Last week we arrived back from Munich High End 2017 at the MOC exhibition centre.
It was the first time for me (Tom - pictured right) - what can I say? Well, as Kevin Best from ETI (pictured middle) would say "it was AWESOME!" Imagine a UK show multiplied by 10. Imagine the cost of a system on demo and add two more zeros to the price tag. The Munich show is a no holds barred experience - all the exhibitors go all out. It was well worth the visit!
Nick (pictured left) and I had a day and a half visit to the wonderful city of Munich and the show - we had to run to fit in all in. As well as the world-renowned High-End show, there was the Hi-Fi Deluxe show just a couple of miles away. Just across the road from the massive halls of the MOC there were a few pop-up shows in the Motor-World Museum and the neighbouring buildings.
Come evening we took the U-Bahn into Munich and had some traditional Bavarian food at the Schneider Brauhaus and then moved on to Park Cafe Biergarten for a few beers.
On arrival at the MOC it was straight to Hifi Collective business and we met up with Fredrick Caroe of Duelund. As you can see in the picture we got to see the new 8” driver with Kevlar cone and a unique wooden dust cap. We have an order in for some of these already and they will be available later on this year.
Duelund was exhibiting in collaboration with Zellaton and YS Sound in a system with a combined value of around 500,000 Euros. The Zellaton loudspeakers shown on demo used Duelund crossover components and had real grunt and dynamics.
Rike Audio & Tonmechanik
Next up was George Arsin – owner of Rike Capacitors who was in the Motor-World pop up with his new amp featuring an uber-cool secret tetrode valve. The turntable and speakers were made by Tonmechanik and had a great underground/grunge/un-fettled sound.
Georg Arsin from Rike
Look out for the new Rike S-cap on the site soon, which is promised to be even better than its predecessor. We are just awaiting delivery of the full range.
ETI-Research Link RCAs
We were very pleased to meet up with Kevin Best of ETI-Research, for whom we are distributors. The superb Bullet plug is now being replaced by the Link RCA plug. The same great design but with an aluminium rear casing - we will have these on the site this week. Copper and solid silver versions available. We also discussed an all-new XLR plug designed with the same low-mass pins; heavy brass casing and a 4th pin internally for hooking up an earth but this would be 12 months in the making.
We had a quick meeting with Joe Roberts who supplies the sound practices archive CD’s. It was great to see him and we now have an endless supply of this classic publication. He was hanging out with Silbatone who had some sweet tube amps driving a vintage Western Electric Mirrophonic M2 syestem from 1934! (picture below).
We spent some time chatting with Dennis and Mr. Turner of WBT, discussing new product lines and slight improvements to some of their now classic connectors – soon to be available at Hifi Collective.
Audio Note was Exhibiting at the Marriot Hotel as part of the Hifi Deluxe show. It was a more relaxed affair and we spent a delightful hour catching up with Peter Qvortrup. You may have noticed that the Audio Note transformers are not available to order at the moment as they are simply not able to keep up with demand for their finished products. As always their demo room was on top form. pictured above.
Also at the Deluxe show was Dan Bellity of La Rosita – one of our artisan Hifi builders from France. They had the gorgeous high efficiency La Montespan on display and were playing the larger Babel speaker – a single driver double front port design finished in the same super-smooth glossy varnish. The whole ensemble sounded very nice indeed. They were mounted on Gravit Feet which allowed them to float – very intriguing.
Kevin Scott from Living Voice had an oasis of sound and design in his room, which was based around the attention-grabbing Vox Palladain. Jaw droppingly gorgeous and simply wonderful sound.
Had a great meeting with Cardas who we have represented for many years now. Soon you will see more bulk cables and smaller jacks available from Hifi Collective. It was nice to finally meet Shellissa who we have been dealing with for many years now.
I have heard the highly successful Heco Direkt 2-way speaker range before at Deco Audio and immediately loved the sound. At the show they had a prototype single driver, full-range high efficiency speaker based on the same cabinet – it was lovely listening and should be just as successful as their previous products.
Vivid Audio, MSB Technology and Acoustic Grove System had a very clean sounding room. I was treated to a comparison between an SACD and a 1500 Euro glass CD. The difference in soundstage and transparency was remarkable, a particularly sweet cymbal shimmer caught my attention.
Something that caused a stir was the Mag-Lev turntable, an intriguing magnetic levitation design where the platter hangs in mid-air. The design overcomes obvious bearing and vibration issues, but has to contend with the magnetic field interacting with the sound.
Hohner-Fabrikat’s ethos is to reuse, reclaim, recycle. They had a pair of narrow active floor-standers with RSJ’s from a demolished building on the front edges. This was paired with a sub-woofer made using an 8.8” piston from a 1920’s Lanz Bulldog. They can even design a product around your own piece that you wish to save.
Kudos Audio was once again on fine form, this time pairing up with amplification from Naim, which I think suits their sound better. They played a Pink Floyd track on their new Titan 606 and then on the flagship Titan 808, and I have to say the new more affordable speaker is very impressive indeed.
Concrete Audio is a brand that I have been aware of for a couple of years but have never seen in the flesh. The finish is super smooth and high end, much more refined then I thought it was going to be. The lack of uniformity in the concrete casting structure means that the cabinet doesn’t have 1 point of resonance like most wooden boxes.
Omega and Soundwave
Omega Audio Concepts and Soundwave Loudspeakers had a striking set up with huge red cables crawling all over the floor and played a wonderful rendition of the Pink Panther theme.
Munich the City
So I thought I would wrap up this show report with a glimpse of what Munich itself has to offer. Above is a picture taken in Marienplatz, deep in the centre of Munich. The city is peppered with fabulous eateries and beer gardens galore. Plenty to see and do. So make this part of your trip if you choose to visit next year.
We hade a great time at the Munich Show and it's fantastic to see the Hi-Fi industry bouyant, exciting and innovative as always. Although the show is more suited to finished product, always remember at the route of it all are guys messing around on their work benches, which after all is what we do, is it not?