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Postcards from Warsaw

Postcards from Warsaw

“The Polish people love their audio!”

I kept hearing this from everyone who ever attended the Warsaw Audio Show. This year it was my turn, and I wasn’t disappointed. Just the stats show why this is such a key player: spread over three centres in the middle of Warsaw, the show takes place on the first full weekend in November, ends late in the evening on Friday and Saturday, gets more than 12,000 visitors, appears on national TV, and generally puts music on the map the way all traditional UK and US events don’t do anymore.

It’s not perfect – Polish people seem to love a warm room as much as their audio equipment, and the combination of 80°F heat in the room, a floor full of valve amps, and a room full of lots of sweaty men and women, made some of these rooms at the Radisson Blu hotel (one of the three venues) almost untenable. Also, by about midday, every room was stuffed to the gills with people crowded into rooms or booths (even in the hospitality suites of the National Stadium venue, which was across town), and many were simply inaccessible, for hours on end. 

Worse, for a journalist who speaks no Polish, there were a lot of companies showing brands that are made in Poland, by Polish people, for Polish people, none of whom could speak a word of English. This could be considered an obstacle to complete a show report, because many of the products seen here could be ‘new’ or simply ‘new to us’. Even asking prices was an exercise in bad mime in some places. 

Finally, to add insult to injury, this was the show where my flash chose to die, where almost every room was dark, and where people got very twitchy when you got too close to the products. So even the images are not up to our usual standard.

However, we’ve tried to give you a flavour of the show, in pictures rather than words…

 

 

 

This system – featuring an SME 15 turntable, CEC CD-3N CD player, RCM Theriaa phonostage, Einstein The Preamp and The Poweramp, and Audiomachina CRM II loudspeakers – was one of the best sounding at the show. 

This last perhaps best describes the vibe of the Warsaw Show. This was a fairly typical – if slightly large – room at one of the hotels. Not a statement system, not the kind of system that forms a line of people wanting to tick off one of the ‘destination’ audio equipment, but good, well-sorted audio. But as in many rooms there were lots of people, lots of room treatment, and lots and lots of interest in audio.

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