Munich High End Show 2019 Show Report


Munich High End Show 2019 Report

  24 May 2019 at 10:00
Hifi Collective Ltd
Munich High End Show 2019
Munich High End Show 2019 Report
Hi guys,
I hope you are well and are busy with your audio projects. Unfortunately, we didn't attend the fabulous Munich High-End show this year however we know a man who did and I convinced him it would be a great idea to do a show report.
.Mr RR is an avid designer and constructor who I've had the pleasure of knowing for some years now. A born tweaker who loves nothing more than building exquisite hi-fi. I have spent a blissful afternoon listening to his amazing setup. Anyway, without further ado, I shall hand you over to him.
Front entrance of the High End show at the huge MOC exhibitions halls.

Is it worth it? Yes. Straightforward to fly to Munich, in my case from Heathrow and the courtesy bus takes you to the front door of arguably the world’s most prestigious show almost totally dedicated to two-channel High-End Hi-Fi.
Essentially it is a highly polished dealer orientated show on at least three floors. I was lucky enough to arrive on Friday where consumers were mostly absent leaving dealers and distributors to talk freely to manufacturers exhibiting.
There were virtually no ‘bad rooms’ which is unusual for a Hi-Fi show and in this article I’m simply highlighting my interesting experiences but the scale of the show overall is too vast to detail fully here.
The ground floor halls were largely populated by distributors of product and various components on stands peppered with the occasional listening room constructed as part of the stand. Examples include the Western Electric room demonstrating their latest 300B amplifier and the designer proudly detailed the patented circuit design. As far as I could make out in the time available it’s the use of a CCS (Constant Current Source) as part of the anode load but which also acted as a mechanism to support valve biasing by dumping unused HT current when the 300B is not busy amplifying a signal, thereby keeping it running within limits. I also noted that they’d extensively used torodials including the output transformer. Sounded great.

Cardas Audio had an interesting stand showing not only various cables and connectors but also an assembly workshop bench so it was easy to see where I’ve been going wrong as I watched various interconnects being assembled.
Furutech had an impressive stand with a wide array of not only connectors and supports but also their demagnetizer unit and one fellow visitor said ‘I’ve got one – don’t try unless you’re prepared to buy’ as it’s good for vinyl records too.
Good to see so many British companies flying the flag – Graham Slee phono stages, Project, Chord Electronics, Naim and other small manufacturers. Linn was running impressive demonstrations ending up with their LP12 demonstrator together with a glass of whiskey for visitors!
I was continually surprised by the sheer number of record decks and related items on show – there seems to be an insatiable appetite for record players and all things vinyl. Deutsche Gramaphon and Sieveking Sound Records from Bremen had a substantial presence - I bought a Limited Edition High-Quality release of Breakfast In America and wish I’d bought more as it’s easy to carry on luggage for BA’s return flight home.
Mag Lev were there with a whole array of magic record players in that they’re magnetically suspended with no central spindle (see Nick’s Warsaw show report), similar to my Verdier but smaller. Mag Lev were particularly excited about the diamond crystal appearance of their Limited Edition base that sparkled like gold in a stream.
There were also plenty of streamers and still a few CD players on show, but generally, people just seemed to be using them as opposed to discussing them, one exception being the excellent Audionet Company who were proudly showing their CD statement player.
Audio Technica was exhibiting an amazing array of headphones which relatively speaking offered great value plus their selection of cartridges. They are also strong in the marketplace for microphones but less relevant to this show – I chatted to their German Technical Support Director over breakfast who was asking me about my hi-fi.
It was also interesting to meet Mr Van der Hul who is as enthusiastic as ever and explaining just what he feels makes up a good cable or transducer, for which he is justly famous and a pleasure to see him at the show.
One definite highlight was the PMC room – not only was Peter Thomas there (an ex-colleague of mine) but they were using their flagship loudspeakers to demonstrate a truly magnificent version of Kind Of Blue using a remix of the master tapes plus Dolby and ambient sound as I understand it and to support all this Miles Davis’ nephew was there chatting to visitors. Quite something and I experienced this twice over the days that I was there.
From a personal point of view, it was interesting to see just how many small companies there are out there producing valve amplifiers – I had a chat with Copland Amplifiers of Denmark over lunch and it’s a crowded marketplace with a limited number of buyers, unsurprisingly. Big brands were much in evidence such as Mackintosh and Audio Research of the USA, but I didn’t perceive anything new or significantly different from their normal offerings. Dan Agostino amplifiers, (originally of Krell) were there – massive products with a big green badge on the front. I assume they’re good and there’s definitely an element of ‘biggest is best’ as people nearly tripped over the speaker cable which was as thick as a drain pipe……
Kondo was there in force with their large amplifiers and speakers playing sympathetic music which everyone seemed to be enjoying – they also had AN connectors on display from the 1970s and it’s interesting to see how little they appear to have changed and how good they are.
I think the two rooms that really stood out for me, albeit for different reasons, were the vintage Western Electric room and the Lansche Audio room. The largest of rooms had been given over to what I gathered was basically a celebration of massive vintage Western Electric loudspeakers flown in by the owner of Kia Cars. They were the kind of vintage products seen in Sound Practices years ago and all low valve powered, but with a scale and power that would take on a PA system. The vintage Western Electric room was rammed solid with people the whole time over two days without a single exception because it was just that, exceptional experience to be enjoyed with nothing to buy.
Lansche Audio – I met Mr. Lansche and he explained about the design of his flagship loudspeakers on demonstration. As high as a ceiling and with the scale and finesse provided by the Corona plasma tweeter (powered) the performances were staggering. Due to the array of drivers in the tall design and with bass drivers at both the top and the bottom there isn’t a variation in height of the image, which some might consider a disadvantage, but overall they are an outstanding loudspeaker. Based down at Lake Constance in Germany the firm is small and I can totally understand that they’d have a full order book! Not all their speakers are large so if you’re interested in finding out more about them look them up.
Munich itself was a joy to see around – I was lucky enough to have friends who live there and collected me from my excellent Rilano Hotel for a speedy drive around and dinner which made absorbing the city very easy! Memorably also was the 180Km taxi ride to the airport on Sunday morning.

I’d recommend the Munich High-End Hi-Fi Show for those you who want to develop their own projects and definitely for those interested in buying a complete system as it provides a really good starting point. It provides a real insight into manufacturers further east than we regularly see in the UK and the lack of TVs, surround sound and other distractions from High-End Audio was welcome.
Beautifully designed record player by Transrotor, Metropolis
Some of the Tektron range, 300Bs and 845 featured heavily.
Fabulous display in the Kondo room
Another awesome dramatic record deck on display
Take your shoes off to get in the Bugatti
Die High End, manufacturers of front panels. They will make in small quantities so they are ideal for 1 offs.
Bavarian outfit promoting local authenticity of the Munich region
One of the magnificent displays using horn loudspeakers
You know you are in Germany for lunch, which I enjoyed with the Copeland Amplifier team.
Very impressive magnetically levitated deck
Impressive Audio Note connectors dating back to the 1970’s
Dan Agostino amplifiers on display, they were massive
Impressive display of Tonearms
Truly Impressive Western Electric 300B amplifier using their CCS circuit
Truly impressive with the Silbatone room
The amazing Liedson room

Having enjoyed the hospitality of Munich City Saturday evening, courtesy of friends I took a 180Kph journey to the airport on Sunday morning – the Germans take their right to drive at unlimited speeds very seriously! Back in the UK a waiting soldering iron and materials from Hi-FI Collective just arrived we pressed into service for my ongoing projects which include:

Platine Verder deck with battery motor supply, valve stage pre-amp all working nicely, either 300B power amp or powerful solid state power amp near completion (more on this soon) and various loudspeakers including large Tannoy driver with complete Duelund crossovers. It’s moved on a long way from Nick’s visit in September after the Novotel Hi-Fi Show and work is progressing apace!
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