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Blog Entries posted by Vipers

  1. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    Well the Vinyl Revolution certainly shows no sign of slowing down I am very glad to say, as many of you know there really is some real magic with vinyl, not just on a nostalgia level but with the quality of sound, it just sounds right, hence why it has come back so strongly as to be honest it can be a bit of a pain, you get the odd pop and click, you can’t skip tracks easily and you have to keep getting up and down to change sides but besides all that we still sell more turntables than any other source which makes me very happy indeed and the main reason for this popularity is plain and simply down to sound quality
    I have said many times, as far as I am concerned to get the most from your music enjoyment ideally you’ll have a turntable and a digital source whether that be CD, Streamer or a Server / Dac combo, basically a good analogue and digital source and you’ve got the best of both worlds, so after all this talking I am really happy to say that we have now added VPI Turntables and Lyra and Kiseki Cartridges to our portfolio.
    I’m always keeping an eye for new brands and one brand that kept coming up in conversation with my customer’s was VPI Turntables and after doing some research they get nothing but glowing reviews so it really seemed like a logical step as they really do offer something different to our other Vinyl playback offerings and they are from New Jersey and along with Bruce Springsteen we know that great things come from Jersey
    Seriously though they offer a range of turntables from £1500 to £40,000 with a very unique look, they use a Uni-Pivot tonearm which a new one to me but after listening to them they definitely seem to work, many of these are actually 3D Printed which is very different.
    We have started by focusing on the VPI Prime range so we have the Prime, Prime Scout and Prime Signature turntables now on permanent demo which I have just finished setting up, they are actually really pretty straightforward to get up and running although the Uni-Pivot arm took some getting used to, so anyway please feel free to come in for a listen anytime -
    Lyra and Kiseki cartridges!
    Obviously to bring on a new Turntable brand we need cartridges to put on them, needless to say I still love our Dynavector cartridges but I have always felt it would be nice to offer a couple more choices here, well Lyra really are up there with the most respected cartridge makers out there and Kiseki offer something quite different with only 2 models in the range at the moment but they really do give a lovely analogue sound, quite different to Lyra and Dynavector, more along the Koetsu sound really.
    So to sum up, there has never probably been a better time for vinyl as we get great pressings now and there is so much choice on excellent turntables I am really pleased to have strengthened our propositions for our customers so please feel free to get in touch to discuss and of the above.
    Now for some pictures
    The VPI Prime Scout with the Lyra Delos MC Cartridge

    The VPI Prime with the Kiseki  Blue N.S. MC Cartridge

    Prime Scout (right) V the Prime

    VPI Prime Signature with the Lyra Kleos SL MC Cartridge

  2. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    Just a quick heads up to say that I have a pair of the gorgeous Sonus Faber Olympica 3 speakers for sale in walnut, they are a trade in, 2 years old with very little use in as new condition.
    Price new £10,498
    Our Price - £6995
    Any questions please feel free to get in touch.

  3. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    I just thought I would do a quick blog on an install that I did earlier in the week as one of the things that annoys me is when people say big speakers in a small room can’t work, when I had PMC MB2′s at home before setting up HFL they were only in a smallish room and they absolutely sung so in reality there is no reason why a big speaker can’t work in a small room but this install was definitely going to test that theory.
    So after our PMC Fenestria install struggles, which is a really nice sized room to be fair, we’re still working on that one btw, I was actually quite nervous with this install this week, it was basically a case of installing a pair of Wilson Audio Sasha 2 speakers into a relatively small room for one of our very good customer’s, I was confident they would work but you can never be 100% sure until you get them in the room as we recently found out.

    The first struggle was actually getting them out the van and in the house as at nearly 100kg’s per speaker they are not the easiest speaker to move around and to get up any steps but we did it relatively easily and before you knew it they were ready to plug into the customer’s NuVista 800 amp to see what we had, I think it is fair to say that both myself and the customer was relieved and delighted in equal measure that 1st impressions were very favourable and after a fair bit of tweaking they were absolutely singing so then it was time to put them on their spikes which helped tighten the sound up further, it helps that the customer had an extremely nice front end to get the best from the Sasha’s.

    So there you go, in theory the Fenestria install should have gone smoothly and this should have been the problem one but it ended up being in reverse so you can just never tell, what we ended up with on this install was a really tight, powerful and controlled bass with an open top and mid with no colouration whatsoever, I’m sure someone far cleverer than me could explain why these 2 rooms on these installs behave so differently but it has certainly been a learning experience.
    McIntosh MHA150 Install.
    Once we had the Sasha’s singing the customer also had a nice headphone upgrade as we installed the gorgeous McIntosh MHA150 headphone amp + the Nordost Heimdall II cable to the customer’s Audeze LCD-3′s which again sounded excellent, a very happy man.

  4. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    So here we go again, the first open day of 2019 and being that the introduction of Fyne Audio to our portfolio was one of the highlights of 2018 it will definitely be a good one. Fyne Audio may be a new name in HiFi but between the 7 strong management team they have over 200 years experience so they may be new in name but they most definitely know how to design a fantastic speaker as all the awards and glowing reviews they have won so far show since launching last year.
    So I have said this before but since launching HFL back in 2012 I had never really found a speaker brand, at the more modest end of the market shall we say, that I really liked and could get behind so I was delighted when I first heard the Fyne Audio F501 as at last I had a speaker at the £1000′ish price point that I really loved and could sincerely recommend to our customer’s as basically if I don’t like it then it can’t make it into the showroom and for me the F501 are incredible speakers that really do punch well above their price point so it will be great to have these running in our upstairs demo room, if you haven’t heard them then I really recommend you come along for a listen.

    But Fyne Audio are not all about speakers at the more entry level, just before Christmas they released the £5995 F702 which again sound excellent and have been very well received in here to anyone who has heard them, we actually sold the first pair to a customer in the UK, so we will be playing those also and then shortly Fyne Audio will be lunching the F1-10 at £17,999 and the F1-12 at £23,999 so they may be a new company but they have set their sights very high so I am delighted to say that we will have the F1-10′s running also, personally everything I have heard from Fyne Audio so far I loved but I haven’t heard the F1-10 yet so I can’t wait to get them up and running, I’m sure they will sound fantastic.

    So we will have speakers running from £1199 to £17,999 on various systems plus we will have representatives here from Fyne Audio to help run the day and answer any questions you may have and as usual Wendy will be busy running around sorting out refreshments, being that Fyne Audio are a Scottish company we’ll have to see if we can give the food a Scottish theme, Haggis anyone
    So if you have not experienced Fyne Audio before please feel free to come along as I know like me and many others you’ll be very impressed, please see the full range below, we also have the F500′s and F502′s available to demo.
    Hope to see you on February the 2nd from around 9.30am onwards, if you are planning on coming along can you please send a quick e-mail to the below address so we know how much Scottish Whisky to get in 😉 thanks -
    [email protected]
    Many thanks,

  5. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    I was hoping to do a blog a week or so before Christmas about a successful install of a pair of the PMC Fenestria’s Speakers, the first pair sold into the UK in fact, but unfortunately it wasn’t the smoothest installation which after a 2nd visit yesterday proved 100% that it is the room that is the issue, I have always said that your room is the most important part of your HiFi which really does get overlooked by a lot of HiFi Enthusiasts and this really did prove it so I thought it would be worth writing a few words on the issue encountered as I definitely learnt a thing or 2.
    So the customer, Hi Steve, like me is a big PMC enthusiast, he has a PMC Cinema room + in other rooms he has a pair of 24′s, 26′s and Fact.8′s so as soon as he heard we had the Fenestria’s on demo he was straight in here and was suitably impressed and ordered a pair. Keen to get them in before Christmas PMC were very helpful and with just a few days to spare we went to the customers house to install them, before we get stuck into the issue we were having I should state they were going into a nice size room and were to be driven by a Naim NAC 252/NAP 300 and ND555 Streamer so they should have just slotted in nice and easy and worked a treat as they had some great kit behind them the reality was quite different.

    So I arrived at the customer’s and with some help from PMC we started to assembling the Fenestria’s which really is a 2 man job and before you knew it we had everything connected up and was ready to enjoy some music so the customer queued up a few tracks and then the issue materialised, basically the mid range and treble sounded gorgeous but the bass was all over the place, I have never heard anything like it before, it just overpowered everything, so not to be beaten we spent the next few hours moving them around the room to several different locations, not the easiest job at 80KG’s each, but wherever they ended up we still had the uncontrolled bass, even the experienced guys from PMC had never heard such a bad room before, so in the end we had no choice but to admit defeat and leave it that we would revisit it in the New Year, which we did yesterday.
    Now I must admit I was 100% expecting that we would try a few things but in the end I would have to pull the speakers out, I was even thinking I may take them home which wouldn’t have been the end of the world So thinking of different options I took my demo pair of Wilson Sabrina’s with me to see if a different speaker would help but we encountered exactly the same issue, so then we tried the PMC Fact.8′s and again the bass was uncontrolled, so that proved to us that it wasn’t the Fenestria’s that were the problem but it was 100% the room, but we did find that in a couple of areas of the room the bass boom was significantly less and using my demo track of choice, the classic ‘Teardrop’ by Massive Attack we actually found 2 small areas in the room where the sound was pretty much as good as in my demo room but you really had to be in that small sweet spot, in the rest of the room is was still quite poor, luckily the sweet spot was exactly where the customer was thinking of sitting so we set up the listening position here and left much more hopeful that a solution could be found.

    I still think a little room treatment and maybe even some small DSP applied could really help so we are looking into this now, but I can hostly say I have never heard a speaker behave like this before but in life you will always get faced with certain challenges and as long as you give it your best shot and hopefully learn something along the way then it is actually good experience whatever the outcome and one thing is for sure the Fenestria’s sound so damn good it is definitely worth a little effort to really get the best from them and I am sure by the time we are finished we will have them really singing
    To Be Continued ……..

  6. Vipers
    Hi all,
    I think everyone knows that we love Atlas Cables at HFL, I was using them personally before setting up HFL and continue to be just as impressed as I have always been with them, they just get out of the way and let the music do it’s thing, you can’t really as for more than that.
    So when Atlas announced their new Asimi Luxe cables I thought the time was right to bring them on for permanent demo, mainly to use in our Bryston 28B, Chord Dave and PMC Fenestria setup as I know from personal experience that Atlas have always had a great synergy with PMC and Bryston.
    Now it isn’t every day that you spend £15,000 on speaker cable and £6500 on a pair of XLR cables but these are certainly no ordinary cables, basically they are 100% pure silver and come bound in hand stitched Nappa Leather which isn’t just for looks but brings real performance benefits, there are a choice of 4 leather colours and 2 types of different stitching, I went for red XLR’s with a Black baseball stitch which look absolutely stunning and black leather with a red stitch for the speaker cable, needless to say they sound great, the first thing you notice over better separation and openess is a more effortless presentation, everything just sounds more natural, cables really do make a real difference and these new Asimi Luxe cables are making our PMC Fenestria’s really sing like never before
    I should mention the speaker cables and RCA’s also use Atlas’s Grun grounding system which also can have a real gain, please feel free to read more below + there is an excellent review under the downloads tab from HiFi News which gives an 89% score which is very high from those guys.
    As ever please find some pictures below which hopefully show the quality but if you ever would like to borrow them for a home demo please feel free to get in touch.
    Atlas Asimi Luxe XLR Unboxing!

    Atlas Asimi Luxe Grun Speaker Cable Unboxing!

  7. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    One of the highlights for me during 2018 was hearing my first pair of Fyne Audio speakers, the F501′s, I really never expected them to be as goods as they were and they really filled a gap in our speaker lineup as I had never really found a speaker at this price point before that I could really recommend and since that moment we have sold quite a few pairs to some very happy customers which is great news.
    But it was always Fyne Audio’s plan to bring a full range of speakers at various price points out up to £25,000 so I am delighted to say that we now also have the F501′s bigger brother on demo, the F502 which is considerably bigger and really is incredible value but just before Christmas we also took delivery of our demo pair of the F701 which are the next range up and come in at £5995 and in what is becoming the Fyne Audio way they punch well above their price point.
    1st Fyne Audio F701 Install!
    Funnily enough a couple of weeks before Christmas the Fyne Audio rep bought in the F701 for me to listen to before I decided to take them on and at the same time I had a customer come in for a speaker demo so he had a listen and bought a pair there and then which is a very good endorsement, please find a picture below of the install which are the first pair of F701′s installed anywhere, needless to say he is absolutely loving them.

    Fyne Audio Open Day!
    Our first open day of 2019 will be held with Fyne Audio on February 2nd so please put it in your diary, more news to come shortly.
    Please find some more pictures below of the complete range that we have on demo at the moment plus more info in the link below -

    F500′s on Solid Steel Stands!

    The new F502′s

    The Brand New F701 Speakers

    If any of the above is of any interest please feel free to get in touch to book a demo.
  8. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    Firstly both Wendy and myself just wanted to say a huge thanks for everyones support throughout 2018, it has been an incredible year and our busiest so far, the last 2 months have been extremely busy which is great news, it really does feel like a golden age for HiFi again with some amazing products being launched and a real hunger for high quality kit to enjoy music on, I’ve said it before but I find it mind blowing just how many people there are buying quality HiFi, when we set up HFL I really had no idea that there were so many people out there that love their music and are happy to invest it it, so thanks again, it may sound cheesy but we really do have the best customers
    This is a first for us but we are actually closing over the Christmas period this year, please find our opening time below -

    December 22nd - Open till 2pm December 22nd - Open till 2pm
    December 23rd - Closed

    December 24th - Closed

    December 25th - Closed

    December 26th - Closed

    December 27th - Closed

    December 28th - Closed

    December 29th - Open all day

    December 30th - Closed

    December 31st - Closed

    January 1st - Closed

    January 2nd - Open as normal

    So thanks again, have a Great Christmas and New Year and let’s all look forward to what 2019 has in store for us all
    All the best,
    Paul & Wendy xxx

  9. Vipers
    Hi All,
    Just like Lotus this year in McIntosh Audio's 70th Anniversary, 2 of my favourite things in life, 1948 was certainly a good year  
    Well McIntosh are certainly celebrating in style by releasing 2 new products to celebrate such a landmark, the C70 Pre-Amp and the MC2152 Stereo Valve amp which is the one that has got me excited, surely this is one of the most, if not the most, beautiful amp ever built, the only downside is that they are only making 70 of each so these are to be a real collectors piece, please find more info below -

  10. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    Generally I like to blog each new individual product that we put on demo at HFL but with a combination of receiving a lot of new demo equipment lately and being extremely busy in the run up to Christmas, I’m definitely not complaining, then I just haven’t been able to find the time so I have compiled a list below of a lot of the new stuff on demo, I’ve also bought on a couple more brands lately that I will announce in a separate blog.
    I have to say that I don’t think we’ve ever been busier, it still amazes me how many people are out there that love their music and their HiFi and are willing to spend serious amounts of money on it as I am constantly aware that everything we sell is a total luxury and no one needs any of it, luckily music is so important to so many people that they are willing to invest in it, here’s hoping it continues, regardless of Brexit
    Anyway onto the new kit -
    Sonus Faber

    Really pleased that we now have the Sonus Faber Sonetto range on demo, at the moment we have the Sonetto II and III on demo with the VIII to follow shortly, I have to say that in classic SF the III are one of the prettiest small speakers I have ever seen, luckily they sound excellent as well, no one makes a speaker like SF and these Sonetto’s have definitely opened the sound up compared to the Venere’s so I am sure these are going to be very popular.

    Naim Audio

    So the ND555 and NDX 2 have really moved things forward compared to the prevois generation of Naim streamers so it is great to now have the new entry level ND5 XS 2 on demo, the big thing with this is that it is screenless but the Naim app is one of the best in the business and it is also Roon ready so you could argue there is no need for a screen and at £2299 it really is great value for the performance you get.
    Meze Audio

    This is actually one of our new brands, Meze are a headphone brand that have generally been at the lower end but with the Empyrean they have definitely gone up market and have created a headphone that is causing a lot of interest due to a  world first in a new driver design, they are a Planar Magnetic but they certainly don’t sound like any Planar I have heard before -
    Fyne Audio

    When we bought on Fyne Audio I really didn’t know what to expect as we haven’t really done speakers at this price point before but the F501′s have proved a big success, have to say stick them on a Rega Elex-R and they really do sing so I am pleased to say that we now have the bookshelf version on demo and they are equally as musical, at £599 they are amazing value.

    I have said before that I have always been a big fan of Pioneer’s disc spinners, I used to own their epic LX91 which was my first taste of a high end player many years ago now so I was  delighted when I heard that Pioneer had taken up the mantle from OPPO to create 2 audiophile 4K players, we have had the UDP-LX500 on demo for a few weeks now which has been popular but now I am glad to say we have the one I’ve been waiting for on demo, the UDP-LX800 which has not been created to hit a price point but solely to get the best performance and I’m glad to say the wait has been worthwhile as it got a brilliant review in this month Home Cinema Choice saying that this is basically the best sounding UHD player ever built, can’t ask for more than that I’d say I have a scanned copy if you’d like me to send it over, just let me know.
    REL Acoustics

    Why we are on a cinema theme I just wanted to announce the REL have just announced a severely limited edition version of their S5 subwoofer, basically a carbon main driver taken from the G1 and the passive driver taken from the 212SE in the S5 chassis to create something very special indeed, it may be priced at £800 more than a standard S5 but I expect it to be very special indeed for music and cinema, I have actually ordered one for home, if this is of interest though you’d better act fast as I think the UK are only receiving 20 form a worldwide run of 100, so very limited indeed.

    Devialet Reactor Update

    This is just a quick heads up to say that we now have our Reactor stock in so if you are interested please feel free to come in for a listen and you can take one away, in the run up to Christmas I expect these to be very popular but I have a couple of Reactor 600′s in stock and 4 x 900′s but that is all we could get for this year, have to say they really are incredible considering their size.
    So I think that is enough for today but as you can see there is certainly a lot going on at the moment which really is great news.
    If any of the above are of any interest please feel free to get in touch.

  11. Vipers
    Hi All,
    I know the Chord Electronics M Scaler has been out for a month or so now but we haven’t had it in here much as it has been out on loan for most of that time but I just wanted to do a quick blog to say that we have actually got a demo model if you did want to try it which I strongly recommend if you have a Chord DAC, in particular a Qutest, Hugo TT 2 or Dave as it really does take these Dac’s to another level.
    I know when we had our Chord Electronics Open Day and I was speaking to Rob Watts about it he really was impressed how well the Scaler had turned out, better than he imagined I think when he started developing it and he is adamant that any system needs an M Scaler in it if possible.
    I must admit when Chord announced the M Scaler I really thought everyone would be ordering one but in reality the take up was slow, in here at least, I knew how good it was as I had been using it a lot in our demo Blu 2 but I think most people wanted to experience it before they ordered one but now it is actually out and people have heard how it works then now the orders are coming in thick and fast, pretty much everyone who has heard it has ordered one, one customer told me it is the single biggest upgrade he has ever given his system so you can’t ask for more than that
    I get asked a lot what it does to the presentation, well even though it is upsampling CD to 16x its original resolution to 705.6kHz it isn’t a load more detail you experience but for me it is a more open and effortless presentation with more depth, it’s as if the upsampling is adding more refinement to the digital file which once you have heard it then you take it away is difficult to live without so once again Rob Watts and Chord have definitely worked their magic.
    If you’d like to experience the M Scaler for yourself please just get in touch to either arrange a demo or feel free to take it home to try in your system, it is actually booked out for the next 2 weekends but anytime after then should be fine.

    Melco N100 Now On Demo!

    Also just a quick heads up to say that we also have the new Melco N100 Server / Player on demo, you could argue thanks to it’s smaller size it is the perfect partner for the Hugo TT 2 and M Scaler setup, they most definitely work well together.

  12. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    Just a quickie to say that we now have the new Devialet Phantom Reactor 600 on demo with the 900 following very shortly so if you’d like to come in for a demo anytime please feel free.
    I can’t stress enough how impressive this smaller Phantom is, you just can’t appreciate it really until you see it alongside the original Phantom and hear what it is capable of, quite amazing really for it’s size.
    So if you have always wanted a Phantom but didn’t have the space or you already have a Phantom setup but would like a smaller one for another room please pop in to see and hear the Reactor in action -

  13. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    So firstly I am really pleased to add Brigadiers Audio to our portfolio, I’m sure it is not a name everyone will be familiar with, I had honestly never heard of them before but they really do have something quite special to offer with their Mu.2 speakers. Brigadiers Audio are an Australian company based in Sydney that have over 150 years experience between them, they draw on the design experience of noted Australian designer Brad Serhan, who has been designing ‘award winning’ loudspeakers for over 30 years and the design skills of Brad’s business partner electronic engineer Morris Swift. Their speakers use some of the best drivers in the world with an extremely high quality crossover to give a sound that really does defy the size of the speaker helped by a solid birch ply cabinet, they may be small but they come in at 10kg’s each so certainly not light.
    I like to think we have most bases covered at HFL but there has always been one gap and that is a high quality mini monitor type speaker, ok we’ve got some brilliant speakers like the PMC twenty5.21′s, the Sonus Faber Olympica 1′s up to the Wilson Audio TuneTot’s but they are still a reasonable size and if I’m honest this is one area that has not overly excited me, I am definitely a floor stander type of guy.
    But that all changed the other day, Andy Moore from Mian distribution got in touch to say he has this awesome little speaker and I really should listen to it, so just out of politeness really I said bring them in and I’ll have a quick listen, in all honesty I wasn’t expecting much but how wrong was I, after the first song I was hooked, I just couldn’t believe the size of sound from such a small speaker but more importantly it was the quality of sound, they are just so natural and musical, there’s a real solidity to the presentation, it really is difficult to put it into words but these speakers really do have some magic and I can honestly say this is the first small speaker that I would be excited to listen to.
    Funnily enough I only unboxed them yesterday and I put them next to our Fenestria’s as in the pictures to get some hours on them, I had a demo booked with a lovely couple, hello Gordon and Jackie like me they had never heard of Brigadiers Audio but they were so impressed with what they heard they actually bought a pair on the spot, funnily enough they were amazed once they realised it was the Mu.2′s playing and not the Fenestria’s they just couldn’t believe the overall quality of sound so that definitely wasn’t a bad start.
    I think it is fair to say that Brigadiers Audio are a reasonably small company at the moment but they are extremely fastidious paying great care and attention to every speaker they build to the point they can apparently only make one pair of speakers a day, one things for sure they are going to have to figure out a way to up production once word gets out how good they are.
    I should mention that we use them with another of our new brands, the Solidsteel SS-6 speaker stands which work brilliantly with the Mu.2′s and if you buy the 2 together you save £280.
    There is a great review from Stereonet under the downloads tab in the link below which actually gets it spot on so if interested please have a read.
    So what with adding Fyne Audio recently to fill a gap at the lower end and now what with adding Brigadiers Audio I really think we have something for everyone when it comes to speakers.
    For me I have always thought that if you could fit in a floorstander then you would but the Mu.2′s for me are the first speaker that even if you are not looking for a standmount speaker you should consider these, basically if you are looking for a high quality speaker then definitely gives these a listen and see what you think, hopefully you’ll be as impressed as me.
    We are planning a open day with Brigadiers Audio for around February time so please watch this space.

  14. Vipers
    Hi All,
    So almost as if it was all a dream my first season pretending to be a racing driver is over, talk about all over in the blink of an eye, I wish my driving was that fast Seriously though it really does feel like only the other day we were at the Autosport show in January signing on the dotted line to join the Radical SR1 Cup championship.
    So how has it been? In all honestly it has been great fun but it has transpired that it is most definitely a lot harder in real life than it looks on the TV, I am no longer an arm chair critic when watching motorsport on TV
    I really thought I would be a lot more competitive than I was and I think I really did underestimate the task at hand, I think the main issue was getting used to a downforce car, it really is a matter of how brave are you, I have no problem with acceleration and top speed but going into a blind corner at say 90 MPH really makes you take notice.
    Saying all this once I got to Donington, the 2nd from last race meeting of the season, I felt like I was starting to get somewhere, even though the races were not the best in the build up I found some time and it felt like I made some progress, funnily enough it has turned out that I like chasing lap time, ie going for a fast lap but come the race I seem to loose some speed, maybe I’m more suited to hill climbing
    And even though it is supposed to be fun it really does play with your head, you just can’t help but get caught up in it all and end up feeling really disappointed and down when you don’t perform too well where the reality should be that you should be buzzing from driving a racing car round some of the best racks in the UK, I guess it is just the competitive edge coming in.

    Brands Hatch Report, The Fangio Title Up For Grabs.
    So our season finished at Brands Hatch last weekend, another circuit I had never driven before, we were in the shorter Indy layout but we still had to deal with Paddock Hill bend which I was dreading before I got there, I had seen enough cars go off their over the years on TV, it looked terrifying, as it turned out I loved Brands, seemed to suit my driving, I guess other than paddock there are no balls out corners, it very much reminded me of a big go kart track.
    So amazingly I arrived at Brands 9 points off the lead in the Fangio Cup, basically the old buggers cup for over 45′s, I was racing David Tagg for the title, basically if I could beat him in both races I could take the title by 1 point but to be fair David had been quicker than me all year so my expectations weren’t very high.
    For the Friday test it was wet conditions which it turned out suited me and I was probably the most competitive I had been all year so roll on a wet Saturday race day I thought. So come Saturday morning Qualifying, which was wet, I out qualified David for both races so that was part 1 complete but I still felt David would out race me, what followed was a brilliant race where we were swapping positions and trading paintwork but in the end I beat David to close the gap to 4 points with 1 race left.
    Unfortunately for me anyway, the track had totally dried for race 2 so my advantage in the wet was gone but we still had an epic race and we almost crossed the finish line together with me just 0.2 second behind David meaning that he deservedly won the title and I lost out by the smallest of margins but I actually was fine with it as I had 2 brilliant races that really were fit for a championship decider, at last it felt like I was really racing which meant I left Brands buzzing and ready to try again next year.
    So congratulations to David for winning but I would like to say a massive thanks to our sponsors for supporting me this year, I’ll be coming round with my cap begging again soon for donations for next year 😉 but thanks again to Chord Electronics, PMC Speakers, Trilogy Audio, Naim Audio, Rega, Atlas Cables and HiFi Pig, also thanks to Daz at UPE Motorsport for being a top bloke and running my car all year and also for Tom Gladdis for trying to coach me, he must have the patience of a saint.
    So looking back it was epic fun, scary, frustrating and disappointing all in at the same time, I guess that is the same for any sport though but only after 1 week I am gagging to get back out in the car again, roll on next year.

  15. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    Just a real quickie to say that we now have the new Rega Planar 8 with Apheta 2 on permanent demo and it really is sounding good which is no surprise considering the expertise and experience Rega have when it comes to designing a turntable.
    I have set it up in our Naim room running into Rega’s new Reference Aura Phono Stage to really show it at it’s best, it really does sing on our Naim 500 System feeding the PMC Fenestria’s.
    I have to say I love the minimalist stying of the new Planar 8, I was never a fan of the outer plinth on the RP8 and RP10 so the new solution with the dust cover really does work a treat and the new matt black look really does finish it off nicely.
    If you fancy a listen anytime please feel free to get in touch to arrange a demo.

  16. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    I’m pleased to announce that on December 1st we will be holding a PMC Speakers Open Day with the main attraction being the epic new Fenestria Speakers, these really do need to be heard to be believed, driven by the amazing Bryston 28B3 Power Amps delivering 1 Kilo Watt into each channel, I hooked these up to the Fenestria’s yesterday in my mission to get the absolute best from them and the 28′s really did transform their character giving a more powerful sound but also bringing extra separation, finesse as well as control, these really are amazing amps that really have taken the Fenestria to another level.
    Learn About the Fenestria’s Development
    There really are some great innovations on the Fenestria’s so Oliver Thomas, the lead designer, will be holding a presentation in the morning and maybe another in the afternoon to run through the development process that took 5 years so everyone really can understand why these speakers sound so good, we will also have Tom from PMC here playing the tunes and to answer any questions you may have regarding the current range of PMC Speakers.

    We will be running PMC speakers in other rooms, probably with the Twenty5.24′s driven by the PMC Cor amplifier in our upstairs demo room and the Fact.12′s in the so called ‘Highend Room” so it will be a good chance to see and hear why PMC are our biggest selling speaker brand and why we are such fans here at HFL.
    This is our last open day of 2018 so please feel free to come along and join us, if you are planning on coming along can you please fire me over an e-mail to the below address, ta -
    [email protected]
    We will have refreshments throughout the day so hope to see you on December 1st to experience these amazing new speakers from PMC which funnily enough are actually built just a couple of miles away at PMC HQ in Biggleswade, it all happens around here
    Many thanks,

  17. Vipers
    Hi There,
    Just a quickie to say that we are closed this Friday / Saturday as we are helping out at the Windsor HiFi Show, basically we are running a small headphone area to show off the new dCS Bartok as a high end headphone solution so if you are going to the show please pop by and say hello, you can find more info on the show below -

    The idea is to take a long a small selection of Highend Headphones for attendees to listen to on the Bartok so we’ll take the Utopia’s, LCD-4′s, D8000′s, HD820′s and the Stax T8000 with the new SR-009S and SR-007′s to show the Bartok as a DAC / Streamer.
    Hope to see you there for what is always a great show.
  18. Vipers
    Hi All,
    Focal really have hit the spot with their range of open back headphones released over the last couple of years which have been very popular indeed so it is great news that they have now added a closed back to their range with the Elegia which we are pleased to say we now have on permanent demo, priced at £799 these are definitely going to carry on Focal’s success in the headphone market.
    If you’d like a listen anytime or to compare against other closed back headphones on the market please feel free to get in touch to book an appointment in our dedicated headphone shop.

  19. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    Well the PMC Fenestria’s have definitely been pulling people in for a listen and no one has had a bad word to say, in fact I think it is fair to say everyone has been totally blown away how good they are, I am still having far too many late nights at the moment as I work through my music collection, I have to say that I think one of their biggest strengths is how they make even poor recordings sound good which is a real bonus as when you get a high resolution system like this you tend to gravitate towards the better recordings which is a shame as you want to listen to all your music whether a good recording or not but with the Fenestria’s they just don’t seem to care, they can make music out of the worst recordings which is great news for my 80′s love affair I’m having at the moment
    So some great news, we sold our first pair of Fenestria’s today to one of our good customers who obviously has exceptionally good taste in speakers, hello Steve, so look forward to getting them installed for you as an early Christmas present
    In celebration please find some lovely photo’s PMC have had done, have to say I love them in white which I would never have thought would work.

    Also here is an assembly video PMC have produced
    Right, time to go and listen to some more music.
  20. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    Firstly I want to thank everyone that came to our Chord Electronics open day on Saturday, I would say it was one of our best yet with a brilliant turn out and getting a chance to sit and listen to one of Rob Watts presentations was incredible, feel really honoured that he made the time to visit HiFi Lounge really especially as we are such fans of his work, to be fair the presentations were quite technical but everyone that attended had nothing but praise for what Rob had to say and most of us actually understood a fair chunk of it which is even more incredible
    A couple of things that I took away from spending some time with Rob was that all his years of work on his products is quite simply all about getting that emotional connection with the music, also he is a big classical listener and uses mostly classical music to listen to and test his products which I found interesting as obviously they work brilliantly across all genres, and finally what I found interesting was that Rob is extremely happy with how the new M Scaler turned out, apparently when he started development he had no idea how much of a game changer it would be and how much performance it unlocks from his already brilliant Dac’s, funnily enough he likes it so much he takes it on planes when travelling the world with a portable power supply to use as his portable system, brilliant
    He was adamant though that the addition of the M Scaler to a system is a real game changing product and as I know it well what with using it in our demo Blu 2 for a few months I have to agree 100% as did a lot of people who attended the open day. A question I get asked a lot is what is better, a DAVE or Hugo TT2 and M Scaler as both are similar prices, Rob didn’t hesitate when asked this as he would want the M Scaler every time so would go with the later but obviously the ultimate is DAVE with the M Scaler.
    So thanks again to everyone that came along and made it such a great day, thanks also to Maurice from Chord for his help and Chris and Dawn for bringing along a great selection of vinyl for sale which proved as popular as ever.
    Please find a few pictures from the day below -

    It really was standing room only for Rob’s presentations, the room got a lot busier than this and we had to close the doors as the room was really rammed.

    How To Drive Speakers From the Hugo TT 2

    For todays lesson we are going to discuss how to drive speakers directly from the new and brilliant Chord Electronics Hugo TT 2 yes that is right, you can drive speakers directly from a DAC, this is a new one on me so I just thought I would mention it just incase not everyone knew as this makes a very simple system if you just want to stay digital.
    So basically all you need is a Hugo TT 2, a digital source, speakers and cables, to test this I got Atlas Cables to make up speaker cables with XLR at one end and a Banana at the other as the below then I just hooked up the new Melco N100 server to the TT2 and made sure to set the TT2 to amp mode so not to blow the speakers, then set the TT 2 to high gain to get more volume, I then hooked up a pair of PMC Twenty5.24′s and we were ready to test, not really knowing what to expect, well all I can say is amazing as I was able to play the 25.24′s really loud with volume to spare so it is definitely an option to consider if you want a highend but compact system which on the face of it will drive quite a variety of speakers, again another innovative design from Chord and even better you can also put the M Scaler on it to take it to another level

    If you’d ever like to try this as a system please feel free to get in touch to arrange a demo.
  21. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    So I think it is fair to say that I do like my speakers as we do have a fair collection of different brands here at HFL but if I am totally honest I have never found a brand that I feel happy to offer our customer’s at the cheaper end of the spectrum as really we don’t really get going to around the £2000 mark which I have always known is a bit steep for a lot of people but if we are going to bring a brand on at HFL then I really do have to believe in it myself.
    Enter Fyne Audio whose speakers start at £179 unbelievably, well funnily enough when I was contacted to see if I fancied a listen to one of this new brands speakers I wasn’t overly enthused as I thought we had enough speaker brands and I really needed another one like a hole in the head but I had heard good things about them through the grapevine so my appetite was wetted a little but in all honesty in my mind I was ready to politely decline bringing on another speaker brand, well that was until I heard them
    I was with a customer so Dave, the Fyne Audio representative, set up a pair of the brands F501 small floorstanders priced at £1199 with the Rega Elex-R amp using a BlueSound Node 2 into a Chord Qutest, once ready I sat down thinking of excuses to decline bringing on Fyne Audio but then from the first couple of minutes of Bozz Scaggs ‘Thanks To You’ I knew we had something interesting here, in the end I sat there for an hour trying song after song and they never failed to impress, I just kept shaking my head in disbelief that this was a £1199 speaker, how they do it for the money I have no idea as they are really well made, have some really interesting technology in but most importantly are very musical.

    It is pretty easy to get blown away with a mega bucks speaker but I would say that it is arguably more impressive for a speaker to really impress at this level so needless to say that I signed on the dotted line there and then and before I knew it we had another speaker brand on our portfolio but the great news is that we now really can cater for most music lovers regardless of budget as we can now put a system together for under £1000 which was impossible before Fyne Audio came on board.
    Fyne Audio are a Scottish based company made up of several people who have over 200 years of experience in the HiFi game between them so they certainly know their stuff, other exciting Fyne news is that they are starting with their F300 entry level Series but also have plans for a F1 Series which goes up to £24,999 with other ranges in between so although they are a new company I would say they are definitely a company to keep an eye on as they have got off to a cracking start and have already won a few awards so I can’t wait to hear some of their higher end models.
    Please find the Fyne Audio range of products announced so far below, at the moment we have the F501 on demo with the F500 and F502 to follow shortly so if you’d like a listen please feel free to get in touch to arrange a demo -

  22. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    This is just a quick heads-up that we now have the new Sony VPL-VW570ES native 4K projector on demo, priced at £7999 this sits below the brilliant VW760ES Laser projector which we also have on permanent demo.
    For me Sony stole the march on JVC for projection over the last few years but at long last JVC have upped their game and now offer a range of Native 4K projectors to compete directly with Sony so as soon as available I will be putting the JVC DLA-N7 on demo which competes with the VW570ES so it will be fascinating to see how they compare, watch this space
    Please find both new ranges from Sony and JVC below -
    If you love your films please feel free to pop in anytime to see how good a home projection system can look in our fully equipped Atmos demo room, you won’t need to go to the cinema ever again

  23. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    A lot of you already know that HiFi Lounge forming is directly connected to PMC, for those who don’t know the story basically myself and Wendy attended a PMC open day around 10 years ago where we heard the mighty BB5 XBD’s, we were so blown away we bought a pair of MB2i’s for home, as we couldn’t fit the BB5’s in our living room, I absolutely loved those speakers and that moment inspired us to sell our house and to attempt to become a HiFi dealer and to set up HFL, so bearing that in mind I am so honoured to now have the first pair of PMC’s epic new Fenestria Speakers on Demo in the UK and one of the first in the world, it really does feel like we have come full circle from that first experience of PMC all those years ago.
    These have now been installed with the help of PMC and although they are a pretty big and heavy speaker they actually come in several smaller boxes which makes handling and installing them not too difficult at all really, good thinking PMC, you will be able to see from the pictures below.
    So most importantly how do they sound? well funnily enough until we installed them I hadn’t even seen or heard a pair but my faith in PMC didn’t let me down, I stayed here till 10pm last night listening to a real variety of music from the Carpenters, Bowie, Yello, Muse through to Rammstein and all I can really say is that PMC have created a truly incredible speaker that reveals so much and really pulls you into the music, the mid range which sits in it’s own “nest’ to give it the best performance possible is like nothing I have heard before, vocal’s just hover in mid air in front of you with such a lifelike presentation and the depths the bass go to really did test our demo room which was pretty awesome
    There are an amazing amount of firsts in these speakers that I won’t go into now, I’ll let PMC cover those in our open day hopefully next month but the most important aspect for me is that I really didn’t want to go home last night as I just wanted to listen to my entire music collection again so I just wanted to say a huge congratulations to everyone at PMC involved in developing the Fenestria, it may have taken 5 years but the end result is completely captivating.
    At £45,000 they are certainly not going to be for everyone but if you could consider a pair of Fenestria’s I urge you to just come along and have a listen as I am sure once you have fallen under their spell you will be figuring out which organ to sell to have a pair in your life, I can see I will certainly be having many late nights here from now on, sorry Wendy.
    We will be announcing details of our Fenestria open day shortly so please watch this space, please see below for a selection of pictures of the installation of the Fenestria into our Naim room, I did get quite carried away so there are quite a few, sorry
    Serious Packaging!

    Decided to unbox them at PMC as easier to transport out of the crates.

    They made it safely all the 2 miles from PMC HQ!

    Goodies Box!

    Now this is what you call a crossover which sits in the Fenestria’s base!

    The top part twists and locks into to place with the help of this template!

    Thanks to Tom and Keith from PMC for helping with the install.

    Starting to look like a speaker now.

    Here is the ‘Nest’ which holds the Mid and Treble Units, beautiful piece of Engineering in itself.

    Tom and Keith Carefully installing the Nest section.

    Next up is to attach the Planar Wings, what a gorgeous finish.

    There we go, one Fenestria installed, do it all over again and we can have a listen.

    Ta Dah, here is the other one, actually not too difficult to assemble at all, definitely a 2 person job though.

    Fine Tuned by Peter Thomas himself, how cool is that :)

    I’m busy running these in daily now so if your are passing and would like a listen please feel free to pop in anytime.
  24. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    I know there has been a lot of people looking forward to the Hugo TT 2 so it is great news that we now have our demo one in store and up and running, I run a Hugo TT at home so really looking forward to trying the TT 2 myself as I can see one ending up in my system asap.
    The M Scaler is due any day now also, again really looking forward to trying this as although I know how well it works with the Blu 2 and Dave it really be really interesting to try it paired with the Hugo TT 2 as it makes such a neat solution.
    Trade In
    So far we have had a lot of people upgrade from their Hugo TT to to TT 2, if this may be of any interest please feel free to get in touch to discuss the options.
    Chord Open Day - October 27th
    Finally don’t forget our Chord Electronics open day on October 27th where Rob Watts himself will be on hand to discuss the all things DAC’s and Scalers, we have had a lot of people register so far so as I though it is going to be a very popular day More info below -
    Right, I have just hooked up the Hugo TT 2 to the Stax T8000 / SR-009S system so time to go and have a good listen.

    Playtime, I can see this being a late night at the office

  25. Vipers
    Hi Everyone,
    So Devialet are always pushing the boundaries and todays announcement of the new Devialet Reactor is no different, think of this as a smaller Phantom but with all the same qualities that made the Phantom so popular but in a package that is 4 times smaller, it really does have to be seen and heard to really understand how impressive the new Reactor is.
    I heard it a couple of months ago and was pretty gobsmacked to be honest, when you first see it you can’t help but think, ah that is cute, especially when standing next to it’s bigger brother but then you start playing some music and it really is hard to comprehend how such a big, powerful and full sound is coming from something so small, the Phantom is really impressive but the Reactor is almost more so due to the quality of the sound from such a small package, don’t get me wrong the Phantom still sounds better but when you think the Reactor starts at £990 then it really hits home how impressive this little wireless bluetooth speaker is that like Phantom can be run singular or in a stereo pair or even in a multi speaker setup through the house.
    There are 2 in the Reactor range which will be added to our website very soon, please see below -
    Phantom REACTOR 600 • 95 dB SPL - 600W  Phantom REACTOR 600 • 95 dB SPL - 600W  Phantom REACTOR 900 • 98 db SPL - 900W

    Devialet are using the saying “Unreasonable Sound’ to promote the Reactor and I think that really does sum it up perfectly, we will have both models on demo shortly so please feel free to get in touch to discuss in more detail.
    Please find a video and some pictures below -

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