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New Sennheiser HD820 and Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Headphones Now On Demo!

posted on 2018-08-11 10:18:27 GMT

Update! Please follow the link to the Excellent What HiFi Review - https://www.whathifi.com/sennheiser/hd-820/review

Hi All,

So like buses we have has 2 new closed back headphones arrive this week which are at different price points but both promise to be very popular indeed.

Sennheiser HD820 - The New Closed Back Reference!

Firstly we have the much anticipated new Sennheiser HD820 Closed Back headphones, you could argue that Sennheiser started the current headphone market we know today with the launch of the HD800′s a few years ago and to be fair they are still a true reference headphone and it looks like Sennheiser have only gone and done it agin with the HD820 in creating a Closed Back headphone that really is pretty special.

In fact I would go as far as to say this is the first closed back headphone that doesn’t sound like a Closed back so even if you are not looking for a closed back you should still consider these.

For me where the HD800′s won was in their imaging and soundstaging which even today is still unrivalled, the good news is that Sennheiser have managed to keep this with the 820′s but also where the 800′s were criticised for lack of bass, well this really isn’t a problem with the 820′s, the bass is epic, the good news is that also there is definition in the bass, it isn’t just a bloated bass but has a real texture to it and being an 800 you still get the insight and detail so you could argue that these really could lay claim to being pretty much the perfect headphone which is amazing bearing it is a closed back which have always been considered the poor brother to an open back.

As you can tell I quite like these so if you are in the market for some new headphones, whether open or closed then I would definitely put the HD820′s on the list.


Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Headphones

At more competitive price point we have the new Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back headphones also now on demo and for their price they are equally as impressive especially in the mid band where Planars always seem to major. Again these have a very powerful bottom end, not quite with the resolution of the 820′s but still very impressive, what with the LCD-2 Classic and these I do wonder how Audeze make them for the money as they really are beautifully built.





Stax Announce A New Flagship Earspeaker - The SR-009S

posted on 2018-04-26 10:20:02 GMT

Hi Everyone,

So as far as I am concerned when it comes to headphone news it doesn’t get any bigger than this as a Stax SR-009 user myself, as part of their 80th Anniversary year Stax have just announced their new Flagship Earspeaker, the Stax SR-009S based on the brilliant SR-009 but using a new lighter diaphragm and revised thinner chassis to help with any colouration this brings.

Personally I am hoping for the same amazing transparency of the SR-009 but with a little more bass weight like the brilliant SR-L700′s, early reports seem to indicate though that they are a slightly smoother and rounded version of the SR-009 whilst retailing the same level of space and air, very much like Sennheiser did with the HD800S compared to the HD800.

The SR-009′s will still stay in the range as they will offer a different presentation so Stax still feel they are a relevant alternative, just a different flavour if you like. Price is yet to be confirmed but is likely to be around £4000, needless to say I have ordered our demo pair so we should have them around summer time, apparently Stax are only making 100 pairs to start with for the whole world then will make them in small amounts each month so it looks like they are not going to be the easiest headphones to get hold of.

Personally I can see these being very popular indeed, especially when you think how many SR-009 users there are out there, partnered with a Trilogy H1 or Stax T8000 Energiser I can see the SR-009S soon becoming the reference for many headphone enthusiasts out there, for one I can’t wait to get my hands on them :-)

For more information or to order a pair please feel free to give me a ring, more info below -





Boys Toys Day 2018 - ‘The Need For Speed’ - May 26th!

posted on 2018-04-23 13:45:13 GMT

Hi Everyone,

Well I must admit that I wasn’t planning on holding a Boys Toys event for this year but with what seems like an incredibly long winter and also what with my Radical exploits we have decided to do a bit more of a laid back BTD this year, nice and early in the season just as an excuse really for everyone to get their cars out and take them for a nice spin, I know I can’t wait to get out on the road again.

So to sum up this years BTD in a nutshell, basically we will be at the shop all day with the BBQ going for breakfast and lunch so feel free to come over anytime from 10am - 4pm in your pride and joy to spend a few hours with like minded car enthusiasts and we will have our showrooms open playing some of the best HiFi out there, it really doesn’t matter what car you have, if you love driving then please feel free to come over.

In Conjunction with Radical Cars and UPE Motorsport

I am sure most of you are aware that in a moment of madness I decided to sign up with Radical Cars earlier in the year to enter their SR1 Cup championship, if you haven’t heard about this then my progress can be followed from our motorsports page below -


I have to say it has been a daunting, scary and equally exciting and exhilarating  ride so far so I am really pleased that Dom from Radical Cars will be bringing something special along for the day and also Darren from UPE Motorsport will be bringing my race car along and both will be on hand to answer any questions and to explain how going racing with Radical Cars and UPE is a very easy process, be great to have some of you guys joining me on the grid :-)



Simulator Setup, Beat my time for Hospitality at our Silverstone Round!

So this is a bit of fun bit where ‘The Need For Speed’ part comes in, basically I will be bringing in my sim setup that I have been using to get as much practice as possible for the real thing and I have to say now that I can compare the 2 this does get really close, well other than not preparing you at all for the fear of cornering at high speed, but it has been a great help, I will set a time on Project Cars 2 in a Radical SR3 around the Silverstone National circuit as a benchmark and whoever sets the fastest time will win a HFL Racing fleece and the top 5 times we will give full hospitality with Radical for our Silverstone meeting on 23rd June and I have to say the food these guys put on is exceptionally good + you can spend all day in the paddock seeing how a race weekend all works.


So basically this year is just an excuse to take your car out for a spin, get some free grub, talk to fellow Petrolheads, have a go on a sim and listen to some great hifi, if you do fancy coming along could you please just fire a mail over to my e-mail address so we know how many to cater for, thanks -


Hope to see you on May 26th between 10am - 4pm, now we just need to pray for some sunshine.

For those you haven’t been here before please find our address below -

  • HiFi Lounge
  • 4 The Granary Buildings
  • Millow Hall Farm
  • Millow
  • Bedfordshire
  • SG18 8RH
  • Tel - 01767 448121



Here are a couple of pictures from last years event, thanks to Bibs from The Lotus Forums for them -


The Much Anticipated OPPO PM-1 and HA-1 Are Getting Closer!

posted on 2014-04-16 17:17:00 GMT

Hi Guys,

I have to say a big thanks to OPPO UK who have just popped in with both the new OPPO PM-1 headphones and HA-1 headphone amp so that I could spend the afternoon playing with both as I couldn’t make the launch last Friday as I was setting up for our PMC/Bryston event.

It really isn’t everyday that a new brand enters the headphone arena, we all know that OPPO have proved their worth with their stunning Blu-Ray players over the last few years but the headphone market is a very competitive place at the moment, particularly at the highend so as a big fan of what OPPO have achieved with their disc spinners I have been looking forward to both these products for some time now.

Obviously they come with the fantastic OPPO packaging that OPPO are renowned for, as for the headphones they are extremely light, beautifully made and one of the most comfortable headphones I have tried. They use  Planar Magnetic drivers but they really are very easy to drive, I tried them on the Astell&Kern AK240 and that was a brilliant combination with plenty of volume, I have yet to compare with other headphones at the same price point but knowing the lengths OPPO went to for the development of the PM-1 I’m very confident that they will take the fight to the establishment, they are priced at £1099.

As for the headphone amp, well I have been really excited by this since talking to the guys from OPPO when they paid me a visit a few months back, it really is extremely well built and caters for all inputs, has low and high gain setting, balanced and single ended inputs and outputs, runs in Pure Class A and is based around the ESS 9018 Sabre32 Reference DAC which will decode everything including the latest DSD codecs, best of all though it has VU meters or a Spectrum analyser which you can choose between :-) The first thing I did was set it to high gain and grab the notoriously hard to drive HiFiMan HE-‘6’s which to be fair most headamps can’t drive but the OPPO HA-1 really didn’t have any problems which is a great start. I’m still waiting for the price to be confirmed 100% but hopefully it will be a similar price to the PM-1’s, which to be fair will be an absolute bargain, oh yeah, and you get full remote control which is quite rare with headamps.

In other OPPO headphone news, OPPO announced last week the PM-2 Headphones, which won’t come with all the goodies of the PM-1 but uses very similar drivers, looks the same and will cost £699, that should be an extremely successful headphone for OPPO.

Anyway here are a few pics, I will have both the headphones and amp here hopefully towards the end of the month on permanent demo, both are available to order now with delivery due later this month all being well.

How Exciting

Classic OPPO Packaging

Beautiful Dark Cherry Presentation Box

Time to Un-Box the amp

Certainly a winning combination




Astell&Kern AK240 Now On Demo - Updated!

posted on 2014-02-20 17:12:00 GMT

Listening Update!

Just a quick update as I had a good listen last night to the AK240 using my favourite headphone at the moment, the Audeze LCD-XC’s, I really did wonder how Astell&Kern could improve on the sound quality of the AK120 but they certainly have, not to say that the AK120 is a bad player, it is still excellent but the AK240 is a clear step up, the AK120 in comparison now sounds a little ‘Digital’, what the AK240 manages to do is keep all the detail but present it is a far more natural, organic way, it is an easier listen which really comes into its own with acoustic and vocal music.

The AK240 actually reminds me of the Naim NDS, which is by far the best digital source I have ever heard, as it is almost analogue in its presentation whilst retaining the dynamics and openness of digital, with the Naim NDS costing over £13k with the 555PS it actually makes the AK240 seem like pretty good value if you are looking for out and out sound quality.

It may not be cheap for a but I if you want the best portable device out there at the moment then I really can’t see anything topping the Astell&Kern AK240 and the fact that it can be partnered with a headphone of the quality of the Audeze LCD-XC and still offer plenty of volume and drive really makes it a very high-end HiFi system that you can use at home and take with you when you go travelling, you certainly wouldn’t want to do that with a Naim NDS :-)



Hi All,

Just a quick blog to let everyone know that we now have the latest, and greatest, portable player from Astell&Kern on demo, the AK240.

I think it is fair to say that Astell&Kern are leading the way when it comes to portable devices, especially when it comes to sound quality, but the AK240 certainly adds some interesting features like a balanced headphone socket, something I need to look into more as this is something I have not seen before on a portable device, plus the AK240 supports native DSD files, I’m in the process of loading some now onto our demo AK240 as we speak and the other new feature is that it has wifi built in so it can stream wirelessly direct from your computer and as it is connected to your network it will search automatically for firmware updates and alert you and download once available and with 256GB of storage built in, expandable to 384GB it has plenty of storage for those large 24 bit files, finally it has a  3.31in AMOLED touchscreen with 800x480 resolution which looks stunning.

The AK100, now on its MKII version with higher output, DSD support and a leather case in the box, and the AK120 have been extremely popular, the AK240 looks to take things to another level with improved sound quality being its main selling point, this is something I will be trying later, if it can indeed sound better than the AK120 then it is going to be something very special indeed.

The only draw back that I can see is the price as at £2199 it certainly isn’t cheap but once you get it in your hands it certainly feels like a quality product, it is reasonably bigger than the AK120 and certainly has some interesting styling, apparently it is designed to show light and shadow with the front asymmetric look of the unit designed from the shape of the shadow when light was shining on it, all very clever.

Needless to say we know have all 3 of the Astell&Kern players on demo all loaded with the same mix of 16 and 24 bit music so you can compare the differences between the different models so please feel free to pop in to try any of them for yourself.

Please find more info here -


And here are a few pictures although they really don’t do the AK240 justice -

AK240 box v the AK120 Box

AK240 v AK120 for size

Here’s a couple of official shots that show it a little better -

Right, time to go and have a listen :-)




Astell & Kern Announce Their Flagship AK240 Portable Player At CES!

posted on 2014-01-07 10:39:00 GMT

Hi All,

With the huge CES trade show on at the moment in the states there are bound to be some exciting announcements coming over the next few days, the big one for us is what exactly is Naim’s ‘Vertical Form’ which is due to be announced later today, it all looks very high end, can’t wait to find out though.

Yesterday though Astell & Kern announced the new flagship AK240 which joins the excellent AK100 and AK120. This is being billed as the 'Ultimate Portable Player’ and I have to admit that I was a little surprised to see this announced as I thought that the AK120 was as high as portable players would ever go as at £1099 it certainly isn’t cheap, saying that the performance really does make it worth every penny so I really can’t wait to get my hands on the AK240 :-)

No prices have been mentioned yet but obviously it is going to cost more than the AK120 but rest assured as soon as it becomes available in the UK then we will have it available on demo, here are a few of the specs, the first one is very interesting if true -

1, The AK240 will be Wi-Fi-enabled, which can stream music from a computer on the same network, and connect directly to online stores that sell hi-res tracks.

2, The AK240 will include 256GB internal memory and one microSD card slot supporting up to 64GB of microSD card storage – resulting in a total of 320GB of music storage.

3, A dual-core processor allows the AK240 to handle requests and play high-res audio files with no lag time.

4, The AK240 will also include a 3.31in AMOLED touchscreen with 800x480 resolution; Dual Cirrus Logic 4398 Digital-to-Analogue Converter chipsets and native DSD support – including DSD64 and DSD128 files.

Certainly sounds interesting, here are a few pictures that I’ve managed to find -



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