Bristol Sound & Vision 2015 Pt.1

Chord Company Music
Just when you thought that Sarum TA was as good as it was going to get from Chord Co they have discovered a dielectric (insulation material) that makes everything else sound shabby. Called Taylon and sold under strict conditions that it not be used to produce military hardware this is a variant of PTFE that sounds just as good when it’s new as it does after 2000 hours of run-in. Pretty impressive perhaps but not as impressive as the demonstration of the upgrade Music interconnect gives over Sarum TA, which was jaw dropping. As is the £3,800 price for a metre pair. No wonder Alan and Nigel (above) look happy!

Rega RX
Rega is to replace its RS speakers with RX models come the summer. These have much thicker cabinets and thus are rather more weighty, 50% heavier in fact. They have the same drivers but now the paper cones are doped, but you won’t notice this on the side firing bass drivers of the RX Three and Five because they are hidden behind recessed grilles on the speakers’ flanks. Prices are circa £800 for RX One, £1100 for RX Three and £16-1700 for RX five.

PMC twenty Sub
Apparently the only way to make most subwoofers sound good is to cover them in carpets in order to stop the harmonic distortion ruining the midrange. Alternatelively PMC claims that its twenty Sub is devoid of such noise but rather sticks to the low end in its two foot high, ATL loaded cabinet. This runs a pair of seven inch drivers and has 400 Watts of class D power controlled by DSP that allows you to select roll-off and crossover points for full integration with your speakers. Price is £2,995.

Pristine Vinyl Vivac
Industry newcomer Pristine Vinyl showed the best looking vinyl cleaning machines yet to be made in this country. The Vivac RCS uses a vacuum and a fine cord (a bit like Keith Monks cleaners) which is pulled through the arm and picks up dirt from the groove. There are two models, RCS1 (£1,795, above) requires manual cleaning solution application while the RCS2 (£1,995) has a precision pump that deposits precisely the right amount of fluid according to record size. Both machines will be availablein the coming months.

Entotem Plato
A media server with an Android interface seems like a clever idea. This is what British newcomer Entotem has done with Plato, it means that any app which can be installed on an Android device can be played back at decent quality through the Plato’s outputs. The other canny idea is using the Gracenote online library to tag vinyl ‘rips’, which if it works will take a lot of the hard work out of archiving a vinyl collection. At £2,495 it’s hard to see how they will make this pay but that was a show special price.

MBA Pulse & Progression
MBA is a resurrection of the aluminium loudspeakers created by Aongus OhEocha. With the man himself onboard in a consultant role MBA is building revised versions of his less radically styled models. Both Pulse stand mount and Progression floorstander (above) are constructed from the same extrusion and use 150mm SEAS cones alongside a 19mm soft dome tweeter in MDF baffles. The Pulse costs £3,150 and Progression £5,295. MBA also has an integrated amp (below) in the pipeline, this has monobloc power stages and optional digital inputs for 384kHz PCM and DSD128 via USB, the analogue version will be £6,295.

Monitor Audio Gold
No more gold domes (matey), the new Gold series from Monitor Audio features ribbon tweeters in traditional silver hue. This is a trickle down from the Platinum range albeit not the same driver but a thicker variant that has been selected to match the latest version of MA’s C-CAM metal coned drivers. There are two bookshelfs and as many florstanders with the two-way entry level Gold 50 (£950) sporting a 134mm main driver while the Gold 100 (£1,250) runs a 165mm unit in the same configuration. The two floorstanders are the Gold 200 (£2,300) with twin 134mm bass drivers while the Gold 300 (£3,000, above) has two 165mm units, both run a 100mm C-CAM midrange. Apparently pair matching is much tighter and new measurement tech means that final product is much closer to the pre-production versions than ever before.

CAD/Trilogy/Harbeth
Scott and Isabel of CAD had teamed up with Trilogy and Harbeth to produce one of the most appealing sounds of the show. Using white clad versions of the CAD CAT (computer audio transport) and 1543 DAC with Trilogy 992 power amps and Harbeth P3ESR stand mounts proved to be a very happy combination.

Neat Momentum SX3i & SX5i
Bob Surgeoner gave his latest creations an airing at Bristol. The Momentum SX3i is a standmount with a hidden driver, another, identical mid/bass behind the 165mm doped cone that provides isobaric loading. This brings the price up but likewise the quality that the extra stiffness that this arrangement confers. The tweeter is an inverted, anodised aluminium dome dubbed SXT. This compact but powerful speaker comes in at £2,495, but it you have deeper pockets there is a floorstanding SX5i, a two and a half way with an Ultimatum midrange driver and a downward firing isobaric bass system for £3,785.