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Copenhagen HighEnd 2018 Show Report

Copenhagen HighEnd 2018 Show Report
Show Coverage By Clive Meakins



  The Copenhagen HighEnd Show has been running since 1997; it is said to be foremost audio show across Scandinavia. With Copenhagen being on one end of the Oresund Bridge linking Denmark to Sweden, access is good for Swedes as well as Danes. Norwegians either have a 6 hour drive or a short flight. To entice travel the show was free for Swedes and Norwegians, there being a small charge for Danes. Arriving by air is particularly easy as the hotel can be reached under cover from the Copenhagen airport terminals.



Whilst at the show it would have been a missed opportunity to not go around the center of Copenhagen. Naturally I saw the Little Mermaid and Nyhavn -- the 17th century waterfront area amongst other sights. Later I sampled some of the craft beer available in the city. I was very impressed with Carlsberg's Jacobsen Golden Naked Christmas Ale. Two of these provided a wonderful glow and having checked its strength I now realize why as it's a 7.5% tipple.




The Clarion hotel proved to be a great venue. The show was arranged over three floors; there was a good flow of people at all times and fortunately it didn't get too busy either even if there was a queue at the entrance both mornings.




Here's something you don't see every day – cast iron speaker cabinets! Ole Lund Christenson, CEO of JERN can be seen presenting the $1,499 JERN 12 WS speakers with the JERN SUB 1000 prototype bass unit (maybe a JERN Cannonball?). I was impressed with what I heard, the sound was so much bigger than you'd expect from such diminutive speakers. The JERN 12 WS go down to 65Hz but they are infinite baffle, so room gain with wall placement extends the in-room response down towards 32Hz. There's a first order crossover using a Mundorf capacitor and inductor, internal damping includes sheep wool which is said to have great acoustic properties. Cast iron cabinets? From what I was listening to it works! It's gray cast iron which has high graphite content. I'm told it rings 100 times less than aluminum and is 10 times heavier than MDF; the result is a very inert structure. I resisted the temptation to try the knuckle test on the cabinet as I'd only have injured myself.



Here's a little of what JERN have to say about the speaker enclosures: "JERN creates its enclosures with proprietary VIBRAKILL technology, using a specific gray cast-iron formula with a high graphite content. During a carefully controlled cooling process, the low-density graphite forms three-dimensional shapes inside the high-density iron. It is this fusion that damps vibration to an extraordinary degree, far beyond the ability of MDF, wood, and aluminum. Massive stability combined with a one-piece structure means that JERN enclosures are hugely stable, utterly silent, and distortion-free."

About the castings they say: "Cast iron may not sound exotic, but these castings most certainly are. A CNC-machined model is used to produce a sand mold assembled around a core that provides the inner geometry. The iron is melted to 1450 degrees Celsius, using the precise Croning process, to create a one-piece enclosure so strong that it can withstand a five ton load. Such immense strength and density provides outstanding resistance to the vibrations and resonances that pollute all conventional speaker cabinets. Each iron enclosure is made exclusively for JERN by Dansk Skalform A/S, a Danish company with unparalleled engineering credentials."

JERN has a great pedigree being owned by Dansk Skalform who cast in many different metals, including turbo housings for the BMW Alpina M5 and the manifold for the McLaren P1. Talking of pedigrees, Ole Lund has a very impressive one having designed and built the PUK recording studio used by Elton John, George Michael, Depeche Mode and many others. He's also delivered custom high end listening rooms, designed commercial amplifiers, developed 18 speakers for the Finnish company Amphion and so it goes on. Like a said, a great pedigree.



Phison Audio from Odense in Denmark were showing their latest products. The PD2 SE is a pre-amp & DAC. There is also a matching A2.120 SE power amp. The analogue circuits are all discrete with much use of JFETS. The pre-amp (RCA and balanced) can be specified with a phono stage, the DAC section uses an ESS Technology ES9038PRO DAC chip. The JFET / Bipolar power amp puts out 120W into 8 Ohms and 480W into 2 Ohms, it has a very beefy 1kW 120,000 uF power supply. The power amp has no global feedback. My impression was of this being well made and thoughtfully designed equipment that I would like to hear more of in familiar surroundings.



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