Metaxas & Sins are the company of Kostas Metaxas whose legal base is Amsterdam while a lot of their high-quality aluminium machining is done in another Dutch city. Kostas is a man of many trades and not because of failures in any of them. He is a very fine recording engineer, designer of beautiful things, general artist and bon vivant. In the Sobieski Kostas played samples of his recordings with an Ikarus integrated amplifier and Macrophone monitors. What a sight for sore eyes, what a soothing sound for sore ears from a simple but stunning looking setup.

Albedo are a Polish cable manufacturer who smelt their own silver and this year premiered a new USB cable plus matching new analog interconnects. Electronics came from Aqua Hifi and Wells Audio with the latter's 150wpc Innamorata amp. Speakers were by Jean Marie Reynaud. Next door the setup was with one of our favorite small tube amplifiers, the Latvian DIMD PP10 driving a pair of Diapason Adamante.

Quite industrial of appearance, a bit nostalgic even, was the theme in the serious vinyl room of Thöress. This German brand takes no prisoners when it comes to analogue. Records spun on a Cantano turntable with matching arm and Tedeska cartridge. A tube phono enhancer allowed on-the-fly selection of an entire range of phono equalization curves used by the prominent record labels throughout history. For power amplification we heard their 845-based SET monos.

Reimyo/Harmonix with Trenner & Friedl Pharaoh speakers was a good combo for a longer listening session. When we left the room, we felt that the cooperation of soft, gentle electronics with brawny loudspeakers had been like a wise old man guiding a young kid.

Akkus Monolith F1S LE loudspeakers were another novelty at the show.

Finally Ancient Audio announced that their Fram series of active loudspeakers was ready for production and is to be marketed by new company Digital Speaker Manufacture. Each speaker's cabinet is machined from a solid block of aluminium and after anodizing and damping, drivers with either paper or aluminium cones get mounted to them. Electronics inside include Ancient Audio's proprietary Digital Speaker Processor. There are three speaker models called Mini, Midi and Maxi. The latter is powered by a built-in 250W amplifier and uses six drivers.

Shan are a loudspeaker manufacturer from the Czech Republic. Lyra was the name of the stand-mount monitor, the floorstander went by Lyra XL and their cabinets were cast concrete. Shan also had a turntable called Vertigo (great name!) with a plinth again crafted from concrete. Their chosen arm was by Clear Audio and the cartridge a Benz Micro.

LampizatOr, Trilogy Audio and Trenner & Friedl combined to have the tiny coaxial Sun loudspeaker become quite the eye, well ear opener.   

And hello, another DIMD PP10 integrated was found playing into the Czech RDAcoustic Euphoria or Evolution speakers. Both models are highly efficient at around 98dB so a tiny tube amp was enough to fill the room with music. Next year a bigger room or just one pair of speakers would likely enhance the presentation.

Amare Musica are now squarely in the DSD camp with their DSD DAC and of course tubes, here a pair of 6DJ8. And, their DAC is completely chip free which probably means that PCM must be converted to DSD in a computer first. Streaming source was Amare Musica's own streamer and amplification was their Brave integrated.

Micromega's M One was the centrepiece in the next room. This all-in-one from France is in the same league as Devialet's original. Rated to produce 100wpc and accepting wired and wireless digital audio plus wired analog, the M One is a versatile offering. A nice detail was the double display screen that makes viewing from the front or above a bit easier.

Elinsaudio were another Polish brand who market a complete line of pre/power amps and an integrated. New was the Cello phono stage. Acoustic Quality from the Czech Republic supplied the Passion loudspeakers with ScanSpeak drivers and a curvy baffle slit in the middle. Various other Acoustic Quality loudspeaker samples lined up along the walls.

Tonsil used to be just an OEM driver supplier for Totem, Grundig, Wharfedale, Denon, Pioneer and Sony. Nowadays the Polish company markets complete loudspeakers under their own name. The show had samples of the Maestro III and Altus series.

Fezz Audio's Titania on Pylon Emerald 25 loudspeakers were next.

Focal decorated an alcove.

Then Focal's Utopia Evo, not a small speaker to begin with, felt dwarfed by the Naim Statement comprising a NAC S1 preamp flanked by two NAP S1 746W power amps. The three units have their own separate power supplies hidden in the lower parts of the enclosures to rule out noisy influences. Enough said, Naim made a statement.

We continued on with really big systems, now Avantgarde's latest version of the Trio XD with a full set of Bass Horns XD. Amplification too was by Avantgarde. Armin Kraus demo'd the combination with a 30-minute tour along various music styles and sources, from Jazz to Classic, from CD to vinyl, all at a very decent level. We simply enjoyed the demo as owning Duos, we didn't need convincing of the Trio's capabilities.

Trenner & Friedl premiered their flagship Talisien. With an 18" woofer for the lowest frequencies, a 12" coax with 1.75" Titanium compression tweeter plus auxiliary air motion transformer, this very big affair is housed in two separate compartments per channel. [This photo compliments of Dawid Grzyb's report.]

Taga of Poland is short for To Achieve Glorious Acoustics and they offer a wide range of tube and transistor electronics, loudspeakers and cables.

Paradigm are Canadian and demoed their Persona speaker equipped with not only a beryllium tweeter but midrange of the same material. Both are capped by a perforated phase-corrective lens. Digital signal was converted to analog by Anthem's STR DAC while amplification was via Anthem's STR stereo amplifier.

We attempted a second opinion on the Audio Art loudspeakers but alas, results were no better than the previous room; a pity too as the larger model combined with the big Halcro amplifier but our ears are too precious to risk ringing. Overall we had a great time at the now officially biggest consumer not trade audio show of Europe. With more and more big names attending, the opportunities for smaller companies grow as well. We would like to thank organizer Adam and team for what they did before and during and no doubt in the weeks after this year's event, preparations for 2018 will begin shortly. To give you just one hint of what goes on behind the scenes, Adam shared that on the second show day alone, he clocked no less than 12km walking with his pedometer - indoors, mind you, in the hotels and the Stadium during a single day! For us, naming just one Best of the Show room is not easy but thinking back, our warmest feeling recollect from the SoulSonic, Boenicke, Szemis and Sveda rooms.