NAIM brought a working example of their new UNITI range the UNITI STAR, £3,000 worth of ripping storage, streaming, control and amplification in one tidy and ultra modern casing, distinguished by a cool, full colour 5 inch display and topped by the impressive rotary volume control wheel first found on the Statement and then fitted to the iconic Muso series.
These new Unities now have advanced programming loaded onto on custom IC chips and this offer improved facilities and versatility. As the name suggests, they offer one stop packages for a complete, modern audio system, save your chosen speakers and cable. Naim also introduced a new anti-vibration mains cable based on the Powerline, called Powerline Lite but at much less cost, available in a few months at an expected £100, but also supplied as standard with the Unities.
KEF launched a fully active version of the LS 50, called the LS 50 Wireless fully equipped, bi- amped, even with 200W on the bass to ensure freedom from clipping when various eq. settings are invoked. Wireless and wired inputs at up to 24 bit 192 kHz, Bluetooth 4.0 wireless using aptX and 2.4GHz/5Ghz Dual-band Wi-Fi, plus App control, the setting even include phase alignment of the crossover for a more accurate square wave, plus a number of intelligent user equalisation settings for fine tuning the sound reproduction in the room. As for the LS50 the UniQ concentric design remains as do many other valued features of the preceding passive model. It will be available in Titanium grey/Red, Gloss Black/Blue, and Gloss White/Copper finishes from November at a list price of £2,000 a pair.
I much enjoyed the massive cast polymer PNOE full range horn speakers from AER. Directly on axis the was a touch of brittleness and zing , but if I was suitable located , a very direct sounding dynamic and well timed result was heard powered by / valve amplification and sourced from the flagship Origin Live turntable and arm. The acrylic sub baffle has greatly improved the timbre for this ultra sensitive 100dB/W loudspeaker. The drivers alone are several thousand Euros each. Valve amplification was by Audiopax, cables by Zensati, the whole shebang hosted by Audio Reference
Nordost demonstrated their Sort Lifts seen here supporting Nordost speaker cables feeding YG Acoustics Carmel II, all alloy floor standers. Allowing me to take control of the demo, and sounding notably detailed, this system, powered by Moon electronics, quickly revealed significant improvements in focus, spatiality and dynamics with the lifts installed. We used four sets of lifts here, at about two grand (Sterling).
With press launches to attend, I finally ran out of time, my apologies to those I could not fit in. Martin Colloms
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