Ferrum's Prelude to the Warsaw Audio Show

The Warsaw Audio Show, officially titled “Audio Video Show 2022"—the second largest audio in Europe—is set to begin today, October 28. Up at 6:20AM yesterday in Paris; flight to Poland with us the only masked passengers; Uber through traffic traffic traffic to the Radisson Sobieski Blu hotel boom boom; and off to a tour of the Ferrum Audio Factory.

Not that there was much to see. Besides a reception room with lots of wine, water, tea, and pastries, our pre-dinner tour consisted of a small listening room with Ferrum gear feeding Wilson Sabrina loudspeakers and a large testing room. There, a small group of employees earned overtime, sitting at testing benches doing their day jobs.

Learning took precedence over visual dazzle. As explained by company CEO Marcin Hamerla (shown center in the heading photo, flanked by Development Team manager Pawewī Gorgoń on the left and Main Engineer Maksymilian (Max) Matsuzak on the right), the Principal of the company currently known as Ferrum has been active for 25 years. Accounts are disputed, but it’s safe to say that Hamerla was involved in the design and manufacture of Mytek D/A and A/D gear starting in 1998. It was only after 2020, when Michal Jurewicz’s Mytek separated from Hamerla, that Ferrum launched its EISA Award-winning Hypsos and OOR linear/switching hybrid power supply and headphone amp, and the newer ERCO headphone D/A/amp. These eye-catching products, housed in smaller cases similar in size to Mytek's continuing Brooklyn line, are responsible for 80–90% of the company's current business.

Hamerla explained that the Ferrum team now consists of 20 people. The company's name—Ferrum = "iron"—derives from two sources: the site of Hamerla's home, which sits atop land formerly occupied by a Roman era iron factory, and the occupation of Hamerla's father, who was a blacksmith.

"Ferrum designs are radically different than before," Hamerla explained in the factory. For example, the new headphone amp/DAC integrates the contents of four chips plus an MQA circuit into a single PGA chip which, because it also used in military applications, remains available amidst parts shortages.

As for the sound, Hamerla attempted to avoid direct comparisons. "We wanted something new and innovative," he said. "I'm a headphone guy, who finds it the easiest way to listen to music when I'm at home with my wife."

At his work station, Matuszak offered that Ferrum strives for a natural sound. Although I didn't get a chance to listen, I look forward to Ferrum's new top-of-the-line DAC, which is anticipated in the first quarter of 2023. The price isn't set, but it will probably be in the $3000 range. As for Mytek, a review sample of the new Empire, not yet unpacked, is currently sitting in the hallway of my music room many, many thousands of miles away.

A note on our coverage. Warsaw Audio Video Show 2022 takes place at three sites: the Hotel Golden Tulip, which houses eight large exhibit rooms and four halls; the Hotel Radisson Blu Sobieski a block or two away, which houses at least 97 exhibits; and the huge PGE Narodowy Stadium, whose minimum 83 exhibits and plethora of booths/displays make the 15–30 minute shuttle ride a necessity. My plan: Don't go mad. Avoid dizziness at all costs. Instead, follow my nose, and mix the tried and true with the utterly new.

Rather than posting a plethora of online blogs, coverage will consist of a few blogs and two essays, the first appearing on the Back Page of a future issue. Please stay tuned.

rschryer's picture

Looking forward to your coverage.

Julie Mullins's picture

Wow, that is a lot for one person to cover! Looking forward to your write-ups. Have fun!

sharok's picture

Please try to cover the new Aavik Amplifier, if possible.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Please see my coverage of the Pacific Audio Fest, where Aavik / Ansuz / Borresen had two adjacent listening rooms.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

In discussion with another Polish manufacturer, I learned that there are perhaps 50 audio manufacturers in Poland. Ferrum, it seems, is one of the largest and most successful of the lot.

Anton's picture

And, wishing you a safe and fun time!

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Hamerla's account of the origin of Mytek's designs is disputed by Mytek founder Michal Jurewicz, who built his first converters for New York's Skyline Studios and Hit Factory in 1992. Hamerla first came onboard as an engineer for Mytek in 1998. My copy has been revised as necessary.

JRT's picture

Is he still with us? I would have expected to see his commentary about importing interesting worthwhile audio gear from central and eastern Europe.