Piega of Switzerland and Gato of Denmark
teamed up in the next room. Two active and two passive 220mm woofers cover the lower frequencies of the Swiss speakers while a coaxial ribbon driver takes care of the high frequencies. In the inset we see the parts that make up their coaxial C111 tweeter/mid assembly.


Alaudo are a new Dutch loudspeaker manufacturer who focus on on-wall designs. The smaller model called Alosa is a two-way bass reflex with a port at the bottom of a 78 x 38 x 11cm cabinet. Bandwidth is 44Hz – 25kHz from a 26mm magnesium/aluminium dome tweeter and 176mm Excel magnesium mid/woofer. Sensitivity is rated at 87dB.  Alaudo is the bigger on-wall model with the same drivers but its filter adjusts for the bigger cabinet volume and bass extension down to 34Hz. An even larger model is upcoming. All Alaudo loudspeakers offer broad dispersion so it is not necessary to mount them at ear height while seated.


Gustavson Audio was another Dutch brand new to us. First impressions were lots of wood - for the loudspeakers and electronics. Music source was a PC with Daphile software into a Chord Mojo DAC whose analog signal fed the Gustavson W800 integrated amp. Speakers were Gustavson LS-One running a 30cm mid-bass driver and 1.4" horn-loaded compression tweeter that takes over around 1.1kHz.


Franck Tchang’s ASI Grand 850wpc power amp drove YG Acoustics’ Hailey 1.2 loudspeakers. These are a two-box design with the two-way Hailey sitting atop a bass extension unit to scale up to a three-way. Sources were a PS Audio PWT/PWD transport and DAC with Wadax Pre-1 Ultimate with external power source.


The pièce de resistance in the Combak/Reimyo room was no doubt the EMT 948 broadcast studio turntable. And yes, the sound was great over the small Combak Bravo monitors.


The Klinkt Beter room (Sounds Better in English) used John Watkinson Legend loudspeakers to demo. "The human ear has three known detection mechanisms, two of which work in the time domain. Traditional loudspeaker systems usually do not address these and talk to the detection that recognizes pitch and volume only. Legend systems are pulse-correct virtual point sources." Source was the 432 Evo music server which coupled to the Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum DAC with separate power supply and clock.


Aries Cerat introduced their new Genus integrated tube amplifier. For the preamp stage this Cypriot company use an E280F in triode while the power stage is handled by one 813 per channel to make a SET. Output is 25wpc. The setup was completed by a Kassandra DAC fed from a CEC transport or 432 Evo streamer with Stenheim Alumine 2 loudspeakers.


Bastanis joined Club 27 and Silvercore in the next room. Both speaker manufacturers champion open baffle designs with active subwoofers. German amplifier manufacturer Silvercore brought a truckload of 833C-based power amps. Bastanis brought the new Sagarmatha Duo open baffles. These consist of two 12" AlNiCo widebanders per baffle, one Gemini MKII dipole tweeter and two 18" active powered Ultimate dipole woofers in a separate chassis. Baffles and subwoofer cabs were clad in slate to add serious weight to the combination. The sound was big, open and nicely detailed, providing for an excellent musical illusion. Jack deJohnette’s collaboration with John Surman on Simon Simon lingered with us long after the show. A pair of Club 27 Jimi loudspeakers built from driftwood was on passive display.


Colorful and visually attractive was a display of ATC—Acoustic Transducer Company—a specialist British manufacturer of loudspeakers.


In a huge room, a small Rega set with Totem speakers played all by itself when we entered.


In the corridor nearby, merchants were preparing for busy software sales.


A small speaker box with a big sound is the trademark of Guru. Their model Junior combined with a CEC transport and DAC, The Bespoke Audio Company passive preamp and Merrill Audio Veritas monoblocks.


A Belgium distributor was present in four rooms. The first we entered demoed a system built around TruLife Audio tube electronics from Greece. Owner/designer Velissarios Georgiadis had flown in from Athens to make sure the sound was to his liking. Speakers were the Pearl 3 by Joseph Audio, the digital transport/DAC from APL Hifi of Bulgaria. Amplification was via Zeus 120wpc KT88 stereo amplifier which like the Athena preamp received its reconditioned power from the Prometheus. An Argo tube phono stage serviced the Origin Live turntable with matching arm. Even though the cartridge was quite new, the sound in the room pressed all our hot buttons.


More bows to Greek deities came from the Zesto Audio gear on Falkenohr racks. A Bia 120 KT88-based power amp, Andros Tessera phono stage and Leto 1.5 preamp used another Origin Live while Joseph Audio’s Perspective became the speaker. Cabling was by Kubala Sosna and Zesto Audio owners George and Carolyn Counnas were in attendance. We listened for quite a while to Jimmy Forrest Out of the Forrest and with pleasure.


Auris Audio from Serbia got together with DIMD as the center piece of the third Colab room. We love the DIMD PP-10 El84 integrated. Playing when we were in was the Auris Audio DDH1 streamer/DAC into the DC-125 125wpc class-D power amp driving the Serbians' Poison3 loudspeakers.