This year was a bigger show than last year with more manufacturers and retailers exhibiting and rightly so seeing that this was its second year at the Novotel Hotel Hammersmith which is in the heart of London. Unfortunately, I could only get to go on the Sunday which was its last day. The venue is a good one which is nicely laid out and on many levels in the hotel. On entrance to the show you get the show guide which gives you all the locations of the various exhibitors, it comes in handy when you suddenly realize that there are 3 levels for you to explore.
I tried to cram in as much content as possible but with only a day to capture as much of the show as possible it was a difficult task and time was against me. I also wanted to sit down and listen to all the various HiFi systems. Most of the exhibitors were extremely friendly and welcomed us in to listen and film which was great but a room that I really looked forward to hearing was the Audio Note room but whoever was running it was clearly having a bad day and told us in not so many words to leave which was bad form and not very professional to say the least. Disappointed but not stopped we carried on and managed to capture and photograph nearly all the rooms and also get to listen too. With some I was not so sure on the sound as having heard on many occasions the different setups it did not do them justice as they were certainly not sounding their best and should not be taken too seriously as it was clearly a room and setup issue or bad matching of components or a combination of both.
On starting we went straight to one of the big systems which was the FM Acoustics and Vertere Acoustics room which had a good sound and something that I have come to expect from these high-end audio brands. Vertere Acoustics always have their gorgeous turntables playing and this was the first time I have actually heard the big FM Acoustics speakers which look weird and more like triangles and something out of an art gallery rather than something that you would listen to. Another big system was from PMC who had their massive BB6 XBD-A speakers which sounded like a club when walking in with a pounding drum beat and extremely detailed top end. As good as the sound was they looked more at home in the studio which is what they are designed for but the more appealing Twenty-Five series were on display in their other rooms and were partnered with AVM electronics which is now distributed by PMC. Together they sounded really nice and I featured this room in my opening part of my vlogs of the show.
ProAc had their new floor standers the Response DT8’s which were partnered with Sugden Audio, Cyrus and Michell Engineering turntables which I have to say sounded very lush indeed with a beautifully organic and natural sound from this excellent partnering of components. The ProAc K6 were being shown also with Esoteric electronics, the white finish of the K6’s looked really nice and better than I thought they would, I did not manage to hear them properly as it was very busy in their room which is good but not great when you want to capture on video as all you get is people speaking which can be heard mostly on the videos that I took. Not a problem as I own the brilliant K6 speakers so I know how they perform.
Both Musical Fidelity and Simaudio Moon electronics featured the KEF Reference One speakers and I really liked the SimAudio demo which had their entry level integrated amplifier playing and loved what I heard from this Canadian brand. KEF was also showing their ability at playing surround sound with movies and what a great pair of rooms they had with excellent sound and vision which is another firm favourite. The LS50 wireless speakers were on display but unfortunately not being played as you could not really get a good demo in the location they were allocated which was slightly disappointing as last year they had a great room and sound.
One room that I completely missed was the Focal speakers as never got to hear them but I do love what the French brand does and after hearing the Sopra No2 speakers at the Bristol Sound & Vision show and was bowled over by how they sounded.
One of the best areas was the HeadFi section which had a plethora of electronics and headphones on display and ready for customers to listen to, Chord Electronics were letting people hear their brilliant new Hugo2 and the Mojo’s Poly which I am attending the Press release of on the 19th October this month so stay tuned for more on this report / review.
One of the exhibitors which really shined was ANGSTROM Audiolab which is an Italian company which had on show the Stella Headphone Amplifier which sounded very cool indeed with a rich and creamy sound which was also partnered with Audeze headphones and the two was a great pairing. Another shout out to acoustune who had a lovely tube portable headphone amplifier which one person said was the highlight of their show, they also make the balanced 4.4mm headphone sockets for the Sony NW-WM1Z / WM1A DAP which they were displaying. They are featured on my video section of the show so please check it out.
For me and my colleague the best sound at the show came from an unsuspecting duo and was pleasantly surprising. CAD and Kaiser Acoustics were paired up and playing the brilliant sounding Kawero speakers. They sounded punchy and the bass dropped low, they also had such a beautiful sounding top end which was provided courtesy of a ribbon tweeter and this duo really did shine as the best sound at the show, it just seemed to be so musically engaging and is featured in the video section of my show reports.
I hope you enjoy reading this brief report and make sure to check out my videos of both the HiFi and HeadFi sections of the show.