This was the first time Hifihuone (a HE dealer in Tampere) arranged this kind of event in Tampere. The place was a manor house in Hatanpää, which is located in a peaceful and idyllic area and which actually was easy enough to find. So, this kind of environment easily beats the traditional and narrow hotel rooms!
I was mainly interested in the spirit and the arrangements of the event. The sound observations were a secondary issue this time even though I listened for a while to every presented system. I found that the spirit was very relaxed and especially the presentators were very businesslike but humour was used freely too in several stands during the event. That was nice to notice - this hobby really must not be too serious!
As I already mentioned the listening rooms were enough big in several stands. Unfortunately there was a lack of proper doors in the building. So noise leaked too easily between the rooms. The presentators hadn’t focused on the acoustics for some reason. The sound suffered because of that in most of stands – maybe this could be improved next time...
Using live music as a part of this kind of event has become a regular topic. Jussi Toivonen beautifully played the classical guitar in one room. The music was very nicely stopped in the other rooms during the live performance. That gave a real chance for a total listening enjoyment!
For some reason I spent most of my time in the room where Santtu Engineering was. Santtu is one of the pioneers of high end in Finland and he has, at least in my opinion, a very healthy attitude to this hobby. I really like this guy and appreciate his experience! Another guy I liked to see after a long time was Jari Råback from Kruunuradio who was presenting Grado headphones and Supra cables.
Generally it was nice to notice that high quality cables were used in every system. Especially Nordost and Transparent cables were well on the stage and used in several systems. This is a the right way to go!
The event was well arranged and gave some promise of an even better future. Many thanks to Ari Niemi and Kari Nikkilä who I think were the main promotors of the event. Hopefully this event will become a tradition!
Some photos and short sound comments.
Santtu with his system - humour was a nice addition although the photo looks a bit serious! SME M10 analog player with Benz pick-up, Lindemann 820 SACD and 830 and 850 amplification with Ensemble Figura speakers gave accurate, transparent and dynamic results.
Audelec presented a system which had a Musical Fidelity front end (M10 analog player, kW25 CD-player and kW550 amplifier) with Wharfedale Neo speakers which had very nice fit and finish. The sound was a bit too soft for my taste but there was plenty of bass energy available. I think the balance of this system suffered most from the incompatible room acoustics.
AH-Hifisystems and Gradient were probably in the smallest room. The system consisted of Project RPM10 analog player, NAD M5 SACD player, NAD M3 amplifier and Gradient Revolution speakers. This system worked well with chamber music but not as well with more dynamic music.
Vincilabs has built an AV-system which had Arcam FMJ DV139 DVD/SACD player, NHT controller, NHT Power 5 power amplifier and a NHT Classic speaker set. This system has several modern solutions including an ethernet-based communication pipe. I only had a very short listening session with this system and can’t say much about the sound, but the Stockfish SACD collection seemed to work ok – nothing special but no brutal misses either. In the adjacent room “a small brother set” was presented too.
Jari Råback and a colleague showed Grado headphones and Supra cables. In many cases good headphones are a very reasonable budget class solution for the audio enthusiast. We had a little discussion about the cables too. We all agreed that it is really worth trying to listening to different kind of cables as well.
Next stop had some good looking stuff. Soundata had brought a set which consisted of a Moon Supernova CD player, Moon 1-7 amplifier, Nordost Thor power filter and Totem Wind speakers. The sound was a slight disappointment, maybe because the reputation and expectations of this system were so high.
Hifiguru presented a Burmester set (052 CD player, 051 amplifier, 038 power filter) and Sonus Faber Guarneri Memento speakers. The sound was very familiar to me. So, no surprises, but at least the bass response seemed to fit well with room acoustics.
I have always liked the Maggie sound! Another Hifiguru room offered Magnepan 3.6R speakers and Bel Canto front end (CD-1 player, DAC3 DA converter and Ref 1000 monoblocks). The Maggies fit very well into the relatively big room. The sound had the best in show frequency balance and besides that the system had very enjoyable over-all performance.
This presentation naturally had the most transparent sound! Jussi in action, wow, this is high end!