First off, congratulations to Adam Mokrzycki
who for the 20th time this year organized the Warsaw Audio Show. We were fortunate to experience already four of them as we wrote this report. As successful shows all tend to do, the Warsaw show of 2016 was bigger again than last year's. Where that hosted 135 exhibitors, that number was up to 165, with attendees expected to rise to 12'000 from 10'000. These numbers forced Adam and support team to add square meters. Both the Radisson Blu Sobieski and nearby Golden Tulip hotels are maxed out. Adding more visitors could jeopardize safety. The room sizes and corridor capacities do have their limits. To escape them, last year added the VIP rooms of the National Stadium. These spacious rooms with matching corridors offload capacity pressure from the hotels and add sound quality and style to the show. This year the Sobieski contributed f86 rooms, the Golden Tulip 8 and the National Stadium 68. Not all of their occupants are fully dedicated to stereo but a large percentage of the 162 rooms were on our list to visit. This meant quite a strict schedule, quite impossible for 'civilian' visitors. We're lucky in two ways though. We do any show as a team of two enabling opinions from different locations in a room; and we're not listening to many systems in a row for the first time. This makes it possible to quickly judge whether a room warrants a longer stay or not.

The 20th issue of the show also offered a wider opening window. Friday, the first day of the 3-day event, started 2 hours earlier and offered 6 hours of visiting time. Saturday had 10 hours, Sunday another 8. 160 room sand 24 hours to get around – we were lucky to have a hotel room in the Sobieski for a quick fresh-up between rooms. Our show schedule was composed with Adam's advice to avoid visitor jams in the hotels on the show's busiest day. Saturday would be better spent at the roomier stadium. With an invitation for a special 6PM Friday presentation in the Golden Tulip, we started our rounds at the top floor of the Sobieski, spiraling down until it was tome to cross the street to the Golden Tulip. There we would visit its 8 rooms and be in time for the presentation which we calculated to be at maximum one hour, then head back to the Sobieski for another few rooms until closing time. Saturday would be Stadium exclusively, Sunday the rest of the Sobieski rooms. At 2PM sharp, we made our entrance to the Audio Note room where we meet Mario Binner who had assembled a simple system. A DAC 2.1 handled output from the CD Transport One and amplification was in the hands of the P2SE Signature power amp running 6SL7 tubes. In typical Audio Note corner fashion, a pair of AN-E SPE HE filled the room with a very pleasant sound.

Audio Anatomy distribute Pathos Acoustics for Poland and showcased their integrated Inpol Heritage in combination with Pathos Frontier Prime MKII speakers. Streaming input came from the Musiteca server - what a great name!

Studio High End offered a system built around a Systemdek 3D turntable, Art Audio tube amps and Scottish ART loudspeakers. Spinning digital media could be played from a Tri TRV-CD4SE.

Notte Sound Labs are a brand not well known outside Poland yet but they already offer a complete line of equipment. Here they showcased the preamplifier NLP 01, the DAC 01 NDAC and the NMB 01 mono amplifiers. For loudspeakers they brought a pair of JBL 250 Ti towers.

Voxativ took residence in a relatively small room. This enabled us to audition a system with 845 power amps, a tube preamp and the 9.87 Pi speaker system. A Revox tape deck stood by as an alternative for the streaming input. That deck had some power supply noise issues even during idle. After that was powered off, the room was quiet and we enjoyed some quality time listening.

The Czech Republic is home to Acoustic Quality who were proud to introduce their Passion loudspeaker, a ScanSpeak Illuminator/Revelator-based ported curvy 3-way with the company's signature cleft from top to bottom. Electronics were provided by ElinAudio from Poland whose Mille power amp is based on B&O's ICEpower modules.

Like last year, Wojciech Szemis brought a Sugden A21a amplifier. This decades-old design still stands proud among the avalanche of newer makes. With boxes full of great and sometimes obscure vinyl, Wojciech always has a party when we visit. Even though he also distributes Audio Note and Kondo, he proves that an affordable system can offer all the musical fun of systems that run in the 5 figures. Take for instance the Sugden LS21 loudspeakers, in this case even bought second hand. The setup was not audiophile-approved which is to say, not symmetrical to the millimeter but with a few pillows thrown on the ground and some extra carpets, the room looked cozy and sounded very good. As a bit of a teaser, the analogue source was a hefty Michell with Helios arms and Kondo cartridge. We listened to tracks from the Harry James Big Band (the King James version), then from Elzbeita Mielczarek previously unknown to us who formed a great step up to Amy Winehouse. Rooms like this really make a show worthwhile.

Muarah are a Polish brand who have a full range of equipment on the market. A nicely designed turntable, tube phone stage and integrated tube amplifier were already in their catalogue. This year they added a DAC with separate power supply.

J.A.G. too are a Polish manufacturer of tube amplifiers who brought their latest loudspeaker design, Audio Nirvana. As the name gives away, this is based on the 25cm Audio Nirvana Super driver and housed in a 32 x 38 x 109cm ported cabinet. Overall the sound from the system was pleasant, open and dynamic.

The next room had Dynaudio Contour speakers, Octave amplifiers and Accuphase transport and DAC. For vinyl duties, a Transrotor Jupiter was on hand.

Bryston of Canada demonstrated with their DAC DBA and streamer DBP-Pi. The Pi suffix to the streamer comes from the Rasberry Pi microcomputer that forms its heart. According to their card on top, the speakers were from My Monitors. The My5 is a transmission line of 1.4 meters fronted by a custom-built 1" silk dome tweeter and a custom 5" mid/woofer. DSP happens for the xover while the built-in amp is based on 125w ICEpower modules. The stand mount is good for 30– 20'000Hz but we could find no further intel on the My Monitor brand.

Reimyo and Harmonix used their own Encore monitors. Despite no Kiuchi-san, the man behind the company, the room sounded well balanced and pleasant as usual. Still, we have to make one remark. The Encore is a typical nearfield loudspeaker so there is a limited listening window. In this room the center chair of the first row was the golden seat. Other places in the room lacked the envelopment that happened in the best spot.

The FLS4 power ramp from Italy's Audio Flight fed by a Pathos CD player and Converto Evo DAC played the model Helsinki loudspeakers from Gradient Labs one door over. When fed a decent signal, these unusual speakers have a very special quality about them and are able to portray a fine musical image no matter the quality of the room.

The next room hosted a familiar loudspeaker by combining the svelte Dutch Æquo Audio Ensis with Trilogy's 925 integrated tube hybrid where a 6H6П tube is in charge of voltage gain whilst Mosfets handle current. Input came from a Lumin network player. At the time we visited, some tuning would have been nice but Paul and Ivo of Æquo Audio were already in the building to handle that. When we spoke to them later, they confirmed some adjustments.

Hegel's all-in-one multi-media amplifier Rost tangoed with the Czech Xavian Stella loudspeakers in the next room.

We spent considerable time in the Auris room. This Serbian brand premiered their new Poison 3 speakers. Clad in their signature white leather with Walnut cheeks, these small footprint floorstanders with sidefiring woofer offered a full and pleasing sound which would not at first glance be associated with their dimensions. The Auris KT150-based monos were in charge of the amplification while the front end was the E88CC-based Largo SE pr amp which received signal from the D2D PCM/DSD DAC up to DSD128.

Besides the bigger system, Auris had a larger desktop rig around their DAC D1D, Piano preamp and DC-125 Class-D power amp preceding the smaller Poison One speakers. In the nearfield, this set was heartwarming. It had all the things we like - imaging, dynamics and all the rest of it.

Acoustic Solid with their matching phono stage provided the analog input while an Atoll Audio CD400S was the CD player and an IN400 integrated amplifier in the next room, with Atoll's ST100 the streamer on duty. Athom was the speaker make and next to an abundance of blue lights, a collection of HighEndNovum sound dishes or Passive Multivocal Resonators adorned the room while Bálvvoslatnja by Marie Boine supplied the tunes.

The next exhibit centered on the Polish powerline specialist GigaWatt.

At least to us still no household name were Cocktail Audio from Korea who in combination with Chinese Audio-gd were responsible for the electronics of the next room. Though not bad, we were not encouraged to stay very long.

The missing fun was fully back in the Retro Audio room. Yes, nostalgic 70's and 80's audio gear had been lovingly restored to original or better conditions. A room full of Kenwood, Sansui, Marantz and other legendary brands from the transistor era reminded us of earlier hifi days.

According to the company, STX are the largest manufacturer of loudspeakers and speaker drivers in Central Europe, with already 25 years on their clock. Many Polish brands are catered to by STX just as is a large portion of the DIY market.

Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista series electronics paired with Italian Rosso Fiorentino Sienna speakers played next door. 

Thus far many rooms chose to lower their lights to the bare minimum which did not help taking decent photos without annoying flash. The next room was no exception. Naim UnitiQute all-in-one player combined with matching NAP100 monoblocs to power speakers from the Black Orchid series about which we could find no additional information.

Collaboration! That was the approach to tackle a combination of Polish brands under the name Polski Klaster Audio. In their room Bodnar Audio speakers, Audio Mica Labs cables and Encore 7 Egg Shell pre/power amps joined forces. Starting on top, the beautiful Pre-Audio ASP-1501N stole the scene on pure looks. With its tangential arm with air bearing and single arm mounting point, it represented the top of the line which consists of a wide variety of tangential arm solutions, even in acrylic. Amplification was in the hands of an Encore 7 Prestige 10WSTH, an EL34 design rated at 10wpc in Class A. Transported by Audiomica cables, this fed a pair of Bodnar Audio Hornton speakers equipped with the Bodnar 6" widebander. Vinyl, tubes and single-driver speakers have a special place in our hearts so we spent some very pleasant time here.

Room 418 was occupied by a show first-timer. Going by Pracownia Wzmacniaczy Lampowych or according to Google Translate, tube amplifier laboratory, they displayed one helluva system that sounded almost heavenly. Two giant 100kg monoblocs called Enhancer were preceded by a hefty preamp and Lampizator DAC and followed by JBL-based loudspeakers. The company is not yet commercial but wanted to display what they have achieved over the years. It is great that a show like Warsaw offers opportunities for every kind of exhibitor to present their efforts to a big audience. We loved it!

Graham Audio's take on the famous BBC LS5 loudspeakers in combination with Soul Note electronics sounded just fine.

Wile Audio are a brand we only encounter at the Warsaw shows. This year their new Jazz amp was virtually in the spotlight because there was not much light in the room to begin with. Also new was the CD player Sarah. Wile also used a SP-500AN2, their streaming solution whilst the incoming AC went through the company's Mocarz power conditioner. 

DIMD, a new Latvian company, exhibited in a nice brightly lit room for a change. The lighting combined great with the almost Nordic/Swiss feel of the amp's industrial designs. On display was the PP10 amplifier without/with protective tube cage and a very fine combination of oak, matte aluminium and glass by way of ECC83 and EL84 tubes, simple tubes which in our opinion are highly underrated. In combination with the right parts, these tubes sound wonderful. From what we heard, DIMD use the right parts. We listened to the amp in combination with fellow Latvian Reflector Audio Touch B6 speakers, a 2-way vented design. This speaker is rated at 90dB sensitivity covering 45-20'000Hz. A review of the PP10 is already on the books.

DIY was found in the darkest room of the show which sported this fur-wrapped speaker. When we entered, some German heavy metal played to match the general vibe. Later a classical clavichord piece showed the other side.