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Jason's Blog (39)

Bespoked Handmade bike show 2014

For a couple of years now James and I have been seriously considering making the journey to Bristol to see the Bespoked Handmade bike show, but for various reasons the pilgrimage was never made. When the event came to London this year we were all out of excuses and went up to the velodrome in the Olympic Park near Stratford to test the metal. The Handmade show is a showcase…

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Added by Jason on April 22, 2014 at 15:15 — 5 Comments

Tom Tom people at the Bristol Show

Rega

Rega’s Phil Freeman told me that they were trying to stop visitors from taking the system too seriously this year. His reasoning being that trying to appreciate its finer points in a hotel room with high ambient noise is akin to test driving a Ferrari in a car park. As a distraction Simon Webster had brought along a variety of turntable components to illustrate the differences between models. They played an RP10 with its shiny RB2000 arm and the Apheta MC through…

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Added by Jason on February 25, 2014 at 17:00 — 2 Comments

Saturnalia

I have been listening to Rega’s Saturn-R CD player/DAC for the purpose of a review in a certain audio journal and the experience has been so thrilling that I thought I’d share my impressions. To be honest I don’t know how they do it, how can you make a CD player that’s so engaging and exciting at such a reasonable price (£1,598). OK it’s not the prettiest of devices, in fact it’s finish is borderline agricultural, and the sound lacks the refinement of some competitors but its ability to…

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Added by Jason on February 10, 2014 at 11:43 — No Comments

Naim Statement

Naim had hinted that they were going to unveil something special at CES in Las Vegas but not in my wildest dreams did I expect an amplifier of this magnitude. The Statement is the most outrageous product of the show and at CES that's saying something, it consists of one horsepower (746 watt) monoblock power amps and a preamp which are expected to be in production by July.…

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Added by Jason on January 8, 2014 at 3:30 — 5 Comments

Vertere's Magic Bus

I paid a visit to the Vertere HQ in Chiswick recently, Touraj Moghaddam, a man with a mission to convert the world to great sound, had said that I could hear his fresh from the oven turntable. I don’t normally jump on a train when someone makes this sort of offer but Touraj is a bit different, he has been working on cable since leaving Roksan but before that he…

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Added by Jason on October 15, 2013 at 9:30 — 1 Comment

Naim DAC-V1, NAP 100, Astell & Kern AK100, Vertere DFi

Naim’s DAC-V1 is something of a game changer for the brand because it’s the first product from Salisbury that can be used to harness the audio potential of a computer. Naim is of the opinion, and I have to agree with them, that network streaming is the best way to play music files but with the DAC-V1 it has at least accepted that there are people who want to do things…

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Added by Jason on August 13, 2013 at 9:30 — No Comments

Tuned ARAY at home

A couple of months back I went to see Chord and had the full Tuned ARAY (TA) dem courtesy of in-house music nut Nigel Finn. The experience was enthralling enough to warrant getting some cables to try at home, a pursuit I generally avoid like the X Factor because after all how can a cable enhance your musical enjoyment? Let alone a digital cable. So I persuaded Nigel to lend…

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Added by Jason on June 14, 2013 at 11:06 — No Comments

Naim & Focal at High End 2013

At Europe's biggest and arguably the world's best hi-fi show, High End in Munich, Naim took the opportunity to tell us about forthcoming product and software changes as well as giving an insight into how the business is shaping up in today's changing market. MD Paul Stephenson says that Naim now has 150 plus staff of whom 30 work in R&D and increasing amounts of manpower…

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Added by Jason on May 16, 2013 at 13:00 — No Comments

A Journey of Discovery at the Chord Co

James and I finally got ourselves down to Amesbury to visit the folk at Chord Co to find out how they make their cables and hear more about the breakthrough technology they call Tuned Aray (TA). Nigel ‘The Cable Doctor’ Finn made a very good case for TA with his dem at the Bristol show but hearing it on a Naim system in the controlled environment of the Chord Co dem…

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Added by Jason on April 12, 2013 at 11:30 — 2 Comments

Bristol Show Report by Jason Kennedy

Partly by dint of weak competition Bristol has become the best show on the UK scene, the one with the biggest buzz and often some of the best sounds. This year it seemed as lively as ever with hardcore enthusiasts cueing round the block to get through the doors first thing Friday morning. I got there on Friday night and had a sneak peak at Tom Tom’s Guru room where James and…

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Added by Jason on February 28, 2013 at 18:00 — No Comments

New Naim in Vegas

Naim chose CES to launch its long awaited entry into the USB DAC stakes. DAC-V1 is a converter and digital preamp with fixed and variable outputs that caters for the computer audio enthusiast. It’s Naim’s first asynchronous USB DAC but also has five S/PDIF inputs in coax and optical form, it also harbours a fully formed headphone amplifier. The actual converter is a BurrBrown…

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Added by Jason on January 15, 2013 at 15:24 — No Comments

CES Las Vegas, 2013

Las Vegas is a surreal place, nothing in it is much more than a façade and the faux Romanesque fountains in Caesar’s Palace are just ludicrous, so as you can imagine it’s not always possible to get a grip, especially when you are dazed by jet lag. But I found a kind of reality in the neon boneyard (above), a museum of old casinos and hotel signs from back in the day,…

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Added by Jason on January 15, 2013 at 12:00 — No Comments

Tom Tom is ten

Tom Tom is now ten and to celebrate this momentous occasion  James and the team threw a party for all of Tom Tom’s customers at the Noke Thistle hotel in St Albans. The event was not unlike Tom Tom's Festival of Sound shows but this time visitors were treated to a glass of bubbly and a buffet meal with live entertainment as a thank you for their support.

The chance to…

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Added by Jason on November 19, 2012 at 12:30 — No Comments

Making music with Rega & Guru

The latest generation of Rega electronics, the ones that inhabit half width cases, have proved to be among the most entertaining examples of affordable audio equipment that I’ve encountered in ages. So much so that I have been using the Brio-R integrated amp in my living room system for some time. I’ve heard more revealing and refined amps and have a few to draw on…

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Added by Jason on November 1, 2012 at 11:43 — 8 Comments

Meet Junior

Guru is expanding its range to include a compact standmount at a very attractive price point. The Guru Junior has a 115mm main driver and a ring radiator tweeter in a cabinet with a slot port. When Guru showed me the Junior at Milan's Top Audio show they were still in pre-production form and the choice of front baffle and veneer finish had yet to be…

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Added by Jason on September 27, 2012 at 9:30 — No Comments

Salisbury, Milan, St Albans

At the Top Audio show in Milan last week Naim unveiled the latest member of its Uniti family, the Unitilite. This is a slimline version of the NaimUniti and features a CD player, streamer and 50 watt stereo amplifier in a series 5 case. It will sell for £1,650 in standard guise or £1,895 with an FM and DAB tuner onboard.

Naim MD Paul Stephenson explained that the Uniti…

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Added by Jason on September 17, 2012 at 11:50 — No Comments

Zyx R50 Bloom

A crazy science fiction name always draws me to a product, who could resist Krell amps when they first appeared? Significantly fewer than were drawn to the Tralfamador amplifier, a long lost Irish creation that disappeared into the cosmos shortly after its debut, chances are that only Vonnegut fans remember the planet of the same name. But it doesn’t take much to get…

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Added by Jason on September 6, 2012 at 11:19 — No Comments

Focal, the journo's view

A day or so after James’ visit to Focal it was the turn of the press to be shown the facilities and technologies that this impressive company has at its disposal. We started our tour at the cabinet factory in the small town of Bourbon Lancy, this is where Focal builds and finishes the woodwork for its Utopia and Electra ranges, the top end stuff with the complicated shapes and fancy finishes. It’s not a huge place but there’s an awful lot of precision machined MDF in it and the quality of…

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Added by Jason on July 17, 2012 at 12:55 — No Comments

Jason Kennedy joins The Tom Tom Club

I am delighted to have been invited to be a guest blogger at the Tom Tom Club, not least because it means that I get to play with superb kit that is usually reserved for the inner circle of Naim devotees in the reviewing fraternity. James got me in at the deep end with full 500 series of electronics, an experience that left me feeling very sorry when it had to go back as you might imagine. But to paraphrase Tennyson, it is better to have listened and lost than never to have listened at…

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Added by Jason on June 14, 2012 at 16:00 — No Comments

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We are delighted to announce that from Monday 15th June we will be re-opening our showroom for demonstrations by appointment only. With private parking right next to our building and thorough cleaning of the demonstration area between visitors, we are able to offer you a safe ’socially-distanced’ environment in which to evaluate your next upgrade with complete peace of…See More
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Rega's world keeps turning

Great things are afoot in Southend. Rega, for it is their patch, are growing in scale and technological advancement as I found when I visited recently. With the workforce up to 140 and a new healthy food canteen to keep them fuelled the company is doing remarkably well. When I last visited five years back the new mezzanine floor was only a quarter filled, now it’s full…See More
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