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Bristol HI-FI Show

Bristol HI-FI Show

Click images above to enlarge. (Hotel entrance)

Quality and variety. Just two words that describe my experience at the 2019 Bristol Hi FI Show. Many of the demonstration rooms concentrated on streaming / storage components (not surprisingly), however, there was something for everyone.

Admittedly, many of the streaming / digital small room demonstrations did leave me feeling cold. Apart from the price tags and verbal fanfare, I felt I my GPS had incorrectly guided me to the nearest industrial park, straight passed the delivery shuttered doors of a Currys PC World and dumped me bang in the middle of the latest digital flashing products isle.

It was the relative simplicity and easy listening traits of the Mitchell Engineering room (with Mitchell Orbe ‘SE’ and Sugden amplification) and the Proac room (with Mitchell Orbe ‘SE’ combined with Trilogy amplification) that gently enticed me to wonder in and ‘stay a while longer’. Judging by some of the most consistently filled listening chairs in both rooms, I was not the only true music lover who fell in love with what they heard ‘and felt’. I am sure the ‘old school’ well engineered Mitchell Orbe turntable
(present and working) in both rooms had a lot to do with the inviting tones.

Thankfully, the Naim / Audio Focal ‘busy time slotted’ larger room demonstration, using Naim’s ND5 XS2, NDX 2 & ND555 (ranging from 2.5k to just above 7k) did give a deeper insight into greater possibilities of streaming, ripping… (As well as sparking multiple questions from me and my colleagues for many days). Clarity and much improved depth (over the smaller room demo’s here) but I still question the lack of physicality and emotion (bearing in mind my ever growing love and appreciation for good quality vinyl pressings). Perhaps those with less experience with vinyl would not consider my continuing reservations valid?

Although the Naim rep highlighted he and his colleagues had done the best they could with the room and time they were given to set-up, some hardened Naim enthusiasts continued to comment on various forums stating they were not happy with the room or Focal speakers used for this demonstration. Some suggested Naim should have used Naim DBL’s instead of the Focal loudspeaker!

As a long-term Musical Fidelity component owner, I was pleased to see the musical Fidelity brand at the show (in the Pro-Ject Audio Systems / Musical Fidelity / Kilpsch room) as well as on the ground floor on Saturday. I also noticed an absence of the M8 series amplification. I find this strange considering the M8 series is considered their flagship amplification?

Wilson Benesch offered a powerful and controlled listening experience on the ground floor open space area featuring their original Wilson Benesch Turntable (no longer in production). One impressed listener stated “I don’t usually listen to classical music at home for various reasons, this is one of the few times I have actually stopped and listened... clean, detailed, yet still inviting… this is amazing!”

Due to my current ongoing detailed tests of balanced mains units (BMU’s) as well other mains conditioners, I was intrigued to uncover the various ‘power units’ (if in use) behind the scenes. Iso Tek conditioners and various power-blocks seemed to be the order of the day (and weekend) at this show, though it was difficult to see behind all the curtains and banners.

Music and hi-fi enthusiasts praised the variety of exhibitors, quality of components, cables and various accessories on display this year. Those who were not able to experience all that was on offer during a one day visit have vowed to return next year to make a weekend of it.

Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.
23 February 2019

Featured exhibitors:
ATC, Avid HI-FI, Canton, Decent Audio, Dynaudio, Falcon Acoustics, Harmon Luxury Audio Group, Harmon Kardon,
Henley Audio, Keith Monks, Leema Audio, Malvern Audio Research, Mellow Acoustics, Mitchell Engineering, Musical Fidelity,
Naim Audio / Focal, Naim Audio (foyer), Ophidian Audio, Proac, Pro-Ject Audio Systems / Musical Fidelity / Klipsch, Puritan Audio Laboratories, Rel, Ruark Audio, Townshend, tri-art audio, Wilson Benesch

ATC
ATC
ATC
ATC ATC ATC
Avid
Avid
Avid
Avid
Avid
Decent Audio
Decent Audio
Decent Audio
Decent Audio Decent Audio
Dynaudio
Dynaudio
Dynaudio
Falcon Acoustics
Falcon Acoustics
Falcon Acoustics
Falcon Acoustics
Harmon Luxury Audio Group
Harmon Luxury Audio Group
Harmon Luxury Audio Group
Harmon Luxury Audio Group
Harmon Luxury Audio Group
Harmon Luxury Audio Group
Harmon / Kardon
Harmon / Kardon
Henley Audio
Henley Audio
Henley Audio Henley Audio
Henley Audio
Keith Monks
Keith Monks
Keith Monks Keith Monks
Leema Acoustics
Leema Acoustics Leema Acoustics
Leema Acoustics
Leema Acoustics
Leema Acoustics
Leema Acoustics
Malvern Audio Research
Malvern Audio Research
Malvern Audio Research
Malvern Audio Research
Mellow Acoustics
Mellow Acoustics
Event Room & Art Vinyl Event Room & Art Vinyl Event Room & Art Vinyl
Mellow Acoustics
Michell Engineering
Michell Engineering
Michell Engineering
Michell Engineering
Michell Engineering
Musical Fidelity
Musical Fidelity
Musical Fidelity
Naim Audio / Focal
Naim Audio / Focal
Naim Audio / Focal
Naim Audio / Focal
Naim Audio / Focal
Naim Audio / Focal Naim Audio / Focal Naim Audio / Focal
Naim Audio / Focal
Naim Audio / Focal
Ophidian Audio
Ophidian Audio
Ophidian Audio
Proac
Proac
Proac
Proac
Proac
Pro-Ject Audio Systems / Musical Fidelity / Klipsch
Pro-Ject Audio Systems / Musical Fidelity / Klipsch
Pro-Ject Audio Systems / Musical Fidelity / Klipsch Pro-Ject Audio Systems / Musical Fidelity / Klipsch
Pro-Ject Audio Systems / Musical Fidelity / Klipsch
Pro-Ject Audio Systems / Musical Fidelity / Klipsch
Puritan Audio Laboratories
Puritan Audio Laboratories
Rel
Rel
Rel Rel
Ruark Audio
Ruark Audio
Ruark Audio
Ruark Audio
Ruark Audio
Ruark Audio
Townshend
Townshend
tri-art audio
tri-art audio
tri-art audio
Wilson Benesch
Wilson Benesch
Wilson Benesch Wilson Benesch Wilson Benesch
Wilson Benesch
Wilson Benesch Wilson Benesch
Wilson Benesch
Wilson Benesch
Wilson Benesch
Wilson Benesch

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