Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 2TB iMac 27" quad-core w. 16GB RAM running OWS 10.8.2, PureMusic 2.02, Audirvana 1.5.10, COS Engineering D1, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi La Scala MkII, SOtM dX-USB HD w. super-clock upgrade & mBPS-d2s, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X, COS Engineering D1
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F6; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; AURALiC Merak [on loan]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Submission; German Physiks HRS-120, Gallo Strada II w. TR-3D subwoofer, German Physiks Borderland MkIV [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]; Sablon Audio Petit Corona power cords [on loan]
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, GigaWatt PC-4EVO DCB [for review]
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Rajasthani hardwood rack for amps
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Irregularly shaped 9.5 x 10m open floor plan with additional 2nd-floor loft; wood-paneled sloping ceiling; parquet flooring; lots of non-parallel surfaces (pictorial tour here)
Review component retail in Europe: €4'900 (without local VAT)

Shooting fish in a barrel?
For the deep-sea audio fisherman, 2014's 18th installment of the Warsaw Audio Show could easily conjure up that very unsportsmanlike image. That's because Poland's domestic hifi scene is surprisingly active, dense and advanced. Brands like Albedo, Amare Musica, Ancient Audio, Ansae, GigaWatt, Mytek, Pylon, sounddeco and Zontek either already are international players; or seem poised to become so shortly. Squarely into the latter group fall AbysSound whose massive ASX-2000 80-watt pure class A flagship amplifier Marja & Henk had written up a few weeks prior to my show attendance. No doubt this company had the right stuff to compete on the global scene. Cosmetics, build quality and sonic focus were all suggestive of a Polish Pass Labs.

Their matching ASP-1000 preamp with its ball-bearing rotary controls wasn't just part of the active system. In gutted form it was also laid out on the display table to show off very tidy construction details. Plus, Warsaw had a prototype phono stage and integrated amp with DAC and phono modules to turn AbysSound into a compact but full product line. This demanded more coverage in our pages.

Those ball bearings are easily visible in this shot. The central volume knob in fact gets one on each end of its bore to facilitate extra-smooth mechanical action.

The ASP-1000 reference linestage looked like the perfect excuse to follow up on our ASX-2000 writeup. I asked the company's Piotr Siekanski to paint us the full picture to augment the next photo which I'd still taken at Warsaw's Sobieski Radisson Blue hotel. The color-matched blue vertical modules reminiscent of similarly sealed cards in Marantz, C.E.C. and B.M.C. circuits are for BJT-based voltage gain I remembered. Beyond that my show recollections were hazy. Time to let the designers fill in the gaps.