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Audio Technica focus on personal audio experiences. A wide choice of headphones across all price ranges provided ample possibilities to enjoy them. The top models like the ATH-W1000X in Japanese Cherry wood or the ATH-5000 in Ebony could be sampled in a cozy corner setup. That’s the way to do it!

Have you ever been in a room where you had the feeling that someone or something was watching you? That's the feeling we got when entering room 207. A great many speaker cones aimed at us in the middle seats. It was obvious that speaker maker Taga of China has lots of models in their catalog. Fortunately Xindak had a match for them all on electronics.

All hail to Moje Audio who presented us with a list of all goodies inside their room. Now we knew that an integrated Hegel amplifier named H300 drove a pair of Gradient Helsinki 1.5 loudspeakers. This was a fine occasion to hear the radically different Helsinki in person. With sources like the Lumin streamer or Hegel CDP4 this room was sonically very enjoyable and yes, there were lots of diffusing objects at attention. Why would one need or want diffusors when the Helsinki deliberately supports omnipolar dispersion is another matter.

First floor, first room came next where again we encountered Advance Acoustic now with an X-A160 stereo amp and X preamp. Input came from a WTX-1000 wireless receiver just visible behind the apples on the rack. The loudspeakers were by Audiovector and the model Si 1 Signature played during our visit. What the apples were all about we did not get but they did taste good.

Eter is a big Polish distributor and one of their brands is Transrotor. Residing in one of the hotel’s two-room suites, one room was occupied by a static display of the full range of the German turntable manufacturer. Like most Transrotor displays, flowers were again an important part of their décor.

The suite's second room was just large enough to accommodate us. Why? Next to Armin Krauss and his eclectic music choices here was the premier of Avantgarde Acoustic's Zero 1. Currently available in matte white or black this is a truly remarkable speaker in more ways than one. It's the German’s first step into a market just below their cosmetically devisive big spherical hornspeakers. The Zero 1 looks less horny though it is a true horn design in the house tradition and for the most part retains the characteristic sound. Next to being horn-loaded for its mids and highs, the Zero 1 also sports an active woofer system. Even better, the Zero 1 is fully active with 3 amplifiers on board, 2 x class A, 1 x class D. But that’s not all. There’s also a preamp and DAC embedded in the master unit. The slave only carries its own power amps. Communication between the two is either by Ethernet cable or wireless. Of course you can connect a CD transport to the master Zero 1 but much more fun it is to connect a wireless receiver like an Apple Airport. Either way the Zero 1 plays music and we spent quite some quality time here. We expect a pair of Zero 1—which we already call Devialet’s greatest competition!—to arrive soon at our place for a formal review.

Everything But The Box stands for color and lots of it but not a colored sound. Powered by an American-made AMC 3150 MkII integrated and sourced by an AMC CD player, a pair of very friendly looking Venus D loudspeakers mounted to classy stands. These speakers were black but on static display was a tiny sampling of the many possible hues in which the Luna and other models can be ordered. With EBTB fun is back in audio.

Safely on the ground floor at last there remained just another nine rooms to visit. Well, not all were rooms. The hallways of the Sobieski hotel also served stalls like this one.

Next to plenty of rooms filled with some of the finest available audio gear, the event also offered seminars. One of those was presented by vinyl guru Wally Malewicz. His seminar was about correct cartridge alignments - horizontal and vertical geometry plus azimuth to name a few. Since he lives in the US, Wally turned to English when we entered alas much to the chagrin of one visitor who demanded that he continue in Polish. From what we understood there was a firm nationalist undertone so we wisely left to keep the peace. For those interested in Wally, refer to his website for more.

In one of the largest rooms, the heaviest speaker of the show was the new Sonus Faber Aida. This 172cm tall 3.5-way bass reflex design puts no less than 330kg on the scale. Rated at 92dB and 4 ohms, this big speaker with an appearance mirrored by their latest smaller models does appreciate power. For that purpose the Polish distributor opted for Balanced Audio Technology. Sources were a Project Signature 12 turntable and for digital an Amare NP30 network player with matching DAC30. BAT provided the VK10SE phonostage, VK-35SE preamp and VK655SE power amp.

Focal did a nice job dressing up their room. Electronics from the MCX series by Exposure had been brought in to drive their JMLab Scala V2 Utopia. On static display was a nicely lit-up Utopia Diablo. This sound was well balanced and the care whereby the system had been set up really paid off.

Just like last year a compact active speaker set from EVE Audio played in the hallway whilst a series of yellow dummies looked away as though too busy listening to headphones.

A sign next pointed us at some software stands like this one from the Naim label.

Next came the Vivid Audio Giya G1 loudspeakers and a very nice Cary Audio CD player. But the Trinity DAC and preamp were the real cherries on the cake in one of this large room's three setups. Voltage for the Vivid speakers was in the hands of a Constellation Audio Centaur. Attendees could change seats however and thus swap system, perhaps the one around Harbeth and Burmester or another with MBL Radialstrahler speakers.

Marantz celebrated their 60th birthday. Next to a nearly museum-type overview of many products in their storied history, they'd asked brand ambassador Ken Ishiwata to give a presentation. A simple setup of Marantz 11 Series gear including the NA11S network player and a pair of extremely toed-in Boston Acoustics M-series loudspeakers was all he needed. Controlling music from his iPhone Ken not only took attendees through a lesson in music history, he also spread the gospel of DSD and high resolution. And he included a little quiz on who was the jazz singer on a Herbie Hancock track.

With Ken’s presentation as our finale, we'd like to thank show organizer Adam Mokrzycki and all his exhibitors for letting us join them at a truly wonderful 2013 show. We had opportunity to meet new people, renew acquaintances, learn of new products and in general had a fantastic time. Despite being lengthy, our report of course is still far from complete. With so many interesting rooms and only two days to cover them all, it's always a matter of strict time limits. But from the contacts we made, a large number of review request evolved to keep us busy over the next many months and continue our coverage of fine Polish hifi in these pages...