Munich 2014

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Art Dudley Posted: May 10, 2014 6 comments
Bill Parrish of GTT Audio calls it "the best." Jonathan Halpern of Tone Imports describes it as "the most well-organized, well-attended show, with the greatest number of products I've never heard or seen before." Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio says "It has risen to be the most significant showcase of high-end technologies: a major, major show." And our own Michael Fremer says it's "where you go to confirm that audio is a serious, healthy, and growing business."

The object of their praise is the Munich High End show, which runs from May 15 through May 18. . .

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Art Dudley Posted: May 16, 2014 5 comments
The first bit of music I heard at the Munich show—officially known High End 2014—was utterly lacking in soundstage depth, imaging precision, and transparency: It was actual music, courtesy of the Bavarian brass/accordion ensemble Unterbiberger Hofmusik, who performed just inside the main entranceway of the Munich MOC. (To the surprise of everyone, the morning dawned too cold for an outdoors performance.) It was a big, colorful beginning to this uniquely big, colorful show.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 17, 2014 14 comments
How good does it get? I think I’m closer to having an answer to that one.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 20, 2014 1 comments
I had the opportunity to review, in our June 2012 issue, the sweet-sounding Allnic A-5000 DHT amplifier. Yet it wasn't until the Munich show that I had the chance to meet its very genial designer, Kang Su Park, seen here with David Beetles, the international distributor for Allnic Audio Arts.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 20, 2014 5 comments
I began my Friday with a direct assault upon one of the MOC's three atria: expansive, beautifully lit spaces, each resembling a boulevard of swanky shops, with café seating at the center and rows of glass-fronted listening rooms on the farthest side. Again, the effect is not unlike an audio-centric Champs Elysée on an especially pleasant day. Times three.

First stop was Dali Acoustics, where the sound of a mandolin—it was Steve Strauss's "Jennie Mae"—led me toward Dali's floorstanding Rubicon 8 (€2399/pair, seen on the far left in the photo above).

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Art Dudley Posted: May 21, 2014 2 comments
Pressed to guess which manufacturer had the greatest number of products on display at High End 2014, I'd name Pro-Ject Audio Systems, who apparently brought with them a different record player for every day of the month: different styles, different prices, different colors, different (apparent) points of view.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 22, 2014 0 comments
High End 2014 drew over 18,000 audio enthusiasts and record lovers to the historic city of Munich, a corner of whose Marienplatz district is seen in the photo above. It presented the wares of 452 exhibitors, representing over 900 distinct brands. I was in attendance every minute of its first three days; I went home on its fourth and final day, bringing with me the certainty that High End 2014 was, in almost every meaningful way, the finest audio show of my experience. This wasn't a show about old men dodging furtively in and out of overdark, overloud rooms in a down-on-its-luck hotel: High End 2014 was about seeing the audio world's most important people and products in a single setting, the beauty and spaciousness and size of which reflected very well indeed on our industry.
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Art Dudley Posted: May 22, 2014 5 comments
The man pictured above is Joe Roberts, who does consulting work for Silbatone—in whose deservedly, lavishly praised exhibition room I took this photo. Joe published the deservedly, lavishly lamented magazine Sound Practices, which was one of my influences when I started Listener Magazine 20 years ago. In his public speaking as in his writing, Joe is all about passion, honesty, style, and fun. (You can't see it in this photo, but Joe was holding in his left hand the largest spanner I've ever seen. I think it was yellow.) To paraphrase Stephen Stills: It made sense that he was there.

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