Bristol Sound & Vision 2014

Show report
Bristol Sound & Vision 2014

Meanwhile, PMC pulled the covers off the latest and largest model in its twenty range, the £5,750 per pair twenty.26. The first three-way and third floorstander in the five-strong line of transmission line loudspeakers, this features a midrange dome remarkably similar to the one found on the outstanding Fact 12 loudspeaker, but this design undercuts the bigger model by a significant amount. PMC played both in quick succession in its closed demonstrations and although the Fact 12 is more taut and probably more ‘right’ as a result, the differences are fairly slight and we expect huge things from the new twenty.26.

Value-driven Q Acoustics showed its £1,000 Concept 40 floorstander. This extremely clever three driver standmount uses a unique 'Gelcore' cabinet (more accurately, almost a cabinet within a cabinet, separated by a never-setting adhesive material that at once reduces cabinet resonance and coloration, dispursing excess energy from the drivers as heat within the two layer cabinet construction.

It wasn’t just UK loudspeakers companies using Bristol as a Launchpad. Dynaudio was using the show as the European launch of its three-and-a-centre-strong Confidence Platinum range. We look forward to investigating the C1 standmout soon.  The very new Latvian brand Sound of Eden has only been in existence for a couple of months, but already has four loudspeakers on its books, all based on Scanspeak drivers. No UK price or distribution as yet, but the somewhat old-fashioned looking Sound of Eden NS2 two-way bookshelf was expected to cost €3,000 per pair, while the two and a half way floorstanding NS2½ should cost €5,000 per pair, the three-way NS3 floorstander (pictured) will cost €7,000 per pair and the huge NS4 four-way will cost somewhere close to €25,000 per pair. The sound they delivered might need a little more work, but showed promise.

Alongside start-ups, there were a couple of re-starts. Those with very long memories might remember the ARC range of loudspeakers. Nothing to do with Audio Research, ARC was a small UK brand that flourished in the 1980s with a midrange-dominant loudspeaker range, often seen used with fellow middle Englander Nytech. Both companies faded from view over the years, but now both are being reborn, the electronics based in Wales, the loudspeakers from Germany. They are in the last stages of development, so prices and final voicing are still to be finalised, but expect to pay upwards of £10,000 for a full Nytech/ARC system. The sound is as ‘classic 1980s’ as the brands!

If we are heading into the past, the new Graham Audio had a demonstration room that looked straight out of the 1960s or 1970s. the company’s LS5/9 loudspeakers being fed by a Nagra open reel tape player into a Pass Labs XA100S monos and a XP20 preamp. This is the Studiophile’s dream!