Munich 2019

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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 13, 2019  |  4 comments
Thanks to Michael Fremer, whom I ran into at the MOC while we both waited for the show to open on Day 3, I ended up at a private listening session in the PMC room. There, after Michael pulled out his video camera and engaged in a thorough, only-Michael-would-know-enough-to-ask-such-questions Q&A with PMC's Maurice Patist—it will appear at AnalogPlanet.com—we listened to two revivified tracks from Miles Davis's iconic Kind of Blue that have been given the full Dolby Atmos surround treatment.
Jim Austin  |  May 13, 2019  |  34 comments
Krell had a big display at Munich High End show and seems to be on the brink—or maybe in the midst—of a major new-product and marketing surge. One major recent introduction is the K-300i integrated amplifier
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 13, 2019  |  0 comments
Raidho Acoustics' new TD1.2 speaker ($24,000/pair), whose unveiling I missed at AXPONA, resurfaced in Munich. Hearing a track from the Ray Brown Trio's Soular Energy led me to write, in my notebook, "Pretty amazing how well these small speakers create such a big soundstage." Transparency around solo instruments and percussion was quite exceptional. Save for a touch of dryness, which could have been room-related, this system sounded excellent.
Jim Austin  |  May 11, 2019  |  18 comments
Why travel all the way from New York City to Munich to hear (and see) a loudspeaker made in Brooklyn? Because it's easier to get from the Munich High End press room to the Devore Fidelity listening room here than it is to get from Manhattan's upper west side to the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where the Devore Orangutan Reference loudspeakers are made.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 11, 2019  |  0 comments
Wonderful, truly musical warmth and clarity were the hallmarks of a system built around the Absolare Passion integrated amplifier ($26,500), ReQuest The Raptor Plus music server (1TB version with DAC that handles PCM up to 32/384, and DSD up to 256: $15,900), Rockport Atria speakers ($21,500/pair), Echole Limited Edition Power Center power conditioner ($20,000), and new Echole Infinity cabling ($TBD).
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 11, 2019  |  1 comments
On static display: three products from Cary that just started shipping earlier this year.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 11, 2019  |  9 comments
The "Ocean Mystery" colored Estelon Forza loudspeaker (€110,000/pair) made quite a statement all by itself. Paired with a Kronos Pro turntable (€37,600) with SCPS1 power supply (€13,500), Black Beauty tonearm (€8400), and ZYX Universe 3 cartridge (€8100); Bassocontinuo racks; Kubala-Sosna Realization cabling; Audes ST-3000 power conditioner (€3900); and Furutech NCF Booster-Signal (€2780), it conveyed electric guitar with natural bite, relayed all instruments except Eugene Istomin's somewhat tinkly piano on the Reference Recordings' LP of Mozart Piano Concerto No.21 with natural timbres and a strong midrange, and, on my Channel Classics SACD of the Mahler Symphony No.2, nailed the great expanse and natural timbres of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, along with some brightness on top.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 10, 2019  |  3 comments
Something really cool happened in the room shared by Grand Prix Audio of the US and Apertura Audio of France. For the first time, I witnessed a rack/support comparison that confirmed for me the importance of both for optimal system performance . . .
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.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 10, 2019  |  3 comments
The new EMM Labs NS1 Network Streamer ($4500—the smallest of the three products in the above photo), due in two months, seems to be Ed Meitner's response to the dCS Network Bridge. The NS1 will decode up to 24/192 PCM and DSD 64 and fully unfold MQA, and is a Roon-ready endpoint. In addition, when connected via the company's proprietary Optilink to other EMM Labs products, including the DV2 Integrated Converter that received a rave when I reviewed it for Stereophile, the NS1 can be optically isolated from the network to reduce noise. The NS1's inputs include ethernet and USB; its outputs, in addition to the aforementioned Optilink, include AES and Toslink.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 10, 2019  |  1 comments
Marten, which is currently searching for new distribution in the US, unveiled its new Mingus Orchestra four-way loudspeaker (€185,000/pair). Using the same drivers and crossover as their top-of-the-line Supreme 2 (€450,000/pair), albeit with fewer bass drivers and a less expensive cabinet, the new Marten sounded superb in the context of a first-rate system.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 09, 2019  |  8 comments
No less than four new Nordost products received their first showing at Munich High End. The Valhalla 2 Tonearm Cable + ($5000), due by early June, is a monofilament design that contains four silver-plated solid-core copper conductors, in a twisted-pair arrangement that creates a left and right channel, each individually wrapped in a silver braided shield to eliminate crosstalk. This cable comes with two detachable silver-plated ground whips designed to enhance grounding and eliminate hum.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 09, 2019  |  7 comments
Taking horns far beyond their Alpine context, Stein Music's Bob XL speakers and subwoofers ($290,000 total) were reproducing Shelby Lynne's "Just a Little Lovin'" with warmth, solidity, and gratifying musicality. Company founder/designer Holger Stein attributed part of the system's success to the new Stein Music Matrix cable series. These silver cables are assembled on the company's own braiding machine, which allows them to control all parameters. Stein told me that they use special metrics to change the vector of the cable's magnetic fields so that their sum is zero.

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