AvantGarde always gets the HFA award for loudest presentation anywhere that I hear them but, fortunately, not this time. The volume level was kept at a reasonable setting which I feel is essential for not getting horn-fatigue. But maybe I’m more sensitive to this than others. It certainly has not escaped me that rooms full of people absolutely loved their presentation. And, of course, I should add that I, too, was pleasantly surprised by the Uno G2’s when I heard them in my system. Ever since I wondered what the Mezzo woofer section would add over the regular cabinet. Honestly, based on this demo, I can’t really say. The speakers sounded familiar in their AvantGarde-ness and the bass did not seem to be very different from what I had heard before. Maybe they’ll play even louder, but if you ask me, that’s not really required:-)
What you always get with AvantGardes, and what I also heard here, is unrestricted dynamics and extreme expressiveness that makes even the best ribbon speakers sound flat and restrained in comparison.
The AvantGardes can be driven with virtually any amplifier – power is no prerequisite but the quality certainly is because they will not mask anything. The active bass section also will not tighten a woolly sounding amplifier’s signal. But this was certainly not the case here, the Western Electric 300B tubes feeding the speakers with controlled yet subtle sounds. The amps used Western Electric tubes and carried that name tag but they are actually made by Shindo Laboratory.
The show also attracted the youth – albeit with more attention to the phone than the big systems around the corner…
There were also lots of LP’s and CD’s.
And not only old men visiting the show!
Roma Triode Limited Edition horn midrange/open baffle woofer speakers made by Diesis from Italy. This system played a little unevenly and different on the two occasions that I attended. In general, they have an open and airy sound with fast bass that is anything but overwhelming as can happen with open baffle speakers sometimes. On the other hand, the upper mid could be overly energetic at times. I’d have to hear more of them in order to form a complete impression.
Diego Ajo Hoyas cueing a record on the new Lucxar Zeitlos turntable.
Mounted in this case was an SME arm with DS Audio cartridge.
The rear side of the Roma Triode speakers showing the 24-ohm, Alnico-magnet woofers.
Aqua La Scala DAC and Kalista Dreamplay CD player/transport (part of Metronome or standalone?) with DartZeel NHB-18NS preamp and a Studer tape machine that was not used when I was attending.
These speakers have a sculpture-like beauty.
DartZeel NHB-108 stereo power amplifier
The last system that I listened to was refreshingly different. The Spanish firm Bonysound presented their Symphony II acoustic columns. The Symphony II model for 2020 is a two-way bass-reflex loudspeaker made entirely of natural wood. The drivers are made from ceramic and sourced from Accuton. They can be finished in a very wide array of styles and even to custom order.
Driven by ATM electronics of which the PAM-2 preamp, PPM-1 phono stage, and PDAC1 DAC were housed in very small but precision-made full-aluminum enclosures. The mono power amps, too, are made of solid aluminum and were presented in an interesting two-tone color option.
Soundwise, the system played differently than what could potentially be expected from the speakers’ warm and all-wood appearance and the speakers actually seem to sound more in line with YG Acoustics or Gauder Akustik speakers. Extremely coherent, precise, transparent, and refined, this system was all about subtlety and precision. It’s not a warm and cuddly or rose-tinted sound. But neither was it hard or forward or edgy in any way. And although I have not heard any ATM gear before, it seems that these components are very transparent and highly refined.
Just using Google it may prove impossible to find anything about the ATM brand as the search engine insists on directing to cash machine articles… Fortunately, the HifiLive website had the information. The trick is to search for the brand’s full name – “Acoustic Technology mfg”. The correct address is atm-audio.com.
Based in Valencia, ATM has been dedicated to the manufacture of high-fidelity equipment since 2006. Their specialty has been the manufacture of power amps in class D based on Hypex modules, specifically the modules with UCD technology and more lately NCORE. However, they also manufacture pure Class A power amps such as the EPM1 model or the new EPM-50 monophonic as shown here with a unique heat evacuation system.