Welcome to Lyric Hifi

429 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7EY Tel: +44 (0)2890 381296, From ROI 04890 381296
Open: 10:00am - 5:00pm - Monday to Friday, 7pm Thursday, Saturday 11:00am to 3:00pm

Call in for a mosey round, tap us for good advice, and have a listen to great sounds

Dublin Audio Show

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.

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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. 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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And that is what £ 169,000 buys you!



New Cinema Room

So we are always changing the layout round here in the ever updating world of Lyric Hifi

We have now decided to revamp our cinema demonstrations by building a permanent recessed solution. This would not have sounded any good a few years ago however two technical advances have changed all that.

The first is the latest evolution of UniQ that started in the Kef Blades around 7 years ago. This gave an off-axis response an order of magnitude above previous UniQs and several orders of magnitude over anything that other manufacturers were attempting. The unique Z flex surround and tangerine waveguide both added massively to this performance. If you are as geeky as us and want to more about polar dispersion then read this:            Speaker White Paper

The second is the advent of computer based processing set-ups such as Audyssey, Dirac and Anthem Room Correction. While the manufacturers will tell you that this fixes room issues they are telling a half-truth. They cannot fix an uneven dispersion which is exaggerated with every surface that it is reflected off. They will help, but achieving an even 360 dispersion and then running their set-up is what is really needed so it is both parts together that have given us the big advantage in our recent in-wall and in-ceiling installations.

Atmos is another recent development adding another dimension of height to cinema sound. Now don't think that I don't like Atmos, just understand that adding Atmos provides an extra effect, it doesn't make your system any clearer or help you to make out the words or instruments any better. That means that it has a role, just not at the expense of important performance! Our updated room has Atmos from ceiling speakers and it sounds great!

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Although there is a pair of R3s on stands all the sound is coming through the three recessed speakers at the top. These are Kef R series in-wall called Ci3160, amazing speakers at £ 1250 each. For rears we are using the super-slim Kef T series and Atmos is provided by Ci160QRs. Currently using a massive Velodyne subwoofer the Kef R400 will also be demonstrated. The projector now running is the Sony VPL570 4K at a mere £ 7995

If the picture looks a little washed out that's because the lights are on full brightness so that you can see the speakers.


 Does that look better?

4k projectors are full of lies in the description. I saw a projector recently described as 4kUltraPro and guess what? It wasn't actually 4k at all !! It could show a 4k picture in normal high definition!

Still really like the Sonys, the VPL VW270 at £ 4999 is the model we use most. Amazing picture and great value too.

While we like Marantz amplifiers we also have Anthem and Arcam models that offer more clarity, better calibration and more dynamics for a little bit more money. Arcam models have some upgrades coming so watch this space around November time.

Now that we are up and running you can have a demonstration anytime, just drop us a line for an appointment as some elements will change for specific needs and budgets. As an example I'm playing it this weekend with the Anthem MRX520, their entry level amplifier at £ 1649. It's 5.1 so no Atmos. Their compromise to keep the cost well under 2k is to leave out the extra channels, streaming etc and provide you outstanding sound from 5 speakers. Great choice if you don't need more than 5 speakers!

Come and check it out for yourself





Loewe Bad News

It is with sadness that I have to report that Loewe has moved into administration in Germany.

It has been known for a while that Loewe have been courting a major investment. While we only know their premium products, in mainland Europe they had also been a mass-market player only 10 years ago. As this part of their market has been eroded by chinese and korean brands it has been a difficult realignment for them.

Ironically Loewe UK was actually profitable even if the parent company was not. Assurances are being made that service will continue, however we await further details.

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Make an appointment to hear these incredible speakers for yourself

Michael's Hair !

Thought I should post this along with an explanation in case you're shocked the next time you call in!

There is a guy who has been on the Lyric team for many years that few of you will have met as he is mostly out on the road, Andy Irwin. There's a guy I play tennis with called Rob Lowry. Both of them have oesophageal cancer and have had chemotherapy and surgery.

It's a situation where you just feel so helpless, what can you possibly do to help?

While the true answer is little, Gordon, pictured, and myself decided to do that little by running a charity gig with our band The Big Racquet.

Having booked the Belfast Boat Club as a venue we started blagging as much as possible. Gordon's IT support company Net-Consultants runs Finnebrogue Venison/Artisan's systems and through that contact the owners, Christine and Denis, donated 200 excellent burgers and 300 amazing hot dogs, proceeds to be split between Oesophageal Cancer and MacMillan Nurses.

To do justice to this quality of food Andy Rea, the genius head chef from Mourne Seafood, Home restaurant, La Taccheria and if you are old enough to remember Roscoff and Cayenne, came on board, providing gorgeous salads made at HOME restaurant and also one of his top chefs to run the kitchen.

Many other sponsors came in with auction and raffle prizes: Conor's Cafe donated a Neil Shawcross, beautifully framed by Nickel Art. 

Generous contributions also came from the Grand Central Hotel, Richer Sounds, Lyric Hifi, of course, Slim's Healthy Kitchen, Simon Bellamy, Belfast Cookery School, Richard Murphy, Charles Wilkinson, and Ian Corry, one of NI's top Knee Surgeons donated a free consultation, a prize that many Boat Club Tennis members could do with!

More was to come, football legend Gerry Armstrong turned up to do an interview with our compere, Stuart McQuitty, and provided a signed limited edition NI shirt for auction.

Biggest ticket of the evening was a unique opportunity, a day out at Wimbledon, playing on the hallowed turf of the All England Tennis club followed by a meal in the members' restaurant.

We then announced that, although people had been very generous up to that point, that £ 1000 in the buckets during the second half would mean that my head would be shaved after the gig, in front of your very eyes! 

Following this the dance floor was full as the Big Racquet rocked the night away with songs from Thin Lizzy, George Ezra, Chuck Berry, Robert Palmer, Blondie etc, you get the vibe !

It didnt take long to reach that total and during the second half I announced that we had the money, go nowhere, it's on!

In front of a cheering baying mob my head received a number 0 cut and the hair was gone. Least I could do, many people don't have the luxury of that choice!

Gordon and I started out thinking we could raise £ 1000. On the day of the gig we were confident that we would do £ 4000, and now we have hit £ 7000. Incredible Thanks to everyone who contributed, and if you feel moved to add to our total I would love you to, just click below, and thanks

O, and the reason the payment page says £ 3500 target is that we already have over £ 3500, and payments due through this of the same again


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