KJ West One - Connoisseurs of Sound - Est. 1965
KJ West One - Connoisseurs of Sound - Est. 1965
News

After the huge success of their innovative ‘Expert’ series of amplifiers, Devialet have developed a brand new ‘all-in-one’ active speaker system, Phantom.  

Phantom is being released in the UK by just 8 specialist hi-fi dealers, handpicked by Devialet themselves. We are one of these dealers.

To celebrate its release, KJ West One will be hosting a launch event at our showroom in Marylebone, London on Wednesday 22nd July. To register for a free ticket to the launch please click here.

On the day itself we will be joined by a number of experts from Devialet who will be able to discuss and demonstrate what Phantom is capable of.
 
Devialet describe Phantom as an ‘Implosive Sound Centre’. It is a 100% wireless product which receives music via wi-fi from your everyday devices (tablet, phone, computer etc) it then processes the signal and emits the sound via its impressive built-in speaker. 

Phantom can be used on its own, as well as being linked to another Phantom to play in a stereo configuration. That is not it though, Phantom is also a multi-room solution. This means you are able to use up to 24 Phantoms in your home, all connected to the same network and controlled on one app (Devialet Spark). Phantoms are able to be designated to the rooms they are placed in. So from the living room you are able to control what is being played in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or wherever a Phantom is located.


 
The sound centre can play music in so many ways, from streaming via services like Deezer and Tidal, to playing music stored on your devices to internet radio and even from traditional sources via the Toslink input. 

The sound quality that Phantom gives is incredible and must be heard. It is almost unbelievable that Devialet have been able to produce such a powerful, clear and room-filling sound with no distortion from such a small device. 

There will be 2 versions of Phantom available. Phantom (£1390) which is capable of producing 750 watts of amplification and Phantom Silver (£1690) which can achieve an incredible 3000 watts. 

We will have both models available on the 22nd, so please drop by to get a great insight into what could be one of the most exciting audio products to hit the market in many years. 

Get your free ticket to the event here

We look forward to seeing you.

Continue reading

The audio industry is changing. Over the last decade the rise of digital music and all-in-one systems has seen a tremendous rise. Though there are still many audiophiles who love developing their home setup and tinkering with different cables and platforms and take great pride in their extensive CD or vinyl collections, there are now a lot of audiophiles who love the idea of a discrete system and a digital music library simply stored on a NAS drive out of sight. 

To me, both seem very acceptable points of view, and at KJ we definitely cater to both, as long as the sound quality is still of exceptional quality. 

No product in our store highlights this to me more than the Avantgarde Acoustics Zero 1 system. The Zero 1s are active horn speakers with a preamplifier, DAC, 2 x SPDIFs, 1 x Toslink, 1 x AES/EBU and 1 x async USB input. Though the Zero 1s do not have a wireless card, with the addition of an £80 Apple Airport Express (connected via the optical input) you are able to stream via airplay directly to the speakers. 


 
Horn speakers tend to have quite a loyal following, many people who have delved into the world of horns, do not want to leave. They have many benefits over regular loudspeakers including a great dynamic range, high efficiency and great tonal colour. 

Avantgarde have been making horn speakers for over 20 years with, as their name suggests, some truly unique designs. When it comes to innovative design, the Zero 1 definitely fits the bill. They are extremely beautiful speakers, with a great minimalist design and matte finish. They'd be worthy for investing your time and money into renovating an entire room just for their sake. I could see the Zero 1s being a real focal point in a lot of stylish apartments. Even the remote looks great, with a metallic tubular design.

The Zero 1 is a 3-way speaker with a horn tweeter, a horn-loaded midrange, and a direct-radiating cone woofer. The cabinet is cleverly made from polyurethane foams which gives it an incredibly nice feel and also helps minimise resonances and self-dampens.

When I first heard that Avantgarde were going to dabble with an active system I was really intrigued as to whether they would be able to keep the magic of their traditional horn speakers.

Of course, there was only one way to find out. Listening.


 
Setting up the Zero 1s is extremely easy. Although the company claims they are ‘plug and play’ often with other brands I have found it is not always the case, with these speakers however, it was. The left hand speaker is the ‘Master’, which has all the inputs on it, and the right speaker is the ‘Slave’. The speakers automatically discover each other via radio link, but can also be linked via a RJ45 cable for a little more reliability and a faster connection. 

I set them up with 2 sources. A Macbook via the USB input and a Metronome Technologie T5 Signature CD transport via the coax input. The remote is as simple as it gets with on/off, source and volume up and down buttons. Some type of indicator on the speaker as to which input it is on would be a nice addition, but would likely spoil the design.

I began listening through the Macbook (Apple lossless files through iTunes) and what I heard was what I was hoping for. The dynamic range was incredible; it gave a real sense of atmosphere especially on slower, moodier tracks like ‘Flume’ by Bon Iver. I really felt like the bass drum on this track was coming at me from the back wall, almost as if the wall was the drum skin and the beater was the other side thumping away. The tone of the vocals had a real richness to it as well, which all added to the ambience. 

One negative point of horn speakers that people often bring up is the lack of coherence between the drivers. Avantgarde have done a tremendous job at eliminating this. I found the sound to be very smooth and well organised. 

This was all just streaming from the Macbook, when I switched over to the Metronome CD transport I realised that it was just the tip of the iceberg as to how great these speakers could sound. 


 
Listening to the CDs I found that the soundstage opened up even more, there was more punch to the rockier tracks and the music was just much more engaging. Honestly, it did not sound like an ‘all-in-one’ it sounded like a real high-end separates system. 

All-in-all I am extremely impressed with the Zero 1s. I believe these to be very unique speakers, in that I have never heard speakers that sound as good as these whilst being this easy to set up and also this beautiful. 

The Zero 1s do exactly what modern enthusiasts want them to do, they give real audiophile horn-like sound whilst looking great and staying incredibly simple. 

To arrange a listening session for yourself, please request an appointment here.

Reviewed by Lewis Prince
Please get in touch with any questions you may have on the Zero 1s, I'll be happy to talk to you.
lewis@kjwestone.co.uk

Continue reading

The new Wilson Audio Sabrinas have been here at KJ West One for just over a couple of weeks now. They are, in my opinion, the best looking Wilson speaker to date, with a smooth, simplistic design. We have been running them in since their arrival but I was still yet to really sit down and truly evaluate Sabrina, and most importantly try to answer the question that everybody wants to know about these speakers: 

Have they managed to maintain the Wilson Audio sound despite their compact design and lower price point?

 

We had set up the Sabrinas for a demo with both Audio Research and Naim equipment. So once the audition was over, I grabbed my chance to test them for myself. I brought in a few of my favourite demo CDs and let the analysis begin. 

As I mentioned, I find these speakers to be the best looking of the whole range. Some people can find the larger Wilsons like the Alexandria XLFs to be a bit too ‘robotic looking’ for their tastes. This is certainly not the case with these speakers; the cabinets are extremely easy on the eyes. Sabrinas can easily integrate into a variety of different interiors, whether it be a minimalist studio flat or a comfortable family room. Like the rest of the range, the Sabrinas have the classic Wilson finish quality and are available in a variety of colours. 

The principle of Sabrina was obviously to design a speaker that could appeal to an audience who either could not afford the larger models like Sasha or Alexia, or do not have the space for them. Wilson Audio claim that they have designed for simplicity, not for compromise. They looked at which elements were the most critical and then used their best materials on those. Which happened to be the baffle and the bottom, which are both manufactured using Wilson’s ‘X material’. 

Sabrina features 3 drivers. An 8’’ woofer, a 5’’ mid-range driver and a soft dome tweeter. All three drivers are positioned very close to each other (a lot closer than on the larger Wilson models). This is designed to improve the seamlessness of the sound. 

I played a variety of different styles through the Sabrinas from Martha Wainwright to Radiohead to Bob Dylan and I must admit I couldn’t find a style in which Sabrina did not excel. 

What’s most striking to me was how well the bass was controlled. This has always been a trademark of Wilsons and certainly Sabrina is able to hold its own in that respect against the others in the range. 

The in-house designed soft-dome tweeter has been used by Wilson on a few models now, it was first used on Alexia and then Sasha (previously Wilson incorporated Focal tweeters). Since its inclusion it has been extremely popular amongst Wilson fans and the addition of the soft-dome tweeter on Sabrina is an excellent move. The high notes are fantastically crisp and clear and the separation is exceptional. I listened to Radiohead’s No Surprises and the combination of the highs and bass in the intro was up there with the best that I have heard.


 
Another feather in the cap of Sabrina, is the size of the soundstage it is able to produce. When set up correctly, you are able to forget there is a pair of speakers in front of you, and start to feel a stage instead.  

So, going back to the original question. Does Sabrina sound like a Wilson speaker? The answer is an emphatic yes. There is the natural and open sound with the breath-taking dynamics that we have come to expect from Wilsons, and if paired with a neutral and clean power, the results are amazing. 

If you close your eyes, it really is hard to comprehend that the sound you are hearing is coming out of a £14.5k speaker in a cabinet of Sabrinas size. This is certainly a speaker that punches well above its weight and offers a sound well above its price point.

Wilson Audio set out a clear, defined goal for Sabrina and from what I have heard; they have succeeded in producing a product that achieves exactly what it was designed to do.

If you are interested in hearing these speakers for yourself, please get in touch and book a demonstration.

Reviewed by Lewis Prince
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions on the Sabrinas.
lewis@kjwestone.co.uk
 

Continue reading

The new arrivals keep on coming here at KJ West One. Today we have received the new and improved Naim NAP 200 DR and NAP 250 DR Amplifiers.

The DR amplifiers, which were announced at the Munich High-End show in May, are updated versions of the current Naim power amplifier range. The new models feature (DR) discrete regulator technology which is a unique in-house design, providing ultra-low noise supply voltage to critical electronics. 

The DR amplifiers also feature a new transistor design and the internal layout has been rethought out and redesigned to give improved performance. 

To read more about the DR amplifier and the technology they use click here.

We are also expecting the NAP 300 DR within the next few weeks.

If you would like to hear these amplifiers for yourself, please get in touch and book a demonstration

If you are looking for a good deal on a Naim power amp, we currently have the non-DR NAP 200, 250, 300 and 500 amplifiers available as ex-demonstration models. Please contact us for information.


 

Continue reading

In our showroom we like to cover all aspects of hi-fi from cartridges and cables to headphones and streamers. This is why we have developed our in-store subwoofer range with the highly regarded British manufacturer REL Acoustics

As well as having the ‘Serie S’ subwoofers in stock, we are now the only dealers in London to hold REL’s flagship ‘Gibraltar’ G-1 and G-2 subs.  

REL subs are known throughout the industry as being ideal for hi-fi, even when paired with full range speakers, RELs (and in particular the Gibraltar series) are able to offer impressive gains in the lower frequencies which can really add significantly to the impact of a system as well as extending the soundstage. 

We believe this to be an excellent addition to our range. If you would like to audition a REL subwoofer for yourself please get in touch to book a demonstration.

For more information on the REL Serie S and Gibraltar subwoofers, please visit out Collection page now.

Continue reading