The Audio Gourmet Show. Beautiful is the word that springs to mind as I entered the ‘Radisson Blu’ hotel in Vilnius, Lithuania. Everything was set up perfectly and the atmosphere was ‘electric’, to say the least!
I had really been looking forward to the Audiophile – Audio Gourmet show. I heard there would be some very interesting exhibits. And always eager to have my feet knocked out from underneath me by advancement in technology!
I had attended the show last year but had been very disappointed in the sound that I heard from the rooms used for the displays. And so was hoping that things had been improved for this year’s show. There is nothing worse than to see a room full of expensive audio equipment but due to either incorrect loudspeaker placement or lack of sound dampening material the sound suffers! I visited every display on the show twice. And, I am going to start by telling you about something that really impressed me. This as you can see the source used in this display is Vinyl and as an Audiophile Vinyl still holds true to me for so many reasons.
This was a very small room and was actually the smallest at the show but the sound that was produced by the very humble-looking set up was very far from small. The room was filled with warm rich sound that was very pleasing to listen to and the volume was at a low listening level.
I was very surprised how the system was able to give this quality and fullness at such a low level. Never judge a book by looking at its cover is a very well known saying and indeed how true that saying is. When looking at this small set up but it really was impressive and is something that I would certainly consider. This is something that reminded me of Darth Vader as it had the look and feel of an alien. Also, you could say it was tall dark and handsome. Cold and clinical maybe without emotion or feelings just as Darth. But what would it sound like I wondered and because I had to wait for thirty minutes?
The amplifiers came on and warmed up. And then the music came from the speakers with an effortless sound that was pleasant and very transparent. But at the same time also had a hard edge to it.
The highs were very well placed and the lows were not quite as low as I hoped for but I knew this was due to the room. The system was really not suited to the room at all which was a pity as I knew the system could do much better. The Mids were a bit on the soft side but again this was due to speaker placement and room configuration. But I was able to enjoy the message from Darth without any problems.
This was a very interesting arrangement. And, I love large drivers because you are able to feel more of the music with a large driver. Her, ere was four of them put together with a centre driver in the middle. This was indeed a very interesting configuration.
The drivers were being fed from a pair of Tube amplifiers. Which were placed well away from the wall as they needed space to keep them operating correctly? Tube amplifiers generate a great amount of heat when they are running and so attention must always be given to correct placement.
I love the sound from a good tube amplifier and it can be a monoblock setup as it is here or it can be an integrated setup but they both offer a beautiful sound and I am happy with either. The sound that I heard was a very filling sound with much detail and the set up was able to give a very energetic performance. But it tended to be a bit too much and the balance was somewhat off-putting in places with the Mids a bit too laid back.
I know this was not the fault of the system but the fault of the room in which the system was placed. The speaker position was again not very well set up and this was another reason for the overall performance. But as another old saying goes “A man can only do what a man can do” I just love those old sayings!
This for me was like going back in time but with the beauty of using new technology. The 300b is a classic tube and has its own special sound and is an excellent value for money. To see a 300b placed in a beautiful state of the art unit was a joy. The best 300b tube that I ever owned was made by a company in America so you are welcome to visit their webpage and have a look at their Tubes
This was a very inviting room with good sound. Well, let me expand just a bit on that. The sound was a very good sound indeed. Warm, rich with a great sound-stage. And was not tiring in any way. I could have easily stayed to enjoy more.
But, time was not my friend this day as I had so much to cover. Would I be happy to have this in my home you may ask and the reply is yes? I would be more than happy to have this beautifully sounding set up in my home. This looks so very impressive I just could not wait to squeeze into the very full room to hear what this interesting system would sound like. The amplifiers and source are all very well know and trusted units which do have a sound of their own. I will say that their sound is one that I do not really like myself. But that is just me and so I was very interested to hear how these speakers would respond to the sound. As they were indeed a style which was very new to me.
The music came on and I listened but wondered what on earth could be wrong as the sound was simply choked and had no life. I was a bit taken back by this. The second piece of music played and this was different. but was still lacking in many areas. I know this system could sound so much better than I was hearing and this was a great shame for the people who were showing the system.
Tannoy, founded in 1926 is one of the oldest, most prestigious audio brands that can be found in many respected sound installations throughout the world. And I will say Tannoy, are my favourite brand. I was very eager to visit the Tannoy display as I have had many Tannoy drivers and cabinets over the years and so have a great love for Tannoy.
When I first came to Vilnius one of the first things I did was to find the nearest Tannoy dealer. I made good contact with him so I would be able to keep up with Tannoy products. But when I entered the room my heart sank. I just could not believe the setup. It was just a few pictures on the wall and a pair of speakers driven by nothing special. How did they sound you ask? Well, Tannoy is Tannoy and they can sound great.
f you take the time to set the speakers up in the correct way. The room size was good for these speakers but the set up poor and the sound they produced was not as good as it could have been. It lacked bass, definition and sound-stage and so I left the room very upset as I know how much better it should have been. Audio Gourmet
It was late and I had enjoyed my day at the Audiophile – Audio Gourmet show. I decided to head home. But, on the way out, popped in for a quick look at some history. And what a great way to finish my day!
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