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Vipers

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Blog Entries posted by Vipers

  1. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    Another very big toy landed earlier this week, since taking on Constellation around a year ago I have been extremely impressed, most definitely my kind of sound, for me they give the perfect blend of warmth, insight, separation, control and dynamics. We started with Constellations entry level, said in the loosest term, of the Inspiration range which sounds gorgeous but it got me thinking what the next level up would be like, in all honesty I struggle to think that it can be any better, well now we have the Constellation Revelation Taurus Stereo power amp on demo so it is time to find out, it is certainly a far big bigger and heavier that our Inspiration amps.
    We certainly seem to be accumulating an amazing selection of amps lately what with the Constellation Inspiration Mono's, now the Taurus, the Audio Research 160 Mono and Stereo amps, the new Chord Ultima 2's and not forgetting the favourites with the Naim NAP 500 and Bryston 4B and 7B's, at the higher end of amplification I would like to think that we have something for everyone.
    For now though I am looking forward to getting to listen to the Taurus Stereo to find out what the next level up in the Constellation range brings to the party, needless to say if you'd like to come in for a listen anytime please feel free.
    Please find a link to the Revelation range on our website and some pictures.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/constellation/revelation/







    Which one would you Choose?





    Cheers,
    Paul.
  2. Vipers
    Hi All,
    So to be 100% honest when I was approached recently to consider the Taiko Audio SGM Extreme music server I politely agreed to have a listen as always happy to try anything new but I had no intention of bringing it on for demo as I love the Melco servers we offer and as the SGM Extreme is priced at £25,000 I really questioned who would pay this for a server when Melco do such a brilliant job, I mean really how much better can it really be? well I'm guessing you know what happened next, yep once I heard it I was gobsmacked, I can honestly say that I have never heard digital sound this good before, I really couldn't stop thinking about it, sad I know, so I am really excited to say that our SGM Extreme is on order and will be on demo in around a month or so. I have been thinking alot about the price and there are a lot of people out there that will spend this kind of money on turntables, CD Players and Streamers so this is no different, if you want the best then I would argue when it comes to digital playback then the SGM Extreme has to be considered, whether straight into a DAC or over Ethernet.
    Every once in a while something comes along that really pushes things forward, not just a bit but a quantum leap, it doesn’t happen very often but when it does it is so noticeable that it can’t be ignored, I really feel that Taiko Audio have achieved this for digital audio with their SGM Extreme, I have never heard digital sound so ‘Right’ and immersive as when played through the SGM Extreme, yes it is a Roon Core and Roon Endpoint but it is the sound quality that astounds, we have some great audio servers out there but if you want the very best from your Digital Music Collection then please come in for a listen to the Taiko Audio SGM Extreme as I am sure you will feel the same as us, it may not be cheap but it is by far the best I have ever heard digital music sound, it really does feel like digital has finally come of age.
    Taiko Audio are a Dutch High End Audio Company who use cutting edge technology to develop components that are not available off the shelf that create the ultimate in sound quality. With this ethos of no compromise they have created something truly wonderful with the SGM Extreme Music Server which has taken digital music to a new level where arguably the conversation of Analogue vs Digital is finally over, if of any interest please feel free to get in touch.
    I will post some pictures once here but please find a link to the SGM Extreme on our website and some pictures below, really can't wait to get my hands on it -
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/taiko-audio/
    The SGM Extreme also was awarded 'Best of 2019' in Mono & Stereo, Please find link to PT 1 of the review below –
    http://bit.ly/31H6WYd




    Cheers,
    Paul.
  3. Vipers
    Hi All,
    I have to say we are going through an embarrassment of riches at HiFi Lounge at the moment as 2020 has started with some awesome new kit on demo and there is still plenty more to come but I have to say having the new Chord Ultima 2 amplifiers on permanent demo is very special indeed as we are the only place to have them on demo in the UK at the moment, a real statement piece, but first I should apologize to Chord for using a rivals DAC with their amps at the moment, ideally I'd be using a DAVE + Scaler but mine are out on loan at the moment and as I was so keen to post the news about the new amps we had to go with what we had here, so sorry Chord, Dave will be back on the rack shortly.
    Anyway back to the amps, firstly I was quite shocked at their size when I first opened the flight case, yes they come double stacked in a heavy duty flight case, that certainly makes a statement before you even start, I decided to go with the black side inserts rather than the more tradition Chord in-built leg design and I am really glad I did as I think they really do look epic like this, we then lifted them into place in their new home and fired them up, WOW and WOW again, Chord really know how to make a statement, they just look incredible, it dawned on me the other day that in the UK we really don't do much in the way of Highend Audio, especially amplification, but Chord are certainly flying that flag proudly with their Ultima range.
    It is nice to make a statement with your kit but in reality the only thing that matters is the sound quality and these new Ultima amps are a total redesign of Chord's amplifier typology and I would say they have created something very special here as we have hooked them up to our PMC Fenestria's, now these are a brilliant speaker but they really do appreciate an amp with plenty of current and I can honestly say that I have never heard them sound as good as they do with the Ultima's driving them, they really do get hold of the speaker giving a really tight and controlled sound but they also have a delicacy and articulation that is quite captivating, when I first powered them up one evening I really did struggle to go home as I kept going from track to track, have to say Halo by Machine Head was mind blowing, for me they are an amp that can do everything from great insight with vocals to controlled powerful bass on rock which needs to be turned up to 11, awesome job Chord.
    Now they do cost £18,000 each so they should be good but the good news is that Chord are now putting the Ultima Tech into 2 new stereo versions starting around £6k which is obviously a lot more attainable, anyway our new Ultima 2's will be on permanent demo and always on ready for action so if you'd like a listen anytime please do pop in an be prepared to be impressed.
    Please find a link below to the Chord Reference range on our website and a few pictures.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/chord-electronics/chord-electronics-reference/









    Cheers,
    Paul
  4. Vipers
    Hi All,
    I think I have a speaker problem as I have just bought another new pair for demo, basically I was adding the new Fyne Audio F1 speakers to our website as there are now 4 in the range and I just couldn't help but order a pair of the new F1-5's, basically because they looked so awesome and seemed ridiculous value at £2999 and I have to say now we have them here I can't actually believe how good they sound, they really are quite incredible, I wish I could share the sound quality through a blog as I know everyone would be impressed, if you are looking for a small speaker with a big sound then look no further and they really are finished to a beautifully high standard, I really don't know how Fyne can do them for this price point, especially as they are built at their base in Scotland but it is the sound quality that really does impress, there actually isn't much more to say which is unusual for me.
    Anyway please find a link to the Fyne Audio F1 Range on our website and if you'd like to come along to listen to the F1-5 anytime please feel free.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/fyne-audio/f1-series/



    When I Grow Up I want to be just like you!



    The only issue I have is that everytime I look at them I can't stop thinking about Kenny from South Park, just as well I am a big fan of that show also.



    Cheers,
    Paul.
  5. Vipers
    HFL Motorsport Season 3 Starts This Saturday!
    Hi Everyone,
    So here we go again, I get asked a lot what my plans are for this year regarding motorsport, well things kick of this Saturday morning as I have signed up for a 10 race season’s racing in the Senna Cup at Rye House in the Go Karts that we used for our Boys Toys Day last year as I really enjoyed that and it whetted my appetite for more Karting, the funny thing was that my best session in the the Radical last year was the first practice session at Donington which was straight after the karting where I went 2 seconds a lap faster than my previous best so I am hoping that doing more karting will help my Radical racing as the main thing with karting is that you can race hard and be fearless whereas in the Radical driving to the limit takes some real balls and commitment and in all honesty I am still struggling in fast corners with the Radical so it will certainly be an interesting experiment to see if the Karting helps me in the Radical, either way it will be fun finding out.
    So the first race is at 10am at Rye, 15 mins qualifying with a 45 minute race, apparently there is a full 26 kart grid, now as Rye is a bit of a proving ground for up and coming talent then I am sure I am going to get my arse whipped by some young whipper snappers who are just out of nappies and weigh nothing but I am really looking forward to giving it a try.
    As for the Radical racing this year, I don’t think I will be able to do a full season but aim to do at least half the season plus some testing and there is a chance of also racing at Spa which would be a huge tick on the bucket list but need to see the cost involved in that first, may have to get my begging hat out for that one.
    Anyway If anyone wants to see how we get on Saturday at Rye live timing is available from the link below -
    https://live.alphatiming.co.uk/rye
    Can’t wait to find out myself.
    Cheers,
    Paul.



  6. Vipers
    Hi All,
    Just wanted to let everyone know that we now have the new Arcam SA30 integrated amplifier on permanent demo, this has got to be the best value fully loaded amplifier on the market today at £1999 but for me the killer feature is that it includes Dirac room correction in a 2 channel amplifier, as soon as I heard how big of an improvement Dirac made to music through the Arcam receivers a few years ago I knew it was only a matter of time before it was introduced into Arcam's 2 channel amps, it really is a game changer, not only that but it is also a streamer, a Roon endpoint and fully MQA compatible with a MC and MM phono stage built in, all you need to do is add speakers and you are up and running.
    Please see below for the features this amplifier includes, it really is quite incredible, we have been running it in on our Fyne Audio F702 speakers, now you wouldn't normally put a amp at this price with a pair of speakers costing £6749 but it just shows how powerful the Glass G amplification is in the SA30, it is actually a great pairing.

    Class G amplification for impeccable sound and efficiency 120W of power per channel into 8Ω, 220W into 4Ω 5 analogue inputs including switchable MM/MC PHONO input 4 digital inputs 1 ARC input GoogleCast, Airplay 2, uPnP Streamer Roon endpoint MQA supported 3 Dirac EQ profiles (input assignable) 32-bit DAC,Sabre ESS9038K2M Full I/P control including Control4 and Crestron Total harmonic distortion + noise = 0.002%


    Please see below for the SA30 on our website and if you'd like to come in for a demo anytime please feel free. https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/arcam/arcam-hda-range/
    Cheers,
    Paul.





  7. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    So I guess I've had worse days at work as I have just unboxed and setup the brand new Audio Research Reference 6SE Preamplifier and Reference 160S Stereo Power Amplifier and it is certainly sounding pretty sweet straight out of the box.
    For me the Reference 6 is one of the best Pre's in the world so that fact Audio Research have improved upon it with the new SE couldn't have been easy but I am certainly looking forward to hearing where the improvements are.
    As for the 160s, this is the stereo version of the 160 Mono's and it is certainly a big amp but then fitting the 2 x 160 Mono's into one chassis was certainly never going to be easy but the end result is stunning in looks as well as sound, I have set it up with our demo Reference CD9SE and it really is singing on our Wilson Audio Sasha DAW's, anyway here are a few pictures but if you'd like to come in for a listen anytime please feel free, below is a link to Audio Research Reference products on our site.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/audio-research/reference-series/
    Reference 6SE Preamp!



    Reference 160S Power Amp!








    We Also have the Audio Research 160m Mono's if you'd like to compare!

    Cheers,
    Paul.
  8. Vipers
    Hi everyone,
    So late last year we added CAD or Computer Audio Design to give them their full name to our portfolio, now I am fully aware how important good quality mains is for a HiFi system but I must admit that I had never explored the area of grounding as having to stick earth spikes in your garden seems like a lot of hassle to be honest but at the Ascot show last year Nic Poulson of Trilogy and Isol-8 introduced me to the guys at CAD, as he himself is a big fan of their products, so I thought if Nic likes these then I must take a listen, now they do a High End DAC and Music Server but it was their grounding products that intrigued me the most.
    So we arranged a day where Scott and Isabel came over from CAD and we would have a play, first trying their Ground Control 1 on various equipment then me moved onto the Ground Control 3, so the million dollar question is what do these products actually do? well if I am 100% honest I don’t really know how they exactly work but I know that they definitely make a real difference.

    So at their most basic description they are passive boxes, so they don’t plug into the mains for their power, the GC1 as an example has 2 connections which you can connect to 2 components, you can try them on anything other than power amps, so as an example on a music server like our Melco had a real positive effect, also on phono stages, pre-amps, DAC’s etc, basically it is a bit of trial and error but generally they will make a difference on whatever they are connected to.
    So let’s try again, what do Ground Control boxes actually do? So from what I understand they convert negative energy and high frequencies in your system to heat which dissipates through the ground control boxes but I guess you really don’t need to know how they work other than they really do, for a more detailed description I would check out Jason Kennedy’s review on the Ear below as he makes a lot more sense of it than I can.
    http://www.the-ear.net/review-hardware/cad-gc-3-noise-reduction-system
    Ground Control 1 Below


    For our test day with CAD we used a pretty Highend system but the Grounding Boxes are just as effective on smaller systems, we started with trying the GC1 on our Melco which instantly made a difference, everything seemed to open up, then we put another GC1 on our dCS Rossini which again bought another improvement then finally we added the 2nd connection on the GC1 to the Rossini clock which again made a positive improvement but not as much as when going into the Rossini but for the cost of another cable it was a worthwhile step, by the time we finished we all agreed that the music became more fluid and rhythmic with a lower noise floor, greater dynamic and transient response but for me I just found myself tapping my foot more, everything just seems to move along faster and was more captivating and enjoyable.
    Talking of cables, basically a GC1 is £1995 with one cable and each additional cable is £300 but there are a large array of different cables so they will fit all types of products, eg RCA, XLR, Spade, USB + another aspect I should mention is that you can plug it directly into a mains socket which basically grounds your mains as far as I am aware and that also has proved to bring positive gains in performance.

    So to sum up If you love your music and you want to get the very best from your system then I strongly recommend that you borrow either the GC1 or CG3 from us to try at home to see how much better your system can sound with one installed, the problem is that I actually don’t think one will be enough hence why I bought 2 GC1’s for demo and a GC3’s as CAD tell us that a lot of their customers run multiple GC1’s or GC3’s once they have heard the benefit, a telling story is that at the Munich High End show last year when the Air Force Zero turntable was launched which cost £450,000 they used a GC1 to help maximise its performance which says it all to me.
    Anyway please find a link below to the range but any questions or to arrange a home demo please feel free to give me a ring.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/computer-audio-design/
    It is fascinating this HiFi lark as just when you think you have experienced everything something new comes along which really can help get more from your system.
    Cheers,
    Paul.
    Ground Control 3 Below



    CAD Audio Transport + DAC Below!


  9. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    So here we go, the first new product on demo at HFL for 2020 and a new brand actually, now I must admit that I really do try hard to not bring on so many brands as I have in the past but when the iFi guys bought in the Aurora I was so impressed that I couldn't resist, firstly I love the styling, it really does bring something new to the Wireless / Bluetooth speaker category, admittedly it isn't going to be to everyone's taste but there is no denying that it makes a statement but mainly the main thing that impresses is the Aurora's sound quality.
    This is a product that you can tell has been designed with a lot of thought and care, firstly it performs in the analogue domain with no DSP applied, it has a 6N3P valve in the Preamp stage, it even scans your room when starting up to tune it to get the best sound possible and it has so many inputs that it can cater for the most demanding of listener, it even has a pair of RCA input so you can hook a turntable up to it, it supports all streaming features via an app and needless to say is BlueTooth also with a cutting edge Sabre DAC at the heart of it all, there is much more to this product than this but please see below for all the info but the long and short of it is that it gives a very analogue sound so if you fancy a listen anytime please pop in -
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/ifi-audio/








    Cheers,
    Paul.
  10. Vipers
    Hi There,
    Unfortunately it looks like my old photo sharing website, Photobucket, has gone down so for the time being all my previous posts are pictureless, anyway onto this post with a new picture sharing client.
    Belated Happy New Year, I have a feeling this year is going to be a great year for Hifi.
    It has certainly started well so I thought I would share a couple of speaker installs from the last couple of weeks, neither of them on the small side.
    PMC MB2 SE Install
    So this was a nice local one in Devon, so around a 6 hour drive, install, quick bite of lunch then turn round and come home, all in a day’s work, albeit a long one
    The customer already had PMC MB2i’s so it was just a matter of a quick swap over to the new MB2 SE’s, have to say they sounded incredible straight out the box –
    The below Cherry MB2i’s are available for £10,000 if anyone is interested, boxed in as new condition, an incredible speaker for this price, just get in touch if of interest.
    Out with the Old

    And in With The New!






    Wilson Audio Alexia 2 Install!
    This was a nice install just before Christmas of the awesome Wilson Audio Alexia 2 speakers, we will be going back soon to spike them and try some different amplification, sounds awesome as it is now to be fair.










    Let’s see what the rest of the year has in stall for us all,
    All the best for a great 2020
    Cheers,
    Paul.
  11. Vipers
    Unfortunately there are no pics as Photobucket appears to be down, there is a better formatted version on our website which you can access from the below link -   http://bit.ly/2ShCxNs   Hi Everyone,   I love this time of year where we look back and I have to say that 2019 has been another brilliant year for HiFi, Music and Hifi Lounge in general, so before we get stuck in I’d like to firstly thanks all our customers throughout 2019, many new faces and many returning customer’s, this year has been another brilliant year for us but without our brilliant customer’s we are nothing so we’d like to send out a huge thanks to everyone who came in to see us. It still amazes me how busy we get but I love the fact we actually get people visiting us from all over the world, a big shout out to Paul and Sue from Aukland, NZ who popped in to say Hi during the summer, it really is much appreciated so thanks again everyone.   2019 Open Days   I would argue that we have had our best selection of open days this year which have all been great fun and I look forward to continuing this with some more for next year, the first is already planned for February 15th, more news to follow, and our Boys Toys Go Karting Day was also great fun, even though I did get punted out of 2nd place on the first lap, it’s going to take a while for me to get over that I feel, so hopefully we will arrange a similar event next year as everyone was keen to have another go.   New HiFi in 2019   I would say 2019 was a really good year for new HiFi but maybe a bit quieter than some previous years for new kit but there were standout products from Rega with their Planar 10 which has been a huge success for us and their new Aura phono stage and Aethos Amp which are both selling well, Rega really are on it at the moment, but we also had the new fact Signature Range of speakers from PMC, Wilson launched the incredible Chronosonic XVX speakers, if only I had a spare £350k, plus we’ve had the new Nait amps from Naim, the new Arcam AV Cinema range of amps plus Sonus Faber have just launched their stunning new Olympica Nova range and Bryston have just given us their new BDA-3.14 which I have to say is a brilliant piece of kit and Fyne Audio seem to be going from strength to strength with their new speakers so all in all it has been another stellar year for HiFi in general, long may it continue.   HiFi Lounge Upgrades   As well as new HiFi in 2019 we had 2 reasonably exciting things happen at HFL, firstly we finally launched our new website, anyone who has done this themselves will know how stressful it can be, it just takes so much time but in the end we couldn’t be happier with the end result, hopefully now it is even easier to find the info and products you are interested in.   A much more important thing was that we finally took on our first member of staff, now I am a bit of a control freak so that was never going to be easy for me to work alongside someone but we are so excited to welcome Ady on board as he has fitted straight in, a lot of you will know him already as he has been helping out here at open days for years now, for me I didn’t want anyone from sales as that is not what we do here so Ady is perfect as he loves his HiFi and Music and that is all that matters really, the rest he will learn, it has certainly made things easier having him here.    Music of 2019   Now I am the first to moan about the state of current music but I have to say that this year has been a real cracker with some great new music being released. The year started extremely well for me as I discovered Greta Van Fleet, basically a band comprising of 4 very young guys, 3 of them brothers, who play rock heavily inspired by bands like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Rush etc, what I love is the fact that they are playing this kind of rock but bringing it to a new generation, Wendy and myself went to see them at Rock City last month and they were incredible, they have a very bright future ahead of them that is for sure, if you like your Rock then check them out.   For great albums released this year there are too many to list but for me the below are the standout albums of 2019.   Rammstein – ‘Untitled’ – You can’t beat a bit of Rammstein, their new album which is their first new material for 10 years really didn’t disappoint, it is worth the asking price alone for the track called ‘Puppe’ which is an instant classic, if you haven’t heard it yet check it out on Tidal, you can’t help but love it, we saw them live during the summer + we are going to see them twice more next year, can’t wait.   Bruce Springsteen – ‘Western Stars’ –  Now I am a huge Bruce fan as many of you will know but I would say this is the best album he has released in many, many years, even if you are not a Bruce fan you should listen to this as it is very different to his past work, and if you have this album make sure to check out the Film Soundtrack version as it is arguably better as it is recorded live with an orchestra which gives a much more dynamic sound, highly recommended.   Lana Del Ray – ‘Norman F———G Rockwell’ – I love Lana Del Ray, I have bought every album over the years but when I listened to this new one for the first time I thought it is just another very similar LDR album but how wrong I was, after a few listens it really came into its own and I would now say this is her best album to date, by some margin, so please give it a few listens and hopefully you’ll feel the same.   James Blunt – ‘Once Upon A Mind’ – As I have got older I have really got into James Blunt but there is one stand out song on this album you must listen to, ‘Monsters’, I was driving home one day and was listening the album for the first time and half way through this song I started to cry, I had no idea why, so I played it again and listened to the lyrics and yet again I got all emotional, it is probably the most powerful song I have ever heard so please give it a listen, it is very moving, make sure you have your hanky ready.   David Bowie – ‘Conversation Piece’ – I nearly missed this album but a customer put me onto it and thank god he did as it is superb, basically it is a boxset based around Bowie’s 2nd album ‘Space Oddity’ but the standout piece is that Tony Visconti has gone back and remastered it as he says when they did it originally they only had a couple of weeks to put it to bed so to go back and spend as much time as needed to give us the release it should have been is incredible, it really does sound amazing, for me this is how all albums should be re-done, not just a remaster but almost a total re-recording, a bit like Giles Martin is doing with The Beatles at the moment, again the release of Gile’s remaster Abbey Road this year was another highlight.   Album of The Year 2019   This was actually really easy this year and it has to go to Nick Cave’s ‘Ghosteen’ I really have never heard an album like this before, obviously it was born out of sadness for the passing go his Son but as well as being melancholy, dark and emotional it is also uplifting and inspirational at the same time, Nick Cave never makes a bad album in my view but this transcends everything he has done before, it truly is a special album, a unique offering that can pick you up and take you somewhere that only music can, an incredible album so please do give it a listen or 2 over Christmas.   An Interesting Read   Finally one other quick thing a customer put me onto, thanks Dave, is a book called ‘The Memoirs Of Billy Shears’ now I don’t read books but this sounded like such an interesting story that I bought a copy and haven’t put it down since, in a nutshell basically Paul McCartney died in a car accident in 1965 and Billy Shears took his place, I know it sounds pretty far fetched but there is so much evidence out there to support this that many people now consider this to the truth, in fact the remaining Beatles apparently left clues on album covers and in their lyrics which this book unveils, I know it blew my mind when I first heard this conspiracy but if you have a mind like mine then I would highly recommend picking up a copy as it makes fascinating reading.   HFL MotorSport in 2019   A lot of people ask how our racing is going so I just wanted to do a quick recap on our Motor Racing exploits in the Radical SR1 Cup during 2019, basically I was much quicker over 1 lap than in 2018 but my race pace still is not the best but over the last 3 race weekends I qualified much higher up the grid only to get taken out of the races but over opportunist moves by the guys around me which has left me with unfinished business for 2020, I’m not sure if I will do a full season next year due to the costs involved but am certainly keen to do a few races and I may enter a Go Karting Championship at Rye House as I really enjoyed Karting again for our BTD but I’d like to thanks all our Sponsors again for their support in 2019.   So finally to wrap up, I knew I would end up babbling on once I started, again we’d like to thank you for all your support throughout 2019 and we look forward to doing it all again next year, I also just want to mention that you can keep up with all our goings on through Social Media, you can actually see our Instagram posts from our Homepage below which I update regularly –    https://hifilounge.co.uk/instagram/   Wishing you all a Great Christmas and Healthy and Prosperous 2020.   Best Wishes,   Paul & Wendy.
  12. Vipers
    Hi All,
    I just wanted to say that we now have the new Bryston BDA-3.14 now on permanent demo and it really is a brilliant bit of kit, every now and again a HiFi company brings out a real gem, something that deserves to be a big success and I would say after a few days playing with the BDA 3.14 that this is a real killer product from Bryston.
    I have been a Bryston user probably for around 10 years+ now, I still run 7B3 mono’s at home and have had various Bryston Preamps, Dac’s and Streamers over that time so when I heard of the BDA 3.14 I didn’t hesitate to order one to put on demo as it sounded like an intriguing product.
    So our demo model arrived on Thursday and I took it home over the weekend to play with and it really didn’t disappoint, if anything it far exceeded my expectations, now it is easy in this game to get flippant about how much kit costs but to me at £4000 this seems like a genuine bargain as in it’s loosest terms it is a very high performing DAC, a Streamer, a Digital preamp and a Roon Endpoint but in reality it is much more than that thanks to it’s support of Tidal, Qobuz, Internet Radio and with HDMI inputs for SACD Playback it really does stand it part from a lot of other DAC’s on the market.
    The beauty of this product is it’s simplicity, all you need is a power amp and a pair of speakers, needless to say a Bryston 2.5B3 or 4B3 would be ideal, and you are up and running, at home I just run a couple of XLR’s into my 7B’s and I was listening to music in no time at all and it really did sound excellent, to start with I controlled it with the BDA’s own on board software then I set it up as a Roon endpoint and then it came into it’s own, as for anyone who has used Roon will know it is the interface to end all interfaces and the hours just flew by as I spent the evening putting it through it’s paces, amongst other songs I listened to Nick Caves Ghosteen in it’s entirety and got totally swept away by it, totally captivating, now I know the whole system plays it part but the source is where it all starts and is incredibly important and the BDA-3.14 really did shine.
    So to sum up, this is a great bit of kit, you don’t need to be a Bryston fan to appreciate how good this is, I can’t think of anything that is as complete a package as this at this price point, to me I look at it as a cheaper version of the dCS Rossini as they do similar jobs but that costs £18,000.
    Anyway if you feel this is something that may appeal to you feel free to get in touch to give it a try, I guess I need to take it out of my rig at home and bring it back to the shop, bugger.
    Please find more information below -
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/bryston/digital-audio/
    Cheers,
    Paul.


  13. Vipers
    Hi There,
    Just a quick blog of an install I did yesterday with some of our favourite brands, could almost be a copy of the system I have run at home for years comprising of Arcam for cinema, Bryston for power, source and pre-amp and PMC with the awesome Fact.12 Signatures.
    The beauty of this system is that we used Unity Gain on the Bryston BP173 so the customer can have a really nice cinema setup then switch to 2 channel for his music with no compromise and I have to say that it works a treat, we were hoping to install the new Arcam AV40 Processor and PA720 amplifier at the same time but they didn’t quite make it to us in time so they will be going in shortly.
    It goes without saying what great synergy there is with PMC and Bryston and for the beady eyed amongst you may notice the new Bryston BDA-3.14 DAC/Streamer/Pre-amp, this was the first installed in the UK, only arriving fresh from Canada on Thursday, even though our demo one arrived at the same time I haven’t had time to play with it yet but it installed pretty smoothly and sounded great out the box, I have to say this seems like an incredibly well priced piece of kit at £4000, especially being a Roon endpoint also.
    And finally it is all sitting beautifully on a Quadraspire Bamboo SV2T rack that went together easily and looks epic in the customers room.
    So to sum up please see a list below of what we installed -
    PMC Fact.12 Signature Speakers Bryston BDA 3.14 DAC/Streamer/Pre Bryston BP173 Pre-Amp Bryston 7B3 Mono Blocks Quadraspire SV2T Rack Coming Soon to finish off the system -
    Arcam AV40 Processor Arcam PA720 7 Channel Amplifier Already owned -
    Michell Engineering SE-R (one of only a few out there) Kiseki Blue MC Cartridge Whest Three Phono Stage OPPO UHD-203 Very Nice Indeed
    Please find some pictures and links below -
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/pmc-speakers/fact/
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/bryston/
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/quadraspire/
    From This -


    To This - 

     

     

    Cheers,
    Paul.
  14. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    I've said this before and I'll probably being saying it until the day I retire but no one makes speakers like Sonus Faber, they really are a work of art and with the new Olympica Nova range they have taken it to another level at this price point, they really are quite stunning.
    It amazes me that with every new generation they manage to make them more and more beautiful, the Olympica range is by far our most popular speaker range from Sonus Faber and the new Nova lineup is certain to continue that, Sonus Faber really do appreciate that speakers are a bit of furniture in your room and they really do go the extra mile to make something that is stunning to look at, so will blend into most people living spaces, but they also create a speaker that is captivating to listen to giving a very organic and natural presentation.
    With the new Nova range they have expanded the line up a fair bit to 1 standmount, 4 floorstanders, 2 center speakers and a wall mount option so that you can create an awesome cinema setup.
    They are available in Walnut and the new Wenge finish which I have to say is my favourite, we have the Olympica Nova II on demo at the moment with the I & III to follow very shortly so please feel free to get in touch to arrange a demo anytime, please see the full range below -
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/sonus-faber/olympica-nova-collection/





    Cheers,
    Paul.
  15. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    After a busy day setting up it is now time to quickly post this and sit back and test the various systems in preparation for tomorrow's Rega Vinyl open day, it's a tough job but someone has got to do it.
    We will have 4 rooms running + Chris on hand selling his records so please feel free to come along and feel free to bring any vinyl you'd like to hear.
    Please find a few pics below of the various setups, in all of them the speakers are a fair bit more expensive than the amps driving them but it seems to really work.



     



    Look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
    Regards,
    Paul.
  16. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    This is a real quick one to say that Arcam's new range of HDA Cinema Receivers and Processor's has now started to trickle through, at the moment we have just taken delivery of our demo AVR10 and AVR30 Receivers with the AVR20 and AV40 processor to follow shortly then next month we will see the new 2, 4 and 7 channel amplifiers, personally I am really pleased to see the return of Arcam's 7 channel one box amplifier which should make an awesome partner for the new AV40 processor making a pretty potent 2 box system.
    I have said this many times before but I firmly believe that when it comes to cinema equipment for home then Arcam is impossible to beat at these prices and I am sure this will continue with the new range, it has probably been around 4-5 years since Arcam's last range so I look forward to getting to know this new range, we've already got a couple of demo's booked in our Atmos demo room. I must say when I saw the photos of the new range I really wasn't sure on the new styling but once you see them in the flesh they look really classy and solid and I love the new screen.
    Anyway if you are in the market for a cinema upgrade please don't hesitate to get in touch as it is always fun getting our cinema up and running and I look forward to announcing a cinema open day early next year to preview the new range.
    Please see the full range below -
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/arcam/arcam-hda-range/




    Cheers,
    Paul
  17. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    It's been a while since I've done one of our install blogs, more a lack of time than anything, if you do like to see what we have been up to though I do update on our instagram and Facebook pages with all our installs and latest news almost daily, it is much quicker than writing a blog so please follow us below for all our latest goings on -
    https://www.instagram.com/hifi_lounge/
    https://www.facebook.com/HiFiLoungeUK/
    Anyway back to the install, Christmas certainly came early today for one of our lucky customer's as I installed a top end Naim system along with a pair of Wilson Audio Sabrina speakers and an Isol-8 Substation Integra to give stable and clean mains, I do have to say there really is great synergy with Naim and Wilson, very much like PMC and Naim, they just work so well together.
    The Naim System comprised of the following, NAP 300 DR, NAC 252 / SuperCap DR / ND555 With 555 DR, CDX2 with XPS and needless to say it sounded pretty awesome, the customer has a great listening room, a solid victorian house with high ceilings, perfect for a great sounding HiFi and I certainly left him smiling.
    We actually do have this system on permanent demo if you'd like a listen sometime, please find a link to Naim, Wilson and Isol-8 on our website + a few pictures from today.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/naim/
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/wilson-audio/
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/isol-8/
    From This

    To This

    And Finally this 





    Cheers,
    Paul.
  18. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    This is just a quickie to say that we now have the Magneplanar 20.7 Speakers on Demo, most definitely the biggest speaker we ever have had in HiFi Lounge that is for sure but they really do sound absolutely incredible.
    I love Maggies but due to their size they are not for everyone but pretty much everyone that hears them are captivated by them, they offer a presentation quite like nothing else so when a customer rang a couple of weeks ago enquiring if he could demo the 3.7’s, which we have on permanent demo, against the 20.7’s I was as keen as mustard to get it arranged, more on a personal note really as I have been wanting for years to spend some quality time with the 20.7’s. In a stroke of luck Symmetry were using them at the Ascot show which we were working at so after the show we picked them up and bought them straight back here, happy days.
    The demo is tomorrow so I’m sure the customer will be won over by the 20.7’s, just hope he can fit them in his house.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-categ…/…/magnepan/speakers/
    Cheers,
    Paul.



  19. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    Now this is an amp that a lot of people have been waiting for, me included, so I am really pleased to say that we now have the new Rega Aethos Amplifier on Permanent demo, just in time for our Rega Open Day, this coming Saturday, (November 23rd).
    Over the last few years Rega have proved extremely popular with their Amplifiers, especially with the Elex-R and Elicit-R, personally I love the Elex-R so the addition of the Higher End £2999 Aethos is bound to be a great success.
    First impression are that it is extremely heavy, thanks in part to it's gorgeous case which is very similar in design to Rega's Aura Phono Stage, as the Aethos is a Line Level amp only, with no built in Phono stage, I can see this amp being partnered with the Aura / Planar 10 a fair bit to give a pretty awesome analogue system, it is rated at 125 wpc into 8ohms so will drive the majority of speakers out there.
    Right better get it running in ready for Saturday's Open Day, please find more information on the Aethos below and a few pictures -
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/…/amplifiers-rega/





    Cheers,
    Paul.
  20. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    So we’ve had some great open days this year but I can’t think of a better way to finish of the year now that the evenings are drawing in and Winter is approaching fast, so proper HiFi weather, than having a Rega open where we can celebrate and play vinyl all day so if you love your music please feel free to join us.
    There will be 4 demo rooms running and we are looking forward to our yearly visit from Chris and Dawn selling their great mix of new and used vinyl which is always incredibly popular, I challenge anyone to just buy one record, it is impossible.
    2 of the stars of the day will be Rega’s new Aethos amplifier, priced at £2999, due out any day now, I can see this becoming a very popular amplifier indeed, I listened to it in here the other day and it certainly didn’t disappoint, it also looks great and weighs a tonne, and also we will be showcasing the new Planar 10 turntable with the new Apheta 3 moving coil cartridge which is definitely the best Rega turntable I have ever heard.
    We will have representatives here from Rega throughout the day to help run the event and answer any questions you may have + refreshments available.
    Below are the 4 rooms we will be running and please feel free to bring any vinyl along you’d like to hear.
    Now I am a firm believer that you should spend as much on your speakers as you can, as long as you have a good enough front end to drive them, these 3 systems kind of prove this hopefully as all the speakers cost much more than the amplifier that drives them which is also a great advert for how good Regas amplifiers are, I’m sure they will all sound great, what could possibly go wrong.
    Upstairs demo room (Nice and Simple)


    Rega Planar 3 turntable with Elys 2 MM cartridge Rega Elex-R Amplifier PMC Twenty5.23 Speakers


    First Downstairs ‘Naim’ Room (Reference Rega Setup)

    Rega Planar 10 with Apheta 3 MC Cartridge Rega Aura Reference Phono Stage Rega Osiris Reference Amplifier Wilson Audio Sabrina Speakers


    Second Downstairs ‘Highend Room’ (More Achievable System)


    Rega Planar 8 with Apheta 2 Cartridge Rega Aria Phono Stage New Rega Aethos Amplifier Fyne Audio F703 speakers (Thanks to Fyne Audio for lending us these)


    Reception Room (The Fun Room)
    Hope to see you on the 23rd November, please find a link to Rega on our website below –
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/rega/
    Regards,
    Paul.
  21. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,

    I have said it many times that for me speakers are the most important part of a good hifi setup, obviously everything has to be well balanced but as far as I am concerned if I had to choose one area where the biggest investment should be made then it would be on the speakers hence why we have so many demo speakers in here with more arriving quite frequently, so I thought I would just write a quick blog on our latest additions.

    Wilson Audio



    I’m a big Wilson fan and not only do their speakers sound amazing but unlike most other companies you can choose any colour you would like, to match your decor or your favourite car as 2 examples, we have just had a new pair of the Yvettes and DAW’s in for demo so we invented 2 new colours that Wilson had not tried themselves before, they actually supplied 2 test swatches to make sure we were happy before they started spraying them but I couldn’t be happier to be honest. For our new DAW’s we went for gloss Macadamia but with added silver and gold flake so in normal light they look like a dark brown but once the light hits them they really do come alive with a burst of colour, then for our new Yvette’s we went for what is now known as ‘Wendy Blue, it is a colour Wendy chose to match a Farrow and Ball paint, basically it is Sebring Blue with added Gold and Silver flake again but this time in the Matt Finish which looks incredibly cool.

    Needless to say if you’d like to come in to demo these anytime please get in touch, we also have the TuneTots and Sabrina’s here and can get in any off the rest of the range if required although the Wamm may be a bit tricky.

    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/wilson-audio/







    Fyne Audio






    Fyne Audio just seem to keep going from strength to strength so I am really pleased to say that we have the new F502SP’s in for demo, SP standing for Special Edition, basically they are made in Scotland and use the F502 Cabinet but use the drivers, crossover and plinth from the £5999 F702 all for a great price of £3499, we went for our demo speakers in Gloss Walnut which carry a small premium but they really do look a million dollars, for the price they are at they really are incredible value.

    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/fyne-audio/

    JBL Speakers




    I must admit when I decided to take on JBL I didn’t realize that there was so much love for them, when customers come in and see we have JBL a lot of them have stories about JBL’s they have owned in the past, if I am 100% honest I only bought them on as I loved the styling, especially the L100 Classic but was pleasantly surprised how good they sound, I have the L100 Classic’s playing most of the day in our downstairs demo room from a Naim Uniti Star and they are really great fun you can’t help but like them, we have 2 pairs of JBL’s on demo at the moment with the smaller 4306 to follow later this month.

    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/jbl/











    Devialet






    Ever since the original Phantom was launched I always thought it would look cool in black well now Devialet have launched the Matt Black Reactor on both the 600 and 900 models and yes it does look awesome and needless to say it does sound excellent, especially for its size.

    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/devialet/phantom-reactor/

    New Sonus Faber Olympica Nova On Demo Shortly.




    Due at any moment are the new Sonus Faber Olympica Nova speakers, the Olympica range has always been our most popular Sonus Faber range so I can’t wait to get them in here, we will have 3 models on demo, the Nova I, II and V, if they sound as good as they look then we are in for a real treat.

    Spendor D7.2




    We have had these on demo for a couple of months now but thought it was worth mentioning as the original D7 was a brilliant speaker, my favourite Spendor ever, and the good news is that the D7.2 has refined this formula to give a slightly more open, natural and neutral sound but still with that classic Spendor naturalness, if you are looking for a speaker around the £4k mark you really should listen to these.

    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/spendor/d-range/

    NEW REL S Range




    Finally just a quickie to say that we also have the new REL S range on demo, the S range has always been our most popular subs from REL and the new S/510 and S/812 take things to another level with more power and better driver designs so if you need a sub for cinema and 2 channel then look no further.

    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/rel/serie-s/

    I’m sure before the end of the year is out we’ll have some more speakers in here but if you do want to try anything we have here please don’t hesitate to get in touch to make an appointment to come in for a listen.

    Regards,

    Paul.
  22. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    It is just a quick one to say that we will be helping Absolute Sounds run their room at the Ascot HiFi Show this weekend (October 26th and 27th) so if you are planning on going please stop by to say hello.
    Really looking forward to this as it was always a good show when held at Windsor but this should be on another scale now it has moved to Ascot which is set to give a brilliant setting to some of the worlds best HiFi, Can’t wait.
    Hope to see you there, more info below –
    https://hifishowlive.com/
    Regards,
    Paul.

  23. Vipers
    Hi all,
    Well it seems to have been a long time coming but today our demo Rega Planar 10 arrived fitted with Rega's new Apheta 3 Moving Coil Cartridge, so far I have unboxed it and listened to one side of an LP and already it is sounding excellent, this really is a much anticipated turntable and I know it won't disappoint, please find a link below to the PL10 on our website -
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product/rega-planar-10-turntable/
    I thought it has been a long time since we did some unboxing photos so please see below, also there has just been an excellent review of the PL10 on the Ear so please see the link below –
    http://www.the-ear.net/review-hardware/rega-planar-10-turntable-and-arm
    Rega Open Day!
    Finally please put November 23rd in your diary for our Rega Open day with Chris here with his great selection of vinyl for sale, this is bound to be a popular day, more details to follow.
    Let’s get this thing unboxed
    Cheers,
    Paul.





















    Cheers,
    Paul.
  24. Vipers
    So the above pictures say it all really, saying that I had an awesome 3 days at Donington Park last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, basically 2 days of testing on the full GP layout but unfortunately not enough marshalls arrived on race day so we had to qualify and race on the shorter National layout which I actually prefer but not everything went to plan in the final race.
    The strange thing from the whole weekend was that on my 8th lap on Thursday morning after just arriving at Donington I went 3 seconds quicker than my best lap last year then spent the next 3 days not being able to match it which I really don’t understand, I think I was just very keen to get out on track. Again though I learnt a lot, it seems you are forever learning, I went to Donington determined to get my apex speeds up by getting off the brakes earlier which I think I did but then I started breaking fractionally earlier which unbelievably can cost you a couple of seconds a lap but in the end it all came together and my lap times got very consistent.
    In Qualifying for race 2 I did one of my best sessions and qualified a little nearer the mid pack where I have been aiming for all season, race 1 was difficult due to a crash at the start for some of my competitors, this put me to the back as I tried to avoid it and thanks to 2 safety cars the race was over before it began. For race 2 I was determined to have a good one, my start was OK, I held my position and I settled in to chase the pack in front only for the guy behind me to get a run down the straight only to out brake himself and then come across to T bone me leaving me no option but to go into the gravel in avoidance, I really was gutted as it felt like I was in for a good race, saying that luckily Ollie, the Radical photographer, was right where I went off so we got some great pictures and at the end of the day it is all part of the experience, below is the incident, if anyone has any idea what I could have done different please let me know.
    One race round left at Snetterton and that is season 2 done and dusted unbelievably, gone in the blink of an eye, the trouble is this motorsport thing really does get under your skin and I am now more than a little addicted so I need to look under the bed to see if I can find some sheckles to help fund next year.
    Anyway below are a few pictures from the weekend and my best qualifying lap.
    Cheers,
    Paul.






    This is where it all started to go wrong!






  25. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    So there has certainly been a lot of exciting new releases announced over the last couple of weeks so I just thought I would do a quick overview of what has been announced, most of it on permanent demo soon, if you’d like any more information please feel free to give me a ring.
    Arcam

    When it comes to home cinema Receivers and Processors then Arcam really do lead the way so it is great news that they have just announced the new range with a shiny new look to carry on from the mega successful previous range, again it comprises of 3 new receivers, 1 processor and 3 new power amps, a 2 channel, 4 channel and the one I’m most pleased with the return of a 7 Channel amplifier so you can run a 2 box system with the processor and 7 channel amp, perfect. These have just been announced so are not on our site yet but the full range will be on demo shortly.


    Bryston

    There is no secret that we are big fans of Bryston at HFL and I have to say the announcement of their new BDA-3.14 certainly got my interest, basically it is a streaming DAC which is Roon compatible for around £4000 which seems great value to me as Bryston’s DAC’s have always been top draw and as I previous BDA/BDP user at home if they can combine the 2 units into one slimline box and keep the performance then this will be a real winner, on demo soon.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product/bryston-bda-3-14-streaming-dac/


    Naim

    Naim have just recently upgraded their Muso and now we have the new Muso Qb 2nd Generation on demo, offering the same small footprint as the previous version but upping the audio quality significantly + many more improvements, it really is very impressive for its size, feel free to come in for a listen.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product/naim-mu-so-qb-2/

    McIntosh

    I can’t deny that like many I am a sucker for a bit of McIntosh, I love the looks and sound quality, they really are very unique and undeniably retro in their appearance but certainly not in performance, after the success of their first Hybrid amplifier the MA252 now comes the MA352 2 Channel Amplifier, not only does it up the power to 200 WPC into 8 ohms it also adds the iconic blue VU meters, what is not to like there, stunning.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product/mcintosh-ma352-2-channel-integrated-amplifier/


    REL 

    So I am a strong advocate of running subwoofers with a 2 Channel system, whatever the speaker, and when it comes to this REL lead the way so it is great news that they have just announced the new S Series which is our most popular range, we have the new S/510 and the bigger S/812, they basically offer more power with lighter and faster drivers than the previous range and are now stackable so if you are feeling a little crazy you could run 3 S/812′s on each speaker, our demo models are arriving today.
    https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/rel/serie-s/


    Wilson Audio

    OK, so if I ever needed to sell an organ or 2 to get a pair of speakers these are the speakers I would be willing to do that for, what a thing of beauty, as many will know I was lucky enough to go to Dave Wilson’s house to listen to the Mighty Wamm and Wilson Audios new Chronosonic XVX carries a lot of the technology from the Wamm with Daryl Wilson re-evaluating everything to create something truly special, they are not cheap at around £350,000 but oh my god, they just look amazing, I almost don’t care what they sound like when they look that good but the reality is that they will sound incredible, I’d love to say that these will be on demo shortly but unfortunately that is extremely unlikely unless anyone is looking for a new kidney for £300k.





    So that is a quick overview or what to expect going into the Autumn, feel free to get in touch anytime to discuss any of the above, certainly looks like exciting times are ahead
    Cheers,
    Paul.
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