It was what I anachronistically call "The Hi-Fi Show" this weekend. I've been most years over the 18 for which it has run, and it's always nice to wander round - hearing some lovely kit and the occasional bit of salesman-type flannel.
Yamaha launched a very clever device (a Sound Projector) which gave a realistic surround sound but just from an array of (42!) speakers sat below the TV. Good VFM at only 750 smackers but a fatiguing listen. Still, if you hate wires and multiple boxes then this is definitely the choice for you. Something to look out for in future revisions, perhaps.
Onkyo showed their very impressive looking AV products, but I didn't really get to hear what they sounded like.
Many manufacturers were using Arcam AV amps which certainly sound fantastic. A few used Yamaha's Z9 (which costs 3k!) and sounds rather tasty - as it should! Arcam's offerings (AVR250 at 1k and AVR300 at1300 quid) sound pretty fantastic and should be enough for most people - although if you can afford it their AV8/P7 combo - then be my guest - it was possibly the best sounding AV at the show. Their new Solo product was also pretty nice for people who want that sort of thing (it's an all in one box).
On the speaker front, ProAc, Spendor and PMC all sounded fantastic in two channel land. Tannoy's Arena sounds fantastic for small speakers (but it is pricey), Epos ELS series sounds great and so does Monitor Audio's Radius.
Personally, I bought a TCI Constrictor for my CD player which has clarified the sound even further (I bought a Constrictor 6-way block last year).
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