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Another rare find occurred at the Suon’Arte room with a full set of Audio Tekne gear. Kiyaoki Imai-San is the designer and owner of this rather exclusive brand and solely responsible for each piece of equipment. Next, Imai-San lives and works according to a tenet that goes audio equipment is civilization and music is culture". Suon’Arte is based in Italy where it imports Audio Tekne in close collaboration with a Slovenian high-end store so the two shared a room. We spent considerable time here and enjoyed the relaxed way music was presented by this all-tube system and signature hornspeakers. It was one of those rare occasions where you can listen to a cost-no-object system at full ease. Last time we listened to an Audio Tekne system was in Munich some years ago where their big horns had still been more show than listening pieces.

Here in Warsaw the system with the smallish stand-mounted Audio Tekne SP-8716 loudspeakers running an Ale mid/woofer in a carbon graphite enclosure with an Ale compression tweeter on top, the sound was open, relaxed and a perfect match with vinyl. Playing a CD over this system was a big step backward so we happily reverted to vinyl for the rest of the session. Whilst the show was busy, this room was remarkably low on traffic. Was that a purely aesthetic issue? Peeking in to only see a load of dull Navy grey kit without shiny chrome or flashy colors is what kept people out?

In the next room Amare Musica had teamed with Bodnar Audio. New for this show was the former's Entropy integrated amplifier. Emission Labs 1605 are driven from high-gain Emission Labs 20B drivers without tube rectifier. Lhasa played during our visit and the sound definitely begged for more. That will come in the next few months as we will receive some Amare Musica loaners for a proper review. The same goes for Bodnar Audio where we heard the new more conventionally shaped Woodline loudspeaker with single driver. Tubes and widebanders really are made for each other. Just add vinyl and heaven beckons.

Down one floor we entered a room occupied by MIP and a wide variety of headphones and portable players like the Astell & Kern. What we never saw at any other show before was such a wide range of small portable devices anyone could use to connect to a headphone. That was wonderfully convenient and user friendly of course but that the devices stayed and didn't disappear as the hours went by was the truly heart-lifting thing.

A smallish dimly lit room, a table that just fit between two huge hornspeakers packed with tube gear, a variety of diffuser panels... that was our first impression of the Lampizator room. Lukasz Fikus as the man behind these electronics was in attendance. His tube gear on the table was the culmination of what he's designed over the years wherever it was possible to fit a tube in. It started with the introduction of tubes in CD players, hence the brand name. Stacked between a pair of GM70 monoblocks we spotted two twin-box tube DACs. The Destination Audio speakers were more samples of fine Polish craftsmanship and three-way all-horn designs rated at 106dB sensitivity, 180cm high, 102cm wide, 97cm deep and 136kg heavy each. Two 15” Alnico woofers hid in the lower compartment. This combination even in a room a full size too small was lush and involving.

Venas Audio likes to keep things simple but of quality. A vintage pair of Tannoy monitors, some more modern ACT 3-ways and a Philips CD304 from the mid 80s represented once store-bought items to which Venas added a simple but good non-feedback amplifier and DAC both clad in very nice wooden enclosures.

Duevel omni speakers and Cary electronics drew a full room not without reason.

TAD had shipped a full set of electronics and speakers to Warsaw and demonstrated in one of the few rooms not covered in diffuser panels. Clearly proper setup of fine gear does not need extra help to make good sound.

In the next room Gigawatt supplied clean conditioned power, Sevenrods was responsible for power delivery via the new ROD4 power cords and smaller signals through other cables from their catalog. Baltlab Endo 2 handled all amplification before a pair of JAF Bassoon loudspeakers made the air move.

Polish turntable manufacturer Fonica played a Japanese pressing of the Köln Concert via an Advance Acoustic MAP 800ii integrated. Sometimes we wonder. If you are living from and by analog replay, why not make an effort to properly clean a record before playing it for us?

In room 402 we meet a familiar face. Lars Kristensen of Nordost fame and now Raidho gave a presentation on what was inside the Raidho speakers in this fully untreated room. How do you produce a diamond coating? Why use platinum for a voice coil and why multiple ultra-strong separate magnets in an external circular array? Lars explained all of it across musical interludes by artists like Christy Moore we really adore. Small in size the D1 speakers filled the room nicely with a full sound that extended low enough to give a good illusion of a large recorded venue. The demonstration and a subsequent chat later led to a future review appointment.

The only exhibit where analog playback was raised to vintage tape power came in the Ansae room. An Akai GX-636 as the piece de resistance played great ‘70s rock over ART speakers and a Wells Audio Innamorata power amplifier preceded by an Art Audio Conductor. But the true purpose of this setup was to demonstrate the virtues of the Ansae power cords and idiosyncratic Power Towers in the foreground. In the photo you three of these contraptions. Other cables were by Polish cable manufacturer Albedo. Intriguing was their use of a loose cotton sleeve over a power cord. In due time we will report on the virtues of this sleeve and one or more Ansae power products. Here it was about sheer pleasure with great reproduction of timeless music. Rock on!

More power was key in the next room where Keith Martin of IsoTek Systems gave a convincing demo of the benefits of aftermarket power cords and conditioners. He played a piece of music using a generic 50-cent power cord and then the same piece using an IsoTek. A similar demo was conducted with an Aquarius mains conditioner. In fifteen minute Keith had made it abundantly clear that cables and conditioners can make a large difference indeed if properly designed.

Next vinyl playback from a Systemdek Signature ended in another pair of ART Neo 8 loudspeakers but now with a full set of Art Audio Vinyl One followed by a Conductor preamp and a pair of Art Audio Harmony Silver Ref. amps for a sound that should have pleased British Art Audio designer Tom Willits.

Totem loudspeakers teamed up with Polish Struss amplifiers (R150 and R550 integrateds) fed from a Luxman D38-U CD player.

Marcus Audio showed a very interior-design-neutral loudspeaker design which wall or stand-mounted almost disappears to be appropriately called the Ghost. This two-way bass reflex was the first offering from this brand new Polish company and a promising one.

Show newcomer Impulse Audio presented their current three speaker models called Alize, Stratus and Storm. Alize sports Seas and TangBand drivers while Stratus gets a different Seas tweeter with Dayton woofer. Storm adds a third driver to become a 2.5-way with paired Usher woofers and ScanSpeak tweeter in a sealed cabinet. The smaller Impulse models are of the bass reflex variety. Fit and finish once again met the high general standards of Polish craftsmanship. Prices range from 2'700 zloty to 8'500 zloty (€650 - €2'100).

Probably the most minimalist room of all was that of Streaming Solutions with a laptop and HRT ‘high-end-in-a-box’ Stage active speaker system. A pair of small 3-driver 2-way monitors with remarkable long-throw mid/woofers connected to a smallish box in the middle which housed a DAC/pre/power amp plus DSP-based EQ functions. For such a compact system the sound was larger than expected.

And here ended part II with another 40 rooms to go!...