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2020 Bristol HiFi Show Report

Cameron583

Well-known Member
Wasn’t impressed by the SVS subs personally. They sounded very thumpy and boomy - after spending a while there, I don’t think I’d personally ever invest in one of the models they had on display.

Having said that, not ideal conditions etc
 

BT Bob

Well-known Member
Only just back home after visiting today, and totally agree with the comments about the Rega.
It was in full swing when we walked into the room, so I wasn't event sure what components were playing, but the sound was outstanding considering the less-than perfect environment.
 

drillo

Active Member
There all day but didn’t venture into every room. 3 standouts for me....
Rarely heard ProAc previously but their 34k K10 was just freakin sublime. Not a huge fan of their looks - neither elegant nor handsome but the sound OMG. Seriously wow!
The PMC room was showcasing Martin Logan when I went in - people entered and yet no-one left , 45 mins later an no-one moved - from the highest treble to the lowest octaves attack and speed and power - astonishing.
And then there was the rel line array - rel looks like they were designed by a teenager but holy freakin gods of thunder - visceral pounding bone bending bass. Played it loud!!!! Then for one song AC/DC thunderstruck they went to ‘11’ and my jaw dropped - shocking stupefying bass hit me like a freight train.
Special mention to the LINLEY ruark R1/tempo radio - deluxe.
Went there to hear JL subs - no matter how long I stayed it disappointed - they played nothing recognisable which didn’t help.
 

drillo

Active Member
Wasn’t impressed by the SVS subs personally. They sounded very thumpy and boomy - after spending a while there, I don’t think I’d personally ever invest in one of the models they had on display.

Having said that, not ideal conditions etc
Yeah bit loud and noisy - too bad they partner with emotiva who showed up 2 years after the RMC1 was brought to Bristol AND STILL NO DIRAC - redonculous
 

dave1956a

Member
Very sad the writer did not take time to talk with Arcam about all the problems users are having with the new HDA range.
 

Rym

Active Member
Great show. My personal favorites were the speakers from Kudos and the Totem Tribe Towers
 

invisiblekid

Distinguished Member
Very sad the writer did not take time to talk with Arcam about all the problems users are having with the new HDA range.
There are times and places to have probing questions about faulty equipment. A demo show is not one of them.
 

dave1956a

Member
Where are the "times and places" I have yet to see any "probing questions about faulty equipment" from tech writers that are about any brand.
 

invisiblekid

Distinguished Member
That's as maybe, but it's never going to happen at a show and I'd never read a report from a show expecting those questions to come up and answers given to peoples issues with equipment.

AVForums or AVSForums or whoever is never going to attend these places and start blasting criticisms to the company rep. They'll either just not give you the time of day, or change the subject or, well, not just answer those questions. You have to have a rapport with these people. If you ask question they don't like, not only will you not get answers, you won't get gear to review, or get any kind of interview again.

That's not to say kiss their feet and not be honest in reviews, but you cannot be a pain in these situations, you'll just loose.

Unless its a catastrophic issue, AVForums is likely to get the same answer as you get on the phone/email. Off the record, yes they might get more, but if they know it's going public, they are unlikely to give themselves up.
 

dave1956a

Member
"If you ask question they don't like, not only will you not get answers, you won't get gear to review,"
So if all tech writers asked questions about problems not "blasting criticisms" you feel that there would be no kit reviewed and no interviews given

Well its one way to look at things I guess but it looks like a great way for manufacturers to be as sloppy as they like safe in the knowledge they never have to answer questions about problems.

Mind you if manufacturers tested kit before selling it things might be rather better. I have heard the reasoning a few times "you cannot find all the bugs" But the new Arcams have gone on sale with real errors like speaker level setting not working - I am not talking about Dirac. speaker level setting that if it does not work makes the AVR useless. Or the fact that Arcam were told over 1 year ago that there was a problem in f/w. 1st off users were told there is no problem then oh yes we have got a problem we will fix that - still not fixed. If they can never be called to account why worry about doing something about the problems

This trade never used to be like this, I think I have the problem I am getting old. I find it hard to move with the times, gone are the days when stuff worked out of the box, that is old hat now and a lot of customers seem to be happy to have half working kit or missing features that maybe or maybe not added at some point in the future.

This post is not a dig at you invisiblekid rather I think you are more forgiving than me and that fine, in a free world we are all supposed to have free thought
 
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invisiblekid

Distinguished Member
"If you ask question they don't like, not only will you not get answers, you won't get gear to review,"
So if all tech writers asked questions about problems not "blasting criticisms" you feel that there would be no kit reviewed and no interviews given

Well its one way to look at things I guess but it looks like a great way for manufacturers to be as sloppy as they like safe in the knowledge they never have to answer questions about problems.

This trade never used to be like this, I think I have the problem I am getting old. I find it hard to move with the times, gone are the days when stuff worked out of the box, that is old hat now and a lot of customers seem to be happy to have half working kit or missing features that maybe or maybe not added at some point in the future.
All company's are now a fickle creatures. So yes, they will bite back. I knew of a car dealer who once criticised one of the cars publicly, and in less than two years, he had no dealership thanks to the manufacturer who always seemed to have issues getting cars to him.

All the reviewers here have contacts with the companies and issues they find do get raised and usually get mentioned in the review. These sites are not our middle men, but issues are raised. Just look at the criticism of woefully underpowered Sony TV's trying to run Android. But you can't just opening an interview with "how come your UI is appalling?"

At the same time, things have gotten so complicated now that yes, instead of a handful of things that could go wrong, it's now 100's.

As the guys say at every CES or such like, don't count on everything working eg apps etc or anything being added. It's just not how it works anymore.
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
Where are the "times and places" I have yet to see any "probing questions about faulty equipment" from tech writers that are about any brand.
Couple of points.

1) I attended Bristol to write a show report. While not an enormous show, the time available to me was about the time it took to cover it.
2) AVForums has not reviewed any Arcam HDA AV Receiver and I personally no longer review AV Receivers. The only HDA product yet to pass through the review process is the SA20 and that performs in the manner the company describes. The scope for pursuing described issues is limited until such time as one turns up for review.
3) Owners who have product issues should be leaning on their dealers, who- frankly- carry more clout than we ever do.
4) Frankly, I'm done with the corruption allegations. If I was on the take, I wouldn't have worked the weekend solid and be responding to you at gone 11pm on the weekend with a prospect of another seven days straight ahead of me because I'd have the money on hand to not have to. Yes, we cultivate a relationship with manufacturers. It is how we secure product for a timely and informative review. We don't cover for them and we don't make excuses for them. It is (and will always be) their prerogative as to when they release a product for review
5) You might be getting old, that's not for me to say. What is perhaps more likely is that products are getting more complex. With this comes the likelihood of more issues. I don't like it but that's a side effect of just how sophisticated these devices are.
 
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Scott_Mac

Distinguished Member
The Hegel H390 with the Kef LS50's were jaw dropping.
Absolutely, the stand out for me too - as was the other Hegel room! Though I was also impressed with the little ATC stand mounts (the SCM7 i think) which were dropping way lower than the published figures suggested. Also the Neat stand mounts were very impressive.

Small note on the Kef room, the rear surrounds were actually R5 with R8a as Atmos (it saddened me that my front speakers were being used for rear surround duties :D)

Maybe i'm getting old but so many things were so bass heavy it was ridiculous...

Oh and no comments on the Chord cable demos.... I use their cables throughout but this was the most snake oil i've encountered ever!!!!
 

Rym

Active Member
Absolutely, the stand out for me too - as was the other Hegel room! Though I was also impressed with the little ATC stand mounts (the SCM7 i think) which were dropping way lower than the published figures suggested. Also the Neat stand mounts were very impressive.

Small note on the Kef room, the rear surrounds were actually R5 with R8a as Atmos (it saddened me that my front speakers were being used for rear surround duties :D)

Maybe i'm getting old but so many things were so bass heavy it was ridiculous...

Oh and no comments on the Chord cable demos.... I use their cables throughout but this was the most snake oil i've encountered ever!!!!
Were those the ones where everyone in the room was looking for a sub?

There was one room where everyone was blown away with the low-end of some floor standing speakers but I thought it said A+T on them. They were a silver colour I think for £6k a pair
 

RichardG

Active Member
Wasn’t impressed by the SVS subs personally. They sounded very thumpy and boomy - after spending a while there, I don’t think I’d personally ever invest in one of the models they had on display.

Having said that, not ideal conditions etc
Agreed - they were playing the Live Aid segment from BoRhap and it sounded absurd. Utterly swamping the room. Having been very impressed by the SVS sub-sat dem at Munich a year or two ago, the Bristol dem undid all of that. Terrible advert for them and reinforces the common misconception that AV is "all about the bass"

I'm going to challenge the "not ideal conditions" statement. SVS are one of the leading players in subs and sub bass systems, with a huge amount of technology available for them to deliver a presentation appropriate to the environment. We shouldn't make excuses for them, it was poor.

The room running the JL Audio Fathom on the other hand...gorgeous!
 

Eddy555

Member
Were those the ones where everyone in the room was looking for a sub?

There was one room where everyone was blown away with the low-end of some floor standing speakers but I thought it said A+T on them. They were a silver colour I think for £6k a pair
Those were the T&A Talis R300 speakers hooked up to Taiko kit in the KOG audio room. They were amazing. I asked if there were any subs, nope, just the stand mounts.
The speakers were around £6500
 

Rym

Active Member
Those were the T&A Talis R300 speakers hooked up to Taiko kit in the KOG audio room. They were amazing. I asked if there were any subs, nope, just the stand mounts.
The speakers were around £6500
Thanks for correcting me. Absolutely amazing speakers. Those and the totem tribes and the speakers from Kudos were my favourites !
 

lexicon

Well-known Member
Great show. My personal favorites were the speakers from Kudos and the Totem Tribe Towers
I attended this (Arcam) demo but to be honest I wasn’t that impressed. There was only one rep running the demo this year as far as I could see and I got a feeling of less enthusiasm; it was Harman that were now running the show.

The sound was muddled and too forward for me but that may have been the JBL speakers, setup or both I really don’t know. No mention was made of the extent of the amplification in use as far as I can recall.

I did ask the guy at the end whether Dirac had been used as I was under the impression that it was not yet available but he confirmed the update had been rolled out a few days before and yes, was in use.

He also stated that (I paraphrase) it was only just about in an operative state and that there were still issues that they needed to sort out going forward that they were aware of.

Make of that what you will.
 

Cameron583

Well-known Member
Agreed - they were playing the Live Aid segment from BoRhap and it sounded absurd. Utterly swamping the room. Having been very impressed by the SVS sub-sat dem at Munich a year or two ago, the Bristol dem undid all of that. Terrible advert for them and reinforces the common misconception that AV is "all about the bass"

I'm going to challenge the "not ideal conditions" statement. SVS are one of the leading players in subs and sub bass systems, with a huge amount of technology available for them to deliver a presentation appropriate to the environment. We shouldn't make excuses for them, it was poor.

The room running the JL Audio Fathom on the other hand...gorgeous!
I was just trying to be nice :p

When you compare it to the REL setup that used 6 subs, and sounded incredibly well balanced, you can tell the SVS subs weren't set up very well....
 

lexicon

Well-known Member
My long suffering partner had more of a complaint about the utterly insipid material that was being played throughout the show. “How can you assess a system with that airy fairy rubbish“ was her constant question as we drifted from room to room!
 

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