The Ultimate Audio Elite mini show in Porto
By Roy Gregory
Traveling half way across Europe to visit a dealer event might be considered as – in cycling parlance – ‘not normal’. But then this was no ordinary event and no ordinary dealer. So perhaps we’d better start at the beginning, with the obvious questions…
Who is Ultimate Audio?
Ultimate Audio is an established Portuguese dealer/distributor with a comprehensive portfolio of high-end brands, including the likes of Wadax, AvantGarde, Burmester, Gryphon, MSB, Taiko, Brinkmann, DS Audio and many, many others (as you will see from the systems listed below). These brands are presented in two stores, one in Lisbon and a smaller (but barely less impressive) branch in Porto.
What is Ultimate Sessions Extreme?
These started out as store-based presentations of important new products. I reported on just such an event – celebrating the opening of the new Lisbon Store and Gryphon’s 30th Anniversary – way back in 2015 (https://www.theaudiobeat.com/visits/ultimate_audio.htm)
But since then, the concept has grown and evolved into mini, multi-room events, located off-site in local hotels. In what looks like becoming an annual event – possibly alternating between Lisbon and Porto – the company took five large conference rooms in the Sheraton Hotel to showcase top-flight systems for their customers and other interested visitors. The combination of large rooms (most of them with empty rooms in between) and a three day event made for relaxed listening, giving visitors the opportunity to spend time with both the systems and the many manufacturers present.
So what was on show?
The easiest way to do this is to list each system in turn. Sadly, one late withdrawal was the Acoustical Systems A*Stellar turntable, a product that would have justified the trip on its own. Even so, there were plenty of other really worthwhile products to enjoy. In no particular order, the systems presented were:
Burmester 111 Pre-amp/DAC/Streamer
Burmester 159 Mono Amplifiers
Burmester BC150 Loudspeakers
Siltech Double Crown Cables
Wadax Reference Server, Power Supply and DAC
Wadax Akasa Reference Optical Interface and DC Cables
Technics SL-1000 Record Player
DS Audio Grand Master Cartridge and Energizers
Kondo Heritage M7 Preamp and Ongaku Power Amp
AvantGarde Trio G3 Loudspeakers with Dual SpaceHorns
Crytal Cable Da Vinci and ZDL cables
Neo HighEnd Quattron racks
Taiko Extreme Server
MSB Select DAC and Reference Director
Gryphon Master/Commander Preamp and Apex Power Amps
Kroma Atelier Mercedes Loudspeakers
Stage III Cerberus, Poseidon and Ckahron cables
Gryphon StandArt Racks
Brinkmann Oasis Anniversary Record Player
DS Audio W3 Cartridge and Energiser
Innuos Statement Next-Gen Server
Accuphase DC-1000 DAC
Accuphase C-2900 Preamp
Accuphase A-300 Mono Amps
Audiovector R8 Arreté Loudspeakers