A lot of money changed hands at various software booths. Did we mention that vinyl is immensely popular again?
Sugden and North Star Design combined with ProAc loudspeakers for quite affordable very acceptable sound.
Lyngdorf had us just miss Peter Lyngdorf's presentation who had to go in a hurry but we got a hug and warm hand shake. A nice sampling of Luxman products lined the sides of the room. A complete setup of Luxman kit was about to go live.
Ken Ishiwata not only has his own Marantz product line, he now showed his Limited Edition KI Ruby Series. Besides Ken's autograph on the top of each product, there's also a genuine ruby. Ken presented these collector items with his signature layout which has the loudspeakers at extreme toe-in.
Estelon YB loudspeakers powered by Pass Labs and a front end by dCS were next. The black tapered device at the left is a Shunyata Research Denali 6000T 6-fold power enhancer.
Bowers & Wilkins remain a rock-solid brand and their room was constantly busy with lookers and listeners.
Dutch firm Van Meedevoort demonstrated their new ESL line sources. With 125cm length and 5cm in width, the electrostatic mid and high frequency portions of the speaker are actually bigger than the predecessor's. Also new was their PH360 phono amp built around fast-acting discrete gain stages operating in full class A. The twin-armed Denon-based turntable was still a one-off and not (yet?) production model.
Austrian Ayon combined with Dutch Driade Premium Model 3 loudspeakers. Digital sources were the CD-10 with the S-3 network player acting as DAC. Spirit III is the name of the integrated bristling with tubes.
Bryston electronics from the Cubed series found a match with Driade Premium Model 2 loudspeakers.
In a hallway we encountered not only Dutch Essence electrostatic loudspeakers but also the Synthesis Roma 510AC 80wpc integrated running KT88 tubes in the output stage.
Handsome Totem Signature One stand mounts with a Rega turntable and matching Auro phono stage plus Elicit amplifier showed that a budget-conscious setup can sound pretty nice
Our hit of day one was the room where SPEC electronics of Japan combined with a pair of Tobian Sound System dual-concentric 15HC horn speakers.
This Japanese/Swiss combination sounded relaxed, in full control and most of all very natural.
To formally support the launch of SPEC's new high-power FET-based RPA-MG1000 monos with fully sealed circuit board to output 300 watts (!), owner and designer Masaaki Nishimiya was on hand. No longer are SPEC low to mid-power amplifiers.
For analog duties, there was a beautiful GMP-8000 turntable with platter made from gun metal. Of course SPEC's Real Sound Processors connected to the loudspeaker terminals absorbing counter-electromotive current.
On a glass stand we even spotted a Telos Quantum Noise Resonator which "uses a combination of resonance and noise and transforms them into light".
In any case, this room netted our Best of Day One vote.
Dutch JK Acoustics presented samples from their huge portfolio. JK Reference 11w monoblocs flanked a JK Power Conditioner while Prestige Air open baffles were flanked by JK Style floorstanding loudspeakers. In the cabinets one saw the JK Cube fully active boxes.