1lyriclogosml

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, Saturday by appointment only

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

Speechless

Speechless, but only for a few minutes, it's hard to shut me up!

This is because Sam just spent a good hour unboxing, spiking, levelling and hooking up the new Blade 2 Meta in the front of the shop and I've just played the first track.

Wow!

Everything I hoped for and maybe even more but it's early days, just one track

So what did I pick as the first track I hear you ask, well thanks for asking I chose Mary Chapin Carpenter with Joe Diffie singing Not too much to ask from the Come on Come on album.

Mary never sounded as vulnerable and Joe never as warm and full.

Let's change tack, haven't played Chris Smither for a while, go to Happier Blue and the track Killing the blues. Love this song, I first came across the Shawn Colvin version although it was a big hit on the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album. This version is better than theirs! 

I'm now jumping off at a tangent to listen to the original Rowland Salley version, that's what a truly great hifi system does to you, you want to play more music.

Let's keep it going them, up the tempo, up the excitement, let's go to Fela Kuti and Zombie. This is high octane Afro Beat excitement showing that  Blade2 Metas can explain to you all the rhythms buried in this percussion and brass masterpiece. Absolutely brilliant!

Keep the bass lines coming with The Strokes, if The Adults are Talking doesn't get you moving then nothing ever will !!

Need to chill now, let's give it some emotion with Nina Simone from Silk and Soul. It's too obvious to pick the brilliant 'I wish I knew how it would feel to be free' when you can immerse yourself in the joy and ultimate triumph of Consummation !

If you have to ask are these better than the original Blade2 the answer is of course. Going further the Meta technology cleans up the high and mid frequencies leaving the music sounding more dynamic, natural and effortless. 

These speakers are another level, can't wait to get them more run in and hooked up to an ultimate level system.

O did I forget to mention the price? Must have been to excited about the sounds. Just send me £ 22,500 and after a few weeks we'll turn up and install them, simple as that!

 

Can I also just make a comment that I know some people, hifi enthusiasts and industry folk who will not 'get' these speakers and what they do.

They can't hear the wood for the trees, they listen to hifi sounds not music, or perhaps they just don't have a soul and get music at all 

Their loss !

 

 

The King is dead, long live the King !

New Blade Meta 2 alongside the Reference 207, a former King of the Hill

 

3 Legends in one Summer

 

I've been extremely lucky to see some legends close up over the past few weeks.

At an Irish Wings Festival in Greece the stars were Horslips, are you old enough to remember Dearg Doom?

They are still a great band, along with a new young guitarist/singer Fiach Moriarty. They played an eclectic mixture of Greek and irish songs with some wonderful local musicians.

I say Legend about this as Barry Devlin, vocalist and bass player in Horslips is to be acclaimed a NI Legend later this year.

The second legend that night was a guest appearance by Neil Finn of Split Enz, Crowded House and Fleetwood Mac fame. He played 3/4 acoustic songs and it was magical. 

Back home I met a third legend when Eric Bell agreed to do an interview and a few songs as part of a Charity Gig at the end of July. Eric is a gentleman, a wit, a raconteur and an incredible guitarist.

A humbling experience to meet and hear greatness.

There is video footage of these events which I will be posting on my YouTube Channel. Subscribe for free and you will receive a message as new videos are loaded

 

 

META, what? Blade and Reference

Hi there,

well if you've been paying attention you could have heard me going on about META material about 18 months ago referring to the Kef LS50. This is an amazing technology that actually addresses a fundamental issue of back pressure on drive units. The LS50 has been a test bed to deliver this and now it is launched at the top of Kef's ranges in the Blade and Reference, and the results are superb.

The latest Kef uni-q driver that covers treble and midrange has 14 individual improvements in the latest version. These are 14 improvements over a drive unit that has been described as 'the finest bar none' already.

I travelled to deepest Kent to see what this was all about, first at a hotel venue, lovely food , nice people, and then on to the Kef factory for an interesting tour.

What I've learned is too much to type, it would run to page after page. To avoid this I have made two You ube videos. The first one is  for the products, a bit of simple technical stuff and some factory pics

Kef Blade and Reference Information

Then I managed to kidnap two Kef boffin-type designers for an interview which is obliquely about the products and more about the men and their passion. I think this is worth watching, even if I say so myself!

Kef Designers Interview

One of the interesting parts to come out of this is the design and engineering ability. Being able to tool up for complex shapes of cabinets, drive unit chassis, roll surrounds, everything is unique. I see many other loudspeakers from proud independent manufacturers and recognise common parts made by one of a number of possible drive unit suppliers, no new technology just a kit of parts. 

To experience a truly individual example of fresh thinking and research have a listen to these breakthrough products. Reference Meta 3s are available early March, Reference 1 Meta late March, Blade 2 early April.

Can't wait !!

And check out the videos, subscribe for free, like etc....

 

KEF LS60 speakers

The famous Kef LS50 was to mark the 50th Anniversary of Kef with something special and 10 years later they are still top of the tree.

So the new LS60s are obviously to mark 60 years of Kef and with a lot to live up to they need to be equally ground breaking, so what are they and how have they done this?

LS60 is a pair of floor standing speakers with all Kef's new tech included, and that's an amazing list.

Take the UNI-Q drive unit on the front, it's smaller than before and includes a longer throw, extra bracing like the Blade/Reference and the ground breaking Meta technology also from Blade/Reference and LS50s.

Meta technology is more than just a buzzword, it's really advanced technology creates a series of tiny tubes behind the treble and midrange that takes away unwanted back reflections resulting in the cleanest clearest high and mid frequencies possible. 

The elegant cabinets are only 13cm wide by 109cm tall so how can you generate any bass from that ? Another Kef answer coming up, double opposing bass units tied together with rods to give a super rigid cabinet. Remind you of anything?

These are the pinnacle of the Kef range, the Blades, £22,500 to £30,000, using the same layout of opposing bass units.

In addition these 4 bass units use an origami-like roll surround system that pioneered on the KC62 mini subwoofer to give a longer throw than is usually possible and move more air.

As if that's not enough, the LS60s have active amplification on-board. To achieve the cleanest delivery to the drive units there is a separate power amplifier for bass, for midrange, and for treble. The incoming signal is split in the digital domain and there is a separate digital to analogue converter for each frequency band. so that's 6 DACs in 2 loudspeakers.

The built in streamer has a new app so it really is simple to access the highest resolution files from Qobuz, Tidal and all the rest along with your favourite radio stations. Bluetooth is also on board.

AND you have extra inputs too so you can easily connect a tv, turntable, cd player or pretty much anything else!

The 64,000$ question, how do they actually perform?

The clarity, dynamics, highs and lows are incredible. The boxes disappear with a big big room filling sound. Started with Autumn by Paolo Nutini. Wonderful open voice echoing in the air and a simple piano backing. Beautiful, but is there any bass? Move on to The Adults are talking by the Strokes and Sometimes we Cry by Van Morrison. The bass is deep and controlled and the dynamics exceptional, should be of course with 1400 watts of active power on tap!

Couldn't resist a bit of Bat for Lashes, the song Laura is dynamic, dramatic and just hangs in the air.

I have heard many more expensive systems that don't come close to the easy musicality of the LS60s, however-

I'm not changing to them myself

That's not because they aren't brilliant, at £ 5999 they are an absolute bargain and for many people not having all those black boxes and wires is a godsend

Hifi separates go higher still and I love my streamer/preamplifier/power amplifiers and speakers so I'll stick with that, it should be better it cost a lot more!

Just like many hifi systems LS60 can be both brilliant and not for everyone all at the same time.

I will say though that I have friends and clients who love their music and don't want boxes, wires and big speakers.

These, my friends, are just perfect for you

Call in for a listen, pick your colour, lend me your card and we'll deliver and install them

 

 

Optimisation and Rega System One

Optimisation is an interesting word often bandied about by hifi manufacturers. Often it means little or nothing, a buzzword in press releases, so it was interesting when it came up in engineering terms during a lovely morning spent talking to Roy Gandy of Rega fame recently. A Youtube video of that chat will follow soon-ish. Go to Youtube, search Lyric Hifi, open a video and hit subscribe. It costs nothing, you just get a message when a new video is loaded.

Back to optimisation.  Every one of the Planar turntable range is optimised for the best possible sound at it's price level. As an example look at the famous Planar 3 compared to the Planar 6. The 6 has a metal subplatter for more rigidity and it produces a better sound.

A few small manufacturers make a similar metal sub platter for you to 'upgrade' your 3 to a 6 however they miss the point. The 6 has better tonearm bearings, a separate power supply that reduces motor vibration so the stylus can measure more detail, an advanced ultra lightweight plinth and a platter with more mass at the outside for better stability from the flywheel effect. Every part of the turntable is better than the 3. Changing one part does not a 6 make.

Compare a One to a Two and you have a much better arm, plinth and platter for a hugely better sound while conforming to the same layout. Rega are famous for their glass platters however putting a P2 platter on a P1 does not a 2 make either. It's the whole combination, optimised and engineered for the best result.

Every Rega is more than the sum of it's parts due to being engineering as a complete synergistic package.

This also applies to the new Rega System One, a turntable, amplifier and loudspeaker complete system. While each individual element is rightly lauded for performance the total package is even better.

Here are some comments from the first reviews:

“The Rega System One is one of the most joyous things I have tested in a very long time. In compact but decently specified form, it possesses everything that a great Hi-Fi system needs to have. It is about the most fun you can have with your clothes on and Rega deserves to sell a million of them”. - Ed Selley.

 

"A sublime listening experience"

 "The System One is worthy of the highest praise"

 "This is the real deal"

 "This is a Hi-Fi experience like very little else anywhere near its price point"

 “An indisputable Best Buy”

Now I'm not always a fan of reviews however they have called this one right.

If you are looking for the default choice to start your vinyl journey check this out. Happy to let you hear it, it is always hooked up in the shop.

While the Planar One turntable, Io amplifier and Kyte speakers are individually priced at £299/420/550 totalling £ 1269 it is supplied at £ 1199 complete including your speaker cable, all good to go.

Optimisation does actually mean something in the right hands!

 

Here are links to the full reviews if you want to check out the details:

REGA System One Review

Another System One great Review