Hifi Guru Open Doors 26-27.9.2015

Keijo Tanskanen


 

Foreword

As usual, Hifi Guru arranged their open doors at the same weekend as High End Hyvinkää. Just like we did at the High End Hyvinkää event, we arrived as a five men group at the destination. Naturally, this kind of an arrangement gave clearly more width to the sonic evaluations as well. You can see it as a supplemental containment under the headline “Listening”.

As a specialty of this year’s open doors, Hifi Guru had chosen to present three setups from the start line into the two more sophisticated levels of high-end (the setups are described a bit further). This kind of solution meant quite busy times for the hosts! Unfortunately, we could listen to the third and most expensive setup only. So, sonic evaluations of the other two setups were not possible to do.

However, my colleagues listened to Setup 2 afterwards and they were quite impressed how well a relatively affordable system could perform. Besides the goodness of the front end, this means also that brand new Audio Physic Avanti speakers made a very good forthcoming in Finland!

At Hifi Guru open doors, the visitors have been used to have excellent kitchen services. This year’s event was not an exception. A well-known waiter took care of the services with his very personal humour and a way of acting. Relaxed out-comings from the kitchen were guaranteed!

Setups

Setup 1
Sources:
Creek Evolution 50 CD-player
Clearaudio Concept Wood vinyl player

Phono amplifier:
Clearaudio Smart Phono V2

Amplifier:
Creek Evolution 100A

Speakers:
Magneplanar .7

Cabling:
Transparent cabling

Setup 2
Sources:
Burmester 102 CD-player
Clearaudio Performance DC vinyl player

Amplifier:
Devialet 200

Speakers:
Audio Physic Avanti (Glass version)

Cabling:
Burmester Blue speaker cables

Power equipment:
Transparent Reference XL Power Isolator

Setup 3
Sources:
Burmester 089 CD-player
Clearaudio Master Reference vinyl player
Clearaudio Master TT2 tonearm
Clearaudio Concerto V2 cartridge

Preamplifiers:
Burmester 077 line preamplifier
Burmester 100 phono stage

Power amplifiers:
Burmester 956 Mk II monoblocks

Speakers:
Magico S3

Cabling:
Transparent cabling

Power equipment:
Burmester 948 power conditioner


Listening

I have listened to the Magico S3 several times before with the very same front end. So, experimentally, there was nothing new for me. However, Hifi Guru had slightly bettered speaker positioning and added Audio Physic VCF magnetic sound optimizers (vibration dampeners) for the equipment. With the help of these, the sound seemed to be even a tad more open than before. During our visit, Guru played a wide variety of CD samples from several genres. Additionally, we listened to our excellent test CD, Eberhard Weber: Selected Recordings (ECM).

No matter if a listener was at a sweet spot or a bit aside, the music interpretations were reproduced very revealingly and authentically. This was verified by the other members of our group as well. The astonishing listening experiences of piano music, which I had got on the previous visits as well, were repeated: plenty of micro details of hammer hits and string vibrations were delivered. This kind of revelation meant also that the production of the media was clearly against listeners. If the sample was made harsh or thin sounding, it was reproduced just so, even as underlined.

The dynamic parts of the played music were passed by very fast attacks and releases. However, sonic fullness and punchiness, which bigger high quality speakers can usually deliver, were slightly missed. This was ensured by the test CD. Although S3 with its front end was not a monster of maximal dynamics or bass fullness, the setup could reproduce the music samples clearly credibly enough in these manners as well. Anyway, a bit more warmth in the front end would be considerable in further presentations.

An excellent deliverance of harmonic extensions was proved in very correct timbres of the instruments. Actually, the harmonics seemed to be reproduced from the horn of plenty (better more than less). Besides this, a slight amount of extra brightness was recognized, not aggressively but noticeably. However, upper region richness was undeniable, which was certainly a main point!

The sonic picture had plenty of clarity, width and association. I think that the width and immateriality had been even bettered from the previous sessions of the same setup. However, the “view” was not as big as a couple of other reference setups had created. In fact, this was an anticipated result. Apart from a couple of exceptions, very big sonic pictures are achieved by really big speakers with a certain kind of front end and spacious enough listening room only. On the other hand, also in this manner, the deliverance is better to be more on the side of smooth than exaggerated. Isn’t it?


Conclusion

We met a premium sonic performance, no question about it. Actually, the performance of the setup 3 was most transparent and revealing of the day, including the performances of High End Hyvinkää event. All the strengths of the setup were almost self-evident. It would be even foolish to try fight against them. However, it is clear that some enthusiasts will not value these strengths highly enough and actually prefer other kinds of performances. Actually, there is nothing new on this. So will be the case, no matter which setup is under consideration! People just have different kinds of tastes and attitudes. What was sure, however, was that our team did like the performance. In my opinion, Hifi Guru had even slightly improved it from the last year. As a summary, one could declare that the setup was certainly not for everyone, but very respectable for most enthusiasts - even superb for some of them!