Dutch & Dutch Event at Studios 301, Sydney

It wasn’t pro audio vs home audio so much as new school meets the old, as I pushed through the throng enjoying a live performance at the entrance to the legendary Studios 301 with my silver hair (thanks Brad Serhan) and my work suit. “It’s not a bust, where’s Studio 7?” I asked around until a young sound engineer who’d popped out for beer overheard me and escorted me down a winding corridor to the six figure, 16.27 m² production suite where, on 27 September last, Bill McLean from McLean’s Smarter Home Entertainment was demonstrating the Dutch & Dutch 8c studio monitors to a hard core bunch of pro sound engineers. “You just gotta hear these speakers” the young engineer said as he handed me a Young Henrys and ushered me into the crowded room.

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A3D Emergence AS8 Holographic Loudspeaker System

Introduction

Australian sound engineer and inventor Joe Hayes has been at the forefront of cutting-edge sonic technology for more than 30 years. He continues to impress engineers and musicians around the world with his A3D acoustic technology and its application in the low-cost, high quality Emergence AS8 speaker system. It is a system which advances the diffusion technology used in many concert auditoriums around the world by producing that diffusion at source in the speakers, rather than through expensive panels and room treatments. Here, Hayes explains the development of that system and recording engineers and experts Dr Toby Gifford, Ted Orr and Shane Fahey reveal how effective it is in the studio and in the field.

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Nordost Cables Event at Audio Solutions, Sydney

If you drove in a north-easterly direction from Australia’s busiest airport, Sydney International, you’ll most appropriately arrive at the outstanding Audio Solutions Hi-Fi specialist store.

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Factory Tour – AMG Analog Manufaktur Germany

While for the most part, a reviewer’s lot is an almost sedentary one, an occupation tied to looming deadlines, the seemingly incessant pounding on the keyboards and square-eyed goggling at a computer screen, the Ying to the Yang is that here at SoundStage! Australia we also get to play with some of the most exotic audio gear on the planet. But aside from playing with awesome kit – sometimes all too briefly – another aspect of the gig that I really enjoy is the travelling. Product launches aside, once or twice a year, I see myself at audio shows where my priority has been towards the industry’s flagship event: the momentous High End Munich. It’s that show’s location that presents some tasty side dishes to the main course. By that, I mean that while in Europe, which is half a planet away from Australia, I usually make efforts to tandem a visit to a manufacturer. Heck, time-permitting, I may even squeeze-in a non-audio-related sightseeing trip. Post High End Munich 2018, I had the opportunity of visiting high-end turntable specialist Analog Manufaktur Germany, more commonly known as AMG.

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Len Wallis Audio – Forty Years of Excellence

Len Wallis Audio is an audio retail institution in Sydney. Period. In Australia’s largest city, the store’s reputation and sheer gravitas when it comes to ‘brand recognition’ is the envy of its competitors. But this has not been achieved overnight. The business has been trading successfully for decades and, in fact, has recently reached a milestone that places it among the top three longest-running audio retailers in Sydney. Very recently, Len Wallis Audio celebrated its 40th Anniversary.

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SoundStage! Australia’s High End Munich 2018 10 Favourite Exhibits… And Special Mentions

Now that the dust has settled on the largest high-end audio show, it’s time for SoundStage! Australia to ponder in retrospect on some of the best displays at this year’s audio fest. The SoundStage! Network team presented an industry-leading report with excellent images and comprehensive information here. Our game plan strategy was for me to focus on covering Australian products (see Feature article here) and then author a ‘Favourite 10’ piece post-HEM. So, without further ado, here are a few of my favourite rooms…

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The Australian Audio Contingent at High End Munich 2018

While the gathering of the world’s audio community sees companies from around the world congregating at the MOC Munich I, while of course shuffling to see as much as is possible under the almost overwhelming audio fare, had a particular interest in home-grown exhibitors. Our SoundStage! Network’s multiple part report (link here) covers nigh on the entirety of High End 2018’s smorgasbord of quality audio offerings, so here I concentrate on some scrumptious savourings from Down Under. By the way, although Döhmann Audio is not part of the story because the company did not exhibit, I came across several rooms where the Helix turntables were used as the analogue source. Kudos Herr Döhmann!

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SoundStage! Australia at High-End Munich 2018

And the greatest audio Show on Earth begins! And yes, SoundStage! Australia via the prestigious SoundStage! Network, will have one of the most comprehensive show reports on the planet. We’ll be featuring the latest releases from the best brands in high-end audio. That will be our angle and focus for 2018. (You’ll find the SoundStage! Network’s extensive High-End Munich 2018 report here).

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Record Store Day at Len Wallis Audio

Record Store Day 2018, which fell on Saturday April 21, was celebrated throughout Australia with live music events, vinyl sales rich with bulging bargain bins and general black disc camaraderie. At one of Sydney’s high-end audio institutions, Len Wallis Audio – with the man himself being there to meet and greet – the celebrations saw Mark Döhmann debuting the new Döhmann Helix 2 turntable while also making an appearance on the day were the superb Brigadiers Audio BA-2 standmount speakers by renowned engineer Brad Serhan.

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Melbourne International Hi-Fi Show 2017 - Part Four

The Pure Music Group and Sonic Purity’s system configuration was extremely well-chosen. Analogue was fluid and musical via an all-Kuzma rig (just over AU$23K) while digital sounded equally enticing with the Antipodes Audio DX Gen 3 Music Server (AU$6900) and Playback Designs’ Merlot DAC (AU$9100). Amplification used was all Audionet in the PAM G2 Phono Stage (AU$8,500), EPX Power Supply (AU$8,500), PRE G2 preamplifier (AU$21,200) and Audionet MAX Monoblocks (AU$28,000). Speakers were the medium-sized floorstanding Gauder Akustik Cassiano Mk II in gorgeous Makassar Ebony (AU$22,700) while cabling was via Argento Flow. The massively-built Ictra Designs KEO rack from Germany looked extremely serious with a commensurate price at AU$54,900! Kii Audio KiiTHREE speakers were on static display at the time of my visit.

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Melbourne International Hi-Fi Show 2017 - Part Three

The Sound Gallery in conjunction with Absolute Hi End showed a system par excellence. A Gold Note turntable package including the PH-10 phono stage was the analogue source of choice while digital was provided via DigiBit Aria 2, Weiss DAC502 and Bel Canto. The Bel Canto Black EX amplification was cycled with the excellent new Audia Flight FLS-10 integrated while speakers were Franco Serblin’s speaker-porn Accordo and Wilson Benesch Endeavour standmounts. Tara Labs provided the wiring throughout while GigaWatt was the AC filtering of choice. A welcoming and enveloping sound in this room.

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Melbourne International Hi-Fi Show 2017 - Part Two

Sennheiser Australia had a multiple headphone display (including a showing of the new HDV 820 digital headphone amplifier) while also holding private sessions showcasing the masterpiece flagship HE 1 system.

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