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Discussion in 'audio' started by graystoke4, Oct 9, 2022.

  1. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member

    KERR Acoustic
    Kerr Acoustic


    national audio show birmingham 2017 !

    I've mixed reports on Kerr.
    The conversation goes likes this:
    Jes: 'I remember you from the 2017 show, held in Birmingham'
    Me: 'Yes, we played 'stir it up' then and it sounded a bit harsh'
    Jes: 'Track has a harsh sound to it - enacts sound'
    Me: 'It sounds less harsh now what have you done'
    Jes: 'Shows me his new tweaked, simpler crossover'
    Me: (feeling frustrated) 'but why don't your speakers image?' - front row is really bad, still a little harsh, but minimal integration to the sound.
    Jes: 'They do image, try sitting on the back row'
    Me: (now sitting on the back row) 'yes that's better', mmm, listen for a while 'speakers aren't quite toed in evenly?'
    Jes: 'We set it all up earlier, and measured it, its correct'
    Me: Thinking now - ok so you've set up a room, where the whole of the front row sounds appalling, yet the back row actually sounds potentially very good.

    5 years ago I heard Jes Kerr's speakers and they were highly anticipated, Jes being a younger designer/builder with a good university audio pedigree. He was unhappy back then at not getting the levels of bass he wanted, I felt the speakers upper mid was a little harsh. I think we both didn't agree with each other, i.e. I felt they had enough bass and he felt they weren't harsh. Be that as it may.

    5 years later Jes has the bass he needs, and speakers are less harsh - he needs to back himself more - forget having a small room. Believe in yourself and spend top money on a big(er) room - your speakers 'potentially' deserve it.
    Do NOT have any seats that cause your speakers to sound bad (i.e. front row). It's clear these transmission lines can sound great, but equally can be fussy (front row V. back row experience)- respect this and limit the seating you have.

    If you have issues filling a bigger room - bring loads of ready-made speakers and line them up down the side, or even part built - so we can see inside the transmission labyrinth.
    Have a crazy good show price and see if any are sold on the weekend...
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    brian2957, Paul L and Salamander like this.
  2. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member

    Can't remember this room,

    Didn't think much to the sound (or maybe I was still a bit frustrated from the Kerr room and so couldn't give it a fair chance)

    This is another example of: Ok great, another room; but who are you; what is your product; what are your supporting products that aren't yours but you still need them to play music; and what's the price range?
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    Paul L and Salamander like this.
  3. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member



    If you have £2k or less, this is the room, this was great. Great imaging, timing, no harshness, held it togeher.
    -1 for not having a cd player so no bob marley.


    Very lounge friendly from a look as well.

    I think Monopulse is an overlooked brand, not sure why, they could be the ideal hifi brand for those unsure about hifi?
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    hifinutt and Salamander like this.
  4. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member


    Time for some fresh air (sometimes you think a hifi show might be a covid superspreader!)



    Nice Classic Defender - parked in the overflow car park.
    Using this overflow is a year highlight special for the village of Staverton - it's only this hifi show which causes so much traffic to require use of this overflow car park!
    This raises the interesting point that although we all know hifi is a small industry. When it comes together for a show it genuinely causes 'record breaking' amounts of interest.

    The number of supercars / interesting cars that attended is worthy of a thread by itself.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    Ben&Ted and Salamander like this.
  5. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member

    EMILEN Audio
    Emilen Audio – Sound Engineering

    Top room for us, pretty much a perfect setup (bar no cd player). But hey we are talking £50k here.

    That's the boss guy. Based in Woodfood Halse, Northants :)



    We listened to Lou Reed: Perfect Day, Walk on the Wild side, Satellite of Love.
    Those three combined with a Foxes mint and a sofa - wow what a setup. Why do all the other rooms have annoying swivel chairs...

    It's believed that Emilen have the best sounding room - and I'm convinced the downstairs rooms generally sounded better.
    Good pick for them
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    chris@panteg, hifinutt and Salamander like this.
  6. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    Salamander likes this.
  7. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member

    3 Square Audio + Wire on Wire

    Ayal Loudspeakers - this was my favourite room, that we ranked 2nd overall. Difficult to photo with the sun shining.
    This is Stuart Dunn - designer behind the speakers - he is really humble guy.
    Chuck any criticism of his speakers and he takes it very gracefully.

    I can't believe they cost south of £2k for something this good.
    3 Square Audio Ayal Loudspeakers | Hifi Pig

    We played loads of tracks - which is a sign of a good room - just disappointed there wasn't a queue out of the door!
    Bob Marley - Stir It up
    The Love Unlimited Orchestra - Love's Theme
    Rachmaninoff Piano Piece (full on complex track)
    PPK - Resurrection
    Ocean lab - Sirens of the Sea

    Only thing it lacked was deep bass - obvious and 3d imaging (which no room got near, one of the harder things to achieve in hifi)

    It was so impressive the way it held onto complex music, nothing offensive, stable image/soundstage.


    Best Stereo Speakers | 3 Square Audio | England

    These widgets made a difference - Wire on Wire
    Tunable hifi audio cables, interconnects and speaker cables | Wire on Wire
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    hifinutt and Salamander like this.
  8. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member

    Nene Valley Audio (NVA)
    UK hi-fi manufacturers | Hi-Fi that is still made in the UK – nva-hifi (
    Just wish they were still located in the Nene Valley...

    Two guys running the room - were a proper laugh, made for a relaxed room. We need more skip hifi...see below ;)

    Had the SKIP, yes found in a SKIP - Doc Mod B&W's playing
    Difficult to photo the black front - and the black doping
    They just sounded 'okay' nothing great, nothing bad, just ok.
    Doc Mod Drivers - HiFi Subjectivist ¦ Audio Forum ¦ NVA User Group



    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    Salamander likes this.
  9. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member

    Art Audio, not to be confused with one of my favourite speaker manufacturer's ART (based in Troon)

    To confuse things further Art Audio owner/boss guy speaks in a scottish accent. Ah well, the joy of the hifi industry, why does every company have a similar name to the next...


    This was one of the those rooms, where you were thinking, so what product do you sell then?
    They do valve amps - not speakers.

    Although the speakers here are custom Scanspeak/ATC speakers.

    How did it sound - nothing nasty or offensive, but equally nothing special. However I reckon for a small syndicate room, these are too big a speaker.

    No cd player - so no Bob.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    Salamander likes this.
  10. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member


    ProAc Loudspeakers, loudspeakers hand- crafted in the UK (

    A great company and Northants based - always a winner.
    Unfortunately, the sound was terrible - upper mid / treble way too harsh, so bad I didn't want them to play 'stir it up'.
    None of us wanted to stay in the room.

    Thankfully they probably had the best presented room, with all the Stuart Tyler history, and I hope his tribute talk went well.

    Set up playing:

    Current range

    Time for some loudspeaker history!
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    Salamander likes this.
  11. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member

    Audio Note

    Can't remember what this room sounded like (maybe I was still reeling from the Proac room)

    I know Audio Note have a big reputation.
    Salamander likes this.
  12. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
  13. Joe Hart

    Joe Hart pfm Member

    Overall my top three rooms are:
    1: Emilen Audio
    2: 3 Square Audio - Ayals (with Wire on Wire cables)
    3: Falcon Acoustic room / icOn passive pre room

    Worst room:
    ProAc closely followed by Lowther.

    Best budget room:

    Notable mention.
    Russell K - great chap and really think he has something good going with his speakers.

    Most frustrated room.
    Kerr Acoustic - front row seats horrific, back row not bad - potential to be very good.

    Generally, the hotel is great location.
    Price at £10 for advance day ticket - yes, great price.

    Improvements for next time:
    More sweets, chocs in each room.
    More water fountains
    More comfy chairs - arm chairs
    Allow the vendors to come earlier, there should be no sat AM, oh no it doesn't work, where are the mains cables etc.
    Clear signing for the overflow car park.

    I personally think, every vendor should have a CD player, so that I can play my track, on your system.
    I get it, if you are selling record decks you wouldn't bring a CD player, but if not please pack a CD player. Otherwise it's not a fair test.

    Generally, it's hard to know what product is being showed, versus the support products.
    Also, it's difficult to always know if the person running the room is the designer, owner etc.

    I only visited the rooms photo'd here, there were easily 25% maybe more that I didn't get into. Some because they were packed - which probably means they were good.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    Ben&Ted, Paul L, Cato and 2 others like this.
  14. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    OMG! At least you can see what you're getting for your £3600...
  15. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    I went and met up with a few friends on the Saturday. Actually quite a nice show and good to meet up with some industry friends too. A couple of interesting new products on the analogue front, but don't expect to be blown away by any sounds there. Most of the rooms sounded pretty poor to be honest. The Pro-Ac room sounded OK, as did the Kerr room when I was in there. The Kudos/Naim room showed some promise, as did the Art Audio Room. When you consider what some of this equipment costs, I just don't get why the sound in the rooms isn't more realistic...

    Highlight of the day: driving on the A361 to the show and back from Banbury. Great driving road...

    P.S. It was a good job it didn't rain over the weekend, otherwise the local farmer would have had a field day pulling visitors cars out of that field!
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    IWC Doppel and chris@panteg like this.
  16. RoA

    RoA pfm Member

    Show sound ... . Just shows, no pun intended, it is nigh on impossible to get it right. The ProAc room mentioned being one example. Aside from personal preferences, seating is rarely optimal unless you sit somewhere in or close to the 'sweet spot'. Exhibitors often play unfamiliar music, rooms are mostly suboptimal.

    Perhaps they should use more room correction software even though that will only address one issue partly and I can see the Triode Purist brigade baulk at the thought.
  17. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Thank you for the interesting reports.
    Joe Hart likes this.
  18. RBrinsdon

    RBrinsdon pfm Member

    Thanks for the photos and brief but informative notes.
    I heard all that I intended to hear/see (mainly Amphion + Hegel) and spent a lot of time in that room also MAX room sounded as good as expected.
    As someone mentioned, the offer of the show, also in my view, was the Icon valve amp and speaker combo for around £2k and it did sound great with those Cornwalls too although my listening area would need to be stripped of furniture and TV etc which would not be universally welcomed.

    Does anyone know he brand of rack used in the Alphason room?
  19. Paul R

    Paul R pfm Member

    Try the A423 Banbury-Southam next time. Not even too far out of the way...
    G T Audio likes this.
  20. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Pleased to see ProAc still a going concern, I feared the death of Stuart Tyler would be the end. What are the electronics they were using? Tyler was always using either vast amounts of Audio Research valves or Sugden Masterclass whenever I saw them at shows, which is a very long time ago now. Always sounded decent though the bigger speakers could struggle and sound overblown in a little hotel room. I've no idea how one would make ProAc sound harsh, that would really take some doing IME. I’ve always really liked their little speakers, especially the 1SC. I’ve owned a couple of pairs of Tablettes of different eras.
    Joe Hart likes this.

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