We have just had a great weekend at the Dublin Audio Show, Saturday and Sunday at the Burlington, now Clayton, Hotel.
Lyric ran 3 rooms, Linn, Rega and Kef. Tim Hancock from Kef provided a powerpoint presentation of the history of Kef and also covered the finer technical points of their uni-q driver and it's performance advantages over conventional drive units. Then we had a listen to three levels of performance.
This started with the famous Kef LS50 (£799) compared to the floorstanding Kef R5 (£1999) using a Linn Majik DSM (£ 2499) streamer with amplifier as the source. A great sounding start, everyone was surprised at the scale of sound coming from the little LS50, even more coming from the R5s
Music varied from female vocal and the Beatles to soaring jazz, live pumping rock and also piano and cello concertos.
The system then changed to the top of the Linn range, Klimax level, with the Kef Blade 2s, a cool £50k in total. This was amazing, every detail, every nuance was available at low or high volume levels. Sara McLachlan, Jacqueline Du Pre, Ben Webster, Damien Rice, Amy Winehouse, Shelby Lynne, London Grammar and the Steve Gibbons Band live never sounded so good!
Over in the Linn room Gordon Inch from Scotland compared the Linn Selekt DSM (£5500) integrated streamer and amplifier to the upgraded Katalyst version (£6750) using Kef R7 speakers (£2600). This showcased what a great performance you can now achieve with a one-box system with decent speakers.
Then Gordon changed to the full Exakt Aktiv Akubarik system. This beauty splits the frequencies from the streamer into the parts each speaker drive unit needs while still in the digital domain. Great idea, the only downside is that you then need 10 Digital to Analogue Converters and then 10 power amps, all of which are built into the slim speaker cabinets.
It isn't technically a downside at all, apart from the price! £ 30,000 for the speakers plus £ 2700 for the preamp/controller, still it's actually incredible value for money. The level of clarity and detail was described by many as the best at the show!
Also playing was an beautiful oak Linn Sondek LP12 with the Ekos SE tonearm and a Linn Krystal moving coil cartridge. A new LP12 now starts from £ 2999 and can be upgraded with power supplies, subchassis, tonearms and cartridges all the way to £18,870 ! And we can supply and install all these upgrades for you. The options can be complex so if you drop me a line letting me know about your current turntable I can suggest the best improvements available.
In the Rega room we showcased new products never seen before on these shores. The new Planar 10 with new RB3000 tonearm and the new Apheta3 moving coil cartridge(£4499) was connected to a new reference level phono stage, the Rega Aura (£3999) and the latest Rega ampliifer, the Aethos at £ 2999. With all Rega products the performance is way above what you expect for the price and this is no exception. The music from this created many smiling faces!
Kef R11 speakers (£3999) complemented the system perfectly completing a £15,000 system that simply could not be bettered.
We also used a £ 1679 Rega Saturn cd player for those who wanted to hear a digital source but most of the music came from vinyl.
The newest version of the iconic Rega Planar3 was also hooked up to a Rega Elex-r amplifier and Rega RX5 speakers. Comments were all along the lines of 'this is amazing for £3200' and 'this might be the cheapest system at the the show but it's far from the worst!'
Also selling in the Rega room we had a new vinyl record from Rega, it sounds excellent, Stephen Fearing,The Secret of Climbing, available here at Lyric Hifi for £ 20 along with the Rega book, A Vibration Measuring Machine at £ 30.
Other rooms NOT by Lyric included 3 by Naim/Focal, 2 by B&W with Rotel, one by Esoteric Audio with Spendor speakers, one by Devialet, and one by NAD so there was plenty to see and hear.
The most expensive system was what many came specifically to hear, if not to actually buy! This featured the Naim Statement amplifier, a cool £ 169,000, partnered with the top Naim streamer, £12,000, and the £129,999 Focal Utopia speakers.
Call it £300k and we'll install it for free!
And that is what £ 169,000 buys you!