It was the time of year again: rain, clouds… and the Dutch Alkmaar Audio Show in the AZ stadium! This year without a roof over the seats outside. But that’s another story. And it should not spoil the fun. Inside it was warm. Except for a few spots. We’re going to do our rounds and find some news.
Every year, it’s a cozy time at the Audio Show Alkmaar. Also called the AZ-show, for obvious reasons. It was best to wait and see if it would go through this year. Think of the lack of a roof over the seats outside, and of course: Corona. But anyway: it was still very well visited this year. And that’s a very good sign.
Old and new
Of course we see many well-known importers and distributors in the stadium. Think of More Music, Daudio, Reference Sounds, Music2, Bryston, Guru, Hepta, Helios, Knooppunt, YN Audio and for example Hifinesse and Simply Audio. . . We have tried to make photo’s of every system, although it is almost impossible to do so. So apologies in advance :-).
It’s nice to see some newcomers too. Final, for example. They are on this year’s show with the well known electrostats. Back on the road. Also there is Audiolympic for the second time (if we have it right). This time with a little more variations of their active system. Monitor Audio is playing with Audio Analogue stuff from Hans Audio. A new combination that we thought sounded very good.
Of course it is nice as a visitor – and press – to hear new stuff. And there was news for sure. Think of the Final Audio speakers. Later on, these speakers will also be used as PA-systems for the presentation of Ruud Jonker (a presentation around streamers and servers).
Also new were the JBL HDI series. A mid-segment line of JBL. Of course with the compression driver. The sound is lively, open and fast. Partly because of the horn. Reference Sounds drives the system with a very powerful Mark Levinson amplifier. An excellent choice if you ask us.
At Bryston – playing together with Driade – the new BDA 3.14 is playing. Together with a 4B SST3. The BDA 3.14 is a dac / streamer. (Soon review on Alpha Audio). On the other side is an Ayon system, also playing with speakers from Driade.
At Hepta is the new system of Temporal Coherence. A system that we would like to listen to again. New is that there is a choice for active and passive filtering. That makes the system a lot more usable.
And the rest of course!
Of course there weren’t media-scoops everywhere. Although there was still plenty of relatively new stuff on display here and there.
More Music has almost all its brands on display. The nice thing was; there were two sets playing. A beautiful system based on Estelon with Prima Luna, Aurender and dCS. And another set based on Gauder, MOON and Aurender. Two totally different sounds, for different people. Where Gauder plays very precise, fast and tight, the Estelon is just a little bit more round, smooth and fluent. Nice to hear that both are just as good in their own way.
Music2 is – as usual – great again. With a set of gigantic Blumenhofers, a turntable by Barcanova and amplifiers by Trafomatic. A system that was different from iEAR but has a similar signature for us. Super fast, big and impressive in scale.
Daudio has three dipole loudspeakers. The M2 is a first by the way. It is powered by a Lyngdorf TDAI 1120 amplifier / streamer with natural room correction. In addition, the M1 and the S2 also play. The S2 is driven by an amplifier from Ubiq. The source is a Xodos streamer. As we are used to from Daudio it plays very open, fast and precise. Especially the S2 appeals to us. No hard edges and still a lot of detail. Nice work.
Finally ATC. What can we say: it plays great again. The SCM40a, SCM19 V2 and the SCM100ASL just play on a very high level again. The source is an auralic streamer with a Benchmark DAC3. Volume is controlled by the Benchmark HPA4. Finally, the clock is controlled with a Mutec MC3+ and a REF10. Not cheap, but man: what a sound.
All in all…
It was a nice show. We have been able to catch up with all the exhibitors and here and there also listened equally well. We also met some lovely readers from Alpha. Always nice to talk face to face.
For those who want to reminisce: here are the pictures! :-).