New Naim Nova PE launched


Chord Ultima Integrated amp

We've always been fans of the Chord Ultima series but today was our 1st chance to listen to their new integrated. We listened to it for around an hour in our main listening room. It sounded superb with a Naim streamer and a pair of PMC Twenty 5 .26i floorstanding speakers.

I'll admit to being an Ultima fan since first hearing the pre-power. It moved me in ways I can only think of two other amps doing and both of them were more expensive. And the Chord isn't cheap but the Ultima integrated at £8500 is almost getting there.

It has detail it has control, it had musicality and it has complete and utter grip in the speakers. Ours will be here in March and we can't wait.

The ULTIMA INTEGRATED is a class-leading 125-watt integrated amplifier benefitting from the latest dual-feed-forward error-correction topology, Chord Electronics’ legendary proprietary ultra-high-frequency power supplies, plus an unmistakable industrial aesthetic.

Designed by Chord Electronics’ founder, owner and chief engineer, John Franks, the advanced ULTIMA circuit monitors and immediately corrects audio signals before the output stage, for astonishing signal accuracy from a one-box integrated device.

The ULTIMA INTEGRATED also takes advantage of the very latest developments in advanced low-distortion power supplies – devices offering exceptionally low noise and outstanding amplifier operation – for even greater fidelity.

A four-input design, one fully balanced and three unbalanced, all enjoy individual buffering and are selectively filtered against potential ingress from radio frequency interference; selection switching is via microprocessor-controlled sealed relays.

The ULTIMA INTEGRATED is the first new Chord Electronics integrated amplifier for seven years and remains the sole full-width integrated model in the range.

All metalwork is precision-machined from solid aircraft-grade aluminium, including Chord Electronics’ iconic Integra Legs. The fascia sports a 28-mm-thick front panel with a perfectly symmetrical aesthetic, centered around a spherical power on/off control with polychromatic lighting, flanked by illuminated volume and balance controls.

Frequency response

10 Hz-200 kHz +/- 3 dB


0.01 % 20 Hz-20 kHz

Signal-to-noise ratio

90 dB on all inputs

Input impedance

100 kΩ

Input maximum voltage


Output maximum voltage

35 V RMS



Channel separation

100 dB

Operation voltage

80-250 V AC auto-switching 

Power output

125 W into 8Ω

Power consumption

 200 W

Dimensions with included Integra legs:

13 cm(H) x 48 cm(W) x 38 cm(D)

Dimensions with optional side blocks (can not be stacked):

11 cm(H) x 43 cm(W) x 38 cm (D)


14.75 kg


Naim Prices to rise 1st Feb


Naim prices are rising in Feb. This averages out at just under 10% across most products. The following are NOT increasing in price -

ND5XS2 Streamer
NDX2 Streamer
Nait XS3 amplifier

Old prices are available until Weds the 31st of January so please get in touch if you'd like to place your order pre-price rise.


Customer Linn LP12 project


We were asked by a customer to build him an LP12 turntable for the best possible price. We used a combination of new and older parts. Everything was cleaned and serviced and we started off with a rather lovely oak plinth.

Initially we were trying to get this turntable to the best price we could and we fitted a serviced Linn Valhalla power supply. However the customer requested twin speed and so we went with a Valhalla Electronics Minos power supply in the end.

The arm was a Linn Basik Plus and the cartridge we chose was an Audio Technica VM95 ML; one of our favorite magnetic cartridges.

We always finish off by having a good listen to ensure everything is sounding good and it was no surprise to find that this record player sounds superb, just as we expected it too.
This turntable cost £1449 complete and is supplied with a 2 year warranty.

We can build LP12's to almost any budget and specification.


Rega Turntable Range guide


We did one of these before back in the mists of time so we thought that we might repeat and update it.

Rega are a top down R&D company, which means they invest in high end products which prove and test new ideas and materials. They then scale this technology down through their range so that every product benefits. This means they are almost always working on something new and exciting. Because Rega follow top down design process we have listed their products from top to bottom. It soon becomes clear that the Rega philosophy marries a light, low mass and rigid design with engineering excellence. Read on.

Rega launched the Naiad in 2017, but they didn't tell a lot of people about it. Initially it was designed as a test bed for new technology and was never intended to come to market. However they ended up making around 30 of them after being asked to do so by a number of customers and at an RRPof £30,000.

The result of the test bed turntable was that the reduction of mass and the increase in rigidity meant that more information was recovered from the groove. This should be no surprise to anyone who has read about or owned a Rega turntable before. This philosophy underscores everything they do.

You can discover more about the Naiad here.

The first commercial realisation of the new technology is The Rega Naia. Even the name takes its clue from the R&D testbed.

The Rega Naia is a product of the years of painstaking development which was used to create the ‘Naiad’ test bed turntable. The Naia takes the best of this development and technology and transfers it into a production ready version without compromise. The Naia is packed with ground-breaking features, materials and technology developed by Rega over many years to reach new levels of vinyl replay.
We see carbon fibre married with graphene to produce an even lighter and more rigid plinth. We see a ZTA Zirconium toughened alumina (ceramic) central bearing. The tonearm has been improved with a one piece titanium vertical bearing and Titanium vertical spindle assembly.
All of this adds to further accuracy and information retrieval from the groove. You hear more music and less noise. This is quite notable too. When we first heard the Naia we were astonished at how good it was with less than perfect vinyl.
Visually the Naia takes its appearance from the P10 and P8 turntables. But introduces tech as described above. We’ll get to those shortly.
Full specs and equipment rundown can be found here;

The Naia costs £9995 without cartridge and £12495 with the Rega reference Aphelion 2 MC cartridge fitted.

Rega P10

The P10 looks very similar to the Naia and shares a lot of features but at a reduced cost. It uses the same external power supply and doubled bracing system with a very similar lightweight plinth design but this time does not feature carbon fibre or graphene. It also uses the RB3000 tonearm but not with titanium components.

Again the stripped down design, low mass and high rigidity offer improvements in terms of signal retrieval and signal to noise ratio.
You can see the full specification here;

The P10 costs £3960 without cartridge
£4950 with Apheta 3 MC
£6840 with Aphelion 2 MC

It is also available in white.

The story is the same with the P8. It is as much of the P10 as Rega can afford to use at a reduced price.

It shares the same tancast plinth and bracing ideas but uses a less expensive arm and a smaller Neo power supply. It also uses a tri-laminated glass platter, as opposed to a ceramic platter. Other than the similarities to the P10 and Naia are substantial.
More info here;

The P8 costs £1870 with no cartridge
£2330 with Ania MC
£2585 with Ania Pro MC

It is available in black and white

As with all Rega turntables we can fit your cartridge or one from a wide range of alternatives. Rega do however supply their cartridges at a reduced price when purchased as part of a package with the record player of your choice.


This is the first turntable in the range to use the foam plinth. This reduces weight and improves rigidity, which in and of itself is a substantial factor in performance. Some people think that the P6 is a P3 but with an external power supply. Far from it in fact as this is a very different beast.
Here the plinth is kept traditional in shape and has a conventional lid fitted. This design suits some people who can’t get on with the uniqueness of the models above. However we generally find that those reservations disappear when they are heard.
We still have the external Neo power supply and we have a dual layer glass platter. The tonearm is the RB330 tonearm and a choice of dark grey and white are offered.

More info here;

P6 no cart £1155
P6 with Exact MM £1385
P6 with Ania MC £1615
P6 with Ania Pro MC £1870


There’s so much been said about the P3 and it has really been one of the products that has built the company's success. It represents fantastic performance and value for money and has years of superb reviews and has been in continuous production since the seventies. Of course it has improved during that time too.

“Rega has pioneered the use of lightweight rigid plinths. Clever use of a lightweight particulate core with a highly rigid phenolic resin skin became the foundations of the high level of performance achieved by the now iconic original Planar range.
It features a lightweight acrylic laminated plinth strengthened using a new improved double brace system mounted specifically where the increased rigidity is required (between the tonearm mounting and the main hub bearing) which forms a structurally sound “stressed beam” assembly. This rigid plinth design prevents energy absorption and unwanted resonance, which will add unnatural distortions to the music. Equally, heavier mass can transfer more unwanted energy, such as motor or bearing noise directly into the rotating record. The use of braces instead of the complete skin allows double thickness phenolic resin in these key areas while providing further weight reduction to the plinth which directly addresses the issue of mass absorption and unwanted energy transmission”
This doesn’t match the foam filled plinths of higher models but then again it is superb for the price. It is supplied without an external power supply, although that can be added at extra cost should the customer so wish. It features an RB330 arm.

We think this is the point in the range that Rega’s turntables start to get really good. I mean the P1 and P2 are exceptional value for money but this is in another league.

More info can be found here;

P3 is available in 3 gloss finishes - white, black and red.
P3 no cart £660
P3 with Elys 2 MM £799
P3 with Exact 2 MM £880


Essentially a less expensive P3. Loses the plinth bracing, has a cheaper tonearm and comes with a budget MM cartridge fitted as standard.

You can find more information here;

P2 is available in gloss white, gloss red, gloss black and a wooden wrap effect has been added recently.

P2 complete is £499


In our opinion the P1 is the best value budget turntable on the market. It scales down the P2 and has a less expensive platter and tonearm. It is available in 3 different incarnations as follows;

P1 standard turntable. Requires an amplifier with a dedicated phono input.
P1 Plus has a built-in phono stage that enables it to be plugged into any amplifier, active speakers or sound bar.
P1 Eco is a new concept that allows Rega to save money on screen printing and to also use slightly cosmetic seconds. The performance is the same but the price is reduced accordingly.

P1 in soft black or white £299
P1 in walnut wood wrap £329

P1 Plus in soft black or white £385
P1 Plus in walnut £299

P1 Eco in black or white £199.

More info on the P1 derivatives can be found here;

The only way to evaluate these turntables is to listen to them for yourself and determine which one suits your requirements and budget. We can help with that as we keep them all on demonstration.
We also frequently get very good used examples as we upgrade people from one turntable to another. Always supplied with a warranty, these represent an opportunity to save money or get a better turntable for the money you want to spend.

Trade-ins are welcome.

Please get in touch if you’d like to start your turntable journey or to improve on what you have.


Loudspeaker Set up Guide


Loudspeaker Setup

The following instructions are to form a guideline for setup in the listening room. There are many factors that will determine how a speaker works in a particular space. There seems to be many different ways and manuals, they are worded differently but generally achieve the same results, fine setup should take about hour and the following tools can make this a lot easier:

Tape measures

Spirit level

Laser level

Adjustable spanner

The Room

The aim is to create a soundstage with the two speakers in the room forming the corners of a triangle with the listener at the apex. All rooms vary but if this basic setup criteria is used it will at least offer good performance. Ideally the speakers should be equal distance apart from the centre of the wall and the distance to the listener between 1 and 2 times their distance apart. This may guide if the speakers are to be placed at the long end of the room or firing across the short distance.

Secondly if they are equal distance from the side wall, even better

Lastly there is always the room that is not quite right or other factors mean the ideal setup is just not possible. However if you use this guide you'll get it the best you can.

Start positioning-Bass

With the speaker sited quickly, level them as much as possible, this will be fine tuned later.

For bass positioning it is good to pick a track with mixed types of bass on it (for example acoustic bass, electric bass and church organ would cover just about all terrain but clearly not all together). Try and use simple pieces of music that will let you hear the room and how the speaker works in it.

Some examples;

Royals Lorde
Ricky Lee Jones Easy Money
Stevie Ray Vaughan Tin Pan Alley

Start with the speaker close to the wall and listen, paying attention to clarity of bass, bass volume and precision of bass. What you want is clarity and extension but no boom. You want the bass notes to not blur into each other but to start and stop precisely. The closer the speakers are to the back wall will mean more bass but more bass isn't always the best. So listen and then bring the speakers out.  Work in fairly large increments. You should hear the bass become more defined as the speaker moves into the room, until it starts to fade. There will be a sweet spot depending on the cabinet and whether it is front/rear ported or infinite baffle. Once you've found that point then do a little listening and then move the speaker back slowly. By a process of elimination you should find the best balance in the base. That is to say the right amount of bass with the best definition and roll off.

Second positioning-Mid & Treble

The distance the speakers are apart is often guided by the distance you are from them. Again try and get your speakers into a listening triangle where you are slight further from them than they are from each other.

This matters because we are trying to reproduce a stereo image or an illusion of musicians performing for you.

1. Is there an empty space in the middle of the sound?
2. Do the instruments seem to overlap and blend together?

If you answered yes to either of these, then there’s a good chance you can improve the stereo image by adjusting the toe-in or location of your speakers.

To do this I find vocal tracks and single instruments best. A piano for example or a violin. Again, experiment with moving them apart and together until you find the stereo image is well defined. The instrument should be between the speakers and "hanging" as if the instrument is actually there.

Final Positioning Setup

This is where the toe in can now be adjusted, again it will change the soundstage and experimenting with the angle will give results based on the room. Start with a small degree of toe in (15%) and ask yourself if the image and depth is improved. If it is then try a slightly larger toe in. Take your time and go back and forth to ensure you're hearing an improvement.  In our listening room we almost always use a small amount of toe in.

Once you've done all of these things you've found the best position for your speakers. Generally we find it will be between 8 and 18" from the back wall and with a slight toe in.

Now what you need to do is to make some precision adjustments and these will make the most of your positioning and get the best out of your speakers.
Use a tape measure to ensure your speakers are the exact same difference from the back wall. Use a laser pointed to ensure the toe in means that the speakers are "pointing" to where you sit on the sofa. Ensure the adjustment for one speaker is the same as on the other. You can do this visually but a laser pointer is a little more precise.

After head adjustment do a listening test to ensure you're happy with the results.

Finally make sure the speakers are rigid, level and then lock the spikes or feet up so that there is no wobble and no vibration.

Wooden floors can be difficult here. When we struggle to get the speakers rigid we've sometimes use Philips headed screws. We drop them into the spike holes, tighten them  down flush and then sit the spike heads in the cross. Micro adjustments can be made as normal.

Ongoing maintenance.

Check the speakers are level every year and that the speakers remain rigid as these things can settle. Also plug and unplug the 4mm speaker connections. This will clean any oxide off them and renew the connection.

Finally, check that your drive units are tight in the cabinets. We find they do loosen to time and vibration. It needn't be a lot and don't go at it like a bull at a gate (you can cause damage). Often a quarter turn is enough. You'll hear the difference.


Room treatments


Room treatment comes up a lot in converation with our customers and I wanted to give you my own take on it. I don't doubt that they can make a difference but many of the treatments are expensive and I'd argue that they are simply not needed in most cases. I've always found a degree of scepticism helps keep my wallet from being overlite, especially when there's a way of sorting it out more affordably.

Here is an explanation of what common issues relating to listening rooms

"Room treatment products play a crucial role in improving the sound quality of a stereo system by addressing acoustic issues within the listening environment. The acoustics of a room can significantly impact the way sound waves behave, leading to problems such as reflections, standing waves, and resonances. Here's how room treatment products can help:

  1. Reducing Reflections:
    • Absorption Panels: These are designed to absorb sound waves and reduce reflections. Placing absorption panels strategically on walls and ceilings helps minimize the impact of sound bouncing off surfaces. This results in a clearer and more focused sound, as unwanted reflections can cause distortion and coloration.
  2. Controlling Standing Waves:
    • Bass Traps: Low-frequency sound waves can create standing waves in a room, leading to uneven bass response. Bass traps are designed to absorb these low-frequency waves, preventing them from building up and causing peaks and dips in the bass response. This helps achieve a more balanced and accurate low-end reproduction.
  3. Addressing Resonances:
    • Diffusers: These are devices that scatter sound waves, helping to break up standing waves and reduce room resonances. Diffusers are especially useful in larger rooms where standing waves can be more pronounced. They can enhance the overall sense of space and improve the clarity of the sound.
  4. Enhancing Clarity:
    • Ceiling Clouds: Suspended baffles or clouds can be installed on the ceiling to absorb and diffuse sound. This is particularly effective in rooms with high ceilings, as it helps control reflections from above, improving the overall clarity of the sound.
  5. Optimizing Speaker Placement:
    • Room Analysis Tools: Using acoustic measurement tools and software, you can analyze the room's acoustics and optimize the placement of speakers and seating. This ensures that the sound reaches the listener in a balanced and coherent manner.
  6. Customization for Room Characteristics:
    • Bass Management Systems: In some cases, electronic solutions such as bass management systems can be used to tailor the low-frequency response to the specific characteristics of the room. These systems can include equalization and room correction features to compensate for room-induced anomalies.

In summary, room treatment products work together to create an acoustically controlled environment that minimizes unwanted reflections, standing waves, and resonances. This leads to a more accurate and enjoyable listening experience, allowing the stereo system to reproduce sound in a way that closely matches the original audio source"

But is any of this needed?
My take is that most rooms are not particularly problematic. What I mean by that is that you can make a good sound in them. Even rooms which seem almost impossible. Our showroom has no interior walls. So our large and small demo rooms (shown in the pictures) are made of metal Mechano filled with rockwool and then boarded out. Despite this both rooms were very easy to get good sound from and at low cost. All we had to do in the big one was carpet and put some curtains up. We still felt the room was "live" so we hung a patterned drape on the wall and this solved the echo problem.

In the small room we needed the curtains and an Ikea rug because the floor is laminate. Nothing else was needed. Zilch. This is possible the best of the two rooms but also the smallest.

I'm not claiming these are the greatest sounding rooms. However we feel (always have) that our demo rooms should simply duplicate what folk have at home. We are not looking for perfection because that would almost be like trickery. Besides our demo rooms don't need to be perfect as their job is simply to allow us to demonstrate differences. Both do that very well.

In my 40 plus years installing I have very rarely come across a room in which I could not make a sound I was happy with. In fact I was normally pleased and the customer was delighted. Beams can be tricky as can rooms that are "minimalist" and contain lots of glass and hard surfaces. These can easily be fixed by rugs, throws and even those large canvas style pictures which you can hang on the wall and will break up hard reflective surfaces.

None of these things are expensive and none of them will effect the way the room looks in a negative way. People get very agitated when we do that. So we take real World measures to fix problems. Nobody wants or needs an anechoic chamber to live in.

Audiophiles often assume rooms are NOT good sounding. And yet often they go to shows (held in hotel shoeboxes) and judge the merit of equipment based on listening under these conditions. Which is contradictory. Of course people interested in audio will want to go and look at audio equipment but it always pays to be a little dismissive of the sound you hear in these environments. Far far better to listen at "bake offs" and even in retailers listening rooms. Or of course at home.

You could argue that most of the simple fixes I've mentioned are in fact "room treatments". If so they're practical and affordable. However room treatment products are often expensive (the one pictured above is £289) and I question that they offer good value and are even necesary. I also think that most people will prefer to spend their spare money on music than adding things that run the danger of making your lounge look like a recording studio.

I've also spent some time playing with room treatment software built into electronics. These effectively map your room and then you input data into them about the location of windows, doors, hard surfaces etc. The software then performs some digital wizardry and "corrects" the signal to compensate. They can be extremely time consuming but at the end you wind up with a correction which you can listen to and determine of you prefer it or not. You can usually switch between corrected and uncorrected to enable you to make a decision. In all but one case I ended up back to "uncorrected" and in the other instance I simply couldn't make my mind up. I am sure others will disagree with me.

Most "room issues" can be solved by good set up. This isn't complex and I'm in the process of writing an article about it which covers all the stuff that we use routinely on a day to day basis in the store. Once you've got that right we generally find any further issues can be solved by the use of items to soften the room and damp reflections. And without spending a great deal. In any event there is no one size fits all. And we'd be more than happy to advise if you wish to explore any of these issues further.


Rega Naia - Sound Advice Review


“It’s a terrible cliché to say it’s like hearing things for the first time but I’d buy you the beverage of your choice if within ten records, you weren’t made aware of a nuance you hadn’t heard previously, even on a record you know well. This is a forensically capable record player” - Sound Advice.

“Here is a genuinely high-end device; a piece of analogue replay equipment that trades blows with the best of them, but that is no more demanding in use than one at a tenth of the price. The Rega is a tremendous achievement and an outstanding turntable”. - Sound Advice

Read the full review here;

Rega Naia - Sound Advice Review (


Mobile Fidelity One Step Van Halen debut


Arriving this Friday (15th Dec 2023) 180g 45RPM 2LP Box Set
Perhaps one of the finest Debut albums in rock.

"Van Halen did more than announce to the world the  earthshaking arrival of a revolutionary guitarist. Performed by an  enterprising California quartet that took its name from two of its  principal members, the 1978 debut ripped headlines away from punk,  injected fresh energy into a then-moribund rock 'n' roll scene,  reimagined how heavy music and throwback pop could coexist, and invited  everyone to experience the top-down pleasures of a beachfront Saturday  night every day of the week no matter where they lived. Painstakingly  restored by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, and the first of a multi-album  series in an exciting partnership between the famous reissue label and  Van Halen, Van Halen delivers feel-good thrills and hormonally charged desires like never before"

If you've never experienced the performance, dynamic range and quality of a Mobile Fidelity release then give it a try; its like feeding your record player Royal Jelly.

Limited stock available in our record store and can be ordered online here;


First review of Naim 300 Series


"Hi-Fi News Verdict
The 300 series from Naim's New Classics range fully lives up to its promise – its presentation combining a shade more warmth and culture when required with the ability to let go and power out the music when let off the leash. From the closely-detailed NSS 333 streamer/DAC to the effortlessly punchy NAC 332/NAP 350 amplification, this is the 'Naim sound' with broadened appeal, albeit never quite tamed!"

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