VAD Show Report
"Is that Garrard in your system, or are you just happy to see me?"

AMR was invited by its distributor Daluso (AMR: Benelux countries) to again attend the VAD Show which was held in Veldhoven at the Konigshof Hotel over 18-20th October. The Daluso room consisted of:

System 1

Garrard 301/SME 3012/Denon DL-103R
AMR AM-77 Pre-Main Amplifier in bi-amplification mode
AMR LS-77 Monitors
AMR and Harmonix Cables

System 2

Isem CD Player
Isem Integrated Amplifier
Daluso Dutch Basic Loudspeakers
Harmonix Cables

AMR’s own "classic" turntable was wheeled out of a well deserved retirement from decades of serving Queen and Country at the BBC to partner AMR’s PH-77 Phono Equaliser.  

Just prior to being dispatched to Holland, this 301 unit was given an overhaul by Terry O’Sullivan at Loricraft to ensure it was in tip top condition. We took the opportunity to re-wire the SME 3012 with silver litz wire and added the very desirable Denon DL-103R cartridge.

This setup was the main source in the Daluso room and drew more than its fair share of attention. Quite a few visitors drooled over the Garrard 301 setup.

The only drawback was that being on the continent, more than several visitors asked us the same question: “Is that a Thorens? (TD124)”. Even during breakdown at the end of the Show, we had one final visitor who is active on the Dutch audio forums ask AMR the same question. You may gather that by now, we were at the end of our tether and ready to scream “No, it’s a Garrard”. Seriously, we were more than pleased to see listeners come in and become entranced by the equipment on display.

One vinyl lover even asked AMR the price of the vinyl setup: we politely said “thanks but no thanks” the Garrard and the PH-77 were going nowhere except back to base! We kindly pointed that person in the direction of Loricraft who supplied the plinth and who had lovingly revamped the 301 for AMR.

It was not lost on us that, having attended the VAD for the last 3 years and having garnered some enviable reviews in Dutch and International audio magazines, AMR has now established serious momentum with the Dutch music listeners: we were almost embarrassed by the number of listeners walking into the Daluso room and immediately pointing at the CD-77 and then proceeding to pour over the AM-77s and LS-77s. Just prior to the commencement of the VAD Show, AMR was assisted by a very favourable review in “Music Emotion” a Dutch audio magazine which ranked the CD-77 very highly indeed (review in Dutch and English to be uploaded to the AMR very soon).

Notable music played in the Daluso Room was:

Midnight Sugar (LP) – on the Garrard 301/PH-77 which impressed even the most hardcore of vinyl lovers.  Tsuyoshi Yamamoto’s twinkling on the piano during the lighter passages made even the most experienced vinyl listener’s heart flutter. Considering that there was further break-in to be had from the PH-77, we are very confident that the PH-77 will rock the vinyl sector as much as its sibling, the CD-77 has done in the digital sector. With 23 different equalisation curves, several eager listeners left their details with Daluso to ensure that they were the first on the list to audition the PH-77. One customer who had a Garrard at home said his Garrard “did not reproduce the piano as well as our setup” we suggested the magical synergy of the Garrard and the PH-77 were behind this.

Yves Montand (LP) – on the Garrard 301/PH-77 setup resulted in a trip down memory lane for the older visitors to the Daluso room. When the Garrard and PH-77 played this record, it was almost like walking a Parisian avenue on a Sunday afternoon and love was in the air.

Jaques Loussier "Plays Bach" (CD) – on the CD-77 impressed many with its ability to float as the nuances were being reproduced yet punch hard when called for during bass lines. Some customers asked if the LS-77 were partnered with subwoofers. We were proud to inform them that if they could find a hidden subwoofer, they were welcome to take a pair of LS-77s home! (assuming they could lift these 35kgs each behemoths).

We purchased from Nutters Audio “Mario Suzuki: Masterpiece of Folklore Guitars” (XRCD) – this disk literally entranced people in the room. We would like to thank Nutters Audio and Svieging Audio for again, recommending and supplying AMR and Daluso with several CDs and LPs which were most importantly of enjoyable music, yet also of exceptional recording quality.

This year, the organisers continued with the re-located the entrance at the side of the Konigshof Hotel and with further tweaking of the location of software vendors, we continue to remain impressed by the smooth and heavy foot fall seen around all areas of the Show. Very savvy indeed!

The most important trend to be gleaned from this Show was that the actual attendance was least as good as the year before if not even slightly up from 8,000 visitors to 9,000 visitors. Anecdotally, we spoke to several software (LPs and CDs) vendors that they reported that business was brisk (reinforced by visitors holding one or two bags of CDs/LPs coming into the Daluso room. We were informed that there are usually between 2-3 audio Shows in the Netherlands every year but for 2008, the VAD was the only Show. We believe this factor also contributed to a higher level of attendance

One the final day which was the customary trade day, we were very pleased and flattered to find several very high-end speaker/component manufacturers (who we shall not name) entering the Daluso room to studiously pour over the AM-77s and LS-77s in particular: it would seem that the music played drew quite more attention than we expected and made its way to other exhibitors. An anonymous reviewer from HVT was impressed enough by the AMR setup that he spoke to his Editor who in turn approached Daluso towards the end of the Show to arrange for a review of the AMR components.

Everytime we attend the VAD Show we cannot but be helped to be impressed by the camaraderie of all exhibitors and the general banter that goes on goes some way to reducing the stress of setting up, exhibiting and breaking down during this Show. We feel that only Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is able to come close to the overall feel good and enjoyment factor by all. This year, we also noticed an above average attendance by the other halves – we are not sure whether or not there is growing interest by members of the opposite sex or whether they were keeping their husband on a tight lead to ensure they did not purchase any expensive components!

Also, computer-based audio remains off the radar in this part of Europe. Nearly all rooms were CD-source based.

Last but not least, with the surprising strong popularity of AMR in the Netherlands within only 3 years, we were unable to turn down the kind invitation of Daluso and as such, we will be attending the Spring Show in Rotterdam and entertaining you with the one of the most musically satisfying systems!


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