Communities

New MrSpeakers Voce Electrostatic Headphones On Demo, A Stax Rival Maybe?

posted on Mon, 16 Apr 2018 09:02:58

Hi Everyone,

To be fair it has been a while since I have done a headphone un-boxing, normally I leave this to Wendy, but in all honesty I haven’t been this excited about a new headphone for a very long time, this is 2 fold really, firstly MrSpeakers have really made a name for themselves in producing extremely good headphones and secondly as I am a big fan of Stax Electrostatic headphones so the fact that MrSpeakers have produced their own Electrostatic headphone has to make you sit up and take notice.

Stax are celebrating their 80th Anniversary this year and in reality no one has really rivalled them when it comes to Electrostatic Headphones, for whatever reason they have pretty much had the market to themselves so I am really keen to find out how MrSpeakers takes the challenge to Stax.

Firstly you have to be impressed with the quality of the packaging, basically the Voce come in their own Walnut presentation and storage case which is such a brilliant idea, also another neat touch which MrSpeakers use with their other headphones is the ability to put in ‘Tuning Filters’ in the ear cup to tailor the sound to your own personal taste, so this is a very flexible headphone.

They are also very light and comfortable and appear to be very well made. Now being an Electrostatic they need their own Energiser to drive them, MrSpeakers doesn’t produce this part but you can use them with many different Energiser’s on the market including any of the Stax range.

I have only un-boxed them 30 mins ago and will be running them in on our Trilogy H1 energiser but I couldn’t resist to have a quick listen, instantly it is a sound I know I will like, there is something about an Electrostatic headphone that is captivating, a spacious and airy sound that dynamic’s and Planar’s just can’t match, I will let them run in for a couple of days before making any concrete conclusions but at the moment I would say MrSpeakers really do seem to be a welcome addition to the Electrostatic market.

http://hifilounge.co.uk/mrspeakers-voce-electrostatic-headphones

Abyss AB-1266 Phi Now On Demo

In other headphone news I am really pleased to say that we now have the new and improved Abyss AB-1266 Phi headphones on permanent demo, personally I would say that the AB-1266 are up their with the Stax SR-009 and Focal Utopia as the best headphones out there.

According to Abyss they say - ‘The new version AB-1266 Phi refines the sonic virtues of Abyss with greater transparency to the source, further improved low frequency impact and resolution, and vocals as alive as can be.’ And who am I to argue :-) seriously though they are incredibly good.

http://hifilounge.co.uk/abyss-ab-1266-phi-headphones

So if you fancy coming in to try out either the Voce or Abyss just get in touch to book an appointment.

Cheers,

Paul.


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Install Blog - dCS / Audio Research / Martin Logan / Melco / Atlas / Quadraspire!

posted on Sat, 14 Apr 2018 10:22:13
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Hi Everyone,

Just a quick blog with a really nice install we have just completed, it is actually a great story. We installed a very similar system just before Christmas and the customer’s Father went to stay over the Festive period and being a music lover and HiFi enthusiast all his life really enjoyed what he heard so he ordered the same system and this is his install. 

Generally the install went very well other than a small network issue which was easily resolved and in the pictures you will see that the amp is on the bottom but due to it being a valve amp it run pretty hot which didn’t overly help the kit above so yesterday I swapped the rack around a little to put the amp on the top, other than that the system really did sing giving a lovely big open soundstage with separation that only a panel can give really.

Please see below for the system components - 

Martin Logan Expression ESL 13A Loudspeaker

http://hifilounge.co.uk/martin-logan-expression-13a

dCS Rossini Player

http://hifilounge.co.uk/dcs-rossini-player

dCS Rossini Clock

http://hifilounge.co.uk/dcs-rossini-clock

Audio Research GS150 Power Amplifier

http://hifilounge.co.uk/audio-research-gs150-power-amplifier

Melco N1A MK2 6TB HDD Player / Server

http://hifilounge.co.uk/melco-n1a-mk2

Quadraspire X REFERENCE HiFi Rack

http://hifilounge.co.uk/quadraspire-x-reference-hifi-rack

Atlas Mavros Cables Throughout

http://hifilounge.co.uk/atlas-mavros-cables

Here are a few pictures -

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Cheers,

Paul.


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Install Blog - McIntosh / PMC / Naim / Michell / Atlas / Quadraspire!

posted on Wed, 04 Apr 2018 14:11:23
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Hi everyone,

Just recently I have started posting pictures from our installs on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, with the customer’s permission of course, and this has proved very popular so driving to work today I thought that I really should post these on our website also as I know not everyone lives on social media so here we go.

This is a nice one to start with, basically this customer first saw McIntosh over 30 years ago and it has stayed with him ever since and he always promised himself one day he would own a McIntosh system, well yesterday was that day.

It was a really straight forward install that went very smoothly and at the end sounded absolutely brilliant as in all honesty you never quite know what to expect as every room is different but on this occasion the whole system really sung.

It basically comprised of the following components -

McIntosh  MA5300 Integrated Amplifier

http://hifilounge.co.uk/mcintosh-ma5300-amplifier

McIntosh MCD 350 CD/SACD Player

http://hifilounge.co.uk/mcintosh-mcd350-cd-player

PMC Twenty5.23 Loudspeakers

http://hifilounge.co.uk/pmc-twenty5.23-loudspeakers

Naim Uniti Core CD Ripper and Server

http://hifilounge.co.uk/naim-uniti-core-hard-disk-player

Michell Engineering TecnoDec with Dynavector 10x5 Cartridge

http://hifilounge.co.uk/michell-tecnodec-turntable

http://hifilounge.co.uk/dynavector-dv-10x5-cartridge

Quadraspire SVT Rack in Bamboo 

http://hifilounge.co.uk/quadraspire-svt-hifi-rack

All connected up with Atlas Hyper Cables -

http://hifilounge.co.uk/atlas-hyper-cables

So certainly not a cheap system but a system with great synergy non the less.

From This - 

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To This -

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Sabrina’s Back in the our Naim Room!

This has nothing to do with yesterdays install but after a few weeks of trying different speakers in our Naim room it has been really good to get the Wilson Audio Sabrina’s back in there, they really do sing with Naim and in all honesty I would say these are one of my favourite speakers of all time, for their size they really are incredible so please feel free to come in for a listen anytime.

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Cheers,

Paul


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1st Race Weekend Report From Oulton Park - UPDATED With Video’s!

posted on Sun, 01 Apr 2018 07:10:50
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So that is the first race weekend done and dusted and what an experience it was, for me as I had spent so little time in the car the main thing was all about getting to the end of the day unscathed, which we just about did although I definitely had a few hairy moments, and to learn how a race weekend works, procedure, time tables etc and not to do anything silly.

Qualifying

Heading Out For 1st Qualifying Session

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Firstly we were blessed with the weather, I had been watching forecasts all week and whichever you looked at we would get wet at some point but miraculously other than the odd drizzle we had a day of dry running. Qualifying was at 10.40am and was a 20 minute session where your quickest time set the grid for race 1 and your second quickest set the grid for race 2.

Now I had been watching YouTube video’s all week on how to drive a Radical SR1 round Oulton Park, so in my head I knew what to do I just had to actually go out and do it, in an ideal world I to achieve a time of 1min 51 seconds which was 5 seconds quicker than I went in testing the week before, so we all drove down to the holding area 20 mins before qualifying was due to start and I sat there running the lap through my head, just like a real racing driver :-)

The only fly in the ointment was that due to heavy rain the night before the track was damp so it was declared a wet session so qualifying would be run on wets, so out we went but in all honestly on the racing line the track was pretty much dry, you just had to be careful to not go onto the wet stuff.

I slowly built up my speed and had a good few clear laps and by the end I could really feel the car moving around under me as I pushed it, in the end I got to the point on a couple of corners where the tyres were at their limit and I had a few scary sideways moments but at the end I achieved a couple of laps in the low 1min 52’s which I was delighted with especially as we were on wet’s, so this meant I started race 1 in 6th and race 2 in 5th, out qualifying my more experienced team mate on both occasions, so after Qualy it really felt like job done, now it was just a matter of 2 races to go.

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Post Qualy Interview

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Race 1

Getting Ready!

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I must admit both races flew by and in all honesty I really don’t remember much as I was so focused on keeping it on the black stuff everything else was a blur, you don’t even notice anyone watching until the end and also my team were displaying my pit board every lap but I never noticed it once, Oulton Park really is a challenging circuit that grabs your attention with the quick corners as there really isn’t any run off before you hit the barrier so it is really difficult to balance speed with bravery.

So race 1 was at 1.30pm so you meet in the holding area 20 mins before the start in race order, get yourself strapped in and comfortable then follow the pace car onto the track for your lap to the grid, here it is about warming the tyres and bakes, then you take your grid position, not really sure what happened here but the marshall’s got myself and 5th mixed round so we had to swap positions after our green flag lap which followed next, again this is all about getting the car up to temperature, So now it is time for my first race start, the first mission here is not to stall.

Once we were all in grid position we waited for the 5 second board then everyone ups their revs to around 6000 RPM which is all very exciting then the lights go out and we are off, miraculously no one stalled and we were off racing. In all honesty my problem here is that once the lights go out you have to be at 100% straight away, no building up slowly but it did take me a couple of laps to get to where I should be so lost a couple of places.

In the Radical SR1 Cup there are three different championships, I’m never going to win the overall as some of the younger drivers are much quicker at the moment but there is also a Rookie Cup and the Fangio Cup for drivers over 45, needless to say the Fangio Cup is my focus at the moment, it is here that we had a good battle, for the whole race I kept one of my competitors behind me, he was quicker on some parts and I was quicker on others, but then my team mate took me only to spin on one of the quick left handers but he recovered then came at me again, this time he got me down the straight but then the next time I saw him he had spun and hit one of the barriers but overall in the race he was definitely quicker than me, in the end I came home as the winner of the Fangio class which meant a trip to the podium and a trophy from my first race which in my wildest dreams I never expected.

A 20 minute race really doesn’t sound long but I was so happy to see the chequered flag, these cars as so physical and mentally draining I really had enough by the end, I really don’t know how the F1 and LeMans drivers do it.

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Really Happy with Race 1

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Another Interview as Winner of the Fangio Class.

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Race 2

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So we had a spot of lunch and waited for the 2nd race at 5.30pm, by this time the temperature had dropped noticeably and whilst sitting in the holding area it started to drizzle again, we had to wait longer as in the previous race someone had put it into the barriers and done some serious damage to the barrier so this had to be repaired first, but eventually we were on the grid revving the engines waiting for the red lights to go out.

Now this race didn’t go quite as well as the first, unfortunately the car in front of me stalled so I had no where to go so by the time I had drove around him I was pretty much last but I caught one of my fellow Fangio competitors and then ensued a great race where I finally threw it done the inside going into the chicane and took the place, I didn’t realise at the time but my team mate also stalled it on the grid so I was now the lead Fangio car but then it all went horribly wrong.

I really don’t know what happened but looking in the racing drivers book of excuses I think I was trying a little too hard on a cooler, damp track and going through one of the chicanes I floored it on the exit only to hit the inner kerb and the car instantly spun round and before I knew it I was on the grass and facing the wrong way, bugger, all that hard work lost, basically I just run out of talent.

So now I started to panic a little and for whatever reason I couldn’t get it into first gear so I tried to pull away in 2nd and then got it on the track only to stall it in everyones way, bugger again, so in the end I had to retire and just watched the rest of the race with the marshalls behind the barriers, once the race was over I jumped back in the car and drove it back, so in the end no damage was done, in reality I was very lucky as when I was driving back one of my competitors had binned in into the barriers on the last lap and had done some serious damage but luckily he was OK.

So in the end it was a very mixed weekend with a great Qualifying, a race one trophy then a spin and DNF for race 2 but overall I left the circuit with a big smile and an eagerness to get in the car again as I know there is still a lot of speed left in the car and myself.

Still Smiling after a rather eventful race 2!

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A Big Thank You!

Firstly I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone who came to support us, some driving a long way to get to Oulton, it was brilliant to see so many friendly faces there and despite the cold weather everyone seemed to have a good time.

Also a big thanks to Simon and Darren and UPE Motorsport for doing a stirling job in giving me a brilliant car to race and also thanks to Radical for doing such a brilliant job of making everyone feel so welcome, there were 8 rookies but there is such great sense of comradeship in the paddock it is a brilliant place to spend the day.

Next Race meeting and hospitality.

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So the next race isn’t until the 12th May at Snetterton but if anyone fancy’s coming along just let me know as we can get a limited number of passes and also if you want full hospitality please let me know in advance as I need to book it with Radical, basically it is £30 a head and you get breakfast and lunch on race day + drinks and nibbles through the day, I have to say the food was epic, if I had been given this in a restaurant I would have been happy so as you can imagine it is much better than any other race track food + you can spend the day in the paddock.

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I am going to try and edit some video footage later for my qualifying and races so if I can figure it out I will upload it.

Roll on Snetterton but until then back to the day job of being a HiFi dealer :-)

Thanks for reading,

Cheers,

Paul.

——————————————————————————————-

A Couple of quick video’s

Hi Everyone,

So I have just figured out how to edit video’s, in true apple fashion is is made very easy.

Qualifying Lap

This is my best qualifying lap which I was very pleased with, especially as we were running on the wet tyres, to be fair though there is still a lot of time to be had as I really need to brake much later and carry more speed in the fast corners but for a 1st attempt I was very happy.

From Hero To Zero

This clip isn’t quite as good, I had just taken the lead in the Fangio Cup runnings but for some reason under acceleration from the chicane I just spun out, I had taken that corner the same lap after lap but maybe due to the colder weather and moisture in the air just touching the kerb was all it took, a lesson learnt definitely.

Cheers,

Paul.


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Easter Opening Times!

posted on Wed, 28 Mar 2018 16:14:58

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick message with our Easter opening times, well to be honest it is more a case of Easter closing times as we will be closed Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday this Easter, back open as normal on Tuesday.

For those who have been following our Motorsport exploits this weekend is my first race at Oulton Park with Qualifying and 2 races on the Saturday then I can indulge in the odd egg or 2 on Sunday :-)

Hope everyone has a great Easter,

All the best,

Paul & Wendy.


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1st Drive In Our Radical SR1 -Report!

posted on Mon, 26 Mar 2018 04:34:49

Hi Everyone,

I thought I would just jot down a few thoughts from my first drive in the Radical SR1 at Oulton Park on Friday, I must say I was very relieved to finally get out in the car after our first 2 tests being cancelled due to snow and with my first race less than 1 week away.

So how did it go? well looking back a couple of days later I would say I was fairly happy although I need to go a fair bit faster but for my first drive in the car at a circuit I didn’t know and to be fair is a pretty scary track, then I was reasonably happy at the end of the day.

Blimey It’s Fast!

So as an overview of the day, basically it was a general test day so there was some seriously quick machinery there of all kinds, it was quite cool start to the day when sitting in the cafe on my own eating a sausage sandwich and Matt Neal walked in, the triple British Touring Car Champion, to get his breakfast, that actually bought it home a little that this was all about to get quite serious.

The day was broken down into 4 x 30 minute sessions, I had 2 drives in the morning and another 2 in the afternoon, below are my thoughts on how each session went.

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Session 1

So to say I was nervous would be a slight understatement as I had only driven 3 track days before and done some karting a few years ago but the guys as UPE Motorsport really helped me settle into the car and made me feel like there was no pressure and I need to get to feel the car first and to find my own limits.

So bearing in mind that the car had never been driven before in an ideal world we would have had someone who knows Radicals shake the car down but due to the test day cancellations this was never done so came down to me, so it was a case of going out for one lap then coming straight back in which I did and to me at least everything felt great, then I repeated the same but this time for 3 laps and then back in, again all seemed good so then I was free to go out until the end of the session and to start building my speed up but before I knew it the 30 mins was over and I was back in the pits but happy with my first drive.

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Session 2

So now it was time to start pushing the car a little, as the track was still damp we did session 1 and 2 on wets which still felt very quick indeed and to be fair I still wasn’t reaching the limits of the tyres or the car, it’s really hard to describe how fast and physical these cars are, I had been practicing on Project Cars on Xbox which is great for learning the circuit but has no real way of giving you the sensation of speed and how scary it can be, in the game I can take some corners easily flat but in real life this is a very different story.

So during this session I was reasonably happy with my progress and got down to a 1m 59 second lap time which apparently on wets was pretty respectable, one thing I did notice was that when going down the main straight I was noticing that my head was being pushed back due to doing over 100 mph without a wind screen and after a while my neck was really starting to hurt, so after a couple of trips into the pits the guys added extra padding to the headrest which ended up helping a lot, looks like I need to get down the gym to start working my neck out :-)

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Session 3

So after a quick bite of lunch I was back in the car, this time on dry tyres so I was expecting to take quite a chunk of my time but in the end it ended up being a bit of a messy session with yellow flags then a red flag to stop the session and I was still concerned about my neck pain so I actually ended up going 2 secs slower, to say I was not impressed is a understatement so I went off, sat in the van and gave myself a telling off :-) This was actually becoming a lot harder than I thought as the quick guys were doing 1 min 50′s so I was 10 secs of the pace which was quite shocking as it felt like I was going really fast, It’s much easier watching it on the TV that’s for sure.

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Session 4

So with this being the last session of the day and my last drive in the car before qualifying the following weekend for my first race I was determined to try harder and to find some time, in the end I got down to a 1 min 56 which made me a little happier as at least I improved and I got within 1 sec of my team mate who raced his Radical last year so he is a very good benchmark but there is still a lot more speed in the car, I just need to find it in myself to man up and to throw caution to the wind a little more.

I have spent all weekend watching quick laps round Oulton Park in Radical’s on You Tube and to be fair I am pretty happy with my lines and breaking but there are 3 really quick corners at Oulton and I am sure it is here that I am loosing most of my time as well as that I am lifting when approaching Druids which should be flat out so I am confident that when next back in the car for Qualifying I can find some more time.

Doing quick laps on your own is one thing though but once it comes to racing then I am sure that will be a totally different experience again.

1st Race This Weekend

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So this Easter weekend I have qualifying on Saturday followed by 2 x 20 minute races, certainly going to be a fun weekend, I hope my body has recovered by then as my arms and neck are still aching a fair bit, I have ordered some brave pills from the chemist as I know that all the extra speed I need is in me not being such a wimp in the quick stuff, to be honest though I am gagging to get back in the car to see if I can find that missing time.

Watch this space and I will report back after the first race weekend and will hopefully be able to load up some race footage.

Cheers,

Paul.


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HFL Race Team Wear, The Fashion Clothing of 2018 :-)

posted on Sun, 18 Mar 2018 06:50:51

Hi Everyone,

So with only less than 2 weeks to go to my first race the excitement is really starting to build, in preparation we have had our Team HiFi Lounge Race Wear designed with the help from Simon at UPE Motorsport who are running my car this year and it does look really great if I do say so myself :-)

We are going with fleeces and light weight jackets to start with, the fleeces are around £50 and the jackets £70, if anyone would like to grab any let me know and we can get more ordered.

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A Testing Time!

One major problem with only less than 2 weeks to go till the first race is that I still haven’t actually driven the Radical SR1 that I will be racing yet due to the first test being cancelled because of snow, so we are planning to be running at Rockingham tomorrow but once again the snow has hit us, hopefully the worst is out the way though and we actually get some miles in, being a big Nascar fan it is going to be awesome to run on some of the Oval at Rockingham :-)

Then on Friday we are up at Oulton Park, where the first race will be held, for more testing then it is straight into qualifying on the Saturday of the Easter weekend, no pressure then :-) but hopefully by the end of this coming week I will have a good feel for the car.

Here is my Radical all loaded up at UPE ready for action, hopefully.

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Please keep an eye on our Motorsports page as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for live updates from the track.

Cheers,

Paul.


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