Some jobs are hard work and some are worthwhile, some are tedious but well payed and some come right out of the blue. It was one of the latter gigs that arrived recently when I was asked to help out at an Audio T demonstration of Spendor’s latest and greatest loudspeakers – the mighty D9s. As a long time Spendor user I was more than happy to help, especially as it was also a chance to hear the latest incarnation of Nytech amplification. In two boxes rather than four.
I’ve known Phil Balaam of Nytech for many years in fact we used to build and sell video editing machines together back in the last century. Phil’s return to his hi-fi roots has resurrected one of the great names of British hi-fi in Nytech and with all the design and build done in Wales it’s great to see a local firm producing such high quality products.
In Audio Ts dem rooms Nytech and Spendor have been forming a formidable partnership so it was a natural choice to pair the CP202 and CPA402 amplifiers with the D9s for the demonstration in Cardiff’s Norwegian Church. This was going to be a stern challenge for the Nytech amps. The D9s at six and a half grand are from a price bracket well above the Nytech’s pay grade and the space at the Norwegian Church is much bigger than your average living room.
The icing on the tricky cake was the nature of the demo, the idea was to invite some local musicians along to play live, record them in the highest quality and then play the recording back instantly through the Nytech/Spendor system. A big ask for any hi-fi equipment. I had the very pleasant job of making the recording and providing the play back.
The musical talent for the evening was provided by Beth Dowsett and Tom Stupple of renegade Welsh band Fountainhead. For recording I used an SQN 2S mixer and a Nagra LB recorder running at 96Khz and at 24bits, with an AKG 414 on Beth’s vocal and a Neumann KM184 on Tom’s guitar. The mono recording was made without any processing – no eq, no reverb and no compression – all in order to match the playback as closely to the performance as possible. The Nagra’s digital output was fed into a Marenius S2 before driving the input of the CP202 preamp. Beth and Tom did a great job, Beth’s distinctive vocals and Tom’s sympathetic guitar playing hitting just the right spot for the evening. Two standout tracks Fountainhead’s own Rosie and a haunting cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon.
And what of the ‘system’? Well the D9s are billed by Spendor as proper three way speakers as opposed to their smaller brothers the two and a half way D7s. The extra half a driver is certainly earning its corn, the extension of the D9s was immediately obvious – challenging even in a smaller room but authoritative in the right space. The mid and top exhibit an exceptional neutrality that will convince listeners looking for accuracy rather than flattery. There’s no doubt the D9s need to be heard if you have the budget to accommodate large ambitions.
And finally Phil’s amps – not at all outshone in such exalted company and indeed in such a difficult challenge. I was mightily impressed when I heard the first iteration of Nytech power amplification against my now rather aged Naim 250. And the new boxes have the same audio performance in a more convenient package. Check out the new (old) kid on the block – nytechaudio.com