As you may have seen before, we like to give an award, to express our love for what Hifi Pig sees as our favourite room of the show. Now, this is not strictly for the ‘Best Sound’ at the show, though that is definitely a factor, we take other things into consideration. We pick rooms that sound great, have attentive (but not pushy) staff who are friendly and knowledgeable. The room has to look really nice and have a style about it…effort has to have gone into how it looks and feels to be in the room, as well as how it sounds.
We really appreciate rooms that play a good variety of music, rather than just reaching for tried and tested “audiophile” classics. We also like to be sure that everyone, punter, press, whatever, gets treated well. Choosing our favourite is sometimes easy, sometimes requires much ‘discussion’ between myself and Mr Hifi Pig. At a massive show like high End Munich, it is really difficult because of the sheer volume of excellent rooms staffed by very enthusiastic people.
On Sunday afternoon, Stuart and I sat down with a short-list. We do think that even whittling down the amazing sights and sounds into a short-list was tricky, so massive congratulations to all those who made it on!
Lampizator, EMME, Skogrand
This room was actually a small booth on the ground floor. It had been set up exceptionally well and we were blown away by the sound, the beauty of the highly esoteric components and the general happy ambience of the room. I was particularly taken with Lorenzo Martinelli’s GALILEO Diamond EMMESpeakers, in Pure Bronze Leaf finish, which were stunning.
Trinnov with Vivid and Mola-Mola
Up in the ‘French Quarter’ of the top floor was the Trinnov ‘White Room’ and oasis of calm on an otherwise hot and humid day, this room was done out simply yet effectively with the Trinnov, Mola-Mola and white Vivid Giya system playing superbly. A friendly welcome from Antonine and her team made it extra special. One of those rooms I could have stayed in for hours.
Boenicke and CAD
Always an understated, no fuss room, these two brands have formed an excellent show partnership and I am consistently impressed with the sound which is exceptionally ‘big’ from what are really small speakers. Boenicke were also premièring their new E2 integrated amplifier and CAD were featuring their updated 1543 DAC. Very liveable with for the home.
Back in 2015 we reported on the development of some pretty interesting looking electronics from Kostas Metaxas. At this stage the the Solitaire, the Ikarus integrated amplifier and Opus preamplifier, were still just designs, so seeing and hearing them ‘in the flesh’ at High End Munich 2016, was a real treat. A cool room with fun lights, great sounds, a larger than life and very genial host and totally bonkers hifi…what’s not to love.
Really, really high end hifi often gets the reputation for being a bit staid and stuffy. People spend hundreds of thousands to create an epic system, and then listen to only classical music or weird plinky-plonky jazz on it. Constellation Audio were showcasing their new Reference Series Altair II preamplifier and Hercules II monoblocks in a system that included the mammoth Martin Logan Neolith loudspeakers. There was the inevitable classical playing when we went in, but when asked what we fancied listening to (something electronic with a bit of oomph) they whacked on some Deadmaus, we liked it a lot and loved their inclusive attitude.
And the winner is…
AVID Hifi, who design and make their products near Cambridge, UK, have consistently impressed us at hifi shows over the years. Well known for their turntables, which they have been making for over 20 years, they added amplification to their range and this year launched their first loudspeakers.
AVID have created a high-end brand that produces a pure and beautiful sound. We love the purposeful, industrial look of their products that still remain elegant despite their size. This is not hifi for someone that is apologetic about loving their gear, it’s for people that want to make a statement in the vein of American brands like McIntosh and Audio Research.
We were particularly impressed with the ‘whole system’ path that AVID have taken, just because a manufacturer can make one component of a system does not automatically mean they can successfully produce another. AVID have realised a full system with no weak links and this was evident from the sound at the show. AVID’s room at the show was on Atrium 4, they had picked a good sized room and kept things simple with their stylish and distinctive branding. There was a warm welcome for everyone who came in to listen, with Conrad and his team always professional but approachable.
We think that AVID Hifi are well deserved winners of this year’s High End Munich Hifi Pig Loves You Award.
AVID Acutus SP turntable (12,000€) /SME V tonearm/ Benz Micro Glider cartridge, AVID Reference Pre Amplifier (60,000€), AVID Reference Mono Amplifiers (80,000€ pair), AVID Reference Three Loudspeakers (52,00€), AVID SCT Balanced interconnect cables, AVID ASC Speaker Cables, AVID ISORAK equipment supports and AVID Power Amplifier Stands.
A word from Conrad Mas, MD of AVID Hifi
Conrad Mas tells us a little more about how Avid arrived at their complete system, moving from turntables into electronics and loudspeaker development and manufacture, and their exciting plans for the future.
“It has always been our ambition to produce a full AVID system line. Years ago when we only produced turntables, people were amazed how good their electronics and speakers sounded when they introduced our turntable, especially the Acutus. Over the years we’ve seen the sonic quality of equipment eroded which lead us to introduce our Pulsare phonostage which bought back the feeling of a musical experience rather than just listening to hifi. Logically after the phonostage would come a full line of electronics and as always we start by developing the best and scale it down into an affordable range. With the launch of the Reference Pre and Mono amplifiers at last years show, the cascading has started with the début of our Reference Stereo Amplifier. We’ve already been manufacturing our own cables, equipment racks and accessories for some years, so the last piece of the chain was naturally loudspeakers. Whilst I’d agree we’re known as a turntable company, we’ve not been silent about our long term aims. Perhaps everyone’s been sleeping and looking elsewhere and not noticed us growing into a complete system provider. As our turntable power supplies are actually stereo integrated amplifiers with a fixed output two an electric motor with two coils, making ‘electronics’ is what we’ve already been doing. The phonostages were actually quite straight forward and we used much of the experience gain from developing the Acutus Reference Power Supply. The Pre and Mono amplifiers have really been a labour of love but with a clear goal of perfection to be later scaled down into a full product line ending in an integrated amplifier. With loudspeakers we followed the same philosophy as our turntables, making sure vibration is guided away from the areas that matter to reveal a clean natural sound, that again lets you experience music fully. AVID is not about to rest up any time soon. We have a product development road map extending well into the future. As I hinted our electronics will cascade down to an integrated amplifier and not forgetting our roots in analogue we intend to finally launch our own tonearm design and using our twenty years of knowledge in turntables, launch a super turntable.”