The new kid on the show block is called Indulgence. Based in the Novotel hotel in London’s Hammersmith, the show was organised by the same team that has a roaring success with its first-of-the-year Headroom show, and the show itself was divided into three sections – traditional hi-fi, headphones, and luxury goods. At least that was the theory; with the exception of Tesla and a candle maker, the luxury goods world serially didn’t appear.
Although the Headroom section was both packed and extremely successful, coming hot on the heels of RMAF, new products were relatively thin on the ground, so we will concentrate on the products launched in the hi-fi sector at Indulgence. This was a fine attempt at bringing together many of the big names in the UK and European audio world, especially those who produce products in the affordable/attainable end of the market. Many of the big names were there, pitching up at the Novotel’s large open-plan spaces and smaller hotel rooms, and the overall layout was excellent.
The only things that were missing were visitors!
The event is great, and such is the stock exhibitors have placed in this event that they are prepared to give it another shot next year, but visitor numbers were very low. The collective audio industry wants to get behind this show, but it needs more people coming off the street and visiting. I suspect with Indulgence being sandwiched between the more long-standing National Audio and Hi-Fi News shows, there was some reticence by show-goers to pony up for three similar events so close to one another. Nevertheless, the event was the launch-pad for several important product releases in the audio world, and we look forward to seeing more next year. Here are some of the highlights…
Arcam’s new rHEAD might elicit more than its fair share of snickering from the more puerile parts of the audio world (as in, me) but this £400 one input (switched between XLR and phono) Class A design features a resistive ladder volume control and delivers up to 2W to a 16ohm load.
Bowers & Wilkins just announced its P7 Wireless headphone, when it followed up with the new £700 P9 Signature edition. Designed as part of the company’s 50th Anniversary, the flagship over-ear model has gimballed ear cups with a decoupled headband, and an angled pistonic driver for better soundstaging properties.
The Chord Company has been showing prototype forms of its ChordMusic flagship cable for some time, but Indulgence was the first real show outing for the finalised form. Using unique Taylon insulation from the hushest of hush-hush parts of the military, which unlike PTFE is phase-stable at room. We could say more, but we’d have to kill you afterward. Prices start from £3,800 for a stereo metre of interconnects and £1,100 per metre for speaker cables.
Chord Electronics launched its TToby power amplifier – a 130W stereo chassis designed to match the Hugo TT desktop amplifier – at Munich, but at that time it was a box in a glass case. Now, the £2,995 power amp was demonstrated in full song, in an effective Mojo-Hugo-DAVE presentation.