Acoustica hi-fi show 2018.

I went to the show on Sunday and I agree with much of what has been said on the various systems on offer. It is a really good little intimate show but struggles with the SQ in many rooms.

I really liked the Kudos room but there was too much distracting chatting in the front row of the Kudos room though so hard to judge but these are very worthy of an audition when they are released. I'd like to hear the rest of the Titan range now. I haven't previously gelled with Kudos speakers on the few times I'd heard them (years ago) so a big natural and 'all-together' sound was a nice surprise for me. Good stuff!

The ATC SCM-50 system with a big stack of Naim sounded really great, much better than the 100's across the way for me (much too big for that room sadly). Both 50's and 100's are fugly though so no chance I'd get either through the door here :-)

One big disappointment was the active SCM-40's in the Auralic room. I have an Aries streamer and I'd like to hear more from Auralic but not with these ATC's (although I have liked the passive version with a Nova previously). It started OK so I got settled in for more but the Tidal stream switched to an Ella and Louis track and it emptied the room. Shouty and spitty and it sounded awful. Not what this album sounds like on vinyl and CD at home anyway. Nevertheless there's no reason why this pair should not be good and I notice others thought this was a good pairing. So despite a bad showing for me, I remain curious of Auralic and active ATC's.

The Spendor A7's were interesting as was the need to squat to hear them properly as there were no chairs in this tiny room! Too expensive for the SQ on offer though but they did at least sound OK. Leema and Hegel rooms were also merely OK on the day for me.

I thought almost everything else was very poor with some truly shocking sounds from some rooms. Focal's sound awful to me anyway so I was super disapointed with the big Naim room. Also disappointed with the Kanta No.2/Nova system. Partly because I love the look of those Kanta's (in that Turquoise colour in the adverts) and I know the Nova is a superb sounding bit of kit. Bad though. Really bad on the day. Other terrible sounding systems were from Mark Levinson/Revel and Pro-ject. The less said the better. I didn't hear the B&W, Chord, Dynaudio and Russel K rooms however as I'd heard enough and went home to put Ella and Louis on. Aha, much better. Phew :-)

PS. I found the lack of record players ironic (apart from a cheap looking Project) when the only software on sale was vinyl!

1GiantLeap posted:

TK421 and NigelB - thanks, although its not what I wanted to hear!
That's well over budget so I will refrain from thinking about these any further.

They have been scrubbed from my 'itches to scratch' list as well.

The divorce papers would probably arrive shortly after the credit card statement.

Yetizone posted:
rjstaines posted:

Well I hadn't but here they are just now.  In all honesty, they look less overbearing in real life than they appear in this pic.

They look fab! Especially with the stands - remind me of Linn 'Briks of old.

Now you come to mention it, Yetizone, the similarity to my Briks of 30 years ago might have had a subconscious influence.   The good news, though, is that you'd never have considered resting a pint of beer on the top of your Briks, whereas ATC almost propose the flat top as an added advantage (at least they did suggest it to me).

james n posted:

Do the Active ATC's (the ones with amp packs in the speakers) just stay powered up continuously or power up and down from a standby mode when they sense a music signal. I suspect it's the former but it wasn't clear from a quick read of the manual ?

Just curious

On and up all the time, James.

OK in winter, but we'll see what summer brings;  the NAP500 they replace kicked up as you played music of course, the louder, the hotter, which is why summer in our house was always quieter than winter.  

My take on the speakers at the show is that my favourite was definitely the ATC SCM50, with the Kudos 505 second, the SCM100 some way behind them, and the SCM40A in a rather disappointing 4th place. When I got home, it occurred to me that this hierarchy very closely matches the quality/cost of the electronics used in these demos.

The little Dynaudio standmounts were good, but fatiguing to listen to, and I can't help think that this was because they were having to work a bit too hard to play at high volumes in a large room. They were using the big room that Naim previously had for Statement/Focal Behemoths, which seems like bad planning to me.

 

Whatever you do, and however tempting, please do not change your avatar to...

Please do, it would amuse me 

But whenever I read Phil’s posts, I hear them as Baloo the Bear (as voiced by that other Phil Harris), and It would sadden me to lose that! 

Jonn posted:

Best in show- Dynaudio Special 40. Big sound from relatively small speakers with no hint of harshness, very relaxing to listen to.

Honourable mention for the Kudos 505 with an agreeable sound with no particular emphasis across the frequency spectrum. Also the ATC SMC 100 actives which were easily the most convincing in the sense of sounding natural and "being there." A bit wasted in the small room as they were barely ticking over given the power available.

The barn with the NDS/555PS/552/500 and Focal Utopias was Naim's flagship system but at c£70,000 it sounded overblown and lacking finesse, so not doing the company any favours.

On asking when the ND555 would be on sale, a Naim jobsworth said he was not allowed to tell me. OK I said but is it likely be this summer? Again the response was he wasn't allowed to say. This year? Same answer: bizarre. So what's the big deal?

 

 

I owned the Dynaudio special 40s for about 6 months,and I agree they are a fantastic little speaker.I suspect the sound people are hearing is very room dependant and possibly the choice of music played.They are very revealing of what you feed them,as are most speakers,but I did a head to head home demo with the Focal Sopra 1s I currently own,for about a month before choosing the Sopras.My room is fully treated with Viscoustics panels,so no problems with harshness or brightness.It is just kind of dumbfounding to me that so many people dislike Focal,when mine sound so great...and they sound even better after my 272 was just updated.The Sopra 1s beat the S40s quite handily in my room,my gear...but they should for the extra price.I have never heard anyone say good things about the big Utopias,so they maybe should of had a pair of Sopra 1s I that room.

Bob the Builder posted:

Interesting comments about the Hegel because the guy I bought my Dynaudio Contour s3.4's from used them with a really powerful Hegel integrated and they sounded excellent.  I will probably be downsizing my 282/300 in the next year and Supernait 2 and Hegel are on my list to try.

What prompts the ‘downsizing’, that not being a bulky system compared to many?

Hook posted:
 

Whatever you do, and however tempting, please do not change your avatar to...

Please do, it would amuse me 

But whenever I read Phil’s posts, I hear them as Baloo the Bear (as voiced by that other Phil Harris), and It would sadden me to lose that! 

Ahhh but I think that anyone that has met me knows me as a big ol' bear anyway so that image will always stick...

Phil

rjstaines posted:
Yetizone posted:
rjstaines posted:

Well I hadn't but here they are just now.  In all honesty, they look less overbearing in real life than they appear in this pic.

They look fab! Especially with the stands - remind me of Linn 'Briks of old.

Now you come to mention it, Yetizone, the similarity to my Briks of 30 years ago might have had a subconscious influence.   The good news, though, is that you'd never have considered resting a pint of beer on the top of your Briks, whereas ATC almost propose the flat top as an added advantage (at least they did suggest it to me).

Good point about the danger of the 'Brik Beer shelf! Likewise I had Isobariks (in 80's black ash) and they were great fun - wish I'd kept them.

Innocent Bystander posted:
Bob the Builder posted:

Interesting comments about the Hegel because the guy I bought my Dynaudio Contour s3.4's from used them with a really powerful Hegel integrated and they sounded excellent.  I will probably be downsizing my 282/300 in the next year and Supernait 2 and Hegel are on my list to try.

What prompts the ‘downsizing’, that not being a bulky system compared to many?

The downsizing would be prompted by a lifestyle change with more time spent away from home and less time spent working, although this is a promise I make myself each year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Bob the Builder posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:
Bob the Builder posted:

Interesting comments about the Hegel because the guy I bought my Dynaudio Contour s3.4's from used them with a really powerful Hegel integrated and they sounded excellent.  I will probably be downsizing my 282/300 in the next year and Supernait 2 and Hegel are on my list to try.

What prompts the ‘downsizing’, that not being a bulky system compared to many?

The downsizing would be prompted by a lifestyle change with more time spent away from home and less time spent working, although this is a promise I make myself each year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

It doesn’ seem long since you get your current system...

When I retire I plan to spend some time travelling in a motorhome (note to self: try one first!), when I picture taking Dave with me, and getting some really good headphones. But that will depend on whether insurable- if not it’d likely be Mojo with Poly, but I fear I’d miss my music at home!

Innocent Bystander posted:
Bob the Builder posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:
Bob the Builder posted:

Interesting comments about the Hegel because the guy I bought my Dynaudio Contour s3.4's from used them with a really powerful Hegel integrated and they sounded excellent.  I will probably be downsizing my 282/300 in the next year and Supernait 2 and Hegel are on my list to try.

What prompts the ‘downsizing’, that not being a bulky system compared to many?

The downsizing would be prompted by a lifestyle change with more time spent away from home and less time spent working, although this is a promise I make myself each year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

It doesn’ seem long since you get your current system...

When I retire I plan to spend some time travelling in a motorhome (note to self: try one first!), when I picture taking Dave with me, and getting some really good headphones. But that will depend on whether insurable- if not it’d likely be Mojo with Poly, but I fear I’d miss my music at home!

I am a bit confused. So you plan on travelling with Dave and Poly in a motorhome. I hope you are all good friends or at least Dave knows about Poly and vice versa. Don't want you losing your mojo!

Bit late to the party here but I would say sunbeamgls bog sums up my thoughts on the show nicely. Having been previously a little underwhelmed by ATC's in the past i thought the SCM40A's were the sound of the show; shockingly good with such a compact one box system. Definitely gave me food for thought although I think I love the bass presentation of PMC's a little too much to consider making a switch. Active + reduced box count is so tempting though

Managed to completely miss the 500 series system although doesn't sound like a missed out too much there. Very much enjoyed the Dynaudio Contours again as well... I think that's a very special range.

Mayor West posted:

Bit late to the party here but I would say sunbeamgls bog sums up my thoughts on the show nicely. Having been previously a little underwhelmed by ATC's in the past i thought the SCM40A's were the sound of the show; shockingly good with such a compact one box system. Definitely gave me food for thought although I think I love the bass presentation of PMC's a little too much to consider making a switch. Active + reduced box count is so tempting though

Funny, my impression of the SCM40A demo was not good at all, and you could tell that others were leaving the room, unimpressed. Maybe they had different hardware or music playing at different times? At the time, I guessed that maybe the relatively cheap Auralic streamer/pre was letting the active speakers down. I found the SCM50 passive demo much better, and this was using a relatively expensive Naim system. I even preferred that to the SCM100 demo, which again used a relatively cheap streamer/pre, this time ATC's own. Maybe I've become a Naim junkie! 

ChrisSU posted:
Mayor West posted:

Bit late to the party here but I would say sunbeamgls bog sums up my thoughts on the show nicely. Having been previously a little underwhelmed by ATC's in the past i thought the SCM40A's were the sound of the show; shockingly good with such a compact one box system. Definitely gave me food for thought although I think I love the bass presentation of PMC's a little too much to consider making a switch. Active + reduced box count is so tempting though

Funny, my impression of the SCM40A demo was not good at all, and you could tell that others were leaving the room, unimpressed. Maybe they had different hardware or music playing at different times? At the time, I guessed that maybe the relatively cheap Auralic streamer/pre was letting the active speakers down. I found the SCM50 passive demo much better, and this was using a relatively expensive Naim system. I even preferred that to the SCM100 demo, which again used a relatively cheap streamer/pre, this time ATC's own. Maybe I've become a Naim junkie! 

I must attend to the above typo and note i was referring to Sunbeamgls's BLOG

Yeah it is interesting that you thought differently but I think that the music has a big influence. Some rooms where you could tell the systems had potential had me leaving just based on the music playing. I thought out of the ATC systems, the Naim passive one came in second for me so maybe our opinions don't differ too much after all. In the past I've found the reps are happy to hand over the iPad which is nice to get a better evaluation when you can play some of your own music but it wasn't really the case I found at this years show.

Mayor West posted:
ChrisSU posted:
Mayor West posted:

Bit late to the party here but I would say sunbeamgls bog sums up my thoughts on the show nicely. Having been previously a little underwhelmed by ATC's in the past i thought the SCM40A's were the sound of the show; shockingly good with such a compact one box system. Definitely gave me food for thought although I think I love the bass presentation of PMC's a little too much to consider making a switch. Active + reduced box count is so tempting though

Funny, my impression of the SCM40A demo was not good at all, and you could tell that others were leaving the room, unimpressed. Maybe they had different hardware or music playing at different times? At the time, I guessed that maybe the relatively cheap Auralic streamer/pre was letting the active speakers down. I found the SCM50 passive demo much better, and this was using a relatively expensive Naim system. I even preferred that to the SCM100 demo, which again used a relatively cheap streamer/pre, this time ATC's own. Maybe I've become a Naim junkie! 

I must attend to the above typo and note i was referring to Sunbeamgls's BLOG

Yeah it is interesting that you thought differently but I think that the music has a big influence. Some rooms where you could tell the systems had potential had me leaving just based on the music playing. I thought out of the ATC systems, the Naim passive one came in second for me so maybe our opinions don't differ too much after all. In the past I've found the reps are happy to hand over the iPad which is nice to get a better evaluation when you can play some of your own music but it wasn't really the case I found at this years show.

The music might have been part of the problem - they guy in the Auralic/ATC room seemed to spend more time talking than playing music, and one of his comments was about how mp3s were as good as you need.

Not sure I can blame them for keeping hold of the iPad, though, there’s only so much Dire Straits a man can take!!

ChrisSU posted:
Mayor West posted:

Bit late to the party here but I would say sunbeamgls bog sums up my thoughts on the show nicely. Having been previously a little underwhelmed by ATC's in the past i thought the SCM40A's were the sound of the show; shockingly good with such a compact one box system. Definitely gave me food for thought although I think I love the bass presentation of PMC's a little too much to consider making a switch. Active + reduced box count is so tempting though

Funny, my impression of the SCM40A demo was not good at all, and you could tell that others were leaving the room, unimpressed. Maybe they had different hardware or music playing at different times? At the time, I guessed that maybe the relatively cheap Auralic streamer/pre was letting the active speakers down. I found the SCM50 passive demo much better, and this was using a relatively expensive Naim system. I even preferred that to the SCM100 demo, which again used a relatively cheap streamer/pre, this time ATC's own. Maybe I've become a Naim junkie! 

" ... relatively cheap ..."  Relative to what?  The Auralic Vega G2 retails for £5499 and the Aries G2 £3899.  I wish I was in the fortunate position of being able to consider a £9398 streamer/preamp cheap.

Roger

Peakman posted:
ChrisSU posted:
Mayor West posted:

Bit late to the party here but I would say sunbeamgls bog sums up my thoughts on the show nicely. Having been previously a little underwhelmed by ATC's in the past i thought the SCM40A's were the sound of the show; shockingly good with such a compact one box system. Definitely gave me food for thought although I think I love the bass presentation of PMC's a little too much to consider making a switch. Active + reduced box count is so tempting though

Funny, my impression of the SCM40A demo was not good at all, and you could tell that others were leaving the room, unimpressed. Maybe they had different hardware or music playing at different times? At the time, I guessed that maybe the relatively cheap Auralic streamer/pre was letting the active speakers down. I found the SCM50 passive demo much better, and this was using a relatively expensive Naim system. I even preferred that to the SCM100 demo, which again used a relatively cheap streamer/pre, this time ATC's own. Maybe I've become a Naim junkie! 

" ... relatively cheap ..."  Relative to what?  The Auralic Vega G2 retails for £5499 and the Aries G2 £3899.  I wish I was in the fortunate position of being able to consider a £9398 streamer/preamp cheap.

Roger

I'm not 100% sure which Auralic gear was used, although the Acoustica info mentioned "a combined streamer pre-amp with balanced outputs at under £2,000 that makes an amazing match to ATC’s active loudspeakers that the Auralic room will feature." But to answer your question, relative to the NDX/XPS/252/Supercap/300 system in the SCM50 demo. That includes a £20k streamer/preamp.

Mayor West posted:
ChrisSU posted:
Mayor West posted:

Bit late to the party here but I would say sunbeamgls bog sums up my thoughts on the show nicely. Having been previously a little underwhelmed by ATC's in the past i thought the SCM40A's were the sound of the show; shockingly good with such a compact one box system. Definitely gave me food for thought although I think I love the bass presentation of PMC's a little too much to consider making a switch. Active + reduced box count is so tempting though

Funny, my impression of the SCM40A demo was not good at all, and you could tell that others were leaving the room, unimpressed. Maybe they had different hardware or music playing at different times? At the time, I guessed that maybe the relatively cheap Auralic streamer/pre was letting the active speakers down. I found the SCM50 passive demo much better, and this was using a relatively expensive Naim system. I even preferred that to the SCM100 demo, which again used a relatively cheap streamer/pre, this time ATC's own. Maybe I've become a Naim junkie! 

I must attend to the above typo and note i was referring to Sunbeamgls's BLOG

Yeah it is interesting that you thought differently but I think that the music has a big influence. Some rooms where you could tell the systems had potential had me leaving just based on the music playing. I thought out of the ATC systems, the Naim passive one came in second for me so maybe our opinions don't differ too much after all. In the past I've found the reps are happy to hand over the iPad which is nice to get a better evaluation when you can play some of your own music but it wasn't really the case I found at this years show.

Not my experience, possibly because I was there early on Sunday.  The Auralic guy gave me the iPad to play with so I had a happy time playing a nice selection of my type of tracks.  Perhaps it was my choice of music that put off ChrisSU!  For my part, I'm now going to look into the Auralic/ATC setup, though the 4.6 upgrade to my 272 may change things.

Roger

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