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Audio Show 2012

Name: Audio Show
Edition: XVI
Organizer: Adam Mokrzycki Services

Date: 10-11 November 2012
Hours of Operation:
Saturday 12.11 – 10.00-20.00
Sunday 13.11 – 10.00-18.00

Venue: Hotels: Radisson Blu Sobieski, Bristol i Golden Tulip


Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Photos: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Andrzej Dziadowiec

Published: 3. December 2012, No. 103

I like Audio Show. It’s the most tiring audio show in which I participate and yet at the same time the most interesting, most fascinating. It’s fascinating mainly due to the people. It is the human factor that’s most important in music and its reproduction, and it defines the products we listen to (so says an audiophile) or with which we listen to music (so says a music lover). During this year’s show I had the opportunity to meet with my readers – greetings to all of you! – manufacturers, including foreign guests, distributors, and simply friends, most of whom I only get to see in Warsaw, on this one occasion.
The fact that after the AS I feel like I've worked non-stop for a week is of course my problem, not the readers. Only that it defines what you are reading. It has to do with the size of the event. Anyone who came this year to the three hotels, Radisson Blu Sobieski, Golden Tulip and Bristol knows that just to walk through so many rooms is already a challenge. Add to that the seminars, auditions, pictures, and most of all conversations, even brief but numerous, and you will have an overall view of the event.
Despite all that, I like Audio Show; I like coming to the show and talking, listening, taking pictures (this year using flash for the first time - I have mixed feelings about the result). It's an incredible amount of energy I try to absorb and retain as long as possible. The sheer amount of work put into the preparation of exhibitor rooms deserves our great respect. Add to that the kind of money they need to put into it, the time they sacrifice, and in many cases their health they put at risk. I can’t forget about that when I walk into various rooms and listen to even the worst sounding systems. I may be getting old or something but I find more and more interesting everything that's going on "outside" the sound than the sound itself. The sound depends on so many factors, most of which beyond the reach of exhibitors, that it’s a miracle that in hotel rooms, after less than a day and night of preparations, with such and no other mains power, acoustics, noise generated by the visitors, in the heat and stuffiness, they manage to achieve so good, often very good results.

Assessment of the phenomenon of sound during the show, for that’s what we’re talking about, is therefore much more difficult than it might seem at first glance. Still, one can’t get away from it. Hence, our yearly awards for the best sounding systems - primarily from High-End show in Munich, but also from Audio Show in Warsaw. As always, please bear with us for the absolute arbitrariness with which they are awarded. The sound during the shows varies from minute to minute; it often happens that I enter a room and hear a poor album (musically and sonically) and my response is always the same - to escape. But I try to stay at least for another track or two to see whether there’s some improvement or whether the same flaws are repeated time after time. But even then I can’t be sure whether the amp was sufficiently warmed up, or whether someone hadn’t made some stupid mistake that would be corrected a moment later. That’s something completely beyond my control and my opinion of the sound is necessarily based on the short impressions. I can’t help it – that’s what it is and will be in the future. Therefore, I suggest reading this reportage and watching the accompanying pictures more as a kind of signpost and a list of products than as a detailed assessment of what was happening. Of course, there must be some evaluation since I have an opinion about what I've heard, but even I know that such opinions are based on a moment in time, not on many hours of reliable auditions. It’s not a review where I control the majority of variables but rather some kind of a gap in the chaos into which I'm trying to push with my ears and my camera. And I am quite sure that most of you will have different, often diametrically different opinions on various presentations and on the event itself. I heard from my friend who came to the show on Saturday that it was his worst AS ever.
- And did you hear the system with the Thiels? - I asked.
- No… I didn’t…
- And did you come to the Everests presentation? – I continue.
- Yes, it was great!
- Did you like the Kondo?
- I have to say it was the best presentation from Mr. Szemis I'd heard so far.
- And what do you think about the presentation of Armin and the Avantgarde speakers?
- The best sound from these speakers in that room!
- So what is it you did not like? - I asked, a little annoyed.
- Well, somehow generally, I don’t know…
It's a real conversation I had on Tuesday after the event, showing that the evaluation Audio Show can be radically different, and yet we find common points between each of the visitors.

This year's show was bigger and better publicized than the previous seemingly unbeatable edition. I think that the plans were somehow thwarted by the politics (it always screws something up…), because people were afraid of what was to take place on Sunday and preferred to stay at home or even leave Warsaw for the weekend. Despite that, the show was very well visible - four television crews, many unrelated journalists, a big advertising supplement in "Gazeta Wyborcza" newspaper - it all costs exorbitant money and takes a lot of preparation. Bringing the guests from abroad is expensive, too - both those leading the seminars (Wally Malewicz and Chris Connaker), as well as journalists, for example Mary and Henk from "" magazine. I know that next year promises to be even better, that there are already first plans, but here and now it was really very good.


To be able to visit each room in a single day (and that’s the amount of time I have for it) and to have all prepared in advance (and not) conversations requires careful planning. This year I had several long agreed shows, including the above mentioned seminars and they largely determined my plans. I started from the Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel, because that’s where the organizer’s office is and where you receives a press badge. Since I arrived an hour early I wanted to take advantage of the time to learn of the changes introduced to the system by Mr. Ken Ishiguro, the owner of Acoustic Revive, for some people a crazy magician and shaman and for others, myself included, a visionary seeing and hearing things that we are just learning. It also determined the direction in which I moved around, starting from the top floor, from the room no. 701.

My curiosity was fueled both by what AR products bring to my own system and my friends’ systems, but also by a wide stream of e-mails I get concerning a review of LAN cables from that manufacturer. And that's why the XEO Dynaudio system in which Mr. Ishiguro applied his "inventions" should be put in a glass cabinet, preferably with the guest from Japan himself, to demonstrate what most audiophiles and non-audiophiles do not believe or even ridicule. Believe me, a short demonstration can change an extreme skeptic into a neophyte preaching the "good news" to everybody. Quartz, coasters, spacers, cables, and many others at first glance absurd accessories brought to the system audible changes that accumulated changing the sound beyond recognition. The best proof that only demonstrations, not quoting textbooks (or scripts - who buys books these days?), make sense in audio is that the most outspoken converts turned out to be people from… Acoustic Revive distributor. Talk to them and hear in their voices the newly found faith and the same certainty I heard. Apparently they knew it all before but - as it turns out – didn’t quite trust themselves. Welcome to the club!

Speakers: JBL Everest DD66000 + Electronics Mark Levinson
Distribution: R. Bałys |

Electronics Rega + Speakers: GURU QM10TWO + cables Albedo + platforms Monolith Audio
Distribution: |

Speakers: i Electronics Avantgarde Acoustic + Electronics Octave i Ayon + turntable Transrotor
Distribution: Eter Audio |

System Dynaudio XEO + akcesoria Acoustic Revive
Distribution: Eter Audio |

System DIY Audio

Electronics Amare Musica + Speakers: Clockwork
Producent: Amare Musica |

Speakers: + Electronics TAD
Distribution: Audio Center Poland |

Speakers: Duevel + Electronics Cary Audio + kable Tara Labs
Distribution: Audio System |

Speakers: Sonddeco
Producent: Sounddeco |

Speakers: Franco Serblin + Electronics Jadis + turntable TW Raven + Electronics Thöress
Distribution: Grobel Audio |

Speakers: Bodnar Audio + Electronics EntreQ, M2Tech, Calyx
Producent: Bodnar Audio |
Distribution: GFmod Audio Research |

Speakers: Estelon + Electronics Viruts Audio, RCM Audio + turntable AMG
Distribution: RCM |
Producent: RCM Audio |

Speakers: Thiel + Electronics VTL + turntable VPI
Distribution: HiFi Club |

The room adjacent to the one with very well sounding Octave electronics Dynaudio speakers (unfortunately I did not find Mr. Hoffman, the owner of Octave) was occupied by Rega distributor, In addition to the new products from the "R" line it showcased for the first time in Poland the GURU speakers, model QM10TWO. The electronics sat on specially prepared platforms from Monolith Audio. The system was inexpensive but it was there I heard one of the better, i.e. most complete and competent systems at the show, regardless of the price. It’s no coincidence that in the last year (or two years ago), as far as I remember, it was also Rega products that drew most positive comments from the visitors. This time the distributor repeated the same trick, but with other speakers and new electronics. A full, smooth, very well-balanced presentation.

Another room I surely wanted to visit was the one housing a system from Kondo, costing some 2,300,000 PLN (that’s right, over two million!) and it turned out to be a good example of the fact that one visit is just like the Lotto result – a hit or miss. I visited the room about 10.15 AM, right after the show opening with only distributor’s foreign guests present. The sound could be described as nondescript at best. The displayed products had my highest admiration and respect but only in terms of aesthetics, in theory - I could not hear any of what is written about them. Of course it was not a bad sound; its potential could be heard in each and every detail but didn’t even come close to what I have at home. Each next person I met was saying, however, that Kondo sounds "better", "good" and "very well", and finally, at the end of the event, one of my friends said that for him it’s "the sound of the show". Was it due to the system warming up during the day (after all, it’s tubes, lots of tubes) or to some minor tweaks - I do not know. But one must admit – these are beautiful, gorgeous toys…

Downstairs, the room no. 608 was the nest of the team from "" portal, under the banner of DIY Audio. There you could see and listen to audio components and ask their designers questions concerning their individual designs collectively referred to as DIY. These are not products in the full sense of the word but rather individual, unique creations. Often, they are so clear manifestation of their designer personality that it is difficult to speak about the correctness of their presentation; at most about a better or worse realization of a certain vision.
What I heard in the room 608, however, belonged to a different category. Genuine, cool, addictive sound leaving space for the artist whose album was played and at the same time with such organized priorities that I could hear the designer’s choices. I do not know how the guys did it; after all, each of the products came from someone else (or so I think) and I don’t think they were doing a casting before the show for the best fitting components. Well done!
Another interesting place was the Amare Musica room. The manufacturer located in the room no. 507 on the fifth floor showed the finished products - the De Forest preamp on EML30A triodes for 20,000 PLN (plus VAT) and the Trinity monoblocks (for 40,000 PLN plus VAT), with two parallel directly heated 300B triodes driven by EML20B. Very nice visual design, great finish, and above all convincing, very well arranged and saturated sound prompted me to a longer listening. I think that the Clockwork speakers partnering the amplifier, really great, also added to the fact that one wanted to come back to that room. I hope I will soon get a closer look at Amare Musica electronics because we have an appointment for a review.

I heard quite different sound, at least at first, in the room of Akkus, selling high-quality electronic components as well as drivers, including own speaker designs. Audio Show saw the premiere of two models from the Redwine series, built on the most expensive ceramic drivers from Accuton, including the CELL tweeter. They were driven by Manley electronics, but an equally important part of the system were racks, platforms, spacers and feet from Pro Audio Bono. They look great and at the same time have a positive impact on any device and speaker we put on them. The sound of the system was a bit distant and did not sweep me off my feet. One had to sit down for a moment only to find out that everything was there, nothing missing. Except that it was not a "show off". The same situation repeated later in Bristol Hotel, with the Estelon speakers.

As usually, a very warm and simply good atmosphere waited in the room with products from GigaWatt. Focused primarily on markets outside Poland where its fame grows, the manufacturer obviously has not forgotten its roots. Since its offer consists of products designed to improve power quality, such as conditioners, power strips, power cords, mains sockets and plugs, during shows and exhibitions it must have recourse to components from other manufacturers. This year they were the Audiovector speakers, speaker cables and interconnects from Sevenrods, an Accustic Arts CD player and, I think, the key to success – the Baltlab Endo 2 integrated amplifier. In addition to powerful, fantastically designed conditioner housings one’s attention was drawn by brand new Gigawatt sockets for installation in its products or on the wall. They are reminiscent of Furutech, at least when it comes to aesthetics, but it’s good to have SUCH a design. There’s nothing to be ashamed of as their mechanical design was fully GigaWatt.

I also spent a longer time in the TAD room. Last year saw its Polish premiere and based on that experience the people from Audio Center Poland rented this year a completely separate room and chose the Compact Reference 1 stand mount speakers for auditions. For the first time one could see and listen to the M600 top monoblocks. Demonstrations were led by TAD head of sales in Europe, Mr. Frank van Leuvenhaege. An extremely nice, composed person who knew exactly what to say and when. The success of the presentation was not undermined by the price of the system – 165,000 PLN.
One could also enjoy what could be heard in the Audio Consulting room, a distributor of such brands as Audioplan, Isem Audio and Pure Sound. I heard the speakers before and I can’t say a single bad word about them, but this year I think it was helped by a good job of the electronics, including the Pure Sound L300preamplifier, with a 300B tube in the power supply. Beautifully finished, impressive for its size it brought calm and composure to the system. I am sure that the final success was helped by components from French Isem Audio – a CD player and a power amplifier. Good job!

In the room no. 301 it was hard to talk about good sound – the speakers were put in the corners so as to not get in the way and no one really listened to anything. The Fonica room, for that’s what I’m talking about (I have no idea why in the show guide the company is called Audiofonica), enjoyed a relaxed atmosphere of a reception, helped by a bottle of cognac on the table and glasses featuring the company logo. It was probably meant to create a welcome atmosphere to talk to both the company’s owner and the turntables’ designer. The show witnessed the launch of two new models - the least expensive F-400 and a designer model with the base in the shape of a violin key. The latter will probably come to me for a review I will prepare for "Enjoy The" magazine.

I still remember the excitement accompanying the review of the RLS Callisto III. The tiny, beautifully crafted monitors had such well-ordered sound that I could wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone looking for speakers for small rooms. The more so that their bass was like in much larger designs. According to Jerzy Rokoszewski, the owner of RLS, the new model was necessitated by the end of manufacturing of the midbass driver. The new one sounds slightly different, does not have quite as low extension, but bass is supposed to be better integrated with midrange. The Callisto IV model is already ordered for a review. And that's because I really liked how it sounded with the Struss R150 amplifier, the Bryston media player / DAC and cabling from Artech.

Extraordinary aesthetic experience, both in terms of sound and outward appearance waited for me in the room no. 315 occupied by Galeria Audio, distributor of such brands as Davone, Bauer Audio, Manley, Leema Acoustics and others . The Davone Ray speakers, 60s stylized, set horizontally, sold with stands being an extension of that aesthetic looked and sounded beautiful and very stylish. They primarily drew my attention; however, I was equally excited by the Bauer Audio DPS2 turntable with the stock tonearm. A beautiful example of common sense and a great ear. Once I reviewed its earlier version, with a different arm, which differed substantially from the recent base design (see HERE). The turntable is already ordered for a review. If it works out, I would also like to listen to the Ray speakers (for a recent review of the Mojo model see HERE).

There are distributors of the leading brands others can only dream of. One of them is Audio System from Warsaw. It often adds to its offer good, interesting, iconic brands and you need to keep an eye on it to avoid missing out on anything. It is often the only opportunity to listen to legendary products that have never before reached Poland. These are mostly new brands but it happens sometimes that Audio System gets to “manage” a brand previously represented by another distributor. Such is the case of Duevel from Germany. This year its speakers were paired with the Cary Audio CAD-300 SEI amp on 300B tubes, an SACD player from the same manufacturer and top cables from Tara Labs – the Omega and the Zero. The sound was great not diminished by the fact that the speakers previously featured in House M.D. TV series (paired with QUAD electronics)…

JBL Everest DD66000 + Mark Levinson

It’s not every day that one has a chance to listen to speakers referred to by their manufacturer as its best design in its entire history, quite long in case of JBL. And yet that’s exactly how the Everest DD66000, launched to celebrate the manufacturer’s 60th anniversary, were presented at this year's Audio Show. As you may have noticed I have a weakness for speakers with large bass woofers and each of these speakers is equipped with two (!) 15-inch drivers, one responsible for the range between 30 and 150 Hz and then handing it over to the other one extending up to 700 Hz. Next, we might say in line with JBL "tradition", there is a horn-loaded compression driver and finally a horn super-tweeter.
It’s only fitting that such speakers should be accompanied by suitable electronics - in this case top Mark Levinson models: No.53 monoblocks, No.326S preamp and No.512 player. Audition took place in one of Sobieski’s larger rooms suffering, like all others, with problems with acoustics, not to mention the on-and-off air condition. Despite all that, it was one of the best presentations at this year's show. Powerful, well-controlled bass, smooth, juicy, colorful midrange and incredibly vibrant treble – cymbals sounded simply unearthly (or actually very "earthly", i.e. authentic) – all presented in a very coherent way, with huge resolution and the kind of freedom only a very few speakers can offer. Now all you need is to shell out a bit over six hundred thousand zlotys, put that system in a well-adopted room sized 100 square meters or more and forget any further changes for life… Which is what I wish myself and all of you.

Marek Dyba

Speaking of that distributor and taking the opportunity offered by this reportage let me jump to the next presentation where one could see two things well worth the wait, which I did not expect to see. In the Galleria II and III halls were presented not only my beloved Harbeths M40.1 but also the Avalons Isis and electronics from Constellation Audio. The latter is an expensive and highly respected brand, the result of joining forces by several leading US audio designers. The show was a chance to listen to the Centaur stereo power amp and the Virgo preamp. A characteristic feature of the latter is a detachable front panel which also serves as a convenient remote control unit. The preamp is already ordered for a review.

But let’s get back to the third floor. The big surprise for me came from Linnart that I somehow lost sight of and thought it no longer existed. I realized I was wrong when I saw it in the room it shared with the manufacturer of the Zontek turntable. The sound coming from JBL speakers may not have been particularly inspiring but I put that down to the show conditions. I wouldn’t mention it at all, coming from the viewpoint that it only makes sense to talk about good products, were it not for the fact that both the turntable and the electronics looked really great and they reflected their manufacturer’s knowledge, self-esteem and respect for the customer, as well as real enthusiasm.

Naturally, these are only a few selected systems that sounded or looked good, or at least showed such promise, which could be heard in the Sobieski Hotel. It is my own choice and does not need to agree with yours. The presentation of the JBL Everest DD66000 speakers and top Mark Levinson electronics is covered in a separate entry above. I will only add that the No.512 CD player, which you could hear in Warsaw, came to me for a review straight after the show.


Each year my route looks very similar: I come to Warsaw on Saturday morning, about 9:00, and I go to the Sobieski Hotel. Around 14:00 I walk through Artur Zawisza Square (bearing the name since 1929) and five minutes later I get in the Golden Tulip Hotel. Earlier, when the show was held in two hotels, about 16:00 I went from Sobieski straight to Bristol. This year it was different. For a long time getting ready for two seminars – one dedicated to analog audio and turntables, led by Waldemar "Wally" Malewicz, and the other centered on digital technology or more precisely on the recommended methods of playing audio files, run by Mr. Chris Connaker, the chief editor of "Computer Audiophile" online magazine (some say 'portal' – there seems to be no clear-cut line between the two). One of them turned out to be, at least for me, far from satisfactory, the other one – simply brilliant. However, because of them I had to change my usual route – I went to Bristol straight from Sobieski as the seminars were scheduled at 15:00 and 16:00, respectively.

Chris Connaker | "Computer Audiophile"

I’ve been gearing up for Chris Connaker’s presentation for a long time. Computer audio is in fact a hot topic still raising more questions than answers. Somebody like Chris is probably the best source of information and knowledge on the subject.
It seems, however, that either my expectations concerning the presentation were too high or maybe the chief of "Computer Audiophile" was just warming up trying to reach and engage the Polish audience. Or perhaps the culprit was the failing projector that was supposed to display what was happening on Chris’s laptop - I don’t really know. One thing is for certain – although I heard two or three interesting things, all the rest was pretty basic and of no use for me. A somewhat chaotic nature of the seminar didn’t help things, either. Tomek, my friend who came to the seminar on Sunday, was quite satisfied with it so maybe they managed to get it better organized.
And what was it that I expected? First of all, I hoped that Chris would present, one by one and from the beginning to the end, how to set up a proper system for playing audio files from the computer, showing potential pitfalls and tricks and giving practical advice on what to set up and how. I didn’t get any of that. He is a very nice person whose knowledge I deeply respect but I left his meeting unsatisfied.

Wally (Waldek) Malewicz | MS MechEng

Mr. Malewicz is over 70 years old and he seems to have fun with it. He looks much younger, so does he move and behave. His inner joy radiates outward and affects what he does, which is now turntable technology. And he is recognized worldwide as a leading expert in that field.
Some of his inner harmony and certainty as to whether it is, what it does what it does well you one could pick up during the seminar. Jokes, anecdotes, light manner of speech - all of that combined made his lecture very interesting, despite the fact that some presented things were rather obvious to all participants. For me, however, it was an opportunity to look at the presented material from a different perspective - not of a practician (that too) but mostly of a skilled theoretician for whom the turntable is simply an exercise in mathematics and physics. I learned a few tricks and I received a package of personal experience which I intend to put to a good use. For example, if the cartridge manufacturer recommends VTA range between 1.8 g and 2.2 g we should choose 2.1 g, not the arithmetic mean of 2.0 g. Of course, it’s a trifle but it is such tiny details that add up to something much bigger.
The lecture raised huge interest and the small Reymont room rented by RCM could not seat even half of those who wanted to listen to Mr. Malewicz. Maybe next year, if he is persuaded to come again, it might be worth thinking about a larger room? Or maybe even of a few lectures, each dedicated to various audience? It’s really worth it because he is a person who knows WHAT he wants to say and is also great at HOW to do it. My great appreciation and thanks!

Wojciech Pacuła

The first room I wanted to visit in Bristol was Kiepura occupied for several years now, in place of previous great shows of such products as Sonus faber and Gryphon, by Eter Audio with products from Avantgarde Acoustic, Accuphase, Ayon Audio, Transrotor and now also Siltech. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get in for the presentation and since I didn’t want to wrestle with some short-tempered music lovers / audiophiles waiting in line for entry, I went instead into the Moniuszko room, situated right next to the cloakroom. I’m glad I did. Each hotel where the AS is held has better and worse areas. They are also so called "cursed" rooms where nothing has ever sounded good. In Sobieski it’s the Galeria I; in Bristol it’s the said Moniuszko. As it turns out, the curse can be broken, one only needs to choose appropriate speakers (because they are usually the culprit) and to use one’s head to do something about the room acoustics. This year, the Galeria I was shattered by the JBL Everest DD66000 and the curse was broken. I believe something similar happened in the Moniuszko room. This year was the first time I heard something that really hooked me, not just left me in the position of respectful silence. It was not a perfect "something" because, for me, there was a little too much treble and dynamics was a little bland, yet knowing the problems with the acoustics in that room, bearing in mind the experience of the previous years (e.g. LINN presentation) I was very impressed with the sound of a system presented by fastaudio. It looked pretty simple, though it cost a small fortune and was actually highly advanced. The source was the latest top dCS Vivaldi system. Consisting of three units – an SACD transport, a master clock and a DAC – it aspires to be the ultimate source. Since the D/A converter features a built-in digital preamp, the system did without a classic preamp altogether and the digital system was coupled directly to a power amplifier - in this role Dan D’Agostino Momentum stereo amplifier. It was driving Wilson Audio Sasha W/P speakers. The sound was excellent. Full, with low, soft bass and very well set midrange. Excellent harmonics saturation, which was missing in previous years. It was really a pleasure to listen to it.

After leaving the Moniuszko I finally managed to squeeze into a presentation led by Armin Krauss, a representative of Avantgarde Acoustic. Needless to say it was fully professional, both in terms of the presented system, as well as Armin himself. Respect.
Another point on my "must-see" map was the room of RCM from Katowice with the Estelon XA, AMG Viella V12 turntable and electronics from Vitus Audio. It was very calm, non-aggressive sound that one needs to grow up to, get used to and fall in love with. Then there is no turning back. It is worth noting that the system featured the new RCM Audio THERIAA preamplifier. Since I had the opportunity to review the first available unit (the review will appear in December issue of "Enjoy The") I know it's bound to become a new revelation, after its earlier incarnation the Sensor Prelude IC. This is one of the best phono stages I have ever heard, regardless of price, technology and stories that go behind them.
My next stop was Jarek Waszczyszyn’s room where – somewhat of a shock to many visitors – he presented his new Studio Oslo computer (Jared calls them " studio") active monitors supported by his new subwoofer I hadn’t heard before. For me the sound volume was a little too high but I guess nobody got out of the room without a clear opinion. I liked it although it must be said that not everyone did.
And finally the room with ESA speakers, Nagra electronics and an AVID turntable (distributed by Intrada) where analog and digital versions of the same albums were being compared. Somehow it happened that everybody preferred vinyl…

VTL+Thiel, Hi-Fi Club

This year Hi-Fi Club decided, for the second time in the history of the Warsaw show, to present a "non-McIntosh" system. Its highlight was the latest Thiel CS2.7 speakers driven by VTL electronics, including the MB450 monoblocks in their third version and a reference preamplifier. The source was a VPI turntable. Already on listening to the first track from Words of Love by David Munyon one couldn’t but notice a phenomenal realism of vocals’ presentation, which was later confirmed by listening to Sting. The balance between all the instruments was short of ideal, but the high notes on the "Made in Stockfish" album came out a little too dry. Listening to the accordion on the Fracanapa track from the Audiophile Spectrum compilation I had no doubt that we are dealing with the highest quality sound. Emotions associated with this instrument have been very faithfully conveyed. The opening notes of the rhythm section in Children of Sanchez by Chuck Mangione revealed some dynamic compression, but objectively speaking it was a most demanding test and I can’t think of any speakers the size of the CS2.7, in this particular room of the Bristol Hotel, to pass it with flying colors. In conclusion I must admit that it was one of the best sounding systems of this year's Systems Audio Show, maybe even deserving a place on the podium.

Tomasz Folta


I have never been at such late hours at the Golden Tulip. Little did I know then that it was so nice in the late afternoon - I was there at 17:30 - and in the early evening and that one can listen to presentations with so much comfort.
Let me start with the two presentations that my visit - the room (or, rather, "hall") with Sounddeco speakers and the room occupied by the head of Jadis. Let's start with the Polish company as one could already see through the windows the first groups of supporters of one or the other, or even a third and a fourth vision of the free and independent Poland, getting ready for the next day demonstrations during Polish Independence Day, November 11th. It is thus only fitting to give our manufacturers a little head start.
Sounddeco is a completely new brand on the map of Polish audio. However, Witowa manufacturer that created the brand is not unknown. Having its own specialized machinery it is primarily a manufacturer of the most expensive door systems on the Polish market and of other specialized woodwork elements. For many years, it has also been an OEM manufacturer of speaker cabinets for many Polish but also foreign brands (unfortunately, their names are confidential). At the show it presented the entire gallery of sample cabinet designs, demonstrating how complex products it is able to manufacture; among them, the most obvious are those ordered by Harpia Acoustics.

Sounddeco is meant to become a way to show own abilities in speaker design and manufacturing - from A to Z. The speakers presented at the show, nice, inexpensive, equipped with drivers from American SB Acoustics, sounded surprisingly well. Freely, without noticable compression, without any peaks or dips in the frequency response, etc. And that points to a good workmanship behind them. We will hear more of this company, I'm sure of that.
At the other end of the price spectrum, but as we shall see only apparently so, was a presentation prepared by Grobel Audio, led by Mr. Patrick Calmettes, the head and owner of Jadis Electronics. He is a very nice, kind, gentle man, and an interview with him was a sheer pleasure. So was listening to a new system with his new I35 integrated amplifier in the lead role. The system was conceived as a "budget" one, of course, provided one understands what “budget system” means when it consists of components from such manufacturers as Franco Serblin with the Accordo speakers, the TW Raven One turntable equipped with the Koetsu Rosewood Signature cartridge, the Thöress phono preamp and the Jadis JD3 Evolution CD player. The system was chosen in such a way that none of its components cost more than 20,000 PLN. The turntable went over that limit but if we take into account the base and tonearm separately, it would be OK.
Such set up system sounded very, very, very nice. Even, smooth, seemingly without compression. A slightly warm sound of all individual components didn’t turn it into a mush and instead conveyed vividness and imagery that you would not find in much more expensive systems. I could happily live with that sound, despite the fact that its entire cost is less than my cables alone…


Every year I feel that I was somewhere, to someone not walked in, I saw something, with someone I have not met, not greeted. And I’m always 100% right. Coming back home, sitting down to segregate and process the photographs, when I get to realize my mistakes and omissions (whether intentional or not, that’s not the point) I am usually overtaken by an immense sense of guilt. For I am aware of the vast amount of work put into the show by the exhibitors. Watching my friends and acquaintances but also complete strangers barely able to keep on their feet on Saturday morning (unless, of course it is the "merit" of alcohol :) I know I owe them much gratitude and respect. For while it's a part of their business, it’s how they earn a living, I benefit from their work just like other visitors do. And for that they deserve sincere thanks and honest recognition!

As always, so also this time some demonstrations were a success and some rather not. Who or what is to blame for that – the exhibitors, the products, other factors - I don’t know. It is largely Russian roulette. Nevertheless, one can’t ignore the message that can be learned from companies that are always perfectly prepared in terms of both their image and sound in their (let’s take, for example, the rooms with Monitor Audio and Cambridge Audio or the presentation by Avantgarde Acoustic). If one has the skills and is lucky with the room choice, it is entirely possible to achieve a very good sound even in such difficult, hotel conditions. And sometimes you just need top components to overcome even the worst acoustics. So happened with the Everest DD66000 system from JBL (I wonder when we will see newer models of these speakers, the DD67000 or the DD65000 models?) paired with electronics from Mark Levinson in the notorious Sobieski Hotel room where nothing sounded good. And so it was with the Sounddeco speakers in a huge hall at the Golden Tulip and Franco Serblin’s tiny speakers in a large room several rooms away. Other systems that stood out in terms of sound were the Cambridge Audio system and the Monitor Audio speakers, the tiny Callisto IV RLS and many others that I have already mentioned above.
I had an extraordinary pleasure of meeting the readers of "High Fidelity" whom I immediately offer my sincere apologies for not having the time to talk with them. If it's any excuse, I didn’t have time for anyone. I dashed through the show as a racer stopping only when something caught my attention.
With the additional seminars and demonstrations, the event has its own logic and dynamics. I do not yet have statistics from the organizers but it looked very good. Despite the fact that the majority of potential Sunday visitors got scared away by groups of “true” and “more true” Poles running from the left to the right and back again, from one monument to another and across every possible square in Warsaw, and simply gave up on this year’s Audio Show altogether.
And yet what we do could potentially be a kind of contact point for all of us, regardless of our political choice, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation or - yes, yes! - home audio system. Music is the most beautiful emanation of the human spirit and taking care of it so it doesn’t get damaged, distorted or degraded by devices used to reproduce it is something noble and important. And that's what’s really worth focusing on and dedicating to.