Hifi Guru Open Doors 16.9.2017
By Keijo Tanskanen
Hifi Guru arranged their open doors at the same weekend as High End Helsinki 2017. This time, Guru has decided to limit the event to one day only. Otherwise the arrangements reminded the previous events a lot. Unfortunately, I was unable to visit on a due day. So, I had to contact Guru for asking a possibility to visit him a day before. I got a positive reply - the host and the setups were ready for me!
Hifi Guru presented two setups, which could be classified as medium ones in my subjective High End classification. I had plenty of listening on both setups, with a wide variety of music. Most of the samples were very well known, because they can be found in my record collection as well. So, a good basis for sonic evaluations existed.
The color theme of the event
seemed to be white. Both of the speakers had white finish and what a beauty
they offered! The front ends consisted of Guru's imports, naturally. Burmester
front end with Transparent cables fed Burmester B18 speakers and Bel Canto front
end with Transparent and Burmester cables fed Audio Physic Codex speakers. On
the first setup, vinyls were played by the Clearaudio Innovation Basic player.
Positioning of the loudspeakers and listening spots were done already before
my visit, carefully, as always in the case of Guru. Therefore, the only tasks
for a listener were sitting down and enjoying the music!
The first setup sounded very much like what I have heard from the previous listening sessions from the setups including Audio Physic Avantera and Cardeas speakers. Codex with its front end delivered a very extensive response and smooth overall performance, even smoother than the previously mentioned AP classics. There were no hints of exaggerations or attenuations, instead a very well balanced, open and nuanced music reproduction, no matter what kind of music was listened to. Also, by the Codex, Audio Physic continues their success in sound staging and in the dimensions and organization of a sonic picture.
As I told during my visit already, it was hard to find any negatives of the music deliverance, even the slightest ones. For this, one needs plenty of experience and the references from the very top setups. If one has plenty of experiences on them, for example on the Magico speakers, like I do, one may find Codex being slightly less revealing. Also, one may find Codex being a bit less dynamic and punchy than the very reference speakers. Yes, those issues may well be truth, but that is what you will get by investing clearly more money and time for a bigger purchase! If you have read for example Jonthan Valin's reviews from the Magneplanars, you have found the ideas what concerns Codex as well, at least to some extent. That means, although the speakers have their limits, the strengths of them easily overcome the more or less subtle weaknesses. That was exactly the case with Codex and also its front end during my visit!
The second setup's deliverance was also smooth and clearly generally appealing as well. However, I could find a couple of clear differences between the systems as well. When Guru played very well known Stevie Ray Vaughan music, I was surprised and sold. Relatively small Burmester B18 launched out extremely punchy, dynamic and controlled sound. In this manner, the performance was very near what I have heard from much bigger and more expensive speakers and setups. No doubt, these speakers with their front end really rocked, even more than the first setup! Besides astonishing performance in rock music, also classical and choral music worked particularly well.
So, any flaws? Well, actually
there are no significant ones, but in a comparison to first setup, this setup
gave up a bit in very highs and lows. The deliverance was just not quite as
extensive and shimmering. Also the sonic picture was a bit more restricted,
but this was totally an expected result - there is very few speakers in the
world which can compete with Audio Physic ones in this manner. Of course, B18
had a slight advantage in the front end, which surely underlined the power and
punchiness differences. But, I think that there is also a difference between
the nature of the speakers as well. If the first setup delivered positive surprises,
then the second setup did it even more so. Burmester has done great job in their
speaker development. Keep on rocking!
Hifi Guru continued their flawless open doors event tradition and two carefully set up premium audio systems were demonstrated. It is a fact that visitors can have much more listening pleasures in this kind of events than in traditional hifi events and expos. Of course, experiencing this requires travelling to Hyvinkää and accepting that there are not tens of setups under a presentation. But, when it comes to the pleasures of listening, there is no comparison at all. Hifi Guru wins hands down.
I had plenty of delicious music moments and nice talks about ongoing issues of an audio enthusiasm. So, there is not much space for improvements of the open doors concept and arrangements. The most serious audiophiles may wish to have even bigger and more expensive speakers for the demoes, but when one looks at this from the business side, this kind of solution may not be very reasonable. It is also questionable how much better results could be achieved by the very hard investments. At least I got satisfied by the visit and the music deliverance of it, and I strongly believe that the visitors of the due day did as well.
Once again, thank you Hifi Guru!