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April, 2010:

Naim wins Queen’s Award

21 April 2010. Salisbury, England. Naim Audio is pleased to announce today that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation that a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category should be conferred on the company.

The Queen’s Award celebrates the Queen’s birthday and six years of continuous growth in Naim’s export sales – a remarkable achievement given the world economy.

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Squeezebox Touch – a week later

What an interesting beast this is. The lispy addition to voices that I was complaining about in my original post has gone. The sound quality is really rather good using the digital out. I prefer the optical output to the coax into the Naim DAC. The optical has a more refined presentation and just sounds right, the coax is a little courser.

If sound quality was the only criteria the SB Touch would be stunning value for money but unfortunately usability and fit for purpose must be included in the equation.

The display is rather pleasant if a little slow; but only works well within a narrow vertical viewing angle. That angle is often wrong unless one is standing, and who stands to listen to music? It needs an adjustable rear stand.

So far 24/96 is far too unreliable. It might play it, might stutter. Not good enough. The Squeezebox forums are full of the problem and possible solutions but none has worked 100% for me.

Connecting up an external 500GB portable drive with a power supply has so far been an unrewarding experience. I’m struggling to get it to scan the drive fully and so far I’ve only managed to play about a tenth of one track.

So if the decision was based on the sound quality of CD rips from the digital output it would be a clear winner. Overall it needs more work or I need to understand more about how to get the best from it.

More in another week or so.

Initial thoughts on the Squeezebox Touch

After one of the worst examples of corporate communications ineptitude I’ve ever come across, my Logitech Squeezebox Touch arrived yesterday.

I ordered my Touch on the 26th October 2009 to take advantage of the 20% off for early orders offer. Delivery was expected imminently. Only one email since then – on 4th March – to warn of a delay until April-May. Another 20% offer “as a small gift” but no apology. A simple ‘sorry for the delay we are working on getting it right before launch’ would have gone a mighty long way.

I know there is a Squeezebox forum and maybe Logitech thought that was a reason not to keep me up to date – but it’s not. A few emails would have made me feel much happier with Logitech. If I hadn’t known friends with beta units, who were pleased with the performance, I would have cancelled my order months ago.

Anyway it’s arrived and very nice it is too. It’s been running overnight using the standard supplied PS and I’ve recently changed over to the Maplin linear PS as much for my piece of mind as any sonic reason. There is a small difference but not enough to rush to the shops.

What does it sound like? OK, I suppose, is all I can report so far. I’ve only tried the optical and coaxial digital outputs running into a Naim DAC with 555 PS. It has an edge to the sound that sneaks its way on to every song. It’s a slight hard lispiness to vocals that accentuates the lips and teeth sounds. Coax digital sounds substantially different from Optical – surprisingly different in fact.

It’s way too early to form any sensible conclusions. It’s certainly excellent value; just don’t know how excellent yet. More in a week or so when it has run in.

New Chord CobraPlus Interconnect Cable

Spring may be late, but green is the colour for April at The Chord Company as April brings the new Chord CobraPlus interconnect cable.

At £66.00 for a one metre pair of RCA to RCA cables, CobraPlus represents a considered purchase. Cobra 3, the previous occupant of this price point was hugely successful, both in shop run demonstrations and also in the “take it home, try it and bring it back if you’re not happy’ type of demonstration.
CobraPlus therefore needed to build on the performance of Cobra 3 and deliver significant improvements.  It does.

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