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RoHo

My amps take a trip to SGR

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I didn't attend the recent Hifi show but read the reports and was particularly interested in the comments about the Wyndham Audio room.  The very positive reports about the combination of the Wyndham BR2 speakers with the NanoAt valve amps were of  particular interest.

 I have DIY valve amps with the power amp being single ended and not too dissimilar in broad design from the NanoAT 300B amp.  My current speakers are custom made.  They are a sealed-box 2-way with a ribbon tweeter and sensitivity of about 90dB and I use them with a separate custom subwoofer.  For a few years now I have been wondering what a speaker upgrade for me might look like and the Wyndham BR2s seemed to tick the boxes.  I contacted Keith at Wyndham Audio who informed me that the speakers were available for audition at SGR Audio quite close to me in eastern Melbourne.   SGR are the designers and builders of this model.   We organised an audition and I bit the bullet and decided to bring the whole amp package across to SGR.  With single ended valve amps the performance can vary hugely with different speakers according to the impedance profile so I really needed to  use my amps on the BR2s.

 Grrrr...my amps are HEAVY and I'm a wimp with a dodgy back but in the interests of good sound and scientific discovery I stuffed them all into the 2CV (should have taken a photo ) and headed across too SGR and of course it started to rain...

At SGR I met the whole team, being Harry and Stuart, and they kindly help lug my boxes stuffed with transformers, old American TV valves and various ex-Russian military components up to the demo room and we assembled it all and stood back at a safe distance while I hit the ON button.  There was no bang, no smoke but also no hiss or hum which was gratifying.  All that effort learning about and implementing star grounding was worth it.  We had a quick chat about my system and what I was looking for and then Harry and Stuart left me to it, magically re-appearing each time I had a query.  

The BR2 are an impressive looking speaker and the finish was immaculate in piano black. So how did they sound?  Well I really haven't listened to anything but my speakers for a number of years so my ears have "normalised" to them.  With the BR2s the soundstage was wider and the treble and midrange are very smooth and cohesive.  I thought there was less sparkle and snap to percussion and the imaging was not as tight (which isn't a criticism) as with my speakers.  The bass was obviously less than ideal, quite muffled and muddying up the lower midrange.  I called in Harry and Stuart for a listen and chat.  I used the opportunity to pick their brains about what I was hearing and why.  Firstly, they liked the sound of my amps (phew!).  Secondly they didn't really agree with my perception of the treble and after more discussion we thought maybe my ribbon tweeters are a bit to "sparkly" and I have got used to this.  Thirdly they agreed my amp was not happy with the ported enclosure causing real lack of definition in the bass.  The port causes a big hump in the speakers impedance in the low bass.  This will cause frequency response variations in amps with high output impedances such as single ended valve amps.  Oh well, I had probably suspected as much. 

Then Harry and Stuart asked if I would like to  listen to some of there more expensive models, on my amps.  Err... YES, YES, YES.  They took the time to set up a pair similar in design to the BR2s which sounded broadly similar with the same bass issues.  Then a pair of true 3-ways, still ported  (the BR2 and  the lesser SGRs I tried are 2.5 way).  Now Stuart, who designs the speakers, made the effort to equalise out the port impedance hump in the crossover.  A big effort for a man whose natural tendency is to disregard passive crossovers altogether and design speakers to be active.  And it worked extremely well with a markedly improved definition in the bass.  Shame these speakers are about 5 times my budget!  I must say the presentation of the treble and midrange was very similar across all three speakers which emphasis the value for money of the BR2s.  The SGR speakers have a more sophisticated cabinet and that stunning all-in-one baffle/waveguide which means they have to be significantly more expensive.

They then gave me tour of the factory.  I was aware that SGR manufacture speakers but I wasn't aware of the amount of stuff that comprised.  The drivers I assume are imported  but almost all the rest seems to be made here.  Obviously the superbly finished cabinets, including beautiful machined aluminium waveguide baffles, but also all the electronics for the active speakers and their amps, the enclosures for the amps, the hifi racks with their exotic finishes and even all the packaging materials.  You really have to admire a local manufacturer doing all this and making it work, business-wise.  All power to them.

When I arrived home I fired up the system put on one of the CDs I listened to at SGR and the first thing I thought was  "treble has too much sizzle"! Drats, now I will have to try to fix that.

Thanks to Keith for promptly dealing with my enquiry and setting me up with SGR.

Thanks to Harry and Stuart  for taking the time and making the effort to make my visit to SGR an absolute pleasure.  I got to listen to some great speakers and I got to pick the brains of some really clever guys.  I had a ball.

Edited by RoHo
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I did not know SGR built Wyndham.

 

Sounds like a great service they provided. Their enthusiasm does come across in the products they make.

 

So are you now going to upgrade?

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5 hours ago, sleach said:

I did not know SGR built Wyndham.

 

Sounds like a great service they provided. Their enthusiasm does come across in the products they make.

 

So are you now going to upgrade?

 

Thanks for your kind words, R @RoHo and really pleased you enjoyed your time with the boys at SGR.

 

With regard to the building of the BR2s by SGR, this particular pair was custom built by SGR and painted by Harry as a Hi Fi Show Special. 

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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The SGR team are beyond reproach when it come to service and enthusiasm. Cannot go wrong dealing with these guys. [emoji108]

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