One could say we got (a little bit)famous this year. Helped, perhaps, a little bit by the range of Bard products which were starting to get some attention. Saying that, our Bronte ‘Digital’ amplifier was also starting to get a little more global traction too. Also, not to be left out in the Analogue cold, the Sedley phono stage won an Audio Excellence Award from Japan.
In the case of the Bard range I think the SixMoons.com review from the USA probably tells the story best. Here are some highlights that pretty much sum it up:
Using the Bard system is easy…everything was instant plug’n’play…In use, it couldn’t be simpler or user-friendlier. You can configure these pieces to do just about anything imaginable…Very cool. Very functional…Of course, all this would be moot if the Bard system didn’t sound good. Which it does.
and the reviewer went on:
Well and in a word, it sounds bloody good. Okay, that’s two words but the word good alone simply doesn’t suffice. After the absentee noise floor, the first thing noticed was the bass. It was shockingly good. I half expected audible roll-off at the frequency extremes but that was not to be. The bass was solid and nicely defined. I even used the Bard Three to power the Gallo Reference 3s directly and was flab! bergasted by what I heard. [That’s putting it mildly. I was the recipient of a midday e-mail from John who isn’t prone to expletives. Not on this day. To call our man ‘excited’ would be like calling a tiger a pussy cat – Ed.]
No, the Three won’t replace your Krell integrated amplifier or the Canary CA 160 tube monoblocks I’ve been using. That was never Sonneteer’s intent. But when you consider what you’re actually doing here — replicating a source, a
preamplifier and a power amplifier with the tiny and relatively inexpensive Bard products — you’d be amazed at how close it comes. As good as the bass is, the midrange is even better. It’s stunningly good as a matter of fact. Surprisingly and amazingly good. It’s one area where nobody will be disappointed.
What Hi-Fi magazine featured the Bard several times this year, hailed it as a ‘Stroke of Genius’ and gave it a Five star rating. We couldn’t have asked for more, but we got it as Stereophile magazine in the US were also impressed by the Bard’s ‘transparency’ and practicality as ‘limited only by your [the users’] imagination’. The reviewer liked it so much they wished to keep it. The Bard had so much press (yes there was a lot more) even the Mail on Sunday got in on the act saying ‘the sound quality is top notch’.
Not to be out done, the Brontë amplifier, on the way to picking up (another) product of the year award, this time from Hi-Fi Review also featured well on the review circuit with another glowing review, this time from AUDIO SWISS of Switzerland. Reviewed with the Bronte CD player and Revolver loudspeakers it was referred[in German] to as a ‘harmonious system which performed well beyond its price point’.
2006 proved that 2005 was just a taste of more to come.