And now for something utterly new. The Ubiq Audio Model One loudspeakers from Slovenia, imported by JLM Group. The Ubiqs – driven by gutsy Arcam C49/P49 amplification and sourced either by a Music Hall MMF 9.1/Audolici phono preamp or Atoll DR200/Chord Hugo TT combos – feature a horn loaded tweeter and sounded fresh, lively, dynamic and involving, with a tight and articulate bass.
MBL is a newcomer to the Portuguese market; by the hand of distributor Ajasom, although we’ve had a sporadic taste of the radialstrahler over the years, distributor Ajasom is now officially the importer. The company’s Corona line of electronics and loudspeakers were demonstrated to everybody’s delight with a Kronos Pro turntable by Louis Desjardins himself.
In an adjacent room, the cute little Vivid Giya 4 delighted both ladies and audiophile males with their alien ‘Fifth Element’ Pavlalaguna looks and earthly natural sound with the aid of the remarkable Hegel electronics.
The debut of the amazing Monitor Audio PL500II tower loudspeakers by distributor Delaudio was perhaps the most impactful – literally – of all the British breed. Driven by a Pass X350.5 amplifier and a custom designed passive preamp, with an Esoteric K01-X player as source, they took full advantage of the V-Acoustics Ultra Precision Master Clock VA-MLCK-01, designed by Vasco Soares. The sound was powerful and dynamic, with excellent balance and timing, all leading to an uncanny sense of pace and rhythm.
Naim is now part of the same group as Focal and accordingly shares the same distributor in Portugal. Esoterico did not cut on the expense and rented the gorgeous and aptly named Foyer Beau-Séjour with a magnificent view over the river Tagus. A full set of Naim electronics comprising the NDX streamer, NAC 252+Supercap preamp, and NAP300 amps played magic with a pair of Focal Sopra Nº2, the best effort of this French maker this side of ‘Utopia’. Outside the room, in a busy corridor, Esoterico showed the new Mu-So Qb to such good effect they sold the only one still available on site. Hélas, I’ll have to wait to test it…