Reviewed: Bristol Sound & Vision Show 2013

posted on Thursday, 28th February 2013 by David Slater

Hi-fi  Epson  Network audio  Events 


Sound & Vision - The Bristol Show is a key event on the home entertainment calendar. It's been running for 26 years now, and with plenty of exhibitor support (188 brands this year), always pulls in the punters. While predominately a consumer Hi-Fi show, it has a trade day on the Friday, prior to the public turning up at the weekend, which is well organised and has a great business-like atmosphere. There is definitely a crossover of products which are used in custom install, so with ticket in hand I left cold Central London for an equally chilly Bristol.

First stop was the large Sim2 and Anthem AV room which housed some great processors and amplifiers. Anthem was also proudly showing a new range under the Peachtree Audio badge: this consists of the Decco65, Grand Integrated, Nova125 and NovaPre. The Decco65 is aimed directly at the computer streaming market which has become massive of late, and comprises a Hybrid Tube Preamp and 65 watts per channel amp, with an ESS Sabre 24/192 DAC. The only additional equipment you would need to add to enjoy some wonderful music is a set of speakers and a computer. The gloss black model retails for £749 (inc VAT), with Rosewood and Cherry finishes going for £799. Moving up the range is the Grand Integrated, which has a retail price of £3,500. With a machined aluminum faceplate together with engraved logo, this really looks as good as it sounds. It'll add weight to any music collection.

Brisk business thanks to Bond
Moving onto the visual side of the show, Epson was displaying its new EH-TW9100 and EH-TW 6100 projectors, with help from OO7 and Skyfall. The picture from both of these projectors is truly amazing considering the price point. Sharpness has come on in leaps and bounds since the last models. As evidence that the show is a great place to do business, as I stood talking to the Epson crew a dealer wandered up, took a look at the EH-TW6100 and said "Yes, I'll have one of those".

One of the show's highlights came from Karma-AV. The distributor had a couple of rooms showing off two different cinema setups. Room one had a GoldenEar sound system while room two offered a Primare and SVS system. I nestled down in the SVS room to watch a short clip; "Amazing!" Would be the best word to describe the quality; the bass was so deep it was shaking the fittings off the wall. This room must have been good as it went on to win Best Home Cinema Room of the show ( you can read more about that here). The Primare 60 series preamp and matching A60 balanced UFPD power amplifier gave the speakers a good working out, while the subwoofer to blame for the destruction was the SVS SB13 Ultra.

Floors 3 and 4 were both dedicated largely to speakers with the likes of Dali showing off its impressive Epicon 2 series alongside a new line of Bluetooth beauties called Kubik Free. There are two models, an active speaker and a passive slave called the Kubik Free Xtra. A single active speaker will cost around £700, while a stereo active and passive combo will be £1,000. I do love the Dali sound, very crisp and detailed. Nearby, Monitor Audio was creating a stir with its MASS satellite system - I just love the design of these enclosures and you know you can rely on Monitor Audio's sound quality, found throughout the whole range.

A new sub solution from REL
Another famous name in bass at the show was REL, which was demonstrating a new on-wall subwoofer called the Habitat 1. This wireless bass system looks similar to a wall heater, so it will work well if you are trying to install a system in a fully finished room. The quality of the output was truly incredible. Backed by REL's pedigree in the subwoofer market, you'll not be disappointed.

The end of the trade day is always a good time to network and this year was no different; the bar was full by around 5pm with everyone getting to know each other. Business is the name of the game, so many cards crossed palms during the show. And judging by the long queues on Saturday morning, the event has lost none of its popularity with consumers. If only we could replicate this type of event in the CI market! I think it's a lot to do with the passion for the product by the customer… and the value of gear being less than the cost of a yacht.

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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