The Newcomers stand at High end Munich is a great idea we reckon here at Hifi Pig. It gives new companies the opportunity to showcase their new and often innovative products to a massive audience…and the best thing is High End don’t charge for it…which is nice.
This year was a great year for the High End Newcomers with some very interesting and novel concepts on show. Sadly, given time constraints our rime with the Newcomers was pretty limited but we did manage to speak to most of this year’s exhibitors. Read on.
First up was Benjamin Meyer zur Capellen who had a very interesting looking diffuser on show. “My aim is to produce acoustic elements to fit in living rooms without making compromises in the acoustic performance” says Benjamin.
The diffusers are one dimensional QRD-diffusers, based on the mathematical works Schröder in the 60s, fitted in a new design and are made of foam.
“In a few weeks I will be able to offer bass traps as well, I hope two different kinds, a Helmholtz-Absorber which are very effective at a narrow bandwidth to absorb standing waves and a bass trap with a broader bandwidth to calm the room in the low end” continued Benjamin.
All wooden elements are built from ply wood or MDF and will be delivered painted or paint ready. All elements are offered in standard sizes, but the sizes are variable and can be fitted to the customers demand.
Then we had a beautiful looking amplifier made by Angus Leung of Westminster Labs. The Unum amp is meticulously put together and uses very highly specced components throughout. Unum comes in two flavours, the Unum and the Unum Edition. Both are monobloc amplifiers with the standard Unum giving 120 W into 8 Ohms, 240 into 4 Ohms and 480 into 2 Ohms whilst the edition version gives 125 W into 8 Ohms and doubles up all the way to 500W at 2 Ohms.
The Unum from Westminster Labs is a real tour-de-force in understated design both on the inside and the outside. Carbon fibre us used extensively for its low resonance and to reject unwanted interference whilst Titanium screws are used throughout. The massive and beautifully machined brass grounding spikes screw into the body of the amp to minimise vibrations transmitted to the amp from the surrounding environment.
Unum does not use printed circuit boards as Angus believes that they offer an “impure electric transmission route” and so has developed a process where all the components in the amps are held on a machined engineered plastic chassis. “The amps’ components are directly connected and soldered with each other without intermediate disturbance to give a much more pure and cleaner transmission of signals and power” says Angus. “Al this has required us to develop a new soldering procedure that demands a new level of care, devotion and detail” he continues.
Sonic Concept is a new British based hi-fi design and manufacturing company and presented its initial range of loudspeaker and electronics products under the Modern British Audio Company brand. There are two models of loudspeaker and the company’s first amplifier… a 150W dual mono design.
Managing director Darren Hollands founded the business in May 2014 by purchasing the assets of erstwhile loudspeaker manufacturer, O’hEocha. The small team of people, comprising an acoustics engineer, prototyping and production staff and admin, is dedicated to taking the existing and well-respected designs of O’hEocha to the next level. The plan is to produce loudspeakers with truly high fidelity qualities that present a stunning aesthetic, making them desirable to both audiophiles and design conscious consumers. Both the standmount and the floorstander certainly looked the part on the High End Newcomers stand.
Hollands’ mission is to build up a substantial audio business at the company’s Manston, Kent, facility; with design and manufacturing all taking place at its UK base and as many components as possible being sourced from UK businesses.
“I’ve been a music loving engineer for many years. Having taking the decision to leave the world of employment, I am now able to turn my attention to my real passion and build a new British based hi-fi company.” comments Hollands. “We are a close-knit team of people all focused on making the best performing and fabricated products we can and bringing them to the attention of the traditional audiophile market, but also to those people who want a piece of desirable modern equipment in their homes. I don’t believe in the mantra that form must follow function, as this often results in great sounding but unattractive hi-fi. It is perfectly possible for the two states to happily coexist and this is our philosophy behind the creation of our products under the Modern British Audio Company brand.”
Physical Emotions had on display what can only be described as a behemoth of a turntable. Speaking to the German designer it was clear that his main aim in designing this truly massive vinyl spinner was to build himself the very best turntable he could imagine. We liked his attitude a great deal and it is evidence that the enthusiast-audiophile/engineer is still very much in evidence and thriving.
The Physical Emotions weighs in at an impressive 125 Kg with the concept throughout the design being that energy passes from less massive to massive.
I’d have loved to have been able to take a listen to this at High End Munich….perhaps next year!
German company X-Odos were next on the High End’s Newcomer’s stand with their XO | one, a music server that they say is easy to install and operate. The server has only one button and only the connections that the company feel it really needs. It has an SSD drive onboard and rips and catalogues your CD collection automatically…slide the CD in…done. Back up if your prcious files is to an external and optional HDD.
The use of XO | one is completely intuitive and you use either an iPad® or iPhone® to operate and surf your tunes. It will play high-res files up to 24bit/192kHz and you can upload files directly from HIGHRESAUDIO®.
SSB Audio had a very interesting and good sounding little Analogue to Digital Converter (ADC) on demonstration called the Adicon. The ADICON offers one line and one phono input (MM as standard and MC as an option), one line and one headphone output, two digital outputs, six sampling rates and a level meter (SPPM) to adjust the sensitivity of each source individually. Optical TOSLINK & coaxial RCA-Out for the digital audio signal and analogue line outputs provided by two RCA jacks and DIN connector.
There’s USB port for direct connection to your Mac/PC as option and a headphone jack on the front pane for the built in headphone amplifier.
Cost is just shy of 1500 Euros.
Greek company Porfyra Audio had on display a good looking and well specced pure class A amplifier that puts out 20W a channel. Having been a user of an 18 W a side Class A monster for the last couple of years, this is a product that really appeals to me an,d hopefully we’ll get to have a listen to it at some point soon.
Rounding off the Newcomers at High End Munich was a new turntable from WE Audio Systems which is made in the Black Forest in Germany. On the couple of occasions we tried to speak to the people on this stand the designer wasn’t available but we will bring you news as soon as we are able.
Hifi Pig would like to wish all the newcomers to High End Munich all the very best for the future of all their enterprises!