Big Silberstatic N°8 electrostatic panel speakers, Thrax Heros 100-watt monos and a Trinnov Amethyst came next. The latter combines an 11-source preamplifier with built-in room/speaker correction DSP, a phono stage, network player and DAC. CDs spun on a C.E.C TL transport. We could find no more information on the ESL except that they are made in Germany.

Another disappointment if you may call it that were our visits to the Leedh room. We dropped by multiple times, curious to hear their new glass-membrane speakers. Unfortunately whenever we entered, the Swissonor Bach 12 were active. Next to the glass diaphragms, another pièce-de-resistance here was a Stellavox Master tape recorder brotherly seated next to a tablet PC and MSB DAC. Another nice detail was a Franck Tchang resonator on top of the Stellavox though it’s hardly visible in the photos.

Where the previous room was full of things—albeit nice things—the next one was clean, very clean. Enter the Manger/Mola Mola partnership. Daniela Manger hosted here whilst Bruno Putzeys ran a side show in a Munich hotel. The active Manger S1 received music signal from a Mola Mola Makua phono/DAC/preamp which in turn received digitsl from an AURALiC Aries streamer. What struck us here were the cosmetic minimalism and playback volume. It was the softest of the show.

More volume in a big but also very clean room was to be had in the Boenicke exhibit. Sven Boenicke is a true master of CNC programming. That art is only fully appreciated when one of his loudspeaker assemblies hasn't closed up yet. Each cabinet half holds an intriguing maze that forms sealed ovoid chambers for the drivers and a lilne guide for the woofer. This maze makes it possible to fold every component into the smallest possible package like some form of origami. This year Sven introduced the W11. Physically it's not imposing though it does have nice clean lines and a small footprint. Interesting for the techies are its wooden midrange cone and flat sidefiring woofer. This speaker would fit any décor. More on the innards and drivers here. In this room, we completely surrendered to the music. There were plenty of cubic metres of air to excite and this speaker used no trickery to exploit room boundaries for gain. There clearly was no need to, either. Freestanding, the W11 on its Swingbase projected an open, tangible and very 3D sound towards the listener. That experience had to to be attributed to the loudspeakers – the biggest part that is.

However, the amplification couldn't have been innocent either. For that, Sven introduced his class A/B E2 integrated amplifier. This offers 200wpc into 8Ω. When impedance drops to 2Ω, there are a potent 800wpc on tap. For voltage gain, the E2 relies on "ultra-high quality transformers" from Switzerland's Audio Consulting whilst the output stage includes proprietary error and distortion correction. Volume control is achieved with just one series resistor. When that remote-driven control turns down all the way, its flat edge aligns with the chassis top. When the volume is turned up, the point of its flat edge sticks up as shown. In true Boenicke style, there's lots of wood with rounded edges contrasted by aluminium. The aluminium uppers reminded us of Dieter Ram's amplifier designs for Braun which in turn inspired Apple. But we digress. We really loved what we heard here and regretted having to move on. The W11 will soon fly to Ireland where Srajan is due to review the pair.

A full set of dCS, D’Agostino amplifiers and Wilson Audio Alexia connected with Transparent cables. We tried to connect as well but didn't click with this type system, sorry. Different strokes for different folks. It's what makes this hobby go 'round and 'round.