Keith Monks discOvery mini One Sapphire Limited Edition

Celebrating 45 years of the original – the Keith Monks Record Cleaning Machine

Keith Monks Audio today unveiled the new discOvery mini One Sapphire Limited Edition Record Cleaning Machine.  This exclusive model takes all the benefits of the discOveryOne so successfully launched in 2013, and then improves on it.  The Sapphire is the smallest ever Keith Monks and features a vacuum gauge, hinged lid cover and the Keith Monks Classic precision wash system built in. Each Sapphire machine and its accompanying certificate are individually numbered, and both display a reproduction Keith Monks original signature.

The discOvery mini One Sapphire is a limited edition of 45 production units worldwide.

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Naim Label releases first Super Hi Definition download

Naim Label releases Meet Me In London – the label’s most successful recording – as a 24bit/192kHz download.

An early downloader can win a Naim ND5 XS network player

Some 14 years after the original recording was released as a Naim Label CD, Meet Me In London by world-renowned guitarist Antonio Forcione and sublime singer Sabina Sciubba is being reborn, but this time as a super hi definition download.

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Keith Monks Returns To CES

CES – High Performance Audio at The Venetian, Room 30-233

The Keith Monks brand returns to CES – after its previous showing back in 1983, some 27 years ago. Jonathan Monks, son of the famous Keith, returns Keith Monks Audio to CES: leading from the front in the newly reinvigorated company. Jonathan has spent the last few years refining the design and manufacture of the most famous record cleaning machines in the world.

The timing is ideal: it is the 40th anniversary of Keith Monks Audio and the new and much-planned celebratory model, the Ruby, is finally coming off the production line.

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New 40th Anniversary Record Cleaning Machine from Keith Monks

Forty years after hi-fi pioneer Keith Monks defined modern record care with the launch of the world’s first Record Cleaning Machine, Keith Monks Audio celebrates with the limited edition RUBY. The RUBY, with maximum sales worldwide limited to 40, includes new and exclusive features, many unique in record cleaning.

More info here

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?

Back to first principles – system setup

I’ve owned a Naim system for somewehere around 15 years and have learnt a lot about set up mainly over the past five or so handling Naim’s PR. Jason, Naim’s Southern Area manager has taught me that there is no such thing as too much attention to detail.
Yesterday I learnt that, the problem in one’s own system is that, it’s easy to forget the basics.
Normally I don’t change my main system as I have another in a differnt room to evaluate products and to run things in.
After HDX was launched I decided to put it into my main system along with a PS555 – the PS555 coming along later.
What I forgot was, that in my haste to get the PS555 into the system, I put it onto the only spare Fraim level which was directly under the HDX and next to the NAC 552.
Yesterday, I decided to move the PS555 to a newly created spare level around 40cm lower. Unbelievable: the upper bass thickness that I had been trying to sort for a couple of months went away, the system opened up and became a real joy to listen to. But the change wasn’t just on playing from HDX it was on vinyl, FM and CD.

To quote quite a few forums posts that I have read over the years I have been playing all sorts of music and it’s like it’s all new stuff.  What an amazing change for so little work.

So now all I have to do is find the time to take the whole system apart, tighten up all the Fraim bolts, redo all the Mains wiring so that I can try Power-Line, give it all the clean and reassemble in perhaops a slightly different order.  After the High End show in Munich perhaps.  More then.

Why 45rpm is essential

Elbow’s award winning album The Seldom Seen Kid is available on vinyl.  It’s heavy, split onto two records, and is 45rpm.  None of the reviews I read on Amazon mention that it’s 45rpm and neither does the album sleeve or even the Amazon details page.

Don’t get caught out like me wondering why the beginning sounded so odd.  Luckily my Funked LP12 with its DC motor and clever power supply can be switched to 45.

The album is truly stunning.  It has been mastered with care, it’s not compressed to hell, and its quiet.  What’s really wonderful though is the music.  It’s true poetry set to to music.  Maybe it’s not the most uplifting album in the world but it’s definitely the best album I’ve bought in the last couple of years.

Worth playing very often and very loud.

The Thorens 25th anniversary triple album is in the same class, but I didn’t have to buy that one, I’m glad to say.  More on that another day.

Budget Turntable Table not Lacking much

For reasons that will be more obvious at the Munich High End Show in May, I have been listening to rather a lot of vinyl recently.  It’s good to get back into the critical listening to turntables, arms and cartridges again after many years of really only listening to records for pleasure.

It’s also good to find that every change is audible just like CD or HD replay.

One of the listening tests was to try out the differing performance of the TT in design, on different supports, to get an idea of the variations in performance customers may get at home.

I had previously good results at home using an Ikea Lack table and so we risked the weather to visit the local Ikea.  The Lack tables were hugely expensive at 9.90 Euro so we bought two.

The point of the blog of course is the performance.  While I would never argue that the Lack delivered 100% of the dynamics of the specialist rack we were using, it wasn’t too shabby at all.  The good part is that, what it didn’t do well – mainly dynamic contrasts – it didn’t fail badly and horribly.

Overall the performance was reduced but in a very even handed way.

So I reckon the conclusion is that; if you are looking for something suitable for your turntable and you are just getting back into vinyl maybe after a few  years absence, you can do far worse than an Ikea Lack at £7.82 currently in the UK.  At that price it has got to be worth a punt.

First review of Keith Monks Omni RCM

Jon Monks will be at the Sound and Vision “The Bristol Show” on the weekend of 20th -22nd February.

Here is what it will say in the showguide

Some say he neither eats nor sleeps and is powered entirely by miniature wind turbines. And that every hair on his body is in fact a rare form of naturally occurring Pure Carbon Fibre.
All we know is, he’s called The Record Doctor. And he’ll be giving your record the best clean it’s ever had – on the legendary and newly revitalised Keith Monks Record Cleaning Machine.
All at The Bristol Hifi Show.

(1 record per visitor cleaned free subject to time availability)

Bristol Hifi Show

The Keith Monks Classic is reviewed in the next issue of Hi-fi Choice magazine