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Reading, Sunday 10 April

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
99
11
18,545
The second and last day today of Guildford Audio's show at Moat House Hotel in Wokingham. Four conference rooms with Absolute Sounds gear. If you know what that means it's worth going!

No connection, save I met an old audiophile friend there yesterday. Spent about an hour in each room.

Martin Logan electrostatics, Momentim? Amps, Air Force 3 turntable in room 1. Franco Serblin speakers in room 2. Wadia and Wilson Audio in room 3. Last room was top end Audio Research and big Sonus faber and Wilson Audio Alexias. Heard Gregory Porter in a duet, Ashkenazy/Maazel Tchaikovsky 1 concerto on Decca LP, a whole side of dsotm, Bach choral music, Haydn string quartet, some electronic minimalist stuff, The Doors, etc... Must be a million quids worth there, including various SME turntables and Revox tape machines!

No ticket required. Free parking, but ask for a token before you leave!
 

busb

New member
Jun 14, 2011
58
0
0
nopiano said:
The second and last day today of Guildford Audio's show at Moat House Hotel in Wokingham. Four conference rooms with Absolute Sounds gear. If you know what that means it's worth going!

No connection, save I met an old audiophile friend there yesterday. Spent about an hour in each room.

Martin Logan electrostatics, Momentim? Amps, Air Force 3 turntable in room 1. Franco Serblin speakers in room 2. Wadia and Wilson Audio in room 3. Last room was top end Audio Research and big Sonus faber and Wilson Audio Alexias. Heard Gregory Porter in a duet, Ashkenazy/Maazel Tchaikovsky 1 concerto on Decca LP, a whole side of dsotm, Bach choral music, Haydn string quartet, some electronic minimalist stuff, The Doors, etc... Must be a million quids worth there, including various SME turntables and Revox tape machines!

<snipped>

No ticket required. Free parking, but ask for a token before you leave!
And be careful where you park - it's muddy after yesterday's rain but may be drier today. We're going back today with another friend & meeting someone else as well.

As you go up the short flight of steps, the Absolute Sounds room is on the left. The small Kteme Accordo speakers (mentioned by NP above) with built-in stands sounded very good for such tiny speakers in the room next door). One set up sounded truely awful - all I can remember was slab-like Wadia amps on the floor between a pair of baby Wilsons - harsh top - something didn't match! Several pair of Harbeths & Sonus Faber speakers were being driven.
 

spiny norman

New member
Jan 14, 2009
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Been a couple of times in the past, and enjoyed it, not to mention spending far too much on music. Out in the sticks this weekend, and hadn't realised it was on. Damn!
 

busb

New member
Jun 14, 2011
58
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0
Went back again today. Most of the systems sounded a little better than yesterday, including the the one running Wadia amplification that sounded so harsh (that may have been one CD). The smallest Ktêma (Franco Serblin of Sonus Faber fame) were tiny with integrated stands & very nice - a tad under £6k whilst the superb larger model was just under £27k (the Prosceniums) that demonstrated a wee bit more heft.

Would have liked to have heard more vinyl today but the Airforce IIIs were grounded when we were there (the trauma of playing bright orange vinyl may have been too much yesterday!) The large Martin Logan's could pump out high volumes without strain & were playing a donated Boris Blank CD (Electrified) much of the time through large Constellation Audio mono blocks through Transparent cables. The CD player was an open skeleton dual-tier affair that would have played being mounted in a Sedan chair being run down a rocky Cliff by goats such was the suspension (Metronome Technologie Kalista, I think).

Various Wilson speakers from the Sabrina's upwards were making pretty decent noise with some decent grunt but not out of place with some choral pieces being played. Any The Eagles fan would have been ****-a-hoop! There were loads of 19" rack mountable Audio Research amp to make most folk's central heating redundant but when it comes to outrageous build quality, Dan D'agostino's Momentum Series where the power amps are CNC-milled out of solid copper would not have disappointed, especially if you love circular bezel'd moving coil meters held in place by 12 screws!

Well worth the visit (3 miles from where I live) but the only thing on sale were records & CDs. My only impending purchase will be very modest (P3 + phono mm stage) compared with what was on show. What does strike me with the very high end stuff shown was the total lack of active systems!
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
99
11
18,545
Thinking a bit about yesterday's listening, one thing that all this very high resolution gear did do was highlight the recording age. Notably the Ashkenazy Decca LP which I presume was from the 60's, was very vivid as to venue acoustic and timbre of winds, but notably hollow sounding and 'light' too - just like a older tape! The piano was too closely miked, and about thirty feet wide, with insufficient bass register. Also the "Dark Side.." LP was both vividy detailed and ancient sounding at the same time. Its never sounded its age to me before, yet the instrumental detail and dynamics were superb. Must be that awesome TechDas turntable?

I wasn't blown away as much as I'd hoped, but each room was competing with its neighbour, and the floor area was considerable - I'd guess about three to four times bigger than most living rooms, with high ceilings too. That means everything is running at its upper end compared to most home listening. Greatest delight - the WA Sabrina speakers, about £16k a pair, but more domestic looking than their regular models. The Sf Lilium was fab too, but about three times the price.
 

busb

New member
Jun 14, 2011
58
0
0
nopiano said:
<snipped>

I wasn't blown away as much as I'd hoped...

<snipped>
I do love these small events that showcase equipment most of use don't even bother dreaming about. They are a bit like many of the demos I've attended - confusing if not disappointing! However, just looking closely at some of this gear is rewarding to me in itself because most of it is so beautifully made. My usual reaction when I get home afterwards when I listen to my own system is satisfaction. I cannot match the scale because my room is merely average but it makes me very appreciative of what I have, especially after buying my Quadrals.
 

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