Hifi-High End Vantaa 2018
By Keijo Tanskanen
This was the second trial for the Hifi-High End Vantaa event. I'm really happy that the successful last year's event got a successor, even though the concept was quite the same. Personally, I like this kind of events, which do not take too much time to cover, but deliver enough variety. There were 32 rooms, equipped with high quality audio equipment. In one room, there were audio records and discs only. Again the arranger was Solaudio who deserves to be thanked lushly.
Like the last year’s event, the demo rooms were spread into a wide area and different floors, which made it challenging to find them. However, a good map, which belonged to the entrance fee, helped a lot. This time I had only one colleague with me and even tighter schedule than last year. So, we had to pass some of the more ordinarily equipped and not so interesting rooms. I apologize for that.
Both of us agreed that there were plenty of rooms which sounded good, some of them even surprisingly so! Naturally, this meant that the demonstrators had done a good job in a very limited schedule. Also, we agreed almost totally on which were the best rooms. The photos of them are showed below, of course, with some music deliverance descriptions as well.
The show stoppers - not in any specific order:
Hifihuone demoed new Totem Tribe Tower loudspeakers which were fed by MSB source and McIntosh MA252 hybrid amplifier. I must admit that the Totem speaker demoes what I have heard in the past have delivered a bit mercy and humble sound, but now things were different. The music flowed dynamically, openly and in a very balanced way. For example no bass exaggeration existed. However, the lower register was unbelievably punchy given the size of the speakers. The listening results were of such a kind that we had to verify them by my test CDs. And yes, the first impressionswere correct! Taking into account the slightly sceptic expectations, this set up was a true show stopper!
Sound Gallery had a very nice concept in their presentation. Red wine and good music was served, just like some enthusiasts used to do in their homes! Rosso Fiorentino Siena speakers were driven by Pathos front end with great results! The speakers belong to the flagship series of the brand, which was quite easy to notice from the sound and also from the look. The performance was smooth having plenty of tonal richness and attractiveness. There was some room-speaker imperfectness, like slight emphasis and obscurity in the bass region, but the demonstrator was well aware of this and had made everything consciously. As a whole, this setup was absolutely one of the most delighting ones of the event!
As usual, Hifiklinikka concentrated on the vinyl source demoes.Transrotor LaRocchia Reference served on this duty and did it very well. The electronics consisted of Fezz Audio tube amplification which fed Pylon Audio Diamond 28 loudspeakers. The sound of the system had a lot of goodies, like naturalness, airiness and dimensionality. The room was also large enough, which, in a certain amount, helped to avoid negative interactions with the speakers.
Ataria room was equipped safely with Esoteric SA-CD-source, Gryphon amplifier and Fischer & Fischer speakers (SN 270 was played). We have used to hear excellent demoes done by Ataria in the previous events, this was no exception. The listening results were very good: there was a lot of dimensionality, openness and power in the sound. The room made some unwanted influences, but not in a very disturbing way. This was probably the most muscular presentation of the show.
Musiikin.com's room included a Linn setup, of cource, not a surprise. It consisted of Majik LP12, Majik DSM, Pro-ject cd-transport and Majik 140 loudspeakers. This affordable setup delivered good listening results as well, although it was sometimes a bit challenging to concentrate on the system features instead of the unusual music samples. At least, the more well-known music samples were launched harmonically, without any significant flaws. Even my colleague, who used to be quite critical against Linn setups, had to admit that there was some clear progress on the performance this time. Well done!
Solaudio demoed their Flux Two speakers, Electrocompaniet ECI6DS and EMP3 in their room. The music flowed quite revealingly, accurately and dynamically, but also pleasantly. The ribbon tweeter seemed to integrate into the woofer very well. In this manner, the speaker design seemed to be really successful. Besides, the frequency extensions seemed to reach honorable indications, partially by the help of the room size. This was a very promising performance as a whole.
Hifimesta's presentation was very good as well. Audiovector SR3 Arreté Raw Edition speakers were driven by Linn Klimax DSM, Melco N1A music library and Bryston 4B amplifier. The performance was smooth and entertaining, reminding me a lot of what I have used to experience by Hifimesta's setups during previous events. Besides lack of time, this was the reason why I passed the room so fastly. However, it became clear that the sonics of the room belonged to the show stoppers.
Highend Studio Finland demoed Martin Logan Impression ESL 11A speakers and heavy duty McIntosh electronics. One can say absolutely that no lack of power existed in the music deliverance, just because it was cared of MC1.25KW mono blocks! The sonic view was transparent, big and music flower powerfully. When it comes to the source evaluation, the vinyl was still VINYL, once again. The brand new McIntosh vinyl player delivered more involving and rewarding sound, despite some typical noise issues of the format. This was an excellent demo having also slightly different strengths than what the other show stopper setups had.
In their room, Taipuu Speakers presented the new four way speakers which were fed by Musical Fidelity Encore. The set up offered good listening results as well, but I’m not able to say any final words of the performance because I was not able to sit in the spot during listening. But even besides the spot, the presented music samples were experienced without critical flaws, but only when the suspected negative effects of the room and quite strong directivity of the speakers were masked out of the evaluation. The music was delivered powerfully but somehow indistinguishably as well, mostly in a good way. For audiophiles, both Taipuu three way and four way speakers, are very serious speakers and deserve a closer consideration!
The event fulfilled our expectations and even improved them in comparison to the first event. The performances were surprisingly good, at least partially, despite the room challenges. Previously mentioned showstoppers were the ones which clearly rose above the others, not totally in a same way, but having their own sonic finger prints.
Hopefully, the event will be continued in upcoming years. The serious enthusiasts in Finland deserve that. Thanks for all the hosts and especially for the arranger, Solaudio!