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Dealer

Hi Guys,

I thought I'd start a blog on HiFi Wigwam with all the latest news, reviews and goings on at HiFi Lounge that may be of interest.

As some of you may know I only launched at the end of October 2012 and I have to say that it is a case of so far so good, everyone told both my wife and myself that we must be mad, and that may be the case, but so far early signs have been really promising, fingers crossed it continues :-)

The whole idea behind HiFi Lounge is to only stock the brands that I really believe in and to specialise in those select few brands and represent them really well, which with Naim hasn't been easy with their range being so vast, but I feel we have achieved what we set out to do.

Saying that we are still looking at bringing on a few more brands, I have got a couple lined up that I am really excited about that I feel will add something a little different to our line-up.

So please check back regularly as I will update this when there is anything new worth mentioning.

If anyone would like to have a look round HiFi Lounge please follow the link below for a virtual tour, it actually need re-doing as quite a few new products have been bought on since it was taken -

http://hifilounge.co.uk/take-a-tour

Finally please feel free to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, links in my signature.

Thanks,

Paul.

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Being that I am quite a big PMC speaker enthusiast I thought I would start with news of their excellent new FACT.12 speaker. I was lucky enough to be taken out to the Munich High End show for the launch by PMC, needless to say they didn't disappoint.

I will be holding a FACT.12 launch event next month at HiFi lounge, dates are yet to be confirmed as I am just waiting on PMC to confirm that everything is on schedule regarding production, but as soon as I have a date I will announce it on here.

Below is a few words I wrote once back form Munich for my blog on my website -

Well I’ve just got back from Munich for the launch of the new Fact.12 speakers from PMC, it has certainly been an interesting couple of days, the Munich High End show really is something quite special and has been a real eye opener into the world of the what a weird and whacky world HiFi can be, the pinnacle being an amp twice the size of me that opens up like a transformer to display all the connections and inner workings, I’ll post some pics later, quite amazing though. One thing that struck home though was that although there is some really crazy kit out there that costs an absolute fortune it doesn't make it good, I lost count of the amount of times I walked into a room worth many 10’s of thousands of pounds only to leave uninspired by the cold, clinical, lifeless sound, just goes to show how good Britain is at making hifi that actually makes music, every time I went back into the PMC room it was like the comfy slipper syndrome, it sound sounded so right and musical, helped by the fact that they weren't playing flute or classical music I guess. So I Just want to say a massive thanks to PMC for giving me the opportunity to join them at the show, as being new to this trade it was a real eye opener and very educational.

Anyway onto the main event, the FACT.12, I spent many an hour listening to these over the last 2 days and to be honest I don’t know where to start, obviously being a FACT.8 fan I had high hopes and unless PMC had made a horrible mistake they were going to be good, but in all honesty I never thought they could be this good, especially considering the cabinet size, only slightly taller and deeper than the FACT.8 but producing a sound that is quite spectacular, they really have defied the laws of physics and somehow created a tardis speaker in my opinion, you almost expected a far larger speaker to be hidden behind the graphics behind the speakers, infact the most common question Tom had to face was ‘So where is the sub hidden?’

Like many others I thought when they were announced at £11,995 it was going to be a tough sell, I was hoping for under £10k really, but I know that once people have experienced these speakers they will agree with me that they are worth every penny, if not more to be honest. I guess it is expected for me to say they are great but I met a guy in the PMC room who had been into HiFi Lounge to demo the MB2 SE’s a month or so ago, he had spent 2 days at the show and declared that the PMC room was amongst the 2 best sounding rooms at the show, the other room was ‘Living Voice’ which are rather large and expensive horn speakers, so for the realtively small FACT.12’s to get an accolade as that from someone, shall we say, more impartial than me, just shows how good the FACT.12’s are.

The FACT.12’s are a total new design compared to the FACT.8’s, only the tweeter remains, now being a big fan of the PMC 75 mid and very accustomed to it I was really keen to hear how the new 2” mid range would compare, in all honesty I really couldn’t hear much, if any difference, obviously it is difficult to draw an exact conclusion until I have the FACT.12’s in here to listen to in a room I know but there was that familiar richness to vocals that the PMC 75 is so well known for and considered by many to be the best mid range cone available, it may be smaller but you wouldn't know it.

More of a shock to me was the bass performance, the new bass drivers really are quite amazing, many times I would be chatting at the back of the room and this low bass note would come in and everyone would stop in their tracks and look at the speakers in disbelief that those small speakers at the front of the room just produced such a low, rich bass note, but the real star is the speaker as a whole, everything about the sound is so natural, full, rich and effortless with great imaging, separation and great integration across all the drivers, I can only imagine how much work went into getting the crossover so right.

How does they compare to the bigger IB/MB PMC speakers? it is hard to compare directly as the FACT has always been able to do things that the bigger PMC’s couldn't do, like the clarity and speed, but what PMC have created in my view is a speaker that has all the key attributes of the FACT.8 but really fleshed it out giving a fuller, richer sound, more organic whilst retaiing that insight and clarity.

I think PMC really do need to be applauded here, as far as I’m concerned they have developed the perfect domestic loudspeaker as it gives big performance like the IB2i, although not the same, but in a cabinet that most people could get away with in their living room. Personally when I’m in a position to build a hifi at home again I always imagined a pair of MB2i’s but I know now that it would be the FACT.12’s for me as they are such a pretty speaker with an amazing full sound that will just vanish into the room compared to any other speaker I know that can perform at this level.

I hope this hasn’t come across as overly keen and people thinking that I just want to sell a few pairs and PMC took me out to the show so I owe them a good reveiw, OK, so I am a little biased to all things PMC, but as an enthusiast I really never thought that the FACT.12 could perform at the level it does, they really are very impressive.

Walking round a show like the High End show in Munich you see many kinds of speaker designs of all shapes and sizes but there really is nothing like the FACT range of speakers, some rooms had huge speakers in that could really only disappoint in reality, where the FACT.12’s won was that it was a very simple display with just the speakers up front and no whacky electronics and there was no mistaking what you were in the room listening to which really helped add to the disbelief that such a huge, full sound was coming from those quite un-assuming speakers in front of the display, great idea :)

In the end, although I liked the white finish I decided to go with the Walnut for demo, so as soon as my demo pair arrive I will be holding a FACT.12 open day as I will be really interested to hear what other people think, but everyone that left the PMC room at Munich all seemed to agree that the FACT.12 was very good indeed as many of them commented.

PMC are hoping to start production by the end of June, so all being well I will have my pair by mid July, although being that this is a brand new speaker made up from many parts PMC are keen to stress that this date could possibly change, fingers crossed it doesn't though as I really can’t wait to get them in here to really put them through their paces against the MB2 SE’s :)

Here are a a few pictures of the Fact.12’s and a promotional video PMC have done for the Fact.12 -

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Hi Guys,

I thought I would just upload a few pictures from Munich a couple of weeks ago, this was my first time of attending and I have to say I wasn't expecting it to be so much fun, it really does make you realise what a whacky world hifi can be, especially in Germany it would seem. Equally though it made me realise that just because something has a big price ticket doesn't mean that it can engage, I lost count of the amount of rooms that I walked into for a few minutes then walked out again, many rooms just came across as sterile and cold, makes you realise what great HiFi us Brits make :-)

For me, other than the PMC room that is, the main draw was the Fine Sounds room who now own Sonus Faber, McIntosh, Audio Research and Wadia, what a room, I spent far too many an hour in there, most of the pictures below are from that room, I did take quite a few so apologies if it goes on a little, starting with McIntosh which I do have to admit for having a little soft spot for -

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Time for some Audio Research and Sonus Faber -

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The Beautiful New Olympica Range From Sonus Faber, soon to be on demo at HiFi Lounge.

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For me this is the ultimate speaker, the Aida, hopefully next year they will have them running!

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Venere's in the new Walnut finish -

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Here are a few of the more Weird and Wonderful bits of kit at Munich -

Now this was most definitely the craziest thing that I say at the show, it is basically a power amp twice as big as me that can kick out 2 x 60,000 watts of pure class A, apparently, certainly looked cool, more like a Transformer than an amp, here is a link with a video on it so you can see it in action -

www.onlycreative.it

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The Martin Logan Montis, these sounded excellent.

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Not really sure what was going on here :-)

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This was definitely the warmest room at the show.

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This is what you call a Mains Block :-)

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Obviously there were some serious Turntables at Munich.

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I must say this was one of the best sounding rooms at the show -

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These sounded excellent to.

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These MBL's certainly grabbed peoples attention, mostly for the look and cost.

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Roll on next year :D

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Hi Everyone,

This really is hot of the press, to mark Rega’s 40th year, they will be starting the celebrations by offering a ‘limited edition’ turntable based on the RP3, the RP40 Anniversary Edition.

This turntable will only be available during 2013 and built to a limited number of units with its own set of serial numbers.

The RP40 will be supplied with a custom TT-PSU, exclusive Silicon drive belt and Elys40 cartridge as standard.

RP40 WILL BE AVAILABLE IN TITANIUM FINISH ONLY

RP40 ANNIVERSARY – INCLUDING TTPSU AND ELYS40 AS STANDARD

I haven’t got any pictures at the moment but hopefully you can see it clearly on this PDF I have uploaded, it really is quite beautiful making it the ultimate incarnation of the RP3.

I am taking orders now for anyone who is interested, being that this is a limited edition turntable I can’t see it being available for long. It will be priced at £798.00 and will be on a first come first served basis with production starting mid August.

Thanks,

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Thanks James, you're a star :^ Yeah I ended up taking over 500 photo's at Munich, most in the fine sounds room I have to say, there is just something about Sonus Faber and McIntosh that does it for me.

Rega have now released some publicity photo’s of the RP40, please note that these pictures are only a model and not a working example, note that the cartridge is missing a stylus as an example, it is just to give us an idea of what the finished product will look like, looks good to me :-)

Now added to our website if anyone would like a look - http://hifilounge.co.uk/rega-rp40-turntable

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Hi Everyone,

Being that we love our vinyl at HFL I am really pleased to be able to add Koetsu cartridges to our line-up of brands, as many of you will know Koetsu offer some of the most respected and highly sought after cartridges in the world today which are held in great esteem and are loved by many audiophiles all over the world, many saying that they are the best available at any price. The founder of Koetsu, Yoshiaki Sugano, passed away in 2002 at the age of 95, but not before grooming his son to carry on the art of producing Koetsu Cartridges which are all hand made using some of the finest materials available and only produced in small numbers, the attention to detail really is something else, meaning that we still get to enjoy Koetsu cartridges today. If you want to experience the realism of Vinyl then Koetsu is the choice of many vinyl aficionado’s around the world.

Koetsu cartridges certainly are not cheap, and they are probably not the most revealing pickups out there, but they do something magical unlike any other cartridge, if you want to experience real warmth, texture and smoothness without a hint of brightness to your vinyl then Koetsu could be for you, Koetsu cartridges have a timbral richness with a clarity and presence that just makes everything sound real and you can’t ask for more than that. All Koetsu’s are hand made in small numbers many using precious materials which all adds to the mystery of Koetsu and why many people would not own any other cartridge than a Koetsu.

If you would like any more information please get in touch or follow the link below to browse the Koetsu range of cartridges, my personal favourites are either the Bloodstone or Jade Platinum, a snip at £7400 each ;-)

http://hifilounge.co.uk/koetsu-cartridges

Here are a few pictures of the stunning Koetsu Cartridges -

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And now for something a little Different :-)

I know that this won’t be for everybody and I could well end up sitting on my own all day but I thought I would mix 2 of my loves, HiFi and Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band to create an open day with a difference.

Some of you may well know that I’m a little bit of a Bruce fan, 70+ gigs since my first one on July 4th 1985, (that first Bruce gig really did change my life and gave me a real appreciation of live music) also managed to book 8 so far for this year, the Wembley Stadium show last weekend went straight into my top 3 shows, amazing night, there really is nothing better than a Bruce gig.

Anyway the idea is that we have got some real reference kit at HiFi Lounge so why not use it to showcase who I consider to be the best singer, songwriter and live entertainer the world has ever seen, yes I think it is fair to say that it will be a slightly biased day :-) So on August 10th HiFi Lounge will be holding our first Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band Appreciation day :-)

It is at the early stages of planning at the moment, needless to say it will be a mini Bruce festival with nothing other than Bruce being played all day through our reference HiFi system consisting of the awesome £16,100 PMC MB2 SE speakers and also using over £60,000 worth of Bryston and Naim electronics to power them, the new award winning Rega RP8 turntable will be spinning some Bruce vinyl, so it really will be a great opportunity to hear Bruce on some top kit, we will also power up the JVC X55 Projector for some live footage of the boss in action on our 120” screen.

I am thinking that we will play 2-3 albums in their entirety, if I have my way it will be E-Street Shuffle and Asbury Park to start with, then we could maybe do a couple of hours or requests, then fire up the Projector for some of our favourite Bruce live and video moments, I will work out a timetable and put it up nearer the time, if anyone has any ideas please let me know, but be warned I could see it going on late into the evening.

It goes without saying that if you have any rare material you’d like to hear or think anyone else would like to see or hear please feel free to bring it along, and if by some fluke the sun comes out we can open up the gardens to give everyone a chance to mingle and swap Bruce stories, saying that I can’t remember the last hot and sunny outdoor Bruce event I went to so I guess it will be safer to expect rain.

So as you can see this is a total indulgence on my part but with Bruce doing some of the best shows of his life at the moment and with the iminent release of the movie ‘Springesteen and I’ I thought it would be a great time to hold this open day and a great way to ease the blues of the European tour being over and discuss the various highlights we all had from the Wrecking Ball tour, I’m still buzzing from hearing ‘Lost In a FLood’ live, and to talk about any other Bruce stories we may have, like when I met him in London a couple of years ago for the showing of ‘The Promise’, actually we could show ‘The Promise’ if anyone would like to see it.

On the off chance that anyone would like to come can you please e-mail me on paul@hifilounge.co.uk with any other ideas so I can get an idea of what everyone would like the day to entail that would be great.

If we can make this a success then it would be great to think that it could possibly become a yearly event, but for now please put August 10th in your diary as it would be great to see any other fellow Bruce fans at HiFi Lounge for our appreciation day.

Cheers,

BBBRRRUUUUUUUUCCCEEE :-)

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Hi all,

Yesterday was the dealer Launch event of PMC's new Fact.12 speaker and was of the usual high standard you would expect from PMC, held at the Luton Hoo Hotel which is a pretty spectacular place, all the more so being that it is in Luton, I really never knew it existed, apparently is is used a lot for film locations, pic below -

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As for the Fact.12's what can you say, they are spectacular, I was speaking to Olly, who is Peter Thomas's son and the lead designer, top bloke btw, and he has further tweaked them since I heard them at Munich, mainly playing with the crossover, they don't sound massively different but he is now happy with his work and has signed them off so production is now up and running :smashin:

The basic design brief was to design a IB2 sound in a much smaller cabinet, no pressure there then :) and to my ears I would say that PMC have done just that, the smaller mid range which is a re-design on the PMC75 sounds equally as impressive as its bigger brother but it is the bass that really astounds, I really believe there has never been a speaker like the Fact.12 before, can't wait to get my hands on mine :)

We also played around with the treble and bass lift and minus with a couple of tracks and in the room we were in you could really hear the difference, more so than I have heard with the Fact.8's before for some reason, I particularly liked the bass on the - setting as it really helped throw the vocal into the room as the mid range came across a lot cleaner, but as PMC said there is no correct setting, they are all correct, it is just which setting the customer prefers or if they need to be tuned to a particular difficult room it can really help.

Here are a couple of pics of the 12's in the Tiger Ebony, on the 8's this wasn't my favourite finish but for some reason they looked quite stunning on the 12's, sorry for the low quality pics.

So to sum up I really think PMC have created something quite special with the Fact.12, basically an amazingly high end speaker that sounds phenomenal and doesn't dominate the room like a IB or MB but gives similar performance.

I have just arranged with PMC to do a Fact.12 Launch event at HiFi Lounge on August 3rd, I will post more details shortly.

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Hi Everyone,

I am really excited to announce that Astell&Kern have now joined our portfolio of brands meaning that we can now offer high end audio on the move and I am really pleased that both players work fantastically well with a large selection of the headphones that we offer meaning that MP3 and cheap earbuds are now a thing of the past for the real music enthusiasts who like to experience high quality music whilst on the move.

As many of you will know Astell&Kern are the premium branch of portable device specialists iriver and their aim is to bring high end audio playback to the portable market with their range of players. Offering the ability to play all audio formats but most importantly able to playback Mastering Quality Sound up to 24-bit, 192Khz thanks to the high end Wolfson Dacs that are found in some of the highest quality HiFi around. With the Analogue volume control, the ability to add more storage via micro SD cards, the intuitive touch screen, the brushed aluminium finish and the ability to use them as external DACS plus they can drive some of the best full size headphones available, all meaning that at long last we now have a range of portable players for the real music enthusiast.

It was only when I went on holiday recently and took my iPod that I realised actually how poor the sound quality was and that I now have a large 24-bit library that I couldn’t play so that led me to the Astell&Kern players. These really are a revolution in portable music, not only do they look and sound stunning they are also able to drive a selection of high end headphones, especially the AK120 with its twin Wolfson DACS which can drive the best from Sennheiser and Audeze amongst others. These players really do offer high end audio in your pocket like has never been heard before.

We have both the AK100 and AK120 on permanent demo So why not pop in to HFL to hear how amazing portable music now sounds when played through the Astell&Kern range of portable players, please follow the link for more information -

http://hifilounge.co.uk/astell-and-kern

Here are a few pictures that I took -

The AK100 and AK120’s stylish Packaging -

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The AK100 being unboxed

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The AK120 being unboxed -

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The AK100 is on the left, the AK120 on the right -

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Ready for action on their display stands -

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Some Better Quality Pictures -

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Thanks for looking!

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HiFi Lounge are excited to announce that today Naim have introduced 3 new products to their range, well as Naim have rightly said it is more of an evolution of 3 of their core and most popular products, the Nait range of Integrated amps, please see more information and pictures below, needless to say that all 3 new products will be on demo shortly at HiFi Lounge so please ring for more info and to book a demo.

2013 marks the 40th year since Naim was officially incorporated in 1973. To help celebrate this landmark event they have reinvigorated and relaunched what is perhaps their most iconic range of products - the NAIT integrated amplifiers. The new NAIT 5si, NAIT XS 2, and SUPERNAIT 2 benefit from technological breakthroughs gained from thousands of hours of development time to offer significantly increased sound quality over their predecessors.

Since the original NAIT of 1983 the range has come to encapsulate the Naim philosophy like no other product. It’s a philosophy that values simplicity and focus, emphasising musical performance above all other concerns. It says that hi-fi exists only to heighten the thrill and emotion of listening to music. Today, the new and improved NAIT 5si, NAIT XS 2 and SUPERNAIT 2 are the evolution of these core principles.

NAIT 5si is the ideal introduction to the Naim sound. It features an improved power supply, delivers 60 Watts per channel (into 8ohms) and features a new 1/4" (6.35mm front panel headphone output. Improved components throughout and a revised electronic design result in significantly enhanced performance. Despite its entry-level status the NAIT 5si packs a heavyweight punch when it comes to sound quality.

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Nait XS 2 features a 70 Watts per channel (into 8ohms) power amplifier. Like the NAIT 5si it features upgraded components throughout, a revised electronic design and a new 1/4" (6.35mm) front panel headphone output. It has a full Naim preamplifier section which doubles as a Class-A headphone amplifier.

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SUPERNAIT 2 also features an improved power supply, revised electronic design, upgraded components and a new 1/4" (6.35mm) front panel headphone output. At 80W per channel it remains powerful enough to drive even the most demanding loudspeakers. Its full Naim preamplifier section doubles as a Class-A headphone amplifier and is further improved with the introduction of NAIM DR (Discrete Regulator) technology. Its input sockets are now all individually decoupled and hand-wired to maximise fidelity and take integrated amplifier performance to new heights.

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Hi Guys,

I have just mentioned this in the What's Happening forum but thought I would post it here also for anyone who may miss it there, I am really pleased to announce that on August 3rd at HiFi Lounge we will be holding a PMC Fact.12 launch event in conjunction with PMC Speakers.

Tom Baron, the UK representative for PMC and Bryston, who many of you will know, will be here holding the demonstrations of the Fact.12’s all day in our upstairs demo room which will be driven by a pair of Bryston 7B SST2 mono blocks and using the Bryston SP3 processor, BDA-2 DAC and BDP-2 Media Player. We will also be running the Fact.8’s in our downstairs demo room driven by the new Bryston B135 SST2 integrated amplifier and hopefully Oliver Thomas, the lead designer on the Fact.12 project will be popping in to answer any questions.

I have heard the new Fact.12’s on 2 occasions now and they really are quite spectacular, I can’t wait to get them in at HiFi Lounge and hold this open day to give other music enthusiasts the opportunity to experience these stunning speakers first hand, please follow the link for more information and hope to see some of you on August 3rd for what promises to be a fun day, cheers, Paul -

http://hifilounge.tumblr.com/post/54004366821/pmc-fact-12-launch-event-at-hifi-lounge-on-august-3rd

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Hi Everyone,

Well it has certainly been a big couple of weeks for Rega what with them starting to ship their new Aria switchable phono stage and Elicit-R integrated amp but also announcing that their reference, money no object, Naiad Turntable will go into production later this year to mark their 40th anniversary in style, costing an estimated £30,000, more about this later though as this really is big news.

At the more affordable end of the hifi spectrum HiFi Lounge are really pleased to now have the new Aria and Elicit-R on demo, I have been listening to both new products today and can only say great things about them. The Aria is a clear step up in clarity and detail compared to the Rega Fono MM Mk11 when using our Rega RP6 with Dynavector 10x5 cartridge, housed in a half width case to match the DAC and Brio-R this is not only a fantastic sounding and well built phono stage it also caters for both MM and MC cartridge types with all the usual loading settings being adjustable round the back of the Aria, I really think that this is now the perfect partner for the RP6 and above not to mention any other turntables.

As for the Elicit-R the first thing you notice is the sheer weight of it, this is one solidly built amp with beautifully finished case work that reminds me of the Rega Reference Series kit, look round the back and the use of high end components are clear to see. The new Solaris remote is also worth mentioning as it now incorporates all the buttons needed to control all the Rega electronics and fits nicely in the hand. The Elicit-R really impresses before you even power it up but once it is turned on it the news continues to just get better, it is a very capable amp with plenty of power rated at 100w per channel but it is its overall sound that impresses the most, clean, detailed, fast but always musical, I really don’t know how Rega have done it for £1598, there really can’t be anything else out there at anywhere near the Elicit-R’s price that can compete, I must admit to have been very impressed with the Elicit-R, I really can’t wait to spend some more time listening to it during the coming weeks with a variety of different speakers and sources, the amount of systems you could build around the Elicit-R is quite an amazing proposition which makes me all the more excited to get my hands on the new Rega Saturn-R CD Player due anytime soon.

Like I say we now have both the Aria and Elicit-R on permanent demo along with the full range of Rega turntables and other electronics so please feel free to come in for a listen.

For more information please check out below -

http://hifilounge.co.uk/rega-elicit-r-amplifier

http://hifilounge.co.uk/rega-aria-mm-mc-phono-stage

Please find a few pictures I took earlier, thanks.

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The full system, RP6, Aria and Elicit-R, which sounds pretty special I have to say.

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