Munich 2019

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Jim Austin  |  May 09, 2019  |  17 comments
From my first room at High End Munich: Some actual news: A new SACD player from Mark Levinson.
Jim Austin  |  May 15, 2019  |  1 comments
It had been years since I last checked in with Totem Acoustic, the Canada-based loudspeaker manufacturer. When I showed up at the Totem room and was greeted by company president and longtime chief designer Vince Bruzzese, I didn't know what to expect. In the event, what I got was some excellent sound from two compact towers placed very close to the front wall, and a short introduction to what appeared to be some interesting technology behind those impressive loudspeakers.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 14, 2019  |  1 comments
The characteristic—perhaps I should say inimitable—Vandersteen midrange was in evidence in a system that paired a Brinkmann Audio front end and amplification (detailed below) with Vandersteen ($63,999/pair). The top was quite lively, which made for an extremely exciting listen to an LP of Jeff Beck's extraordinary "Brush with the Blues." Highs were also haunting on the vinyl version of Lou Reed's hilarious (to me) 2003 recording "Vanishing Act." I didn't write down which digital tracks were played, but a return to vinyl with Vanessa Fernandez's "I Want You" revealed that the system also had excellent slam.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 14, 2019  |  1 comments
Verity Audio's system paired their Lohengrin IIS Reference loudspeaker system (110,000 Euros/pair) with the following electronics: A new preamplifier with active crossover, the Monsalvat Pro-4 (64,000 Euros) is designed to work with the loudspeakers; two Verity Audio Monsalvat Amp-60 Reference power amplifiers ($58,000 each), which I reviewed in the June 2019 issue; a Melco N1ZS/2A music server (9,975 euros); a TW-Acustic Raven Black Night turntable (29,500 Euros) with Raven 12 tonearm (5000 Euros) and RPS 10 phonostage (6,000 euros), and a Dynavector XV-1 S MC cartridge (4500 Euros).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 13, 2019  |  0 comments
Given the background noise, it was a little difficult to focus on the music from Yello and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd in the system from Vienna Acoustics and Vincent, but this little system's ability throw a large, ear-catching ambient soundstage was its strong point. Speakers were the Vienna Acoustics Mozart (€1800/pair). Vincent electronics included (I think) the new DAC-7, which handles up to 32/384 and DSD256 and has a tube output stage, along with the SA-T7 preamp (€2499), SP-T700 mono hybrid amplifier (€1999/each), CD-S7 hybrid CD player (€2199), and PHO-701 phono stage (€649). Cables were from Vincent and Pangea.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 11, 2019  |  2 comments
Lovely, smooth sound, fine timbres, and a very large soundstage in the nearfield were the hallmarks of a system that was dominated by Vitus Audio's brand new, "hardly broken in" SIA-030 Signature integrated amplifier (€35,000). The SIA-030 has a fully regulated power supply for its output stage and a 22kW transformer, and claims 400,000 microfarads capacitance prior to regulation. It operates in two modes, either 30Wpc class-A or 200Wpc class-AB, and has a volume control that adjusts by 0.5dB steps while using only one resistor in series with the signal.
Jim Austin  |  May 16, 2019  |  9 comments
For sheer scale, perhaps the most impressive system I heard at the Munich High End show was in the room shared by Von Schweikert and VAC. The star of the show was—perhaps—the Von Schweikert Ultra Reference 9 loudspeaker, which sells for an impressive $200,000/pair. The Ultra series is, Von Schweikert says, a cost-no-object line. So far there are three speakers in the line: The 9, the $300,000 11, and the $90,000 55. Von Schweikert, of course, also sells more modestly priced loudspeakers; their VR-22 is under $3000 / pair.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 13, 2019  |  5 comments
Excellent bass, a somewhat toned-down presentation and somewhat dry midrange, and excellent imaging—the speakers completely disappeared—were the hallmarks of Zellaton Reference Mk II Loudspeakers (2018) (€147,950/pair). As with all our show reports, how much of what I heard was due to electronics previously unknown to me, and whose sound I cannot begin to describe until I hear them in a familiar context, I cannot ascertain.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 10, 2019  |  2 comments
The big news in this excellent-sounding system was the two new power cables from Purist Audio Design. First was the Purist Diamond Limited Edition AC Power Cable ($6300/1 meter, with an ultimate length of 1.8 tip to tip). Composed of 10-gauge Nano silver, the cable includes a five-stage filter box intended to counteract RMI and EF from outside forces and the internal workings of equipment. Beneath that baby lies Purist's all-new Diamond Revision Neptune AC Power Cable ($3800/meter), which contains 8-gauge copper wrapped with strands of Nano silver.

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