Anthony Sallis is the Technical Director at NuNu Distribution, UK Distributors for Audiophile Base support systems, Astin Trew electronics, Belles audio electronics, Creaktiv system enhancing products, Oracle Audio Technologies turntables and CD replay devices, Renaissance Amplification, SCS audio isolation concepts and TAD Labs.
My introduction to audio industry was quite by chance, back in 2001 I found myself working for a group of reprobates designing and building digital integration systems for large manufacturing companies in the UK. One afternoon one of the directors insisted I listen to his new toy (A Wadia dac) the rest they say is history.
- Who or what was the biggest influence on your career?
While visiting a not so well known recording studio in the capital around the same time I managed to sneak a listen to mixing session for a then current “Popular beat combo” what I heard that had been reassembled in that mixing suite suddenly made me realise that so called Hi Fidelity reproduction that was touted by many a respected emporium / well trodden magazine scribe was (for me) so far off the mark it was surreal. For that point I decided it was time redress the balance.
The single product of recent times that I have felt defined musical reproduction for me, has to be the DarTZeel NHB-108 Model One power amplifier.
Very little to say that hasn’t already been said about that particular piece of equipment, other than it inspired the creation of the Belles SA-100 power amplifier, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery well Dave Belles did things a little differently from the original DZ model one. However the result was worth the wait.
- Proudest moment/product you’re most proud of?
The moments that stand out or give you that sense of Zen (harmonious well being.) if you like, are simply those points in time when a prospective customer sits there with a grin on his face the size of the Thames whilst listening to one of your products knowing he or she approves.
You and your system
- What was your very first system?
My musical journey began with LS3’s, a Nait 2 and a very tired Pioneer CTF 750 tape deck back in 1985, how times and attitudes have changed.
- Tell us about your system history
Various systems always digital, Meridian 200’s, Sonic frontiers, dcs, Accuphase, Wadia, Pass labs, Gryphon, Krell Levinson, all the usual suspects lol
- What component/product do you miss the most/wish you had never got rid of?
Very simple Meadowlark Audio Blue Heron II’s one of the most musical speakers I’ve heard to date, not perfect, but boy were they fun.
- Best system (or single component) you have ever heard (no brands you represent please…!)
That’s a tough question, for ultimate hifi a full top of the line MBL system, a true hifi lover’s dream, a true ethereal experience par excellence’
For pure musical involvement the original Verity Audio Lohengrin’s, a pair of Blue Circle Audio 206 mono’s coupled with a Steve Huntley (Great Northern sound company) statement Wadia 270 se and 27ix combination. Sublime
- Tell us about your current system(s)
System one every day listen
Currently enjoying Vivid G2’s immensely capable products, though seriously under rated speakers (Which still bemuses me as to why?) that really delivers the music with total and utterly no fuss. Powered by Belles MB200’s , Belles VT-01 second generation pre amplifier, Astin Trew Concorde dac. Oracle CD2500 transport, Oracle Delphi MK 6, Graham Phantom II supreme, Oracle Temple MK II phono stage, Benz micro LP-S
For those who like REAL
Master system Esoteric P-02 / D-02/ G-Orb. Prototype design pre and power, ultra high band width amplifier pairing, TAD CR-1’s Prototype design high resolution solid state digital transport.
The state of the industry
- What’s your view on the valve renaissance of the past 20 years or so?
My personal feelings on the valve renaissance of late are quite simple, many audiophiles seeking that elusive sonic dragon hanker after many traits that a well designed and implemented valve circuit can deliver a sweet luscious, holographic sound that is dynamic and engaging allied with a non-fatiguing presentation, what’s not to like?
In the not too distant past, many solid state designs gave great power and control, and could grip speakers like a rod of iron, where as a typical 30w push pull design tagged onto a pair of Apogee’s or Wilson was never going to cut it. So it was either bloody and thunder and to hell with the nuances, or it was those harpsichord solo’s or female vocals that soothed the fevered brow of the hard working banker and never the twain met.
How things have changed, now we have such a wide variety of speaker sizes, efficiency and looks, that owning those uber sweet 5W of SET with horn loaded drivers is as justified as having a pair of inefficient stand mounts with 200W of high quality sound state.
Make no mistake valves can produce some quite breath taking sounds, though today, size of the equipment, ease of use, aesthetics, energy usage and the fear of valve reliability will cause a great many to shy away (unnecessarily in my opinion) .
- What are you views on the state of the industry/where is it going/what will it look like in 5 years/what will typical systems look like?/What will happen to prices?/What will happen to the high end – will it carry on regardless?
With the advent of smaller and more efficient components, superior electronic part stability, vastly improved power usage, I feel ultimately our industry is heading toward the life style miniaturisation and high functionality interfaces and more use of touch screens in many products in the increasing demanding world.
Valves will always have place in quality audio, though just with a small band of followers as time goes by.
Looking forward, main stream equipment will shrink in size, the performance will improve, it will look more appealing, and placement within the home environment via the products physical appearance will dictate more and more the potential purchase of such products.
The high end will spawn more specialised companies that will merge technologies such as power management/telecommunications/IT as well as ultimate sound quality. It is interesting and exciting that we live in at the moment.
- What are the industry’s biggest con(s)?
“I refer the right honourable gentleman to the answer he gave earlier regarding this matter!”
The way you work
- Presuming the measurements are fine, what do you listen for when assessing products?
In all our products we try and capture the essence of the performance, the key ingredients are pretty simple, the ability of the product to draw the listener into the music.
- Your sound preference -‘Smooth, listenable musicality’, ‘forward, driving, ‘foot-tapping’, involving sound’ or ‘detailed neutrality and transparency’?
I try and bend the laws of physics captain, to quote a well know ditty ‘I want it all’
In reality I strive for the ability to deliver an engaging, wide open transparent, detailed flowing musical sound that just convinces you to keep listening to more music at whatever volume you choose.
- Your preference – Full-range floorstanders or freestanding mini monitors with a sub?
With the right room full range floor standers every time, with other not so forgiving rooms then a carefully matched pair of high quality stand-mounts , with an ultra fast subwoofer.
It’s all about the music, man…
- ·What is your favourite recording?
Deep Purple Live in Japan 1993 Simply because it captures real musicians at the very best in their element as close to untainted as possible pure musical craftsmanship at the very highest level.
- Tell us about your 3 most trusted test recordings
Dr John “Creole Moon” – A great energetic album that’s funky and fun, ideal for setting up speakers.
Fleetwood Mac “Rumours” -For fine tuning sets ups with Nick’s voice and the rhythmic intent of ‘don’t stop’
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov “Dances of the tumblers from the ‘Snow Maiden’ “24/96Khz audiophile
- Having safely ushered your loved ones out of the house as it is burning down to the ground, you ignore all standard safety advice and dash back inside to grab just one recording – what is it?
Beach Boys Pet sounds