Preview: Sound & Vision - The Bristol Show

The weather outside may be frightful but the product line-up sounds delightful

by Mark Hodgkinson Feb 18, 2014 at 11:43 AM


  • It’s that time of year again and The Bristol Show is about to throw open its doors to HiFi and Home Cinema fans from all around the globe.
    The weather in the South West of England might have been especially appalling recently but what better way to raise the spirits than by checking out the latest kit and planning some purchases? The Show, now in its 27th year, keeps going from strength to strength and the 2014 edition will have a total of 178 brands and exhibitors, from industry giants to the smaller, more esoteric HiFi companies.

    The likes of Bowers and Wilkins will have a strong presence and they’ll be sure to have their new 600 Series of speakers for you to gaze at and listen to. We know they’ve been creating quite a buzz on the forums since they were announced and we can’t wait to get up close and personal with them ourselves.
    178 brands confirmed to be at the Show
    After a recent tour of intimate retailer venues, KEF Blade is now set for a primetime showing and the result of five year’s testing, analysis and experimentation by the UK R&D team will be in Bristol with its Single Apparent Source technology. Have a look at the video below to see how carefully engineered it has been.



    Audio legend Sandy Gross is at the helm of a new company, GoldenEar, and they’ll be making the trip across the pond to give the UK a taste of their new Triton Seven loudspeakers. These floorstanders are a little more compact than the others in the acclaimed Triton range so are a little more suited to the average UK home.

    One of our favourite brands, Naim, will perhaps be making the ultimate statement at this year’s Bristol Sound and Vision – literally, in fact. Just ahead of CES 2014, Naim announced their new Statement NAC S1 preamplifier and NAP S1 mono power amplifiers and they pack an unbelievable amount of power. The NAP S1 mono power amplifiers are each rated at a massive 746 watts (one horse power) into 8 ohms, 1450 watts into 4 ohms and over 9000 watts burst power into 1 ohm. We’ve managed to get booked into an exclusive demo and we’ll be reporting back as soon as it’s over. That is, if we survive the experience intact.


    Cambridge’s own, Arcam, will of course be there as well, giving British audiences their first chance to listen to two new UK designed products, the A49 and AV950. The A49 is a 200 Watt per channel stereo integrated Amplifier and is the most powerful stereo amplifier the company has produced. The soon to be released AV950 is Arcam's highest performing pre-processor made to date. They will also have the rather nifty little miniBlink on display, which is a Bluetooth receiver designed to allow absolutely any Hi-Fi system to receive music from a smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac computer.
    Naim's Statement components go way past 11
    If Scandinavian beauties are your thing, you could certainly do worse than get yourself over to Primare’s stand. Designed and built entirely in Sweden and due for UK launch in April, Primare’s luxury 60 series pre/power will be unveiled at Karma’s demonstration rooms 408/409. At around £6,500 a piece retail, the new components mark Primare’s return to the high-end music system market and promise state-of-the-art audio streaming performance combined with lovely two-tone bodywork. The PRE60 is a reference audiophile dual-mono pre-amplifier and the matching A60 is a fully balanced 2 x 250W UFPD stereo power amplifier designed to provide high power output with very low distortion through four discrete amplifiers.

    It’s not just about the sound (the clue’s in the title), however, and JVC will be there to keep up the vision end of the deal. We’ve already been lucky enough to get some quality time in with the superb X500 and it will be joined by the higher-end DLA-X700R and DLA-X900R this weekend. JVC has somehow managed to improve the already legendary contrast performance of its latest generation of projectors and the new e-shift3 technology also works extremely well, producing near 4K results.


    Projector fans will also have the opportunity to check out Optoma’s highly impressive HD91. The HD91 is a new full HD 3D projector that uses LED technology, for excellent brightness and a much longer life. Steve Withers was certainly impressed when he had the chance to review it back in January 2014 and priced at less than £3,000, it certainly is a great value choice if your room is above bat cave darkness levels.

    If all the above isn’t tempting you to take a trip to Brizzle this weekend, only visitors will be eligible to win one of £10,000 worth of prizes in the competition. Prizes include a pair of PMC 21 Stand mount Loudspeakers, a Yamaha RX-V675 Home Cinema Amplifier and a Q Acoustics 7000i 5.1 Home Cinema Speaker Package but there’s lots more besides.
    Prizes on offer and a mobile app too
    There is also a mobile app to help you find your way around as well as offer sales advice and suggested places to eat and drink. You can download the app from here.

    So all that remains for us to do is to give you the nitty-gritty event details. The Show runs from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd February 2014 at the Marriott City Centre Hotel, Castle Street, Bristol, BS1 3AD. Opening times are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. every day with the sales desks remaining open until 5.30 p.m.

    Ticket prices for over 18’s are £10.00 but you can shave a pound off that if you book in advance online. Students and Senior Citizens (over 65) get in for just £7.00 and accompanied children under 16 get in for free. There’s an extra bonus for student types as they can claim a FREE pair of Pioneer Headphones worth approx £10.00 when producing valid Student ID.

    Our man Steve Withers will be in attendance to report, so if you see a man with a shiny head taking lots of photos, feel free to stop him to ask plenty of difficult questions.

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