Sunday, 29 May 2011

Record care 2

Following on from the previous post ....

The stylus is the only thing which gets to the bottom of the groove in the record ... so playing an album, then cleaning the stylus will slowly clear the groove and make the crackles reduce, if not dissappear. The mistake a lot of people make is to use a brush to make the surface look clean which pushes all the debris into the groove again .... dust you can see isn't really causing any problems.

Stylus cleaners are a rare item nowadays. The best was the Audiotechnica AT637, which is no longer made (secondhand examples of this £17 accessory can be found on Ebay .. but expect a bidding frenzy to beyond £100 in some cases) The 637 was basically a closely packed carbon fibre brush mounted on a resonator, which vibrated at around 1Khz... the stylus was lowered on for a couple of minutes and quite effectively scrubbed clean. The kit came with a fluid, but this was a little too effective and could damage the tip. Other examples which work are the Clearaudio stylus brush ( a manual carbon fibre based brush )... and the Linn green paper ( very fine grade sand paper .. which it takes a steady hand and a bit of nerve to use ... but works well )

I must admit that I tend to just gently run my finger across the stylus after each play to remove built up dust ... and use my AT 637 every month or so ..... the AT removes the burnt on vinyl that can accumulate over time... the surface temperature at the tip is high enough to briefly melt the vinyl !!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Record care

Had another long conversation about record care with a customer today ... It was the usual question ... what do I use to clean my records? They are very dusty. The answer to this is dont! or at least don't do it unless you are prepared to do it properly and buy a decent record cleaning machine like the Keith Monks or the Clearaudio (available at Cheshire Audio :-) ) Most of the budget options, such as carbon brushes and cloths just push the dust into the bottom of the groove ... but unfortunatlely with vinyl, out of sight isn't out of mind. This just makes the noise worse and also can cause static which attracts more dust!

There are a few accessories which can improve the static issue. Goldring Exstatic sleeves work well ... they fit inside the paper sleeve of the record and inhibit static build up in the vinyl ( usually noticeable ,if present, as the record will lift off the record players felt mat when changing records )

Also, the classic Zerostat gun, which works extremely well! Pressing the trigger is a little like using one of  the devices used to light gas burners and ionises the air around the disc.

If the visible dust worries you ( it doesnt add noise at all by the way ) the Pixall roller cleaner is very effective. This is a sticky roller a little like a lint roller for clothes ... the sticky surface lifts all the visible dust from the surface ( not though the dust in the grooves )

The only device that reaches the bottom of the groove is the stylus .... cleaning this is another problem entirely .. but letting the stylus do the work and then cleaning it afterwards is the only way to keep you albums in good shape without spending a few hundred pounds!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Nordost Valhalla

We have for sale ... or will do when it comes in in a few days. A 2 x 2m Shotgun configuration Nordost Valhalla speaker cable which is terminated with spades. Very good condition and comes with box etc. New price of this is just under £6000. looking for offers over £2500

If you havent experienced Valhalla before then you are in for a revelation, nothing ( except they're top model Odin) comes close. Fairly system compatible too.

 .. Shotgun is 2 plugs at either end rather than 2 plugs at one and 4 at the other as shown in the stock picture

If you are interested email Philip on

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Tom Evans Phonostages

We've long been fans of the Tom Evans range of phonostages ... from the MicroGroove right through to the Groove plus. Undeniably expensive items, but giants in the world of audio and very difficult to beat at any price.

All units can be ordered 'pre-tweeked' to work at the precise loading and level for your cartridge ... but dont think that this restricts you in the future ... Tom will quickly and efficiently re tweek the settings if you change cartridge. Recently TE have been offering a SRX mod to the higher end models to allow the customer to adjust things himself, which is great if you have a couple of cartridges, or like to experiment with loading.

The new MasterGroove

Recently we have heard news that Tom has developed a new model ABOVE the Groove Plus ... quite how anything can better that combination I have no idea, but we have a saying here ...'Tom is always right' and annoyingly it seems to hold true with every product he introduces!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Mains cables

A very easy upgrade for a system is to replace the mains lead. Generally the best place to start is at the source ( CD Turntable etc) though in some systems adding a better cable to the Pre or power amp may have a bigger benefit. On a source component the differences are usually in refinement and detail .... on and amplifier there is more sense of scale and dynamic. In both instances the musicality ( ability to 'connect' with the musician) is improved.

The whole concept is quite controversial and difficult to quantify, but the audible improvements are quite substantial. My guess is that the main reason for improvement is the filtering of RF noise which will lower the noise floor ... and hence give more detail and dynamic.

The best test is to try it for yourself .... give us a call


Monday, 23 May 2011

Trade in schemes

To try and make things easier for customers wanting to upgrade, we will always consider taking trade ins. Generally this has to be a cable for a cable or a cartridge for a cartridge ... but it's always worth asking if you have something interesting. Quite a few manufactures that we deal with have their own schemes, Lyra and Ortofon for example. But these are sometimes a bit restrictive if you want to switch brand.

Consequentially we can quite often have some secondhand items to sell ... we dont advertise these... so if you are on the look out for something, give us a call.

To buy something from the site with the price of a 'trade in' knocked off though, we would need to take details over the phone .... the 'gateway' system we use for site transactions is not flexible enough to cope with it ... one of the drawbacks of security I suppose. The bonus is that you get to speak to us in person...which we prefer anyway.

Trichord D300

Although we don't have any Hifi components on the site as such ( just accessories) we do occasionally get requests for amplifiers etc. One of our favourite power amps at the moment is the Trichord D300. Very small monoblock configuration and impressive power and drive the D300 is very clear, punchy and dynamic ... and happy with fairly difficult loads. We have partnered these with the Tom Evans Vibe pre amp and quite honestly would find it difficult to improve on!
The D300 are a 300w design with a class D output stage ... they replaced the much loved and respected Michell Alectos ( also a Trichord design) Although the Alecto is soon to reappear in a new upgraded form... hopefully we should have an example to try soon.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Cable retermination

We can offer cable retermination and a plug upgrade service. We used a quality temperature controlled soldering system and WBT high grade Silver Solder. The connection quality at the plug to cable junction is crucial as poor tolerences here can alter the impedance and resistance quite considerably.

We can also do amplifier / CD player upgrades using WBT sockets and again silver solder ... the differences are quite surprising.

For speaker cables we can offer Nordost 'Z' plugs, LFD or WBT  ... also LFD or WBT spades.

So, to make sure your cables are giving their best..... give us a ring for a quote!

Cables are generally a two to three day turnaround ... equipment for resocketing usually a week depending on parts needed (not all equipment can be upgraded in this way)


Friday, 20 May 2011

Naim Audio

Although we dont really sell audio kit on the site, we are going to start advertising to buy Naim Audio equipment. So if you have any early pre or power amps ( condition not too critical ) let us know and we will quote a price for you.

Just in case anybody was getting confused, have just set the time zone to GMT ... rather than South Pacific ... not I dont update at 3am

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Isol - 8

The current range of Isol-8 producs is coming to an end ... keep a look out for some reductions on remaining stock. We still have the Minisub and VMC video conditioner in stock... discounts will be around 20%

New range to be announced soon

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Very impressed with the new Nordost range. I'm always a bit dubious when a company does a wholesale change to a model line up, but Nordost seem to have really moved things forward. The new range is call 'Leif Series' and incorporates new versions of both the Blue Heaven and Red Dawn cables. New to the range are the White Lightening and Purple Flare ( which looks very like the old SPM ) The jump in performance is quite marked and we should have a selection of the range for loan soon!

Monday, 16 May 2011


Finally got the Stax page up to date!

We have just had a notification of a price rise from Audio Technica, so, as this will take a day or two to put on, this is a good opportunity to buy at the old price.

Just a reminder, we still have loan stock of the amazing Sonority isolation table. Very clever design that uses two sheets of laminate with three captured tungsten carbide ball bearings between them. Quite peculiar to use as the whole thing rolls back and forth when you touch it .... but the effect is astonishing! We've had amazing results with all sorts of equipment .. most memorably Naim CD Players!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

back on

Blogger has been down for a few days so I haven't been able to update

Stax page still not finished ... forgot how long all the colour options take to add in.

We've just had more stock of the Clearaudio Concept turntable which has been very difficult to get hold of ... this model won the Turntable product of the year award in What Hifi in 2009 and 2010 and the small German engineering company that manufacturers it has been struggling to keep up with demand! So grab one while you can!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

New Stax

Should have the prices and pictures of the long awaited new Stax range up on the site by tomorrow.... The original 2050/3050 etc range is now the 2170/3170 and 4170 using the new 207/307 and 407 headsets and upgraded 323S and 252S energisers. The 'in ear' version has also made a come back after being absent from the range for over 2 years.

The new Stax SRS4170 combination with 407 Headphones and 006tII energiser

Dont forget we can offer 'try before you buy' on most Stax models and also offer generous trade ins on old models

click below to link to Stax page:-


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Ortofon MC cartridges

Unusually for the world of true Hifi, Ortofon recently reduced the prices of their moving coil cartridges by 20%.

This range is one of my favourites anyway, so the reduction was most welcome ( especially as you can still trade in some old Ortofon MCs and get up to a further 25% off!)

The bad news is that this was just a temporary reduction.... the models will be readjusted to full price fairly soon... so if you have had thoughts about the range, you best get a move on!!


See our website at:-

Monday, 9 May 2011


I have been an agent for WBT for a while now and been really surprised by the uptake from customers.... they are undeniably excellent plugs, but I hadn't realised how well known the are outside 'the inside' as it were.

The reason WBT were added to the Cheshire Audio stock list was due to a request from a customer ... his sockets on the back of his amps had started to disintegrate so he wanted a replacement set ... and something special. I suggested WBT as these have quite a reputation within the industry and are included as standard spec on some quite high end cables and amps.

I fitted these for him one cold winters evening ... fairly straight forward job ... a nice set of 0210ag .. the silver variant of the 'Nextgen' series. I must admit I really wasn't quite prepared for the difference in sound... and neither was he! Much cleaner, more refined sound, quite a bit more dynamic ( possibly due to lowered noise floor) well worth the money!

Since then I have done a few similar job with just as impressive results!! and customers who have done they're own have reported the same!!

See our site at


Saturday, 7 May 2011

More Stax

Dont forget we do home loans of Stax equipment ... and will trade in you old set to offset against the cost!

new headphones coming from Stax

Well we've had a good few pairs of the SR507s through now. Absolutely exceptional! They are much more efficient than the Omegas, somewhat cheaper and though not as refined or detailed, not too far behind overall.

Stax have been a little vague about what will be replacing the 2050, 3050 etc but now we have seen some specs for the new models. These will be based around the existing 507 and new 407 and 307 models and will use existing energisers ... prices not announced yet, but should be with us soon!

I'll post up here any info as it comes in