Jim Austin  |  May 24, 2024  |  8 comments
My first encounter with an Audiovector loudspeaker was at the 2019 Toronto Audiofest. Driven by colorful (both sonically and visually) Alluxity electronics, the R 3s sounded pure and very fine. As I sat listening to the R 3 Arretés, the R 8 Arreté, their big brother, sat quietly in the corner, seemingly pleased with the performance of its smaller sibling.

I ended up reviewing the R 8 instead of the R 3, which in retrospect hardly seems fair:It was the R3 I heard that day, the R 3 that attracted my attention and got me interested in the brand.

Ken Micallef  |  May 24, 2024  |  4 comments
German analog powerhouse Acoustic Signature roared into High End Munich with a trio of new products: two feature-packed phono stages and a cutting-edge tonearm. Their booth was a showcase of gleaming AS equipment, from precision tonearms and turntables, including the behemoth Invictus Neo, to meticulously crafted, matte-finish phono stages.
Ken Micallef  |  May 24, 2024  |  0 comments
Just out the hotel door and fully caffeinated, I was blown away by the looks, construction, and performance of Zavfino turntables and tonearms. As 1877Phono Zavfino, the company has for years supplied internal wire to major manufacturers; the brand also offers interconnects, speakers, and power cords to the public.
Ken Micallef  |  May 24, 2024  |  0 comments
Benny Audio, founded in 2017 and based in Gliwice, Poland, produces massive turntables that recall TechDas and Acoustic Signature. BA’s flagship Odyssey model, including 14" tonearm with direct wiring and power supply (€24,000), drew every eye in their Munich room as it spun vinyl with muscularity and deep-earth, saturated tone.
Ken Micallef  |  May 24, 2024  |  1 comments
While the upper floors at High End Munich were densely populated with manufacturer’s full-system demo rooms, smaller but no less worthy players filled stand space in the ground-floor Halles, from Halle 1 to Halle 4. Two such manufacturers were Remton Audio and Fonolab, both from Praque. They brought an array of analog-centric devices that had me drooling.
Ken Micallef  |  May 24, 2024  |  0 comments
Austrian analog manufacturer Korf Audio introduced their new flagship series of ceramic tonearms, the TA-AF series, at High End Munich, including the TA-AF9 “premium tonearm” (€3200) on static display at their booth but also live on a TechDAS V turntable in the Engstrom room.
John Atkinson  |  May 23, 2024  |  2 comments
In December 2023, I took the train from New York to Los Angeles to attend the Los Angeles & Orange County Audiophile Society's 30th annual Gala. I took the trip because it is both stimulating and satisfying to spend an afternoon in the company of more than 200 audiophiles and music lovers; I also wanted to see John Curl presented with the Society's fourth Innovation Award, by George and Carolyn Counnas of Zesto. John was given the award "for his groundbreaking contributions to the field of solid-state audio amplifiers, circuit innovation, mastering recorders and much more."

I first met John more than 40 years ago, at a Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, where I was blown away by John's intuitive and innovative approach to circuit design.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 23, 2024  |  0 comments
In the room opposite its smaller system, Playback Distribution presented Amphion Krypton3x White floorstanding speakers ($24,000/pair) driven by Esoteric’s F-12 class-A integrated amplifier ($18,000) and N-01XD-SE network streamer ($22,000).
Alex Halberstadt  |  May 22, 2024  |  5 comments
Photo by Michael Stephens

Last May, during a visit to High End Munich, I was ushered into an exhibitor's room with much ceremony. Other showgoers had been shooed out so that I, a reviewer at an important magazine, could listen to the hi-fi undisturbed. The room featured obelisk-shaped "statement" speakers, monoblocks with enough tubes to light a cafeteria, and a wedding cake–sized turntable, all connected with python-thick cables. All of it cost as much as a starter house in coastal Connecticut.

The room's proprietor asked me to choose from a small stack of LPs. I went for Cannonball Adderley's Somethin' Else, a wonderful Miles Davis record in all but name. I know it as well as any other piece of recorded music. When the system began to play, it was doing all the audiophile things expected of an expensive hi-fi. But while I recognized the notes, I struggled to recognize the music. Something was clearly, obviously amiss. The rhythmic emphases and stresses that convey music's meaning and emotion were landing in the wrong places.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 21, 2024  |  1 comments
AXISS Audio saved one of the stars of its portfolio, Accuphase, for room 1129. Instead of showing the Accuphase A-300 monoblocks, which I will surely propose for one of our next Stereophile Product of the Year awards, Cliff Duffey premiered the Accuphase P-7500 power amplifier in bi-amp configuration ($25,975 each) and Accuphase DP-770 SACD player/DAC ($26,575).