This was my second going to the European second biggest event dedicated to high-end audio, consumer audio and video with whooping 11.214 visitors. Compared to this year's Munich 18k, this results in remarkable. This was 19th installment of the show. The show was growing quietly but steadily since 1997 and Adam started first show when he was 20. So, next year will be a happy twenty celebration. What mostly interest us is for sure the high-end audio part of happening. Show was happening on three different locations with Sobieski and Gold Tulip hotels across the street and Stadion Narodowy some then + minutes away. Getting to the third location was either by taxi or organized small buss shuttle, driving back and forth frequently.
There was a whooping 145 rooms all together this year with showcasing numerous high-end companies from all over the world. I've spotted quite few of the manufacturers being present personally, supporting their distributors and being ready to offer hands on insights regarding their products. Poland high end audio show was a huge statement for our industry. It was most inspiring to see so many attendees exhibitors. Both Friday and Sunday were crowded, but Saturday was literally packed with the people.
The variety of products being showcased was impressive with many highly exotic products, that you rarely spot on even in Munich. From what I've talked with many distributors and manufacturers, Poland market is very potent. But, I wouldn't stop there. Poland Audio show is becoming an international place of exhibition. During and after the show few of the high-end audio media publications contacted me and ask about my opinion on the show and to have a contact of organizer. This proves, that the magnitude and execution is of global interest. Thumbs up!
Sound was different from room to room and dependable on the choices of system matching and room acoustic accessories being applied and of course mileage & practical experience.
All in all, very positive impressions and a healthy demonstration of where high end audio stands presently. It's nowhere near being death or slow paced as some wants to presented.
Hats of to Adam and his team for pulling it of in such a grand way. Now let me try to capture some of the rooms and highlights.
Few interesting observations... There were a heck lot of reel to reel machines at this show. From the well known companies to less recognized. Still an inspiring amount of analog front ends joined by at many turntables performing the duties of the sound source.
MSB, SYNERGETIC RESEARCH, DAN D'AGOSTINO, WILSON AUDIO
Wilson Audio Sasha, MSB Diamond, Dan D'Agostino and Synergistic Research system was fine tuned and setup by radiant, vibrant and passionate Frank Vermeylen. He was not afraid to play music loud and dare to go beyond to the overused material. This is how you affect people and spread the real culture of music, musical reproduction and high end audio. I really wish and hope, that more companies would make their audio presentation as profoundly and fun impacted as Frank does.
RCM Audio show room in Golden Tulip exhibited some of the big players. Vitus, Thrax, Techdas... Both Rumen Artarski of Thrax Audio and Hans-Ole Vitus and his wife were presented. Some manufacture actually care about their products and go an extra mile and support their distributors...
Always positive and of high spirits. Lucy Gastall was representing The Bespoke Audio Company. Their flagship passive preamplifier was both on silent and active display in a system with Diapason Dynamis speakers.
Diapason Italy was showcasing in quite few rooms with the different setups. You could also see and hear the new Diapason flagship Dynamis speakers.
KAISER KAWERO CHIARA SPEAKERS
Not many really knew, that Kaiser Kawero Chiara speaker showcased by Marcin Ostapowicz was an actual updated version. These are for me hands down the best high-end audio monitor speakers at the market and I'm looking forward of hearing the updated version soon in Mono & Stereo premises.
DC10AUDIO, MAXONIC, AUDIO TEKNE VIA NATURAL SOUND
Natural Sound Europe premiered two most exotic loudspeakers. Poland Audio Show was a start up for the dc10audio Odin flagship speakers and a European revealing of the legendary Japanese Maxonic speakers.
ANDREA CELESTE, ANALOGY RECORDS, FM ACOUSTICS, FABER CABLE LIVE EVENT
Another most precious event. In the Natural Sound FM Acoustic demo room Andrea Celeste performed live with the backing tracks from Analogy Records reel to reel analog master tape. What a special, positive and empowering experience. You could really hear what analog tape can produce and how the real female vocal sound live. There is never a second doubt about the performance of almost mystical and legendary FM Acoustics. Still, I never heard them played at such level. Best time so far.
Events like these should become a standard to get people touched by the power of high-perfomance high end systems and via the real magic of live music. This hybrid performance was also one of the kind as Andrea Celeste singing was heavenly. You rarely meet such a talented, down to earth and humble performer. Hats of goes especially to Hari Štrukelj for pulling this off and making everything possible...
Lukasz Fikus aka Lampizator was in full action all the time. I wish I could return and spent more time, but it was crazy packed with covering everything...
Wonderful Accuphase Poland distributor showcase of legendary Japanese high-end audio manufacturer. Some quality drooling material. You rarely see so much Accuphase gear at once.
LIVIN VOICE VOX OLYMPIAN HORN SPEAKERS
Living Voice Vox Olympian surely represents a grand statement in our industry. As written before I've had some reservations with the Munich High End Audio presentation as in my opinion room was too smallish. Now, here in Poland the story was very different. This is the room these beauties deserve to really shine in all the their grandness. Both audible and aesthetically. These are without a doubt one of the most mesmerizingly looking speakers and one of the rare gems that can inspire with emotional impact instantly and lock you into the music at once with the right musical material.
This is a luxurious, most refined brass/woodwork implemented with speakers that's surely ignite my design cues.
Many asked me to comment about the sound. While everything was on higher plane to what I've heard so far, my conclusion regarding the sound performance still stand still. When it comes to vocal, piano recital, violin, cello and small ensemble music you'll really have to push hardest to come close to the sweet emotional interaction that this system can offer. But, switching to rock, full scale orchestra, electronic music and more complex music reveals reservations and a melting point.
No system is perfect and at Living Voice Vox Olympian price point I'm pretty sure my personal opinion really doesn't matter :). I'm pretty sure that all luxury yacht owners just smile happily an calmly.
AUDIUM COMP 5 ACTIVE SPEAKERS
I was passing by along with many of the rooms over at Sobiseski hotel and even before I've seen what's playing I was stopped by the sound coming from Audium room. Seeing few minutes Audium small floorstanders really got me going. It seems active speakers are kicking in seriously in high-enders and audiophile minds for strong reasons. I'll for sure put my eye on these and explore more...
FOCAL SOPRA SPEAKERS
First room I wanted to check and as it was not crowded at the moment I've took a chance. Sopra brings down many of bigger brothers trickled down DNA and to be executed very nicely. I would certainly love to hear this in my premises, but Sopra promises quite a lot! It's really completely different feeling to see this speakers in person... Much, much more nice looking in real. Sadly, music player in this setup was mostly electronic. Nevertheless, I could hear the potential and for sure want to test it more profoundly in my, more controlled conditions.
ALLMET AUDIO J.SIKORA TURNABLE WITH KUZMA 4POINT
We had very nice dinner with Marek Dyba at Friday and he pointed me to this very special Polish turntable. Allmet Audio J. Sikora employs unique mixture of metals combined with few interesting takes on the ultimate turntable reproduction. You can see it paired with Kuzma 4Point tonearms..
ÅNGSTROM RESEARCH AND DIESIS AUDIO
Ångstrom Research photos from Poland Audio show ignited much interest and here is as requested a bit more info and photos. Both innards and outer aesthetics are highly inspiring for many of us and as most of you commented; this is how tube gear should look like... I don’t know if most of you know this prolific Italian manufacturer. They been long around and produced quite some of the highly exotic high end audio products. Back in the days of the early head-fi Ångstrom Research made few ultra exotic statement headphone amplifiers, that were completely mind blowing. Roberto Garlaschi is around for decades and he not only highly skilled electronic designer, but has also repaired tons of high-end audio gear through the years.
I’ll put my focus on the company very soon with some of there products coming in for a review and will get deep into the mindset of Roberto Garlaschi via upcoming interview. Here is a photo set from their room with Diesis Audio. Stay tuned for more soon…
ROBERT KODA TAKUMI K-15 AN K-70 PREAMPLIFER
Seems like I'm not the only one fond to the Robert Koch Robert Koda brand. As requested here are more photos from the Poland High-End Audio show. Both Robert Koda Takumi K-15 preamplifier and Takumi K-70 power amplifiers. Sadly it was only a silent display, but perhaps next year we will have a chance to hear the combo. Enjoy...
WIENER LAUTSPRECHER MANUFAKTUR
Another smaller active speaker system that was standing out from the crowd. WLM active monitors gave a captivating and spacious presentation. Again a product needed to be addressed more. Will try to get a pair for a review...
Certainly one of the rooms that created a lot of attention. I've heard people discussing the sound even before entering and surprisingly it was not tube based. Mono & Stereo Editor Choice awarded Ubiq Audio Model One speakers were driven by another hidden gem from Italy. Fortevita is a brainchild and lifelong search for audio perfection by the company mastermind audio designer. Depeche Mode mix was a star of the show and a great example when high-end gear perfectly matched even pop, studio produced album can sound great. Usually everything collapses when the vocals kick in. With Fortevita and Ubiq Audio this was a true antidote to what to expect as standard. One of the true highlights of the show...
AUDIO SOLUTIONS AND AUDIA FLIGHT
This was one of the rooms where sound was very captivating and tuned in the right direction. Great synergy of Audio Solutions speakers and Audia Flight electronics manifested in very balanced sound presentation. For the size of the Sobieski hotel rooms, smaller monitors were easier to setup, but not as solid fact. Some of the exhibitors really pushed the limits of the rooms...
KONDO AUDIO NOTE JAPAN, SUDGEON AND BLACK FOREST AUDIO
Now for the second loving for all of the Kondo Audio Note Japan fans. Black Forest Audio’s, who is also German distributor of Kondo for as far as I remember, full range driver based speakers were driven by the Sudgeon/Kondo and fronted via Helius Alexia turntable.
Surely interesting concept and quite an interesting sound, that was actually hard to pin down. For the speakers implementing full range driver the sound outcome was closer to horns DNA.
ZETO ZERO ORBITAL 360 3D FLAGSHIP SPEAKERS
Bartek Rogula displayed his Zeta Zero Orbital 360 3D flagship speakers. These Omni-directional (All-directional) wide band, 4 way passive, ribbon loudspeakers radiate the acoustic energy horizontally in full 360 degree.
VIVID AUDIO GIYA SPEAKERS
Giya series of Vivid Audio speakers is always an instant conversation starter. I've heard the through many shows. Many times awarded, but I'm still trying to figure out and find the exact attributes for this. Dedicated time and hans on review might clear things up, Might...
With love from Poland. Refreshing looks and some out of the box solutions from this Polish young Polish high-end audio company.
CESSARO AND KR AUDIO
Highly acclaimed Cessaro horn speakers partnered with KR Audio electronics. I'm still trying to get my mind and ears around these speakers. Love the woodwork at these. Sound was a less energetic then my needed green light level. Still in line to explore in further in future...
PHAST AMPLIFIERS SOUND YP LAMMINAM
This was another pleasant surprise. From what I've learned these Ukraine made tube preamplifiers, amplifiers and speakers. More to explore...
HORNS AND MORE?
Far out aesthetics and the exploration of the horn based design. I surely liked the styling, but there was no energy, that is typically associated with such principle. Perhaps due to low powered (too familiar looking) tube amplifiers...
Technics (aka Pioneer) is kicking back into the high and with their new line. Great looking future, retro looks, that captured a lot of people attention.
Martin Logan flagship speakers are certainly a visual stand out. Sadly the sound performance was far from what I've expected. Not sure exactly what was wrong, but these sounded more like a normal sized floorstanders with a lot to hanker about...
Finally I've had a chance to dedicate some of my listening to the Goldmund. My review of Telos 360 amplifiers are coming soon and I wanted to get some more aural insights of their speakers. Due to my packed schedule I couldn't meet the official presentation of the new fully DSP controlled smaller models, but could hear the bigger brothers. Interestingly, sound was well controlled and in absence of room shortcomings with the right musical material. I'll put more focus to the company in the near future with next installments of their product line. I've enjoyed Telos 360 highly when they were under the test. But more on that soonish...
AYON AND LUMEN WHITE
My friend who own these speakers was always raving most highly about them. These was my first rendezvous with them and I did expect something special. Somehow these gorgeously finished and looking speakers presentation was very, very reserved.
Acoustic Signature Invictus statement turntable. A massive machine and company exploration of the ultimate vinyl reproduction. Not my preferred style, but for sure a glorification of German industrial output.
Diesis Audio showroom at the Poland Audio Show 2015. Complete Diesis Audio system was displayed and presented by passionate and positive CEO Giuseppe Gabbarini at the Stadion Narodowy. I've spent quite some time there and we discussed many thing. You can expect soon to see their stylish lifestyle high-end audio music server with grand display at the pages of Mono & Stereo. Stay tuned...
CRYSTAL CABLE AND SILTECH
Crystal Cable and Siltech displayed their cabling galore along with Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimo speakers. Lovely and interestingly designed monitors. Still, Kaiser Kawero Chiara remains my favorite gem in this league...
HORNS ARE FOR...
I'm keep hearing how horn based speakers are for the older generations and dinosaurs. Are they or the industry keep failing in some particular regard!? Another interesting setup at Stadion Narodowy...
There is no more doubt. Headphone revolution is here and its only getting stronger. It was a reviving feeling to see both younger and older generations exploring the vast heavenly headphone and associated paraphernalia. Sennheiser "old" holly grail was shown, but I didn't spot the new 51k sorcerer.
Still the best bang for the buck. Nothing comes close to the Thorsten Loesch mastermind creations packed into the silver, small high-end audio boxes.
Affordable tube electronics from Fezz Audio. Variety of colors and under 1000 EUR price mark might ignite and invite quite some minds.
NIME AUDIO DESIGN
Sadly I've missed the sound demo of Nime Audio Design sharp looking speakers from Italy. I've at least managed to say hay to their designer Nico Memoli away from the Facebook :).
SHARP LOOKING CONTINUES
And not only sharp looking loudspeakers...
GRADIENT SPEAKERS, HEGEL AND USTROJE AKUSTYCZNE
Gradient Revolution speakers driven by Hegel electronics gave a presentation, that made many visitors staying for a longer time. Simple, effective... Ustroje Akustyczne wooden acoustical treatment products seems popular in Poland as I've spotted them in quite many rooms.
Sonus faber demonstrated their all new Il Cremonese speakers. I've return to audition them twice and there is something very involving about them. I've love to hear them soon in more controlled conditions and go more in depth. Hats off to the music choice. One of the best if not the best sellection of musical repertoire for demonstration.
Ken Ishiwata is still as energetic and iconic and you meet him at almost all the important shows. Inspriing...
As always. You know exactly what to expect from TAD show presentations. Not sure anymore if this is a good or not so .... thing :)
CABASSE AND CHORD ELECTRONICS
This room was ocupated for a reason. They repeteadly played first copy master track of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
Danish design at its best. Gato Audio uber stylish take on the high-end audio not so niche lifestyle market.
REIYMO AND TRENNER & FRIEDL
I've returned few times to this room as I really wanted to hear Trenner & Friedl speaker sing properly. I dig the selection of the driver and philosophy behind them, but these was not what I've expected....
Designed in Poland and Germany, manufactured in China. Reasonably priced and well executed products from the Taga.
NOMOS SERVICE DOCTORS
Doctors of the analog and past high-tech. Nomos Service has a cure for any past audio....
Blast from the past. Klein Hummel OX active speakers can take to school many of contemporary speakers. Energetic and tuneful sound. Live and learn...
GRAHAM AND NAIM
I've enjoyed my longer stay here by listening to Uher Royal De Luxe reel to reel playing unfamiliar Polish music. We can always discuss to death the preference of the system, but there is one thing crystally clear. When you hear the great analog master tape of fine live music or its good copy you shout you mouth and listen :)....
Another Polish high-end company with wide array of nicely designed products. This must be the company with the longest interval life span of sending products for a review after asking akhm..... many times, if I would love to do it. Must be some new marketing strategy I'm unfamiliar with...
Highly productive Serbian high-end audio company with vast product range and a lots of deja-vu's.
Zygmunt pointed me toward this heroic amplifier manufacturer few months ago. I had a brief chance to see and hear it on the show. SET 42 follows the entry point of SET 833a. I'll keep my flags high with this audio company...
Here is a massive 300+ photo set from the Poland High End Audio Show 2015. Lots of high-end audio gear to drool. Enjoy... Link: here
Text and photos: Matej Isak