"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 12 April 2014

Chester Show 2014 - General Thoughts

Well done Acoustica.  This was a really impressive step up from last year's show - both in format, layout, manufacturer representation and the quality of sound being produced.

Rooms as follows:

High end Naim / Focal
Mid-range Naim / Focal (didn't get to this room, unfortunately the Aria 936s were on show and I enjoyed them at Bristol)
Audiovector (another one we didn't get to, so not sure on the electronics)
Arcam (yet another one we missed - possibly AV?)
STAX headphones
B&W D802 with Classe electronics
Chord cables
2 x vinyl sellers
Cabasse streamer with Naim and Kudos
Kudos with Bauer / Linn / Naim

In one room (with mid-range Naim electronics and Ovator 400s), there was a demo of Daft Punk's latest album with one track played 3 times - the audience were asked to say which of the three tracks was the 16/44.1 version and which was the 24/88.2 version.  One format was played once and the other twice, but the audience didn't know which was which and the streamer display was covered up to hide the information.  There was a wide variety of opinions of which track was which, but no one in the room got it right on the occasion we were in there.  Fascinating.  The point being made by the demonstrator was that this is a well recorded and produced album and as such, will sound great in either format.  Alan Sircom from HiFi+ magazine was in the room, so it'll be interesting to see if he reports on this.

There were plenty of signs to help with locating the rooms, the rooms were mostly reasonable in size and shape (the high-end Naim / Focal room was the exception) and it all felt a bit more considered and set out than in 2013.

2 small downsides - we didn't leave enough time to get round all the rooms, and £2.95 for a cup of tea and a biscuit is a bit steep - didn't see anyone buying any of that.  Last year's show had some highlights, but there were more this year.  Definitely a decent afternoon's entertainment and some interesting kit to listen to.

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