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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

September Updates

Greetings from sunny Lisburn Road

I'm heading off for a quick week in Italy, Covid allowing, and think an updates blog is necessary before I go as there is so much going on here.

Linn

As you can see from the landing page Linn Series 3 has arrived here so what do I think? First can I say that it's an incredible piece of engineering to achieve this sound from a little cabinet. I have listened to competitors at this price before, the French one, and this is in a different league. The Exakt technology from the top Linn systems is perfect for this product. For the techies like me Exakt splits the frequency band for the treble and bass units in the digital domain allowing the most precise crossover and the ability to match each drive unit perfectly and even do some corrections. There is no downside to this except cost! You need to have a top end digital to analogue converter (DAC) for each drive unit.

In terms of pure clarity series 3 is fantastic. If you ask is it as good as a streamer/amp with two speakers then my answer is possibly. In a space where you are facing the speaker it is wonderful. In most rooms two speakers give a spread of sound that I much prefer though in Linn speak this is a Majik DSM and a pr of 109 speakers so £3950, or £8800 to make it fully Exakt with six DACs

Talking of Majik DSM the 4th generation is now on dem here and it's great. First new case for the Majik in years and it looks fresh and modern. It's really a Selekt case without the big knob on top, and no worse for that. It has fewer inputs than before but still everything most people need. Most importantly it sounds better!

Majik DSM4 2020 920x255

Call in for a listen to either of the above, best let me know you're calling in and I can have either up and running. Deliveries are extended due to demand, to have a DSM4 playing in the background while eating your turkey place your order by mid-October! Series 3 not as long, still 4-6 weeks though!

Rega News

We are behind on Planar 1, 2 and 3 however the factory is almost back in full swing and catching up fast! For example there are 72 Planar 1s arriving here next week which are already all spoken for, orders placed now will be supplied late October so that's only 4 weeks. Planar 2s and 3s variable, up to 2 weeks. Planar 6 and 8 from stock depending on whether you want MM or MC. Planar10 still some available for delivery in October and December. 

The new Io amplifier is doing really well although the new speakers to make a £1000 Rega system are put off until next year to try and supply the backlog on existing products. To give you a £999 system just now we are bundling a Planar 1 with an Io and a pr of Kef Q150s, or maybe Q350s see below, and some speaker cable. This sounds excellent, unbeatable at the price!

In high end Rega the Planar 6 continues to impress, £1250 including an Exact MM cartridge and the futuristic looking Planar 8s and 10s are unique and just fantastic! 

Kef News

Big Meta product news that I cant tell you about is only a week away, for now I can tempt you with offers on Kef Q350 and Q550.

Q350s now £ 399 per pair instead of £ 499 Q 550 floortsanders now £ 599 per pair instead of £ 799. These are easy to drive and work with a wide range of amplifiers, you can afford a better pair of speakers than you thought!

R3s and R5s still getting the best reviews and selling well. R3s at £ 1300 currently in stock in black or walnut, white 2-3 weeks.

R5s currently quoting 2-3 weeks. Kef Reference and Blades are both in store for demonstration. These are hand built in Maidstone so 6-10 weeks delivery depending on the finish, worth the wait though !

Arcam

The first Arcam separate streamer has been announced, ST 60 will be £ 1199 when it hits here in November. With the publicity starting early and orders being taken before anyone has even heard it I expect it might be difficult to supply. I have a few available at launch time so if you think this could be right for your system let me know so that I can reserve some more stock, no obligation, it's so I can have an idea of demand.

Arcam ST 60

Naim Audio

That big old river keeps rolling on, Uniti Atom,Star Nova, Supernait3, Nap250DR and all the classics continue to flow with 4-6 weeks being the current lead time.

The new Musos are doing well too, there's nothing can touch them at £ 749/£1299. I try to keep them in stock all the time as often someone can pop in to hear one and take one away with them.

The Si and XS series are still doing well too, a Naim Cd player and amplifier for only £ 2440, put them with a pr of Kef LS50 or R3/5s for an incredible system for £3500-4500 ish

So if Boris adds Italy to the bad boy list and I end up self isolating when I come back you will be treated to plenty of ramblings and reviews.

We all hope that doesn't happen! Be safe

Michael

REGA IO amplifier

It's now here, possibly the smallest amplifier we've ever sold, and it couldnt be more cute!

Rega io front illuminated 2

This little box, IO, is only 180mm/ 7" across and less than a foot deep at 290mm.

IO is also a mere 30 watts per channel

IO only has 3 inputs, 1 turntable MM and 2 line inputs

IO has a remote control

IO has a headphone socket

IO will drive a wide range of speakers

IO sounds great !

IO will shake up the amplifier market under £ 500 by being so simple and so good!

Under £ 500 for a stereo amplifier there are many options, but they're all pretty similar

They are all 430mm wide, they have analogue and digital inputs and they all read as being pretty powerful

They are also all made in China and the Rega is made by people in Westlciff on sea, Essex

The most popular amplifier at this price for 4/5 years has been the Marantz PM6000/2/3/4/5/6/7, and it has been our favourite as well.

It sounds better than most, it has digital inputs and lots of inputs. It covers all the bases for most people

But there's a new kid on the block to teach the big boys (430mm) a lesson !

Call in for a listen, the IO sounds better, it is more detailed, more dynamic and it brings the music to life as you hear every voice and instrument as more realistic

And if you want to stream from your phone through it we can throw in a bluetooth adaptor for an extra £ 30! 

Almost forgot the price! Just £ 379, wow!

AND we did a video! 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0I2yGKpnlg

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Dublin showTim 2

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. 

Dublin showTIM closer 2

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!

DublinShowLinnKef 3

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.

LinnLP12Ekos 2

 

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.

DublinSPlanar10 2

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. 

DublinShowREga 2

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!

DublinShowStatement 2

And that is what £ 169,000 buys you!

 

 

Interest Free Credit at 40

It was the late 80s when we started doing interest free credit. You paid half deposit and wrote out 6 post-dated cheques for the balance. When my dad retired he looked after all of that for me for many years. Happy Days !

Today's finance has more options for you- longer term with interest, buy now pay later- we can do all of these for you, however simple interest free is a great way to break the back of a purchase to help you enjoy what you really want. If you aspire to a better sound then this brings it within reach.

Look at the latest high level Rega equipment, the Planar10 turntable and the Aethos amplifier, £ 4499 and £ 2995.

Rega pl10

The Planar 10 is gorgeous and sounds amazing too! Instead of finding the full £4499 you can pay any deposit from £900 up and spread the rest over up to 24 months.

So £ 900 will leave 24 months at £ 149.95 or 18 at £199.95 Double the deposit to £ 1800 and the balance can be cleared with 12 by £224.90 or 24 by £112.45

rega aethos angle

 

Such is demand for the new Aethos that we are running up to a month behind on deliveries, yet we will still offer interest free help to get you there!  £2995?

Make that £ 595 and 24 by £ 100 or 12 by £ 200, sound affordable now?

The same offers apply to most of what we recommend from Linn, Kef, Naim, Arcam etc

That means that you can have a new Linn Sondek LP12 for a little less than the Aethos,

an Akurate level LP12 for £ 1500 and 24 by £ 229.58

or a full blown Klimax LP12 for £ 3999 deposit and 36 months of £ 407 !

Linn Klimax LP12 Front

Don't forget that you might also have a trade-in of your existing gear to add to your deposit

What would you really like, Linn Selekt? Linn Exakt? Kef R series or Reference?

A Cinema installed?

A Naim Uniti Nova or a NAP250DR?

It's closer than you thought!

Drop me a line with what you're interested in and what you want to trade-in and I'll work out a price for you

Best Wishes

Michael

 

 

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!

LyricCinemaSmall 2

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.

LyricCinemaDark2

 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