Munich High End 2011

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Stephen Mejias  |  May 25, 2011  |  0 comments
Boston Acoustic’ new A 25 ($300/pair) is housed in an attractive, high-gloss cabinet, uses a 1” tweeter and 5.25” ceramic/glass fiber polymer mid-woofer, and was designed with the help of Karl-Heinz Fink, Kieron Dunk, and Ken Ishiwata—a formidable team.

A review sample has arrived at Stereophile HQ, and I’m looking forward to listening.

Stephen Mejias  |  May 20, 2011  |  1 comments
Andy Regan (left) and George Cardas are excited about the current state of hi-fi and music. They strongly believe that the asynchronous technologies found in today’s digital-to-analog converters can erase any negative effects the Compact Disc has had on music and on our enjoyment of music. It’s possible to achieve improved sound quality and enjoy a better overall listening experience by removing the disc from the equation, playing high-quality music files stored on a hard drive.
Stephen Mejias  |  May 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Castle Acoustics is a brand we don’t talk too much about in the States. This is the Richmond Anniversary, its mirror-matched pairs beautifully veneered in luscious Lacewood.
Stephen Mejias  |  May 24, 2011  |  0 comments
The press kit reads: “Home is where we can do exactly what we please. It’s freedom to breathe, live, love, and play together with music as a dedicated companion….”
Stephen Mejias  |  May 23, 2011  |  5 comments
Look at this sexy beast. (I’m talking about the turntable.) Dr. Feickert Analogue’s Blackbird (€5490) got my attention with its clean lines and beautiful wood trim. The Blackbird shares the simple design of Feickert’s smaller Woodpecker, but adds the option of a second tonearm, while its refined controller software drives both motors in a slave-master configuration.

"Take a picture of me stroking this gorgeous thing," I said to Rosemarie.

"Yes, boss," she sighed.

Stephen Mejias  |  May 23, 2011  |  0 comments
Once you’ve decided on your tonearms and cartridges, you can use Dr. Feickert’s Adjust+ software to adjust azimuth, measure wow and flutter, and set the speed of your turntable. Or you can download Feickert’s free PlatterSpeed app for your Apple- or Android-based tablet or cell phone, and combine it with Feickert’s 7” Test Record.
Stephen Mejias  |  May 24, 2011  |  3 comments
The speakers in Dynaudio’s new Confidence Signature line come with a 10-year warranty and take their premium Mocha or Bordeaux finishes from the limited-edition Sapphire.

From left: C1 Signature ($8500/pair), C2 Signature ($15,000/pair), C4 Signature ($22,000/pair).

Read Wes Phillips' review of the original C1 and John Atkinson's review of the original C4.

Stephen Mejias  |  May 24, 2011  |  0 comments
The models in Dynaudio’s Focus series are available in high-gloss white or black, walnut, maple, rosewood, or black ash. From left: Focus 160 ($2900/pair), Focus 260 ($4900/pair), Focus 340 ($7500/pair), Focus 380 ($9500/pair).

These new models include Dynaudio’s updated drive units as well as revised crossover designs and enhanced cabinet construction. Their soft-dome tweeters utilize an improved coating, while the midrange drivers and woofers use new voice-coil assemblies and sound-optimized, die-cast aluminum driver baskets.

Stephen Mejias  |  May 19, 2011  |  0 comments
As we climbed the stairs into the sunlight and ventured out onto Frankfurter Ring, we were happily surprised to find that our hotel was right next door to a curious place called Eroticland. Somehow, this seemed appropriate.

Would this turn out to be a sexy hi-fi show?

Stephen Mejias  |  May 25, 2011  |  0 comments
A look at the complete Marantz/Boston Acoustics system. Toe-in was pretty extreme, helping to create a well-focused and stable soundstage. Listening to this system, it was easy to completely forget about the components and be carried away by the music.
Stephen Mejias  |  May 23, 2011  |  0 comments
The world’s sexiest record-cleaning machine? Possibly. This Hannl Mera ELB (€2670), housed in orange acrylic to look like hot lava, offers programmable cleaning and suction functions for quiet operation and quick drying.

Don’t like orange lava? (What’s wrong with you?) Potential owners can customize their Mera ELBs. Pick your favorite colors and clean away.

Stephen Mejias  |  May 23, 2011  |  0 comments
Which one of these things is not like the other? The Harbeth Monitor 20.1 (far left), in new titanium gray finish, makes a statement.

The company wanted to design something a bit sexier, a bit more modern, explained Harbeth’s Alan Shaw.

While he admitted that reasons for selecting one loudspeaker over another are not always rational, he believes a loudspeaker should be used in the application best suited to it. The Monitor 20s are optimized for nearfield monitoring in desktop sound- and video-editing.

Still: “‘Sexy’ is really important,” said Shaw.

Stephen Mejias  |  May 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Hegel’s Anders Ertzeid stands proud with an Apple iPad and Hegel’s HD20 DAC ($2000). Ertzeid was using the iPad and AirPlay to wirelessly stream full-resolution files into the HD20.

“It’s a very stable connection,” Ertzeid said. “Even with all the competing networks here, the music hasn’t skipped at all.”

Stephen Mejias  |  May 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Audioarts’ Gideon Schwartz introduced me to a new loudspeaker from Switzerland’s Stenheim, a company founded by four young designers who had previously worked together at the high-profile Goldmund firm.

Here, the Alumine monitor ($12,795/pair) is mated to an optional subwoofer module ($26,700/pair). Should one opt against the sub, matching aluminum stands add $2975/pair. The speakers were partnered with CH source components and Viola Audio Labs amplification.

These speakers, perhaps more than any others I heard at the show, managed to “disappear,” leaving nothing but music in their place. Without sounding at all aggressive, the system produced lots of fine detail and great center fill.

Stephen Mejias  |  May 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Here, the lovely Rosemarie tempts Hegel’s mascot.

The polar bear, Isbjornar, keeps watch over Hegel’s prized “Soundengine,” the company’s reason for existence, a technology meant to optimize power consumption, reduce distortion, and increase damping factor.

But Isbjornar seems smitten. I think Rosemarie has won his heart.