Manufacturers from around the world are featured with quality gear to fit all pocket books. Well over 500 exhibitors are expected at this year’s’Munich show and the theme is “Listen to the Music”. Fantastic opportunity to audition so many products!
The show begins May 10, so look for coverage from our SECRETS team of 3: Carlo LoRaso, Senior Editor, Doug Pyper, SECRETS Team Member based in the UK and Cynthia Johnson-St Denis, Managing Editor. We’ll be posting on SECRETS Google + and on the SECRETS Website.
Hello Secrets readers. It is with great excitement that Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity announces that we will be providing our first ever, complete coverage of the upcoming High End 2018 International Audio Show in Munich, Germany.
From May 10th to the 13th our crack team of journalists will be roaming the atriums, halls and showrooms of the MOC convention center to bring you the latest news and impressions of what has become one of the largest and most important audio shows on the calendar. Our team on this trip will consist of “Yours Truly”, Managing Editor Cynthia Johnson-St.Denis and, he who we affectionately refer to as our “European Bureau Chief”, Staff Writer Doug Pyper.
As this will be the first non-North American show that I have ever attended, I’m looking forward to seeing what will be different or unexpected from comparable shows here, such as RMAF and AXPONA. High End Munich is supposed to be a huge production, so I am expecting to get an eye and ear-full, from both the big players in audio along with the smaller and more obscure brands. Be sure to keep a weather-eye on Secrets for the show report updates or sign in to Google+ and navigate to the Show Reports section of our “Secrets Cave” for any up-to the minute postings that we may have. This is sure to be an exciting show and we hope you enjoy following along!
Good morning from sunny Germany (or should that be guten Morgan?)! It’s day one of High End Munich 2018 and I can’t wait to get in there. The show’s promising to be quite special, with some seriously impressive-looking kit awaiting show-goers.
Carlo, Cynthia and I will be roaming the halls, talking with manufacturers and treating our ears to some of the finest products hi-fi has to offer. With so many exhibitors at High End it’s difficult to know what to look forward to most, but I’m definitely excited to see the unveiling of PMC’s new flagship speaker. I also can’t wait to hear Wilson Benesch’s new Eminence – a cost-no-object speaker marking the firm’s 30-year anniversary.
Stay tuned here for our show reports as High End progresses!
One of the highlights of day one of #munichhighend2018 had to be the unveiling of PMC’s new flagship Fenestria. The cabinet’s distinctive central module houses a ‘nest’ where the mid and high frequency drivers sit. The nest is milled from a billet of solid aluminium, with the aim of isolating the mid and high-frequency drivers from the speaker’s bass drivers and transmission line. The Fenestria stands a monumental 66.9” with a 23-25kHz response, with 86dB @ 1W, 1m sensitivity.
DALI’s impressive Callisto wireless active speakers, premiered at #munichhighend2018, promise to be show favourites. The Callisto range comprises the 6C floor standers and the 2C standmounts, both featuring DALI’s distinctive combination of soft-dome tweeter, ribbon tweeter and wood fibre woofers. The speakers connect to a sound hub, into which source equipment can be hooked up via an array of connections and Bluetooth 4.2 (AAC, Apt-X, AptX HD). The soundhub’s also modular – adding an element of future-proofing to the system. The first module is Bluesound’s BluOS multi-room platform.
And so it begins….
Munich High End Audio Show – from the floor…just a sample, more to come
When turntables are house payments. JR Transrotor
Dan D’Agostino Audio Reference
Pancin Art Technology
What’s in the box!?!
I began my journey into the Munich High End show this year with some blatant “turntable porn”, courtesy of JR Transrotor. They are a German company with a surprisingly broad array of turntable offerings ranging from the sane to the practically obscene. Prices range from about 2800 Euro for the fairly discreet Transrotor MAX model to about 125,000 Euro for the statement Transrotor Artus FMD model. There are a total of 19 different turntables in the entire line, each looking incredibly overbuilt and with an almost dizzying array of available options.
Some of JR Transrotor’s accessories and options included the Phono Studio and Phono II MM/MC phono preamps. Both seemed very simple on the outside but possessed internal jumpers to set the various loadings. These two were RCA output only. The flagship Phono 8.2 MC is a dual chassis phono preamp having the power supply in it’s own housing and XLR inputs and outputs. Customers could also choose from a selection of Goldring and Transrotor cartridges for their future platter-spinner.
JR Transrotor even had a cool looking headphone amplifier tucked in the display case.
We stumbled into German manufacturer Audionet’s room early on and it had to be one of the best sounding rooms that we heard on the first day. The stars of the show were the Audionet STERN preamplifier playing through two Audionet Heisenberg monoblock power amps. These elegant but potent electronics were powering a pair of Dynaudio Evidence Platinum loudspeakers. The Heisenberg mono amps each put out 530 watts @ 8ohms, 1050 watts @ 4 ohms, and 2100 watts @ 2 ohms according to the manufacturer. The components oozed that minimalist “Apple” visual style but with the obvious nod to Germanic build quality. The sound of the combination in that room was decidedly effortless on the tracks we sampled. Depth and detail were there for days, no doubt assisted by the fact that the room seemed decently acoustically treated.
US pricing for the Audionet gear is roughly $45,000.00 for the STERN preamp and $105,000.00 for a pair of the Heisenberg mono amps. The Dynaudio Evidence Platinum speakers are $85,000.00/pair and have a claimed frequency response of 28Hz- 25kHz =/-3dB.
In the category of “Holy Mother of What?” I present to you the Relentless Monoblock power amplifier from Dan D’Agostino. With a case machined from solid aluminum with copper inlays, it has a claimed 5.5-kilowatt power supply feeding 100 output devices. It also incorporates something called the Super Rail concept involving higher voltage rails in the sections prior to the output stages. The end result is supposedly improved dynamics and lower overall distortion. It is rated at 1500 watts @ 8 ohms, 3000 watts @ 6 ohms, and 6000 watts @ 2 ohms. Needless to say that it requires a dedicated 220 volt line to operate. The thing resembles a drag racing engine block with a cycloptic eye power meter.
A pair of these bad boys will set you back $250,000.00.
A personal local power grid is not included.
Arcam were showing off their new HDA line at #munichhighend2018. The HDA range marks a departure from the company’s FMJ series, with a distinctive new curved styling and slightly lighter silvery grey finish. Going forward, Arcam’s hi-fi offerings will adopt the HDA design, with the FMJ approach reserved for AV products.
The new HDAs comprise the SA10 and SA20 integrated amps, and the CDS50. The SA10 uses a class AB amp rated at 55W, while the SA20 employs the firm’s excellent class G amp, rated at 80W, with a slightly improved DAC. The CDS50 CD network player plays SACDs and is compatible with a range of streaming services, including TIDAL, Qobuz and Napster.
Pricing on the SA10 is $999, SA20 $1499 and CDS50 $1299. They should be available in Europe in June, with an estimated US launch in July.
Wilson Benesch introduced their new flagship Eminence at #highendmunich2018, and they are certainly up there among the best the show has to offer. The 78” towers sounded sublime during the demonstration we heard, lending an utterly lifelike, in-the-room-with-you quality to female vocals, without a hint of harshness or sibilance. Wilson Benesch credit this transparency in no small part to the latest iteration of their Fibonacci tweeter design. The silk-carbon hybrid tweeter is encircled by a carbon-fibre faceplate, forming a waveguide tailored to the tweeter’s output. Both the faceplate and the motor are decoupled from the rest of the tweeter chassis, helping the tweeter achieve what Wilson Benesch claim to be ruler-flat frequency response with ultra-wide dispersion characteristics.
As with every component of Wilson Benesch speakers, the Eminence’s tactic 3.0 midrange driver (below the tweeter) is built in-house at the firm’s factory in South Yorkshire, England. Having total control of the design and manufacturing process allows the Eminence to operate a crossover-free midrange driver, coupled directly to the amp, shortening the signal path in the critical midrange area.
The Eminence sits on some seriously well-engineered solid aluminium feet, weighing 38kg each. The firm say each foot “requires a quarter of a million lines of CNC code and 16-hours of machining, reducing a 100kg solid billet of aluminium by more than half”. The Eminence should retail in the US for around $235,000.
This is a 50” subwoofer. Need I say more?
OK, you want specs. The Ascendo Immersive Audio SMSG50’s powered by a 6000W SpeakerPower amp, has ethernet connectable DSP for tuning its installation via a network, and can dig down to 1Hz, with a claimed “over 100dB” at 5Hz. All for a mere $70,000.
A delightful discovery at #highendmunich2018 came in the form of Taylor Acoustic’s Concert 120 stand-mounted speakers. Aside from producing almost unfathomably deep, punchy bass from their rear-ported enclosure, and a beguilingly natural sound, their solid wood cabinet just shouted high-quality craftsmanship. Unfortunately, like most things at High End Munich, they don’t come cheap: 28,000 Euros a pair (roughly $33,500).
Sennheiser were showing off their new HD820 closed back headphones at #highendmunich2018, retailing at $2,399. The 820s feature a glass transducer cover that Sennheiser claims minimizes resonances. I found they had a surprisingly spacious sound for a closed back design, lending an airy quality to the tracks I listened to: Jackson’s Billie Jean and the (ubiquitous-demo-track) Eagles’ Hotel California. Very impressive. They’re available for pre-order now and should be released worldwide in July.