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ways to stay warm

You'd be hard pressed to find a better way than staying home and enjoying a bit of kick-back time with good music, company and maybe a little toddy or two. 

In between feeding some very hungry and pregnant  herefords we've been busy beavering away at the shop - it's been a surprisingly busy couple of months with some significant new arrivals and additions to the range.

What has become obvious is that the pace of improvement is not slowing - there are plenty of great new components coming though that offer you both performance and value. It's the perfect time to look at improving your system, so why not investigate the new options we now have for you?

speaking of which

Choosing the right loudspeakers can really make your system shine. They are the biggest part of your system in terms of visibility, and given the build quality of modern loudspeakers, are highly likely to be resident in your room for many years to come. Which makes it all the more important to have something that sounds as good as it looks and visa versa. As you'll know, we prefer to deal with brands that are both distinctive and sound great.

It's time for a fresh look at Monitor Audio - you'll be surprised, not just by the performance, but also by the affordability, the number of options and quality of finish. The new Gold GX range are some of the finest sounding loudspeakers we have heard at any price - and the completely revised Bronze BX range is cleaning up the awards in the cost conscious UK press. We’re always looking for ways to bring you better sound and value - click here  to find out  how you can team the new Monitor Audio speakers up and build a killer system for just $1300.

step onto the red carpet

Why is the Cambridge 751BD the last disc player you’ll ever need to buy? Multi tasking and over performing, the latest player from Cambridge deals with every disc format known to man and does a spectacular job with all of them. The home cinema side is comprehensively dealt with - BluRay and DVD come to life on the screen and surround sound performance is faultless.

It's film festival time in Dunedin right now and audiences have been treated to a refurbished Regent theatre and what is reputed to be the best projection system and operator in the country. Seeing films this way makes us doubly critical of much home cinema - but it also makes it obvious just what difference superior picture quality makes, so if you are going to watch movies at home, let's do it right. Cambridge certainly do.

What really sets the 751BD above every other multi-format player is the audio performance - Cambridge have gone to town and  employed 5 high performance Wolfsen DACs where others would use just one or two. With the Pure Audio mode activated, the Cambridge player is a seriously musical proposition, with both CD and higher resolution formats. Our introduction only hints at all this machine can do for you so click here to learn much, much more.

is this the perfect wireless speaker?

Sonos Play3 Wireless speaker system. The new Play3 (NZ$700) makes Sonos the affordable wireless streaming system for everyone. Essentially a more compact and simplified version of the shelf mount S5 speaker system, the Play3 can tuck anywhere and has all the features that make Sonos the perfect choice for New Zealand homes.

Combined with the launch of the Play3 (and clearly working on the basis that they really want to make it easy to get into) Sonos have more than halved the price of the little ZoneBridge base station to just $130. This is the one little bit you need to transmit music from a computer anywhere in your house to the Play3. Put these two bits together and you can have Sonos up and running for just NZ$830 inclusive of GST. You could spend more than that just trying to get speaker cable to another room!

The Play3 is a great way to extend existing Sonos systems - it's perfect for smaller rooms like studies or bedside tables. You can move it around really easily and given the price, it might just be the perfect thing to keep the kids quiet. Or not. Anyway, they are just fresh in stock, come in both white and black finishes and sound seriously good. More on all the Sonos options here.

analogue news

The Well Tempered Power supply is here. It's a worthwhile upgrade for the performance of any Well Tempered Amadeus or Simplex providing a more stable and clean current to drive the motor which in turn will make these turntables sound even better. Another rather nice touch are the additional outputs - one intended to power the Dynavector P75 (mk1 & 2) phono stage allowing it to also perform at a higher level. At just on $NZ600 this is a bit of a no-brainer for any Well Tempered owner. Compared to the extortionate prices charged by other high end turntable manufacturers for such devices, Well Tempered have again proved they place music ahead of commerce - we like that.

Dynavector DV20X MK2 moving coil cartridges. These came in a few months ago but almost slipped under the radar. The DV20X is the second step up the Dynavector range of Moving Coil cartridges - it is characterized by a big lush rich sound. But doesn't give anything away in terms of detail or soundstage. It makes just about every type of music sound better and is completely forgiving. The DV20XL or XH Mk2 also comes in both high and low output versions - if you have a good phono stage low is the best option. Suffice to say, this is our cartridge of choice and we really think that you'd just love it. NZ$1130 or just $900 if you have your old DV20X to trade in.

Pro-Ject Essential/Phono USB turntable. Shamelessly appropriating the best ideas of other turntable designers and applying them with unparalleled rat cunning, Project again redefine the entry level turntable - the new Essential model employs a motor driving a long silicon belt driving around the outside of the platter giving improved speed stability and ease of use when changing speed. The Uni-Pivot tone arm mimics units costing many times more than the entire turntable and delivers much better sound from the included Ortofon OM3 cartridge.

These things alone would be enough to make the Pro-Ject Essential the best sounding option at its price. But the addition of a USB and phono amplifier takes the value for money equation up another level again. Ignoring the USB capability for the moment, the new Pro-Ject connects directly to any amplifier and does not require an inbuilt or external phono stage. So it will run with any system such as the fantastic little NuForce amplifiers.The digitized feed out via USB allows you to make quality recordings from your vinyl to computer for replay on your iPod or anything else you'd like to listen on.

The sound quality of the Pro-Ject is remarkable for the price - open and detailed, and for once we can say, completely uncompromised by the features it includes. In fact we suspect the inbuilt phono stage is better than that in many amplifiers and this alone makes it fantastic value. All the boxes are ticked and at just NZ$699 inclusive, we can’t see anything else that comes close. Find out more here.

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