• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

North West Audio Show (UK) 2024

Mart68

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 22, 2021
Messages
2,958
Likes
5,576
Location
England
Here's some snaps I took at this years NW Show, held at Cranage Hall near Holmes Chapel.

Accompanied by my usual pithy but fairly useless commentary ofc.

It's a fairly big show, about 60 rooms so didn't get round everything, but this is what I've got:

First up - ATC



One of the active models, not sure which, they were quite impressive doing 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' at concert levels

----

Fanthorpes are a dealer and were showing the PS Audio Aspen FR20 powered by a whole array of PS Audio kit.



Boring music but couldn't hear them doing anything wrong. Soundstaging seemed pretty good. Needed a bigger room to stretch their legs I think.

-------

Kerr Acoustic - pro company that moved into domestic. Showing the K200 three-way with CAD front end, Music First pre-amp and Musical Fidelity power.



Kerr are here every year and on the spec should be one of the best in show but somehow they never do it for me. Boring music doesn't help.

Although this is a 'compact version' of their K100 reference it could still hit the low notes impressively. One I'd look at more closely if I had the kind of money they're asking.

-----------------

Another dealer, Brian & Trevor - I think these were active Kudos with a couple of subwoofers. Didn't except to be keen on these but they were good. Clean and effortless.




----------------

Alchris Audio - Loudspeaker manufacturer.



Had a listen to the big ones the bloke is resting his hand on in the photo, which is the TX25 three way stand mount

These were pretty good and at the price, £3750 a pair, one worth looking more closely at. Not shy in the lows and seemed to be clean and even otherwise. Seems like a lot of loudspeaker for the money.

Quite a few in the range:



They had a cool Akai RTR also, although we didn't get a go on that whilst I was there.

Amazing view of the Cheshire countryside out of the window of this room, just bushes all the way to the hills on the horizon.

---------------

Another speaker company, Ophidian Audio.

My good friend and colleague Mr Steve C was keen on getting a listen in this room but they didn't have the big ones he was interested in, instead we got the smaller new model. the Ffion.



It's a three-way, there's a bass driver hidden somewhere inside or round the back. Seemed to have potential, being airy and open, but the music was continual bland fayre so hard to really judge if they could cut it.

--------------------------

'Chasing The Dragon' - specialise in RTR audiophile recordings, nothing that's my sort of thing though. Usually they have ATC100A in here but this year using 3-way transmission line from Falcon Acoustics:



They also had this very cool Studer RTR:




With Luxman amplification. I like Luxman so here's a gratuitous pic of it




--------------------------
Doug Brady (Dealer)

There's only one thing looks better than Luxman and that's Accuphase:



Otherwise no comment here, they always have three systems playing at once. Doesn't work.

This was one of them - All components were from Burmeister:



-------------------------

Coherent Systems

Been one of the best rooms last few years, this time showing the new TAD GE-1




TAD do everything I like in a speaker and they do it well. Regrettably the price of admission is just too high for me.

-----------------------------

Some more maybe later or tomorrow. Yes, there's some more Accuphase, don't worry
 
Audionote - this was a dealer room, I can't recall which one.



Playing vinyl when we went in and it was a bit crackly, but then they switched to CD (no streaming in this room) and we had 'Walk On The Wild Side' and it was pretty good. It didn't seem to have the 'comedy bass hump' I've noted previously .

This was the best I've heard an Audionote system. It paints in broad strokes and I can see why some people like that. Ultimately, not my sort of thing though.

Steve said his Mrs reckoned the speakers on their stands look like Spongebob Squarepants. That had never occurred to me before but now I can't unsee it.

---------------------------------

Karma AV (Distributor).

Now we get to the real deal. SVS flagship loudspeakers the Ultra Evolution.



They were playing something with a lot of drums and it was very impressive but this was 7.3.4 A/V system so I wasn't that surprised that it was practically replicating a real drumkit until I was told we were only listening to the two front towers and all the subs were off...

So yes, now I'm interested. They put everything on and showed a scene from 'Top Gun: Maverick'. It was better than the cinema, no kidding.

We then got them to play some music just through the towers and they were pretty good. They're clearly full range and don't really need subs for music unless you're a bass maniac.

£6.5K a pair - all three of us agreed that was the deal of the century.


--------------------------

Amphion - not much to say here, they always play bland pap in this room so you can't judge. I think they could be very good, and they do go low, but they're the thick end of twenty grand. Amp was Hegel.



---------------------------------------

Wilkinsons (Dealer)

Showing a £1K all Rega system. P1 Turntable, Io Amplifier, Kyte speakers. Cartridge was the Carbon.



Surprisingly good and no pops or crackles.
 
Technics

With their coaxial standmounts and towers:





It's good-looking equipment there's no denying it. No music playing when I was in there though.

-----------------------------------

OSV Audio & G Point Audio

Not sure what these speakers are and they look a bit DIY but they did sound good



These were the electronics which I think are Lampizator




--------------------------
Not sure which dealer this was, Fyne Vintage speakers, 10'' dual-concentric, with full Accuphase stack:





I wasn't that keen on these speakers initially but they did grow on me a bit after a few songs. £20K with the supertweeters though.

-----------------------

That's the lot, I think.
 
Thanks for the write up and pics Martin, much appreciated. I was there on the Saturday and planned to go again Sunday so stayed nearby overnight. Unfortunately, I got an emergency call on Sunday morning as my son and his girlfriend were caught up in that power outage at Manchester airport so their flight to Portugal was cancelled and I ended up driving them to Bristol Airport to catch a flight so that was my Sunday gone. Nevermind, I got to see most of the rooms that were of interest to me on the Saturday.

The TAD's were the standout speaker for me, but I think that is a good room that they use, so no doubt that helps a little. They played some good music (well, to my taste anyway), and quite happily played Jo Harrop's Hold On for me. She regularly sings at my local jazz club so I have a pretty good idea how she sounds and the recording is good. It was quite impressive.

The Kii's sounded good as usual and I quite liked the Amphion's. The Diptych panels (in the G-Point Audio room) were a big disappointment as were the Quad's in the Doug Brady room. I stayed in the Audio Note room for a while as they were playing the O'Jay's Ship Ahoy, which sounded quite good. I can see why people like them, but they are still not to my taste. The SVS speakers didn't do too much for me, I found the bass rather muddy, but the dynamics were good. The biggest disappointment for me was the KEF Blades. I've heard them sound good in the past, but they were way too loud, playing some very compressed electronica. A good example of how not to demonstrate what is actually a good speaker IMO. I came back later and they were playing the same kind of music, unfortunately.

I thoroughly enjoyed talking to the guy who brought along some of the old Phase Linear amps and sound system from the Pink Floyd Pompeii concert. The rebuilt Heath and Allen mixing desk was quite impressive, too. The Phase Linears were still in their original beat up cases and still working just fine, outside on a hot summer's afternoon. And the restored Floyd Ford Transit van from the very early days was a reminder of how even the biggest bands started out. All in all, a very enjoyable day.

IMG_20240622_164350613PF2_HDR.jpg
 
The SVS speakers didn't do too much for me, I found the bass rather muddy, but the dynamics were good. The biggest disappointment for me was the KEF Blades. I've heard them sound good in the past, but they were way too loud, playing some very compressed electronica. A good example of how not to demonstrate what is actually a good speaker IMO. I came back later and they were playing the same kind of music, unfortunately.
I did have concerns about muddy bass on the SVS. We got them to play 'Babylon Sisters' and that put some doubts in my mind although otherwise it was good.

I think that possibly could be sorted with EQ, or maybe the cabs just aren't solid enough? Not sure, but I think Stereophile are measuring them soon-ish so we will have more info.

They never seem to be able to get the KEF Blades sounding like they should year after year so I didn't even bother this time :)
 
Thank you for taking the time to post that detailed write up on the show. I enjoyed reading it.
 
Looks like a lovely location for the show; last time I went, around 2006, it was at a hotel at the Manchester Airport and the rooms weren't good for sound at all.

Thanks for the info!
 
Looks like a lovely location for the show; last time I went, around 2006, it was at a hotel at the Manchester Airport and the rooms weren't good for sound at all.

Thanks for the info!
This was the tenth year at Cranage Hall, it's a pretty good venue. Free entry too.

Last few years they've been having a cook-out on the terraces which sort of adds to the atmosphere - last year it was burgers, this year it was pizza or sausage in bap. All gourmet stuff and a bit pricey, but it's only once a year. Noticed some did bring a packed lunch though!
 
This was the tenth year at Cranage Hall, it's a pretty good venue. Free entry too.

Last few years they've been having a cook-out on the terraces which sort of adds to the atmosphere - last year it was burgers, this year it was pizza or sausage in bap. All gourmet stuff and a bit pricey, but it's only once a year. Noticed some did bring a packed lunch though!
I used to work just "oop" the road at Radbroke Hall and we lived in Lymm at the time. I miss Cheshire.
 
Back
Top Bottom