And so to Gay Paris and the ‘Salon Hifi and Home Cinema and Interior Technologies’. I’ll say one thing for the French and that’s that they certainly know how to come up with a snappy title for an event!
First up came the DEA International room who had an impressive array of kit on show that would be enough to get many audiophiles drooling.
From Avantgarde they had on display (and playing when I went into the room) the battery powered XA Pre and the XA Power amplifiers (offering 7 class A watts and a pair of bronze Uno G2 loudspeakers. I make no secret of my love fro Avantgarde loudspeakers and once again they didn’t fail to impress, even in the less than ideal environment of a hotel conference room.
I was looking forward to seeing some of the offerings from Cayin and Consonance in the DEA room but sadly none was to be seen when I was in there.
The Waterfall range of loudspeakers is certainly very impressive and rumour has it that Michael Scumacher owns a pair. The larger of the two models (The Niagra), to my mind, was not ideally suited to the room and was bass heavy. The Victoria ( the middle loudspeaker in the range) performed excellently and if I was taking any home, I’m pretty sure, on the basis of the demonstration given, it would be this one.
In the IHT France “area” there was a bit of a problem. Now, don’t get me wrong the kit looked very impressive and they were displayed very nicely, but I would have liked to have heard some of their kit. On every occasion I went into the area there was a deafening silence. Oddly the company also had Blutack on the list of kit they were going to have on show and I would have like to have had the opportunity for a full and in depth listen to the merits of this!
Here are the pics anyway.
Now here was a bit of an eye opener and to my ears one a star, if not THE star, of the show found in the AMF room. Not your usual loudspeaker the Jo Sound Stereo Jo33, but none the less it played a major part in producing what I considered to be one of the highlights of the Paris Show.
Designed by the very friendly and clearly incredibly passionate Joe Jouhal (see photograph) in Jersey and built in Swindon (UK) the Jo33 strikes a bold and impressive pose with their unusual shape and not inconsiderate 95Kg weight.
Interestingly the Jo Sound range (of two plus subwoofer) loudspeakers is made from Bamboo which I’m reliably informed is a very strong material indeed (thanks to eldest son for this vital information). Whatever, a good few people were walking up and stroking the loudspeakers. This photograph shows the smaller of the two loudspeakers in the range on the right – the Cartouche 30 -making its world debut at the Paris show.
The driver used in the Jo33 is from the Voxativ stable and has a sensitivity of 96DB giving the loudspeaker a frequency of a claimed 20Hz to 25kHz from a transmission line arrangement. The sound they make is big, fast and very open and, sorry to be so clichéd about all this but, they offer a very “being there” presentation. They are also available with Voxativ field coil drivers at a premium.
At 27 000€ they are not by any stretch of the imagination a cheap loudspeaker, but they are very nice indeed – so good I went back for a listen 3 times and on one occasion met this really interesting French guy who was nuts for Quad electronics and loudspeakers (he’s the interesting looking guy on the right!)
In the Elipson room we were treated to some great tunes. You know tunes that people listen to at home rather than plinky plonky Jazz and female vocals that are played to show off what is best for the kit in difficult circumstances. Banging dance music and even a bit of Fifty cent got played and the room was all the livelier for it. The loudspeakers used were the Planet LW with electronics being the aptly named Music Centre. The combination produced a fabulously “big” sound that proves that you can have terrific looking high-end hifi components that both look great and sound great.
This leads me nicely on to the Roksan Oxygene range of kit which is due to be launched in the next month or so in the UK. I make no secret of the fact that Roksan are one of Hifi Pig’s sponsors and was looking forward a great deal to finally meeting the company’s Managing Director Tufan Hashemi (on the right) after having spoken with him numerous times on the telephone. Clearly he is a man on a mission to bring hifi that delivers both sonically and aesthetically to the market and I think he succeeds!
I’ve read a few threads on some of the hifi forums over the last few weeks and there have been a good few detractors of the company’s Oxygene range of kit. Some folk have claimed it looks like a clock radio and others have decried some of the functions available as being gimmicks. Thing is guys (I’m guessing most of you reading this are of the male persuasion) like it or not we don’t make the decisions in the main when it comes to what kind of kit is acceptable in our homes and WAF is here to say…like it or not!!
Now don’t get me wrong, I like my hifi to be butch, purposeful and a bit ugly, but I’m in the fortunate position of being able to hide my kit away from general gaze and can get away with it…by and large.
The photographer on the day was my long suffering wife Linette and she was drooling over the Roksan Oxygene kit and this is testament to what Roksan have achieved – high end audio that looks like effort has gone into the design of the outside of the case as much as the inner workings. I have to say that in the flesh the Oxygene range looks very nice indeed, matching clean, understared and very simple lines with a design that is still clearly hifi. Hifi Pig will have some of the range very soon to review.
And now for some random photographs of kit taken around the show.