TAD, Silbatone, Fono Acoustica, Nola, Voxativ and JoSound.
Nice room this (again) with their compact reference system playing when we went in there. Playing Dianna Krall which the chap doing the honours says he never usually listens to or plays. Although not a huge fan myself I can see why folk use her music at shows as it can really show a system off at its best…and here was no exception. The TAD kit never fails to impress me with its effortless quality that just oozes class in a balanced and harmonious way. One thing that really impressed me with the system playing today was the deep, deep and very tight bass it was managing to get into the very large room.
Without a doubt this was one of my favourite rooms at Munich High End 2013 but this year I’m afraid I was somewhat disappointed with the Silbatone room. The room was smaller but the guys had gone to the usual extreme lengths of getting huge Western Electrics from 1926 in there, along with their beautiful looking electronics.
Yes the sound was overall very impressive, but even after the few minutes it took for your ears to acclimatise it was still clearly coloured and, in this room on this day, the bass was far too boomy for my tastes, though I do know that for some people this was the standout room of the show.
Now I really enjoyed this room a great deal. They had Avantgarde Trios and a pair of bass horns out front with Vitus amps that were huge and delivered 800W of class A power…all sat on Stillpoints.
However, what I was really impressed with in this room wasn’t the impressive array of speakers and electronics but rather the Stillpoint Aperture Panels. These little acoustic panels are full range and you can have any artwork you like added to them in a process that doesn’t affect their properties – basically the fibres are dyes rather than a print being placed over the panel. Cost is $650 a piece.
Now I’m a big believer in giving credit where it’s due and I think that Nola deserve a huge pat on the back for their efforts in this year’s Munich High-End. Last year I moaned in my report that there was no music playing and the owner of the company was talking loudly on the phone to his Swiss (if I recall) distributor. This year Carl Marchisotto and his wife couldn’t have been more welcoming and I have to say that the sound the Baby Grand Reference speakers (€72 000) were making was really quite impressive – open and airy with a nice tight bass. They’re a speaker where the mid and tweeter are arranged in open baffle with the bass section being more conventional and they give you a really nice and balanced sound that has heaps of finesse and yet clout when needed. I was really impressed with the people’s ability to listen to our comments from last year without taking a grudge, as well as the sound of their speakers. A massive pat on the back from me and Linette!!!
Ines from Voxativ looks very different to last year and is now called Holger but this has been the first time I’ve actually been in this room when the company’s Ampeggio-Due speakers have been playing and I have to say I was hugely impressed with them both in the way they look and the way they sound. Clearly these are speakers that are up there with the very best available…and it seems they’re picking up accolades all over the place.
I’m a big fan of JoSound speakers and have reviewed both the Cartouche and the Ra loudspeakers in the past. However, this year at Munich Joe was using some new amplifiers from Arte Forma International (whose Norman Yang we had a chat to) and they sounded really wonderful – dynamic, musical and with a really pinpoint soundstage.