Stephen Crowe attends The Audio Show that took place over the weekend at Leamington Spa

Waking up early is not how I usually start my Saturday morning. However, it was a beautiful day, which could well have been the last remnants of summer. I’d arranged to pick up my mate Clive in Wembley before journeying up to The Woodland Grange, Leamington Spa for the Audio Show 2019. Clive said we should travel on the M40, but as I was driving, and my sat-nav said to use the M1, I insisted on that route. Bad move, we were at a standstill just north of Luton. The traffic then moved, albeit slowly, and we arrived at the venue just a little after the 10:00 am opening.

Since moving from Whittlebury, via the NEC, this has become a fairly modest show, but has generated a friendly atmosphere and I personally enjoy meeting the people as much as seeing and listening to the products on show. This was exemplified as when entering the reception we bumped into Max Townshend. He was clearly a man on a mission and couldn’t stop to chat at that time. There was a slight delay getting in as the mobile signal was so poor I couldn’t pull up the ticket on my phone. Fortunately, Clive, who had booked the free tickets, had copies for both of us.

We made a bee-line for the Marketplace to have a chat with David Brook at MCRU. The room had stalls for Supra cables, Townsend Audio, Dixo Group (headphone amps and portable DACs), as well as MCRU and The Vinyl Adventure.  I succumbed to the lure of vinyl and I admit to buying two audio show mainstays, the self-titled Keb’ Mo’ album on Mobile Fidelity and the two-disc version of Nils Lofgren – Acoustic Live from Analogue Productions.

Moving on to the show itself, it was a fairly slow start for the exhibitors, and visitor numbers were quite modest, although they did appear to build up by lunchtime. On the positive side, it was great for the punters who could get into most rooms easily.

I didn’t set out to write an in-depth review of the show. However here are a few photographs, observations and highlights.

Jelco had a fine display of arms and headshells which seemed to gather quite a few interested audiophiles. One of these was Clive, who is looking to upgrade his arm to one with removable headshells. Jelco fit that bill perfectly.

Harmony HiFi Distribution had an interesting room which included two of my favourite products; YBA amps and Marten Speakers. Mains was supplied via an Isotek Genesis and the sound was full-bodied, clear and very musical. This appears to be a quite revealing system with a great soundstage. It was a good start to the show. Adam Taslaq, whom I know from Nintronics, introduced me to a guy he described as ‘Mr VBA’, whose name escapes me.

Audio Note had their usual fine-sounding set-up. It would be good to hear it with a wider range of music.

Longdog Audio gave a good account of themselves and were playing their excellent phono stage. Unfortunately, the room was quite small and it was difficult to sit back from the speakers.  GIK Acoustics ‘photo’ sound-absorbing panels were in use to control room dispersion issues.  Like most rooms upstairs they suffered from a very bouncy floor and the turntable visibly moved up and down.  In the Music First room, walking to a seat frequently caused the stylus to skip and I’m surprised Max Townshend didn’t try to sell them one of his superb seismic platforms.

The Meridian Room was laid out as a museum displaying Meridian gear through the ages, starting with the Fabulous looking combination of Lecson AC1/AP1.

Quiescent Technologies combined their electronics with KEF speakers. Interestingly they use some system supports shaped almost like pyramids. They even sat two large versions on top of each speaker. Clearly some energy absorption going on there.

My favourite sound of the show was in the Oak Room where G-Point Audio were exhibiting. This was a fairly large space which housed Huge JoSound speakers driven by equally impressive looking Audio Detail electronics. The sound in here was loud, clear and amazingly relaxed. I could have sat there for hours. Ideon Audio Absolute DAC was used in tandem with Lucas Audio Lab Maximus server, full-sized nicknamed the Maxi

. I was allowed to choose some of the music playing and tried a couple of Steven Wilson tracks from ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’ album. The music is dynamic and has a lot of energy in the high frequencies. The JoSounds handled all this with aplomb, which is no mean feat. I find it difficult to describe the speakers, with their eighteen inch bass drivers, and unusual translucent cones around what appeared to be a concentric mid-treble unit. Best to look at the photos.

Below is a further selection of photos taken on the day.

 

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