Show Reports

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2 the hidden gems

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2

Aavik, Ansuz and Børresen get us dancing

Filling larger show rooms with good quality sound can be even more of a challenge than mastering the acoustics of the smaller bedrooms. But the best syndicate room by far, to my mind, was that of Audio Group Denmark. With a system costing €130,000 and another €60,000 for the cabling, the sound was a gloriously rich and detailed with exemplary timing. When Sinatra came on I became overwhelmed by the music and broke into an involuntary dance. A memorable sound from those mighty Børresen X6s powered by Aavik I-880, S-580 and D-580 electronics with cables and ancillaries by Ansuz.

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2

Falcon improves LS3/5A

Jerry Bloomfield from Falcon Acoustics was making lovely sounds with both his latest creation, the two-way shoe-box-sized M10 stand-mount and the ‘improved’ BBC LS3/5As. He’s gone to a lot of trouble to take the crossover back to the original specification, and it’s now on a multi-layered board and a doubling of the inductor lamination to create not just subjectively improved bass control but that which can be seen on waterfall plots. The BBC boffins certainly knew what they were doing and their designs have more than stood the test of time. Also used to good effect here was the Reed Muse 1c turntable from Lithuania. Jerry was very happy with the sound.

Polk at Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2

Polk punch above their weight

Another large room with a decent sound, although with two-way standmounts and operating in just one corner of the space, rather than attempting to fill it, was Polk Audio. Now part of the US conglomerate that encompasses the likes of Denon, Marantz, Boston Acoustics, Bowers & Wilkins among a host of famous names, I’ve always had a soft spot for Polk’s technology. The Reserve R200 bookshelf design was on good form and something of an audio bargain at £700 a pair with their punchy bass and midrange clarity.

Gold Note at Oslo Show pt.2

Gold Note fills the room

Gold Note’s owner Maurizio Aterini brought an entire system from Florence. We had the Mediterraneo turntable with Machiavelli Gold cartridge into the PH-1000 phono-stage with PSU-1000 power supply, PA1175 power amp in Mk II form and the wonderfully revealing A6 Evo II floor-standing loudspeakers. The combination of the 1-inch silk-dome tweeter, a pair of 5.5-inch doped-paper midrange drivers and 6-in doped-paper woofer make for an impressive sound which fills the room.

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2

Studer, Cary and QLN: deep and wide

The sight of a Studer B67 reel-to-reel being used at 15ips for an analogue source attracted me to a room where Cary Audio electronics had the SLP-05 preamp (with dedicated PSU) and CAD1205 MkII 120W tube amp were working very well together and driving a pair of QLN Prestige 1s. This Swedish-designed, triangular-shaped two-way combines a 25mm soft-dome tweeter with a 177mm Kevlar mid/bass driver. The result is impressive and created a deep and wide soundstage, fabulous imaging and good dynamics.

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2

Revival: old skool style meets new tech

A company planned during and born shortly after the Covid pandemic, Revival Audio from the Alsace has traditionally-styled loudspeakers which impressed me for their sonic abilities. Driven by a Gold Note IS1000 (Class AB integrated with streamer and DAC) the 2-way ported bookshelf Atalante 3 and bigger, three-way yet stand-mounted Atalante 5 were impressive. The 5 combines a 28mm soft-dome tweeter, 75mm midrange and 12-inch woofer which is the first to use Basalt sandwich membrane. There is interesting technology in the designs which deserve closer scrutiny, not least the tweeter’s patented technology of a large anti-reflection rear chamber.

Copland at Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2

Copeland CTA407 valve swapper

With stand-mount two-way loudspeakers from Rogers (LS5/9s) and Rosso Fiorentino’s brand new Pienza two-way, the hot news in Room 101 was of the world-premiere of Copland’s latest integrated tube amp, the £6,000 CTA407. New products from this cult Danish design are always exciting and this is no exception. With front-panel indication of valve conditions (doubling-up as a lateral VU meter) it comes with 6650 tubes (similar to KT88s) but will work with any valve which fits the base, auto-adjusting to even accommodate a mix.

Electrocompaniet at Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2

Max power from Electrocompaniet

At home were Norwegian audio brand Electrocompaniet who are proud to make everything in-country. They were showcasing the new AW800M, an 800W MosFET monoblock amplifier which is a £19,000 combination of two bridged amplifiers which can be used in stereo mode at the flick of a switch.

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2

Solid Tech keeps cables in place

From across the border in Sweden came Marcus Friman and his Solid Tech range of stands and racks for every occasion. What took my eye was his cable rack which ensures all leads are clamped in position with memory foam to relieve stresses and strains as well as ensuring that data, power and signal cables can remain separate and not touching. Standing behind the equipment rack, it does make cabling look extremely neat.

A-ha at Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2023 pt.2

A-HA revive Hafler speakers

Running an Oslo hi-fi store, Odd Rune Hegge also has half shares with Anders Annerstedt  in an interesting Swedish loudspeaker company A-HA (short for Annerstedt-Hegge Acoustics). A new brand, it has set out to pick-up on the audio pioneer David Hafler’s work and create some rather good loudspeakers. With co-operation from driver manufacturer SEAS, and using their labs to develop crossovers, the infinite baffle designs allow for placement very close to a rear-wall. Even demonstrating in a foyer it was possible to hear that this was something rather special and I’d like to listen to them for longer in a regular room.

More from Oslo Hi-Fi Show next year

With that is time to take the high-speed train through the snow to the airport and head home. But I’ve already got March 16 to 17th 2024 in my diary for a return to Oslo Hi-Fi Show, Number Two. Can’t wait.

Trevor Butler


Oslo, Norway

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