Vinyl, valves and a Cyrus demo

jonathanRD

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Jan 27, 2011
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I attended the Bristol Show on Saturday with 3 long-time hifi enthusiasts one of whom has always been a vinyl fan since the 60's.

They were pretty impressed by the Icon Audio room where a £10k vinyl/valve based system was the place to really appreciate vinyl.

Out of interest, I forced them to visit the Hegel room where they had their best DAC playing digital files, supported by a hefty looking pre-amp/power amp setup, driving a pair of Kef Reference standmounts. It sounded very good, very clear and precise, but very 'digital' if that makes sense, after visiting the Icon Audio room.

I just wanted to see what they thought so that we could discuss it on the way home. Although the Hegel/Kef system was very impressive, I did prefer the Icon Audio setup, not that I could afford either system.

So, just as we were mopping up the rooms in the basement, we stumbled into the Cyrus room, where one of our party spotted a Linn Sondek turntable (which he has). So after an initial discussion with one of the Cyrus staff, we agreed to sit through a 20 minute demo which was to include the Linn Sondek turntable.

In summary, they played a Phil Collins track by CD first, then a high res file, then using the Sondek, and finally using a modern expensive turntable - all based on the same master tapes. The vinyl was a new pressing done at 'half-speed' if that makes sense to anyone. In each case, the track sound better - more real - and on a show of hands, most said that they would buy either the high -res file or the vinyl.

They followed this by playing a high-resolution version of the Beatles 'Let it be', followed by the new vinyl version (again from the same re-engineered master tape) on the modern turntable.

To me, there was an obvious difference, with the vinyl version it sounded like Paul McCartney was singing in the room, it was sweeter and just so much better - it just felt right. We all felt the same.

I'm not about to go out and buy a new turntable but this experience has really opened my ears to just how good vinyl can sound. I know many of you probably already know this, but I just thought I'd share my revelation. *yes3*
 
K

keeper of the quays

Guest
jonathanRD said:
I attended the Bristol Show on Saturday with 3 long-time hifi enthusiasts one of whom has always been a vinyl fan since the 60's.

They were pretty impressed by the Icon Audio room where a £10k vinyl/valve based system was the place to really appreciate vinyl.

Out of interest, I forced them to visit the Hegel room where they had their best DAC playing digital files, supported by a hefty looking pre-amp/power amp setup, driving a pair of Kef Reference standmounts.  It sounded very good, very clear and precise, but very 'digital' if that makes sense, after visiting the Icon Audio room.

I just wanted to see what they thought so that we could discuss it on the way home. Although the Hegel/Kef system was very impressive, I did prefer the Icon Audio setup, not that I could afford either system.

So, just as we were mopping up the rooms in the basement, we stumbled into the Cyrus room, where one of our party spotted a Linn Sondek turntable (which he has). So after an initial discussion with one of the Cyrus staff, we agreed to sit through a 20 minute demo which was to include the Linn Sondek turntable.

In summary, they played a Phil Collins track by CD first, then a high res file, then using the Sondek, and finally using a modern expensive turntable - all based on the same master tapes. The vinyl was a new pressing done at 'half-speed' if that makes sense to anyone. In each case, the track sound better - more real - and on a show of hands, most said that they would buy either the high -res file or the vinyl.

They followed this by playing a high-resolution version of the Beatles 'Let it be', followed by the new vinyl version (again from the same re-engineered master tape) on the modern turntable.

To me, there was an obvious difference, with the vinyl version it sounded like Paul McCartney was singing in the room, it was sweeter and just so much better - it just felt right. We all felt the same.

I'm not about to go out and buy a new turntable but this experience has really opened my ears to just how good vinyl can sound. I know many of you probably already know this, but I just thought I'd share my revelation.    *yes3*
might sound like a dopey question but how was the hi res file delivered? And was the cd version thru cd transport and dac?
 

jonathanRD

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Jan 27, 2011
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I think the new turntable was a Mitchell Gyrodec - it looked similar but as don't really know turntables and I was sat at the back of the demo so I can't be sure, but I think they did mention Mitchell Gyrodec at one point.

The speakers were Spendor A6R's.

Everything else (excpet the Linn) was Cyrus equipment. But as I was at the back of the room, I could not see the equipment rack. They did however, say that they were using their latest CD player and streamer and that they were WHF award winners. Sorry I am not familiar with the Cyrus range and sat at the back, but I know what I heard *smile*
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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I think the Cyrus system sounds very well thought out and matched..Linn on one end (or Mitchell), Spendor on the other....no wonder it was good.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that you enjoyed Icon Audio.

I have also heard others say that the New Refs sound impressive, though a bit "digital" All I know is that they didn't sound that way (to me) on the end of Linn Akurate DS and Arcam A49.
 

jonathanRD

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Jan 27, 2011
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CnoEvil said:
I think the Cyrus system sounds very well thought out and matched..Linn on one end (or Mitchell), Spendor on the other....no wonder it was good.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that you enjoyed Icon Audio.

I have also heard others say that the New Refs sound impressive, though a bit "digital" All I know is that they didn't sound that way (to me) on the end of Linn Akurate DS and Arcam A49.
The new Refs were certainly impressive, but after you have been 'wined and dined' and in full relaxation mode coming out of the Icon Audio room, Hegel's best digital/power amp combination and possibly the style of music was quite a stark difference. I'd still take the Ref's home given the chance - they look very smart and modern looking too.
 

CnoEvil

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chebby said:
Phil Collins. Being played at a hi-fi show. Has nothing changed in the last 30 years?
Everything eventually comes back into fashion...as my wardrobe would attest to.
 

jonathanRD

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Jan 27, 2011
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chebby said:
Phil Collins. Being played at a hi-fi show. Has nothing changed in the last 30 years?
It's the re-mastered version of Face Value - recently released.

The reissue series will be spread over "the coming months," eventually spanning all of the former frontman-drummer's eight solo albums. Each set will be remastered by Nick Davis – who worked on the massive reissue campaign for Collins' former band, Genesis – and include new artwork featuring Collins recreating his poses from the original covers.

The albums will be released in several formats: 2-CD and digital versions will include the remastered album with additional content, and 180-gram heavyweight audiophile vinyl (single LP for Face Value, double LP for Both Sides) will include the stand-alone remastered album. CD and vinyl boxed sets compiling both deluxe editions will also be available.

Guess what track they played?
 

jonathanRD

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Jan 27, 2011
179
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stevebrock said:
case closed - Vinyl is the best way to listen to music

most of us knew that anyway
One of the group I went with is 80yrs old, he says that when CD's first came out he went to a demo where they were trying to convince everyone of the superior quality of CD over vinyl. He said that he was not convinced then, never since, and not after what he heard at the show either. *smile*
 

stevebrock

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jonathanRD said:
stevebrock said:
case closed - Vinyl is the best way to listen to music

most of us knew that anyway
One of the group I went with is 80yrs old, he says that when CD's first came out he went to a demo where they were trying to convince everyone of the superior quality of CD over vinyl. He said that he was not convinced then, never since, and not after what he heard at the show either. *smile*
well then

dont care what they say - its superior in every way

I know - i have listened and listened and listened more - no contest but think what you want lol
 

Lost Angeles

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Oh dear, might upset the applecart here but I was at Bristol on Friday and I thought the Icon Audio set-up off vinyl was awful and flat (No idea what the TT was) they played something off CD afterwards and that was an improvement but I still wasn’t over impressed.
I would have to say that overall the analogue set-ups were definitely not very warm.
Audio Note were using a TT and that was too sharp.
The RPM10 with Unison Research and Opera Callas speakers were not smooth.
The RPM 5 with Opera Prima were smoother.
The Rega P3 set up was quite nice.
The Michell Gyro-dec looked lovely but lacks the smoothness of the Orbe which I thought was the best system two years ago.
Sound Fowndations had a Clearaudio Essence with Gamut amps and speakers, he was playing an Allman Bros track off the Filmore East album when I walked in (the room was empty) it was far too clinical.
Origin Live had the best sound in my opinion and it sounded reasonable with £169 speakers mind you they were using the Voyager turntable.
Wilson Benesch had some serious gear on demo with the Circle 25 TT and standmount speakers late in the afternoon. Trouble was when I sat just to the right of centre on the front row you could only hear one speaker, when I sat in the centre on row 2 you could hear both but not sure what to make of that.
 

CnoEvil

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Lost Angeles said:
Oh dear, might upset the applecart here but...
This is exactly why I like getting different viewpoints.

Bear in mind, that systems "can" sound rough on the first day and get better and better through the show, coming on song on the last day.
 

Lost Angeles

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Apr 24, 2008
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CnoEvil said:
Bear in mind, that systems "can" sound rough on the first day and get better and better through the show, coming on song on the last day.
I presume this is what happened with Icon because it sounded much better of CD on Friday, maybe that adjusted the TT.
I spent nearly all my time between floors 1 and 4.
 

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