Success brings its own problems. The popularity of this new show means that, in its third year, demand for rooms from exhibitors has outstripped the capacity of Cranage Hall to accommodate it. Not wishing to use bedrooms, the organisers have opted instead for a two-centre show, Cranage Hall has been supplemented by a suite of rooms at Wychwood Park, a modern golf and leisure complex which does offer some very good facilities, but which also happens to be a 25-minute shuttle bus ride away. When these shuttle buses are only hourly, it isn’t hard to understand why some visitors to Cranage Hall chose not to bother making the trip to Wychwood Park. Which is a shame, not only for the exhibitors deprived of their custom, but also because they missed out on some interesting displays of equipment.
This is turning into a very good show, and great to have a show one up in my neck of the woods for a change! Here’s a selection of notables from both venues, with apologies to those who aren’t featured.
The iQ room featured speakers made to an IPL Acoustics design, Hypex-based amps, and an Abrahamsen CD player which looks uncannily like something by Electrocompaniet. Unsurprising, given that Per Abrahamsen founded that brand too.
A new startup, from Poland, Fezz Audio displayed a range of valve amps which are unusual in using toroidal output transformers. Each amp is supplied with two different sets of valves so users can indulge in a little tube-rolling to taste.
SuperFi had three adjacent rooms, each with the same amp and speakers, but one with a streamer, one with a CD/SACD player, and one set up for a vinyl source. Take your pick.
The rather elegant BD Audio room – Tune Audio Prime loudspeakers driven by Grandinote Shinai amplifiers – solid-state with output transformers. Source is by Rockna.