Alex Yeung of Silverline Audio showed his popular Bolero, again with his own tube amp which -- the jury still seems to be out -- is a full production piece or perhaps only a one-up for Alan's personal amusement? From the sound of it, it deserves to go into formal production. The website doesn't yet list it, however, so interested parties should inquire.

Big Andy of Sound by Singer went to town in his home town and dazzled attendees with two VTL/Peak-Consult systems. The smaller one around the Empress speakers introduced Luke Manley's new remote-controlled TL6.5 Signature line preamplifier, a single-box TL 7.5 with fully differential 2 x 12AX7 hybrid circuitry, low-impedance output stage and multiple fully regulated power supplies.

The larger setup launched the Danish Devils powered from VTL's herculean monos set to triode mode by Luke himself.

"The mighty press brings prominent manufacturer to his knees" panned Manley as I framed my shot. "Nothing that I didn't have to endure myself while I was with Mesa, Meadowlark and Soliloquy" quipped I right back and the two of us exchanged knowing grins in good jest. Teaming up VTL with Peak-Consult rather than Wilson Audio for a change signaled something to those looking for signs. This Danish brand might already be viewed as a distinctly voiced alternative to class leader Wilson, for those prepared to play in these rarefied realms. Me? I'm made of lesser stuff but a $20,000 Empress would be up my Avantgarde Duo alley one of these days...

The most impressive launch of a new loudspeaker brand -- from appearance to fit'n'finish to comprehensive literature out of apparently nowhere -- was Sound Fusion from Canada by not a small margin. Someone here went through some serious scratch! From active to passive versions; from non-skinned polyurethane foam to molded skinned polyurethane foam for the stands to points and resonance discs; from acrylic grill protectors mounted aft during playback to Platinum, Prima Birdseye, Sapele Pomele, Walnut and Cherry finishes; everything here spoke of comprehensive addresses. Expensive ScanSpeak woofers with radial slashes and the unique ribbon tweeters already spotted earlier in this report merely underscored this impression while the remote-controlled curvaceous sub cemented it without a doubt. Pricing for the active Ariel with Peter Daniel's chip amps [below] begins at $9,000/pr.

Jim Ricketts of tmh audio debuted a new Wavac Audio 300B amplifier with the company's interstage transformer coupling and used Talon Audio's new Firebird high-efficiency speakers as transducers.

Totem Acoustic's Vince Bruzzese wins a design award for transforming his hotel room into a desert tent while impressing attendees with monster bass extension from a small loudspeaker.
Von Schweikert occupied three adjacent rooms, the largest of which I never managed to enter due to excessive crowds, a very good thing for Albert, a not-so-good thing for our readers. His new VR4 SR seems like the proverbial slam dunk and offers tremendous performance in a Watt/Puppy-style arrangement of surprising material depth. Joe Ciulla's EquaRacks provided support and now sport a new suspension interface that accepts from between 3 to 16 viscoelastic nubs to provide for perfect component weight matching.

Brother Henk captured these sights with his magnum opus Nikon and also let on that the Dutch distributor for Von Schweikert has already promised him a VR4 SR review loaner [$7,995/pr] to follow up on his current assignment with Avantgarde's Solo. Virtual reality in Rotterdam? It's coming to a theater near you soon.

Kevin Haye's scrumptious VAC Phi Beta integrated [$19,000] provided silken tube muscle while a Licence DAC of unknown bloodline crunched the Electrocompaniet transport's data stream. The newly introduced VR-7SE [$30,000/pr] in the jammed third room sports twin 10.5 magnesium woofers, a 7" Aerogel midrange, a 1.5" Revelator ring radiator and a 3" aluminum ribbon tweeter with adjustable gain control plus the ubiquitous ambient retrieval tweeter, a rear-firing soft-dome unit.

And that now -- phew -- concludes my personal coverage this year. A report on Mark 'the man' Levinson's new Bobcat sonic improvement software remains reserved for our own Mike Malinowksi who purchased it at the show for when first deliveries commence. It is claimed to transform "nasty digital PCM" sound into "analog-like DSD" bliss.

Remember the 40 unreleased WaterLily Acoustics masters? 6moons is far too small and undercapitalized an enterprise to fund more than one compilation at present. I urge manufacturers interested in promoting music to explore this opportunity and help Kavi
Alexander launch a few more of these sleepers. Imagine: "XYZ Audio presents...". What better way to advertise your products by way of accompanying booklet propaganda while supporting what really matters - music that the majors would never touch but which is part of our global culture? I can't think of a more fitting way to conclude this report. I'll shut up now and let these facts speak loudly and clearly for themselves. Cheerio.