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A British Audiophile’s Hi-Fi Journey On YouTube

How a lifelong British Audiophile turned his passion for music and hi-fi into one of the fastest growing audiophile YouTube review channels.

Tarun, A British Audiophile

I am excited to be able to introduce myself to the readers of eCoustics. A few of you may have heard of me but I am sure most of you have not. I run a YouTube hi-fi review channel entitled “A British Audiophile.” I am a Brit writing for an American publication. The British Empire rises again. 

I would like to share with you a little about my journey, how I became an audiophile, and how I became “A British Audiophile” on YouTube

Well, I suppose I should start at the beginning. I am of Indian descent. My father came from Kenya (long story) to the U.K. in 1961. It was over a decade later that I was born. We grew up in a household which always had music playing. Both my parents loved music, but it is really my father that was keen on having the system playing, be it jazz records, Bollywood cassettes or Indian classical CDs.

I remember the first hi-fi system we had was one of those all-in-one consoles that were very popular in the 1970s. I can’t recall the brand, but it looked a bit like this. 

Philips Hi-Fi Stereo System

When I was eleven, my parents saved up enough money to move to a bigger house in a better neighbourhood. I was fourteen when my father decided to get a better hi-fi system. He took me with him to the local stereo shop. I am old enough to remember the days when every neighbourhood had one. I suppose it was just like the mobile phone shops that are pervasive all over the country in 2021. 

We discovered that the owner of the shop was also an Indian from Kenya. Not only had he come from the same town as my father, but he had also gone to the same school. My father was a few years older, so they hadn’t been there at the same time. In any case, they had an instant rapport. That is where it all started.

It is fair to say I was hooked from the moment I first walked into that stereo shop. All of the equipment that was on display mesmerized me; I was like a kid locked inside some seaside amusement park with the entire place all to himself. 

Tannoy DC 2000 Loudspeakers
Tannoy DC 2000 Loudspeakers

Because it was the 1980s, the system reflected the changing of the guard; my father purchased a Nakamichi CD player, Aiwa cassette deck, Marantz PM40SE amplifier and a pair of Tannoy DC 2000 loudspeakers. In fact, my parents still have the same speakers to this day almost 35 years later. They were into vintage audio before it was even fashionable. 

The stereo shop had a corner dedicated to records and CDs. This included a small collection of Indian classical CDs. It gave my father and I an excuse to pop in every couple of weeks and pick out a CD; my mother probably thought we were hiding from her in some pub watching football. 

Over the years we built up a rather sizable collection of music. For anybody interested in checking out Indian classical music, a good place to start would be Hari Prasad Chaurasia’s, Written on the Wind (Audiorec Classics, 16-bit/44.1kHz, Qobuz). You can find it on some streaming services. They are long pieces of music that take their time build. Largely improvised, a bit like Modal jazz, they invoke a certain mood or emotion.

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Indian classical music became surprisingly popular in parts of northern Europe. Therefore, there are many high-quality recordings from the ‘80s and ‘90s that cater to discerning listeners interested in world music. 

All that time spent during my childhood in the stereo shop, led to me working there any opportunity I could. Weekends, holidays throughout my teens and early twenties were spent surrounded by stereo equipment. The opportunity to conduct demonstrations for customers and learn from their own experiences were invaluable to me; and one of the most enjoyable periods of my life. 

When I graduated from university with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, I did briefly try to pursue a career in the audio industry. I worked for a small manufacturer for a few months. In the 1990s, many audio manufacturers in the U.K. were small cottage industries. I suppose the working environment was a little too claustrophobic for me being fresh out of university. I went on to pursue a career elsewhere.

I am now a Physics teacher and enjoy being able to create the next generation of engineers and scientists. 

Over the past 30 years, hi-fi has remained a passion in my life. There have been times when making my way in the world, parenthood, and other commitments have meant it taking a back seat. But it has never gone away. I have tried to build on those experiences in my teens and twenties and learn as much as I can about the hobby.

Science and Engineering are in my DNA so they naturally play a part in the way that I indulge my passion for hi-fi and produce my videos. I have also maintained my ties with a number of colleagues who are audio industry professionals.

It is a shame that stereo retailers have struggled and are disappearing from high streets. Don’t get me wrong – it hasn’t all been positive. I could tell you some horror stories from retailers that have no place being in business. I guess I just miss being able to pop down the road with a friend and listen to some music on hi-fi gear that interests me. The best retailers make you feel welcome and let you just hang out (for a while) to share experiences as well as listen to new gear. I hope those who do just that, figure out a way to keep going.

I can’t speak for the N. American experience, but it’s becoming much more difficult to find stereo shops in the U.K. at a time (putting aside the lockdowns from the pandemic) when there has never been so much affordable high-end audio equipment for consumers to try. British manufacturers like Rega, Fyne Audio, Cambridge Audio, ProAc, Spendor, Wharfedale, and KEF have never been busier. 

a-british-audiophile-logo

Time stands still for no one. Through social media, you can be part of a virtual community. That is one reason why I created “A British Audiophile.” To share what I know (and sometimes what I don’t know) through a video format. A community has been built around the exchange of information through the comments section. I have regular viewers who are new to the hobby, seasoned audiophiles and industry professionals. It is a great source of joy for me to be part of that community and to help educate the next generation of audio enthusiasts. 

I called the channel “A British Audiophile” because that it simply what I am. It is about time we reclaimed the word “audiophile” from the hi-fi snobs. My definition of an audiophile is someone who is passionate about music and who cares about sound quality.

It does not matter if all you can afford is an £80 Edifier system or if you have a £100,000 Naim/Focal system (I know people in both categories). For me, being an audiophile has given me immense pleasure and helped shape who I am. If you feel the same, you can find my “A British Audiophile” videos on YouTube and please check back each month for my latest column here on the website.

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Some of my recent videos:

Triangle Elara LN01A Speaker Review – YouTube

Denafrips Ares II R2R Ladder DAC Review – YouTube

Best type of speakers for bass! – YouTube

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jonathan Bignall

    May 22, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Tarun.

    I recently found your channel and have enjoyed going through your various videos. I too miss the days when every town had at least one HiFi shop. I still vividly remember hearing a second-hand Exposure XX integrated amp hooked up to Epos ES11 speakers (also used) with my Arcam CD player and absolutely falling in love with the rhythmic expressive music they made together. I still have the amplifier and CD player, sadly the ES11s died some years back with various issues and I replaced them with used Epos M12.2 which also have much of the midrange magic of the older speakers. I think about upgrading to a modern amp with more functionality but I can’t bring myself to part with it!

    Keep up the good content.

  2. Armando Rancano

    August 30, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Tarun,

    I’m a subscriber to your channel and considering buying a Pontus. However, I have read that improvements from the Ares, which I now have, are accompanied by a loss of warmth. I have Klipsch IV speakers. If there is a loss of warmth upgrading to the Pontus, depending on the amount, might impact my system’s SQ adversely. I would very much appreciate your thoughts on this. Your channel is a must-read for me. Many thanks.

    Armando

  3. Mel

    September 4, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Hi Tarun
    I’m a subscriber to your channel an am thinking of buying the “Naim Uniti Nova” however, it’s come to my attention that Naim products need a minimum speaker cable length of 3.5 metres. Does this apply to the “Nova?” If I was to have speaker cables of 2.00 metres what affect would this have? I would appreciate your thoughts on this
    Kind regards
    Mel

    • Ian White

      September 4, 2021 at 2:27 pm

      Hi,

      I’ve passed this along to Tarun but I’ll chime in having owned 6 pieces of Naim kit over the past 30 years.

      I’m not buying that 3.5 meters thing. I’ve run 6-foot speaker cables from the Uniti Atom to multiple pairs of loudspeakers in my office system and also run 20-foot runs of speaker cables. Zero sound difference minus a smidgen of warmth using the QED speaker cables.

      Naim does offer its own inexpensive speaker cables which I owned at one point. They may have been 3.5 meters but too many years ago to remember.

      Ian White

      • Mel

        September 8, 2021 at 11:32 am

        Hi many thanks for your response and information . I look forward to hearing Taruns view too!

  4. Mel

    September 11, 2021 at 7:34 am

    Hi Tarun I recently contacted you about speaker cable length for the Naim Uniti Nova. In one of your earlier videos you stress matching speaker size with room size, (the majority of mismatches being too bigger speakers for your room) I am thinking of auditioning the Spendor D7.2 as a partner for the Nova. Do you think this would be a good match and do you think it would be suitable speakers for my room size (length 21’1” and width 11’1”?

  5. Leon

    July 20, 2022 at 12:41 pm

    I have owned NAD , Marantz and presently 3 Cambridge Audio Azur AV receivers .
    All three were restored by an electronics engineer friend after the local agent told me to dump it due to spares not being available . All great amplifiers .
    I love them , fantastic equipment . I am not an audiophile and listen to music .

    My friend recently restored a Denon PMA925R and Sansui A60 . Wonderful equipment.
    Do not listen to the reviews claiming they sound terrible . Have them repaired , they sound great .

    Paired with Tannoy , Velodyne , Acoustic Energy , Klipsch .
    My friend is now building me bookshelf speakers to suit my taste . Open and silky
    smooth .
    On the one cheap Denon AVR the one cable lacked bass , while the original lacked the hi frequency clarity . I just combined them and they sound perfect .

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