We arrived to a bitterly cold, snowy and overcast country, but that would not change our mood. So our journey began with much excitement from Amsterdam, we catch a bus that drives us down to near the Belgium border in Eindhoven. Greeting us at the bus is a friendly Dutch man called Ties, he is the Export Sales Manager for D&M Holdings. Walking over the freezing snow from the previous day, we enter D&M Holdings headquarters, Europe. We walk into a nicely laid out conference room where some snacks and drinks await, as we wait for our cold bones to be warmed up this is definitely a welcomed gesture.
Awaiting us is the team of D&M Holdings staff that are responsible for Europe and Africa. Rainer, Dirk , Oliver and Michel, all greeting us with German- and Dutch-English accent. Also entering the room is a friendly Japanese gentleman, Ken Ishiwata. What a humbling moment and an honour for me, meeting the guys from D&M Holdings and a legend in the field of Hi-FI.
Treated to an introduction we were separated into 2 groups and my group was first go and have a “meet-and-greet” with the legend, Ken. We walk down a spiral staircase into a dream, a studio laid out and fortified, treated and decorated by Ken to get the best sound possible. In front of us is his demo room, Marantz CD Players, Marantz Pre-Amps, Marantz Power Amps, all silver, hooked up to a Boston A-26and still concept Boston Reference speaker (unknown by name, unknown for release).
To begin with he played some songs on the Boston A-26 bookshelf. Ken Ishiwata has also been involved in the development of the Boston A-Series. He hooks it up to the Marantz KI-Pearl Lite, obviously his signature is on that specific unit. So this was awesome, a speaker and stereo amplifier which both was influenced by Ken Ishiwata. Cranking it up a bit it became apparent to me (listening first time to the A-26) that Boston is in for business and aims to tackle the stronghold of the British speakers. The typical American sound has become much more musical, much more balanced, and it costs a fraction of most bookshelf speakers. Dear I say the B&W 685 bookshelf does not seem that impressive in my mind, well not as much anymore since listening to this combination.
Beautiful mid-range, the HF is well pronounced, the bass is effective in filling the room with what it is given. To all who are looking for a brilliant bookshelf stereo set up, get a Marantz KI Pearl Lite and a Boston Acoustic A-26. . .fabulous!
|No, he is not dancing!|
Next in line were the Reference Speakers that were only show cased once. They were hooked up to the Marantz Legendary CD, Pre Amp and Power Amp (SA 7 S2, SC 7 S2 and MM 9 S2). Just to put this into perspective, I have heard B&W 803 Diamonds, 800 Diamonds, I have heard Steinway Lyngdorf Model D, I have heard the KEF Blade, and I can assure you if or when this speaker comes into production it will change a lot of people’s view on Boston Acoustic’sability to make high end Reference Speakers. It was awesome. He played specifically a piece of bass guitar solo. Good heavens, what absolutely stunning presence, control and balance. Ken showed us the design of the cabinet and it explains a lot how the sound from these speakers is brilliant. The speaker does at no time feel held back, it is crisp, clear, polite yet aggressive, with precision thundering bass.
What a treat to be with a legend in the field of Hi-Fi. He is passionate about what he does. And when you look at the excitement and passion of the group of people at D&M Holdings, the future of Denon, Marantz, Boston and their associated products looks very bright. They are always asking for input and feedback on their products, always willing to take a compliment and suggestion a like.
After our encounter in the demo room we moved up to the conference room again. Here, some new products which were recently launched were displayed to us. Their soundbar TVee 30 is really a lovely piece of work for those who have space restrictions, or just want to have great sound in their bedroom. Most soundbars on the market cater for movies almost exclusively, but not the Boston TVee. Dare to play David Foster Blu Ray through it! You will find a great pleasure in this, I can almost guarantee this. Also some new i-Pod players will come onto the market in the near future, which will be Airplay friendly. Beautiful design and it does sound better than the Boston Duo.
The time had come to leave the D&M HQ, Europe. With a huge smile on my face, off I plodded into the freezing cold winds of Holland. Fortunately we were treated to an awesome Japanese restaurant where food at one stage flew around, (the video to be added about this at a later stage).
I would like to give specific mention to the people that really made this experience truly unforgettable, my sincerest thanks to: Ties, Rainer, Dirk , Oliver and Michel, and Ken Ishiwata, you have left such a great impression in my life, meeting all of you is something that I will cherish as being one of the great moments in my life. Thank you all so much for the opportunity to meet you, chat with you and create some really special memories. You have inspired and humbled me.