Bristol was reassuringly busy this year and there was a very promising vinyl presence too. A few years ago virtually every room was taken up with Home Cinema, which now seems very much in the minority (one room in fact)
Star of the show for us was the new version of the Rega 3 ... Rega have reverted back to the original Planar 3 name, which is a great idea. The new deck is a real thing of beauty, high gloss finish and an upgraded RB303 arm.
In the Wilson Benesch room we found Nigel Crump, importer of Stax, Lyra, Kiseki .. and many others. And were introduced to Peter Madnik, the designer of a new range Nigel is bringing into the UK called 'Audio Alchemy'. You may remember this ground breaking brand from the late 1980s. Well the 21st Century incarnations look very interesting .. so watch this space.
We were hoping to get to speak to Max on his very busy stand ... but every time we passed there seemed to be a queue :-) But then Townshend do have some fascinating products.
No a great photo. REL were demonstrating the benefits of adding twin subs to a stereo system. Now this can work extremely well .. or extremely badly depending on the system and room, but if you do get it right subs can add a level of coherence to music that just isn't attainable from a conventional speaker. I think REL were a little unlucky with their room acoustics. The Harbeths they were using in the with /without dem were already overwhelming the room with bass .. so the the subtleties were a bit lost.
An absolutely vast pair of Mono Blocks in the Icon room
Quite a nice sound in the PMC / Bryston room ... though not brands I'm generally that into really
Other highlights : Sound Fowndations demonstrating the DS Audio cartridge which uses an optical system instead of magnets. It sounded very good indeed ... even with Chris Green from SF dancing in the corner. Ophidian speakers ... tiny, but room filling sound. We may need to look into these further.
And finally, one of the best sounds at the show .. Our friend Dave Sprake from DSE demonstrating a Rega CD and Amp with a £300 pair of Tannoy speakers and around £20000 of cables and accessories ... which may have been a mad thing to do ... but proved a point
Until next year ...