Sound & Vision 2018 – The Bristol Show

If there’s one thing to wrestle us from the humdrum of the post-Christmas season, it’s the annual Bristol Sound & Vision Show.

Held in the Marriott Hotel in the city centre, the Sound & Vision Show is now in its 31st year and sees hi-fi enthusiasts flock from all over the country to check out new and existing products from over 200 brands. Want to get advice on any potential purchases? No problem! Want to enter a competition to win lots of lovely hi-fi gear? Go for it! The Sound and Vision show caters for all classes of audiophiles so we highly suggest popping your head in to check it out.

So, what caught our eye this year? Read on to see our picks of what was on show…

New Arcam Amplifiers and CD Player

Arcam SA10 amplifier

You can be sure it won’t be an easy task replacing the current FMJ range but that’s exactly what Arcam will be looking to do with these new products. The new series sees a design overhaul with the units taking on a similar aesthetic to their all-in-one system, the Solo Music. The SA10 and SA20 amplifiers look to replace the current A19 and A29 models, with the former producing 50 watts per channel and the latter 80 watts per channel. Both models will feature 5 analogue inputs (with a switchable Moving Magnet phono stage) as well as 2 optical and 1 digital coaxial inputs. The amps contain ESS Sabre DACs ,with the SA20 using the same 9038 reference DAC as the company’s irDAC 2 unit.

The CDS50 follows the CDS27 in being a CD player/streamer but will also have optical and digital coaxial inputs to act as a DAC for other sources and like the SA20, will have the ESS Sabre 9038 reference DAC. Arcam look to release the new units in the coming months and all three units will utilise a new, backlit remote and the option of control via Arcam’s MusicLife app on iOS devices.

Monitor Audio Monitor Series

Monitor Audio Monitor 200 (left) and Monitor 50

Only just recently released, the seemingly infallible Monitor Audio have revitalised their budget range of speakers with the Monitor Series. The new series comprises the Monitor 50  and Monitor 100 bookshelf speakers, the Monitor 200 and Monitor 300 floorstanders, the Monitor C150 centre speaker and Monitor MRW10 subwoofer. They’re certainly pretty striking with unique 13cm and 16cm orange drivers in all the units (apart from the subwoofer) as well as making use of 25mm C-CAM dome tweeters. If the award-winning Bronze and Silver range are anything to go by, the Monitor range should offer fantastic value for money. All of the speakers are available in black, walnut and white (my personal favourite) finishes and are available now for purchase in all Richer Sounds stores.

Project Debut 3 S Audiophile

Project Debut 3 S Audiophile turntable

Although a company like Project hardly need an introduction to hi-fi enthusiasts, the company has a strong reputation for superb record decks that gain critical acclaim from the budget end to their flagship models. The belt-driven Debut 3 S Audiophile sees Project utilise an exclusive Ortofon cartridge and is the first deck in the Debut range to feature an S-shaped tone arm (as previously seen on their RPM1 Carbon and 2 Xperience SB models). New aluminium feet keep the deck rock steady and the dust cover and gloss plinth have a fresh new logo to mark the occasion of the company opening its new headquarters at the end of last year. Given it’s projected price point, it’s facing some stiff competition but having listened to it in person at the show it should be a corker.

Author: Steve, Bristol store

Honorable Mentions…

Chord Company for having fantastic Star Wars helmets for displaying their headphones.

Optoma for flying the “Visual” flag with their 4K projectors amongst a sea of “Audio” manufacturers.

Atlas for hand-cutting and stripping cables for people on demand.