Gurus are not only spiritual guides as we found out in the Sjöfn room. They import the Guru loudspeakers from Sweden to the US. The QM10 is the design of Ingvar Öhman who is some sort of guru in his own field by using room boundaries to enhance bass in unexpectedly potent ways. His speakers amazed many visitors by how these small designs put so much bass into the room.

Exemplar Audio this time was without their signature tube designs.

The huge tubes of the Amberwave amplifiers always create a warm feeling though they remain remarkably cool in operation. Sorry for spoiling the cozy atmosphere with our camera flash.

Pure Vinyl is not just about just digitizing vinyl. They presented a new phono preamp as well. This SETA preamp has a bandwidth of 1MHz (yes, 1000kHz) and no RIAA correction, the latter because it is intended to work with Pure Vinyl software even over a cheap laptop. The SETA preamp can be fitted with a MC and/or MM stage as desired. The power supply is pure battery. Pure Vinyl now also supports a touch screen which makes usage even simpler. Listening to Pure Vinyl's output of digitized LPs was just like listening to vinyl. There was no sense of CD/SACD with their specific particulars. It sounded just like a nicely cleaned LP on a well-balanced analog setup.

For the US market, Opera Audio has abandoned the previous red color by making their amps and CDP now also available in NYC-standard black (sez us). New was the Mini Droplet 3.1 CDP. Speakers were the Lamhorns.

Sanders Sound Systems played with a Norvinz-supplied MSR turntable and their large electrostatic speakers in combination with the ESL pre and power amplifiers. With Roger Sanders in the ESL realm for decades and now back in business with his own speakers, it was no real surprise that we felt so very pleased by the sound in this room.

Horizontal red, white and blue stripes were of course represented by Dutch pride Kharma. Just as last year, these speakers were coupled to mbl amplification. An impressive Vyger turntable completed the setup.

Yet another room where the AMR CD-77 found shelter saw it mated with Lamm hybrid electronics and ESP Bodhran loudspeakers. How about the use of $5 earthenware plant saucers for cable lifts? The result was a nice down-to-earth sound.

Calice Audio Grail monoblocks use 845 power triodes driven by a 300B driven from a 5687. The Piega loudspeakers were happy with the max 50 watts they were fed.

Yet another room with the Bastanis Apollo loudspeakers, here with a beautifully flamed veneer that gave the speakers an even slimmer look. The Navison NVS-211 PSE power amp and NVS-0036 OTL power amp (passive in the front) ran off the SE-MKII preamp.

Some exhibitors were so keen on showing off all they make that floor space became an issue. Nevertheless, Audio Space makes a lot of high-quality equipment that’s worth listening to.

Luthier and guitarist John Tabernacki brought his latest speaker to the RMAF. This smaller NSR Sonic Research D3 is built like an instrument. The enclosure isn’t dead but allowed to flex when needed and uses a special port that acts as acoustic projection lens. The APL as it’s called does not project the sound wave as one would expect by looking at it but rebundles all frequencies emitted by the divers' membranes into a coherent wave form. What we heard was a very dimensional soundfield without any indication that the sound radiated from two distinct loudspeakers. Whatever approach a speaker uses, there will always be point where one of the drivers betrays its separate existence. At that point the listener is made aware of a loudspeaker’s presence as a mechanical device. What NSR achieved was to prevent the notion of any speaker presence to present a ‘speaker-less’ soundfield.

They’re back! Now from Down Under, Apogee reborn caters to lovers of transparency.