Running over Fri 8th & Sat 9th October, the Royal Cornwall Showground played host to the Cornwall Audio show, courtesy of local retailer Woolacotts. A small regional show, what it inevitably lacked in scale it more than made up for in friendliness.
And good coffee, the fuel of audiophiles. A 90 minute journey to get there made this van the mandatory first stop. Then onto the exhibits….
Heaven on wheels. Despite the horizontal rain that came later
KEF took out a large room, shared in part with LG’s TV offerings. The focus was audio-visual.
The new KEF LS60 all-in-one floorstanders were resplendant in white. They sounded good too when mated to a HiSense short-throw projector that generated an absolutely huge image from a distance of just 2 feet. The KEFs matched the size, doing full justice to a diet of Marvel films interspersed with live music gigs. At £6,000 the LS60 isn’t cheap but will appeal to the well-heeled buyer who wants simplicity, sound quality and looks all rolled into one.
Elswhere on static display were the new meta versions of the LS50 and LS50 Wireless. Also the £1,200 all-in-one LSX II that we hope to review in the not-too-distant future.
KEF LS50 Meta on static display
KEF LSX II
The mighty KEF LS60, sounding very big on cinematic duties
The Cyrus room saw the latest version of the Classic Amp driving a pair of Acoustic Energy AE500 standmounts to very good effect (no doubt the external PSX-R power supply was helping). The amplifier has analogue, digital and phono inputs (2/2/1). Just add source.
The sound was very good, nicely balanced rather than showy. Which sort of sums up Cyrus I think.
Cyrus Classic Amp – the latest iteration of the amp that started it all. £1995
Acoustic Energy AE500, £1050. Driven by the Cyrus Classic amp above – sounded great
Laura Mvula’s ‘Pink Noise’ vinyl atop Roksan’s Attessa turntable was the visual highlight of the show. It looked soooo darned cool. Playing into the Attessa integrated amplifier through Monitor Audio Bronze 500 floorstanders it delivered sonically too.
Darko loved the Monitor Audio Silver 100 7G standmounts when he looked at them recently (review). The Bronze 500 floorstanders in Cornwall did nothing to undermine faith in the brand. So I’m looking forward to pitching their Silver 50 standmount against the Bronze 100 floorstander soon at ……… Woolacott’s Wadebridge store. They both cost £550; the bigger floorstander has more bass. Will that trump the more refined sound of the floorstander (it’s from the next range up)? Well that’s how Woolacotts think it will pan out – I’m all ears!
Roksan’s Attessa turntable. Got to love the pink vinyl!
Unipivot arm, Dana cartridge and phono stage included. £1050
Monitor Audio Bronze 500 floorstanders with Atmos toppers. Looking ever so chic
REL had about half it’s range on static display, together with the new HT/1003 MkII playing in an Acoustic Energy AV system. The knowledgeable Rob Hunt was on hand too (think: REL’s version of the Oracle from The Matrix!)
The Tzero, now in its third iteration, is the baby of REL’s range. Street price is around £400, which could make it ideal to add oomph to those entry-level speakers you just bought. A theory we will test soon; Rob has promised one for review. I just hadn’t appreciated how tiny it is. Can it really reach down to 37Hz (at -6dB)?! We shall see….
REL’s Tzero MkIII. It’s tiny.
Street price £400-ish
The iconic Quadrex grill – got to be a JBL then!
And indeed it is, but despite the look screaming centre speaker this is actually the L75ms all-in-one, complete with multiple inputs and internal amplifiers. On static display, there was no chance to hear it. A shame, I was curious to see how JBL has voiced it. The big-daddy L100 Classic is a bit warm and loose overall (review). Versus the baby L52 standmount I’m listening to at the moment that’s much more controlled (Darko review soon). Where does the L75ms sit on that spectrum?
No, not a centre speaker. JBL’s L75ms all-in-one. £1,500
Lurking behind the Quadrex grill are some beefy-looking drivers
Next up was Pro-ject’s Colourful Audio System that was formally launched a few days after the show. For more information see the News article here.
It’s basically a complete system of turntable, amplifier and speakers that’s available in a range of colours. Bye bye boring black. Yellow was the Cornwall choice. I also saw the blue version at the UK Audio Show the following day. Both looked great. A cursory listen sounded fine. We’ll be having a closer look at the complete system soon.
Pro-ject’s Debut Carbon Evo turntable, Maia S3 amp, Speaker Box 5 S2. £1,599 including accessories
Pro-ject Maia S3, £539 if bought standalone
Ruark’s range of radios isn’t HiFi per se but if you want lovely sound combined with great looks then go no further. I’ve reviewed every model over the last few years, none has disappointed. The R1 is the benchmark for small radio, not something said lightly. The R2 Mk4 is new, I’ll be looking at a sample very soon. They’re not cheap, they are gorgeous.
Ruark R1 Mk4. Still the benchmark
Ruark’s new R2 Mk4. £479. Gorgeous, as usual for Ruark
And finally something completely different. The foyer hosting Ruark’s display also had this range of pop furniture that was hard to ignore. I’m just not sure about sitting on that tongue!
For the fan who has everything…..
And so endeth a brief run through the highlights of the show. It wasn’t huge, it was a nice way to spend a few hours. Seeing old friends, meeting new. And seeing some interesting gear in the process. Thanks to Woolacotts for putting it all on, I look forward to seeing you guys again soon for that Monitor Audio afternoon. Should be fun. Followed, weather permitting, by a walk down the beautiful Camel estuary afterwards.