The 28th edition of the Shanghai International Audio Show (SIAV) was first postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic, and finally took place from October 23rd to 25th.
It is to date the only international hi-fi show taking place in 2020, and one could feel a particularly intense activity for this opus.
According to the Shanghai Audio Show Organizer, about 22,000 visitors came over 3 days to enjoy the show and its 186 showrooms.
Living in Shanghai for 10 years, I am able to tell that this year the Shanghai Audio Show was bigger than ever. The demonstration rooms were spread over 3 international hotels located in the former French Concession of Shanghai.
The most prestigious of them being the Okura Garden Hotel Shanghai, that retains the vestige of the French Club built in 1926, and to this day preserves a beautiful Art Deco atmosphere.
On Friday 23rd, as the official international media for the Shanghai Audio Show, I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Huang, the General Secretary of the China Audio Industry Association (CAIA).
Mr. Huang shared some insights about the home audio market in China, and here are the 3 most important:
1 – COVID-19 pandemic fostered people to stay more at home, and therefore consumers have increased their willingness to invest in their home comfort. Home audio systems are part of this comfort, and sound quality becomes more and more important.
2 – As a result, China imports and exports of audio products have increased compared to last year, mainly in the mid-level segment.
3 – The main challenge for home audio distributors and retailers in China remains to provide a better service experience to their customers.
At the SIAV, you can find grandiose showrooms displaying gigantic speakers powered by outstandingly expensive electronics, fed by sources embarking the latest technologies.
And besides those “big guns”, you will find a constellation of hi-fi brands displaying their latest products, some of them offering excellent-sounding set-ups for more reasonable price tags.
And now, without further ado, here are some pictures of the showrooms that triggered great interest among the audience during this bustling weekend.
• Nanjing Weihong Audio – “Carnation” Room
The “Carnation” room was playing vinyl when we arrived. The source was the Einstein Record Player and Pickup, associated with their Phonoamp. Line amplification stages were taken care by Engström electronics: Monica Pre-Amp and Eric Signature Power Amplifier (tube monoblocks). The speakers were from Lansche Audio, model 9.2 with coated papyrus drivers and CORONA plasma tweeters (350kg per unit).
• Nanjing Weihong Audio – “Lily” Room
The “Lily” room was playing red book through the APL Hi-Fi DTR-MR reference transport, and their DSD-MR MK2 Reference D/A converter with tube output stage. Amplification: Einstein The Preamp and Silver Bullet “Output TransformerLess” monoblocks, feeding Blumenhofer Acoustics loudspeakers, model Classic 1743.
• Wise Sound Supplies Limited – “Phoenix” Room
The source was a Luxman DX-03X transport, associated with a Soulution 760 D/A Converter. Regarding amplification, the Soulution 525 Preamplifier was driving their flagship 701 monoblocks. The loudspeakers are the upgraded YG Acoustics Sonja 2.3 model (with the additional low frequency driver installed). The racks are signed by Critical Mass.
• Radar Audio Company – “Galaxy” Room
This room showcased a full The Gryphon setup, associated with Audioquest cables. Source: The Gryphon Ethos CD Player. Amplification: The Gryphon Essence Preamplifier & monoblock. Speakers: The Gryphon Pantheon.
• Dah Chong Hong Holdings – “Dragon Parlor” Room
The distributor from Hong Kong had setup an Esoteric system, associated with Tannoy speakers. Source: Esoteric Grandioso P1X super audio CD transport, Grandioso G1 master clock generator. Amplification: Esoteric Grandioso C1X preamplifier and Grandioso M1 monoblocks. The loudspeakers are the Tannoy Prestige GRF.
• Jadis Electronics Limited – “Dragon” Room
This room featured a full EMM Labs setup with Wilson Audio speakers. Source: EMM Labs TX2 limited edition CD/SACD transport accompanied by their reference DA2 D/A converter. Amplification: reference PRE Stereo Preamplifier, driving MTRX2 power mono-blocks. Loudspeakers are Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2.
• Hyper Audio
The distributor had setup two rooms, and one featured a complete Nagra system. Source: Nagra CD Player with its external Classic PSU and their flagship HD DAC X converter. The amplification was taken care of by their HD Line: HD Preamp and mono-blocks. Speakers were signed by Diesis Audio, featuring their flagship model (Roma). A Nagra T tape recorder was on display.
• Purist Audio Room 1
A system that combines Wadax flagship electronics and the Avantgarde Duo XD speakers.
• Purist Audio Room 2
The reference Audio Research system, combined with Estelon XB speakers.
• EgglestonWorks Audio Shanghai
This room featured the reference VTL system (including Siegfried II monoblocks), paired with EgglestonWorks Savoy Signature SE speakers.
• Richcom Audio Video
McIntosh system with their flagship MC901 monoblocks, paired with Sonus Faber Il Cremonese loudspeakers.
• Hyper Audio
The room featured a Clearaudio Master Innovation turntable with Statement TT1 tangential tonearm, feeding Karan Acoustics flagship electronics and Wilson Benesch Resolution speakers.
• Roksan Audio Trading
The room showcased a Transrotor Zet 3 turntable, associated with Dan D’Agostino Momentum Phonostage and Progression Integrated Amplifier, and the Vivid Audio Oval B1 Decade speakers.
• Le Son International
Besides the two fully refurbished tape decks (Revox B77 MKII High Speed and Technics RS1506), Le Son showcased their new LS10 MC cartridge on a custom Denon DP-3000 turntable with Brinkmann 12.1 inch tonearm. Their La Base phonostage was feeding an ESTI preamplifier and their 300B SET power amp. The speakers were their own LS3/5 model, featuring Beryllium Copper tweeters and Coated Kevlar Drivers.
Technics had aligned their Reference Class R1 Series system, specially imported from Japan for the Show. Their reference SL-1000R turntable was equipped with a Lyra Kleos MC cartridge, and their SL-1200G with an Air Tight Coda cartridge. The phono preamplifier was a Allnic H-1500 II Plus.
The flagship EZ-4002A turntable embarking a 10 inch and a 12 inch tonearms was hooked to their LP-301 Tube Phono preamplifier. The amplification was ensured by their EZLP-2 preamplifier and tube monoblocks, feeding a pair of Dynaudio PLM3A monitors.
The distributor had paired an Acoustic Signature Double X turntable (MCX-1 MC cartridge) with Accuphase electronics: C-47 phono preamplifier, C-2850 preamplifier driving the A-75 power amplifier. The speakers were Fyne Audio model F1-12.
Mr. Zhang, the Editor-in-Chief of Stereo Sound magazine, presenting two products from the Flagship 5000 Series of the diapasons brand: the GT-5000 turntable and the NS-5000 speakers.
The brand presented their new Bach horn speakers in piano black finish.
The Shanghai High-End Audio Show (SIAV) 2020 has been a very popular opus, attracting thousands of audiophiles to its vast number of showrooms. Analog sources were more prominent than last year, with more turntables and a few reel to reel recorders playing. As in other countries, an increasing number of Chinese audiophiles understand and value analog sources, and this is fantastic news.
See you at the 2021 Shanghai Audio Show!
This Show Report is also published by HXOS+ website.