After a restful night and healthy breakfast from the vast buffet, we were ready for Day Two at the National Stadium. While waiting a few minutes for the shuttle bus that would take us there, we were looked upon with wonder. We were dressed lightly for a dry day with a temperature of around 6°C and hardly any wind. Still, the Poles around us were kitted out as though for minus 10° and a stiff wind. Hat, scarf, mittens and an insulation jacket were the default dress code. Later we found the booklet Shortcuts to Poland by American writer and now Polish resident Laura Klos SoKol. She writes that Poles put an enormous effort into avoiding chilly weather because they dont want to catch a cold. To them colds seem to be most horrifying as they can turn into pneumonia. And then you die. Serious stuff. Hence the stares. The bus took us quickly to the other side of the river and we took the elevator up to the second level. Here 25 sky boxes had been cleared out and transformed into listening rooms. All sky boxes sport a solid glass wall for views into the immense and deep stadium pit. The first room confronted us with a system of Advance Acoustic X and L series gear from France. X-L1000 speakers with ribbon tweeters sat in standby while Advance Kubik KC800 were active.

Next door we listened to Japanese Audio Tekne electronics and Natural Sound Samurai speakers from Slovenia. These 3-ways have crossover points at 200 and 2'500Hz and cover 25Hz-20kHz with an efficiency of 94dB. This is accomplished with a 23cm AMT tweeter loaded with a horn; mid frequencies in the hands of a 12" paper cone; and the bottom end from an 18" woofer in a bass reflex box. The model TEA 2000 was Audio Tekne's phono stage and the TFM 2000 an 8wpc integrated push-pull design with 6AS7G tubes. Turntable on duty was a Vertere MG-1 with SG-1 arm. With us being so early that we had the room to ourselves, the sound quality was fantastic: clean, open, dynamic and with a deep soundstage. Width was not at par with the rest, possibly due to close wall proximity relative to the horn flare. Maybe a stronger toe-in would have helped? But that also would have limited the listening area to one or two seats. Anyway, a good start for a show day.

What a difference in the next room - nearfield listening to Creek electronics and Harbeth loudspeakers.

Next an Ypsilon CDT 100 transport and DAC, Ypsilon VPS phono stage—though no turntable in sight—and Ypsilon Phaethon integrated amp playing with Vivid K1 loudspeakers. The overkill cables were on KBL Sound's account.

We think MBL have a very distinctive sound and in the next room that was once again the case. Their model 116F omni in this all-MBL context was a bit too bright for us. PS Audio was aboard to clean the power from the wall outlet.

Spoiler alert! For us, room 206 was best of show. Why? After the last room's aural defiance, we were instantly enveloped by a sound so natural in all possible aspects that once seated, this perception grew even stronger. The music did not come from any loudspeakers. It was performed on stage, elevated as though we sat in row 3 of the recording venue where the instruments too had their own height information. A double bass on stage has its navel or centre of radiance quite high. That tall information was available without effort. It was simply there. After realizing the completeness of the aural illusion sent to us, we both underwent another rare sensation: tears rolling down our cheeks. Maybe we were getting sentimental old geezers but no, it was the music. This was more than a replay of a recording on a system. This was emotional interaction from musicians to audience.

Closest to it would be a quantum entanglement where two particles interconnect despite vast distance between them and despite what should be a lenghty communication delay. Here musicians recorded tunes years ago, had them manipulated by many people and techniques yet finally the musical message, the originally intended message, was presented to us as the listeners as though in real time. Hot damn; goose bumps 'n' tears at an audio show. So what induced all this emotional response?

A system comprised of MSB Technology M204 250-watt monos, matching MSB Select DAC with double external power supplies and an older MSB transport. The speakers which made it all happen were SoulSonic Hologramm-X dipoles. Cold hard figures were 95dB efficiency, 25Hz-25kHz bandwidth, crossovers at 200Hz and 4kHz. Drivers were 4 x 15" paper cone woofer, 1 x 12" paper cone midrange and nothing less than a 2.21m tall 1cm wide ribbon as tweeter. The drivers mounted to individual wooden cylinders with open backs. These cylinders stacked in a shallow crescent which in turned mounted to a tempered glass plate curved at the top and outer edge. On the straight glass edge there mounted to a pole like a very narrow banner the extremely tall ribbon tweeter.

Designer and manufacturer Miro Krajnc shared how this model was originally intended for personal use only but is an extension of his SoulSonic line which starts with the Beat, a 2-way with a 95cm ribbon and 10" woofer, then the Impact 3-driver 2-way with a 1.45m ribbon and 2 x 12" woofers. The Impulse becomes a 3-way with a 1,85m tall tweeter, 12" midrange and 3 x 12" woofers whilst the Hologramm-S is the smaller brother of the Hologramm-X of the show. The S sports an 1.8m ribbon tweeter, one 12" midrange and 4 x 12" woofers. All models use a glass baffle to prevent early dipole cancellation. From Podvelka in Slovenia, this designer also is the man who developed Ubiq Audio's Model One and many others. We could not get enough of his Hologramm-X and even came back for seconds. It was that special.

The next room was Zeta Zero, hence Polish and omni-directional. New this year was "bi-stereo" as designer and owner Tomasz Rogula calls it. For bi-stereo he divides his multi-panel ribbon into two parts, one for each stereo channel. With this construction one can play normal omni-directional stereo with just one speaker or double this with two speakers to omnidirectional bi-stereo. Not new this year were the SPL. Bass was pounding so hard that the concrete floor under our feet transmitted vibrations from the other end of the room.

ESA of Poznan/Poland demoed their Red House dipole—yes, another dipole—in combination with a selection of Nagra electronics plus an Avid Acutus Reference turntable. Highly effective damping was done by Nyquista which also killed some of the dipole charm and openness.

Rockport Technologies Avior II partnered with the VTL model S-400 power house and VPI supplied the Avenger turntable while Transparent cables pieced it all together.

The next room by the same distributor teamed Wilson Benesch Resolution speakers with Electrocompaniet electronics and again Transparent cables.

Polish craftsmanship and the brand J.Sikora go hand in hand when it comes to turntables. On demo were the Initial Max and bigger Standard Max. The smaller one was equipped with a Stogi 12" arm and second Jelco 10". Cartridges were by Kuzma and Audio-Technica. On the big Standard Max the two Kuzma arms were the immense 14" 4Point and the Air Line, both with Audio-Technica cartridges. The psychedelic but quadratic wall diffusers consist of 67 x 67 points, 4'489 in total on a panel 168x168x32cm in size while the scattering action starts at 345Hz.