Day of Demos


Well-known member
May 3, 2010
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Trust you've all had a good weekend.

I certainly have!

On Friday Night the good lady and I went to the South Bank to watch a couple of beautiful singer songwriters; Charlene Soraaia and the main event Kate Walsh, just her a guitar a piano and another young lady on the cello... sublime!

Yesterday my friend and I took a trip into darkest Essex as he is on the look out for a system for himself and I went along in a purely advisory capacity you know, well that's what i told the Mrs.

The first system we heard was made up from Naim 5I CDP 5XS amp and Neat motive2's. I wasn't at all impressed, the sound was void of... well everything! My friend was quite taken with it, but asked what other speakers were available and the guy dragged in a couple of rather larger units, the Focal 816 VWSE and my goodness! what a difference!

The dynamics, scale and superb detail were all there and a very tight controled base was in full force. It actually felt like a sub was being used.

I think my mate would've bought the whole set up there and then, but I told him to keep an open mind, as we had another dem arranged after lunch. We were running rather late, so after a quick bite we turned up at the next venue a little shame faced as we were quite a bit late and not altogether in the mood for another session.

The dealer had a similar set up ready for demonstration, the only difference being a Rega Saturn instead of the Naim CDP, again with the Neats. The only change was that the speakers did sound brighter, but certainly no more appealing.

We asked what else he had in that price range and he hooked a pair of Kudos, not sure which model, and there was a definite improvement, but not as impressive as the Focal. One thing was becoming clear though, how much better the Saturn was, than the Naim 5I, a much more detailed in depth player.

I then asked if I could hear apair of Harbeth SHL5, as I've always wanted to hear these speakers and up until now never had the opportunity.

That was it! my mate was in love... the spaciousness and clarity was incredible. The only problem was, that the Harbeth's would've blown the budget. The dealer then suggested going down a different route.

He then proceeded to take out the Naim amp and replaced it with a most unimpressive looking piece of kit; a Croft hybrid intergrated and I have to say what a

a bargain!

For It was a master stroke by the dealer... the Croft retained all the Naim had to give and more!

Going back a step or two and what I kept mentioning to my friend, he had to bare in mind the listening environment of both demos. The first was in a specially designed room- leather settee, carpets

over a suspended wooden floor etc and the second was in an old converted barn, a bit on the chilly side with hard stone floors and a rug and fabric settee. Both of which will again be different to his own living room.

He will be able to get a home dem with the Focals, but unfortunately, not with the Harbeth set up. So he has some hard thinking ahead.

If it was me, I would perhaps go ahead and buy the Croft along with the Saturn, then get a home dem with the Focals. What does anyone else think?

All the best



New member
Aug 21, 2009
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I think CJSF would agree with your findings.

It shows how easy it is to buy the first thing that sounds well, unless you are steered into other alternatives by someone who has gone through the process.

Rega + Croft + Harbeth/Focal sounds like a well balanced system. My preference would also be for the musical Harbeths, as long as the bass isn't an issue.

The Focals will give a very neutral window on what's going on down stream, and produce a fast, tight tuneful bass. The treble can be provoked into brightness, but unlikely with the Croft and Rega.


Well-known member
May 3, 2010
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Funny that Cno, CJSF did spring to mind when the name Croft was mentioned and quite honestly as interesting as his posts have been, I never felt the urge to demo one.


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