High End Mässan (HEM) is held each February in Stockholm, Sweden. There you can see and hear the latest audio products from Scandinavia, and some of the gear presented only weeks before, at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here are a few of the more interesting items I saw and heard at HEM 2014.
Photos by Lars Erik Steinick.
The new dCS Vivaldi was shown with the magnificent Der Vorverstärker, from German company MBL, and the exclusive Swedish tubed power amps from Engström & Engström, the Lars Type 2. The blobs on the floor are a new idea from creative acoustic guru Matts Odenmalm, of Svanå Miljöteknik; if you’ve been to Marten’s rooms at CES or Munich’s High End, you may have seen his very efficient acoustic “wing” diffusor. There will soon be a few wings in my own listening room!
Latvia’s Onda Ligera Wave speakers look much better in real life than in this picture -- and by the end of the show they were sounding surprisingly good. The guys from Onda Ligera had brought with them an upgrade to the crossover, which they installed late Saturday night -- and then they had to adjust the speakers’ positions. In the end, it made quite an improvement. Great soundstage.
These speakers are made by the Finnish company Gradient, which once upon a time started with a dipole bass system for the Quad ESL-63 (they still do dipole). The looks? Well, you might get used to them. But they sounded great. The turntable is made by Swedish firm Simply Black, and the amp is a brand new one, also from Sweden. It’s the Dream, from Hesselvall Audio, designed by Erik Andersson, well known for his work for Audio Innovations and many other collaborations.
Mimer is the new media player from Bladelius Audio. Mike Bladelius moved back to Sweden some years ago, after contracting for several well-known US brands. The Mimer can play the lot, and on the way is a Bladelius class-D amp to hook up to it, for a complete electronics solution.
Dietmar Breuer, of the German company Trinity, was telling me about his exclusive and very exciting preamp, DAC, and, last but not least, RIAA amp. Vastly expensive but technically top notch.