Bath AudioFest 2012
The Bath AudioFest,
sponsored for the third year by Cool Gales,
was held Saturday, 26 May. All proceeds from entrance fees went to
Benevolent Fund, the charity that helps musicians who play, sing or create
all styles of music. This year, we raised £350!
Guests were Frank Schröder,
whose name is synonymous with the finest hand-crafted tonearms, and Alan Sircom, editor of Hi-Fi+.
The event took place over two venues: the Bath and County Club, just off Queen Square
and the nearby Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, in the heart of
the beautiful Georgian town of Bath.
The Club dining room, cleared of tables, served to host Leema Acoustics. Both
Leema founders, Lee Taylor and Mallory Nicholls, were there to demo their
amazing-value Elements range of components, powering Leema floorstanders.
Turntable was a Scheu Diamond, with a translucent deep red base, upgraded Rega
tonearm, and Micro Benz cartridge.
The Norfolk room at the Club featured the hugely acclaimed Diavalet D-Premier
amplifier powering gorgeous Sonus Faber Evolution standmount speakers. Turntable
was an EAT with a Koetsu Black cartridge. Alternative amplification and CD
player was provided by Prima Luna, cabling by Crystal and Transparent.
Paul Hawkins and Erica Hawkins of Diverse Vinyl were in the Club library,
trying to keep up with demand for new vinyl, much of it from the exhibitors.
The York room featured demos of headphones from Stax and Hi-Fi Man, plus
headphone amps from Schiit and headphone stands from Sieveking.
Also in the York room was a display of Pro-Ject turntables and accessories.
The system in the Club lounge consisted of an Esoteric K-01 SACD player, C-01
linestage, E-01 phono stage, and A-01 stereo power amp, all on Quadraspire racks
and connected to a beautiful pair of Sonus Faber Futuras. Alternative
amplification was provided by Trilogy, presented by Nic Poulsen, Trilogy
founder. Turntable was a Brinkmann Bardo, with 10.5 tonearm, and EMT-ti
cartridge. Cabling was Chord's top-of-the-range Sarum. Chord's technical
director, Nigel Finn, fielded a number of enquiries.
At the nearby Bath Royal Scientific and Literary Institution, the Lonsdale room
was presided over by Julius Hyde and John Hyde of Aspara Audio, demoing the
Aspara HL1 SE speakers, and Frank Schröder, demoing the Artemis turntable and
tonearm, both of which he designed. Cartridge was the amazing Soundsmith Strain
Gauge; cabling was Chord Sarum.
Also at the BRSLI, in the very grand Elwin room overlooking Queen Square,
Eclipse TD presented their TD712z Mk2 speakers with huge twin TD725sw
subwoofers, powered by Aesthetix Atlas monoblocs and an Aesthetix Io Eclipse
phono stage doing double duty as a linestage. Turntable was a Clearaudio
Innovation Wood with Universal tonearm and Goldfinger V2 cartridge. CD player
was the valve-output Aesthetix Romulus. Cabling was Kubala-Sosna and ZenSati.
In the afternoon, it was standing room only in the Elwin room for Frank's
talk on turntable set-up. Frank stressed the importance of extreme precision in
cartridge alignment, with even variations of less than a millimetre making a
significant difference on sonics.