There is a problem with High End Munich…it is so big, where on earth do you start?DSCF5716S

We now consider ourselves veterans of the show, this being our third year and we have learned (the hard way) to  get to the show with a carefully organised plan of attack…which will probably go to pot pretty quickly as you run into old friends and spot something interesting just over there……..

To get the most out of the show, you really should see it all.  We have a “go hard or go home” approach where we try our very best to see and hear everything on offer, but, with the best will in the world we will miss some things.

As the Head Fi market is still snowballing its way into becoming a huge force to be reckoned with, I thought it appropriate to bring you some of our thoughts and pictures of what was on offer at the show this year. 

Audeze (I am gradually learning to pronounce the name correctly) had their full range of high end cans on display.

I was lucky enough to receive their closed back EL-8 model for review just before we left for Munich, so I have already had a chance to listen to them and am very impressed by them still retaining their ‘Audezeness’ at a much lower price point than their bigger siblings and by the fact that they are lighter to wear too.  Audeze’s President, Sankar, gave us a demonstration of how the magnets work in the EL-8 which enables them to make them a lighter headphone than their predecessors.

Audeze are also branching out into making microphones and we saw a prototype, which bore a striking resemblance to a ‘squiddy’ from the Matrix films …watch this space for more to come from Audeze! Audeze1S Audeze2S Audeze3S AudezemicS DSCF5691S DSCF5692S DSCF5694S DSCF5695S DSCF5696S DSCF5698S

Stu had a listen to some new, wireless headphones from Pendulumic, the Stance S1+, which he was pretty impressed with. We also got to see their Tach T1 which will launch later this year and I imagine we will be reviewing.

FiiO and Astel&Kern were exhibiting with their range of music players and Questyle had a nifty looking Hi res DAP which I managed to snap but not get a listen to.FiiOS

Most excitingly we got to have a play with the incredibly sleek looking and great sounding new player from AR (Acoustic Research) which will be winging its way to Hifi Pig Towers very soon……I am looking forward to it already! No pics I’m afraid but we did have a listen to the unit and it sounded really great. It has a touch screen, runs Android and so, for me felt immediately intuitive and easy to use.

The award for the most enthusiastic greeting has to go to Lawrence Lau at Dared who spotted us and shouted ‘Hifi Pig, I LOVE Hifi Pig!!!’.Dared1S dared2S DAREDS

He had some very nice tubes on his stand including on his new MARS integrated amp/DAC….when we left him he was proudly sporting his Hifi Pig sticker.

King’s Audio had a delightful looking little headphone amp which had some serious weight to it and came in a rainbow of colours…it was rather like a modern hip flask, nice design! King's_AudioS

I stopped by the Sennheiser stand to congratulate them on their IE 800 IEMs that I reviewed recently, the gentleman I spoke to was rather chuffed at my feedback…I didn’t catch his name but he appeared to be one of the Sennheiser big wigs…he said he had a pair too and loved them! DSCF5658S SennheiserS

I had heard quite a bit about the new headphones from AudioQuest, the Nighthawks.

At around £500 (I think) UK retail these are firmly pitching themselves at the affordable side of the high end headphone market, and I think they will be very successful.

The Nighthawk cans are very comfortable, look very well made and are not too heavy….they also sound very good, from the quick listen that I had to some Daft Punk I was getting a detailed sound with plenty (but not overdone) oomph in the bass department….I’m looking forward to a longer play with them.


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In the Denon room their headphones were being displayed on some glowing heads…which looked rather fetching in pink. denonS

I really fancied trying the Oppo PM3 headphones as I love the PM1, but unfortunately we were rushing to another meeting and I didn’t get chance. OppoS

Another I would have loved to try were the new planar magnetic headphones from new company, Lyrus Audio who launched them at High End Munich 2015 …..planar magnetic seems to be the way a lot of manufacturers are starting to go and they seem to be becoming more affordable too. Lyrus_AudioS

We had chance for a good listen to some of the new headphones from Final, these guys were a friendly bunch and it was nice to meet Final Audio president Mitsuru Hosoo at the stand.  When I have tried their headphones before I found that they sounded amazing but the fit just wasn’t right on my ears…this seems to have now been addressed and I found the ones I listened to exceptionally well sounding and comfortable…result! More on these from us soon. DSCF5715S DSCF5716S DSCF5717S

We always like to drop by and visit Norbert Lehmann of Lehmann Audio, he is a really lovely guy and this year we got to meet his equally lovely wife, Ulrika, over a glass of wine.

 

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Ulrika is heading up Headphone Gallery, a new venture for Lehmann Audio who are designing and producing a very stylish and nifty headphone stand that keeps your headphones and cables neat and tidy whilst displaying them as a work of art. What with the rise of the high end headphone and people often having a selection of several pairs, these are bound to be a success…I’m particularly looking forward to seeing some of the special finishes of acrylic glass they are planning on using for future models.

The new electronic product from Lehmann Audio was their Linear D which is an all singing and all dancing Preamplifier, headphone amp and DAC which automatically selects what input is being used (so no faffing with switches) and is surprisingly modestly priced.

LEHMANN

KEF can always be relied upon to come up with something cool, so I was pleased to find some of their new M400 on ear headphones to plug into my FiiO X5 for a listen.  I usually prefer over ears to on ears but these were seriously light and comfy but also looked and felt very good quality.  They come in a range of classy colours and deliver a clean defined sound…I listened to some Chase and Status on them and they did not disappoint when the bass kicked in, I imagine these will sell like hot cakes! DSCF5749S DSCF5750S DSCF5753SMALL KEF_M400S M400_with_FiiO_ x5S

There were many others that I caught pics of but didn’t get a chance (unfortunately to investigate further) to name a few: Ultrasone, Beyer Dynamic, Audio Technica, Grado, Unison Research, Linnenberg, Stax ….just proving the point that however long you spend at the show you always miss something….still, what better excuse to go back again next year!

at&S audiotechnicaS beyerdynamicS DSCF5065 DSCF5620S DSCF5673S LINNENBERG1S
OppoS Pendulumic 1S Questyle (2)S QuestyleS2 UltrasoneS2

 

 Lin

Read all our High End 2015 coverage in one place

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