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  |  9 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. The whole thing 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).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 21, 2024  |  13 comments
One of my first stops at Munich High End 2024 was at the Stromtank power regenerator display in Halle 3. Accustomed to seeing the visually imposing Stromtank “A Mighty Fortress is our God” computer-monitored battery power supply units in either silver or black, it was a surprise to encounter the Stromtank S-25000 Quantum MK-II ($30,000)—the unit I currently use—in white.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 21, 2024  |  0 comments
Nordost’s entry-level "Leif" line of cabling has just taken a major step forward with the introduction of Leif Series 3 ("Leif 3"). Gauge and terminations on the entire Leif series—White Lightning 3, Purple Flare 3, Blue Heaven 3, Red Dawn 3—have been upgraded.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 21, 2024  |  0 comments
“MBL always sounds great at shows” is an axiom so often repeated that it could serve as an audiophile mantra, but it accurately describes the experience of hearing a full-range, air-filled presentation that, in Munich, was open, alive, and just plain fabulous.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 21, 2024  |  0 comments
Bad me. For the past two or three years, knowing that it would run too late, I’ve begged off the evening Göbel press dinner / factory visit. From what I understand, it was my loss. According to Adam Mokrzycki, the mastermind of the Warsaw Audio Show, Oliver Göbel’s factory set-up is among the most impressive he’s ever heard. I stand chastised, Oliver and Adam.