Moscow Hi-End Show 2016
. This year's fifth iteration of the Moscow Hi-End Show (MHES) was, as is tradition, held in the suites of the Holiday Inn Simonovsky hotel in Russia's capitol. The restricted format of the event (it doesn't hold a candle to the Munich High End Show let alone CES in Vegas) naturally defined its club atmosphere and created a strong focus on sound and music without distractions.

An essential part of any MHES is musical entertainment. This time Alina Rostotskaya sang Jazz accompanied by the Jazzmobile combo.

To enlighten audio enthusiasts, the editor-in-chief of the Salon AV portal Nikolay Yefremov conducted a seminar called Ways to enhance the sound of an audio system. Exhibition organizers cultivate—and its participants happily support—interest in building complete and musically valid hifi setups, a challenge that can be met in a variety of ways. By following global trends, Moscow's dominating sound carrier at the show was vinyl with all its accessories and peripheral equipment.

At MHES 2016 one could see a huge number of vinyl records, CDs and even music-related literature being sold.

There even was a complete vinyl boutique. Also present were portable digital devices, nowadays very actively developed to keep up with the growth of interest in headphones. Let me introduce some statistics for the 5-year anniversary of the MHES. The intermediate result of this event was the happy fact that more than 100 Russian and foreign companies for about 500 brands including at least 10 Russian manufacturers took part. The share of Russian brands and devices present at MHES grows by the year. In 2016 Russian exhibitors amounted to one third of the total number of participants. Let me now give you a concise account of the exhibitions and my listening experiences.

This wasn't the first time that CTC Capital successfully combined British electronics manufactured by Musical Fidelity with Italian Rosso Fiorentino speakers. Musical Fidelity's new products like their network player and M6 Encore 225 amp, integrated M5si amp and Nu-Vista CD player all were presented by Dave Waters.

The second CTC Capital suite was occupied by a flagship TAD audio system comprised of Evolution speakers and Reference electronics.

The sound of Oxygen Acoustic speakers left a strong and wholesome impression on me. This Russian brand presented their orange-faceted Diamante and Legatto models. I still remember them playing a monumental-sounding organ with excellent bass articulation.

The Valankon audio system featured gear including vacuum-tube amps designed by Russian engineer Valentin Kostin. Omni-directional speakers with vertical cone diffusers generated a very natural soundstage.

NS-Group united several interesting and promising Russian manufacturers. The most significant part of this setup were the ALLB-Music speakers based on unique tri-axial drivers (on the outsides in the back).

The system presented by Armada Sound combined musical nobility and pedigree by way of Sonus Faber Il Cremonese speakers with the impartiality of McIntosh electronics.

In the Esoterica suite Russian enthusiasts could for the first time see Wolf von Langa speakers which worked in a rather cute liaison with electronics from Leema Acoustics. Playing back Schubert's vocal lyricism and academic grand piano, these German speakers demonstrated a high level of musical transparency especially in the mid register.

лю exhibited a musically profound high-bred setup consisting of Nottingham's Anna Log turntable equipped with a Tri-Planar U-10 tonearm and Lyra Etna cartridge, EAR/Yoshino and WAVAC vacuum tube amplification plus Harbeth 30.1 monitor speakers. Unfortunately I had no chance to listen to the new arrivals to the Russian market, the dc10 audio Kabuki speakers.

En-Trade Distribution's suite was the place for the Russian premiere of the Estelon YB, acoustic speaker sculptures from Estonia which harmoniously worked in unison with electronics from Ayre Acoustics and Aqua Acoustic's La Diva transport and new statement Formula DAC.

Gong-Lux presented a curious yet musically profound setup comprised of Brodmann VC7 speakers with lateral resonating panels and two frontal tweeters, Gold Note electronics (Bellagio Reference turntable, B-7 Ceramic tonearm, Donatelo Gold MC cartridge, PH-10 Phono stage, DS-1000 streamer) and DarTZeel's LHC-208 integrated amplifier. The Brodmanns promise a lot of musical experiences provided they are carefully installed and Gong-Lux seemed to be moving in the right direction.

Nazarov Salon presented a one-brand Steinway-Lyngdorf setup consisting of the CDP-1 transport, SP-1 processor, A-2 4-channel amp and S-15 speakers augmented by the S-210 subwoofer.

MBL electronics on a Nazarov Gallery stand were supported by a Stromtank S-5000 battery supply which was shown to our general audience for the first time with that green Cyclops eye.

All-inclusive balance and sonic control are the qualities which invariably characterize Gryphon gear from Denmark. Their setup consisted of the Mikado Signature CD-player working as transport, Kalliope DAC, Pandora preamp, Colosseum Stereo power amp and a pair of Pantheon floorstanders. At MHES 2016 we also enjoyed the domestic premiere of the revised Gryphon Mojo S monitors with their interchangeable 'wings' to add customized colour schemes to the option menu.