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Talking of pros, Martin Gateley of soundkaos is about as hard-boiled as it gets when it comes to trade show chops. That's because his other business kaosevents has him as the designer/builder of made-to-order custom trade show exhibits for large corporate accounts. Like last year Martin built his own booth on the ground floor when show management refused to make available a bigger room on the upper floors.


Unlike the usual €8'000 window-less cubicles on the ground level which routinely have folks walk right past them unaware of the goodies inside, Martin again specified a sizeable window which so happened to face a coffee and sandwich area. As any professional exhibit designer would, he used all of his surfaces to best effect. Talk about eye-catching whilst keeping it attractive and informative.


Inside his Wave 40 speakers with matching new subwoofers were fronted by a colour-matched full Trafomatic Audio Reference rig including a new power conditioner plus a Lumin music server steered via iPad remote.



Whilst I did prefer last year's sonics with the solid-state Bakoon gear because in combination with these Swiss tone-wood widebanders it made for a more lucid transparent reading, Trafomatic's full-on valve kit with 300B monos certainly put the chunky and meaty into the musical sauce. This worked to similar effect as the previous room.


Here is a sneak at the front end.


In fully activated sensory-overload mode, I duly overlooked snapping a picture of Martin's companion sub for the forthcoming Skiny 16 model. Hence his own photo at right.


One owner of Boenicke's W5 minis reportedly approached Martin during the show wanting to order one of these subs. Unlike Sven's own it looks like a near perfect cosmetic match. Once I was told, I saw it clear as day too. Let's hope Ivette doesn't spot it. Else she's liable to want one for her W5 pair.


Below we see Trafomatic's head man Sasa Cokic clown around making silly faces with the coffee area behind him. As a man with many coffees even on a normal day and liably more during late-running show time, Sasa must have loved this location. He was definitely very keen too on the sonic combination between his gear and Martin's speakers.


Having in the past shown with seriously disorganized collaborators, Sasa also expressed great admiration, respect and gratitude for working with a true professional this time. Partnering up just to save money can actually turn into a nightmare.


Parked on one of its beautifully leathered-up sides for a belly view, here we see the socketry of the bigger sub's boxed ICEpower amp with preceding MiniDSP module. Martin plans on programming the DSP engine with four presets for the most common blend modes with his own speakers. By Ethernet link users will be able to access the module from their computer to create individual custom settings. Sweet.


Back on the outside of the booth Sasa had one of his new Eos KT150 stereo amps on display.



Cleverly the trim pots for the output valves live on the right cheek for a change to not busy up the top deck.


Finally here is Sasa's partner Milorad 'Mica' Despotovich. That's the very resourceful fellow who is personally responsible for each and every Trafomatic chassis and its immaculate finish. Behind him we spot their new Head 2 fully balanced headphone amp set up with a pair of Audeze LCD-2. Those sounded positively sublime with that combo. Greek reader Kostas staying at my hotel had implored me to give this a listen. He in fact had picked up his personal unit at the show to upgrade his Head One. He was quite right about the results. The Head 2 is a serious contender.