This is going to be a little less of a report and more of a stream of photos from the recent event. If we remember enough we may put in some info but that is something I just cant promise from such an exhausting, long and busy show. Obviously some of the following gear sounded amazing, some really didn’t cut it and the rest were inbetween. I was debating some organisation but instead we will do without that and just go in order of photos taken. So you can almost guarntee i get more and more tired and dehydrated as the report goes on, oh and give this page some chance to load, there are like 100+ hi res pictures!
A little disclaimer, prices should be pretty accurate but could be wrong, they also vary from £s, to $s, to €s, HiFi prices aren’t as easy to find as you may think.
I tell you what, these guys nearly got an article of their own because both systems they had sounded great. They kept the front end but did swap between two speakers. The JBL Synthesis Everest DD67000 (£70,000) as seen below were my favourites and also were visually special.
The No53 Amp (£20,000)
The in use Mark Levinson front end.
The brand new No 536 mono blocks on show for the first time.
Finally they showed off the Revel Ultima Salon 2, a bit cheaper than Everests at $20,000 and also a bit more usual in looks but still had something special about the way the drivers looked.
Kyron Audio –
Kyron were there showing off their open baffle, dipole speaker the Kronos($112,000 plus options).
Kyron’s own amplification is also included in the price so all you need is a source.
Lyrus Audio –
I was suprised to come across a brand new headphone maufacterer here in the form of Lyrus. These guys had two planar headphones, the Model 9 (just under $2000) and the cheaper Model 6. They sounded rather different off a range of amps throughout the show so I will wait for my review sample to make further comments.
Headphones that use either AMT or ribbon tweeter along with a traditional dynamic driver. These didn’t nail the coherency and they had a weird resonance in the mids and also struggled in the bass, albeit very different in quantity (some had too much, some was sloppy etc) across the 6 models ranging up to £2,500. Nice looking though.
The British duo were doing to show off MQA. It was a bit stupid though because they played us a lovely recorded hi res track in MQA on their DSP8000 (special edition $80,000) active speakers but did not compare to the ordinary FLAC version. So yes it did sound good but so do the speakers, the track and I gained nothing about MQA.
Outside the demo you could try the Prime and Explorer on some Audeze LCD-XCs and compare MQA to MP3. Again I have to question why we aren’t comparing to FLAC at the least. MQA sounded better but it is more a case of MP3 sounding shit.
We got to hear the Response V2. The top white drivers actually push together and out instead of back and forth.
We did not like their headphone amp system or their speaker system. Not a lot more to say.
Cars: Burmester and Dynaudio –
This was a great and fun part of the show. We got to sit in some swanky cars and listen to their pimped out stereos. Both of the above companies sounded powerful, dynamic and bassy and the sound did envelope you. They also both had cool DSP settings. The prices were not a huge addition to the cars and seemed like a no brainer for anyone buying a car from VW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, and Maybach. Audi, Skoda and Rolls Royce were also demo-ing stereos while clearaudio had a very nice motorbike purely for aesthetic value.
A bike next to the ClearAudio turntables? Why was it there? I don’t know? Why did i take a picture? I don’t know? Why is it in this article? I don’t know?
We did have a quick look at Chord’s new flagship DAC, DAVE. It has their trademark styling, which you love or hate!
That is a sneaky headphone jack at the bottom!
Symphonic Line –
We did not get to hear anything but we saw their gold housed amp, turntable that never stops and even their very limited speakers which have a driver that is baked like a cake.
These guys sounded amazing due to really imrpessive room treatment from British Townshend.
Tried the UM50 and W60, both sounded warm and had wobbly bass, I preffered the UM50 but liked neither.
We heard the £25,500 K8, which is their flagship. The monos powering them were pretty beastly as well.
Raidho Acoustics –
The epic and huge D5 that cost $225,000.
Totaldac & Co.
Having used a totaldac d1-tube-mk2 (which was on show in one of the rooms) for the last few months I had a feeling any of the 4 rooms using a totaldac may sound EPIC, funnily enough I wasn’t wrong, although as they were all intergrated in different systems, they all sounded quite varied. As we did all of them on our crazy third day where we listened to more systems than most people do in a lifetime, impressions arent what we wish they were and not much was remembered.
Above are some Silberstatic electrostats, I think the NR.8 (€39,900) on the right were in use and the smaller ones of the left are their baby NO.4.
We had a d1-server and d1-dual DAC in use, which was in the more expensive silver faceplate version, that would look nice with the rest of my mainly silver gear. The amps were mono blocks from Analog Domain.
This room used the 3 box d1-twelve DAC with a d1-server (the fourth box). Prices are €28,500 + €4990.
The speakers in this room were from Kaiser Acoustics. These are the Kawero! Classic and are $56,600, which suprised me even with the artistic way wood grains looked. They were matched perfectly as well by them Engstrom & Engstrom tube amps.
This room used the same 4 totaldac boxes as the last room! I know it is crazy but 4 boxes of source gear is winning right. The speakers were the Goebel Epoque Reference along with the Baforce sub. These just grab my attention with looks alone and don’t come cheap at $175k and with the added €87,500 Baforce woofer this room did things big.
Both the phantoms sucked, wobbly bass, lack of deatils, they just sounded like something fancy to have at a party.
Snazzy remotes though!
They used the B&W Nautilus but pypassed the active section inside and gave each drive a monoblock, crazy I know.
Onda Ligera –
This was a crazy and brutal looking set up. That being said the room was probably too small and i just remember a lot of bass and there didnt seem to be the biggest element of control.
These are the Excellence AMT, $16,000.
Lawrence Audio –
The Lawrence Audio Double Bass speakers, love the design, but the sound didn’t impress as much in the environment. A little thin and un-engaging.
Sonus Faber –
The Amati Futura speakers given the space to breath they needed, a minimalist setup, pretty impressive nonetheless.
These are the €11,000 Reference 1K that sounded awful where we were sitting due to having too many seats for the demo outside the width of the speakers, it was a pointless demo. They shot themselves here.
Gauder Akustik –
These are the Berlina RC9s, cost is €47,999.