Lisbon Audioshow 2016

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The new Sennheiser Orpheus is a true work of art, and was shown accordingly. It is priced accordingly, too: €50,000! This makes it the world’s most expensive headphone ever. That kind of money gives you a hybrid transistor/tube class A-A/B amplifier with eight quartz glass vacuum tubes mounted in a marble case that also houses a compartment for the head set, a USB DAC at a top resolution of 32bit/384kHz and DSD 5.6MHz capable, and a pair of electrostatic headphones with a built-in second stage amplification. At switch on, it puts on a motorised choreography as the lid opens and the tubes pop up from the marble base. Catchy and kitschy.

Pauca Sed Bona, latin for ‘few, but good’ showed the first ever full Avid system. Alongside the turntables for which Avid is famous, the company has a new two box Reference preamplifier, monoblock amplifiers and the Reference Three loudspeakers with embroidered aluminium side panel cabinets and dedicated stands.

As far as I can recall, this was the first appearance of Diesis at the audioshow, brought by Ars Antiqua Audio, a Spanish distributor, along with Jeff Rowland electronics that have no official distributor in Portugal nowadays, and were driving a pair of Diesis Caput Mundi open-baffle dipole/horn loudspeakers lost in a huge room at the horse stables. The source was a Diesis Neptune streamer, with files being played from a buffer memory.

Devialet is not new to the Portuguese market but Phantom is. Demonstrated ‘with a blast’ by the distributor Imacustica, that deals exclusively with extreme highend products, it literally made quite a ‘stir’ among youngsters, and not so young visitors, including the female gender. It played Marcus Miller with such ‘gusto’ and aplomb it sounded almost live. And you don’t even need a ‘pair’ to stand your ground. I foresee a great success for Phantom…

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