The Model 2 benefits from a stacked double-chassis and Model 3, a double-chassis with a 60mm double-platter assembly. Each GPS turntable has a built-in LED panel, which can be set in various colours to match the system’s LEDs. High-torque motors offer accurate three-speed transcription (incl 78rpm). SDD’s second UK show exclusive features Accusound’s range of audiophile cables designed and built in the USA.
Lancaster Suite 5 – Audio Note
AudioNote UK Ltd will be showcasing its exciting new TT3 record player whose design is based on the company's TT-Three Reference deck with its symmetrical three-motor drive system. Priced at £5000, the TT3 also features three motors and delivers an outstanding performance with its combination of a lightweight acrylic platter and skeletal alloy chassis. Partnering this will be the superb M8 RIAA phono stage, arguably the finest phonostage on the planet at £36,342. This silver-wired MM phono preamplifier with its 6463-based line stage will be driving the legendary £83,388 Ongaku 211 integrated amplifier, a true delight to stimulate the senses. This amazing amplifier, rated at 20W into 8ohm and 4ohm (and weighing a mighty 48kg), features fully silver-wired mains and output coupling transformers.
Delivering sweet music will be the Signature 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 hemp-coned woofer and tweeter. Never forgetting the humble CD, Audio Note UK will use the Hi-Fi Show Live for the world launch of its CD 5.1x disc player, promising to take Red Book CD replay to a new level.
Also in the Audio Note room, the extraordinary cellist, Vincent Bélanger, will be playing live to audiences and illustrating just how much influence the bow has on the final sound of the instrument. With vintage and modern examples to hand, Vincent will demonstrate that an artist’s choice of bow is like an enthusiast choosing his cables!
Lancaster Suite 6 – Kog Audio and T+A
Visit the large Lancaster 6 Suite where Kog Audio is presenting the latest products from T+A, the German heavyweights responsible for some of the most highly acclaimed audio equipment of recent times. Led out by the mighty HV series, the T+A ranges offer a rare combination of performance, build quality and features, and are certain to surprise anyone new to the brand.
Kog Audio will be unveiling two amazing systems at The Hi-Fi Show Live. The first features T+A’s new MP2500R, a versatile digital media player with SACD drive, together with the matching PA2500R integrated amplifier. These will be joined by the Talis 300 loudspeakers – another exclusive launch for the UK.
The second T+A system uses the new Cala CDR all-in-one player/DAC/amplifier with Pulsar ST20 speakers – a perfect combination for music lovers who value luxury style and usability without having to compromise on performance, or indeed give up a corner of the room to a complex hi-fi system!
Both of these systems provide the means to play from disc, NAS, Bluetooth, USB as well as FM, DAB and Internet radio, and are controlled by a dedicated T+A remote and/or app. Tellurium Q cables will feature along with Stillpoints isolation accessories, providing the final polish to two great systems.