"What a refreshingly honest blog about listening to music through hi-fi. So happy to see views based upon the enjoyment of music rather than so-called sound 'quality'." - Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Mission / Wharfedale

Saturday 6 April 2019

Kudos & Innuos: 2 Awards Each At Chester Show 2019

Kudos & Innuos were involved in 2 system awards from audiophilemusings at the 2019 Chester Show.

Innuos, Naim, Kudos

Normally Kudos are in the smaller of the 2 "medium" sized rooms, but here they were in the slightly larger medium sized room.  On demonstration today was some big news for Naim, Kudos and active system lovers.  The SNAXO for Kudos is back!  The 3 channel SNAXO active crossover for Titan 808 is orderable now with delivery likely to be later this month and the 2 channel for Titans 505, 606 & 707 plus the Super 20A and Super 10A to follow a couple of months later.

Why is this such big news?  Because Kudos pursued this route with Naim for about 18 months but finally announced about 12 months ago that Naim had chosen to pull out of the project.  But there seems to be a change of heart that has come along with the change of leadership at Naim and the active crossovers are going into production.  Based on today's experience, this is great news from a sound quality point of view plus it will give Naim dealers the chance to sell more power amps to Kudos customers.

So today, Kudos were running with:

Innuos Statement server
ND 555 / 555PS streamer
NAC 552 / 555 PS pre-amp
SNAXO 362 / SuperCap active crossover
3x NAP 300 power amplifiers
Kudos Titan 808 speakers in walnut
Fraim racks
Surprisingly (except for one Audioquest interconnect), standard Naim interconnects and NACA5 speaker cables completed the system

Top shelf showcasing SNAXO active crossover and its Supercap PSU

First time hearing the new Innuos Statement server

Its pretty much impossible to say how much the newly released £10k Innuos Statement server was making to this system as we didn't have anything to compare it against.  Suffice to say that it wasn't holding this system back at all today.
Importantly, how were all those black boxes performing when driving the Titan 808s actively?  Well, it was certainly on par with the same speakers heard recently with Linn Klimax Exakt electronics, but not the same.  Here the typical Naim drive and speed was very obvious, but what we weren't getting was any of the brand's forcefulness that can result in a quickly tiring listen.  Our first visit to the room was for around 40 minutes followed up by over an hour again later in the day (with some liquid refreshments to hand), so I'm pretty certain that it was a reasonable amount of time to work out if this would be tiring.
The system was playing pretty loud too.  It's difficult to directly compare to the Linn system, being in a different room and without the REL 25 subs, but here I would say it was slightly less refined and naturally flowing compared to the Linn front end, but it had more bite and solid power to the bass lines.  Possibly attributable to the front end, or the subs or a combination of both.  In this room we listened to the music flow through this system - timing is superb, the tune is easy to follow.  Glad to see the SNAXO lives, as the Titans deserve a front end of this kind of quality.  This system was simply superbly musical.
A nice touch: Naim signature green lighting in the Kudos room

Hegel, Kudos, Innuos

A thank you to the Innuos room host here as we turned up a couple of minutes after official closing time but he happily powered the system up again to give us a 10 minute listen.  Very helpful. 

I understand earlier in the day that Zen Mk3 vs Zenith Mk3 server comparisons had been demoed.  We just listened to some tracks using the Zenith as the source.  Having just enjoyed the slam and scale of the Naim / ATC SCM50 system, I was a little afraid that the smallest of the Kudos Titans, the 505, might seem a little undernourished, especially driven by Hegel's more modest £3.2k integrated amp with DAC, the H190.  But there was no need to be concerned.  Perched forward on the edge of the sofa moved us out of the worst of the room mode and directly into the music.  Insightful, tuneful, detailed, driving, emotional vocals all present and correct.  But the weight behind these chunky standmounts were the surprise here, a more substantial sound then when last heard with the Linn Selekt at Bristol.  If only we'd got to this room a little sooner, we could've enjoyed a lot more music in here.

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