are the odds that I would fall immediately
in love with sonic purity coming from this
room and not even realize (until writing
this report) that I had heard the same Audio
Consulting of Switzerland series of
electronics at a previous show where I also
voted it as the Best at Show? (read my '07
Rocky Mountain report here).
What's more amazing was that I referenced
the sonic purity in this room as rivaling
the sound I heard nearly two years back at
the Denver, Colorado event. Weird. Looking
at the components it easy to see how one
could forget them as they’re as nondescript
as I've seen from something so sonically
that came from the Audio Consulting of
Switzerland room that featured products from
Jean Hiraga and Hanns Acoustics stood out so
far from the competition that it made
everything else sound decent or merely ok.
And let it be known this year's High End
show produced some incredible sounding demo
rooms. So many in fact, that on day two,
Ingo Schultz and I were debating who, at
that point, had gotten our early vote.
Surprisingly, there were only three top
sounding rooms of the many we heard which
proved worthy of mention (Ingo and I did not
walk the show together on the first day). My
vote: First Place: Audio Consulting/Hiraga/Hanns.
Second Place: A three-way tie between
Esoteric/Avantgarde, Ascendo/Behold, and the
Crystal Cable Arabesque/VTL combo. Third
Place went to TAD/Audionet.
sure what Ingo's second and third place
choices were but he clearly thought the TAD/Audionet
room was the best he heard thus far at the
show. I would have placed it in my crowded
second place vote had it not been for the
issues I had with the voices being too
oversized. I asked Ingo if he sat and
listened at all to the Audio Consulting of
Switzerland setup and he said "only
briefly," but didn't think it was that good.
"Well, this time we're going together to get
another opinion," I challenged. "I want you
to sit where I did and then tell me you
don't think this is absolutely the finest
sound coming out of Munich today." Ingo
agreed so he, Carlos Sanchez (who was
fighting jetlag and couldn't hear or care
less), and I were off to listen once again
to the Audio Consulting of Switzerland room.
As soon as
I walked into the room and closed the glass
and metal steel framed door behind me, I
knew I had walked into a very special place.
And I still can't fully explain why I felt
that way. The reduction of AC noise would
explain some but not all of the magic. The
room was as packed as when I left it the
previous day. I asked Ingo to sit anywhere
in the front and just listen. He obliged.
Shortly thereafter an extra pair of seats
became available so Carlos Sanchez and I
time, Ingo's looking at me in total
disbelief while even Carlos is on full sonic
alert with an incredulous "what the $#%#"
look on his face. Ingo wasn't too far behind
with his own looks of amazement. A full hour
or more passed before we could make our way
out of the room. I’d even exhausted my
sampler CDs made from the Nova Physics
Memory Player used as my reference when
walking shows like this. No question about
it, this was the best I've ever heard my
music sound coming from anything outside my
own system, and just maybe ith even a
greater sense of natural sheen surrounding
the musicians. There was a sense of tonal
rightness and a truth of timbre I had not
heard before from any system, my reference
system included. This gave every song played
a much higher believability quotient.
he now wants the entire system in his home
as his new reference. I feel as though I've
got a lot more going for me with the system
I already own, but there's certainly
something going on in that room that had
both Carlos and I scratching our heads for
answers. It's got to be that damn battery
power thing once again. This time however,
Ingo, Carlos, myself, and EVERYBODY in hat
room heard it. Even now as I write this I
cannot forget the quality of the sound that
emanated from that space.
Ingo Schultz (center) and I were absolutely ecstatic after hearing Jean Hiraga, of Audio Consulting of Switzerland, series of battery operated components.