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Hotel Don Giovanni Praha
Vinohradská 157a | 130 20 Prague 3



oles laugh at Czechs and Czechs laugh at Poles – it is so and nothing can be done about it. The reason for laughing really does not matter – it may be the language, behaviour or even peoples’ names, but we have always laughed at each other – perhaps because we are so similar that it makes us different. However, the history of our two nations intertwines in a really special way.

It started with the Prague bishop Wojciech Sławnikowic, a Catholic Church saint (one of two patrons saint of Poland), then there was the Czech princess Dobrawa who brought Christianity (Catholicism) to Poland; next, Bolesław Chrobry was crowned thanks to help from our southern neighbours, there were mutual invasions and plunders, the Przemyślid dynasty ruled Poland and the Jagiellonian dynasty ruled the Czech territory. More recently, there was a border dispute concerning Zaolzie (lands beyond the Olza River) and the Prague Spring.

A view of Prague from a café terrace on the 11th floor.

On the other hand, there is also Czech literature, constantly popularized in Poland by Mariusz Szczygieł. The similarity also extends to Prague and Cracow, the two royal cities. The former capital city of Poland is simply a miniature Prague. These are just a few of many issues from the domain of Polish ‘common knowledge’.

Differences are equally significant, as Poles are struck by many things that our southern Slavic brothers have in common with Germans – celebrating afternoons in pubs, drinking beer, eating food, etc. I had been aware of all that before I came to Prague, but I had not expected I would feel so good there, as if at home. Peoples’ relaxed attitude towards life and towards themselves, lack of aggression and friendliness make Prague a good place to live.

Anyway, the Czech Republic is a small country. Its territory covers the area of 78,866 km² and there are over 10.5 m inhabitants. For comparison, Poland has a territory of 312,679 km² and 38.5 m inhabitants. So, the audio industry in the Czech Republic is proportionally less developed than in Poland. Audio magazines, such as “Stereo & Video” or the Internet “Hi-Fi Voice” are published there, and the AUDIO VIDEO SHOW PRAGUE exhibition has been organized in Prague for the last three years. This year, for the first time the “High Fidelity” magazine, along with both the Czech and Slovakian “HIGH & Style” magazines, provided media sponsorship for the event.

The four-star Don Giovanni hotel has a large body. Even though its architecture makes references to a few styles, it is a new building. Its construction started in 1993 and the opening ceremony took place on April 1st 1994.


The exhibition takes place at the Don Giovanni hotel. The location is excellent, as there is a metro (line A) station right next to the hotel, next to a tram station (lines: 5 and 21). It takes no longer than 15 minutes to get to the Charles Bridge by metro from here. The hotel had been chosen not only because of its location, as Prague offers, I have to say, very good public transport services and it would be possible to find a few other, equally interesting places. The thing is that the ‘patron’ of the hotel is Mozart, loved by the Czechs and worshipped, considered to be ‘almost-Czech’. The lobby is dominated by a Mozart’s statue, posters presenting Mozart can be found everywhere, his music is played in the lift, while the names of prestigious rooms and conference halls either refer to the composer himself or his music. So, there is a strong musical trace and music combined with comfort is something that is hard to resist.

A view of the Mozart’s statue located opposite the main entrance.

The event is taking place for the third time and two people are responsible for its organization: Daniel Březina and Peter Žaloudek. A very nice and well-prepared catalogue, which looks like a good magazine, accompanies the exhibition. While attending the event, one can have something to eat or drink – usually coffee or beer – and also buy some albums. The exhibition is held in hotel rooms and, in a few cases, in larger conference halls. The whole exhibition is centered around three floors with an additional, exclusive Mozart room on the 11th floor, with access to a terrace located on the roof of the building where one can admire the panorama of the more recently built part of Prague. As regards its atmosphere, the exhibition resembles Polish Audio Show exhibitions from 7 –8 years ago, mostly those organized at the Jan III Sobieski Hotel, but the place is less crowded and everything is more relaxed.

As the exhibition in Prague is a local event, I wanted to see and hear mostly the local, Czech and Slovakian brands. So, I was surprised with some European and even one global premiere of: a Metaxas headphone amplifier costing 50,000 USD, the Shangri-La HiFiMAN headphone system (50,000 USD) and the Audio Physic Avantera III loudspeakers presented to the public for the very first time. It appeared that I was also able to listen to many top products from all over the world there. I asked Daniel Březina, who had invited me to Prague, to tell me a few words about the event.


The person responsible for the whole event, Daniel Březina, on the first floor, where the exhibition started.

WOJCIECH PACUŁA: Tell me a few words about yourself, please.
DANIEL BŘEZINA: I am the editor-in-chief of the largest audio Internet portal in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and also an organizer of the exhibition in Prague. The event originated simply because we desperately needed fresh blood – it had previously been organized by older guys who had considered the status quo to be a comfortable situation and had not seen the need to change anything. So, I took care of the preparations and started to implement things seen at other exhibitions all over the world. The people I mostly wanted to attract to hi-fi were those who had not been aware of its existence at all.

When did you start dealing with it?
I got the idea in 2013, when distributors and dealers, but also visitors who had come to the previous exhibitions started to complain that everything had always looked the same. So, I started knocking at the doors of dealers and distributors, asking them if they were ready for a significant change in the way the exhibition had been organized, which took me a year and a half. In 2014, the original exhibition became history and a year later the exhibition was held in a new form for the first time.

Was it successful?
It must be admitted that it was a complete failure. It appeared I did not know at all what to do and where, because of which everything almost fell to pieces… However, every failure is an opportunity for improvement, so I analysed what I had done wrong and I changed it… I’ve managed to improve many things by 100%. This year I did it again and almost everything worked out :) I hope that by noticing and eliminating problems, I will make the exhibition grow and in 2019, when it is going to be held for the fifth time, everything will be absolutely perfect :)

How many visitors did you have this year? And last year?
This year we had 2939 visitors, which is close to the 3150 who had visited us the year before. We had expected a slight rise, but the almost summer weather on Saturday must have made many people choose open air activities instead of visiting the hotel. However, everything is OK…

One of the places where visitors could buy records had been organized by the Music Point store – the official representative of the Supraphon company that is celebrating its 85th anniversary. One could get the excellent “Pure Analog” vinyl discs there.

How would you describe the exhibition in Prague – who is it for?
We are trying to reach out to people who like music – those who have only accessed online shops or supermarkets selling cheap products before and had no idea that there is something bigger than that. So, I am trying to attract young people who have already forgotten their parents’ stereo and do not remember how nice listening to it may be.

However, obviously, half of the visitors are hardcore audiophiles, which is awesome! Nevertheless, we would generally like the exhibition to be a place where 16-year-olds will be able to find decent headphones and listen to things that they will be able to afford when they are 40 or 50. We are trying to teach people that they are limited by no barriers apart from their own ears and passion :)

Your plans for the future?
Right now our thoughts are focused on looking for things that will make our exhibition grow and on ways of reaching out to “new” people. We are trying to enter a strategic partnership with a large dealer who can help us reach this aim. We would also like to prepare more workshops and educational meetings. But, for now, I’m going to take a week off :)

The best:

At such exhibitions, i.e. when meetings are held in small hotel rooms, sound is not the best and the event in Prague was not an exception in this respect. So, the more pleasure I have in presenting a few systems to you that, despite such unfavourable conditions, produced good or very good sound. I focused on brands that originated in countries located at the southern border of Poland, but also looked at other companies, too.

Norma Audio | Yamaha | Tsakirdis Devices

The Xavian company has a seat in Prague. There were bottles of champagne at its stand that had special customized company labels, etc. I am not sure whether this is a coincidence or not, but that was not an exaggeration. The sound that was obtained from floorstanders from the Epica series (a premiere) was fantastic – warm, large and properly controlled. The company took care both of good electronics – combined Norma Audio and Yamaha – and the acoustic preparation of quite a large room. A conditioner produced by the Greek company Tsakirdis Devices ensured the delivery of appropriate voltage to the device.

Sroll | Casea

The demonstrations of speakers and electronics of the Czech Sroll company reminded me the most of what we can see during the Audio Video Show in the Ancient Audio company room: a passionate constructor-hobbyist who knows what he is talking about and his products that deliver simply excellent sound. From what I learnt, Sroll mostly produces electronic components and the speakers presented in the pictures are the most recent addition to its offer. In the foreground you can see Mr Luděk Šroll, the company’s owner and constructor. Apart from its own electronics, the company has also used products of the Casea company that our readers are already familiar with (more HERE).


Grandinote, for a change, is an Italian brand. However, Czechs are closer to Italians than we are – they are similarly relaxed. It is no coincidence that the owner of Xavian, Mr Roberto Barletta, comes from the Italian Peninsula just like Ms Eunice Kron, the owner of the Czech KR Audio company which we are going to talk about again later. The system presented in Prague consisted of this company’s speakers powered by an inconspicuous Shinai amplifier with a Volta power supply unit. What is unique about it is that amplification is possible thanks to a system which combines ferromagnetic and solid-state elements, operating without feedback in class A – the company has called this system “Magnetosolid”. It produces big, strong and very well-filled sound!


Very good sound! At the back there is the incredibly good-looking acoustic diffuser QRD67 and there are speakers produced by the Czech company RD Acoustic in front of it – the Evolution (the bigger ones) and Euphoria models. Despite cheap electronic components used, they produced first-class sound!

NEO Alpha | Double Tripoth
Hegel Audio | Acoustic Signature
The Chord Company | Gigawatt

If anyone had needed confirmation of the specific flavour characteristic for ceramic Acuton loudspeakers, they could get it by listening to the Alpha speakers produced by the Slovakian NEO company. Powered by Hegel electronics, with the WOW XL Acoustic Signature turntable, they provided excellent warmth and resolution. Besides, they look beautiful and are excellently made. They go with the amazingly looking NEO Tripoth and Double Tripoth racks, and Chord Electronics cables. What is interesting, a conditioner produced by the Polish Gigawatt company was used in the system.

440 AUDIO G6
KR Audio | KEF | Pro-Ject

It was impossible that it would work, but it did: placed in a tiny room, the KEF Blade 2 speakers powered by the monophonic KR Audio VA910 power amplifiers (a novelty), with the KR Audio P130 line preamplifier and a Pro-Ject phono stage, let a turntable made by the Czech 440 Audio company produce incredible sound! The G6 model with a 12” Jelco arm looked incredible.


Mr Kostas Metaxas, the owner of the Metaxas & Sins company, is an artist. One can feel it by looking at his older and newer products, but this is also how Mr Metaxas feels about himself. It can be confirmed, for example, by the fountain pen that he has designed (a limited edition). At the exhibition, he presented his most recent Ikarus amplifier and, first and foremost, the two-in-one Marquis headphone amplifier and preamplifier (in the photo). The system was standing in a tiny room and it was connected to the small AKG K702 speakers and headphones, so it was hard to talk about especially good sound. However, even in such conditions the sound was interesting. Additionally, everything was very well made and designed!


Intimate, pleasant, well-organized, clear, unhurried, interesting – these are just a few adjectives that accurately describe the exhibition in Prague. There were quite a lot of people but not enough to make the corridors crowded. Some rooms were constantly filled with visitors and some were not so frequently visited, which is typical for an audio exhibition. It was interesting that there were also representatives of Poland – the Horn and Voice companies that deal with the distribution of some of their brands in both countries. However, I did not notice some companies from the Czech Republic and Slovakia that should have been there. Perhaps next year…

The Audio Video Prague 2017 exhibition was very pleasant and successful, and I felt good there – similarly as in Prague itself. I’d like to encourage everyone who wants to recall what a “hotel” exhibition (but with quite a lot of young participants) is like, to come to Prague next year – it’s worth it! Since I am going to Prague one more time already in July, I am going to stay at the Don Giovanni Hotel again – this time only in order to do some sightseeing. If you ever go to Prague, I recommend you have dinner at a small restaurant close to the market: U Provažnice 3 (Provažnická Street 3). If you order mushrooms in beer bread crumbs, cheese in bread crumbs and Staropramen beer, you won’t regret it :)

  • A presentation of the KEF and Tannoy speakers, prepared by their Czech distributor, the Perfect Sound Group company, took place at the nicest room at the whole exhibition – the Mozart Room on the 11th floor of the hotel. Listeners were able to compare three pairs of speakers and decide which ones they liked the most.
  • Mr Blaž Erzetič standing next to headphone amplifiers produced by his company Erzetich (Slovenia).
  • A SACD of the Japanese Exton company – material is recorded in the Czech Republic.
  • One of the stands with LPs, CDs and SACDs.
  • Cool electronics and cool sound – the Estelon X Diamond speakers powered by a two-piece amplifier from the Strumento series created by the Italian Audia Flight company, with a source – the most recent EMM Labs flagship product, i.e. the two-piece SACD TX2 + DA2 player. The presentation had been prepared by the Hi-Fi Studio Tykon company.
  • Another “system of our dreams” was placed in the same room – Avantgarde Acoustic presented the new versions of its columns – the Zero 1 XD and Duo Mezzo XD. An EMM Labs DAC was the signal source, with an inexpensive Cambridge Audio player used as transport.
  • Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers were placed in a neighbouring room, including the new 805 D3 bookshelf speakers and the top 800 D3 speakers.
  • At the back… an original red-lacquered Nautilus. Four monophonic amplifiers per channel and an active crossover are needed to power each of the speakers. The system was presented by Eurostar.
  • A complete Technics system with the top SL-1200GAE turntable, the SU-G30 amplifier/streamer (a new product) and the SB-C700 speakers.
  • A multi-channel system with speakers produced by the Czech RIHA Audio company, prepared by Audio-Visual Technology, with amplification from the Primare company and an OPPO source.
  • Italians from Sonus Caber with the new Homage Tradition series. The photo shows (from the right) the Guarnieri Tradition and Serafino Tradition models.
  • The KR Audio Kronzilla SXI with the company’s own powerful tubes always looks great. Here, it is used in a system developed by the Czech speaker manufacturer Acoustique Quality (AQ).
  • I spotted the Mille amplifier made by the Polish elinsAudio company in the same system.
  • We get these amazing shapes by purchasing the Acoustique Quality Passion Orca speakers.
  • The Castle speakers from the Avon series – a rare product, even though it was launched some time ago; the photo shows the three-way Avon 2 bookshelf model. Its characteristic feature are ribbon tweeters.
  • It was such a wonderful system! If I wasn’t limited by common sense (I cannot award every presentation), it would have been given the Best Sound award: it included, alternately, the new Vivid Audio G1 Spirit speakers or the Gryphon Pantheon speakers (placed closer to us). Amplification was provided by the Diablo 300 amplifier produced by the same company. There were three sources, including two (!) CD players – the Gryphon Mikado and the Audionet Planck; the turntable was the Wilson Benesch Full Circle (white) and the whole presentation had been prepared by the RP Audio company.
  • In the same RP Audio room, one could see the handmade silver WAY Cables; the photo presents the Silver3 Ana speaker cables.
  • It is probably one of the first presentations of the newest Chord Electronics CD transport – the Blu MkII model. Underneath there is the DAC DAVE. The presentation had been prepared by the Polish Voice company and it was delivered by a Czech, Mr. Milan. The system was placed on a rack manufactured by the Polish Rogoz Audio company.
  • As usual, a meeting with Mads Klifoth, the constructor of the new Audiovector QR series, was really pleasant. In Prague, he both presented his QR3 speakers, as well as the Avantgarde and SR6 versions of the SR3 models (from right to left) that had been prepared by his father.
  • Another photo of the Xavian system again, with the Tsakirdis Devices conditioner – the Super Athina model. It offers four filtered asymmetric, two symmetric and for isolated slots; maximum power – 2500 W.
  • Another system that could wear the Best Sound badge: electronics from the Japanese Esoteric company, with a SACD player, a two-piece amplifier and the SN-470 speakers produced by the German Fischer & Fischer company. Its characteristic feature are housings made entirely of slate (walls) and aluminium (front). The presentation had been prepared by the IBD Czech company.
  • Warm and full sound is what I like. The electronics was provided by the Cyrus Audio company, cables – by Keith Louis Eichmann Innovations and speakers – by Zingali Acoustics. Bravo!
  • One of many places where one could experience sound from headphones. The photo shows a very interesting Klipsch X12 Neckband model. The headphones connect with a smartphone using Bluetooth. They are worn on the neck, but the little headphones are earbuds – and they look fantastic. The product was presented by CPT Praha.
  • Here is where I met the most young people – a stand with Marshall products, prepared by the Praha Music Center.
  • One of the most expensive products at the exhibition –the HiFiMAN Shangri-la system: a tube headphone amplifier based on 300B tubes and magnetostatic headphones. The source were either files or CDs played from a top Meridian CD player. The Ketos company was responsible for organizing the presentation of the 50,000 USD system at the exhibition.
  • The Shangri-la headphones are only available with an amplifier. They are based on the HE-1000, but there are so many changes that it is hard to compare the two models. Their sound is very similar – if one can compare two listening experiences from two different exhibitions – what I heard in Prague to what I heard in Warsaw from the electrostatic Sennheiser Orpheus set.
  • These are the Audeze iSINE 20 headphones. Even though they look as designed to be hanged on the ear, in fact they are earbud headphones – with a planar converter!
  • Right next to them there is a collection of top Audeze, Sennheiser and Audio-Technica headphones (at the back), but mostly with the two Focal models: the Utopia (on the left) and Elar (on the right). They were placed at the stand of the Empatria company.
  • Very pleasant and clear sound from a system which included Hegel electronics and Raidho Acoustics speakers.
  • In our friends’ room from the Studio Panský Dvůr company, next to Ayon Audio electronics (e.g. the CD-35 player), one could listen to speakers produced by Polish companies – hORNS by Audio Tech and Pylon Audio. The photo shows the hORNS FP10 speakers.
  • Mr Kostas Metaxas, a true gentleman.
  • The Metaxas Ikarus model – miraculous design and a great audio device.
  • We have known the RiAudio company for a long time – we tested their phono stage many years ago. Here we can see their power conditioner. When it comes to design, it is similar to the Polish Gigawatt, but one should only follow the best companies :)
  • Another “A+” or even “A++” presentation: the Sausalito speakers produced by the American Ocean Way Audio company, powered by the Progression Mono monoblocks created by Mr Dan D’Agostino. Have a look at the matching colours of the stands and racks – copper rules! The presentation had been prepared by the Soundstyle company.
  • A very interesting presentation of the Elfon Vegas speakers that were a great attraction at the exhibition. The Czech manufacturer uses the most expensive components in them (Jantzen, Mundorf, AMS-Tecsound). The system includes four loudspeakers – a paper woofer, a paper-papyrus (!) midrange driver and two silk tweeters. The room was clearly too small for them, but one could hear their potential.
  • Something for retro lovers, but in a modern version – the Jamo desk speakers. They are as high as an LP 10” and have an open design. However, they produced exceptionally good sound with a subwoofer – it was coherent, filled and dense. One could listen to them at the CPT Praha stand.
  • MudrAkustik is a German company. It offers advanced power conditioners with isolation transformers and power strips with filters.
  • Wolf von Langa is a manufacturer that specializes in high-efficiency speakers using loudspeakers with electromagnets. The photo shows the company’s SON speakers with the Air Motion Tweeter. The speakers were powered by an amplifier based on 300B tubes, modified by WVL.
  • Voxativ is a company who has also been coming to exhibitions in Warsaw for the last few years, with speakers based on full-range drivers and the company’s own electronics: The Voxativ 9.87 System speakers (the full-range Pi module and the Voxativ PI Bass module), with an Ampeggio amplifier.
  • At the exhibition, the Revox Rebox company probably presented all iconic Revox products designed for the consumer market, including the CD B 225 player (in the photo) with a view of a turning CD. The company repairs and rebuilds Revox products.
  • Symbio speakers with the largest Samurai model and Halcro electronics. The presentation had been prepared by Media Trading.
  • The Operly Intelligence are speakers produced by the Russian Operly company. They are enormous and beautifully designed, based on a single full-range driver of a large diameter. Despite a small room, the sound was wonderfully integrated and did not lack anything – frequency extension, dynamics or control. The speakers were powered by a BAT power amplifier with the Threshold T2 preamp produced in the 1990s. The source was the Pathos CD Endorphin.
  • Another example of speakers having an unusual shape – a spherical one this time: in the foreground there is the Sound Lamps DAF-350 model, behind it – the DAL-200, both manufactured by the Russian Deluxe Acoustics company with a seat in Saint Petersburg.
  • One could see these columns last year in Warsaw at a “little exhibition”. I listened to them in Prague and I must say they have potential and produce good sound. They are manufactured by Vienna Physics and the model is called Diva Grandezza, with a horn (midrange and treble) and an active subwoofer (bass).
  • A very nice presentation including the incredible Keiser Acoustics rack (we are using a similar one in our B system) and the company’s Kavero! Classic speakers. The source was the inexpensive file player/preamplifier Aurender A-10 with electronics provided by our friends from Trax Audio.
  • Almost at the end – two photos of a 21st century system: active speakers produced by the German Kii Audio company – the Three model and…
  • …a laptop with a converter and a preamplifier – it produced very good sound and was incredibly easy to use.
  • Despite beautiful weather, there was quite a long queue at the ticket office the whole day. See you next year!