A fabulous and fascinating exhibition of classic historic hi-fi equipment made a visit to the ballroom of the Hi-Fi News Show a must. The complete history of Lowther-Voigt seemed to be on display, and a Voigt Corner Horn was actually playing music, from a "vintage" (first-generation) CD player via a compact Pye tube amplifier.
Finn Anssi Hyronen (left) and Swede Leif Mårten Olofsson (right), stand with their respective new babies at the Roy Bird Show. The tiny Amphion Ion (left) not only sounded remarkable for its size, but has also won a valuable design award back in Finland. At ten times the price of the Ion, Mårten's elegant new Miles III floorstander has tapered cabinetwork and costly Accuton ceramic-diaphragm drivers.
A neat idea for decorating the walls of your music room see at the Hi-Fi News Show, Art-Vinyl's hinged "Play & Display" picture frames are exactly the right size to accommodate an LP, making it easy to "hang" your favorite album covers as artwork, while the discs inside remain accessible for playing, and can be easily swapped around as the mood takes.
Vivid Audio's stylish speaker range, made in South Africa and engineered by ex-B&W designer Laurence Dickie, is expanding. A compact stand-mount (right), available in two sizes with bass alignment for either boundary or free space siting, has now joined the original B1 (left) and larger K1 models. Vivid speakers were demmed at the Roy Bird Show and are distributed in the US by Musical Surroundings.
According to the glossy leaflet, the Lizard Wizard on show at the Heathrow Renaissance Hotel is, to quote verbatim: "a PMC amplifier that handles High Quality loudspeakers superior, without the everyday type amplifiers air disturbance [acoustic aliasing distortion]." No I'm not sure either, and the rest of the blurb is similarly opaque. Clearly translating Hungarian into English (or even American!) has its pitfalls, and I didn't get much further chatting face-to-face, either. What is certain is that this colourful amplifier looks cute and is incredibly compact—the actual electronics may be seen sitting on the business card just in front. In this case the PMC bit stands for a "ParaMagnetic Current," or virtual-coil amplifier, which is rated at 60Wpc into 8 ohms, but has a specified output impedance of 0–36 ohms. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice once remarked.
Steve Elford's background in aerospace ultrasonic testing has helped him develop the various Vertex AQ devices. Special support platforms help remove vibrations from components, while the various cables incorporate damping blocks to prevent vibration being passed around the system, as do mains blocks which incorporate parallel RF noise filtering. Vertex were demonstrating their products at the Roy Bird Show.
Hervé Délétraz, proprietor and inventor of the rather wonderful Dartzeel amplifiers, and possessor of a great sense of humor, did his best to explain at the Roy Bird Show the operational improvements in the now electronically encoded preamp volume control.
Wood is not an engineering material. It might look pretty, but it's inconsistent and therefore unpredictable. So we smash cheap wood into sawdust and then glue it all together again to create something that can be machined. This is called medium-density fiberboard, or MDF. We then thinly slice some classy hardwood—hopefully harvested from sustainable sources—and use it to cover the ugly MDF. This might have made sense back when Chippendale was making furniture, but it seems strangely old-fashioned in our age of plastics and composites. I haven't seen wood trim on a TV set for more than a decade. Why is it still the norm for loudspeakers?