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Spy Shots!!

**NEW Product Alert**

Sneaky beaky spy shots of some new #rega items due to be available over the next month. We have them all on order already and demo stock will be available as soon as it can be!!

Pictures below show the new Apollo CDP CD player, Fono MM Moving Magnet Phono Pre Amp and Fono MC Moving Coil Phono Pre Amp.

Keep your eyes on the website for all the latest specs when they are available. #sneakybeaky #hifi #papped

 

#freshkitfriday

Quite the Whirlwind week this week! Just got enough time to tell you what's landed in Harrow Audio over the last few days. If you are travelling to the #bristolhifishow this weekend you may see some of them. If you are going to the show, make sure you visit the #rega room. There are some tasty new products being showed for the 1st time this weekend!

We have taken delivery of our demo Marantz Europe SA-10 and PM-10 Reference series products. They will be up and running in the demo room by tomorrow morning. The Reference range from Marantz has always had a bit of a cult status and this new series looks to continue the tradition, with a no compromise combination. The personal love of Ken Ishiwata (Mr. K.I to the 90's Marantz owners) he has produced a beast of an amplifier alongside a very, very detailed CD Player/DAC

http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/marantz-sa-10

http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/marantz-pm-10

 

Stock of the Arcam Of Cambridge rPhono is here! A high quality MM/MC Phono Stage in the R-Series is a welcome addition and with performance well above its £399.00 price, it is going to be one of our favourites. The rHead headphone amp and new rPlay HD Streamer is all killer and Arcam looks like having a great compact range of upgrades.

http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/search?q=arcam+r

 

We also ordered the new Blue Aura V40i Limited Edition Valve amp and matching PS40 speakers. Looking suitably retro in a high gloss wood finish, we have long felt the amp is capable of driving higher quality speakers and along came the ribbon equipped PS40. Rumour has it there maybe some secret new bits in the Blue Aura room at the show too.

http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/blue-aura-v40-le

 

**Just in** Rega have released limited details on the new Planar 2 and Planar 3 Red edition, as well as the £498.00 Ania MC cartridge, a new TT-PSU and Fono MC Phon Stage. If that wasn't enough, there is a digital tracking force gauge and the 2017 Record Store Day deck gets its Debut!

After all that I need coffee. Will post up some pictures when I can get them. Enjoy you weekend!

 

Black Friday deals

 

High end without the spend!! 

Black Friday is here and this year we havent been caught snoozing!! 

We have some great in store offers running from Friday 25th November until 5pm Monday 28th November. In fact, some deals are sooooo good they are too good to publish! 

Up to 20%* off some speaker brands, 15%* off some Electronics and plenty of one off specials! Not the "old model, end of line type offers" though, proper offers on things you might want to buy. As with any secret squirrel sale you will have to visit the store or call us on 0208 930 9933. You can email shop@harrowaudio.com but please be patient for a reply, we are expecting a busy day! 

Come down and see us, we can promise it will be worth it! 

*Restrictions apply. Please see staff for details. (not Mark though, he is off and hates giving discount)

Musical Fidelity M6 Encore 225 Trade In

Our friends at Musical Fidelity have launched a very generous trade in offer on their new M6 Encore 225, allowing you to trade in your old amplifier and get your original money back!

For example, if you paid £849.00 for a Musical Fidelity A3 amp, trade it in and get the full £849.00 back off the RRP price of the Encore 225! How good is that?! 

There are some catches, maximum trade in value is £1500.00 and we will need to see a purchase invoice showing the original value of the trade in. If it was purchased from us then we will have a record of it, but if it was purchased elsewhere then you may need to check you have it. 

This offer is open to non-Musical Fidelity trade in items, but the same rules apply. 

If you have any questions, please call 0208 930 9933 or email shop@harrowaudio.com

We have the amazing Encore 225 in store, so come along and have a listen. http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/musical-fidelity-m6-encore-225

This offer is available on the M6 Encore 225 (max £1500.00 trade in) and the M6 Encore 225 Connect (max £1000.00 trade in)

 

What Hifi Awards

Or should it be called What "should of won a" HiFi Award? 

102 award winners in 27 categories. Champagne, food and plenty of fun!

As the dust has settled on the 2016 40th Anniversary What HiFi awards there have been countless social media posts congratulating brands on winning awards, and rightly so. What HiFi put on a great evening at the Hilton on Park Lane. Pre event drinks, a quality meal and entertainment from Comedian Mark Watson. The particular highlight was picking on a Panasonic PR girl called Helen who he had been stalking on Facebook. Drawing lots of laughs and making the poor girl the centre of attention. We were on the table closest to the stage and was dreading being picked on but luckily we got away with it!! 

Once the hangover had started to disappear (Thursday I think) and the "congrats guys" posts started to roll through the internet, we started to think of the products that got totally over looked. With information so freely available on t'internet these days its all too easy to make up your mind by reading someone else's. What Hifi do a sterling job of reviewing products and have a very hi-tech listening room and reference system, but that isn't to say it will sound the same in your home, with your ears. 

For instance, the biggest omision, and there are some big ones, is the Audiolab M-DAC+. How this amazing DAC didn't win "Best DAC £500 - £1000" is craaaaaazy! Solidly built, incredible resolution and detail but retaining its musicality, it is one of the best DACs to come through our doors. AND its got rave 5 star reviews everywhere. 

The Marantz PM6006 amplifier improves over the PM6005 which won product of the year for the last 2 years. Its better, more refined, another Digital input and a perfect sub £500 amplifier. It also matches the CD6006 which did win best CD Player under £500! No one wants a mis-matching system anymore. Collars and cuffs and all that :o) 

If you want the best Wireless speaker on the market, it is the Devialet Gold Phantom. Period. No question. There isn't another product out there that has the engineering and soundstage Devialet can achieve. Don't get me started on the Sennhesier HD800s, Momentum 2.0 Wireless or Covert Plato one box solution. Surely the best accessory has to be the Arcam MiniBlink?! Tip top Bluetooth performance for any amp and under £100!!

I hope the awards are judged like the Mercury Music Prize. There is a panel of tech-heads battling between each other over hours of coffee to who's makes use of a sabre DAC chip better or who's ears can tell if there is a mid-range hole they can here or not. But I suspect not!! 

Sure, the review lead Magazines to an amazing job and without them it would be a minefield trying to work out where to start, but there are plenty of places you can go, to look at and listen to products and most of us have already celebrated our 40th year. 

Use reviews as a guide 1st, then use your ears. It's totally worth it. 

**This post is not written to offend, it's an alternative view, with a lot of tongue in cheek**If any offense is caused, please blame the hangover!! 

#HarrowAudioAwards anyone?

#WhatHiFiAwards #Hifi #harrowaudio 

Dear Apple...

Even if you are a non-iPhone user I am sure you have heard the news Apple have dropped the 3.5mm Headphone Jack from the new iPhone 7. You may not be bothered about it, you may not understand the fuss, but if we look back a few years, there was a mutiny when the iPod was dropped and the same mutiny is on the rise again. 

The classic Apple device that started it all was dropped from the line up in 2014, but was it unexpected? Maybe more so than the vanishing headphone socket, those rumours have been going around for a few years, but in the same way music lovers adapted and in most cases, embraced the change. The improvements in Digital Audio Players (DAPs) have helped people migrate over to Hi-Res music in a portable package and the services of Spotify, Tidal and Deezer increased in use on Mobile devices. Storage on mobile devices has got bigger and realistically, the need for a Phone and an iPod decreased. 

So what does not having a headphone jack mean now? Alot. And not alot. Apple using music lovers will again move on and evolve but his time there are already alot of options in place to make it as easy as possible. Apple have announced they will include headphones with a lightening connector with the iphoe 7, along with an adapter to use your "old" 3.5mm headphones. You can even buy a pair of Airpods, the wireless bluetooth version of Apples own headphones. But they are £159.00 and we think you can spend alot less and get a better result. 

If you intend to purchase an iPhone 7, or indeed you are one of the lucky ones who has it already, then take a look below at all the available options to get the best out of your music. 

First up, Bluetooth Headphones.

The easiest and most convenient way of listening to music. Turn Bluetooth on within the device, press and hold a button on the headphones and you are paired! Easy, great sound quality, no wires. It doesnt get much easier than that. 

Pioneer have a range of on-ear Bluetooth headphones starting from £59.00. The SE-MJ561BT comes in Silver or Tan and has a 15hour play time (and 200 hours in standby) Lightweight and comfortable, without being a street syle headphone. Think discreet rather than show-off!! http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/pioneer-se-mj561bt

There is also the new SE-MJ771BT at £75.00 which has the advantage of touch sensitive controls on one earcup, a 32 hour battery life as well as being foldable. http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/pioneer-se-mj771bt

If you like the idea of in-ears then we have a very under-rated pair of Optoma NuForce BE6i headphones. At £99.00 you get a high quality in ear with a choice of several style ear buds, including Comply tips. Secure fit and sweat and dust proof, they are a superior option to Apple's own aipods and £60.00 less.  http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/nuforce-be6i

Higher up the headphone scale, Denon and Sennheiser both have premium models aimed at the travel market. The Denon AH-GC20 is one of the best value headphones we have ever come across.  http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/denon-ah-gc20 Noise cancelling as well as bluetooth, they are exceptionally well built and comfortable to wear. A clean, open soundstage makes for an engaging listen. 

The Momentum Wireless range of headphones share the same headband and internal electronics but come in On-Ear or Around-Era designs. Noise cancelling technology is included and the premium finish comes from Oxford leather and alacantra earpads. Available in a Black or Ivory finish they are super stylish and a pleasure to use. All our Bluetooth headphones can be seen here http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/bluetooth-headphones

One of our favourite upgrades is the AudioQuest Dragonfly. Coming in 2 different versions, the Black or Red, these 32bit DAC and Headphone amps are the size of a USB memory stick. Using the Apple camera kit (or equivalent Amazon special!) they connect directly to the lightening socket on your iPhone. Taking the digital signal from your device the Dragonfly does a high quality conversion and powers your headphones properly. At £89.00 the Dragonfly Black is powerful enough to drive any in ear headphones and small to medium sized On Ear. The Dragonfly Red at £169.00 is designed to drive larger headphones and comes with a little bit more power. They can also connect into a Laptop or Computers USB socket to allow you to listen to headphones or connect into your main system. Personally, I use a Dragonfly Black everyday on the train and it sounds massively better than the standard headphone socket. AND you get to use the headphones you already own! http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/search?q=dragonfly

Finally, Audeze are one of the market leaders in high end headphones and currently have 2 models in their range that have a lightening specific lead, the Cipher. Both employing Planar Magnetic technology, the Sine headphones are a premium made, high quality portable headphone desgned by BMW DesignWorksUSA. The Cipher lead contains a 24bit Digital Sound Processor and DAC making the audio experience exceptional. http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/audeze-sine-with-cipher-cable

The Audeze EL-8 Titanium uses the same Cipher lead and is based on the best selling EL-8 range. A slightly larger, closed back design, they are comfortable to wear and immerse you in sound. http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/audeze-el-8-titanium

It goes without saying here at Harrow Audio, we wouldn't recommend anything without being able to demonstrate the benefits to you, so all of the above solutions are available to listen in the Headphone Booth. 

 

 

Records and Rebels

We had the honour of being invited to a pre-preview of the new "You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970" exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum in collaboration with Sennheiser. 

It is an emmersive journey through 5 years of music, culture, film, war and human rights at a time where many different voices and styles where trying to be heard. 

The V&A is a beautiful setting by night and if you are in London, or are willing to make a trip there, you will find a collection of some of the most iconic images, styles and music of the late 60s. 

Once kitted out with your Sennehsier headphones and active audio guide, you can wander through the 5 areas at your own pace. We found ourselves looking at displays longer than usual, purely for the music that was playing. Walking from zone to zone the tracks change from Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, to Martin Luther King interviews, to the Doors. Its difficult to move on once you are listening to a track you like and we found ourselves reading every little plaque in sight, just to hang on to the song! 

There is a mixture of 60's Twiggy culture, to a display of classic album covers, to The Beatles and their Sergeant Peppers outfits. They have even got a replica Revolution Records store where you can flick through albums like you are browsing in the shop. 

The highlight for me was the Woodstock Area. A large open room, with Astroturf flooring and huge outdoor bean bags where you can lay down and look up at a 30min highlight reel from the legendary Woodstock festival, all displayed on 3 huge projector screens. Adorning the room is one of Kieth Moon's drumkits with Who stickers all over it, as well as some Hendrix and Townsend Guitars, or whats left of them. What makes this area so good is how you can loose yourself for half an hour without even realising. Sennehsier have done a stellar job of making you really feel like you are in the middle of the festival. They call it Ambeo 3D sound, which essentially translates into a constantly moving audio experience. Projections change between the 3 screens and the audio changes with it. Sometimes making you feel you are further away other times closer than you actually are. 

It all ends with Jimi Hendrix distorting his way through Star Spangled Banner, yet the film rarely shows him playing it, just his facial expressions and emotion. 

When I say it all ends there, the exhibiton does, but the standard walk through the gift shop is still to come! Loads and loads of cool retro prints, vinyl, badges, bags etc. 

As a bit of a suprise, Sennheiser also bought along the HE-1 and ff you havent seen it yet you have to!

10 years in the making, it is Sennheisers flagship product. The best way I can expain the HE-1 is "an occasion". You will have a ritual everytime you sit down to listen to these amazing headphones, weather it be a glass of red wine or freshly brewed coffee, the lights will be dimmed (mainly so you can see the 8 Valves glow!) and you will find yourself transported into a sound stage so detailed and open that, a bit like the Woodstock room, you will loose hours just listening. 

The HE-1 is a thing of beauty, from the solid block of Carrara marble, to the way the valves and headphone storage open automatically. It is pure theatre but with the sound to back it up. Compare it to the classic Aston Martin DB5, stunning design, and although you wont take it to work everyday, on the occasions you do drive it will be worth every second.

We took some pictures of the event which can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/HarrowAudio/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1215256018526621

And the link to the V&A exhibition can be seen here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/you-say-you-want-a-revolution-records-and-rebels-1966-70

 

 

Loan at home

Try before you buy!!

Here at Harrow Audio we try to keep our demo room as home-like as possible. We are in the lucky situation that the shop is a converted terrace house, typical in size and layout of the surrounding suburbs. Our demo room is essentially the master bedroom and mirrors the size of a living room. 

The demo room has a sofa at one end, a TV and AV Stand at the other, in front of where the chimney would be, with alcoves either side. 

It is set up like this to give as a relaxed and familiar feel as possible when we are auditioning equipment and systems to everyone. 

However, we are fully aware we cannot 100% replicate certain things and although it is very easy to hear differences between speakers or amplifiers, the finer upgrades are harder to pinpoint. 

Speaker cables for instance are difficult to assess unless they are in your own system, where you have a bit of time to relax and listen at your own pace. Smaller items like DAC's and Headphone Amps can offer huge improvements but again, the improvements are not always apparant when the other parts of the system are not familiar. 

As we always try to improve your musical enjoyment we have put together a selection of loan items. Things you can leave a deposit on and take home to try over a few days. 

Our loan speaker cables are all cut to 3m pairs and we have a selection from AudioQuest, Atlas and Dali. If you have ever said "Naaaah, cables dont make a difference" you now have the chance to prove us wrong! Ranging from £50.00 up to £500.00 we can find something to suit your system and let you try them against your current cable.

As there are many products on the market, it is often hard to make a decision, even after a good listen. So with DACs and Headphone amps we have a selection of loan units you can try at home. The IR-DAC II is the perfect example. A high quality DAC, with Bluetooth and a headphone amp is a great addition to any system. But until you get it home you might not realise how good an addition it can be! Play your TV through your Hifi, no problem. Add wireless streaming from a phone or tablet, easy. Have a dedicated Headphone output to drive your cans properly, it does that too! 

Drop in a have a look and a chat, but don't say we don't try and look after you! It is all about enjoying music and we try and make that as easy as possible. 

Loan items T&Cs: 50% deposit is required to secure a loan item. All loan items are to be returned and refund applied with a maximum of 7 working days. Refund will be applied on the day of return. If you wish to purchase an item after a loan period, then a new item will be supplied as a new sale at an agreed price. 

AK Jr software update

We have heard from a few customers about the issues your are experiencing with the software update on the Astell & Kern AK Jr. 

The AK Jr is the only Hi-Res player from Astell & Kern that doesn't auto update. The isntructions on the AK wesbite seem to be a little confusing and written in a very "computery" way! We have taken the time to update our demo AK Jr and written some simple instructions on how to do it. 

We successfully updated our demo unit and below is simple instructions on how it can be done. 

If you have any issues, please call us in the shop on 0208 930 9933 and we will try and help. If you are in any doubt about the update, then please either contact support at Astell & Kern or talk to the dealer you bought the item from. If they are a reputable Hi-fi dealer then they should be able to help. In the meantime, please see the instructions below. 

Windows version:

Click here to download the latest Astell & Kern junior firmware

http://www.iriver.com/down/file/Down/2015051915064322956.zip

Plug the Astell & Kern junior into the PC USB and select “Connect Removable Disk” on the screen

If autoplay starts, select “Open folder to view files”. Otherwise start Windows Explorer.

Windows Explorer will show something like AK Jr (E:)

Find and double click the firmware you downloaded. It will show you a file called AK_JR.hex

Drag and drop this file onto AK Jr (E:)

Right mouse click on AK Jr(E:) and eject it

Unplug the player. The player will update any music libraries and then detect and install the new firmware.

Queen by Rega

Limited edition Rega turntable designed in partnership with Queen.

Rega are proud to have been approached by legendary rock band ‘Queen’ to produce a limited edition (fully licensed) turntable to coincide with the release of their 18 piece 180g vinyl LP boxset containing all 15 hit studio albums sourced from the original master tapes mastered by Bob Ludwig and cut at Abbey Road studios.

The design of this unique custom turntable includes reproductions of classic Queen logo’s, and incorporates the tonearm technology of the multi-award-winning ‘plug and play’ Rega turntables. Both brand and band are quintessentially English and the combination of engineering and musical achievements make for a perfect match.

Click here to see the pictures

Turntable features:  

The Queen turntable is a brand new product designed specifically for ‘Queen’.

A custom designed high gloss acrylic laminated plinth silk screened with ‘Queen by Rega’ logo.

Silk screened ‘Queen crest’ platter from artwork created by Freddie Mercury.

Hand built RB101 tonearm.

Factory fitted Rega Carbon moving magnet cartridge.

Low noise low vibration 24v synchronous high performance motor.

Queen dustcover lid badge.

Optional upgrade (sold separately) is available to the handmade high performance moving magnet Rega Bias 2 cartridge.

This cartridge is designed specifically for the ‘plug and play’ RB101 tonearm mounted on the ‘Queen by Rega’ turntable.

Please note:

This item will be available to purchase from stock on the 25th September. All orders prior to this date are a Pre-Order only. Only 2000 made for worldwide market so please do not delay your Pre-Order. Any questions, please call us on 0208 930 9933