Much warmer and as the Dutch say, gezellig which very roughly translates to cozy, was the Gato Audio room. A fake brick backdrop, an open fireplace to match and enough spare logs to get through the night whilst sitting on the red rug had us almost forget to mention it: the sound here did not suffer from their obvious attention to room décor. Gato's preamp/DAC PRD-3S, PWR-222 monoblocks and FM-6 loudspeakers made music.


Rebel from the hosting country had chosen ScanSpeak drivers for their Classic 10, an affordable well behaved mid-sized monitor.


A Cary tube integrated, Burmester 102 CD player and a pair of Harbeth HL5 are all you need to play music. That's what happened here.


A threesome of a sort was next. Albedo are a Polish cable manufacturer, Ansae a Polish power cable and power conditioner maker and Audio-connect a large distributor with brands like Diapason and Aqua Hifi. Their three adjacent rooms mixed and matched cables and gear. We liked what we heard in the room with the smaller Diapason Astera, Ars Sonum amplification, Aqua La Voce DAC and Tri CD player. Of course cables were from the mentioned suppliers.


The middle room was a static display to form a nice acoustic buffer for the larger third room. Here the new Diapason Dynamis premiered. For us that was not the straightforward pleasure one might hope for with a flagship. We found the dispersion very beamy. Sitting in the best spot third row center was fine but moving our heads slightly left or right had too much of an effect on the stereo image. One would expect nicely wide dispersion like the small stand-mounted Astera managed so beautifully.


Each time in Warsaw, we are amazed by their DIY room. Again it offered a large overview of the many projects which the members of this DIY club had finished. The craftsmanship was obvious from the fit and finish. Next to ‘inspired' designs, originals were present, too. One of the hobbyists must have traded going to the gym for audio as the use of dumbbells on top of the speakers suggested.


Another attack on our ear drums was carried out in the room of Italian ForteVita. Announced was a linear preamplifier designed according to something called MC-SGS or multiple control single gain to prevent electronics from interfering with the input signal's bandwidth – a very worthy cause no doubt. The user has control over the gain stage by means of three parameters each with their own dial: volume, gain and overdrive. The latter taps the gain stage itself according to the company and controls its effect on the signal harmonics. The room also showed the company's 120wpc power amp. Too bad the gentleman here did not care for his visitors and even added a few decibels above and beyond the already overdriven sound. Crickey!


Lumin's new M1 network player with built-in amplifier played with Audiovector's SR3 Signature loudspeakers. Stands and table came from British Customdesign. Lumin's user-friendly deck now supports native Tidal and Qobuz streaming.


Heavy Synergistic Research cables connected a Rega Elicit-R or Musical Fidelity M 6500i amplifier with a Musical Fidelity MX-DAC. Even heavier loudspeaker cables of the same American name carried the signal to a choice of Harpia Acoustics loudspeakers like the stand-mounted Jantar. The iTrone tube amplifiers sat passively on the floor next to a sign stating that one Robson Bercik had designed them.


Akkus Monolith loudspeakers were the focus in the next room. The models F1 and F2 sat very close to each other which did not improve their sonics. A thing that made up was the use of the Music First Audio passive magnetic preamp.

 
A Polish widebander by Cube Audio became a pleasant surprise. The floorstanding loudspeaker was called Bliss and its driver went by F201. One of its features that struck us was the use of bakelite for the spider. At the mention of the word bakelite, the special smell from its phenol component somehow came to life in our olfactory memory banks.

Encore Seven are a Polish amplifier brand who like to do things rakishly. Why mount tubes horizontally or vertically if one can do it at 45° or 60° angles instead? Build height can be reduced and visuals be made more attractive. Aren't a Harley's good looks based on the V-twin as its heart? For some unfathomable reason, the amps are branded Egg Shell. The one we heard was the model Classic 9WLT. The fragile name could not prevent good sound from the Bodnar Hornton 2 widebanders.


Another fun room was that of the Stirling Broadcast Company keeping the vintage BBC LS3/5a alive. Here the cute and musically very capable boxes on matching stands coupled to Sulek Audio cables from Poland. Amplification came from an unknown Rogers E40-based tube amp clad in wood. So lots of natural fiber here and the sound was gorgeous to boot. After FM Acoustics and Brodmann, this exhibit became our third pick for best sound of the event and proved that big wallets aren't necessary to enjoy good sound.


Did we mention that headfi was hot in Poland?


Canton's Reference 1 K speakers with ceramic-coated aluminium cones had problems with the electronics that were to drive them. Techies were frantically running around to revive the system but that did not happen whilst we were still around. So we snapped a photo of just the giants instead.


Ken Ishiwata was giving his signature presentation in the Marantz room with a musical history lecture that was strategically mixed with relevant musical snippets playing, of course, over Marantz gear and Ken's extremely toed-in Boston Acoustics speakers.

Sonus faber demoed their flagship loudspeakers in a very blue room where, once more, high volume won out over subtlety.


We were invited to Saturday's demo of an original studio tape of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band played off a Studer A807 deck in combination with Chord electronics and Cabasse Pacific 3 SA loudspeakers. When we arrived, the large room was filled to capacity and then some. It appeared that the individual who owns the rare tape was a very popular radio presenter. Too bad for us but the audience had a great time. We went back later and listened to less posh material. Though again at fairly high volumes, there was control and we could get an impression of what the system was capable.


Focal loudspeakers teamed up with a stack of Cyrus electronics while a lone sample of the Grande Utopia EM stood silent watch over the smaller youngsters.


Where the system in the previous room had some trouble connecting to the large room, the McIntosh/Triangle Magellan setup could have benefited from a different layout in its big space. The system was somewhat locked into a corner and sounded unduly boxy. Particular large loudspeakers need space and air to breathe. It takes real effort to make them shine but once they do, they pay back with abundance.


This was the last room we visited during this 2015 installment of the Warsaw Audio/Video show. We had a great time, saw and heard many new things and realigned with older acquaintances. It was also great to see a lot of younger folks express serious interested in hifi. It gives us hope for the future to insure that audio is not just something for dinosaurs and other crusty fossils. We also want to congratulate Adam & Co. for putting on an even bigger better show than they did during years gone by; and for inviting us to it. During the event and in the hours before and after, we once again met up with the warm-heartedness of the Polish people and their drive to work hard and make beautiful things. Thank you all and hope to see you again soon.