Audio Video Show in Warsaw: heaven for audiophiles
This time, I’d like to tell you about a trade fair which has nothing to do with my translation business but which is instead related to one of my favourite hobbies – listening to music.
Consider this for a moment. If you had a spare half a million euro, would you rather buy a new apartment or splash out on a high-end audio system? If you thought about the audio system even for a second, you must be an audiophile. This is not a clinical condition but a hobby for those people who care about buying CDs, vinyl records, or even old-style reel-to-reel tapes. Audiophiles can tell the difference (or at least they believe they can) between the sound of an album on a Japanese release and a European one. They can hear the improvement in sound quality when they upgrade even a small, seemingly insignificant, component of their hi-fi system, whether it’s a power conditioner designed to “clean” incoming AC power or better speaker cables. Anyway, I believe I am one and that’s why attending the Audio Video Show in Warsaw is like a holiday for me, giving me the chance at least once a year to indulge my ears with the “true” sound of music played on a variety of high-end equipment.
This show brings together music connoisseurs, musicians and those who simply want to gaze at some super-expensive electronics from all over the world. It’s the second-largest trade fair of its kind in Europe, and this year it took over two hotels and the national stadium, with a total of 175 exhibition rooms, 550 brands, and 200 exhibitors. The prices of the equipment being presented this year ranged from 20 to 500,000 euro. There were loudspeakers with amplifiers, a pre-amplifier and a CD player with the price tag of up to 500,000 euro, a turntable (record player) costing 150,000 euro and headphones for 19,000 euro. But those are not the highest prices ever seen there. A few years ago, the show presented an audio system which cost a cool 2 million euros!
Crazy prices. But it’s not only about being super-expensive. Strangely, audiophiles are not billionaires. Usually, they are mere mortals who save hard to reach their life’s goal of achieving the same quality of sound from their home audio system as they hear at a live concert. The sky’s the limit but everyone has his (rarely her) budget and idea of the perfect sound.
Some of my favourite exhibits at the Audio Video Show
- Manron loudspeakers and amplifiers – a family-owned manufacturer from Poland, their products boast an attractive design and high-quality sound at a relatively affordable price.
- Adams amplifiers – a Polish manufacturer of tube amplifiers with noble sound as well as eye-catching design inspired by nature. One of the models presented was a custom-made amp constructed to resemble a piano.
- Grobel Audio exhibition room – one of my favourite rooms at the show, and a suite where I love spending time every year. This time, the Polish distributor of hi-fi electronics presented Franco Serblin Studio loudspeakers (Italy) and Jadis components (France). As always, it was a pleasure to just sit back and immerse myself in a musical environment that was so close to a real acoustic concert.
- Acapella Campanile MKII loudspeakers – handmade in Germany, these unique horn loudspeakers with an ion-plasma tweeter are able to reproduce sound without a membrane and without mass.
- MBL Radialstrahler 101 X-treme loudspeakers and MBL reference line components – this exhibition room, filled with the purest high-end sound from stunning and super-expensive electronics, held me hostage longer than any other exhibit at the show. It was like listening to the Ferrari of the hi-fi world.
Hints for newbies in audiophilia
Interested in getting started on your search for the perfect music sound? Here are pointers to some of the components and accessories you may need for your ideal home hi-fi system:
- Sound sources (e.g. turntable, CD player or music streamer) – you can have several of them because the sound can be very different depending on the source. It also depends whether you’re keen on collecting records or just streaming your music from Spotify.
- Loudspeakers (they can have different designs but they should always be stereo for playing music).
- Power amplifier (to drive the speakers).
- Pre-amplifier (to strengthen the signal and reduce noise) – the importance of a pre-amp in a home hi-fi system is debatable and depends on your system and budget.
- Cables (to connect it all) – good-quality cables are generally regarded as being essential for great sound results.
- Power conditioner (to “clean” the electricity) – though this may not be necessary for cheaper systems.
- Equipment racks (to get rid of floor vibrations).
- Loudspeaker stands – usually with footers (to isolate the speakers from the stands).
- Sound-absorbing materials (to prepare your room for hi-fidelity sound).
For those who don’t really feel like playing around too much with their electronics, some manufacturers offer all-in-one solutions, such as Devialet which offers high-end wireless speakers. These were also presented at the show. However, although they produce a decent sound, you shouldn’t expect the same experience as with a “true” hi-fi system.
Interested? Visit the Audio Video Show next year in Warsaw and let your own ears decide. See you there!
By Oleg Semerikov, General Manager at Translators Family