It’s that time again, when we announce the winner of our High End Munich “Hifi Pig Loves You” Award. There has been a real mix of winners over the years and different hifi shows that we attend. From high end manufacturers to local hifi dealers and even a music enthusiast for his talks at the Cranage show. Last year’s High End Munich prize went to British brand Avid Hifi. It is not just for the best sound at the show, though of course that is a part of it. We also take into account how the people running the room treat their audience, the effort that they have taken putting the system and the room together and the kind of music that they play. Hifi Pig loves rooms with a sense of fun, that look like are enjoying themselves and are not scared to play something a little out of the ordinary for a hifi show. Generally it’s a tricky one to judge, especially at the High End where the standard is incredibly high and we often feel torn between several rooms.

So out of the overwhelming array of amazing ear and eye candy at the show we managed to narrow it down to a few final rooms. All of these moved us, they had put a lot of work into their rooms, got the ambience right…the works. It was very, very difficult to chose between them…so here’s our four (in no particular order) runners up and our winner of the Hifi Pig loves you Award Munich 2017! (Use the widget at the bottom to turn to the next page!)

Avantgarde Acoustic

OK, so their room is stunning every year, they have a huge room that allows for a big listening area and static displays. Holger, Beate, Armin, Peter and the rest of their team are always on hand to give information, advice or just have a chat and they are always very welcoming to all. We’ve been so impressed with them over the years that we bought the Duo XDs straight after hearing them at High End Munich 2015. As usual the Avantgarde Acoustic room was packed.

 

The static display was a real eyecatcher of Uno, Duo and Trio XDs in bright turquoise in front of a seascape backdrop. The main room had plenty of seats and an egg-yolk yellow set of Trios with all six basshorns. However, this year the Avantgarde team wanted to shift things up a gear and they wanted to have fun. When we went in on Sunday there was an electronic drum kit set up in front of the Trios and we managed to time our arrival with the start of an amazing spectacle. To a packed house (there was barely even standing room) Oded Kafri proceeded to leap about drumming, dancing, and singing with an extremely energetic show. It was loads of fun. It was not what you might expect from one of the worlds highest end loudspeaker manufacturers but as Holger told us, Avantgarde Acoustic really do want to bring the fun back to hifi. Well done guys!

Tune Audio, Trafomatic, Audiobyte, Rockna and Skogrand Cables

They say that big is beautiful, and nowhere more so is this true than at High End Munich! We have been very impressed with the Tune Audio Animas in the past and they were pretty sizeable beasts, however the new Avaton three way horns are even more gigantic and the sound, the sound was fantastic and incredibly dynamic…really a case of the actual listening experience matching up to the visual impact of the system. The Trafomatic Elysium amps worked very well with the Avatons and all the components really ‘sang’ together.

 

It was a totally international room with Tune being from Greece, Trafomatic from Serbia, Skogrand is Norwegian and Audiobyte and Rockna from Romania. I really love the fact that the High End show brings nationalities together like this, sharing rooms and a love of music. There was an incredibly warm welcome from the people running the room and the atmosphere was a pleasant as the sound!

Aries Cerat with Vyger, Tellurium Q and 432 EVO

When someone, whose opinion you trust about high end hifi, tells you that a room sounds so beautiful it moved them to tears…you make sure you go into that room and have a serious listen. Jack at BD Audio had not steered us wrong! A visually stunning room featuring Aries Cerat Symphonia horn loudspeakers, that are wonderfully made from wood, and their hefty Concero 65 monoblock valve amplifiers, plus more of their electronics. There was an equally stunning Vyger Indian Signature turntable, 432 EVO music server and the system was fully cabled with Tellurium Q Silver Diamond with Ultra Silver power cables.

Now this is all very high end gear, it’s big and unashamedly bold so a feast for audiophile eyes as well as ears. They were playing classical music when we went in, normally not something that appeals to me but if music that I don’t normally listen to can captivate me then it’s a good sign. It really was simply stunning and definitely one of the best sounding rooms at the show…also one that we will make a beeline for next year and hopefully get to hear a wider variety of music too.

Cabasse

Cabasse had the most recent version of their wonderful La Sphère loudspeaker system on show (along with a lot of more affordable gear too). We have heard these speakers several times, including at a private listening session at their coastal Brittany HQ, and have always been extremely impressed with the ‘liveness’ of their sound. Appropriate then that they had a set up with a big screen and were playing an Adele concert in their room. Now, I’m not really much of an Adele fan but there is no denying she is a great performer and through the Cabasse system it was really like being at the event live and in person.

Christophe Cabasse had cranked the system up to give the audience a treat and they seemed to be enjoying it immensely. The precise and lively quality of the system was particularly evident with drums, something we have noticed before and it makes sense when you know that Christophe is himself a drummer. Another case of high end hifi letting it’s hair down, being fun and making it about the music!

And the winner is……..

As I mentioned earlier, this year’s show has been particularly difficult to judge because of the very high quality of many, many exhibitors. There are many more who get mentions in our main coverage and we really thought that the High End Show had turned it up to 11 this year. Speaking of which, that is one of the reasons our winner won…they just topped expectations and we were not the only ones to think so, the winner of our Hifi Pig Loves You Award at High End Munich 2017 is….

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