Being of German extraction but not having lived there since the early 80s, the most I remember of Poland is the Teutonic propensity for crude jokes involving Poles (perhaps to overcome nationalist shame for having lost territories to them after the war). Neither jokes nor shame about this country or prior history with its people have ever been on my mind.

Then Peter Daniel of AudioSector asked during the summer via an e-mail whether I'd be interested in covering the Polish Audio Show in the fall. Show organizer Adam Mokrzycki had relayed to him that he'd love to have me. Peter assured me that this show was no laughing matter. This would be its 10th anniversary. The event had become a major do over the years which now attracted many of the heavy hitters. No kidding. I trusted Peter implicitly and my curiosity was piqued. I promptly contacted the amicable Adam who confirmed the invite and made the necessary arrangements. The only shame of this whole affair? I'd never even heard of this event before. That Peter -- whom I'd dealt with repeatedly about review loaners and personal equipment commissions -- was apparently of Polish descent to boot was news to me too. Where the fig had I been? Time for a foul joke involving journalist honor gone darkly to seed.

Then a week later, Russian Cypriote and 6moons reader Dimitri contacted me. Would I visit him in Limassol to give feedback on his home-brew system? Why not. While there, he played me a CD by a Polish singer/pianist performing famous Metheny tunes. With Pat Metheny. Sung in Polish. Which sounded mighty exotic and nothing like I might have imagined. The music was gorgeous and raised neck hairs. Dimitri kindly offered to burn me a quick copy to take home. More shame - I'd never heard of Anna-Maria Jopek or her album Upojenie either [Izabelin/Universal R 689797]. Hmm. Poland was definitely to be in my cards this year. To make up for my illicit CD copy, I intend to hit whatever record store will be open in Warsaw on show Saturday and buy all the Jopek gems I can scare up. No joke. Lady Blue Eyes is for real.

As was the show. Organizer and mastermind Adam Mokrzycki [below] looked surprisingly young. In fact, he's only 30. But wait. Didn't I say this event was in its 10th incarnation? Just so. Adam launched the first one at the ripe old age of twenty while attending Economics at the university. He'd already written audio show reports for one of the Polish print magazines. He had a fair number of such events under his belt as an observer. He then cheekily reasoned that he could do as well for his own country. Or even better as I might inject. Adam already ran two hotels in the second year and three in the third. He only reverted to two afterwards when the economy took a hit and some of the large Japanese electronics giants had to scale down their support. Based on this year's requests for exhibit space and projections for 2007 however, there'll once again be three show venues next year.

This year, it was the Bristol Hotel in the old town and the Jan III Sobieski two blocks over from Warsawa Central, with a hired bus connecting the two. The show occupied eight salons in the former and 36 rooms plus 10 galleries/suites in the latter. The ultra-professional 30-page show guide on glossy stock listed a total of 154 companies and brands, many of which shared rooms, naturally. Adam -- who manages a language school in real life -- also had a classy 8-page insert in Warsaw's Gazeta Wyborcza daily, the biggest newspaper in Poland.

Up'n'coming show organizers elsewhere could learn a thing or two from how well this show was promoted. I highly recommend to download the actual 2.3MB PDF of Adam's newspaper campaign for a look-see. Asked whether the ad supporters for this insert covered expenses, Adam grinned and shook his head. Paid adverts covered about one quarter. But he's a business man who knows exactly where to invest for maximum returns. The hordes in the hallways proved that out - and the fact that he's had to turn down exhibitors for lack of space.

Accuphase had a big presence at the show, occupying a large space at the Bristol whose table top displays lining the long walls left and right of the sitting area were loaded like bear with component after component. Only a distributor intimately familiar with their catalogue would have even known Accuphase offered this deep a lineup.

Acoustique Quality showed a similarly huge inventory of affordable home-theater components. And no, that chap with the disc on his head wasn't involved in a Jewish rite but checking for output levels with a microphone.

Akkus supplies speaker kits for the DIY market but also offers ready-made speakers

The trusty alphabet now brings us to the first highlight of Polish hi-end audio discoveries, Ancient Audio whose granite-slab digital Lektor Prime machine was comprehensively covered by Hi-Fi News' Deputy Editor Andrew Harrison who happened to enter this exhibit while I was present. To cheerful applause from the attendees for his introduction of this brand to international audiences, Andrew was presented with a little speech of thanks and a memento.

Andrew's track from Pink Martini then showed off what this system could do. Let's just say that high-level diplomatic negotiations on behalf of the international audio community are already being conducted with Cyprus Audio Central to report on Ancient's clever parallel single-ended 16-watt Silver Grand monos with outboard power supplies (the two bottom-shelf boxes in the rack) in these pages. Adam Mokrzycki owns Lamm 1.2s and Avalon Eidolons and has invited everyone he knows to his digs for a listen to his loaner pair of Ancient Audio's monos. It would be talking out of school to share his comparative findings except to suggest that our Polish designer below isn't worried.

Put differently, these Ancient Audio components don't just look like a million bucks.

Ansae sported a setup I'd never seen before. Their electronics were all facing backwards. That's because Ansae is in the business of powerline products. They wanted to rivet attention to their vertical power bars and power cords and away from the electronics. Very clever ploy indeed.

Artech too is in the power delivery business.