In the Duevel demo cabin, we are welcomed by Anette Duevel who informs us that fellow Dutchie Eddie Driessen is also 'in'. Eddie is the man behind the Pluto turntable. The production of these turntables is extremely limited and the waiting list long. Playing is the Pluto A10 Carbon wherein carbon fiber is used extensively. Amplification is by VAC and the Duevel Bella Luna is the loudspeaker on active duty. Besides this setup, a more modest second system alternately plays the room. This is built around the new Duevel Planets omni. With a going price of 600, Markus Duevel offers a loudspeaker with the same aural signature as his bigger models. A short demonstration gives a taste of what this speaker proponent of the KISS principle is capable of.

We then leave the halls of the ground floor and move on to the first floor. Here is the atrium. This floor is lined with rooms and in a hallway, there are even more rooms, just as there will be on the second floor. We in fact decide to start with the second floor. In one of the first rooms here, we spot what probably is the most straightforward design in audio. Swiss firm Soulution demos their brand-new 710 power amplifier and 720 preamplifier.

A few doors down the corridor is Avantgarde. When we documented the upgrade of our Duo loudspeakers to Omega status, we were told of exiting news for High End 2006. Now we see it. Avantgarde has been working hard to build out its range. It starts with the well-known Solo. Then follows the new Nano, basically an Uno with a new larger subwoofer that incorporates the tweeter. Next is the Picco that uses 17-ohm Omega drivers, with two 12-inch woofers for bass. The Duo series kicks off with the trusty 8-ohm version followed by the new 17-ohm Duo Omega. Premiered in Munich, there's also the Duo Grosso that uses the mid driver and tweeter of the Duo Omega but fits those to the new Sub231. Just as with the Nano, the Grosso's subwoofer enclosures incorporates the tweeter. The larger enclosure snugly fits between the Duo rails and the front baffle is wider than the rest of the box to accommodate the 12-inch bass drivers.

The Grosso is on demo in the room - the red horns and the improved bass handling are evident. Powered by the One Pre and One Power amplifiers, the new Duo design sounds very capable. Even Armin Krauss' favorite Oompah music played on a TW Raven turntable sounds good (for Oompah that is). Other music even sounds great. Coming soon is the 17-ohm Duo Mezzo that uses the bottom part of the Primo, the short basshorn with two 12-inch hornloaded bass drivers equalized with the ADRIC circuit to reach 18Hz. The top of the Duo range is the Primo with four 12-inch bass drivers.

The Trio range has changed as well. The Short Horn and Sub231 subwoofers can now be combined with the Trio plus of course the Basshorns. Probably the biggest attention getters were the miniature Avantgarde speakers. These are designed to help dealers show models that aren't displayed on the floor.

Dutch brand Kharma demoed their top model, the Grand Exquisite powered by the new Kharma MP350 power amplifier. The Grand Exquisite is named fittingly. The thing is huge but due to its stylized violin shape, it seems smaller than it is. Every time we pass this room, it is full. Charles van Oostrum gets all this attention not just for his colossi but also for the Continuum Audio Labs Caliburn turntable system. We have to say, this $100,000+ turntable in combination with the MP350 and Grand Exquisite did sound absolutely fantastic. The attention for this room is well deserved. A nice design detail for the turntable is to see the bottom part of the platter turning inside the plinth as part of the bearing system. Now that Charles is distributing this turntable, we might get a chance to listen to it in a quieter environment. Charles?

We reviewed the µVAC micro amplifier by Greatech some time ago. At High End 2006, Peter Grundig was showing more new things. To start with, a wireless digital USB audio link. With this USB device, an audio (plus video) signal can be sync'd to another device working at the same 2.4GHz ISM frequency. A wireless audio server? If this technology works as advertised, it should be possible to put a sturdy server -- not a laptop -- in another room, fill it with inexpensive discs and let is wirelessly serve the music to the Hifi set. Other products Greatech showed were a wireless 40-watt monoblock amplifier and a matching wireless loudspeaker with rechargeable batteries

All the way from Greece came TrueLife Audio, TLA with an impressive display of equipment and a pair of Avantgarde Duo loudspeakers. At the time we happened upon this room, the set up wasn't yet what it should be.