- High End Vantaa 2017
By Keijo Tanskanen
Since the last and final High End Hyvinkää 2015 event there has been
a big hole amongst large audio events in Finland. Finally, Solaudio Oy decided
to change this and decided to arrange a new, traditional-like event in Sokos
Hotel Vantaa. I think, this was really an important and honorable decision if
we look at the audio trends which are going on nowadays. After all, shows and
open doors are crucial ways to show what equipment and alternatives are available
and what benefits they may deliver.
There were 27 audio companies represented in the show. This was a good amount
and gave also enough width for an equipment repertoire. The demo rooms were
spread into a relatively wide area and different floors, forcedly, which made
it a bit more difficult to find them. Fortunately, there was a good map available.
With three collagues, I had only 3 hours maximum to go through the event. This
time limit led into a situation in which I had to pass some rooms and equipment
totally. However, I made the decision knowing that these rooms included plenty
of equipment which I was familiar with already, delivering very likely nothing
new for me. Additionally, I was not able to have proper listening experiences
in every room where I visited. I must have more time for the next visit!
Plenty of high quality vinyl players were demoed. For me, there were two specifically
interesting players, however for very different reasons.
Firstly, Hifihuone presented McIntosh MT10 vinyl player which is, including
the cartridge, mostly based on Clearaudio technology, but manufactured as McIntosh
specs. For this player, this might be the first public demo here in Finland,
but it was really worth of waiting. The sound delivered by MT10 was simply corgeous
and the player is almost essential for McIntosh setups!
Secondly, Musiikin.com demoed Linn Sondek LP12 with Origin Live Zephyr tonearm!
This was an unorthodox combination, but actually worked very well! Demonstrators
played some great and dynamic jazz samples which clearly proved the abilities
of this relatively affordable combination. The cartridge of the player was Linn
Adikt. Listening produced plenty of foot tapping for numerous visitors!
Photos and further comments
Here is my top ten list, which was agreed by my colleagues as well, mostly.
The list is in an alphabetic order.
Ataria room was equipped by Esoteric K-01X SA-CD-source, Gryphon Diablo 300
integrated amplifier (a new brand in Finland!) and Fischer & Fischer speakers
(SN 470 was played). The listening results were impressive: there was a lot
of dimensionality, openness and dynamics in the sound, which we all agreed.
A very good demo by Ataria, once again.
Marantz electronics and B&W 802 D3 speakers were demoed in the B&W Group
Finland's room. The sound suffered strongly from the small room, but despite
this, we could hear some of the capabilities of the setup. The sound was smooth
in the midrange and treble, but also a bit soft overall.
DreamSoundWorks' room was really a positive surprise! The relatively big "snowman"
speakers with 15" bass cones worked surprisingly well. Naturally, this
was achieved by active filtering and an excellent front end (Audionet). This
was surely amongst the smoothest performances in the show.
Entire's room was another positive surprise. Entire demoed Entire L single cone
loudspeakers fed by their own amplifier and a computer source. The sound was
fast, open and the sonic picture was vertically unbelievably dimensional. The
setup was also a very good match for the room.
Hifihuone demoed well-known Sonus Faber Guarnieri loudspeakers and McIntosh
electronics. The speakers were fed by McIntosh MT10 vinyl player, MCD1100 CD/SACD
player, C50 preamplifier and MC601 mono blocks. VTL TP-2.5 mkII was used as
a RIAA. The sound was very juicy, clean and very well in balance. Actually,
SF Guarnieri has never disappointed me, nor did it so this time either.
Hifimesta's presentation was a success as well. Audiovector SR6 loudspeakers
were fed by Linn Klimax DSM and Arcam P49 power amplifier. Isotek power filtration
was included as well. The performance was smooth, entertaining and did not underline
any specific feature. This was probably the best Audiovector demo which I have
Highend Studio Finland has one very big hall which they had divided into three
parts for three separate setups. These setups were played in turns of half an
hour. I managed to listen to the two setups. The second one, which consisted
of Melco Digital Music Library, Audionet DNP, Audionet AMPs and Kef Reference
3 speakers, was a better one and delivered an exemplary event presentation.
The sound was big, open, dimensional and very natural-like.
Musiikin.com's room had naturally a Linn setup, almost a pure one. It consisted
of Majik LP12 with Origin Live Zephyr tonearm, Akurate DSM, Majik Exaktbox I
and Majik 109 loudspeakers. This relatively affordable setup was a great example
of how to compete with much more expensive setups. Regarding the best frequency
extensions, resolution and the hugest sonic views of the event, this setup gave
less, probably. But concentrating on melodies and rhythmical patterns of the
music, one very likely found the glue.
Solaudio demoed their Flare loudspeakers fed by Electrocompaniet electonics.
The listening results were very good and it was hard to find any significant
flaws, at least in the sweet spot. Classical music samples were delivered truly
credibly and the speakers disappeared very well during listening.
Stars & Stripes' room had Ayon CD-35 SACD player, Spec RSA- G3EX integrated
amplifier, Horns Aria II loudspeakers and plenty of quite expensive cabling
and peripheral equipment. I had only a very fast listening from the door side,
but even by this it was clear that the performance belonged into top ten of
This event was well arranged and there were numerous excellent demoes. Also,
there were enough presentations and rooms for variety. Taking account of the
environmental lacks, the listening results were good or even very good in many
cases. So, it clearly seemed that the demonstrators were done good job in their
setting ups. Thank you very much Solaudio and all the demonstrators; what a
great start for a new tradition this would be!