UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 Ascot Report and Gallery

Posted on 31st October, 2019

UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 Ascot Report and Gallery

The UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 ran over the weekend October 26th-27th at its new home at Ascot Racecourse. StereoNET was, of course, there to report back for those who could not make it.

Transplanted from its usual site in Windsor, the UK Hi-Fi Show moved to its new digs at Ascot Racecourse this year. How would a larger, more open aspect suit an audio show? Well, on the whole, rather favourably actually.

UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 Report

Granted, Saturday's weather meant that visitors and room hosts had to brave the wind and rain as the walkways were semi-exposed. However, when we arrived in sunny Ascot on Sunday (after some wrong turns before hitting the small Berkshire town), the venue looked glorious. Car parking was literally across the small street from the entrance through the ticket office. Greeted by bowler-hatted gentlemen, you felt that it was a special occasion from the very off.

UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 report

More importantly, for those hosting rooms, show attendance on both days appeared to be healthy. It sounds like Saturday was especially busy, and it seems that sales were being made. However, the size of the venue meant those crowds were spread over a larger area giving the appearance of low numbers. Those thoughts soon dispersed if, like us, you looked in every room and never land in an empty space. Even the large areas such as those taken over by Padood, Absolute Sounds and Henley were nicely filled.

First Hurdles

We have to admit that we managed to miss some rooms, but we're blaming the floor plan being a little confusing when low on caffeine and assuming that the stairs and escalators simply took you to the next floor. As it transpired, there are mid-levels - not mezzanines, but sections skipped by either the stairs or escalators. We'll pay more attention next year, we promise.

Starters Orders

A short walk through the grounds gives you a moment to take in the structure of the grandstand as it gently curves into the blue sky.

UK Hi-Fi Show LIve 2019 ascot report

Escalators flank the entrance hall with a full-height atrium. Here the first audio exhibit was Clearaudio's now-famous VW bus/mobile listening room.

UK Hi-Fi Show Live report ascot

Parked next to that was GamuT's comfy Lobster listening chair.

More automotive audio mashups in the shape of a JBL-loaded Lamborghini and a BWM kitted out with Harman-Kardon. 

UK Hi-Fi Show Live Ascot 2019

Also here, was a taste of what was to come later. A small appetiser display from a variety of brands such as IsoTek, ECLIPSE, Node, Kii, Sonus faber, etc.

We followed our usual methodology of heading to the top and work our way down. So, we started at the head-fi stands up on the sixth floor.

Electromod

UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 Ascot report

The first stand we came to was Mark Dolbear's Electromod. Here a range of MrSpeakers headphones and Schiit components could be enjoyed. Also available to purchase were a selection of accessories from Dekoni, Stax and Synergistic Research. Stay tuned for some exciting news from the High Wycombe company.

HiFonix

UK Hi-Fi Show 2019 Report

Aseem Hussain's HiFonix took the monster share of the room and had some great kit for people to test and purchase. Head-fi from brands such as Benchmark, MOON, Novafidelity, and Astell&Kern were matched with Focal, Meze and more. Making their debut was Meze's new €249 Rai Solo.

UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 report

These IEMs sport an electrodynamic driver with UPM balanced piston membrane motion. The finish of the sintered steel shell is quite lovely. We could not resist the temptation to play with the £1,500 KANN Cube for a little while as we have a real soft spot for this substantial chunk of audio tech.

Harmony Hi-Fi

UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 report

At the end of the room was Roger and Adam of Harmony Hi-Fi with the largest components in this section. The Helene DAC was sat unashamedly topless, but the warm valves of the Genus SET integrated amplifier tempted us like a moth to a flame. Large by head-amp standards but the 520mm x 530mm case is Aries Cerat's “most compact design to date”. The Genus boasts 25W in Class A1 and can peak to 40W in transients in Class A2 with only two gain stages. How can you not love something so bonkers? Well, the £14,995 might be cause for second thoughts.

iFi Audio

UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 Report

iFi was proudly showing off its new ZEN offerings - DAC and Blue. Take it from us, they look even better in real life. For the money, these two exceed what is generally expected from components in this price point. We listened to the DAC and enjoyed what we heard - even though it followed us taking the Aries Cerat Genus for a spin. The company's Powerstation and Aurora were also present.

Manley

EveAnna Manley was at the show with new UK distributers, Elite Audio and while we were here, EveAnna was in the main Elite room. When we eventually got to the room, she was over in the headphone area. Just our luck.

UK Hi-Fi Show Live Review 2019

However, we were able to enjoy the spectacularly lovely-looking £4,600 Absolute Headphone Amplifier. This stunning valve-powered headphone and line-level amp boasts switching topology, 6AQ5 vacuum tube, IRON transformer and high-voltage power-supply with super-low impedance DC rails. The copper finish is drool-worthy - just don't dribble over the valves.  

Rupert Neve

UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 report

We have already met the Fidelice range a couple of times now and was there at its CanJam London debut, but it still looks and sounds great. Consisting of the Precision Headphone Amplifier, Precision Phono Pre-Amplifier, and Precision Digital-to-Analog Converter they really do have that pro-audio look and feel albeit slightly softened for domestic use.

Audeze

UK Hi-Fi Show Live Ascot review 2019

Audeze were also displaying their comprehensive range of ear pleasers.

Melco

A long and informative chat with the always affable Alan Ainslie of Melco then followed. As well as touting the new S100 Network Switch and range of PLiXiR power products we chatted about the new EX Series platform. With Melco EX Series, browsing and searching your music catalogue is even more convenient.

UK HiFi Show Live 2019 Report

Additionally, the user interface gives more detail of status and playback, with internationalisation covering most metadata requirements, along with advanced options for the CD import and archiving process. You can upgrade your recently purchased Melco kit, but it will mean a return-to-base and £250 as there is some repartitioning of hard-drives as well as software tinkering to add the optimised search and cataloguing. Nice option to have. Obviously, going forward, EX Series will be shipped on new hardware.

Russell K

UK HiFi Show Live 2019 Ascot Report

Melco was also partnering Dunstable-based Russell K speakers along with the distinct shape of a Mola Molo Tambaqui DAC (review to appear on StereoNET soon) Tellurium Q cables and Quadraspire rack. Here Russell K was showing its new £5,999 Red 150 Se. This is a 2.5-way design with a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter and a pair of 6.5-inch paper-cone woofers. The tweeter is not to be mistaken for the same unit as in the standard Red 150. Also, because of the new tweeter, the crossover point is different from that of the Red 150.

Harman International

Poking our head into the next room, we spotted something new from JBL.

UK HIFI Show Live 2019 Ascot Report

First seen at CEDIA, the JBL HDI-1600 mini-monitors were sat atop the lovely SolidSteel speaker stands. The £1,600 per pair 2-way standmounters were being driven by Arcam electronics. These speakers are still very new. In fact, we were told that the marketing photos had only just been taken a couple of days ago, so stay tuned for more information on these. What we can say to you is the horn-loaded 2410-H2 compression-driver tweeter is buddied with a 6.5-inch midrange-woofer, and they sounded pretty darned good and transparent to our ears and really made the moderately priced Arcam units sound much better than they ought to have.

UK HIFI Show Live 2019 Ascot report

We are still confused as to why Revel doesn't get more love on these shores. Perhaps the new 3-way F226Be floorstanders will make a more substantial impression. At first glance, they could be mistaken for the F206. Still, after a quick chat, we were informed of improved drivers, including a beryllium dome tweeter with a tweaked waveguide, a new crossover, and higher-quality finishes. Costing £6,999, the F226Be is one of the latest additions to the brand's PerformaBe series. These were being pushed along to impressive effect by Mark Levinson electronics sat on a SolidSteel stand. The system sounded remarkably dynamic, given that one side of this room was floor-to-ceiling glass.

UK HIFI Show Live Ascot 2019 report

We also met the new Arcam Solo Uno in the metal for the first time. Bookended by Revel Concerta2 M16 standmounts on their rather fetching white SolidSteel stands the new little unit looked quality.

Signature Audio Systems

We followed the trail of Duevel's unmistakable loudspeakers to this next room. 

UK HIFI Show live report Ascot 2019

Here we were welcomed by a system consisting of a Sota Escape turntable (£1,350) equipped with an Origin Live Silver tonearm (£675) and Ortofon Quintet Black (£679). Electronics were from the PS Audio Stellar range including the Phono (£2,500), Preamp and Gain Cell DAC (£1,550), M700 monoblocs (£2,700), and P3 mains Regenerator (£2,300). At the end of the chain were the Duevel Venus speakers (£4,000). Sat to the side and utilised in other demos were the Duevel Enterprise speakers (£2,600). The Sota Escape is the brand's new entry-level record player with delivery pencilled in to start shipping on December 1st 2019. Its 1-inch acrylic platter sits atop a phenolic resin plinth (made from recycled paper). This environmentally green material actually delivers an astonishing soundstage. The deck is powered by a three-phase synchronous motor controlled by a Condor PSU. The system really came alive when an orchestral piece, supplied by an audience member, was played. That said, the omnidirectional nature of the speakers was hampered by the glass in the room. It's a shame, but this could have been tempered by some free-standing panels. 

Atlas Cables

UK HIFI Show Live 2019 report

The Kilmarnock-based cable company had plenty of choice on offer at a variety of price points ranging from the gorgeous Lux line through to interconnects and headphone cables. Moreover, should you have taken them up on the 50% discount at the show on a pair of Atlas Equator interconnects, Atlas was giving all proceeds to the excellent Music For All charity. Nice one, Atlas!

Chord Company

UK HiFi Show Live 2019 Ascot review

Another British cable cobbler was also busy demonstrating their wares. Chord Company was using the UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 to debut its new EpicX speaker cable as covered on this very site. We were presented with the original Epic in comparison with the new X, and there really did appear to be a noticeable improvement through the Kef speakers. We were also treated to a quick demo of the brand's new digital cable. Additionally, it was good to see GIK panels being used to tame the lively room.

Reel-to-Reel Rambler

Ascot UK HiFi Show Live 2019 Report

Open reel, reel-to-reel or R2R tape really (reely?) brought the crowds. As well as the amazingly entertaining session headed by Ken Kessler that we attended, each time we went past the room, it was packed. Dave Denyer (the Rambler in question) had put together a top room. We were disappointed that we couldn't catch Lyn Stanley's session but the people we spoke to at the show and since really rated this room. Well done to everyone involved.

Vintage Hi-Fi

UK Hifi Show Live Ascot 2019 report and gallery

After hearing some outstanding recordings in the Reel-to-Reel Rambler room, our appetite for vintage was well and truly whetted. It was therefore fortunate that our next stop was a room featuring an entirely vintage system. Hi-Fi News' own Tim Jarman had constructed this set-up featuring a Hitachi amplifier and tuner, tape decks from Sony and Nakimichi and a Sony CD player. We were impressed at just how great the sound was through the Technics speakers.

Cambridge Audio

UK Hi-Fi Show Live Ascot 2019 Report

Cambridge Audio's primary system consisted of their reasonably new Edge system (£4,500 for the integrated) and £1,500 Alva TT Bluetooth-capable turntable sat on Hi-Fi Racks audio furniture. The electronics were being sent through a pair of Q Acoustics speakers. We have always had a special place in our heart for Cambridge Audio, but the Edge range has really raised the brand's bar. Stay tuned for a review soon! Elsewhere in the room was a CX system paired with Revel standmounts. Everything was plumbed in using Audioquest cables.

Gold Note

UK Hifi Show Live 2019 report

Pinnacle Audio brought along Gold Note's beautiful £5,000 Mediterraneo turntable being played through the company's IS1000 super integrated amplifier (£4,000 / £4,700 with upgraded DAC). The IS1000 is a great-sounding one-box solution for those looking for a high-end performer without a lot of separates.

Absolute Sounds

UK Hifi Show Live 2019 report

If you had brought your pocket money (well, credit cards), then you were truly spoilt for choice in this suite.

UK HiFi Show Live Ascot 2019 show report

Wilson Audio, EAT, D'Agostino, DCS, Audio Research, ReQuest and more were on offer from the high-end retailer.

UK Hifi Show Live 2019 Ascot report

It was great to see the new standmount speakers from Sonus faber's Olympica Nova range alongside the Palladio Level 5 in/on-wall speakers as well as the brand's Heritage collection. 

Focal and Naim

UK Hifi Show Live 2019 report Ascot

Stablemates, Focal and Naim, joined forces in typically well-matched form. The French speaker firm's slate fibre-coned Chora were making their debut at the show with the £1,100 Chora 816 2.5-way floorstanders doing a commendable job.   

Falcon

UK HiFi Show Live 2019 Ascot Report

We always enjoy the Falcon and Primare pairing, and they sounded as good as ever. In fact, a guy in the coffee queue who was in the market for some compact speakers couldn't stop enthusing about what he had heard. To be honest, we couldn't disagree with him.

Karma AV

There was some top-notch kit in this area hosted by Karma AV.

UK Hifi Show Live 2019 report

The first thing that greeted you were the imposing £10k GoldenEar Triton tower speakers. The powered subwoofer sections in each Triton incorporates a high power GoldenEar digital amplifier with DSP. The amp drives up to three front-mounted quadratic subwoofer bass drivers which are coupled to multiple side-mounted quadratic planar infrasonic bass radiators depending on which model you go for. Even with all that low-end potential, the bass never sounded over-blown.  

UK Hifi Show Live 2019 report

Elsewhere in the room was a stack of Balanced Audio kit including the REX 2 preamp and a pair of VK655SE dual-mono power amps. The REX 2 features a tube power module and a separate control module. We didn't get to hear it, but we already love it all just based on its looks. Yeah, we can be that shallow sometimes!

Emotiva

UK Hifi Show Live 2019 report

Emotiva always produces impressive performance per pound, and its AV display at the UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019 further drove this home. Here we had the brand's new XMC-2 16-channel balanced processor along with a pair of XPA-11 channel amps comprising of three 300W single-channel modules and four two-channel 65W modules. If you didn't leave this room wanting to build a home cinema, then we really don't know how to help you.

Market Area

UK Hifi Show Live 2019 report

One of the nice things about this Ascot venue is just how open it feels. If you have ever been fortunate enough to attend High End Munich, then you know how welcome the atrium area can be when compared to other hi-fi shows where you spend hours trudging through corridors.

UK Hifi show live 2019 ascot report

Here was an open space that is usually used for food and drink. While refreshments were available (apparently no booze, by all accounts but we were driving so were unaware of this horror), you could also enjoy tasters from streaming services Qobuz and Hi Res Audio. Additionally, the excellent Diverse Vinyl was in attendance should you have a hankering for some top quality records. Puritan also had the wares on display.

Pulse Cinemas

UK Hifi show live 2019 report ascot

We were at the UK launch of the Canadian designed and built Paradigm Persona 9H floorstanders. The six-driver, three-and-a-half way hybrid speakers pack an active bass section are the highest-performing loudspeaker Paradigm has created so far. However, the £38k speakers were also there to help Keith Martin demonstrate his IsoTek power cables and cleaners. Here he showed the difference that upgrading your power cables from the standard 'free' bundled cables you get with components. Keith then went on to introduce the EVO3 Corvus (£695) distribution block and then the EVO 3 Aquarius (£1,600). The Aquarius features a pair of high-current outlets delivering 3680W continuous power and also four medium-current outlets providing 1150W continuous power. Also in the rack were Anthem's excellent STR pre (£3,500) and 400W power (£5,500) amps. A venerable Oppo disc spinner provided the source for the demo. 

IsoAcoustics

UK Hifi show live 2019 report

IsoAcoustics brought along their Delos platform as well as their excellent GAIA isolation feet. The usual A/B demo was running throughout the weekend. IsoAcoustics' kit really works.

Bricasti Design

UK Hifi show live 2019 report

Bristcati Design's hand-built American amplification was in great company with Vertere's MG-1 Mk II Magic Groove record player and a pair of Focal Sopra speakers.

Node Audio

UK hifi show live ascot 2019 report

Node Audio's £30,000 Hylixa speakers continue to enchant. Their shape and finish are truly fantastic, but it's how they sound that really matters - fortunately, they are equally impressive when playing music. Although compact, this 3-way speaker really does the trick, and we doubt that we'll ever tire of seeing or hearing them. We hope to have a pair for review next year. As you can imagine, with a production process of laser sintering glass and nylon particles (think advanced, exact and expensive 3D printing) for the cabinets, they don't have many pairs to loan to eager journalists.

Sonata

London-based boutique audio specialist, Sonata Hi-Fi had adjacent rooms featuring lots of Goldmund loveliness. Presented by the always-enthusiastic Yvonne and Rob, both rooms were welcoming and showed a simple, compact system in one place and one more befitting a larger space in the other.

UK hifi show live 2019 report ascot

The smaller set-up had the new Rega RP10 playing through the brand's Aura reference phono stage (£4,000) and the Goldmund Metis MkII standmount speakers that we have had through our review space and thoroughly enjoyed. However, next door was home to a pair of the Swiss high-end maker's Prana loudspeakers.

uk hifi show live 2019 report

Here the analogue source was provided by the mighty £23,000 VPI Avenger Reference turntable. The rim-driven platter of the VPI deck contains magnets that are machined into the platter so that the top section is separated from the lower portion. That means that the part that is in contact with the drive unit is isolated from the playing surface.

uk hifi show live ascot 2019 report

The Prana impressed by producing some really impactful bass without muddying the sound. Again, in a room where one side was glass, this was no mean feat. Also present was MOON electronics. 

Renaissance

uk hifi show live 2019 report

More MOON and VPI action were to be had further down the walkway in Renaissance Audio's room. In the first section, John Carrol and team had set up a “Good, better, best” display of three levels of VPI Prime turntables matched with corresponding MOON electronics. However, if you decided to follow the red Nordost Heimdall Ethernet cable (£650 p/metre) into the next room, you were greeted by the main event. As well as the VPI HW-40 turntable and rack of top-notch MOON equipment including the marvellous 860A v2 power amp, the star of this particular show was the new MOON 680D streaming DAC.

uk hifi show live 2019 report ascot

At £8900 it isn't exactly inexpensive. However, when compared to the 780D v2, it is somewhat a bargain when you consider it is almost the same unit but without a femtosecond clock and dual-mono DAC board. If you recall that Ethernet cable from earlier - the systems in each room were networked so that they could play the same music in both areas. Standing in the adjoining doorway, there was no discernible lag between either of the Dynaudio-speakered rooms. Quadraspire racking and Nordost cables were used throughout both Renaissance rooms.

Kudos / Audioquest

uk hifi show live 2019 review ascot

The Titan 707 was being used by Audioquest to show how speaker cable design has progressed, starting with some lamp chord and Monster cable through to their current range. Impressively, the demo also showed how their flagship cable of a few years ago performed and how that has been improved upon. However, and perhaps more importantly, they also showed how the latest breed of Audioquest cable not only performs better but also dramatically cuts the cost to the consumer.  

Following on from the cable demo we also got to hear how the Kudos Titan 707 (£13,000) improved when they were switched from passive to active using Exposure amplification and the new VXN active crossover. It really did make a night and day difference to how they performed.

Chord Electronics / Kef / Chord Company

uk hifi show live 2019 review

Chord Electronics' DAVE DAC was on duty partnered by the BLU MKII upscaling digital/CD transport. Additionally, the company's newly-launched ULTIMA 3 power amp, which includes Chord Electronics' new dual feed-forward circuit topology, made its UK debut at the UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019. All the kit was joined by Chord Company cable and audio was sent out to a pair of Kef Blade 2 loudspeakers.

Vimberg and TIDAL

uk hifi show live 2019 report

TIDAL Audio brought along its latest CAMIRA DMC DAC and IMPULSE amplifier. Not only did they sound good, but they also look great. The electronics were hooked up to Vimberg Mino loudspeakers which are also designed and built by TIDAL Audio in Germany. Equally well constructed and finished the sound quality in this room was hard to knock.

Henley Audio

uk hifi show live report 2019 ascot

Another distributer with lots to show was Henley Audio. Here there was a wide selection of Pro-Ject turntables and Musical Fidelity (which is also owned by Pro-Ject now) electronics. We still love our M6si that comes out to play quite regularly; however, Musical Fidelity had brought its new M8xi integrated amplifier to Ascot for a UK Hi-Fi Show Live exclusive.

uk hifi show live 2019 report

The new MF integrated amplifier is a high-end powerhouse rated at 550W output. It features a host of balanced and unbalanced inputs, a built-in DAC as well as a typically clean and industrial façade.

uk hifi show live 2019 report

It looks like Heinz Lichtenegger made the right decision in keeping the British designers instead of replacing them when he acquired the brand. In the corner was a system made up of Musical Fidelity electronics and the wonderfully retro Klipsch La Scala AL5 speakers (£12,000).

Padood

Every time we visit Padood's room at a show, it is always an 'oh my!' moment, and it was no different for the high-end distributer's first showing at Ascot.

uk hifi show live ascot 2019 report

All the usual suspects were here, including a lovely line of Avantgarde Acoustic speakers, plenty of Nagra electronics, a corner of Quadraspire racks and stands, Siltech and Crystal Cable and some great-looking Boulder kit.

uk hifi show live 2019 report

SME turntables and YG Acoustics were also well represented in the sizeable Padood space. However, in a sectioned-off area stood a pair of Avantgarde Duo Primo XD and a pair of Quadraspire X-Ref racks supporting mostly Nagra kit with one topped off by an SME turntable and the other by the new Garrard 301 (£18,800) deck we first saw at the Munich show.

uk hifi show live 2019 report

A presentation of some pipe organ music played on CD just showed how good these loudspeakers were - if you had the room and money. We sat for a while slack-jawed at it all before moving on.

Luxman / DALI

uk hifi show live 2019 report

Luxman's superb new turntable, the PD-151 was partnered with the EQ-500 phono stage, and the company's flagship integrated amplifier, the L-509X. This was output through DALI's flagship Epicon floorstanding speakers. Additionally, a more compact system comprising of a D-N150 CD player and SQ-N150 valve amp with a pair of DALI Menuet speakers was also present. 

Roksan / Monitor Audio

uk hifi show live 2019 report

The family of brands that now includes Blok hi-fi stands sounded typically well sorted here. We didn't spot anything new but do love how everything looks and sounds here.

Esoteric

uk hifi show live 2019 report

After writing up the news about Esoteric's new £36,200 K1X SACD player, we were looking forward to hearing it perform. Here it was joined by M1 power amplifiers together with the Grandioso C1 preamp. As sources, the Esoteric N-01 network player/DAC was used along with the G-01X Master Clock Generator. Speakers were from Raidho and power was supplied to the system via Shunyata Research's Denali D6000 distributer. We just wish we could have sat there for longer as, from we were sat, it sounded wonderful.

AVID

uk hfi show live 2019 report ascot

The Huntingdon-based audio brand was proudly exhibiting its SIGSUM and INTEGRA integrated amplifiers along with its new EVO loudspeakers. There was also the limited edition white Ingenium Plug&Play turntable which looked rather stunning.

uk hifi show live 2019 report

The Evo Two three-way floorstander sports Morel drivers. So, there is a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter, two 6-inch midranges, and a side-firing 10-inch woofer. The wood and aluminium cabinet looked tremendous and carried the unmistakable AVID design DNA. The Two is expected to sell for £14,000 for a pair when it becomes available in 2020. There's also a smaller floorstander coming, dubbed the Three, which will carry an £8,800 price tag. The Four was also at the show in its pre-production guise with Conrad asking for feedback before production starts. The retail price for the stand-mounted AVID speakers will be £4,400. You can expect reviews of the speakers here when they are released.

Gato Audio

uk hifi show live 2019 report

We do love how Gato's gear looks, especially when we first found out the price of the components. For instance, the backbone of the Gato system at UK HI-Fi Show Live 2019 was the €2,995 DIA-250S NPM integrated amp, DAC and network audio player. That's a lot of tech for relatively small outlay when compared to other brands on display at Ascot. That gets you 250W of Class D amplification with lossless streaming in a compact, not to mention attractive, package. Naturally, the Danish brand was also rocking their own FM-50 Three-Way Passive Floorstanding Speakers (€4,995).

Sound Fowndations

uk hifi show live 2019 report

Sound Fowndations' room was home to the stunning Clearaudio Innovation turntable featuring optical speed control and ceramic magnetic bearing. The arm was loaded with the unmistakable glow of DS Audio's DS-W2 optical phono cartridge and ION-001 Vinyl Ionizer. Sat either side of the Exposure electronics were a pair of Kerr Acoustic K300 MK.2 stand-mount speakers. These speakers were one-offs for the show and sported Furutech Alpha S-14 internal cabling and FP-803 binding posts. The £3,500 2-ways feature a 6.5-inch wood fibre cone and true ribbon tweeter. With a claimed frequency response of 33Hz-45kHz, they really showed off the rest of the system in a neat little package. Also, we were told that the speakers can be ordered in any custom colour at no extra cost. StereoNET orange, anyone?

ECLIPSE

uk hifi show live 2019 ascot report

Decent Audio had the fuss-free but highly accomplished TD510ZMK2 floor-stander and TD520SW subwoofer from ECLIPSE. We are fans of the Japanese brand of these ovoid marvels, especially when bolstered by a sub such as the TD520SW. We also get a kick from seeing people's reaction to the speakers when they hear them.

Kii

uk hifi show live 2019 ascot report

You need large speakers to get a big sound - well, Kii disagrees. Whenever and wherever we have heard the slender Kii speakers, we have been impressed by the dynamic range and timing that the compact active speakers can present. The Kii THREE (£12,320 with controller) speakers on demo by Sound Design Distribution were augmented by BXT low-frequency extension modules. The magic they produce is down to intelligent engineering, onboard amplification (the Kii THREE has 6x250W power amp boards in each speaker alone!), innovative drivers and DSP. All that said, the result is real and 'live' rather than an over-processed digital experience. If you have yet to experience Kii speakers, you really ought to.

Rogers

uk hifi show live 2019 report

Surely everyone is aware of the British brand, Rogers? Well, they have been around since 1947. The very cool revamped LS5/9 in Olive were on show here. The original design was employed by the BBC and designed by Auntie Beeb's Research Department in the early 1980s. If you want to get more technical, you can actually download the BBC's LS5/9 spec.

Rogers' new LS5/9 sports an Audax 34mm soft-dome tweeter, and a 200mm plastic-cone woofer made in-house. A jumper and a series of posts to the left of the tweeter enables output adjustment as was required by the BBC's engineers.

Talk Electronics

uk hifi show live 2019 report

Another UK success story is the Edwards Audio series from Surrey-based Talk Electronics. The rack in this room supported an Apprentice MM phono stage, the TT turntable, 50W IA1 Mk2 integrated amplifier and everything went out through the brand's Apprentice Speakers.

Elite Audio

uk hifi show live 2019 ascot report

Our final stop for the day, mostly because we missed it earlier, was with Elite Audio. Grant and Rachael were down from their Fife base to look after the room and visitors. They were rightly proud of the range of Manley kit since they became exclusive UK distributors for the tube-loving amps from the USA. It was also great to spot a pair of Canada's Verity Audio speakers flanking the room, along with a couple of Audio Physic Midex floorstanders (£8,390). The rather attractive Acoustic Solid Wood Round MPX turntable (£5,950) sat quietly amongst electronics from Aqua as well as Manley.

Horses for Courses

uk hifi show live ascot 2019 report review

So, what did we think of the new home for UK Hi-Fi Show Live? From our point-of-view, as a visitor, we were genuinely impressed. Windsor was generally 'OK' as far as we were concerned. However, the surroundings, room and organisation of Ascot have raised the game as far as UK shows go. It has the space we enjoyed at Indulgence/Festival of Sound, the high-end brands that brought us to Windsor and now with a keen contemporary edge with a healthy helping of class. Small hiccups such as a confusing layout and some people being unaware that they could go through the glass doors to the outside walkways aside, we think that this was an excellent move for the show.

What would we change, next year? We would allow ourselves two days to comfortably spend at the show as we love having time to chat with everyone.

Well done to Paul Miller and team for an excellent show which may find itself as the premium hi-fi show in the UK.

We have over 140 photos in the gallery below for your visual pleasure!

Gallery

Jay Garrett's avatar

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi Headphones HiFi Show
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