Bristol S&V - My Views.....

Messiah

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2008
194
4
18,595
Right, so I went to the Bristol Sound and Vision show today and here is some feedback!

First of all, I think the whole show was excellent. Each manufacturer with their own rooms (where needed) and on the whole some friendly Reps.

So, better start with What HiFi! I went in and watched the demo which I believe Joe presented?? It started off by demonstrating the difference between a 128kbps file sent to a Meridian preamp via the laptop analogue output and then onto some Meridian DSP7200 loudspeakers. (Don’t these have DACS in them?? Are they bypassed for the demo??) It sounded very good. Next the same song was played but this time it was a lossless version via the digital output on the laptop to a £2K Bryston DAC and then onto the preamp etc. Did I notice a big improvement. An improvement worth £2K…..No!! It sounded better but not that much better. Maybe a longer demo would have brought about a different result??
Next we were treated to a surround and picture fest courtesy of a 103 inch plasma and a Meridian surround package fed by the new high end Sony Blu-Ray. Results here were more encouraging as the picture and sound were very impressive.

Cyrus – being a fan of Cyrus I was really looking forward to this suite but was left a bit disappointed! As expected though there was a great deal about the SE CD players and new XP(d) Amps. I tried to talk to one of the reps (who needed to ask someone else about the price) about the new amps and to be honest he did not seem to be interested in answering my questions. Hmmmm…
There were a lot of items on display too but not many actually set up. Just a CD8SE, New 8XPd and (I think) 2 PSX-Rs and a Power connected to a pair of PMC FB1i. I did expect a range of setups to be ready to demo but sadly not. There was no-one really ready to demo the kit and both times I went into the room there was just 1 person listening to it.
What a shame! Still it all looked nice….

Meridian – a company I have always been an admirer of since hearing their products 15 years ago I certainly had to see/hear their demo. I was expecting to see the £100k projector system but the Rep told us this was published by mistake and it was just going to be an audio demo. Oh well……that would be ok. So, we were treated to a demo using their top of the range CD player and Sooloos music server connected to a pair of £45,000 DSP8000s. Now I was in the first group to listen to the demo and the Rep told us that this was unfortunate. Unfortunate because we would not hear a better sound all day! And you know what? He was right! The Meridian gear sounded stunning and nothing else I heard all day came close to it!!

Russ Andrews – I went to watch the Russ Andrews demo as I was very interested in hearing the difference a mains product could make. The first part of the demo was showing us the difference that twisted speaker cable made on the sound. (Russ also said that complaints had been made about some of the claims he made surrounding his products. So he had recently paid for and got some scientific proof to back up his claims which are available to view on his website). For the demo Russ had some Arcam electronics with Focal speakers and bog standard wires all round. A track was played and then the cables switched round for the better quality ones. Guess what…..there was a difference and the sound was much improved. However, we know better cables can do this so I was confused about the claims against twisted cables. Maybe it should have been the same cable used but in straight and twisted formats.
Next up a £2000 balanced mains block was connected and the same track played again. Guess what………..my friends and me noticed no difference at all!!!
Hmmm
Next up some cones were used under the speakers and the equipment and the same track played again. And again we could tell no difference!!! Oh well………..

As for the rest of the show, and I visited a lot of rooms, I was impressed with the audio on display but was not blown away with it, nor did I find it significantly better than my current kit and I am talking about listening to Chord Electronics, Bryston, Naim, Quad etc, etc.
Now maybe this is down to all the kit being of a similar calibre and the differences at these price points are just subtle compared to what I have??? Maybe longer demo periods are needed to really appreciate the difference?? I am not sure.
All I can say is it was good but not great…..(Although did not see the KEF demo
)
Another area I was quite surprised with was with headphones. I listened to the top of the range cans from Grado, Denon and Sennheiser and was not blown away here either. Sennheiser were the only ones using a dedicated headphone amp etc but I was still under whelmed with the performance compared to my Grado SR60s. Again, maybe improvements are just subtle. Maybe more time is needed??????


So, my overall conclusions are:

1 – Great Show
2 – Great Demo’s
3 – Be happy with my equipment because…….
4 – To get a truly stunning sound I need £45,000 for some Meridian speakers!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the feedback. What was the Spendor stand and crew like?
 

Alec

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
478
0
18,890
Messiah:Right, so I went to the Bristol Sound and Vision show today and here is some feedback!

First of all, I think the whole show was excellent. Each manufacturer with their own rooms (where needed) and on the whole some friendly Reps.

So, better start with What HiFi! I went in and watched the demo which I believe Joe presented?? It started off by demonstrating the difference between a 128kbps file sent to a Meridian preamp via the laptop analogue output and then onto some Meridian DSP7200 loudspeakers. (Don't these have DACS in them?? Are they bypassed for the demo??) It sounded very good. Next the same song was played but this time it was a lossless version via the digital output on the laptop to a £2K Bryston DAC and then onto the preamp etc. Did I notice a big improvement. An improvement worth £2K...No!! It sounded better but not that much better. Maybe a longer demo would have brought about a different result??

I agree. the difference would have been more aparent, imo, if cheaper kit had been used.

As for the bluray...well, with that telly and a half decent bdp i ought to have been completely blown away. i wasnt. and there was no comparison to a dvd player or inferior kit.

I agree with your general impression that much of the kit wasnt exactly outstanding. much to my dissappointment, all the speakers i heard were better than mine, even the little Dalis (and their bigger brothers/sister/aunts...). Tho that cheers me alittle as theyre so reasonably priced! I'll probably shortlist them whn im on the market again, even tho theyre in a lower price bracket than i was planning on looking.

i didnt see the HC kef demo, but did hear some of their floorstanders. underwhelmed. In fact, not so much with the kefs, but with many sfloorstanders today i found the bass too much for my tastes, except for with the PMCs maybe.

Not saying a word abou Mr Andrews, except one should probably compare apples with...what is it folks? Thats it! Apples! LOL!

Chaps at Chord Co. impressed, as i said here http://whathifi.com/forums/208918/ShowThread.aspx#208918 .

Incidentally, WHFS&V, is it customary to reduce the, er, reduction in price of the mag for subscriptions when a free gift is included? At the show the price was only reduced by 15%, while usually its 20-25, according to this site.

EDIT - Oh, i missed the four blokes with beards


EDIT 2 - the marantz folk were using MS mezzo floorstanders. They too were underwhelming. Hope the standmount version are much better (tho doubt it) as i was thinking they may make a good upgrade soonish...
 

Superaintit

New member
Feb 8, 2009
100
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0
al7478:
Messiah:Right, so I went to the Bristol Sound and Vision show today and here is some feedback!

First of all, I think the whole show was excellent. Each manufacturer with their own rooms (where needed) and on the whole some friendly Reps.

So, better start with What HiFi! I went in and watched the demo which I believe Joe presented?? It started off by demonstrating the difference between a 128kbps file sent to a Meridian preamp via the laptop analogue output and then onto some Meridian DSP7200 loudspeakers. (Don't these have DACS in them?? Are they bypassed for the demo??) It sounded very good. Next the same song was played but this time it was a lossless version via the digital output on the laptop to a £2K Bryston DAC and then onto the preamp etc. Did I notice a big improvement. An improvement worth £2K...No!! It sounded better but not that much better. Maybe a longer demo would have brought about a different result??

I agree. the difference would have been more aparent, imo, if cheaper kit had been used.

(...)

Hi Al7478,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I agree on mp3s actually sounding quite good- even though I almost always listen to lossless, IME the difference between highish bitrate mp3 and lossless is less than the difference between a bad and a good recording.

In relation to this, one thing that caught me eye was you saying that you think the difference between 128kbps and lossless would have become more apparant if cheaper kit had been used.

Are you sure? I would have thought higher end kit would be better in showing up so called ' faults' in the source. My reasoning being that lower end kit has more distotion of it's own, masking bad recordings or lower bitrates. Your thoughts/experience, please.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
It's late but hey, I enjoy it.

() You will hear the benefit of lossless audio if you have the equipment necessary. ÿ
 

Superaintit

New member
Feb 8, 2009
100
0
0
Messiah:Right, so I went to the Bristol Sound and Vision show today and here is some feedback!

First of all, I think the whole show was excellent. Each manufacturer with their own rooms (where needed) and on the whole some friendly Reps.

So, better start with What HiFi! I went in and watched the demo which I believe Joe presented?? It started off by demonstrating the difference between a 128kbps file sent to a Meridian preamp via the laptop analogue output and then onto some Meridian DSP7200 loudspeakers. (Don't these have DACS in them?? Are they bypassed for the demo??) It sounded very good. Next the same song was played but this time it was a lossless version via the digital output on the laptop to a £2K Bryston DAC and then onto the preamp etc. Did I notice a big improvement. An improvement worth £2K...No!! It sounded better but not that much better. Maybe a longer demo would have brought about a different result??
Next we were treated to a surround and picture fest courtesy of a 103 inch plasma and a Meridian surround package fed by the new high end Sony Blu-Ray. Results here were more encouraging as the picture and sound were very impressive.

(...)

Hi Messiah,

Thanks for sharing. I can only say your experience is in line with what I experienced before. I dare hardly say it aloud, but a benchmark dac didn't sound that much different to me than an analog out of a mac mini. Heretics, I know, I know. To make my point clear: I did experience a difference in clarity ('less grain') when using the benchmark dac, but the difference IME wasn't night and day.

Anyway, this weekend I plan to listen to the Dacmagic. Should be interesting to compare.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Superaintit:

I dare hardly say it aloud

Not quiet enough I'm afraid. You're embarrassing yourself.
 

Superaintit

New member
Feb 8, 2009
100
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0
Octopo:
Superaintit:

I dare hardly say it aloud

Not quiet enough I'm afraid. You're embarrassing yourself.

IME that is really insulting. I'm just truthfully showing what I heard. Now, why would that be embarrassing? If you experience is otherwise, please share. If you haven't got anything constructive to add, then maybe you're the one who needs to keep quiet.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,176
1
0
Messiah:
Cyrus - being a fan of Cyrus I was really looking forward to this suite but was left a bit disappointed! As expected though there was a great deal about the SE CD players and new XP(d) Amps. I tried to talk to one of the reps (who needed to ask someone else about the price) about the new amps and to be honest he did not seem to be interested in answering my questions. Hmmmm.
There were a lot of items on display too but not many actually set up. Just a CD8SE, New 8XPd and (I think) 2 PSX-Rs and a Power connected to a pair of PMC FB1i. I did expect a range of setups to be ready to demo but sadly not. There was no-one really ready to demo the kit and both times I went into the room there was just 1 person listening to it.

I'd say you were unlucky then, I went in there twice and neither time could I get a seat to listen to the demo they were running!
 

Messiah

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2008
194
4
18,595
I think I was unlucky as I did not get to hear any demo. Was there a range of kit being demonstrated?? Or was it the same kit I heard??
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,176
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igglebert:Thanks for the feedback. What was the Spendor stand and crew like?

They had two rooms on the top floor, we went there first and I chatted with one of their guys for quite a while (It probably helped that the first words out of my mouth were "Have you got the C9 centre speaker here?", so he was probably thinking there was a potential sale, which there is!), in one room they had all the current range of floorstanders and standmounters lined up, the room next door had the A6s playing through Cyrus amps fed by a Linn DS (can't remember which one, not a Sneaky though) from a NAS of some sort. Sounded very good, exactly the sort of neutral sound I like, although I didn't know the music they were playing (that's my biggest gripe, I never had the guts to ask anyone to play any of the CDs I had in my pocket!).

Very friendly though, and attentive, although again it probably helped that we were first through their door on day one (we started at the top, figuring it would be quieter, it was), so they were good and fresh!ÿ
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
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al7478:ÿI agree with your general impression that much of the kit wasnt exactly outstanding. much to my dissappointment, all the speakers i heard were better than mine, even the little Dalis (and their bigger brothers/sister/aunts...).

Yeah we sat and listened to the Lektor 1 and 2's for a good ten minutes, the 1's were playing when we walked in and I was impressed when I realised it was them, very reasonable bass for such a small enclosure, given that they were a metre from the wall behind them. The difference with the 2's was noticable though, obviously more bottom-end, but I felt they had more air, or space in the presentation. They're on my shortlist as well now. It helped that the guy running the show actually turned the damn things up a bit, so many of the speakers were running so quietly I just couldn't get any sense of the scale or impact of their sound, that was what disappointed me the most, even the big QUAD demo was disappointingly quiet.ÿ

i didnt see the HC kef demo,

me neither, I just got glared at when I opened the door, tell you what guys, if there's something going on the room, put a sign or something outside the door so people aren't just guessing! idiots...

That said, the people in their room upstairs were very friendly and helpful, I got lots of literature, including stuff on their in-ceiling speakers, even though they didn't have any there, very useful.ÿ

but did hear some of their floorstanders. underwhelmed. In fact, not so much with the kefs, but with many sfloorstanders today i found the bass too much for my tastes, except for with the PMCs maybe.

Really I found a lot of them too light, largely for the volume reasons mentioned above, most of them were running so quietly they weren't generating any bass! The one exception to that was the Adams room with their active floormounters, and they were awful, the bass was loose and flabby, not impressed at all!

EDIT - Oh, i missed the four blokes with beards


I thought they were a record label of sorts?ÿ

EDIT 2 - the marantz folk were using MS mezzo floorstanders. They too were underwhelming. Hope the standmount version are much better (tho doubt it) as i was thinking they may make a good upgrade soonish...
ÿ

Were they the ones that sounded like someone had bi-wired them and forgotten to plug the bass cable in? I thought it was awful, there was no bottom end there at all! I actually thought there was a problem, but none of the people running the room seemed to be worried.

My biggest annoyance was Yamaha, they had two rooms, the two-channel upstairs and the home cinema downstairs, I went into both rooms, with a good 2 hours between the visits and neither of them were playing ANYTHING! Utter silence in both rooms, me and a couple of others stood waiting in the 2-channel room for a good minute or two for them to play something and the rep just stood there chatting to someone he knew and paid us no attention at all, in the end we just walked out. And it was the same in the home-cinema room as well! Sorry Yamaha but if that's how you treat potential customers then you've lost my money. ÿ
We wondered whether they hadn't actually been able to get hold of their own kit so just had dummy models there!

Pioneer - useful info ahoy! I spent quite a while talking to the Pioneer people in their display room, well at least until I started to feel light-headed from the heat! Anyway, news is they should have stock for the next 6-12 months, which is good, however based on sales from the last 6 months they think they'll run out in September, BUT and this is an important BUT, since the announcement last week, sales have gone through the roof, the nice young blonde lady quoted one dealer as having shifted 80 units in 5 days following the announcement, so stock might well run out a bit quicker than that. Main point is there's no need to panic right now, they are getting more stock in for the time being, so please, everybody stop buying them all cos I want one!ÿ

And they look great!ÿ
 

The_Lhc

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Oct 16, 2008
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Messiah:I think I was unlucky as I did not get to hear any demo. Was there a range of kit being demonstrated?? Or was it the same kit I heard??

I don't know it was the stuff in front of the seats! I couldn't get any closer to find out anything more.
 

Clare Newsome

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Jun 4, 2007
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al7478:
.

Incidentally, WHFS&V, is it customary to reduce the, er, reduction in price of the mag for subscriptions when a free gift is included? At the show the price was only reduced by 15%, while usually its 20-25, according to this site.

Yep, that's the way it works - discount plus free gift, or larger discount. Because, after all, the gifts may be free to you, but we have to buy them


Subscribers who renew also get the bigger discount.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Got to thank you all for the feedback from the show, wished it wasn't so far away from me.

Interesting report from Messiah off the What HiFi and Meridian stands, top flight gear that is unforgiving of anything bad in its music chain.
It reveals EVERYTHING.
Would have liked to have listened to that set up.

I think the most telling obsevation was Messiah saying how under whelming he felt when he compared it to his set up at home.
I find the differences are often suttle, being in the 2,3 and 4 levels of detail on recordings showing through with greater clarity and presence. That is what the Meridian set up would have given and it doesn't surprise me that at the show nothing came close.

These shows don't half damage your wallet!!
 

Andrew Everard

New member
May 30, 2007
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Yes, can we try to keep this on-topic, rather than people speculating about what may or may not have been heard had they gone...

Oh, and taking any opportunity to promote Beresford.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Andrew Everard:
Yes, can we try to keep this on-topic, rather than people speculating about what may or may not have been heard had they gone...

Oh, and taking any opportunity to promote Beresford.

Andrew, have you heard the Spendor ST's at the show?
 

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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I'm not at the show - in this glorious new world of 24/7 publishing someone had to stay back and Forum-wrangle...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Would it be worth coming on Sunday - is it usually as good as today or is everyone packing up?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I'm going tomorrow, looking forward to it.
Did anyone see any good projector demo's?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Yay! I'm going! I'm going to bring my Paul Weller - Live at the BBC LP and my Kings of Leon - Only By The Night CD. Anyone know if there are some good speaker cable deals going for around £40/metre stuff?
 

Alec

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
478
0
18,890
Clare Newsome:al7478:

.

Incidentally, WHFS&V, is it customary to reduce the, er, reduction in price of the mag for subscriptions when a free gift is included? At the show the price was only reduced by 15%, while usually its 20-25, according to this site.

Yep, that's the way it works - discount plus free gift, or larger discount. Because, after all, the gifts may be free to you, but we have to buy them


Subscribers who renew also get the bigger discount.

Cheers Claire, i wish i had signed up now!

Incidentally, you were at one point startled yesterday by a fat bloke in a wheelchair emerging from a lift shouting something to a mate. Twas me. Sorry!

Thanks to the WHF team for being very attentive in getting me and said mate seated for the demo by the way. Sorry that i cant remember the names of the chaps im refering to.

EDIT just out of interest, do you get the choice of a free gift (and smaller reduction in price, like yesterday) when renewing, if there is one going at the time?
 

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