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Sonneteer, British made luxury hi-fi, news blog. Established 1994.

Monthly Archives: December 2014

Project Heartbeat: The Rat’s Nest.

Sonneteer Project Heart Beat Rats Nest

Rumours have been circulating for a while that we have been working on something. If you’ve been a reader of Audiocircle or Audiokarma for example then you may have joined in the speculation. Things have certainly been moving forward quite quickly here at Sonneteer Labs in recent weeks.  So we thought we’d give a sneak peek of some of the work via a snapshot. A snap shot in the literal sense of the word in the form of  the image opposite. This was taken recently. It’s what we call a rats nest. For those in the know, in the image, there are clues and red herrings 1.

The process started a while back with a lot thought and research put in. Some of the consultation took place on the above mentioned fora and others like Pink Fish Media and HiFi Wigwam as well as a few of the Audio Groups on LinkedIn. We spoke to dealers, technology partners, end users of Sonneteer and other brands to try to get a wider understanding of not just what people would like from us but also how they would like to listen to their music and the kind of product they envisage from us.

The process is on going but our development work is fast growing to maturity. The beating heart that will pump Sonneteer’s music magic is ever nearer. More previews of project Heartbeat to come. Enjoy the festive season. We will be taking a very short break to recharge the grey matter. Our coming of age year is nearly done. Yes, soon we will be 21.

  1.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring

Magazine: The Audio amplifier and more format sauce.

Ear care by SonneteerThe beating heart of any sound system is the amplifier. Its invention is attributed to the coming of the first triode123 valve at the turn of the twentieth century to make the first AM radios. Since, the audio amplifier has unassumingly featured in all electronics’ products that are sound making while the limelight has shone on its various appendages. Items which, over the past century or so, have come and gone as often as the weather changes in Blighty 4. Amplifiers along with loudspeakers, in their various forms have been the main stayers in sound systems ever since.

While the loudspeaker is the mouth and larynx delivering the audio message, the amplifier is the heart pump that drives and controls its delivery. This is the same be it in a small transistor radio or a behemoth of a PA system at a Rock festival. The timing, the depth, the essence of the original sound and its recreation is ultimately dictated by the ability of the amplifier to take it from the level of a whisper to one that can excite the cones, horns and cans that tickle our ears and vibrate our floors. So as CD players have come and gone (nearly), Cassette players become specks on a landfill and as surely one day streamers become the ‘reel to reel’ of our children’s past, electron pumping amps and air moving ‘speakers will remain. Luckily the former is what we do, hear at Sonneteer 5.

The dawn of the digital age to riding the hybrid wave.

Despite their ever presence, audio amplifiers have not been static technologically. Here at Sonneteer we design with whatever fits the purpose. Every now and then we may also experiment with new things just to see where it will take us. When digital power amplification became a viable reality for audio products Sonneteer were right at the forefront. The Bronte amplifier for example started as a concept development on behalf of a technology partner which turned into an award winning product. We now, within our designs employ a mixture of electronics technologies, analogue and digital at any particular stage simply because it suits. The ultimate aim is performance. That is our goal. Our current range reneges not on that promise.

Where ever the music comes from we play on.

Music sources are changing and increasing in number almost daily. Gone are the times where one format displaces another completely. A format no longer dies, but becomes a niche. Every now and then there will be a nostalgia for it and it will have a mini revival. As the global population grows the more and more this will happen. Everything and everyone will have a champion or two however small. Accommodating everyone is impossible but since everyone who wants a music system needs an amplifier in it, somewhere, then as long as we can interface with them we are in a good place.

More format ketchup.

In the land of audiophilia the stresses of format accommodation are often acutely felt as the customers strive to be compatible with ever changing present. Obsolescence which is more of an emotion that is realised out of fear than reality is a strong factor in decision making. Finding something that does everything is practically impossible as formats grow in number. PCM16,24,32 96kHz, 192kHz, 384kHz,DXD and so on. Then there’s DSD in its various guises. May be this goes some way to explaining the Vinyl revival. Our amps talk to them too.

For more on amplifiers and other interesting topics related to Sonneteer please see Volume 6.

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Original article taken from The Sonneteer Sound Magazine.

  1. http://www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/audio.history.timeline.html
  2. http://www.ehow.com/about_4899502_history-audio-amplifier.html
  3. http://www.nobelprize.org/educational/physics/transistor/history/
  4. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/Blighty
  5. http://www.sonneteer.co.uk
  6. http://sonneteer.co.uk/home/magazine/2012/05/23/speaking-volumes/

And it shows Sonneteer in Tokyo and Horten (Norway)

Show 2014 Sonneteer Orton

Horten hears an Orton

To catch up on a couple of recent events in  our calendar, October saw two Sonneteer hifi attended shows happening at the same weekend. Though over the years at Sonneteer we have won as many awards in Japan for our digital products as analogue this year the latter took centre stage. Winner of two Audio Excellence Awards, the Sedley phono stage alongside the latest incarnation of the legendary Alabaster amplifier. We were again hosted by Kyoji Arai of Allegro. With analogue recordings‘ sales at their two decade peek 1 and the Alabaster now adopting an internal phono stage as standard, the purist form of audio is clearly very much not ignored at Sonneteer.

We would also like to take this opportunity to welcome  Hagto Audio 2 of Norway to the Sonneteer family. They started with a Show in  Horten showing off the Orton as shown playing with a pair of Harbeth SHL5plus loudspeakers, a brand Hagto also represents and one with which Sonneteer customers have a long association with.

  1. http://sonneteer.co.uk/home/vinylise/
  2.  http://hagtoaudio.com/