Coherent Systems - Reviews

HiFi+ Plus - Issue 50

Coherent Systems: On a mission...

Coherent Systems is a two-man band consisting of Tony Sallis and partner Paul Whittington and itís been running for just over a year. Based in an unassuming family house tucked beneath the shadow of the brooding Malvern hills, their two modestly proportioned demo rooms are filled with a carefully selected range of products from the companies represented in this system as well as Audio Physic, Revolver, Bel Canto and others. They also act as UK distributor for Belles and RPG, as well as manufacturing their own cables, ranging from £195 to £750 for a metre pair of interconnects, each with mains and speaker cables to match. Then there are their own external clocks, mains conditioners, an acoustic assessment facility and European servicing responsibility for Belles, all underlining their technical savvy. But itís the range of support accessories, disc treatments and the almost obsessive seriousness with which they treat system set up and matching that sets them apart from so many dealers. In many respects itís an attitude which mirrors my own and it comes as no surprise to hear them extolling the virtues of sophisticated support systems and complete cable looms, the sonic importance of correct terminations and disc treatments. These things are the foundation on which system performance rests. The heartening thing is to see the way in which CS can tilt that foundation to match the sonic preferences of their individual listeners.

Itís also interesting to note how many of their customers are prepared to travel. Indeed, only about 30% of their business is based locally. It underlines just how rare this type of knowledge is these days, as well as how convincingly it can be applied. In many respects, CS represents a new kind of dealer and a future for high-end, reestablishing the importance of demonstration and the ability of specialist dealers to add value to existing hi-fi systems as well as brand new ones. This was a compelling demonstration of just how much can be coaxed from what might appear at first glance to be relatively basic components, as well as what can be built once youíve established a solid foundation. A demo with these guys (by appointment only) can be something of an eye opener, as well as a lesson that both customers and other dealers would do well to take seriously. Worth the journey? And then some...

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