Show Reports

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2024, pt.2

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2024 pt.2 show report

On home soil at the Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2024 were Norway’s largest hi-fi producer, Hegel. The event saw the local launch of the new H190V streaming amplifier. Company owner and chief designer Bent Holter was on hand to explain the design and had his young family in tow; the next generation of Hegel leaders, maybe? The new amp was intended to be a replica of the original H190 but with the addition of an MM phono stage based on Hegel’s well-received V10. However, a design change to the power supply, to make it quieter, has resulted in overall sonic improvements. I am delighted to have the first UK review sample on test at the moment and it sounds very promising.

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2024 pt.2 show report
Totem Bison Twin Tower

Totem’s Scandinavian distributor SAXX was awarded ‘Best in Show’ for what was the most enthusiastic demonstration I’ve seen at a hi-fi even in a long while. Swede Sylvia Hamberg went through a variety of the Canadian brand’s range and it was interesting to hear how they differ while all coming from the same stable. Her 12 year old single malt was also rather delicious during an evening presentation for members of the media. The commitment and passion for the product should ensure that Sylvia’s efforts are rewarded with increased sales throughout the region.

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2024 pt.2 show report
Bladelius Ask

British brand PMC were drawing the crowds with an ever-changing selection from their wide portfolio. Driving the ‘speaker of the moment’ was the rather interesting Ask integrated streaming amp from Swedish company Bladelius. Ask has a truly-balanced amplifier circuit giving 220W/ch into 8 Ohms, 25W of which are in Class A. It has a very flexible menu system which covers many parameters, including bias adjustment, and an informative screen alongside a metallic volume control knob. The bit-perfect design takes much of its technology from the flagship Oden and handles up to 32-bit/728kHz, boasting an extremely accurate clock. Apparently there are no internal cables in the critical signal path which is unusual. UK price is around £10,000 and it’s made in Sweden.

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2024 pt.2 show report
Acoustical Systems Astellar

A heavyweight turntable by all accounts, Acoustical Systems new Astellar turntable heralds from Bavaria. In basic form at €90,000 it can be ordered to partner a variety of tonearms or supplied with the brand’s own. Dietrich Brakemeier is rightly proud of the German engineering behind the design which was attracting a lot of attention and is the result of 33 years of development and evolution. The aim to transfer key design features from the massive Apolyt model into a ‘more compact’ form but without sacrificing sonics.

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2024 pt.2 show report
Serblin Accordo Goldberg

Anyone hankering after the good old days of Sonus faber under founder Franco Serblin was in for a treat as the Accordo Goldberg was unveiled. From the Master himself, now heading a company under his own name, the Italian crafted 155,000 NOK two-way bass-reflex was mind-blowing. With its sculptured cabinet creating looks to die for, and a sonic signature to match, it was a star of the show. A SEAS dome tweeter has been masterfully combined with a Scan-Speak mid/bass in a solid walnut enclosure, the timber aged for six months before construction. Driven by YBA’s top-level Signature electronics, it was one of the most delightful-sounding rooms. All that was missing was the designer himself.

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2024 pt.2 show report

So many rooms at the Oslo event were using turntable sources either in addition to CD or streaming, but some with it as their only front-end option. It was certainly why European Audio Team had made the trip from Austria. The C-Dur is their €3.995 premium model supplied with the C-Note tonearm. It features an aluminium/magnesium platter, sub-platter and MDF chassis. The system’s speakers were most unusual; a home-made construction by drive unit manufacturer Scan-Speak. Now Asian-owned, they still have a major presence in Denmark and had created this multi-way model as a DIY home-construction project (published on its website) using a variety of its drivers.

Oslo Hi-Fi Show 2024 pt.2 show report
Scanspeak DIY kit speakers

And so, it was time to pack up and return home but, no sooner than the ink is dry on the 2024 event than plans are underway for next year’s Oslo Hi-Fi Show which is already becoming a firm date in many calendars. Key targets for 2025 are to encourage a new audience to hi-fi, notably the crucial 18-25s. A digital campaign this year achieved 1.8 million views; the aim now is to convert more of those into show visitors as the event’s awareness increases. See you next year, Oslo.

Trevor Butler


Oslo, Norway

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