01 Jun

Sound Days 2018, Paris, Vinyl, Streaming and Headphones Exhibition

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Sound-Days-Paris-2018While most French and French speaking exhibitions generally take place at the end of the year, May is also a good time for trade shows and exhibitions, almost when they are marked with a bit of originality or rather for gigantic High Fidelity Exhibitions like the Munich High End that just ended recently. In Paris, an atypical High Fidelity Exhibition is now held in May, since a few years only.

Indeed, it is at the Carreau du Temple that the weekend of May 26 and 27, 2018 Sound Days will host a large number of famous brands, specifically related to the world of headphones, vinyl and dematerialized music. If the idea is rather original, you know like me that the market for headphones, classic or in-ear, continues to grow, to the delight of our ears. Young people are also very fond of big headphones, lugging everywhere to the point that it gives them a kind of Mickey’s ears appearance even if I find such demonstration really ridiculous, it’s may be a question of generation anyhow…

The Sound Days 2018, a new High Fidelity Exhibition, exclusively dedicated to the world of headphones, vinyl and streaming

sound-days-parisStill, the Sound Days 2018 edition will be held at the Cultural Center of the Carreau du Temple in the 3rd arrondissement, at 4 rue Eugene Spuller, in the historic district of the Marais.

In other words, the place is particularly well located and is conducive to musical culture. Talking about streaming and vinyl, I’m not going to give fresh news by telling you that here too, we are in full booming of the market and full rediscovery of the joys of vinyl, with its sounds, singing so much and purely analog to our ears. Nevertheless, there is no need here to restart a dialogue of the deaf (and at least ridiculous) on the supposed superiority of analogue on digital. The very existence of this new show proves that this debate is today largely outdated. On the program of the week-end, more than 80 exhibitors will make the trip to the Sound Days 2018, and we will see several major brands such as B & W, Beyerdynamic, Furutech, Chord, Naim, Rega, Marantz, NuPrime, Onkyo, Klipsh and many others…

The best brands of headphones such like Grado, Stax, Earsonics or Meze Audio will be at the Sound Days 2018

SOund-days-Paris-2018About headphones, we will also benefit from the presence of Final Audio, Stax, Grado, Meze Audio (and I’m still not back from my emotions of this surprising listening to their headphones in Munich!…), JHAudio, Sennheiser, AKG, Audeze, Astell & Kern (which not only makes excellent headphones but also very good digital players) and Fiio which precisely, also offers digital walkmans at affordable prices. The talented French Earsonics will also be present during this weekend to enchant our ears, their absence would have been really a shame!

About vinyl and analog music, we will also be gratified by the presence of Rega (obviously!), Clear Audio (obviously! again), Ortofon, Pro-Ject Audio (of course). Some other brands that greatly delight my little heart of audiophile will also be on the show including my favorite brand of cable, JPS Labs, and Pathos, Shanling (at least for its digital music players), Dali (from the moment that their speakers are connected to something other than a low-end NAD system). Among those who are indifferent to me (to remain polite), such as Audioquest cables, B & O, Pionneer, Sony or Yamaha will come to encumber a few square meters of this new edition of the Sound Days 2018.

The Sound Days 2018 are sponsorised by Son-Video.com

The event is supported and organised by Son-Vidéo.com and most importantly, the Sound Days 2018 is a FREE High Fidelity Exhibition. All you have to do is to register online on their Website or on Son-Vidéo.com. In these conditions, and to see the number of brands of quality that will be present during this show, I take this opportunity to thank the organizers greatly. On these beautiful words, I meet you Saturday, May 26 for the Sound Days at the Carreau du Temple in Paris 🙂

Eric Mallet

 

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09 May

Open Days at New Music in Brussels with Nagra, Wilson Audio, JBL and MacIntosh MA 252

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New Music MacIntosh MA 252It was again with a great pleasure that I went to Brussels at New Music to listen to the legends of High Fidelity and, to tell the truth, we rarely take advantage to listen to so many renowned electronics gathered in a single piece. So I had to make another nice trip to Brussels at the beginning of the year. Arrived early enough at Brussels Midi station, I quickly took the subway as I already begin to be a little more familiar with the city.

As an aside, I will then present my next article on the open days of Présence Audio Conseil in Paris. I had the pleasure of discovering in exclusive preview the new speakers of Magico, the A3. However, I probably would not have enough time to write a good article on this excellent weekend spent in Reims, with Christian Catauro and his electronic Helixir Audio. By cons, I will return later on the electronics of Christian because it really honors the French High Fidelity. But for now, let’s go back to the Belgian capital and to New Music more specifically, where I was again received by José with a lot of sympathy. The auditorium is still situated at the bottom of the store, through the garden.

A rewarding listening day at New Music on January 27, 2018

JBL Loudspeakers New Music BruxellesLet’s say that if we had to start the year on a good start, it is on the discovery of a good audiophile system that I would do it. Here we were treated as princes because we had two music systems to listen and I wasn’t hiding my satisfaction at all. I also had the pleasure of discussing again with the organizer of the High End Innovation show organized by New Music as every year in Brussels. The discussion proved to be particularly rewarding and generally, when two audiophiles meet, they enrich each other’s knowledge.

Kommer Kleijn also made us the pleasure of joining us (with his  very much appreciated sense of humor) on this fresh Saturday of January on Brussels. A particularly nice and competent character in the audio as well as the video field, Mr. Kleijn is the creator (among others) of a pair of innovative acoustic speakers, the John Watkinson Legend. Its speakers, associated with a converter and other high-level electronics, were demonstrated at the Brussels show of New Music last year. Here too, I can only recommend you to go and listen to them!

Mac Intosh MA 252That said, let’s go back to New Music where I had the pleasure of discovering the two presented systems. The first of them (considered as the “small hi-fi system”) was based mainly on the beautiful MacIntosh MA252 with the nice JBL speakers (and its 38 cm woofer!), the source was a DCS player and DAC. The second system was based on a very high-end TechDas Airforce 3 turntable with its Graham arm and TechDas TDC01TI cell in terms of source.

A Nagra CD player was also chosen as a second choice for digital playback to this exceptional analog source. The loudspeakers were the Wilson Audio Alexia 2 powered by the Nagra HD Amp mono power amps and Nagra HD Preamp or Nagra phono preamplifier with (like the cherry on the cake ;-), a Nagra T smooth tape recorder.

The first listen has been made on JBL and Mc Intosh MA252 High Fidelity System

New Music Bruxelles JBL MonitorsThis first listening of the McIntosh system, ending on JBL speakers, was held with many pieces of classical music in most cases. The listening was particularly neutral with a medium lightly behind, the JBL and their 38 cm probably lacked room to express themselves fully. The bass frequencies were taking too much space for my taste while the medium was too quiet but no one could really criticize a lack of clarity. Seeing the system, the speakers were probably too close to the back wall. José confirmed that thought to me but the situation (with two systems in the same room) forced him to find a compromise compared to the second system with Nagra he wanted to privilege. Explained as such, it was understandable but the listening was therefore a little worse than I expected.

A bit intrigued by this medium frequencies probably flat too but nevertheless sounding familiar to me, José also told me that he had to use Shunyata Research cables instead of Charlin cables originally intended for listening. It was a choice that had been suggested to him by the importer. Here too, it was a small regret confirmed by the listening. I knew this sound well since I owned the Shunyata Gemini loudspeakers cables. On JBL loudspeakers, the association was probably not optimal.

High fidelity system with a great sense of neutrality, I could not however criticize the listened system without saying that the timbres seemed to be particularly just. Quality that struck me too, the fluidity of the musical message and its expressiveness seemed to me particularly accurate, to the point of revealing the intention of the musicians in a very just way. I still remained on a “half-disappointment” because of the lack of Charlin cables that could certainly have given a better balance to the listening, with a beautiful medium and a musical articulation just as exact in terms of rhythm and intention of the musicians.

Nagra preamp monitor, Nagra mono blocks amplifiers, TechDas Airforce 3 turntable, TechDas TDC01TI and Wilson Audio Alexia 2

Nagra New Music Bruxelles Listening to such a high fidelity system, we are still entering another world. The association of Nagra and Wilson Audio Alexia 2 is exceptional in terms of coherence, at least with the turntable player we listened. I found that the “matter” of the sound was evenly distributed over the entire sound spectrum but with a certain clarity, allowing nothing to hide the musical message we were listening to.

With this system, we enjoy a bit of both worlds with a musicality which was appearing clear but neutral, without invasive low frequencies problem. Here, we were in total opposition to the McIntosh and JBL system, but the inappropriate use of Shunyata Research cables, in my opinion, was mostly against the system. With Nagra amplification and Wilson Audio loudspeakers, the low frequencies actually only showed up when they were on the disc, without emphasis. They did not have this character of being a little too systematic or too forward, sometimes heard on speakers whose boomer is particularly wide.

A TechDas vinyl source and Nagra tape recorder of exceptional musical quality

Nagra New Music BruxellesI would just add that the exceptional quality of listening was based first on the vinyl source, here a TechDas Airforce 3 with a cell of the same house. Total absence of background noise, exceptional musicality, everything was there to satisfy as much the music lover as the audiophile in search of musical emotion. The naturalness of listening was such that it becomes difficult to ask anything other than listening to this quality for a vinyl source.

At the risk of repeating myself, this characteristic association of the Nagra electronics to spare as much the materiality of the sound as the clarity of the listening managed to make the listening even more pleasant, without excess or lacks but with a lot of freshness to the listening. Whether on a symphony or a more confidential classical music, the Nagra system showed distinction and precision. With timbres perfectly reproduced, very close to reality.

During a short moment, we took advantage of a listening on the Nagra tape recorder to obtain again a very clear gain in terms of realism and accuracy of the timbres. Source very close to the Master, we took advantage of the top of the analog, with a musicality hardly imaginable in digital, at least for the vast majority of CD players or streaming marketed to date.

A live of Eric Clapton that changes a bit of classical music and symphonies

Wilson Audio New Music BruxellesWe will change a moment of registry with Eric Clapton in concert and again, the stereophonic space rendered by this  High Fidelity Nagra electronics plunged us easily into the atmosphere of the live music. Let’s say that the vinyl source easily contributed to immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of each song listened, whatever the style could be. The musical balance was particularly good, simply natural, without adding anything.

Again, the bass frequencies were marking their presence when it was clearly written on the disc but without the impression of being systematic as we heard sometimes with the JBL system. Let’s say that the Wilson Audio loudspeakers, associated with Nagra, wasn’t presenting the same listening, with the coolness and liveliness of Nagra electronics, qualities already appreciated during the show presented by the French High Fidelity Magazine at the end of 2017. These qualities of speed and spontaneous energy was also noticed again, just as last year. It was perhaps in part due to the excellent Charlin furniture on which the electronics were laid.

I would add that I had another excellent musical listening time at New Music in Brussels, with the usual kindness of José who is clearly involved either in this typical Belgian conviviality and that we rarely find elsewhere. In Brussels, I felt a bit like home. Let’s add for the story that my grandparents on my father’s side were Belgian and from Brussels. My grandmother had to leave Belgium for Lille when she was still young; she had never really accepted it.

Eric Mallet

 

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08 May

Apurna, a New and very Promising Brand of Amplifiers for the French High-End!

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Apurna-amplifiersIf most of the people you met, saying that they are interested in musical reproduction but they do not know, or only know few French brands, there is nothing really surprising about it. From my point of view, I even tend to consider this fact as a quality. Indeed, the French Haute Fidélité is placed, and has always been placed in the High End of the market. Let’s say that this is not unpleasant and however, it is quickly confirmed when you listen to partially French systems (speakers or amplifiers) or even when it is 100% French made.

The new French brands are also rather rare these days. This is one more reason to give a privileged place to those who support the French High Fidelity, in close relation to the excellence of the musical reproduction that each audiophile is entitled to expect. This new brand is called Apurna. It presents us several lines of amplifiers, resolutely situated in the Top of the High End.

Apurna, a Brand of High End Amplifiers resolutely different in Design and Originality

Apurna-amplifiersApurna is a French brand of analog amplifiers which aims to bring you several High End amplification solutions in terms of musical performances while associating the quality of a particularly studied, if not original, design. Then, we love or we don’t but for my part, I welcome this initiative that comes out of the same eternal paths of the High Fidelity when 99% of manufacturers, French or foreign, simply present you this eternal rectangular case of 44 cm, itself coming from the professional rack format.

Be careful, however, not to confuse everything. Talking about originality of design is not synonymous with originality in a connoted or negative sense, the Apurna design is unequivocal: pure if not cleared. Based on 3 collections (Soprano, Evidence and Apogee), each one of them gives you the choice of the colors, even of a leather covering for the Evidence collection. The Pinnacle collection will bring you even more options of colors and finishes. The vocation of Apurna is to combine elegance with technology, that’s how the designers of this new French brand of analog amplifiers conceived them.

High-level analog amplification combined with luxurious refinement rarely seen in the High End

At a time when some are lost with digital amplification technology patents and sometimes with very average sound results, Apurna has chosen a sophisticated analog amplification technology. Indeed, Apurna amplifiers are all manufactured in France, based on a technology inspired by the space domain to guarantee first-rate musical performances. Resolutely High End, the Apurna amplifier finish gives you the choice of the most noble materials to dress up your amplifiers.

And on the performance side, the first range of Soprano amplifiers already delivers 150 W RMS on 8 ohms, with a power doubled on 4 ohms (compatible with a load of 1 ohm). The bandwidth (at 150 W) is between 0Hz and 71 KHz (-0.1dB) while the signal-to-noise ratio (A weighting) reaches a level higher than 118 dB. RCA and XLR inputs are available, the speaker outputs are made with WBT 0702.01 in 24-carat gold finish. The preamplifier option is also available on request.

The Evidence collection offers an amplification of 200 W RMS, doubled on 4 ohms while the Apogée collection delivers 230 W RMS on 8 ohms, also doubled on 4 ohms. Naturally the possibilities of options also grow according to the chosen range.

As for listening to Apurna amplifiers, I look forward to seeing you at the High End in Munich from May 10 to 13, where the three Collections of the French brand will be presented in Hall 2, stand E13.

Eric Mallet

 

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11 Apr

Audiodynamics and L’audioexpérience are walking on the same path…

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New-Music-High -FidelityWe, Eric MALLET, author of the blog www.audiodynamics.info and Jean RAZZAROLI, author of the blog www.laudioexperience.fr, announce that our project is to REDEFINE THE LISTENING of a High Fidelity System. Too often unsatisfied with the listening we had in resellers stores or during trade exhibitions, we conducted a reflection on the market of the High Fidelity and its Actors, Manufacturers, Resellers and Clients…

We are able to find High Fidelity Systems without compromise, whose common point is to RESPECT the RECORDING and the intentions of those who took part in the sound recording. From now on, you will be able to ENJOY THE MUSICAL LANGUAGE in all its fullness, starting from an audiophile equipment, ideally implemented.

Real High Fidelity have to create a link from the Systems to the Audiophile Listeners

Far from the fallacious language and complacency still too often encountered in the field of High Fidelity, we will accompany you to make you LIVE YOUR MUSIC IN ANOTHER WAY. You and ourselves, have often wanted it. Soon, this project will become a reality (does it remind you of anything?).

We will keep you regularly informed of the progress of our project, until the date of its complete realization, that we hope to be as close as possible.

Eric Mallet and Jean Razzaroli

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04 Apr

High End 2018 Munich, Still the Greatest High Fidelity Exhibition in Europe

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High End Munich EntranceAs every year, and now for 37 years, the High End of Munich will bring together the Top of the Range and High End of our world of High Fidelity and Music Reproduction. If the 2017 High End has exceeded all the expectations of audiophiles in terms of listening, new electronics and loudspeakers, I guess we are about to expect as much from the High End 2018.

Considered as the largest European fair of High Fidelity without price or emotional limits, the 2017 edition of the show has enabled audiophiles from around the world to enjoy outstanding audio demonstrations. The organization of the show is particularly accurate and the space of the MOC of Munich is fully exploited during these three days. The 2018 High End Munich will take place from May 10 to 13, 2018. Presenting all types of digital and analog electronics, speakers, accessories, cables and other furniture with sales and services related to audio performances, we can expect an avalanche of innovations and novelties in terms of High End in High Fidelity…

More than 500 High Fidelity and High End exhibitors will gather at the Munich MOC Exhibition Centre

High End Munich 2018Large and small brands of the High Fidelity, more than 500 exhibitors will be present at the MOC of Munich to make you discover the best of the High End, innovations and novelties of the small world of the High End in High Fidelity. Just imagine that this High End 2018 will again benefit from more than 140 rooms on the floors of the show, not to mention the many listening rooms on the ground floor, next to the static displays.

Again, it’s a safe bet to say that more than 20,000 visitors on nearly 28,000 m2 will be coming this year to the show, bringing together unconditional fanatics of High Fidelity from around the world. Expecting more than 20,000 people at such a special event means that the MOC of Munich certainly receives the largest number of visitors from Europe. Site of all superlatives of High Fidelity, the German High End is also a place of particularly interesting interaction. Each manufacturer and designer presents its brand while listening plays succeed each other at the four corners of the show. It is quite hard under these conditions, to listen to everything or make an exhaustive visit of the High End in just three days.

High End MunichHoping to meet audiophiles coming from all walks of life who, like last year, had enriched me with their passion, I also hope that the French people and French speakers (from Switzerland and Belgium) will be many to take advantage of this High End 2018, a show that promises answer at least to the best audiophile expectations.

Just like last year, I expect a large dominance of vinyl turntables and digital files, not to mention the headphones that begin as well to represent a dominant part of the market. As evidenced by the Sound Days of Paris, the trend is now in headphones and vinyl, not to mention the astonishing profusion of DAC who are likely to swarm into the show, such as an essential electronic to the most musical listening of our Hi-Res digital files…

Munich’s High End 2018 brings together passionate audiophiles of all nationalities and backgrounds

Hör Bar High End MunichFor my part, I hope to see you all during this High End 2018, just as I had the pleasure of meeting passionate audiophiles during the 2017 edition of the exhibition. French, Belgian, Italian, Swiss, German, South African, English and other nationalities still, as professional distributors, manufacturers or resellers as audiophiles people who had come to discover so much music and new technologies. It was a pleasure to meet them and to be there, enriching this great exhibition. No doubt that these few days (which are really too short) of the High End 2018 will however satisfy our passion for music, reproduced by the best electronics and loudspeakers in the world…

For those who have not yet come to the MOC of Munich, it is actually very simple. Just start by reaching the centre and the pedestrian street, as if you were going to join the place where the Oktoberfest is held. A little before you get there, you will take the subway entrance Odeonplatz. Take Metro line 3 or 6. Go through Universität, GiselastraBe (…) stations until you reach Freimann. Go out there, head to the right to exit the subway. Then follow the small street that borders the metro (you will find a bakery / sandwich maker on your left). At the end of the street, follow your path on the left and continue straight across the street lined with residences. At the end of this street, turn right and follow the sidewalk for 200 meters. Here you are at MOC and High End 2018 🙂

I will see you soon in Munich,

Eric Mallet

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