Apr 012010


The London Hi-Fidelity ’10 Show, aimed exclusively at the two channel enthusiast was held at the Park Inn Hotel, Heathrow on the 27th and 28th of March. Adventures in High Fidelity Audio was in attendance and this is the first part of our fully detailed show report.

This was the first time I had visited this particular audio show but I have visited this location several times in the past for the Chester Group’s previous September Hi-Fi shows (now moved to Whittlebury Hall and known as the National Audio Show), so I was familiar with the layout of the show through out the Park Inn, as it followed a similar lay out to past shows, just smaller.

The show is located in three distinct areas within the hotel but all are interlinked. The Blue Conference Centre (including the actual entrance to the show), Syndicate rooms 1 to 22 (only the left side rooms were being used this year) and off that the Business Centre.

This show report will be different in its presentation to that of other audio magazines/retailer reports, in that I will follow the Chester Group floor plan layout and thus give you dear reader a complete show experience, rather than just a snap shot of a few show highlights. So we shall move from room to room as you might have, had you been able to visit.

NB This report is as accurate as I could make it. However, as I am a one man band, it is possible some information may be incorrect or missing. If that is the case, please contact me and I will amend the error/errors. My opinions on sound quality are just that and not open to correction. I write it as I hear it.


QUEST ROOM    Company using room ABC Audio.

Just to the right of the Chester Group’s office was the first of several rooms being used throughout the Park Inn by ABC Audio. The system in this room was made up from electronics by MSB, speakers from ADN Acoustics  INNOVA range and cabling from Synergistic Research. There was also dotted around the room, mounted on the walls Acoustic Art  room resonator devices.

It was very evident that a fair bit of time and thought had gone into setting this room up as the sound overall was very good. Hotel rooms don’t generally lend themselves to good sound but this one did or maybe it was the presence of the Acoustic Art devices. Not being able to remove them, I can’t say for certain, what effect they were having but the room acoustics did seem better than other rooms, coincidence or not ? you decide.

The main system comprised of a MSB DAC 4, Platinum Data CD 4, and Signature Power Base, these stacked on top of each other. I must say that the fit and finish of MSB has improved vastly since the early days of the MSB Link Dac. On the next shelf down was a Tesla Power Cell mains supply unit.

To either side of the stand supporting these item, two large but beautiful MSB M202 power amplifiers stood. I had seen pictures of these but seeing them in the flesh frankly transforms them from mere mono amplifiers into works of art.

While in the room, Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s version of Stairway to Heaven was playing. The sound was fast, articulate, very coherent with good imaging and quite a good sense of image depth as well. There was though a slight lack of deep bass and mid bass. The lack of mid bass robbing the midrange of some presence. I stood up to take some more photos and it was at that moment I realised I had been listening to an I-Pod and not the CD player. That discovery explained a lot, in regard to the lack of midrange presence but I was left shocked at just how good the MSB Dac was at turning the I-Pod into a reasonable music server/source. This was the first time I had heard such a high-end I Pod Doc/Dac solution.

Outside the room ABC Audio had various items they distribute on display, these included items from ADN, DWC, MSB,  Fire Stone, plus others.

MSB Platinum Dac with its fantastically beautiful innards on view. I haven’t seen such a pretty inside, since a Klyne SK6 pre-amplifier many years ago.

Rear view of MSB Platinum Dac.

ENDEAVOUR  ROOM   company using room Woodstock Audio.

Most of the electronics Woodstock Audio were using were from Swiss company Solution, a new brand to me and I suspect to you also. The items being used are as follows, Solution740 cd player, Solution £29,000, Solution 721 preamplifier  £19,000, Solution 710 power amplifier  £25,000. On the right side stand a Hanss T-30 turntable with SME  arm, Hanss PA-60B phonostage. Sadly on static display only but the lovely Simon Yorke turntable was in regular use. The speakers were Gershman Acoustics Black Swans.

ATLANTIS 1      company using room   Bit Perfect Systems

There was a massive amount of kit on show in this room, in more ways than one. For me though the star of this room were the Anthony Gallo Ref5ls £16000 which dominated the room (and it was a very big room) but at the same time made the kind of statement only top end modern art does; these speakers were visually stunning.

The tall, thin tower includes 7 CDT2 tweeters, 8 4inch carbon fiber midrange units and 12  4 inch aluminium bass drivers mounted on the rear. This line array design sounded very good, as did the smaller Strada speakers £2300 complete with stands. The Strada was being used on the Sunday with necessary matching subwoofer the Mps 150 £600.

Both of these designs have their origins in my reference speakers, the Gallo Ref3.1 and I was sad that their replacements the Ref3.5 were not present. I am curios to hear how Gallo have taken the original design and pushed it further. The original Gallo’s were a bargain at £2400 a pair, the new design at £5750 may still be sonically but construction in America, rather than China means these speakers cost over twice as much as their original progenitor; thus making a massive dent in a buyers wallet.

Xindak mono amplifiers drove the Anthony Gallo towers.

There was so much else in this room, that frankly I would need a separate report to cover it all. So here are the highlights. Also on display were products from German company Vincent and related higher end valve company Tac.

Also in the Atlantis 1 room on static display there was an impressive collection of various Benchmark Dacs. It was a pity that not one of these appeared to be in use, as I would have liked to have heard one….oh well maybe another time.

The HINTERLAND company using space MV Audio

My name for the void between the Atlantis 1 and 2 room (not being used) and the wall which separated the larger rooms on the right side of the Blue Conference Centre and the Market Place Trade Stands on the other side of that wall.

In past years many who have had this pitch have struggled, this time round a rebel with attitude made it his own and rearranged it to suit himself. This rebel and all round nice guy is Mark Viveash of MV Audio new distributors for Vincent and Tac, these brands having been distributed before in the UK by Metropolis Music first and more recently Ruark. Mark having previous experience in the audio trade, has a vision and passion for these brands that perhaps past distributors lacked.  I for one wish him the best in his venture.

Despite the empty space, hard tile floors and overly live acoustic (similar to many minimalist homes), he managed by the second day and more moving furniture around borrowing a large rug and chairs to create a pretty good sound overall. The room was causing problems but despite this, it was possible to hear what the system was trying and mostly succeeding to do.

The system was made up of a Tac C60 cd player £3500, Vincent SV324 £1600 and Raidho C1’s with matching stands at £7500 for both. The wicked 2 ohm load of the speakers was mastered well enough by the Vincent amplifier, though I had to wonder what a more powerful more expensive Vincent amplifier might be able to do with such an interesting mini monitor speaker.

Part Two of the Blue Conference Centre…..The MARKET PLACE to follow soon……


© Copyright 2010 Adventures in High Fidelity Audio.

NB No part or portion of this article may be reproduced or quoted without written permission.

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