Category Archives: Hi-Fi and home cinema resources

Key suppliers, shows, magazines and media in the hi-fi and home cinema industry.

Hifi Gear’s Guide To Sonos (Updated 2020)

Hifi Gear’s Guide To Sonos?

It’s been a good 6 years since we’ve last did a blog about Sonos, not too much has changed over the course of those years, only with mobile app tweaks, newly announced products and revamped designs for cetain products. You will see the usage of the Play:3 used in this blog post, please note that yes, it has now been discontinued, but there still is a wide audience that still uses this product so it has been used in some examples.

Maybe you’ve seen it on the TV, in a magazine or just caught a glimpse of it in a store or at a friend’s house, and now you’re looking to find out a little more as to what Sonos exactly is and what it offers.

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Creek Audio 100CD USB Driver Software (Now Discontinued)

Creek Evolution 100CD & 100P
Creek Evolution 100CD & 100P

Connecting to the Creek Evolution 100CD via a PC requires additional (ASIO) driver software to be installed and potentially a USB2 driver if the PC you are using hasn’t already got one. A Mac computer running OSX won’t need any additional drivers.

Drivers for Windows-based computers can be downloaded via the links below:]

Evolution 100CD USB Driver

Evolution 100CD SaviAudio Driver

If you require help installing this software, an installation guide can be found via the following link:

Creek USB Driver Installation Guide

Creek Evolution 100CD
Creek Evolution 100CD

Who is Creek Audio?

Creek Audio is a British based and family-run hifi component manufacturer, boasting over three decades worth of history and professional experience. Creek Audio began in the back bedroom of the family’s home, and now reaches all corners of the globe thanks to their well-built distribution network. Creek Audio retain a common design philosophy with every product, and claim that the company was founded entirely on the same three principles; Sound Quality, Build Quality and Honest Pricing. These elements are found within every model of their current catalogue, as well as past models, giving Creek Audio a revered and well-respected name within the hi-fi industry.

Products mentioned

Creek Audio Evolution 100CD

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Setting Up Your Bowers & Wilkins Formation Products (Duo)

Bowers & Wilkins have changed the game when it comes to Wireless Audio, this is their newest range called “Formation” and trust me when I say, it’s truly something else. I shall give you a brief overview before we dig into the setting up of the Duo.  The Formation Range consists of five different products; Formation Duo, Wedge, Bar, Bass and Audio.

Formation Duo – The first Wireless Speaker System that will provide the listener wired fidelity experience. The Duo features the incredible Continuum Cone Technology found on their 800 Series.

Formation Wedge – Fill any room in your home with the spectacular high-resolution 96/24 bit stereo sound. Bowers has given the Wedge a unique 120-degree casing, a full range of stereo components and obviously adding their new Formation Wireless Technology

Formation Bar – Experience an outstanding yet truly immersive audio and video experience with this remarkable soundbar featuring 9 optimised drive units and a dedicated centre channel to make you constantly feel like you’re smack-bang in the middle of all the action

Formation Audio – Stream music in 96/24 bit high-resolution sound to your passive system or to your passive system or turn most passive components into part of a Formation multi-room audio system.

Formation Bass – Add a new dimension of a breath-taking sounding bass to your music and movies with Bowers’ opposed dual driver technology and Dynamic EQ. Like all other Formation Products, you can pair them all up to achieve the ultimate audio immersion.

Combine all these together to experience the highest-quality, wireless home setup. Not only do these sound incredible, but they also look the part too, effortlessly blending in with any sort of environment in your house. Right, let us get started on how to set up your Formation products.

Let’s get started:

Firstly you will need to head on over to your app store and download ‘Bowers Home’ (Download them here – Apple / Android) Once downloaded you will be greeted with this screen. It’s technically searching for devices that are currently set up, but as you will have none, nothing will appear.

After a few seconds, you will have this screen, as it couldn’t find any Formation products, the option to ‘Add Formation product’ will appear at the bottom, select that option to get this set up started.

Once pressed, you will have to make sure that your Formation products are plugged into the mains before entering the next step. This will automatically pick up the box you have plugged in.

For our instance, we had the Duo’s and the Bass set up, so it picked up both but for this tutorial, I will be selecting the Duo, note it will say ‘Two speakers found’ your left and right speaker. Select ‘Formation Duo’ to advanced to the next step.

Once advanced, you will be asked to ‘Name your Space’ You can either choose from the default selections Bowers & Wilkins provide or you can create your own custom space; for our case, I went with the custom space to make it easier for the stores benefit.

When selecting custom space, you have the freedom to name it to what you desire. For example, you can name it ‘Speaker’ or ‘Room 1’

For our set up, I named it ‘Formation Duo’ as we have multiple Formation products set up around the shop and it is a bit more convenient when it comes to demonstrating.

When positioning the speakers, take note of which one you want to be left and right as they aren’t labelled. What we did was stick L and R on a sticky note and put it on the plug just so we know which is which when it comes to moving the speakers around.

Press the little Formation logo on the Duo to get this one set up as the left speaker, one pressed your screen will advance to the next step.

This is what you will be directed to once you’ve pressed the Formation logo on the Duo, what happens now is that it will search for your Wifi, it may take a couple of seconds to pick up your own Wifi Router.

Once your Wifi appears, selected it and it will prompt you to enter your password.

Once entered your password correctly, the Duo will now connect to your Wifi, please note this may take a few moments as its the first time the Duo is being set up.

Once synced, you will have to pair the right speaker up, so also press the Formation Logo on the Right Duo to start up the sync progress once again.

You will be redirected back to the same sync page as you were when setting up the left Duo, but this time you won’t be asked to connect to your Wifi as it’s already paired up to the left Duo.

Once this process has finished, you are then set up on the Duo’s, giving you access to Spotify Connect, Roon, Airplay and Bluetooth.

Boom, that’s it, you’re ready to go. There’s a lot of competition in the market for wireless audio, for the likes of Sonos, HEOS, Ruark and Naim. I feel that they all have their own unique differences and obviously, people have a different taste when it comes to sound. For Bowers and Wilkins, I feel like the technology used to put together this Formation Range is on the next level, not only with the technology but with the sound quality as well. A direct competitor for this will be the KEF LS50 Wireless which is also an exceptionally brilliant speaker, but who has the edge? That’s all down to a personal standpoint but we personally love them both.

The easy part about setting up any Formation product is that it is dead simple to do, once you have set one up, setting up the others is pretty much identical to setting up the Duos. From personal experience, I found it very easy to navigate through the steps to get all of the foundation range set up. I will be writing a new blog post soon on my initial thoughts and opinions on the entire Formation range. I hope this helps!

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Hifi Gear on YouTube

At Hifi Gear we have recently relaunched into the world of YouTube.

We have seen a number of newly released products from several of the brands we supply via our Hereford store and our online store. As these new products have been arriving for demo stock in store, we have taken the opportunity to record the unboxing of these products as a few of our customers had made enquiries about this type of content in the past.

We have seen a number of subscribers to the channel already and the videos are gaining quite a number of views which has helped push us to record more content for the channel. You can check out products such as the new Naim Uniti series, the Uniti Star and Uniti Nova proving popular, as has the Rega P8 turntable. We have been filming the unboxing of anything from turntables to Ruark radios, headphone amplifiers and DACS such as the Chord Electronics 2Qute.

You can check out our new YouTube channel here:
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Free KEF M400 Headphones When You Buy KEF Speakers (Now Finished)

KEF Sound on the Move

m400-finishes-logo

Our gift to you – FREE KEF M400 hi-fi headphones worth £130 when you choose KEF *

Want to get your hands on your very own brand-new KEF M400 hi-fi headphones worth £130?

Simply mention the offer to our team when making your KEF purchase and these seriously stylish headphones will be yours!

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ProJect VTE-BT + Ruark Audio MR1 (Mk 2) Bluetooth Vinyl System Start-Up Guide

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The VT-E vertical Bluetooth turntable is the first of its kind, at least that we’ve seen, to offer such an optimal level of functionality and still retain a brilliant sound quality. When combined with the Ruark Audio MR1 Mk 2 loudspeakers, the result is a highly innovative, high-fidelity vinyl player with minimal cabling and a really compact profile. This guide seeks to help simplify the process of pairing your VT-E BT turntable and Ruark MR1 Mk2 speakers together for wireless playback. The ProJect VT-E BT Turntable and Ruark Audio MR1 Mk 2 is available from our website as a complete set order package.

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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 worldwide for their impeccable build quality, stunning picture, immersive sound, luxurious design and overall futuristic feel; Loewe has 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 simplify it out to some of the more impacting milestones.

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What Are MM and MC Phono Cartridges?

ortofon-2m-black-moving-magnet-cartridge-[3]-1829-p

A Moving Magnet phono cartridge is comprised of a tiny magnet, located at the end of the cantilever of the stylus that sits between two coils. One coil caters to the left aspect of the music, while the other is for the right – this allows for the stereo sound. This magnet vibrates between the two coils and induces a small electrical current within them in the process. Because the magnet is so small, it needs less tracking/downward force to correctly manoeuvre between the grooves of a vinyl record. A Moving Iron cartridge makes use of essentially the same construction, but swaps the magnet for a tiny piece of iron or other light-weight and ferrous alloy. The iron is lighter and so reduces the necessary tracking force even further.

Moving Magnet is the most common type of phono cartridge, so many integrated amplifiers now feature a Moving Magnet phono stage and many manufacturers, such as Rega and Ortofon design and construct a wide range of MM cartridges with varying levels of quality. While every MM cartridge makes use of this fundamental construction, the way that this is implemented within a cartridge varies as do the materials used, allowing for differing qualities and a unique sound-signature depending on the brand and model.

Moving Magnet Cartridge Design

Moving Magnet Cartridge design. The Magnet sits between two coils at the end of the cantilever.

Moving Coil cartridges feature an inverted version of the Moving Magnet design. Instead of a magnet sitting on the end of the cantilever between two coils, the coils are attached to the cantilever and a magnet is placed near them. Because space within the cartridge at this level is extremely limited, the coils are made from an exceptionally fine wire.

The coils tiny size results in a very low output. While Moving Magnet cartridges tend to offer a more relaxed, warmer sound, Moving Coils are known for offering a better level of detail and a wider stereo field than the Moving Magnet alternatives. Moving Coil Cartridges will often require an external phono-stage specific to their construction.

Moving Coil Cart

Moving Coil Cartridge design. Inverted to MM design, the coil is this time on the cantilever with a magnet located close-by.

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Ortofon Quintet Series Cartridges

Quintet

 

Ortofon are a Danish manufacturer of high quality phono cartridges, designed to get the very most out of your vinyl collection from a variety of price points. Ortofon cartridges, both Moving Magnet and Moving Coil configuration are commonly found supplied with high quality ProJect turntable models, but Ortofon cartridges sound exceptional with any compatible turntable

 

The Quintet Series is Ortofon’s range of quality Moving Coil cartridges and are the result of years of relentless product development, research and continued innovation. Each model within the Quintet series has its own specific sound style and signature, but all of them follow the same philosophy of outstanding performance and retain true to Ortofon’s commitment to refining the analogue domain to a superlative level.

 

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Bowers & Wilkins MT-60D Home Cinema System

Bowers & Wilkins are renowned for their commitment to sound quality and classy design, having developed some of the most beautiful loudspeakers on the market today. The MT-60D is a discreet home-theatre system, designed and engineered to offer an immersive listening experience while also retaining an unobtrusive profile within your home cinema environment. 

 

M-1 and PV1D White - Living Room

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