Category Archives: Information about hi-fi key brands

History, past and present of some of the most influential brands in hi-fi and home cinema

Loewe: A Brief History (Sort Of)

Siegmund Loewe with Manfred von Ardenne

Siegmund Loewe with Manfred von Ardenne

Loewe are a well established and highly regarded manufacturer of television sets and hifi products, having been designing and engineering many ground-breaking innovations for almost 100 years. While renowned world-wide for their impeccable build quality, stunning picture, immersive sound, luxurious design and overall futuristic feel; Loewe have a compelling history as an impacting force behind the development of consumer electronics industry as we know it today. This history is extensive, so I’ve tried to simple it out to some of the more impacting milestones.

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HifiGear: Chord Company Factory Visit

The Chord Company are a British manufacturer of high quality cables and interconnects, designed and engineered specifically for music enthusiasts by music enthusiasts. Chord build award-winning cables for hifi stereo systems, home theatre applications, high definition televisions/gaming, music streamers and for custom installation environments.

 

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Cameron and myself were recently invited down to the Chord factory in Salisbury, allowing us to put some faces to the names and voices we’ve befriended over telephone and email conversations, and also to get a real feel for the level of effort and care that Chord put into the design and construction of their award-winning cables.
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Integrating older Video Components into a Modern Set-up…

Chunky, heavy and often un-relliable as they aged, VHS tapes are firmly consigned to the history books…

As HD televisions become the norm, the majority of previous video formats to the Blu-ray format have all become nearly obsolete. However, as many people have built-up a collection on VHS and DVD, replacing them on Blu-ray can be an extortionate task in itself, purely due to both cost and finding the rarity titles.

HD Televisions, such as this Loewe Individual, are becoming the dominant television experience…

 

The modern-world allows for the likes of Blu-ray and streaming services to take the lead when watching films. However, most people record their own recordings onto a hard-drive recording system, assigning VHS and even DVDs to the history books. However, with a lot of people realising the cost of replacing their films on a more modern format, as well as people realising that their memories of family events are on these aging formats, the consumer is still using their previous formats in with their modern HD systems.

 

A visual comparison of DVD and Blu-ray qualities. DVD at the top, Blu-ray at the bottom…

This guide is going to look at how to incorporate these aging formats into your current set-up, enabling you to enjoy your priceless memories for a lot longer; with greater quality than before, too.

 

With obsolete formats offering rare titles, some people still choose to re-commission their original equipment…

To start with we must remember that a modern television system will primarily consist of digital components. For example, a new television will consist of digital technology inside, just like a DVD or a Blu-ray player would, too. A VHS system is analogue, and, therefore, consists of technology from yester-year. It doesn’t mean that both new and old equipment will be incompatible, but it means things will run slightly differently to an exclusively all-digital system. Primarily, a digital television will process an analogue feed differently: the digital system will process that signal in time, at that time; an analogue format is originally a constant processed picture. As it’s originally a constant feed, digital will break the picture into individual segments, thus causing an occasional jitter of movement on the screen. To help to resolve this, a good quality Scart lead, such as QED’s Profile Scart, will help to reduce this problem by giving a faster signal transport from the video to the receiving equipment.

 

The traditional scart lead offers greater quality than the original coaxial or single video cables…

Now a good connection has been established, and to improve signal clarity further, ensuring the VHS’ heads are cleaned and in good condition will help to refine the picture; ensuring the picture is sharp will help with any time jitter or lagging as it’s a purer picture to process for the end result on the television screen. Also, look at adjusting the head’s tracking when watching the video to get an even more defined picture.

 

Laserdisc was the start of the digital video revolution – albeit a little flawed on price and convenience…

If you wish to re-commission an older digital video system, such as a lazer-disc player, it’s a similar principle than that of VHS. Using a good quality lead will help to transfer the signals of the player to the receiving equipment with better results overall. However, ensure that your discs are clean, too. Fingerprints and grease can stop the disc from being read at a more efficient rate. Try using Milty’s range of disc cleaners which is suitable for all digital discs, including DVD, Blu-ray, CD, Super Audio CD and Lazerdisc.

 

Milty’s Disc Cleaning solutions…

If you are re-commissioning older video equipment, be sure to follow the above, and you’ll enjoy your previous video collections at a higher rate of quality that your probably ever did before.

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A Guide to a Clean Machine and Clean CDs & Records…

Dust can be a system’s worst nightmare…

 

With extensive use and various locations to work in, Hi-Fi and Home Cinema components are subjected to an array of varying working environments. However, although most systems are equipped to work in various locations, some tend to suffer if they’ve been subjected to dust and conditions which boast of extreme temperature changes. Although some systems are more susceptible than others in such conditions, taking care for the cleanliness of your components will enhance performance by running to their best of abilities.

 

If there is one thing that presents a problem in any scenario, it’s most likely to be dust. This system killer doesn’t help things as dust can bake itself onto components that produce significant heat, i.e. transformers. As well as dust on heat producing components, it can also embed itself onto printed circuit boards, hampering the original performance factors by reducing efficiency and the fluidity of electrical signals passing around the component’s circuitry. The best way to deal with dust is to use a lint-free cloth, or a micro-fibre cloth, to dust the components’ cabinets without the risk of damaging the cabinets aesthetically. However, for internal dust, it could be worth bringing your component to us for a professional hand for de-dusting and for ensuring the internal components are free from any damage. Most systems present the problem of dust by attracting it due to the heat that they produce. However, if the dust is too extensive, and requires a professional service, we can offer such facilities by taking off the cover and cleaning the internal components by using tools that prevent static charges (which can be notorious for ruining a system’s printed circuit board) and any risks of physical damage in the process.

 

As well as the problem of internal dust and debris the outside of the unit can also be susceptible to everyday contact, such as moisture and natural grease from hands. This is particularly noticeable on speakers which have a gloss-black finish. In such incidences, using a smooth, lint-free cloth will help to erase any aesthetic marks from view.

 

As your Hi-Fi system ages, little things can make an effect on the overall sound performance. For example, switches can attract dust which becomes pushed into the machine when they are used every time. However, a lot of people tend to notice this when they’re using a traditional volume control which rotates. A crackle sound is often audible when rotating the control, which often can lead to damaging speakers if it becomes too much of an excessive problem. In this scenario a switch cleaner is ideal. We sell Blue Horizon Contact Cleaner; an ideal solution to eliminate the irritating sound of volume and switch crackle. This simple and cost-effective solution works by braking down the dust and debris which is found on the contact of the switches. Although it’s a fluid, it is totally safe to use due to its properties which don’t promote any influences from electrical charges.

 

Ideal for making switches and controls smooth again…

Televisions are magnets for dust! This is because they tend to attract particles when they’re in operation and when they’re generating heat or a slight static charge. As well as this, other environmental factors tend to cause a screen to develop blemishes, mainly when a user touches the screen’s surface. We sell appropriate kits to get rid of the marks and fingerprints, of which employs a dry/wet system to help prevent smears and visible cleaning marks.

 

Milty’s Screen Cleaning Kit…

If you love your CDs and vinyl, it is certainly worth keeping them clean by using the appropriate cleaners to eliminate dust and other ruining factors, such as the unsuspecting finger mark and smudges. Apart from the conventional CD and record brushes, we also offer fluid options on sale for greater cleanliness and enhanced preservation qualities.

 

Milty’s Disc Cleaning Kit is ideal for cleaning DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs…

Vinyl records tend to build-up a static charge when they accumulate dust, or from their time in storage between plays. It often leaves an audible ‘crackle and pop’ sound when playing records with quiet passages. We sell such products to help and eliminate (as much as audibly possible) these static charges. Such items include record sleeves which give a neutral static state for records in storage, whilst we also sell fully-fledged record baths: these give records a deep fluid clean to remove dirt and debris that has been embedded into the record’s surface over time.

 

The Spin Clean is an ideal machine to get rid of dirt and grime from your records…

Remember, if you keep your system and your music clean, it will always be sounding mean!

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Standing Out in the Crowd: a guide to Hi-Fi & Home Cinema Furniture

Hi-Fi and Home Cinema systems can often be a centre point for many people within their homes. However, and in contrast, some people also wish to keep their audio components away from sight in discreet locations. But, in order to make sure your components are seated safely, a look into stands, racks and other related Hi-Fi furniture is an essential.

Atacama’s Elara 500 Hi-Fi Rack

Most audio components require a substantial placement to take the item’s weight, and also to improve audio quality by allowing the components to receive natural airflow and to also stop any resonance moving throughout the entire system; resonance is caused by motorised components that cause other components to lose stability and their edge of accuracy. Of course, a substantial sideboard could be seen to have the ability to hold your equipment with no problems; but we are able to sell specially designed equipment racks and stands to accommodate your audio equipment to the highest of standards.

If you are looking for a suitable Hi-Fi racking system, think about research beforehand. For example, consider how many spaces or shelves you require, how much space there is to accommodate the rack or shelving unit and, finally, how will it blend to your room’s décor?  An array of stands can be made-to-order to get correct and precise materials or colours matched. However, many existing stands are already available in a wide-range of suitable and varying colours for your own choice. See below for what type of racks and stands are available.

Hi-Fi Racks:

A Hi-Fi rack is designed to hold your equipment efficiently and safely, whilst offering your easy access and offering your equipment to be isolated from vibrations (from motorised equipment; cassette decks, CD players and turntables). And, as well as isolating and securely holding equipment, a well-designed Hi-Fi rack will promote your components to breath and cool effectively when they are operating. Click here for a look at Hi-Fi equipment racks.

Optimum’s intriguing G4TT Hi-Fi Rack

Speaker Stands:

Speaker stands are designed for bookshelf speakers to be used in other situations than their name suggests: away from a bookshelf. Speaker stands give all bookshelf speakers the opportunity to work as if they were floor-standing speakers. There are many varying manufacturers whom are accustomed to making various models of stands to fulfil many jobs in various locations. Heights and widths are optional to offer suitable support at height levels to match you, as the listener, when seated, or even when standing.

Speakers move the air to create vibrations – these are sound-waves. But, however, speakers can also vibrate the floors and shelves on which they are seated. Hi-Fi speaker stands are designed to reduce they effect of speakers vibrating other furniture in the room, as well as isolating vibrations between the speaker cabinets and the floor. A speaker stand will promote a more efficient use of the speaker because this will help the components of the speaker to vibrate only the air for waves to travel, as opposed to audible energy being lost through vibrating the floor or any other furniture in the same room. Some stands are fillable with special sand to minimise and isolate even further. In essence, a speaker stand will help to minimalize vibrations which can cause a negative effect on the overall sound which you will experience. Click here to look at speaker stand on our website.

Atacama’s HMS 2 Speaker Stands

AV & Home Cinema Stands:

Home Cinema racks and stands are designed to improve both picture and sound quality of your system. Although this may seem hard to believe, it’s a well-known fact that televisions work better on a well-designed stand as they are very susceptible to environments that contain constant movement. AV racks are ideal for housing all of your home entertainment goods in one solid, conventional and suitable piece of furniture. But, for your convenience, a Home Cinema rack and television stand will help to keep your delicate equipment in one place for easy access, with the option of hiding your equipment and associated media contents from view behind optional doors and glass enclosures. Again, isolation from vibrations and movement helps to increase performance, whilst helping to allow the equipment in your set-up to operate with correct airflow for easier cooling. Click here for AV & Home Cinema stands.

Spectral presents their ultimate AV Rack; The Spectral Closed CL1562

Due to the ranges of racks and stands available, please feel free to browse our website for further information and specific brands and their models which are dedicated to supporting your speakers, AV and Hi-Fi alike. Please be aware that some items are made to order on occasions. Call us for further information on: 01432 354921

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