The Clarity Alliance, the UK hifi industry’s trade body, unveiled the results of the ballot for its board of directors, announced the appointment of Tom Barron as chairman and set out the Alliance’s programme for 2017 at its annual conference. More »
The Clarity Alliance is pleased to announce that British audio manufacturers, Cyrus Audio, Leema Acoustics and Naim Audio have joined the Alliance, enhancing the membership profile with three highly respected companies, that have all undertaken to support the work of the UK hi-fi industry’s trade body. The membership of these globally recognised brands brings, each of which is a key supplier to UK dealers and an important contributor to the strong British hifi export sector, brings further international reach to the manufacturing arm of the industry’s trade association. Cyrus, Leema and Naim’s combined membership, with their considerable industry experience strengthens the Alliance.
Launched at Sound & Vision, The Bristol Show, in February 2015, Plato is Entotem’s innovative home entertainment server and streamer product that the company says will “revolutionise the streaming and enjoyment of music and video around the home.” The new product connects with existing hi-fi equipment such as turntables, legacy analogue sources such as cassette players and also current digital components like CD players, TVs, and DVD/ Blu-ray players, to permit playback via its high performance amplifier and a pair of connected loudspeakers. Where Plato differs from other products is in its ability to automatically record from legacy analogue devices (and digital devices) in a high-resolution 24bit/192kHz format to its internal storage for later replay. Records, CDs, videos and DVD collections can be stored together in one place. Designed as a one-box media management system for the whole house, Plato can simultaneously stream multiple audio and video content to other connected devices.
After being voted the “Most Innovative Room” by the panel of judges in the 2015 Clarity Best of Show Awards at the Bristol Show, the company applied for membership of the Alliance.
Managing director Martin Boddy says, “We are delighted to become the latest member of Clarity, because since our launch in February at the Sound and Vision Show, we view the Alliance as being a key partner in our development as a business. With the hi-fi market in recovery and gathering new momentum, it is an exciting time for Entotem and the team to be able to stimulate more growth. As a new start-up, we hope our innovative and unique first product, Plato, will bring renewed interest in the hi-fi and home entertainment market, which will benefit everyone within the industry.”
Laurence Armstrong, Clarity chairman, adds, “The judges at this year’s Best of Show Awards were unanimous in their praise for Entotem’s Plato. It was very encouraging to see not only a hugely original product launched at the show, but one from a new start-up British business and we hope this bodes well for the continued recovery of the UK’s hi-fi sector.” He concludes, “The board of Clarity is very pleased to welcome Entotem as members of the Alliance and we look forward to working with the business owners and following the success of Plato at home and abroad.”
After a number of years absence from the UK, many who remember the brand for its well respected loudspeakers and turntables will welcome the return of Acoustic Research. The reintroduction of this famous name brings new products such as portable high-resolution music players and a USB DAC with headphone amplifier.
David Saab, commercial director – EMEA, takes up the story, “Acoustic Research (AR) is incredibly proud to become a member of Clarity with its professional reputation for supporting passionately-driven audio manufacturers. As a nostalgic speaker/turntable brand with a strong UK fan base, AR is poised to re-launch itself as a manufacturer that still focuses on the sound rather than the hype. We debuted at the Bristol Show with an exceptional range of high-res products to audiophiles who want great sound that does not have to cost the earth.” He concludes, “AR wishes to invite audiophiles back to the brand with the support of Clarity and its membership, to help us start the job of communicating, successfully re-launching and re-connecting with the audio community once again to share our joint passion for hi-fi audio.”
Mitchell and Johnson is another comeback, set up by the team responsible for the reintroduction of the Sansui brand into the UK in late 2011. Paul Mitchell and Dave Johnson have a long track record in the consumer electronics industry, having worked for major manufacturers and retailers in the UK and USA. A long time hi-fi enthusiast and semi-professional musician, Mitchell is responsible for the product and sales functions of the business, while Johnson brings with him considerable expertise in commercial operations management and finance. The new brand builds on the award winning products introduced under the Sansui name, while also having undertaken a period of intensive product development to enable the unveiling of new and class leading components covering the amplifier, streamer, DAB and CD categories.
On joining Clarity, Paul Mitchell says, “Having started my life as a retail hi-fi store salesman and eventually a manager, I see hi-fi dealers as the single biggest influencer on the UK hi-fi consumer and therefore feel every single bit of help and support we as manufacturers can give the dealer network is immeasurable. From selling hi-fi to designing it, I personally feel I can use my experience to make a valuable contribution to Clarity and look forward to playing an active role.”
During the Sound & Vision Show held in Bristol on 20-22 February, The Clarity Alliance presented the third annual “Best of Show” awards, at which it announced the second recipient of its Honorary Fellowship award. You can read all about the awards in Hifi Pig’s free download magazine.
As one of its founding objectives, The Clarity Alliance pledged to recognise those individuals who have made a significant contribution to the UK hi-fi industry. The second such award, following the Hon. Fellowship of John Dawson in 2014, was awarded to the well-respected journalist, editor and all round good guy, Paul Messenger (pictured here shortly after the award with Hifi Pig’s very own Linette).
Presenting the award, Clarity’s chairman, Laurence Armstrong, said, “We have all known Paul for many years and his smiling face and permanently happy demeanour are as much part of the UK hi-fi industry as any manufacturer or product. The board of directors of Clarity felt that in choosing Paul to be the recipient of this year’s Honorary Fellowship, they were recognising, on behalf of the whole industry, the tremendous contribution Paul has made to the promotion of UK hi-fi at home and across the world. His untiring efforts to promote better standards of journalism and impartiality in the UK media make this award very much deserved.”