Munich High End 2011

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 27, 2011 0 comments
An entire family of Chord Chordettes: The Toucan headphone amplifier; Dual moving-coil phono stage; Prime 4-input preamplifier; Peach D/A processor, descendant of the Gem; Scamp 40Wpc power amplifier; Mogul micro PC with six USB inputs, 320GB storage, and HD audio support; and Maxx integrated amplifier.

The Chordettes are meant to make up one powerful, versatile, colorful system.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 25, 2011 0 comments
The ground floor halls of the M.O.C. contained booths with both static and live demos to resemble something like CES’s Las Vegas Convention Center, but were only infinitely more pleasant, more manageable, better coordinated, and more attractive.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 19, 2011 2 comments
“Oh, these are cute!” Rosemarie exclaimed.

She was immediately attracted to PSB’s new Imagine Mini ($700/pair), which made its debut at January’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Can you blame her? These loudspeakers are small, powerful, attractive, and fun. (And they match Rosemarie’s outfit.)

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 19, 2011 0 comments
Connecting to the Internet in my small room at the Park Inn—nothing fancy, but a perfect place to work.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 19, 2011 0 comments
As we raced to catch the bus that would take us from Manhattan to Newark Liberty Airport, Rosemarie Torcivia and I were caught in an incredible downpour—rain like we rarely see it in New York City. Our trip to Germany for the 2011 High End Show had gotten off to a soggy start. Was this a sign of things to come?
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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 19, 2011 0 comments
Sales coordinator Rosemarie Torcivia smiles for the camera; a large balloon hovers in the background, announcing the 2011 Munich High End Show.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 24, 2011 2 comments
A typical display at the M.O.C. was open, airy, and comfortable, made to resemble a well-designed modern home—very much unlike the typical hotel room at many of our US hi-fi shows, which are often dimly lit, stuffy, and completely uncomfortable.

Time and time again during the Munich High End Show, I was impressed by the ways in which hi-fi was presented.

The issue of cost, which is so often prevalent at our shows, also seemed nonexistent in Munich. Even the issue of sound, our reason for existence, seemed easy to overlook in light of the pure fun, obvious physical excellence, and, yes, sexiness, of the displays in Munich.

The Munich Show was not only promoting and selling sound, but was promoting and selling a way of life. In Munich, and perhaps in all of Europe, the idea of enjoying a certain high-quality “lifestyle” was eagerly embraced; meanwhile, here in the States, such an idea is often derided.

Why?

If hi-fi were presented in the States as it was at the Munich show, we might not have such silly questions about attracting a younger audience, attracting women, or even whether the hobby will survive. We would be too busy enjoying ourselves—stopping for a Spaten in the sun before heading on to the next exhibit—to waste time and life with any of that foolishness.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 28, 2011 1 comments
At first, I didn’t know what was going on. I only noticed a very large crowd of people, all seemingly fascinated by what was standing before them.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 27, 2011 2 comments
Acoustic Signature turntables are solid, non-suspended designs with heavy platters and electronically controlled drive motors. Their maintenance-free bearings are meant to last a lifetime, while their exchangeable tonearm plates allow for easy swapping of tonearms.

All but the most affordable Barzetti, or "Black Beauty" (€1800), which has an integrated electronic motor and sports a 10-layer piano finish, are made in Germany. The Barzetti is made in Poland.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 27, 2011 2 comments
An Acoustic Signature Ascona with SME Series 5 tonearm and low-out moving-coil Ortofon Rohmann cartridge made beautiful music leading a system comprising VTL MB-450 Series III monoblock power amplifiers, TL-7.5 Series III preamplifier, and TP-6.5 phono preamplifier. Speakers were the distinctive and dynamic Vivid G2 Giya.

To start off our listening, I picked one of my sister’s favorite albums, Adele’s 21. I noted a great sense of forward momentum and stunning dynamic range, all of Adele’s strong soulfulness communicated fully. I turned to Rosemarie, and I searched for some sign of recognition of the beauty which radiated before us...

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 20, 2011 1 comments
I received a special request for more pictures of Rosemarie, so here she is, posing with the very attractive Albedo Model HL1.2 loudspeaker, a two-way, linear-phase design with a 4” mid-woofer, 1” tweeter, and super-sexy striped ebony finish.

Afterward, Rosemarie would tell me that several people here at the Munich High End Show recognized her from this show report. “You’re making me famous,” she said.

“That’s what I do,” I explained. “I make girls famous.”

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 19, 2011 0 comments
We were impressed by the size and overall design of the M.O.C., site of the 2011 Munich High End Show.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 20, 2011 0 comments
The controls on these sleek Audiolab 8200 Series components were pure pleasure; I could have played with them all day long. The 8200CD CD player uses the Sabre 32-bit DAC from ESS Technology—hot. The 8200Q preamp’s six line-level inputs respond to remote control, but you’ll want to caress this thing; the volume knob is a motorized potentiometer for precise tracking, while a separate gain control enables sensitivity to be matched to different power amps and source components. Finally, the clean, simple 8200P power amp provides 100Wpc into 8 ohms.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 25, 2011 0 comments
Bergmann’s Magne turntable partnered with large and lovely Impresario loudspeakers, Stage III Concepts cables, and a suite of components from Ypsilon, including the PST100 line preamplifier, reviewed by Mikey Fremer in our July issue. The system matched physicality, drama, dynamics, and scale with delicacy and grace.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 25, 2011 1 comments
Respected designer Ken Ishiwata stands beside the new top-of-the-line A-Series loudspeaker from Boston Acoustics. The speaker’s central drive units are completely suspended from the cabinet for isolation of all vibrations. The system we heard included the Marantz SA-7S1 SACD player, SC-7S2 preamplifier, MA-9S2 power amplifier, and Charismatech cables, all at least partially voiced and designed by Ishiwata for optimum synergy.

“We take a ‘whole system approach,’” Ishiwata said.

“The soundstage is very important,” he continued. “Other aspects of performance are matters of preference, but we focus on creating a very stable soundstage. Everything else comes from that.”

I noted outstanding overall scale with good soundstage height and easy, unforced dynamics. Music developed, blossomed, and blushed like a sunrise. This was a system I could have happily listened to for a long, long time.

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