Spring is in the air! – well, at least it seems to be thinking about it after a mild but horribly wet winter here in the UK. So it’s time for the annual enthusiast’s show at Scalford Hall in the depths of the Leicestershire countryside in the UK, this being the Show’s 6th successive year.
Sadly, this year the audiophile community lost one of its members to cancer. So, in a way, the main event that provided a central focus for the Show was a raffle held on behalf of the UK Cancer patient support charity, Sue Ryder. Some very generous prizes were donated by attending dealers and show goers, and a very worthwhile sum was raised for the charity.
Attendance seemed to be excellent, and as usual a very positive and welcoming atmosphere pervaded the Show.
As ever, the Scalford Show’s main focus is on the real life hifi systems belonging to audiophile community members, although this year some hifi dealers had exhibition rooms as well.
Some 50 systems were presented, each in their own room, ranging from the small and low cost end of the spectrum to no holds barred super systems, and with components from well known established manufacturers to vintage hifi, and DIY constructions of amazing appearance and performance! I think it is fair to say that price wasn’t too strong a guide, with truly excellent sounds to be heard from quite humble systems.
As in previous Scalford Show reports, I’ll focus on a small proportion of the systems, trying to give a flavour of the wide spread of systems to be heard at the Show, and highlighting systems not demonstrated in previous years.
Modwright electronics and Zingali Overture 3 speakers were impressive visually as well as sonically.
Snell A speakers powered by a 300B valve Viva amp were easily and melodiously filling quite a large space – it’s amazing what 18wpc can do with efficient speakers!
Focal speakers and Advantage amps sounded dynamic and powerful, the pictured subwoofer was not in use when I was in the room, and it wasn’t needed either!
These home-designed and -built speakers were perhaps the highlight of the Show for me. Simply stunning transparency and naturalness.
Audiophile heaven was provided by this amazing system based on professional reel-to-reel tape decks and large Rogers LS 5/8 speakers. Just amazing to see. Good to listen to, as well!
German T and A speakers fed by AudioNote electronics and a Pioneer CD player/transport sounded very dynamic and exciting in a fairly small room – I much enjoyed my favourite Buggles track – Plastic Age – on this system.
I’m afraid I’ve rather lost the plot on the next system, but I do remember that it looked fascinating and sounded great!
Ah, now next up was a system that really took my fancy – Lampizator electronics and hORNS FP15 speakers. This sounded musically effortless. Really nice, although not to everyone’s taste looks-wise. This system is featured in the Hifi Pig Magazine which you can download for free here.
Next up is one of the most astonishing systems at the Show for me. Not because it had the best sound, although it sounded excellent. Certainly not because it was the most expensive – quite the opposite really. But simply because a vintage Sony powerhouse of an amp was exerting astonishing grip on a tiny pair of Q Acoustics 2010i speakers. An amazingly dynamic and rhythmically exciting sound that could play at high levels with ease.
A system fronted by Wilson Watt speakers was making very pleasing sounds, ably supported by a Wadia digital front end.
Ahhhh – Dali Skyline 2000 ribbon hybrid speakers are a joy to behold, both visually and sonically. Just look at that styling – I love it!
A Clara Clarity turntable and the monstrously named Coincident Frankenstein amplifiers were feeding into a fascinating speaker design – Auditorium 23 Solovox.
Another dealer’s system here, and one I was sufficiently interested to hear that I looked after the room for an hour while the exhibitor did a tour of the Show himself! Quite small, very distinctively designed by none other than high-end guru Siegried Linkwitz. A fascinating speaker system that seriously impressed quite a few of the listeners whilst I was there. You can read the Hifi Pig review here.
Without doubt one of the highlights of the Show for many visitors were the Acapalla High Violin speakers with their ionic tweeter and horn-loaded midrange driver. These were more than adequately driven by a phalanx of high end Rowland amplifiers. Startlingly vivid and clear, these created a very memorable experience.
And last, but by no means least! Two massive horn-speaker systems. Probably not the ideal hifi solution for those seeking a system which will blend into the background in a living room!
And so ends my quick look at this year’s Scalford Show. There were many other excellent sounding systems to be seen and heard, and I realised after the event that I had missed out on several exhibits that I dearly wanted to visit!
The atmosphere was friendly and enthusiastic – there was a very positive vibe to it all. I am certain that the event was enjoyed hugely by both exhibitors and visitors alike.
Congratulations on yet another superb event. I am looking forward to next year’s Show already!