Bristol HiFi Show 2014

Orthodoxy is not something you associate with hifi. Yes there are fads, movements and vocal cliques advocating this or that technique or technology but a virtually all pervading approach is rare.  It seems in 2014 that loudspeakers should be only as wide as the widest driver and modern drivers all seem to have been on strict diets.  I didn’t visit every room but with some notable exceptions the orthodoxy is that loudspeakers are thin.  And there were some great thin speakers on show. I really enjoyed the KEF room where the LS50s and The Blade were doing a tidy job of filling a big room with quality sound. Easy for the Blade – more impressive that the LS50s were managing a pretty convincing job.

So where were the ‘wide’ speakers of yesteryear? The REL room had some Harbeths and Graham audio had their BBC LS5/9s.  More on 5/9s another day, not to mention the Nagra T they were using to demo them with.  Magneplanars in the Decent room and Quad had their electrostatics, you don’t expect them to be thin.  At least not width ways.  Nytech had some reborn ARC 050s and 102s and they both feature an eight inch driver, positively tubby by modern standards, and there will be more too on Nytech when I get a moment. And finally Audio Note who had on display their AN-E speakers which are a whopping fourteen inches wide. Why is this important?  I don’t think it is, in terms of pure inches,  but I thought Audio Note had about the best sound at the show.  No I didn’t hear the Naim Statement dem or B&Ws. But sometimes you worry about orthodoxy.

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