One of the many things Polish company Tonsil produce are loudspeakers. In the next room there was a line up of various models in their Altus series.

Roksan joined Triangle. Their Black integrated amplifier with built-in DAC rates at 150wpc and got its USB data from a laptop. In the Magellan Quatuor the amp found a French mate though at the time of our visit the system was not really inspiring to listen to longer.

Ancient Audio have a surprise each year. This year the big news was Fram. Fram is the latest project of owner/designer Jarek Waszczyszyn and all about loudspeakers with built-in speaker processing tech. Where this chip-based technology was first available only as part of a DAC, with all processing parameters specific to a certain brand and type of loudspeaker reminiscent perhaps of Devialet's SAM concept but with a different focus, with Fram it's now bundled. This combination makes it possible to get 'big' sound from small speakers. Next to an active desktop speaker with 15wpc built-in class D power called Micro, there was the Midi. This 2-way comes with a built-in 60wpc class D amp; or passive with a separate 60wpc amp with digital speaker processing. The active can be operated wired or wireless via Bluetooth. We witnessed a demo of Micro and Mini while Jarek switched processing on and off. We liked the desktop Micro with processing on. Even at low volumes, the speakers had a large sound, ideal for working at a computer while listening.

On the hotel ground floor are some large rooms and wide hallways. In those hallways were plenty of software vendors. Visitors gathered around bin after bin of vinyl. CD were on offer too but it seemed the black stuff was more popular.

Canton occupied one of the larger rooms but during our visiting slot, there was no music.

Audio Physic's latest speaker named Codex was showcased in combination with Primare electronics and someone had to prove they could play loud. Message received!

One on-site service provided included a good vinyl scrub.

In the next large room Focal Sopra 1 loudspeakers combined with Muarah electronics. It seemed Ken Ishiwata had been here as the loudspeakers were toed-in to the max, just as Ken prefers.

More merchandizing further down the hall had the Naim stand.

Then Taga of Poland put their Diamond F-200 four driver 3-way on display.

In the same room, Paradigm's latest Persona 7 was in the lime light. Behind its intricately perforated covers sit Beryllium drivers so it's not just the tweeter but also midrange which uses this stiff and light membrane material.

Monitor Audio and Cambridge Audio teamed up in the last room we visited in the Jan Sobieski hotel.

Just across the street's intersection sat the second hotel where the Audio and Video Show had exhibits. We started with the Krokus room where Göbel loudspeakers joined hands with CH Precision. The German/Swiss collaboration worked a treat and the sound here thus far belonged to Best of Show. The Epoque Fine with Göbel's signature carbon bending-wave panel handles frequencies from 132Hz to 31kHz but is helped by four 7" long-throw woofers which in turn are assisted by two passive radiators. For even more LF power, the room also used one Epoque Baforce Fine subwoofer equipped with eight 9" drivers and a 15Hz low-cut. The CH-Precision A1 stereo power amps were running in bi-amp mode and Florian Cossy who held the remote kept the level at exactly the right SPL for the room size and human damping factor. That made us stay for quite a while enjoying this big expensive system.

Sveda Audio occupy a special place in our musical hearts. Owner and (pro)speaker designer Arkadiusz Zsweda is not only a music lover but art aficionado. A few years back in the same room, he used the walls as an art gallery with 'Muzycy in Batiku', portraits of musicians executed in the traditional Indonesian technique of wax and dye. This year he showed no art but opened his room to fellow manufacturers. Sveda's Blipo monitors with ScanSpeak drivers and Wombat subwoofer were preceded by a CEC CD transport, LampizatOr Golden Gate DAC and Audiaflight Strumento N°.1 pre amp and Strumento N°4 power amp. Note the beautiful Unicorn Audio copper-clad power conditioner and distributor in the back. Next to spinning digital media, the setup also included a nice Avid turntable with matching Avid Pulsare phono stage with separate PSU. The room breathed music in all the possible ways.

Grobel Audio were another room occupant who know how to turn an audio show into a show. This year again a Revox studio tape deck played musical source. Also on repeat was Jadis amplification, this time sitting on a Roccoco or just lovely kitsch gilded table. This year the speakers were Franco Serblin's Lignea. Small and elegant albeit for this room size quite daring to use, their low-frequency response stops at 58Hz though they top out at 36kHz with their 4-litre vented cabinet. With their fragile looks and friendly face, the massive loudspeaker cable seemed to have them on life support. But no fear, the small Italians were ample capable to fill the room with great music. The lack of the lowest octave was no problem at all. As we said, here they had a party.

Headfi proved enormously popular in Poland as we would also encounter in the Stadium later on. In the Golden Tulip too there was lots of interest in personal audio options. Here at the Forza Audioworks table we see occasional contributor Dawid Grzyb of in the black/red shirt.

Vintage to the max is the motivation behind Avatar Audio's Holophony. They use original drivers from the 50s and 60s with feather-light membranes in combination with low -power tube amplification. The loudspeaker cabinets are covered in felt to prevent unwanted reflections and rest on magnets so they literally levitate. We listened to their Number 2 model, a two-cabinet floorstanding 3-way. Drivers are a 4" tweeter, 8" midrange and 12" woofer covering 20-20'000Hz at 98dB sensitivity. Source were a Revox pr99, a streamer called Avatar LiveBIT with tube DAC while amplification was via the Audio Akustyka Primus OTL – the silver amp on the left red platform.

In the RCM room there was a party too; a vinyl fest to be more precise. The impressive Kronos Pro turntable with two counter-rotating platters and matching Black Beauty tone arm was the front end for Vitus amplification and Gauder Berlina RC8 loudspeakers. Music with the Kronos was lovely and the marching band from the still fun Living Stereo Music for Bang, Baaroom and Harp was really realistic. However, the show was stolen by music played from the second big turntable, an Air Force III with Kuzma, Dynavector 507 Mk2. The third Thales arm was not operational. The music that slayed it was Ray Charles in mono which sounded goosebump fantastic.

The next room was nice but stood no chance after the previous: Bulgaria's Thrax Lyra plus Basus loudspeakers with their Dionysos preamp and Teres power amps. For CD a CEC TL 3.0 did the spin job with matching DA 3.0. For analog sources they had a Döhman Helix 1 table with Schröder 9" arm and Miyajima Kansui cartridge; or a Feickert Woodpecker with Morch 12" arm and Miyajima Zero cartridge for mono records.

Big and bright was the Ayon room. Lumen White's latest semi-active speakers were preceded by a wealth of Austrian Ayon gear. This included their Spheris phono stage assisting the giant Transrotor turntable, a CD-35 CD player and S-10 streamer, Spheris preamp and Crossfire power amps.

Party hopping was our new game and so we came across another, this time in the Audio Tekne room shared with the very rarely seen FM Acoustics. When we entered, the stage was given to the Swiss. Last year we were really touched by this brand and this year was no different. A pair of FM 111 power amps fed by the FM 223 phono stage and matching preamp drove the legendary Inspiration System XS – IIIB loudspeakers. Analog source was a Vertere RG1 turntable on a Stage 1 platform. Turntable designer Touraj Moghaddam played disc jockey and got the party moving and grooving. Not only did we discover new music on vinyl but we had the best show-day closer possible. Save the best for last and all that Jazz.

We had an invite to a special presentation by Yayuma Pona Sound, in the Sveda Audio room on Friday evening. At the designated time, it was filled to capacity with the crème de la crème of congregated Polish and international press members so the two of us joined the crowd. To overcome language barriers, Yayuma had arranged for an interpreter. After an intro, Jurek Pona began a long monologue about his 6 years of study and 8 years of intense math and physics to arrive at his solution based on "the laws of physics determining the workings of all audio equipment". Pona worked out a mathematical equation which, once applied to an audio signal, retrieves information from that signal that was never before heard to diminish the difference between a live performance and what comes out of playback speakers. Last year already we had attended that presentation but even against that background, we still didn't really get it. The only thing clear to us was that a microphone converts incoming air pressure into an output voltage while a loudspeaker converts incoming current into air pressure. These two steps cause signal loss as the root cause why our brains can't convert the incoming air pressure into original music with its live aspect intact.

The Pona invention operates in the analog realm to reconstruct the signal based on Mr. Pona's algorithm. At the end of the lengthy presentation, whatever press remained was treated to an A/B demonstration. We heard no difference. After a discussion via the interpreter, we agreed to give Yayuma one more try and stop by one of their two rooms in the Sobieski hotel on Sunday. When we entered there two days later, we felt in a time warp. The room was lined in black full-height acoustic panels just like in 2015. Next to Jurek Pona, there was Guillaume Chalaron, a French engineer who designed an automated remastering process to enhance dynamics and scale. He brought a laptop with examples of original recordings and his remastered versions. Jurek Pona was at the helm of his Pona Sound device. We cut right to the chase and had Guillaume play an original track during which Mr. Pona switched his processor on and off. Then Guillaume played the same track as his remaster version and again the Yayuma device came on and off.

Now we heard a big difference. The biggest was that to our ears 'on' was 3dB louder [we reported the same about the also analoge Qol device many years back - Ed]. According to Mr. Pona, that was untrue. There was "just more information to process". Hmm. Besides being louder, we also heard more HF noise similar to tape hiss. Having sensitive ears is a blessing and curse. At this show the blessing was that we quickly discovered a Revox tape deck's power supply emitting a high-frequency pitch. A curse is hearing a daylight tube's noise, squeaking SMPS and in this room not only a noisy tube in the Pathos amplifier but also a headache-inducing pitch when the Pona device was on. In all cases, original and remastered, we preferred the sound without the device. Mr. Pona's defense to our negative opinion— he asked for it— was that when his invention is used in the recording process and playback system, the improvements would be great. We heard that before from Neutral from Spain and, now backed by major funding and marketing, MQA. They all try to improve the perceived sound during playback. So, we wish Yayuma all the best and appreciate their ongoing efforts to make a dream come true.