There are a few audio distributors that concentrate on the ‘affordable and attainable’ in Portugal. Zen Audio is a fine representative, with its unassuming, low profile attitude, excellent musical taste, and capacity to make the most out of brands like Xavian, Goldnote, and Lyngdorf. Also noteworthy is Exaudio for its unwavering faith in old school brands like Audio Note.
The law of diminishing returns does not always apply in audio. At the Lisbon Audioshow 2016, Imacustica and Ultimate Audio, the distributors who invested the most, got the best results and concomitantly the best sound.
Provided you got the sweet spot, the Martin Logan Neolith was by far the best sound ever to grace the ears of all those who managed to attend the Imacustica show at the Campolino room, situated in the horse stable area, since the Audioshow came to Pestana Palace in 2012. The Metronome Calypso, the TechDAS Air Force 3, and the fabulous Constellation Audio Virgo III/Centaur II monoblocks did the rest with style and aplomb. The visual and acoustic transparency of the electrostatic panel and the sheer power of the Neolith passive bass section was awe inspiring for all those who lined up outside in the cold weather waiting for a chance to reach the warmth of audio Nirvana.
Imacustica set up a second Neolith-based system in a another dedicated listening room, this time with DartZeel amplification, and, boy, did that one sound glorious, too!
If, like Ultimate Audio, you can afford to invest half a million Euros in equipment and rent the largest room at the Pestana Palace Congress Centre, you are expected to deliver the best sound at the show. And so they did, with a system of similarly no compromise: Rui Barros Pendulum turntable, Aurender W20 streamer, MBL Select DAC, CH Precision L1, P1, X1, 2 x M1, and a pair of massive Stenheim Reference Ultime speakers. The result was a system that created a sound that could breathe and develop a huge soundstage populated with solid, vibrant, and colourful images, which in all formed a high-quality audiophile sound.
The space around, behind and in front of the loudspeakers allowed the sound to breathe and develop a huge soundstage populated with solid, vibrant and colourful images that formed a high quality audiophile sound.
Ultimate Audio also attracted crowds of enthusiastic audiophiles to their second largest room in a modern wing of the hotel, where the company set up a full Gryphon system: Mikado, Kalliope, Diablo 300 and Trident II loudspeakers, which created a big 3D IMAX wall of sound of amazing proportions.