We’re almost, but not quite, at the end of our coverage of this year’s brilliant Munich High End show. Here Stuart Smith finishes off some of the rooms and stands from Friday plus some of the bigger rooms he missed on the Saturday. Brands include: Cocktail Audio, Acoustique Quality and KR Audio, Fezz Audio and Pylon, Consonance/Opera Audio, Jern and SOTA, Fiio, DS Audio,  Aeron, Liedson, MUTEC, Thales, Tonarm, YG Acoustics and EMT, Music Hall, Triangle and Musical Fidelity, Avantgarde Acoustic, AudioQuest, AVIDHifi, Gryphon, Q Acoustics and Java Hifi, Falcon Acoustics, Martin Logan, Pass Labs and VPI, McIntosh, Melco and Chord Company, KEF and Hegel, Progressive Audio, Fischer & Fischer Accustic Arts and Mudra Akustik, Audio Physic, Lyngdorf and OdXos and DS Audio and AMG.

Cocktail Audio

Cocktail Audio are distributed in the UK by SCV and make very good media servers and rippers – we use one of their older models in our mid-priced system, but expect a review of the updated versions very soon on Hifi Pig.

Acoustique Quality and KR Audio

This was an impressive sounding room with both company’s hailing from the Czech Republic. The speakers are the top of the line AQ Passion, a three-way speaker with bass reflex enclosure. The baffle is an asymmetrical shell consisting of a proprietary sandwich laminated wood-fibre material with internal damping and uses Scan-Speak drivers; The tweeter is a 1” Illuminator high frequency driver with a field of six neodymium magnets, there is an SD-2 with its own acoustic chamber and it has an integrated aluminium phase plug. It has an SD-3, where the magnetic field is generated by neodymium magnet. The 3D sculpted baffle below the midrange features 10” Revelator bass driver that is a carbon fibre reinforced paper cone.

Fezz Audio and Pylon

Great sound need not cost a King’s ransom and this pairing prove it. The red amp on the rack and which I heard is the Silver Luna Prestige from Fezz and costs a not unreasonable €1990 whilst the Polk speakers are their Ruby 20s costing €999. Sound was very good for this level of outlay I thought.

Consonance/Opera Audio

Consonance is a brand that has been around for a good while and has made a good name for itself, particularly their tear shaped CD player. Sadly, I didn’t get to hear any f their kit at High End but this is their Linear 845 integrated amplifier created to celebrate 25 years of Opera Audio. It’s a single ended Class A design using the 845 power tubes. It has two sets of true-balanced inputs which are converted to single ended by Lundahl transformers. As well as the 845 users can opt to use 211 tubes by the flick of an internal switch. Output is 28W a side.

Jern and SOTA

I’ll not go into much detail here as Janine Elliot has written about them in her write up, but this is the second time I went back to the Jern stand. If you do not know Jern then you are in for a real treat as they use cast iron for their cabinets and used High End Munich to introduce their all new sub-woofer, which is essential for many of their speakers which, whilst imaging superbly, are limited in their low frequency output. PrimaLuna from the US supplied the electronics to feed the speakers and the turntable is from SOTA – the one in the main room is the Cosmos Eclipse retailing at $8500.

Fiio

This portable player caught my eye and is the Q5s, the company’s flagship Bluetooth enabled and DSD-capable DAC and Amp. Price is €419.

Aeron

The world needs more people like Lawrence from Aeron, he’s a real character and is passionate about bringing great quality audio to the masses – we have his little pre and amp here for review at the moment. He chose High End Munich to show off a new and budget pair of two way loudspeakers but what he was really excited about sharing with us was the HDP-1 which Lawrence described as being “Magic!”. It features a CSR8675 chipset with BT version 5 and supports aptX HD. Sample frequency support is up to 96kHz and it can pair with two Bluetooth receiving devices in TX mode and supports True Wireless Stereo on RX mode. It has optical ins and outs and supports USB audio on input mode. We will bring you more news and hopefully a review as and when we have more information.

Liedson

Liedson are a new French brand and their products certainly look very interesting…I think the woman in the room was a little taken aback when I conversed in French with her. They produce DACs and streamers and the name comes from the combination of the word “Lied” (German piece of music) and the word “son” (means sound in French). The idea came to Gil Aguilera  to create a small Streamer to listen to music downloaded from CDs which was of high quality, easy to connect, easy to use and compatible with most software. He commented “ We started the company in May 2018 although the project commenced in 2014. Our first audio server was made in 2006.” Gil Aguilera is passionate about audio acoustics and he creates all his own products. He has a background in electroacoustics and he worked as an acoustic engineer. Also, he is an artist and as a painter and sculptor, design and materials are very important in the design of his products and this shines through with the aesthetic.

The Liedsonoffer is based on audio server combining four functions with a synergy effect: audio server + DAC + streamer + CD ripper with the principles of design being:

Zéro “noise” (with the electric signal),

Robust power supplies,

Custom circuit board design,

Twin materials creating a beautiful chassis,

The importance of clock selection is a key issue to the overall performance of their DAC.

ORATORIO is composed of two materials with an organic concrete frame or aluminium for the chassis and a solid wood cover which gives it a very attractive and distinctive appearance and it can be combined, as here, with the Liedson “ODÉON” power amplifier.

The modular design of the PCB is upgradable and is part of Liedson’s desire to combat obsolescence and gives it a lifespan of well over 8 years. Handily the company has also  developed their own Liedson PLAY application to control their devices.

I’d have like to have had more time to sit and listen but what I heard was very good.

MUTEC

MUTEC had a computer-based system consisting of their MC-3+ Smart Clock USB interface playing via Roon and externally referenced to their REF 10 master clock. As well as their headphone station with Lehmann audio amplification, MUTEC also used pair of Helium 520 loudspeakers by Amphion. Again, time dictated we didn’t get much time here.

Sunday at high End always seems like a bit of a wind down but due to a bout of food-poisoning on the Saturday I was afforded no such luxury and we arrived at the MOC bright and early to get round as much of the show as we possibly could – though Linette, Andreas and Kirsten’s sterling work at both the MOC and the HifiDeluxe show meant we had most bases covered.

Thales, Tonarm, YG Acoustics and EMT

The turntable is the TTT-Compact II in Silver with a battery drive system, the tonearm is the Thales Statement and the cartridge is the EMT JSD VM with variable mass body.

The older turntable is a broadcast model from EMT and is on my list of things to get hold of one day.

The preamp is the legendary and utterly beautiful EMT JPA 66 MKII G Diamond Jubilee Edition and has both phono and line inputs.

YG Acoustics unveiled a brand-new speaker named Vantage for the first time in Europe at the High End show, it’s a compact three-way loudspeaker and is slotted between the American brand’s Carmel 2 and Hailey 2. They are fully passive and have a sensitivity of 87 dB, weigh 72kg each and have a US MSPR of $32,000.

Music Hall, Triangle and Musical Fidelity

Music Hall make turntables and they do so at many prices with the top model shown here being less than €3000

Triangle will not be a new name to anyone who has a keen ear and I’ve been a long-time fan of their products. They tend to be very easy to drive and have a horn loaded tweeter which I love – they also tend to be front ported which facilitates easier positioning. Making their Munich debut were the Triangle AIO 3 Connected Loudspeaker System whose Hifi Pig review you can read by hitting the link – they are the colourful boxes in the window.

Musical Fidelity are another name who will be familiar to most readers and they put on a nice show of their kit.

Avantgarde Acoustic

This room is always a highlight of the show and regular readers will know that we use the company’s Duo XDs in our main system. This room always draws a good crowd of people and is always uber-cool.
in previous years we’ve seen the German brand bring out the big guns in the form of the Trios and Bass Horns but today when we went in the room we were treated to the smaller Uno XDs which, despite their size, had no problems filling this large room with beautiful sound.

Whenever we think of Avantgarde we always immediately talk about their loudspeakers but they also make a full range of preamplifier and power amplifiers – and very good they are too. Pictured driving the Uno XDs are their XA Power amp offering up a healthy 150 Watts per channel and costing €12500 each.

AudioQuest

AudioQuest had a very cool looking room and win the prize for most imaginative way of displaying audio cables.

AVIDHifi

AVIDHifi always use Munich to bring out new products and this year was no exception.

First up we have the Ruby Reference, a low output MC cartridge using a solid and flawless solid ruby cantilever, a modified micro-ridge diamond stylus profile and an AVID designed and manufactured body.

Also launched at High End were AVID’s EVO loudspeakers which are developed from their Reference models but using alternative materials. Conrad Mas says that they have been designed to be efficient and easy to drive and come with real wood veneers, low-Iron glass and military grade Aluminium finishes. All the designs use downward firing ports. There are three speakers in te range; Evo Two (a 3-way), Evo Three (A 2.5-way) and Evo Four a 2-way stand-mounter.

Finally AVID introduced Integra, their second integrated amplifier which joins the company’s SIGSUM and shares many of its design philosophies. Output is 110w into 8Ohms and it has onboard phono-stage, four RCA line ins and an RCA line out. It weighs in at 25kg.

Gryphon

This was definitely one of the highlights of the show for me with the system on dem being effortlessly powerful, dynamic and ever so detailed in its presentation. Sadly we turned up late for the dem but thanks to the guys from this fab Danish company for allowing us to sneak in at the back and thanks to Rune for such a great demonstration. One track that played Rune mentioned was his favourite Jazz track – Vodoo something or other – and whilst not my cup of tea musically, certainly showed the system off to great effect.

Making its European debut was the Ethos CD Player – yes, a high-end company launching a new CD player. Like I’ve being banging on about for ages, CD still has plenty of life in it still. The Ethos has been designed by Gryphon Founder Mr. Flemming Erik Rasmussen and the inside has been configured by the Gryphon product development team, headed by Chief Engineer Tom Moller. Gryphon say that they created the Ethos integrated CD player to be a moving target in the rapid evolution of digital audio. In addition to handling standard 16-bit/44.1 kHz “Redbook” CD, the Ethos offers convenient playback and can be connected to external sources up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM and up to DSD512. The Gryphon Ethos is fully balanced throughout the digital DAC domain as well, implementing eight DAC’s in full dual differential mode. NICE!!!

Q Acoustics

Java Hifi

JAVA Hifi made its debut at High End Munich 2019 and demoed pre-production samples of two new products – the JAVA V2.0 LDR pre-amplifier and the JAVA Integrated amplifier.

In a bit of a coffee theme the two new offerings are available in ‘one shot’ or extra strength ‘two shot’ versions and cost from $2995 for the pre and $7995 for the integrated amp. The JAVA V2.0 LDR pre-amplifier is an upgraded version of the original JAVA LDR pre-amp whereas the JAVA Integrated amplifier will combine an LDR pre-amp stage with GaN FET power modules.

Falcon Acoustics

Falcon Acoustics has been famous for loudspeakers for nearly 50 years, and are perhaps best known for producing faithful and licensed reproductions of the classic BBC LS3/5a loudspeaker that is beloved by many an audiophile.

At Munich High End Show Falcon Acoustics debuted their new V Series loudspeakers which we heard on demonstration in their sound cabin along with the Falcon Acoustics Active LS3/5a Reg D/TM. Falcon have been developing their Graphene Cone technology for speaker cones first seen the Falcon Reference (now in production), and the V Series which is scheduled for release in September uses an all-new Twaron® /Graphene composite cone exclusively developed and manufactured in-house by Falcon Acoustics.

The all new HP.80 is a 2-way floor vented system deploying twin Falcon Acoustics hand-moulded 180mm (7.0”) Twaron®/Graphene Enhanced Nano-Platelet Composite Cone bass units, partnered with a 28mm dome Tweeter with profiled loading. The V Series takes its design cues from the British aircraft industry whilst the cabinets are hand-built in Italy. I managed a good listen in booth which I had all to my self and enjoyed the speed and accuracy of the speakers.

Falcon partnered with Balanced Audio Technology who were at Munich for the first time and used their 300 watts-per-channel, dual mono balanced design with Super Pak power supply.

Martin Logan, Pass Labs and VPI

What a treat this room was, not only because of the fantastic kit on offer but mostly because of having the chance to catch up with Matt from VPI and to meet his legendary dad Harry. In fairness we didn’t speak much about Hifi and spent the time taking snaps and talking family.

The new VPI turntable is the HW 40, named after Harry Weisfeld and was officially launched towards the end of 2018 and costs around $15K with an arm and is directly driven. Speakers on the day were the awesome, I’ve heard them a few times now, Martin Logan Neolith driven by Pass Labs monos. Splendid!

McIntosh

This American icon neds no introduction and it’s a shame they always seem to have a static room at Munich High End as I’m sure lots of folk would relish the opportunity to hear their products in action.

Melco and Chord Company

Melco took the opportunity at High End to launch their new N10. The Melco N10 is housed in two units, each chassis 215mm wide, half the width of conventional Hifi components. The Head Unit contains all the processing electronics and the data connectivity. The Power Unit contains a low noise linear power supply and power management. Side by side the two units are the same size as conventional Hifi. The casing is the same size as the Melco D100 CD loader and the E100 Expansion drive. Internal storage is 3TB HDD. Easily expandable by either IT USB HDD or the Melco E100. Additional E100’s increases capacity in steps of 3TB. A USB connected DAC allows the N10 to perform as a self-contained local HiRes Digital Music player. Data rates up to 32bit 384kHz and Octo DSD are supported. All Gapless and with Melco Markerless DSD fully supported. Price €7500 / £6750.

They also had the N100 at the show. The N100 has an internal storage is 2TB HDD which is again easily expandable by either IT USB HDD or the Melco E100  and again a USB connected DAC allows the N100 to perform as a self-contained local HiRes Digital Music player. Data rates up to 32bit 384kHz and Octo DSD are supported. All Gapless and with Melco Markerless DSD fully supported. Control of the USB-DAC player is from the new Melco App, from the front panel, or from approved third-party RF Remote handset N100 will operate with both USB DAC and also Ethernet connected player even without connection to a data network, in standalone Isolated Mode Price €2000 / £1800. The N100 was being powered by a separate power supply called Booster.

British cable manufacturer Chord Company were also well represented at the show with a great display of a wide range of their cables.

KEF and Hegel

KEF always put on a great show at Munich High End and today ws no exception with their brand ambassador Johan Coorg doing a great job. Highlights in this great sounding room was Johan playing a recording made of a record (Ghost Riders In The Sky) that Harry Weisfeld had bought off Ebay for a couple of dollars and then transferred to an electronic file and popped onto a USB stick.

Progressive Audio

Progressive Audio’s Pearl TDC 3-way floorstanding loudspeakers caught my eye in this room. They are a bass reflex loaded system that uses ceramic drivers, presumable from Accuton, and are available in both passive and active versions.

Fischer & Fischer Accustic Arts and Mudra Akustik

This room was very well put together and sounded great to boot. The uber cool amps from Accustic Arts were feeding into a pair of Fischer and Fischer SN370 AMT loudspeakers. These are a bass-reflex design which the company say will go down to 36 Hz and use an Air Motion Transformer for the top end. If you haven’t heard a speaker using the AMT driver then get yourself in front of a pair, it brings something very special to the party.

Audio Physic, Lyngdorf and OdXos

We reviewed the XO/One music server recently and gave it a Highly recommended gong with Dan Worth summing up the review with the following conclusion: “I can’t inform you of what recipe of hardware components or software the team at xodos use to produce the xo|one, all I can do is speculate that they are built and configured in such a way that it reflects the intentions of an individual or individuals that understand how music should sound.

The voicing within the xo|one is simply moving! It’s not a cheap product by any means coming in at £7500 but I have heard units costing more which just do not stack up in terms of tonal accuracy, soundstage shape, overall realism or form and function.

The app is an absolute joy to use and again is so thoughtfully presented that it just ties the entire package together, complimenting aural appeal with visual appeal. The physical unit isn’t too shabby looking either! A very heavy for a streamer design, made from thick panels of aluminium, keeping everything rigid and vibration free. The single captive touch sensitive front button, cool looking led lit X branding and top-quality rear connectors from Furutech, Neutrik and WBT are sweet little cherries on top of a delicious cake.

I urge anybody with a system warranting a streamer of this ability to get some hours under their belt with one. If you have strongly considered streaming but are afraid of typical digital and pride your turntable as the one and only source, then give the xo|one a try, you may be surprised!”

You can read the full review here.

Audio Physic used the show to showcase their new Midex loudspeakers

DS Audio, AMG

His was an interesting product from Aki-san at DS Audio. Basically a stream of ions is emitted from the machine to reduce static on the record playing surface in real-time. It’s called the ION-001 Vinyl Ionizer and it produces both positive and negative ions and has a low emission of Ozone. The meter showed clearly the effect and I’m dying to try one of these on our record player. Also on show was their entry level DS-E1 cartridge, launched earlier this year. The DS-E1 features the same optical-mechanical system and wire-suspended cantilever as the flagship DS Master 1, as well as the midrange DS-W2 and the DS-002. The system enables a high degree of channel separation – more then 24dB, and delivers an output of more than 500mV. DS-E1 sports an aluminum cantilever and elliptical stylus. The cartridge body is machined from aluminum. The accompanying DS-E1 equalizer / phonostage employs an operational amplifier at the heart of its amplification circuit, greatly reducing the number of components required. This also allows the unit to be considerably more compact and lightweight – around one third of the size of the DS-002 equalizer. Each DS-E1 cartridge and equalizer / phonostage is manufactured by hand in DS Audio’s own premises in Sagamihara City, Japan.

The DS Audio DS-E1 optical phono cartridge with phono stage/equalizer is available now, priced at £2,295 (inc. VAT).

A wide range of AMG turntables and tonearms was also on display and demonstration.

Bird’s Eye View Part 1

Bird’s Eye View Part 2

Bird’s Eye View Part 3

Stuart’s High End Munich Report Part 1

Stuart’s High End Munich Report Part 2

Stuart’s High End Munich Report Part 3

Stuart’s High End Munich Report Part 4

Janine’s High End Munich 2019 Report

Hifi Deluxe 2019 Show Report

And all the news from the show here!

 

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