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Hi-Fi News & Record Review
by Steven R. Rochlin

Standing room only crowd at the AE room  Can you say huge crowds? Do you know what SRO means? Any show coverage by a reporter worth his salt will have at least a photo (or two) of the overwhelming amount of attendees that descended to the Hammersmith Novotel during the public days of the Hi-Fi News & Record Review show. The hallways were jammed packed and seemed like the M4 during rush hour traffic! Seen here is the Acoustic Energy room which, while one of the larger rooms at the show, was still at standing room only capacity during their demonstrations.

Vivante croudIn fact software vendors were extremely happy as cash-wielding crowds were literally three-deep happily buying all things vinyl and CD. Seen to the right is the Vivante booth which was photo'ed earlier in this extensive show report. Notice the three-deep crowd (and they were not just lookers, they were buying!). On Saturday night a major music vendor was so happy with sales he began celebrating at 10pm at the bar in the lobby and finally stopped drinking around 8am Sunday morning! Over the past years i have attended many public shows. This years Hi-Fi News & Record Review show was many multiples better attended then it's American counterpart held earlier this year (where, sadly, many music vendor lost money attending the show due to poor public attendance).

Antonio Forcione and Neil StaceyOf course no show is complete without great live music performances. To that end, none other than Naim's own Antonio Forcione and Neil Stacey played not one, not two, but four different sets (two Saturday, two Sunday). In fact their album Acoustic Mania "Talking Hands" (naimcd020) is wonderful (buy it!). The crowds were so large for their performances it was standing room only too! Again, by the CD!!! Also check out Antonio Forcione's website by clicking here.

Shadow Sound speakersWhere art meets functionality, English speakers manufacturer Shadow Sound from West Sussex allows various artists to turn their speaker cabinets into painted masterpieces. To the right is the Orion which uses an 8" woofer, 3" dome midrange and 1" coated fabric dome tweeter to produce an overall frequency response of 40 Hz to 22 kHz. The sensitivity is claimed to be 92 db/w/m with a nominal impedance of 6 ohms. For those who lose moment always buying and selling high-fidelity gear, Shadow Sound guarantees their hand-painted speakers will retain the resale value due to the intrinsic value of the artwork. For those who can not quite afford the hand-painted versions, standard solid color finishes are also available.

Simon Yorke Designs Series 7 turntableAnother great product from England is the highly praised, top quality, super-riffic turntable by Simon Yorke Designs. Seen here is their Series 7 professional transcription unit whose crucial bearing consists of a hardened stainless steel shaft which is ground to, literally, micron tolerances! Unlike many other turntables, this table can play not only the standard 33.3 and 45 rpm records. It also can play 78 rpm vinyl too! A massive 48 kg. platter insures an extremely rigid playing surface for your musical pleasures. Of course no turntable is complete without a tonearm. 

The Simon Yorke S7 tonearm's pivot is made from solid 9.5mm hardened stainless steel. There is more, though best bet is to visit their website for the compete story on these wonderful products.

DVD-Audio versus SACDAttendees could directly hear the difference between Sony's exclusive SACD format and 24-bit 176kHz DVD-Audio. Many people are wisely talking about waiting at least a year before buying and new high-resolution format. It was great to compare the minimal differences, yet i can not help but wonder when 24-bit/384 kHz DVD-Audio will become available.

Finally accessible in the UK, Atma-Sphere Music Systems complete line of OTL tube kits like the M-60 MK II at the show. In fact many of my friends own or have owned the M-60 MK II and have found it to be extremely enjoyable. Of course Atma-Sphere also makes other amplification products too.

AudionAudion was out in full force playing one of their new solid-state amplifiers. These guys are onto something good! While it did sound excellent, i grew tired of photographing another black box with knob so seen here is one of their valved amplifiers. David Chessel, owner of Audion, said that business was excellent for him during the show. In fact he had a huge ear to ear grin on his face and rejoiced when informing me how he sold many of his new solid-state amplifiers to show goers! It is always good to hear about people enjoying their music through proper music reproduction systems.

ATV ServicesHand-built with great care and precision, ATV Services not only make their own valve produces like the stereo valve hybrid MC phono preamplifier seen here, they also claim to be able to repair old Quad, Leak, and even "obscure" brand back to working order! Their MC phono unit seen here uses four E88CC and one ECC82 and comes equipped with one MC phono stage, two  tape loops, and three standard stereo inputs. Standard on this unit are a custom-made 12 position switched stepped attenuator which aids in high precision volume adjustment. A -20db mute switch is standard too. Still, for those of us who love older gear yet do not have the time, or knowledge to repair them, you may want to call ATV Services at 01372 456921.

Well, that's all for this years show coverage. Until next year my friends...

     Enjoy the music,

    Steven R. Rochlin












































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