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The North West Audio Show, 2016

The North West Audio Show, 2016

Success brings its own problems. The popularity of this new show means that, in its third year, demand for rooms from exhibitors has outstripped the capacity of Cranage Hall to accommodate it. Not wishing to use bedrooms, the organisers have opted instead for a two-centre show, Cranage Hall has been supplemented by a suite of rooms at Wychwood Park, a modern golf and leisure complex which does offer some very good facilities, but which also happens to be a 25-minute shuttle bus ride away. When these shuttle buses are only hourly, it isn’t hard to understand why some visitors to Cranage Hall chose not to bother making the trip to Wychwood Park. Which is a shame, not only for the exhibitors deprived of their custom, but also because they missed out on some interesting displays of equipment.

This is turning into a very good show, and great to have a show one up in my neck of the woods for a change! Here’s a selection of notables from both venues, with apologies to those who aren’t featured.

The iQ room featured speakers made to an IPL Acoustics design, Hypex-based amps, and an Abrahamsen CD player which looks uncannily like something by Electrocompaniet. Unsurprising, given that Per Abrahamsen founded that brand too.

A new startup, from Poland, Fezz Audio displayed a range of valve amps which are unusual in using toroidal output transformers. Each amp is supplied with two different sets of valves so users can indulge in a little tube-rolling to taste.

SuperFi had three adjacent rooms, each with the same amp and speakers, but one with a streamer, one with a CD/SACD player, and one set up for a vinyl source. Take your pick.

The rather elegant BD Audio room – Tune Audio Prime loudspeakers driven by Grandinote Shinai amplifiers – solid-state with output transformers. Source is by Rockna.


You couldn’t ignore the Universum 3 loudspeakers in G-Point Audio’s room, and neither should you.

I’m beginning to think that the ‘Ming’ in Ming-Da might be Ming the Merciless as there is more than a hint of Flash Gordon style to its MC998-A amplifier. Here Malvern Audio have them driving hORNS FP15 loudspeakers, and that is not a typo!

Mark Levinson and JBL, courtesy of Karma AV

Absolute Sounds did the show proud, especially by playing theTechDAS Air Force III turntable, which delivers most of the performance of an Air Force One for a lot less money.


CAD showed off a system including their new GC1 ground control unit, designed to passively remove noise in the MHz region from the system earth. The support rack is the brand new Quadraspire X Reference.

“Take me to your leader”. Soundkaos’ designer appears to have watched Pixar’s “Wall-e” before designing the Libération loudspeakers.

Graham Audio doesn’t only make replicas of classic BBC loudspeakers, as their VOTU made very clear in Brian and Trevor’s room.

3 Square Audio had some truly beautiful loudspeakers, racks, and stands, all made from Baltic Birch plywood.

Mark Audio SOTA brought their Tozzi and Votti loudspeakers and, yes, the Tozzi’s are indeed mounted on camera tripods.


By Steve Dickinson

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