Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Atlas Analogue Terminators - review

We are always on the look out for effective accessories that will improve sound quality, preferably for not a lot of money. Atlas Terminators are quite new, though the idea has been around for a while, we had actually dismissed the whole principle as a being a bit far fetched. Yes, possibly an unused input may be susceptible to RF ... but surely not enough to effect the sound ... and how can this be eliminated by use of a plug?. Well hearing that Atlas had added just such a product to it's portfolio made us sit up and take notice. Atlas are a company run by proper enthusiasts ... if they think it's worth investing in, then be assured, it's going to be good!

Atlas Terminators come in two types, for analogue input and digital output. We ordered an analogue set to try.

The Analogue set includes four terminators, which are, as with all Atlas products, nicely packaged and beautifully made.

Connecting up couldn't be simpler .. though care needs to be taken not to plug the terminators into an output as damage may be done, so be sure you know which is which, as some amplifiers can have a tape output nestling amongst their inputs.

With our usual lack of foresight we didn't quite have enough terminators to plug into all our inputs .. but went ahead anyway. The pre amplifier used in the testing was a Tom Evans 'Vibe Plus' and using a Naim 555CD and Michel Orbe/SME IV/Lyra Skala as sources.

Normally when we do a testing session like this, products are swapped in and out a few times before we start to zero in on where the improvements are.. not in this case, the Terminators were fitted first and a few tracks played, it was obvious right away that something was radically different, taking them out immediately closed in the top end and somehow slowed the dynamics. With them back in, it was similar to adding a really high end mains lead or a very well sorted mains conditioner.

These simple little devices exhibited all that you would ever want from an upgrade, extra clarity and definition, more of what you like about your system already, but better detail and more convincing musicality.

A total bargain at £80 a set of four and we can't wait to try a full complement

If you would like to try a set yourself, give us a call on 01270 580734

To buy, give us a call, or go to the website : Atlas Terminators


Tuesday, 10 November 2015

NAD 3020A in for service

Had a lovely NAD 3020A on the bench for service this week. I used to sell these and the original 3020 when they were new, they were always exceptional performers for the money. After a good clean up and check over we had it working like new. Surprising for a 30+ year old amplifier it was in very good shape, all caps etc in good condition ... the distortion and crackling it came in with cured with a generous dose of switch cleaner.

After putting it back together we gave it a listen ... these early NADs are quite superb, that renowned warmth adds real drive to the sound and makes the little 25ish Watt unit sound far bigger than it actually is.

An interesting comparison was against our Rega Brio-R, another 'budget' giant killer, the two were actually very similar in presentation. The Rega much more refined, but the scale and balance almost identical to the NAD. Both include an excellent Phonostage (though the NAD also has an MC switch) so ideal for a little vinyl based system. The Rega feels much better built and although half the size of the 3020 feels like it weighs more. The NAD only shows it's late 70s heritage with its use of spring terminals for the speaker cables, this caused us a few issues as in this case 4mm plugs didn't fit (some types will take them) so adapters needed to be made.

So we liked the NAD 3020A, possibly the first proper Audiophile budget amplifier .. and most customers we meet who love their music and now use High End equipment, started their hobby with a Rega 2 / NAD 3020 / Kef Coda system

..... and oh yes.. the dancing lights :-)