Just 7 sleeps to go!
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All noted Jafant. A couple of exhibitors, including my Dealer carry Vitus & Soulution, and Audio Note were there last year (including the AN-E speakers), however those manufacturers weren't listed on the Show's website. Though i'm sure i'll see Vitus, Primare & Audio Note tucked away somewhere.
I might post an album of photos on Photobucket & link into the album in my write up.
Apologies folks for the delay posting up my highlights from the Show as work has been a bit crazy.
My first impression of this year's show was that it was not as big or as good as last year, so the organizers have some work to do to build up the show and attract particularly high end manufacturers and Dealers in future. That said, there were a few gems. Here are my highlights..
In the Rialto rooms, Addicted to Audio had the Audeze LCD-X and some pretty high end headphone amps for audition. This was the first time I heard these high end cans & I was pleasantly surprised. They were not as heavy as I expected & were comfortable on the head and ears. The sound was fast, airy & natural. Count me impressed! Those big black beasts in the background are tube mono blocks! (see link to photos below).
Elsewhere in the Rialto rooms, Interdyn had the Oppo PM-1 headphones and HA-1 headphone amp/DAC, but also the new PM-2 headphones. I didn't stop to listen to the Oppo's. I just made a bee line for the Audeze cans!
Yamaha as always put on a professional display with plenty of perspex and cutaways, featuring the new(ish) S3000 series. A nice first effort in the high end from Yamaha, but let's be honest, Yammy's background is hifi, not high end. Give 'em time and they will develop those products into something good. Until then, you have to give due respect to other talented high end manufacturers who have spent years focusing on only high end and getting their act together. But they're damn pretty things.
Deer Hz Audio were in Room 305 with Zesto valve amps, a Merrill-Williams turntable and Daedalus Athena v2 speakers. This was my first opportunity to see and hear Lou's hand-crafted Daedalus speakers. The first thing which strikes you is the gorgeous cabinetry. I have been an admirer of his value for money creations for a while now. I can tell you, the cabinets are inert and built the old school way & easily passed on the knock test. The sound was natural and relaxed. I would have liked a bit bigger stage size & bottom end oomph...I suspect the Argos or Orpheus would have been more my thing paired with Modwright amps.
Absolute Hi End shared a room this year with Klapp Audio which featured Marten Duke 2 standmounts, various Bel Canto components, a Bladelius Thor Mk3, Tyr Mk2 & Gondul rbcd player. The Marten Duke 2's were playing with Bel Canto mono blocks & a Bel Canto CD2 spinning discs. Quite decent sound, though I would have liked to have heard the Dukes with the Bladelius gear which i'm more familiar with. Bladelius offers good bang for the buck if you can accept the almost non-existent customer service from the manufacturer. You just have to take those products as they are. Liked the build quality & looks of the Bel Canto gear. That is front runner for a future desktop setup in my study.
I quickly stopped by the Audio Note room who were demonstrating the $6500AUD AN-J speakers this year paired with the $8.5kAUD Vindicator Silver Signature power amp. You won't mistake Audio note gear for any other manufacturer. There is a certain uniqueness to it which I like. And the sound coming out of that room sounded delicate and great with female voice.
The guys from Entertaining Environments occupied room 340. Another first for me was the chance to hear Simaudio's moon amps and the little Raidho C1's. The sound was clean and mostly smooth with fast, airy highs. Though I detected some stridency in the top end which I found out was due to the C1's being fresh out of the crate at the start of the show. These guys got my vote for most genuine and friendly staff at the show.
Best of show goes to Telos Audio in room 440 & 441(no surprise there really). This room featured the big Brodmann JB 155 speakers, a full array of Ypsilon's best amps and digital front end & the mighty Continuum Caliburn turntable connected to a Ypsilon SUT. The sound was dynamic, engaging, warm, very smooth and eerily real at times. Mikey Fremer seemed to like what he heard going by his tapping feet!
It was great to catch up with Phil from Pure Music Group in room 438. Phil is a great guy & always puts together and impressive room. This year he was running Gauder Acoustik Cassiano speakers, mola mola amps & the awesome Tech Das Air Force One tt. I mean i'm not even a vinyl guy, but the AF1 is my dream deck. Just hope I can find a good 2nd hand example when I retire!! The sound was authorative, resolving, pitch perfect and had great prat. Chatting to Phil, I noted the AF1's great timing. Great room with a great guy behind it.
Here is a link to my photo album. Enjoy!
Cheers Jafant! I'm probably the wrong person to ask which cd/sacd players impressed me because I have pretty expensive taste! McIntosh had a cd player there, though i'm not sure which model. I can't say i'm really a fan of McIntosh. On the digital side, the stand outs at the show were the Ypsilon CDT-100 & DAC 100 combo, the Light Harmonic Dual Da Vinci DAC & the Bladelius Gondul sacd player which is designed by ex-Threshold Designer Michael Bladelius. There was no denying the smoothness, warmth & sophistication of the Ypsilon gear, though it was nice to sit down and have a listen to the Bladelius which I am more familiar with. The Gondul S has a Canadian sound (ie: clean, neutral, resolving and dynamic). I would choose smooth, warm sounding cables with Bladelius such as PAD or Jorma. That said, it would have been interesting to do a shootout against the similarly priced Aesthetix Romulus Signature, or even a Modwright Sony XA-5400ES.