One might argue that horn speakers are a typical European trait but US and Klipsch in particular has been a pioneer, Japan has produced and widely enjoyed horn designs a lot as well. Here in Europe we do have a few brands keeping up the tradition, names like Avantgarde, Acapella and Cessaro come in mind. Tune Audio is up there with the best, delivering nothing but horn speakers for more than a decade with a solid reputation for their products. Last year I wasn’t at the show but the system, almost identical to this year’s, received several accolades including a bold statement from Herb Reichert of Sterophile who visited the room with musician and producer David Chesky.
I was listening with David Chesky, to a recording made by David Chesky, of a piano played by David Chesky; and we were both looking at each other, shaking our heads. When it was over, we both agreed, this was closest any loudspeaker ever got to reproducing the density and presence of a real piano. I left the room in tears from the experience.
So you understand why this was a must see – hear room for me. And while it is impossible to make any comparisons with last year’s performance I am ready to argue that 2019 was even better. Not because Rockna brought a new, slightly cheaper DAC or because Skogrand sprinkled extra magic dust to his quite expensive cables, reason is Maja Josilo played the piano through the system and it was an oasis of real music in a sea of Dianna Krall, Dire Straits and Hugh Masekela. Masa performed Debussy’s Arabesque, Chesky’s Rag n11 and my favorite, the 12th prelude from opus 32 by Sergei Rachmaninoff. This was a show stopper, many industry insiders came to listen to the music playing through the enormous Avaton 3way speakers, Rockna Wavelight DAC and Trafomatic Lara pre and Pandora power amplifiers. Because yes, some times there is real music on the shows. Holger Adler of Voxativ offered to find a gran coda piano for next year but even through the digital one used during the 2019 show the music was simply amazing. Sure that 18″ horn loaded bass had something to do with the heft coming out while the mid and tweeter made sure the higher registries where properly conveyed while remaining articulated and clear. The most “musical” system in this year’s show? You bet.
High-End 2019 show coverage brought to you by The LSA Group