Munich 2022

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Jim Austin  |  Jul 19, 2022  |  24 comments
'm writing this column on the long flight back to New York City following High End Munich, the big hi-fi show that in regular times takes place each May. Because these are not regular times, this was the first Munich show since 2019. This show was smaller than other recent Munich shows: COVID in the Far East limited involvement by people and companies from East Asia, and German government–mandated attendance caps limited the number of people who could enter at any one time. Even so, it was a big show, with some interesting product introductions and prototypes.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 06, 2022  |  11 comments
Thanks to the customary high level of organization that has made Germany's High End Society such a central part of the audiophile industry, Munich High End 2022 was a resounding success. The industry-organized show attracted 19,767 visitors to the 28,000 square meters of halls and atriums it occupied in Munich's sprawling MOC Event Center.
Julie Mullins  |  Jun 06, 2022  |  2 comments
The Harman room at Munich High End showed a wide array of products on active and passive display. Several Classic JBL designs revamped with modern tech and materials took center stage in a long lineup display of speakers. The room's main active system included the large JBL Summit Everest DD67000 speakers.
Julie Mullins  |  Jun 06, 2022  |  2 comments
While walking through the aisles of Halle at Munich High End, heading for my last couple of assigned rooms (or areas), I came across designer Michael Børresen, who, with Lars Kristensen (above), gave me a quick run-down of his latest gear. There were new speakers at both the entry and extreme levels from Børresen, and new amplification at the top end from Aavik. The three brands on display—Børresen Acoustics, Aavik Acoustics, and Ansuz Acoustics—were consolidated under one umbrella company, Audio Group Denmark, in 2020.
Julie Mullins  |  Jun 05, 2022  |  0 comments
DS Audio's Tetsuaki Aoyagi, known casually as Aki, was at High End Munich introducing his new DS Audio Eccentricity Detection Stabilizer ES-001 device. The next-gen (read: young) designer attended with his parents—something seldom seen at hi-fi shows. (That said, my father attended AXPONA again this year.) And families do attend the High End Munich show, perhaps more regularly than others.
Julie Mullins  |  Jun 05, 2022  |  5 comments
There was buzz about many rooms at the High End Munich show but perhaps few were as talked about as the Nagra/Wilson Audio Specialties setup in Atrium 4.1 F130. It seemed to be among the more packed ones, a tough room to get into. I passed by twice before I was able to poke my head in, then was only able to return briefly near the end of the show.
Julie Mullins  |  Jun 01, 2022  |  10 comments
Parisian high-end audio dealer AnaMighty Sound's room, F114 in Atrium 4, showed several products made in Switzerland from darTZeel, Stenheim, and Nagra. The room also became a mini-concert venue for a couple of demo sessions on Saturday that incorporated live music: Jazz saxophonist Jérôme Sabbagh played solo, accompanied by playback of his No Filter album bandmates on the room's system. They played 24-bit/96kHz versions of the tracks with Sabbagh's sax parts/tracks omitted.
Julie Mullins  |  May 30, 2022  |  9 comments
The Wadax room brought huge gear and huge sound to Munich High End, along with a couple of new product introductions. Their main demo, in Atrium 4.2's E207 room presented the Wadax Atlantis Reference Server ($64,900) with a new, upgraded Reference PSU external power supply ($49,000) that's said to improve performance (as well it should). Its output noise is said to be crazy low: reportedly setting a record of 200nV of RMS noise from 0.1Hz to 20kHz. It uses a feedforward topology that adjusts its power regulation circuitry in real time based on current load requirements; this helps minimize current variations, CEO Javier Guadalajara (above) explained.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 29, 2022  |  0 comments
There are no accidents, eh? A chance meeting with Wilson-Benesch's Luke Milnes, followed by several email and WhatsApp check-ins, led me to my final exhibit at Munich High End. There, in a system that also featured Audionet products, reigned the 308lb Wilson-Benesch Omnium loudspeaker ($169,000/pair), second in command in the company's reference Fibonacci Series. Containing three pairs of isobaric-loaded woofers, two additional bass drivers, one midrange unit, and the Fibonacci tweeter, this hardly diminutive loudspeaker utilizes new bio-composite technology that replaces the carbon-fiber Monique enclosure technology Wilson-Benesch pioneered in 1994.
Julie Mullins  |  May 29, 2022  |  5 comments
Purists might disagree, but for many listeners, having equipment that enables subtle sonic adjustments is welcome. This rings true for me, as I enjoy a wide variety of musical styles. Evidently Voxativ's Founder and Chief Engineer Inés Adler does too. Adler, a former designer of engines for Daimler's Mercedes-Benz marque, has made modern updates and options available for vintage hi-fi approaches.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 28, 2022  |  0 comments
A happy 35,000-foot-high encounter with Jim Thompson and John Callery of EgglestonWorks led to the unveiling of the new Oso loudspeaker ($12,895/pair). Mated with the belated show premiere of the same Doshi Evolution monoblocks ($44,000/pair, below) that graced the cover of our May 2021 issue, as well as an Innuos Statement music server and J. Sikora turntable ($21,000 without arms—see Michael Fremer's review in the forthcoming July issue), the speakers produced lovely sound.
Julie Mullins  |  May 28, 2022  |  0 comments
One of my first stops at the Munich show was to find out who made the shiny red loudspeaker shown in an atrium room—shown in the same room as the latest gargantuan Gryphon Commander preamplifier and Apex amplifier. The striking speaker was rotating on a round platform that you couldn't miss when you entered the room. Why the rotation? It was an attractive speaker from all angles. It, uh, turns out, it was indeed a Gryphon—the EOS 2, a prototype, as text in large letters beneath clearly stated.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 28, 2022  |  3 comments
Perhaps the folks at Estelon were being intentionally tongue-in-cheek when they wrote, on their website, "By elevating the act of listening to new heights..." about the new Estelon Extreme Mk.II flagship loudspeaker (€200,000/pair) whose mechanical system enables multiple height and tweeter depth adjustments to ensure stable imaging. (It also intentionally isolates the upper drivers from the speaker's bass units.)
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 28, 2022  |  7 comments
The briefest of visits to the dCS room in Munich revealed the Vivaldi One Apex ($95,000). Originally released as the Vivaldi One in 2017 to commemorate the company's 30th Anniversary, the MQA-friendly, single chassis, all-in-one network music player, CD/SACD transport and Master Clock, upsampler and DAC has resurfaced in new Apex form. Only 50 new Vivaldi One Apex units are available. The 250 owners of the original 30th Anniversary model can upgrade to full Apex status ($9000).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 28, 2022  |  3 comments
A chance encounter, in MOC's interconnected ground floor Expo Halls, with Santos (Santy) Oropel of Southern California's TWIN Audio Video led to an enclosed booth where Troy Audio's Acapulco loudspeaker (€36,000/pair), an improved version of the 1960 Altec Santana, held forth. The speaker cabinets are built in Riverside, CA and Oklahoma City, OK by Great Plains Audio, and house the new GPA 415-8C Biflex driver with Alnico magnet and a modified Fostex supertweeter. The full-range reflex speaker, which has no crossover, is certain to appeal to vintage loudspeaker lovers, and equally likely to win over converts to the cause. If only the late Art Dudley were here to report about how it sounds.