Highend Massen Stockholm – More Than Just Hi-Fi

Although it was a cold weekend in Stockholm, the reception from the organizers, Life Consulting Ab was anything but chilly. In only their second year of running the show, the team headed By Robert Grubstad and Likki Luukinen made an excellent impression on all attendees. The team they had assembled was incredibly helpful, knowledgeable and fun.
 
Those music lovers who didn’t attend the show would do well not to miss out next time around.
 

iPad playing through Zodiac Gold & Voltikus PSU

The frantic pace of Friday night’s arrangements in order to get all things set up saw boxes of all shapes and sizes arriving at the Sheraton Hotel, whose staff also provided fantastic support for all involved. Meeting other exhibitors on Friday, during preparations and again after the set-up, gave an encouraging impression of how well the show would work out. The tone was set for a friendly atmosphere between a market, which thrives on its own buoyancy and seemingly open minded and fair practices. The mutual respect and interest shown by exhibitors toward each other and the products on show could be felt in the informed and enthusiastic vibe.
 
Saturday morning, we equipped our room with the finest and most popular DAC of the show, the Zodiac Gold & Voltikus PSU in gold finish. We played music from a MacBook Pro using Amarra Music Player 2.3, achieving fantastic sound through the Ferrari Red “Earo Eight” active speakers from Earo. The speakers were brought to the show by our partner and friend Mikael Reichel – the man behind Earo. The stage was set and the crowds arrived to hear the show. As the day progressed, growing numbers of people were spending more and more time in our room. The selection of jazz and funk music, alongside hi-res classical tracks demonstrated the full range of Zodiac Gold’s capabilities. A second Zodiac Gold & Voltikus PSU in Noir finish, was set up, running both headphone amps, with one pair of Seinnheiser HD 800’s and one pair of Ultrasone Edition 8 headphones. This Zodiac played hi-res music files directly from an Apple iPad 2, attracting a great deal of interest in the process.
 
Sunday morning saw the show adopt a less hectic pace, as those attendees who had selected their favorites on day one came back to spend some real, quality time with the gear on day two. Not to mention the increasingly diverse crowd of attendees who had shown up to peruse and use the equipment on show. On day one, Antelope Audio had deservedly absorbed a fair slice of people’s time, but it was impressive to see the amount of return-listeners, who had been there the previous day. It was also clear to see the prolonged amount of time spent in our room by listeners, who were actively requesting music selections, discussing the DACs and enjoying the clarity. A number of people mentioned how there were elements of the music they had never noticed or did not realize the prominence of in the stereo image until they had heard the Antelope Audio Zodiac DAC.
 
All in all, I felt the show was a resounding success in every respect. The Swedish end-users were intelligent and friendly and made the show a really lively affair, the exhibitors contributed a wonderful array of equipment and knowledge, which will be hard to beat and the organizers provided the motor for the whole event.
 
Thank you to all who took part, from Hotel staff and organizers to show attendees and all exhibitors. See you next year.