Obscure British audio companies


Kelvin Labs, remember these being sold at Salisbury Hifi down Catherine Street.


Interesting I came to the same conclusion, when I did the same demo at Spaldings of Addiscombe… not a million miles from Billy Vee. The 305M was second hand and I owned it for about 5 years before the bearing started making a rumbling noise, so I then went LP12 which I still have today.

Does the Sonata use twin motor’s? Can’t quite remember if it does.

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Yes, twin motors…
Tricky to get the belt fitted…

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I ran my Systemdek IIX with the supplied Basik Plus for many years, until it was replaced by an Audiomods Classic. That was moved over to my Michell Orbe SE

I can imagine,I have a Voyd with three motor’s but I have acquired the knack.

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For the Alphason you have to use wire hooks to pull the belt away from the inner rim on the platter before lowering the spindle into the bearing, all unsighted by the very deep platter edge, and wary of over stretching the belt. The hooks were supplied, but I made some modifications to hold the hooks over the plinth while fitting the platter.

The Linn of course avoids this by using a sub platter (belt fitting) and the main platter over the top.

Alphason (Mike Knowles) thought this was not so good for the sound as the one piece platter. Also his design does not require a constant upgrade path to get the sound right, it gave the right – neutral – sound in the first place.

I imagine three motors needs similar techniques.

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Audio Innovations.
Have had the audio Innovations 500, a superb amp with a superb phono section


Here is my VA100A. Still in use in my second system with the matching tuner playing CDs on my Marantz CD-63 KI Signature Edition through my Epos ES12s. No reliability issues with the VA100 but it does get hot.


With the Voyd I had to make up a tool to fit the belt out of an old wire hanger (coated) using an original as a template.
What you do is fit the belt to the inner side of the lexan platter with the tool holding the belt under tension.
Then fit the platter and move the platter past each pulley, lifting the belt as you go , I can manage to fit the belt in about a minute or less most of the time.

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Thank you for the photo of the Sondex amp. I’ve been wracking my brain to remember the name.
They were marketed by a hifi dealer in Alderley Edge, Cheshire whose name I also can’t recall!

I remember now. Aston Audio…

It may be a sign of imminent senility, but this made me think of a chap called Sean Sedwards. I was at school with him in the 70s, and I vaguely recall reading about Rose amps and thinking he was behind them.

I can remember seeing some at Northwood Audio and i think hearing them at Buxton hifi show.

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My first amp was an Audio Innovations Alto bought on my 18th birthday in 1995 because it looked like a space ship. It survived university and London life until ended by a flat party in 2006 after which a channel no longer worked and it was missing the ‘Record’ knob. Presumably, an enthusiastic reveller gave in to temptation.

Has anyone mentioned Leema Acoustics? They used to win lots of magazine awards in the noughties.
I emailed them when I got my hands on my first piece of Naim, the Uniti, asking if it would go well with their tiny ‘Xero’ loudspeakers which I had bought blind and was pleasantly surprised when one of the founders (ex BBC engineers) phoned me up personally and gently explained that, no, it wouldn’t go very well at all and liked lots more power. He liked the Uniti, by the way. I always admired his honesty and that he called me up to dissuade me from using his product.


Hello I am hoping you may have some if any information on who made the Isleworth? I have been looking for anything on the px5050 and the p100 power supply, cannot find anything on the web!
Thanks, Jim

I don’t have much, if any info, just recall the review by Chris Frankland in Popular Hifi back in '79 where he compared it with the Harman Kardon HK505. IIRC, he quite liked it found it a sweet sounding amp, although lacking in life and dynamics compared to a Naim NAC12/NAP160 which was used as a reference. Overall, he marginally preferred the HK to the Isleworth, but found the latter a good match with the Quad ESLs.

The brain is a strange thing, since this topic appeared I have been trying to recall an amp my brother owned that might have satisfied the audio part of the title if it hadn’t hummed along to every tune. He was oblivious to buzz.
Why the name has just moved to the cognescent area of my mind I do not know.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Alba UA 900.

We had a branch of that in Otley. Went bust/taken over in mid-90s by a dealer in Cheshire. Doug Brady?

Or have I got that backwards?

I was an Aston Audio customer (in Alderley Edge) from way back when. IIRC it’s where I bought my Meridian CD transport and DAC, which my son still uses. I’d have thought there’d be an opportunity for a dealer in Alderley Edge selling Statement Systems to footballers.