Day two in Bristol saw me touring a bit more. In fact I visited almost all of the rooms, even fuller of people than the day before. If there’s anything that testifies interest in something, that’s trade shows – and the interest in Britain seems to be alive and kicking.
Bowers & Wilkins
B&W‘s room was large and was mainly a showcase for their Formation connected speaker line-up – which we already saw at its official introduction during Munich High End 2019. They also had their traditional 600 Series speakers, but I did not hear them playing – and as far as I could see, they were not there to be actually used. There were the new noise-cancelling headphones, though, which are quite an improvement over the first generation as they are now much more comfortable. The noise cancelling on both the PX7 and the PX5 actually worked quite well, as it was able to eliminate the noise coming from B&W speakers and people around me. I’m quite interested in testing them out in the future!
Rupert Neve Designs
Rupert Neve Designs has an extremely good reputation in the pro audio scene and they’ve now created a few products catered towards the consumer market under the Fidelice brand. I briefly tested both the Fidelice Precision DAC and the Precision Headphone Amplifier, which is the product that actually kickstarted Rupert Neve Designs’ consumer efforts as far as I was told. Their design is certainly unique and quite interesting in its own right; the features on the products (especially the DAC) are also in line with top-of-the line devices which they actually are. Saying anything about how they sound would be difficult given I used them with unfamiliar tracks and headphones, but they do seem to offer quite a clean listening experience.
Kanto was showcasing their now top speakers, the TUK. Although judging their sound quality is quite difficult as there was so much noise, they’re quite interesting because they have an AMT tweeter. AMT is a technology different from both planar (magnetic and electrostatic) and dynamic, which uses a driver made with a crinkled surface. The movements of this surface create the sound. It’s quite unintuitive, but it works well. And I love when companies push the boundaries by using technology that’s not really widespread.
The show was large, but unfortunately it was also full of noise which made it difficult to get a good idea of how speakers sounded – even less so amplifiers, DACs and network players. But it was interesting seeing all the gear and the people that were at the show – I look forward to going back!