So here I am again with a little show report! A lot repeated this year and a lot was disappointing, which is why I’m probably not going again for some time, but anyway I tried to find something new compared to my last report to show to you besides some similarities to last year. However I didn’t have a focus on new product launches…I just tried to go into every interesting room having a demo. I just mention those where I expected good sound and was disappointed or pleased and I don’t mention many imo average or below average rooms.
I’ll be posting 4 sections:
The interesting or weird add. with some turntable porn at the end
The “nice to impressing”
Except for the first section I always start with the worse (or less good) and end with the better in each section.
Just for you to be able to judge my preference:
For me it’s important that a setup sounds coherent in tonality and nothing jumps at you unnaturally (certainly e.g. too slow or too loose bass etc., but even if it’s a positive effect like “punchy bass” or “silky highs”). I want to hear as full range (at least enough to transport the soul of the music) as possible, without having to recognize characteristics or features of the equipment. Just music… the equipment should stand behind it without certain peculiarity. As important as coherence and natural sound is energy/livelyness/dynamics and emotional involvement for me…to be dragged into the performance. If one of those three very basic demands (coherence, livelyness, emotional involvement) are missing from a setup’s sound, it’s not for me (and there are tons of setups missing at least one of them…to be honest…the most)
Sophisticated characteristics and high end terms that describe good sound mostly come along with those three demands.
What were major observations and conclusions for me after this show?
There must be enough high end brands for a 1:1 match for at least 20% of mankind on earth and another 1:1 match of high end sales people for the other 80% of mankind. It’s unbelievable how many folks build something and unbelievable how they can sell their stuff to more than the family. If one established a well known and successful company like PSA or similar…this seems to be a huge achievement in this circus of redundant products…crazy.
Big and/or expensive doesn’t mean good sound
Most exhibitors already fail badly with their selection of unqualified music played.
Optical room tuning (ambience) also means a lot.
Only very few exhibitors seem to know how to tune a room and how to place the speakers for good sound. Room tuning and know how is absolutely essential at those shows.
Only very few exhibitors seem to be really connected to music instead of equipment, isolated sound characteristics and “short phase test and effect listening”.
Solid state electronics in average (with exceptions) fall quite short compared to tube setups when speaking about transporting magic as well as really involving and lively sound.
At least half of the rooms mostly played vinyl instead of digital (I don’t know if for sound or optical reasons, as at a show vinyl is not that convenient). I heard great digital and analog rooms. The tube/solid state influence on sound is much bigger to notice.
Really many speaker manufacturers use ribbons now and in most cases those designs are clearly superior in top end integration, resolution and natural sound…hard to go back to any dome tweeter and only some that can compete (those who can don’t have to be of a weird material…it seems more a question of skill)
Very very few setups really have a magical, involving sound…and although I’m rather a full range guy…power house high end (big amps, large speakers) don’t seem to be the best solution too often.
What did I miss that I wanted to hear?
Wilson and Gryphon were quite crowded and only made scheduled shows…I didn’t have the patience.
Focal just played home cinema and I totally missed Diavalet, which I would have liked to listen to for refreshing a meaningful opinion about their products…and I didn’t see any PSA component once more unfortunately
So let’s start…