Warsaw Day Two: Exotica

The GMG power conditioner from Czechoslovakia, produced by Peter and Pavel Geryšer.

“Focus on the unusual, the exotic,” editor Jim Austin counseled by email. I didn’t have to look very far. If Day One of the Audio Video Show 2022 in the huge Stadium was dominated by major brands, Day Two in the Radisson Sobieski Blu Hotel was filled with unusual speakers and electronics from small companies based in Poland and other European companies. Hardly any have a US presence, and many are searching for the right distributor to get them beyond the Polish border.

Which is not to say that exotica was totally absent from the Stadium. Take the eye-catching orange of Gato Audio components from Denmark (above).

But it was mainly in the Sobieski that one found beauties such as this offering from Sound Design Atelier from Ukraine (above).

When I asked the exhibitor, who designs Rush loudspeakers, what it was like to be one of four or five high-end audio companies operating in the middle of the war, he replied simply, “It is a war, but we work.”

Muzgaudio, who products are handmade in Poland, offered up this diminutive eye-catcher that threw a surprisingly big soundstage.

Here are a few other gems, spied in rooms so full that all I could do was squeeze in far enough to take a photo and then escape before I risked being crushed to death by men far taller and wider than I.

Manron speakers, made of birch wood, resided in one of numerous rooms that played Diana Krall at various times throughout the day and night.

Szemis Audio loudspeakers, developed in Warsaw to match perfectly with Kondo Electronics, are a derivation of a classic Snell design. These new babies boast 93dB sensitivity. Playing spacey music by Jean-Michel Jarre and Jennifer Warnes—yes, it was “Famous Blue Raincoat”—they sounded very clear and extremely open. If I’d had the time, I would have made a short video with the designer, the Kondo importer for Poland, whose words were as captivating as the sound.

Catch this speaker from AVcorp Poland.

Popori Acoustics electrostatic speakers from Hungary, mated with 72 Audio electronics, also from Hungary, are claimed to descend with solidity to 20Hz! I didn’t have a sound meter in hand, but the low notes of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, played on what sounded like a very mighty organ, certainly shook the room. Impressive indeed.

Here are some more:

Art Audio 211 parallel single-ended amplifiers from Tom Willis of Scotland, which made fine sound with ART speakers from Poland.

Sisound loudspeakers of Poland struggled valiantly in an impossible, one-of-a-kind room that came saddled with a huge air circulation shelf that extended directly over the speakers. What a shame. The design looked so promising that I hope I encounter these speakers—again under better circumstances.

What didn’t catch the eye in the system that included Flow by Allegro electronics from Hungary, Way cabling, a Weiss 501 DAC, Franco Serblin loudspeakers, and a Japanese server whose name escaped me? The sound was gorgeously clear and relaxed; it truly flowed. Most impressive.

Thanks to Ciarry Audio loudspeakers, again from Poland, the airy sound on a Tacet Die Röhre—The Tube LP of baroque music was a breath of fresh air.

Italy’s Grandinote may be a more familiar commodity, but the solidity they offered on rock music blasted at top volume was a major achievement.

Not everything looked exotic on the surface. But when a quiet young man from Taiwan demonstrated the sound of the Silent Angel N8 Pro X network switch from Taiwan, and let us hear the sonic difference with and without the unit’s external clock, I marveled at the system’s soundstage width and depth. The company also makes two DACs.

And it wasn’t just speakers and electronics that caught my attention. Take this GMG power conditioner from The Czech Republic (top). Produced by Peter and Pavel Geryšer. It produced exceptionally open and color-saturated sound from one of many, many systems that included Lumin music servers. Peter explained that every outlet has its own dedicated transformer. I can’t speak to the design per se, but I do know that the system delivered some of the most solid and colorful sound I heard on Day Two.

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