The Guang Zhou show in November, Alex Wang [left] and He She Wang of Melody Valve HiFi promised (or threatened), will have about five to six times as many attendees as Munich. "You should come and see for yourself." I have to admit that those numbers seem a bit overwhelming. But to honor our many Asian readers and all the Pacific Rim manufacturers who continue to provide us with review products, it's about time I paid my respects. With the Melody men promising to help with logistics, count me in this year.

A legend returns. Jean Hiraga has authored his own line of speakers around Great Plains Audio's coaxial Altec Company reissues which combine a 15" woofer with a 1.75" compression driver in a coaxial horn loaded into a 190 liters enclosure. Sensitivity is 100dB, with response from 40Hz to 17kHz and a crossover at 1.5kHz. An outboard passive filter network includes equalization compensation.

Driven from Melody's big 845 monos, the sound, despite the speakers not being 100% finalized, was great. With all the talk of diamond tweeters and Carbon nanofiber mids, the sound engineers in the 50s and 60s got far more things right than most of us know or admit. Let me put it this way: I'd much rather listen to these speakers than the majority of ceramic hi-tech wonders elsewhere at the show. There's hifi and then there is music.

H is for hotel. Thanks to Renata Paxa's brilliant "where to stay" guide, I booked into the Leopold Hotel and would return to it next year without question. The interior garden was peaceful, the breakfast buffet tremendous, there's a health food store right around the corner for a vitamin bomb pickup in the morning and a great Indian restaurant one block away which Kerala native Jacob George confirmed was the real deal.

Back at the MOC, IsoTek Systems went topless. With a Titan and Sigma S inbound for review, we'll save further details for the writeup proper.

Jeff Rowland Design Group teamed up with Magnepan.

Keith Aschenbrenner of Auditorium 23 wasn't showing but walking the aisles instead. That's sometimes more fun than exhibiting.

KR Audio bi-amped with four Kronzillas. For biggest, baddest and mostest in the valved universe, these Czechs took the cake, crown and jewels.

As stated earlier, Eunice Kron's focus is on amplifiers now, not valves per se.

The strapping Darren Censullo, on assignment to identify import-worthy product for his Avatar Acoustics outfit, found himself the unwitting object of Eunice's attention. As he said at dinner that evening, he left an hour after us and now knows how to blow his own horn - er, vacuum tube.

Achieving fame if perhaps not fortunes with their spectacular player -- fortunes and audio are perennial opponents -- Lindemann audiotechnik GmBH has since expanded into pre- and power amplifiers.