Munich 2018

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Kalman Rubinson  |  May 23, 2018  |  13 comments
The Kii Three speaker on top of its BXT woofer module.

For years, I have had the Munich High-End Show on my bucket list and, this year was the time to cross it off. Past reports have been enticing not only from the detailed reports of a wealth of familiar, not-so-familiar and some downright unknown audio companies but, even more, because it is said to be the best show in terms of venue, focus and community spirit.

Herb Reichert  |  May 17, 2018  |  7 comments
I am getting near the end of my Munich High End 2018 report and I am already feeling sad for all the rooms with hornspeakers I did not get to experience. What if I missed all the best ones?
Herb Reichert  |  May 16, 2018  |  11 comments
The July Stereophile will include my Follow-Up report on the Joseph Audio Pulsar loudspeakers; the same Pulsars Michael Fremer raved about in his full review. Before I submitted the review, Jana Dagdagan and I made a live binaural recording/video to accompany my written report so you, the reader at home, could experience the exact same recordings in the exact same system in the same room I used to evaluate the Pulsars. Today, therefore, I will only tell you that Jeff Joseph's floor-standing, gloss-white Perspective loudspeakers (15,990 Euros/pair) sounded fuller, deeper, bigger, and richer, than the stand-mounted Pulsars I reviewed.
Herb Reichert  |  May 16, 2018  |  7 comments
Look at this photo of Cessaro Horn Acoustics' beautiful-in-color 5-way "Zeta" lautsprecher. Can you imagine it sitting in your listening room? I could, and I'd be proud to own it—if only I didn't live in a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment and write reviews for a living. The Zetas are new, and cost between 320,00 and 460,000 Euros/pair, which—don't laugh—I think seems like a bargain for all the hardware and good sound a buyer would receive.
Art Dudley  |  May 15, 2018  |  4 comments
Since Herb Reichert and I were booked to fly back to New York on Sunday, Saturday was to be my last day at High End 2018—which is to say, Saturday was my Sunday: a day of moving along smartly, covering as many rooms and booths as possible, and listening only briefly.

Wouldn't you know it that my first stop of the day, at the room sponsored by German loudspeaker manufacturer Zellaton, was one that discouraged drive-by reporting…

Art Dudley  |  May 15, 2018  |  3 comments
2018 marks the 100th year of business for Danish cartridge manufacturer Ortofon A/S—the actual birthday is October 9th—so it came as no surprise that Ortofon's head of product development, Leif Johannsen (on the right in the photo above, next to Lou Dorio of the company's American subsidiary, Ortofon Inc.) cooked up three special, limited-edition products to celebrate the milestone: the anachronistic and ostensibly DJ-friendly moving-magnet Concorde Century; the ultra-high-end MC Century; and the cartridge that most appealed to me, the SPU Century (estimated price: €5000).
Herb Reichert  |  May 15, 2018  |  11 comments
In the primary Living Voice room (there were two) I found the Vox Olympian & Vox Elysian loudspeakers (851,200/pair Euros in Macassar Ebony & Amboyna Burl with figured Eucalyptus wood), partnered with vintage Kondo electronics via both digital and analog sources. For analog, there was the Grand Prix Audio Monaco 2.0 turntable with a Kuzma 4-point tonearm, and a Fuuga MC cartridge (45,419 Euro total) connected via a Living Voice step-up transformer (6812 Euros) to a SJS enhanced model 3 phono-amplifier voiced for Living Voice (15,896 Euros).
Herb Reichert  |  May 14, 2018  |  13 comments
So, folks, here are a couple things you need to understand about Munich High End 2018:

As a rule, Europe brings to audio a different aesthetic and perspective than America—they are way less into giant, million-dollar, solid-state amplifiers and way more into low-power tube amps. And . . . they are definitely into horn loudspeakers in a way that most Americans cannot fathom.

Art Dudley  |  May 14, 2018  |  7 comments
Reminders were everywhere that the High End show, which takes place in a 30,000-square-meter convention center, differs from the hotel-centric North American norm in its preponderance of silent displays—silent, but seldom inconspicuous. A fine example was the room occupied by the 33.3-year-old Danish firm Gryphon Audio Designs, which used the occasion to display their 93.5"-tall, 2002-lb (net weight), twin-tower Kodo loudspeaker system (price on request). The Kodo—which, when I visited, enjoyed tremendous popularity as a selfie prop—is a four-way design, specified as reaching from 16Hz to 25kHz.
Art Dudley  |  May 12, 2018  |  5 comments
Friday's weather was no less spectacular than Thursday's—yet from the moment I arrived there, the MOC was mobbed with attendees who weren't at all bashful about spending the day indoors. Perhaps the interior sunniness of the glass-and-steel structure helped: I would certainly chafe at spending such a beautiful day roaming the dark halls of some glum hotel.

Whatever the reason, I couldn't shake the impression that a lot of audio enthusiasts didn't show up for work on Friday.

Herb Reichert  |  May 11, 2018  |  9 comments
This is my first trip to High End Munich, held Thursday–Sunday May 10–13 at the MOC convention center. Besides reporting for Stereophile, I am charged with scouting to make a final determination whether it "would be worth the suffering" for my Brooklyn friend Sphere, who hates to travel more than two hours to get anywhere! "Herb, just tell me, if I only attend one audio show, should it be Munich?"
Art Dudley  |  May 11, 2018  |  0 comments
Everything you've heard is true. Lufthansa really is among the world's finest airlines. (I say that as an uncomfortable and often unwilling traveler who has had nothing but perfect flights on Lufthansa), Munich is one of the cleanest, most attractive, and most easily traveled cities in Europe. And Munich High End is, without a doubt and by a stunning margin, the greatest audio show on Earth, period. Nothing I could say—nothing—can prepare you for the sheer scale of the venue, the number and variety of exhibits, the quality of those exhibits, and the exciting, carnival-like vibe of Munich High End: It must be experienced.
Art Dudley  |  May 11, 2018  |  53 comments
Scheduled to ship in early autumn, the Hegel 590 ($12,000) is poised to become the Norwegian company's new flagship integrated amplifier. With a power supply 50% larger than that of Hegel's previous top-of-the-line integrated (the H360), the 590 operates in class-AB, delivering 301Wpc. Driving a pair of KEF Blade loudspeakers (ca $30,000/pair), a pre-production Hegel 590 sounded amazing—a really good sense of musical drive, plus a tonal balance that was neither dull nor overly crisp—on a digital file of Shelby Lynne performing the Nick Cave song "Into My Arms."
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