Moving on from the Sobieski to the Golden Tulip, this is part six of Hifi Pig’s coverage of the fantastic Audio Video Show in Warsaw 2018. This is where the show gets decidedly high-end with lots of wonderfully esoteric equipment on show.

Lampizator and Sveda Audio

Lukasz Fikus, the man behind Lampizator, is something of a legend in the audio world having created a bit of a cult around himself with his DIY modifications to commercial products and, of particular interest to me at the time, a pair of open baffle loudspeakers. Lukasz has moved on into the commercial market and has found even more success and following for his projects, indeed we have been using one of his DACs in our main reference system for a few years now.

The DAC is the Pacific (in gold) is the product here that really interests me the most. The DAC uses special Edition Riccardo Kron Anniversary tubes made by KR AUDIO tubes and made exclusively for Lampizator. Lampizator say that their “magical sonic properties are due to the fact that anodes are covered with zirconium. It gives them that special dynamics of the 242 tube while retaining the beauty of the 300B.”.

The Sveda Audio speakers, also from Poland, look pretty conventional and monitor like but when partnered with the Lampizator gear the whole thing just comes together to create a sound that can only be described as absolutely stunning. The speakers are 9000 € – not cheap, but they are active, so you don’t have to buy the amp and speaker cables. The subs are extra and they are 15k€ and again they are active and use a, custom built Scan Speak Revelator 23W drive units.

OK, we are in the realms of the esoteric of the esoteric here but whatever this system is doing it is doing it right, allowing the music just to flow in the most natural and communicative way I’ve heard. I absolutely loved the Avantgarde room and the presentation therein, but, despite it being very different, I also loved this room. The feeling for me is that the electronics and speakers just disappeared and allowed the music to reach out into the room in the most beautiful and moving way. Superb!!!!

Fink Team and Thrax

FinkTeam’s Karl-Heinz Fink has chosen RCM S.C to be their distributor in Poland. “Roger Adamek RCM’s owner had shown himself to be very knowledgeable and very enthusiastic with a driving passion to get the best and most musical performance from systems of all pedigrees” says Karl-Heinz
Borg, FinkTeam’s latest loudspeaker is two-way floor standing design featuring a 10.25 inch highpower mid/bass driver and an Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter that is available at a cost of €25,000 a pair in standard finishes.

Amplification at the Audio Video Show Warsaw was the Thrax Teres monoblocs. These use a single-ended tube input stage loaded with a phase splitting transformer controlling 2 separate out of phase single-ended amplifiers for output with the tube handling all the voltage gain needed. It uses a new generation choke rectified shunt regulated power supply and the output stages power JFET cascades form a bridge that when unbalanced by the input signal via the 2 transformer windings restores balance by adjusting their current conduction through the load. To reduce the amount of heat generated the amplifier is biased so only the first few watts are in true class A but for those peaks in listening the amplifier switches to class B using only one leg of the output stage capable of delivering up to 250W/8ohm and 350w/4ohm (120W/8Ohm and 170W/4Ohm Stereo).

My notes start with the word “Wowsers!”. I’ve heard both of these products in different set ups in the past but at this show they have come together to produce a great sounding room. Now I do love a ribbon tweeter but in this system it felt as though the music had been separated out into its constituent parts and then reconstructed to give a beautifully harmonious sound.

It’s becoming clear that as good as some of the rooms at the Sobieski had been, and there had been some very good rooms, we were now entering a different league of playback. Not many people will be in a position to afford this kind of level of sophistication we’ve heard here at the Golden Tulip and so it is wonderful to have the show open for all to be enjoy, albeit briefly, some wonderful sounding audio systems.

Grobel Audio

Grobel Audio were using a Studer A80 R reel to reel machine, Jadis JP 80 MC Anniversary Preamplifier, Jadis SE845 monobloc amplifiers all feeding into a pair of Destination Audio Nika loudspeakers.

The speakers are an interesting three way design which go down to a claimed 25 Hz, use Alnico drivers and are 99dB sensitive. Sadly for us we only got to listen to the system for a short while before the music was turned off and the system and its sound was explained to us. We just don’t have the time to listen to talks when at shows as we are pushed as it is and so as good as this system sounded for the brief time we had the opportunity to listen, I can’t really comment on it further. Now this is a bug-bear of mine, BUT i do understand that the show is not about the press and is about entertaining and explaining to the paying visitors about the system and so while it irks me, I do understand fully the reason some rooms choose this route.

Boenicke

We recently reviewed the Boenicke W5 SE loudspeakers, a diminutive standmount that delivers in spades – indeed we gave it our top Outstanding Product award. You can read the full review here. 

However, today we were treated to the Swiss company’s range topping W13 loudspeakers. The speakers come in three versions with the following specs and components:

Standard Version

  • Twin 13″ long throw bass drivers with ultra hard injection moulded diaphragm in sealed enclosure, driven by 2 x 350 W Class D amplifier module with programmable DSP and 4 user-selectable presets.
  • 6″ custom-made woodcone bass-midrange driver, 1st order low pass filter, no high pass filter, ash tree phase plug, magnet structure force fit mounted to the whole wooden mass of the enclosure.
  • 3″ custom-made widebander, 1st order high pass filter with a unique electromechanical parallel resonator installed.
  • Internal wiring orientation-optimised silk-wrapped high-frequency stranded litz.
  • WBT NextGen binding posts.
  • Rear ambient tweeter.

SE Version

  • Added electromechanical parallel resonator to bass-midrange.
  • Added Bybee Quantum Purifiers.
  • Added proprietary phase linearization network.
  • Added Duelund Silver Foil 0.01 uF bypass capacitor
  • Swing Base included

SE+ Version

  • Added electromechanical series gold-plated stage II resonators to widebander and bass-midrange driver, all parallel resonators of STAGE III coil-wound type.
  • Added Steinmusic Speaker Match Signature.
  • Added Harmonix Tuning Bases to widebander.
  • Duelund main capacitor for widebander, added Duelund Silver Foil 0.01 uF bypass capacitors.
  • Added Mundorf MCap Supreme to rear tweeter
  • Swing Base included

On the day the W13s were being driven by Accuphase electronics to give up a BIG sound that was detailed and pretty much what I got from the smaller speakers only with more scale and drive. I like these speakers a lot; they are fast, pinpoint accurate in their imaging and altogether very well thought out to give a nicely integrated sound.

RCM Audio

The RCM room hosted Gauder Akustik DARC 100 speakers, with a Vitus Audio RL-101 preamplifier, RS-101 amp, CEC TL-0 V3 CD Player, CEC DA-0 DAC, A Tech DAS Airforce 3 Premium Turntable, and making its debut Thrax Audio Yatrus direct drive turntable (sadly I failed to get a shot of this). Thi sis getting into the realms of the very serious high-end in terms of price-point and as such an owners club only very few will have the means the price of entry. However, the sophistication and sheer connection you get is stunning. It’s all very precise and very meticulously put together to achieve a level of audio that is rarefied.

Natural Sound

Here we have a Vertere SG-1 Standard Groove record player, Audio Tekne TFM2000 integrated amplifier and Audio Tekne TEA2000 phonostage going into Natural Sound Samurai loudspeakers. These are wonderful looking loudspeakers (you’ll see how they got their name) that are 94dB efficient. Driver compliment is a 23cm tall air motion transformer tweeter working in a proprietary horn, a 12″ midrange with a lightweight paper cone all partnered with an 8″ woofer working in a bass reflex arrangement that is tuned to 25 Hz. The finish on these speakers is breathtaking and the sound of this system was spectacular to boot. Audio Tekne amps are handmade Japanese exotica and this is only the second time I’ve had the pleasure of hearing them – on neither occasion was I disappointed.

The bigger speakers are the SoulSonic Hologram X and these were being fed with an MSB Select DAC,  Audio Tekne TFA8675 and  Audio TekneYamamoto monoblocs. Speaker cable for both systems was the new Tellurium Q Statement.

This is high-end audio for true connoisseurs of musical reproduction.

My views on the room were that it was incredibly natural sound that was hypnotising with its purity of sound. Imaging was fantastic and the level of fine detail in the music was extraordinary


Avatar Audio

Avatar Audio presented a new generation of loudspeakers, their HOLOPHONY Number Two which they say is the result of 8 years of research and several thousand tested crossovers. Each part of each speaker is hand made and individually tuned. The housings are made of bamboo wood and placed on magnetic stands and the speakers effectively levitate on the air cushion. In addition there was the lower models of Holophony – Number 3 and Number 4.

The source wa Avatar’s own LIVEBIT audio streamer. The tube DAC and a hybrid amplifier in class A come from Audio-Akustyka.

System components were placed on 14-layer Avatar Audio RECEPTOR anti-vibration platforms and connected by Avatar Audio DREAMLINK cables.

Sadly we only managed the one photograph as the door was closed to us for most of the time.

Ayon Audio

The final room at the Golden Tulip was Ayon Audio and it nearly brought me to tears when they played a version of John Lennon’s Imagine and as such a room that is up there in the top five of the show for me. Interestingly the guy giving the demonstration told the audience not to worry about the format of the music we buy but to simply buy the music we love, and I think this is very good advice! They played a version of London Grammar’s Hey Now which is not a tune i’m familiar with but what was apparent was how well this system got into the heart of the recording and brought out every nuance an detail for the listener. The speakers are new to the Ayon “Black” range and feature Accuton drivers.

And so that was the Golden Tulip hotel finished. Only eight rooms in total but wow what rooms they were. This is audio at the highest level of what is capable with Hifi and each system exuded quality, and of course luxury.

Read more reports from the Audio Video Show 1018

Warsaw Audio Video Show 2018 Report Part 1

Warsaw Audio Video Show 2018 Report Part 2

Warsaw Audio Video Show 2018 Report Part 3

Warsaw Audio Video Show 2018 Report Part 4

Warsaw Audio Video Show 2018 Report Part 5

Audio Video Show Warsaw 2018 – A Bird’s Eye View Part 1

Audio Video Show Warsaw 2018 – A Bird’s Eye View Part 2

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