The Best of Audio Video Show 2018

Since 2016, when I began covering Warsaw’s annual Audio Video Show (AVS), it’s presented one surprise after another. When first invited to attend, by the show’s organizer and owner, Adam Mokrzyck, I’d had no idea AVS even existed. When I arrived in Warsaw and found that AVS occupied 170 rooms spread across three venues -- the Radisson Blu Sobieski and Golden Tulip hotels, and the Warsaw National Stadium -- I was less surprised than shocked. How could a show this big have gotten in under our radar?

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The Best of Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018

In 2013, Jeff Fritz and I reported on the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, held annually in Denver, Colorado. We’d made flight and hotel reservations so that we could attend all three days of the show, but found it so lacking in new and interesting products that we left halfway through Day 2 to see Captain Phillips at a nearby movie theater. We returned on Day 3 but wound up aimlessly walking the halls, finding little worth our while. We’d watched attendance at RMAF dwindle before 2013, but it had never been this bad. Is it any surprise that I didn’t return in 2014 -- or in 2015, 2016, or 2017?

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Added to that $926.95 System: A $289 Turntable and $359.94 Worth of Speaker Footers?

In this month’s photos of the system I wrote about last month in “A Feature-Rich, Fully Modern Hi-Fi System You Can Begin, Live, and Grow With -- for $926.95,” keen-eyed readers will notice two additions: a turntable, and footers for the speakers. The turntable shouldn’t be a surprise -- I mentioned last month that I was thinking about adding one -- but as you’ll read below, for this system update the turntable and footers go hand in hand.

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A Feature-Rich, Fully Modern Hi-Fi System You Can Begin, Live, and Grow With -- for $926.95

In the last few years I’ve reviewed some very expensive hi-fi gear (all prices in USD): Constellation Audio’s Revelation Taurus Mono amps ($40,000/pair) and Revelation Pictor preamplifier with optional DC filter ($23,000); EMM Labs’ DA2 Reference digital-to-analog converter ($25,000); Muraudio’s SP1 speakers ($14,700/pair) -- and, still to come EMM Labs’ Pre preamplifier ($25,000) and MTRX2 monoblock ($85,000/pair).

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"SoundStage! Hi-Fi" Inducted into EISA

If you’re reading this article before August 15, you won’t see a new menu option on this site that says “EISA.” But on or after August 15, it will be there -- you’ll be able to click it and see submenu items, including one for the EISA 2018-2019 product-award winners, as well as another for an EISA-related video that we produced. But even if you’re reading this before August 15, at the top you’ll see EISA’s logo alongside our SoundStage! Hi-Fi logo, as well as elsewhere on our site.

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The Best of High End 2018 -- €10,000 and Up

Last month, I wrote about the best products at High End 2018, in Munich, priced under €10,000. This month I share my picks for the best products from High End 2018 priced at €10,000 or higher. (All prices in euros or USD.)

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The Best of Munich's High End 2018 -- Under €10,000

Exploring High End 2018 throughout all four days of the show (May 10-13) with five other SoundStage! Network reporters -- the biggest team we’ve ever sent to Munich, Germany, where the show is held each year -- I could have sworn that the 2018 edition was High End’s biggest show yet, based on the many new products introduced. But on May 23, when the High End Society released the statistics for HE2018, there were some surprises: totals of 530 exhibitors and 19,899 visitors, which respectively represent drops of 2% and 7% from HE2017. It reminded me that perception and reality don’t always coincide.

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Muraudio's SP1 Loudspeaker -- Way Outside the Box Again

How Muraudio’s new SP1 loudspeaker ($14,700 USD per pair) came to be is probably best summarized by the old adage “Necessity is the mother of invention.” The SP1 was one of the five products I wrote about last month, in “The Best of Montreal Audio Fest 2018.” However, the interesting commercial and technical stories behind it deserve more than the few words I gave it in that editorial, especially when those stories are about a brand I thought wouldn’t last more than a couple of years.

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The Best of Montreal Audio Fest 2018

From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Montreal’s annual Salon Son & Image (SSI) was my favorite hi-fi show. There were always plenty of exhibitors and thousands of visitors -- a combination that made the event bristle with excitement. Nor did it hurt that Montreal is a great place to visit. I loved going there each spring.

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McIntosh Laboratory XRT2.1K and Sonus Faber Aida -- Two Flagship Tower Speakers Introduced in Two Days

With well-known audiophile brands Sonus Faber, Audio Research, and McIntosh Laboratory -- all now owned by the McIntosh Group -- all on display at a luxe SoHo townhouse converted to a showroom and renamed World of McIntosh (WOM), you’d be forgiven for thinking that all of those companies’ products are made in the same factory. But Sonus Faber is based in Vicenza, Italy; Audio Research in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and McIntosh in Binghamton, New York.

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