First time at Scalford, not my last. General impressions: Everybody I met very friendly. No exhibitor refused to play my left field music. Size, cost, price and age of system has no correlation to quality. Managed to see/hear almost all rooms, would have liked to return to some for more in depth hearing. My biases: pefer vinyl but accept good digital, scale and dynamics important, more so than soundstaging/imaging. Push pull valves and class a transistor, but also good class ab transistor if not harsh.
Gun room with heavily tweaked old Urei studio speakers: Scale and dynamics galore
Impulse horn speakers in rooms 208 (Brumjam) and syndicate 24 (crimsondonkey and bolts), the latter with DIY crossovers.
JBL 96's in room 211 (oldius and it cost how much) driven by excellent classic Lentek amp and TEAC CD with proper DAC. I could have stayed there all day.
Of stuff you can actually buy new the ART Alnico 8s impressed me most (syndicate room 23, maverick and 68 rednose) driven by excellent valve pre Audio Research) and solid tranni amp (SIM Moon) with Linn Sondek and an Axiss as vinyl sources (both good).
Heco Direct speakers in syndicate room 21 showed promise, but couldn't deliver on my music, which is dynamically very demanding (Blue Man Group). This could be due to the 10 watter vale amp from Puresound running out of power/control.
My experience with speakers with big bass cones is that they need an amp with lots of control and sufficient power, even if on paper they don't due to sensitivity. All good sounding large cone speakers above were powered by strong transistor amps.
Surprise of the day: Room 205 playing classic KEF 104's driven by a modest pioneer amp. Excellent sound. According to the exhibitor (greybeard) inherited from his father and not modified/repaired. Vintage MF digilog dac. Just shows there is no correlation between cost age and quality of a system.
Special mention to lodgesound reel to reel with vintage bbc active (quad 404 amps) speakers. Most relaxing but not boring sound .
Klangfilm vintage horns in Lenco heaven room were great as well. Not hifi (too rolled off for that) but beautiful coherent sound. Which is something the room below(Colman behind reception) with a massive actively driven multiple horn system, 5 figure turntables and amplification etc. didn't manage. I went there 3 times, dull once, good once, very disappointing third time. Too much complexity is dangerous!
There were other good rooms and some I didn't like (but to each their own taste). But all exhibitors deserve praise, as well as the professional organization.
I will have to return next year.