are a Dutch company known for their DAC 212 which we reviewed some time ago. Now they added the DAC 212XLR which is obviously fully balanced. In fact they no longer call it a DAC but a decoding preamp/headphone amp with PCM384/DSD512 compatibility. Almost ready was their class D amplifier module that will offer dynamic range of 118.5dB with a S/N ratio of better than 122dB. We will soon see a finished product and perhaps these units also become available for the DIY market.

Chris Feickert is a show veteran who had a static display of many of his turntables in various trim levels. With this line of turntables now densely populated, Chris' designer blood is boiling for something new. What that will be—another turntable of course—will be announced later this year. For now here is some TT porn including a Firebird with a custom paint job by Dutch artist Rene Visker.

As introduced by Srajan in a preview a while back, Wagner Audiolab were a Russian company present at the show for the first time. Their Series III loudspeaker is a 4-driver 2-way design that uses three woofers. Those are equipped with very heavy 6kg/ea. frames to eliminate as many physical vibrations as possible. Next to added mass to fight common loudspeaker flaws, Wagner also enhance the speed factor in their drivers. That relates to motor and magnet. By relying on the most efficient Neomax magnet material available, the drivers become more responsive. To enhance this even further, Wagner designed a multi-layer voice coil with parallel-connected layers where more classic designs use just two layers connected in series. 

Concrete speakers per se are nothing shockingly new. What was—at least to us—were the flat concrete multi-driver F1 speakers by Concrete Audio. No less than 42 miniature drivers are arranged in an eye-pleasing array to act as one single compound driver. The technique behind the array is based on Fraunhofer IDMT research. One advantage of this approach is the limited depth of the speaker. 32mm is sufficient to contain the small drivers' magnet depth yet still create a large full sound. This was further enhanced by the wireless 4-driver subwoofer. As a gadget, Concrete Audio even built a mini-mini speaker with one of the array drivers in its own petite concrete enclosure.

At HighEnd 2016, from tiny to humongous proved just a little step and MAAT not only tried to fit the latter category but succeeded.

On static display we saw an interesting selection of Greek Tsakiridis Devices tube amplifiers - or glass amps as they call them. Here we captured the Orpheus, a 20-watt mono derived from 1 x 845, 1 x 6SL7 and 1 x 6L6.

We remained in Greece for a bit longer with Geometric Harmony and their thought-provoking simplicity. Mr. Bullamatsis stacks layers of square boards with a hole in the middle except for the bottom board. Then a widebander slips in the top facing up into a wooden dispersion lens à la Duevel. That oversimplified description is the Conga which the designer calls a transmission line. A such there has to be more going on than a stack of alternately rotated boards. Loading a widebander into omnidirectional dispersion is clever. Here the speakers sat on stands but one may also hang these from the ceiling. Their 360° radiation works anywhere. Specs are 91dB 1W/m sensitivity with 55Hz-20kHz bandwidth from a 5.5" paper-cone driver working at 8 ohms. Overall dimensions are 59x34x34cm. Geometric Harmony not only produce these smaller speakers but also a larger folded transmission line called the T-Line. 

Gold! In one of the halls, ye trusty prospectors met Pawel Skulimowski of Franc Audio accessories with a box under his arm. We'd seen him last year at the Warsaw audio show where he introduced his latest power distribution block. For those who fancy something other than a plain Jane look, Pawel then had a sample tricked out in leather. Apparently that experiment resonated and now the box he carried held a gold-plated variant. Besides looking bling, gold-plating will never stain like chrome or—ha!—stainless steel nor discolour like leather. Allied to a blond wood base, we thought the looks quite sharp.

From gold to base materials was another small step at this show, here to inflatable bases. Adam Jaeger of Adam Damper builds air-suspended bases that effectively isolate equipment placed atop from unwanted external vibrations. All current models are fitted with four separate air bladders, an air gauge and an air valve. The permissible weight rating hits a stout 200kg and the suspension compliance can be fine-tuned with the gauge.