New Neat Acoustics IOTA Loudspeaker

The IOTA delivers a spectacular audio performance from an almost impossibly small cabinet. It is specifically intended for use very close to walls, or in locations such as bookshelves and desktops, where even a regular size compact/bookshelf design may be too large.

The Neat IOTA is now shipping following a hugely successful preview at the Manchester Sound and Vision Show in November and an equally successful launch at the Sound and Vision Show Bristol in February.

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Neat Acoustics launches floor standing Ultimatum XLi

In a surprise move Neat Acoustics launches a floor standing loudspeaker based on the already revered Ultimatum XLS model. The XLi will be available in July.

The Ultimatum XLi is a new floor standing loudspeaker of compact proportions, It is engineered to deliver greater performance than the Ultimatum XLS by using a floor standing cabinet to deliver separate volumes for mass loading and crossover isolation. This follows a significant number of requests from retailers and distributors around the world who found that the performance of the XLS was ideally suited to potential owners needs but a ‘floorstander’ would have been more domestically acceptable.

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Planning for Father’s Day: the XTZ Room Analyzer

Not sure how it works in your home but here, sometimes, I’m allowed to choose my own father’s day present.  It’s good in the sense that I get what I really want but it’s bad in that I have to pay for it.

This year I am planning on getting a XTZ Room analyzer.  For what it does it’s not too expensive. For what improvements it can help you making to your system it’s really cheap.

It consists of a nicely finished USB microphone / sound card on a stand and some clever software.  It takes about five minutes to unpack and install or it should have.  I use a Naim preamp so I had to find a suitable RCA to DIN adapter to plug in the output of the sound card base.  So after fifteen minutes I was sitting in my favourite chair clicking buttons and measuring the low frequency response of my room.

It seems my room is quite even across the LF but there is just a little too much overall bass.

I’ll come back to the XTZ as soon as I have a spare day- Father’s day perhaps.  It’s really easy to get going and to get some results, but it will take time to turn this into a better sounding system.  I’m convinced that it’s possible though.

Naim updates award-winning CDX2 CD Player

Naim has updated its CDX2 CD player to coincide with the forthcoming launch of the Naim DAC.

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This is the first major revision for this product in over 7 years. This takes the CDX2 into new markets delivering greater performance and far increased flexibility. The price remains the same.

The new version CDX2 adds a switchable S/PDIF output on a 75 Ohm BNC connector for the correct impedance match.

Win a NaimUniti System with Radio Paradise

During the month of October 2009 Radio Paradise (one of the most popular internet radio stations in the world) is running a promotion where one lucky listener can win a NaimUniti all-in-one audio player and a pair of Naim n-SAT speakers.

Radio Paradise (RP) is a commercial-free listener-supported radio station.  Listeners supporting the station during October are automatically entered into the draw to win the NaimUniti and n-SAT speakers.

The TC Konnect 8 has arrived

I’ve been following the suggestions and informative comments of JS on the Naim Forum for a good while. JS appears to be very knowledgeable about digital audio and computer audio.  JS has been suggesting that the best way to get low jitter S/PDIF digital audio out of a PC or a MAC is to use the TC Konnect 8.

It’s around £200, if one shops around, so I decided to risk it.  I also purchased a cheap PC Express to IE1394 card to fit my HP2133 netbook.  Lots of fiddling around and finally all the drivers matched up and were running.

My best DAC, or at least the best that will do anything above 48kHz, at the moment is the Cambridge DacMagic so I tried it it with the output from the TC.

Very interesting, the combination delivers the best computer audio sound quality I’ve achieved so far.  It has a rightness and a feeling of grip that is so much better then the shiny chromium plated sound that it’s so easy to get.

Huge amounts of listening to do and many experiments to carry out and hopefully a Naim DAC to play the Konnect through in a month or so.

More as I get time to listen

What is that music playing please?

It’s somewhat unfair to name check  Magico over this irritant at the Munich High End Show but theirs was the room that irritated me the most.

Why? Because they were playing some choral music that sounded fabulous, excepting a bit of room boom, and I wanted to find out what the music was.

I’m sure I’m not alone in being interested in finding new music.  The trend to music servers or music from laptops or memory sticks is great for the ease of the companies doing the demos, but there is a really strong tendency to hide what is playing.

In the case of the Magico demo the problem was exacerbated by the demo maestro being in the corner furthest from the entrance and the room was absolutely full.

It would have been to intrusive to cross the room in front of the audience so I asked the rest of the staff in the display area of the room.  Maybe too many people had asked, maybe it was a bad day.  Whatever, I left the room feeling irritated and still without the name of the track.

Totally unfair on Magico: had they been running a bad demo or using uninteresting music then I wouldn’t have commented.

So a plea to companies running demos at hi-fi shows: besides good systems, good choice of music and pleasant atmospheres can you please just make it easy for us music fans to find out what you are playing.

My sentiments entirely

Very interested to read on Amarra’s website and I paraphrase ‘it’s easy to make music sound good on a computer but hard to make it sound fabulous’.  I think they have been listening to my conversations.

Next week I’m in Munich for the High End show and by coincidence will be sharing a booth (or to be more exact one of my clients Thorens is sharing a booth) themed Sources of the Future – as it’s vinyl and streaming – with Higoto who are Germany’s streaming experts.

The demos will be of Thoren’s new Tri-Balance turntable, the Logitech Transporter and a Macbook running iTunes with the Amarra software into a Weiss DAC.

Should be very interesting.  It’ll bring out all the digits is digits posts again, especially as Amarra is around $1500.  That means the price of Mac Book Pro , Amarra and DAC will be around £5-6k.  Cheaper than my CD player. But will it deliver as much?

Will it be fabulous hi-fi or fabulous music?