Just got back from an interesting day out at Cranage and there were some really nice sounding systems on display this year. Naim presence in the Russell K, Neat, Kudos and Doug Brady rooms. Only photographed the rooms where the system held my attention. Concentrating on where Naim were used, these three rooms were show highlights (for me)…
Kudos: Wow. Every time I hear those Titan 505s they just get better and better. This time in active mode, source being NDS / 555. Amplification 252 250 / 250 / SNAXO / HI-Cap. One word - brilliant. Chatting to Derek, he said even though they sound at their best in active guise, even a modest integrated will drive them and still sound superb.
Russell K: The Red120s were sounding very good in one of the smaller hotel rooms, a rather unforgiving space, but still sounded tremendous - Melco feeding a 272 / 250 (i think it was) and as always, I do like Russell’s speakers.
Neat: Well, Mr Bob has done it again. I really really liked the new Ekstra. It was being fed by a Raspberry Pi / Chord Doc, and a Well Tempered Versalex deck and was delighted to see a humble Nait2 on amplifier duties - go the Nait2! And was not in any way overshadowed, in fact it was one of my fav rooms insomuch as it was a real world accessible system not costing the earth. Plus Bob said the speakers will place close to a rear wall. A Knighthood for Bob? Soon one hopes!
In other rooms, again only systems that held my attention…
CAD: This was in interesting, simply put one of the best digital systems at the show. Very analogue in sound and the scale of sound emitting from those Boenicke Loudspeakers beggars belief. Impressive.
Kerr Acoustics: Now these were interesting. A new transmission line speaker speaker with a ribbon tweeter, very dynamic and a pleasure to listen to, if a little ungainly on their stands.
Falcon Acoustics: Their floor standers sounded very good, in a traditional BBC smooth sort of way, and would not be fatiguing over long listening sessions.
Kondo: I don’t know the full spec and cost, but this sounded very good, if a little polite, but had no trouble filling a large room with a good sound.
Doug Brady Room: A big bold and confident sound from the Sugden amps, Michelle Orbe Turntable, Naim NDX2 and large ProAc speakers. A little ill defined bass boom, but outside of that a really fun sounding system.
Other notable rooms… Hegel 590 and Amphion behemoths sounded very good indeed. Every time I have heard a Hegel amp, they just sound so effortless with loads of headroom to drive, well, anything really. This new 590 was no exception.
Avid turntables… A good sound from their new high end cartridge on their uber deck, but somehow a little over clinical in presentation. Beautifully made kit though.
And they were my favs. I overheard one conversation where this chap was slating the sound in one room where I thought it sound very good, just goes to show that everyone hears things differently.
The only issue was the heat, very very warm in some of the smaller rooms with fan noise competing for attention. But other than minor issue, well worth braving the dreaded M6 and popping along.