Acoustica HiFi Show 18th-19th November 2023

Roll on The North West Audio Show at Cranage - 22-23 June 2024.

Only 215 days - 14 hours - 50 minutes - 40 seconds to go…

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I spent a few hours at the show yesterday - like @TimOopNorth I didn’t manage photos in all rooms, or note down the exact combinations of systems, but the following is a run down from what I remember.

Bowers and Wilkins
801D4 powered by 2x NAP350, NAC332, NSC333, 2x NPX300

I started in this room on Saturday afternoon - they were playing a mix of acoustic and electronic music (Hugh Masekala and Dead Can Dance). There was a tremendous sense of scale and visceral slam from the 801D4s, however there seemed to be some nasty room interaction/resonances going on, making the sound a little muddy. I returned later in the afternoon when some classical music was being played, and the sound was much improved -maybe the system had warmed up by then?

Didn’t get a picture of this room as it was fairly small. Speakers were Diablo Utopia standmounts, powered by NSC222, NAP250 (and NPX300 I think). There was quite a bit of overspill from neighbouring rooms sadly, but what I could hear sounded good - the electronics didn’t seem outclassed by the considerably more expensive speakers. This room was closed later in the afternoon, so couldn’t return for a second visit sadly.

This was the biggest surprise of the show for me - I’ve never previously heard KEF speakers and found them an enjoyable listen. However, the Blade 2s really sung in this space, powered by the NAC332, NSC333 and 2x NAP350. The guy from KEF running the room was playing some great music, and also taking requests, consequently I probably spent most time here. I think the bass traps probably helped the sound too…

Another 300 series system, with Confidence 60 speakers. Slightly underwhelming for me - I’ve heard the smaller Confidence 30s really sing in this room at a previous show.

This was another really good system - probably my joint favourite with KEF. Titan 808s driven actively using external Exposure crossovers. Very different sound to the KEF Blades being driven passively - but equally good. Cool Water by Joni Mitchell sounded particularly good - very rhythmic and percussive yet emotional.

While I respect the decision to focus the show as a showcase for the new 200 and 300 series, as the owner of both Naim and non-Naim systems, I did miss the Chord Electronics, Plinius, ATC etc rooms. The show also seemed noticeably quieter this year than previous years - the number of visitors seemed proportionate to the number of rooms - hope this doesn’t cause Acoustica to rethink future shows, as it is always enjoyable, and nice and local for me.


Thoroughly enjoyed the visit today, so many thanks to the Acoustica team and the speaker reps for taking the time to set up the show. It was a pleasure hearing the new Naim 300 series today, which I thought sounded fabulous in every room it was used. Each system impressed in its own way, but for me, it was the Dynaudio room that shone the brightest, specifically when playing The Beatles Come Together. Simply the best I’ve ever heard that track. There’s a truly special synergy between Naim and Dynaudio and it was clearly evident here. The Kudos active set up sounds excellent also, but the room acoustics seem a bit odd in that room. Really liked the KEF Blades too, as I’ve heard these sound a little bit aggressive at times, thought they sounded great with the 300 series. B&W? Sigh. I want to like them, but I just don’t know why, but they never seem to gel for me. Least fav room was the Focal, which lacked the scale of the other rooms, being stand mounts. A great show, although a little smaller than past Acoustica events, but did seem more focused as a result. Some snaps as promised…

KEF room…



Focal (plus NC200 system)…



What was the two half size boxes on the Kudos 808 system? I hope @YetiZone doesn’t mind my small edit of his image.

*** Edit: Of course the Exposure crossovers, silly me…


Shame they didn’t use 6 x 350’s as i also thought that’s what was going to be used.
Not so bothered now that i couldn’t make it as i would have been going just for that reason and been a bit 9issed off after travelling a long way to find that out.

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Yes, the Exposure boxes caught me out as well initially, the penny dropped when I wandered over to the rack. It was a lovely system.

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This was my first Acoustica show and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought the new 300 series equipment sounded excellent. All of the rooms sounded great to me, if all a little different. As the B&W room was closest to the entrance, I listened to them on the way in and on the way out. They seemed to sound even better second time around. An enjoyable afternoon listening to some great tunes. Thank you to everybody involved in putting the show on!


I just searched for our coffee gear interaction and now I remember. Nice to meet you (briefly) at the show today :blush:

And it was fun to look back through the 2x300 v 500 thread (or some of it) again, with talk of greenhouses, permission, forgiveness etc etc :joy:

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Nice to meet you too. I watched your journey with interest… great to hear that your enjoying your new amps so much!

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I heard that track being played, followed by a Melanie De Biasio track. The guy running the room picked those tracks after returning with some lunch and taking back control. Previous to that, people in the room were selecting what music to listen too, a lot of it sounded pretty average. Even walk on the wild side sounded, not quite right.

I was also impressed with the The Beatles Come Together track. I searched for it on qobuz when I got home. It’s probably the 2019 Mix, it sounds excellent on my obsolete system.

The KEF room sounded excellent, the best IMO.
I did notice music was being served from an Innuos hard drive. Other systems appeared to be using Naim hard drive or a router.

I wasn’t impressed with 200 series setup, but that could have been down to the poor quality recordings that where being played.

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I was at the show today. I only spent a short time in each of the rooms but to be honest and IMO only the Kudos room with 808’s driven by 3 x 250 sounded impressive. The B&W’s boomed away and the big Dynaudio produced a big but processed type sound. The Focals were, well, focal esk. I didn’t hear the Kef room so can’t comment.

I did get chance to chat with a few guys who post on the forum including a lovely husband and wife from Crewe and had lunch with Jas Gould who even when suffering from severe hip pain was a gent as usual. Oh and he quashed any rumours of a new 500 series being released within the next three years (at least). The Statement Streamer will come arrive before that. Hopefully in the summer of 2025.


My favourites were the Kudos too. I spent quite some time there. I thought the Kefs were impressive too, but having come straight from the Kudos room I needed a bit of time to get used to the different sound. I think that was the only room where the 300 streamer and the preamp were using their own integral power supplies.

Nice photo set.

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So the 64 thousand dollar question, is the exposure active crossover balanced to make use of all the balanced curcuitry of the 332 and 350’s???

Presumably not.

He was suffering at the Dublin HiFi Show last month too.

Hopefully a hip replacement will sort that pain out



Funny how we all hear things differently. Thought it was generally underwhelming. I’ll caveat that I was there on Saturday and appreciate some systems might sound better on Sunday when warmed up.

Appreciate that it’s a hifi show in challenging hotel rooms but I’ve heard some breathtaking old classic set ups at the Acoustica show in the past. It’s odd… I just felt like there was something missing but couldn’t put my finger on it.

Of course, I can’t make the call until I’ve tried the boxes at home but it was an interesting none the less.


The last hifi show I went to was around 35yrs ago at Last Drop Village near Bolton. I don’t remember hearing anything that impressed at all. I did come away with a Sound Organisation table (Ex. dem) from the guys themselves at a large discount so was happy with that. Never had the urge to go to another since.