Musical Fidelity AMS 100
Retailer Zouch Audio took the trouble to bring the largest amp I saw at the show in the form of Musical Fidelity's AMS 100, a pure class A 100-watt transistor amplifier that will certainly dim the lights when it's switched on. It's a bridged design and uses choke regulation but that's no excuse for the £13,000 price tag.
UK valve specialist Tron has what maker Graham Tricker considers to be one of his best sounding power amps to date in the Discovery. This uses Mission Labs 300B output devices, silver wired 'exotic' cored transformers and all European parts. This eight-watt stereo power amp looks superb but costs £12,000, so it ought to.
Icon MFV MkII Super
Another valve man, David Shaw of Icon Audio, has been having fun with a loudspeaker, a floorstanding two-way with D'Appolito configuration drivers. The MFV (made for valves) MkII Super has cones that incorporate sheep's wool which is said to reduce coloration but they do bleat a bit. Only kidding. Sensitivity is 92dB and price £1,000.
DeVore Gibbon 9
Anyone that names their speaker ranges after monkeys gets my vote and the fact that distributor Tom Tom Audio chooses to play great music through them doesn't hurt either. The DeVore Gibbon 9 is made in Brooklyn, New York, and has two internal cabinets, one for the side-firing bass driver and another for the tweeter and midbass on the front. It's a beautifully veneered speaker that works well with Naim and Rega electronics and will set you back £5,495 for a pair.
CML Audio Etude 1
Last year Chris Liauw debuted with the distinctive Curvi horn speaker. This time around he brought along a rare example of a speaker that uses BMR or balanced mode radiator drivers. These were developed by NXT and have only previously been seen on the Naim Ovator, this is a different unit used full range with a second one added to improve power handling. This is a prototype hence the pistachio finish but final models will sell for £995.
Tim de Paravicini's V-12 is an integrated valve amplifier that employs 12 EL84 pentode tubes to produce 60 watts per channel. He has managed to increase the power achieved with the V-20 design which used ten smaller triodes per side to produce 20 watts. EAR is now offering a digital input equipped version of its Acute CD player; this accepts USB, coax and optical inputs and is available as an upgrade for £500.