McIntosh, Audio Research, Sonus Faber, Wadia, Basso Continuo, Meridian, Krell, D’Agostino, Velodyne.One of the things that I love about High End Munich is getting to hear and see some dream systems. Systems that most of us are never going to own….we can but dream (of lottery wins and the like).
The Fine Sounds group have some particularly high end brands in their stable…if you are looking for the dream factory, then you are probably in the right place in their room.
We went in for the press conference which was presented in front of the biggest TV screen I have ever seen with a line of McIntosh amps that stretched across the stage…these were powering a 7.1 set up of Sonus Faber Lilium loudspeakers which were hugely impressive.
It was a big, airy room, well laid out and lit sympathetically and it didn’t just look like someone had dragged all their kit in the day before! In fact the tiered seating made out of pallets was really rather cool and gave the impression of being in a amphitheatre.
After a general introduction which talked about the recent management buyout of the Fine Sounds group and a couple of films about the concept and build of the new Sonus Faber loudspeakers and the new G Series from Audio Research, we then got to wander around and look at what each brand in the Fine Sounds group had on offer.
This included some very sleek Wadia kit and really beautiful, industrial and generally perfect Audio Research kit. Proper drool time.
Wadia have a whole new product line including the 321 DAC which uses the Sabre chips, a media bridge and some class D amps.
It was really interesting to here about the way the designer worked and the influences on his design, but unfortunately the Fine Sounds top brass were a bit ‘lively’ and it was quite hard to hear.
However, we did manage to hear enough to know that the new Audio Research kit is still hand made in Minnesota with even the transformer casings being hand welded and then polished. The quality and finish on these products shines out and each item has individual “flaws” which stand it out from its brothers and sisters! Interestingly the new stereo power amp and the integrated use the KT150 tube!
We also got to have a look at some fine looking Velodyne subs.
McIntosh, as many Hifi Pig readers will know, have no less than six new models including a headphone amp, some €2000 headphones a couple of amps and their media bridge.
We then went through into the next room which was run by Audio Reference, who distribute some of Fine Sounds brands and other high end brands in Germany.
The main focus in this part was Dan D’Agostino, the man himself gave us a talk and presented what I think is some of the most stunning hifi that you could ever hope to own.
The copper and aluminium chassis is perhaps one of the most distinctive designs in Hifi, but Dan explained that it looks that way because of the differing properties of copper and aluminium when it comes to heat dispersal, very interesting stuff.
On display next to the D’Agostino kit was some very slick looking Bassocontinuo Racks and a pretty impressive turntable that was a hell of a lot cheaper than anyone was expecting it to be – €2000 or so with arm!
Krell introduced their new products and spoke about the plans for the future and it all seems to be very positive. However, the speaker was keen to hurry things along as he could see some of the press folk starting to flag!
Meridian gave a speech about the company and its plans and like the other companies in the group it was upbeat and positive about the future. They were keen to show off their new flagship DSP 8000 digital active loudspeaker in a stunning electric blue colour and it really is rather impressive.
And he finished by playing Daft Punk …which kept the Hifi Pigs and Piglet happy!
There were nibbles and drinks on offer but it was press only and I did feel a little sorry for all the people queuing up outside wondering what we were all up to.
We were also treated to one of the best goodie bags ever, which included everything from bath towels to headphones…thankyou!
I left with my mind boggling over what the combined value of all the Hifi in those 2 rooms was….I ran out of fingers to count on though, and gave up…..needless to say it was some very aspirational, dream kit!