HiFi Lounge

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  1. Hi All, So I have been banging on for years how all 2 channel systems benefit from running a dedicated REL Subwoofer to underpin the front left and right speakers and it looks like the word is really getting out there now as we have never demoed and sold so many subwoofers as we have over the last few months, infact REL have seen unprecedented demand so it looks as if Covid has helped people see the light somehow, for me adding a Sub is the best pound for pound upgrade there is to get more from your system. So at home I just installed the new REL 212/SX subwoofer to underpin my PMC BB5 SE’s, now a lot of people would probably think that if you have a speaker with 2 x 15 inch bass drivers there would be no need for a sub but I can assure you once you have heard the difference you would be really amazed as it isn’t all about adding bass, in fact you set the sub to a very low level so it is hardly noticeable but it adds real weight and depth to the bottom end which in really frees up the mid range and adds more depth and width to the soundstage. I became really aware of the importance of good subs for 2 channel when I went to Dave Wilson’s house in Utah to hear the incredible £700,000 Wilson Wamm and they had a sub running with each speaker and that really is a big speaker so if a Wamm needs subs then suley every speaker out there does. For me it is almost a case of any REL sub is better than no sub, in fact I struggle to listen to a system nowadays if there is no sub installed, but it is a little more involved than that but REL offer such a comprehensive range there is something for everyone really and for me it has to be a REL thanks to their Hi-Level connection designed for speed and integration for 2 channel, I won’t go into that here but feel free to give me a shout if you’d like to know more. We have also now installed a 212/SX into our so called new Reference system to work with our Wilson Alexia 2’s, again these are a £65,000 speaker that really do benefit from the addition of the 212/SX, I should also mention that the new Wireless modules from REL really are quite exceptional and actually work better than running the normal Hi-Level cable, it is put down to the fact that the wireless technology is so fast now that it is actually faster than a hard wired cable. If you have still not experienced the benefit of a sub with your 2 Channel system please feel free to book an appointment to give it a try, I know you’ll be impressed. Please find a link to the REL range on our website and a few pics below – https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/rel/ REL 212/SX at Home with the PMC BB5 SE’s and At Work with the Wilson Audio
  2. Hi Everyone, Just wanted to say that we now have the full range of the new PMC Twenty5i Series speakers on permanent demo, these were announced sometime ago and where due to be with us much sooner than this but obviously a little thing called Covid 19 decided to come along and ruin our fun but the good news is that they are all now here and are sounding excellent. I don't know how they do it but it really sounds like PMC have made even more gains with their Twenty5 range, now on it's 3rd generation, listening to the new 25.23i's there is definitely a more open and airy midrange with a more refined top end, these really are awesome speakers and it is easy to see over our time as a dealer they have been our most popular speaker. Anway if you'd like to come in for a listen anytime please feel free to book an appointment. https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/pmc-speakers/twenty5i-series/ Cheers, Paul.
  3. Hi All, Another day and more new demo stock, this time I have to say this is one of the prettiest speakers we have ever had at HiFi Lounge, the Focal Scala Evo Speakers in the new Noyer Natural Finish, I nearly went for blue but took a gamble on this finish and I'm so glad I did as they really are gorgeous, they look good in the pictures but are even better when seen in the showroom and the great news is that they really do sound as good as they look. So far I have run them with Naim, Chord and Accuphase and all 3 give very different presentations, all great but just very different. Priced at £29,999 they certainly aren't cheap but in all honesty you really could argue they are worth every penny when you see and hear them. If you'd like to come in for a listen anytime please feel free to book an appointment. Cheers, Paul. Focal Utopia Scala Vs Maestro!
  4. Accuphase E-800 Pure Class A Integrated Amplifier now on Demo! Hi All, Just a really quick one to say that we now have the new Accuphase E-800 Pure Class A Integrated amplifier now on Demo, this is my first foray into Class A solid state amplification and I have to say I can see why people like this kind of amplification as it really does give an extremely natural presentation but with great control, it really is very engrossing. The E-800 is basically 50 watts into 8 ohms which at Class A is pretty much enough power to drive any speakers out there, it's certainly not small but if you are looking for an amp to get the best out of your speakers and prefer your HiFi more on the musical side then I would highly recommend giving the E-800 a good listen. Cheers, Paul.
  5. Hi Everyone, Now I am super excited about this new product we have just taken delivery of for demo. In 8 years of HiFi Lounge I would argue this is the most groundbreaking piece of HiFi we have had through our doors. I’m sure Taiko Audio isn’t a name everyone has heard of but I’m pretty confident they are about to change the digital music landscape with their SGM Extreme, for those who don’t know it is basically a £25,000 Music Server and a Roon Core and End Point all in one rather beautiful chassis, but what I love about it is that it has been designed with a no compromise outlook where it ends up costing what it costs but it will be the very best that is possible today and it really is a Quantum leap for digital music playback. When Taiko was first mentioned to me I really was unaware of them and the rep suggested he bought it in for me to listen to and I’m always happy to try something new but I did tell him upfront that there is no way that I am going to bring on a £25,000 server, I mean who on earth would buy that, and then I heard it and I’m sure you can guess the rest, yep I placed the order there and then and have been waiting patiently and excitedly for the last few months for it to arrive, lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time. It really isn’t very often we get something ground breaking in this industry, everything is generally a refinement on what has gone before, but I really feel this is something very special and if you have the system to benefit from a Taiko I cannot urge enough that you give it a try, not necessarily to buy one but just to experience how good digital can be, it is amazing in just a few short years we have progressed from using NAS drives and computers for digital storage to the Taiko Extreme which shows it is still early days for digital and we’ve probably still got a long way to go but with products like this it really does take it to another level. It has been said that the SGM Extreme can compete with the best turntables and Reel to Reels out there and at last gives something to people who have struggled moving from analogue to digital, I couldn’t really say but for me it was the air, space and naturalness of the sound it gives that drew me in, it really is totally captivating and it is great that there is a company like Taiko willing to push the boundaries and take digital to the next level. So this is another step towards us putting together our Reference System that I planned out earlier in the year, just one more product to come, well 4 boxes really making up one product, what could it be? Then the listening begins. But really I can’t stress enough please do come in to experience the Taiko, this is not me being a sales man, if you love your music you owe it to yourself to give the Taiko Audio SGM Extreme a listen to hear digital at it’s very best, I really wish we could do an open day this year to showcase the Taiko but obviously that is not possible at the moment but rest assured as soon as we can then this will be one of our first open days. https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/taiko-audio/ Cheers, Paul.
  6. Hi All, This is just a quickie to say that we now have the SME Model 12A turntable on permanent demo to go with our Model 15 that we also have on demo. At £8550 unbelievably the Model 12A is SME Entry turntable but make no mistake this is a real high end offering, the build quality really has to be seen to be believed and you have to listen to it to understand why SME are considered one of the best manufacturers of turntables in the world today. It comes with the SME Model 309 tonearm which really takes some beating and at the moment we have it partnered with a Kiseki Blue cartridge which sounds great but we will soon be swapping that out for a Kiseki Purple Heart once with us as I expect this to be a really good match with the 12A. If vinyl is your thing and you want the best then please feel free to come for a listen anytime, there is nothing better than a turntable demo Please find more info below - https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/sme/turntables-sme/ Cheers, Paul.
  7. Hi All, As we continue to up the specification of our main system in our so called 'Highend Room' I am really pleased to now have a full loom of Transparent Reference Cables here in preparation of the last 2 pieces of the jigsaw to arrive, I think it is fair to say that when it comes to High-end Cables Transparent rule the roost so it really is great to be able to now have a full set on permanent demo, this little lot comes to around £50k which is Transparents Mid level, you can spend much more but I think it is also worth mentioning that they also do speaker cables and interconnects starting from only £145 so they really do cater for all audiophile budgets out there, saying that for the very best in Transparent there is their Magnum Opus range where as an example a 2.5m pair of speaker cable will set you back over £70,000, Gulp. Anyway I can't wait to get them all hooked up, for any Transparent enquiries or prices please feel free to get in touch. https://www.transparentcable.com/ Cheers, Paul.
  8. Hi Everyone, Firstly it goes without saying that I hope everyone has stayed fit well over the last few months and also you have stayed mentally sane as these have certainly been times like no other we have been going through with a variety of different challenges but it does appear that the worst is now behind us, well let’s certainly hope so and like most of the country’s ‘Non Essential’ shops (although I would argue we are pretty essential for a lot of our customers) we will be reopening from Tuesday 16th which I am delighted about. I also want to thank everyone for their support through this period, it was really nice to get so many emails and phone calls of genuine concern and like many I really thought we were heading into a really difficult trading period, looking back though it has been the total opposite and I actually felt busier during Lockdown than when we are normally open, obviously we had to adapt the way we worked but lending kit out for people to try at home proved very popular, either sent by courier or by us taking it to peoples houses, Wendy did a 400+ mile round trip one day dropping kit off whilst on the same day I was out also, I think we did 10 drops that day, anyway the main thing is that we got through it but really are ready now to re-open our doors, although I’ve been busy it has still been very strange having the showrooms shut since March 24th and with no one coming in, over the last couple of weeks I have had to get all the kit back though as at one point the shop looked like it had been robbed as most of it was in people's homes but we have everything back now, ready for action. So what is the new way forward? For the time being we will be strictly appointment only with no drop in’s allowed, I never wanted to make this place appointment only as I don’t like putting barriers up for people but we really have no choice at the moment so until the country is Coronavirus free (I really hope it goes as quick as it came) then we will work appointment only with 1 to 2 demo’s a day and we will have hand sanitiser available when customers come in, we will have a dedicated customer toilet that we will clean thoroughly after every customer and we will maintain social distancing, if anyone coming in can respect this also that will be great as we all need to stay fit and healthy. I have already had quite a few people book demo’s for Tuesday onwards next week so it looks like we will soon get back to some kind of normality, I can’t wait to start demoing again as really missed that but going forward I think we will run the business slightly differently so if you are a little nervous about coming in due to the virus but would like to try something at home just get in touch and we can arrange something and I also think for a lot of people they would rather try kit at home, which does make a lot of sense, so again just give me a shout and we can get something arranged. I think one victim this year will be open days, we love a good open day here but I think any we had planned will be on hold now till next year which actually is a real shame as we’ve got some great new kit that we could have showcased. Talking of new equipment we have, just before lockdown I ordered loads of new toys to play with which all just started trickling in before Lockdown was announced so I have had that stored away safely until the moment we could open again so please keep an eye out for more announcements of exciting new products we'll have on demo. Anyway I’ll shut up now and look forward to some kind of a normal service resuming at HFL and if you’d like to come in for a demo please feel free to get in touch to make an appointment. All the best, Regards, Paul, Wendy and Ady.
  9. Hi All, So I’ve been meaning to partner our demo Chord Electronics mighty Ultima 2 Mono Power Amps with some Wilson’s for a while but I knew we would have our new demo Ultima 2 Preamplifier here soon so wanted to wait till then so we could do a full Chord setup and last week we received our Ultima 2 pre so it was game on, now we normally run the Ultima 2 amplifiers on our PMC Fenestria’s and I can honestly say I have never heard them sound better so I was really keen to give a full Chord setup a listen on our new demo Wilson Audio Alexia’s and I have to say it is a pretty potent combo. We ran our Melco N1ZH into Chord’s Dave, unfortunately our demo M Scaler is out on loan, then into the Ultima 2 Pre and the Mono Ultima 2 amps all connected up with Atlas Asimi cabling so there was no doubt it was going to sound good but I was surprised how different it sounded to what I’m used to with Wilson’s, now I am used to running Constellation and Audio Research with Wilson’s which are brilliant partnering equipment but this Chord setup sounded so different, now bearing in mind how big these amps are you expect a big and powerful sound, which you get when called for but what really surprised me was how quick and agile they are and there is a real finesse and delicacy, such an open and airy sound with amazing seperation, it is really hard to put into words but as a total system it was captivating on all genres of music and although we normally run our Dave straight into the Ultima amps adding the Pre certainly seemed to open up the soundstage quite noticeably, is it £12,500 better? well that is always a difficult question to answer but putting it in the chain certainly helped make the system more immersive. I love Chord’s kit, one for the sound but also for the looks, it is un-ashmadley attention grabbing and although our new Ultima 2 setup looks stunning it is the sound quality that really impresses, we will have this setup running permantley once we re-open so please feel free to make an appointment to come in for a listen anytime. Please find more info on our website below – https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/chord-electronics/chord-electronics-reference/ HiFi News Review Please also read the HiFi News review of the Ultima 2 Pre and Power Combo which got a 90% rating which is virtually unheard of from Hifi News, Chord really do have a winning combination on their hands here – https://hifilounge.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/HiFi-News-Ultima-2-and-Pre-2-Review.pdf Cheers, Paul.
  10. Hi Everyone, So next in our post Lockdown new demo kit announcements is rather special, what with the Munich Highend Show cancelled this year we thought we would up our reference system to bring a slice of Munich to Millow so starting with the speakers we now have the awesome Wilson Audio Alexia 2's on permanent demo, these are the next one up in the range from the brilliant Sasha DAW's which are a really popular speaker for us but the Alexia really takes it to the next level with a more open and bigger soundstage, they just give you more of what Wilson do really well, making really engaging music that you just want to listen to, longer sometimes than you probably should, at £65,000 I know they should be good but they really are so once we are open again please feel free to book an appointment to come and have a listen, I'm really looking forward to try a variety of different amps on these to see what is the best performance we can achieve. We actually now have the Wilson Audio range from the TuneTot to the Alexia 2's on permanent demo, Only Alexx then XVX and Wamm's left to complete the set 👍 This is the start of our new Highend system, more announcements of the rest of the new kit making it up shortly, all very exciting. https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/wilson-audio/ On with some pictures, further down there is a couple of comparison pics of the Alexia 2 v DAW and if you have any questions regarding these awesome speakers please don't hesitate to get in touch. Cheers, Paul.
  11. Hi All, So the next news we have in readiness for the lifting of retail Lockdown is that we are really proud to add Accuphase to our portfolio of brands and products, for those you don't know Accuphase is considered Japan's High end HiFi offering to the world. I must admit that when I was first shown one of the integrated amps by my rep a few months ago I was tottally smitten by the looks even before it had made a single note , I mean what is not to love about the VU Meters and their very retro look but once you start using their products you realise they just ooze class, they are so beautifully made and extremely well engineered, every button and knob is a joy to operate, when you are next in please feel free to have a twiddle, Accuphase really are up there with the best when it comes to understanding that everything matters, I'm actually not using the remote so that I have the joy of using the manual volume knob, anyway enough of my perversions, oh yes and they only come in Champagne Gold, which I know may not be for everyone but it they certainly make a statement and actually look really classy in the flesh. But obviously it is the sound that matters and needless to say they don't disappoint here, for a company that is approaching it's 50th anniversary I think it's fair to say they know what they are doing by now, I first heard the 30 watt Pure Class A E-650 Integrated and we used it to drive the Magneplanar 20.7's which are a very difficult speaker to get the best from but it really did make them sing, in all honesty I have never heard them sound better, I think it is fair to say with the limited listening I have had so far that the Accuphase house sound is honest but slightly on the warmer and full bodied side, very much a Class A sound but even their non Class A amps still carry that sound so they have all the detail but they are not bright or forward, just very natural and musical. Accuphase Laboratory, Inc. is a Japanese, Yokohama-based high-end audio equipment manufacturer founded by former Kenwood engineer Jiro Kasuga in late 1972 who was unhappy with the direction Kenwood where going in so he took engineers from Marantz and Luxman and formed Accuphase. The name ACCUPHASE was adapted by taking the prefix ACCU from the word “accurate”, and combining it with PHASE which is a most important factor in audio technology. Accuphase are well known for producing extremely high quality products so if you are looking for a new amp and are taken by the looks of Accuphase then feel free to come into HFL to give them a listen as I'm pretty sure you'll be very impressed as I was. At the moment we have the new E-380 Integrated on demo which is to be followed very shortly by the new monster E-800 50 Watt Pure Class Amp, really can't wait to get my hands on this, all their integrateds and Preamps can be fitted with either a digital DAC board as well as a Phono Board so they really can be a very neat solution for people who don't want loads of boxes. Please find the full range below, unfortunately Accuphase won't let us publish prices so please do get in touch for more info, as an example the E-380 we have on demo is £6800 and the E-800 will be £15,000, if anything else in the range takes your fancy please also get in touch as we have access to the full range for demo that we can borrow at any time. https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/accuphase/ Cheers, Paul. Accuphase E-380 Integrated Amplifier Accuphase E-800 Integrated Amplifier (Coming Very Soon)
  12. Hi Everyone, So with the end of retail lockdown now in sight I wanted to do a few blogs of a fair bit of new demo stock that arrived just before lockdown, it seemed weird announcing loads of new demo stock when we couldn't do any demos but all being well we'll be back open on June 15th so hopefully it will be all systems go again soon. Anway due to how much I love the Fyne Audio F1-5's I just couldn't resist ordering the F1-8's for demo which arrived a week before lockdown but that was actually a bonus as they have been my lockdown speaker of choice that I have been playing daily to keep me entertained during this crazy time. The first thing that shocked me was their size, compared to the F1-5's they look huge but once I got over that I was smitten with the sound, they really do give a big, open and airy mid range, with such a large soundstage and they do pack a fair old punch at the bottom end although I still like to run a sub with them but then I like a sub with all speakers. Their looks really do grab attention and definitely divides opinion but that is a good thing as they really are quite different to anything else out there but one thing is for sure, I know everyone will love the sound the F1-8's give and if you are looking for a highend standmount I would wholeheartedly recommend you give these a listen once we are back open. https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/fyne-audio/f1-series/ Cheers, Paul. Fyne Audio F1-8 v F1-5
  13. Thanks guys, even I'm surprised how well they work in the room as once I got them home I really thought I'd bitten off more that the room could handle but luckily we got away with it as they sound brilliant. Phil, I've sold one pair of wafers on eBay so only have one pair left so don't hang about 😉
  14. Hi All, So this all goes back well over a decade ago, long before HFL was even a glint in our eyes, when myself and Wendy attended an PMC Open Day at Unilet where the PMC BB5’s where being showcased and I remember it clearly when Wendy looked at me and said ‘We’ve got to get a pair of those’ unfortunately at the time we couldn’t fit them in our living room so we ‘settled’ for the MB2i’s which as I’ve said before inadvertently led to the opening of HFL as I became totally addicted to them and my hifi but that's another story. Anyway if I have learnt one thing from this whole Covid-19 thing is that life doesn’t stay the same and it can change in a heartbeat as it has done for everyone in one way or another so I thought to myself what am I waiting for, if there is something you want and you have the means to get it then why wait as who knows what is around the corner, so a quick email to PMC to see if they had any BB5 SE’s in walnut in stock, to my surprise they did and a couple of days later Wendy went over to pick them up from PMC in Luton, so around 12 years later her wish became a reality, have to say a lot certainly changed in those intervening years. Now I love speakers, they are my favourite part of the HiFi chain as they really do make the most difference in presentation and I have always believed that you can put a big speaker in a small room but when I saw the size of the boxes of the BB5’s even I thought we maybe had bitten off more than we could chew this time but after a couple of hours of unboxing and manhandling the speaker onto their stands it was time to fire up the Bryston amps and see what we had. Needless to say I was extremely relieved when they sounded incredible instantly, extremely open and spacious with a huge soundstage and with tight and punchy bass with no overhang or room issues but for me it was how 'correct' they sounded, from the very bottom to the very top the balance was perfect, not one aspect stood out other than you really feeling you are hearing the presentation as it should be, there is just this big and airy image that hangs in front of you, as they say with car engines, there is no replacement for displacement, and I feel it is the same with speakers, you just can’t beat a big cabinet to free up the sound. Now obviously they are on the slightly large side and are not really room friendly for your normal domestic situation but luckily I married a crazy woman who thinks they look awesome in the room and we both love the sound so I think at long last my speaker search for home is now finally over, yes I measured for a pair of BB5 XBD’s but they really won’t fit, now I just want to play with the rest of the system to get the very best from the speakers. Cheers, Paul. https://hifilounge.co.uk/product-category/brands/pmc-speakers/se-series/ Please find some unboxing pics below - Wendy get's her dream speaker at last. Getting a Rough Idea of the toe in. Deep breathe as we now need to lift it onto its stand.