Took a while to get through the backlog caused by being out in Munich for 4 days but it was well worth the trip out. I am not going to do an in-depth review of the show and every room as there is already a great round-up of the from Terry at Pursuit Perfect System which can be found here, but I will be rounding up news from the brands with which we deal with.
Gryphon Audio was the first room I popped into, I heard Rune (Sale Director at Gryphon) had an accident while unpacking the Apex stereo amp so just wanted to make sure he was ok and thankfully all was, but you will see his hand heavily bandage in the video above. When HiFi equipment can mortally wound you… Then you know you are onto something special. Gryphon's big news to shout about this year was the EOS 2, a new entry-level speaker replacing the Mojo S. It is a 2-way design featuring a large 1.3” Beryllium dome tweeter and 7” carbon laminated mid/bass. The interesting design aspect is the assignable porting where you can switch between either front of rear porting depending upon the position of the speaker within the room. This is very much designed for smaller rooms which is often the case here in the UK, I already know many of you who are looking for a speaker with a high fidelity sound and expansive sound stage that will not overpower their room, then this will be the perfect option and worth a listen.
Marten were showing off their Mingus Quintet 2 and in the same room Jorma Designs had their Power Filter Reference. A brilliant room that received a lot of praise from many who attended, the system consisted of an MSB Select DAC and MSB Mono M500 driving the speakers all run through the power filter reference. Marten also featured in the Engstrom room with their Mingus Orchestra, the WBT room with some Parker Diamond Trios and Isoacoustics room with some Parker Trios (standard version). After speaking with the designers at Jorma and hearing the results of their room, I am keen to get hold of the Power Filter Reference but unfortunately for the moment there is no UK plug version, but this is something they are looking to resolve.
TAD Labs E2
TAD Labs had their new E2 playing and this was one of the cheapest speakers on demonstration throughout the show but you would never have assumed that from listening. There was a common theme of shock and awe with what TAD Labs has accomplished with the E2 at the price point (approximately £14k).
PinkFaun was the most used digital front end in the show… I kept seeing the new PinkFaun 2.16 Ultra in room after room and this is a reliable sign when speaker and electronics manufacturers who are trying to represent their equipment in the best possible light, against all the competition with press coverage from around the world… and they are choosing PinkFaun for the front end.
Aries Cerat room is one I always look forward to, Danos purely designs his audio gear for sound reproduction first and foremost and the new Aurora speakers did not disappoint. This room was packed out both on the trade days and the visitor days. I remember I popped in for a second listen right at the end of the Saturday thinking it should be quiet but nope it was still heaving even though every other room was empty, and the show was technically closed. Bless Terry from Pursuit Perfect Systems he had to wait until everyone cleared out before he could do his interview so ended up being a late night for him.
Turntable wise both Nagra and Esoteric announced their new Turntables with interesting variations for their drive mechanism. Bergmann had a solid steel version of their Galder on show which added an additional 30kg ish to the turntable itself as well as their latest Thor tonearm (on order).
Innous showed off an A/B comparison of their statement PSU upgrade as well as having a display version of the new Pulse series. The Pulsar looks mighty tempting if you do not need the ripping functionality as they have instead packed in a Phoenix Reclocker instead.
Dali showed off their new flagship speaker Kore. Rather than a top-down exercise of designing from scratch, it was in essence designed as an ultimate version of a Dali speaker utilising their existing values. This still meant they had many engineering feats to overcome and had to employ new manufacturing technics and introduce new machinery to achieve their vision, but it was mission complete as it had all the hallmarks of a Dali signature sound but just better in all dimensions. Coming in at a smooth 70k, we will hopefully be having this speaker on demonstration at some point.
There was a ton of other news and superb sounding rooms going on, far too much for me to cover this trip as sadly I had to attend a ton of meetings in between everything, and even though it is a dangerous trip for my bank balance (lots of new kit coming in) I will be sure to attend next year show. If you’ve not had a chance to make it out to the Munich High-End show before, I would highly recommend booking as soon as tickets become available… but if the logistics are a little too much we are now blessed in the UK to be having the Royal Ascot HiFi Show (10-11th Sept) which is after a little gap due to unforeseen circumstances is in its 2nd year now.