UK Audio Show 2023 Staverton Park Hotel Show Report
The Staverton Park Hotel was the setting for the Chester Group Audio Show this weekend. So Andrew (our developer) and I met in a farmer's field, the makeshift car park, just down the road from the hotel. A minibus was laid on, but we took the short walk instead. The hotel was an excellent venue for the occasion.
The first thing that struck me was the high number of hi-fi makers exhibiting, showcasing valve equipment and loudspeakers—very few distributors. Seeing the market offering new, exciting products is always a good sign. They are reflecting a buoyant market. Attendance was good, too. A thoroughly enjoyable show.
Additionally, we made a few new contacts and plan on developing some exciting new projects with them.
It was good to see Nick Gorham from Longdog Audio (LDA), presenting his products and introducing a new 3-way open baffle perspex floorstanders.
It's brilliant to see lots of familiar names in the crossover design - Mundorf and Jantzen.
Phonia from Poland were present, showing off their three new speaker designs, the Pacto 200, Gravis 400 and Apertus 600. We had a listen to the Apertus - very encompassing and powerful.
It's always great to catch up with Audio Note. Managed to grab an audience with Peter Qvortrop before he raced back to Brighton. They had 3 rooms this time, one dedicated to their AX bookshelf speaker.
Kerr Acoustics and Townshend Audio shared a large room. I do love how Jess puts a speaker together. Officially launching the K200 loudspeaker, all married well with some LDA equipment. Brilliant work.
I had an interesting chat with the guys at Audio Consultant. Showing for the first time their new Ias Beaulieu 40R. Full of high-specification components, their sound was impressive.
Zeiler Audio, from Switzerland, were showing off their impeccably designed £60K valve pre/power amp. They had a brutalist look, I loved them.
Solid Sounds exhibited their new HEX3 speaker, a compact 3-way open baffle design. Amazing bass grip. Each crossover component is potted in anti-resonant resin.
Moor Amps showcased their new Ascalon-8 speakers in blue and wood—Hand-built in Dorset. Great designs.
Jonathon Billington was present with his Music First Audio brand, using a fantastic Nagra reel-to-reel as a source. We hatched a plan to launch a range of inductors where customers could unreel a few turns to achieve the required inductance. Also, we spoke of him winding some special 1:10 step-up transformers for MC users. So watch out for those.
Grant from Audio Wave was exhibiting his range of products. With Elna discontinuing certain ranges of their capacitors, he is now creating his own range of electrolytics. So, we will be pursuing this avenue shortly.
Super Natural Audio and Etude Loudspeakers had an amazing-sounding room. SNA had an amazing array of valve designs. Combined with the Etude 5 floorstanders perfectly. Look out for these guys.
Here are the creators.
Pure Audio Project had an exciting room. Their Duet15, 2-way open baffle design was singing.
One of the greatest finds for me was OB Audio. The strapline on their laser-etched wooden business card is - "Cutting out the headache of DIY". They will basically make your flat-pack speaker cabinet, CNC machining to perfection. We will be using their services with our forthcoming bookshelf 2-way speaker kit. The bookshelf flat pack he displayed would be approximately £85.00 + shipping for the pair. Awesome.
So easy to put together. All you need is some wood glue.
Another interesting brand we encountered was FrontRo, a hybrid electrostatic loudspeaker maker. It is passive so it will work with all amplifiers. It was a 12-inch electrostatic unit partnered with a 6.5-inch woofer. It did sound rather good.
The FrontRo speakers above were partnered with the Leak-inspired English Acoustics Stereo 41Cs.
Alchris Audio had a great-sounding room. They were showing off their V-200. A big sound indeed.
Ran into Derek Dunlop from Art Loudspeakers, who shared a room with Tom Willis from Art Audio. I loved the display of an empty loudspeaker shell, illustrating how it is made up of CNC-machined plywood.
A pair of classically designed Art Audio PX25 monoblocks from Art Audio
The Audio Detail amplifier running was the new PX25 push pull amplifier, transformer driven in time honoured way, no expense spared.. Fed by the 101D DHT pre amp and 101 DHT Phono stage, also by Audio Detail! Turntable is the Amari LP32 with 12 inch arm, and Hanna Umami cartridge.. The speakers are the stunning BG1 speakers, from Coppice Audio, using a Lowther drive unit for the best possible mid range, made from Solid Ash, no MDF here!