National Audio Show – Whittlebury Hall, Northants

The AMR Brand Goes Viral…

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Photo: The main entrance to Whittlebury Hall by The Chester Group
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Over the weekend of 25th-26th September 2010, AMR was kindly invited by AMR UK's distributor Select Audio, to attend the National Audio Show. Based in the small village of Whittlebury. A few miles from Towcester, the village of Whittlebury is located 15 miles from junction 14 of the M1 and about 1.5 hours north of London. It is certainly a plush hotel as it has its own adjoining spa and even a helipad.

Located in room 109, the system consisted of:

AMR CD-77 CD Processor > Luxman M600 Pre and Power Amplifiers > Verity Amadis speakers with a Vibex mains filter and cabling by AMR, Harmonix and Basis.

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Photo: of the AMR/Luxman/Verity/Vibex /Harmonix System

Having left things somewhat late in the day, we secured one of the smallest rooms in a corner of the first floor hence, it was a far from ideal location. Whittlebury Hall is very reminiscent of the Konigshof Hotel which used to be the venue for the VAD Show. Exhibitors occupied only the ground and first floors and there were multiple entrance/exit points to make for easy access by exhibitors and attendees alike.

Over the course of the two days of the show, we were most pleased to meet the following reviewers who came by the AMR/Select Audio room:

Alan Sircom – Editor HiFi+
Steve Harris – reviewer HiFi Choice
Martin Colloms – Editor HiFi Critic
Paul Messenger – reviewer HiFi Critic/HiFi Choice
Christopher Redmond – reviewer 6moons
Neil Kernaghan – Owner/Editor/Reviewer for Adventures in High Fidelity Audio
Jason Kennedy – reviewer HiFi+/HiFi Choice
David Price – Editor HiFi World

Given that many rooms had bright, hard-sounding systems, we consciously played at a reasonable volume to show off the analogue ability of the system.

Attendees were most pleased and relaxed to hear tunes in our room. The overwhelming comment was of the naturalness and ease with which the music flowed. Alan Sircom, Editor of HiFi+ came looking for the PH-77 Phono Equaliser as he said that he has been reliably informed by those he respected in the industry that the PH-77 is one of the finest sounding phono stages in the world!

The only fly in the ointment was the fact that Whittlebury Hall is not equipped with air-conditioning and in a small room that was constantly full of 8-10 people with valve and Class A equipment, it soon became quite warm.

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Photo: A packed AMR/Select Audio Room

As advertised in the run up to the show, AMR/Select Audio and Chester Group (organisers of the National Audio Show) joined forces to hand out a free fuse to every attendee.

We estimated that we gave away 1,100 or so fuses over the two days. Set against the 1,500-1,700 total attendees, we were most pleased with the response.

More importantly was the knock-on effect. Following the show, AMR Fuse customers have been steadily contacting us to report significant improvements to their system.

It would seem that AMR's Gold Fuse has acquired a following of its own – judging by the very enthusiastic response and positive follow-up comments.

One new AMR Gold Fuse convert, Peter C. emailed AMR to say, "Really impressed by it, gutted I never bought a box now. Really great product, I am/was a sceptic. Where can I purchase a box?"

It was nice to see Mr Max Townsend of Townsend Audio come by the AMR room. Later, we also met Mr Townsend in the bar…
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Photo: Max Townsend with Stephen Riddick from Select Audio

Given the close proximity to the famous Silverstone race track, the main bar inside Whittlebury Hall was adorned with photographs of famous racing drivers past and present. The picture below depicts one exhibit of F1 memorabilia at the far end of the bar.
Photo: F1 Memorabilia in the Whittlebury bar


Eleanor McEvoy Concert Woos the Audiophiles

On Saturday evening, thanks to Justin Bird of Chester Group, we were invited to the Eleanor McEvoy Concert. For those who are unfamiliar, Eleanor McEvoy is highly regarded for her exceptionally well- record material. She also writes her own music, sings and plays several instruments as well!

Over the 2 x 45 minute sections, Eleanor McEvoy played favourites such as "I got you to see me through" acapella, with just strumming by hand on the guitar body.
Source: AMR: Eleanor singing acapella accompanied just with strumming on the guitar body
Source: AMR: Eleanor singing and playing the violin
Eleanor also sang new tracks from her just released album: "I'd rather go blonde"

Eleanor also sang “Look Like Me” which was played by plucking the violin strings!

Eleanor is definitely one very talented lady with a seductive Irish twang. Heart melting indeed.


This is what Eleanor had to say on Twitter:

"Really enjoyed Gig at British Audio show last night. Last time I played to that many men, was when I did a gig in Wheatfield prison. 6:17 PM Sep 26th via Twitter for iPhone "

"Humble suggestion for females out there who want to meet men. Go to Hi Fi shows. Millions of men & not a woman in sight. 6:15 PM Sep 26th via Twitter for iPhone"

One observation is that the turnout could and should have been much better given this was a hifi show after all and we all strive for the highest quality of musical enjoyment i.e. a live concert! So shame on those who did not attend. They missed a truly fantastic evening of live music played by a witty and charming lady.

Eleanor was fabulous as she played all by herself to a room full of audiophiles that were predominantly men. She joked that all these impassive audiophiles sat rigidly (trying to lock onto the soundstage and look for spot on centre vocals…), were "freaking her out" – she received a great applause and whistles for that little nugget.

After the concert, Eleanor was on hand to sign copies of albums and CDs. Yes, AMR also purchased her latest album and will be playing our signed copy on the PH-77. No, we didn't cuddle up to our signed copy in bed that night but the thought had crossed our mind.

Eleanor McEvoy is a very witty, genuine person. Boy, can she really sing and play with aplomb as well!

Jess Childs

While we did not have the chance to listen to Jess Childs as she played during the daytime, many remarked to us that she was very talented and gave the attendees plenty of musical enjoyment.

Kudos to the Chester Group for organising so much live music and we do hope the attendees appreciated this – we certainly did.

Some of our faith in the poorly run UK show scene has certainly been restored by this show put on by the Chester Group. A job well done.

Finally, we stayed at the absolutely fabulous Linden cottage which is only 10 minutes by foot from Whittlebury Hall. Having the Fox & Hounds pub mid-point was certainly advantageous for 're-fuelling'.

Linden Cottage was one of the nicest and most welcoming places we have had the pleasure of staying at. The food, room and hospitality were all first class. Run by Ann and Mike Thomas, we heartily recommend Linden Cottage to anyone wishing to enjoy a break in this very picturesque area of Northants.


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