Amplify events, I had been told by my close friend Kenny Gould, were outstanding events run by Gramophone. The Maryland based company has three dedicated stores. The Timonium location I had visited with Kenny a few months back and was impressed with both the store and it employees. The store located at 4 W Aylesbury Road in Timonium is an adult playground for audio and video. Every room located in the store is different and filled with wonderful high end products designed for all music and video lovers. Andrew Davis is one of the high end wizards who gets it. He frequently markets to millennials and runs personal audio events that include dedicated headphone listening stations throughput the store.
The event featured companies who are dedicated to the advancement of personal audio. Companies including Questyle, Meze, MrSpeakers, Chord Electronics, MacIntosh, Hifiman, Audeze, Focal, Audio Technica and Peachtree. The well attended event had over 300 people anxious to listen to exciting products and enjoy the hospitality that Andrew and his team put together. Valet parking at the front door, along with bartenders serving drinks and excellent food added to the excitement of the event. The store was packed with many enthusiast and couples looking to sample the products on display. The event also had turntables being used as sources, with products from Project and Audio Technica, who had excellent vinyl setups at their tables and throughout the store. The event had me there past closing time and the excellent presentations there providing for an outstanding day. It was a pleasure to be with friends and meet some new ones. Whether you looking for an inexpensive starter system or an advanced and beautifully designed 2 channel or AV system the folks a Gramophone offer consulting and installation services designed to meet your individual needs.
Andrew Davis is Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Gramophone seen here on the loading dock with all the beverages being offered for the event.
Laura and Laura, two beautiful employees, were taking care of the registration table for the event attendees.
Kenny Gould was consumed with the Chord Dave $10,600 unit I brought to the show and seen here with the Mr Speakers $1795 Ether Flow.
The Lifestyle Kitchen has a complete AV system in the beautifully designed layout with a bar and well appointed room for showcasing.
Andrew Davis, Partner and COO of Gramophone in deep conversation about the event. The food table had a wide variety of food. I indulged especially with the chocolate chip cookies which were out of this world delicious.
The gentleman in the picture was purchasing a Chord Mojo priced at $498. The Mojo offers exceptional digital to analogue conversion with a terrific amplifier built in. The sound is exceptionally clean and transparent and gives music lovers an exceptional product, designed to make portable audio more enjoyable, the Mojo works with iphones, androids and music players.
Rick was busy showcasing Chord, Mr Speakers and the Meze Headphones. The room was packed all night with people buying everything he was showing. The Meze headphones priced at $299 for the 99Wood Classic version and $249 for Neo model, which has a black cup instead of the classic wood design, were popular. Both are exceptional and were selling briskly at this event. The Chord Dave priced art $10,600 had enthusiast listening with the various MrSpeakers headphones from the $1495 Ether C and Ether, to the Ether Flow series priced at $1795. In addition to the Chord Mojo, there was a Chord Hugo $1295 in the room.
Bruce Ball’s Questyle rooms are always an event within the event. Bruce was setup with the Gold Stack system priced at $16000 with the Utopia Headphone with a Kimber Kable Axios cale attached making the total system $20,698. The CAS192D Golden DAC, CMA 800P Golden preamp, and CMA800R Golden mono-block amplifiers were driving a fully balanced Utopia with the balanced Axios cable. This music enthusiast was devoured in the system,. The sound was true reference, from a system designed for the headphone enthusiast who wants the very best of personal audio listening and true accurate musicality offered without compromise.
In addition Alan was busy showing the more affordable product that Questyle offers and the rooms also had the 600i priced at $1299 which offers much of what the Gold Stack offers at a reduced price. The sound according to Bruce Ball is about 80 percent of the Gold Stack and is a world beater at the price. Truly exceptional offers, for the enthusiast, a true taste of high end at an affordable price.
Show enthusiast and Gramophone employees in the front of the store
David Solomon from Peachtree was showing his new Nova 300 priced at $2499 which had 300 Watts of power going into a pair of B&W 802 speakers. The Class D amplifier included a high quality digital converter that had impressive specifications and was in a convenient small lifestyle footprint.
ESS Reference 9018K2M Sabre DAC
32-Bit/384kHz PCM and 5.6MHz DSD (double-DSD) compatibility
New generation ICEPower amplification – 300 watts per channel @ 8Ω 450 watts per channel @ 4Ω
Extensive internal grounding
Evan Grim form Audeze was showing the complete lineup, He had $1795 LCX and the LCD4 $4000 with the iSine 10 $399 and iSine 20 $599 planar in ear monitors. The popular planar in ear monitors are exceptionally built and designed planar in ear monitors that offer exceptional transparency with a vivid and affordable design. The Deckard $699 amplifier was making exceptional music. The Sine closed $449 on ear headphones were exceptionally transparent and make music and extremely comfortable. The Audeze lineup continues to grow with new and more innovative products and always offer exceptional musicality and value.
Focal had the $4K Utopia Headphone and the Elear priced at $999.99. Both were using the excellent Queststyle electronics to drive them. Also on display was the more affordable Listen $249.00 on the go headphone with built in microphone for listeners looking for a musical and articulate headphone for everyday use. Focal headphones are making a huge splash in the personal audio community and all are spectacular sounding products.
The Audio Technica AT-HA5050m priced at $6ooo is a tube hybrid amplifier. The preamp sections uses two EC88 tubes driving Toshiba transistors. The amplifier is unique in that it has 8 adjustable headphone outputs to match to the proper impedance of the headphone in use. The sound was alive and transparent and while listening to various headphones the individual selectors easily matched the impedance of the headphones.
Listening stations were carefully setup all around the store with cocktail tables setup. The Gramophone store gave a warm and lifestyle feel to the event and attendees were enjoying the festivities and the tunes.
Eric from Hifiman was showcasing the Majestic Shangri-La Electrostatic system which is comprised of the electrostatic headphone and amplifier. The system price of admission is 50K. The sound is reference quality with clear and breathtaking dynamics. The HE1000 V2 priced at $2999 and the Hifiman Edition X V2 $1299. The entire product line was exceptional with the retro- design accented by real wood, looked and sounded spectacular.
One of the best DACs in the world the $10,600 Chord Dave was a big hit all night. Playing tunes from an iPad streaming Tidal, the Dave played all MrSpeakers headphones flawlessly and had enthusiast reeling with excitement. The Dave is not analogue or digital sounding, it just plays music. With the strong US dollar against the Pound the price for US buyers is much more affordable than in the past. Amplify was a major hit and exciting show and well run by the folks at Gramophone, We certainly look forward to their next event.
Frank started his journey in high-end audio in 1978 and was quickly hooked. Frank’s passion for music and great sound reproduction is stronger than ever. His main focus is with high-end headphones and portable related gear. He is a regular Head-Fi.org contributor and is a co-founder of Headphone.Guru.