Munich 2023

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 28, 2023  |  0 comments
AV RoomService's Norman Varney is committed to addressing smaller and smaller vibrations that can affect system performance ways in far less subtle than one might wish. The latest additions to his roster, shown in this admittedly less than sexy photo, includes two chassis lid damping devices. The first, a constrained layer stainless-steel damping strip that attaches internally to a chassis lid, should be affixed at an angle so that it will affect more modes. There are two models: a 12" × 2" strip ($35) or the larger 12" × 24" version ($65).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 28, 2023  |  0 comments
UK-based Chord is poised to release the new Ultima Integrated (€8500) in September or October. Chord's first new integrated amplifier in some time, it incorporates elements of the company's Ultima P3 preamp and Ultima 6 power amp and utilizes Chord's latest dual feed-forward error correction, said to reduce the noise floor by at least 10dB. A fully balanced class-AB design, the Ultima Integrated will output 125Wpc into 8 ohms at the least and, one would expect, even more bliss.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 29, 2023  |  4 comments
In the extremely large, all-sonic-bets-are-off, glass-enclosed Atrium display mounted by Mansour Mamaghani's Audio Reference Munich, Dan D'Agostino, and his indispensable sidekick (aka company President) Bill McKiegan, joined forces with Wilson, dCS, and Perlisten to blow people's minds. When the new Relentless Epic and Relentless Epic 800 mono amplifiers got fired up, it was a case of which dazzled you first, the sound or the sheer enormity and shine of the display.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 27, 2023  |  0 comments
There was a "the only way to appreciate this book is to ditch its cover" discovery to be had in the dCS room, but it required reading between the lines. For me, the system was akin to revisiting close and trusted friends: the superb dCS Vivaldi Apex digital playback system ($91,500 without the transport), which has graced the cover of Stereophile and, in my educated opinion, deserves a Product of the Year award; the Wilson Audio Alexia V loudspeaker ($69,500/pair base price), another cover story product that continues to bless me with its riches; Dan D'Agostino Master Systems Momentum M400 MxV amplifiers ($79,500/pair), which I praise in the current, June 2023 issue; and what I believe was Nordost Valhalla 2 cabling connected to Nordost's upgraded QBase (QB8) Mark III.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 24, 2023  |  4 comments
Estelon's new entry-level Aura loudspeaker ($19,900/pair) is as notable for its sound and unique design as for its departure from premium pricing. Every driver in the Aura, from the Scanspeak 1" soft-dome tweeter to its two 5" SB Acoustics mid-woofers and 10" Faital woofer, is new.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 26, 2023  |  0 comments
I admit that I didn't get what the Fink Team of Essen, Germany was all about until I met the man himself, Karl-Heinz Fink, who is well known within the industry for designing many important loudspeakers marketed by other companies. Fink, who also owns the Epos loudspeaker brand, began his own engineering company 40 years ago. Then, about seven years ago, the late and revered Ken Ishiwata of Marantz asked him to build a big speaker for Marantz. Out of that came the Borg, a two-way system with an AMT tweeter that was launched five years ago. The Borg Episode 2 (€30,000/pair), which is marketed by the Fink Team, replaces the original model.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 26, 2023  |  0 comments
Welcome to the first GoldenEar loudspeaker completely redesigned by AudioQuest since the cable company bought the speaker company. Re-envisioned and realized by a US/Canadian team headed by Garth Powell, the T66 ($6900/pair in black or $7200/pair in red) will hopefully become available in either August or September. It contains a folded-ribbon AMT tweeter, two MVPP, cast-basket, passive midrange drivers, and two active long-throw, DSP-controlled oval subwoofers powered by 1200W class-D amplifiers. Passive quadratic planar radiators are located on each side of the speaker. It goes without saying that internal wiring is by AudioQuest.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 29, 2023  |  0 comments
Having debuted his extremely impressive Mach 8XL loudspeaker ($30,800–$33,000/pair, depending upon finish) at AXPONA, Grandinote owner/designer Massimiliano Magri and North American distributor Reinhard Goerner joined forces in Munich to preview the forthcoming dual mono, fully balanced, class-A Solo amplifier ($20,000 + options).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 24, 2023  |  0 comments
Quite the well-conceived display, don't you think? I have to say the same about the sound, one of whose high points, on Gabriel Rios's "Swing Low," was a wonderfully large and captivating soundstage.

Grimm's new MU2 music streamer/DAC/analog preamplifier ($18,000), which will start shipping in October or November, is already back-ordered.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 26, 2023  |  11 comments
The folks at Gryphon Audio Designs of Denmark sure are smart cookies. Rather than overloading the public, industry, and press with a ton of words about their new Diablo 333 integrated amplifier ($23,000), they posted an extremely detailed "TECHNICAL TALK" sheet in the front area of their deep glass-entranced showcase.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 26, 2023  |  0 comments
"What's in a number?" you may ask. In the case of InnuOS2.4, the latest update to music server company Innuos' own streaming software announced at Munich High End, a lot.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 27, 2023  |  0 comments
I was dashing past hundreds of exhibits in the four huge ground-floor exhibit halls of the MOC when Lab 12's exhibit caught my eye. On the recommendation of Herb Reichert, my audiophile buddy, Scott, bought the Lab 12 tube preamp shown above with Stratos Vichos, Lab 12's owner and designer, and forever sings its praises.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 25, 2023  |  3 comments
MBL's Chief Engineer, Jürgen Reis, also records Cologne's famed period-instrument ensemble, Concerto Köln. It was thus only fitting that two musicians from the ensemble, bassist Jean-Michel Forêt and violoncellist Alexander Scherf (who is also music director of Concerto Köln), visited the MBL room at Munich High End to play some music, talk music history, and enable comparison of live vs. reproduced sound.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 27, 2023  |  0 comments
Meridian's just launched, visually stunning DSP9 digital active loudspeaker (€60,000/pair in black, €65,000/pair in a choice of automotive finishes) is a definite rival to SteinMusic for the Munich High-End 2023 Best Looker of Show Award. With all electronics built-in—each drive unit contains its own amplifier—and controlled by phone or tablet, the speaker includes DSP intended to eliminate all room variables.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 28, 2023  |  2 comments
You read it here first. After aeons of confusion over the Canadian company's name—is it Moon, is it Simaudio, or is it Simaudio by Moon?—our friends to the North are poised to finally resolve the issue. But before their Moon launch, they are launching their first new product range in 10 years, the upper-echelon North Collection. Consisting of three products, two in the 600 range, two in the 700, and two in the 800, all are full balanced designs.

Costa Koulisakis (above), the extremely knowledgeable and articulate public face of whatever they're called, began with the 641 all-analog, 125Wpc integrated amplifier ($11,000) and 681 streaming DAC ($12,000), which has fixed and variable outputs that does up to 32/384 MQA and DSD256.