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With Lynn Scott providing a link to their new flagship Living Voice website, I learnt that their Vox Olympian/Elysian system would make a repeat appearance. Given their stunning showing of last year, this would set a sonic standard for all other super speakers to approach. And a steep uphill battle that should be. You see, it's not merely a matter of individual hardware. It's a matter of how everything works together as a system*, how it has been tuned and voiced to the room and set up. With their own whole-system battery supply and a combination of gear carefully tuned to each other over years in their Definitive Audio retail establishment, Living Voice would have quite a hand of 'unfair' advantages to play.

* You'd be shocked if you knew just how many high-profile exhibits leave such basics up to chance and the last minute by organizing for room shares or local distributor loans that are far from tried and tested.

An obvious challenger this year would be Magico. Though I had heard a pair many ancient moons ago at Dr. Jim's in San Francisco, Munich 2014 seemed set for a first public demonstration of their Ultimate 5-way hornspeaker. On pure looks this match was over before it even began. Which would you rather show off in your living room?

Of course extreme speakers don't limit themselves to horns even if those tend to get biggest. Estelon's new €175'000/pr Extreme would introduce a hyper-styled adjustable two-chassis composite marble enclosure whose height is adaptable from 177-207cm. A full Accuton driver complement includes 2 x 10" opposed sidefiring woofers; and an inverted array of 1.5" diamond tweeter, 7" midrange and 10" midwoofer on the head stalk. This would be a guided presentation on the hour every hour. My mind's eye envisioned a pile-up of bodies in front of closed doors and an equivalent one inside.

Bringing their biggest and best when you're a speaker maker can—and routinely does—backfire if the recalcitrant room won't cooperate. Here electronics makers have it far easier as announced for the German Physiks & Esoteric exhibit. The Japanese would roll out their European debut of their flagship Grandioso range whilst the Germans would sagely stick with the PQS-302, a twin DDD widebander array with accompanying dual 8" woofer stack to stay far away from their biggest and best.

With Stenheim's premier showing of their new flagships, the option menu of Club Aluminator would grow by one, making me ache on behalf of floor joists, delivery men and their lower backs. Which segues into our show's host country whose many virtues—bless 'em for law, order and organizational skills—also entails the annual battle to the death between various high-mass turntables so beloved by the Germans. Whilst my digital-only genes make me a lost case for the breed, ogling some of these chromed futuristic contraptions whose stands alone can be suggestive of bridge not hifi support tends to make for good photo ops. That the products which draw the most photographers' attentions tend to be those farthest removed from relevance to the average hifi punter is the usual grist for the mill of important hifi shows. My self-assigned beat tends to favour a different type of product.

How about something eminently practical like Martin Gateley's new soundkaos subwoofer with dual counter-firing 12" Scanspeak woofers, DSP-adjustable filtering, sub EQ and a 400-watt ICEpower module? This compact 44x38x45cm design is turned from solid wood with aniline leather ends. I'm a fan of high-class subwoofers when used for essentially just the first (not last) octave of 20-40Hz. Amongst other things this requires a very steep and effective low-pass filter to avoid bleeding into the higher bands; and bona fide infrasonic reach. Good looks and non-threatening dimensions are another plus. Doesn't it seem our Swiss native had all his basses covered? But there would be more.

"I might as well push the boat out. Here's a shot of our upcoming babies on display next week. Not sure if they are up to demoing yet. These are 1st gen. prototypes. Our driver designer Armin Galm had no suitable 6.5" baskets so I had some made in Plywood.  However I have since convinced him to do me a combined Spruce fullrange/dome tweeter insert which will decouple from the enclosure but mount flush. It is a tear-drop shape and the membrane will be bonded directly to the Spruce frame. The magnet is on a Ply-spaced ring to the rear. He has a great 37mm dome tweeter which goes well with the 6.5" and it has a lovely although limited top end. The dual face-firing tech of its companion sub has 2 x 10" drivers but the same amp/DSP module as the big brother."

Well prior to the show, Cayetano Castellano of my rack's Spanish firm Artesania Audio had asked whether I knew anyone who might like to exhibit with their equipment stands. He was hoping to place between 10 to 20 of them throughout the show. Three days prior to opening day I received the above invite. Clearly Cayetano had been successful. Aside from their own, there would be 11 more exhibits where Artesania Audio racks could be seen. Which of course is exactly what any maker of any product hopes for - endorsement by mass usage. What other product might enjoy similar visibility?