Now in its third year, specialty high-end audio event Hi-Fi Show Live is rapidly becoming a highlight of the UK consumer tech calendar.
Hosted by Hi-Fi News magazine, the show took place on 24-25 October 2015 in Windsor, UK, and featured some of the very finest audio brands on the planet.
More than ten brands from the DDPR client portfolio exhibited at the show, pulling out all the stops to deliver an impressive range of demos, workshops, new product launches and advance sneak previews.
Sound Fowndations showcased a stunning collection of the ultimate in high-performance systems and flew in a number of leading hi-fi designers from Denmark, Norway, Germany and Japan to share their considerable passion and expertise with the show’s visitors.
This was the UK’s first showing of the new and enhanced Clearaudio Statement turntable featuring its tangential tracking Statement TT1 tonearm and solid gold-bodied Goldfinger Statement cartridge. Two of its creators, Clearaudio’s Robert and Veronika Suchy were on hand to chat through their no-compromise approach to this turntable‘s design.
Also on demonstration was Clearaudio‘s Master Innovation turntable featuring DS Audio’s DS-W1 revolutionary optical cartridge, which uses an LED to detect stylus vibration. DS Audio’s CEO, Tetsuaki Aoyagi, kindly joined us from Japan to explain the origin and renaissance of optical phono cartridge and to demonstrate the DS-W1’s sublime sound quality.
At nearly 1.7m high, the latest incarnation of Gamut’s gargantuan flagship RS9 Zodiac loudspeakers were previewed at the show, filling the large space of the Windsor Suites with ample sonics. R&D Manager Benno Baun Meldgaard popped over from Denmark to apply his awe-inspiring set-up skills (they don’t call him ‘the best ears in the business’ for nothing) and to take visitors ‘behind the scenes’ on the journey of how a hi-fi vision becomes a reality – or how Gamut’s philosophy is faithfully translated, via class-leading hi-fidelity engineering, into the outstanding ‘Gamut sound’.
Also featuring in Sound Fowndations‘ ultimate system was a Gamut D3i preamplifier and M250i mono power amplifiers, with equipment support from Blue Horizon’s Pro Rack and Sanctum isolation platforms and power conditioning components from IsoTek.
IsoTek’s Bjørn Hegelstad was on hand to demonstrate the very real difference that ‘clean power’ can make to a hi-fi system and its sound quality, and presented a number of different ways to cost-effectively upgrade your system’s performance using IsoTek’s award-winning range of power optimisation products.
In a Hi-Fi Show Live exclusive, visitors were treated to the unveiling of Kronos’ brand new ‘baby’ turntable, the Sparta .5, fitted with Kronos’ own Helena tonearm.
This stunning turntable fed a state-of-the-art Van den Hul ‘The Grail’ phonostage, while at the sharp end of the system was Van den Hul’s hand-built Crimson moving coil cartridge.
Amplification was provided courtesy of the Audio Analogue Puccini Anniversary integrated amp, while Van den Hul’s cables ensured quality connections throughout the system and Scansonic’s slim, elegant MB loudspeaker series finished off the system in style.
In a second demo room, Decent Audio treated visitors to one of the best mid-price, compact high-end systems on offer. Catering for fans of both analogue and digital, the system included the outstanding Transfiguration Axia S MC cartridge and a Fortissimo CD player from Audio Analogue, hooked up to its Puccini Anniversary integrated amplifier.
Loudspeakers were the new Magneplanar .7 panels (or ‘Maggies’ to their many friends), designed specifically with smaller spaces in mind.
For this year’s Hi-Fi Show Live, Icon Audio revealed a veritable plethora of new product launches. The new Stereo 30SE is the company’s most powerful single-ended integrated amplifier yet, with a design inspired by the success of the MB30SE monoblocks and features one KT150 (per channel) producing a healthy 30W.
The new Icon Audio FRM2 (Full Range Monitor) loudspeaker is deemed the perfect partner for any low-powered amplifier, including Icon Audio’s own models. Featuring a single full-range 8in drive unit with an innovative centre cap that extends its high frequency response, it’s the first in a brand new series of Icon Audio loudspeakers. The striking design is finished in a high-gloss red lacquer.
Valve fans were also be treated to Icon Audio’s new ’pure triode’ EL34D valve, designed to be a drop-in replacement for the classic Mullard EL34; any existing EL34-based valve amplifier should be compatible.
Also on demo was an updated version of Icon’s MFV3 (Made For Valves) mid-priced floorstanding speaker, alongside an upgraded version of its PS3 phonostage whose balanced circuit design promises a lower noise floor and improved sound.
It’s been an action-packed year so far for Kudos Audio, who made a welcome debut appearance at this year’s show.
Having recently launched their new flagship loudspeaker, the mighty Titan 808, Kudos have also been collaborating with Linn to leverage its Exakt active technology into several of their top-of-range loudspeakers. Exakt is a ground-breaking technology which turns the loudspeaker into an intelligent, connected, software-upgradable product that caters for a wide range of performance parameters to suit your listening environment.
Kudos treated show visitors to a full Linn Exakt-based system, featuring the grand Titan 808s in all their glory.
“Our thanks and congratulations to the Hi-Fi News team for a fantastic show. I and my clients are already looking forward to HiFi Show Live 2016 – although we might need to have a small lie down first!”