Orpheus Labs as the original demonstrator brand for Anagram's digital expertise—Audio Aero were the other—had grown upwardly mobile over the many years hence to vacate my personal comfort zone. Imagine my surprise then to discover, in this year's exhibit, my vote for top new digital streamer in the...

... Absolute Mediaserver with 1'200 x 800 7" display, a 4th-gen Intel i3 processor, mSata SSD for the OS, a built-in ripper, headphone port, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs, 2 x Toslink, 2 x S/PDIF and 1 x AES/EBU digital inputs, 2 each XLR/RCA outputs, a plethora of digital outputs, fully balanced signal path, DVD/Bluray and 4K support, up to 4TB of memory, UPnP server and rendered functions plus Android and iOS remote app.

Barely daring to ask for its price given orpheian precedents, I was told €17'000.

Given origins, features and likely quality, this was a shocking new low for the company and a friendlier less beastly alternative to the also Swiss far costlier ReQuest The Beast. Orpheus' man on the floor demonstrated the video quality of their display with a YouTube feed as shown below. I was so impressed with the whole package, I signed up for a review sample later in the year.

At the HighEnd Suisse show last year, Pawel Acoustics had let on that their 3-driver monitor would undergo a revision and a floorstander be introduced to postpone any interest in a globally distributed review just then. For this show, the final iterations of both newcomers bowed.

The second shot shows how there's more to their frontal artillery than meets the eye. Both would be candidates for future reviews in these pages.

The exhibit with the new MSB Select DAC and Eventus speakers also hosted the ReQuest Audio Beast. I was supposed to review that post show last year. As it happens, every unit the firm could build from their small production sold. Talking to an Aussie importer over dinner, he shared that he'd sold two Beasts only to get them back. His customers loved everything about them yet preferred the converters they already owned over the built-in MSB. Understandably, they were unwilling to book serious coin for something they'd never use. For them, a DAC-less Beast would have been the ticket. Apparently that's not on the menu however. Perhaps ReQuest need a stripped-down model called Less Beastly?

Revox no longer are about my dad's big open-reel decks I remember from my teenage days. Today's catalogue is about smartly styled designer fi with likely quite ambitious performance.

I think of it as a less flashy domestic alternative to Bang & Olufsen.