For the 2017 Sound and Vision show Bristol City Council put on its own show of road works and Hurricane Doris had managed to block off the usual access road to the Marriott Hotel, so it was a wonder anyone managed to set up at all. But it takes more than that to stop the dedicated and the halls thronged with people and music all weekend, or at least until the rugby kicked off.
Highlights of the event included Naim’s demonstrations of the forthcoming Uniti Star all-in-one player and Uniti Core server via Focal Sopra No.3 floorstanders. This is the most affordable system that Naim has used at Bristol for some time, the sound however remained one of the most revealing and entertaining at the event. Elsewhere the company was concentrating on the new Uniti line both in the room and on the static stand on the mezzanine, they also had Focal’s Utopia headphones on dem, again with Uniti. I’m told that the first Uniti all-in-one players will be coming through in May.
Naim Records eluded my gaze as they were integrated into the Diverse Vinyl stand, but I found a nice banner. At the Clarity awards that are held at Bristol each year the Naim room garnered Best of Show (being accepted by Trevor Wilson below) while former company MD Paul Stephenson (below Trevor) picked up an honorary fellowship in recognition of the contribution he has made to the industry.
Bob Sturgeoner of Neat has been busy making grilles and bases for two of his popular models and also showed an attractive new grey finish. He had Doug Graham on hand who explained that the Iota Alpha now has a plinth kit made of a steel and bitumen sandwich which raises it up and provides isolation. The all steel base for the Momentum SX5i does the same thing for the bigger model but has chunkier fixings. I’m told that the grey is a trial finish at this stage, in other words if enough people want it then it will happen.
Chord Co, sans cable guru Nigel Finn who is recovering from a knee op, demonstrated Sarum T. This range brings the Taylon dielectric developed for ChordMusic down to a more affordable level and delivers consistent phase at all temperatures, something that is not true of PTFE it seems. Existing Sarum interconnects can be upgraded to T status at 40% of the new cable’s cost, and if the sound we heard is any indication it’s a big upgrade.
Rega had the biggest stack of new gear at the show, the TT-PSU power supply for the P3 has been upgraded and restyled, and there is a matching Fono MC phono stage. The latter developed to work with a new entry level MC called Ania, the same design as existing Rega MCs it has a Fortron plastic body and a semi-elliptical stylus.
They also showed the first samples of Rega’s first stylus gauge dubbed Atlas which will be available soon. The company is celebrating Record Store Day with a limited edition hybrid made up from an RP3 plinth (without brace), RB110 arm and Carbon cartridge that will be secreted in RP1 boxes for 500 lucky vinyl lovers.
Kudos followed the mighty Titan 808 with the slightly less heavyweight Ttitan 707, this single box passive design retains isobaric bass loading and SEAS drivers in a stealth styled cabinet that gets my vote for coolest in show. It sounded rather tasty pounding out Deadmau5 room bending beats.
Roksan was sold last year and its new owner has decided to drop the Oxygene range as well as the pink version of the Radius turntable, concentrating instead on the less pretty but sonically solid models in the range. The distributor claimed not to have a green Radius 7 or Xerxes 20 Plus available for the dem, a likely story!
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